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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before taking the escalator to the ground floor. She waited whilst someone finished wishing his mother well before going to the departure lounge. Dialing the number, she waited. Barry answered.

“Hello Barry, its Rose the plane has just got in.

“Hi Rose, welcome back, I’ll be with you in fifteen minutes, just have a seat inside I’ll come in for you.

Rose hung up then looked around for a seat, she found one near the door so she could see outside.

There was a steady flow of people checking in and going out.

When Barry turned up he was driving a new Morris Minor. He gave her a brief hug and then took hold of her case and stuck it away in the boot. Rose asked him what had been happening since she left. Barry told her about the sectarian murders and those who they all knew who were in jail for acts of terrorism.

“I see nothing has changed much then.’

“I can’t see any peace between the loyalists can you.’

“Don’t tell me you’re involved wi that crap, are you?

“It’s hard not to be when you live with it every day.’

“How’s me Da’ taking all of this. She had slipped back to the Irish brogue as easily as Barry changed gear on the road. Since living in England, it was inevitable that she’d lose some of the Irish twang. Her voice was a mixture of both Irish and English it had a softer lilt to it. She reverted back to the courser language of Belfast.

Her brother used the word feckin’ a lot these days just like her father. She just let it go over her head. Rose told Barry about her job and how she worked for a chief petty officer’s wife.

“Better than the feckin’ Manor House then aye.’

“Is Finbarr still at home?

“No, he went with a girl from the Falls Road called Irene. They’re married now and have one child, a girl called Emerald, Emma for short. They are all coming to the house to see you.

Looking out onto the streets as they went along nothing seemed to have changed that much.

It was still a shit hole she thought. There were sectarian slogans painted on the sid es of houses and walls.

 

 

Barry turned right onto Grosvenor Road they weren’t far now from her house and the fear crept inside her stomach as they approached her street. Barry parked outside as Rose looked at the street where she’d grown up. Stepping outside she saw children playing football. She turned and went inside the house. At least the living room had been redecorated she thought as she went inside. She was greeted by neighbours and friends that she’d grown up with. Then she saw her father and walked towards him.

He looked at her and in a quiet voice said “Hello Rose, I wish your home coming could have been under better circumstances.’

She went to him and hugged and kissed his cheek he held her in his arms and there was a tear in his eye after they parted.

Sit down Rose and tell me about everything since you left.

Rose was given a cup of strong tea and a plate of sandwiches and piece of apple and potato cake. She managed to eat a sandwich and a little of the cake. She asked Barry where her mother was and they told her that she was in the parlor on the kitchen table.

She stood up and Barry took her  

to the coffin that was laid out on the table there was a brass plate with her name and her date of birth and the date that she had died upon it. A black rosery was placed on the top. Barry removed the lid and Rose peered down at her mother and gasped. The years had not been kind to her. Her hair was almost white and her face looked like a woman far older even though the embalmers had tried to make her look presentable. Rose could see what forty years of drinking had done to her. Her skeletal body had been eaten away with alcohol. Rose said a silent prayer then kissed her mother’s forehead. It was cold and waxen. She crossed herself then turned and went back into the living room.

Finbarr arrived with Irene and Emma and he came over and kissed his sister.

This is my wife Irene and my daughter Emerald.

 Rose nodded politely.

“You’ve never changed Rose, you still look the same.’

“Wait until you see me in daylight. I’ve aged alright. My hair is turning grey just like my mother in there said Rose pointing to the parlor.

“How are you in yourself Rose, are you well?’

“Yes, I am well Finbarr and you what are you doing with yourself.

“I have a job working on Kerry’s farm. The wage isn’t bad, Irene works in the cake shop. That’s where all the cakes and pies for the wake have come from.

“It will come in handy then, there seems to be a lot of people here

“How long are you staying Rose?

“Just until after the funeral on Friday. I have to get back.’

“Ironic that our mother be buried the same time as King George isn’t it.’ It’s a good job Father O’Connell isn’t a loyalist.

“How old is Emma then asked Rose changing the subject.

“She’ll be seven in January,

“She is going to be tall I think looking at her, pretty too.’

“Just like her mother aye Rose.’

“You are one lucky man, I hope you realise that Finbarr.’ Treat her right.

“I do Rose, I do.’

Someone else came up to her and hugged her. Rose, it’s really you don’t you remember me.

“Should I, asked Rose?

“We went to the same school and I was in your class. It’s me Myrna Doone.

“Yes, my God Myrna, you lost all that weight, look at you. You look like a film star.

“Thank you Rose, I got sick of all the taunts from the other girls so I joined the local swimming baths in Belfast and I went every night for two years. I go just three times a week now. It helps me to keep fit.

“Well it certainly has made a difference Myrna you look fabulous.

“You were always the skinny one in our class. You haven’t changed at all Rose. Where have you been and what have you been doing?

Rose went on to tell about her life in England as she had several others. The living room was full of neighbours now as the wake got underway. Father Michael Shaunesy came over and spoke to Rose before leaving shortly after to continue drinking down at Whites Tavern. One thing about the Irish, a wake lasts for several days sometimes weeks.

She was pleased when they all had left and Rose could tidy up the house. It was badly in need of a woman’s touch so Rose set about cleaning it from top to toe whilst they were all down at the pub. She started upstairs cleaning the windows, changing all the curtains and bedding then vacuumed the carpets and dusting. Then she moved down the stairs several buckets of water were used and then she washed all the sheets and curtains and hung them out to dry. There was a bit of a wind blowing so they’d be dry in a few hours. She threw out the half- eaten sandwiches and pies then placed all the other food onto clean plates for when they would all return later that evening. She emptied the tea pots and washed them out she opened the windows after changing the curtains to let out the smell of death. Rose never went to the pub choosing to stay in the house. She felt strange in the house with her dead mother and she felt her presence in the living room as she sat in the chair where her mother once sat.

 

The agency sent Fanny Tickell to help Janet until Rose returned. She was a big battle axe of a woman who would not do anything other than pick Deborah Jane up from school or take her. She would not cook or do any cleaning but expected to be paid the same rate as what Rose was getting. Deborah Jane didn’t like her at all and called her a fat old witch. By the Friday evening Janet had had enough of her attitude she told her to leave. Mildred her sister came to stay over for the weekend and helped her out. She wished Rose was back. Alan was proving to be a difficult child, he cried a lot until he was picked up and nursed. Janet found she could get very little done. It was Tuesday when Peter came home again and they could be a family once more.

Deborah Jane was spoilt as usual but Janet let it go because she would only see Peter for just two months and he’d be off again. Peter was keen to make love but Janet couldn’t bear him to touch 

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