Belfast, Northern Ireland.
He stood there, towering above her. He inspected himself in the mirror, standing as if on parade, resplendent in his dark blue police officer’s uniform, the RUC badge shining brightly on his collar.
She looked up at her father. She sensed his love. It was a sharing love, love for her, her mother and her siblings. Although she knew the answer, she asked him, “Are you going to work now Da?”
He looked down at his nine-year-old daughter, wearing her grey school blazer and a pleated navy blue skirt. Hitching up his trouser legs, he squatted down before her. “Duty calls, my sweet.”
The girl smiled. It was a smile of innocence, and it warmed his heart. She said in earnest, “I want to be a police officer when I’m old enough.”
The smile came easily to his lips as he gazed at her tenderly. “Whatever you are in this life, Bettina Connor, do it to the best of your ability, and always be true to yourself.” He kissed her on the cheek and rose up. He took his cap off the hook and placed it squarely on his head. “See you at tea time, Bettina darlin’.”
He opened the front door and strolled down the pathway. He turned at the gate and waved. She smiled as she waved back, and then closed the door. She walked along the hallway, looking forward to the evening. At the end she stopped and turned in horror, staring at the door, she ran forward on deadened feet. She called out to him, ‘Dada! Dada, don’t!”
Her screams echoed along the hallway, as she heard the car starter turning.
The following explosion blew down the house door, bowled the girl over, and sent her flying along the hallway to crash through the kitchen swing door and land in a bundle on the floor.
A Horse Walking Backward
Publication date: 16/05/2021
Detective Inspector Bill Weatherby and Detective Sergeant Bettina Connor investigate a chain of bestial murders in Cambridge, England.
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