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  • Dropping a bunch of book prices (if you’re not in the US or Europe)

    The lowest I can price my books on Amazon is 99 cents. In the UK and Eurozone, because of VAT, they price match to 0.99 (pounds or Euros). In other shops- India, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Mexico and Canada- it matches the local currency. But, in all those places, I could price them lower. So, I just went through my catalogue and lowered the prices of my cheapest books. The following are now available at bargain prices, if you’re in the right place-

    Sounds of Soldiers

    Tiger

    GOD Hunt

    So Much To Answer For

    Chosen Ones/Source

    Kettled

    Britain Looks To The Future

    Britain Turns To Crime

    Alternative Facts


  • So Much To Answer For is now available from Drive Thru Comics

    The novella can be downloaded for $2 from Drive Thru Comics.

    Tommy Hill walked back into Manchester on the tail of a thunderstorm, promising easy money and atonement for his former sins. Joe Wilkinson doesn’t want anything to do with his former friend, but it’s not going to work out that way. Once again the Police think he’s involved, and some want revenge for Hill’s escape last time, and there are some dangerous characters who already think he’s Hill’s bag man. Can Joe stay out of jail and alive long enough to keep his name clean? And who is the mystery blonde who wants to buy his art? Originally published as a serial at the Spinneyhead weblog.


  • So Much To Answer For

    So Much To Answer For is available through Lulu for only £4.25 (plus postage) or £1.25 to download.

    Tommy Hill walked back into Manchester on the tail of a thunderstorm, promising easy money and atonement for his former sins. Joe Wilkinson doesn’t want anything to do with his former friend, but it’s not going to work out that way. Once again the Police think he’s involved, and some want revenge for Hill’s escape last time, and there are some dangerous characters who already think he’s Hill’s bag man. Can Joe stay out of jail and alive long enough to keep his name clean? And who is the mystery blonde who wants to buy his art? Originally published as a serial at the Spinneyhead weblog.

    Whilst I’m unemployed I’m trying to up my output from at least one new product a month to at least one a week. The next piece of fiction available will probably be Ruby Red, which I’m working on at the moment.


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 24

    “You should just put my number in your phone and call me directly.” Wood told Joe. She had taken his and Rachel’s statements on a digital recorder to save them a trip to the Police station. The scally had been carted off to hospital under armed guard, the gun was bagged and about to be sent for finger printing and the scene of crime officers were discussing removing the bullet from the tree it had hit. Rachel was sat on a wall coming down from her adrenaline high.

    “That’s the way rumours get started. Do you know who he is?”

    “We have a tentative ID. He was arrested and did time because of Hill’s last deal, the one with…”

    “My money, I know.”

    “He had a knife with blood on it that might link him to Hill’s killing. And he had a picture of you and your address. We don’t know where he got that from. How do you make so many enemies?”

    “Clean living.”

    “My…… What I think is he killed Hill.”

    “With a knife? Not the gun?”

    “He got the gun from Hill, before Sarah got back to him. This is just a theory, mind. He got the gun from Hill after killing him with the knife. And then he came looking for you. Just like so many others he thought you were involved in the deal that went wrong and put him in jail. He could have found the picture of you on your website, I guess.”

    “How many more of these guys are there? Just waiting to get out and get even?”

    Rachel came over and draped herself over Joe. “I’m starving.”

    “Are we done here?”

    “I guess so. I’m getting tired of saying it, and it obviously has no effect, but take care. Both of you.”

    “We will. Let’s go order Chinese.”

    “Curry.”

    “Okay, curry. But it’s a small room and not very well ventilated.”

    Part 23
    Part 1

    Notes And that wraps it up. A bit of an odd final line, but it might make it into the next draft. This bit clashes a little with Sarah’s description of what happened a few parts back, but we’ll put that down to her being emotional and not keeping track of time so well.

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




    Fiction, ,


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 23

    Rachel parked nose on to the curb, just for silliness. The Smart was shorter than the next car along was wide, so it wasn’t a problem.

    “We should probably get some food.” Joe pointed in the direction of the shops. Rachel did a skip and shuffle move so she was on his left. He’d noticed she liked walking on this side of him, but hadn’t figured out why.

    Ahead of them someone jogged across the road. Joe only registered it as movement until they reached the pavement. The figure was wearing the scally uniform- baggy track suit bottoms and hoodie, both black with embroidered swoosh, trainers and baseball cap- but somehow didn’t look pale and unhealthy enough.

    The faux scally stared at Joe, took a few steps and, mere feet away, drew a gun.
    Joe froze. The gun swung up and levelled, pointing at his face. The scally’s finger was on the trigger, squeezing it.

    Rachel didn’t freeze. Acting on an instinct she never could explain, she had moved away from and slightly ahead of Joe when she had seen the scally’s expression. Now she leapt. She caught the gunman’s wrist and pushed it aside just before he pulled the trigger.

    One shot from this small revolver was so much louder than the whole fusillade from the Kalashnikovs. Joe was certain he felt the bullet pass his ear.

    The scally’s upper body twisted. His knees began to bend as he moved to correct his balance. Rachel kicked the side of his knee, hard enough to feel something give. He began to collapse, a scream marking his fall.

    Joe finally reacted. He moved away from the pinned gun hand and helped Rachel hold down the scally, now bawling non-stop. “Let go of the gun.” The scally stopped screaming and gave him a defiant look. “Let go of the gun or she’ll break your fingers one by one until you do.” Rachel gave him a look that said ‘I will?’.

    There was a clatter as the gun hit the pavement. Rachel carefully pushed it out of reach.

    “You saved my life.”

    “Yeah, well, I owed you. We’re going to have to talk to the Police again aren’t we?”

    “Yeah.” Joe got his phone out and started dialling.

    “Damn. All this adrenaline is making me horny.”

    “Police please. And an ambulance, I guess. Self defence classes?”

    “I keep starting to learn martial arts and never finishing. Judo, Tae Kwon Do, Karate……”

    “Yes. Someone just shot at me. No, no, I’m fine. We disarmed him and we’re holding him now. Yes, you probably should…..”

    Part 24
    Part 22
    Part 1

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




    Fiction, ,


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 22

    All thoughts of salvage and sculpture from the remnants of the garage had been abandoned. Pete had ordered a skip and Joe had shovelled his studio into it. Then he’d trimmed the hedge and pruned some of the trees and thrown the branches on top. The skip was still only half full. Joe was looking for new things to throw into it.
    Rachel arrived before he found any new junk. She gave the skip a wide berth, and stepped back from Joe when she saw his soot stained hands.

    “You’re looking at On The Wall’s new Manchester shop manager.”

    “Cool.” Rachel’s smile seemed a bit forced. “Not cool?”

    “I was talking to Hugh. I think he wants to come up here and castrate you.”

    “Oh I can deal with your brother.”

    “Really?”

    “Yeah. I know loads of places to hide.” That got a genuine smile. “Should I talk to him? Tell him my intentions toward you are entirely honourable. Or, at least, only as dishonourable as you’ll allow.”

    “I’m worried I’ve upset him. I don’t want to upset him. He’s the most important man in my life. Yes, more important than you. More important than my father, or my step-dad. He’s the only one who’s been there all my life.”

    “Okay. I won’t make jokes.”

    “Don’t be silly. Make jokes. Be yourself. Remember that you were his friend long before you started sleeping with his sister.”

    “I can do that.”

    “Did your friend take the money?”

    “Sarah? Yeah. She didn’t want to. I sat there and let her tell me all the reasons she wouldn’t. I learnt some stuff I’d rather not have, and will never repeat. Then I just slid it across the table. She looked at it for a while then picked it up. God knows what she’ll tell her fiancee.”

    “Nothing. I wouldn’t.”

    “I’ll remember that.”

    “Can we stay at your place tonight?”

    “I only have a single bed.”

    “So we’ll have to snuggle.”

    “Okay. You’ve convinced me.”

    Part 23
    Part 21
    Part 1

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




    Fiction, ,


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 21

    It had been a long weekend. They had christened almost every surface in the flat, joined the Boon Army in South on the Saturday and dined out on expenses on the Sunday.

    Now it was Monday and they both had to work. Rachel was looking all businesslike again. For some reason she fussed over Joe’s T shirt, pulling it straight and evening it out. “We haven’t recruited a manager for the Manchester shop yet.” she told him.

    “You’re thinking of someone in particular for the job?” Joe didn’t think of himself as shop manager material.

    “Me.”

    He hadn’t considered this before. When her buying and talent scouting were over she would have moved on to another city.

    “I know it’s a bit sudden. I….. When I found you I was just thinking of a quick therapy fuck. Something a bit naughty because of our, you know, our history.”

    “You said.”

    “I really thought we could just hook up as old friends and have some fun. I guess that’s just not my style.

    “Plus, it has been quite intense.

    “I’m scaring you aren’t I?”

    “No. Not at all. Not really. No.

    “Well, maybe a little bit.” Joe leaned in and kissed her nose. “And getting me all happy and excited. And other stuff too.”

    Rachel smiled. “My Rabbit’s going to hate you.”

    Joe had blurted out “Why would your pet….?” before he realised, “Oh, right. I see.”

    They kissed. For a moment it looked like Rachel would be dodging work for another day. The intercom buzzed.

    The grainy little video screen showed Kay Wood looking uncomfortable. “Can I talk to Mister Wilkinson?”

    “Yeah. Come up, it’s on the top floor.” Rachel pressed the button to unlock the door.

    Wood still looked uncomfortable when she reached the apartment. “There are just a few formalities.” Joe directed her to the settee and took the seat opposite. “We managed to get one of the buyers, and most of the weapons, thanks to information from the Albanian. And that they used a traceable vehicle for the pick up. The others are still at large, but we know who they are.

    “The buyer’s statement, and various other factors, prove you weren’t involved. At least, to our satisfaction, anyway.”

    “Irwin?”

    “Try to avoid the Police from now on. He’s got you marked. He’s a good officer in most ways. It’s just that Wilson was a mentor to him. He picked up a few prejudices, I guess.”

    “No disrespect, but I hope to never see any of you again. Professionally anyway.”

    “None taken.

    “There is one thing remaining. We recovered the money from your house. One million Euros.”

    “Exactly.”

    “So the Albanian keeps telling us. And there was a bundle that comes to one million exactly. And this.” Wood produced an envelope and placed it on the table. Tentatively, Joe took it. He slid the flap open and looked inside.

    “What is this?”

    “Thirty thousand Euros. There’s a note in there.”

    The note turned out to be a withdrawal receipt. On the back was a message, ‘Joe. All legit. Half to Sarah.’

    “We’ve followed it up. It is legitimate, as far as we can see.”

    “He…. He was going to set me up again. But he had this money for me. Why didn’t he just give it to me?”

    “Mind games. Would you have held the million if he’d just given you the money?”

    “Hell, no. But I wouldn’t have held it for anything.”

    “He probably judged you by his standards. He was appealing to your greed, the promise of a pay out. We could get a psychologist to figure it all out. If we really wanted.”

    “Fuck him. It’s all finished now. Let’s call this closure cash. I’ll see she gets hers.”

    “Good. We’ll return your other property as soon as possible.” Wood rose, “Stay out of trouble Joe.”

    Rachel showed Wood out. Joe sat, turning the envelope over and over.

    “What are you going to do with it?”

    “Bank it, I guess. I’ve got to go see Sarah later.” He folded the envelope and put it in a trouser pocket. Rachel stood beside his chair and he pulled her onto his lap. “So what was this about you moving to Manchester?”

    Part 20
    Part 1

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 20

    The office buildings in the Science Park were identikit. It was only because he knew the company name that Joe could find the right one. “I’d like to see Sarah James.” he told the man on reception.

    “Is she expecting you?”

    “No. But if you can tell her Joe’s here to see her.” The message was passed on and Sarah arrived within minutes.

    “Hello stranger.”

    “Hi. You want to go for a walk?”

    The professional reply died on her lips. She nodded. “Okay.”

    They stepped out into the car park It wasn’t very scenic, but they could walk. Joe set off around the perimeter.

    “Did Tommy visit you?”

    Sarah was silent. They stopped walking. The silence stretched out. “I didn’t kill him.”

    “I hoped that was the answer. What happened?”

    “He was waiting for me. Like he knew when lunch was. Waiting almost exactly where you are now.” Joe looked down, then scanned the car park and its surroundings.

    “I didn’t know what to do. For a moment I just stood there. Then he came toward me and I ran. I don’t know what I was thinking. I just ran.

    “There’s a gap in the fence, just over there.” Joe looked where she indicated. He couldn’t see anything, but he believed her. “I’m shorter. And I know it’s there. I ducked under it.”

    “It?”

    “There’s this bit, sticking out. There was a noise. I went back and there was blood all over the ground. His throat was cut open, he must have run into it.”

    Joe hugged Sarah. She was crying.

    “I didn’t do anything. I made my way back to my car and went home. I called in sick for the rest of the day. I didn’t call for an ambulance or the Police. I should have called for an ambulance or the Police.”

    “It wouldn’t have made a difference.” Joe lied. He didn’t know how much of a difference it would have made. “The Police are here.” Sarah tensed up. “Just tell them what you told me. It’ll be okay.” He really hoped he was right. Across the car park Stevenson, Wood and Rachel got out of the car.

    Part 21
    Part 19
    Part 1

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 19

    A third visit to the MRI, this time flanked by armed Police. “This place is beginning to look familiar.” Joe said to no-one in particular. He looked around and everyone was looking back.

    Tattoos was rolled into an operating theatre for immediate attention. Joe and Rachel were hustled into a cubicle, with one armed guard outside. They sat side by side on the bed. “I’m sorry for getting you into this.” Joe said after a while.

    “I let myself get into this. I could have bailed at any point after you told me about identifying the body. But, you know, it was all a bit thrilling.” She added in a little voice, “Even the nearly getting killed. Is that wrong?”

    “This isn’t a normal week. Normally they’re quite boring.”

    “Well, we’ll just have to base our relationship on the sex then.” She laid her head on his shoulder and held his arm.

    They swung their legs for a while, listening to the activity beyond the curtain. “Did you just quote Speed?”

    “Yeah. What can I say, I like Keanu.”

    “Don’t know if I’m talking to you any more.”

    “What? You didn’t like the Matrix?”

    “Well, yes. But the sequels were shit.”

    “I guess.”

    “Who’s Kevin?”

    Silence. And a horrible cold feeling that he’d said something wrong. Rachel cuddled in closer.

    “How do you know about Kevin?”

    “You mentioned him this morning. You said that Hugh hated him. I assumed ex-boyfriend.”

    “Fiancée. Ex-fiancée.” That seemed to be all the information he was getting. Then, “We were together for three and a half. Nearly three and a half years. He left me, four months before the wedding.”

    Joe stroked her hair, kissed the top of her head. “I guess in the end I loved him more than he loved me.” She shrugged, “I kept trying to tell myself it was for the best. But… You know how it is.”

    “Yeah. Been there. It’s hard to move on. Even when. Especially when they have.”

    “The romantic walking wounded. That’s us. That was a year and a half ago. I kept trying to get over him. I tried speed dating, friends of friends, all sorts of things. It might just be the group I mix with, but they all seemed to be versions of him. It felt like, anyway. So I just sort of gave up, started concentrating on work.

    “It got so bad even Hugh was telling me I needed to get laid. My brother, the big over-protective would be guardian of my honour. Holly suggested a fling with one of our artists. Not very professional, but she’s the boss and I think she’s done it a few times. Then the Manchester shop came up and Hugh told me about you and, well, you know the rest.”

    “I’m just a fling?”

    Rachel bit his shoulder, which seemed an odd response. “I wasn’t supposed to…. to like you so much.”

    The curtain was swept aside. Irwin and his sergeant entered. The inspector glared down at Joe whilst the sergeant drew the curtain closed. “You are in deep shit.”

    “Deeper shit than being shot at?”

    “You got away with it last time. This time we have you at the scene of the crime.”

    “They were shooting at us!” Rachel exclaimed.

    “Don’t try to cover for him, or you’ll go down for aiding. You’re under arrest. We found the bag with the money.”

    “The bag with the money?”

    “Sergeant.” The sergeant moved the curtain aside and picked up something from outside. The back pack looked a lot like Joe’s. “Is this your bag?”

    Joe started to reach for the bag, then thought better of it. “That’s not my bag.”

    “Take a closer look.”

    “My back pack was stolen two days ago. There’s a Police report and everything. That bag’s the same type, but it’s newer, it’s not split along the zip seam. And it won’t have my fingerprints on it. Not yet and not if I don’t touch it. Isn’t that true Inspector?”

    “We found it in your house.”

    That revelation did bring Joe up short. He could think of no good reason for it to have been there. “So?”

    The curtain swept aside again. Kay Wood and a short, balding man stepped in. “Detective Inspector Irwin. I believe you removed vital evidence before SOCO arrived to log it. That rucksack, in fact.”

    “It’s his.”

    “Really? You see, the evidence is contaminated now. We don’t even know if the bag was handled by Mister Wilkinson before you gave it to him.”

    “I haven’t touched it.”

    Irwin and the newcomer exchanged a look. “Sergeant, please take the rucksack away, bag it and present it as evidence. With a log of where it has been since being found in Mister Wilkinson’s house, if you don’t mind.” The sergeant left. “Evidence tampering is a serious offence.”

    “Bollocks. He’s knee deep in this, and this time he’s not getting away with it.”

    “I reviewed the case files. Mister Wilkinson was exonerated.”

    “He ruined a good officer’s career and him and his slut are going to….”

    Irwin was knocked over by the punch, stumbled out of the cubicle and hit the next table over. He slid down the frame to the floor and clasped at his burst nose. Rachel flexed her hand, checked she hadn’t broken the skin on her knuckles. Everyone was looking at her. “I don’t like being called a slut.” She hopped back onto the bed. “Plus he’d just admitted to framing my boyfriend.

    “I guess I’m in trouble.”

    “You’re unner a’est.” Irwin muttered.

    “Whatever for? We all saw you trip and fall.” the bald man replied. Wood gave him a questioning look.

    “Wha?”

    “You could let this go, or we would have to make statements about the reason miss…. This young lady whose name I do not know yet, hit you. She will not be the one going to prison under those circumstances.”

    Irwin glared. He was proving to be quite good at glaring. “You should get that injury seen to.” the bald man told him. Irwin stomped off.

    “Mister Wilkinson. I am Chief Inspector Stevenson. I run the Guns Task force. DC Wood is my most recent recruit.” They shook hands. “Miss?”

    “Evans. Rachel Evans.” They too shook.

    “We found your rucksack, the one that is really yours, in a car abandoned by the gunmen who turned the Albanians’ car into modern art. You can have it back when we close this investigation. Which I hope will be soon.”

    “There was a Transit van as well. The shooters had a Tranny.”

    “Can you describe it?”

    “It was a Transit van. White.” Joe shrugged. “The other bag? The one Irwin found?”

    “We believe it was left in your house by Hill. The tattooed man has been talking, explaining what should have happened. It is amazing what pain medication will do.

    “It seems Hill was the go between for the deal. He would hold the money until the customers confirmed they had the merchandise then facilitate the exchange. Somehow he convinced the Albanians that you were to be trusted holding the cash whilst he waited for the goods. We believe he planned to double cross them and leave you to deal with it.”

    “That sounds like him. You don’t know that I wasn’t in on this though, do you? You did find the bag at my house. Bastard must have left it there when they let him in.”

    “No, we do not know that you aren’t involved. I could say that you have an honest face, but mostly I believe you because Constable Wood does. I have a lot of faith in her judgement.” Joe looked at Wood. Her expression was unreadable.

    “So the Albanians really did kill him?”

    “We don’t believe so, no. It may have been the buyers, in some sort of triple cross, but we don’t know for sure.”

    “They said something about that. About attacking me to get the money.”

    “Do you know what he might have been doing in the Science Park?” Wood asked.

    “The one behind the University?”

    “Yes.”

    “That
    ‘s where he was killed?”

    “Yes.”

    Joe wanted to lie. He really did. He stared at the floor, aware that everyone was watching him. Rachel took his hand. “Yes. I do.”

    Part 20
    Part 18
    Part 1

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




    Fiction, ,


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 18

    “Mister Hill was good business for us. Good business, but a little, how to say it, small time. We have guns, Albanian army and police guns, out of the country during the troubles a few years ago. He has customers. First in the ones and twos, then larger. Then a biggest order.” Tattoos was feeling talkative. Big Bastard was concentrating on driving the BMW X5. They were on Princess Parkway heading into the centre.

    “Paid for with money he stole from me.”

    “Really? He was telling us you gave it willingly. It was good for us and for him. His customers were not so lucky. They give the money, fifty percent mark up, but the Police attack before we have even shipped a quarter of the merchandise. They go to jail.”

    “I nearly went to jail.”

    “But you have a good lawyer?”

    “I had my innocence.” Joe took Rachel’s hand. They were being allowed to see where they were going, which seemed ominous. “Where are we going?”

    “To the delivery point. Container arrived this morning. Customers have keys for it, will be unloading it now. We see if they have our money or if you lie to us.”

    “I’ve got nothing to do with your money disappearing! Rachel has even less! If you’re going to do this at least let her go.” Rachel squeezed his hand.

    “Hostage is good. Useful.”

    They had slowed to a crawl in the traffic. Joe tried the door handle. It was kiddy-locked.

    The X5 made its way around the centre and ended up off Cheetham Hill, navigating the post industrial warren of repurposed warehouses and factories. Joe had spent weeks the previous year photographing these buildings but still he was lost. They turned into the car park before a small self storage unit. There was a shipping container in one corner and four men were unloading its contents into a Transit and 5 Series BMW. “Ah good. They are still here.” Tattoos announced.

    Why did the bad guys always drive German cars, Joe wondered briefly. Big Bastard opened the door from the outside and Joe and Rachel got out. He paid them little attention after that. Joe motioned toward the gates with a nod of his head. Rachel pointed. Tattoos had produced an AK47 and Big Bastard was holding a tiny machine pistol.

    The X5 was between them and the four men unloading the container. Big Bastard stood near the rear and Tattoos walked around the front of the soft roader. “You double cross us.”

    One of the men continued loading the van with small, tightly wrapped bricks. One stepped forward to reply. The other two moved toward the 5 Series. “Hill double crossed you. He told you he,” the speaker pointed at Joe, “was holding the cash. Then we were to rob him, take the million and split it. But Hill double crossed us too. He” indicating Joe again, “never had the cash. Never even knew about it, most likely.” Joe remembered waking up on the pavement, his bag stolen. “We’ve all been had.”

    “Return the product to us.”

    “No fucking chance.” He turned and walked back to the BMW. The two who had been standing by the 5 Series were now sat on the back seat. Joe could see that the nearest one had something on his lap. He didn’t need to know much about body language to see that things would likely get very dangerous very soon. He gripped Rachel’s wrist tightly, glanced at her. She was pale. All her attention was on Big Bastard.

    Tattoos raised his AK47. “You give back merchandise.”

    The two men in the back of the 5 Series stepped out, raising Kalashnikovs of their own. Joe pulled Rachel to him and dived for cover.

    Contrary to what the films tell you, car bodies don’t stop bullets. The X5 was going to quickly turn into a sieve. Joe pulled Rachel down and dragged her to the front wheels. Here he held her tight and huddled behind the engine block, hoping it would provide some protection.

    The guns weren’t as loud as he’d have expected. They were firecrackers almost lost in the sound of smashing glass and thuds of impact. There were shouts and screams. Some of them might have been Rachel and Joe’s.

    After a while the noise stopped. There was one last squeal of tyres under acceleration then silence.

    Joe looked down at Rachel. Had he got her out of the way in time? She was holding him incredibly tightly and he her. There didn’t appear to be any blood on either of them and she was breathing. “Are you okay?”

    “I think so.” said a little voice.

    “You can let go of me now.”

    “I don’t want to.” She did loosen her grip, however, and looked up at him. “You saved my life.”

    “You can owe me.”

    There were sirens approaching. Joe looked around. Big Bastard was face down on the pavement, a mess of holes in his back and blood pooling around him. Rachel looked at the body, tutted, then looked away. In the other direction lay Tattoos. He wasn’t as shot up and, as Joe stared, he moved. Joe jumped.

    “What? What is it?”

    “The one with the tattoos is still alive.”

    Part 17
    Part 1

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.



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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 17

    They were waiting at Joe’s house. The Big Bastard and the man with tattoos- his head shaved to show off the scales that wrapped around the skull. “Oh fuck.” Joe muttered.

    “Who are they?” Rachel asked as she rounded the car.

    “Probably the people who torched my studio.”

    “I’ll call the Police.”

    The tattooed man’s jacket flapped open. There was a gun tucked into the waistband of his trousers. Joe stopped Rachel’s hand as she went for her phone. “Not just yet.”

    They stood their ground by the Smart car. After a moment’s hesitation Big Bastard and Tattoos walked over.

    “You have our money.” Tattoos, with a heavy accent, possibly Eastern European.

    “I what?”

    “You have our money.” Tattoos.

    “One million Euros.” Big Bastard.

    “Exactly.” Tattoos.

    “Exactly?”

    “You are holding for Hill.” Tattoos.

    “He says you are tight.” Bastard.

    “He asked. I refused. I’m holding nothing for Hill.” Tattoos and big bastard exchanged glances. “Hill is dead. But you know that, don’t you?” Their expressions said they didn’t.

    “You have our money.” Bastard.

    “The outhouse was a warning.” Tattoos.

    Joe enunciated his answer slowly, as he was just thinking it through himself. “You think I have a million of your Euros. So you burnt down one of the places I might keep it?”

    Tattoos and Big Bastard exchanged one of those looks. If they had been that stupid they were going to suffer. “You were not holding for Hill?” Tattoos asked eventually.

    “No. I’d bet whoever killed him has the money.”

    They thought about this for a while, conversed in a language Joe couldn’t hope to place. He thought of sliding his mobile out and dialling 999 whilst they were preoccupied, but they kept casting glances his way. After a minute or so they seemed to have reached an agreement. “Makes sense, what you say. You know who killed Hill?”

    “Of course I don’t.”

    “We think it was customers. The goods arrive today. If they get money and drugs they win both ways.” Tattoos.

    “You should go and see them then.” Joe was beginning to hope he’d talked his way out of a dangerous situation.

    “Yes. You come with us. Not good for you to be phoning Police tell them about us.” Big Bastard.

    “We are honourable. We let you go when we know the truth.” Tattoos.

    “How do we know that?”

    “I suppose you do not. But we are the ones with the guns. You come with us because we say so.” Tattoos answered.

    Part 18
    Part 16
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 16

    “How do you feel?”

    Joe was spread-eagled on the bed, appreciating the firm mattress and the view as Rachel dried her hair. “Pretty good, I have to say.”

    She sat beside him and ran a finger through his chest hair. “You don’t feel a little guilty? You did just sleep with your friend’s little sister.”

    “Ah. Should I feel guilty?”

    Rachel pondered this for a moment. “Nah. It’s his own fault, he told me you were finally doing the art thing.” She leant forward and kissed his collar bone. “And I’m a big girl now.” She kissed a nipple. “And he can’t possibly hate you as much as Kevin.”

    “Kevin?” Rachel didn’t answer, and, as she was working her way lower, Joe didn’t ask again.

    Rachel kissed and teased and worked her way down until at last, “Bleh! Condom taste!” She looked like she’d sucked a bar of soap and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I need orange juice.”

    Joe could just keep himself from laughing. “I’ll go and have a shower. Then maybe we can carry on.”

    “Then you can take me around Manchester’s art shops, like you should have done yesterday. Then we’ll trawl the supply shops and restock you. Maybe we can look for studio space for you.”

    “You don’t have to….”

    “You need a new studio, and you need it soon. What else are you going to do today?”

    “Well….”

    She poked him with a sharp nail, “Maybe if you’re good and useful, we can do that tonight. Now go, shower. And we’ll go to your place and get you some clean clothes.”

    Part 17
    Part 15
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




    Fiction, ,


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 15

    Rachel’s flat, leased whilst she was in Manchester, was a split level apartment on the top floor of a block behind the railway station. As he could appreciate the beauty in old industrial buildings and canals, Joe liked the view. He was under orders to stare out of the window whilst Rachel changed into something less formal.

    “Why would someone burn down your studio?”

    “Don’t know. The guy from City Life said some bad things about a show I had stuff in. And he’s probably got a lot of spare time nowadays.” Joe had a good idea what it might have been about, but none about who could have done it.

    “Could it have anything to do with your dead friend?” Rachel read his mind.

    “He wasn’t my friend.”

    “Sorry. Your dead acquaintance.”

    “Sorry. Just a bit touchy about it.”

    Rachel had thrown a dark hoodie on over jeans an a T shirt. It said UMIST across the front, her brother and Joe’s alma mater. “I want to blend in.” she said.

    “UMIST doesn’t exist any more.”

    “Oh, well in that case I want to stand out.” They stood together at the open window. “You smell of smoke.” Rachel observed.

    “I hadn’t noticed.”

    “Let’s go get you beer. The pubs should be open by now. I’ll even buy you lunch.”

    They skirted Piccadilly and went to Bar Fringe on Swan Street for food and Belgian beer. “Are you trying to get me drunk?” Rachel asked two hours later when she noted the ABV on her third bottle of Kwak.

    “No more drunk than I’m trying to get myself.”

    “That rat’s looking at me funny.” Rachel indicated a cartoon rodent embedded in the wall.

    “I think that’s our cue to leave.”

    They drank up and headed out into drizzle that became a downpour before they had crossed the road. “Could have done with this earlier.” Joe dead panned as they huddled in a doorway. The rain refused to let up, so they scooted from doorway to doorway and under awnings along Oldham Street. Joe named each establishment as they passed them, giving history lessons if they stayed outside them long enough.

    The gaps they crossed became larger and they spent more time in the rain between each stop, until they ran out of cover and sprinted the last few hundred yards to the apartment block. Joe was first to the door. He turned under the glass awning just in time to see Rachel closing on him. She slowed, but not quite enough. He caught her and helped her come to a halt.

    They leaned against the door, breathless and laughing, and made no move to part. “You’re soaking.” Rachel announced eventually, red faced, “Let’s get you upstairs and out of those wet clothes.”

    “Does that line ever work?”

    “We’ll see.”

    Under instruction, Joe stripped off in the bathroom. He even discarded his boxers, and they were merely damp. There was a bathrobe behind the door. He tried it on and it came to just below his knees. It would do.

    Rachel was wearing climbing trousers and a short loose T shirt. She took Joe’s clothes and started going through the pockets. Wallet, keys, phone and various bits of paper found their way onto the settee. “I’ll dry these.” She pulled the belt from his trousers and draped it over the back of the seat.

    Joe sat and watched the rain wash down the windows. A big bastard and a guy with tattoos? They had to be involved with Hill somehow. His killers or his associates? Or both? It wasn’t beyond Hill to have come up with some mad scheme to swindle the people he was working with. And now, for whatever reason, they had a vendetta against Joe. What had Hill got him into this time?

    All worries were set aside as a warm body pressed against his back and a glass of white wine appeared before him. “Are you trying to get me drunk?”

    “No more drunk than I’m trying to get myself.” Rachel tried to climb over the back of the settee. She slipped as she settled down and spilt wine over her climbing trousers.

    “I’ll have to get you out of those wet clothes.”

    “We seem to be going in circles.” Rachel put her wine down, stood and stepped out of the trousers. She was now naked from the waist down. “I think that’s enough flirting.” She took Joe’s glass and put it beside hers on the table. He could only nod agreement and grin. Strangely enough he was concentrating on her face. She straddled him and they kissed.

    Part 16
    Part 14
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 14

    The alarm went off at 7:00am. Joe flailed around and found the snooze button.

    The alarm went off at 7:09am. Joe flailed around and found the snooze button.

    The alarm went off at 7:18am. Joe flailed around and found the snooze button.

    This repeated every nine minutes until it was half past eight. Joe decided he should get up, despite the hangover.

    One look in the mirror reminded him that it wasn’t the beer that had caused his bad head. His right eye and cheek were bruised, and the cut above his eye was red and prominent. He checked the rest of his body. There were small bruises on his arms, chest and legs. He’d looked worse after a tumble from his bike, but not much. He put a water proof plaster over the cut and had a shower.

    He dawdled over breakfast, savouring a second cup of tea, and left the house with just enough time to get to the studio by ten. He hurt too much to get excited about a day with Rachel, no matter what he had been thinking the night before. The overcast sky meant there was no sun to warm his aching joints and soothe him.

    A street away from the garage Joe smelt smoke. It was too late in the year, and too early in the day, for someone to be burning hedge trimmings. And there was an odd chemical undertone to it. He searched for a plume. Finding it he did a quick triangulation, estimated where it was, and panicked.

    He ran the rest of the way to the garage. No matter how obvious it was, he held out hope that he was wrong. And he couldn’t see the source of the smoke until the last moment. But he knew what he was going to find, and when he reached the drive of Pete’s house the garage, his studio, was burning.

    Now that his worst fears were confirmed, Joe felt strangely calm. In fact, he wasn’t worried as much as he was sure he should be. He pulled his phone out and took a photo of the flames, then called the fire brigade. When they were on their way he contacted Pete. And then there was nothing he could do.

    The hedge that ran down one side of the garage was lost, and it was too hot to get close enough to move the stuff stacked against the other side. At least there was a large gap between the house and the garage.

    Joe took more photos. He was envisioning a print- the soup tin but with a collapsing structure. There was board and canvas in the garage, two completed paintings, one spec work in progress and a few sketch books and photos. Finished paintings were distributed around bars, clubs, friends and family. He had lost two weeks’ work at most. Painful, but not fatal.

    But his friend’s garage was burning down and it could be his fault. He took some more photos.

    “I saw ’em do it.”

    Joe looked around and down. The kid was about eight and cute as anything. “A big bastard and a man with tattoos.” Where did she learn language like that?

    “What did they do?”

    “They threw something and it set on burning.”

    Joe heard sirens for the first time and noticed the fire engine turning into the road. He guided the little girl out of the drive way and to a safe spot on the pavement. “Will you tell the policeman what you saw?”

    “Guess.”

    The fire engine pulled up and the crew deployed quickly and started pouring water onto the fire. Joe took more photos.

    A fireman walked over. “Is there anything in there that may explode?”

    “There are no compressed gasses. There is some turps. About a litre.”

    “Do you know how it started?”

    “I saw them do it.” the kid piped up. “He isn’t a policeman.”

    “But you should tell him.”

    The girl recounted what she had seen. This time there were more details, though some sounded like fabrications. It seemed the big bastard and the tattooed man had walked up to the garage, ignoring the house, smashed the small window on the door and held something up to it. Then they had walked away and the tattooed man had thrown something at the door and it had caught fire. The fireman gave Joe a questioning look. Joe just shrugged.

    By now there was a crowd. The girl’s mother – or elder sister or cousin, it was hard to tell- came up and dragged her away. “What ‘ave I fucken told you about leaving the fucken garden?” Which explained where the language came from.

    “Don’t you want to….?” Joe asked the fireman.

    “I’ll write it up. The Police will question her later. It’s the house across the road, I don’t even need to ask for an address.

    “The fire’s out. Do you want to check it out?”

    “I guess.”

    “You’re lucky it didn’t spread to your house.”

    “Not my house, but yeah.”

    Pete arrived whilst they were picking through the wreckage. “Fuck.”

    “Yeah. Err, sorry.”

    “Fuck.”

    “At least it didn’t spread to your house.”

    “Yeah, but, your stuff. What the fuck happened to your face.”

    “It’s not as bad as it looks. Some of it could make a sculpture or something. But your garage.” Joe gestured at the roof and walls that were no longer there.

    “It’ll be insured.”

    “For arson?” the fireman asked.

    “Fuck. I don’t know.”

    DC Wood turned up, and a round of statement taking began. A WPC was sent to talk to the child. She didn’t arrest the mother, despite the colour of language aimed at her. “Nice neighbourhood you live in.” Joe commented. Pete shrugged. He hadn’t had time to check his insurance policy and still didn’t know if the garage was covered.

    The fire engine must have driven off, because when Joe next looked around it had changed into a yellow Smart. Rachel stared at the devastation. “Oh my god.” she whispered, “All your work.” Then, “What happened to your face?”

    “Oh you should see the other guy.”

    “Really?”

    “Not a mark on him. There’s not that much lost.”

    Wood was giving Rachel a suspicious look, almost unprofessional. Pete turned to Joe and raised his eyebrows. Joe nodded. “You must be Rachel.”

    “I am. I’m really sorry. I recognise you, but I can’t remember your name.”

    “Pete.”

    “This is your house isn’t it?”

    “Yes.”

    “At least it isn’t damaged.”

    “That’s what everyone keeps saying. I was more worried about Joe’s work.”

    “Now that’s a sign of a good friend.”

    “This is Detective Constable Wood. It’s arson and she’s investigating.”

    “Hello.”

    The smile wasn’t reciprocated. “Hello. I’m done here. I’ll be back in touch.” She picked her way through the debris.

    “You two need beers.”

    “I need to phone my insurers.” Pete shook his head. “You two go. Besides, there’s only room in that thing for the two of you.”

    They left Pete staring at the carnage and shaking his head. “Will he be alright?”

    “Probably. He’s done more expensive damage himself.”

    “Really?”

    “Maybe. Where are we going?”

    “You’re supposed to be my guide.”

    “Where are you staying? Somewhere near Piccadilly? Leave your car there and we’ll find somewhere.”

    “Okay.”

    Part 15
    Part 13
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Notes Lots of cross talk today, and much use of the word Fuck.
    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 13

    There was a dark shape hovering over Joe. It seemed to be talking to him.

    A couple more dark shapes moved around behind the one that was talking. There were blue lights flashing. Joe’s right side was cold and uncomfortable.

    “…..your name?”

    “Joe.” He was lying on his side on a hard, cold surface, he realised. He tried to sit up, but a gentle hand on his shoulder discouraged him. “The streetlight is my home.”

    “What?”

    “Sorry. Lyrics. I don’t know where the came from. Joe Wilkinson. My name’s Joe Wilkinson.”

    “Okay.”

    “Why am I on the ground?”

    “You were attacked. Your neighbour scared them off and called the Police. Do you want to try and sit up?”

    “Okay.” With help, Joe struggled up. The other shapes resolved into a policeman and one of his neighbours whose name he couldn’t remember. The policeman came over.

    “Hallo sir. Can you remember what happened?”

    “No. I was texting. Then. No, can’t remember.”

    “Is this your phone?”

    “Yes.” Joe checked his pockets. “I’ve got my wallet and keys.” He pulled the wallet out. “Don’t think anything’s missing.”

    “So you’re not missing anything?”

    Joe looked around. “My back pack. I’m sure I had it with me.”

    “What was in your backpack?”

    “My camera. Some sketchbooks and note pads. A water proof. Puncture repair kit….” The policeman was looking less and less interested as the items became less expensive. Joe felt like adding ‘cuddly toy’ but restrained himself.

    The paramedics decided to take Joe back to the MRI, to close a cut above his right eye and check for concussion. He wasn’t concussed enough to argue. The policeman took his details and issued a report ticket.

    Sitting in the waiting room at the MRI Joe read the ticket half a dozen times. Hopefully on this visit he wouldn’t have to look at a dead body or be treated as a suspect.

    A nurse sealed the wound over his eye with glue, a junior doctor tested his responsiveness and decided he didn’t need a scan, and then they sent him home with nothing more than a prescription for pain killers. He got on another 43 Magic Bus, the same one for all he knew, got off in Withington and paid careful attention to every single shadow. Safe, but stressed, he made it home, collapsed and finally got to sleep at four in the morning.

    Part 14
    Part 12
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.




    Fiction, ,


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 12

    Joe had finished his second beer when he remembered his meeting with Rachel. “Shit!” He checked his watch. “Okay, not so bad.”

    “What’s up.”

    “I’ve got to get to Piccadilly by seven.”

    “You can do that. Just about. Meeting Rachel?”

    “Yes.”

    “Well go then. I’ll just sit here and drink the beer by myself.”

    He was only five minutes late. The Kro bar on Piccadilly wrapped most of the way around the ground floor of its building. Rachel was in the dining area, all the way around from the main door. She was sat at the window, watching traffic go by.

    “Sorry I’m late.”

    “Not that much”

    Joe slumped into his chair, but quickly straightened up and leaned forward. “So, do you have a brother called Hugh?”

    Rachel smiled. “I thought you didn’t recognise me.”

    “I did. But I had to consult external memory before I got your brother’s name.”

    “External memory?”

    “My mate Pete. He’s always been better with names. What’s Hugh doing these days?”

    “Working in Surrey.”

    “Poor bastard.”

    “Hey. I work in Surrey too.”

    Joe shrugged. “Guess it could be worse. Could be Essex.”

    “My step-dad’s from Essex.”

    “I’ll just shut up, shall I?”

    Rachel hid her smirk behind a beer. A waitress came over and Joe ordered a pint of Theakstons XB for himself. “When were you last in Manchester?”

    “Hugh’s graduation, I think.”

    “Long time ago.”

    “Yes. It’s changed. Didn’t this used to be some sort of sunken garden?”

    Joe nodded. “Full of drunks and children bunking off school.”

    “And there’s been a lot of regeneration since the bomb.”

    “True.”

    “Can you help me with something?”

    “I can try.”

    “You’ll know where all the little galleries are. I want to check them all out. We try to have good relations with them because they nurture so many of our future artists.”

    “Yeah. I can do that. When?”

    “Tomorrow. I’ve seen all the people I was scheduled to. The next few weeks are all about finding new talent and liaising with shop fitters and leasing agents.

    “As you’re going to help I guess I can buy you dinner and put it on expenses.” She slid a menu to Joe.

    When they had ordered they seemed to have nothing to talk about. “I hope you had a productive day.” Rachel said eventually.

    “No. Afraid I didn’t.”

    “Oh. Why not?”

    “Stuff. And….. I had to identify a body.” Rachel’s glass stopped on the way to her mouth. The beer didn’t, and sloshed onto the table. “Spillage.” Joe pointed at the puddle.

    “A dead body?” Joe nodded. “Who?”

    “Someone I used to know. Police figured I was the only person in town who could confirm his identity.”

    “That must have been horrible.”

    “Not nice. I only knew the guy because he stole some money from me.”

    “That’s terrible. How…? I mean…. No, no. Forget I was going to ask anything. How are you feeling?”

    “Okay, I guess. Hadn’t seen him in years and, like I said, he stole my money. So I wasn’t close to the guy.”

    They were silent again for a while. The starters arrived and they tucked in. Rachel decided to change subjects. “I took up climbing. After all those times you threw me at trees I kind of got hooked.”

    “I didn’t throw you at trees.”

    “Up them then.” And the floodgates were opened. They filled in, in broad strokes, the last decade and a half of their lives. Mostly they marked it out in terms of places visited, where they had been on momentous days. “I was so hungover on the day Diana died. The day it was reported, anyway.” Joe remembered, “I came downstairs feeling rough as….. rough as fuck and turned on the TV. They were telling me that something terrible had happened. But I didn’t care, so I changed the channel. And they were telling me something terrible had happened. And so were the other three channels. But none of them were telling me what it was. I swear it was half an hour at least before they told me what had happened.”

    “I was really quite sad, but I was going through a goth phase and had to pretend not to care.”

    “You were never a goth!”

    “What? Why not?”

    “Well, you’re too…. blonde.”

    “Hair dye, my dear, hair dye.”

    They left the pub a few pints later. “You know where you’re going?”

    “Yeah. Up there,” Rachel waved her hand vaguely, “and turn left before the railway station.” She moved in close, kissed him quickly on the lips and stepped away. “See you tomorrow. About ten? At the garage?”

    “Okay.” He watched her sway slightly as she walked away, then headed for the bus.
    Hunched up by the window of a number 43 Magic Bus, shifting occasionally because it was so hard to get comfortable on the centimetre of foam left in it, conflicting thoughts fought for attention.

    Hill was dead. But even as a stiff he could still get the Police sniffing around and causing problems. Plus, he had probably told his partners in whatever deal he was into that Joe was involved. Hill being Hill, he had likely promised Joe’s participation before even meeting him the first time. The sort of low quality gangster Hill had hung out with previously would be too stupid to not believe the bullshit.

    But he couldn’t find the energy to worry about it too much, because there was a chance he was going to get laid.

    The bus crawled its way through Rusholme, and Platt Fields came up on the right. For a while they’d called Rachel the Squirrel because of the way she’d go up trees finding foot and finger holds in the wrinkled bark. It was astonishing she’d never fallen out of one and and done herself an injury. A cold feeling came over him. He was having very bad thoughts about a kid.

    Except she wasn’t a kid any more. She was well over the age of consent, able to make her own decisions and very attractive. He grinned. It was possible he was misinterpreting all of this and she was just flirting with him to help get her job done. But he preferred to think otherwise.

    He got off in Withington and started winding his way home. He was only one turn away from his house when his phone beeped. A text from Pete, “Are you in yet?”

    “Cheeky bastard.” Joe started to reply, turned the corner, and walked into something solid.

    Recoiling from the blow, Joe began to fall backwards. Until something grabbed him and stood him up again. Only to punch him in the gut and again in the face.

    At this point everything went black.

    Part 13
    Part 11
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.



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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 11

    Joe hadn’t known what to expect. He was taken to the Manchester Royal Infirmary, where another, more senior, detective and a nurse greeted them. He didn’t recognise Detective Inspector Irwin either. But Irwin seemed to know him. “When did you last see Hill?” he opened with.

    “This morning.” No point in lying when they others had seen him.

    “Why?”

    “He’s planning something. Wanted me involved. Look, we haven’t even established this body is him. I’m here to identify a body, not undergo interrogation.”

    “They told me about you.”

    Joe just looked up at the ceiling, didn’t say anything. The nurse was giving him an ‘I know your type’ look.

    “This way.” Irwin led the group off.

    The body was on a bed in the A&E. The curtain had been drawn to hide it from prying eyes. “An ambulance brought him in an hour ago. He was pronounced dead on arrival. One of the officers who came to investigate recognised him and called for you.”

    Joe had been expecting more wires and tubes connected to the body. But if he had been dead already there wouldn’t have been any need.

    Hill’s face was pale. There was a gouge across the left side of his throat, flaps of skin either side of a jagged cut.

    They had been friends, once. But it had ended so badly that none of that mattered. Looking at the body, all Joe could feel was anger. That Hill would now never repay his debts, that he had embroiled Joe in another Police investigation and that they’d ever met in the first place. “That’s Hill. Can I go now?”

    “We have questions.”

    “I won’t have answers.”

    “When did you last see him?”

    “I told you. This morning. I threw him out of my house.”

    “What was he planning?”

    “Don’t know. Don’t care.”

    “Don’t bullshit me.”

    “Don’t bullshit me. If you really do know all about me you’ll know I was his victim last time. He wasn’t caught because Wilson was too dumb to see that. You lot came within a few signatures of a major harassment case.” Irwin’s expression had changed briefly at the mention of Wilson. “How is the Chief Inspector?”

    “He was transferred.” Irwin was simmering, knowing he couldn’t say the things he wanted to. Joe had more he wanted to say, but kept his counsel as well. “Sergeant, take mister Irwin home.”

    Part 10
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Notes I’m dropping behind with my NaNoWriMo project, but I’ve reached a section with lots of sex scenes in it, so that might lead to me speeding up.

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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  • So Much To Answer For- Part 10

    Inspiration didn’t get a chance to express itself. Pete was putting his bike back in its box behind the house and Joe was selecting brushes when the police arrived. Joe didn’t recognise the plain clothes officer, but he had the bearing of the ones who had tried to send him down the last time. The policeman reached into his jacket and produced a warrant card. “Mister Wilkinson. If you can come with me.”

    “Why.”

    The detective considered this, wondering if he could get away with giving out no information. “We need you to identify someone.”

    “A line up?”

    “No.”

    “A body.”

    The lack of an answer was answer enough. Pete had returned and caught the end of this exchange. “Hill?” he asked. The detective gave him another wordless glance that spoke volumes. “I didn’t catch your name and rank.”

    “Detective Sergeant Warren.”

    “Okay, Detective Sergeant. You want me to identify someone.”

    “Yes.”

    “A dead someone?”

    Pause. “Yes.”

    “Who you think is Tommy Hill?”

    Another pause. “Yes.”

    “Okay. Can I expect transport back here when I’m done.”

    The detective looked conflicted. Joe had him off balance. “I guess.”

    “Okay.”

    Part 11
    Part 9
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.


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