Tag Archives: reading

A post about The Body in the Canal and how I got there.

Read about the books that influence my writing. https://shepherd.com/best-books/when-you-want-to-dabble-in-crime-with-no-risk


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Missing (content that some readers may find upsetting)

“What the hell is that smell?” Lucy gasped.

“I have no idea. That is ripe. Jesus, did I forget the bin?”

“Well if you did I hate to think what you have in there.”

It wasn’t the bin in the kitchen or the one in the little cloakroom under the stairs. “Check the veggies for me, will you?” Suzanne” said.

“No, no problem here. Just your spuds, a couple of wrinkly carrots and a swede. Nothing stinky though.”

“Yeah, I need to get to the shops. It’s not the fridge.” Suzanne said.

“It’s that, it’s that parcel.” Lucy reached out and prodded at the package on the table. She leaned and sniffed at it. “It is, it reeks. Bloody hell, put it outside. I can’t imagine what’s in it but it’s gone off.”

Suzanne unlocked the back door, and with thumb and forefinger, she took hold of the string. “It hasn’t got an address on it. No label at all. Is this kids messing about, do you think?”

“Could be but have you had trouble lately.”

“No, there was some bother on Halloween, but it was all something and nothing. Woman up the street had eggs thrown at the window, but honestly, I didn’t blame them. She’s a bit of an old witch and she sort of asked for it, yelling at them and what have you. But we don’t have that many young kids around here, do we? The older ones hang around the shops or go into town.”

“Have you upset anyone?”

“No. Well, not that I know of. But there is the shower curtain thing.”

“Are you going to open it then?”

“I suppose I have to. It’s a bit heavy. It’s squashy. It does stink though. Pass me the knife off that block.”

“Here, put your Marigolds on?” Lucy said.


“Well, we don’t know what’s in there. It could be something toxic. You don’t want to be touching it with your bare fingers.”

The paper peeled apart easily. Under the brown paper wrapping was a stained polythene bag tight around the contents. Suzanne held the parcel with the tips of her fingers and sliced at the plastic with the blade.

“So, what is it?”

“It’s grey. It’s wet and God it stinks. Hang on let me open it a bit bit more. Aw, Jesus!”

“What, what is it.?”

“It’s a thing – an animal. It’s a dead animal. All wet and stinky”

“What sort of animal?”

“I don’t know. Something furry. It’s like a cat. No, look.” Suzanne pointed with the knife. “Look there, see the ears. It’s a rabbit. It is, isn’t it? Some poor dead rabbit.”

“You need to get on to the police again. That’s horrible.”

Suzanne was crying as she tried to wrap the creature back in the bag. “You know what this is, don’t you? It’s like that film, can’t remember the name now. That bunny boiler thing.”


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Rags’ Riches – Chapter 4

When she pushed through the gate, after her trip to town, Jenny was surprised to find two tabby cats sitting on the back door mat.  “Hello you two.  You’re too early.”  They stretched languidly to their feet, poised, half relaxed, half ready for flight.   Leaving their options open in the way that cats do.  “It’s alright kitties.”  She walked towards them calmly and bent to give each one a gentle stroke.  “The butcher gave me a rabbit and some other bits and I have to cook it up, but seeing as you’ve waited so nicely I’ll get you some nibbles.”

They stood to one side of the stone step allowing access to the kitchen.  She reached to bring down the cardboard packet from its resting place on top of the cupboard.  After sprinkling a small handful in front of them she watched, smiling as they nibbled.  The little noses and licking tongues left tiny damp smudges on the step as they hoovered up the treats.  Jenny pulled the door closed and left her visitors to their own devices, knowing that they would probably just curl up somewhere and snooze the day away until dinner time.  No doubt about it cats had got it all organised.  Even these little strays seemed happy and at ease.  The winters probably weren’t easy for them to be sure, but they coped.

Now, the plan was to go down to the park, take a ride up the quiet little avenues in the area and look at the big houses.  They were beautiful, shiny front doors with gorgeous patterned glass fanlights and gardens with cleverly designed brick paths. She wondered what it would be like to live somewhere like that, but wasn’t envious.  Not that she felt undeserving in any way but was happy with what she had.  After all, a big house with all that extra responsibility wouldn’t benefit her now, would it?

Humming quietly, she whirled past the backs of the houses.  So much litter now, of course, it blew back and forth down the narrow alleys but there were other things.  Black bags of rubbish spilled out and had been split.  Probably a lot to do with cats, but they didn’t know did they?  You couldn’t blame them if there were carcasses and so on, it was just food to the kitties and they thought the mess was someone else’s problem.  There were some boxes and unidentifiable detritus and even an old mattress, dirty and wet, leaning against one back gate.  She sighed, people didn’t seem to have the time to bother about these things anymore, rats would be attracted, and it was just so unsightly.

She turned at the end of the back alley and headed the opposite way from the route that she had taken earlier.  The carriageway was narrower up here and ran along the ends of the roads parallel to her own.  The old cobbles rattled her bike and her bones but she was used to it and sped on towards the block of lock-up garages.  All the while she flipped glances back and forth watching for the old tom.  Every now and again there would be the glimpse of a familiar tail or the flash of a black coat skipping over a garden wall, but no sign of the ginger cat.

As she approached the block of garages a large, white van pulled from the end of the road.  It drew in opposite to the small concrete building, effectively blocking her way.  She stopped and supported herself with one foot on the cobbles the other one still on the bike pedal.  If the van pulled right up to one of the double doors it would mean dismounting and walking around.

The van door swung open and the driver and his mate jumped out.  They were both dark-haired with a look about them that she could only think of as swarthy.  In their short leather jackets and baggy black pants, there was something that struck her as unfriendly, certainly they didn’t invite any sort of approach or conversation.

The bigger one, from the passenger side, glanced around as the other man unfastened the big padlock.  Oh well then, she would have to walk around.  They ignored her weaving around the side of the white vehicle and across in front. They were too involved dragging the big garage doors open to notice a little old lady on a bike.  By now Jenny had reached the far side of the van and her inquisitive nature drew a glance to the inside of the garage.  The light was turned on; there inside were stacks and stacks of wooden boxes.   How fascinating, she couldn’t imagine what they could contain.  One of the men had turned around.  He stepped between her and the garage blocking the view.

“You want something lady?” It wasn’t friendly and she felt quite threatened by his demeanour.  Jenny lowered her gaze.  As she looked away though she had the quickest glimpse, a flash nothing more, of ginger fur.  She did a double-take and the unfriendly stranger took a step towards her.  He was really rather frightening.  She clutched at the handlebars of her bike and scuttled away feeling quite upset.

The pleasure had gone from her little jaunt.  All she wanted now was to go home and put the kettle on and then cook up the treats for her fluffy friends.  She scuttered to the front of the van, mounted up and sped along the road that had brought the two men to the garage block.  As she pedaled away she could feel their eyes boring into her back.  The bike wobbled alarmingly, was it that or the men glaring behind her that caused the nasty lurch in her stomach.  She had meant no harm but was concerned about that flash of ginger.  It could easily have been the Rags.  Oh dear, she was really quite disturbed by the happenings of the last couple of minutes.

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A Dribble of Drabbles

You may have noticed that I have a small badge now calling myself a Drabbler. Book Hippo is a site for connecting readers and books and they have a lovely little feature where you can enter a drabble.

I have never done them before but they are fun.

These are a couple of those that have been accepted and featured on the site. Inkeeping with the site requirements it is a few weeks since these were accepted.

I am sure you know but for the avoidance of doubt – a drabble is a complete story of exactly 100 words. Great discipline.



Stanley watched the rainbow. It was much cooler now, he had come out onto the porch. The darned Zimmer was a squeeze through the door and they always said he should wait for an assistant. But, he needed to be out here now, right now when the grass and leaves still sparkled with newly cried raindrops, and the clouds were not quite gone.

He watched the rainbow and he sat in the old rocking chair and he waited, because he knew that Sarah was coming today. He closed his eyes and waited for her to come and take him home.



The Tube: 

Wind rushed at her face. Wind from the tunnel, with that unique smell. Damp, chemical, age. Stephanie moved a little closer to the edge, her feet were half way over the white line. She let the strap from her bag slip from her shoulder. Perspiration slipped down her back, her underarms were clammy. She tried to swallow, but her throat was too dry. She coughed. She moved a half step further forward.

The gabble of the crowd faded into a muddled hum. She could hear the train. She leaned forward. That was when she felt a hand on her shoulder.






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