Fran drove slowly through the narrow back roads of Llangaerthern, her eyes still not adjusted to the early morning mist that lay low over the sleepy town, its ghostly tendrils licking at the car windows. She was on the prowl for a certain tracksuit clad youth but so far she had had no success. Most people assumed Dylan wouldn’t be awake at such at time in the morning, that like the majority of teenagers his age, he would still be dead to the world but Fran knew otherwise. A couple of months back, hit by a sudden bout of insomnia, she had left the house early and gone for a drive. Usually she would have been content to simply make herself a cup of tea and leaf through the morning paper but on this occasion, she needed to escape the claustrophobic confines of the house. She and Steven had had a belter of an argument the previous night, which revolved around the house being a complete shit tip when she had returned home from work that evening. As with most arguments, the more they went on at each other, the more underlying issues rose to the surface and soon the two were throwing bitter repressed insults at one another, like some heated tennis match of emotions. In the end they had both gone to bed or rather Fran had. Steven had been relocated to the sofa with the dog for company.
The next morning, after a fretful night sleep, Fran simply hated going to bed on an argument, she had crept out the house, shushing the dog on her way out and gone for a drive to clear her head. As one would expect, the town was quiet, the only noise disturbing the early morning birdsong was the bin-men on their early morning collection. You can imagine her surprise then, when she spotted none other then Dylan hurrying along the pavement. At first she thought she was imagining things, due to her fatigued state but when he glanced over his shoulder to cross the road, there were no doubts left in her mind. It was definitely Dylan. Intrigued by the earliness of his ascent, she followed after him, making sure to keep a safe distance, so as not to arose suspicion. There was something shifty in the way Dylan slunk down the street, his hands were thrust deep into his jumper pockets, his hood was pulled up over his head and he kept glancing around and behind him anxiously. Fran had to trundle the car and risked losing him twice, such was her effort to remain undetected.
Eventually Dylan arrived at his destination, a poky little flat above what was previously a local bookshop. Fran pulled up slowly to the kerb, the wheels of her Volvo crunching on the loose gravel of the road edge. She killed the engine and watched, as he looked both ways up the street and behind him. Although Fran wasn’t clearly visible in the low light of the early morning, she still instinctively ducked down when he looked her way. When she re-emerged a few seconds later, there was no sign of Dylan. She hoped that he had gone inside and up to the flat because otherwise it would be the end to her investigation. It was a chilly November morning and she had donned mittens and a woolly hat,in an effort to dispel the biting cold that seemed to cut straight through to the bone. The fan’s had been set to warm which helped somewhat but she wished she had a hot drink to warm her cockles. What sort of a stakeout was it without a decent supply of coffee and tea?
Fifteen minutes later,Dylan emerged and after a quick scan around, he was off again, pounding the tarmac with his recent birthday present, a pair of bright orange adidas trainers. Real subtle, Fran chuckled to herself, powering the metal beast into life and drifting away from the kerb.
Fran counted four other houses Dylan visited before his last stop, the all but abandoned car park round the back of the local chippie ‘Fish and Ships.’ The owner was a retired sailor with a penchant for puns. It was no use driving down there, as Dylan would spot her a mile off, so she parked up, and followed on foot. Pressing herself up against the wall of the chippie, she slid along it, much in the same style a cartoon inmate slides against a prison wall, attempting to avoid hounding spotlights. Peeking round the corner, she discovered what she expected to see. Dylan was handing a small plastic bag, similar to the evidence bags back at headquarters, to a lanky hard faced boy Fran recognized but couldn’t put a name to a face. The boy in question handed over some money in response and the two were about to depart, when Fran emerged guns blazing. It wasn’t as dramatic as Fran recalled. Dylan had been given a warning and had both the baggie and the money confiscated. Fran had tried to pressure him into coughing up the name of his supplier but he had not buckled, even under threat of punishment. In the end she had let him go. He wasn’t carrying enough to warrant an arrest and beside it wasn’t really doing anyone any harm. She patrolled the streets for a couple of weeks but Dylan wasn’t stupid and he chose to lay low. Eventually Fran relented and turned her attention to more important matters, such as the trouble up at the Owens.
It was a bit of a long shot, chasing a suspect who had most likely altered his distribution routine but she wasn’t so keen on the idea of turning up at his house and giving Dylan’s mother a heart attack she could do without. Not till they were a 100% certain anyway.
Fran was just beginning to give up hope, when she saw none other then Dylan sitting on a swing in the small play park just round the corner from the Llangaerthan Primary School. Even from a distance she could tell he was smoking, the large plume of smoke that encircled his head was far denser then the wispy mist that surrounded the town. Whether it was a roll-up, cigarette or something funkier she did not know but it didn’t really matter. It paled in comparison to significant evidence at the scene of the crime.
Fran wrapped herself up in as many layers as possible, so as to make her less easily identifiable. There was good reason for this. If Dylan was up to no good, he would bolt in an instance and Fran wasn’t built for speed. Surprisingly effective over a short distance but judging the age and fitness difference, Dylan would soon outrun her, even caught unawares. As she climbed out of the car and turned to lock the door behind her, she realized her hands were trembling. Here she was, a woman her age trembling like a little girl. But she couldn’t help it. Nervous excitement had seized hold of her and was refusing to let go. She had never experienced such thrill and adrenaline. Her career although fairly long in its run, consisted mainly of keeping the boy racers in check, confiscating kids with illegal substances, finding lost animals and occasionally if she was really lucky, giving a talk at the primary school. This however was a whole another kettle of fish. Here she was on the verge of apprehending their potential killer, although she highly doubted it was Dylan, and it was all a bit overwhelming. She took a deep breath, trying to focus on the task in hand and locked the door successfully this time. Then she proceeded to cross the road towards the play-park, her camouflaged body enveloped by the swirling mists.
Dylan rocked slowly back and forth on the creaky swings, scraping his Adidas trainers across the soft tarmac of the play park floor. He was puffing on a long roll-up that was considerably fatter at one end. He almost choked on a lungful of the fragrant smoke, when he noticed a large bundle of clothes emerge from the mists and hobble towards him. Instinctively, he hid the roll-up behind his back and wafted as much of the smoke away from his face as possible. The bundle drew closer and Dylan, upon realizing they were approaching him, regrettably chucked the roll-up as far away from him as possible. His eyes were hazy and so he struggled at first to discern who lay beneath the impenetrable fortress of clothes. When recognition did finally dawn on the spaced out Dylan it was too late and his attempt to flee was thwarted by Fran’s leg, which she stuck out unexpectedly.
Bridge had had less success in acquiring the other terrible twin. With no indication where the lad might be, he did the only logical thing he could think of and went to Gethin’s house. Not that he went in. That would have been a highly foolish endeavor. Especially with a still livid Gethin somewhere inside. Instead, he had settled to wait outside, a little way down the road. Fran would have laughed at the measures he had gone to conceal his identity. Whereas she had opted for a little more extra clothing, Bridge had taken it to a whole another level. Perhaps it was his over active imagination or more likely the case, that he had grown up wanting to follow in the footsteps of his favorite literary creation ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Either way the once clean Detective Inspector was now slumped in a doorway, wearing what appeared to be a grubby stained hoodie and grimy jeans. He had his hood pulled over his head and had what looked like dirt on his face. A half full bottle of vodka was clasped in a finger-less glove held hand. All that was missing was the mangy dog. To be perfectly honest Bridge had actually considered acquiring a dog to add to his cover but he couldn’t justify it. What would he do with the animal afterwards? They would certainly not let him bring it to the pub, that’s for sure.
The hours dragged by and Bridge grew more and more despondent that the younger brother was unlikely to make an appearance. Fran had called him twice already. Once to tell him she had brought Dylan in for questioning and he was currently stewing in one of the many empty cells and another to check if he was planning to make an appearance at any point in the day. He was just beginning to wonder himself, when the front door opened and Rhys emerged onto the doorstep, blinking groggily. Bridge staggered to his feet, shielding his eyes from the bright sunlight that was attempting desperately to break through and dispel the pervading morning mist.
‘Oi bumder, pick up your phone you git.’ Rhys spoke into his mobile, as he walked down the street.
He didn’t return it to his pocket however. Instead he swiped on it expertly for a few minutes before tinny, grimy bass started to pound from the small speaker on its back. Bridge crossed the road and proceeded to tail him, first at a distance but then he began to close the gap between them, eager to collar him before he got too far. Rhys didn’t hear Bridge approaching but he was alerted by the presence of another due to the smell. Bridge not only wanted to look the part but also smell the part too. After a while, Rhys just couldn’t stand the smell any longer.
‘You following me you old tramp.’ He shouted curtly, gnashing on some chewing gum with added vigor.
‘Spare some change?’ Bridge said gruffly and held out one of his gloved hands expectantly.
‘Well in that case, would you mind accompanying me down to the station son?’
Rhys looked totally flabbergasted for a couple of seconds, his dull brain grinding like an old mechanical machine trying to whir itself into life. The understanding dawned and he turned on his heels and bounded away down the pavement. Bridge sighed, why did he have to get the difficult one? And set after the fleeing culprit, drawing many strange glances from passers by.
It took Bridge roughly seven minutes to apprehend Rhys, carried out by a near perfect rugby tackle to the ground over on the college campus. Despite being the younger of the two men, Rhys’ diet consisted of KFC and Maccy D’s and his idea of exercise was lifting dumbbells whilst still lying in bed.
‘Hey, that homeless man is attacking that boy.’ A college student shouted, upon seeing the two tussle on the ground.
‘I’m a police officer.’ Bridge protested but his disguise was so convincing, that soon a mob had gathered to try and break the two apart.
Finally Bridge managed to cuff Rhys’ hands together before he was wrenched backwards by two of the larger college kids. He managed to extract his police identification but not before the two kids, two girls from the college rugby team had dealt him a couple of tough blows to the gut. They were very apologetic, which Bridge would have appreciated if he hadn’t been so keen to get away from the lot of them.
Fran was throwing paper balls at the bin, unsuccessful in the majority of attempts, when a loud commotion from the lobby made her look up from her important work. She got to her feet and peeked her head round the door.
‘Get your filthy hands off me, I ain’t done nothing wrong.’
Rhys was grappling with what seemed to be a scruffy looking homeless man. It was only when he spoke, that Fran made the connection and she had to force a hand to her mouth to conceal her amusement.
‘You are a suspect in our investigation, not to mention resisting arrest.’
With the aid of Desk Sergeant Paul, who looked less then pleased to lend a hand, they manhandled Rhys through a metal door that led to the four cells the Llangaerthen Police Station currently housed. Kicking and screaming, Rhys was forced inside a vacant cell and both Desk Sergeant Paul and Bridge heaved a collective sigh of relief, at having put a sheet of metal between them and the protesting adolescent. They returned to the lobby to find an amused Fran loitering around the desk.
‘Like the look.’ She commented and winked at Desk Sergeant Paul, who looked as though he was about to pass out from the six minutes of exertion. But then again he did have an unnatural habit of sweating profusely.
Bridge ignored her and muttered something about grabbing a shower before disappearing through another door which led to the washrooms.
Gethin kicked at a dandelion head but not in his customary fashion of having nothing better to do but instead out of a deep anger. He was stood at the top of a field in the middle of nowhere. Gethin had chosen this location in particular because he had spent the last minute or so, yelling and swearing at the top of his lungs. Irritated did not truly convey how the young officer felt. His skin itched with the annoyance, so much so, that he had actually scratched his arms and chest red, such was his frustration. It wasn’t simply rage at his brother’s apprehension. It was rage at everybody. Fran, Bridge, Dylan, Rhys. They all caused him such insurmountable grief. He just wanted them to all shut up and leave him alone. Granted, the yelling had helped.
Eventually, he stopped attacking the flowers, it wasn’t their fault at the end of the day and sat down in the grass. It was still wet but Gethin didn’t care. He didn’t care about anything anymore. Well that was a lie. Gethin cared about his little brothers or more accurately his mum. That woman had been through enough already to suffer dealing with any more anguish.
As he sat there, his bum becoming steadily more damp, he tried to wrap his head around it all. Dylan and Rhys were a handful, there was no denying that. It had soon become apparent, when they had set fire to Farmer Owen’s hay bales, that they had a taste for petty arson but murder? That was a whole another level, not to mention the fact that the MO just didn’t add up. Even if they had gone so far as to kill a man, the two twerps didn’t own the capacity to execute such a staged and rehearsed killing. Arthur’s Babcock’s murder was methodical, clearly carried out by someone with skill and experience. Which made Gethin wonder why Fran had gone ahead with it. Bridge he could understand, just. He was a no nonsense detective, too engrossed in the facts and enlivened by the chase to see sense but Fran? Surely she knew this quite simply did not add up. Puffing his cheeks out loudly, he hugged his knees tight to his chest and watched the orange sun rise gradually over the horizon.
Back at the station Bridge and Fran were discussing how best to proceed with their interviews.
‘I think i should interview Dylan.’ Bridge suggested and when he didn’t justify why Fran opposed the motion.
‘To be honest I think i should interview Dylan.’
Bridge looked slightly disgruntled.
Fran looked a little angered.
‘uh uh, you tell me first?’
Bridge flapped his coat out.
‘Well personally I think I should take the lead on this, seeing as I identified the piece of tracksuit.’
‘Give over, the forensics team made the identification and if we are going to get into specifics, it was actually Gethin who found the piece of tracksuit.’ Fran replied forcefully.
Bridge looked affronted but said nothing. He didn’t have a leg to stand on and he knew it.
‘Besides, I brought Dylan in, it is only right that I interview him.’
Bridge opened his mouth to protest but Fran powered on before he had a chance.
‘And I actually know the brothers. I have dealt with these two before, especially Dylan. If we want any chance of getting them to cough up, I know how.’
Begrudgingly Bridge nodded his head in mute acceptance. The two got to their feet and inhaled a collective deep breath.
‘Remember, we need to make both brothers think the other one is banged to rights.’
Fran nodded firmly, trying to psyche herself up for what was to come. Although she was taking the lead with the interviews, she had neglected to admit to Bridge that her stomach was aflutter with butterflies.
‘Good luck.’ She said and held out her hand.
Bridge shook her hand firmly. It felt clammy and wet. Bridge thought about commenting on the fact but he eventually decided against it. Fran did have a good point. It was the most logical plan.
Fran gripped the door handle to the interrogation room tightly and took a deep breath. She could do this. Granted, it had been a long time since she had actually had to formally question anyone but she was just a little rusty, that was all. From the other side of the door came the sounds of thumping, Dylan most probably kicking one of the table legs in protest. Bridge was already in the other interrogation room, Fran had glimpsed him moments before, striding confidently through the door and speaking in a commanding tone to Rhys, who had started going off at him as soon as he entered the room. This had only served to reinforce Fran’s timidness to proceed. She peeked through the small window in the door and was greeted with Dylan flipping her the finger. Cheeky lit git she thought, her hand tightening on the handle. That was better. She needed to treat this like any other occasion when she encountered Dylan, to assume her motherly nature and embarrass the young boy. Feeling a little more confident, not a lot but enough, she took a moment and then pushed open the door to face the music.
She was expecting a torrent of abuse to be flung at her, as she entered the room but she was surprised to find she was met with silence. Dylan had stopped kicking the chair and was watching Fran with his Damien stare. She wasn’t phased by it, as many others would be. Fran had seen that look before, several times, when Dylan was younger. For a while people had taken to calling him the omen child, as whenever he was angry with someone he would fix them with this deathlike stare. Fran pulled out her chair and sat down. A recording machine was setup on the table, and a half empty packet of cigarettes, which belonged to Dylan. Fran could smell the lingering effects of one and she glanced at both the packet and Dylan disapprovingly. He gave a broad smile, which coupled with his burning stare, reminded Fran of the end scene of ‘Psycho’, where Anthony Perkins is leering evilly at the camera. Ignoring his attempts to put her off, Fran placed a folder on the table in front of her, opened it and began to read. Dylan was not expecting this and he struggled to maintain his cool, as Fran sat patiently opposite him, leafing through the folder casually. In a bid to seek petty revenge, he reached for his pack of smokes and was taken aback for a second time when Fran’s hand slammed down on his.
‘What the bloody hell mun?’ He exclaimed and withdrew his hand quickly.
Fran picked up the pack of half crushed cigarettes and regarded them for a moment. Then she did something which totally threw Dylan. She lit one up. He watched, mouth hung open in dazed surprise, as she drew in deep tokes of the death stick. Then, without a word she leant across the table and pushed a button on the side of the recording machine. There was a loud and frankly irritating buzz for a couple of seconds before Fran announced.
‘Interview 1 with suspect Dylan Jones, led by Sergeant Francesca Thomas of the Llangaerthen constabulary. The time is 11.00am and the date is the 18th January 2014.’
She paused and glanced over at Dylan, who looked so bemused at the strangeness of how the interview was conducted, to the point that his head appeared as if it was about to pop straight off.
‘Mr Jones, where were you on the night of Tuesday 14th January 2014?’
Dylan, who had been momentarily distracted by Fran’s odd behaviour, composed himself once more and said nothing.
‘Let it be known for the records that I am holding up evidence item 2423 for Mr. Jones to see.’
Dylan leant forwards to see what she was holding and the look of determined resilience faltered for a second in his eyes.
‘Do you recognize this Mr. Jones?’
‘I’ve never seen that before in my life.’
Fran took one last hit of the cigarette and crushed it underfoot, adding particular gusto as she stamped it out. Dylan didn’t flinch but secretly he felt slightly intimidated by Fran’s off the chain behaviour.
‘I am also handing Mr. Jones a copy of the forensics report for evidence item 2423.’
She slid it across the table at Dylan, who ignored it initially and sat there with his arms crossed.
‘The report in question identifies that a hair sample of Mr. Jones was found on evidence item 2423: the torn fragment of tracksuit.’
Dylan flashed her a dangerous look before scrutinizing the report in front of him. It did not look good. The evidence was there as plain as day. He swallowed, his large Adam’s apple undulating under his skin. Fran studied the young lad’s face from across the table.
‘This item of evidence was found in one of Farmer Owens’ fields.’
‘The same field in which the body of Arthur Babcock was discovered.’
Again Dylan said nothing. Fran could see the colour had drained quickly from his face and despite his unwillingness to cooperate, she felt sorry for him.
The more informal nature of Fran’s tone got his attention.
‘Do you understand the gravity of the situation? Evidence that links directly to you was discovered at the scene of a murder. You have got to help me out here Dylan, otherwise I am forced to assume the worst.’
Then Dylan said the dreaded words that Fran never wanted to hear.
‘I ain’t saying nothing till I get a lawyer.’
‘Dylan I implore you to see reason. Having a lawyer by your side isn’t going to change the fact that an incriminating piece of evidence belonging to you was found at a crime scene.’
Dylan said nothing and folded his arms resolutely. The two stared at one another defiantly for a couple of seconds before Fran reached over to the recording machine.
‘Interview terminated at 11.15am.’
She hit the stop button and rose to her feet.
‘I’ll get your lawyer then.’ She said disappointed and left the room, slamming her door on the way out.
Whereas Fran couldn’t seem to get Dylan to talk, the same was not to be said in Interview room 2. Bridge was having no amounts of fun trying to stifle the young Rhys, who had set it his task to apparently make as bigger scene as possible.
‘I don’t give two shits who you are boyo, let me out of here before I press charges for assault.’
The interview was going well. In the space of five minutes, Rhys had insulted him, let out a particularly lethal fart and even hurled his empty polystyrene cup at Bridge’s head.
‘As I have told you before, you’re lucky I don’t book you for resisting arrest.’
‘Whatever suit, just get on with it already, I’ve got a hot date in twenty minutes and she doesn’t like to be kept waiting, if you know what I mean.’ He gave Bridge a knowing wink.
Bridge sighed and flicked on the play button on the recording machine. As with Fran’s machine there was a loud prolonged beep that forced Rhys to stick his fingers in his ears.
‘Interview 2 with witness Rhys Jones, led by Detective Inspector Nicholas Bridge of Kingsmound Police Constabulary. The time is 11.05am and the date is 18 January 2014.’
Bridge was about to go on but Rhys held up his hand.
‘Woah there, did you just call me a witness?’
Bridge readjusted his collar in the manner of one who has been interrupted in a train of thought.
‘Based on new evidence that has come to light on our case, we believe that there is the possibility that you bore witness to the murder of Arthur Babcock at Gareth Owen’s farm on Tuesday 14th January.’
There was silence. A long, echoing silence. Bridge reveled in it gleefully. This was the effect he had been waiting for and the expression on Rhys’ face only served to embolden Bridge in his interrogation efforts. His victory was short lived however, as Rhys took him by surprise by suddenly bursting into laughter. Bridge fixed him with the most peculiar stare.
‘This is a joke right. Did Gethin put you up to this? He said you were a bit queer, I thought he meant a puff but now I see he meant the other thing.’
Bridge said nothing. He had not expected this and now he was at a loss at how best to proceed next. Not that he had to say anything, his grim expression told Rhys everything he wanted to know. He scratched the back of his ear sheepishly and shifted his gaze to his lap.
‘Why were you in that field that night Rhys. Did your older brother put you up to it? Was it his idea to move the body there?’
Rhys looked horrified and for the first time in the interview and maybe even in Bridge’s career, he felt a twang of sympathy for the runaway chav.
‘I don’t no nothing about no body.’ He said feebly and for a moment Bridge was worried that he might chuck up all over the table.
But luckily he managed to keep his breakfast down and so Bridge poked further at the already exposed wound.
‘I would love to believe you Mr. Jones but these are serious charges. I’m going to need you to help me out here.’
Rhys was about to comply when something extremely rare occurred, his brain spun with life, stopping him for blurting out something stupid.
‘I wasn’t anywhere near that field that night and better yet I can prove it.’
Bridge was surprised at the boy’s quick thinking. It seemed that the Jones’ family were cleverer then they first appeared. A mistake that Bridge had previously made with Gethin and one he was keen not to replicate.
‘I couldn’t have been in that field, as I was with my girl at the cinema.’
Rhys shifted uncomfortably.
‘No not all night. I tried to you know…’
He formed a hole with his fist and poked his finger through. Bridge held up his hands.
‘Okay, okay… I get it. Then what?’
Rhys looked hesitant to respond and averted his eyes from Bridge’s.
‘Rhys, I can’t help you if you don’t help me.’
The more personal use of his first name seemed to do the trick.
‘Me and the lads went on a road trip to Clandowey, as Darren knew some of the local girls were out that night.’
‘Darren Rhios?’ Bridge asked, consulting his paperwork.
Rhys nodded regrettably. The mention of his gang leader’s name had immediately raised his anxious levels to a high alert. Not totally obvious to the common eye but Bridge was experienced in matters such as detecting slight nuances and body gestures with suspects under interrogation. Bridge could expertly tell from the way Rhys’ shoulders were hunched up defensively and the ever so slight twitch in the corner of his cheek, that the name grated on him.
‘This Darren Rhios, is he the leader of the gang?’
Rhys shrugged awkwardly.
‘I guess you could say that.’
‘Tell me about him, what’s he like?’
Rhys looked unsure.
‘Why do you want to know?’
‘Just entertain me.’
Rhys sighed, he was starting to get fidgety again.
‘I’d rather not talk about it.’
‘Why, does it make you uncomfortable Mr. Jones?’
‘What do you want me to say. Darren’s a laugh, he can be a bit mental sometimes but you know…he is a cool guy.’
Bridge nodded and realigned his folder of paperwork on the desk in front of him.
‘Cool guy eh? The sort of cool guy who convinces his mates to sneak onto someone’s farm and set fire to their hay bales?’
Rhys’ cheeked flared hotly, he was starting to sweat behind his ears.
‘How…do you know about that?’
Bridge flashed him a cynical look.
‘I’m a detective Mr. Jones, that’s sort of what I do.’
Rhys gave him a mocking smile and scratched his crotch in an undignified manner.
‘That stuff is all in the past. I don’t do that anymore so you can just forget asking me anymore about some codger snuffing it on the farm.’
And with that he sat back and fixed Bridge with a look of the upmost contempt and disgust. Bridge interlaced his fingers and gave a casual shrug.
‘Very well, I didn’t want it to come to this but…’
From within the folder, Bridge extracted two pieces of paper and slid them across the table to Rhys, who took one look at them and turned ghostly white.
‘Let it be known to the recording that I am presenting potential witness Rhys Jones with a copy of evidence report 2423 and a corresponding image of said evidence.’
Rhys couldn’t seem to tear his eyes away from the blown up image of the torn fragment of tracksuit. This looked bad. Real bad. Not for him but for Dylan. Silently, he pushed the two documents back over towards Bridge and began twisting his sleeve in his fingers tightly. Bridge tapped the photograph, the nail of his finger clicking against the solid wood of the table beneath.
‘This piece of evidence links your brother to the murder of Arthur Babcock. If you don’t start talking soon, my associate Sergeant Francesca Thomas will have no choice but to charge him with first degree murder.’
Rhys looked as white as a sheet and Bridge had to strain his ears in order to catch the next four words that came out of Rhys’ mouth in barely a whisper.
‘He will kill me.’
Bridge looked very serious all of a sudden and pulled his chair right up to the table and snapped his fingers at Rhys, who jumped at the sudden noise and close proximity of Bridge’s hand.
‘Hey Rhys…look at me…who will kill you?’
‘I…can’t… say.’ Rhys said helplessly, the veins in his temples throbbing with frustration.
Bridge slapped his hand down on the table hard.
‘For god’s sake man, you would keep your silence over your own brother.’
Rhys’ eyes stung with tears, not out of shock or fear but instead they glistened with guilt.
‘We weren’t in that field that night.’ He shouted defensively and swiped the documents of the table in one arc of his arm.
Realizing the extent of his outburst, he sheepishly sat back down and said in a low voice.
‘The night me and Dylan snuck into Farmer Owen’s farm and set fire to his hay bales, Dylan ripped his tracksuit bottoms trying to climb over the fence. Darren had dared us to go in there for a bet but when we had done it and were trying to climb back out, he thought it would be funny to try and stop us. He kept pushing me back and Dylan got angry and they had a little tussle. It was not until afterwards that we both noticed the tear and by then it was too late.’
He was red in the face when he had finished his speech and a mixture of relief and dismay were etched upon his face. Bridge tented his fingers and considered Rhys’ words.
‘This Darren character, does he often pull pranks like this?’
Rhys swallowed and said nothing. His silence confirmed Bridge’s suspicious.
‘I’ll take that as a yes then.’
Rhys looked totally and utterly crestfallen.
‘You said Darren was with you the night of the murder. Did he say what he had been doing prior to your boys outing?’
Rhys shook his head mutely.
‘Can you voice your answers for the recording please?’
‘No’ Rhys stated sullenly.
‘So you were with him the whole night?’
‘Only till like ten. We came home early cos Darren got stood up and he couldn’t get his end away at the club. Dropped me and Dylan off home and said he was going for a drive to clear his head.’
As soon as he had said it, Rhys instantly regretted his decision. But it was too late, Bridge was already on his feet.
‘Interview terminated at 11.20am.’
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