Bitter Water

Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Gordon Ferris
Tags: Fiction, Mystery
delivering the message. Doubtless this envelope contained more such advice, but I was new and still keen, so I
grabbed it, slid my knife under the join and sliced it open.
    The message was in black ink in a fine sloping hand on lined paper. Here and there words were underlined or set in capitals. Sometimes both. Exclamation marks spluttered angrily across the
page:
    Dear Brodie,
    Your story about Docherty was wrong. It wasn’t random. He was chosen. Like the Calton razor king. Can’t you see what’s going on around you?
    We are tired of ordinary folk being robbed and raped with impunity. We are sick of the rich
     getting away with murder. The POLICE are feckless and corrupt. Look at the ones you put on trial! The LAW protects the rich and hammers the poor!
    We have had enough!!! This is a declaration to the people of Glasgow.
    IT STOPS NOW !!!
    We are taking it into our own hands. Docherty wasn’t the first. He won’t be the last!!
    ‘. . . and they were judged every man according to their works.’
    The Glasgow Marshals
    The Glasgow Marshals ? Someone had been reading too much Zane Gray. And the clinching sign of an over-excited brain: a quote, presumably from the Bible. It certainly fitted with
Docherty’s account of a punishment beating, and its thrust was consistent with Ishmael’s vow about dispensing justice. But I told myself I was adding one and one and making three. I
slid the letter and envelope into my desk drawer and headed for the door. I still needed something for next day’s edition and a letter from a bampot wasn’t yet a story, as Big Eddie
would have delighted in pointing out.
    On Thursday we slid into August and I wondered where the year was going and whether it would continue to be punctuated by hangovers. Throughout the week, I kept my eye on the
rival papers. The mentions were building up. More injuries to bad people. Balaclavas seemed all the rage. They were edging out the Morton story in the absence of any new facts or leads about the
brutal murder. But no one seemed to be making the link. Maybe there was none?
    Friday morning found me gingerly picking my way over cobbles round the Gallowgate. The steaming piles of horse dung seemed as threatening as any minefield outside El Alamein. I was chasing a
story about off-licence overpricing and the ensuing citizens’ revolt. It was a patchy story, sparse on evidence but heavy on emotion. People take the price of drink seriously in that neck of
the woods, especially on hot summer days. Some of the work-shy fancied a day out fishing in the Kelvin and had their minds set on chilling a couple of bottles of stout in the river, but the
landlord’s price hike had spoiled their wee picnic. A punch-up ensued. Windows got smashed. Heads got broken.
    I thought I could squeeze a column out of it for the Monday edition to save coming in on Sunday. In the absence of anything more thrilling before the closing bell I headed back to the news desk
to type it up.
    This time Morag brought the envelope to my desk. She looked so big-eyed and smiling that it would have been churlish of me not to invite her to the dancing on Saturday. Our drink and cuddles on
Wednesday had gone well. Maybe she was the one to fill those lonely nights? I hoped I could remember how to Lindy Hop – if that’s what they were still doing at the Locarno.
    I turned over the missive. I felt a chill run through me. This was no billet doux . Same envelope, same handwriting as the first one about Docherty. I opened it and read:
    Dear Brodie,
    I hope you’re keeping count. Some have been found wanting and paid the penalty . Tell the others what to expect. Now you see how we
     deliver justice. No escape for the evil-doers!!! No legal tricks!!!
    We bring justice by the people to the people who deserve it. Not like Johnson . You claim to be the voice of the people. Warn them that ‘I . . . have the keys of
     hell and of death.’ !!!
    Tell them what you see on Sunday. Same time. Same

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