The Past is Always Present

5 min readNov 3, 2021

Inquiry Agent Vandyr Roarke investigates the death of a friend.

by Brad Foster, 2020 ©

Staircase leading down to the final confrontation.
Photo by Alessia Cocconi on Unsplash

Vandyr Roarke is my name, so far as anyone’s concerned. A long time ago, I loved a lady who taught me to use my mind and not my fists. She was one of only two people who ever believed in me, and now she’s gone. Can’t say I blame her for not waiting. Indeterminate sentences sure can play hell on a marriage. Got sick of being stuck in a cold, dark hole at Sytel Correctional Services so I left for home. Turns out that I only traded in for another cold, dark hole.

That other person who believed in me? He’s currently splayed across the slumped concrete staircase outside his home. I shove through the constables surrounding his place and look down on my friend’s corpulent face, now frozen in death. Albie knew me when I was my old, bad self. Now he won’t ever know a damned thing again.

“Oy, back off!” a constable gets in my face. I don’t have much use for them — never a Bobbie around when my old man used his fists most nights.

“And you can rightly piss off, bell end.” I glare at him, producing my card. It looks fancy and has my name and Inquiry Agent after it in a professional script. The nice thing about politicians not getting off their arses is that I don’t actually need a license.

The constable scowls, and tells me the victim — My friend Albie, you chav — died of blunt force trauma and succumbed to his injuries just outside his home. There were no witnesses. None who will talk to you.

They cart Albie away soon after and I speak to some of the witnesses while the constables stand around, drinking their coffees. Most of the bystanders really didn’t see anything, but I find one guy milling around. He says he told the constables he didn’t see anything, but I can tell he’s a lying prat. Maybe it’s the way I look tonight, like the song; but he suddenly remembers seeing a couple of young guys chasing Albie and laying him out for good. I ask the wanker if he knows anything else.

“Yeah,“ he mumbles, torn between being scared of them, and seeing me grinning at him, though my eyes aren’t laughing.

“They was looking for something, real frantic-like. They didn’t find it and ran off before the coppers got…




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