A Quiet Fight – A Fight in Gaol


Fabio Freitas E Silva | Dreamstime.com – Steam punk vintage computer

A Fight in Gaol

Stephan was enjoying his cappuccino with Stephanie and Kimberly when DC Beatrice Monroe entered the door and, without preamble, pointed at Stephan saying, “We need to talk downstairs.”
Stephan put his cup down, wiped his mouth and got up. Stephanie and Kimberly started to get up. Stephan put his hand on Stephanie’s shoulder and nodded no. “I’ll let you know what is going on. Stay up here.” He set the napkin down and followed DC Monroe through the kitchen towards the basement. As they went through the kitchen Monroe frowned at Abigail and nodded to the basement door. Stephan led the way and headed down the narrow stairs and got the light going. Monroe followed and sat herself on a stool at Abigail’s station. Stephan sat at his station. Abigail came down slowly and then leaned on the stair rail.
Abigail looked narrowly at Monroe, “Something to discuss, Beatrice?”
Monroe scowled, “My Grandmother called me that. Everyone else calls me Betty or Bea.” Abigail smiled widely, but said nothing. Monroe crossed her arms, “Maynard was attacked last night before lock.”
Stephen snapped, “We told you that would happen. Is Wynn OK?”
Monroe shook her head and chuckled mirthlessly, “He put four other prisoners in the infirmary. He has a few bruises and a cut or two.” She scratched her ear, “He has been put in solitary confinement. No visitors. No contact other than guards.” Stephan grunted and started to protest. Monroe held her hand up,”I am picking guards who will check on him and won’t dose his food or water.”
Abigail spoke calmly, “We told you we needed him out. Four attacked him this time and lost. Next time it will be eight and if that doesn’t work, there will be more.”
Monroe shook her head and crossed her arms, “I know that. But the judge was clear – no bail. The head inspector is convinced Maynard knows something about the Young Irelanders.”
Stephan shouted, “They don’t exist.”
Monroe waved her arms, “I know that. I think even the Inspector has his doubts. But I’ve got nothing I can use to say they don’t exist. Irish aren’t well liked and easy to blame. Hell, their blaming the Young Irelanders for the disappears of, “ she opened her notebook, “a Billy Sims out of the Kimberly Factory.”
Stephan worked on something at the bench. Abigail said calmly, “Wynn was in gaol when that happened.”
Monroe looked at her notebook and then eyed Abigail narrowly, “Some of us know Simms was paying off certain coppers. All those rotten apples asked for transfers about the time he disappeared. Know anything about that, Aunt Abby?”
Stephan polished a tool carefully. Abby looked directly at Monroe, “What an absurd notion.” Abigail crossed her arms, “We need to get Wynn out.”
Monroe pleaded,”The judge said no.”
Abigail hissed, “We don’t need a judge to get him out.”
Monroe’s mouth opened and then closed. She looked at Stephan, “I expected that from her. Do you agree?”
Stephan polished a bolt, “Abby’s right. We don’t need a judge to get him out. And Wynn can’t stay there. Eventually someone will get through his defenses. We’ve made some contacts because of him, but he’s more use to us outside now.” He put the bolt down and picked up another, “If he doesn’t get out one way, we can arrange another.”
Monroe’s voice dripped with acid, “I suppose you will want my help with that.”
Abigail snapped, “It will be easier. Fewer people will be hurt. But we can manage if you can’t…if you won’t assist.”
Monroe’s said quietly, “Stephan, can you leave us? Aunt Abigail and I have family matters to discuss.”
Abigail glanced at DC Monroe and then looked at Stephan and nodded towards the stairs, “She’s right…we have family matters to discuss.
Stephan set his bolt and frowned at the two of them, but walked up the stairs anyway.

Author’s note

I was complaining to my nephew that the story seemed stuck. Wynn was stuck in gaol. Edward was stuck learning stuff. Stephan and Abigail were stuck bringing Wynn food.  After some discussion, he suggested “Why not get him out of gaol?”  I doubt Victorian England had bail especially for murderers.  Prisons (like forts) are built for the technology of their times not for the next generation. So it shouldn’t be as hard to break into an old prison using modern technology and unexpected pathways.


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