Date of commencement: September 22 2013
Date of completion: December 24 2014
Series: Broadchurch, a sequel to the original, and following on from Life Without Joe
Authors: tkel_paris and tardis_mole
Summary: Two years after Danny's death, life is slowly getting back to normal in Broadchurch. But Hardy's happy life is about to be turned upside down by a spectre from the past he had hoped had been laid to rest. Someone from his past wants to talk to him, someone wants revenge, someone wants to see him ruined. But it's not one 'someone'. But first, he must face the girl in his garden.
Disclaimer: We own nothing, but this is based on Broachurch by Chris Chibnal, with added clues from the novel by Erin Kelly. We gain no financial benefit nor gratuities, only the enjoyment from writing and working together on this epic journey, shared for the enjoyment of others.
Dedication: Chris Chibnal, long time friend. bas_math_girl, for her beta. And each other for hopefully not ruining each other's lives for too long during the writing part.
Warning: If you have not watched Broadchurch in its entirety, do not read this. We mean it. You will be spoiled. Stop and go back. Now. Ideally you have seen the entire show, not just what was aired on BBC America if you live on that side of the pond, but this is understandable in either case. Also, if you have not read tardis_mole's Life Without Joe, that's okay. It's possible to read this without reading that, if you're not on Moley's approved list. You'll probably find this makes a little more sense if you have read it, but you should be fine without it. Take the time to read Erin Kelly’s novelization, if you can, as it provided certain details that helped with writing this. Though you won’t need to rely on it.
Authors' Notes: tardis: Count the adverts. It all started with me writing Life Without Joe (blowing my own trumpet). The title does not say why Joe was not there, whether he had died or walked out. It was just that he was no long there. No clue, no hint, no spoiler, no Joe. And just in case anyone else caught on before I did – episode four – that it was Joe I had to watch from a play back site because I was first burying my mum and then moving, so I actually missed episodes 2-7 until just days before the finale. My deepest thanks to bas_math_girl who saved me from being “spoilered”. And, sorry, tkel, but it was not the BBC. It was ITV that made and broadcast the original. The BBC can only wish.
I got this idea after watching the original for the however-many time it was. I’d gone out to HMV to find a copy of The Politician’s Wife and on the off-chance asked them if they had a copy of Broadchruch. As it happened the delivery had just arrived. I had the first copy out of the box at HMV Cardiff. There. Selfless advertising. And the Beeb still loses out. So I sat and watched it and thought I wonder what happens next? I’ve lived in hotels. I’ve been in a similar situation as Tom (and Ellie, actually, but that’s neither here nor there), and I know there had to be more. Life would not have been cosy for Ellie.
So I wrote it.
LWJ was the result. And my readers liked it. Tkel refused to read it. And I fully understand and support her reasons.
However, within days of finishing and posting it I got another idea. I sat on it for months while tkel waited for the DVD, and by that time the plot bunny had stewed itself into a balrog (another plug, this one’s LOTR). Tkel was busy. I was in Preston for the long awaited arrival of my first ‘born in Britain’; grandchild. I have been busy looking after him and my daughter and fighting for justice for my son-in-law that the Balrog sat forgotten in a dark room on my data pen for a year. Date of starting: September 22 2013. I had a brief outline and a few notes. I basically picked at it for a year until both tkel and I were ready to put in the time and effort.
November 1 2014. One month turned into three weeks, and over 285400 words later we had a first draft. Chris Chibnall may own the copyrights and I bet his sequel is brilliant, LOOK AWAY NOW IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILERED!! but he doesn’t have a murder. Read it and weep, Chris, my friend. Mine does. *Taggart voice* There’s been a murder!
This has been a phenomenal achievement for both of us. Neither of us has done anything like this before. Working with a co-writer is not recommended for everyone. It takes a lot of patience, stamina – I had to sprint to keep up – and a strong willingness to share. I hate sharing. :D
This is going to hurt. Have tissues at the ready. I don’t pull punches. Those who know my work know I have plot twists and unexpected clues, and if you miss them you’ll be left behind. Make notes. You’ll need them.
This is based on Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch, and a few details from the novelisation by Erin Kelly (another shameless advert), with the addition of some aspects of LWJ. If you haven’t seen Broadchurch, why are you reading this first? Go away and do so, otherwise this will make no sense whatsoever. If you haven’t read the novel, don’t worry. I have, and you can take or leave it. It has some minor flaws and mistakes, but it is a good read. You’ll find my review on Goodreads (another shameless advert) website.
Tkel and I half thought about including our own map, since the blatant error in Erin’s was the mistake you’d expect from a small child. Beth’s and Ellie’s houses are across a field and they can see each other’s kitchens; it was mentioned in the original and in the book. So I’m scratching my head trying to work out why Erin’s map put them practically back to back, separated by a row of houses.
But, anyway, advertisements aside (Did you count them? There are seven.), I hope you like Sins Of The Father. We’ve kept it in the same style as the original eight episode format, but each one will have a different number of chapters. Hopefully, they will all be posted by the time ITV airs the sequel. Though try not to compare. Enjoy.
Authors' Notes: tkel: Being an American with not a lot of time on her hands to learn the tricks for getting things early from the other side of the pond, I had to wait to see Broadchurch. So I had months of reading about how good it was and how amazing David Tennant's performance was. It was more than a bit frustrating, but I give the people on my friends list credit for not spoiling anything other than Hardy's having a medical condition and one other detail. During the wait I noticed my friend Moley post a Broadchurch fanfic. Well, I did not read it. I even made a point of trying to forget I even saw one was posted. Finally the series came to BBC America, although I did not know that about two hours worth of material was cut to make room for the commercials. I was pissed off when I heard that, and promptly decided that where productions with Tennant were concerned, I would buy Region 2 only. (I had learned that computers can be manipulated to act like an all regions playing DVD player, although as of when I wrote the original note I had not yet figured it out. Trust me, I will learn soon enough.)
I was in awe from the first episode. A great cast, a heartbreaking case, and I was trying to figure out who did it almost immediately. Some I figured were unlikely, or would not be the killer without more plot twists. By the end of Episode Seven, I had a sinking suspicion who the killer was. It did not help that my memory chose then to recall what it thought was the title of Moley's fic. But I waited until the final moments had aired, and was in a bit of emotional turmoil. (Which I think we were supposed to be.) At that point, I got on Live Journal and read all five posts of Moley's fic, pausing only to comment. I needed more time to digest it fully, but I had reread it about four times by the next evening.
The thing is, my muse is the type to get ideas at the drop of a hat sometimes. Sometimes no hat, as Moley has reminded me. (giggles) Often when I am trying to work on other things. Bonzina (what I call my Muse) instantly thought about what might happen afterward, thinking about the unresolved things still there from the original story. She had thought of a plot bunny that had me intrigued. So I emailed Moley with the idea, having no idea that it would prove to be the platform for an idea that had been languishing since Life Without Joe was finished, and we bounced it back and forth – like you do when you beta read each other's work. I don't think we'd emailed about it for more than a day before it transformed into a plot balrog. (For those of you who aren't Tolkien fans, that's a giant creature of shadow and flame, “a demon from the ancient world” to quote Gandalf from the movie version of “Fellowship”. Practically impossible to get rid of, as the movie showed.) Basically, it wasn't going to leave either of us alone by then, so we agreed to work on it together as soon as we could both make the time for it. Meanwhile we bounced more ideas back and forth until we had our first outline ready.
Well, although we did a lot of preplanning, we didn't get to writing until I mentioned I was thinking about what to do for NaNoWriMo 2014. Moley noted about Broadchurch 2 being filmed, and we agreed that we should get our balrog finished and fully posted before the first episode airs on ITV. And I was also working on another mystery story at the same time. Only thing is, on that story I had trouble with the outline, and stalled on it in a big way learning why my writer friends gave me the advice they did the hard way as my muse was insistent on trying something different. So I got way ahead on my parts of the story, but I used it to figure out enough so I could resume writing the other story. Even though it may never see the light of day, depending on what I think of it in the end.
Of course, I was very busy. Moved to a new city, started a new job that now means I have a profession, and had to focus on settling in. But I had managed enough that I could do NaNo once again. Although I'm still stalled on that one other story, I know one of the things I need to do with it. I also wrote a few other things, including a Christmas present for another friend – on a dare from said friend. So my grand NaNoWriMo total for 2014? 124,977. Yes. That's correct. And yet someone else managed just over 150,000. You'd better believe I intend to beat that next year.
So that's my side of the story. There will be another Broadchurch collaboration, based off an idea I had from working on this story. Stay tuned about that one. Or maybe... more than one, given that Moley and I seem to be off in slightly different directions for that one. (grins) This was a fun project, and I hope that Moley and I find additional ones to work on together. Not counting the beta reading we already do, or the times when I was utterly stuck on a story and needed more than prodding but wholesale suggestions to get it moving again. (bigger grin)
Summertime. Outdoors. Four girls played together in a garden, giggling as small children do. No cares of the world touched them, or if they did they pretended they did not exist.
There was an undercurrent of sadness. They all knew they would part ways, but no one knew just when they would see each other again. But it was the birthday of one of them, and so they could forget about most troubles for the time being.
Another summer. The air was pleasant, but there was a hint of tension. Mostly in the adults watching.
Three slightly older girls sat on a beech making a sandcastle. They shaped it in honour of the fourth who did not come, looking up at each sometimes in wonder of why they had not heard from their friend.
Two young teenage girls walking together in a busy street, shopping. They tried to laugh, but the aura around them was oppressive. Especially on the taller one. A great weight was hanging on her shoulders, but the haunted look had purchase in the shorter one.
Darkness surrounded the area. The moon's light barely shone through the clouds.
A girl stepped into the light of an open window. She kept low, trying to be invisible. She glanced up at the moon, her face that of the shorter of the teenagers. But her formerly honey-blonde hair had been dyed black. Her face was pale even for the light out, and her whole being spoke of knowing a terror unspeakable.
She looked and listened, closing the window before she repeated the listening. Then she fled into the shadows, as quietly as she could.
Under the same moonlight and yet slightly different clouds angled overhead a sixteen year-old girl stood alone, partly in shadow, leaning against a brick-built bus shelter with the sound of the ocean not far away. It was the taller of the girls. Her long hair fell in waves about her shoulders and at her throat hung a locket that rested against her t-shirt. It was old, as old as she felt. She bore herself as one with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She closed her eyes and stepped back into the shadows, silhouetted against the light of an opening door behind her.
In the distance the echoing cry of a newborn child broke the silence of the night.
Episode One, Part One: Loss of Innocence
Louise had been sitting in the airport lounge for six hours. She had finished her book and the puzzle book she had intended to use to while away the hours on the flight. Now she was bored. She sighed for the umpteenth time. “When will the plane be able to leave?”
Her father smiled at her. “Don’t worry. It’s a mechanical fault. Once it’s fixed, they’ll let us on board.”
“I know, but it’s taking ages.” She looked at him, her long honey-blonde hair falling around her shoulders like a silky curtain. “Dad, what if we get there and Daisy and Hailey have already gone home?”
Her dad looked at her patiently and smiled. “Don’t worry, eh. You always were the worry-wort. We will be fine, you’ll see.”
It wasn’t just worry. It was excitement. She hadn’t seen her friends for several years. All they had had were their precious letters. She hadn’t been to England since they had moved to Germany when she was twelve. Finally, they were all going to meet up on holiday. At the same time.
Over six hundred miles away in a sleepy little town on the Dorset coast, the world was still only just getting geared up for the day. Daisy stretched in the bed and opened her eyes. Her little brother lying beside her was still asleep. The door opened and her mum walked in, while her step-dad was still asleep in the other bed.
Daisy lifted up on her elbow, noting her mother limp. “Mum, what have you done?”
“Oh, nothing,” Tess dismissed. “I snagged it on the way downstairs. I wanted to see if your friend has arrived yet,” she said. She gave her a grim shrug. “Excited?”
Daisy smiled widely and nodded. “This is going to be the best holiday, ever.”
A cloud passed across Tess’s eyes and she looked away. “It’s a bit quiet, though. And we’re only here for two weeks, so let’s catch some sun before it’s gone again.”
A few minutes later, they were down stairs and out the door to catch a glimpse of the sea at the bottom of the hill. They could just see a sliver of it, but it was enough for little Ben. He had never seen the sea before, and was anxious to go down and build a huge sandcastle.
“Not so fast, little soldier,” Daisy told him in amused affection. “Breakfast.”
Ben turned around to smile up at her and the instant he did so dropped to his rump. “Clumsy me,” he said without a thought, and got back up again. “I want a bacon and a egg and a sausage for breakfast, please?”
“That’s what you think,” his mother chortled, herding them all inside again. Her partner froze on the doorstep, looking out at the car park as a car disgorged its occupants. “Bruce?”
“Yeah, I’m coming.” His face drained of colour as he recognised the girl with the honey-blonde hair. Daisy’s friend had arrived. He recognised her from before. He hoped she wouldn’t recognise him. He had lashed out once, hit her by accident when he’d aimed for Daisy. There were no hard feelings. Apparently. But still. Sometimes there were things in your past that never let you go.
He turned away, joining his family for breakfast. “Let him have a cooked breakfast, love? You’re only young once, eh?”
Chloe sat on the low wall outside her front door, one foot tucked under her and her mobile balanced on one knee. She was waiting for a text. Her phone bleeped and she read the message and chuckled softly. She got up and waved to her dad as he stepped out of the house. She walked down the road as he made his way up towards the High Street.
She was going there later, but first she had something to do. She walked down towards the field. A house to her right caught her attention. A man in shorts looking in through a window. Sherlock Dreary; the local peeping tom.
“Oi, you pervert!” she called out.
The jogger jumped out of his skin and set off towards the field, starting out on his morning run.
A woman ran out of the house and saw him, waving her newspaper at him. “Keep moving, pervert! And don’t let me catch you looking in my windows again!” Breathless she gave Chloe a smile. “Morning, Chloe. Not got school, then?”
“No, I’m finished, Mrs. Bryn. Just on my way to work,” Chloe replied.
“Where are you working?”
“I’ve got two part-time jobs, one at the Traders’ and one at the Echo. I’m at the Echo this morning.”
“You’re going the wrong way, aren’t you?”
“Got an errand, first,” Chloe said.
A few doors down, Paul Coats sidled out of a house on Elm Grove and looked around in all directions. There was only a jogger on the road. Sherlock Dreary, from the end, out of his morning jog, gave him a wary eye. As if he was up to no good. And the way he was running only added to that look, though Paul took it the other way.
The vicar flushed red. What he and the rest of the world didn’t know. He turned to pull his girlfriend into a warm hug and smooched her for almost minute. Unaware of Chloe’s keen eye.
“Morning, Paul,” Chloe said as she passed.
Paul Coats’ head rose. “Oh great,” he muttered.
Natalie Westford giggled and pulled away. “Paul, stop it,” she whispered, casting her eyes this way and that, but Chloe was gone.
“Natalie, I want you to move in with me,” he told her. “Marry me,” he asked, rubbing a hand with deep affection over the rather noticeable bump of her body. “Before this one comes along.”
“This one?” she quieted a laugh. “You make it sound like you have a few stashed away.”
Paul turned crimson. “Absolutely not. And I wasn’t exactly planning on this one, either. I just... want people to know we’re together. All this sneaking around.”
“I’m not ready,” she told him. “Please, just until my mum gets better.”
“I’d like her to know the real reason why I come round,” Paul said. “Not just to give her blessings and comfort.”
“Soon,” she promised.
“Leave it too long and she’ll notice the baby,” reminded her. “Your mum might be blind and bedridden and practically deaf. But she’s not stupid.”
“Soon,” Natalie promised again and showed on his way.
Chloe cut across the field to the road, knowing Paul wasn’t far behind her. Like every morning for the past year, redoing his shirt buttons and adjusting his dog collar as he made his way to the church and modest house across the road he called home. He barely noticed Chloe as he crossed the road, or the family coming down the hill. Chloe watched them. She always watched them with a careful eye. Man, woman, two kids in tow, not exactly unhappy but worried. When had she learned to distrust everyone?
“She can’t be far,” the woman spoke. “Broadchurch isn’t that big. And she hasn’t taken the car.”
“Shouldn’t we call the police?”
“Don’t be daft, John. She’s always going off exploring. I bet she’s gone up to that hut we saw yesterday.”
“Up on the cliffs?”
“Yeah, let’s try there.”
“And if she’s not there?”
She sighed at him patiently. “She’ll be fine. She always goes off like this.”
Chloe continued on her way to the bus stop, just as a motorbike appeared around the corner by the primary school. It stopped and the rider took off his helmet to reveal Dean. She grinned and kissed him.
“Did you get it?”
He unzipped his cycle jacket and drew out a small cardboard gift box. “I’ve not put the pictures in yet,” he said apologetically.
Chloe gave a squeal and opened it. Inside was a gold locket. “Oh that is perfect!” she said in delight. “The photos can wait.” She put it on at once and tucked it under her t-shirt out of sight. “Now we’ll never be apart,” she said in delight.
“Have you told your mum and dad yet?”
“Not yet. I wanted for us both to be there.”
“It better be soon,” he suggested. “I’ve got to get back. I’ll see you after work.”
“Ok. See you later.”
They parted, he continued down the road towards the seafront, while Chloe made her way up the hill into the town.
Up on the High Street, Chloe waved to Becca who was sweeping the steps of the hotel.
“Morning, Chloe. Could you let your dad know I have a leak in number 15? I’ve tried phoning him but his mobile is switched off.”
Chloe took out her phone and called her dad. But there was no answer. “I bet my dad forgot to charge it. Try Nige’s number.” She gave her the number and Becca thanked her. “I’ve got to go or I’ll be late. I’ll see you later,” she said and continued on her way as Becca made the call.
As Chloe prepared to cross the road, she noticed a girl about her age sitting on one of the concrete bollards that lined the car park. In her lap was a small boy around four years old. She smiled. “Hello.”
The girl smiled readily. “Hi.”
“Yeah, with... my mum and brother and... one extra.”
The pauses and tension made Chloe blink, but she kept up the smile. “Welcome. If you want to know good things to do or make some friends, I'm around a lot. I got a part-time job here.”
Daisy's smile recovered and grew a little. “Sounds lovely. Ben and I only got here yesterday.”
Chloe had to smile more widely at the smiling boy who waved and chirped his own hello. “So you've not had the time to look around?”
“Not much. I'm mostly looking out for my little soldier here. He’s my brother, Ben.”
Watching the pride the girl had in her brother and the accompanying adoration the boy had in return nearly brought tears to Chloe's eyes. “Oh, how old are you, Little Soldier?”
“Four!” He even held up the same number of fingers.
“He'll be five in October. He looks up to me, as you can see, and he's the bright spot in my life right now.”
“The? Oh. What's your name?”
“Daisy! Get back in here!” a man’s voice ordered from inside the hotel.
The smile was gone in an instant. “You don’t have any good ideas on how to escape my mum and her stupid boyfriend, do you?” the girl as she up, shifting the boy to his feet.
Chloe found that odd, but dismissed it. “I'll get back to you on that, okay?”
“Okay. And it's Daisy,” she added as the afterthought dawned on her as she held Ben's hand as they both walked inside the hotel.
Chloe would have started walking immediately, except that the girl looked familiar, and even more so the boy. It made her movements slower than usual. She crossed the road to the local press office. The Echo was closed, but the door was unlocked. Chloe stepped inside. The place was quiet, but not deserted.
At one of the desks, Maggie was pouring over an article Olly had pulled an all-nighter to finish for the paper. Her chin wobbled and her breath quivered. She dabbed her eyes as she reached the end and turned to him.
“Beautiful, Olly, sweetheart. That was lovely.”
Olly had covered the funeral the day before. Her precious and beloved partner. He hadn’t expected her to come in, if truth be told. And it looked as though she hadn’t gone to bed. She was still wearing the black outfit she had been wearing the previous morning. Thankfully, sans the fascinator with the black flowers, which had not been flattering on Maggie in the slightest.
Maggie was not a skirt-and-blouse woman. Never had been. But she had donned a simple black skirt and blouse for Lil’s send off. It seemed fitting. It’s what she had wanted.
“She would have loved this,” Maggie said, giving him a watery smile.
He gave her arm a gentle squeeze and set a mug of coffee in front of her. “You can go home, if you don’t feel like being here.”
Maggie gazed around her at the new room and the rest of her staff, all waiting for her to be herself again. “No,” she said. “My house is full of Lil. Everywhere I look it’s filled with things she made, things she gave me, things she owned, things she inherited. I needed to get out. And I know she wouldn’t want me moping about, doing nothing when there could be a story out there to chase.”
She stood up. “Shoo, go on, find me some stories. Give me some work to do.”
Olly hurried away, amused more than scared. “Ah. Chloe. You’re working with me today,” he said.
“Bloody good coffee, too,” she shouted across their heads. “Get out before I turn you into an office boy!” she added as Olly grinned his way out into the High Street, taking Chloe with him.
“You’ve got cheese sandwiches, a banana and a pear,” Ellie called out. The Hardy household was hurried and loving it as always. “Do you want anything else?” Her hands hovered over the lunch box, ready to add anything, but all that came from the far side of the dining table was muffled complaints.
“I hate this tie!” Tom grumbled. “Why do we have to wear them?”
Hardy turned his head from the sink and smiled. He shook the washing up water from his hands and grabbed a towel. “Here. Let me help.” He crossed the kitchen, drying his hands as he went and dropped the towel onto the table. “Hah, I see what you’ve done.” He quickly unravelled the knot at Tom’s throat and showed him how to do it. “Watching? Over the top and over again, up through the middle and tuck in inside, pull tight and hold the thin bit and pull to adjust. Got it?”
“Yeah,” Tom adjusted the tie and folded down his shirt collar. “Thanks, Dad.”
“No problem,” Hardy replied. “Don’t forget your PE kit and your lunch.”
Tom picked up his school back, well rounded with his PE kit inside. “Did that last night. Mum. Can I have a Kit Kat in my lunch?”
“No, that’s sweets, not lunch,” Ellie chastised gently.
Tom gave an exaggerated sigh. “Well, I tried. That deserves a ten out of ten.”
“Cheeky boy,” Ellie grinned, passing him his box and drink. “Go and wait by the car, please. And don’t forget your coat,” she added, but Tom was already out the door. She turned to find her husband already getting Fred’s coat on. “Are the twins ready?”
“Yeah. Both ready. I put them in the pushchair for now, otherwise I’d be running after them.”
Ellie turned towards the back door where the double pushchair stood with two ten month-olds sitting in it. Catherine was trying to work out how to unbuckle herself and getting nowhere, while Harry jigged his arms up and down, humming to himself discordantly. “Aw, thanks love. And you put the right coats on this time,” she teased.
Hardy lifted a brow at her. “I can tell them apart, unlike some I could mention,” he teased back. “Particularly one who has to undress them to make sure.”
“Har har. That was once. And I’m not the one who passed on the twin gene, clever clogs.”
“Don’t look at me. I think it was the Super,” he replied innocently.
“Very funny. She’d be splitting her sides.” She kissed him, squeezing Fred between them and making him giggle. “Is the changing bag packed for the childminder?”
“Yep, and Fred’s backpack.”
Outside, Tom hummed a tune and stuffed his lunch box and juice bottle into the little space left at the top of his backpack. He stopped to angle it better and pulled the zip closed. Seeing a flash of colour to his right he lifted his head.
Around the side of the car, where the hedge met the stone wall running along the back of the house, was a slash of creamy pink. It looked like someone had dumped a shop window dummy’s leg under the hedge.
Tom didn’t remember seeing that when he got home from school the previous day. He wondered if the rain had dislodged it from the far side of the hedge in the night, since people had often used the adjacent bit of land to fly-tip.
He frowned and straightened, taking a better look at it as he crept closer around the back of the car. But the closer he got the more convinced he was that this wasn’t just a leg. He could see and arm, too. And hair further on.
In the kitchen, Ellie grinned at Fred, squished between her and her new husband. They had only been married for a month. No honeymoon; just work and kids and bills and mortgage. Not that she minded. As far as she was concerned she got honeymoon every day with this man.
“So, no kissing until we get off tonight,” she reminded him.
“Get off?” he perked.
“I meant off duty, dirty-minded git,” she giggled. “And Lucy’s picking Fred up from Nursery, so no need to hurry.”
Hardy frowned at that, but he think of worse people to take care of his son for an hour or two. Lucy was finally beginning to get her life back together after rehab, so why not keep her busy and occupied? And it was his wife’s first day back after maternity leave. “You don’t need to go back for another two months,” he suggested.
“I know, but we need the money,” she said.
He kissed her. “No kissing, no first names, no inappropriate behaviour. I know. I have been married to a copper before.”
“Don’t talk about her.”
A loud scream from outside cut them off and they rushed outside to where Tom stood retching by the car. He managed to point as he spat to clear his mouth. Thinking it was a dead animal he had seen, Hardy moved around the car and stopped in his tracks.
“Oh god!” he breathed and covered Fred’s eyes, turning his head away. He hurried back to Ellie and passed Fred to her. “Don’t look.”
Ellie stared at him and immediately realised that this was no dead animal.
Hardy plucked out his phone and dialled 999. Seemed a bit odd phoning for the police when he was one. “Yeah, police please... Hello? Yes, my son’s found a body... In our driveway... Ellie, get the boys inside. This is going to get crowded,” he told her. “Yes...? Orchard Lodge, Finch Lane, Broadchurch... I’m DI Hardy, stationed at Broachchurch, and my son’s name is Tom Hardy...” He glanced towards the gate and found it open. He then ushered Ellie and Tom inside the back door and closed it. “Yep, done that... Site is clear, no one’s about. But the front gate has been broken open...” He glanced at Ellie through the window, who was comforting Tom with an arm around his shoulders. “He’s shocked but I think he’s ok... No, to my knowledge, I’ve never seen her before... Thanks.”
He clicked to end the call and allowed his hand to fall to his side. He thought for a moment and then sprang into action.
“Ellie, get the kids into the living room. The police will be here in a minute. They’ll want to talk to us. Especially you, Tom.”
Less than two minutes passed before they could hear sirens approaching. And less than a minute after that SOCO arrived.
“Oh god,” Ellie whispered. “This’ll be all round the station in three minutes.”
“Less. It’s Brian,” Hardy added. “He still fancies you.”
“I’d joke about using that to your advantage, but now’s not the time,” Hardy told her seriously and moved to answer the front door just as the approaching uniformed officers approached.
To be continued...