A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



We’re late for this, Bob,” said Rosie as the two of them made their way to a second interview room where Aaron Butcher was sitting impatiently, waiting to make his statement as requested earlier in the day.

He didn’t see much, just being a witness,” said Bob, “it shouldn’t take long.”

The trouble is, short roads can have long side-roads leading off them, and I’ve a feeling we might find ourselves cruising along one of those before we’re done today,” smiled Rosie, “I’m never optimistic about time when it comes to people and their lives.”

They went into the interview room where Aaron Butcher was sitting, grumpily looking at his watch every few seconds and clearly wishing he was sitting anywhere but where he actually was.

I’m sorry to have kept you waiting, Mr Butcher, but this case is proving to be more than any old can of worms,” said Rosie to the man she’d told to call in order to make a statement that evening.

It’s all right for you,” he grunted, “but my misses is far from happy and when she’s like that she’s a danger to everyone and his dog.”

Did you explain it was a murder you were helping us with?” asked Bob Short.

She knows that! It’s all round the village, that a woman from Witch Cottage has been done in.”

Then to save time let’s cut out all the crap and just say things as they were, after you had sex with her,” asked Rosie, “is that all over the village? That Aaron Butcher, father of two and married to… Gloria is it? Yes, married to Gloria Butcher was pleasuring himself with an attractive woman still young enough to be worth it just moments before she died…?”

Don’t say that...” mumbled Aaron.

Come off it, Mr Butcher, you can’t be that naive!” smiled Bob, “you were seen. We have a witness who is prepared to swear that’s what you were up to, and there’s always the DNA evidence. It can’t have taken long, can it? Were you in a bit of a state? Your Gloria keeping her legs together for too long and you bursting at the crotch?”

Leave my Gloria out of this!” snapped Butcher. “She was going to work at the pharmacy and didn’t see anything! But if she had she wouldn’t have minded. Anything to postpone her having to do it again. We’ve got two kids, lovely they are, but that’s all she wants. No more. And she swears that every time we get to, you know, do it, she falls pregnant.”

And she’s never heard of the pill?” put in Rosie. “Still, that’s up to her, I guess. It’s up to women to take charge of their own bodies and if swallowing pills upsets them, that’s fair enough. There are other ways.”

She tells me I’ve got hands if I ask her...” he mumbled, embarrassed.

And she doesn’t mind you going with other women?” asked Bob unbelievingly.

I ain’t asked her.”

So let’s get back to the stream,” said Rosie, “you’d seen your two children off to school, waved them goodbye, and when they were safely out of sight? What did you do next?”

I looked around me an’ I saw Phoebe...”

So you know her well enough to use Christian names?” smiled Rosie, “that’s good, that is. So when you saw her, did you walk along the bank of the stream towards her? It’s been a lovely day and it’s the sort of thing a friend might do…?”

I thought I might pass the time of day...”

Of course you did! Who wouldn’t, a friend who enjoys a conversation with you. Maybe it’s more than a conversation she likes eh? Women do, you know, enjoy the odd encounter with a like-minded friend. Even sometimes in the open, if there’s nobody about...”

That’s all it was! Friends bein’ friends!”

And the man you said had a limp. You saw him?”

He were there, but he went to that gap in the hedge and disappeared itno the woods.”

And then what? You passed the time of day with Miss Denton? Asked her if there was anything you could do for her?”

An’ she said the usual” muttered Butcher miserably.

And what is the usual?” asked Bob, curious.

She likes us to do stuff. You know, friendly stuff. And when it was time for me to beat it ‘cause I had to get to my bit of a job I wandered off...”

And using your mobile phone you telephoned the police and said there was a dead woman by the stream,” said Bob, “but what gave you the idea she might be dead? You’d just had sex with her, for goodness’ sake, and she surely wasn’t dead when you did that! So why make that phone call?”

He shook his head and his eyes moistened. “I’d never do owt like that to ‘er if she was dead!” he flared, then, “I thought it’d put my Gloria off the scent if I phones the cops,” he mumbled, “’cause, see, she’d been there, at the end of the stream path, and might have seen me, Phoebe was in a bit of a dip but she still might’ve seen… anyone could have if they were there, it’s what Phoebe liked, the danger, the chance of being seen, she said she’d spent her whole life hiding and every so often it was, what did she say, exhilarating not to have to hide away from sneaking eyes… Anyway, I thought if I phoned and cops came with their blues and twos because I’d reported a dead body my Gloria would have to think as I’d been feeling for her pulse and not doin’ other stuff if she spotted me...”

And did it work?” asked Bob, “I mean, was your wife deceived, or did she see straight through you like women usually do, in my experience.”

She never mentioned it, so I told ‘er as I’d phoned the cops and they’d come to see, and it turned out there really was a dead body an; it was Phoebe. But those two kids, look like they’re twins. Anyway, they came along and I’m sure it must have been them who killed her. There was nobody else except for my Gloria, and she was hurrying to the pharmacy for her work.”

Ah. So Gloria had to actually go that way, past Miss Denton with her head in the water?” asked Bob, “and not the way your kids went to go to school? She had to actually go past the dead woman. I wonder why she didn’t phone the police herself? After all it’s not every day you see a body in a stream, is it?”

She wouldn’t have known she was dead,” muttered Aaron Butcher, “she would have been used to seeing Phoebe with her head in the water, making herself real pretty with pure water. And this time she must’ve left her head in the water for too long and drowned. Silly woman! I have told her, times many. Water can be dangerous, I’ve told her, but she only laughed and told me not to be silly, she knew what she was doin’.”

Oh, she didn’t drown,” Phoebe told him, “not at all! She was murdered!”

Aaron’s eyes opened wide. “M...murdered?” he stammered, “well it were me as did you know what with her, I confess to that, but I never murdered her, I swear! I couldn’t hurt a hair on her head, and that’s God’s truth.”

© Peter Rogerson 03.04.20

© 2020 Peter Rogerson

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Added on April 3, 2020
Last Updated on April 3, 2020
Tags: stream, conversation, sex, death


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..