Sunday 14 August 2011
Will it all work out for the best?
‘Been in touch with the department out by Fallon Point. Two officers just spoke to him. Said they thought he looked relaxed,’ Sheriff Smith said as they approached the turn off to the house they believed belonged to Bernie Thomas.
‘Good work on nailing down a potential identity for him, Deputy Hills,’ Duncan commended the deputy where the sheriff wouldn’t. She flashed a small smile in Duncan’s direction.
‘At least someone appreciates my work, sir,’ she replied.
Sheriff Smith turned in his seat to look at her. She flashed him the same smile she’d flashed the attorney. Smith snickered. He knew Hills well enough to know that she was teasing him.
‘Tudor, you have any idea how we’re going to play this?’
Duncan sighed. He’d not considered how they would get Bernie Thomas back to the city to face trial. In all honesty, he didn’t even know if the man they were going to see was actually Bernie Thomas. The other officers said that the man they spoke to didn’t really bear any resemblance to the emailed photo Duncan sent them.
‘No idea, sheriff. I was just thinking that we’d arrest him and haul his ass back.’
They drove in silence up the driveway.
Alan heard the car approaching before he saw it. He figured that the police officers had returned with further questions about the electrician. The appearance of this new car threw him. He didn’t recognise anyone in the vehicle, but it was too late to high tail it back into the house and pretend as if no one was home. They had all seen him.
‘Sheriff,’ Duncan said, ‘I think it might be advisable to call for back up. Just in case.’
Sheriff Smith immediately radioed in to the local department, and was informed that back up would be with them in a matter of minutes.
‘You think he knows why we’re here?’ asked Hills.
‘Probably not, Hills. He’s been safe for twelve years. Probably thinks he’s untouchable,’ Duncan had other ideas though. Bernie Thomas was going back to the city to pay for his crime.
‘You know,’ said Hills, ‘if I was Hannah Thomas, I’d seriously consider killing him for real. I mean she’s already been convicted of his murder. Double jeopardy.’
Sheriff Smith laughed, ‘Me too, deputy, me too.’
Duncan smiled. He’d been able to get through to these people, convince them that Hannah was innocent, and now, here they were, on the brink of arresting Bernie Thomas, and everyone involved was empathetic towards Hannah.
The three of them got out of the car almost simultaneously. Duncan chose to leave his briefcase behind, but grabbed the folder he’d complied during his investigation into Hannah’s conviction. He made sure he had quick and easy access to the last photograph anyone taken of Bernie before his alleged death, placing it inside the front cover of the folder. While Duncan fiddled with his file, Sheriff Smith and his deputy undertook their ritualistic check of their equipment belt. Reassuring yourself as to what you have quick access to, proved more than once to be advantageous to the sheriff.
Alan Fallon stood his ground, and tried to act as naturally non-chalant as he could. The new visitors where meters away from where the electrician was buried, and Alan was now finding himself overcome with paranoia. If they looked hard enough, would they see the broken ground, or his form beneath the dirt? Maybe he should stand closer to their car, make them face the opposite direction? He strode down the driveway to meet his visitors.
‘Deputy, hand at the ready. Don’t know if he’s going to be aggressive,’ the sheriff barked his instruction as quietly as he was capable of doing.
She readied her weapon, choosing to unclip the holster to her service weapon rather than her Taser. Given that Hannah Thomas had been on death row for his murder, it was only fair in Laurie Hills’ eyes, that he faced the same punishment if he made a stupid move.
‘You know,’ commented the sheriff, ‘if you didn’t know who he was, you’d never put two and two together and get Bernie Thomas, would you?’
‘No, sheriff, you wouldn’t. I’d say he’s done a pretty good job of isolating everything from his past, and keeping it there,’ Duncan replied.
They approached Alan with caution, but Duncan couldn’t hold back.
‘Get ready for him to run, sheriff.’ Duncan spoke to the law enforcement officers behind him, and then directed his words at the bearded man in front. ‘Alan Fallon?’
‘Or should I say, Bernie Thomas?’ Duncan continued.
Alan froze, contemplating his next move. Laurie Hills unholstered her gun, and pointed it at his head.
‘Don’t even think about running,’ she said as she flicked off the safety.
. . . To be continued . . .