فصل 16

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فصل 16

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CHAPTER SIXTEEN

The Truth is Told

Inspector Shaw sat down. He looked at Peter and John. ‘I want the truth,’ the inspector said again.

Peter looked serious. He was going to tell the inspector the whole story. He hoped Inspector Shaw would believe him. If the inspector didn’t believe his story, Peter knew that he would be sent to prison for helping John and for driving dangerously. Inspector Shaw listened without saying anything, while Peter told him the whole story from the moment he had given John a lift to the chase through Bristol. The inspector wrote some notes in a little book while Peter was talking.

‘Do you expect me to believe this story?’ asked Inspector Shaw, when Peter had finished.

‘Yes,’ said Peter.

‘It’s the truth,’ John added.

‘We’ll see,’ replied the inspector, as he left the room.

Inspector Shaw returned a minute later with Sergeant Black, Bob Steel and Tommy Logan. Sergeant Black brought in some chairs and they all sat down.

Inspector Shaw turned to Bob Steel, who looked very frightened.

‘You’ve been in trouble before,’ said the inspector, ‘and this time you’ll go to prison unless you tell us all that you know.’

‘Prison?’ said Bob Steel. ‘I haven’t done anything. I haven’t killed anyone. I was just walking past Mr Stevens’ house the night before last, when I saw-‘

‘Be quiet, you old fool,’ shouted Tommy Logan, as he jumped to his feet. Sergeant Black pushed Tommy back into his chair.

‘What did you see?’ Inspector Shaw asked Bob Steel.

Bob Steel continued. ‘I saw a young man running out of the house. He left the front door open. I was surprised, so I went in to have a look. Mr Stevens was lying on the floor.’

‘Who was the boy you saw running out of the house?’ asked the Inspector.

Bob Steel pointed at John. ‘It was him,’ he said.

‘I didn’t…’ started John.

‘Be quiet,’ said Sergeant Black.

‘What happened next?’ the Inspector asked Bob Steel.

‘Well,’ Bob Steel continued, ‘Mr Stevens was lying on the floor. I could see that he wasn’t dead because he was breathing. Just then, I heard footsteps coming, so I ran out of the back door and hid in the garden. I could hear a loud argument and then a fight. I went around to the front of the house and looked in the window, but I couldn’t see anything. I waited and after a few minutes I saw a young man leaving the house.’

‘Was it the same boy as before?’ Inspector Shaw asked.

Bob Steel looked at Tommy Logan. ‘No,’ he said, ‘it was Tommy Logan.’

‘You’re a liar,’ shouted Tommy Logan. ‘That’s not true.’

‘What did you do then?’ asked the inspector.

‘I went into the house again,’ replied Bob Steel, ‘but when I saw that Mr Stevens was dead, I left. I telephoned the police and then went home.’

‘That’s not true,’ shouted Tommy Logan. ‘That’s not true. Bob Steel followed me and then asked me for money. He said if I didn’t give him a hundred pounds, he would tell the police he had seen me at Mr Stevens’ house.’

‘So you were at Mr Stevens’ house,’ the inspector said quickly.

‘Yes, that’s right,’ replied Tommy Logan. He looked angry and at the same time he looked as if he was going to cry.

‘Bob Steel kept on asking for more money,’ said Tommy Logan. ‘I gave him some more, but it was no use. You’ve caught me anyway.’

Tommy Logan stopped talking and started to cry.

‘Stop crying,’ said Inspector Shaw to Tommy roughly, ‘and tell us what happened when you went to Mr Stevens’ house.’

‘I didn’t mean to…’ started Tommy Logan, ‘I didn’t mean to-‘

‘Come on,’ said Inspector Shaw in a more gentle voice. ‘Tell us what happened.’

Tommy Logan looked around at the others. ‘I went to see Mr Stevens,’ Tommy continued, ‘because he had given me a lot of extra work to do. He had given me some extra homework because he thought I had been rude to him in class. I did the work at home and then took it around to Mr Stevens’ house. I wanted to explain to him that I thought he was being unfair to me. When I got to the house, the front door was open. I knocked, but there was no answer. I went into the front room and I saw Mr Stevens lying on the floor. I thought he was ill, so I started to lift him up.’

‘What did Mr Stevens do?’ asked the Inspector.

‘Mr Stevens opened his eyes and looked at me. Then he pushed me away and stood up. I gave him the work that I had done. Mr Stevens looked at it for a minute and then threw it on the floor. He said it was all wrong. He hit me hard on the face, and said that he was going to teach me a lesson. I told Mr Stevens that he didn’t have any right to hit me. He just laughed. I tried to leave, but he stopped me. Then he took off his coat and said he was going to beat me. I pushed him away and ran for the door. But Mr Stevens got there first and pushed me back.’

Tommy Logan stopped talking and looked quickly at the inspector.

‘And what happened then?’ the inspector asked.

‘Mr Stevens started hitting me on the head and on the body,’ Tommy Logan continued.

‘He was hitting me hard, so I became angry and picked up a chair to push him away. Mr Stevens caught hold of the chair and it broke. One of the legs fell on the floor, so I picked up the chair leg instead. Mr Stevens laughed and said I couldn’t hurt him however hard I tried. He hit me again.

“Come on,” he said, “hit me. Are you frightened to hit me?”

Then Mr Stevens came closer and hit me in the face again. I hit him with the chair leg. He stopped and picked up another chair leg. Then he shouted that he was going to kill me. He ran towards me, holding the chair leg. As he came close, I hit him with all my strength and he fell to the floor.’

Tommy Logan stopped speaking and there was a short silence. Then he looked at the inspector and at John. ‘I didn’t mean to do it,’ he said. ‘I didn’t mean to do it.’

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