HE WHO RIDES A TIGER

"HE WHO RIDES A TIGER" Chief petty office Peter Thompson the upstanding, charming gent hides a secret, he is an abuser of children. How long can he evade the law. one young girl, his daughter finds the courage to come forward to tell all after years of torment.. based on a true story. "A must read"

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24. 24

Janet Thompson returned from work to find a lovely smell emanating from her kitchen.

“Wow, something smells good.’

“I made a corned beef hash for you, I thought you would be hungry.’ Mind you Deborah Jane helped me.’ She’s a proper little Mrs Beaton in the making.’

“We made a cake as well mum look.’

“My you have been busy.

“We went into town and I bought a few things, I’ve left you the receipts. There’s no hurry for the money, I can get it off you at the end of the week. Rose was about to put her coat on when Janet asked if she would like to stay to dinner.

“Oh, please stay Rose said Deborah Jane.’

“I don’t want to over stay my welcome so I will be going. I’ll see you in the morning Deborah Jane.’

“You can stay you know, there’s enough food for all of us here.’

“Another time perhaps, thank you.’  

With that Rose put on her coat. “It’s alright I’ll see myself out. She left the keys of the house on the table then made her way out for the bus.

Janet put out the dinner that Rose had made it tasted delicious. There was no doubting her cooking skills. Janet found herself having two helpings. She couldn’t have been hungry because she had eaten a good lunch at work and even ate a sandwich at 3.30 p.m. She even had a piece of sponge cake as well. What was wrong with her? Alarm bells sounded in her head. “I can’t be she thought. then she knew why. She went to the bathroom and unbuttoned her blouse she undid her brassier and looked at her breasts, they felt weighty and the nipples had turned from a pink to a brownish red. Then she looked at her swollen belly. That confirmed it for sure. I’m pregnant she said out loud. She had missed a period which was not unusual for her, sometimes she was a little late but this time there was no mistake.  After changing, she went to the calendar on the wall and checked the date of her last period. It had been nearly six weeks. She smiled knowing that Peter would be over the moon at the news. If her Calculations were right her baby would be born in November that year. After putting Deborah Jane to bed Janet took out some note paper and her pen then wrote to Peter to tell him the news. She folded the paper and placed it into the envelope then sealed it She wrote the address on the envelope then left it by the clock to remind herself to post it. At nine o’clock Janet did the washing up then sat down and picked up a book that she was reading she found the page where she had left off. Slowly after an hour or so her eyes became heavy. Pushing the book mark back in Janet went to her bed.

 

Charles Barnet had remembered the address on the envelope where Edward had asked him to post the letter when he was in Oxford. He felt obligated to go and inform whoever lived at that address that he and his wife were now dead and would they want their bodies brought back for burial. Once again, Charles packed a suitcase. He would have to stay overnight and get a ferry back the next morning. Amaline and Alayna would have to milk the cows he thought as he drove to Cherbourg. The snow had now melted and the slush was now turning to water and running down the roads and into the drains. Charles hoped to get there at 8 a.m. to catch the ferry going to Portsmouth. The traffic was building as he got nearer to his destination. At Tourlaville he knew he wasn’t far away. He looked at his watch which told him he had 40 minutes to reach the ferry terminal. He didn’t like the thought of being the bearer of bad news. He had done it during the war and it wasn’t pleasant. This time he had no choice in the matter it had to be done.

He reached Cherbourg with only ten minutes to spare. He had a case with all the personal belongings of his friend including his wedding photographs. He went on board after parking his car. And waited for the ferry to leave. It didn’t seem that long ago that he’d taken a similar journey for his father’s funeral. Charles bought himself a cup of tea as the ferry made its way across the English Channel to the coast of England. It was a miserable day the sky was grey and it looked as though it would rain at any moment. He had brought his brolly with him just in case.

When the ferry landed there was a strong North Easterly wind blowing which made it seem a lot colder than it really was. Where he’d just come from was slightly warmer. He dove around Portsmouth looking Westwood Road for over an hour. Eventually he found the house where he’d posted the letter to. Looking at the street and the houses he thought this has all the makings of a slum, no wonder Edward wanted to escape from here.  It was nothing like his own parents’ home in Oxford. He parked the car outside then locked the car up before walking casually up to the door with the little brown suitcase. The door was badly in need of a coat of paint and he knocked on it.

He waited about a minute before a woman came to the door.

“If you’ve come for rent I’ve already paid it.’

“Hello, are you Mrs Thompson, I was wondering if I could come inside I have news about Edward.’

“How do you know our Edward, you’re not from the police are you?

“No Madam, I’m Major Charles Barnet, I knew your son.’

“You say knew, what’s happened to him?

“If we could just go inside a moment Mrs Thomson I’ll explain.’

“You’d better come in then hadn’t you she said in a broad cockney accent.’

The major walked down the passage and into the house.

There wasn’t much in way of furniture. Just an armchair and a wooden chair and a small table. There was no carpet upon the floor.

“Please sit-down Mrs Thompson.’

Elizabeth sat in the arm chair then asked the Major to take a seat.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news about Edward. He was killed in a road traffic accident two days ago.

Elizabeth put her hand to her mouth in shock. Then asked “How did it happen?

“Your son was coming from the hospital in Normandy where his wife Elizabeth and unborn son had just died when he skidded off the road and hit a tree. He was killed instantly I’m afraid.’

“My god does Elizabeth’s parents know?

“I’m afraid not. Their bodies are still in France. If they are to be buried here then arrangements will have to be made to bring them back to England.’  

“What on earth were they doing in France?

“They were running their own farm, Charles went on to tell Mrs Thompson how they’d met and how he had given Elizabeth away at their wedding. Then he told her how Elizabeth had got sick whilst she was pregnant.

“Thank you so much for coming all this way and telling me Major.’

“I have brought all of your son’s personal effects as well as Elizabeth’s.’

Elizabeth opened the case and saw the photograph of her son and his wife “look at how smart he looked.’

“Yes, he was and so was Elizabeth. They were so happy together it is a tragedy really.’

“What will happen to the farm and all of his livestock, because there’s no one else to run it?

“I don’t know Major; both of my other sons know nothing about farming.’

“Well, I will leave that for you and your family to decide. Here is the address of the farm and this is my address.’ “I can take care of the arrangements if you like.’

“Thank you Major, you are too kind.’

 “I’m staying overnight in the city centre at the Hamilton Hotel you can ring me there if you need anything.’

“Would you like a cup of tea Major before you go?

“No thank you, I have to be getting back. I leave early tomorrow for the ferry back to Cherbourg. I too have a farm to run.’

“I will send you some money to cover the cost of your travel and the transportation of my son and his wife and child. “Was it a boy, the child?

“Yes, it was, they were going to call him Charles after me because I had no children of my own.  When I married my wife Amaline you see, her first husband was executed by the Germans. She hid me in her attic after a mission went wrong and the Germans tortured her. She was beaten so badly that she couldn’t have any more children. So, I married Amaline after war and I adopted her daughter Alayna.

“That was good of you.’ Are you sure that you won’t stay for a cup of tea and something to eat Major?

Thank you but no, I’m sure you have a lot to do. You will inform Elizabeth’s parents won’t you.’

“Yes, I will do that.’

“Thank you so much Major and I hope that we see you again.’

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