Running and Hiding
Short story by Iris Carden
I never expected to be here again.
The jeweller was already dead when I broke in. I found him like that. But I tripped the alarm, and the police came, and I ran. My fingerprints will be all over the crime scene. I was there. I will never prove I’m just a thief and not a murderer.
So I ran. I found myself in front of my old school. There was a door open, so I ran in. I can’t keep running. I have to try to find somewhere to hide.
I hated this place when I was a kid, and it’s really not where I want to be now.
There was the science room where old Mr Furbish threw chalk at me, after I fell asleep listening to him talk on and on and on in that nasal drone. I never knew what he was talking about. He talked so much but never explained anything.
There was the home ec room, where Kirsty stabbed me with the fork, and then told Miss Rankin I tried to touch her.
There’s the headmaster’s office, where I spent way too much time. Principal Pointman, although we called him Pustule.
I open the door quietly and duck in. I hide under the headmaster’s gigantic desk, just in time, as running footsteps follow me.
“Pustule’s office?” A voice says, “Of all the places to run, Barry. Get out from under the desk. You know running makes you look guilty.”
I recognise the cop’s voice. I get out. “Harvey, you know I wouldn’t kill anyone. He was like that when I found him.”
“I know you wouldn’t kill anyone, other than maybe Pustule or one of his psycho cronies. But I have to take you in. You have to explain yourself. Right now you just look guilty. And we both spent too much time looking guilty in here.”
“The jeweller had Mum’s ring. I just broke in to get it back.”
“You should have come to me. You can’t just go and steal back stolen property. Now look at the mess you’re in. And worse, the person who stole her ring was probably the person who killed her. You messed up big time not telling us it turned up.”
“She was going to get Pustule fired, you know.”
“Back then, she couldn’t do anything. No-one would listen to a poor single mother. But after she won Lotto, she was a multi-millionaire. She was putting a file together, on all the stuff he’d done, to us and to other kids. She was going to save other kids from what we went through.”
“I’m sorry we haven’t found out who killed her. And now the person who had her ring, who might have been able to identify the killer, is dead.”
“I’ve found something that could help.”
“Trapped in the loops of the carpet under Pustule’s desk, I found this. It’s one of her earrings, from the set that matched that ring.”