Hiding the Past

Hiding the Past by Nathan Dylan Goodwin

Book: Hiding the Past by Nathan Dylan Goodwin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nathan Dylan Goodwin
removed,
including the 1944 admission register.’
    ‘Pass that to
me,’ Miss Latimer instructed, thrusting out her hand.
    Max dived
across and snatched the paper.  ‘It’s okay, Deidre, I’ll deal with it.’
    Morton looked
at Miss Latimer’s disgruntled face.  Deidre .  He never had her
down as a Deidre.  She was an Agatha or an Eileen or a
Camilla.  Deirdre Latimer, the spinster archivist.
    ‘Do you fancy
going out for a coffee, Morton?’ Max asked, his face continuing to burn. 
‘Nero’s okay for you?  I find coffee places are all much of a muchness
these days,’ Max quipped cheerfully.
    ‘Sure,’ Morton
answered tersely, riled by Max’s blasé attitude.  He was desperate for a
caffeine injection, and to get away from Deidre was probably the best solution
for everyone.  Particularly for Biggles and a confession that could cost
him his job.
     
    Morton took a table in the back corner of
the coffee shop, which he was grateful to find largely deserted.  He
didn’t trust anybody at the moment, least of all the man heading towards him
with a tray of coffees and two muffins.  Max had actually bought him a
muffin?  Morton found it vaguely disturbing, as if they were old chums
on an annual get-together.
    ‘I got a
blueberry and a double-chocolate – take your pick,’ Max said brightly. 
Morton reluctantly took the blueberry muffin – well, he was hungry after
all.  Max sat back in the leather armchair, crossed his legs at the ankles
and took a bite from his muffin.  His nonchalance irritated the hell out
of Morton.
    ‘Who told you
to remove all the old records from St George's to the archives, Max?’ Morton
said, barely able to contain his fury.
    Max cleared his
throat and blew out his cheeks, his lips vibrating together. 
‘County.  They’d been asking us to archive all sorts of records for a long
time, from schools, the local authority, hospitals, parish councils but we
simply didn’t have the resources to achieve it all quickly enough.  St
George’s was just one of many.’
    Morton was
perplexed.  ‘But then?  Why 1987?  What was the urgency? 
Those records had sat there untouched for years.’
    ‘I haven’t the
foggiest,’ Max said, shaking his head and steepling his fingers.  ‘Let’s
just say that I was persuaded by someone to make St George’s a
priority.’
    ‘So it was
someone in County who told you to pull the admissions register?’
    ‘No, at least
not that I’m aware of.’
    ‘Who was it
then?’
    Max
shrugged.  ‘Not the nicest acquaintance I’ve ever met.’
    ‘Do you know
his name?’ Morton pushed.
    Max’s brow
furrowed.  ‘If memory serves me correctly, it was a man called William
Dunk.’
    ‘Why did he
want the records?’
    ‘I don’t know,
Morton.’
    ‘Did he want
any others?’
    Max shook his
head.  ‘That was it.’
    ‘Do you know
what happened to the records once he’d taken them?’
    ‘I imagine that
whatever they contained needed destroying – why else go to such extreme
lengths?  Lots of people would love to get their hands on original
documents which show their family – sometimes touching and holding something
one's great, great grandfather once held or signed is the closest one can ever
get to them – but nobody would do what Dunk did for that reason.’
    Morton’s
instincts agreed with what Max had said about the records likely having been
destroyed.  He glared across at Max, wondering what had made someone with
such a passion for preserving the past want to blatantly sabotage it. 
‘Why did you do it?  Money?’
    Max shifted
uncomfortably in his seat.  ‘Well, I didn’t get a choice in the matter,’
he answered, his voice trailing off, as if encouraging Morton to jump in with a
moral condemnation.  Morton preferred to stay quiet and give Max all the
rope he needed to hang himself.  Max continued, ‘First of all he showed up
at the archives and I told him to bugger off, to put it mildly, then the next
day he

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