Punchline

Posted on September 12, 2014

Instinctively, despite urges to flee, I held my tunic sleeve against my mouth and knelt.

Check the pulse, training had taught me.

This looked clear cut: a fall downstairs, the corpse abandoned for days but I knew I needed experience to deal with this.

Still suppressing an urge to vomit, I left, heading for the patrol car radio to call for back up and forensics.

I spat on the pavement, a rheumy globule, unaware that neighbours had gathered to see what was going on. I felt like shouting “Pity, you weren’t so fucking vigilant in the past week” but didn’t.

Neighbours approached the gate.

“What’s happened love? Are you alright?”

I nodded, probably unconvincingly, knowing my green pallor and beading temple would betray me. Remain professional and calm, evincing control even though I felt I  had none.

To block entry and signify control, I stepped outside the driveway into the group of curious neighbours – all ten of them.

The sun dipped behind the nearest gable, reducing the glare and spotlight I felt.

Pete pulled up, the grizzled sergeant, and he stepped out with WPC Fletcher, an old hand in the force and a sympathetic listener to newbies. The neighbours were chaperoned away from the gate by her, expertly. Rumour had it that at Orgreave in the 80s, a witty miner had asked why her horse was sweating. The reply she gave escaped me at this moment – I must ask her afterwards.

Led down the drive by Pete, we approached the oval doorway and the scene.

Pete touched my arm, and led us in.

The flies and stench remained.

But the body had gone.


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