Panic and retreat

For the stories so far click here 🙂

Chapter 11 continued from yesterday:

Luke stood still, his face flushed hot.

“They know!” he thought with horror.

It got worse.  He watched as two police officers walked up to the organisers’ table.  After a few moments a man there pointed in Luke’s direction.  The police officers started to walk towards him.  He ran.  All he could think was that he needed to get out of there.  They might know his name but would they know his address?  He didn’t look behind, that would be suspicious, he just ran as fast as he could.  The wheelbarrow was slowing him down.  He had to leave it.

He climbed the low post and rail fence and jumped down into the car park.  His first instinct was to find Grandad’s car, but then he thought that if they knew his name, they might know who his grandparents were, they might be waiting for him there.  He hesitated, crouched between a Mini and a Fiesta, and tried to see Grandad’s car without being seen.  Yes, that was it, and there was Grandad.  With another policeman.

There was nothing for it, he had to go back into the market, he had to try to be invisible in the crowd.  But he was scared and wanted an ally.  He made a beeline for the black-haired lady’s stall.

The lady, who was just beginning to pack up her stall, putting leaflets back in their boxes, was surprised to see Luke racing towards her, all red in the face and out of breath, looking like he feared for his life.

“Hide me!” said Luke desperately, and sunk to the floor behind the biggest box.

The lady was alarmed.

“What’s wrong? What are you …?”

“Shhh!” said Luke in a vehement whisper, “don’t talk to me!  Don’t look at me!  They might be watching!”

“But …”

“Excuse me Miss,” another woman’s voice interrupted her.  She turned to face a policewoman.

“Is this your stall?” she asked.

“Yes it is.”

“And your name is?”

“Jessica Rabbit.  Would you like a leaflet?”

“I would like to have a look, yes, thank you,” and the policewoman began to paw the various piles.  “Is this all you’ve got?”

The black-haired lady casually dropped her jacket on top of Luke as another officer stepped around the stall to look in the boxes.

“I’ve got these as well,” she answered, “as you can see,” and she lifted the boxes onto the table so that they wouldn’t need to rummage around the other side.

The policewoman found what she was looking for – three different anti-dairy leaflets.

“Is there any reason you were hiding these?” she asked.

The lady laughed.

“I wasn’t hiding them, I was just in the process of packing up,” she explained.

The police officers exchanged cynical glances and while the male picked up the box of leaflets, the female addressed the stall-holder.

“I am arresting you on suspicion of offences under section 1 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971.  You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something you later rely on in court.  Anything you do say may be given in evidence.  Do you understand?”

“Not remotely,” the lady replied, “what am I supposed to have done?”

Luke stayed motionless under the lady’s jacket.  He felt bad that she was getting blamed for what he’d done, but was somehow unable to move or speak.  He just sat still until he couldn’t hear them any more. He waited till they’d gone.

When he stood up and watched them retreat past the other stalls, seemingly diminished in size, his courage returned.  He donned the khaki jacket, pulled the hood over his head and cautiously followed. The officers and their captive approached a police car and the policewoman opened a rear door, put her hand on the black-haired lady’s head and assisted her into the back seat.

Luke was worried they would drive away before he could get to them but luck was on his side again. Another policeman with a camera called to his colleagues and they walked a few steps away from the car to talk to him.  That was Luke’s chance.

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Story concludes tomorrow, or read the whole of chapter 11 now 🙂

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