Sergeant Bert Dalton & the Hag by Alan Dawson
Editor’s Note: Sergeant Bert Dalton is back at FFJ. The only cop that makes a difference is back in a whole new adventure. In 2012 we continue to see growth in quality of fiction just as 2011 was a big boom year for us in fiction quality and quantity. If you missed out on that action or wish to treasure it in a classy print paperback – get hold of our Annual Anthology Vol 03 out now with 196 pages of A4 size fun. Cover image is a class apart, by award winning photographer Eleanor Bennett. Also check out the past Anthologies at our site.
Synopsis: Sergeant Bert Dalton deals with the paranormal in this strange case of murder and intrigue
About the Author: ‘Bert and the Hag’ is the third Sergeant Bert Dalton tale to feature in the Freedom Fiction Journal. Bert Dalton is the creation of A D Dawson, otherwise known as the English Devil, who writes from the heart of Sherwood Forest. Dalton, an uncompromising police officer, holds firm all of the values that belong to a better age when the wicked were persecuted and the vulnerable were protected. Join Bert at FaceBook
In this detective fiction, a woman seeks revenge and may just get her way.
Sergeant Bert Dalton and the Hag
by Alan Dawson
It can be daunting if you want to join a gym; especially if you have never worked out before and you want to lose a few inches from your waistline or tone up your bingo wings. Many will come to the foot of the concrete stairs of the Body Factory Gymnasium, and go no further. Others will get as far as reception and pick up a leaflet before quickly descending back down the stairs to the street…
…She stepped lightly up the stairs and opened the door that led to the reception. Reception was really a grand name for a home-made counter that ran the length of the back wall with shelves behind it holding up vast tubs of protein powder, weight gain, weight loss and other supplements; a small arch gave access to the main gym. She peeped inside only to stagger backwards nearly losing her footing to the stairs behind her. Too horrified to scream, she stumbled down the stairs and ran out into the street and straight into the arms of a bewildered shopper. Such was her anxious state; he quickly dialled for an ambulance fearing that she was suffering a paroxysm of some kind. He gasped as the full weight of her came onto him. She had fainted.
“What’s going on?” asked a middle-aged lady as she helped to support the girl.
The man shrugged his shoulders and hoped that the paramedics would be along soon.
The girls giggled as the short fat man stood on a small step ladder that he had brought with him. He tightened the noose, which was tied to a sturdy bough, around his neck and ordered the girls to fasten his hands around his back with plastic tie wraps. Just before they did as he asked, he handed them some money – quite a lot of money for two common or garden prostitutes. A grey cloud blocked out the late evening sun and a chill caused him to shiver. Sherwood Forest had seen some strange things in its ancient history, but nothing as strange as this ritual. He told one of the girls, a blonde wearing tight jeans and t-shirt, to kick the step ladder from under his feet. She gave it an almighty kick and his body swung free.
The stench was unbearable coming up the stairs; some police officers struggled to continue on into the gym itself. Instead they had to run down the stairs fighting to contain the contents of their stomach and gasp like landed fish for fresh air when they got to the bottom near the outer door. If they had stepped inside they would have been witness to the most gruesome of sights to boot. Even Sergeant Dalton, a hardened officer from the North of England, was traumatised by what he saw. Ten men and they were all dead. In wasn’t the fact that they were dead that was traumatic; although that in itself is pretty disturbing. It was the fact that they had been slain; chopped to pieces like second rate actors in a budget horror flick. Their guts and entrails hung hideously from their hacked bodies and their well-developed limbs lay helplessly on the floor next to their torsos; most of the men were bodybuilders and weighed well over 18 stone a piece. Who had done this to them?
Dalton knew that the suffering was not over yet. Evil like this had to run its course and this was only the beginning; he was sure of this.
The girl sat silently in the small interview room; her fierce grey eyes stared out through a window that wasn’t there. Dalton sat down opposite her and offered her a bottle of mineral water; she neither refused it nor accepted it.
“She’s not said a word since we brought her in, Bert,” said a young WPC who stood near the door.
“I’m Sergeant Dalton,” he said softly to no return. He was just about to stand to go when the girl spoke. The language wasn’t English and her voice trembled. “It’s okay,” said the Sergeant in the same gentle tone as before. The girl began to cry and she dropped her head onto the table top. “Look after her, Deborah, I’ll get someone in to translate – she sounds Polish to me.”
As he stepped outside the room, Inspector Clarke hurried by. He saw Dalton and turned to him. “Not a good day for us, is it Sergeant?” he said forlornly.
“It’s been a much worse day for those body builders and the guy that stretched his neck out in Sherwood Forest.”
The balding Inspector sighed. “Have you spoken to those bloody prostitutes yet?”
“Ballack’s dealing with that one, Sir; I’ve got my hands full with this other more serious incident,” Dalton replied incredulously
“Keep onto Ballack and make sure everything is kosher, Sergeant; the press are all over the place on this one… he is a member of parliament you know.”
“Was a member of parliament, sir,” he was reminded with impudence.
“No slip ups.”
“Ballack’s an experienced officer, sir.”
The Inspector sighed once more. “I’m sure he is… I’m sure he is.” With that he continued on his way.
Dalton was just about to continue along the corridor when a police officer called after him.
“Sergeant Dalton, I’ve got the gym owner in interview room five.”
“Thank you officer; did you get a statement from him?”
“Not yet but he spoke to us when we brought him in. He’s very much shaken, which is very understandable, but he’s cooperative.”
“What time did he leave the gym? Did you ask him?”
The officer looked upward and drew breath through his teeth as he thought. “I think he said, 11 AM.”
“You think he said 11?”
“No it was definitely 11AM. He left at 11.”
Dalton grimaced. “Approximately the same time as the first man was killed, according to the coroner, and off the record of course.”
“He was well lucky if you ask me; another second or so before he left and he would have been killed himself.”
“Is he lucky?”
The officer shrugged.
“Never mind… Get me a Polish translator for the girl and I’ll have a word with the gym owner in the mean time.”
“And hurry the doctor along too, please.”
Dalton asked the gym owner, Dog Boy, as he is commonly known, to describe his movements from arriving at the gym to leaving at 11AM. Dog Boy was forthcoming.
“I lifted the shutters at 7.30AM and opened the gym. The usual big lads came in shortly afterwards – he gave their names. At about 9.30AM until another group of lads came to train – again he gave their names. By 10.30 there were nine regulars – he named them – and a tall guy who just paid for one session.”
Dalton asked who the tall guy was.
“His name was James Dawes; I’ve never seen him before today – he was all right though; he seemed friendly enough.”
“He’s a known drug dealer; do you like drug dealers in your Gym?”
Dog Boy shrugged. Dalton asked for a more detailed description and Dog Boy described the man to him. Dalton asked Dog Boy to continue.
“Nothing much happened between then and 11AM. Fid, one of the gym instructors, came in early to take me off – I had an appointment at the doctors at 11.15AM (Dalton made a mental note check this out).” With this Dog Boy got upset. “It should have been me that was dead, not poor old Fid… he was only doing me a favour… I’m going to miss him so much,” he wailed as tears streamed down his face.
The CCTV cameras gave decent street-level coverage of the area but it didn’t reveal anything amiss. A busy bus stop stood outside the gym and there had been plenty of people walking about hither and thither by the gym entrance that morning and everyone who actually went into the gym was accounted for… by death as it had come calling. Dalton scrutinised the tapes. A double-decker bus arrived at 10.59AM to spill its passengers onto the litter strewn streets. It didn’t pull away until 11.05AM after the driver had counted his fares. The girl arrived at 11.02AM; she walked past Dog Boy without a reaction and eventually disappeared into the gym by the only entrance/ exit.
Alec Ballack sat back in his chair and put his hands behind his head. He sighed deeply before continuing. “You’re asking me to believe that you thought Robin Pigg was wearing a safety harness when you kicked away the step ladder?”
The blonde girl sat across the table tearfully replied: “Yes I did. Why would I want to bloody kill him?”
“Why indeed, Dawn?” retorted Ballack smugly.
Dalton looked down from the gym onto the street below. It was just beginning to get dark and everyone was rushing for the buses to take them home after a hard day’s work. A pigeon stood on the top of a bus beneath where he stood. It flew up onto the window ledge with a flurry of feathers as the bus sharply pulled away. Inside the gym there was dried blood everywhere and Dalton carefully moved about lest he should stand in it; a man in a white paper suit busied himself taking measurements from chalked lines and scratching his head with a biro.
“You shouldn’t be here, Dalton,” he suddenly said to the big Sergeant, “It’s a crime scene you know,” he added in an unpleasant tone.
“I think your wife would agree that you shouldn’t have been in The Greek Temple last Friday,” said Dalton, “It’s a gay club you know?”
“How the… Fuck you, Dalton.”
Dalton chuckled. “Please, Aubrey, I’m not that way inclined like the rest of your friends are.”
“Very bloody funny indeed,” said Aubrey as he tried to compose himself.
Dalton rubbed his hand across a freshly made groove in a wall. “I heard one of your guys talking; he said that only one of the dead men put up a fight – is that true?”
“What did he look like?”
Aubrey reluctantly gave a description that matched the one of James Dawes given by Dog Boy.
Dalton pointed to the groove. “This is where he smashed a dumbbell into the wall isn’t it?”
“That would have hurt if it connected wouldn’t it? Why do you think none of the others put up a fight?”
Aubrey shrugged his thin shoulders. “They were probably too scared to move,” he opined. “Rooted to the spot with terror,” he continued under raised eyebrows.
“You could be right, my dear, Audrey.”
“Sorry; of course it’s Aubrey; my mistake. You will let me know when you find out what the murder weapon was won’t you? Aubrey?”
“Listen, Beverley, Dawn has told me everything; Pigg was a regular customer of yours. You both used to regularly walk up and down his naked body in stilettos when he wasn’t in the City. He always asked for you both; one blonde and one brunette. I know.”
“Makes me wonder why a bright girl like you does that sort of thing.”
Beverley reared up. “It’s all right for the likes of you, clever bastard. What do you think there is for the likes of me here? Market Town has gone to the dogs since the fucking East Europeans moved in and everybody in it. Where the fuck would I be If it wasn’t for Agnes helping me? I would be in the gutter working syphilitic cocks for a ten pound bag like the Poles have to! She looks after us and we’d do anything for her.”
“Sorry,” said Ballack with humility, “I didn’t mean to upset you.”
Beverley burst into tears and the thick-set constable handed her a tissue. “Thank you Mister Ballack; I’m sorry that I called you that horrible name.”
Ballack smiled. But his smile hid an anguish that only a father could feel. For in truth, he was the father of a lost generation – he thanked God that his very own children were happy and content. “The interview is over for now, but I’m afraid we’ll have to detain you, Beverley. Do you want to change your mind about having a solicitor?”
She shook her head. “The truth will out, Mister Ballack, it always does. You must speak to Agnes, she will verify our story… she knew well Piggs needs and devices.”
“A…gnus?” he stammered before picking up the phone to call Dalton.
Ballack pulled slowly and reluctantly up to the kerb. He switched off the engine and eventually stepped out of the vehicle and onto the path next to Dalton who was impatiently waiting for him tapping his foot. A long row of terraced houses stood before them. More than half were deserted and secured with grey metal sheeting which safeguarded the windows and doors from vandals and squatters. Thick black smoke bellowed out of a single chimney pot, it belonged to house number thirty-one. The pavements were litter strewn and graffiti ill-decorated the red-brick walls. Ballack nearly stood in some dog shit as they went. He knocked half-heartedly on the red-painted door of number thirty-one. There was no reply. Dalton went to the window of the two up-two down but couldn’t see in as thick curtains had been pulled over the windows. Ballack imagined that Agnes would be staring through the peep hole at him and he stepped back with a whimper. Dalton heavily sucked in air through flared nostrils.
“For God’s sake man up, Alec.”
“I’m sorry, Bert; it’s just that she frightens me.”
“For the umpteenth time she’s not a witch; witches don’t exist.”
“But what about…”
“…It was a coincidence,” bawled Dalton, not letting the officer finish the sentence. Fired up, Dalton went to the door and banged hard against the wood. “Open the door, Agnes before I come back with a search warrant!”
As if by magic the door opened. In the doorway stood a frail old lady wearing an orange cardigan and sporting a blue rinse to her curly bonce. She smiled to reveal stumps where teeth had once been. “Mister Dalton, how are you? And you Mister Ballack… how is the…”
“…Agnes!” checked Dalton.
Agnes cackled and invited them into the dimly lit house. She led them into the kitchen and shut the door. The kitchen was smoky and a blackened kettle boiled on the open fire. The greasy room was sparsely furnished and dirty pots and pans covered the sink and draining board. “Would you both like a drink of something… tea perhaps?”
“NO!” they let out in unison.
Dalton was just about to open the conversation but Agnes interrupted him. “You could be here for two reasons, Mister Dalton. First reason, the death of Pigg; very unfortunate but you know what those political fellows are like; you only have to read the Sunday papers.
“And the second reason?” Dalton asked.
“I’ve nothing to say on that matter and you can leave right now if that’s why you are here,” she said quietly as if she didn’t want to be overheard, her left eye twitched involuntarily as she did so.
Dalton smiled. “We’re here on the former, Agnes. Alec wants to ask you a few questions about your girls; that’s all.
Agnes perked up almost immediately. “Ask away, Mister Ballack, I won’t bite you, I promise,” she teased.
Ballack coughed and stuttered out some nigh relevant questions to the amusement of his Sergeant. Satisfied about Pigg’s ways they stood to leave.
Just before she opened the door to let the officers out after her interview of sorts, Agnes pushed a piece of paper into Dalton’s hand. He tightened his grip on it as they stepped out into the street. A sudden wind whipped up from the deserted street and blew Ballack’s cap off. A look of terror spread across his face as he retrieved it. Dalton smiled and looked towards Agnes to share the comic moment. However, the smile dropped quickly off his face as he saw that she shared Ballack’s terrified facial expression. She slammed the door shut and he heard the bolts being shot hurriedly into place.
Dalton unfolded the crumpled paper and looked down at the directions that were written on it. “Come on, Alec, we’ve got somewhere else to go before we knock off for the evening.”
“Anywhere is better than here, Bert.”
“We shall see about that my little fat friend.”
Agnes slumped back heavily into her chair as she gasped for oxygen; her heart beat like a tom-tom in her frail chest. She felt cold and she dithered uncontrollably. She could hear the police officers talking outside her door, but was too weak to call them to. It would be days before she was discovered.
The derelict office building was all that remained of the Market Town brewery. A lazy security man watched uninterested from his warm hut as the two officers pushed their way through a broken chain link fence and into the yard. They crossed the cluttered yard towards the front of the former administration block. Broken glass on the reception doors had been replaced by wood. One of the doors was slightly ajar and Dalton put his shoulder to it to open it enough to allow him and his podgy colleague entry. It was dark inside and Dalton lit up his torch. Ballack followed the Sergeant up a flight of stairs. They climbed the stairs until they came to the top floor. A steel door had been fitted into one of the office portals. Ballack tested it with the flat of his hand. “That’s not for moving,” he said. He tried his shoulder against its sturdy construction. He winced and rubbed at his shoulder as the door wouldn’t yield.
Dalton turned the handle and the door clicked open; he looked at the injured officer and smirked. They went to step inside…
“Aaaaaaaagh,” screamed out Ballack as a huge rat ran across his foot as it flew from the dark room.
“You are such a girl, Alec,” laughed Dalton as he entered.
“Did you see the size of that thing?” replied the quivering constable as he followed his sergeant inside.
Dalton’s torchlight followed the walls around. They had been painted black and a set of manacles hung down from the wall next to a stained mattress. Dalton gasped as the light came against a steel cage that had been set into the corner of the room – a pathetic creature whimpered under some sacking inside the bars.
“Bloody hell,” ejaculated Ballack, “it’s a right torture chamber in here.”
They went to the cage. “Are you all right?” Dalton asked as he slowly pulled back the sacking to reveal a teenager curled up into a foetal position. He tried the gate – it was locked. “We want to help you, lad,” Dalton said softly.
“Please go away,” sobbed the lad; he had a thick mop of black curly hair. “She… she got James but she won’t get me,” he added in near hysteria. His dark eyes were like saucers and he stared straight at Dalton. “James was my brother… he looked after me.”
“Who got James, lad?” said Ballack, realising the boy had learning difficulties.
“She did… he’s dead… she killed him.”
“What’s your name?” continued Ballack. “You can really help someone if you know their name.”
“Of course… what is your name? We can’t continue calling you, lad, can we?”
“No; it’s not right.”
The boy sat up. He was wearing tight black jeans and a t-shirt. “My name’s Michael… Michael Dawes.”
Ballack smiled. “Well Michael, what are you doing in there?”
“I locked myself in so she wouldn’t get me.”
“Who wouldn’t get you?”
“The witch… she changes shape.”
“Are you going to open up so we can take a look at you; we want to see if you are all right don’t we, Sergeant Dalton?”
“Yes we do; we can’t have you locked up in there, Mike.”
“Will you protect me from her if I come out?”
Dalton smiled. “That’s what we do, protect people; we’re police officers and it’s our job.”
The youth produced a large key from his pocket and passed it through the bars to Dalton. Dalton unlocked the gate. “Are you coming out then?” he asked as he opened up the cage.
The boy nodded. “Will you take me to the police station? I’ll be safe there.”
“That’s a good idea, Michael. We can make sure you are fed and a doctor will check you over. How long have you been locked up in there?”
“Not too long… a day I think.”
“Are you hungry?”
The boy nodded.
“First stop the canteen then; how does egg and chips sound?”
They helped the boy outside. Dalton stopped just before they left; something glittered in his torchlight. He bent down to pick up a single gold cufflink – it had R.P. inscribed on its surface.
Nature had not been kind to her; one bulbous eye looked upward to the water-stained ceiling of her squat and the other to the bare boards beneath her toes. She had the face of a hag, aged and ugly, but with the athletic body of an Olympian, toned and tight. Put a bag on her head, they would say, but only if she was out of earshot. She was soon at the centre of it all in Market Town after her arrival into the country from Eastern Europe. After a few months the town’s drugs were her concern. She scattered a handful of local dealers, fit for revenge, when they came calling on her; they were soon away with their tails firmly between their legs… her legend grew but few knew little of her other than hearsay.
She laughed like a crone when she saw the pathetic boy, Michael, locked in the cage meant for her. She would let him be for now, let him suffer awhile to mourn his brother… She didn’t like the look of the big policeman, however, he was going to be trouble and she was not referring to the officer that had cried out in fear as the rat ran across his foot.
It was late when Dalton went out to his car; he had been catching up with his paperwork at the station. He looked at his watch; his wife, Tizzy, would be cross because he was late for supper again – the third time this week. The car park was deserted and he made his way carefully past a skip that the workmen were using. They were renovating the back of the station and their scaffolding stood tall fixed to the outer wall. Red rodent eyes watched him as he stepped over some rubble; a big brown rat nibbled at a discarded kebab; the leftovers from the lunch of one of the podgy builders. Dalton spun around as he heard someone call his name.
“Bloody hell, what now,” said Dalton as he made his way back to the door. There was nobody there so he turned and carried on back towards his car; I must have imagined it, he thought.
“Sergeant Dalton!” he heard someone shout as if in a panic. He turned to see a scaffolding pole falling towards him. He dived to the left and the pole clattered noisily to the ground. A young WPC helped him to his feet.
“That was close, Sergeant,”
Dalton let out a sigh of relief. “I’ll have those bloody workmen in the morning,” he raged.
He had a glass of wine waiting for him when he returned and he sat down at the dining room table whilst Tizzy brought his supper; it was his favourite, corn beef pie. Tizzy sat down next to him and began to chat. “On Saturday I’d like us…” she was cut short as Bert’s mobile phone rang.
“What is it?” he asked bluntly.
“So who is onto it?”
He listened solemnly.
“I’ll be there in an hour.”
He exhaled noisily and pushed away his pie. “I’ve got to go love; a young woman has been found dead.” He didn’t let on anymore to his anxious wife.
Dawn, the prostitute who had been involved with Pigg, had been found in the old brewery by a tramp seeking shelter; her neck had been snapped as if it were made of tinder. Further to this deep gorges had been made across her face, neck and chest – like a wild beast had been at her.
Michael Dawes was to be released; there was no reason to hold him because it soon became obvious he knew nothing about his brother’s murder. Although he rambled incoherently about a witch and panicked like a loon whenever the door to the holding room opened, his beardy social worker and the cold-faced doctor had no qualms but to release him back into the local community.
When Dalton returned to the station at the beginning of his shift he blew a fuse. “Why have you released him?” he raged to the custody sergeant. “That boy is simple and he is in danger… anyone connected with James Dawes is in danger. You should have detained him until we were…”
The custody sergeant bravely interrupted him. “…it wasn’t my decision, Dalton.”
Dalton looked like his head was about to explode he was so angry. He turned away from the sergeant lest he should rag doll him. Unfortunately he came face to face with Inspector Clarke.
“Dalton, the press are…”
Dalton didn’t stay to hear the end of the sentence. Such was his anger he decided to go out and get some fresh air. There had been some problems with kids throwing missiles down onto cars as they were driving into Town. He would go and investigate that himself; it would keep him out of the station for an hour or so. He was just about to leave when Aubrey came along. When he saw Dalton he scurried back in the direction he had come from. Dalton was onto him like a flash.
“Aubrey,” he said as he pushed the snidely man against the wall with his shovel hand, “were you coming to see me?”
“No, why should I?”
Dalton smiled. “The murder weapon; you were going to tell me what it was when you found out.”
“We don’t know for definite what it is yet.”
“Hmm, I see. So Aubrey, have you any theories?”
“I think you have… tell me Aubrey, what is your theory?” said Dalton as he applied pressure to Aubrey’s pigeon chest.
Aubrey grimaced. “A scythe… the murder weapon could have been a scythe… Don’t let on I’ve told you Dalton or the Super will have my guts for ruddy garters.”
“What sort of scythe? One of those hand held ones I use in my garden?”
“Yeah we think so.”
“Not like the one used by the Grim Reaper then?” Dalton asked with a smirk.
“Oh, Aubrey, the girl that was murdered; is it true that she looked like she had been opened up by an animal?”
Aubrey pushed Dalton’s hand away so he could get clear. “You’ll get yours one day Dalton, you mark my words.”
Looking down from the bridge, Dalton could view the whole of the north side of Market Town; including the Body Factory Gymnasium. A double-decker bus pulled up at its last stop before it went on to the bus stop next to the gym. The stop was just to the side of the bridge. Close enough for someone to jump down from the bridge onto the top of the bus, thought Dalton. It would be difficult but it could be done by someone agile enough, he mused further.
It was a cold dark evening and Michael pulled the collar of his coat up to his throat as the bitter wind bit to the bone. He searched through his pockets; he didn’t have enough money for a hit and his meal ticket was dead – the reference here is not to his brother, Dear Reader. He needed someone else to look after him and he made his way towards The Greek Temple. He took a short cut across the park. The fallen dried autumn leaves rustled as he trudged through them; as a younger boy he would have kicked them into the air as he went. He thought he saw someone near the bridge that crossed over the River Mourne. He was mistaken – there was no one there when he got to it. However, he got halfway across the bridge when a dark figure suddenly appeared at the other side with the light to their back. Silhouetted against the bright light Dawes couldn’t make out who it was. The figure who stood to his advance, wore a long woollen coat which skirted the ankles and a hood pulled low over the brow. He stopped in his tracks and gasped like an asthmatic in fear.
“It’s all right, love, an old lady can’t hurt you,” said the figure.
“Maybe we’ll fucking hurt you,” came a sudden voice to the rear of the old lady.
Before she could react she was sent sprawling with a heavy rabbit punch to the back of her head. Before she had a chance to recover from the fierce blow she was trussed up with plastic ties and a heavy man sat astride her while another pinned back her arms. She knew it was pointless to struggle so she waited; she waited like a cobra ready to strike when the opportunity arose for her.
“You thought you had seen the last of us didn’t you bitch?” said a tall man, mid-twenties wearing a hood under a cap. “Thought you might be after Dawes’ bro so we followed him for a while,” he added as he sniffed. He looked at Michael. “You’d better fuck off gay boy if you know what’s good for you.”
Michael didn’t need asking twice. He was gone with a whimper; like a whipped dog.
The tall man laughed. “You know what; they reckon you’ve got a good body for an old whore,” he said with a sneer. “Pull that fucking hood further over her face, Max.”
The two men knew what he meant and they intensified their grip on the old lady; she didn’t struggle or utter a word in protest even when the tall man lifted up her coat and roughly ripped off her woollen tights. He began to undo his trousers to the amusement of the two men.
“I’m second,” said one of them; a grinning idiot with big ears.
Just as the tall man spread her thighs open and began to lower himself down he was sent painfully to the deck as Dalton’s night stick smashed into the back of his head. Using the momentum and surprise of his attack the burly Sergeant booted one of the thugs under the chin with his steel toe-capped boots. He went for the other attacker but he showed a surprising turn of speed for a man of his immensity and was off. He won’t get far, Dalton thought as police sirens rent out in the still night air. He turned his attention to the old lady.
“Well fuck me,” was all he could say. All that was near him were two figures sprawled out in unconsciousness. The old lady had gone. Dalton bent down to see plastic ties scattered on the deck of the bridge.
He had parked up at the far side of the park and he walked back to his car. He scratched his head: where could she have gone? Even Ballack was scornful when he mentioned the old lady – the fat bastard that he is!
He went to open the door of his car when he heard someone move behind a security fence of tall railings next to the DIY superstore. A high row of gorse further secured the site from his view.
“Thank you, Sergeant,” he heard someone say in broken English. “You saved me from… from … thank you.”
Dalton didn’t reply.
“It happened to me once before; when I was a young girl in Poland… no one stopped it then… I’ve hated men, and their whores, ever since,” she snapped maliciously. Her voice softened. “You are different.”
“You won’t get away with it; I’m putting it all together… I know how you did the poor guys at the gym…”
“…Who would believe you?” she interrupted. “There is no evidence… no camera footage, there is nothing… I’m but an old lady. How could I even get up the stairs?”
Dalton laughed nervously. “You’re a murderer. You’ve killed innocent… ”
“…Innocent? None who are dead are innocent; I’m doing you a favour Dalton. Keeping scum off the street… just like you are.”
“But YOU are scum; you are a murderer AND a pusher… two of the worst.”
“You’re unkind, Dalton… and I’ve given you a nice present. Look to the roof of your car.”
Dalton saw something resting on the roof. He picked it up. It was a podgy hand-sized clay figure with a small noose tied around its fat neck. Dalton gasped out loud as he saw a cufflink set into the midriff of the figure, for he had its partner in his pocket.
“He was the worst of them all.”
“I shall have you,” said Dalton in just more than a whisper, “if it takes a hundred years I’ll have you.”
The Hag had stopped listening.
Fid always wanted to be a superhero; a Jedi Knight at least. He was far from being a legend this particular morning, however. He heard a massive thud and stepped into the main body of the gym to investigate – one of the meat heads must have dropped a dumbbell, he thought as he entered. He was wrong… terribly wrong and he saw the blood stained figure of James Dawes drop heavily to the floor; slain by an unseen assailant. He reacted quickly… but not quickly enough – for he was no Batman or his ilk. He ran for the door to get help but never reached it. He felt cold steel burn into his shoulder blade and the force of the thrust sent him sprawling onto the counter. The pain was mercifully short as the second thrust smashed through his rib cage and entered his heart from the back. It was fortunate he died quickly because the blade continued to repeatedly hack at his limbs and torso until he was no more than pulp; his blood flowed like a river onto the floor.
Seconds later the door to the gym opened…
**** THE END ****
Copyright Alan Dawson 2012
Image Courtesy: Ujjwal Dey