فصل 04

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فصل 04

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chapter four

Larkin Shoots

Sally and her father look at Larkin in silence.

“Where’s my wife?” asks Larkin.

“In my dad’s bedroom,” Sally replies. “She’s unconscious, but apart from that she’s okay. Oh, and I’ve tied her up.”

“And Brutus?” asks Larkin. “I hope you haven’t injured Brutus.”

“No, of course not,” says Sally. “He’s locked in my bedroom.”

“You’re not just an attractive woman, are you?” continues Larkin. “I really have underestimated you. Unfortunately for you, I now have the pistol, and I won’t make the same mistake twice.”

“What are you going to do with us?” asks Sally.

“He’s going to kill us,” answers DI Rush. “The van is full of illegal immigrants from Africa. He brings them into the country every week.”

“Surely it’s not worth killing us to protect your illegal little business, is it?” says Sally. “In a few days every policeman in England will be looking for you”

“When they find your bodies, we will be far away,” replies Larkin.

“Anyway, you aren’t the first to die. What do you think happened to Mr Dalton?”

“So the blood in the yard was his?” gasps Sally.

“Yes,” answers Larkin. “I put him in the boot of his car before I drove it to London, so he was on the ground in the yard for a few minutes. That’s where the blood came from. I didn’t see it in the dark.”

“But why did you kill him?” asks DI Rush.

“I can’t stand around here all night talking,” growls Larkin. “There’s work to be done. That’s your last question, Mr Rush. Dalton was our partner. He looked after the immigrants when they arrived in London. He found jobs and rooms for them. Then they had to pay him all the money that they earned. He was richer than we were. A few days ago, Brenda and I decided that we wanted to stop bringing in the immigrants. We’re quite rich now and want to enjoy our money. Dalton wanted us to continue, but we said that we were leaving. He came here to try to convince us to stay. He even brought a pistol to help ‘convince’ us.”

Larkin laughs and waves the pistol around. “This pistol, in fact. When he threatened me with it, we struggled and I took it from him. Then I shot him.

I knew he would always be a danger for us if I left him alive.”

He pauses a moment and then adds, “So you see, I’m already a murderer. I have no choice. I have to kill you both.”

“You won’t get away with it,” cries DI Rush.

“I think I will. Now, Miss Rush, please lie on the floor and put your arms behind your back. I need to tie your hands together.”

Without taking his eyes from Sally, he goes to the wall of the barn and gets some wire. He returns to stand in front of her, the wire in one hand and the pistol in the other.

Sally laughs. “Do you think I’m going to make it easy for you? There are several things you don’t know about me, Mr Larkin. Firstly, I don’t like someone telling me what to do. I am very stubborn. If you don’t believe me, ask my dad.”

The inspector sits there with his mouth open. He cannot believe how calm his daughter is. She is going to die and she is talking to Larkin as though they are discussing the weather. Larkin points the pistol at the inspector.

“Either you do as I say, or your father gets the first bullet,” he says.

“That’s the second thing you don’t know about me,” answers Sally. “I hate guns. I would like to see them all destroyed.”

“Just be quiet and lie on the floor,” replies Larkin impatiently.

“Please let me finish,” continues Sally. “As I said, I hate guns, so although I brought your wife’s pistol with me, I took out all the bullets, so that no one could use it.”

As she finishes speaking, she begins to walk towards Larkin. He points the pistol directly at her and pulls the trigger. The only sound is a metallic “click”. A look of anger appears on his face. He pulls the trigger a second time, only to hear the “click” again.

By now Sally is directly in front of him. As he swings the pistol at her head, Sally moves quickly to the side and slides her hand down his arm. This pulls him off balance. She then begins to turn, and as she does, she takes hold of his wrist with one hand and grabs his head with the other. She pulls it against her shoulder and continues to turn.

Larkin swears. He cannot believe this is happening. He really has underestimated her. She pushes his head towards the floor, and he tries to stand up. Suddenly she is pushing him in the same direction. He is upright for only a second before he falls backwards, Sally’s arm and body pushing him down. He hits the floor, and the air is knocked out of his body. Sally still holds his wrist, and now she uses his arm to turn him over, so that he is facing the floor. She picks up the wire that has fallen from his hand during the struggle and quickly uses it to tie his hands together. Then she stands up and breathes deeply.

“Are you okay, Sally?” asks the inspector.

“I’m fine, Dad,” she replies. “Are you all right?”

“Apart from a bit of a headache, I’ve never felt better,” he replies. “I always knew that I had an amazing daughter,” he continues, “but until tonight, I never knew how amazing you really are. I’m so happy now that I paid for your Aikido courses.”

“And I’m so happy that i took the bullets out of the pistol,” replies Sally and smiles at her father.

Three days later, Sally and her father are sitting on the grass at Leeds Castle. They have just eaten a picnic of sandwiches and wine, and they both feel relaxed and happy. It is a beautiful summer evening, and thousands of other people are sitting around them. They are all waiting for the start of the concert.

“There was a time when I thought we wouldn’t be sitting here together tonight,” says DI Rush as he puts his arm around his daughter and hugs her.

“Yes,” agrees Sally. “When Mrs Larkin came for me with the pistol and the dog, I didn’t know what to do. It is a good thing that she didn’t send Brutus in first. I think everything would have ended differently. Anyway, now that they are in prison, we can relax. I suppose that we’ll have to come back to Kent when they appear in court?”

“Yes,” answers her father. “That won’t be for several weeks yet, though. The police have a lot of work to do before that. They told me that they have found Dalton’s body in his car in London, lust as Larkin said. The pistol will have to be checked to see if it fired the bullet that killed him. They will also have to speak to all the Africans who were in the van.”

“I really feel sorry for them,” says Sally. “Presumably they will all be sent back to the countries that they came from?”

“I think so,” replies the inspector. “But perhaps some of them will be able to stay.”

“We are so lucky to live in this country, aren’t we? And I’m especially lucky. I have such a good life here,” says Sally as she hugs her father. “And I have people who love me.”

Indeed you do, Sally,” says her father and smiles. “Indeed you do.”

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