A Chapter by Peter Rogerson

The forest police chief must investigate a murder


Sometimes the world of the known meets the world of the unknown in a mutually advantageous collision, and that happens especially in forests. And occasionally there needs to be a force that controls the neighbourhood, keeps an eye on the young vagabonds that exist on the edges of even the most organised societies and generally maintains law and order.

And in the ancient and largely unknown forest where Prickly and his family had lived for countless generations there was such a force. It had always been there, since the mythical beginning when all of the trees had been acorns or chestnuts as well the more horsey variety of chestnut beloved by youngsters of every clan as summer gives way to autumn. And ther leadership of that police force was and always had been in the hands of the Elvish folk. It was known as the Forest Police and the officer currently in charge was Elflight.

Besides being, like all elvish folk, willowy, able to appear in several places simultaneously at the click of a finger as a consequence of al almost unnatural flexibility, Elflight was truly in command of himself in the way that senior police officers invariably are, and forthright in his speech, the sort of forthright that successfully concealed stolid and steady mental processes and made them seem lightening fast.

The one thing that went against him was his bipedal gait because life-forms that went about on two legs, if they weren’t in either of the monkey or ape clans, were largely detested by one and all because they were human and consequently untrustworthy. But Elflight was almost manlike in appearance, as were all elves. In evolutionary terms, though, they were more related to the long extinct fairy folk that they were to mankind. It wasn’t until you looked into their eyes that you realised there was something mighty special about them. It might have been interpreted as wisdom or intelligence and there were some who even suggested it was magical. Whatever it was, it was there and succeeded in making the guilty squirm and the innocent sigh in relief that they were finally being listened to.

And it was to Elfight’s office on a platform securely mounted high up an ancient oak tree and from which he could survey a goodly part of his domain that Prickly and Spineback went in order to report the sad and possibly violent decease of Farmer Spiky. It had involved a back-breaking weary climb, and when they reached the top they were fairly exhausted.

“Dead, you say?” asked Elflight in his well-known ponderous way, the sort of ponderous way that gave the impression that even as he spoke he was weighing up at least a dozen possibilities.

Spineback nodded. “I seen him with my two eyes,” he confirmed, so nervously that he was careless of correct grammar.

“And I was on my way to get my Sunday roast,” added Prickly.

“What Sunday Roast might that be?” asked Elfight, using his eyes to see if he could make Prickly squirm.

But Prickly hadn’t a gram of guilt about his person, so he nodded sadly and explained about his invitation to Maisy Wickles and went on unnecessarily to add that he had other hopes in her direction.

“I was sorry to hear about Tickly getting the lurgy,” sympathised Elflight whilst part of his mind was trying to remember what the word murder actually meant.

She deaded,” confirmed Prickly, “deaded good and proper and in the graveyard ditch,” he added for clarity.

And you need Maisy for comfort?” asked Elflight.

But Prickly didn’t know how to respond to that because he wasn’t at all sure what the senior police elf meant, so he shrugged his shoulders and wept.

What about you?” asked Elfight, turning to Spineback because he had no experience when it came to dealing with weeping hedgehogs (not that he called them hedgehogs, not in any known forest language anyway, but that’s really what they were).

I found the dead critter,” confirmed Spineback, “and he was bleeding and bludgeoned and dead.”

Did you do it?” asked Elflight, looking hard for a squirm and sighing because there wasn’t one.

I would never do any such danged thing!” almost exploded Spineback. “Stories, I like stories, tales of folks going astray, this him going off with someone else’s her, that sort of thing. But murder?” He shuddered, “I ain’t no killer!” he added unnecessarily.

Then I guess I’ll have to raise the force,” sighed Elflight, because raising the force was a rare call to arms of his officers, most of whom were preparing for hibernation if they weren’t actually asleep already. Not that elves hibernated, but most of his more junior officers weren’t elves at all but hedgerow scurriers and delvers and doers, and when they saw winter approaching they were prone to gorging themselves on anything delicious and gorgeable and, replete with calorific goodness, dropping off into a heavenly deep sleep.

Elflight went to his bell to summon his forces into action. It was an ancient brass affair, covered in green verdigris and clearly untouched for an age. But it rang out, loud across the forest, and brought forth a host of barely heard comments from this bedroom and that boudoir.

What on Earth?”

In the name of goodness!”

What’s got into the old fool?”

Has he finally cracked?”

He can’t be expecting...”

He wants us to turn out?”

What? In October with frost on the way?”

And so on, some much less polite and even verging on the foul-mouthed.

Just you wait. They’ll come,” murmured Elflight, displaying a great deal more confidence than he felt.

© Peter Rogerson 04.10.18

© 2018 Peter Rogerson

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on October 4, 2018
Last Updated on October 4, 2018
Tags: forest, police, murder


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..