Chapter 8

Written by: Suraya Dewing

‘This could undo me,’ Powell thought. He instinctively knew that the young man was his lost son.

He desperately wanted to shout to the boy that it was not too late to change the path he was going down. But the lad, with dark brown hair and angry darting eyes, ignored him. As if he was familiar with being arrested, he allowed himself to be led by a helmeted policeman to a waiting yellow and blue van.

Powell tried to prise a path through the police that filled the café but was stopped by two policemen. Powell tried to shake himself free but they held firm.

“Where are they taking him?” he demanded, nodding towards the boy.

“To Stanton Road police station,” a police officer replied in an emotionless monotone. “Why would you care?”

Powell pursed his lips tightly to keep from blurting that he was his son. He drew himself up and adopted a casual pose. “Just interested in the lad,” he said with forced nonchalance. “Sad he's taking a wrong road.”

“Oh, don't worry,” the policeman wryly replied. “He’s been on that road a long time.”

Each word was like an arrow in Powell's already wound up gut.

Suddenly exhausted, Powell sank down onto a wooden chair next to Miss Pamela who shifted away. Using a tattered tissue she dabbed at black mascara coloured tears tracking down her drawn, pale cheeks.

Powell leaned against the back wall and wearily closed his eyes. He was relieved he had failed in his mission. Collecting bodies no longer held any appeal, nor did the money.

He leaned closer to Miss Pamela and whispered. “I was going to kill you.” Startled, she turned wide, fearful eyes on him.

A flurry of words darted across her anxious face but failed to take shape.

Instead she stared fixedly at the old distillery. Powell nodded when she returned her gaze to his haggard face.

“I got in with the wrong man,” she choked.

He nodded, amused by her phrase. Wrong men made it their business to be hard to detect.

He looked off into the far distance. “Now he wants you silenced.”

“I...I...I guess....” Her trembling voice trailed away. She drew herself up straight. “I told him I'd never tell.”

Powell nodded again. “That kind never trust.” He impatiently shifted, thinking of the boy. “God, I want to leave.”

The sun briefly came out from behind clouds.

A sharp shadow of a man leapt up the old distillery wall. Powell recognised the shape. All he wanted was to go, unseen.

A grim smile tugged his lips.

Outside, the whistling wind blew crumpled rubbish over cracked concrete. It bounced and became embedded in a corner where dust covered grass grew.

She hugged herself tightly. “I’ve got Police protection.”

He derisively snorted. “And you think that counts for something?”

She despondently stared at her tightly clenched hands, the chipped red nail varnish weaving in between pale skin stretched over jutting bones.

Comments

This is such a good chapter, yet the language is restrained and controlled and the impact is so powerful as a result.