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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.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B001KC8S2E

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?”

“What?”

“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.

“Here?”

“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.”

“What.”

“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?”

“Whatever.”

“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.”

“Huh…”

“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.”

Oh.

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.
dod

 

Depths of Deception

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Another Holmes

 

New on Kindle by author James McEwan 

 

 

Mahjong Dragon

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My New Baby

So, here it is.  Some of you many remember this as Pauline is Missing  but I am thrilled to share the news that the pampered  and polished version  Leaving George has now been published by The Book Folks

If you do remember reading it as it grew and developed on here or on Authonomy and can spare a moment to do a little review on Amazon I would be mightily grateful – if not – well Just enjoy the cover !!!!

 

Leaving George

 

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You’ve got mail

I didn’t know, I had no idea, if I’d known I would never have opened the inbox.

I was just checking the emails, sorting out the junk, the ads and the spam, click, click, click.  That was when I saw it, for the first time, the first message.

Do not delete this.

Not very original and I was going to press the delete key, I was, I promise you but fool that I am I opened it.  I read it.

Tonight. it will be tonight.

I thought it was just spam but even then it felt weird.  It was a spooky feeling reading those five words.  I had already answered some of my messages, you may have had something from me, you who are reading this.  If you did I’m sorry, I don’t know if I sent it on, I pray that I didn’t.

I switched the machine off then but I couldn’t keep away, it drew me back.  There was my need to keep checking, my addiction, the urge to keep logging on, to see if there was any more.  I just couldn’t leave it.

I meant to look at You tube to watch something to take my mind of it, something to settle me down, to calm me, some meaningless fuzz but I had to keep going back and back to the inbox each time the stupid chime rang, I flicked over to it.

There was more, much more – lines and lines and lines of it.

Tonight.

Later tonight.

It is coming.

You cannot escape.

Soon it will be time.

I should have deleted them immediately of course I don’t know what stopped me.  I tried to follow the links back, I couldn’t find the thread, you won’t be able to – don’t even try.   The “from” box was full of gobbledegook and the harder I tried the more the machine fought me taking me down routes I didn’t want and twice closing down completely.   I could have left it shut down, I should have gone to bed, but I couldn’t shake it – “What is coming?  When will it arrive?  Where is it from?

Each time I turned it on there was more until it was literally flooding in more and more and more – endlessly filling the screen.

Tonight

Escape is not possible

Are you ready?

I tried to call Peter, he’ll have a message on his machine, don’t blame yourself Peter, don’t feel guilty for not being in.

It will be soon.

By that time I was a gibbering wreck, I think I yelled at the machine, “Stop it, whoever you are stop it.”  I dragged the plug from the wall, twice I did that and still something made me come back.  I tried I promise you all I tried to stop it but each time I ended up back at the inbox and then suddenly there was nothing.

Just a grey screen, rubbery looking – nothing.

Slowly, slowly it began, like it was creeping from the depths of well – somewhere – a shape, a shadow, a wavering figure.  It moved, and grew and was created.  Its eyes opened, they burned into mine, and its mouth gaped and drooled.

Don’t look at it, perhaps if you don’t look at it  – oh I don’t know.

The hands reached through towards me, claws reaching and stretching closer, closer.  The screen wavered and rippled.  There was a noise, it started as a tiny whine but it grew and grew until it became unbearable.  I thought my brain would explode, I pressed my hands over my ears, it didn’t help.  Then the room started to spin as I watched them, the hands and arms sliding out  from inside the machine , the bony fingers flexing and bending.  Once they were through they crawled towards the edge of the desk and began to pull the creature through, it was a ghastly delivery thorough the electronic vagina that my machine was.

I don’t know where it is.

I don’t know how much longer I have, as I type this skin sloughs from my fingers.  I am weak, I can no longer stand and breath rattles in my chest.  There isn’t much pain but as I watch my body disintegrate  I need to let you know – my family, I need to let you know that I loved you.  I wish you were here now, I wish someone was here now,

I don’t know where it has gone, I don’t know what it did to me as it passed me by, I can’t remember what it did but it is out there now, it is roaming the world.  I just hope someone finds me and this message before it’s too late.  I’m sorry I didn’t mean to let it through but I just couldn’t keep away from my machine.  I’m sorry.

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