The Blue Light: Part Sixteen

This is the sixteenth part of a fiction serial, in 750 words.

When Callum arrived for work early that morning, he was shocked to discover the two bodies in the front yard of the farm. He wasn’t the brightest man in the county, but he knew enough not to walk across a crime scene to use the phone in Adam’s house. Getting back on his bicycle, he rode off into town to raise the alarm.

Hilda Inchcape looked out of the window. The pickup was gone, so no doubt Jess had made an early start somewhere around the farm. That suited her, as it gave her the chance to look up flights to Australia on the old laptop. Jess couldn’t cope with computers, and it had taken Hilda a long time to discover how they worked. But now she could buy things online, and contact the relevant authorities to do with farming by email. The previous year, she had even set up online banking, and had been very pleased with herself when that worked.

Detective Inspector Harris arrived at the farm, having been phoned at home to take the job. When he saw the two bodies and the inexperienced uniformed constable looking white-faced, he knew it was going to be a long day. Using his personal radio, he contacted the control room. “I’m going to need a full forensics team with two tents, a uniformed search team to cover the search of the house and farm, and at least two more from my team to assist for now. Can you jack that up for me?”

Harris had transferred from London as a Detective Sergeant twelve years earlier. His wife had originally come from Stroud, and wanted to be closer to her family as they got older. He had thought it might be a nice change from London. A quieter life, with less stress. He had been so wrong about that.

These country people were nutters.

Remembering she had to renew her long-expired passport, Hilda was just researching how to do that online when there was a knock at the door. Not a pleasant knock, a loud one that made her jump. There were two men in suits at the door, and a policewoman in uniform. “Mrs Inchcape? I’m Detective Inspector Harris. Could we come in and talk to you please?”

As Hilda showed them in and put the kettle on for tea, Callum was giving the same version of his statment for the third time, and wondering why he had bothered. Those coppers were acting like he had done something, and he wasn’t pleased about that. Finally losing his patience, he folded his arms across his chest, and shook his head. “Enough’s enough. I reckon it’s time I had a lawyer, and I ain’t saying no more until I get one”.

The Inspector was a nice man, respectful and considerate. Hilda could tell from his accent that he wasn’t from those parts, but that wasn’t a bad thing, in her opinion. When he told her Jess had been found dead, and had likely killed old man Brice’s son too, she had to suppress a smile. At last! Jess had gone too far, and she was finally free. No need to argue the toss with her husband about visiting Matilda. And she could finally sell the farm that had been like a millstone around their necks since her wedding day.

When he said she would have to go and identify Jess at the mortuary, she reacted a little too soon. “No problem. Just let me get my coat, and my outside shoes”.

A cursory examination of the crime scene had led Harris to an instant conclusion. Two farmers, known locally for decades of grievances, had finally taken it too far. One had shot the other, then been shot in return. It didn’t matter who fired first, as there was nobody left alive to try to lie about that. He made the decision before escorting Hilda to the mortuary, and informed the control room. “Stand down everyone else. This is a tit-for-tat shooting, and I am not looking for any other suspects”.

That was a lifeline for Callum, who was immediately released before the solicitor arrived, and was on his way home long before he would have finished work. It didn’t occur to him until later that day that he was now unemployed.

After Hilda got back from the identification, she turned on her laptop and began to compose an email. She was hoping Matilda still had the same email address when she pressed ‘Send’.

27 thoughts on “The Blue Light: Part Sixteen

  1. (1a) Fun fact: Callum’s uncle is David McCallum.
    (1b) Callum isn’t the brightest man in the county, but at least he’s smarter than the average mucus.
    (1c) Overheard:
    Callum: “Y’know what? Enough’s enough!”
    Copper: “Well, then. That’s that!”
    (1d) Callum no longer had a job.
    Harris: “What are you going to do now?”
    Callum: “Call Umenployment.”
    (2) Hilda Inchcape’s initials are HI, which is the abbreviation for Hawaii. In fact, Hilda would rather go to the Aloha State instead of to Australia, but, of course, that would make Matilda mad.
    (3) Overheard:
    Harris: “Can you jack that up for me?”
    Jack, in the Control Room: “Yes, but that will jack up the cost of this investigation.”
    Harris: “No joke, Jack. Just do it.”
    (4) Harris was heard complaining, “I can’t take anutter nutter!”
    (5) Bad citation: “There was a knock at the door. Not a pleasant knock, a loud one that made her jump like a kornered kangaroo.”
    (6) The townspeople could tell from his looks that Dr. Frankenstein’s monster was indeed from familiar parts.
    (7) Harris concluded that there had been a tit-for-tat shooting. The only question was, which one was tit and which one was tat?

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