07 September 2023
Read James McCreet's suggested rewrite for this month's Under the Microscope
DCI Victoria Hayden dived to the floor, not sure if the bullet through the glass or Tommy’s head exploding had sent her there. There was a second of silence and the screams started. The shouts. Other people were on the ground. It was clear that Sergeant Tommy Baldwin was beyond medical help.
She waited for another shot. Nothing. Someone was crying loudly. A woman’s pale grey dress was spattered darkly with blood. People stared at the body.
She got up and went to the bar, her warrant card held open. “Police. Give me the phone. Then bolt the door and stay there. Let nobody leave.”
She dialled 999. ”This is DCI Victoria Hayden from city HQ. I’m in the Bull and Bush pub on Strafford Street. Code zero. I repeat: code zero.”
She saw in the bar’s mirrors that her face was speckled with blood, fragments of bone and a mottled, creamy matter she assumed was brain. She knew she couldn’t wash it. Evidence. She moved chairs to secure the area around the body. There’d be time later for mourning and rage. Now she had to control the scene until the SOC team arrived.