Challenge: Minor character
Word Count: 732
Rating: White Cortina
Notes: None of the characters belong to me, I just play with them and promise to give them back when I'm done. Spoilers for series 1.
Sam Tyler was good to me when me dad died, really good. He wasn’t like the other coppers. He took the time to talk to me, told me not to let what had happened change who I was. Losing my dad did change me, of course. It made me determined to do better, be better.
I remember like it was yesterday. Sam promised that he would find out who killed Dad, who had left him lying in his own blood in the alley behind the red brick houses. It turned out to be a fellow United supporter who wanted it to kick off with the City lot. I was so angry at that bloke. Pete. When I say that name now, it’s like I want to spit it out of my mouth, get the name away from me before I get infected by it’s wickedness. He said he only meant to hurt him, not kill him, but it doesn’t matter, does it? He should never have wanted to hurt him in the first place – Dad never did him any harm. And all to start a fight and settle a score.
Mum tried to be brave. I remember a procession of women would come round the house for days afterwards, each one holding her hand and weeping. My mother would sit there, her face grey and still like a stone mask. She couldn’t cry in front of these people, most of whom hardly knew my dad. Every few minutes the door bell would go and on the step would be a neighbour with some food. They were trying to be kind so me mam wouldn’t have to cook but most of it ended up in the bin – neither of us had any appetite. Late at night I would wake up and hear her sobs echoing up the stairs. I’d creep down, curl up next to her, gently put my arm around her shoulders until she collapsed onto me, wailing. I’d sit and hold her until morning when the cries had quietened and she could face the day again.
With Dad gone, things were tough but she did her best. Suddenly the house was empty, people stopped coming around trying to help. She had to go out and find work for the first time in her life. She wasn’t qualified to do anything, and ended up doing poxy jobs which made her miserable. Every birthday though, she would buy me a ticket to the match and insist I went wearing dad’s scarf. She’d tie it for me and tell me how much I looked like him, her eyes full of tears.
We scraped by for a few years. I did a paper round to bring in a bit more cash until I could leave school. Mam wanted me to go to college – I was bright enough, but I knew that wasn’t for me. She was making herself sick, working so hard, so I had to start earning as soon as possible I got an engineering apprenticeship but I always knew it wasn’t the path I wanted to follow. It let me make a decent life for us though, and Mum was able to work for just a few days a week rather than all hours. Eventually the doctors decided Mum had cancer and she wasted away in front of my eyes. She was brave through it all, like she was when dad died but silently we both knew she wasn’t getting better. She looked so peaceful at the end though – dying took all the lines from her face. I did the only thing she ever asked of me – buried her next to my dad.
After my mum died and I could do things just for me, I packed in the engineering job and joined the police force. I started as a beat cop in the old neighbourhood and eventually ended up in traffic. Twenty-odd years later, I was called to the scene of a hit and run. The victim was left for dead in the middle of the road under the flyover. He’d already gone in the ambulance by the time I got there but they told me his name was Sam Tyler and he was a detective chief inspector. I heard he was a young-ish fella so it couldn’t have been the man who’d helped me all those years ago. Strange coincidence though…