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Paul rinsed the lather out of his hair and almost slipped on the tiles as raced to his bedroom, wrapped in a towel. He jolted with fright as he noticed a man running across the lawn towards his bedroom window. The man was huge, dressed in a visor and black body armour. Paul opened his mouth to scream, but before he got a chance the front door was kicked violently from its hinges and the glass in the patio doors shattered. Men were shouting and running into the house...
He was busted. He knew it. His accomplice had just sent a text, telling him that the cops had burst into her house and demanded the passcode to her phone. It didn’t take her long to give in to their demands. His address was there, attached to phone calls made at the time of the crime. The meta-data was damning. He didn’t have a chance.
He grabbed some tracksuits and a t-shirt, pulling them on as the swat team filed into the room. It wasn’t dignified, but it was better than a towel. The police raised their guns. Paul raised his arms. Everything was silent for one precious moment, before one of the men pulled a weapon from his belt and pulled the trigger. There was a shock, and everything went black.
He awoke to find himself in a cell. The door was perspex, completely clear. He could see guards at each end of the corridor, and opposite him, Helen, with an apologetic, yet self-pitying look on her face. She looked rough. He tried to stand up, but a throbbing pain in his chest stopped him. They’d tased him, obviously, but why not just shoot? The police weren’t exactly known for their merciful attitude to those that they considered criminals, especially those who committed as serious a crime as this.
His fretting was cut short by the door sliding open, and two thugs in uniform dragging him up by the shirt, pushing him out the door. He was taken to an interview room, a plain-clothes policeman sitting across the table, some ketchup fresh above his lip. Paul felt hungry, he hadn’t eaten for a day now, maybe more, who knows how long he was out for. The policeman waved for the thugs to leave, before leaning forwards, and whispering in his ear.
‘We know,’ he muttered as he ran his tongue along his upper lip, ‘we have all the information we need to put you away for good.’ My legs began to shake beneath the table. Paul had no idea how to react, what to say. ‘But,’ he said, ‘Maybe we can work something out.’ He leaned back, attempting to make eye contact, but it wasn’t going to work. ‘I made a deal with your young friend you know, we got your address, she got 10 years off her sentence. Doesn’t that seem like a good deal, eh?’
Paul said nothing, but a flash of uncertainty played between his eyes. It was not missed by the police man. ‘Oh yes,’ false joviality contorted in his face, ‘We even got her to send you a warning, just before we burst through the door. Made it a bit more entertaining. Shame you didn’t fight back. We can’t kill you if you don’t fight back. Not with these bleedin’ cameras anyway.’ He gestured at a button on his uniform which contained a small pinhole. ‘Lucky that they turn ‘em off when we get back to the station, ain’t it’
He clearly wasn’t getting the reaction he was hoping for, so he dropped the act and grabbed Paul’s collar. ‘Names. Now.’
With little hope left, Paul simply asked, ‘Don’t I get a chance to defend myself?’
The policeman chuckled darkly, ‘Maybe you’ll get that in court, if you’re lucky. What use is it, surely you know you’re guilty.’ Paul remained silent. He wasn’t giving it to them that easily. ‘Shall I read the charges?’ the policeman said calmly. Paul paused for a moment, before giving an almost imperceptible nod in the man’s direction.
The man gave a fake cough, before beginning to read from his notes, ‘Illegal use of water, unlicensed pipes connecting to a mainline utility, and setting up a sanitation device without proper planning permission.’
Paul sighed. ‘It’s a fair cop.’
Henry Rolph, 14, Leighton Park School
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