DUBBED “THE MURDERER” …. chapter one©

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written by Allison Rose Clark©

The phone rang.

It was 5am.

Sergeant Phillip Shepherd (aka Sarge), a slightly overweight man in his mid-forties with brown balding hair, awoke with a start. His wife, Sally, was also startled from a deep sleep by the sudden sound of the phone’s extra loud ring. She rolled over to face him while he spoke.

Rubbing his eyes, half asleep and with his heart racing, Sarge picked up the receiver, wondering who it could be calling at this time of the morning. Having lived in the small town of Avilas all his life, where the pace was slow and things were simple and quiet, nothing could have prepared him for what this call was delivering.

Officer Matthew Field, known to everyone as Matty, spoke frantically,

“You’d better get here urgently, Sarge. There’s been a murder!”

Sarge was now wide awake and sitting bolt upright in shock.

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“A what?!” Sally, who was of small stature, plump and with greying hair, was now half-sitting, leaning on one elbow, alarmed at the tone of surprise his voice.

“A murder, sir. At Old McDonald’s Farm.”

“On my way.” He quickly placed the hand piece back in its cradle and looked at Sally.

“What’s happened?” she asked.

“There’s been a murder, Sal! I can’t believe it. A murder!”

Sally, wide-eyed and in utter silenced shock, watched her husband walk out the door and head out to the terrible scene waiting for him at Old McDonald’s Farm.

Sarge was promptly greeted by Matty when he arrived. The officer with his thin but tall build of 180cm dwarfed Sarge who was a mere 150cm. There was no argument though, about who was the elder of the two as their ages were quite apparent.

It had nothing to do with his bald spot.

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Red and blue flashing lights of the town’s only two cop cars swirled around while Sarge and Matty stood side by side looking over the body of a man who appeared to be middle-aged.

“Do we know who the victim is?” Sarge asked.

“Yes, we do, Sir. Old McDonald found him behind the barn and has identified him as his stable-hand, Jack Spratt,” replied Matty.

“Does he have any family we need to contact?”

“He has a wife and no children. It was well known that Jack could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean and so between the two of them, they licked the platter clean. Every night,” Matty rambled.

Sarge looked at him with one eyebrow raised.

“Does that have anything to do with the murder, Matty?”

“Not really sure, Sarge. Probably not but you never know.” Sarge just nodded thoughtfully but wasn’t convinced it was useful information.

At that moment, Officer Trent Bales appeared. Being solid and athletic with a Jamaican heritage, he often came across as intimidating. All who knew him, affectionately called him ‘Bales’ not just because it was his last name, but because he could lift three bales of hay at a time! It was actually a great skill at times when folks needed a hand feeding their stock.

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“Sarge, you might like to come and see this. It’s really weird,” Bales beckoned. About five meters away a slaughtered sheep was found. Everyone balked at the sight of the poor animal, and the smell was rancid. Matty had to move away and throw up. The ewe had her throat slashed savagely and her insides sprawled out on the ground around her from having been hacked to shreds!

“Alright,” Sarge began once he regained his composure. “We need to cordon off the area. Don’t touch or move anything! Matty, you call Penny. We need her photographic expertise. Now. And Bales, you stay here. Make sure no-one disturbs the crime scene.”

Matty and Bales nodded and acknowledged their delegated tasks.

“What are you going to do, Sarge?” enquired Matty. Sarge looked seriously at both officers and said,

“I’m going to have to make some phone calls.”

*

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