“Daddy……It has happened again!” "Who was it this time?", the judge enquired. "Mr. Penrose, the man I met at the party last Friday" "Ok! Leave it with me”
The phone beeped as Madeline ended the call. The judge knew just who to contact even at this late hour and started scrolling through his list of most recent calls and there it was, the name of the person he needed in times like these. With no hesitation he pressed the name on the screen and waited for the call to be answered.
“Hello”, answered Judge Hume in a groggy voice. “Hello Duncan” “Arthur! What can I do for you at this late hour?”, Judge Hume asked worriedly. “We need to meet. 8am…my chambers”, Judge Hastings replied assertively.
“Of course. I shall see you then” The next morning Arthur awoke to the sound of heavy rain pounding against his bedroom window. As loud as it was, the sound of the rain was nothing compared to the pounding that was going on inside his head.
Over-thinking had always been a curse which would lead to only one outcome, a severe headache and this morning was no different. After finishing the daily routine of showering, shaving and getting dressed, an hour had passed and it was now 7am. In light of the time he skipped his usual, high fibre, breakfast and replaced it with a cup of tea before heading off to the courthouse.
The drive from the Judge’s residence to the courthouse was only half an hour but today the 30 minutes felt like an eternity. It was not a conversation that he wanted to have but it was something he knew had to happen.
His vintage Rolls Royce pulled up to the private back entrance of the courthouse, reserved for judges and other senior staff and after the usual pleasantries, Judge Hastings found himself in his chambers anxiously awaiting his friend and fellow brethren. Right on schedule there was a knock on the door and Judge Hastings came to life and opened the door.
“Good morning Duncan”, said Arthur as he stepped out and quickly looked up and down the corridor while his guest stepped into his chambers. After being satisfied with what he saw the judge closed the door behind him and offered his friend a seat on the sofa in the middle of the room.
“So what was so urgent that you had to call me in the middle of the night my dear friend?”, Duncan asked inquisitively. “There has been another incident that needs to be taken care of”, Judge Hastings replied in a cold stern manner. “What kind of incident?”
“Mr. Penrose is dead”, the judge responded without any emotion. “Madeline?” “Yes”
“I shall alert the chief of police”, Judge Hume said. “Do not worry I shall make sure this never gets investigated, however, this one will be difficult to brush aside” “How so?”, asked the Judge.
“Mr. Penrose is a much favoured member with politicians and makes sizeable contributions to party funds. His death will have ramifications” “I understand but she is my daughter and I cannot let her be harmed!”, the judge replied standing his ground.
“He was also a brethren” “As are we!” Judge Hume looked square in to the judge’s eyes and saw a look of determination that he knew could not be altered.
It was a look he had seen many times before but this time, because of who Mr. Penrose was, he knew that covering this murder up was near enough impossible.
“Many of our brethren will be upset with what has occurred and demand answers”, Judge Hume said in an attempt to discourage Arthur from the task he was asking to be performed. “I’m sure your silver tongue will find a way of calming down such concerns”, Judge Hastings replied softly but still assertively.
Just then the door to the chambers opened and in came Penelope, the personal assistant to Judge Hastings, with a pot of tea with all the fixings and some biscuits. Both judges stopped speaking immediately and turned to look at Penelope.
“I thought you might like some refreshments for breakfast Your Honour”, she said very charmingly. “Thank you Penelope, that is very kind of you”, replied Judge Hastings in a warm and calm voice. “Please. Just set that down and we shall help ourselves. That will be all, thank you Penelope”
“Yes my Lord”, Penelope said, knowing exactly what was meant by that last remark, as she placed the tray on the coffee table in front of the sofa and quietly made her way out of the room. Her timely intrusion breaking the tension that had been building up in the chambers from the start of the conversation.
They sat there and watched her leave and as soon as the door closed behind her they both turned their gaze back to each other on the opposite ends of the sofa. “I shall see what I can do”, said Judge Hume looking straight into Arthur’s eyes. “I will speak to the necessary people directly and resolve this matter”
Just as Judge Hume said the last word, three loud knocks sounded on the door to the chambers. They both got up and went to the door. “Give me an update tonight please Duncan”, Judge Hastings said as he reached for the handle of the door, ready to open it and show his friend out.
“Of course”, Duncan replied as the door opened and they both found themselves looking at a pale man dressed in very expensive attire waiting silently to be let in. Judge Hume looked directly at the gentleman and lowered his eyes slightly and made his way out in to the corridor and on with his affairs.
Judge Hastings stood there staring at this well dressed man coldly staring back at him.
Judge Hastings stood there staring at this well dressed man coldly staring back at him. “Oh it’s you. Come in!”