Street 37

A Crime novel based around Alfred Hurst, a former Royal Marine Commando who is still suffering from the after effects of war. Following his enrollment in the Police Force, he is faced with his harsh memories from the forces and the harsh reality of crime.

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3. Cross: Roll With The Punches

Gordon looked up to see the door of Room 12 creak open and Alfred Hurst limp in. Penelope turned and scowled menacingly. Gordon smiled sadistically and leaned against the wall to enjoy the scene.

Hurst was dressed in a light grey Abercrombie & Fitch Tee-shirt and a pair of dark red chinos. He looks a mess, Gordon thought savagely. He stood a little bit taller and allowed his dark brown suit to fill Hurst's eye line. Hurst avoided looking at Gordon, but instead focused his gaze on Penelope, who looked as though she had just been slapped in the face. When she spoke, it was with what Gordon could only assume was a voice she was struggling to control.

"What do you want, Hurst?" Hurst smiled mirthlessly and looked round the room, ignoring the question. His eyes settled on the empty chair sat adjacent to a small table in the centre of the room.

"I thought you had Barnes in here." He said. Penelope scowled and clicked her fingers so that Hurst looked up.

"I said what do you want?" She snapped. She was not used to people ignoring her questions. She was head honcho at the station, and made sure that everyone knew it.

"I was told that I was needed to interrogate Barnes. I was under the impression that you knew. Or do your superiors not trust you with this information?" He flashed another smile, apparently enjoying stripping Penelope of her omniscience. Gordon stepped forward, determined to stay on Penelope's good side. He'd do what he had to in order to get promoted. That and seeing Hurst being hounded by the Superintendent in the area.

"Shut your ungrateful mouth you piece of sh-"

"ENOUGH!" Penelope shouted. The room sunk into a angry silence. Gordon was breathing heavily and clenching his fists. Hurst looked quite placid, his eyes resting calmly on Penelope. She sighed heavily and returned to her controlled state.

"Can't we all just get along?" She asked in a simpering voice, "I hate to say it Gordon, but old Alfie here has a point. We should have received Barnes by now."

"Received?" Hurst asked coldly. He flashed Gordon a look of malice, then returned his gaze to the Superintendent.

"Yes, he was being transferred here for questioning from Strangeways." Penelope replied.

"But why not question him there?" Hurst inquired.

"He is somewhat of a... how to put it? Role model for the other prisoners. If they saw him there the Prison guards fear that they might riot. They don't know he's been arrested" She added at a questioning look from Hurst. This was news to Gordon, but he did not show it. He wanted to remain in a position of power over Hurst for as long as possible.

As they spoke, two guards wearing Manchester Police badges entered, holding between them a handcuffed and wild looking man who snarled at the sight of the two detectives.

"Prisoner number 25198 for you, Ma'am." Said one of the guards. He turned on his heel and marched from the room. The other guard cuffed the prisoner to the chair and followed with a curt nod to the detectives. Gordon and Hurst exchanged glances. They both averted their eyes quickly and surveyed the man before them.

He was short and thin. He had a wild, hippy look about him and long hair that was spiked up at odd angles, making him look as though he had been recently electrocuted. His eyes were bloodshot and crazy, darting around the room and taking in their surroundings. He was hunched and sullen. Gordon suspected that he had been one of those Emo teenagers who slit their wrists and pierce their tongues. The prisoner was scowling resolutely and kept his head down as though he expected to be beaten and wished to protect his face. Only when Gordon spoke did he finally look up.

"Name?"

"Nathan Barnes."

"Age?"

"Twenty six." He was just going along with it. Rolling with the punches.

"What d'you do, Nathan?" Hurst asked.

"Murder, innit?" Said Barnes.

"Why?" Gordon quizzed.

"Dat's nothin' you should know." Barnes replied coolly. Hurst leaned back against the wall.

"You got accomplices, Nathan?"

"I- I ain't no snitch, ya' dig?" Hurst was unsettling him. Gordon had to admire the ease with which he could get answers.

"I didn't say you were," said Hurst easily, "You don't have to tell us anything." Barnes looked questioningly at him. So did Gordon. "You could show us."

"Nah, mate. I ain't your lapdog." Barnes spat on the floor.

"Maybe not. You'd be paid." Hurst had done it again. Barnes was letting his guard down. He looked up at the other two, like a child asking hopefully for a friend to stay round.

"Of course you'd be paid," Penelope said, "As well as given luxuries in Prison for aiding the Police."

"Could ya' reduce ma' sentence, though?"

"No, but we could make it more bearable," Gordon walked forward, "Maybe a stereo system, T.V, newspapers, whatever you want, near enough."

"And if I say no?" Hurst strolled towards Barnes and stood on the spot where he had spat.

"You like your empty cell that much?" Barnes sniffed huffily and looked away. Gordon knew that look. It was the look of a man who was defeated. He decided it was high time to step in.

"So, you help us trace your crew and you're given rewards. You choose not to help and you never see daylight again. Fair?" Barnes sniffed again. He looked imploringly at Penelope but she merely nodded.

"Fine. But don't expect me ta' like it, ya' know?" Barnes growled. Gordon smiled imperiously. It was always nice to finish an interrogation on a high.

*

Twenty minutes later and with Barnes back in prison, Gordon sat in his office and stared across his desk at Hurst, who had just told him some bad news.

"A mass breakout? At Strangeways?"

"Yeah, thirty two high security prisoners and forty six low security."

"How?"

"A riot," Hurst shrugged, "God knows how they overpowered the guards. Apparently they saw Barnes leaving and rallied. They think he's a big shot. They don't know nothing. Someone big did get out though."

"Who?"

"Pulse, that bloke who killed thirty people at the gang funeral," Hurst looked dark, "They call him that 'cause he's what kept all the gangs goin' before we locked him up. He was their heart"

Gordon was stunned. Pulse was the U.K's most wanted for twenty years. Drug dealing, murder, armed robbery, assault, rape. They were all on the list. He started out as a petty thief nicking cigarettes and alcohol, then got fueled by one of the local gangs and went on to bigger things. He got armed and before long it was hostage situations and drug trafficking. He was bad news.

"Bloody Hell," Gordon buried his head in his hands, "He killed his boss for a pound of crack, didn't he?"

"Yeah. Ruthless. I doubt he'll come quietly, but hopefully our pal Nathan will lead us to him before he does any real damage."

"You trust him?"

"He's all we've got." Hurst sighed.

"Then we're screwed."

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