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Monty On The Run
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Monty On The Run
The second instalment - Monty in deeper water.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Introducing Monty Finch (Short Stories) This is the first chapter of my Monty Finch series. In this first instalment our hero finds himself in cold water. [2,432 words] [Drama]
Monty On The Run
Monty on the Run
Monty the Second
The earth on the bank gave way as Monty tried to climb up to the path, and he slid back down the hill towards the old man. It was easy to see what had happened now, the hill was treacherous. The man had obviously slipped off the path and knocked himself unconscious as he tumbled towards the trees below.
Monty ran at the hill again, and this time made it up onto the path. He began to run back towards his flat, and stumbled as he felt something against his leg. It was the old man’s dog, running alongside. Monty let out a cry of exasperation and stopped.
“Go,” he shouted. “Away. Go back to your master.” Monty turned and started to run again, but he found that he couldn’t lose the dog. After his earlier brushes with the police, Monty had planned on hiding out back at his flat until someone else found the old man, but he could now see that wasn’t going to work. Resigned to another embarrassing encounter with the police, he turned back and walked down the path, the dog running ahead towards its owner.
Monty followed, and again made his way down the bank towards the crumpled heap below. Hesitantly, he placed his hand on the man’s shoulder and pulled. The body shifted, revealing a lifeless face.
Holding the dog in his arms, Monty heard the sirens approach minutes after he had dialled 999. He was sitting on a fallen tree at the side of the path opposite the bank. The path was too narrow to take an ambulance or police car, and Monty was soon joined by two out-of-breath policemen and two paramedics carrying a stretcher.
Monty was dismayed to see that one of the policemen was the one who had interrogated him earlier in the week. They approached him while the paramedics attempted to navigate their way down the bank with the stretcher.
“It’s not your week, is it?” said the familiar policeman, frowning.
“Not exactly, no,” Monty replied.
“I think we’d better walk back to the car so you can give us a statement,” the policeman said, and, with his hand on Monty’s shoulder, they started to walk back towards the road. Monty glanced down the bank as they passed, and saw the old man’s dog barking at the paramedics as they struggled to lift his master’s body onto the stretcher. The dog snapped at one of the paramedic’s ankles and tugged at his overalls, causing him to fall back and drop the stretcher. Monty hung his head and walked on.
“So,” began the policeman, “In your own words please, tell me what happened.”
Monty took a deep breath. “I was out running, a route I frequently take. I saw a dog run towards me and I had to swerve to avoid it. It seemed to want me to follow it, and it led me to its owner, who was lying unconscious at the bottom of a steep bank.”
“A regular ‘Lassie’ tale, eh?” replied the policeman, and his colleague murmured his amusement. Monty didn’t reply.
“And then you phoned us, did you? Always carry your mobile when out for a jog in the woods, do you?” Monty replied that he did.
One of the other policemen straightened and announced himself. “Mr Finch, I’m DCI Edwards. Chief Inspector Adamson has come across you before, I gather.”
“Yes,” said Monty, “concerning an incident down by the canal several days ago.”
“More than just an incident, though, wouldn’t you say Mr Finch? The Chief Inspector told me that a man drowned.” Again, Monty didn’t reply.
“Do you make a habit of happening across dead bodies, Mr Finch?” Adamson said.
“No I don’t, sir.”
“Did you know that man?” Adamson asked, gesturing behind him towards the ambulance, the two paramedics carefully loading the covered stretcher on board.
“No I didn’t, sir.” Monty said. He had felt cold for the past ten minutes, dressed only in shorts and a sweater for his run. Now he started to shiver.
“Are you going to take me to the station,” he asked, “Or am I free to go? I’m feeling rather cold.”
Adamson looked annoyed. “We’ll drive you home, how’s that. You can put some more clothes on, then we can carry on with the statement.” He started the car and pulled away.
Monty walked into his kitchen to find the two policemen crouched over the photograph frames standing on the windowsill.
“I used to be in the army,” Monty said. “That’s me and my friends at camp.”
“Interesting,” said Edwards. “What rank were you?”
Edwards raised an eyebrow. “My brother was a lance-corporal.”
Monty didn’t care to continue the topic. “Would you like a cup of tea,” he asked. Both policemen enthusiastically accepted his offer, and Monty began to boil the kettle. The policemen sat down at the kitchen table.
“If we could continue where we left off in the car,” said Adamson, “You were telling us about how the dog led you to Mr Watts’ body.”
“The paramedics found his wallet in his jacket. They radioed while you were upstairs.” Edwards cocked his head. “Why, know him, did you?”
“No,” Monty said. “I remember thinking when I saw his face, actually. Strange, I thought, because I run there a lot, and I’d never see him before.”
Adamson leaned back in his chair. “And how was Mr Watts when you found him?”
The kettle was bubbling loudly, and Monty clicked it off. “Mr Watts was dead. You know that.”
“All we know, Mr Finch,” Adamson replied, “Is that Mr Watts was dead when we arrived. I wanted to establish if that was the case when you found him.”
Monty said nothing, stunned into silence at Adamson’s line of questioning.
“I think I’ll leave you to think about that one for a minute. Do you mind if I use your toilet,” Adamson said.
“Of course,” Monty managed to reply, “It’s down the hall and on your left.”
Adamson followed his directions and Monty heard the bathroom door latch click. Monty turned to Edwards. “Would you like a biscuit?”
“Actually I will,” said Edwards, “I missed breakfast this morning.” Monty held out the open biscuit tin and Edwards took a chocolate digestive. Edwards nodded his thanks.
“Sorry for the CI’s direct manner,” he said, “Doesn’t make him many friends, but it gets results.”
Again, Monty said nothing. What a mess, he thought. What an absolutely, desperately awful turn of events. He sighed, and looked up at the ceiling.
“Mr Finch,” he heard Edwards say, and lowered his gaze. Edwards was slumped back in his chair, his hands around his throat. Monty dropped his teacup in alarm. A chocolate digestive hanging out of his mouth, the deputy chief inspector’s face was swollen, almost beyond recognition. He watched as Edwards fell off his chair, and lay on the floor, wheezing and coughing.
Monty ran around the table to where Edwards lay, and pulled at the black police tie, struggling to undo his top shirt button. It was difficult to keep his hands steady, what with Edwards writhing about on the floor, gasping for air. It was much easier when he stopped moving, and Monty was able to successfully loosen the tie and shirt.
He realised then what had happened – that Edwards had actually lost consciousness. His hands froze at Edwards’ neck as he also realised that there was someone else in the room.
“What the fuck,” exclaimed Adamson, standing beside him, “has happened here?”
TO BE CONTINUED
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© 2004 James Bondjamesbond
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