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                                                           What a morning!

                     Brendan Fraser's alarm went off at seven o'clock, he wasn't in bed, he'd been up and bathed and shaved and was in the middle of getting dressed. He'd been up since half past five, he just couldn't sleep, he'd never been so nervous. It was the first day of his new job, he wasn't normally good in the mornings but this morning he felt great, if nervous.

        After his first interview he thought he'd blown his chances, he turned up late after the first train he was due to catch was cancelled, luckily enough the interviews were running late and nobody noticed. He was called back for a second interview; unbeknown to him he was already on a short list of three. He walked into the second interview full of confidence, he faced a panel of five opposite him, three men and two women, all middle aged and all power dressed.

      “So Mr Fraser, where do you see yourself in five years time?” the Gentleman in the middle asked, he'd asked most of the questions, Mr Foothill was the owner of 'Streetwise FM', the best radio station around.

 “Well sir, I'd like to have worked here for five years and have my own show. I realize it will take a lot of hard work, but I'm always ready to learn. I've been told my voice sounds soothing, but I believe I'm the best person for the job,” his answer was perfect and the job of Production Assistant was his.

Discounting the cancellation, the journey took just over an hour. Brendan wanted to get in early to make a good impression, he'd not met his boss, only had her name, Ms Cahill.

               His flatmates wished him the best of luck, he left his house at seven thirty, he wasn't due to start till nine fifteen, plenty of time, he thought.

    The bus stop was barely a five minute walk from the house, it was an overcast day, it had been raining and was threatening to again. Brendan couldn't remember seeing a queue so long for a bus in his entire life, there must have been fifty people, if not more. The queue stretched past the bus shelter and it began to rain, all the gel he'd put in his hair after his bath started running down his face, he didn't own an umbrella and made a mental note to buy one.

          The first bus arrived a couple of minutes after Brendan joined the queue but that was packed to capacity and only a couple of passengers got on, the queue didn't move. Ten minutes passed before the next bus arrived, not as full as the first one, about half the queue disappeared but the rain was coming down even heavier now and Brendan still wasn't underneath the shelter. Twenty five minutes after getting to the bus stop Brendan was about to get on the bus when a woman barged in front of him, showed the driver her pass and went upstairs. He was annoyed but decided not to say anything to the woman once he'd sat behind her on the top deck.

                          Fifteen minutes later the bus pulled up at the bus station and Brendan started to make his way downstairs in an orderly fashion. As the bus pulled up and the doors opened the same woman that had barged in as he had got on did the same again as they were getting off. Brendan didn't get a chance to say anything, the woman was off and running towards the station.

    Brendan managed to keep his nerve, but only just. At least it had stopped raining, but the platform was covered so it didn't make much difference. He walked down the platform to get a little closer to the departure monitor. He groaned as he saw his train was delayed by twenty minutes, he looked at his watch, he'd still make it, but only just.

    Three trains pulled in before his arrived, he just sat on a bench and listened to his tunes on his Mp3 player. Most of the people had got on the other trains, there were only a handful of people boarding, and one of them was the woman who barged in. She sat opposite him, he tried his hardest to ignore her, but his anger got the better of him.

“Excuse me for saying, but you have to be the rudest person I've ever met! You have no manners and you do what you want, to hell with everyone else!”

“This is the twenty first century, if you’re not first you’re last, if I want something I take it before anyone else does, you don't like it, tough!” the woman snapped back, then got up and moved to another seat.

Brendan couldn't stop himself from blushing despite the fact he was in the right and she was in the wrong. He'd forgotten it by the time the train pulled up at his station, nerves were starting to attack him. He looked at his watch as he left the train station, he had ten minutes to get to work on time, it was an eight minute walk, he did it in six and was relieved not to be late.

     The receptionist smiled at him and said, “Can I help you at all?”

 He handed her his confirmation letter and she read it, then she looked at him and said, “If you just take a seat, she's not in yet but,” just then the doors opened, “Good morning Ms Cahill, your new Production Assistant is here, Mr Fraser,” Brendan stood up and held his hand out to shake his new boss’s hand, he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw who it was.

      Five years later he had his own show, his own children and his own wife, the woman who barged in was his future wife and current boss, Ms Cahill.                                       





   Why should I?

       “Look, he’s a really nice guy, I’ve worked with him for a couple of years now and if I wasn’t with Mark, well, you know, I wouldn’t mind a bit of him myself!” Melanie laughed; she was trying to encourage her sister into liking this guy.

      “You should set up your own agency!” Sophie replied, she admired her sister most of the time, but when it came to getting her a man she wished she’d leave her alone, she could get a man herself, she just wasn’t looking, least that what she told herself.

   “I don’t want you ending up being a lonely spinster that’s all,”

   “I’m only twenty six! Mum didn’t get married till she was twenty eight so I hardly think calling me an old spinster is fare, is it?” Sophie said she was getting irritated.

     “All I’m saying is its being, what a year since Robert? That’s more than enough time to get back into the market and put the sign up saying ‘available’. I just want you to be happy sis, and Mark is a nice guy,” Melanie sounded very sincere, which made it hard to stay angry at her.

    “Would it make you feel better if I said I’d think about it?”

     “It would make me feel better if you said you’d like to meet him, then I’m off your case,” Melanie gave her sister a cheeky look.

     “Alright I’ll meet the guy, if nothing else it will get you off my back, now can we please talk about Dad’s surprise birthday party, which is the main reason I’m here, and not as you think, for you to organise my love life!”

    “Of course, what I was thinking was hiring a hall and catering, something like that,” the sister’s spent the next two hours discussing there Father’s party.

    Two evening’s later Melanie phoned Sophie, after the third ring she picked it up, “It’s all set for Friday, I take it you’re free?”

   “What, the date?”

         “You know me Soph, I don’t hang around. Mark says he’s really looking forward to meeting you, but he’s never being on a blind date before,”

     “It’s not something I’ve done before! I’ll have to go out and get a new outfit and you’ve given me one evening to do it, thanks!”

         “In my defence, at least Thursday the shops are open late,”

       “So that means I’ll waste even more time pondering what to pick! Where am I meeting him and how will I recognize him?”

    “That’s the good part I’ll introduce you two, and then leave. Meet us at the shopping centre, the car park exit; see he drives as well, another bonus!”

      “What time?”

        “Is seven alright for you?”

   “Can we call it seven thirty, traffic on a Friday and by the time I get home and changed, seven will be really tight,”

   “I’ll let him know tomorrow, can’t see a problem there though,”

   “I got to go, I think my bath is overflowing, I’ll see you Friday,”

  “Wear something nice but not to good, I don’t want you looking better than me! Bye!”

    Sophie hadn’t even thought about the date until she heard a customer say to her boyfriend, “Come on Mark, you’re supposed to be helping me!” She worked as a sales assistant in a large retail outfit and as soon as she heard the man’s name she got started to get nervous. For the rest of the afternoon she seemed to mess everything up, putting the wrong stock out and sending customers either the wrong way or to the wrong department. She was panicking about her outfit, was it the right colour? Was it to over dressed? Should she wear high heels? There were so many questions going round in her head it was giving her a headache. She wasn’t normally one of the first to leave but as soon as half past five came she was out of the door.

 She got home, got changed and made it to the meeting point ten minutes early. Her stomach now felt like a washing machine, she preferred the butterflies she had on the bus on the way home. She wasn’t sure if she’d be sick, the closer it got to the meeting time the more she was convinced she would be, ‘self control’ she kept saying to herself. She also kept asking herself why she agreed to this and never again, no man was worth this worry!

 By ten to eight there was still no sign of them, Sophie’s stomach had settled but the nerves were now taken over by worry. Her text alert went off and it informed her Melanie would be there in the next five to ten minutes. Her worry was now taken over by nerves again. Fifteen minutes later Sophie turned up, by herself. They embraced, Sophie cuddling her sister quite tightly.

  “Mel, well it’s like this, at the last minute he backed out, said he’d never felt so nervous in his entire life, said it was a bad idea and all that. The reason I’m late is I tried to talk him round, I thought I’d convinced him but in the end he drove home, I’m so sorry,” She cuddled her sister again.

       “So I got done up for nothing! He’s not the only one who been feeling nervous, how I haven’t been physically sick is a miracle! Ah well, another Friday night in for me,” she said feeling sorry for herself.

     “Oh no, me and you are hitting the town young lady, one door closes another opens,” she took her sisters arm and linked it up with her own.

  Three weeks later they finally went out, that was four years ago, and now Sophie is pregnant with a little girl who she is going to call Melanie. Her sister died of breast cancer two years before; calling her daughter Melanie was her way of thanking her sister for getting together with Mark. 

                                                I've got something to tell you


 “Looking good Ang,” Fred, one of her regular customers said to her.    She was wearing dark blue high heel shoes, triangle shapes on her fishnet tights, and a blue medium length skirt. A dark purple low cut blouse showed off her ample breasts. Her hair had been cut into a bob after been bleached. It didn't suit her at all; she was big boned with a round face. She looked more like a perfume seller in a high street store than a café owner, she was loud and flamboyant and well liked by her customers.

  Her Father put up a third of the money three years ago for the café, his Daughter went to the bank with a business loan for the rest. The bank was suitably impressed, especially as she was only nineteen. Her business was in the middle of the high street in the centre of town, it had good passing trade as well as regulars.

              Angela Hastings was a born flirt, you couldn't help but like her and this really worked for her business. She was a workaholic, often doing fourteen hours a day, and even working on Sunday when the café was closed. There wasn't time for a boyfriend, she was simply too busy.

Two years before she'd had a dream about one of her customers, Dean Parker, a man in his mid-thirties with long brown hair. He was a delivery driver and came into the café two or three times a week and always ordered two bacon sandwiches and had two teas. In her dream Dean's white van was stuck behind a skip lorry when the skip became lose, falling straight on top of the van.

  In her second dream an elderly customer, Annie Tapper, was mugged.

She thought long and hard before deciding not to tell either of them about her dreams, unfortunately they both came true. 

 Dean suffered a dislocated hip and four cracked ribs, both his hands where broken, but he would make a full recovery according to his doctors.          

Annie Tapper was mugged, hit in the face three times and kicked twice, luckily nothing was broken, but she refused to leave her house any longer. The mugger got away with one pound twenty five pence that was to pay for a cup of tea and a scone at Angela's cafe.

 The guilt really got to her; she wanted to tell them but what if it hadn't happened? What if they'd laughed at her and told the rest of her regulars that she was a fruitcake? She decided to keep it to herself and if she had another dream she'd tell the regular and explain why.

 A  shaven headed man, well built with tattoos on his arms had started coming into the café every day, he came in with two of his work mates, they all wore high visibility tops with the name 'Hampton's builder's' on the back. Angela found out the man's name was Anthony and she loved his cute smile. From what she could make out they were either building a house or doing a conversion she couldn't be sure.

One day his two work mates left before him while Anthony went to pay the bill. Angela flashed her best smile at him as he gave her a twenty pound note,  “That was very nice as usual, thanks. I bet your fella loves your cooking,” he said.

 “Thank you kind sir, but there isn't a fella,” she replied winking at him.

He went slightly red and quickly left, she was worried she'd scared him off.

Three days later, his mates had come in some ten minutes before him and she was disappointed not to see him with them, but he had stopped off at the florists. Bright pink carnations hid most of his face, he walked straight up to her at the till and handed them over, then asked, “I'd like to take you out sometime, maybe for a meal because you deserve someone to cook for you for a change. What do you think?”

Some of the regulars started heckling, 'What you got to lose?', ' Go on girl, you know you want to', 'you better take care of her', were just some of the comments.

 “The regulars seem to think you're alright so what the hell, let’s do it,' she said and a round of applause broke out.

They made arrangements to meet at a pub just round the corner from the café at eight, it gave  Angela time to get home to bath and change, she still lived with her parents who were happy to see her finally relaxing instead of always concentrating on her business.

  He was there five minutes before her; he'd ordered a pint of Guinness and was waiting for it to settle. She looked fabulous in a bright red dress; it was one her Father had bought her for her birthday the year before, white shoes finishing off the outfit.

They talked about everything from the weather to what they did at school, they both felt very relaxed in each other's company. After the meal Anthony saw Angela home, they had a long goodnight kiss then Anthony left and went home. They'd arranged to do it again the next week only this time they'd go to a cinema.

  Tuesday evening she went to bed at nine o'clock, she was up at five to drive to the market. At three in the morning she woke up from a horrible dream, one that scared the hell out of her!

  Anthony was larking around on the roof with one of his workmates that came into the café; they had been working on a skylight. His mate was on the lower part of the scaffolding when a huge explosion happened; flames flying up in the air, knocking the scaffolding down with no sign of the men. The next part of the dream was the other workmate coming into the café; he was on his own and looked like he'd been crying. He explained they'd been a gas explosion, a fractured pipe or something, Anthony and Steve, his workmate, didn't stand a chance.

 The happy go lucky Angela wasn't in a good mood when she turned up at the café just before seven, she even had a go at her only full-timer Maggie, for been two minutes late. When Maggie tried to explain her Son was ill Angela wasn't interested.

 All that was going through her head was do I tell him? Do I tell his mate? What if I'm wrong?

Just before twelve the lads from 'Hampton's Builders' walked in, but there was no Anthony. “He's had to go back and see his family love,” Steve explained, “But don't worry he'll be back Friday for your date, something about his Dad being taken poorly; Told us he'll join us on site Friday morning, so nothing to worry about lass."

She barely knew Steve and in an instant decided not to say anything, just nodded and smiled. She'd tell Anthony when she saw him; she just hoped it wouldn't be too late. 



   Bad night; worse day

   She’d been tossing and turning most of the night until finally at just after four in the morning she decided to get up. There wasn't any real reason why she couldn't sleep it was just a bad night. She walked into the kitchen and switched the kettle on and made herself a cup of tea. She decided to have the tea then go for a quick walk; she was hoping to get back to bed by five thirty so she could get a couple of more hours sleep before getting up and going to work a twelve hour shift from nine to nine.

      It was a nice summer morning with just a few small clouds in the sky, she lived about three minutes from the local park and decided to walk round it once then return home to her bed.

    Mandy Conrad wasn't a huge fan of walking but her Father told her that’s what he did when he couldn't sleep. Her Father was killed in a road accident eight years ago and she still missed him terribly. She had the support of her husband and little boy and that did help.

   As she got to the park entrance she noticed the gate was wide open and hadn't stopped to think it might be closed but it wasn't so she walked in and it felt good to be there. Mandy lived in London where everyone seemed to need to get where they were going yesterday. The park seemed a million miles away from that; everything was peaceful and the only noise was bird song.

    She noticed she was being followed by a rather stunning looking dog. She didn't take much notice at first but the animal got closer and closer.

‘The poor thing only wants a stoke then it will go away’ she thought to herself so stopped and turned round. The dog had a beautiful white coat with amazing blue eyes. It was about average size and walked up to Mandy and she bent down and held out her hand for the animal to smell.

   The bite seemed like it was in for hours but it was only a few seconds. She was paralysed with fear as she looked down and saw the fangs and her hand bleeding. Luckily for her a man out on a morning jog saw what was happening and came over to help. He shouted at the dog and it was almost as if the dog looked up as if to say, “I’ve had my fun anyway,” then ran off licking its lips as it went.

    “You really need that seen to. It looks deep and nasty,” the jogger said.

   Mandy laughed and the jogger looked confused before she said, “I’m a nurse at the A and E department. I suppose I’d better see what my colleagues can do for me. Thanks for your help; I might have been eaten otherwise,”

   “Can I offer you a lift? My car is just round the corner,” the jogger said pointing to where it was.

       “Thank you but it’s no trouble; I know a short cut and I’ll be there in a couple of minutes,” She replied.

    The jogger just carried on so Mandy made her way to Hospital; or work as she called it.

    When Kelly on reception saw her she looked at her watch and gave Mandy a puzzled look; Mandy showed her the hand that had been bitten and Kelly walked from reception to the door at the side and opened it for her.

     “We’re not busy so I’ll get Jacob to look at it straight away,” Kelly said then paged the Doctor. “What were you doing to get that then?”

Mandy explained the story and as she finished, Jacob walked in and was surprised to see who his patient was.

   “You know the drill. Let’s get you to a cubical and see what you've done,” Jacob said and Mandy followed him. Out of the fourteen cubicles only two had patients so finding one wasn't a problem.

     “I’ll be happier if you had a scan if I’m honest. I don’t know how deep the teeth went and you know yourself that scans give the best results,” Jacob said.

   “I had a feeling you’d say that,” Mandy said not sounding too happy about it.

  “Would madam need a porter?” Jacob joked and Mandy smiled then waited for him to fill out the paperwork before heading off to get her hand scanned.

  On her return she saw Jacob had been joined by Doctor Janet Price.

  “If you’d like to go back to the cubical, we’ll be with you in just a second,” Janet said.

Mandy sat in the cubical and started to get worried. Why had Jacob got Janet involved? It was only a bite!

   The curtain pulled back and both Janet and Jacob stood in front of her. It was hard to read their facial expressions as they didn't seem to give anything away.

   “You’re a big girl so I’m not going to beat around the bush with this. You have tendon damage so we’re going to glue you up but I don’t want you using that hand at all; if you do you’ll only make it worse,” Janet explained.

   “But I’m needed here!” Mandy protested.

   “You’ll be on light duties and trust me I've been talked into this,” Janet said looking at Jacob. “Silly thing to ask but what were you doing out at this time of the morning?”

   “I couldn't sleep so I thought a quick walk would help,”

    “Well we have plenty of beds here if you want a sleep,” Jacob said and all three of them laughed.

  Once her hand had been glued and bandaged up, Mandy went into the staff room and put two chairs together as a temporary bed. She got about an hour’s sleep before staff started to arrive. She went to reception and rang her husband and explained what had happened. He was horrified and tried to talk her into taking the day off; he knew it was pointless but had to try.

   At eight forty five she was ready for work; all her colleagues knew about her accident and if she needed help with anything they’d be there for her.

   The handover was done and compared to some mornings in A and E this was quiet. It suited Mandy down to the ground. Patients were waiting no more than twenty minutes.

    “We have a heart attack coming in three minutes, be alert please people,” one of the nurses on the desk shouted.

Serious emergencies always got the blood pumping but Mandy wasn't expecting what was about to happen.

    “This is Sylvia Edwards, sixty four, chest pains and...” Mandy didn't hear the rest of what the paramedic said. She looked at the patient’s face just to be doubly sure. Lying on the trolley was her Mother!

   “Mandy? Mandy what’s wrong?” her colleague Ralph asked.

  She couldn't answer at first but tears rolled down her face. After a few seconds she whispered, “That’s my Mum,”

Ralph put his arm around her to comfort her and said, “You know she’s in the best possible hands here don’t you? If your Mum is a fighter like you, she’ll be well in no time!”

Mandy knew what he was saying; she’d said it to relatives at least a thousand times before.

   Jacob took over from Ralph, leading Mandy away so her colleagues could do their job. He knew the staffroom would be empty so he took her in there.

     “I’ll organise an agency to take the rest of your shift. With your hand and Mother you can’t really work now can you,” he said in a soothing voice.

   “Do you really think that will help? Two nurses down so you won’t get anyone to cover me now will you? I’ll be fine as long as I’m nearby, which I will be as I’m on light duties! Can we go now?”

   Jacob knew once Mandy had made her mind up on something it stayed made up. While she went back to her Mother he went and made a phone call.

  “Mandy I’m going to need to ask you to stand back,” Doctor Manito said as she came back into the resuscitation room.

  Despite her anger at the situation she did as she was told. Once he’d completed his tests she held her Mother’s hand. She looked at her face and for the first time realized she was getting old.

     “You should have asked for help you stubborn old mule! “ Mandy said in a low voice as she stroked her Mother’s hair. She wasn't insulting her; it was a family joke.

   Mandy stayed with her Mother for over two hours without realizing that time had passed. She was reminded of it when she heard a familiar voice say, “Isn't it bad enough that one of you that works here is injured? Oh, now Mum has to join in,” he joked.

It was Mandy’s husband Terry, who at times had a great sense of humour; what he said made her smile. He cuddled her by putting his arms around her waist then whispered, “The stubborn old mule should have said something, and we’d have helped out,”

      “The stubborn mule didn't know she was ill or I would have said something; and less of the old!” Sylvia said without even opening her eyes.

 Three weeks later Sylvia left Hospital after having a double bypass operation and is doing well.

   A month after her accident with the dog Mandy was watching the news one night and it reported about the capture of a serial rapist; it was the jogger from the park. She realized she was lucky and it could have been a lot worse than a bitten hand.


Losing it                                                                                                                




   'You know you want me,' the voices were going round in Lorraine's head again. She'd been clean for twenty two days now, the longest she'd been sober for in her entire adult life and she intended keeping it that way. Lorraine Terry was an alcoholic; she finally accepted it after years of denial.

     She started drinking at the age of fourteen; there were seven of them in their little gang, all from the estate, a typical inner city estate, graffiti everywhere and no-go areas. Lorraine was the second youngest but when it came to drinking she could hold her own with any of them. Mark Quinlan was the oldest at seventeen but he looked at least twenty and bought the drink for all of them. Every Friday and Saturday they'd all be wasted at the back of the garages.

                Her Father was a butcher, a man that worked seven days a week to put food on the table. When he found out Lorraine was drinking every weekend he told her to stop, when she didn't he threw her out. Her Mother took her in but only for a short while, a drunken argument and she was on her own.

       At nineteen Lorraine was pregnant, she didn't know the Father that well, a drunken rump and she was caught. As soon as she told him he ran a mile, later she was told he went running back to his wife. Despite carrying a child she still drank and smoked the odd joint of cannabis. Her excuse every time was, 'I need it,' luckily for her the baby was born perfectly healthy.

     Motherhood did not come naturally to her, she'd cut down on her drinking and tried to do the best job she could, which according to social services was, 'just enough'. Her daughter Kylie started going to nursery when she was four. That's when Lorraine met Vincent, a bus driver that made her heart miss a beat.

       She waited two weeks for him to ask her out, when he didn't she asked him out and Lorraine's life was finally starting to get better. After eight months he moved in with her and was a great Father to Kylie. At the age of twenty five Lorraine was pregnant with her second child and the young couple could not be happier.

        Lorraine suffered really bad morning sickness, she couldn't eat a thing and when she did she couldn't hold it down. The headache was constant, like a hangover she couldn't shift, she'd cut her drinking down to about a bottle of wine a week. Her mood swings put a strain on her relationship, Vincent could handle them most of the time but then she started accusing him of having an affair when, in fact, he was working.

       The birth was trouble free, the baby was a day early and a healthy weight, everything went well for the first few months. Lorraine soon got her figure back and started going out once a week, it was Vincent's idea, and he babysat and loved every minute of it. They named the baby Jonathan after Vincent's Father; of course everyone called him Johnny.

       Johnny's development was slow, he didn't seem to be able to play with the other children his age, and he was a very moody baby, if he didn't get his way he'd scream the place down. Just after his second Birthday the doctor sent him for tests and the results were catastrophic, Johnny had a brain tumour, but the really bad news was the doctors couldn't operate; it was too deep in the brain.

        Johnny passed away two days before his fourth Birthday; Lorraine wouldn't and couldn't accept it. It was just easier to lose yourself with a drink and that's exactly what Lorraine did. As soon as Vincent went to work she'd pour herself a drink, she went through a bottle of vodka a day, hiding the evidence when Vincent came home. She was still having her night out; her relationship with Vincent was breaking down. One night, after a very heavy drinking session she came home and accused him of having an affair. It was the last night they slept in the same bed.

               Social services were informed of her drinking, she didn't get on with her neighbours and it could have been any one of them that called them, but it was Vincent. He was trying to scare her into sobering up. It didn't work, Kylie was taken into care after the fourth visit, and Lorraine could hardly stand. Soon after, the couple split, Vincent just couldn't take her drinking any more.

               One night stands followed, she was practically a prostitute, selling her body for drink. It didn't matter how much she had to drink or who she slept with, the memory of her son tore away at her and it only got worse.

    At her local pub Lorraine drank with another woman called Maggie. Maggie had also lost a Son, he was knocked down by a hit and run driver and Maggie blamed herself even though she wasn't looking after him at the time. He was dead on arrival at the Hospital; he was only seven years old.

      Apart from losing their Sons both women had something else in common, both were alcoholics and both denied it. Lorraine found herself homeless and moved in with her new best friend. The drinking got worse, neither woman would eat for days, they'd just sit at the coffee table, talking about the good times, when they were good Mums.

             The pubs soon became too expensive and their reputation didn't help, 'Drunken slappers' they were known as, if they didn't pick men up they'd end up fighting. Most of the pubs had barred them as had some off licences; they just didn't need the trouble.

      One evening after a couple of bottles of wine and a bottle of vodka Lorraine crawled to bed. A few minutes later Maggie slipped in beside her. It was something Lorraine had never experienced before; they shared a bed every night from then on.

       They learned to love each other, neither could really hold a job down, Maggie turned up drunk a lot of times when she was doing agency work. The agency used her less and less.

            After eleven years of a pretty happy relationship Maggie fell ill, stomach cramps that left her doubled up in pain. She refused to see a doctor at first calling it a bug. By ignoring it she hoped it might go away, but it didn't, it got a lot worse. Lorraine saw how much pain she was in when she came home from doing the shopping one day and called an ambulance.

           Three months later Maggie was laid to rest and Lorraine was warned if she carried on she'd follow her, she ignored the warning and if anything got worse.

       One day Lorraine, who was on her second vodka of the day, answered her front door to a young lady. The young lady introduced herself as Kylie, Lorraine's Daughter. Lorraine was stunned, she didn't know what to say, the only thing she could think of was to offer her a drink, Kylie declined saying she didn't drink during the day, and it wasn't even eleven o'clock in the morning. They were strangers, Lorraine was so nervous she excused herself twice to get some 'Dutch courage'. Kylie accepted a cup of tea and once she'd drank it she said she had to go but was it possible for her to come back next week. Lorraine agreed with no hesitation until Kylie put a condition on it, Lorraine had to be sober.  

      'You can do it' she kept telling herself the following afternoon, she had been sober for fourteen hours and was beginning to struggle. She swapped vodka for coffee but she was getting the shakes which made it hard for her to drink the coffee. She decided to go to bed, it was just easier.

        The following morning she woke feeling the worst she'd ever felt in her life. She was hot then cold and her shakes had got to the point that her whole body shook. At twelve noon she was on her third vodka and felt so much better.

        The next day she formed a plan; she wouldn't give up but cut down. In her mind she cut down, in reality she was drinking just as much. Two days before Kylie turned up she was cutting down; she didn't have the will power to give up.

    Kylie turned up at the same time as the week before and noticed her Mother looked better, but not by much, Lorraine had had only two gulps of her glass and was drinking coffee. Lorraine's nervousness showed, she laughed when nothing was funny and talked about nothing. Kylie had allowed for this and after half an hour they were chatting like old friends. Lorraine had decided to tell her Daughter the truth, there was too many lies. After she stopped talking, her Daughter asked her this question, “So, do you think you’re an alcoholic?”

       Lorraine was shocked; no one had ever asked her that before. For the first time in her life she admitted, “Yes I have a drink problem,” then she burst into tears. Kylie hugged her Mother for a full five minutes, neither one of them wanting to let go.

        “Lorraine, you need help, how about an AA meeting?” Kylie said. She wanted her Mother to admit to being an alcoholic, she read somewhere that was half the battle. “I'll come with you, for moral support, only if you want me to?” Lorraine couldn't answer; she was in floods of tears.

       Kylie organised to pick her Mother up two days later, there was a meeting just a five minute walk away. Lorraine answered the door and looked stunning, she'd put make up on and just a dash of perfume. She'd not had a drop to drink in thirty six hours and could really do with one now, but that would mean losing her Daughter.

          The room was filled with about twenty chairs; Kylie noticed the men outnumbered the women two to one. At the small stage there were three men sitting down. The man in the middle called the meeting to order.

          Lorraine just sat there and listened, everyone stood up and told their story, Lorraine could empathize with every one of their stories. When it came to it she stood up, she'd never been so nervous and said, “My name is Lorraine and I'm an alcoholic,” she felt such relief after saying it, it was now Kylie's turn to cry.

     The meetings taught her to take one day at a time. At first she found it hard, she didn't last more than three or four days, with time it got easier.

       Her big test came at Kylie's twenty first. It was her most difficult challenge to date, everyone was drinking except her. Kylie kept encouraging her as she mingled with her friends; she lost count of the amount of people that asked her if she wanted a drink.

       At around eleven o'clock Lorraine was getting tired when a big cake was brought out and everyone started to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Kylie, then clapping and cheering with a few calls for a 'speech'.

         Kylie thanked everyone for coming, what a nice party it was and at the end she said Thank You to Lorraine, but this time she called her 'Mum'.

        Lorraine had never felt so proud but kept telling herself, 'One day at a time.'





                                                    Losing it  


 “You have to tell him!” her Mother told her for the fourth time.

           “And if I do he'll go crazy and it will upset him too much,” Sarah replied.

          “He'll understand, it was an accident, and you never know, it may be found,” Mary tried to sound optimistic.

           Sarah Carter had lost her wedding ring and didn't have a clue how long it had been lost or where she lost it. She'd only been wearing it for four weeks, at first she couldn't get used to the weight but adjusted quickly. The ring was twenty four carat twisted gold with a ruby stone set in the middle, it was especially made just for her.

         “What time is he due back from work?” Sarah's Mother asked.

      “I've got two more hours to look unless he stays on, but he rarely works late on a Friday,” Sarah replied as she got up off the sofa and headed for the kitchen to start looking again. She'd convinced herself she'd lost it in the kitchen, something inside her head told her it was in there.

        “Do you want me to search in here?” Mary, her Mother asked.

     “I've searched the living room already but feel free to look again Mum,” Sarah answered, she sounded out of breath already.

    Mary started by moving the dark brown sofa cushions and looking underneath them, behind them, and even unzipping them and checking inside them. She ran her hand at the back of the sofa and all she found was a twenty pence coin. She put the sofa back just as she found it then moved onto the two bookshelves. She took every book down one by one, shook them slightly them put them in a pile so she could put them back in the order she took them out.

          Sarah had decided to search the food cupboards next, she'd already searched the dishwasher, even taking out the filter to make sure it wasn't stuck in there. As she cleared the second shelf of bakery food she saw out of the corner of her eye something about to drop and stretched and tried to catch it, it was bread flour and as she caught it the bag split and went everywhere, including all over her. Mary came running in after hearing her Daughter scream and burst into laughter, Sarah looked like a ghost, she was covered head to toe in flour.

      “Shall I get the eggs or the water next?” Mary asked, trying to keep a straight face, and failing.

     “Mum this is serious, Martin going to be so upset I've lost the ring, I don't,” Sarah was interrupted by a loud knocking, the noise was coming from underneath the sink, and it was getting louder.

        “Did you check the S bend?” Mary shouted above the noise.

       Before Sarah could answer the sink exploded, water spraying all over the ceiling. Mary managed to turn the water off quickly but Sarah now looked even worse, her face looked like it had been pasted.

        “Hi honey, thought I'd finish early and surprise you, where are you babe?” Martin, her Husband called out.

       “In the kitchen,” Mary shouted back and her Daughter gave her a funny look.

   Moments later Martin walked into the kitchen and couldn't help himself when he saw his Wife, he put his hand over his mouth but it was no good, he couldn't stop himself laughing. Then all of a sudden he stopped and said, “I told you that tap wasn't safe didn't I?”

       Pulling flour out of hair Sarah looked at him and said, “I think I would have remembered something like that, don't you?”

      “As long as you’re both alright, that's the main thing. I'll get the plumber's number and tell him it’s an urgent job now. So what have you two being up to today then?” Martin asked.

      “You better tell him,” Mary said.

    “Sorry, while I remember, I found your wedding ring this morning, it was on the floor in the bedroom, I'm surprised you didn't notice sweetheart, I put it in your bedside draw for safe keeping, sorry, you where saying?”

     “All I was going to say was I tried to reorganise the house, that's why Mum came over,” Sarah answered and winked at her Mum.





“Why would she just lay there and die?” Detective Chief Inspector Collins said out loud. The charred remains of a young woman lay where a bonfire had obviously been ablaze. The thing that the man in charge of the investigation couldn’t understand was it looked like she hadn’t tried to move.

   “Miss Haven had a Guy Fawkes Night party a couple of nights ago and hadn’t shown up to work which is very out of character. A neighbour rang us this morning saying she thought there might be a body but couldn’t be sure,” Detective Constable Campbell said to her boss.

   “See if you can find a phonebook or a list of people who came to the party. I’ll have a word with the neighbour. It might just be a terrible accident but my copper’s head says there’s more to it than that. Get uniform to ask around; see if she had any problems with anyone in the area,” DCI Collins said.

      “Where would you like me sir?” DC Griffin asked.

  “John I’d like you to go to her work and see what you can find out. Who was her best friend? Did any of her workmates come to the party? You know what to ask. I want to be called by either one of you if you get anything. There’s something that doesn’t add up here and I want to know what it is!” The man in charge said then walked out of the garden and through the small one bedroom ground floor flat. As soon as he got outside the house he put a cigarette to his lips and lit it. He deeply inhaled and felt so much better.

Half way through his cigarette an elderly woman came out of the house one door down.

   “Can I speak to someone high up? I would have thought I’d have been the first one to be talked to. Are you a reporter? If you are I’m not saying a word! Oh that’s a disgusting habit that, my Albert used to smoke…”

    “Madam, I’m in charge here,” DCI Collins said showing her his warrant card, “Shall we go to your house?” he suggested.

   “I’ll put the kettle on and maybe get the biscuits out,” the neighbour said and smiled showing she hadn’t put her teeth in!


  DC Griffin was finding it hard working on his own but his partner had been involved in a car chase and lost control, wrapping his car round a tree. Luckily he’d only broken his leg and would be back to work in less than two months. The deceased worked at a hairdresser’s which only took just over ten minutes to drive to; it took a little longer to find a parking space.

      “Sorry love but its appointment only,” a young lady said to him without looking up from a book she was reading.

      “My name is DC John Griffin and I’d like to speak to the manager if you can tear yourself away?” he didn’t mean to sound sarcastic but he did.

     “Mandy! Copper to see you! Mandy!” the girl shouted.

 A smartly dressed woman with purple hair walked out from the back and looked at the girl first and said, “If you want to keep your job I suggest you buck your ideas up young lady! We have clients here who don’t need to know everything. Now Mrs. Plumb would like a coffee with one sugar so off you go,” she waved her hand then turned to DC Griffin and said, “Would you like one as she’s out there?”

    DC Griffin all of a sudden felt uneasy as he’d been losing his hair for the last couple of years and all he could do was show his warrant card and shake his head.

    “I take it this is about Lesley?”

  “Miss err?”

    “It’s Mandy, Mandy Shine. This is my Beauty salon,”

  “Is there somewhere a bit more private we can talk?”

 “Of course, yes there’s the treatment room upstairs,” she said nervously then lead the way up the stairs.

   “There isn’t an easy way to say this but a body was discovered at Miss Haven’s address this morning. It hasn’t as yet being identified but we do think it’s Miss Haven. Do you know if she had any problems with anyone?” DC Griffin asked and looked for a reaction as his boss always asked.

   “I, err, well I mean Lesley I mean are you sure?” Mandy’s face had gone pale even though she wore too much make up.

   “As I say the body needs to be formally identified but we’re pretty certain it’s her,” he replied.

   “Lesley was having problems a couple of months back but that was sorted as far as I know,” Mandy said then burst into tears.


    It was a very warm house DCI Collins sat in. The neighbour talked about anything and everything except Miss Haven.

     “And only last night the music coming from number seventeen well I was going to ring the station and complain but I thought you’d be busy. Well Lucas now he’s the youngest well…”

     “Mrs. Barker as much as I’d like to help with the local problems, of which I’m sure there are many, I’d really like to talk about Miss Haven. When was the last time you saw her?” the DCI asked firmly.

   “Oh the last time I saw Lesley? Well it wasn’t yesterday because I had ‘Bridge Club’ with Doris Langley. I’m sure she cheated but I can’t be a hundred per cent sure. You see…”

   “Mrs. Barker if we could just answer the question please,” the DCI said trying not to sound in a hurry.

   “It would have been the day before then,” she looked at the wall for guidance before continuing, “Yes’ she mentioned something about having a party and there’d be some fireworks and she apologized in advance for the noise. She’s a nice girl just a shame about that young man of hers. He does use some foul language you know. I think they should bring back national service! You wouldn’t have all these riots or the trouble with the youth. It wasn’t like it in my day,”

         “The young man, Mrs. Barker; can you tell me more about him?”

   “Well he’s a boisterous young man. If you ask me he loves the sound of his own voice that’s for sure,”

    “Did they argue then?”

   “Many a time I heard them arguing but don’t ask me what about. Sometimes I even had to turn the T.V. up just so I could hear it!” she looked worried as she said it.

    “You must have heard what some of the fighting was,” the DCI’s mobile phone rang and he looked down at it, “Excuse me,” then he paused and after a moment replied, “Tell him I’ll be there very soon,” then he put the phone back in his pocket. “Mrs. Barker I’d like you to come down to the station in your own time to speak to me or one of my officers. I’m afraid I’m needed elsewhere. Thank you very much for the tea and biscuits but I really have to get back to the station,” he said then got up and walked to the door.

      “Try and give up that horrible smelly habit if you can. It won’t do you any good you know,” she said as she opened the front door.

   As soon as he got out of the house he put a cigarette in his mouth and lit up before heading for his car.


       DC Campbell was getting frustrated as she couldn’t find anything that helped with the investigation. The house was very tidy and everything was in place. Just a few beer cans here and there. The only room left for her to search was the bedroom.

    “We just had a word with a couple of the neighbours and they said there were a few people round for a party on bonfire night; nothing out of the ordinary really. Music wasn’t too loud but the fireworks were but its only one night of the year. Sorry I can’t help more,” PC John Bottle said to her as she was about to enter the bedroom.

   “Thanks for that John. Can you help me with a search in here?” she asked as she pointed at the bedroom door.

     “I’d be happy to help you in the bedroom,” he replied with a wink.

  The bedroom was very different from the rest of the house. Clothes and paperwork were scattered all over the floor almost as if someone had ransacked the place.

    “Has this place being searched already?” she asked.

   “Not that I know of but let me just go and check,” the uniformed officer said then popped out of the room.

       The Detective Constable looked around the room to see if there was anything that was obviously out of place. All the drawers were closed except the bottom which was open a little. The right hand side of the wardrobe was open showing some clothes hanging up and some stuffed in the bottom. Lack of space seemed to be the reason the clothes were stuffed in. The colour pink was everywhere and in every shade in all parts of the room. In the window there where three dolls all about the same size; they looked old but well looked after.

     “It’s not been searched by uniform so unless any of your lot has been inn this is how it was left,” PC Bottle said as he returned to the room.

     “It’s my job to search so none of CID have been in here. Do you think this room has being messed with? I mean like someone was looking for something?”

     “This house looks like one an old girlfriend of mine had. The whole house was spotless but her bedroom was a tip. Surely if someone was searching for something the drawers would be tipped out? Funny, as it sounds like it’s a tidy mess if you ask me,” the man in uniform replied as he picked up a pair of lacy knickers off the floor and laughed a little.

   “That won’t give us any clues. I need paperwork or a list as to people at the party. Look I’ll be honest here I need a good result as Griffin seems to come up trumps every time! I’m asking for help John,” Lisa looked and sounded very sincere.

       “All I can do is keep looking until I’m called away but don’t worry, we’ll find it if it’s here,” he said then gently patted her on the back. They both started looking and were soon joined by two more uniformed officers.


    “I’m sorry but it’s a shock you know. I mean I thought she was just sick or something… but dead; she wouldn’t harm a fly. How did she die?” Mandy asked now she’d managed to stop crying.

   “I’m sorry I’m not at liberty to say at the moment. My boss has asked for a post mortem and until the results are back we really can’t say,”

   “But I suspect its murder though otherwise you wouldn’t be here,” Mandy was determined to find out what was going on.

   “You said the deceased was having trouble a couple of months ago; can you elaborate on that please,” PC Griffin wanted any information he could get his hands on.

    “It was with her old man but as I said it was sorted. They had a drink and all was made up,”

   “That’s why I’m single. Saves a lot of problems,”

  “Not her old man as in her fella! I meant her Father! It was something about not liking the boyfriend she had, but as I say it was all sorted,” Mandy said then got up and walked to a sink and grabbed a glass of water before returning to the seat she was sitting in.

    “Were you invited to the party on Saturday night at the deceased house?”

   “All the girls were, and Tony but he left early complaining he didn’t feel too good. I think he had a date because he looked perfectly fine to me. It wasn’t the best party I’ve been to but the fireworks were decent enough,”

     “Can you remember how many people were at the party?”

 “Oh God now you’re asking! I’d say twenty maybe thirty at a guess. Most of us were out in the garden but there were a few inside,”

   “As we all know there can be trouble at parties; guests that don’t get on, you know the sort of thing? Was there any trouble Saturday night?”

  “Not that I noticed. Most of us know each other. It was an alright party that’s all I can say. Why would anyone want to harm Lesley?” Mandy started to cry again.

    “Just one more question; is it possible to speak to Tony?”

  “I’m afraid not sorry. He’s away on holiday for a couple of weeks. I think he’s gone to Spain or it might be Italy, I can’t remember. Why do you need to speak to him?”

    “If he left early he might have seen something,” DC Griffin said but he was lying.


   “Lisa I’ve found a telephone book here with a load of numbers inside and on scraps of paper. Be careful it’s falling apart,” WPC Hanley said as she handed it over.

   “I’ll bag it up, but it’s a party list the governor wants really. If we can get that we get names and we can get the ball rolling,” DC Campbell replied.

     “Lisa I think you’d better come and see this,” PC Bottle said. He pointed to what look like a dirty white hoody that had bloodstains on it.

   “Well done, let’s bag that up then,” she replied patting PC Bottle on the back, “Looks like you were right about being good in the bedroom,” then she returned his wink.


  It didn’t take long for DCI Collins to get back to the station. He walked to the front office where he saw the Duty Sergeant and asked, “Hello Tony, I understand there’s a Mr. Haven here,”

     “In interview room two sir,” the Sergeant answered.

  The DCI didn’t answer just made his way to interview room two and opened the door. Sitting in a sofa chair was a man dressed in a pair of jeans and a navy sweatshirt. He was rubbing his forehead with both his hands; an obvious sign that he was worried.

     “Mr. Haven, I’m DCI Collins and I’m in charge of…”

    “She’s dead isn’t she? Just tell me straight,” Mr. Haven said in a husky but nervous voice.

   “A body has being found at your Daughter’s address and it’s gone for a post mortem. Sir the body needs identifying but I have to warn you and say the deceased has been burnt,”

     “Not my Lesley; she wouldn’t play with fire. I told her not to leave home. She didn’t need to but she’s head strong like her Mother used to be. I told her not to move out I really did,” Mr. Haven sounded like he was ready to breakdown.

    “I know this must be a shock to you Mr. Haven but I assure…”

  “My daughter has been murdered and I want the person responsible to be brought to justice over this!” Mr. Haven’s voice had gone from husky to angry.

    “Sir my car is just outside; it won’t take long to get to the morgue,”

  “I don’t have a choice so let’s go,” Mr. Haven said as he got up and headed towards the door. DCI Collins walked directly behind him. It bothered the chief about the man’s behaviour but he reminded himself we all handle grief in different ways.


   DC’s Campbell and Griffin got back to the station at the same time and while they waited for their boss they talked about what they’d found.

     “I think she might have had a thing with this Tony at work. Her boss kept her cards very close to her chest on that one. All I’m saying is to me it doesn’t all add up. She dies and he goes on holiday after leaving early and saying he didn’t feel too good; something is amiss,” DC Griffin said almost as if he was thinking out loud.

      “Well I found a top with blood on it and it’s gone to the lab. Seemed to me to be a lot of blood, so it can’t have been a small cut,” the two of them were trying to out do each other; they always did.

    “When the governor comes back can you get me from the canteen? I’ve not eaten since this morning,” DC Griffin said.

     “He’ll find us both there then; I’m famished,” DC Campbell said and they both headed for the canteen; it was almost a race to see who could get there first.


   DCI Collins came back just over half an hour later and he was alone. He went to the canteen for a coffee and found his DC’s sitting at a table together. They both gave him there respective updates and he nodded at both; he knew what they were like.

     “Well Mr. Haven confirmed it was his Daughter but his reaction wasn’t what I expected. Most Parents choke and weep as you well know but he accepted it almost as if he knew she was dead,”

     “Sir some Parents have an instinct and maybe he’s one?” DC Campbell said.

    “I think the governor means the Father might know more than he’s letting on,” DC Griffin replied.

     “John can you see if Mr. Haven has any previous; he’s acting strange that’s for sure,” the DCI said.

    “What would you like me to do sir?” DC Campbell asked.

  “Well Lisa until we have the results from the post mortem there’s not a lot we can do. How about giving some time to the Dovey case? We can resume this inquiry in the morning,”


 DC Griffin got in five minutes after DC Campbell but an hour after their boss the following morning.

   “Can you two come into my office please?” DCI Collins shouted from his office door.

      Again the two of them raced to see who could get there first; not that it mattered.

    “Good morning, I’ve had a preliminary report of the post mortem of Miss Haven and she appears to have died of a single gun shot wound through her heart. We must find whoever did this as there is no doubt in my mind it’s murder! What I’m worried about is they’re still out on the street so I’m going to get a team together this morning. What I need from you now are suspects. I’m putting both the boyfriend and Mr. Haven on the list; there’s something not right there. Lisa do you have anyone?” the governor said and looked tired but he always did.

      “Not anyone specific sir. I’m waiting for results on a bloodstained top,” she replied sounding disheartened.

    “And John?”

   “Well sir the Father did have a falling out with the deceased but they made it up a couple of months back. Her colleague at work is a Mr. Tony Boltan who went to the party; and is now on holiday. I get the feeling there’s more to this than the owner is telling us. He left early complaining of feeling ill and yet he looked fine. Shall I go back to the hairdressers?”

     “Often if it feels wrong then it is wrong so yes John, go back and get more information,”

   “He also has a criminal record. Back in two thousand and nine he was done for ABH but escaped prison due to his good record. It was also said to be very out of character but he was depressed and on tablets at the time,” John said, he was winning the personal battle with Lisa.

     “He could be in the frame as well. That’s good work John. See what else you can find out about him and yes visit the hairdressers again this morning. Maybe ask the other members of staff how the deceased got on with…”

      The desk Sergeant came running into DCI’s office saying, “Sir it appears the,” he was out of breath, “It appears the victim’s boyfriend has turned up at the house and he’s not very happy and making a scene,”

     “You two with me please. Thanks Jeff we’re on our way,” the DCI replied and with that he grabbed his coat. His two officers were just behind him.


 “Look you don’t understand right. She was alive the last time I saw her so I’m going to go to work and you can contact me there,” the man said and he sounded as if he was about to explode.

    “I’d like to have a word with you sir if you don’t mind,” DCI Collins said showing the man his warrant card, “A young lady has been killed and I won’t rest until I find the person or persons responsible. It won’t take long if you’d like to answer a few questions down the station,”

    “Look I’m sorry but can I do this tonight? I have to open up! I was just checking on Lesley as she hadn’t being in contact since the party but I was on  a paintballing weekend, so I didn’t think it was that bad,”

   “I’m sure your customers will understand that you’re just helping us out with our inquiries. Your girlfriend is dead sir and yet you seem more concerned with opening up your shop. Doesn’t that strike you as strange?”

    “Of course I want to help but I’m the only one with the key and the staff won’t know what to do. I can come tonight and…”

       “I’m sure if you give the keys to one of my officers they can let the staff in and let them know you’ll be along later. Young Lisa loves shops,” The DCI said pointed her out.

   “When you get there give the keys to Darryl and by the way I don’t think she’ll like the shop that much it’s a builders supplies! It’s Terry’s Tools in the high street near the bus garage, do you know it?” the man asked DC Campbell and she nodded. He sounded calmer which helped everyone.

   “Thank you for your cooperation. DC Griffin will show you to the car. I won’t be a moment I’m just going to have a word with one of my officers,” DCI Collins said and DC Griffin lead him away to the car.

  “Lisa I want you to kind of question the staff. Get the lay of the land as to his feelings for her and find out what sort of man he is. For someone to care more for their shop than his dead girlfriend is strange, but it might just be shock. Anything out of the ordinary call me or I’ll see you back at the station,” DCI Collins said then walked to the car leaving DC Campbell nodding and trying to get a bus as she’d got there in her boss’s car!


Once they were back at the station Lesley’s boyfriend was shown into an interview room where DCI Collins opened a blank cassette tape and put it into the machine. He said the time and date before saying who was present in the room.

   “Mr. Terry can you tell us the relationship between yourself and Miss Haven please?” the DCI asked.

   “Call me Jonathan please as Mr. Terry makes me sound so old. Lesley is my girlfriend,”

   “Can you tell me a bit more about your relationship? How long you were seeing each other and how regular? Favourite places, that sort of thing,”

    “Excuse me for saying but that’s a bit personnel don’t you think? You should be out there finding the person that done this not…” he broke down and cried, “This can’t be happening it really can’t! Lesley is so kind and loving I mean why would anyone want to hurt such an angel?”

    “Jonathan take a few moments to compose yourself. We have more questions but no rush,” the DCI said. He wasn’t sure if the man in front of him was acting or not but if he was he was doing a damn good job of it.


  “So are you his latest bit then love?” a young man asked DC Campbell. He had either cut himself shaving or had picked at his spots as he obviously suffered from acne.

     “Which one of you is Darryl then? I was told to give you the keys,” she replied. She wanted to see what they were like before revealing she was a copper so went along with it. Her boss had told her you find so much more out if people don’t know you work for the law.

  The oldest looking one of the four young men took a step forward and said, “It’s me you’re looking for. Would you like to watch me in action?” he said taking the keys off her and the others jeered and clapped.

   As soon as she stepped inside the shop the smell of paint hit her and she did well not to cough despite wanting to.

     “So are you Johnny’s latest bit of action? I have to say a marked improvement on that other one,” the young lad that first talked to her asked.

       Before she could answer one of the others added, “As long as she don’t come here and give out and act like the boss like that Lesley tart! No disrespect sweetheart,”

        “Oh Jonathan can one of the boys come back with me to help unload the shopping,” Darryl said trying to do a girl’s voice.

     “She sounds like quite a woman. Don’t worry I’m not like that. Sounds like you didn’t like her if you ask me,” DC Campbell said.

    “She was all right at first but Jesus they weren’t together that long and you’d think they were married! But enough about her what about you? Where did you meet the boss?” Darryl asked.

    “I’ve known him for ages just not been in touch,” she had the chance to tell them who she really was but felt they had more to tell her if they didn’t know. If they said anything regarding the case she’d have no choice but for now she played along.

    “Is he coming in today?” the young lad with the spots asked.

    “I bet he’s wrecked from that party on Saturday! Silly question but do you know Lesley? Please don’t say like you’re her Sister or summit,” Darryl asked and laughed nervously.

    “You’re alright, we’re not related. He said something about a party, did any of you go?”  

     “The party was shit if you ask me! She invited all of us but the music was lame bruv and you had to bring your own alcohol. All she played was that Vandross geezer or nineties party stuff. And then them two kicked off so I left,” a lad who hadn’t said anything added.

     “My name is DC Campbell Gentlemen. Lesley Haven was murdered Saturday night now who wants to go first?” she said hoping it was the right time to reveal herself as a Police officer. You could hear a pin drop as they all made themselves busy.


   “And everything was fine when you last saw her?” Jonathan had regained his composure and was about to answer when DC Griffin’s phone went off. His boss looked at him and he nodded back at him as if to say ‘answer it’.

     “DC Griffin…….yes of course……ten minutes if traffic is light,” then he put the phone back in his pocket.

      “Interview suspended,” the DCI said for the sake of the tape and followed DC Griffin out of the interview room.

   “Talk to me,”

  “That was the boss of the deceased. One of her staff who was meant to be off on holiday turned up for work. When she told him about the murder he ran off that’s when she rang me,” DC Griffin told his boss.

   “Why are you still here?” came the reply.


  “Lady what you did was dark you get me? And now you want us to talk to you about de boss? You coppers are all the same, sorry but I know nuttin’ is all I’m saying you get me?” the young man that had talked about the party earlier said.

   “We can do it here or down at the station guys. Don’t worry about Mr. Terry he is already helping us with our inquires,” DC Campbell said in a firm but polite voice.

   “You mean he’s arrested right?”

  “As far as I know he’s not but it might be different since I came here. So is anyone going to talk to me about Mr. Terry?” She looked at the young man that said the couple argued and said, “There are two ways of doing this and one is here and the other is the station. Nobody is under arrest I just need to know how things were between the two of them. You say they argued a minute ago, can you tell me what about?” her tone had got lighter in the hope it might settle the men around her.

      “Look I don’t know a lot alright but all I’ll say is Mr. Terry don’t drink much because he can’t handle it you get me. He gets out of control and mad and acts foolish. Now I can’t say for certain that’s what it was about but I’m pretty sure. Now please tell me I don’t need to go to no police station,”

    “Anything else you can think of?”

   “Mr. Terry is all right. He gave all us lot a chance when others didn’t care. He doesn’t give out or treat us like kids like most people do I mean the guy is a laugh most of the time. As long as we get the work done and talk to the customers nice he’s pretty sweet,” the young man said with a faint smile.


  DC Griffin jumped a couple of red lights as he wanted to get there as soon as he could; it was an unmarked Police car so he knew he wouldn’t be pulled over by uniform.

    “He seemed to panic when I said I’d had a visit from you and it was murder. I don’t know why he drove off like that? It must have been shock….yes that’s it he’s in shock and he’s angry,” Mandy was talking fast as if she was in shock herself.

     “I never said it was murder Mandy and why did he come into work if he was on holiday? Didn’t you say Spain or something?” DC Griffin asked.

    “On that I can say it was my fault as I got the wrong date and week. Must be my age! Why do you think he drove off like that?”

   Before he had a chance to answer his phone rang and he put up his hand as if to say ‘wait a minute’.

    “Yes I’d say ten minutes maximum…………..I’ll assess when I’m there,” then he ended the call, “Mandy something has come up but I’ll be back as soon as I can,” he couldn’t tell her the truth.


  “For the benefit of the tape PC Coleman is leaving the room and DC Campbell is joining us,” the DCI said then carried on, “So everything between you and Lesley was fine would you say Jonathan?”

   “I never said that! We argued like every couple,”

  “Did you have a lot to drink on Saturday night Mr. Terry?” DC Campbell asked.

     “Number one it’s Jonathan and number two I’m over twenty one so it’s not against the law,” he sounded like he was getting angry.

    “Did you argue about your drinking on Saturday night?” DC Campbell wanted to pressure him.

   “I had a few drinks Saturday night but I never argued with Leslie about it. I can handle my drink thank you very much,”

     “But you have argued about it before right?”

    “Look lady I work hard and if I want to relax at the end of the day with a beer I will. I’m my own boss and nobody tells me what to do!” his voice had risen.

      “People at the party said the two of you had an argument. Can you tell me what about?”

          “I’m not saying another word without a brief. You lot are setting me up,” Mr. Terry said then sat back in his seat and didn’t say another word.

     “Interview suspended at eleven ten,” the DCI said then turned the tape machine off.


    “Please step away from the edge Tony. Let’s talk about it. I’ve just had a talk with Mandy and she is worried about you. Why did you just drive off like that?” DC Griffin asked but all Tony did was shake his head, “I can’t help if you don’t talk to me,” then he waited a few moments.

    “She was embarrassed about us and wouldn’t leave that prick John. Even after I told her I loved her. Then in front of me the two of them kissed which made me sick! Then they argued which made it even worse. I couldn’t take it anymore so I left,” Tony looked down at the rocks below with a slight smile.

   “Did you return to the deceased house later?”

      “Yes I did and I can tell you now it wasn’t to harm Lesley. I wanted Jonathan to know that I loved her and I was willing to fight for her,”

     “Did you bring the gun?”

   “Yes I did. My Dad gave me that gun a few years ago for protection and that’s what I was doing; I was protecting myself and Lesley from the abusive bastard but it all went wrong,” a tear slowly went down Tony’s right cheek.

       “Did you kill her?”

   “It was an accident! She was by the fire and saying I knew Jonathan wouldn’t be there. I pulled the gun out to show her how serious I was and the next thing I know it had gone off. I tried to save her but the flames were too high!” Anger and tears flowed out of him.

     “Tony it was an accident so why not come back with me and we’ll sort it out?”

        Tony only heard half of DC Griffin’s last sentence; he jumped to his death to join the woman he loved.






In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it. The man convicted was throwing himself on the mercy of the court, an act I’d seen more times than I care to remember. He wasn’t sorry for the crimes he committed, he was just sorry he’d been caught and the irony is he could only blame one person, himself.

  I recall everything so well about this case; I was there from the start. We started our enquiries before the body had time to get cold. The ‘golden twenty four’ as I called it was the most important time in a case like this.

 Rachel Tomlinson was due to be married and had the whole world at her feet. Her promotion to deputy Manager at the bank where she worked had made her even happier, a girl as her Father described as ‘bubbly and full of life’.

  Three weeks after her promotion she was pronounced dead at the roadside, a victim of a meaningless ‘road rage’ attack which made no sense.

   It had been an ordinary early spring Sunday morning, it was trying to rain and the sun occasionally forced its way past the puffy clouds, a tepid wind was blowing.

 At an intersection Rachel and her fiancé pulled up and apparently an argument started between two drivers, Rachel was one of them. Before long the two drivers were out of their cars and a fight had started and a knife pulled. Moments later a car pulled off and Rachel was lying in a pool of her own blood. Her fiancé rang the emergency services but it was too late for Rachel, the knife had gone straight through her heart.

   An ambulance arrived and did what they could for Rachel and Police cordoned the scene off.  The only statement that could be taken was from her fiancé who was very upset and mumbled quite a bit. It appeared to be a ‘motiveless’ crime with the worst result.

     Two and a half years before they’d being a similar case of a ‘road rage’ attack, a man had been stabbed in the neck and died on the way to the hospital.

  My colleague Julie decided to see if there was anything she could find that connected the two, it was a long shot but worth a go. It had been a similar sort of day and coincidently just two roads away from Rachel’s. There was only one witness at that stabbing as well, the female passenger of the victim, Joan Tomlinson. Julie checked on the address and was amazed to find it was Rachel’s Mother.

   “I think we need to at least pay her a visit sir,” Julie said. As an officer of the law we don’t believe in coincidences.

   “That’s exactly what we’re going to do but I think we need a bit more to go on than that. Her fiancé said it was a male that stabbed her, now I doubt any Mother could kill her own Daughter but that doesn’t mean to say she couldn’t pay someone to do it,” I didn’t feel good about saying it but I never rule anything out.

    “Do you want me to do a check on the fiancé, Daniel Manning sir?”

  “It won’t hurt but I think he’s genuine, but I’ve been wrong before. If you find anything let me know but I think he’s finding this hard enough as it is. I’m going to take another spin out to the crime scene just in case we’ve missed anything,” I replied and left the office.

As I drove all I could think about was that nothing about this stabbing made sense. Why would a beautiful young lady lose her life for no reason? Having no other witnesses certainly didn’t help so all I could hope for was forensics could turn something up. The traffic was built up as the crime scene was still cordoned off; it had now been eight hours since the incident and light was beginning to fade. There were local news teams and press everywhere and of course locals from the town nearby.

  “No weapon has been recovered so far sir,” A young WPC said to me as I got out of the car. I nodded back and walked towards the car Rachel had been driving. It had been searched for everything and was about to be taken away. Rachel’s blood was still on the floor; it had dried into the road and looked like one of them modern paintings that sell for millions.

   The ‘space men’ as I called them seemed to be everywhere looking for anything that they could find that could be used as evidence. I didn’t like getting into the white suits but I had no choice; rules are there for a reason. I was sure we’d find something at the crime scene and I’d search all night if I had to.

  An hour and a half after getting into my white ‘space suit’ I received a call from Julie, it wasn’t a lead but interesting enough for me to get changed and head back to the station.

  “She was told the news and looked shocked according to Constable Willow. She sat down and asked a few questions then offered them a cup of tea,” Julie explained as I settled back in my chair at my office. I’d grabbed a coffee which was desperately needed; I’d missed lunch and dinner yet again.

  “Please get to the point,” I insisted, the tiredness getting the better of me.

 “She said she was out of tea and insisted on going to the shops to get more. Constable Willow offered to go with her but she replied something about being a grown woman. She’s not been seen since and not answering her mobile. It’s been turned off sir so we have no idea where she is,”

  “So she is either in shock or got something to hide,” I replied, then took a mouthful of coffee which scalded my top lip.

  “According to Constable Willow she did seem to be genuinely upset. The tears seemed real and he checked the cupboard, there was only one tea bag left. He’s downstairs if you want to speak to him. I didn’t see the point in him staying at the house but officers are going round on a regular basis to see if she’s returned,”

   “Different way to handle grief is to runaway and pretend it didn’t happen; or a guilty conscience. I don’t want uniform going round to check and see if she’s returned but I do want the house ‘watched’. I’ve being given the all clear for overtime on this. It might be nothing but I can’t be sure. I’m not letting this one getaway, something just isn’t right,”

  “I’ll organise it straight away sir then I’ll be off if that’s all right. I had an early start sir and will be back early to start on this,”

   “I want to be informed if Mrs Tomlinson returns no matter what time it is,” I said then looked at my watch. It was just past ten and I’d done another fifteen hour day; I’d promised myself to cut it down to twelve but my promises were normally broken.

  My mobile phone went off just after two o’clock in the morning. I answered it with one eye still closed.

  “Sir its Holloway, Mrs Tomlinson has just returned to her house and seems a bit worse for wear,”

   “And you come to this conclusion because?”

  “Because she’s being helped into her house by her husband and I’d say he’s had a drink as well but not as much as her. Do we call it a night sir?”

   “Well if you say she’s had a good drink then I doubt she’ll be going anywhere. I’ll pay her a visit in the morning, nice and early to see how she handles a hangover and a copper at the same time. Good work John and good night.”

  I didn’t get back to sleep straight away; my mind was on high alert. There was something eating away at me and I was determined to find an answer. I had thought for a moment of calling round at the house at six thirty in the morning but I didn’t think that would be fare and I’d probably get no answer in any case.

   I knocked on the front door at ten past eight, I had managed to get a couple more hours sleep but I was up as usual at five thirty. There was no answer at first so I knocked a little firmer and louder.

     “All right keep your hair on I’m coming,” the man behind the door said. As he opened the door I could smell stale alcohol on his breath.

   “Mr Tomlinson?” I asked and showed him my warrant card.

   “Who wants to know?” he replied then I realized the man wasn’t wearing glasses as he had being the day before.

“I’m DCI Bridgeworth sir, may I come in?”

“You found them then? You’ve found my Daughter’s killer?” his voice was full of excitement.

“I’m sorry Mr Tomlinson but I have the best team in the land looking for them. May I come in?” even standing in the doorway the house felt cold despite it been a fairly warm morning.

   “Of course, sorry silly me, please come in. I’m not quite awake yet to be honest. I had a bit of a late night getting over the shock and all,” he explained as he beckoned me in and showed me to the front room.

   “I’d like it if I could speak to both you and your wife if that’s” I was interrupted.

  “Who is it?” a female voice called out from upstairs.

   “It’s the Police sweetheart and he’d like to speak to both of us,” Mr Tomlinson shouted back.

        “Give me five minutes to make myself presentable and I’ll be down. Offer them coffee as we don’t have any tea,”

I smiled at her statement as I already knew this.

   “I’m afraid I can only offer you,” it was my turn to interrupt.

   “Coffee is perfectly fine thank you, one sugar,” then the grieving Father left the room.

 I looked around the room and saw all the usual family photos you’d expect to see. There where a few with Rachel and Daniel as well as older ones which I could only presume were with ex-boyfriends. One must have been popular as he was in a couple of pictures with Rachel and her parents.

  “I’m afraid the central heating is playing up at the moment. I’m sure the coffee will warm you up,” Mr Tomlinson said as he came back into the room holding a mug of coffee. He had a much lived in face and by the looks of him he worked outside. A scar by his left eye looked years old but it must have been nasty at the time.

  “So sorry to keep you waiting officer, I should have known you’d call round this morning,” Joan Tomlinson said. The likeness between herself and her Daughter was uncanny. If the truth be known they were more like Sisters than Mother and Daughter.

“As I was explaining to your Husband I’m afraid we don’t have any arrests at the moment. I have the best team on it though. Mrs Tomlinson a couple of uniformed officers where here yesterday and you said you had to get tea in and never returned. The officers waited a good couple of hours for your return. May I ask what happened?” I looked at her face for a reaction and all I saw was embarrassment.

She put her hand to her mouth then spoke, “Oh God I forgot about them, I really did. I met a couple of friends, Dawn Keitel and Karen Brown. I told them what happened and they frog marched me to the pub. Dawn and I have known each other since childhood. I’m so sorry I forgot about the Police here, it completely went out of my head.”

  “We rang you’re mobile then it went dead as if switched off,” I wanted to press harder but thought better of it.

      “That’s upstairs,” she pointed to the ceiling, “I’m having trouble charging it, I’ve been on to them and they told me to take it back to the shop. I’ve had nothing but grief with that thing,”

  “Did Rachel say anything about having any problems of any sort? By that I mean either work or personal problems?” I looked at both of them as I asked this and both shook there heads.

 “She’s getting promoted,” her Father said before correcting himself, “Sorry was getting promoted so it’s obvious there wasn’t any problem at work.”

   “And things with her and Daniel were all good?” Again both Parents nodded in agreement.

Mrs Tomlinson wiped away a tear as she said, “We were only chatting the other day about the wedding and how her and Daniel would like to have kids. You must find who ever did this,” she couldn’t carry on as emotion got the better of her.

     “I see in the photos you have up your quite close with Rachel,” I pointed to where I was talking about, “She’s had her fare share of admirer’s,” Mrs Tomlinson stormed out of the room.

  “I never meant to upset you’re wife in any way,” I was genuinely feeling guilty about upsetting the poor woman I just couldn’t work out what I’d said wrong.

  “The two pictures there are us as a family. It was taken on a family trip about four years ago. The young man in the picture is Philip Tomlinson, our Son,” it looked as if Mr Tomlinson himself was going to break down.

   “I’m sure he’ll be back to help out,”

     “He’ll never be welcome in this house as long as I live in it!” he replied, it was said with so much venom I could tell they’d been a long standing problem.

   Mrs Tomlinson came back into the room after regaining some of her composure. She sat beside her husband and they held hands tightly.

  “I never meant any harm Mrs Tomlinson but questions have to be asked. A couple of years ago you were involved in a similar case to this, is that correct?”

She looked lost for a moment then nodded her head.

“Is this relevant officer?” Mr Tomlinson asked.

“It may be sir yes. The man you were travelling with that day, Steven Wicks, may I ask how you knew him?”

   “He offered me a lift into town, he was a friend of Phil’s but they’d had a falling out. Phil was supposed to take me but he’d stormed off so Steven offered to take me instead,” I could see she was starting to physically shake.

  “So your Son drives?”

   “He was hardly going to take her on the back of his bike!” Mr Tomlinson replied.

  “Sir if you’d kindly let your wife answer the questions please,”

  “It wasn’t Philip’s fault; he just fell in with the wrong crowd. My husband caught one of his friends going through my handbag. To my horror Philip tried to defend him!”

  “Do you know where he is now?”

 “If I never see him again it won’t bother me. He’s not been round here for three years and I couldn’t care where he is,” Mr Tomlinson answered with a lot of built up aggression.

 Before I said anything else my mobile rang and I pointed to the hallway near the front door where I came in. I quickly moved and answered the phone.

  “DCI Bridgeworth,”

  “Good morning sir, I’ve been doing a bit of digging on Daniel Manning and found out he served time for fraud a few years back. He was in the same prison as Steven Wicks, he’s the,”

“Victim from the first case yes I know. What was Wicks in for?”

    “Give me a moment................................wounding with intent sir,”

“I’m at the Tomlinson house Julie and I need you to find out anything you can about Philip Tomlinson. He’s the deceased brother, I’m not getting a lot out of the parents but to be honest I think there still in a state of shock,”

   “I’ll get right on it sir,” Julie replied and the phone conversation ended.

“Is there any news?” Mr Tomlinson asked upon my return to the front room.

  “I’m afraid not at the moment, sorry. Mrs Tomlinson can I ask you a bit more about the killing of Steven Wicks. I know I can read the reports and your statement but it would save time if you could tell me what happened?”

 She cleared her throat before answering then looked at her husband and nodded and he nodded back. “Philip and Steven had been arguing over money that they made from selling a car. They had talked about running a second hand car business and I think this was there third or fourth sale but something went wrong. Philip was calling Steven a thief and Mike and I had to step in to stop them properly fighting. It wasn’t just any old cars but classic ones, more money in them the boys said. It was something about a grand; you know a thousand pounds difference. Steven tried to reassure me that it was Philip who was wrong and because I was talking to him about it Philip drove off in a rage,”

  “What happened in the car?”

“I said let him go and let off some steam, he’s a little hot headed at times. After half an hour he hadn’t come back so Steven offered me a lift. As we approached the ‘Lifetree’ crossroads the car behind started to blow its horn. We couldn’t move as there were loads of cyclists on some sort of race in front of us. It didn’t take Steven long to get out of the car and walk back. He told me he’d be back in just a minute. The next thing I know is the car behind is speeding off the way it came and poor Steven is, well, he’s lying on the ground and...,”

   “Is this really necessary? Can’t you see she’s upset?”

“I’m just trying to get a proper picture of what went on sir. Rachel and Daniel, can I ask how they met?”

“They met when Daniel had made an appointment at the bank. Rachel wasn’t dealing with him and as they both were going into different offices they literally bumped into each other, he came back at the end of that day with a bunch of roses and asked her out. Would you like to know how I met Joan now?”

  “Mike, the man is only trying to do his job so let him please,” then she turned to me, “But why are you asking me about something that happened a couple of years ago? I thought you’d be investigating Rachel’s murder,”

    “I’m just trying to see if the two have anything in common,”

 “You mean it could be the same,” Mrs Tomlinson was stopped by my phone ringing.

  I saw it was DC Temple again and answered, “Give me a moment,” then I pointed to the hall again. “Go ahead Julie,”

   “There’s a girl at the bank who says she’ll only talk to the officer in charge, her name is Emily Clark”

    “I’m on my way, anything else?”

 “Philip Tomlinson. There’s a warrant out for him for grievous bodily harm,”

    I smiled and put the phone down. This case was getting more interesting by the minute. I composed myself before going back into the front room, “I’m needed else where but if you think of anything please don’t hesitate to call. You’ll be surprised that even the smallest thing can yield results. Here’s my card,” I handed it to Mrs Tomlinson.

“I’ll see you out,” Mr Tomlinson said.

 Before I got into my car I rang Julie and asked her to put surveillance back on the Tomlinson’s house.

 As I entered the bank I noticed a picture in the corner of Rachel and at least half a dozen bunches’s of flowers. The Monday morning queue stood silently as they waited for the cashiers. Uniformed officers had been interviewing all the staff to see if there was anything that we could follow up on. I showed my warrant card at the enquiries desk and the young man asked me to follow him.

  I was asked to sit at one of the side offices and just moments later a young lady with medium length dark brown hair came in and sat down opposite me. She looked very pale and nervous.

   “Are you in charge?” she asked, her voice was very squeaky but I put that down to nerves.

  “I certainly am and I presume you’re Emily Clark?”

      “Will I have to go to court?”

    “Let’s see what you have to say first. Whenever you want to start,” I smiled to try and reassure her.

 “Well it’s about Rachel or should I say what was happening with her. You see Rach and I are great mates and at work I’d say we’re best friends. On Thursday last week she didn’t seem to be herself. You see Rach is the life and soul of the party. I think I can count on one hand the number of times she’s been in a bad mood. On Friday lunchtime we sat upstairs and talked, she still wasn’t herself. She said her brother was putting pressure on her to approve a loan for some sort of business he was planning. She told me he didn’t understand that she couldn’t approve it as he was family so he put down a different surname. When she refused again he said she’d get what was coming to her and she was scared, and I mean scared,” a single tear rolled down her cheek.

  “What sort of loan? I mean it’s just your word, no offence,”

“I’ll check her desk; I bet the entire money in the safe it’s in her desk,” a slight smile broke as she left the office. She’d returned within five minutes holding two piece’s of paper in the air like a trophy.

  “So the safe money isn’t going anywhere then,” I joked.

 “Is this any good?” she asked as if the joke hadn’t been said. It was an application for a business loan, weather the business was real or not didn’t matter as this was evidence. I’d need a calligrapher to confirm it was Philip’s but I was pretty confident. The irony was he’d changed his surname to Wicks. Then she handed me the other piece of paper with the name Philip Tomlinson on the top, it must have been the first one he’d filled out and it had an address. While I rang the station I compared the two lots of handwriting and even though I’m not an expert I’d say they were identical. I told Julie to get a team together and meet me at the address.

   “Will I need to go to court?” Emily asked as I made my way out of the office.

  “We’ll just have to wait and see what happens but I doubt it. Thank you I know Rachel would have appreciated your help,” I gave her a smile as I left and she returned one but another tear rolled down her cheek.

   The journey only took fifteen minutes from the bank and I was first there. I decided to wait for back up as I wasn’t sure what this man would do. The street was very quiet as was the house; I couldn’t see any movement in the house at all. After five minutes, two unmarked cars and a station van turned up. I got out of my car and stood on the corner. I told the team the plan, then stood behind the two officers who were carrying the rammer. Another officer knocked loudly on the door then shouted, “Open up it’s the Police!” There was no answer so he said exactly the same thing again only knocking even louder.

   “Go!” I shouted.

 The first thing that hit me was the smell; a mixture of dirty washing and stale smoke. His housework wasn’t exactly up to date; in fact the place looked as if we’d already been there and searched. Every officer was shouting “Police!” as they entered each room but there wasn’t a soul in the house. We searched every room but the only thing we found that was remotely against the law was a bit of cannabis resin and that was obviously for personal use. My mobile phone went off after about ten minutes in the house, Philip Tomlinson was at his parent’s house and an argument could be heard by the surveillance team but I told them to hold off until I got there unless it got to nasty. The station van filled up and I followed at high speed.

   “The deceased’s fiancé has been in there for about an hour sir,” Julie told me as I got out of the car. The station van had turned off its sirens to make sure no one inside could hear us. I beckoned my team on the corner and told them to go on my command, I really wasn’t sure what to expect.

  I rang the doorbell and an anxious Mrs Tomlinson stood there; she’d been crying and had aged ten years since I’d last seen her. She put her index finger to her mouth to indicate for me to be quiet and with the other hand she waved us in.

   “Who is it?” a voice shouted from the kitchen.

  “It was just Iris from next door asking for a spare egg,” Mrs Tomlinson replied. I followed her to the kitchen, I’d put my hand up for the other four officers to wait in the hall.

   “I told you no Police! What did I say no Police! You’re as stupid as her, she never listened either. Don’t make a move copper or Phil here gets it,” Daniel Manning yelled, he had a knife to Philip’s throat.

   “I’m only here to see how the family are and let them know how the case is going,” I said in a calm voice.

  “I’m only here to ask Phil why he put so much pressure on his Sister that it caused an argument that got her killed. You ask him, go on ask him!” Daniel yelled again.

  “I...I...I just wanted a fresh start. My credit history ain’t been all that and well, you know. Having Rach at the bank I asked her if she’d swing it for a loan,” Philip said, he was very pale.

    “And it put so much pressure on her she said she’d leave the bank, and me! Nobody makes me look silly and that silly bitch should have known that. She had to go, sorry Joan but that’s just the way it is,” Daniel was looking straight at Mrs Tomlinson, he believed he was right.

   “It was you that day with Stephen wasn’t it?” she’d regained some of her composure.

“That twat had it coming. I warned him twice before to leave Rachel alone and he never listened. He still tried to chat her up so I warned him one last time and he laughed at me, called me a joke! He wasn’t laughing the last time I saw him, he was lying in a pool of his own blood,” a grin appeared on Daniel’s face.

  My mobile rang which got Daniel’s attention; it was just long enough for my men to jump on him and un-arm him then put his hands behind his back and handcuff him. He was arrested and cautioned then taken away.

Once Philip Tomlinson was checked over he was also arrested as there was a warrant out for him.

   “How could I have been so stupid? Rachel’s dead and it’s my entire fault,” Joan Tomlinson raged then broke down and cried.

  “There’s only one person to blame here and that’s Daniel Manning and he’ll be going away for a long time,” I said then left the Mother and Father to grieve.


Paul Moore author paul.moore69@hotmail.co.uk