17. NEWS FROM THE HOMELAND

17. NEWS FROM THE HOMELAND

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
"

THE BODY IN THE STREAM - 17

"

It was at this point that Beverley Denton broke down. Tears flooded out of her eyes, her face went red, then pale, then red again, and the two horrified youngsters looked on, genuinely alarmed.

There’s no need to make such a fuss,” said Rosie quietly, “you’re an intelligent woman and must actually, deep down, know the truth, that for reasons none of us may ever understand you find yourself trapped in a different age of a different country.”

Don’t!” wept Beverley, shaking.

Rosie was determined to persevere despite the fact that she was talking to the appropriate adult and not the two youngsters.

Your homeland is here, Beverley,” she said firmly, “but your thoughts and emotions have been trained to believe that you belong to the Germany of almost a century ago. That country is very different now. I’ve been there, enjoyed the streets and bars, the friendly people, the delights of the Rhine that flows so majestically along… Your own parents, you told me, returned there and have failed to come back. Maybe that’s why. Maybe it’s a far better place to be than an almost derelict cottage in Swanspottle Woods in the middle of nowhere!”

Mamma, is this true?” asked Ernie, looking troubled, “will the grandparents not come back!”

They must!” almost shouted Beverley, “darling, they will, they must, they promised...”

They’ll be quite old by now and we’ve no idea at the present whether they got to where they believe their homes might be,” pointed out Rosie. “Look, Beverley, and you two as well, you’ve managed to keep an alien culture alive and kicking, isolated from virtually the rest of the world. Yet the rest of the world exists, changing slowly day by day, not trapped, as you have been, in a past that never existed in the land where you actually live. Tell me about the school uniforms?”

My mother,” sighed Beverley, clearly trying to control her emotions, “there was a shop closing down, the shop that sold them, and they were dumping them … my mother retrieved them, brought them here until they were needed… I was only young back then.”

Good,” nodded Rosie, and she addressed the girl Alice. “Tell me,” she asked, “what you saw when your mother was murdered?”

Murdered…? She was in the water for her skin!” exclaimed the girl, “she wasn’t murdered!”.

Why do you think you’re here?” asked Rosie, “because if you’re not too sure I’ll tell you that it’s because your mother was poisoned, and you walked past her making it look as if you were going to school. But you weren’t were you? Going to school I mean? You were out for a little walk, so the big question is, was it you who stuck a syringe into your mother’s neck, and killed her?”

If that was intended to be the tool to encourage the girl to drop her silent act, it worked.

My mother? Me? How could you Gestapo think such a thing!” she demanded in a voice loud enough to be heard in the corridor outside.

I thought you might have developed enough of a realistic view of matters to erase the word Gestapo from your memory!” snapped Rosie, “maybe if you decided to take a trip back, say five hundred years you might meet the odd bully boy going about his king’s business somewhere near here, but not now and not in this building!”

I believe what I’ve been taught,” sniffed the girl.

Then I’m sorry, but I’ve taught you wrong,” whispered Beverley, out of the blue. “We, that’s your mother and me, we only tried to keep our own culture alive. Our forefathers were Jewish folk and condemned to be slaughtered in their homeland, which is why we came here, or our forefathers did, and our job as your teachers was to keep the old faith alive just as our own parents did for us.”

There are plenty of synagogues in Britain,” put in Bob, “I have a good friend who goes to one.”

Just a moment,” snapped Rosie, “and Alice, answer the question if you will. Did you murder your mother?”

No,” whispered the girl, “not that I expect you to believe me.”

Rosie felt things had gone far enough. She had twins of her own, not that the two in front of her were as closely related but they did look the part none the less, but apparently they were cousins born at roughly the same time as each other and possibly more identical than her own non-identical twins at home.

Things have got to change for you,” she told the three of them, “but for the time being I see no good would be served by keeping you here. I’m convinced you had nothing to do with the death of Phoebe Denton and I might get into trouble for this, but you can go back home and take Ted Baker with you. I’ve decided you had absolutely nothing to do with the crime in question, but there are other matters that will need to be looked into. Like your education.”

Our mothers...” began Ernie, “they teach us...”

And we’ve seen the product of some of that teaching,” reminded Rosie.

She was about to elaborate that point when the door was knocked and a uniformed officer, Constable Strouss, stood in the doorway when she called him in.

She went to him to hear what he had to say, quietly but maybe not quietly enough.

We’ve had news from Germany,” he said, “following our enquiries about the couple who fled back there a generation ago.”

Really?” asked Rosie, “tell me, but come outside, I might not want then to overhear until I know what it is.”

They’re alive and well apparently,” said the constable, “and have no intention of returning to the UK. In fact, they wouldn’t be allowed to. They’ve been in a German jail for years, both of them. Apparently the only way they could get papers for their outward journey from here to Germany involved murder. They killed a couple of German tourists and assumed their identity, and might have got away with it had they kept out of the papers, but they couldn’t. The man rescued a child from a car after an accident, and his face and false name were plastered all over the press. Despite his good deed he and the woman were arrested and the truth came out. They weren’t helped by their insistence that the police and judiciary were all Gestapo thugs, especially as the only language they were really fluent in was English, yet they had no documentation save the papers they stole.”

Well well,” murmured Rosie, “but I think it would be best if we ignored that information so far as our enquiries are concerned. The two Denton women were only kids themselves when that happened and the skull belonged to an even older generation. Let history sleep, at least for the time being.”

She returned to the interview room and six expectant eyes searching for information. They’d heard the constable’s mention of Germany and guessed his news concerned them.

Well?” asked Beverley.

And Rosie knew that she’d have to answer. After all, it would be wrong not to.

© Peter Rogerson. 08.04.20



© 2020 Peter Rogerson


My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

102 Views
Added on April 8, 2020
Last Updated on April 8, 2020
Tags: Germany, homeland, stolen papers, murder


Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
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..

Writing