So, you remember that story that we had here that couldn’t decide what it wanted to be called.
Well it decided it wanted to be Twist of Truth and here it is all finished and polished and “out there”
Simon took a step towards the open door, trying to block her view as Gloria leaned to peer past him into the grim interior. Stephen Hardcastle was slumped against the wall. “What the hell are you doing? How did you get in?”
“Down the back alley, the side gate. It doesn’t matter!”
“I didn’t know there was a back alley.”
She screeched at him, “I said it doesn’t bloody matter – What the hell is this?”
Simon turned his head to glance at the mess behind him, he didn’t know how to begin. In the time he took, Gloria reached out and picked up the butcher’s knife. “No, it’s okay, you don’t need to do that – really you don’t it’s okay.” Fear came from her in waves, fear and anger.
“Okay – how can this be okay?” She had taken several steps into the room by now and was an arm’s length away from where Simon stood, struggling for words.”
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” He stopped, he sounded ludicrous. He reached a hand towards her. She raised the knife. “Why are you here Gloria, why have you come?”
“You didn’t bring a coat, I watched you walk down the alley and then it began to rain. I brought a coat.” Tears filled her eyes as she spoke to him, she brushed them away with her free hand and glanced around. “You haven’t done anything. You haven’t decorated, where’s all the stuff that you ordered? It’s just the same.”
Any answer that he might make was negated by a bout of coughing from Stephen behind him. Gloria slid past, still holding the knife in front of her. She flicked her glance between the semi-conscious man sagging against the wall and Simon who raised his hands, palms towards her in helplessness and surrender.
She knelt now beside Hardcastle who appeared to be drifting in and out of consciousness. “Bloody hell, what happened to him?” She glanced up. “He stinks, he’s shit himself. We need to get him to the hospital, we need an ambulance. What happened to his head? He’s got concussion or something.” She reached out to take Stephen’s hand and it was only then that she noticed the cuffs, the chains. “What the hell!” She pulled at them, jangling and shaking the metal links. “My God, what have you done? What the hell have you done?”
“I can explain, I can. I’ll tell you all about it. It’s not what you think.”
“How the hell do you know what I think – Christ even I don’t even know what I think! Who is this, who is this bloke?”
A faint whisper slipped between Stephen’s lips, “Help me, please. Don’t let him kill me, don’t leave me.”
“Shush, shush, it’s okay. Don’t worry I’m not leaving you. I’m going to get you an ambulance.”
“No. No don’t – just take me home. I’ll be okay if you just take me home.” Simon had moved forward to stand beside Gloria, she still gripped the big knife and raised it as she leaned back to peer up at him.
“I can explain Gloria. I was going to take him home. I just needed him to tell me first.”
“Tell you what?”
“Can we talk later? Look I’ll get him home now.”
“What do you mean?”
“How are you going to get him home. Are you going to ring a taxi, are you going to take him on the bus? Look at the state of him.”
“I need a van, I was going to go and…”
“Ah, just going to go and get a van, and some poor sod was going to have his vehicle stolen.”
“Well, I hadn’t expected to be doing this now. Look I know it looks bad, shit it is bad, of course it is but let me try to explain.”
“Tommy, Tommy take me home – please.”
“He’s delirious, he doesn’t know who we are. We really need to get him to the hospital.”
“No, he’s not delirious. It’s me. I’m Tommy. They changed my name, when I came out.”
“Oh, oh okay. Yeah of course they did. So, you’re Tommy – Tommy Fulton or? …”
“Webb, I’m Tommy Webb.” He watched as she sifted through her memory, saw recognition dawn and listened as she whispered his name.
“Tommy Webb – Sandie Webb’s brother.” There was nothing for him to do now but to nod and give her space to let the knowledge sink in.
The silence stretched between them until it was broken by another groan from Hardcastle as he tried to push himself into a more comfortable position.
Gloria turned to him and then spun her head back towards Simon. She jagged the knife at him, go and stand over there. Go and stand in the corner. Does this thing,” She reached and jangled the chain, “have any keys or whatever, how do I get them off him.”
“I’ve got them, here let me.”
“Don’t try anything, I will slash you, just move slowly. Unfasten him.”
“It’s okay, honestly Gloria, it’s okay. I won’t hurt him. I won’t hurt you. I promise.”
“Unfasten him then. Unfasten him and then take those stinking clothes off him.
“Right, right. Okay.”
The job was nasty and difficult for them all but in the end Stephen was laid on top of the blankets with towels wrapped around him. The blood had been wiped from his face and though he still shook with tremors he was calm.
Simon kicked the wet and stinking clothes in towards the wall. “No, pick em up.”
“Pick those up and stick em in that plastic bag.”
“There’s no need. I can sort them out later.”
“Either pick them up now or you’re going to have to sit in that mess.”
Simon shook his head, his face creased in puzzlement until Gloria’s plan became clear. “Sit in the… No, look Gloria there’s no need. Honestly I promise I won’t hurt you, I won’t hurt him.”
She jagged the knife at him, “Move the mess and then sit down. Give me the keys for those things, what are they, shackles? Cuffs? Anyway it doesn’t matter, just give me the keys.” He held them out towards her.
“You don’t need to, really.” But as he spoke he kicked the things together and then, bundled them into a bag.
“Sit down.” He turned and began to speak again but as she stood before him, her legs braced and the knife held at arm’s length he just shook his head and lowered to the floor.
“Right, put those things on your feet.” He clicked on the shackles. She threw the key to him, “Lock them.”
“Gloria, please. Look I promise I’ll stay here, I won’t move unless you tell me to.” She stopped, began to take stock of the whole situation. She realised that leaning towards him and forcing his hands into the cuffs and then locking them afterwards was going to be too dangerous and probably impossible for her to achieve.
He saw confusion now in her eyes and the wrinkle of the skin on her brow. “Gloria, let me help you, let me help you get him home.” She glanced down at Stephen, the bulk of him, his semi-conscious state.
“Okay, okay.” My car is in the road. Where is the key for this place?”
“It’s here in my pocket.” She held out her hand.
Her choices were limited but the main thing was to get help for the sick man. “I’m going to get the car.” She ran from the room now and the two men heard the locks thumping into place. Hardcastle whimpered, now that he was alone with Simon, the fear resurging.
“It’s alright Stephen, you’ve been bloody lucky. She’ll help you now.”
He could take her. He could hide behind the door and when she came back in, he could have her in a heartbeat but Simon sat on the floor and listened as her car rumbled into the yard. He waited until Gloria came back, holding the knife before her, a hammer from the car’s toolbox another weapon in her other hand.
She kicked open the door and let it bounce against the wall and only when she saw that he was still on the floor did she move into the room.
“Right let’s get him to the hospital. Help me take him to the car.”
“No, not the hospital. I don’t want to go to the hospital.” Hardcastle knew the hospital would involve the police and he obviously wanted to avoid it at all costs. “Take me home.”
“You can’t go home.” She turned her head, “Who is it, what’s his name?”
“Stephen, Stephen Hardcastle.”
“Look Stephen you can’t go home. Tell you what, why don’t I take you back to my place.”
“Yes, oh yes please.” He reached out and gripped her hand, he was obviously becoming stronger and at the end of the day it was his choice.
“Okay, come on let’s get you in the car. We’ll go back to my place. Come on Simon, give me a hand, but I’ve still got this, and I’ll use it.” She waved the knife in the air in front of her.
“It’s okay Gloria, I promise. It’s okay. I’ll help you now.”
Thanks as always for the support with this work. I have taken it down now as it is with the Publisher awaiting a decision.
If you have read the serial and missed the last few episodes do get in touch and I’l arrange to send you the final chapters.
Thanks again and fingers crossed that it makes the cut.
The pain was indescribable. First had been shock, then horror, then endless moments of disbelief and now all that was left was pain.
When she had found the body, seen the blood and the wreckage her mind was crystal. She had registered the crimson dripping from the back of the sofa onto the pale boards, pooling and slipping slowly to the skirting where it ran in a narrow river, slowly, slowly as the life force left him. She had seen Steve’s pale, pale face and the dreadful, ghastly black burn marks around the bullet hole all sharp and focused. Then there had been the scream, like nothing she had ever heard before, a high keening screech of sound whirling away from her until she realised that it came from her own throat, from the deepest darkest part of her soul. Once it registered that it came from her she had stopped it, turned it off in an instant and fallen towards him, his body.
Now though, how much later? Impossible to tell, she was divorced from it, there was noise and movement all around her. Police, paramedics even the landlord had muscled in on the scene.
“No he hadn’t heard anything, not even the gunshot. No, he hadn’t seen anything. No, he didn’t know anything.” Well why the hell was he there then, the thought forced itself into her agonised reality. Bloody landlord never there when the toilet blocked or the rats scuttered around the bins but there now, his eyes popping and his chest swelling with self importance. Had he been there earlier, well probably but it didn’t matter now, he wouldn’t meet her eyes though. May he rot in hell for his part in this.
They had known that there was a risk of this happening, they had been told not to come here to this lawless place but they were young and indestructible and nothing could happen to them could it.
A soft voice at her shoulder brought her back from the void, “We’re taking him now. Is there anywhere you can go, somewhere you can stay. You can’t stay here , we have a lot to do, work you know.”
“What, go no. I don’t know anyone, there’s nowhere. We were only here for a month, I…” The ability to speak left her as the gurney with the sheet covered body was wheeled past the chair and on towards the door. “No, no wait.” The paramedics stopped, looking back over their shoulders at the blonde in the chair. “Please, I have to, I need to see him.” The tears soaked her cheeks as they threw the sheet back from his face. He was sleeping, it was all a mistake, he was pale yes, but surely, surely he was just sleeping. Stretching out a hand she touched his cooling cheek, no not sleeping.
“Do you have any idea who might have done this?” What a ludicrous question, ridiculous. She turned the full force of her anguished gaze on the policemen. How could they all pretend, how can you help people who blind themselves to the truth.
Shaking her head almost imperceptibly she reached out to grab her bag and the camera case. “Wait, we have questions, you need to stay, you need to help us.” The raised voice was white noise as she slammed from the flat and hurtled down the stairs. There was no way anyone was going to help her she knew that. They had been fully aware when they came here that they were on their own, that was what had made the whole thing so attractive, tempting. They were vigilantes weren’t they, crusaders. No, not they, there was no they now, now it was just her only her against the whole rotten corrupt state because she had gone out for bread hadn’t she. Just bread, they wanted hot bread to eat with their chicken and so she had gone.
That was when they had come and shot him, and she was left alone now, left to fight on without him but it had been so close, so very close and so she knew that she had been spared for a reason. Not for bread and chicken but for the fight and so she would fight on alone, for Steve and for the victims and in recognition of the hand of fate.
Who Follows :-
A passing glance leads to obsession in this dark story of love, loneliness and secrets.
From the very first glance nothing is as it seems. Lies and obsession lurk beneath the surface and as the relationships develop disaster seems inevitable.
A dark and awful story – free for another two days on Amazon.
And so it begins. When evil and obsession meet the outcome is surely disaster and tragedy.
I spent most of yesterday designing a book trailer for Who Follows. It is a teeny little thing and it took hours to make. Of course it took so long because I am still learning and I did learn an awful yet yesterday. I love using the computer and can fiddle happily with something like Powerpoint all day but there are times when it all gets a bit frustrating. I know that sensible people leave it at that point and go and do something else but I know also that many users are like me and just keep on and on bashing the brain box against the virtual wall.
Anyway here is a link to my Amazon page and the trailer is on the right hand side. I am going to do a special with Who Follows at the end of the week and hope that this will give it a bit of publicity.