A short story
Crimes & Thriller
by Piers Richardson
It had been two years since Kevin had graduated from the Police Training College. His probationary period was almost complete and the time was approaching when his senior officers would decide whether, in their opinion he would make the grade as a police officer.
Well ... Between you and me, although Kevin was smart and even looked the part when in uniform, everything he did always fell two 'spy glasses' short of a Sherlock Holmes. If you know what I mean. No ...Now don't get me wrong, he was alright when dealing with lost motorists and even possessed a kind of magic when it came to old ladies and small children but that is where it stopped. He had never solved any crimes or arrested any prisoners, with the exception of the odd drunk, and well! To be quite honest he was heading nowhere ...Fast.
Rain pounded and bounced against the pavement. The cold night chill felt sharper due to the bitter wind. Kevin looked at his watch. 1:45 it is ages yet 'til booking off, he thought.
Tonight his posting, as usual were the back streets of Ironsbury, home to some of the oldest factories in the area built around the turn of the century. Most now standing derelict like empty worn out shells but a few still managing to stay in business. Each one protected by a surrounding brick wall blackened with the grime and soot of time. All with their large grubby expanses of glass divided down into twenty or thirty smaller square windows punctuated here and there with holes like eyeless sockets. Their tiny cobbled yards were tucked away behind fearsome iron railings that had rusted and gnarled hideously with age.
Gloomy streets illuminated by an occasional forlorn electric bulb, housed inside the carcasses of gas lamps from a forgotten era offered little comfort in an otherwise black and silent world.
"I hate this area." Kevin muttered, as he plodded along head bowed low, staring into the puddles that splashed up over the toes of his boots, which were turning white with damp.
"Nothing ever goes on around here, I might as well be posted to the bloomin' graveyard. There'd probably be just as much life there."
" Hello lad." A deep voice came out from within the depths of one of the factory gateways. He jumped and looking up saw the figure of a Police Sergeant step out of the shadows.
"Err...All correct Sergeant." Kevin said as he looked at the broad and burly figure wrapped in a thick cloak to keep out the cold and rain. His bushy 'handlebar' moustache starting to droop under the weight of the water it held.
"What's all this mumbling I heard? Not feelin' sorry for yerself, are you lad eh... Don't like bein' stuck out here in the middle of all these old factories, eh. Well I'll tell you somethin' for nothin' lad. These old places have seen some real life, all them comings and goings throughout the years. They could tell a story or two, lad."
" Yes Sarge...er... I mean no Sarge. Oh it's not that...I was just thinking."
"Just thinking lad...Tell me...What were you just thinking?"
"Well... It's just that nothing ever seems to happen around here. Nothing that is except the occasional drunk who's lost his way home and ends up sleeping it off in one of the doorways. Or perhaps a tramp found snooping around in the bins looking for any scraps that may have thrown away by the workers during the day. I just wish it were a bit livelier. The same as boys have to deal with in town."
"Mmm... Quiet you say... Nothing ever happens eh! Well I'm not so sure about that lad."
A gust of wind sent raindrops swirling under the brim of Kevin's helmet and down the back of his collar. He shuddered as he felt the coldness of the droplets run through his body making the hair on the back of his neck to bristle. He felt quite alone, he tilted his head to the side, keeping it bowed low shielding his face against the driving rain and realised that his companion had left him just as surreptitiously as he had arrived.
Hmm...It's all right for him Kevin thought. He can go back to the warmth of the station whenever he likes and have a cuppa. Just then, the radio tucked inside Kevin's mackintosh crackled into life.
"Control to P.c. Jones are you receiving? Over."
"Receiving you control, I'm in Foundry Road by the old steelworks. Over." Kevin replied
"You are to go to Brasshouse Alley there's been a report of something strange going on there. Over"
"Message received control. On my way. If you tell me who the person reporting it is, I'll go see them when I've finished? Over" Kevin replied.
"Not quite sure," the voice on the radio answered.
"Couldn't make much of it. Sounded a bit distant. Over"
Brasshouse Alley was about a mile away and looking around once more, Kevin tugged his collar up higher. Then pulling his raincoat closer around him plunged his hands back into the warmth of his deep pockets, away from the stinging rain. As his pace quickened, his mind filled with thoughts of the different possibilities that would confront him inside the alley. Could it be a murder? Someone lying there severed limb from limb. Maybe jewel thief corned at the bottom of the alley with a case of priceless gems, desperate to escape, or possibly a gang of international terrorists disturbed whilst plotting their next target. No not my luck thought Kevin, it'll probably be some drunk lost and wet, huddled under a blanket of soggy newspapers, tunelessly serenading himself.
The rain continued lashing down as Kevin reached the entrance to Brasshouse Alley. It stretched out in front of him, straight and black. A faint glow emanating from a single dingy street lamp mounted on a wall at the far end about 200 yards away. The alley was no wider than 10 foot with its tall brick walls looming up on either side. Kevin hesitated, plucking up courage before taking his first step into the passageway. A step that would possibly carry him into another world. One of a hostile darkness and silent horrors loitering out there before him. He knew there were several gateways leading to the rear of the buildings that sprawled like sleeping demons, waiting to be stirred into life by the arrival of the dayshift workers.
He felt the eeriness of the place crawl over him as he began to edge his way forward, his heart thumping so hard he was sure it would be heard by anyone skulking out there in the shadows. Silently he checked the first recessed gateway. It was still and secured, he moved slowly onward, straining his eyes and ears hoping he might just see or hear anything that would act as a pointer, indicating where he should be heading and what he might find there.
"Steady lad," the low voice whispered. "It's the next gate on the left be careful how you go."
His heart missed a beat and he nearly died on the spot.
"Sarge. Is that you Sarge." He breathed, feeling a little comfort at the thought of not being alone. There was no reply just the noise of the rain. He desperately wanted to turn and run back to the safety of the lights he'd left behind but he knew that he must go on.
The next gate on the left he thought moving onward, deeper into the darkness. As he neared the entrance, he considered how black the opening appeared. Its hidden depths playing tricks with his mind and drawing him inward. Its inkiness seemingly denser in its innermost was concealing somethingâ€|Something evil. he stopped just outside and listened hard before slipping into the ebony void. Stumbling he bumped against the latch and the gate groaned under the sudden pressure and moved slightly.
"Go on lad, in you go."
"Sarge, Where are you?"
Again no reply. Kevin couldn't turn back now as something was drawing him in, some force leading him slowly, silently into the belly of the building and tread by wooden tread up toward the wages office on the first floor. Approaching the top he stopped and looked at the strip of light that danced in the gap at the bottom of the office door. His fingers grasped the handle and gently twisted it open. He waited for a moment longer before entering the room. There at the far side a shadowy silhouette was rifling through the contents of the safe. Kevin crept forward slowly, suddenly without warning a blaze of light burnt painfully into his eyes, blinding him temporarily. He heard a sickening crunch as something hard smashed into the side of his head sending him crashing, knocking over chairs and tables, shattering the silence. Kevin could just remember hearing a scream before passing out. He awoke lying in a hospital bed. Inspector Taylor standing by his side.
"Well done Kevin, you've caught 'Slippery' Jack Slater," said the Inspector. 'The one who's photo was in the Police Gazette last month. Nasty piece of work him, wanted for over a hundred burglaries nation wide. Doesn't care what he does or who he injures. When you feel better, I'd like to know how you came across him and hold him down long enough to handcuff him."
Kevin looked up at his inspector.
"Control sent me there sir, and to be honest, I think it must have been the sergeant who handcuffed him after I was bashed on the head." Kevin touched the lump on his head and winced with the pain.
"Sergeant! Which Sergeant?" enquired the Inspector?
"I'm not sure sir. The big one with the large moustache. The one in the photo on station office wall."
"Big Bill Jenkins." said the Inspector. " I doubt it. He's been retired fifteen years and dead for the past eight of them. Anyway Kevin, get some rest for now. I'm sure there'll be a commendation for you and I think I can say that your future in the force is safe as well."
Inspector Taylor turned and walked over to the door.
"Incidentally," the inspector stopped and turned. " The control couldn't have sent you there tonight. There hasn't been any jobs come in. You could say it's been as quiet as the grave.