Then There Were Three (part 11 of 25)
Then There Were Three (part 11 of 25) postapocalyptic stories
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ferp2 Old, well, old-ish.
Autoplay OFF   •   23 days ago
The two patrolmen who had escorted the three orphans back to the tunnel entrance seemed in no hurry to get back inside. They took the opportunity, away from authority, to light up and all three men were soon talking about things that were of absolutely no interest to three under tens.

Then There Were Three (part 11 of 25)

The two patrolmen who had escorted the three orphans back to the tunnel entrance seemed in no hurry to get back inside.

They took the opportunity, away from authority, to light up and all three men were soon talking about things that were of absolutely no interest to three under tens.

Finny was not liking being kept away. Shooed outside like some naughty child. She had an idea. She walked up to the patrolmen.

"Hey, mister." She said, not addressing any one of them in particular. "We're gonna go and play, okay?"

They looked at her. Then laughed.

"Nice try, kid."

The first patrolman, the one who had been left behind, dropped his smoke and ground it under his boot.

"You three are staying right where I can see you."

Finny thought a rude word. She changed tack.

"Okay, but I need a wee anyway. I'm not gonna do it where you all can watch an' if you do, I'll tell Joe you were perving me up."

The three men looked at each other. Did they really want to get on the bad side of the gangster? The other two looked at the first one. He crumbled.

"Okay fine, go take a piss. But don't make me have to come looking for you."

"Thanks, mister." She said. Suckers, she thought.

Finny skipped off, around the corner and out of sight. Then she started to run, straight to the hole in the wall.

With years of practical experience of wiggling through tight spaces, Finny reversed into the hole and dropped down as quietly as she could onto the pile of bones.

'As quietly as she could' still made a noise and Finny winced and held her breath for the sound of approaching adults.

"What do you think?" Joe asked Tukiko in a voice barely above a whisper. "Do you think Worms..." He nodded in the direction of the autopsy table. "Did that?"

Tukiko sighed.

"The mutilation? Yes, I'm almost sure he did. See the box on the other side of the table? He probably stood on that to be able to reach."

Joe looked, and immediately the picture came to mind of Worms doing just that.


Tuki distracted him with a touch to his arm.

"But I'm also pretty sure that the little girl was already dead."

"How can you know that?"

"Look under the table, in front of the box? See that bundle of cloth?"

"Yes, so?"

"That looks like a shroud. Used to wrap a body in for burial."

Joe didn't look convinced.

"Looks like a pile of rags to me."

"Maybe. I'll go and get a better look. But I don't think Worms has killed anyone. I think he may have dug up a recently buried corpse... At least I hope he has."

Joe was left with his thoughts as Tukiko got down on her hands and knees under the autopsy table.

Even if Worms had just dug up a corpse, not that that wasn't pretty fucking sick anyway, Joe mused. It still didn't excuse what the creepy little fucker had done to the poor kid afterwards.

Dr Ducas was taken away from his conversation with Inspector Crabbe from the NFPD when he spotted Hope Springs' resident physician crawling about under the table.

"Doctor Troy! Please don't touch anything."

Finny let out the breath she had been holding. Phew, nobody coming.

Placing her feet very carefully so as not to disturb the bones on the floor, Finny tip-toed in the direction the others must have gone before unfairly sending her and the others away.

The further away she got from the little bit of light coming in through the hole, the darker it was getting.

She could make out the light of the hurricane lamp up ahead but, right now, she was edging her way along the wall using her hands to guide her.

She reached the open doorway and tried to peer inside,

but her eyes were still adjusting and all she could see was the dim outlines of big bottles as the little bit of light available reflected off the glass surfaces.

Finny edged past the doorway and on towards the light of the distant hurricane lamp. Now she could make out the corner and people by the wall and the voice of the Union doctor.

She guessed from the one-sidedness of the conversation that he was talking into a radio. What had they found, she wondered? She was almost at the corner.

Joe and the other two men still hadn't seen her, they were watching something in the room. Her fingers found the corner edge.

"Doctor Troy! Please don't touch anything."

Inspector Crabbe was furiously trying to write down at least some of the mass of information coming over the airwaves into his old telephone.

What was annoying him was partly the fact that his pen was just pushing the paper across the desk half the time as he tried to make words.

But mainly it was because Kojarsky was just sitting a metre away with his feet up, doughnut and coffee in hand and watching him struggle.

All the while his stupid jaws moving slowly up and down as he gooified the mouthful of doughnut. Roll on retirement.

When he finally finished, Crabbe was sweating. Child murders, while not too uncommon, were politically very sensitive. The Union would be watching his every move on this case.

He read through the notes he had made. Secret underground room. Mutilated infant. Body parts arranged, probably ceremoniously. And to top it all, the chief suspect was another kid.

Effing wonderful. A career finisher on a plate, to go.

He was going to need his best man on this. He looked across the desk to where Kojarsky was wiping spilt coffee off his trousers with the doughnut. Fucking useless.

He went to the office door and flung it open with more force than was strictly called for.


Doctor Troy's head hit the bottom of the autopsy table with a solid thud.

"I'm not touching anything! I'm just looking at this. There's a funeral shroud under the table."

Dr Ducas squatted down beside her.

"Let me see."

Finny poked her head around the corner. The two doctors were on the floor looking at something, but their big bums were in the way. Then she noticed something on top of the funny metal table.

She squinted in the bad light and took a step forward to see... Her foot stepped in the patrolman's vomit and skidded forward.

The tiny gasp coming from the darkness to his left was enough to drag Joe's attention away from accidentally staring at Tukiko's backside. When he saw Finny, Joe nearly dropped his cigar.

Finny peered harder.

Was that...? But then Finny's vision was interrupted by a wall of familiar brown cloth and the unmistakable aroma of beer and cigars.

She looked up into the face of cigar-chewing fury for only a half a heartbeat before she found herself being roughly turned and frog-marched several steps back down the passageway.

Then she was just as ungently turned back around to find Joe's face only centimetres from her own. It hadn't changed much.

"What the hell are you doing here?!" Joe hissed, spitting tobacco fragments into her face.

When you are a child, and you are contemplating doing something you know is likely to get you into trouble...

But you really really want to do it anyway,

you gauge the likely reaction of your parent or other authority figure and decide if that thing you really really want to do is going to be worth the consequences.

Finny was now discovering that she had miscalculated, badly.

"I..." But the shock of Joe's bulging eyes had robbed her words away. "I... I..."

Tukiko appeared. So, too, did Dr Ducas, before he tutted and went back to examining his crime scene.

Joe still held Finny by the shoulders and now shook her with each word.

"I told you to stay outside!"

Tukiko slid between Finny and Joe, pulling the little girl gently out of Joe's grasp.

Joe stood up, but he hadn't finished.

"You'll likely be having nightmares for weeks after seeing those heads. No doubt I'll get the blame..."

Finny had been rubbing her shoulders. Joe had big hands, unnaturally big. So big that they were part of his myth amongst the younger kids.

But now, the very real fear of an imminent whipping dissolved into the background by very Finnyish curiosity.

"What heads?"

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