Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dead Rite chapter 140.03

“Once bitten twice shy, eh? Is that why you became a copper, Sir? Schoolyard bullies?”

“No, Sergeant. I became a copper because my mother was killed in a hit and run accident. I was seventeen at the time, serving an apprenticeship in the Basin Steelworks. Don't give me that face. You wouldn't remember it. It's gone, now. Closed down in the recession in the eighties.”

“Did they catch him? The driver, I mean?”

“Yes, thanks to an eye witness statement.”

“Who?”

White fixed him with a stare. “If it matters to you, which it shouldn't, it was Ada Waterman.”

“What? Harold Waterman's mum? The mad old biddy on The Terrace who talks to her invisible friends?”

“The very one, though not so old in those days. She was a young mum herself, with Harold still in his pram. Anyway, she gave such a perfect description of the car and the driver you'd have sworn she was sitting in the passenger seat herself. They picked him up before he'd even had a chance to wipe off the blood.”

“Brilliant. Police work at its finest.”

“Not so much, as it happens. They let the driver off with a suspended sentence since he was a pillar of the community. I had to make a decision then which side of the law to stand on to avenge her.”

“And you chose the police?”

“Yes. I applied to Somerset police, did my training and ended up in Manchester until there was a posting in Wiltshire, then back to Laverstone when I passed the sergeant's exam.”

“What happened to the driver? Who was he?”

“A teacher at the primary school. Once his name was in the paper the parents of the kids started refusing to send their kids to school. People started sending him hate mail and he hung himself in the end.”

“Rough justice, eh? Like in the old days?”

“Aye.” White swallowed a lump that had appeared in his throat at the thought of his mum. “That's the funny thing about Laverstone. Modern police work is only a thin veneer over tradition. Rough justice is never far away.”

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