After Coke escaped, he did in a field all day. Then, when it got dark, he went into a small house in the country. There was an old deaf lady in the house. She gave him food. The young detective who arrested Coke four years ago, Baxter, left London by train. Scotland Yard’s orders were “Find Coke immediately!”.
It was a cold and miserable night. Only a few miles away from the house Coke was in, two policemen in a small village police station could hear the wind outside. One of them was a sergeant. The other was much younger.
“I wonder how Mrs. Bentley is?” the sergeant asked.
“Mrs. Bentley? Oh, you mean that old lady whose husband died a few years ago?”
“That’s right. She’s deaf, you know, so she never listens to the radio or watches television. In fact, she doesn’t even read the papers.”
“Oh?” the young policeman said. He wondered why the sergeant wanted to tell him all this Then he found out.
“Why don’t you go out to her place and see if she’s all right?”
“Who? Me? On a night like this?”
“It’s not far. Besides, you’ve got your bike, haven’t you?”
Baxter got off the train at a small station. There was a detective waiting for him on the platform. He shook Baxter’s hand.
“My name’s Halls, Tom Halls. Scotland Yard phoned us and told us to meet you here. There’s a car waiting.”/
Baxter wasted very little time on social formalities.
“Coke escaped more than 24 hours ago. I want to catch him before another 24 hours are up.”
Halls looked at Baxter for a few seconds before he answered.
“A lot of us wonder why Scotland Yard is so interested in this fellow Coke. He isn’t the first one to excape. Another man did only about six months ago, but Scotland Yard didn’t send anyone to help us then.”
Baxter was already half-way to the car before he said anything.
“Coke isn’t just an ordinary prisoner. He’s very special. Let’s get going!”
The young policeman was angry. He was on the road now. The wind was cold and blew snow into his face. “That stupid sergeant!” he thought. “We must be one of the last stations in England that still uses bikes, and he sends me out on one on a night like this!”
He had to get off the bike and push it up a hill. It was the last hill between the station and the old lady’s house. When he got to the top of it he could see the house down below, at the bottom of the hill. Just as he looked down at it, he saw a light go on in one of the rooms upstairs. “Stupid! That’s what it is, sending me out on a night like this!” the policeman said again. Then he got on his bike and began to go down the hill very fast, towards the house.
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