The Three Tecs
by Brian Taylor.
For a split-second, Fancy was speechless. Then a sort of gurgle came from her throat as she threw up her hands to shade her eyes from the blinding beam of light. It quickly became apparent that the man was a policeman. He said that as he'd come round the corner he'd seen Nick struggling to get under the school gate and thought that someone was up to no good so he'd come to investigate. "So what are you doing in the school grounds at this time of night?" the PC asked.
"Well," began Nick, "we were on our way home …"
"We'd been to choir practice at St John's," interrupted Fancy.
"Yes," continued Nick, "and as we were passing the school, we thought we ... well, Fancy thought she saw a figure slipping round this corner." He turned and looked.
"So we decided to investigate." added Choo.
"Well, let's do just that," said the policeman, "Lead the way."
The children felt much braver with a policeman behind them and they boldly led the way. The four of them walked around the school together. The policeman flashed his torch at every door and window and into every corner but they saw nothing out of the ordinary.
When they got back to the front of the building the PC said, "So you saw intruders did you? I'm more inclined to think you were the intruders. You'll have to come with me to the Station."
"But ..." stated Fancy.
"No buts," interrupted the policeman, "Get your bikes and walk ahead of me."
When Fancy, Nick and Choo told their story to the Duty Sergeant at the Police Station he wasn't convinced by their story and called their parents. The friends sat in silence in the waiting room, each one wondering what would happen when their parents arrived.
Nick was the first to break the awkward silence. "What are we going to do?" he whispered.
"I think we should do what we always do in situations like this - think of a verse and pray!" said Choo.
"I've been thinking that too." Fancy chipped in, "What about Psalm 46:1 'God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble'?"
"Sounds good," said Nick, "I'll pray."
They lowered their heads and closed their eyes as Nick whispered, "Please God, we're in trouble. You know we weren't doing anything wrong. Please help us."
At that moment Choo's parents arrived. "Oh! Oh! They do look cross." whispered Fancy.
"I'm not surprised," replied Choo, "As far as they're concerned, I've brought shame on the family."
Within a few minutes the little group had been joined by Nick's and Fancy's parents. At that point the Duty Sergeant called them all to the desk and gave the three friends a stern warning and told them he would not be so lenient if they ever found themselves in the Police Station again.
As their parents ushered their children them out of the Police Station, Nick looked over his shoulder at the other two, "See you Sunday?"
"Possibly!" commented Fancy's dad. Fancy and Choo nodded hopefully.
They did all go to church on the Sunday and had time to chat after their Sunday Club, 'Investigators'. As none of them had been grounded, they agreed to meet the following day, Bank Holiday Monday, and spend a few hours at Pirates' Cove, a small sandy inlet at the west end of Clifftown.
The next morning, as the three friends pedalled along the cliff path, they met Taff McGregor, a classmate. "Hey Taff, it's not very often we see you out walking," said Fancy.
Taff was a computer geek and spent most of his waking hours surfing the web or playing computer games. "We were burgled last night." responded Taff, his voice very flat. "They took my computer and none of us heard a thing. Police said there've been a lot of stuff stolen this past month."
Choo put his hand on Nick‘s shoulder, "Sorry to hear that. I hope your parents were insured. If they were, you might just get a better computer to replace your old one."
After a couple of minutes the cyclists were on their way again and got to Pirates' Cove shortly after 11.00am. They had a great day: Fancy swam, Choo read several chapters of yet another detective story, and Nick dug a deep hole in the hopes, he said, of reaching Australia.
By one o'clock, they all felt peckish and sat together to eat their picnic lunches. At the same time they, tested each other on the Memory Verse they had to learn for 'Investigators'. Eventually, talk turned to Friday night.
"I'm not convinced that Fancy didn't see anything on Friday – especially in view of what Taff told us," said Choo, "I think we should go back to the school after tea and look for clues - footprints perhaps. This time, we could crawl through the hedge at the back. There's a gap from Watson Drive Playground. If anything happens and we get separated, we could meet back at Nick's garden shed." Nick lived only 250 yards from the school. They all agreed to the plan.
At 7.30pm, just after sunset but while there was still enough light, the friends crept through the hedge on their hands and knees and then headed for the rear of the school. This time, they made sure no one saw them. As they crept round a corner at the back of the school, they came face to face with a tall, skinny man. His hair was long and greasy and hung in 'rat's tails'. A thin moustache graced his top lip, giving him a sinister look. He was limping along with a computer keyboard tucked under each arm. The children were taken by surprise at this chance meeting and Fancy blurted out, "What are you doing here?"
"We're installing new computers," said the man, "What about you?"
Choo suddenly became suspicious. The man wasn't looking at them. He was looking beyond them, just to their left. Choo looked over his shoulder to see what was holding the man's attention. Not ten yards away, a big thick-set man, his face hidden by a balaclava, was coming towards them. "Get them Karl," the thin man ordered.
To be continued ...
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