This is the thirty-second part of a fiction serial, in 748 words.
Uncle Brian’s trial wasn’t just of local interest, it went national. I soon realised I had little idea just how much of a kingpin my uncle was, in the dark world of paedophile porn. What I had found hidden was the tip of the iceberg.
They tore the house apart with a search warrant, much to the annoyance of the new owner. The house revealed more secrets, when they started to lift floorboards, discovering things he had kept hidden since he was a teenager. Mostly old negatives and black and white photos, and always involving young boys, with many featuring a clearly identifiable young Brian too.
He had obviously forgotten they were there.
His defence counsel tried to assert that he was abused by his father, a man I had never met, so became an abuser because of his backgroud. But as the trial dragged on and more and more evidence was presented to a shocked courtroom, it was plain to see that he had taken the whole thing to a new level. When it was finally over, and he had been found guilty, the judge gave Brian a piece of her mind, telling him she had never experienced such distressing evidence, nor presided over the trial of such a calculating and evil man.
Then his previous convictions were revealed, most of them before he was thirty.
Shaking her head with disgust at the sentencing hearing, the judge gave Brian twenty-four years, one of the longest sentences handed out for such offences at the time. Then she added that he should serve a minimum of eighteen years before even being considered for parole, so he was less likely to be a danger to children. His legal team appealed the harsh sentence, not long after.
The appeal was lost.
Naturally, I had been interviewed by the police. I told them I had never been molested by my uncle, and had no idea what he had been up to. I wasn’t about to have my life tarnished by being known as the victim of a sex offender. I didn’t attend any of the trial, just read the reports or watched the TV news. My dad went into hiding soon after. I was later told that he left his job and moved away. The distant relative who told me added that Brian had interfered with him too, and like me, he hadn’t spoken up.
Livvy knew of course, as did everyone at work. Their attitude was to be sympathetic, and support me if I needed it. Which I didn’t.
Nobody ever asked if I had been involved, not once.
Things went well at work. Uncle Brian was soon forgotten, and I became invaluable to the company. On my twenty-first birthday, Livvy talked about moving in with me.
“I spoke to mum and dad about it, Danny. They say it’s okay. What do you think? It’s going to be a long time before I can ever afford to buy anywhere of my own, and there’s enough room for me in your cosy flat, don’t you think?”
She had spoken to her parents before asking me. I was tempted to say that her dad could afford to buy her a flat outright, but kept quiet. I had met her parents many times by then, and found them to be fake and shallow. He owned a property management company, and to my mind was over-extended financially. The holiday home in Suffolk, a new car for him and his wife every year, plus the occasional exotic holiday, like three weeks in The Maldives last December.
Yet his daughter didn’t even drive or own a car, and she couldn’t afford the deposit on a studio flat. He was either strapped for cash, or just plain mean. As for her mum, she spent most of her time either shopping, or having her hair done. She hadn’t worked since Livvy had been conceived.
Desite all that, I told Livvy she could move in. I liked her a lot, and was even thinking about marrying her one day. But not yet.
Once she was living with me, Livvy went to night school to study for better qualifications. She was a hard worker, doing most of the cleaning and cooking as well as her studies, and she never complained about me at all.
Maybe I would marry her now, instead of waiting. I thought about buying a ring the following weekend, and proposing.
Then something unexpected happened.