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Village Secret (The Racist Killing of Reginald Johnson)

By: Karlton A. Armistad

By Andrew LittlePublished 2 years ago 26 min read
"Photo courtesy of Kempire's FB Page, all rights reserved therein"

1. A Rocky Beginning

Not many people across the whole of Scotland wanted this story told, but for the life of Me, I felt society owed it to Reginald Johnson to have some kind of true account recorded of how it came to be, that he was brutally killed one tragically magical moon-lit May night, in a then little known village in the Scottish Highlands.

So gruesome was this story, that at the time, no one from the black or ethnic communities in the United Kingdom wanted to visit this once quiet and unrecognisable tourist destination known as Lochcarron.

Lochcarron was an idyllic little retirement village on the Scottish West Coast, consisting of approximately 1000 residents. It was built in the late 19th Century and was inhabited by a small group of Scottish families that had a rich history of weaving the most remarkable tartans anywhere in the world. It is believed that King George IV paid the village a visit in 1822 to honour the weavers there and give his Royal seal of approval to their businesses.

As the village evolved into the 21st century, the offspring of its original families would leave to fight in the wars or to get a better education so that they could return to continue its many traditions and customs.

Throughout the migration era of 1950s through to the 1970s; Caribbean, Asian & Indian families were seconded into the United Kingdom to provide a much needed work-force to push the emerging economies of the British Empire. Lochcarron saw only two such families attempt to settle there.

They were quickly forced to relocate to Inverness due to racial abuse and death threats. Yes, Lochcarron had a very rich and sustained history of rejecting anyone not white enough, and even in 2018 nothing had changed at all.

Reginald ‘Reggie’ Johnson looked out his bedroom window on a very frosty and wet January morning. The sleep still had not fully left his slender 6ft 5 inches frame, which was obvious from the desert-type dryness in his throat and the gigantic morning erection threatening to tear his light grey Armani silk pajamas from his lean yet supple thighs.

At 36 & due to his black Caribbean ancestry, rich dark brown skin, and exquisitely distinct features, he looked about 23. In fact, most that met him commented on this asking that he reveal his secret to his youthful appearance.

He was the product of one of the families that had migrated to the United Kingdom in the 1970s. 15 years later his mother Vera Johnson had developed a successful business as a local Seamstress and his Father Edgar Johnson worked as a School Caretaker in the small village of Otley, in Yorkshire.

After their retirement, the couple opened a little Take-away shop serving the tastiest Jamaican & English dishes you could find anywhere in the UK. The family was beloved in Otley, and Reginald was fondly called Reggie by everyone there. As an only child, Reggie was quick to pick up his parents' skills and helped out when he had to so that they were not too stressed while delivering quality service to the community.

When Reggie finished at the University of Leeds, he moved straight back to keep the family business going. A few years later, just as the business began enjoying a profitable period of growth and the family got struck by a terrible tragedy.

Edgar and Vera were traveling back in the family pick-up van after stocking up for the restaurant at the Leeds Market when a Gas tanker veered from the opposite side of the Otley dual carriageway and slammed head-on into their vehicle. The explosion instantly killed the couple and turned Reggie’s whole life into turmoil.

The entire village of Otley turned out for their funeral and mourned Edgar & Vera’s tragic passing with Reggie, who was beside himself with grief. After laying his beloved parents to rest, the House and Takeaway brought back too many memories for him, so he sold both, and decided he would make a clean break and do what he had always dreamed; which was to become a published writer.

In his search for pastures new to settle & to see where life and his new goal would take him, he searched for similar villages type to re-settle in. The buzz of London had never enticed Reggie as he had always been and still was; a village boy at heart.

He came across a Scottish Tourist Board advert online that featured the village of Lochcarron claiming that it was the ‘ideal place to invigorate the creative mind’.

The beautiful welcoming foliage and glistening calm shores of the village loch had Reggie’s heart captivated at first sight. He felt if he was ever to be inspired, this would be the place.

Reggie contacted a few local estate agents and visited the village to view a few cottages and houses, by the end of his visit Reggie had viewed and made an offer on a lovely little three bedroomed modern cottage which came with a Barn and 16 acres of land that could be developed into holiday homes.

He completed the purchase and in the February of 2018, once all the initial works had been completed; and the name of the cottage changed to ‘Edgar & Vera’s’, he moved in and began work on both his book and the development of the holiday homes site.

The Agents that handled the sale; ensured that Planning permission for the construction of the holiday homes, a Spa & Gym was approved, so as limit any chance of Reggie pulling out of the purchase. This was to be the 1st crime the locals of Lochcarron would hold against Reggie. When added with others they believed to be a step to far, what happened next stunned and shocked an entire country.

2. A Treacherous Middle

In March of 2018, Anna Elizabeth McCrae moved back to Lochcarron, after working in Barcelona as a Guest House Manager to the Castalanas Family, a wealthy and well-known socialite family across Europe.

The Castalanas had invested in hundreds of traditional villas and Spas all over Europe and made their millions and a bespoke reputation from entertaining celebrities and the uber-rich from across the globe.

Villa Rosita, the property Anna looked after before resigning, was the Family’s crown jewel. To rent this piece of paradise costed €6,500.00 per night & a minimum 1-year wait on its booking list.

The last guest to stay at the luxury 8 bedroomed palatial villa before Anna left was Dame Judi Dench and her family. This pleased Anna so much as she managed to get an autographed James Bond Poster on which the English actress and national treasure was featured.

Anna wanted and longed for home. She’d missed 3 years of Family events, her sister’s 1st child being born, and her parents' acrimonious divorce. She was 23 when she left because of this.

With the thunderclouds of her parents’ divorce now cleared; a semblance of how Anna remembered life had returned to the family home. She would have just stayed in Spain and married one of the three Castalanas heirs; as the offer was made, she politely declined. becoming a trophy bride to anyone was not what Anna saw as her living and thriving in harmony with all life had to offer.

She settled into the family’s 5 bedroomed detached house with its beautifully manicured and sprawling front garden & it felt like she had never left. Her parents now divorced still shared the place with her brother Jack. They each had their own rooms and lived separate outside lives. Julia & Phillip McCrae felt this was best for their children and the thought of selling the family home was never up for question to either.

Anna’s huge bedroom overlooked the loch and came with a little balcony and its own entrance. She had gotten into so much trouble as a teenager for sneaking boys into the house, Phillip took her keys off her a year before she left stating loudly for all the villagers to hear “if I wanted to be the bastard pimp of this village, I would have raised whores, not ladies Madam”. Since getting the keys back and toning down her night-time rendezvous, she ensured her father never felt the need to use those words to her again.

Bright beaming sun rays filled the pale pink room with a glisten that tickled the tips of Anna’s feet as she carried out her morning rituals and got ready for her run. She sang along to the sweet sounds of chirping and buzzing coming from the garden below. The house was so peaceful with her Dad out playing golf and her Mom away to work, she thought she was alone.

It was only on passing Jack’s bedroom and hearing his deep rumbling snores that she confirmed he was at home after one of his many drunken nights at the Lochcarron Pub with his rowdy group of mates. She filled her water bottle with clear clean Scottish spring water and set off to enjoy her run.

The clean crisp morning air flowed free causing the beautiful spread of Orchid plants along McKenzie Street to dance as if moving to a sultry salsa song. They scented the entire street with a sensual sweet fragrance that made the run for Anna, who realized as she increased her stride how much she missed the village and its tranquil yet gorgeous scenery.

Everything about the morning felt so comforting for Anna, she knew this was exactly why she had returned. Her freedom was hers always, no one was meant to own her, tell her what she can and can’t do; as she was her own woman.

As she got past the old Orphanage located almost at the top of McKenzie Street, Anna notice a very new face clearing and cleaning the entry road to the old Baker Family Cottage.

She also notice that the sign at the entry to the road was changed to read ‘Edgar & Vera’s’ on a lovely varnished and weather-wrapped oak wood board and impressively placed in clear view for all that would need to visit the property.

Anna saw Reggie’s impressive physique from behind as he used a large garden broom and rolling bin with such skill it made his toned muscles, and sexy sweeping action gave the sense He could clear a few clouds away from her grey skies and bring back some needed sunshine where none had been for quite a while.

“Hi there, are you new to the village?” Anna shouted veering of her path and down the cottage’s entrance road. Reggie looked up to see this beautiful blond-haired woman, whose body was sculpted into a one-piece bodysuit. She looked like the goddess Aphrodite herself had molded every voluptuous curve and inch of her beautiful body.

“ Hi, are you new to the village too, as I have never seen you before, and believe me I would remember if I did” Reggie replied, his eyes still scanning over Anna as if trying to ensure he wouldn’t forget a thing when she was gone.

“I’m Anna McCrae and I am not new here at all, in fact, I was born just up the road at the top of this every street. I remember this being the Bakers’ cottage last time I was home” said Anna; extending her hand so that Reggie could shake it.

“Reginald Johnson, and it’s my pleasure of course Ms. McCrae, and your right I am the newbie. Bought the place and the land around it a few months back. Only moved in three weeks ago and still getting to know both folks and the lay of the land I guess” replied Reggie, while taking Anna’s hand into his. His soft yet strong hands and well-kept fingers caressed hers as he shook it.

She wasn’t sure if it was the physical contact they were sharing or the scent of his sweet vanilla & sandalwood cologne that made her feel almost faint with a rush of attraction. Intimate parts of her body started to warm to him and for him instantly.

“I know this may seem forward and please feel free to say no, but would you like to come in for a glass of lemonade or a cup of coffee, to help ease your tension from the run you just completed?” Reggie asked politely; thinking if she said no, he would be crushed like ice ready to infuse a Bubble-gum Daiquiri cocktail. “Well, what kind of neighbor would I be to reject such a kind offer from a handsome man, not a good one I think’” said Anna, realizing that the attraction was mutual and needed to be followed up.

The pair walked up by the side of the cottage and used an entrance that led into the cottage’s huge open-plan kitchen. Tastefully re-done in the renovation to make it one of the featured spaces in the property.

It had extra-large mocha-finished tiles on the floor, an island area where sink and food preparation areas shared space with a small but ample vintage copper wine-rack and hanging Le’Creuset kitchen-ware & cooking collection that gave Anna the sense that Reggie knew his way around a stove more than most men would. The accompanying oak-wood bespoke furniture throughout fortified her deduction.

Anna and Reggie talked and talked with very familiar ease that made it seem they were two friends who had not seen each other in ages and were catching up so both could know what the other had been doing while apart.

They became instantly comfortable with each other which was very surprising; as both had developed a very tight and almost impenetrable wall around themselves so that they were never at the mercy of anyone else. Yet they couldn’t fight the fact that a force greater than either wanted, even needed them to feel the way they were feeling.

Over the next 7 months, and from this purely chance meeting Anna McCrae & Reginald ‘Reggie’ Johnson began a romantic and deeply passionate relationship that was to ignite a fire across the village.

This fire would burn so intensely that when the dust settled, and the smoke simmered across the warm late lavender hinted Lochcarron Autumn sky; there would be a broken heart, a murdered soul, and mourning so great, it changed the village for all time.

3. The Burning Cross at Edgar & Vera’s Cottage

A cold and haunting mist layered itself over Lochcarron this jaded January night and seemed to stifle even the very breath from anyone that dared walk into its way. The village dogs all started howling so loudly, it was as if they intended to let no soul sleep as evil was afoot.

Yes, evil; the kind that had the power to rouse lost souls from the village’s cemetery, allowing them just enough time to check their loved ones were ok, then make the journey back to haunt the village road keeping objectionable outsiders away.

As the ghosts stood watch; a rush of wild winds pierced the mist and revealed the wizened wings of a majestic night owl in flight. Its imperially intricate colored feathers provided a dancefloor for the moon’s silver beams to ballroom dance upon with the few stars that tried to light the night acting as mini glitter balls to make the beams all the more elegant in their steps across the village sky.

The owl’s journey came to an end in the barn located on the land that had the ‘Edgard & Vera’s’ Cottage belonging to none other than Reginald ‘Reggie’ Johnson. It seemed a strange sight to the Night Owl as usually, she would find Reggie sat on his porch reflectively rocking with a cup of coffee in his hands or sometimes tensely typing away at his laptop by the front window working on his novel.

Tonight, what greeted the Night owl, was the scent of burning wood, in the form of a burning cross just outside the high Barn window which was open. The fainted & constant sound of a moaning breath could be heard gasping horribly from it.

As the owl entered the window and followed the main beam to its nesting spot, the true horror of the night’s events began unraveling like a like master thread that had been pulled forcing the beautifully crafted tartan woven with such love and harmony to fall apart slowly.

“The nigger isn’t dead for fuck sakes; how many times did you stab him Peter?” said Phillip McCrae to Peter Shepherd, one of the village’s local drunks and a very outspoken racist.

“13 times Phil, the fucker has that strong mandingo nigger blood in him, he just won’t stay the fuck down, the bastard” Peter replied, almost out of breath and boasting three stab wounds himself.

Reggie had managed to get those in while Peter, Phillip, Colin Sharpe (Head of the Village Council, hardcore white supremacist, International Representative & Chapter Head of the Highland Klu Klux Klan, or the HKKK as they were known), Elaine Porriss, and Christina McKenzie who ran the Village Café’ funded by the UK Lottery’s Charity Fund, all founding members of the HKKK.

Last but certainly not least was Dunkan Ross who ran the village’s garage and the person whom Reggie outbid to purchase ‘Vera & Edgar’s’ Cottage and its surrounding land.

See Dunkan had wanted this parcel of land for some 20 years and when the Bakers’ passed away, their children would not sell it to him. They wanted it to go to someone that would move into the village and add to its waning populous. Reggie was ideal with his offer and very positive attitude towards relocating to Lochcarron.

The floor inside the Barn was covered in pools of Reggie’s blood mixed with splatters from where he had been stabbed and beaten repeatedly before being tied to the barn’s central beams. His limp and battered body squatted with his back to the beam and his head hung down unto his chest as it raised and fell in rapid succession indicating he was fighting to stay alive with the ominous odds against him.

The Highland Klu-Klux Klan members looked on with pride at their handiwork; as if to say they had taken control of the situation that was affecting the normal order of things in their village by murdering the nigger that dared come to their village, corrupting their women, and taking their land.

The hard part would come next, but this was their territory, and getting away with another nigger killing should prove routine as this wasn’t the first time. A few years before an Asian family with 2 children had tried settling in Lochcarron. The father was a Dentist and the mother a nurse, and even though they added to the needed list of health professionals for the village, their race didn’t qualify them to be good enough for living there by the HKKK’s standards.

Dunkan Ross took the family car in for servicing and after returning it, snuck onto the family’s home and cut the brakes on the car.

The dentist and his car were found later that day at the bottom of the village hills burnt-out, with the charred remains of the dentist’s body inside. The family soon left the village and nothing more was ever heard about the suspicious circumstances under which the dentist died.

When the matter of the Cottage and the surrounding land, with planning permission to build the extra holiday homes came to the attention of the village council, Colin Sharpe brought it to the attention of Duncan and the others, and the HKKK went into full swing planning their next racially motivated killing.

The deal was further sealed when Phillip McCrae discovered his precious daughter Anna had started seeing Reggie openly. Anna and her Dad fought loudly with Anna stating clearly, she would marry Reggie and there was nothing anyone in the village could do about it, even her Dad. “I’m telling you now Anna, no daughter of mine will ever marry a nigger, so if you know what’s best for you Lady you end whatever fucking abomination you’ve managed to come back here and start with this monkey” Phillip growled at her.

“What about Peter, you’ve always had a soft spot for Peter?” Phillip asked; trying to see if he could persuade Anna; “yes Dad, the village drunk with every racist tendency under the Sun is the perfect husband for me in your eyes” Anna replied, realizing that the village was no better than when she fled from it the first time.

Anna had no intention of carrying on this pointless hate-filled conversation with her father; as she knew she was not going to let Phillip McCrae and his backward white supremacist ways ruin her chance at true love.

True love; is that what she felt; Anna asked herself as she got into Reggie’s Mercedes G65 metallic Black 4x4, as they drove off; Phillip’s scowling eyes followed them until they turned up the A896 Main road headed towards Applecross. The couple had planned to have lunch and enjoy their day there.

Phillip was not finished with this situation, not by a long shot, he strolled over to the house landline and dialed Dunkan Ross’s number, after 2 swift rings, Duncan answered; ‘the Garage Lochcarron, Dunkan speaking, how can I help?” “It’s me, Phillip, we need to take care of our nigger infestation now Dunkan, it’s started to infect the women, and you know we can’t abide that; especially if the woman in question is my Anna” said Phillip seething with rage.

“ So not only does this black son-of-a bitch steal our land, he’s messing with our daughters too; well I say we get to do ending his time in the village, no better yet, this nigger’s life. None of these foreigners are gonna just wriggle their way into here and take what they want, it's not happening on my watch, no sir!” Dunkan said matter-of-factly. With that said they convened a secret meeting of the Highland KKK, and Reggie’s fate was sealed.

Reggie’s breathing had started going erratic, as he was in so much pain and could do nothing more now to defend himself. The thick stream of blood flowing from the right side of his head had got into his eye. He could make out all the guilty parties that were responsible and still hovering around him; so, he knew he could not show an ounce of fear.

Fear would not save Reggie now or deliver him from whatever would come next, all he felt was regret. Regret, in believing that modern society had evolved enough to see past the color of his skin and recognize him as a human being entitled to live freely and peaceably anywhere he chose to without fear of prejudice or persecution.

Regret he had convinced himself he would be safe here from anything like this happening to him and believing that after all the horrible things countries like England, Wales, Scotland, and other European nations had done to people of color; capturing and killing nearly 2.5 million slaves from the African continent. Enslaving a further 12 million Africans, spreading them across the Caribbean and Europe, then leaving them stuck with archaic laws and vicious practices so any semblance of the life they knew before was destroyed.

‘Hoot-Hoot-Hooot’ the night owl shouted from his nest close to the barn’s wooden roof. The sound was so haunting it scared the men and women gathered around Reggie’s body watching him slowly bleed out against the wooden barn pillar.

“ We need to finish this now and get out of here before it starts getting light-out” Phillip said to the rest of his accomplices anxiously. The gravity of what they had done seemed to hit him like a ton of bricks ready to be used to build another village cottage.

The Highland KKK was about to snuff out another life and increase its power, it was now down to who would make the final stroke; the death blow that would see Reginald ‘Reggie’ Johnson leave life for where he was to exist next.

“You don’t have to do this you know” Reggie shouted; but the blood had started to curdle in his mouth from a stab wound he’d taken earlier, gargling his words. He hadn’t seen Peter pick a large lengthy piece of wood and pull back taking aim at his head.

Within an instant; Peter swung forward with so much force, when the wood connected to the side of Reggie’s face, it shattered the bones in his jaw, chin and nose; and sent spatters of blood, bone, marrow, and some of his brain across the semi-circle the members of the HKKK had made around him.

“Peter, what the fuck have you done?” Elaine shouted, and then ran to a bail of hay at the far end of the barn to throw up. Reggie’s body spasmed for a few minutes before letting out his last blow of breath. He lay lifeless against the barn pillar, his eyes transfixed on Phillip McCrae in his death.

They cleaned themselves quickly and set fire to the white red-stained robes they had worn to carry out their plans. Dunkan quickly set everything on fire, including the murder weapon used by Peter to end Reggie’s life.

No one spoke much as the brutality with which they had committed this gruesome racist killing had already started setting into each mind. The images of Reggie’s body lifeless, mangled, his face barely recognizable, haunted his killers. What was to come next and how things would play out, they were not sure, but they could not take back what they had done, it was too late for that.

The village dogs began howling horribly again that morning, waking most of their owners and neighbors up, while attempting to tell them something terrible had taken place and they were a man down.

Anna began her walk up the road towards ‘Edgar & Vera’s’ cottage with a warm feeling inside, she was certain this was the morning Reggie would ask her to marry him and was playing the thought of how she would respond over and over in her head. Her answer would be yes of course as he was the man for her clearly.

'Photo courtesy of Kempire FB page, all rights reserved therein'

Anna and Reggie had just spent three of the most romantic days of her life together just tending to the cottage and its surrounding gardens filled with delicious carrots, turnips, lettuce, tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, sweet and Irish potatoes, corn, onions, peppers, and other grown produce.

They had so much fun milking the Cottage’s 2 cows for fresh milk and even discovered a gorgeous Night Owl’s nest in the roof of Barn which Reggie did his best not to disturb.

As she got to the entrance of the cottage, she smelt settling smoke and noticed the front door was open and spatters of blood leading toward the property’s barn.

Anna instantly felt a deathly chill run up her spine, and what was once a blissful feeling in her stomach turned to tragic fear. She ran straight towards the barn’s entrance shouting ‘Reggie, Reg are you ok”?

She noticed the smoking cross close to the entrance of the Barn and the Doors being open with a thick and horrible swarm of flies noisily occupying the entrance.

“ Oh, Jesus Christ no; no no no Reggie, no” came the shrill sound from her throat as she laid eyes on Reggie’s blood-stained body against the barn’s central pillar.

Anna tried to raise him up, but couldn’t as her body had no strength to do it, she believed that he was not dead just injured. She clung to the corpse as if to say by doing this she could bring Reggie back to life; his stale blood got into her hair and along her face and she wailed with grief at the loss of the man she loved.

The Police from Scotland Yard arrived very quickly after receiving Anna’s call, accompanied by the village ambulance and coroner. They quickly cordoned off the entrance to the farm and its surroundings which were now an official crime scene.

They respectfully pulled Anna away from Reggie’s body and taken to the Medical center located close by. She incoherently mumbled some sort of statement to the Officers dealing with the case, but as she wasn’t making much sense, the local doctor sedated her and allowed her mother and brother to take her home.

That night as the rest of the family sat around the living room watching the BBC Scotland’s 6:00pm news update; the Anchor began announcing to the world the matters surrounding Reggie’s death.

“Police were called to the quiet and peaceful seaside village of Lochcarron where a 38-year-old black man was found beaten and stabbed in his Barn. Reginald Johnson, a writer, and entrepreneur who had only moved to the village two years prior is believed to have been murdered in what the Police are calling one of the most gruesome racially motivated killings in the United Kingdom’s history.

Several Scottish Members of Parliament and members of the Black Business Owners Association are calling for a specialist Commission to be set up to assist the Investigating Officers in bringing the perpetrators of this brutal killing to justice” the Anchor said.

Would Reggie get justice though, a silence fell over the whole village that morning as the Night Owl closed its eyes to rest them from the horrible sights it had witnessed the night before. She wished she could speak and ensure that Reggie would get the justice he deserved, but she was only an owl, and this was only another racist murder, those 2 facts could not be changed.


Short StoryLove

About the Creator

Andrew Little

Karl A. Armistad is the pseudonym for Andrew R. Little. I prefer writing under this as it allows me to look at any body of work I complete separate to my personal day-to-existence, and safe-guards my relationships and family.

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