Thursday, 31 July 2008

2 - Burning Tommy Down

He knocked twice on the door. They were a hasty two knocks, a two knocks that shouted "Please open the door - please don't make this what I think it is".

But there was no response. Another two knocks - this time bolder. Still there was no response.

The policeman lowered his head to the dark blue paint of the door and listened carefully. There was nothing. It was silent. Then the faintest of noises - footsteps, clothes brushing walls, movement, a whisper and a quiet crashing. This combination of sounds, a barely distinguishable mess, lasted barely a second. He listened for another minute or so, but there was nothing.

So here he was - standing dripping in the rain before a large house in Central London's embassy land, while the Sergeant sat in the car, smoking.

Richard Hill had joined the force at twenty nine, and never expected anything glamourous. In fact, he enjoyed the lack of glamour. Two years on and he still enjoyed the mundane tasks of a police constable. He stared into the dark blue panels, inches from his face, and ran his hands across them, gently. Mindlessly he attempted to push the door open - it didn't even shudder. He carefully felt the lock. There was something slightly ajar, and this was his speciality. His boring passion. Locks.

Richard dropped to his knees and examined the keyhole, squatting. From his limited knowledge of the area he assumed there would be at least one bolt lock and one chain. Maybe more than one.

It wouldn't surprise him if the lock he was examining was broken and yet the door remained held firm.

The lock was intricate tangle of passages and hole and blocks. It wasn't the average front door lock. This was something special, even for this exclusive street. With just a quick look, however, he could tell it had been forced.

There was a click from behind him as the Sergeant swung the passenger-side door open impatiently and stepped out. Sgt. Davids was a young, small man who spoke with an upper-class voice that was not his. His uniform was turned out as neat and as blue as ever; his curly blonde hair was as oily and smart as ever.

Davids tosses his cigarette into the gentle, disappearing February snow and trudged towards Richard.

"So?" the Sergeant shouted against the heavy downpour of rain. He jumped the two steps that led up to the covered, square porch before the house.

"I heard a noise inside, sir - possibly an animal, I couldn't quite make it out. And this lock appears to have been forced open" the constable replied without looking away from the lock.

The heavy rain was very quickly turning the London snow greyer than it was already and washing it away in great ugly streaks. Water overflowed the gutters and cars swept past with their windscreen wipers beating fiercely. Flying spray from the tyres zigzagged the snow more until horrible Escher-like drawings swam down the pavements.

"Are there any other entrances?" Davids asked looking around, rather bored and wishing he had thrown his cigarette away.

"No, sir, the house is terraced".

Davids consider this interesting revelation - "Well I don't really see that there's much we can do. I'll write a short report and we'll check back on the hou —"

Richard interrupted him, standing up and gesturing at the bottom of the door - "Smoke". And that's when they heard the first gunshot.