The Truth The Whole Truth



‘James Thomas Dolby, the crimes you have committed are both cowardly and evil. Not only have you terrorised this family for the past two years, you have persistently taken money from them and abused their daughter Lisa Faulkner to the extent that she requires the intervention of the mental health services. These crimes are so serious that nothing short of a substantial custodial term is warranted. Taking into account your early guilty plea, the assistance you have given to the police, and the positive probation report, the sentence I impose is one of 7 years in prison. This means that you will serve two thirds of that amount before being eligible to apply for parole.

Dock officer, take him down’


The dock officer turned the Defendant in the dock, and they headed towards the door down to the cells. Dolby turned back to the public gallery of the court and winked at the spectators.


‘Keep your pecker up, Mum’ he shouted ‘I’ll be out soon. Come see me. Love ya’.


The dock officer pulled him round and they exited through the heavy oak door of the court, and into the long echoing corridor.


The courtroom had been quiet during His Honour Judge Elm QC’s sentencing remarks, but now the silence was shattered as the family of James Thomas Dolby and the family of his victims faced each other. Rising up from his seat and shouting threats at the top of his voice, Dolby senior launched himself from his side of the public gallery towards the assembled Faulkners at the other side, his younger son and his wife in hot pursuit. The usher immediately reacted, getting the barristers and solicitors out of the back door of the court, as the two factions headed towards each other. There had been a tip off earlier that week that something would be going down today. There had been too much ill feeling between the two families over the past months, and the court had gone onto high alert, expecting just this incident to happen. The police officers in the case waded into the melee, batons drawn, as Erin Hall, the court clerk calmly leaned forward and pressed the panic alarm after checking that her Judge was out of court, and out of harms way. She quietly spoke into the telephone to the security centre on the ground floor,


‘They’re kicking off in court 1. Yes, the alarm’s been activated’. A pause. ‘On their way? Good, thanks Jack’. She put down the phone just as one of the police officers shouted ‘down, now’. Instinct took over and she ducked below her bench, just as a glass bottle sailed over her head.


‘Welcome to another ordinary day at the pointy end’ she murmured to herself, as she remained on the floor, waiting for the police and security to do their jobs.


Within two minutes, reinforcements had been brought into court 1 and Dolby senior along with his son and wife were lead away in handcuffs, whilst the lady from Witness Support took the Faulkners to a private room for tea and sympathy.


Erin emerged from her hiding place, and stood, brushing the dust from the legs of her trousers, and checking that her white tabs were still straight. She drew a slightly shaky breath, and was just about to go into chambers to see her Judge when Michael Cable, her boss, walked into the courtroom.


‘Hear you’ve had a bit of fun this morning. Are you OK? Do you need anything?’


‘No, I’m fine, thanks. Just the usual run of the mill court 1 fracas’ she grinned. ‘Judge is fine and no casualties. Just my pride – I ended up under the desk’ she added.


‘Better down there in one piece, then on your feet with a face full of bottle’ said Michael, picking up the offending instrument. ‘Can’t afford you to be off. I think I have a little job you might be interested in’.


‘Oh great. Not another five month fraud. I don’t think I could stand the boredom. Give me a good murder any day!’


Michael smiled. ‘Come up to my office after and we’ll discuss it. I want you to have time to consider before you say yes. There’s a couple of people you need to meet. When are you due to finish here?’


‘Got a couple more sentences, then I’m done. See you in about an hour and a half. You’ve got my interest now. Can’t wait’. And with that, she went up the steps and through the door to Judge Elm’s chambers. She knocked on the door.


‘Come in’ his deep voice came from inside the room.


She opened the door. ‘Are you OK Judge? The court’s clear again, do you want to carry on with the rest of your list?’


‘Don’t see why not’, he sighed, ‘although I don’t think its fair Erin. Every time one of my fans decides to make a little trouble, you shoe horn me out of court before I get to see any of the excitement. Next time, don’t be so eager’ A wicked smile played on his lips, then he became more serious ‘Are you all right. Was anyone hurt?’


‘Just my pride, Sir. I ended up on the floor under the bench whilst the bottles flew overhead’.


He chuckled ‘Well, you do like to be in the middle of things. I can’t help it if trouble follows us round’.


‘No’ she smiled ‘it just happens, doesn’t it? I’ll go and reassemble court and see if we can’t finish the day in one piece. I’ll send the usher for you when we’re ready’ and she turned on her heel, exited the chambers, and closed the door behind her




After court had finished she made her way back up to Michael’s office, knocked and went in, closing the door behind her. Inside the room, Michael was talking to two other men, who stood at her entrance and turned towards her. Michael motioned her forward


Erin, I’m glad you’re here. I’d like to introduce the two men I was talking about. This is Sgt Ken Hutchinson and Sgt David Starsky of the Bay City Police Dept, in California. They need to speak to you about a matter, then you have a decision to make’.


Erin looked at the two men, smiled and held out her hand. Sgt Hutchinson, Sgt Starsky’. She shook their hands as the blond smiled back and said


‘Good to meet you ma’am. I’m Hutchinson, he’s Starsky’.


Erin appraised the two as everyone sat down. The blond was about 6’ tall, with piercing pale blue eyes, sun blond hair and a fair complexion. He wore brown cargo pants, a cream open necked shirt and a tan leather jacket. He sat easily, the left ankle resting on the right knee, his arms resting on the chair arms in a relaxed pose. He was everyone’s picture of the ‘boy next door’ and as he smiled she saw that his face lit up, showing even, white teeth.


His friend, on the other hand, was night to the blonde’s day. He was an inch or so shorter, and had a darker complexion – more tanned. His hair was chocolate brown and curly and framed a face which was ruggedly handsome. It was his eyes, however, that caught Erin’s attention. Where his friend’s were the colour of a summer sky, the dark haired man’s eyes were sapphire blue, almost navy and looked out from beneath thick back lashes. He sat on the edge of his seat, full of nervous energy. He looked like a dog who was waiting for someone to get his lead for a walk in the park. He wore faded blue jeans, a denim shirt, open at the neck and a well - worn brown leather jacket. His feet were encased in blue and white tennis shoes.


‘So, Michael said you wanted to see me. Is it to do with work, or am I going to be whisked off to sunny California for a surprise holiday?’


Starsky smiled a lop sided smile and said ‘I’d love to take ya home’ and wiggled his eyebrows, ‘but I’m afraid this is all business. We’re the officers in the case of a guy called Edmond Fox. He’s a drug baron operating both sides of the pond and you have him indicted here on possession and supply charges. He’s dangerous, and the trial is going to be a real circus. He’s been extradited from USA and we flew over here with him. He’s currently residing, as you put it, at Her Majesty’s pleasure. The trial begins next week, and we will be acting as guards for the court staff during the trial. Fox has lots of friends here and also lots enemies. We wouldn’t want anyone to get in the way, if the sparks start to fly’.


Michael interjected ‘I wondered if you wanted to clerk this Erin? I know you’ve done quite a few of the gangland trials and you know the score with the press and the security. Do you want to take it? If you do, you’ll be in protection as from the start of the trial. The jury will be bussed in from the ‘venue’ each day, and you will be at a safe house with the two detectives’. The Judge will be protected at lodgings,


Is it my Judge?’ asked Erin.


‘Yes, Elm QC. He wanted you, but didn’t want to put the pressure on. Said it would be unfair to make you do this as it’s so dangerous. There is one guy – a man called John Evans – a star witness who will be giving key evidence by video link from another location, to protect him. Only the Detectives here know where he is at the moment. We’re using Westmoreland Castle for the trial, as it’s the most secure, so your safe house will be in Weston near there. The least travelling you have to do between court and home, the less chance for pot shots to be taken’.


Erin considered. Erin Hall had worked for the Court Service for more than 10 years. She was well liked and respected by her colleagues, not only because of her knowledge, but also because of her nature. At once feisty and good humoured, she had a charm all of her own. Long, dark brown hair fell about her shoulders without much semblance of a style. As she was often heard to say, it had a mind of its own, so she let it do what it wanted. It was her eyes, though that captured most people’s attention. They were a piercing green, surrounded by long dark brown lashes and shone from a face which was usually devoid of make up, but which had a clear, tanned complexion. She had a trim figure, accentuated by the enforced wearing of black suit, white blouse, white tabs and black gown. Although she took her job seriously, there was always time, in Erin’s eyes, for a little fun. And so, walking into Erin’s court, you were more likely to be treated to a quick chorus of ‘Hotel California’ than a long tirade about tardiness and keeping Judges waiting.


Erin had been Judge Elm’s clerk for three years now. She enjoyed working with the man who she treated partly as her boss and partly as her father. The two had built up a good working relationship and as they were both senior staff, were usually given the more difficult work. Over their years together, they had dealt with murders, rapes, gangland disputes, kidnapping and even terrorism. Erin enjoyed the added work and excitement these tough trials brought and knew that that was why she had wanted to work in the courts.


‘OK’ she said, ‘If HH (His Honour) is doing it, I’m not going to be left out. I can’t leave anyone else to look after him. What are the arrangements then?’


Sgt Hutchinson cleared his throat. ‘We’ll pick you up from your house on Sunday evening and drive up to Weston. We have a rented house there, and each day, we’ll drive you to and from the Castle. We will be around the court throughout the day. The downside is you have to put up with the two of us for the duration. But we’ll do our share of chores, and I can cook’.


Starsky let out a choking laugh. ‘Yeh, you can cook, but do we really want to live on seaweed and desiccated liver for the length of the trial. Come on Blintz, ya can’t inflict that on us’. Turning to Erin he explained ‘My partner here is a health food freak. Now if you want real food, I’m your guy’.


‘Huh. Real food, meaning burritos for breakfast. Sure’, sniggered Hutchinson.


A sudden look of panic came over Starsky’s face. ‘Oh, my God. It’s England. Do you even have burritos? Do you have Italian? What do you guys live on?’


Erin smiled. ‘Don’t worry Sergeant, we have Italian, and Indian and Chinese, and even Mongolian and Mexican, but I’m not sure even I can cope with burritos for breakfast. And anyway, I’m not bad at cooking myself.


But, to get back to the business in hand. Michael, what’s the estimated length of the trial?’


‘Two weeks before jury out’.


Fine, two weeks I can cope with. So, when do we set off?





On Sunday evening, a dark blue Ford Capri drew up outside Erin’s house and Hutchinson got out of the passenger side. Erin was ready and he helped her with her suitcase and court files, putting them in the boot of the car, before opening the door for her to get in the car.


‘Thanks Sgt Hutchinson’  she said.


From the driver’s seat, Starsky spoke ‘Lets forget the titles, huh? I’m Starsky, he’s Hutch, or you can call us Dave and Ken. It’s up to you. We’re goin’ to be together for a while, so we might as well be on friendly terms.


‘OK, Starsky and Hutch it is. I’m Erin. So now we have the introductions over, do you know where we’re going? Have you been to England before?’


The conversation continued until the car got to the outskirts of the town. Starsky had driven up the motorway at a steady 70 and had complained non -stop about the primitive stick shift cars in England. He had told Erin all about the car he drove in California – his pride and joy. The two men had been courteous and friendly and their sense of humour matched Erin’s, and Erin began to relax as the car turned into the drive of a small cottage no more then half a mile from the Castle.


‘Home sweet home’ said Hutch, once more opening her door and starting to unload the cases, food and files from the car. Erin made for the door of the cottage, but was stopped by the two men.


‘Stay here’ said Hutch ‘we just need to check things out first’. With that, both men drew guns from holsters inside their jackets and went cautiously to the front door. Hutch carefully put the key in the lock and turned it, cracking the door open. Starsky had leaned his back against the stone at the side of the door, gun pointing skywards, and on the count of three, both men turned and Hutch kicked the door open. Hutch remaining standing, and Starsky bent his knees, so that Hutch covered the top of the room, and Starsky the bottom. Finding no surprises, both men went into the house and methodically checked each room. Finding all to be satisfactory, they motioned for Erin to enter.


‘Wow, you two are like something off television’ she said ‘I’m impressed’.


‘That’s how we keep alive, honey. Its tough on the streets, and knowing Fox, it’ll be even tougher here. Besides we have to make it look good, or you’ll think we’re just dumb body guards’.


Both men helped Erin with her luggage, and the food and files and within an hour, all three were settled into their rooms, and Starsky was starting to cook supper. The bedrooms were all close to each other on the landing at the top of the stairs, and, in deference to Erin, they had given her the biggest, with its own bathroom.


Coming downstairs, Erin could smell wonderful cooking smells, and was mildly amused as she entered the dining kitchen to hear the two men.


‘That’s too much salt. No, don’t put more Oregano in. Oh God, it’s ruined’


‘Will ya leave it alone, Blitz. Who’s doin’ this, me or thee?’


They sounded like a married couple and she told them so.


‘We almost are’ said Hutch with a smile. ‘We’ve been together for nearly eight years now and we’ve been through a lot together. We live at each others apartments more often that not, and we’re together on the street every day.


‘I suppose that does bring you close together. You’re not……..?’ she let the question ride on the air.


‘Whoa, absolutely not’ said Starsky, colouring slightly, ‘we might be close, but not that close. We both prefer pink to blue!’


‘Sorry’, said Erin ‘I didn’t mean to cause offence.’


Starsky smiled ‘then, none taken. Now, sit down and sample a Starsky special. Pasta just like Mamma used to make!’


Over supper, which was wonderful pasta with seafood, the two officers told Erin of some of their exploits. The stories were further enhanced by free flowing bottles of wine, firelight and the cosy feel to the cottage. They told her of some of the tough cases they had had to deal with, of life in California, of their apartments and their boss, a Captain Dobey. Erin learned that they had both, at one point or another, been seriously injured in the line of duty.


Hutch had been infected with a plague-like illness, whilst Starsky had looked for the source of the infection. If he hadn’t found it within a 48 hour window Hutch’s life would have ended. Starsky had finally done a television appeal for the man (Calendar) to give himself up, and after coming to the hospital and getting caught in some crossfire, he finally gave a sample of blood, which contained antibodies to make a vaccine.


Another time, Starsky had been kidnapped by a bunch of religious freaks, who had kept him in an old zoo, tortured him and tried to kill him by cutting him to shreds, only to be saved by Hutch at the last minute. It had been a close run thing and Starsky had not only been physically injured, but the memories of his mistreatment had haunted him for months after his escape.


The stories were told in an even tone. No big deal – it had happened, they survived and they moved on. Erin was impressed at the way the two behaved. They were obviously incredibly brave, and had a close connection that went beyond brotherhood. They seemed to feed off each other’s energy and supported each other through all their ordeals. By midnight, she felt she had known them all of her life. They were easy to talk to, and, once she’d got used to their unending banter, she realised they were men of great depth and sensitivity. And the forthcoming trial lost some of the danger she had perceived earlier. As the clock moved round towards 12.30, she yawned, stretched, and pulled herself out of the chair.


‘Well, gentlemen, tomorrow we start, so, if you’ll excuse me, I need some beauty sleep. Goodnight’.


Both men stood. Gazing at her with his sapphire blue eyes, Starsky murmured ‘You certainly don’t need beauty sleep but we do need to be up early tomorrow, so, sleep well’.



Chapter 4.


Monday morning saw clear skies and sunshine as Erin, Starsky and Hutch set off for the Castle. It had been used as a courtroom for the past 450 years, and had seen many high profile trials during its history. It was a landmark clearly visible from all over the town, and the drive up the cobbled keep, into the castle courtyard always gave Erin a thrill. Today, however, she stayed in the car as the two detectives got out, eyes scanning the perimeter for dangers, before opening her door. She quickly got her stuff and hurried across the courtyard and into the castle. All three were met by the security guard, who nodded to Erin.


‘Morning Ian. Let me introduce Sgt Ken Hutchinson and Sgt David Starsky of the Bay City Police in California. They’re here for the Fox trial, so you’ll be seeing a lot of them’.


Ian held out his hand to the blond detective. ‘Pleased to meet you Sgt Starsky’. Hutch shook hands, smiling


‘He’s Starsky, I’m Hutchinson’. As they stepped through the security portal, alarms sounded, and immediately both looked abashed. ‘Sorry’ Hutch said ‘Were you briefed?’


Ian nodded. ‘I know you’re carrying. Its OK, go right ahead’.


Erin led the way up the old, worn stone stairs of the Castle onto the first floor. The clerk’s room was opposite, right next to the courtroom. She went inside, through the door at the back, and into her Judge’s chambers. Judge Elm was already there, along with another man, sat at the back of the room. He looked up as she entered.


‘So, you made it OK then? Can I introduce Detective Chief Inspector Callaghan, my bodyguard for the case? DCI Callaghan, this is Erin Hall, my clerk’.


Both smiled at each other. ‘We’ll be ready to start as soon as, Sir. Everyone has arrived. Alicia Bevan QC is prosecuting, Phil Shaeffer QC is defending. They’ve both got juniors with them. The Defendant is in the prison attached to the Castle, so no problem with him being here on time. Do we expect Prosecution opening all today? I just need to know to set up the video link for Evans tomorrow’.


Judge Elm considered. ‘Yes, we won’t get past swearing in the jury and the opening today. Tell them I want to start at 10.30 prompt. Evans is the star witness tomorrow. I don’t want anything to delay his evidence. Without it, the Prosecution aren’t likely to get a conviction’.


Erin left chambers. Starsky and Hutch were waiting outside the door for her. She led them into the courtroom.


‘Have you seen the room before?’ she asked. She loved the old room. It was unusual, in that it was circular, the Prosecution and Defence benches forming a semi-circle around the clerk’s bench at the front. The Judge’s bench was raised up to a height of about 2 meters, and to the left hand side was the jury box. It too was raised above the floor of the court, so that its residents could see the whole room. At the back of the courtroom, was the advocate’s room, access to which was gained by a tiered public gallery. The furniture of the room was old, dark wood, which had been made by the prisoners in the castle prison 400 years earlier. It smelled of age and polish. Although this fit in well with the ambience of the place, Erin knew to her cost just how uncomfortable it was. She was also glad, too, that this was late summer. In winter the wind rattled the windows and roof of the ancient building and the draughts were so severe that papers had to be anchored down to stop them blowing away.


‘We looked it over last week, just to get the lie of the land, see all the dark corners, so to speak.’ said Hutch. ‘It’s pretty defensible. I’ll be up there in the public area, Starsky will be on the seating there’ he explained, pointing at the Probation officers bench. ‘That way, we can both see the whole room. We don’t expect trouble today. If anything it’ll be towards then end of the trial, when the jury retire to consider. Should be all plain sailing till then’.


‘Well, gentlemen, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and get dressed, then we’ll get the shown on the road’. Erin ducked back into the clerk’s room, and took a few quiet minutes, whilst she put on her fresh white tabs and black gown. Looking herself over in the mirror, she took a deep calming breath, then went out once again into the courtroom, to assemble court.





The court was assembled and Erin had exchanged pleasantries with both Alicia Bevan and Phil Shaeffer, who she had known for some time. The usher brought in the Judge and everyone stood.


‘All persons having anything to do before Her Majesty’s Crown Court, draw near and give your attendance’ intoned Erin. ‘Usher, please bring in the jury panel’. She paused as 30 individuals were brought into the courtroom, all looking more than a little overawed by the building and the occasion. They waited at the back of the courtroom.


Erin stood once again and faced the Defendant in the dock.


‘Are you Edmond Fox?’ Fox nodded. ‘Edmond Fox, the names you are about to hear are the names of the jurors who are about to try you. If, therefore, you have cause to object to them, or to any one of them, you should do so as they come to the book to be sworn, and before they are sworn, and your objection will be heard’.


Erin turned to the 30 members of the public. ‘Members of the jury in waiting, please answer yes as your name is called, step into the jury box and you may then sit down.

Francis Downham…….’


Erin continued until 12 individuals sat in the jury box, then continued.


‘Members of the jury, you are about to be sworn. As your name is called, please stand, take the book in your raised hand, and read aloud the words from the card. You may then sit down’. Once again, she read out the twelve names of the jurors, and each swore the oath to try the Defendant. After the final juror had sworn, Erin took hold of the indictment.


‘Members of the jury, the Defendant Edmond Fox stands charged on this indictment containing three counts. On count one, he is charged with possession of a class A drug, namely heroin, with intent to supply it to persons unknown. On count two, he is charged with possession of methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, a class A drug, with intent to supply it to persons unknown, and on count three he is charged with possession of crack cocaine, a class A drug, with intent to supply it to persons unknown.

On these three counts he has pleaded not guilty, and it is your charge to say, having heard the evidence, whether he is guilty or not’.


She turned to the public gallery ‘Would the remaining members of the jury in waiting please return to the jury assembly room, and would all witnesses please leave court’.


Once they had exited the courtroom, Judge Elm addressed the jurors and told them a little of how the trial would continue, and then, for the rest of that day, Alicia Bevan QC told them exactly what the case was all about.


By 3.30pm, Bevan was coming to the end of her opening remarks, and the jury were beginning to fidget. Erin’s back had gone to sleep from sitting on the hard wooden stool, and she sent herself a mental note to remember a cushion for the next day. Finally the Judge called an end to the day’s proceedings and, after telling the jury that they would be back in court the next day at 10.30, he rose and left court.


As the room began to clear, Starsky and Hutch made their way down to Erin’s bench. She couldn’t help but notice the way they moved. Hutch walked with a grace -  sure footed and upright. Starsky, on the other hand, had a swagger to his step. Not the sort which would put people off. On the contrary, she couldn’t help looking at the dark haired man and admiring the definite waggle of his hips in those tight……’Pull yourself together Hall’ she admonished herself. ‘Real professional you are!’


‘Well it ain’t anythin’ like American courts’ said Starsky ‘always thought the stuffy English shows on TV were exaggeratin’. Now I know they weren’t. Are we finished for the day now? If so, care to show us round the rest of this Castle of yours before we go home?’


‘Certainly, officer’ smiled Erin with mock deference. I’ll just get out of my work stuff and I’ll be back in a mo’. She disappeared.


‘Well buddy, you’re the one who likes the blondes, so what’s sayin’ she’s mine for the night? winked Starsky.


‘No way’ his partner replied, ‘she’s a typical English rose who likes the finer things in life. She doesn’t want to be shown the high life by some Jewish Brooklyn numbskull. If it’s real entertainment she wants, I’m the one’.


‘Hey, watch who you’re callin’ numbskull. I’ll have you know I read up about this place before we came. Did you know that at the back of the dock is the original branding iron they used on folks before they were sent to Australia? It’s an M for malli….malfy……mla…… someone who’s done something bad’.


I think the word you’re looking for, Pal, is malefactor. And that just proves my point about the finer things in life’.


‘And what point is that?’ asked Erin, emerging from the robing room. She had changed into blue jeans and a soft cotton top, preferring to leave her court clothes at work.


‘Oh Starsk here was just telling me the history of the Castle’ said Hutch, ‘but I’m sure you’ll do a much better job. Shall we?’ and he motioned her forward, elbowing the smaller man out of the way.


Over the next hour, Erin took the detectives on a tour of the Castle. She began with the dungeons, with their manacles still embedded in the stone walls, then went on to the cells of the old prison, the drop room, where the poor unfortunates sentenced to hanging waited to be ‘dropped’ through the hole in the floor, and the state rooms. Finally they found themselves back at the courtroom.


‘Well, that’s it. You’ve had the grand tour. What did you have in mind for the evening meal. You call it supper, right?’


‘I thought we could have something simple – scrambled egg maybe?’ said Hutch


‘OK, but I wondered about Italian’ said Erin ‘I know a great little Italian restaurant….’


Both men shouting ‘No’ cut her short. Starsky grinned ruefully. ‘We once had a little incident at a great little Italian restaurant I knew. Started out with Pasta with Linguini, and ended with Starsky a la bullet in the back. I really think scrambled egg is safer’.


‘Ok, fine. Whatever you want. Let’s go then’. And she turned on her heal and headed towards the castle door.



Chapter 6


The ride back to the cottage was uneventful. Before they got into the car, both Starsky and Hutch had got down on the ground and checked underneath the car for anything suspicious. Finding nothing, they all got in, Starsky gunned the engine, and they set off.


‘Does he not let you drive then, Hutch?’ asked Erin


There was a laugh from the driver’s seat. ‘You should see what he drives at home. It’s a nondescript pile of brown rust with so much stuff thrown in the back you couldn’t get a passenger in there. He drives like an 80-year-old. I thought you’d prefer to arrive in one piece. However, if you wanna take your life in your hands, I’ll hand over to the blond bombshell here?’


‘Gee thanks, partner’ Hutch feigned hurt. ‘Ruin my image why don’t ya. I’m just a considerate driver. Unlike the driver from hell here, I drive to arrive’.


The banter went on back and forth till they got to the cottage. As they drove onto the driveway, both men became quiet. They once again told Erin to remain in the car, whilst they went to the door to check things out. Erin sat still, on the back seat, slightly amused at their serious attitudes. She watched as Hutch put the key in the lock and cracked the door open a little. Once again, Starsky had taken up position by the side of the door, gun pointing skywards. On the count of three, both men turned and prepared to enter the cottage, but were stopped by an earth-shattering boom.


Erin watched in horror as both men were engulfed by a blast of smoke, fire and debris. She saw them being blown backwards, and collapsing back on the ground. Her hand was on the door handle to get out of the car and run towards them, when her way was blocked by a dark figure who pushed his way into the car, and clamped a sweet smelling rag over her mouth and nose. Erin just had time to register ‘so, that’s what chloroform smells like’ before she blacked out completely.



Chapter 7


‘Honey, can you hear me? Come on, sweetheart, open your eyes. Yes, that’s it. Are you Ok? No, don’t try to get up just yet, just take some deep breaths. Good girl. That’s fine’. His voice murmured, reassuring and gentle.


Erin opened her eyes to see Starsky’s worried gaze above her, deep blue eyes staring into hers. She took a few moments to register that they were no longer in the car on the driveway. Wait. She remembered an explosion like a bomb blast, a man getting into the car, then nothing. She felt cold hard ground beneath her, and, as her eyes began to focus, realised she was in a stone lined room.


‘My God, are you Ok?’ she managed. Her eyes swept over Starsky’s face, which was full of scratches, with a deeper cut oozing blood just above his left eyebrow. His shirt was torn and dirty, and the hands that held hers were burned in places.


‘Been better’ he said ‘Hutch got it worst. Can you sit up?’


Erin got to her feet with Starsky’s help and looked over to the blond detective, who was propped against the far wall of the cell. His face too was blood -stained and dirty, and he nursed his right arm to his body. He managed a small smile as Erin walked unsteadily over to him.


‘Hutch? God, what’s happened to your arm?’ She looked into his eyes.


‘Think I’ve dislocated my shoulder’ he answered tightly, pain showing in the lines of his face.


Starsky looked around him. ‘Well, we ain’t in Kansas, that’s for sure. I have an awful feeling that we’re back at the Castle. Do you recognise the room Erin?’


Erin looked around ‘I think I do’ she said slowly ‘I think this is one of the little rooms off the main dungeons, but I can’t be sure. I presume you’ve tried the door’. She said, looking at the enormous oak door in the corner.


‘Hm, that’s a no go.’ A pause. ‘Do you remember anything? Anything at all?’ asked Starsky.


‘Nothing much. You and Hutch went to the door, there was a loud explosion, I tried to get to you, but there was a man who got into the car and drugged me. I think it was chloroform. And now I’m here.’


‘Did you get a look at him – the man?’ asked Hutch, his voice strained


‘No, it all happened too fast. Sorry. I……..’


Erin was interrupted by a noise outside the door. The sound of keys in the lock heralded the door being opened. A tall man stood in the doorway, a smile playing on his thin lips.


‘Well, ain’t this cosy? Just the three of ya, all huddled together. Sorry to break up the happy home, but there’s a friend wants to see ya’.


He pushed past Erin and took hold of Starsky by the forearm. Starsky started to struggle and was winding up to take a punch at his assailant when the man turned and kicked at Hutch’s injured right arm as he leaned against the wall. A strangled scream escaped Hutch’s lips, and his eyes closed in pain, sweat beading on his forehead.


‘One more move Starsky, and your friend gets more of the same. You gonna come quiet, or can I have some more fun?’


Starsky stopped in his tracks and looked over to his wounded partner. ‘Hutch, you Ok?’


‘Oh, just a walk in the park buddy. Don’t enjoy yourself too much’ Hutch opened his eyes and locked on to his partner’s. ‘Got Erin here for company. Ain’t goin’ nowhere’. His gaze didn’t waver as he gave a tiny nod. ‘Seems we’ll have to go with plan B, buddy’.


The tall man lead Starsky from the room at gunpoint and Erin went to Hutch’s side. ‘Is there anything I can do? What’s plan B? And what was plan A?’ she asked, gently wiping the sweat from his forehead with her hand.


Hutch, whose breath had evened slightly after the kick to his shoulder, opened his eyes. ‘Didn’t have a plan A’ he said, painfully. ‘Thought this might happen, but later. We’re in tight Erin. Whatever happens, you need to keep your cool and don’t worry about me an’ Starsk. We can take care of ourselves. If you get the chance, run and don’t look back. Get help. Ya gotta tell the police. If possible phone that DCI who’s looking after your Judge’. His head sagged back against the stones.


The door opened again, and this time the man came towards Hutch. He was intent on the wounded detective, and had his gun pointing towards the floor, not expecting trouble. He reached down, taking Hutch by his right (injured) arm and yanked him to his feet. Hutch clamped his lips together to stop the grunt escaping. ‘Time for you to join the party now. Your friend’s a bit lonely in there on his own’.


Hutch groaned and sagged against the tall thin man, pushing his weight against him and knocking him off balance. Erin saw her chance and bolted for the door whilst the other man’s attention was firmly fixed on Hutch.


She ran out, and into the narrow passage, turning immediately to her left. She lost her footing once on the cold hard ground, stumbling against the walls, skinning her knuckles, but kept on running. The passageway was dark, with only emergency lighting every so often for when the tourists visited. She ran on, with the man’s shouts now ringing in her ears. Another left, then four steps up, a right, and to the door at the end of the passage. Praying the door wasn’t locked, she ran at it full force. Blessedly, the door opened and she bolted through, swinging it closed behind her. As she looked back, she saw a shadow nearing the last corner of the passageway behind her. Running out into the main corridor now, she bounded up the final flight of steps, her breath rasping in her throat, and turned into the Judge’s chambers.


She hunkered down behind his desk and pulled the telephone towards her. For a second, her mind went blank, before memory took over and she dialled the number to the Judge’s lodgings. The telephone rang at the other end of the line, as she heard footsteps coming closer along the corridor. Eventually a voice answered the telephone


‘Hello, Judge’s Lodgings, how can I help?’


‘Hello’ whispered Erin


‘Hello. Hello. Is anyone there?’


‘Its Erin Hall’ whispered Erin a little louder, ‘please listen. I’m at the Castle, there’s trouble, send help…..’ the telephone cut off as Erin looked up to see the man’s face leering at her.


‘Well, that little prank’s going to cost your boyfriends dear. Let’s get back to the party and see what they’re up to, shall we?’ He pointed the gun at Erin, and she rose shakily to her feet. She had no idea if her message had been understood, or whether the lodgings keeper thought it had been a prank.


‘Please send help,’ she thought, as she was marched back down to the dungeons.





Erin was pushed into the dungeon by the muzzle of the gun at her back. She stumbled, righted herself, and gasped at the sight before her.


Starsky was held against the far wall. His legs were held spread slightly apart by cuffs and chains at his ankles, attached to the wall. He had been stripped of his shirt and his arms were manacled at shoulder height, and stretched tight to either side. His head was held fixed in pace by a thick cord of rope across his forehead, attached to the wall at his back. Erin could see bruises standing out lividly across his chest, against his tanned skin and several fresh cuts were visible through the dark hairs there. Starsky was forced to look straight ahead at his partner opposite.


Hutch was bound to a chair facing his partner. Erin’s breath, however, was taken away by the bonds themselves. He too had been stripped to the waist, and the chair he was bound to was a solid wooden chair with a high back and wooden arms. The dark ugly bruise from the dislocated shoulder was clearly visible. He was held immobile by bindings at his wrists, extending up his forearms to elbows, his ankles, extending up almost to knees and around his chest. The bindings, however, were barbed wire, and Erin could clearly see the barbs were biting into Hutch’s pale skin, sending rivulets of blood floorwards.


Both men were conscious, and had eyes locked on each other, seemingly drawing strength from each other. Hutch was trying not to breath too deeply, to avoid the barbs burrowing further into his flesh, whilst Starsky’s breath was deep and ragged. He had obviously put up a long struggle, and was paying the price now.


Erin was pushed into the room, and forced to her knees between Hutch’s chair and the wall. Starsky’ eyes strayed from his partner’s, and he managed a thin smile. ‘How ya doin’ honey?’ he said quietly, before Thin man stepped forward and drove a fist into the curly man’s stomach. Unable to lean forward for the binding around his head, Starsky closed his eyes and wheezed, trying desperately to draw air into his tortured lungs.


‘Shut it’ said Thin. ‘No speakin’ till you’re spoken to’.


Thin was joined by another, shorter man with black greasy hair and a moustache.


‘I’m so glad you could join us’ he purred ‘we can start the party properly now we have the spectator’. Standing just behind Hutch’s chair, he turned to Starsky.


‘We know you know where John Evans is being kept. We want you to tell us’ he said conversationally. ‘Where is he?’


Starsky stared at him. ‘Go to Hell’ he gasped, still fighting to regain his breath.


‘Now that’s a very unfortunate attitude to take’ Greasy said. ‘We could get along so well if you’d just co-operate. I’d really like you to reconsider.’ His voice hardened. ‘Where is Evans?’


Starsky glared defiantly ‘Really love to get to know ya, but we’ve no idea who you’re talking about’ he said.


Greasy looked towards Thin and nodded slightly. Thin made his way over to the chair that held Hutch immobile, and almost lovingly reached down to Hutch’s right hand. He delicately took hold of Hutch’s little finger and started to bend in upwards. As it got to a right angle with the back of his hand, sweat started to bead on Hutch’s forehead, and his body started to buck uncontrollably in the chair, causing the barbs of the wire to bite more deeply into his chest. As larger trickles of blood started to course down Hutch’s arms and chest, there was an audible snap, as his finger broke. Throughout, Hutch had kept his lips clamped shut, but as the finger snapped back, a low groan escaped him and his head bent forward onto his chest as he fought to stay conscious.


Erin froze, horrified at the sight, then screamed. Starsky, on the other hand, was calm. ‘Hutch,’ he said levelly, ‘look at me buddy. Stay with me.  Come on pal, you can do it……... Look at me Hutch. That’s it babe,….. focus’. You Ok?.


Starsky was rewarded by another blow this time to the ribs. He heard and felt a rib snap, and the breath whistled through his teeth, but slowly, his voice penetrated the dizziness that threatened to consume Hutch, and he raised his head to once again lock eyes with his partner.


‘Never b.better’ he whispered


‘Perhaps I should explain’ said Greasy ‘I am going to continue to break each of his fingers until someone tells me the whereabouts of John Evans. And just to add a little variety to the proceedings……’ He nodded to Thin again, who took up a position behind Hutch’s chair, levelled a hand gun at Starsky and pulled the trigger.


There was a deafening roar in the confined room and a bright light, and Starsky gasped. Erin looked at the darker man, incredulous, as blood started to flow from a wound on the apex of Starsky’s left collarbone, midway between his neck and shoulder. Unable to move much in the tight restraints, his body beaded in sweat, and a fine sheen appeared on his torso and arms. He groaned, and opened his eyes, to stare back at his partner. It was Hutch’s turn now.


‘Starsk!  Ride it, buddy……….. Ya can do this. ……….Breath’ he managed to pant.


Erin felt sick. ‘Leave them alone’ she shouted at both antagonists. ‘For Gods sake, no more’. She received a back handed blow across her face from Greasy, which knocked her to the floor, where she remained, stunned.


‘Now, lets try again, shall we’ Greasy said. ‘We can end all this. Marco here enjoys his work so much. You’ll notice, Detective Starsky that your gunshot wound is only a flesh wound. It probably hurts like hell, but it won’t kill you’


He stepped forward, towards the bound brunette, holding a white canister in his hand. Horrified, Erin realised it was salt, just as Greasy poured some of the contents onto the ravaged flesh of Starsky’s shoulder. Starsky’s body contorted, twisting against his bonds and he squeezed his eyes shut, panting, refusing to give the two men the satisfaction of making him scream.


‘Marco has lots of other similar choice targets lined up, but you can stop all this pain and nonsense. Just let me know where I can find Evans. It’s a simple question. Where is he?’


Again, both men ignored him. ‘Erin. Are you Ok, honey?’ Starsky managed to whisper. Erin propped herself back up, and nodded, amazed that the man could ask about her, when he was so obviously in pain.


Thin approached Hutch’s chair again, and slowly and methodically broke the ring and middle fingers of his right hand. Hutch screamed, unable to remain silent any more, and, as his body struggled against the pain, some of the barbs tore the skin of his chest, so that it became slick with his blood. Without a pause, Thin lined up another shot and another red wound blossomed across Starsky’s left side, just above waist level.


Stepping back, as if to admire his handiwork, Thin took out a cigarette and lit it.


Both Detectives had sagged against their bonds, and Erin could see that both had, blessedly, lost consciousness for the moment. She felt sick at the sight of the blood flowing freely from the bodies of the two men she had come to know, and was utterly amazed at the bravery they both showed.





Within ten minutes, both Starsky and Hutch had regained consciousness, and were once again looking across the room at each other, ice blue eyes locked on sapphire. Both men were sweating. The three broken fingers on Hutch’s right hand were protruding at an obscene angle from his hand, which was swollen purple and blue. The barbs of the wire at his chest had burrowed deeply, and ugly purple bruises showed around them. Blood flowed from his chest, legs and arms to form pools at the base of the chair. He was quiet, concentrating on his partner; pale blond hair stained a deeper golden by the sweat that plastered it to his forehead.


Starsky’s body sagged against his bonds, which still held him against the wall. The flesh around both the wound on his left shoulder and his left side were bloody and ragged and still bled freely, soaking the left side of his jeans, and staining his chest. His breath was ragged and his complexion grey. Drops of sweat dripped from wet curls to fall in rivulets onto his face.


Thin and Greasy had been quietly conversing at the back of the room, seemingly oblivious to the suffering around them. Thin finished his cigarette in an unhurried fashion. Erin remained on the floor, staring from one detective to the other. Although wanting to close her eyes to their suffering, she made herself meet the detective’s eyes, knowing that so long as they endured, she would too.


Finally, Greasy broke the silence and came forward. ‘You are two stubborn bastards, I’ll give you that. I would almost admire you if you weren’t so bloody stupid. What’s Evans to you, anyway? Some gutter low life who peddles drugs and misery. Give yourselves a break and save yourselves another appointment with Marco. Just tell me where Evans is.’


Hutch raised his head. ‘Won’t do you any good’ he gasped, straining to make the words heard.  ‘Too far away……never get to him in time’. His head sagged again as he fought for breath.


Another shot. This time the bullet hit Starsky’s left leg, outside mid thigh, and he screamed, an almost inhuman sound, his body jerking and convulsing against the iron manacles holding his limbs splayed against the unforgiving stones of the wall.




The word hung in the air. Greasy turned to Hutch.


‘Enough, huh. Finally seeing the sense? So, tell me, where is John Evans?’


His eyes fixed on his suffering partner, Hutch took a steadying breath. ‘Peterloo Hotel, Manchester. Just leave my partner alone’.


Grinning, Thin grasped a handful of Hutch’s soaking hair and yanked his head back, bringing a hiss of pain from the blond. ‘So glad you finally saw the light, Hutchinson. Now, see this light’. He brought the butt of the gun down on Hutch’s temple, and Hutch fell down a black hole and into oblivion.






After letting go of Hutch the two torturers bolted for the door, closing and locking it behind them. Stunned, Erin rose unsteadily to her feet. Her head ached viciously from the blow earlier, and she could feel the bruise blossoming from jaw to temple. Looking at both men, she wondered which to go to first. Hutch was unconscious, slumped forward in the chair, whilst the dark haired man was pinned against the wall.


Erin went over to Starsky and gently put her hands to his face. He flinched a little before opening his eyes. Erin had never seen such pain before and it made her uncertain how to proceed.


‘Dave, are you OK?’ Fool, she thought how can he be Ok? He’s got three bullet holes in him.


‘Terrific’ he whispered, his voice faint and cracked. He licked dry lips. ‘…Need to get to Hutch’.


‘Just let me get these manacles off you’ said Erin. She looked at the rope around Starsky’s head. ‘I haven’t got a knife to cut this’ she explained ‘I’ll have to try and lever it off. You OK?’


Starsky grunted. Erin got hold of the rope at the front of his head and pushed upwards. It had become embedded in his skin and was soaked in his sweat, making it even tighter. Starsky groaned and bit his lip as she pushed it away from his forehead, leaving a bloody, raw welt where it had been. Next, she bent down to take the iron pins from out of the manacles at Starsky’s ankles, and prised the metal halves apart. Finally she looked back up to the curly haired detective’s face.


‘Dave, I’m gonna loose your arms now. Can you stand?’


He lifted pain filled eyes to her and gave her a shadow of a smile ‘Give it my best shot’.


She levered the pins from the iron, and leaning into Starsky’s body with hers to stop him falling forward, she took off first one manacle, then the other, noticing the bloody rings at his wrists where the skin had been rubbed raw. Starsky hissed in pain as the circulation flowed back into his aching arms, back and shoulders, and the sudden movement knifed through the bullet wound in his left shoulder. He didn’t tell Erin about the broken rib – she had enough to think about. He leaned heavily against her for a moment, before pushing himself upright. He took half a step forward, before his injured left leg gave way beneath him, and he fell to the floor, bringing a groan. Pushing himself upwards again, he tried to crawl over to his blond friend.


Erin reached down. ‘Here, let me help. You should try to keep still, otherwise your wounds’ll bleed even more’. She wrapped her arms around Starsky’s body and helped him pull himself to his feet. Slowly, they made their way over to Hutch’s chair. Erin gently lowered Starsky to the ground, and propped him against the wall, where he sat panting for a moment.


‘utch’. He coughed, clutching his right hand to his side. He tried again. ‘Hutch. You with me there? Come on buddy. I need you to wake up’. His voice was low and thready. Talking starts with stomach muscles, and Starsky’s had been ripped by the bullet wound in his side.


Erin went to Hutch’s side and started to unwind the barbed wire from his legs. The material of his jeans had buffered them a little, and so the wounds there were small, and oozed only a small amount of blood. Careful not to get caught on the barbs herself, Erin next moved up to Hutch’s arms. She flinched as she saw the damage inflicted to his right hand, and as gently as she could, she started to work on the bindings. Here, where he had struggled valiantly against the restraints, the barbs had bitten deeply into his flesh, and as Erin started to pry the wire away, Hutch stifled a moan. The barbs left deep puncture wounds, which oozed blood as the metal was withdrawn


Immediately, Starsky looked up, and dragged himself over to the chair, placing a burned hand on his partner’s knee. ‘Easy buddy, its OK. All the bad guys are gone. Do ya think we stalled long enough? We just got the beautiful lady here now. S’Ok Hutch. Just try to relax babe’.


As Erin worked on the wire, Starsky kept up a low comforting commentary, although it was obvious he was getting weaker and weaker himself.


‘What do you mean, stalled long enough?’ she asked, as much to keep Starsky awake and distract herself as anything.


Starsky took a steadying breath. ‘knew something might go down……….planned to hold out long enough to get Evans away……….did ya get a message out?’


‘I got through to lodgings and told the keeper there was trouble at the Castle. Is that enough?’


‘Should be……..UK police know to move Evans……..just hope we gave ‘em long enough’. His voice failed him, and he slumped against the chair, exhausted.


My God, thought Erin, they knew they might have to put themselves through this, and they still went ahead!


Hutch flinched as Erin freed his left arm and started on his chest. Here two strands of wire had bitten even more deeply, and, where he had bucked away from Thin, the barbs had torn the skin to ribbons. The wire was slick with Hutch’s blood and difficult to get hold of. As gentle as she was, Hutch couldn’t help crying out as the final barbs were pulled from his bruised and bleeding body. Erin was in tears as she turned away. She knew she had to release the blond man, but inflicting even more pain on him was more than she could bear. She pushed herself away from the chair, turning her back, trying to get control of herself. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned as the hand slithered away and gasped as Starsky’s body toppled sideways, to crumple on the ground.






Surveying the scene, Erin wondered what to do next. The door was locked from the outside, and both men were in urgent need of medical attention. Hesitantly, she went towards the chair again. She put a hand on Hutch’s left shoulder and gently shook him. ‘Ken? Ken, can you wake up for me? Come on Hutch, please wake up’ she pleaded. She was rewarded with a quiet moan from the blond man. His breathing deepened, and his eyes fluttered open. He raised his head and looked about him. Without thinking, he raised his hands to rub his face and gasped in pain as the shoulder and broken fingers moved.


The pain seemed to bring more awareness, and he looked around him. His gaze came to rest on the broken body of his partner, on the ground at his feet.


Erin followed his gaze. ‘Hutch, are you OK? Oh you really are one for stupid damn questions, Hall.


Hutch looked up. ‘been better’ he said quietly. ‘Help me up, I gotta see to Starsk’. He pushed himself up from the chair, ignoring the white hot pain radiating from his right hand and right shoulder, and kneeled by the man on the floor.


‘Help me turn him over’ he said to Erin.


As gently as they could, they both straightened out Starsky’s arms and legs and rolled him onto his back. Hutch shuffled round to Starsky’s head and, gritting his teeth against the pain of his shoulder, propped the dark haired man’s head on his legs, as a pillow of sorts. The welt on Starsky’s head showed livid against his skin, and his breathing was shallow and rapid.


‘He’s going into shock’ said Hutch. ‘We need to put pressure on those wounds’.


Erin looked around her for some sort of cloth to use as a bandage. Nothing. Suddenly she sat up and pulled her sweater over her head. It was soft cotton and, torn up, would at least provide some protection for Starsky’s wounds. Shivering a little in just her bra, as the cold air hit her upper body, Erin caught Hutch’s surprised look.


‘It’s the only thing we’ve got, Ken. And you’re in no shape for ideas like that!’


As she tore the garment into patches, Hutch was gently stroking Starsky’s forehead, pushing back the damp curls and murmuring soothing words. Gradually, the smaller man’s eyes cracked open, and he looked up into ice blue pools.


Hutch leaned forward as Starsky whispered. ‘Another fine mess.  ’utch. ……..scrambled egg’s as dangerous as Italian……..Have to be Chinese from now on…..


He smiled, before a bout of coughing overtook him. Bloody foam appeared at his mouth. ‘Ya look like shit, Blintz…… Did we give ‘em enough time?’. He tried to smile again and groaned as a wave of pain shook him, robbing him of his breath. Another bout of coughing took him, and Hutch rocked him gently backwards and forwards as the dark haired man’s body started to relax again.


‘Will ya shut up, Gordo. Ya don’t look too hot yourself, ya know. Got blood all over that ugly mug of yours Broke another rib, huh? Just breathe for a while huh? That’s it…... In an’ out……….. That’s all ya have to do……… Good. That’s it buddy’.


Erin leaned forward and placed a wadded up piece of sweater against the wound in Starsky’s side. His body went rigid and he stifled a groan, then tried to relax and ride out the waves of pain washing over him. He finally opened his eyes a crack.


Motioning Erin closer ‘…….is this what a g-guy has to d-do to get ya to take your clothes off?’ a little smile played over his lips before another bout of coughing robbed him of his breath.


As the hours wore on, both men ceased to talk. Starsky had started to shiver uncontrollably and was only semiconscious, whilst Hutch sat with his back propped against the wall holding the body of his partner to him, keeping up a constant stroking of the sweat drenched chocolate brown curls. Hutch’s eyes were closed and he looked as tired as anyone Erin had ever seen. Desperately, she tried to think of something she could do. She had checked on the dark haired man’s wounds, which continued to bleed, although somewhat slower. Finally, she did the only other thing she could think of, and, sitting down beside the two partners, she put her arms around them, pressing her body against theirs and willing her warmth into them.








You are about to awake when you dream that you are dreaming. Hutch was sure he had read that somewhere and lazily his mind turned over the possibilities. It seemed to be true, because he was becoming aware of a soft pillow under his head and sheets across his body. He was lying on his back in a bed and slowly he opened his eyes.


The light hurt his eyes to begin with and he tried to bring his hand up to shade them, but his arm wouldn’t move. A brief moment of panic, then a familiar face appeared above him.


‘Hello, big boy’ said Erin, relieved that at last one of the men showed some signs of life.




Back in the stone room, she must have dozed off. Suddenly she was forced awake by a noise at the door. She panicked, thinking that Thin and Greasy had returned, and was getting to her feet as the door opened, although she had no idea what she would, or could have done, if they had returned Instead of the two other men, however, the familiar face of DCI Callaghan peered into the room cautiously. Seeing Erin and the two detectives, he shouted behind him


‘They’re here. We need paramedics in here quick’. He stepped into the room and crossed to Erin


‘Are you Ok love? How long have you been here? Can you tell me what happened?’


Suddenly Erin became very aware of the fact that she was wearing nothing but her jeans and bra. She felt self conscious and crossed her arms over her chest. Callaghan took off his jacket and gently put it round her shoulders.


‘They need help quickly’ she started, as Callaghan put a hand up to stop her.


‘Its Ok, helps on the way’. He crossed to the two unconscious detectives and checked the pulse in their necks just as four paramedics pushed their way into the room, heading for the two men, and starting to work over their bodies.


Standing back, Erin felt relief wash over her. She swayed and would have fallen had Callaghan not held her close.


As Starsky and his partner were placed gently on stretchers and wheeled away, Erin started to tell Callaghan about the explosion, the time in the room and Hutch finally revealing the location of Evans.


‘He said they had to stall long enough for you to move Evans. Did you manage?’


‘Yes, we did’ said Callaghan. ‘Your call to lodgings was passed to me, I telephoned Manchester Metropolitan police and they did the business. Evans is still in protective custody and ready to give evidence later today’.


Erin swallowed. I’ve got to go see Dave and Ken in hospital. I haven’t slept in 24 hours. I can’t go straight back into court.


‘Relax’ said Callaghan. ‘Judge Elm’s having another clerk sent up. You’ve earned time off. Go get in the ambulance now. You need to be checked out too’.


‘Why, I’m fine. Its Ken and Dave who need the hospital. But I could do with some sleep. Tell HH I’ll be back to take the verdict. She followed the two stretchers outside and sat in the ambulance with the unconscious detectives on the way to the hospital.




That had been 10 hours earlier, and Erin had been at the bedside of the two cops since they came out of the ER. Hutch had had 56 stitches inserted in the various puncture wounds across his chest and arms. His fingers had been set and splinted and his shoulder dislocation had been reduced under a light general anaesthetic. His right arm was bandaged tightly across his chest.


He was wheeled into the double room four hours after his admission, but had been asleep so far. He laid quietly, a saline drip flowing into the back of his left hand and a blood transfusion dripping into the venflon located in a vein on the inside of his left arm.


Starsky had been longer before being wheeled back to the room. He had had emergency surgery to clean, debride and suture the three bullet wounds, which, as a testament to Marco’s marksmanship had not hit any major organs.

He had had a pneumothorax as a result of the broken rib, and had a chest drain inserted in his left chest wall. His hands had been cleaned, where they were burned from the initial blast, and were bandaged and taped, and the angry welt across his forehead had been treated with ointment, which glinted in the soft light of the hospital room. He too had two drips, a blood transfusion in his right hand and a ringers solution drip directly into a vein on his upper chest, to re-hydrate him as quickly as possible. He was pale, but breathing on his own. Erin thought he looked like a little boy as he laid on the white hospital sheets.


The doctor had dropped by at the end of Starsky’s surgery and said that both men would likely sleep for several hours. He had insisted that Erin be x-rayed to establish if she had a skull fracture from Greasy’s blow. She had acquiesced. No fracture was found, but she did have a very mild concussion and a spectacular bruise up the side of her face.


She returned to the two men’s hospital room as soon as she could, where both were still asleep. She drew a chair up between the beds and took hold of Hutch’s left hand and Starsky’s right. She felt instinctively both men should touch to continue the link they so obviously had between them. And so she made herself a bridge between the two and fancied she could feel the power of their friendship flowing through her and into each of them.


Within a couple of hours, Hutch started to stir. His head moved restlessly against the pillow, and Erin rose and stood by the side of his bed. His ice blue eyes fluttered open and focussed on her. He smiled at her and tried to say something. His throat was dry and nothing but a croak came out. He paused, swallowed and tried again.


‘Hello beautiful. You OK?’


Erin smiled back. ‘Hello big boy. Yes, I’m fine. I should be asking you. Do you need anything?’


Hutch closed his eyes again and appeared to think. ‘No………just tired………and sore. How’s Starsk?’ His eyes opened again and he turned his head to look at his sleeping partner.


‘He’s Ok’ said Erin. ‘The surgeon said he had a pneumothorax. He needed a chest drain, and objected to the size needle they used. Nearly laid one of the nurses out cold!, But he quietened down.  He’s had his bullet wounds stitched. They didn’t hit anything major, but he lost a lot of blood. He’s a tough guy. So are you’. She smiled at him again. ‘Did you really know something like this would happen? How could you carry on like nothing was out of the ordinary?’


Hutch looked up at her. ‘It’s a job’ he said simply. ‘If it hadn’t been us, it would have been someone else’. He paused. ‘Sorry you were involved. Sorry you had to see it all’. He seemed embarrassed.


Erin reached to stroke his forehead and push his blond locks away from his face. ‘I’m glad I was there. I’m glad I could help, just a little. I’m……..’


‘Hey’ came a whisper from the other bed, ‘folks tryin’ to sleep ever here. No regard for the sick, that’s your problem Blintz’


Starsk. You awake? How’s it hangin’ buddy?’


‘Terrific’ the brunette turned his head towards Hutch. ’England sucks. I got three holes in me, four if ya count this freakin’ hose pipe in my side. I’ve got tubes comin’ out of every orifice…………….. and I’m hungry’.


Erin crossed over to Starsky’s bedside. ‘You’ve got me too. Does that count for anything?’


A sly smile played over Starsky’s lips. ‘Suddenly things look a whole lot better’ he whispered before drifting back off to sleep.












Four days later, Erin drove the rented Capri round to the front of the hospital to collect the two cops. They had made good recoveries. Starsky’s chest drain had been removed within 24 hours of his admission, and neither man had any infections to their wounds. In fact, the doctors felt that the insertion of salt into Starsky’s shoulder wound had been one of the best actions possible. Starsky, however, was not sure he agreed, and told them so, in no uncertain terms!


The night of the admission had taken its toll on Erin. By the time both officers had woken up, she was so tired she felt ill. She had tried desperately to keep awake as the two men alternately slept and woke, but finally she had looked so exhausted that Starsky had said, simply ‘Lie down, honey. Its Ok. I’m in no state to bite tonight’.


And so, when the nurse came in to do the four-hourly obs. on her two patients, she found Erin laid on Starsky’s bed, snuggled into is pain free right side, fast asleep, with the dark haired man’s right arm protectively around her.


Erin had been at the hospital each day since then, bringing them news, chocolates books and company. On the day before their release, she had gone to the local delicatessen, and had appeared at the hospital with treats all round.


As the two men sat up in their beds, she handed out paper bags.


‘For you, Hutch. To make you feel at home’. He opened his bag and found a Key Lime Pie and a bag of jelly beans.


‘For you Starsk’  he opened a smaller bag and his face lit up. From inside the bag, which bore the legend ‘Zuckermann’s Deli’ he produced a small icing encrusted cake.


‘Hey, look, Hutch……your namesake………..it’s a blintz!’


Hutch scowled, not sharing the joke.






The trial had reached its conclusion and Erin was back in her familiar garb of black gown and white tabs. The bruise on her face had faded to a sickly green yellow colour. The jury had heard all the evidence, and had retired to consider their verdict the day before. They had just given the Usher the signal that they had reached a unanimous verdict and Erin was re-assembling court.


Both LAPD Officers were back in court. Hutch looked fairly well, but his right arm was still strapped across his chest, and his jacket was slung over his shoulders. Starsky had had some difficulty getting up the steps into the castle. Although his lung had re-inflated, he was still having some breathing difficulties. He was also walking with the aid of a stick, his left leg still recovering from the gunshot wound. Both men looked tired and strained, but had insisted on being in the courtroom.


The Judge returned to court and the jury filed back to their box. Erin stood.


‘Members of the jury, would your foreman please stand?’


A lady in the middle of the front row stood.


‘Madam foreman. Please answer my first question yes, or no. Have you reached verdicts upon which you are all agreed?




‘On count one, do you find the Defendant Edmond Fox guilty or not guilty?’




‘On count two, do you find him guilty, or not guilty?’




‘On count three, do you find him guilty or not guilty?




‘You find him guilty of all three counts, and those are the verdicts of you all?’




The Judge thanked the jury, then turned to the Defendant.


Edmond Fox, you have been found guilty of the crimes of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply them to others. These crimes are so serious that nothing short of a lengthy custodial sentence is appropriate. I sentence you to twelve years in prison for each of the counts, consecutive. You will serve thirty six years in total, and must serve two thirds before you are eligible for parole.


There is also the matter of the kidnap of my clerk, and the assault and torture of the two American police officers assigned to this case. The Crown Prosecution Service will investigate and bring the appropriate charges, and I hope I shall be the tribunal who hears your further matters. Take him down.


Slowly the court cleared and eventually just Starsky, Hutch and Erin were left.


Starsky paused, then finally broke the silence.


‘Well, beautiful, I suppose this is it – the end of the case, and the end of what could have been a beautiful friendship’. He smiled. ‘Sorry, I hate soapy scenes, so we should just say goodbye now’.


Hutch came forward. He put his good left arm round Erin’s shoulders and pulled her to him. ‘I can honestly say that if I’m gonna be tortured by some sadistic madman, there’s no-one I’d rather be with’. He leaned forward and kissed her tenderly on the lips. They drew apart.


‘Well, you do say the most romantic things Officer Hutchinson’. Erin laughed. The next time I’m kidnapped, I shall be sure to ask for you to accompany me. She did a mock curtsey and turned to Starsky.


‘And as for you, Detective Dave, I hate soapy scenes too, so I thought we shouldn’t have one. You obviously can’t carry your suitcase as well as use your walking stick, so I thought I ought to book a little time off. I just happen to be on the 10.30pm flight to LAX. Do you know anyone else on that flight?’