Books written by Ray Sullivan

Friday, 11 January 2013

Parallel Lives chapter 44

Alfred Makeson pushed his plate of toast away, scooping the buff file bearing the Royal Crest towards him. Opening the file he flicked through the thin wedge of pages detailing all the correspondence relating to the boiler explosion that had resulted in the death of a man within his jurisdiction. Alfred rapidly found the three page document located near the front of the file, pulled it out as far as the short cord that bound all the documents together would allow, and proceeded to trawl further through the file to the rear. All items were placed on file in date order, with the later items being placed on top of earlier ones. The document Alfred was looking for was one of the first to be received by his department, the initial report from the HSE.
Holding the pages of the original assessment with one hand, Alfred flicked between it and the later report, holding the pages of this document against the back of his hand, avoiding passing any of the jam spread onto the slice of toast he was nibbling onto the pages he was comparing. He had blown the local HSE director’s head off the previous night, once he had read the so-called ‘final report’. It wasn’t unusual for a few extra details at variance with the initial report to be included, but the whole tone of the report received last night appeared to imply a complete sea change. Comparing both documents Alfred realised that in the cold light of morning the new report wasn’t as damning as it might appear; that the allegations of sabotage were mere implications more or less dismissed two pages later. However he had misunderstood the words sufficiently to consider calling the whole inquest off – not indefinitely, but simply long enough to ascertain that there was the correct level of confidence in the HSE report to continue. Now he was unsure, re-reading the most recent missive again. He had postponed the decision until this morning, had allowed himself until ten o’clock, but as the light levels outside changed from murky grey to bright shafts he realised he needed to talk directly with the author of the report, and that would probably need to wait until immediately prior to the hearing. Biting deeply on a fresh slice of toast, shooting crumbs sidewards and dripping jam onto the table, Alfred reluctantly closed the file.


Copyright Ray Sullivan 2011

The characters, places and events described in this novel are fictitious and any resemblance to persons, places or events, past or present, is coincidence.  All rights reserved

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