FOGGY NIGHT - a short story
by Andrew Rossiter
When an anxious mother calls the Police to report that her teenage son
has not come home, the policemen find themselves looking at more than
just a couple of missing teenagers .....
“He should have
been back by
eleven thirty,” said the voice on the phone.
“I’m so worried. It’s the first time
he’s been out with the car at night .”
“And how old did you say your
son is?” asked Sergeant Parker.
He only passed his test
a week ago. And Melanie’s only 15
“Well Mrs. Hoskins, I can only
say that I haven’t had any reports of incidents involving
blue Escort; but I’ll put out a message. Just make sure you
call us back immediately if ‘e comes home. We can’t
waste police time, can we ?”
“No, officer, of course not.
But you’ll let us know at once if you find them,
won’t you ?”
“Yes Ma’am, we
Parker looked at the clock on the wall. It was
just after two. “Constable
“Put out a message to all
cars. Look out for a dark blue Escort, registration number
Driver’s a young lad
of 17 called Paul Hoskins - just passed
his test. His mum expected him home before midnight. Hasn’t
“Any idea where he is
“Went out for the evening with
his girlfriend. She’s not home either .”
“What’s the problem
then, Sarge?” asked Shepton. “Probably out
clubbing! If we had to look for every youngster who stayed out late...
“Yes, I know. But
‘is mum says he’d promised to be back home by
“Yes, but... .”
“Seems like he’s a
sensible lad, who does what he’s told..... And the lass
only 15 .”
“Blue Escort!” said Constable
Wells. “It’d be a bit easier if it were a yellow
Ferrari. How are you meant to recognise anything in this?”
A heavy sea fog was rolling in off the Channel,
bringing visibility down to less than thirty yards.
Constable Bradstock got back into the car.
“Well there isn’t anything going on round here.
Place is deserted
At that moment, two lights surged
out of the
, and drove past at high speed. “Bloody
said Wells. “Shall we go after ‘im ?”
“What? In this fog?
What’s the point? Let’s just get on with the
Bradstock started the engine, and the patrol car
moved slowly forward into the blanket of dark white mist.
“Brad! That was an Escort,
wasn’t it?”, asked Wells, all of a sudden.
“The car that just went by
“Might have been. I hardly saw
“What colour was it
“Don’t ask me! I
can’t tell colours under orange streetlamps at the best of
times; can you? Let alone
in this fog .”
“Let’s follow it..
“It could be anywhere by now,
couldn’t it!” But Wells was already talking into
“Car PB to base. Suspicious
vehicle speeding west along Esplanade, near east Pavillion. Could be
the missing Escort. We’re following it, but slowly due to
The mist was patchy
they drove in front of the Imperial Hotel, it lifted, and a long line
of lights stretched out ahead of them, picking out
gentle curve of
the Esplanade round as far as the harbour
There was no traffic, just
cars standing empty at the roadside. Apart from the streetlamps, the
only other lights to be seen were in the distance at the harbourside,
where a group of cars seemed to be parked at the water’s edge.
Bradstock switched on the blue
flashing light, and Wells accelerated. As they approached the group of
cars, two of them drove off up a street towards the town centre. The
third stayed where it was. “It’s an
Escort,” said Bradstock. “Dark blue.
it’s the one we’re meant to be
looking out for..... .”
“Pull up behind it,”
said Wells. Although its headlights were on, the stationary
looked empty. Brad jumped out.
A moment later, he was back.
“You’d better call up the station.
Engine’s running, but no one in it. Just this on the back
seat.” He held up a wad
of £50 notes.
“Whoever was in it
left a couple of grand
behind. Must have seen us coming and bunked off
in a hurry!”.
"Doesn’t sound like
a 17-year old kid, does it?” said Wells.
“You never know these days,
do you?” Brad replied.
driving test, to get a driving licence - involving
concerning - afford to
allow ourselves to - constable
policeman - registration
the number of a car - lad
: boy, man -
sqhow up : appear - lass
girl - deserted
empty - surge
come very fast - mist
fog - round
circuit - patrol car:
police car - let alone:
and certainly not - over
: end of message - patchy
irregular - pick out:
define, show - harbour
port - p'raps
: perhaps - stationary
not moving - wad
group, packet - a grand:
£1000 - bunk
go away -
Continue to part 2
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One Foggy Night - Part 1
prepositions and adverbs from this extract from the story.:
"It could be anywhere ____ now, couldn't
Wells was already talking _____ the radio. "Car PB ____ base.
vehicle speeding west _______ Esplanade, ____ east Pavillion. Could be
missing Escort. We're following it, but slowly due ____ fog.
The mist was patchy;
suddenly, as they drove ____ front ____ the Imperial Hotel, it lifted,
long line ____ lights stretched ____ ahead ____ them, picking
the gentle curve ____ the Esplanade ____ as far as the harbour.
There was no traffic, just cars standing empty ____ the roadside. Apart
the streetlamps, the only other lights ____ be seen were ____ the
the harbourside, where a group ____ cars seemed ____ be parked ____ the
edge. Bradstock switched ____ the blue flashing light, and Wells
story in class :
: This story is full of language points that you can
class: note in particular: prepositions
(see exercise above),
, modal verbs (should
Anticipation. Have students imagine how this story
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