Click here for nice stories main menu

main menu   |   standard categories   |   authors   |   new stories   |   search   |   links   |   settings   |   author tools

Old Haunts (standard:drama, 751 words)
Author: Ian HobsonAdded: Apr 24 2005Views/Reads: 2558/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Chatham Dockyard? The Cavalier? Probably a ship then. Or maybe it's a pub. Yeah, why not a pub? But who's this Toby character, and why is he leaving for good this time?

Old Haunts 

©2005 Ian Hobson 

Chatham Dockyard.  The Cavalier.  Both names that Toby had tried to
forget.  Yet even after thirty-odd years they were still at the back of 
his mind; right beside another name: Ronald Breslin.  Now as Toby 
walked through his old haunts, the memories came flooding back, 
together with an uneasy feeling: An irrational fear that some old 
copper would be lying in wait for him.  Was it true that murderers 
always returned to the scene of their crimes?  Or was that just a myth? 
The rational side of Toby's mind opted for the latter. 

He sidestepped a puddle and crossed the road, lifting the collar of his
raincoat as the drizzle turned to rain.  But why had he returned?  
Maybe he should have stayed home in Australia and let one of the 
younger engineers deal with this contract.  Mike, or Dave; it would 
have been good experience for either of them.  But then, maybe this 
little side-trip would lay the ghost to rest once and for all. 

The Cavalier looked much the same.  Toby wondered what the beer was like
these days.  The rain began to fall faster, so he decided to find out.  
As he approached the steps he couldn't help glancing down at the 
pavement and imagining the shape of a body drawn in chalk. 


It was almost a year since Toby Lancaster - or Lanny, as his workmates
called him - had finished his apprenticeship.  He worked for an 
engineering company near Chatham Dockyard, and as the youngest member 
of the maintenance team, he was often given the lousiest jobs.  Though 
on that Monday night, in mid-October, he'd volunteered to stay late and 
help repair the broken-down horizontal borer.  Serves me right for 
volunteering, he thought as he walked home just after midnight.  But 
then, the overtime pay would come in useful.  He quickened his pace; 
hoping his landlady would not have locked the door for the night.  She 
usually didn't; she was used to shift workers. 

Though as he approached the Cavalier he wished that it were still open;
he could have murdered a pint.  But the place was in darkness.  The 
drinkers  mostly dockers, and probably a few of Toby's workmates  had 
long since gone home to their beds; or so Toby expected, having not 
noticed the man sitting on the pavement beside the steps. 

'Out a bit late, ain't you, Little Orphan Lanny?' 

Startled, Toby stopped and turned towards the voice, then he relaxed a
little as he recognised Ronald Breslin, a former workmate.  Not that 
Breslin had been much of a one for working.  Propping up the bar of the 
Cavalier was more his style.  Toby had never liked him.  And apparently 
the feeling was mutual.  From the day that Breslin had found out that 
Toby had grown up in an orphanage, he'd picked on him and christened 
him Little Orphan Lanny. 

'You know how it is, Ronny.  Some of us have to work for a living.' 
Toby couldn't resist the temptation to have a dig at Breslin's 
employment record.  He'd been sacked at least twice that Toby knew of.  
It felt good to turn the tables on him.  To vent a little of the anger 
that had built up over the three years they'd worked together. 

'You cheeky young bastard!'  Suddenly Breslin was on his feet and
reaching for the collar for Toby's anorak. 

Toby stepped back, his right hand going for the wrench in his tool
holster.  He sometimes carried the wrench when returning home late.  
Not that he'd really expected to need it.  It was just a precaution; 
there were some rough characters about.  But now, as the resentment 
from three years of Breslin's constant bullying resurfaced, instead of 
turning and walking away as he should have, Toby reached for Breslin's 
collar with his left hand, and with a muscular right arm, swung the 
wrench at his head. 

This brought Breslin to his knees, but as an uncharacteristic surge of
violence overtook Toby, he swung the heavy wrench again and again. 


As he sat and sipped his beer he recalled how he had washed the blood
off the wrench and then vomited into the washbasin, and yet how calmly 
he had lied to the police when he was routinely interviewed three days 
later.  Was it Breslin or the guilt that haunted him? 

Having left his beer unfinished, Toby walked down the steps of the
Cavalier and left Chatham Dockyard  it was for good this time. 


Authors appreciate feedback!
Please write to the authors to tell them what you liked or didn't like about the story!
Ian Hobson has 67 active stories on this site.
Profile for Ian Hobson, incl. all stories

stories in "drama"   |   all stories by "Ian Hobson"  

Nice Stories @, support email: nice at nicestories dot com
Powered by StoryEngine v1.00 © 2000-2020 - Artware Internet Consultancy