Tag Archives: mystery

A strange spectacle.

I know you’re not going to believe me, so look don’t even bother to tell me.  When I’ve finished just don’t say anything.  You’ll spoil it see.  For a long time I thought I wouldn’t tell anyone, just because of that, because I didn’t want it spoiled but it’s just bubbling up in me – all the time bubble bubble.  It’s just has to come out so, I thought well I’ll tell you, because I think I can trust you not to spread it around, not to laugh at me.  Don’t do that will you.  Don’t laugh at me.

So, okay here we go.  Do you remember last year?  After Justin died and I was such a mess, a total nut job really.  Well after the fuss, all the funeral and sorting out the stuff with his will and the bank and when everyone had gone back to the real world and I was left in mine, for the first time without him.


Anyway,  I tried to do as he’d always said I should, to just get on and carry on living.  First of all I cleared out his desk, so’s I could use it myself – I didn’t know what to do with all the stuff – The paper and ruler and so on I just put into the cupboard for me to use later but there was other stuff,more personal.  I’m wearing his watch, I like that, but his glasses – I just didn’t know what to do.  They were still pretty new and so in the end  I stuck ‘em in that recycle box at the chemist so they can send them to Africa. I like that you know, that thought of his glasses being worn by a man in Africa, looking at zebras and giraffes and elephants. I think Justin would’a liked that don’t you?  He was always a big softy about animals.  D’ya remember that cat he brought home one time? A scraggy little thing it was and full of fleas.  He fed it up and cleaned it and even had it at the vets and then bugger me soon as it was all fit and well it went to live with them next door.  Oh he was fit to be tied over that but being Justin he just said “Oh well, they’ve got something we haven’t.”  Mind you, now and again I’d see him leaning over the fence giving it little biscuits.  So, yes I liked that idea, his glasses seeing things that he never did, wildlife and such.  We always used to say we’d go you know, one day when we could afford it, off on safari – well – ‘course we never did, folk like us we don’t do stuff like that.

Oh, yeah back to what I was going to tell you.  Sorry, I get side tracked like that these days, I don’t know why, I think being on my own so much I just let my thoughts wander about here and there and it’s hard to get them back into line when I need to.  So, yes.  A few days after I’d sorted out his stuff, given his clothes to the Sally Army and his books to Oxfam, God he had a lot of books, dozens and dozens of em.  I’d never realised how they were building up and building up – still they’ve all gone now, I just use my Kindle so I can put ornaments on the shelves.  I like that, though I have kept his old Bible and his favourite couple of novels.  I like to hold them and feel that because he touched em, then I touch em, it’s sort of like I can still reach him somehow.  I know it’s silly but there’s no harm is there?

Anyway, what I was going to tell you.  Well, I was laying down on the couch, it’s nice about three o clock, the sun comes through the side window and it’s warm and lovely, and the clock just ticking in the background, and the fire crackling and I doze sometimes and read and just think. There I was just thinking and remembering and I felt my eyes closing and as they did I caught a glimpse of a something, just like a glitter off to the side,  I jerked awake, you know how you do and all your skin tingles and your heart thumps and jumps.  Anyway, I looked over, across at his chair and there was this – oh you’re not going to believe me but here goes. Well, it was like a scene, a sort of vision – God that sounds so daft but it were just like a film, on the chair, on the cushion at the back.  There was grass and sky, so much sky, and trees and a lovely river and then as I watched it this movement in the long grass and, oh it was lovely, a lion, true as I’m sitting here, a lion drinking in the water and then it all wobbled and hazed over and faded.  I don’t know whether it was a dream or my imagination or just that I’m going batty in my old age, but I’ve seen it since, about six times now, and I just wondered, I thought – well do you think that it’s those old glasses, Justin’s old specs – looking out in Africa or wherever and he’s sending me the pictures back – Do you think it could be.  Just maybe, oh that would be lovely wouldn’t it, just as if we’d gone there together and oh I would like that so much.



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Well Head Cottage – 11

Slumpy couldn’t be found and time was getting short for them to have lunch at the pub. “Come on, I’ll leave the shed door open and then, if he’s cold he can go in there.” Jean took the blanket from his travelling box and made a bed for the cat on an old garden chair.

The pub was warm and cosy, busy, even though it was no longer ‘tourist season’. The company, the steak pie, and the relaxed atmosphere made both women feel much more cheerful.

Lesley brought their second glasses of wine and picked up the dessert menu. “We shouldn’t let all this stuff get to us you know. I mean, it’s sad for Doris and all of that, but at the end of the day it’s nothing to do with us. Okay you, in your usual way,” she smiled, taking the sting from the words, “got involved. But, it’s not our business.”

Jean pushed at her sister’s arm, “Cheeky bugger, how do you mean ‘my usual way’?”

“Well, you do attract trouble, don’t you?” Lesley raised her eyebrows questioningly.

Though Jean knew her sister was partly joking she was very aware that there was some genuine belief behind the comment. She tried to make her understand, explaining that she felt so very sorry for their sometime friend. Even though it was clear that there didn’t seem much they could do, it was upsetting that she seemed so alone and so very diminished. Jean had decided already that she would go back and have another word with her in the morning. Find out more about it all.

Lesley wasn’t happy, “The police have already looked into it once. They’ll be doing it again now you’ve found the bloody car. What makes you think you’ll be able to think of anything they haven’t already? Oh, look, you see! I knew this would happen. I could tell by the look on your face that you were going to poke your soddin’ nose in.” An awkward silence descended, and the atmosphere was ruined.

They niggled back and forth for a while longer, each feeling guilty but unable to stop, wanting to make a point. Lesley reminded Jean of the events earlier in the year, “People died Jean, you, nearly died.”

Jean snapped back at her. “People were already dying, and there would have been more if it hadn’t all come to a head.”

She told her sister about Doris Smart’s admission, that she had confided her envy of the absolute knowledge that had come with Jean’s widowhood. “It’s tearing her apart, the not knowing. Just imagine what that must be like. You must remember when Carl was missing, the torment we went through.”

Lesley sighed and shook her head, wagged the menu in front of her. “Are you having pudding, or coffee?”

“No, I think I’m ready to go. Let’s have coffee at home. I’ve got some biscuits and stuff from the shop. I’d like to check on Slumpy as well.”

They gathered their coats and, each feeling regret for the soured mood, they left the cosy warmth of the Dog and Duck to drive back to the Well Head Cottage.

The cat had not come back, and they spent a few minutes peering under bushes and up trees, calling his name. “I’ll leave the shed open. It’s not as if he doesn’t know the place, he’s just trying to get his own back because we made him go in the car.” Jean laughed but, as they walked to the front door, she glanced back several times, frowning.

They spent the rest of the day in polite awkwardness. Jean did some writing and Lesley surfed shopping sites on the internet. Eventually, they made something to eat and grinned at each other across the tops of their glasses of wine. “Sorry.” Lesley stood and walked around the table to give her sister a hug. “I just worry, that’s all.”

“I know, and I just hate to think of people being so miserable.”

“Yeah, but you can’t help everyone, can you?”

“No, you’re right. I’m still going to go and see Doris again though.”

She checked the shed, did a tour round the garden but Slumpy wasn’t anywhere to be found, and she felt a frisson of real concern. He had been her companion for more than almost ten years and had seen her through the worst of times. Tomorrow she would go and look for him and wouldn’t stop until she had him back. She acknowledged that the hunt would mean checking the side of the roads for a sad damaged body, the thought chilled her. Lesley agreed that it had to be the first priority. They both had their computers with them but no printers. Jean clicked open an image file. “I’ve got pictures of him, but I can’t make a poster.”

“Make the notice and if we don’t find him in the morning, which we will of course. The little sod will be crying at the back door for his breakfast, you’ll see. But, if not I’ll go into Conway, there must be somewhere there to have things printed. Put the file on a data stick and I’ll do that.”

They went to bed early. Jean sat in her narrow bed in the little back room, that had always been Carl’s when he was there, and she was swept with sadness. The optimism she had felt just a few days ago had been wiped out so quickly. She decided, as soon as Carl had gone off to Snowdonia she was going home and would probably never come here again. The thought brought a lump to her throat but, it had all changed. She would rather remember it the way it had been.

As she drifted into sleep she heard the owl and in the distance, and, not loud enough to cause the same alarm as on her first night, but enough to add to the worry about Slumpy, she heard the short sharp retort of what could only be gun fire. Surely hunting was illegal, at night?


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Happy everything

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and the New Year brings all that is good and peaceful.

If I may I want to take the opportunity to link to my Amazon Author Page. Thank you to everyone who has bought my books in 2016 and especially to those who took the time to leave a review. I hope that for all of my author friends the coming year is successful and fulfilling and for all of our marvelous readers you find books to thrill, delight and satisfy you.


and now… …

Chapter 13

Fuzz had quickly overtaken Simon and sped on glancing down the side roads and alleys but when he reached the junction at the far side of the square he stopped and waited. “They’ve gone, I reckon they nipped down one a them ginnels.”

“Yeah, you’re right. What the hell was that about then? I mean why would they run away? She can’t have known we were looking for her. Shit.  Look, you carry on, do a coupla turns round the square, maybe even a street over on each side. I’ll go back into that office, where you saw her come out, and see if I can find out what she was doing.”

“Okay, then we’ll go and get some breakfast yeah?”

“What, oh you and your belly. I’ll see. Just go on. If you see her ring me and I’ll come straight out. If you do, try not to spook her again.” Fuzz turned away and jogged down the road at right angles to where they stood. Simon walked back to the office building and pushed through the heavy glass doors.

As he approached the reception desk the girl lifted her head and smiled at him. He saw her eyes lock on the disfigured side of his face but her smile didn’t waver. “Good morning, how can I help you?”

He introduced himself and then described Flora, as much as he could from the picture and the fleeting glimpse he’d had as the two girls had sped away from himself and Fuzz. He had the print in his pocket but surely it would look a bit odd were he to bring it out. “She was supposed to meet me this morning and I think I missed her. She was planning on popping in here first…”

“Oh yes. She left in a bit of a rush, knocked the table.” The girl waved a hand towards the centre of the space. “She seemed a bit upset. I was trying to make her an appointment with Mr Rowntree but he wasn’t free. I wonder, when you meet her, could you suggest she gives us a ring.” She slid a business card from the top of a small pile on the desk and held it out. “I felt bad but it was the morning meeting you see.”

“Yes, I’ll tell her. Is he free now, Mr Rowntree? Only I could do with a word.”

“I’m afraid not. What is it you need, investment advice, savings… …? Only Mr Jones is free and for general advice it might be better if you see him.”

“No, it was Mr Rowntree I needed. Any chance I could see him later?”

“What name is it?” he told her, “just hold on.” She poked at the buttons on the complicated telephone in front of her and as she spoke into her headset Simon turned to the door. He could see Fuzz on the far side of the square, leaning against a fence post. No luck there then. He sighed.

“Will eleven thirty be alright?”

“Yes. Lovely thank you, erm Rebecca.” As Simon leaned to read the badge pinned to her uniform jacket the girl blushed, he smiled at her. “You’ve been very helpful, thank you.”

“See you later Mr Fulton.”

As he jogged down steps to the pavement Fuzz crossed over to join him. “No, luck. They’ve vanished. ‘ow did you get on in there.”

“Yeah okay, I’ve got to go back later but at least I know who she was going to see. Okay, I’m going to ring Carol and let her know that at least we’ve seen Flora and she looked okay. Then we’ll get a drink and think about our next move.”

“Ace, there’s a café just down ‘ere, got pasties.”

Simon used his mobile on the way to the little coffee shop. “Hello, Carol. It’s Simon. I just thought you’d like to know that I think we saw Flora. She was with her friend. A skinny girl, short darkish hair.”

“Oh, I wonder who that was. Did you speak to her? Is she coming home?”

“No, we didn’t get a chance to speak I’m afraid. We will stay here a bit longer, in case she comes back.”

“Thanks so much, try and bring her home Mr Fulton, please.”

“I’ll do what I can. Just one other thing though, does the name,” he glanced at the card in his hand, “Alan Rowntree mean anything?”

“Alan, yes, he worked with Mark. One of his friends, the same office.”

“Ah, right. So, he’d be a friend of Flora as well I suppose.”

“Well, funny you should say that he wasn’t really. She didn’t like him. I don’t know why and they had to see each other now and then, socially you know. What has he to do with it though?”

“It might be nothing, don’t worry about it. Look, if you hear from her let me know, yeah. I’ll keep you up to date.”

“Thanks so much Mr Fulton, I’m impressed you found her so soon.”

He clicked off the call and followed Fuzz up to the counter where the boy was already pointing at pasties and cake. “Huh, she wouldn’t have been so impressed if she’d seen us careering up the bloody road and losing them would she.”

“Aye well, you don’t need to tell ‘er that bit do ya. D’ya want a pie or owt?”

“Yeah, go on why not. Then we get back out there and keep on looking until I have to go back to that office.”

“Great, can I ‘ave a bun an’ all.”

“Oh aright, make yourself sick why don’t you.”

“Grumpy sod.”

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Chapter 12

Flora didn’t get any further than reception. The young woman behind the counter was polite, sympathetic even but, without an appointment she couldn’t issue a visitor’s badge and without a visitor’s badge Flora could not go up to the offices. “You’re welcome to wait here and I can call up to see if he’s free, but right now it’s the morning meeting and I can’t interrupt.”

She had given the name of Mark ’s mate, the one he had lunch with, teamed up with at away days. Alan was on the scene before her and though she had never liked him, he was a part of the circle and so she had put up with his unwelcome advances and off colour comments. Now she would force herself to see him, he had been close to her missing boyfriend after all, he could have some ideas.  She couldn’t expose herself to this girl on reception by mentioning Mark, couldn’t face the look that would sweep across her face, the lowering of her eyes, the cough of embarrassment. The thought of sitting and waiting in the public area with the real chance that he wouldn’t talk to her anyway was too much on top of everything else. She felt eyes on her back, people huffing behind her as they waited to speak to the receptionist.

“No, it’s fine. I’ll come back. I’ve got some other stuff to do. Really don’t disturb him.” She turned and scurried from the building, bumping into a small table holding advertising blurb and a pink orchid in a pot. It skidded across the polished boards but she didn’t turn to replace it. Now she knew there would never be another time to go there, never, never, never.

She was surprised to find Cill not on the bench but under the concrete awning outside the office building. It was raining though so it made sense. She drew in a breath and took the couple of steps towards the other girl. Cill reached out a hand and pulled her into corner. “Okay, look over there, by that stupid statue thing, see that young lad? No, don’t move out, stay close.”

“Yes, yes I see him. The one in the blue jacket?”

“Do you know him?”

“No, I don’t think so. No.”

“Right. I reckon he’s been watching me. I don’t know him either. He’s walked back and forth three times since you went in there and he’s been on his phone. I know he was giving me the once over.You get a sort of feel for that stuff. He’s watching me.”

“But why? What would he have to do with you? Are you sure?

“Well, I’m sure enough to want to move away. I wondered if he’d seen us together and it was you he was after though. Oh, hello?”


“Right, that bloke, that older bloke. Do you know him?”

“No.” Flora was shaking her head, frowning as she peered through the drizzling rain to where Fuzz met Simon.


“What’s going on Fuzz?” Simon glanced around the small open space and couldn’t see the woman they were looking for.

“Okay, don’t turn round.” Fuzz was putting on an act, keeping his head down, pretending to search in his pocket, turning back and forth. “Over there by those offices, behind me. There’s a coupla girls. I spotted ‘em pretty soon but the blonde went into the building. The scruffy one waited outside. I think it could be ‘er. The blonde not the skinny one. She’s just come out agen. Don’t let ‘em see you lookin’ I think she might have clocked me. She were sittin’ waitin’ but she went over there just now.”

Simon walked to one of the benches and sat, gesturing to Fuzz to join him and then turning his head, back and forth, as natural as he could make it. “It’s no good, I can’t see well enough. I’m just going to take the bull by the horns. If it’s not her then I’ll just apologise, if it is I’ll wing it but if it really is her I don’t want to lose this chance. Good work Fuzz.”

“It were easy, I di’n’t even ‘ave to try, she were just there. I guess we’ve been lucky.”

“Okay, you wait here I don’t want to go over there mob handed.” Simon stood and turned towards where Cill and Flora were watching him from the shadow of the porch.

“I think he’s coming over here. What the hell is this about.” Cill had panic in her voice. As she hissed at Flora she picked up the bag and thrust it into her arms. “Come on, come on, let’s get outta here.” With that she scurried away, keeping close in to the damp walls, her head down, shoulders hunched. Flora hurried after her, but turned again and again to peer back at the older man who had left the square and was trying to cross the road. The flow of traffic held him. He turned so that he was looking straight at her now and raised a hand, the palm outward facing towards her patting the air, ‘wait, just wait.’.

The unease that she felt became fear and then panic and as Cill began to jog, Flora sped up to keep pace and followed down a dark alley between the buildings, past a row of bins and a pile of old boxes beginning to sag in the wet. Cill was running even faster and she turned and grabbed Flora’s hand pulling her along as their feet slipped and splashed on the damp ground and through dirty puddles. “This way, stick with me. Keep up,”

Simon had made it across the busy road now, he turned back to call over to where Fuzz had started to follow. “Hurry up, come on.”


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Chapter 10

“How long have you been here?” Flora and Cill had finished two huge doorstop bacon sandwiches and were on their second mugs of tea. It had been a long time since Flora had eaten anything like the food her granny used to make and she had loved it. Now, in the muggy warmth of the café with food in her belly and the damp coldness of the early hours dissipating she felt so much better. Almost normal. It could have been any day, except it wasn’t and the woman across the table from her was a little dishevelled, a little grubby and there was a hardness around her eyes that was wrong in someone so young.


“Yes, you know just around? Oh, sod it, how long have you been sleeping rough?” Cill smiled at her.

“A while. Sometimes I stay with a mate but it wasn’t on this weekend so…” She shrugged.

“But isn’t it dangerous.”

“Yeah, it can be. Look, I’m not being funny but I don’t want to talk about me. My life is what it is and it’s what I’m doing right now. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next year, even next week but, well, it’s my business.”

“Sorry, yes of course. It’s just that, I couldn’t do it.”


“Sleep in the street, have nowhere to go.”

“So, what are you going doing? You said you don’t want to go back until you found out what happened to him, that bloke of yours. So, what are you going to do? To be honest I reckon the best thing for you to do is just get yourself back to that house, your friend and just carry on.”

“No, no I can’t. I want to have my life back. I want to return to work but I can’t not until I know what happened to him. It’s wrong just going back to how things were before, I can’t imagine what that would be like.”

“Why? Why not just accept he’s probably dead?” She shrugged now and ran a finger through a tiny thread of tomato sauce left on her plate and then licked it clean. “Just go back, tell yourself he’s dead, grieve and then carry on. Live.”

Flora had no answer, the comment had been harsh but sounded so simple, so logical. The bald statement had confused her, her mind refused to process it and she felt the quiver start, way down in her stomach. “No, not right now. I need to feel as though I did something at least.”

“You didn’t even love him anymore.”

“No, no that’s true but I did care, I do care. It’s not right that he should just be forgotten, brushed to one side.”

“So then, where do you start?”

“Perhaps, yes perhaps I should start by going back to before it happened. Just try and find out what was going on with him. We were hardly talking, spending less and less time together. Maybe that would be a start. Maybe that’s why I came here, to his office. Do you think?”


“I know it’s not your concern Cill and thanks. I was a mess when I first saw you, you’ve helped me.” The sudden smile was as unexpected as the sun bursting through a rain cloud and transformed the sullen, cynical looking face into the young girl’s that it should have been.

“Yeah well, I got a breakfast out of it.” But there was a different lift to her shoulders and a sparkle in her eyes. “Are you going to his office then, is that your plan?”

“I think so, yes.”

“Well, if you like I’ll look after your bag, wait for you in the square. You’d look a bit odd carting all that stuff with you.”

“Thank you. That would be excellent. Thank you.”  There it was again, the brightening.

They went back. The day was in full swing by this time and travellers heading for the station rampaged down the pathways. A couple of people were walking dogs, there were prams and people speaking into mobile phones. Flora had been out in the months since Mark  disappeared but never alone and never into the full swing of a busy town centre. She moved closer to Cill, she wanted to cling to the girl’s arm but knew she shouldn’t and felt the ground swirl a little beneath her feet, the buildings tipped. She gasped. “You okay?” Cill had turned to look at her.

“Yes, I’m fine. It’s just that I have these – things, sort of panic attacks. I’ll be fine.” As she spoke she felt the sweat break out on her forehead.

“You really shouldn’t be here, doing this. You need to go back.” There was real concern in the young girl’s eyes now and she put a hand under Flora’s elbow and ushered her toward the bench where the old man had spent the night.

“Oh God, you’re right. I know you’re right. I’m such a bloody failure, I’m a mess. I didn’t used to be like this you know. I had a good job, in a solicitor’s office, I had responsibilities and staff under me. Shit look at me now?”

“Well, after all you’ve been through though…”

“Yeah right, but look at you. You must have had some problems; nobody ends up on the streets unless they’ve had stuff go wrong and you’re together. You’re okay.”

“Am I – well, maybe. What the hell are you going to do though?”

“I’m going to leave my bag with you. I’m going into his office and see his closest mates and ask them about him. Ask them about how he was, in the weeks before.”

“But surely you’ve done that already?” Flora shook her head violently.

“No, I wasn’t allowed to at first and then by the time the police decided I hadn’t done anything they’d all gone. They didn’t answer my calls, they didn’t come round. Well, I was at my mum’s but anyway they didn’t. The only person who stood by me was Carol. She never wavered.”

“So, you’ve left her to worry about you. That’s not fair is it?”

“No, no I didn’t I left her a note.”


“I’ll call her later. I will. You’re right I shouldn’t let her worry. Just give me a minute to catch my breath and then I’m going over there. To the office.”


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Chapter 3

They poured another glass of red wine, pushed back the coffee table to make a space in the middle of the lounge floor and Carol carried it through.

It hadn’t benefitted from sitting in the corner of the damp garage and the handle came away as she had lifted it. She wrapped her arms as far around it as she could manage and, resting it against her front she staggered back into the house. “It’s huge is this. Why on earth did you buy one this size? You could never check it in on a flight, the weight of the case on its own would take you into excess baggage land.”

“Oh I know. Actually, it was never really used as a suitcase. Kevin had it in his flat at Uni, he used it for storage because it fit under his bed. It was a cheap one bought specifically for that and we just carried on.”

“Is it locked?”

“No. The locks have never worked as far as I know and it didn’t matter.” Carol stood aside, her hands on her hips, looking down at the big, old brown case.

“So do you want me to do it, or are you going to?”

Flora moved nearer, “Here, I’ll do it” on her knees she bent forward and with her thumbs, clicked open the small metal fasteners. She took a deep breath and then grasped the edges of the lid and with a flourish she threw it backwards.

For a moment, she was quiet looking down and then she stood, stiffly, her eyes fixed on the suitcase. She shook her head and then backed away into the corner of the room. She crouched in the corner and began to whimper.

“What! What! Christ, what’s the matter?” Carol ran to her friend and enfolded her, “Ssssh, sssh. It’s okay, it’s okay. Flo, I’ve got you. It’s all okay. I’ll take it away. Don’t cry I’ll just take it away. I told you not to didn’t I? I told you not to.” Flora was shaking her head now, tears soaking the front of Carol’s jumper. Her whole body was trembling and her streaming eyes were wide with distress. “Hush, come on now, come on. Just breathe. It’s all okay.” Carol had held her often in the throes of the panic attacks that were so much a part of life for the first weeks after Kevin had vanished. She had thought that was over and now here was Flora, gulping for breath, shaking and sobbing, her fingers digging painfully into Carols arm.

“I can’t, I just can’t.” From where they were, crouching in the corner Carol turned and peered across at the case. From what she could see there was nothing to explain this reaction. She had expected it to be difficult but this total, over the top panic had her nonplussed.

“It’s okay love. It’s just his clothes, some of his stuff. It’s okay, there’s nothing to be frightened off, it’s just stuff.”

“It’s his stuff, God Carol it’s all his stuff. Look, his football medals, the trophy from that daft golf tournament he went to. It’s his life, not just his stuff?”

“I know, I know.” As she rubbed at her back Carol urged her up from the floor. Look come on, get on the settee, have a drink of your wine. Breathe, just breathe. Calm down now Flo. Just calm down.”. She reached out with her foot, slid it underneath the lid and flipped it back over the top, hiding the contents of the case.

Flora took a big gulp of the wine and struggled to gain control.  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry Carol. It was just such a shock. I’m okay. I am, I’m okay now. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be silly, don’t apologise. It was forced to be difficult.”

“No, no you don’t understand. I wanted him to go, do you see? I wanted us to split up. That row was just the last. There’d been so many and I wanted him to. But, not like that, I just wanted him gone, but not like that.”

“Of course not. I know, I know. Look, you just need to get rid of it, but it’s okay we’ll do it together and then you can forget all about it.”

“No, no I can’t. I won’t ever be able to, I’ll never be free of him. If he’d gone. Like I told him that night. I told him to get lost, sometimes I can remember bits of that row and I know I said that to him. ‘Get lost you loser.’ I said that to him. But I didn’t mean this. I didn’t mean any of it to happen the way it did.”

“Well, of course not. Look we knew, Waleed and me, we knew things were bad between you but I know you would never have wished him any harm. Don’t go back there again, back into the darkness. You’ve fought so hard to move on. Don’t go back.”

“I was so angry. I just threw his stuff in. I didn’t fold it. I didn’t wrap it up properly. I didn’t do any of that, I just stuffed it all in.”

“It doesn’t matter, look it’s all going on the tip, so it’s not important. Listen to me, listen. Even if he did come back, and let’s be honest if he was going to it would have happened by now. Wherever he’s gone he’s not going to need this stuff. It’s rubbish, it’s finished.”

“I don’t feel as though it’s ever going to be finished though. I was feeling so strong, so happy here and now it’s all come back.”

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The Flat Share

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A flat share could solve Charlotte's problems. She should have vetted the applicant more closely.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A flat share could solve Charlotte’s problems. She should have vetted the applicant more closely.

Chapter 5

It’s funny, I thought the flat’d feel different with someone else living here but it doesn’t.  Well, she doesn’t snore that’s for sure.  I wonder what time she got in last night, I never heard a thing so it must’ve been well after I went to sleep.

I wonder what the routine should be? I mean, should I just carry on as if I’m on my own or give her a knock and ask if she wants a cup of coffee.  Hmm, I suppose it’ll all settle down over the next couple a days, I should stop fussing so much I suppose.  Joanie calls me a worry wart.

Well, I’d better get off, still no sound, I wonder what time she’s supposed to be at work, it’s already half eight and the hospital’s on the other side of town so if she’s supposed to start at nine it’s gonna be a bit of a dash.  Oh bugger it, she’s a big girl I’m sure she knows what she’s doin’.  Tonight though, I’m gonna pin her down and try and sort out some basics…

“Helloooo, anybody in.”  Hmm, nothing.

Oh, my cup’s still on the drainer, there doesn’t seem to be any sign on life.  I knew it; she slept in and then had to dash off without even a cup of tea.  I hate that, I wonder if I should offer my old radio alarm, maybe she hasn’t got a clock.  Still though her mobile phone must have an alarm.

I wonder what time she’ll be back, should I make something for both of us to eat or just carry on.  Oh, bloody hell, I must stop swearing, I’m gonna get a box and fine myself every time.  This is all very uncomfortable, it’s my own fault a course, I should have sorted it all out properly.  Maybe we should get a take away, Chinese.  Mind that’s a bit dear, I know she gave me some money but a take away’d use most of what’s left.  Oh sod it, is sod swearing – nah, I’ll just make myself a sandwich and have a glass of that wine.  If she wants something when she comes in we can deal with it then.  She did say she eats at the hospital anyway.

Half eight, still no sign.  I wonder if I misunderstood, did she say she was going away with her friends.  I’m sure she just said she was meeting them.

God, I hope she’s not ill.  She could be lying up there now with flu or something and I’m just sat here.  I wonder if I should go and knock on her door.  There hasn’t been a sound though.

I feel stupid here with my ear against the door, should I knock, there’s no sound.  I hope she’s okay, if she got drunk last night she could have choked, oh bloody hell, I hope she isn’t dead.  Shit, she could be lying there dead and I just went off to work.  She could have been lying there ill this morning and I just went off to work and now she’s dead.  Is that my fault, will I get into trouble.  Is it some sort of neglect or something?  Oh, bloody Nora why did I get into all this.  All I wanted was a bit of spare cash and now look a soddin’ dead body.

Right, I’m just gonna knock… nothing… still nothing.

I’m goin’ in, no choice, really is there, oh please don’t let her be dead.  Shit, I’ve never even seen a dead body.  If she’s dead do I call an ambulance, the police who, well the police obviously.  Okay, okay – I’m goin’ in.

“Helloo, Sammy, you okay, it’s me.  Helloo.”


Her bags are still all over the place, I don’t think she’s been back since yesterday.  Oh stupid me, I must’ve misunderstood.  She’s gone off with her mates and there am I having her choking to death, idiot.  God, that was scary though.  I need a drink

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The Flat Share

Chapter 3

She’s gone, off down the road, swinging her great big shoulder bag.  I’m standing here with three hundred pounds in my hand.  One month rent and one month deposit.  What the hell have I done?

Did I ask for references? No.  Did I ask for proof that she’s got a job? No.  Did I show any sense and firmness at all? No I bloody didn’t.  She overwhelmed me with friendship and enthusiasm and I crumbled like a chocolate truffle.  She’s coming back tomorrow after work, with her clothes and I haven’t even discussed the kitchen stuff with her or laundry or any – bloody – thing that matters.  I am useless, hopeless.

It’s no good sitting here crying, I’ll ring Joanie, I know she’ll yell at me, tell me I’m an idiot and she’ll be right but at least she’ll listen.

Oh, yeah, of course she’s not in, why would she be in just because I need to talk to her.  I’ll bet she’s out with her mum and dad, off in the pub somewhere, having a nice carvery or maybe she’s gone to the pictures with Billy. Oh bugger.  I must stop swearing. 

I am so thoroughly disgusted with myself, I really am.  How could I do that, just because she was all bubbly and jolly and had a rotten time when she was little and then all that bad luck with flats and stuff.  What if she hasn’t, what if it’s all lies, how would I know?

No, no, this can’t happen.  I’ll tell her I’ve changed my mind.  I didn’t even get her mobile number so I’ll have to wait until tomorrow when she turns up with her bags and stuff and then turn her away.  Shit, I can’t do that.  How can I do that?  I couldn’t do that to anybody.  No, what I’ll have to do is say that she can stay for a month and then I’ll give her the deposit back and she’ll have to find somewhere else.  Actually, yeah that’s a good idea.  Maybe after a month it’ll turn out to be all right, yeah, maybe a month’s trial is the way to go. That’s what I’ll do a month’s trial.  I’ll tell her tomorrow, for a month we can just see how it goes with the understanding that if it doesn’t work out then there’s no hard feelings and she moves out again.

Yes, I feel better now.  Actually I can put this money in my bank tomorrow and that’ll be good for my balance, musn’t spend it though, not the deposit.  I suppose I can spend the half that’s this month’s rent.  Really it should go in the bank for the mortgage, yes that’s what I’ll do.  I’ll put it towards the mortgage and then next month the account won’t be overdrawn.  Hmm, now I think about it this has worked out really well.  I’ll just have a visitor for a month, the money will give me a bit of a breathing space and then I can just ask her to move out again.  Yeah, don’t know why I was upset, this is good.

I’ll just take a couple of pounds down to the offy and get a bottle of white wine, a bit of a celebration.  Oh, I know I’ll buy two and then when she arrives tomorrow we can have a drink and it’ll make it easier to talk about the whole month trial thing.

Don’t think I’ll mention this to Joanie just yet, well it’s only for a month so there’s no need to give her ammunition, she’s always telling me I’m too weak.  Well, I’m not going to be, one month.  Just one month.  Right, where’s my coat.



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Is Jed in Too Deep ?

A  little note to say that Depths of Deception (Bus stop) has had quite a bit of a re-writing and is now available on Kindle.


Depths of Deception


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Another Holmes


New on Kindle by author James McEwan 



Mahjong Dragon

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