16. A SHOT IN THE GARDEN

16. A SHOT IN THE GARDEN

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson
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THE FANCY DRESS BALL (16)

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If there had been any speed cameras on the stretch of road leading to the hospital on the outskirts of Brumpton I’d most certainly have been registered a dozen times as I forced my car to race like a demon through the night, the only thing on my mind being to get Dakota into the hands of medical care so that she might be saved, and it was by no means certain that was at all possible.

It was one of those occasions when there were three people in a car and not a mobile phone between us. I’d left mine back with my clothes because my Roman tunic outfit didn’t have a pocket, Cynthia as Lady Godiva most certainly didn’t, and Dakota, a girl who I’d thought was surgically joined to her phone had left hers behind too when she’d changed into her flimsy nurse’s outfit. Not that Dakota could tell me that, though I was grateful that she wasn’t actually dead and my speed meant I was hoping to give her a chance of staying alive.

Cynthia had eased her way into the back seat and was sitting with her daughter and trying to do what she could to keep her alive. She had a wound low on her shoulder, probably close to her chest, and she was bleeding profusely. Cynthia did her best to staunch the bleeding, using the tee-shirt she had borrowed off me, scrunched up and forcing into the wound, and this meant that consequently she had become become topless again, though that didn’t seem at all important at the time.

Never has a relatively short journey seemed to be so long and never has every bend in its road tested my nerves, which were stretched taut. But I was up to it and after what was really only a few minutes but seemed an eternity I saw the large white NHS sign marking the entrance to the hosital.

Thus we arrived at the hospital and I parked close ro the ambulance stand before leaping from my car and racing in, looking for someone to help me. It was the A and E Department and a nurse saw the anxiety on my face and heard me begging for assistance, and despite the peculiarity of my appearance, showed her professionalism by rushing into overdrive and making it to Dakota in almost no time at all.

Within an absurdly short time the patient had been seen by a surgeon who told us the wound looked worse than it was and that no real damage had been done and she might end up with only the smallest scar, but he needed to know what on Earth had caused a trio like ourselves to end up as if we’d been in a gunfight at the OK Corral.

It wasn’t an easy thing to explain whilst sounding sensible and not refugees than from the set of a western film, but I managed, with help from the two women.

Our explanation brought a car full of police officers to investigate and heads were shaken sadly as if we were insane when I explained that we’d been under attack by hooligans in a milk float. The fact that they were considering whether Cynthia’s dress constituted indecency was, to me, laughable, and it wasn’t until Sir Jeffery, a well known figure despite his preference for an untroubled life, arrived and quietly established the fact that he knew the Chief Constable very well indeed that we were truly taken seriously.

I didn’t know you were in with their boss?” said Cynthia while we waited for Dakota to be repaired, “you’ve never mentioned him before.”

I know and I’m not. Never met the man,” he replied, “but it worked.”

I smiled. That was the good side of the knighthood that had been bestowed on my friend several years earlier.

When it was clear that Dakota was most certainly going to be made whole again he left us. He had more than this one twin on his mind

There’s Jessica to worry about,” was his explanation, and in our anxiety over her sister we’d temporarily forgotten her.

It was well past midnight when we arrived back at the Manor house. The remnants of the fancy dress ball had long been cleared away with the exception of a few dozen yards of police crime-scene tape and a little litter, and the guests had all departed. Sir Jeffery was there, but all was not well with him because he was sitting on a wooden chair in the middle of the lawn where the dancing had been held, and he was frowning at the girl who had a pistol pointed at his chest. It was his daughter Jessica, and the was a maniacal grimness to the expression on her face. My first thought was not another gun and my second concern for the well being of my friend.

This has gone too far,” he said quietly, “Dakota might have been killed and now you’re asking to spend a life time behind bars yourself.”

She smirked back at him. “Not me, father dear,” she said, “for I am the reincarnation of Tiffany! Tiffany recovered. That’s me. I wonder what happened to my fore-sister?”

You mean Dakota?” asked her father, still sounding calm, “the twin who got herself shot tonight by one of your friends?”

I could see that Jessica was affected by that statement. Something had influenced her, some force had made her see life in a way contrary to the way she had been brought up, but that couldn’t obliterate the closeness between herself and her twin sister. They had developed together in the womb and into childhood, and although they weren’t identical twins they still were tied together by a bond that had served them through the thick and thin of that childhood.

You’re lying,” was all she could say.

He’s not.” That was Dakota. She might have been kept overnight in hospital but a shortage of beds, a remnant from the still raging pandemic, had meant that she had been discharged.

Denby wasn’t shooting at you,” said Jessica defiantly, “he didn’t know you were in the car, for goodness’ sake!”

But it hit me all the same,” replied Dakota, “it was only inches away from killing me. Then what would you have thought, dear sister? Standing with a mourning crowd by the grave I was being lowered into and knowing it was because of the wickedness of your own friends that you were being denied the oneness of being my twin, and me being yours?”

It wasn’t Denby’s fault!” Jessica flared, “it was his!”

And she turned slowly to face where I was standing in the shadows, and I could see the insanity in her eyes as she very deliberately fired the gun she was holding at me.

© Peter Rogerson 02.08.20




© 2020 Peter Rogerson


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Added on August 2, 2020
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Author

Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom



About
I am 76 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..

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