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Death by Torchlight (standard:drama, 2033 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Apr 28 2004Views/Reads: 2818/1614Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This story, written for the BBC Chaucer Short Story Competition, was inspired by Chaucer's 'The Pardoner's Tale.'

Death by Torchlight 

©2003 Ian Hobson 

This story, written for the BBC Chaucer Short Story Competition, was
inspired by Chaucer's 'The Pardoner's Tale.' 


Ramesh was unaware that he was being followed.  But then, he was in love
and oblivious to all, except his plans to marry Laura.  Not that he had 
asked her yet, but he knew that she would say yes.  As he crossed the 
road and entered the park through the main gate, he checked his watch.  
He'd promised his father that he'd be home by ten.  It was a warm July 
evening, with just enough daylight remaining for the shortcut through 
the park, and just enough time. 

Ramesh knew that his father might be a problem.  But there had been two
other mixed marriages in the family, so the precedent was set.  But he 
didn't care.  He would soon be eighteen, and he loved Laura so much 
that it almost hurt. He checked his watch again and quickened his pace. 
 To his left, the park was wooded, and a sudden gust of wind disturbed 
the leaves of the nearest trees.  The turbulence overtook Ramesh and 
then petered out as it reached a single oak tree that stood beside the 
path.  As Ramesh reached the tree, two teenage boys stepped out from 
behind it. 

'Well look who it isn't,' said the younger of the two boys.  Ramesh
stopped.  He recognised the one who had spoken; David Bickley, an 
ex-classmate.  Not that they had ever been mates.  He stepped off the 
path and tried to walk around them but the two youths moved sideways 
blocking his way.  Ramesh turned away but was immediately confronted by 
a third youth.  He knew this boy too; Brian Cooper, Laura's 
ex-boyfriend - and a right nutter. 

'What do you want?' Ramesh asked, bravely standing his ground. 

'Just a little chat,' replied Cooper, with a smirk. 

Ramesh knew that the three had more than just chatting in mind, and he
tried to make a break for it, feinting right and then going left 
towards the center of the park.  But his assailants moved quickly to 
intercept him, Bickley bringing him down with a rugby tackle, and the 
three of them dragging him reluctantly towards the woods. 

'Look, what do you want?' Ramesh asked again, struggling to free
himself.  But immediately a hand was clamped over his mouth, preventing 
him from saying more.  The light was beginning to fade now, especially 
as the boys entered the woods.  When they were well away from the 
footpath, the three youths released Ramesh, but stood surrounding him.  
Cooper took a torch from his jacket pocket and shone it in Ramesh's 

'You have a choice,' said Cooper menacingly, as he handed the torch to
Bickley and then produced, and clicked open, a flick-knife.  'You stop 
seeing Laura, or I do some artwork on your face.  I was good at art at 
school, wasn't I, Lamy?' 

Bickley and the other boy sniggered, as Cooper waved the knife in
Ramesh's face, its blade reflecting the torchlight.  Ramesh now 
realised who the other boy was.  His name was John Lambert.  He'd been 
expelled from school for assaulting a teacher.  Again Ramesh tried to 
make a run for it, pushing past Lambert, who grabbed at his 
shirtsleeve.  The sleeve tore and Ramesh ran deeper into the woods, 
only to trip over something soft and then topple over into a shallow 
depression in the ground. 

'Get him, Lamy!' Bickley shouted, as he shone the torch towards where
Ramesh had fallen.  But as Lambert sped after Ramesh, he too fell over 
the obstacle that had tripped Ramesh, coming down almost on top of him, 
and cursing as he hit his head on something metallic. 

Bickley laughed, but Cooper snatched his torch back from him and shone
it onto the thing that the two boys had fallen over.  'Stone me!' he 
exclaimed.  'It's a body!' 

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