Corona: part eleven #shortstory #storyininstalments

Part Eleven

Christopher continued. “I’ve thought about it a lot. I don’t think he meant to hurt me quite so badly but when he confronted me and I confirmed the truth, the chainsaw was the nearest tool and he had completely lost it. It was dressed up as an accident and I knew it would kill mother if she knew the truth so I went along with it. The hospital wanted to know if the arm had been saved but we both said it had gone in with the pigs and been eaten. It looks like the old man must have kept it. Sick sod.”

Thorne rubbed his face and looked at the constable next to him. “We will need to verify this. Do you remember the hospital?”

Christopher gave him the details and the date. “You said it was in a pit in the garden? I wonder why he buried it there.”

“The pit also contained some other items that were put in later.”

“Really? Such as?”

Thorne hesitated then said, “An old Corona typewriter and a letter addressed to Mrs Scrutt here. We have no explanation why.”

“No well, that would be curious, wouldn’t it? I mean…”

Janice couldn’t stop herself. “You bought one. A typewriter. From the shop in town.” She looked at the Inspector. “That’s how I found Christopher. Through the shop.”

Christopher looked like he was trying to recall something. “I did buy a typewriter. An old corona. A match for the one my father had. I had this idea of writing down a family history and giving it to him, sort of shame him maybe. It appealed to me, the idea of using the same machine as he used and the man in that shop knew the exact model, when I showed him a photo of the old man with it?”

“You made me sit at it and get my prints on it!”

Christopher blinked and then frowned briefly. He turned to the inspector. “Maybe I should explain why my father went for me? I’m sure you want to know.”


“My brother left home six months before me. We were not just brothers but lovers, Inspector. As you might imagine my father wasn’t pleased. Colin knew it was wrong and thought the only way to stop it and deal with the guilt was to leave. I didn’t see it like that. I understand society doesn’t approve but…” He trailed off then rallied. “I think father wanted to put all the blame on me. I forced Colin, I was the cause of his distress and why he left, I wanted to shame the family. After the attack I understood I couldn’t say and I think it suited him and therefore the rest of the family to say we had fallen out for unspecified reasons and we’d just left. I was pleased, after I’d gone that I got out when I did. If I had stayed I think he might have killed me or me him.”

“And Roger knew about this?”

“At the time, no. He was still a teenager but I expect father told him some version of the truth. When he found me again he wouldn’t say what he’d been told though he made it sound as if it was the fact I was gay which was the problem.”

Thorne nodded. “And you know nothing of the pit and the arm and Roger’s death?”

“No Inspector, why would I? Once father was dead I was happy to see mother – she was old and frail and not in a good place mentally – but I’ve long since moved on.”

“And the typewriter? Do you still have it?”

“I gave it to Roger.”

“You what?” Janice exploded. “You can’t have done.”

Christopher shook his head. “Why not? I had it out when he brought mother and when she saw it she was delighted. She asked if it was father’s – his had gone missing long since she said – and when I told her I’d found it in this shop, she asked if I could try and get her a copy too so she could type her letters on it. She was an inveterate correspondent. I told her to take the one I’d bought and she was delighted. Roger said he’d get it serviced – the letter ‘p’ was rather inclined to stick. That was the last I saw of it.”

Thorne looked at Janice, waited for her to speak.

“I’ve never seen it, Inspector. As I said there was one like it in the attic at my mother in law’s house.” She felt ill.

Thorne sighed, “I think we might leave it there. Mrs Scrutt could we have a few words, please? Mr Watson, thank you for your help. We may need to talk again.”

“Of course.” He showed them out.

Standing on the street Thorne looked livid. “What are you doing here? What’s going on?”

Janice felt exhausted. “I thought if I could maybe find out who had made me sit at that typewriter and get my prints on it, at the fair Roger brought me to. If I got a name or something I was going to tell you, but the hotel where it was held sent me to the shop and they remembered him buying an old corona so I came to see his house and…”


She fought back tears. “I don’t know. I just wanted to see him, to check if he really was Christopher. He was using that other name so I couldn’t be sure.” She wiped her face. “He was away but his neighbour said they were close and she had a key and needed someone to feed his cat as she was off too.”

Thorne held up a hand. “Are you listening to yourself? Do you really expect me…?”

“Speak to her! To George the man who lives there,” she waved at the house on the other side. “He’ll confirm I was to feed the cat.”

“I’m not interested in how you got inside his house, but why? Why not call me? You must realise what this looks like.”

“What do you mean?”

“So far Mr Scrutt or Watson is telling a plausible if awful story of abuse, of being driven away. Your husband seems to have helped perpetuate that situation. Whereas your version always seems to be far-fetched. I’m wondering if you aren’t trying to frame him in some way, maybe for the death of your husband. What did he tell you about Christopher and Colin? Did he pass on his hatred of his brother?”

“Roger didn’t do hate. That wasn’t the sort of person he was.”

Thorne blew out a large breath. “We need to continue this at the station with your solicitor present.”

“Are you going to search his house? He has a shed that’s full of…”

“Stop. You were in his shed? Without his permission?”

“Yes, I just thought…”

“What? That if you go somewhere where there might be clues to something illegal, then your presence will only enhance the forensic evidence? You’ve contaminated the scene. Did you go into every room?”

She nodded dumbly.

“So whatever we might find there will always be the argument that you put it there?” He turned away and then back. “The autopsy on your husband will be done in two days. I suggest you go home and stay away from here and wait until I call you.”

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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9 Responses to Corona: part eleven #shortstory #storyininstalments

  1. oh my, oh my, oh my. ………………………..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ritu says:

    Oh my, the twists!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. she did it – everything – she’s really really bad and just pretending to be confused………….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. George says:

    I reckon it was the mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 says:

    Talk about complicated 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennie says:

    Excellent! I am way too far behind, and will enjoy catching up. I love this story. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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