by Maddy Bell
All Rights Reserved.
Although there was still no formal identification of any of the crash victims, a simple headcount in the village supplied enough information to have a shrewd guess as to at least some. In a small place like Aldwinkle news doesn't take long to get around
And the vicar was already in town with Jonno's parents. With tragedy inevitably comes the morbid curiosity of the outsider and two TV crews and Hereward Radio were already camped out to cover the tragedy.
"Something's up." Peter Ward stated as he steered the family car into the village.
"Look there's a TV crew over there." Josie Ward noted, craning her neck for a better look.
Much like their offspring, Peter and Josie were great devourers of the world of journalism, the six o'clock news and the Evening Telegraph satisfied their appetites. They lived by the premise that life was too short to worry about soap stars sex lives and what real importance does football have? They both led full lives, Josie was involved with everything from the WI to her fresh water aquarium and Peter's passion was old MG's.
They reached their cottage and made it inside without being intercepted by the media, oblivious to the impending storm.
Down by the river some five miles away Lor was at that stage of playing hooky where a good idea has turned into boredom and perhaps even regret. When you haven't got anything specific to do you end up eating your provisions quicker than anticipated, even a bit of senseless pebble throwing only occupies you for a few minutes. Maybe if there was someone else to skip off with it would be different but on your own, well its not all its cracked up to be. Lor's solution was at least pragmatic, a sunny bank provided the location, and a peaceful day provided the rest. Lor was soon asleep, oblivious to the world at large.
"Well it looks like we've got confirmation on the three in the metro."
Ging Bosworth sighed deeply. There was one piece of policing he really hated and it looked like he was in for a right session today. Telling the often unsuspecting relatives about a death, most usually the parents was never easy, it seemed to get worse rather than easier each time.
"As we can be Sarge, all three were seen earlier in the evening in the car, they aren't in school today and haven't been seen in the village or at home since early yesterday evening."
"Damn. Okay Thompson, see if you can rustle up a WPC then we'd best go visit the parents."
Well I suppose if your expectations are that it's not going to be good then any degree further can't make it that much worse can it? By the time they left the Marchant farm even the battle hardened was being affected. The Wilson boy's parents had sat woodenly on the sofa, as the news was broken to them. No hysterics, no wailing, no denial, the emotion was there, the hurt was clear in their eyes but they were doing the stiff upper lip thing. The Marchants by contrast were much freer with expressing their feelings. Mrs. Marchant started wailing almost as soon as she opened the door. I guess three policemen at the door never means good news. Mr. Marchant, whilst not subject to his wife's hysterics, was by his reaction equally distraught.
"You two okay?" Ging asked his underlings as they walked back to the car.
"Yes sir." WPC Brown replied.
"Will waiting help?" Thompson asked rhetorically.
"Never Thompson, never."
"In that case Sarge let's get on."
As they drove back to the road it was clear that the newshounds had homed in on the Marchants, the Hereward radio van was just turning into the farm lane.
"Best get a car up here Thompson, the Marchants'll be under siege in a few minutes."
How it got into school will doubtless be a mystery but by lunchtime the rumour mill was doing its work and names were being passed about. With Matt, Lor and Jonno missing even the less bright were doing the sums and coming up with five.
"You heard Sarah?"
"What?" Tracy Rossiter was the biggest gossip in the school and you always had to take her with at least a pinch of salt.
"Lor and Matt got killed in a car crash!"
"Yeah they were racing in some kids car and it blew up last night."
"And another car crashed and there were bodies everywhere" Tracy never heard Sarah, once she got into her swing that was it.
The problem with Tracy was that although she tended to exaggerate there was usually a modicum of truth in there.
"I thought it strange when they weren't in registration." Tracy bumbled on.
Not in registration? But Lor came in with me.
"...And Manda said she saw them in Oundle with that sixth former they hang with, hey you don't think it was his car they were in?"
"Er I dunno."
"What a waste, I really fancied Matt. Hey Julie, have you heard?" and with that Sarah was once again left alone, Tracy having found a new listener for the grapevine.
So where is Lor? If it was true about about Matt and Jonno that's terrible but it was a worry that Lor seems to have disappeared, they couldn't be connected could they? Saz sat in a state of, well concern for Lor and the first stages of shock with regard to the deaths of the other two. Where is Lor?
Meanwhile Lor Ward was still blissfully unaware of pretty much anything other than the quiet hum of the insect, the occasional splash of a duck and just occasionally the distant sound of traffic on the A14. Time meant nothing on the riverbank and Lor was finding the atmosphere very relaxing. So okay, skipping school was probably not the greatest idea but well if you don't make a habit of it a bit of me time like today is pretty kool. It was after two before Lor realised, bummer! 'I'll just hang about and catch the bus home, no point in making extra trouble for meself'
"Where the hell have you been?"
"Nowhere" Lor replied somewhat defensively.
"What do you mean 'nowhere', you've not been in school today have you, you skived off."
"Okay I skipped school, so what everyone does."
"Well everyone thinks you're dead,” Sarah stated.
"That diversion this morning."
"Well there was a big crash and they think you were in one of the cars."
"It was Matt's car."
Lor sank back into the corner.
"I don't know for sure but the police have been round school all day and Tracy Rossiter heard that it was Matt and Jonno and you that they were looking for."
Saz was almost in tears by now as she grabbed Lor.
"What if they really are dead Lor?"
Lor was now in nearly as much of a state, holding Sarah which seemed to be right given the circumstances but although calm on the outside, even detached, inside Lor was in terrible guilt laden turmoil. The rickety old bus heaved away from the school in a cloud of fumes with the pair of them still holding each other.
"What is it Thompson?"
"They've got a positive on another body Sarge."
"Well spill then."
"One Edward James of Werrington, Peterborough."
"Edward James? Not Ted James?"
"The very same."
"Well I can't say that I'm that upset, and I don't suppose Peterborough CID will be either, which car was he in?"
"Well it seems it was the Metro sir."
"The metro, and there were how many bodies inside?"
"So just where is the Ward kid then?"
The Wards were just finishing putting the shopping away when there was a knock at the door.
"What have we stopped for?" Saz enquired.
"Dunno," Lor strained to see down the bus, "looks like a traffic jam."
"There's a big van trying to turn round by the looks."
The bus finally rumbled forward into an unusually busy village. The bus makes two stops in Aldwinkle and Lor usually got off at the second as it was only a few metres from the Wards house. A few students got off in the centre and Lor got ready to alight.
"Lor, there's a police car at your house."
Indeed there was along with a bunch of other vans and cars.
"I'm coming with you" Saz announced as their transport pulled to a halt.
There was obviously a welcoming committee waiting by the front gate so Lor led the way to the back gate on Millard's Farm Lane.
With Sarah following closely Lor rushed inside.
"Mum, why are the Po..lice outside" the reason for the hesitation was the sight of the visitors sat on the sofa.
"There you are Lor, hi Sarah " Josie Ward started, "oh it's terrible luv."
"What your mother is trying to say is that Matt and Jonno were killed last night” Peter Ward finished.
Saz grabbed Lor who grabbed Josie and a session of tears started.
"We'll er just wait outside for a bit." Ging suggested.
"Er thanks Sargeant" Josie replied over the wailing.
Ging took a drag on his plastic cigarette; it was at times like this he wished he'd never given up.
"I might be mistaken here you understand but I thought the Wards had a son?"
"Um, the name I have is Laurie Sarge" Thompson agreed.
"Well unless I'm very much mistaken there were too girls in there."
"Maybe they got the name mixed up at HQ, Laura perhaps?"
The wailing in the house eventually subsided to sobbing and Peter Ward thought it was time to make another cuppa.
"Sergeant? Fresh tea?"
"Oh er yes please Mr. Ward."
"They should be okay in a couple of minutes."
"Um Mr. Ward" Thompson started.
"Can I ask you a question please?"
"Of course" Peter continued preparing the tea things.
"Well it's just that..."
"What Thompson is trying to ask is, well its nothing really but what is Lor short for?"
"Laurie, well Lawrence actually."
"And he's in the front room?"
"Yes" Peter was a bit perplexed now.
"But she's a girl" Thompson got out.
"Thompson! I'll take that Mr. Ward "
They retuned to a now much calmer living room, the two youngsters sat either side of Lor's Mum, still a bit sniffly. Peter Ward looked at his son; does Lor look like a girl? Well he could do with a visit to the barber and he does take after his Mum in looks. But a girl, nah.
"Feeling a bit better?" Ging asked.
"Um yes, a bit" a red eyed Lor replied.
"I know this is difficult but I need to ask you some questions."
"Couldn't this wait Sargeant? You can see the state they're in."
"Its all right Mum."
In truth Lor was scared to death of the trouble he was in for skipping school and all the stuff that Matt and Jonno got him involved in. His fear must've shown on his face.
"It's okay Lawrence, you aren't in trouble, well not with us at least." Ging tried to lift the mood. "What we need to know is what happened last night and if you could tell us where you were today."
"I er bunked off, I had to borrow some uniform from Saz, I'd never live it down if anyone found out."
"Oh Lor" Josie hugged her son.
"What about last night?"
Over the next half an hour Lor and sometimes Saz relived the events of the previous evening.
"Well thank you everyone, I don't think we need anything more, if you remember anything else give Thompson here a bell."
"Thanks Sargeant" Josie started, "we're sorry that Lor has caused so much trouble."
"All kids skip school occasionally we were rather more glad to find him in one piece than worry unduly about a day out of school."
If you liked this post, you can leave a comment and/or a kudo!
Click the Good Story! button above to leave the author a kudo:
And please, remember to comment, too! Thanks.