فصل 03

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کتاب های خیلی ساده

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فصل 03

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Chapter three

Death Waits at the Bedroom Door

Up in her room, Sally cannot sleep. Perhaps it is the cheese that she ate at the evening meal. She wakes up several times and lies in bed listening to the owl in the wood. Then she hears a sound on the stairs.

Sally’s heart begins to beat faster. She climbs out of bed and slowly and quietly opens her door. She sees her father going carefully down the stairs and into the hall. She does not want to speak, as she might wake the Larkins. She gently closes her door again and sits on the bed.

What should I do, she thinks to herself. What has dad seen? Should I follow him, or should I stay in my room? Finally, Sally decides to get dressed but to stay in her room and wait to see if anything happens.

Dressed in jeans and a jumper, she sits by her window and looks out onto the dark, silent yard. The night air is cool, and she is glad that she has put on a jumper.

After a few moments she hears the front door open. It is then gently closed, and she sees a figure cautiously cross the yard towards the barn. She is sure that it is her father. But what has he been doing downstairs? It has taken him a long time to leave the house. The figure goes down the side of the barn and disappears from her view.

Sally still does not know what to do. What if her father does not come back? How long should she wait before she goes to look for him?

A few moments pass, and she hears the sound of the front door closing again. Now she sees another figure cross the yard. Again, Sally’s heart begins to beat faster. It is Mrs Larkin and she has Brutus by her side. They both cross the yard without making a sound and go down the side of the barn, where her father went only moments before.

Oh no, she thinks. What do I do now? She is feeling frightened and her heart is now beating like a drum.

DI Rush opens his eyes and sees that he is inside the barn. He is sitting on a chair. When he tries to move, he finds that his hands are tied behind him, and his feet are tied to the chair. Also, a piece of cloth has been pushed into his mouth. His head hurts, and for a few moments he is not sure what happened. The last thing he remembers is looking through the window into the barn. He looks around him. He sees again the group of men, all of them black, that he saw through the window. They look like Africans. The men are sitting around on the floor of the barn. Most of them look tired and frightened. Each of them has a rucksack. At that moment, Mr Larkin appears from behind the van. He looks across at DI Rush.

“Ah, Mr Rush. I see that you’re awake,” he says. “I knew that you would be a problem from the moment you arrived. Always asking questions, always looking where you shouldn’t be looking. And you see what’s happened. Now, I’ll have to kill you.”

DI Rush tries to answer, but he cannot speak because of the cloth in his mouth. Larkin comes across to him and pulls it out. The Africans watch in silence DI Rush breathes deeply before he speaks. “You don’t have to kill me. I wont say anything. I know that you’re bringing illegal immigrants into the country, but that isn’t as serious as murder. Don’t be stupid. If I disappear, my daughter will go to the police.”

“Your daughter won’t be able to go to the police,” says Larkin in a very unfriendly tone of voice. “She will be dead as well.”

‘No!” pleads DI Rush. “Not Sally!”

“Yes,” replies Larkin. “My wife has just gone to fetch her from her room.” He begins to smile. “She’s a very attractive girl, your daughter. If Mrs Larkin wasn’t here, I could have some fun with her.”

“You animal,” growls DI Rush and struggles in the chair, but he cannot break the wire which is around his wrists and ankles. “You won’t get away with this.”

Larkin grabs the inspector’s head and pushes the cloth back in his mouth.

Oh, I think we will, Mr Rush,” he replies. “This is our last job. We have been doing this for three years now. It seems that everyone wants to come to England. Most nights of the week, a group of immigrants come across by boat from France. We meet them on the beach and bring them here. We give them a drink and a sandwich and then take them to London in the van. We get one thousand pounds for each one. Do you know how much money we have now, Mr Rush?”

DI Rush just stares silently at him, hate in his eyes. He knows that he cannot do anything to stop Larkin. Oh God, he thinks I can’t even warn Sally!

“Well, we have enough to start a new life in another country. Somewhere warmer than England. I don’t want to work again ever. I want to spend my time with beautiful girls.” He laughs.

“Don’t tell Mrs Larkin, will you.”

As he begins to walk away, he adds, “Well, I can’t stand here talking all night. There’s work to be done.”

Suddenly they hear the sound of Brutus barking in the house.

“Perhaps your daughter is putting up a struggle,” laughs Larkin. “I hope Brutus doesn’t get hold of her. We don’t want blood all over the house.”

He walks to the barn door, opens it slightly and looks out. Then he returns and speaks to the Africans.

“In,” he says and points to the back of the van. “London.”

The men pick up their rucksacks and begin to move towards the van. Some of them look at the inspector tied to the chair, but none of them do anything to help him. Silently, one by one, they climb into the back of the van. When they are all in, Larkin closes the doors.

He looks across at the DI.

“We don’t want too many witnesses, do we, Mr Rush?” he says. “Not that we are going to kill you here. We’ll put you and your daughter in the boot of your car and drive it to London before we shoot you. By the time the police find you and discover who you are, we’ll be out of the country. As soon as Brenda gets back with your daughter, we can go.”

DI Rush tries to free himself, but the wire is tied too tightly. I will have to wait for the right moment, he thinks.

Hopefully, I’ll have an opportunity to escape when they try to put me in the car.

For the moment, however, he can only sit, watch and wait.

Sally also sits, watches and waits. It is now several minutes since she saw Mrs Larkin and the dog disappear behind the barn. She has heard no sound, and there has been no movement in the yard.

She cannot decide what she should do. Should she continue to sit and wait? How long should she wait? What if her father does not come back? While she is thinking, the door of the barn opens. In the light from inside, Sally sees Mrs Larkin come out of the barn and close the door behind her. Brutus is by her side.

Perhaps everything is all right, thinks Sally. Dad must have heard her coming. He’s probably still behind the barn.

She watches Mrs Larkin walk slowly across the cobbled yard and enter the house. For a few moments there is silence, and then Sally hears a sound on the stairs. She goes to her bedroom door and listens. She can hear the sound of Brutus growling quietly.

What if they have done something to dad, and now they are looking for me, she thinks. In a second, they will come in here. She reaches for the key, but before she can turn it, the door begins to open. In the darkness, she sees a hand holding a pistol appear around the edge of the door. Immediately, Sally throws herself against the door, closing it hard on the arm holding the gun. There is a scream from outside, and the pistol clatters to the floor. Brutus begins to bark loudly.

Sally is now able to close the door, and she pulls the chair ‘ over to hold it closed for as long as possible. She picks up the pistol and puts it into the belt of her jeans. She doesn’t like to have it with her, but she can’t leave it there for Mrs Larkin.

Now she has to escape. She knows that she could never shoot Mrs Larkin or Brutus - not even to protect her own life. I could probably overpower Mrs Larkin, she thinks, but I certainly can’t fight the dog. All this flies through her mind in an instant. She runs to the open window and climbs out as Mrs Larkin begins to hit the door with something heavy. The window to her room and the window to her father’s room are side by side.

“Thank goodness,” she gasps as she sees that his window is open.

From her window she is able to climb across to his and into his room. As she stands in his room, she hears the sound of the chair break, and the door to her room opens with a crash. “Kill, Brutus, kill!” screams Mrs Larkin and in a moment, Sally can hear Brutus barking in her room.

Quickly, she picks up the heavy lamp from the bedside table and slowly opens the bedroom door. Mrs Larkin is standing outside Sally’s bedroom door and is holding her injured wrist. She is waiting to hear Sally scream when Brutus has his teeth in her.

Silently, Sally steps behind her and, with all her strength, hits her on the back of the head with the lamp. Without a sound, Mrs Larkin falls to the floor unconscious. Sally steps over her body and quickly closes the bedroom door. Brutus is now a prisoner in the room. Sally breathes deeply and now that the danger is past, she begins to tremble.

“I don’t know what it is that they’re doing here,” she says to herself, “but if Mrs Larkin came looking for me with a gun, it must be something illegal.’’

Now she thinks about her father. What can have happened to him? She will have to go to the barn and see if she can find him. First, however, she must do something with Mrs Larkin.

Sally quickly checks to see if the woman is still breathing.

Luckily, she is. The blow wasn’t hard enough to kill her.

Sally grabs her by the shoulders and drags her into her father’s room. She uses the cable from the table lamp to tie Mrs Larkin’s hands together. She then uses one of her father’s belts to fasten the woman’s legs together. Finally, she uses another belt. She puts it through Mrs Larkin’s arms and fastens it around the leg of the bed.

When she is happy that Mrs Larkin cannot escape, she takes the pistol from her belt and looks at it. The smooth, cold metal in her hand makes her feel uncomfortable. She places it back in her belt and carefully goes down the stairs. She stops at the bottom of the stairs and listens. Brutus has now stopped barking. The house is in darkness and completely silent.

Sally goes to the front door and opens it slowly. The yard is dark and there is no sound. Where is Mr Larkin? Will he come to the house to look for his wife? Hopefully, he is still in the barn.

Sally leaves the house and closes the door behind her. Quickly, she moves around the edge of the yard until she is at the side of the barn. She stands at the window where her father stood a short time ago and looks into the barn. She gasps as she sees her father tied to a chair. Mr Larkin is just closing the doors at the back of the van and is speaking to her father. She can’t hear what he is saying, but from the look on her father’s face, it is not something pleasant.

Larkin opens the two large barn doors before he climbs into the driver’s seat of the van. As Sally watches, the van moves forward out of the barn and into the yard.

Now is my opportunity, thinks Sally. She takes the pistol from her belt, and then she opens the side door of the barn. After quickly looking around, she runs across to her father with the pistol in her hand. She places the pistol on the floor and throws her arms around him.

“Oh, Dad,” she gasps. “Are you okay?”

All her father can do is mumble. He still has the cloth in his mouth, so she pulls it out.

“Behind you,” he gasps.

Sally turns, but it’s already too late. Larkin has silently come back into the barn and before she can move, he picks up the pistol from the floor. He steps back away from her and points the pistol at her heart. “Well, well, Miss Rush,” he says. “What a pleasant surprise. So nice of you to join us.”

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