Tag Archives: writing

Coup de Foudre

He came out of the storm and from the very first I wanted to touch him. Dark hair clung to his scalp, a gleaming helmet, and black lashes rained tears onto his face.
He wore a blue shirt, thin and worn. It was moulded to his frame by the rain and his long legs were enveloped in jeans over disreputable boots. I had never seen such shoulders, arms so firm and strong. I had never seen such a shine of beauty in blue eyes. I was captured from the very beginning.
My everyday world spun away from the moment. The crack of the wood on the fire and the bubble of soup on the stove left me and all there was in the whole world was the reality of him, the bulk of his frame in the doorway and the warmth of his blood drying the water on his skin and sending waves of heat across the space between us.
“Jess towels, now girl. Stop gawping bring towels.” My father’s voice speared into the unreal place that I had entered and shattered the magic, as his voice always would.
I handed thin towels to them, his hand brushed mine but there was no sign that he had noticed. I set about serving soup and building up the fire to warm them.
My father pulled up his chair and waved a work roughened hand at the stranger, telling him in his gruff wordless way that he should take a seat at the other side of the table and eat the food. I sat quietly beside the grate waiting for more instructions and trying to eat my own bowl of vegetables and broth as quietly as I could. My eyes strayed over and again towards the table and he glanced my way more than once. A hint of amusement teased at his lips but there was tension in his frame and something more, an expectation perhaps or simply a figment of my overheated imagination.
“Fetch blankets for Jessies’ bed and air them by the fire.”
He was to stay then, this stranger. He must be the man father had fetched from town to help with the ploughing and he would sleep in my brother’s bed in the downstairs room, below my own place…
The dark came swiftly bringing with it howling wind and sweeping waves of rain. Angry and vengeful the tempest threw itself against the windows and seeped in creeping rivers under the door. It was cold and, though we had oil for the lamp, father said bed was the best place for all of us. I climbed the stairs holding a guttering candle and wondered about the man lying now on Jessies’ bed, before the dying fire in the warmest room of the house. Would he sleep or would the complaining wind and whipping rain disturb his rest and hold oblivion at bay, as it would for me in the chill, wrapped shivering in the quilt Mama had made.
I don’t know how many hours passed before I moved, at what point I threw aside the cover and slipped my feet to the rough boards. I felt the rug under my skin as I crept to the door. There could be no candle and in truth I knew the old house so well that none was needed.
The stairs sighed gently as my weight passed over them. I held my breath lest the small noise should disturb the night that had fallen silent with the passing of the storm.
He was resting on the bed but the glint of moisture in his eyes told me that he was awake. I took a hesitant step from the door and he turned to see me.
He didn’t speak, pulling aside the blanket he simply waited and let me make my own decision, though we both knew that my being there evidenced my choices.
His lips took the breath from my mouth, his hands told me things that I had waited a lifetime to know and his body possessed mine completely with a gentle fierceness that was like the sky after the storm, swept with power and passion but shining with purity.
In the morning father found us. I quaked hearing him make his slow way down the stairs but strong arms held me close. Together we faced the fury and rode on the wings of his wrath until he saw that all was decided and though the time that had passed was unbelievably brief our souls were as one, we were home.
Now he sits on the old chair in the porch, his hands shake as he whittles toys for the little ones but inside that old frame is my man, the one who came to me from out of the storm and I love him still.



Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff

The End – a drabble

It was the birds we noticed first. We knew it would happen but when the great flight of geese didn’t return that first Spring it was chilling. The crops failed that summer. Then we had to use the stockpiles. They lasted a long time, more than ten years. Now they’ve gone. The earth is dead, it can’t support the trees and so now even the ancient ones are fading.

We can never say that we didn’t have warning but it was all talk. Not much action and so here we are. Our kind is doomed. The birds never came back.


Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff

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.






Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

A Drive in the Mountains – Part 2

The smoke has gone, the wind took it, the last was just small puffs, afterthoughts drifting like helium balloons into the mountains.  I’m shivering now, it’s cold, the wind is searing but it’s more than that.  Great shudders shake through me, my teeth chatter and my knees wobble, jiggling up and down in a comical, ludicrous fashion.  I giggled, a few moments ago it made me giggle, but then I realised that  could be hysteria.  I know that I am sinking into shock.  If I allow it to take hold I will die.  I am not going to die of shock.

I have tried again to lean forward but the ledge is too narrow, as I bend, my behind pushes against the mountain and the centre of gravity shifts and threatens to throw me from the ledge.  I’ve tried to peer over by straining my neck but all I can see is far, far below me the green slopes and tree tops.  There is no way to tell how sheer is the drop under this ledge, it could be that there is nothing, like a gigantic step off the side of the mountain.  It could be that it would be possible to slide on it, maybe, steep yes but like a Black Run, slideable.  I can’t see.

I called out to him, Mario, over and over until again the terror, the hysteria almost overwhelmed me and I had to stop to calm myself.  I want to sit down, I can’t sit down.  I can’t move at all.  Oh God, I’m going to die here.  I’m going to tumble from this ledge, I can’t turn round.

The noise of the car burning has gone, it didn’t last very long, a roar, some pops and cracks and then not much.  I don’t know where the car is but I don’t think that it could be amongst the trees or it would have set fire to them.  Wouldn’t it?

Every few minutes I call out, the shouts echo back at me, the mountains mock me, sending my voice back over and over, fading, weakening.

My phone is in my bag, god knows where that ended up.  My legs hurt, my shoulders are sore, isn’t that a sign of internal bleeding, I’m sure I read that somewhere.  My head is pounding.  What should I do, what can I do.

“Mario, Mario.”

Tears sting my eyes and flood down my face, I catch them on my tongue, they moisten my mouth, I’m very thirsty, isn’t that another sign of bleeding.  I don’t want this.  I don’t want to die here on this ledge.

I could jump, simply let myself go, not really a jump, a step nothing more.  I could step over now and that would be the end.  The thought appalls me; a spurt of urine shames me.  If I could sit down I could think, If I could sit down I could live.


I wonder what the time is.  It is an age since we left the hotel, just after breakfast and we drove for more than an hour to the mountains.  Then a stop at the little bar for a coffee before the whirling, spiralling, breakneck race that left us here.  How long is it since we crashed, I don’t think I lost consciousness, no, surely that would have seen me tumbling into oblivion.  I think, I wish I had gone down then, I wish it was over.  I wish this was not my decision to take.

How long will the sun last, it has moved a small way across the sky, not far, I have no knowledge of these things.  How long does it take to move across the sky.  It must be early afternoon, that’s good, early afternoon is good.  There is the chance that someone will come past; they will surely see the broken fencing, will stop.  Yes early afternoon.  That’s good…

I’m dizzy now, it comes and goes.  A tipping of the world, just a dip and then back again, nauseating, terrifying.  I’m so very cold; I’m shaking and quivering uncontrollably.  It stills now and again for long seconds, just long enough for me to remember how it feels to be normal and then it sweeps through me again. My teeth are chattering.  I can’t feel my feet properly now, they’re numb and the numbness is creeping up my legs.

I don’t think I’m bleeding much anymore.  I have a pain though, a deep, dark pain in my belly.  It’s heavy and dull, not sharp.  Is that good, would a sharp pain be better than this deep ache.

My world spins again.  A great bird flew over a while ago, screeching in the blue sky, it wheeled and turned, it was quite beautiful.  I don’t know what it was, did it see me pinned here on the side of the mountain.  Did it wonder about me?

I can’t stand much longer, my legs need to let me go, my belly is a great stone of pain.  There is nothing more for me, I can’t…


Filed under Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Chapter 1 of ??


Chapter 1

“What time are the removal guys coming?” Flora pulled back the raggy cuffs of her favourite sweatshirt, faded blue and hanging loose on her slight frame.

“In about another twenty minutes I reckon. Plenty of time, we’re just about done.”  As she spoke she reached into the rapidly defrosting fridge and dragged out a bottle of Prosecco. “Look! I got this. We’ll open it now and have a little glass, say goodbye to this place. Then when we get to the new flat we’ll have the rest. I’ve got some of these as well.” She wagged a pre-packaged assortment of sushi and one of smoked salmon whirls.

“You’ve pushed the boat out haven’t you?”

“Yeah.” As she answered she gave a little shimmy of her slender hips and the low-slung jeans slid a little further down. She grabbed at them.

“God, look at you Flo. You’re skin and bone. I know you were always thin but this is ridiculous. One thing I’m gonna do once we’re sorted is to fatten you up a bit. Oh, don’t look like that you know as well as I do that you’ll never be much more than a drink of water dressed up but even for you this is wrong.” Carol, reached and pulled at the waist of her friend’s trousers and shook her head, then dragged her into a warm hug. “It’s going to be good. It’ll be good for both of us. Now that pillock Waleed has slung his hook at last, God what was I thinking? Carol gave an exaggerated shudder which caused her long auburn hair to swing around her slender shoulders. She bent and hauled up another cardboard box and moved it towards the door.

I reckon this is what we should have done years ago. When we graduated. Instead of messing about moving in with blokes, getting married for God’s sake, we should have just stayed together.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right. For sure things would have turned out differently, eh?”

“Oh, now come on. We said today that is forbidden territory. It’s over Flo, you have to let it go. You have to put it behind you and this is gonna help.” She grabbed the dark green bottle and expertly popped the cork. Flora held out the tulip glasses and they grinned at each other as the bubbles frothed and foamed, sparkling under the unshaded electric lights.

“So, I reckon it’ll take them a couple of hours to unload the van and then we can call that it for today. It was really good of your mum to let us sleep at her place tonight, it’ll be so much easier.”

“Well, she’s looking forward to it, she gets lonely now and doesn’t have many visitors. We’ll have this though, just the two of us. We didn’t have any lunch and even though she’ll have cooked it’s going to be a while before we have anything.”

“You’re so well organised aren’t you. I have high hopes that you’ll be able to get me sorted.”

“What you? Never, it’s not going to happen now is it. Be honest, you’ve never been on time for anything in your life.”

“I was on time for my wedding.”

“Yeah, more’s the pity.”

“Yeah – anyway Cheers love, here’s to us.”

“To us.”


“Ah, right there’s the van. So, all this by the door is to go and the stuff still in the kitchen is for recycling?”

“Yup. Let me get past and open the door… … Hi guys.”

Because Flora was well prepared and the removal men were young, fit and well organised the small house was emptied in a couple of hours. While she oversaw the loading of the pieces of furniture that she wanted to keep and her personal stuff, Carol threw the half dozen bin bags into the boot of her car and swept them away to the tip. By the time she returned the house was empty and Flora was sitting on the bottom stair, her handbag at her feet and her key in her hand.

“Is that it then?”

“Pretty much. There’s just this.” She threw out a foot to indicate a large suitcase standing beside the door to the little lounge.

“Oh did they forget that. It’ll fit in the car. No probs.”

“I don’t know what to do with it.” At the quaver in her friend’s voice Carol stopped and turned towards her. She lowered herself to the step. “Oh, love are you having last minute jitters. I know you’ve been here a while but honestly it’s going to be fine, it’ll be great. I promise.”

“No, no it’s not that. I’m excited about the move, I can’t wait to be honest. It’s that.” She nodded her head towards the case. “I don’t want to take it with us. I can’t leave it here but I don’t think I can just throw it away either. I don’t know what to do.”

“Well, it’s just a case.” Carol stood again and hefted it by the handle. “Oh, it’s full.” Flora nodded.

“It’s his stuff.”

“What, you mean? Oh lord.” The case thudded to the floor as Carol loosened her grip and pulled her hand away.

“It’s Trevor’s stuff.”

“But why? I mean why have you still got it here? It’s been over a year. Why is it still here Flo?” Her friend was shaking her head slowly.

“I never knew what to do with it. I kept thinking they’d tell me, the police you know. After they cleared me of having anything to do with – all that. I just kept thinking that either he’d come back. For a long, time I just thought he’d come back. I reckoned he’d just turn up one day and I’d tell him to bugger off and then… oh I don’t know chuck it all out in the street or something. Then when he didn’t and I started to accept what everyone else had always said, that somehow he was dead. I didn’t know what to do then. I couldn’t send it back to his mum and dad. They wouldn’t have anything to do with me, well you know that. I couldn’t just fling it all. So, I packed it all up and left it in the spare room and now I don’t know what to do with it.” She didn’t cry, though she pressed her lips together to stop them from quivering. Carol moved back to sit beside her again on the staircase and they stared at the suitcase, for a long time they simply stared at it as if it could answer all the questions, as if it could solve the riddle. But it couldn’t. It was after all nothing more than a battered old brown suitcase full of jeans and sweatshirts and trainers, all that was left of a life that had floated away like fog in the morning.


Filed under Serials, Serials, Shorts and Stuff

Truth Series Book 2/ Chapter 14

When the phone rang Simon was puzzled to see Charles Clegg’s name on the screen. “Charlie, this is a surprise. I thought you’d still be out for the count.”

“No, no I’m sorry Mr Fulton, this is Beryl, Mrs Clegg.”

“Oh, is everything okay? He’s not worse is he?”

“He’s alright. They say he’s not in any danger now and it’s just a question of time. He’s tough so he’s going to be champing at the bit to get out of there as soon as he can stand up.”

“Well, that’s a relief. What can I do for you Mrs Clegg?”

“I want you to stop what you’re doing.”

“I’m sorry?” The woman took in a shuddering breath, when she spoke again her voice wavered.

“I know what Charlie has asked you to do and I want you to stop. Don’t stir things up.”

“Mrs Clegg, I don’t understand.” He had thought that Charles Clegg had been as keen as he was to keep his wife away from the enquiry. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about.”

“Yes, you know. I haven’t been married to Charlie for all these years without knowing how his mind works. I’ve put two and two together and I understand what’s happening here. He means well, I know he does – God bless the man. But, I want you to make an excuse. Tell him there’s nothing you can do. Our Colin will be out of jail in a few years and we’ll look after him. It won’t be like with you, we’ll make sure he has work, his dignity, a place to live.”

“But your sister in law, Charlie’s sister? He said that they don’t think she’ll last.”

“Aye well sometimes things are best left as they are. Listen to me, the least said soonest mended. An old saying but in this case it couldn’t be more true. Leave it all be. Will you do that, for me and Colin and Maureen?”

“Mrs Clegg, I’ve taken the job on. I told him I’d do what I could.”

He heard her sigh, “I know. But, you’re not listening. Leave it be, that’s all. If it’s money you’re worried about I’ll pay you. What did he promise you?”

“Nothing, we didn’t talk about it. Except for expenses and there haven’t been any. No, it’s not about money. I haven’t got very far but – well, things have happened that lead me to think there’s something off about all of this and…” She didn’t let him finish.

“I’ll give you a cheque for five thousand pounds tomorrow if you tell Charlie you can’t find anything.”

“No, I’m sorry but –no I can’t. I promised”

“What do you mean you can’t? Of course you can – just do it.” Her tone became stronger now, hectoring and bullying. She was making him angry, he tamped it down, the woman was under stress. “I realise you’ve had a nasty shock, but really I think if you have a problem with me trying to find out about Colin and the accident you should talk to your husband. I gave him my word. I can’t let him down. Apart from that I need to do it because I think there’s something in what he thinks. I can’t turn my back on that. I just can’t.”

The quiet click told him that she’d cut the connection. He replaced the handset on his desk and stared at it for a minute. He pulled one of the little cards from the pile and wrote out a rough precis of the conversation. He muttered into the quiet room, “Well that’s bloody odd.”


It was wonderful to be back in Gloria’s living room. Although the empty hotel felt forlorn she had cleaned and tidied in the last couple of days and it was almost as he had first seen it, downstairs at least. She had cooked roast lamb for them and now there was her favourite jazz music, heavy with saxophones, playing quietly in the background and she’d turned on the fire. The atmosphere was cosy and relaxing. Simon sighed. “I thought I’d lost this forever. It made me sad.”

Gloria nodded, “I’ve had trouble remembering what life had been like. It felt as though I’d been catapulted to a whole different world. Now, here tonight that side of it is unreachable. Life is odd. I hope I’m better, but sometimes it sweeps over me, the whole bloody thing. Ah well.” She deliberately pushed the maudlin conversation aside, “Anyway, back to what you were telling me.”

“Yes, so at first she was really upset I think but then towards the end she sounded more, angry.”

“God, this gets more and more complicated every day. Will you tell Charlie?”

“I don’t think so, not right now anyway. I can’t see how it will help and it will probably cause trouble between them and I wouldn’t want to do that.”

“She must know something though, mustn’t she?”

“Yes, I reckon. But obviously Charlie doesn’t know she knows – well, whatever she knows.” They sat in silence for a while until Gloria moved forward in her chair and leaned towards the coffee table.

“Do you want another drink?”

“No, I’m fine thanks.” She raised the whisky bottle, uncorked it and then looked across the space between them.

“I’m just having another little one. I know, I know – I’m drinking too much, but this is nothing compared to a week ago even. I’ll cut back, I will, but not just now.” He shrugged, though he wanted to speak, to tell her that he had smelled the alcohol already on her breath when he arrived. He held his tongue. It was all too delicate, building this new bridge.

“For now I’m going to just carry on, trying to find the girls first of all. Oh yes and I’m going to go and see that woman who found Charlie. I’ve got her name from the paper – Michelle she is and an unusual surname, it sounds Italian or Spanish maybe, so it was easy to find her address in the phone book. She lives in Keighley. I just thought I’d ask her what she saw when she found him, though like with everything else I’m just working on instinct.”

“So for now, we’ll just keep on shall we?”

“Yup, that’s it. Cheers Gloria. Thanks for the meal. It was lovely but I think I’ll get back now. I’ll come down early tomorrow and we’ll go and find this Michelle – will that work for you?”

“Yep. Tension crackled between them but she moved and picked up his coat from the back of a chair, holding it out to him.”

“See you tomorrow, Simon. Maybe some of this will start to make sense in a while.”

“Well, I bloody hope so.” As he turned at the end of the drive he heard her lock the door and imagined her moving through the rooms, sliding under her duvet and laying there in the dark, alone. If he had pressed it she may have let him stay. He would have liked to stay. He picked up the pace until he was pounding up the hill his heart racing and his breathing quickened. By the time he let himself into the shop he was calm again.

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Truth Series. Book 2/chapter 13

(Twist of Truth is available on Amazon – click the link in the side bar.)

Charles Clegg looked old. The life force that was so much a part of him had been subdued by drugs and confusion. He lay in a quiet room in the local private hospital. Once out of danger he had been transferred from the infirmary and was now well enough to have visitors. Simon dragged a chair up to the side of the bed, he was shocked at how ill the man looked.

There were large floral displays and cards on the window ledges and tables and the hospital smell was drowned by the heavy scent of lilies. It was over heated and in spite of the attempts at luxury, the old man was still lying in a hospital bed with wires and tubes attached to his bruised body. Subdued noise leaked into the room and it was all pretty depressing. Simon couldn’t see any point in staying. They had said Clegg was conscious but there was no indication that he was going to be able to talk and so, with a brief squeeze of the age spotted hand Simon stood and prepared to leave.

“Don’t go lad. I’ll be with you in a minute. Just give me a bit of a chance.” The voice was just above a whisper but the words were clear.

“I thought you were asleep.” Simon lowered back onto the seat.

“No, it’s the dizziness. I can’t see straight, it’s bloody awful.” His eyelids flicked open for a moment and Charles Clegg moved his head a little towards Simon.

“Don’t worry I can come back. When you’re feeling a bit stronger. It’s fine.” He was surprised at the strength in the hand that reached out and gripped his wrist.

“Wait. Just wait.” The old man forced his eyes open again and pointed at the glass of water on the bed table. Simon helped him to take a drink and then settle back against the pillows.

“Bloody drugs ‘ave me confused. I’d rather feel the ache in me leg to be ‘onest but they’ve got me in their clutches and they’ll do what they will. Bloody doctors.”

He lay now with his eyes closed but the slackness in his face had lessened. “Good of you to come lad. ‘ppreciate it.”

“I wondered if you remembered what happened?” Clegg groaned as he made the mistake of shaking his head, his concussed brain paid him back with pain and nausea. He breathed deeply and raised a finger to indicate that Simon must wait.

“I’d ‘ad a busy day, out and about and what not. I remember leaving the yard. I decided to drive over the top. I do quite often, usually mid-week, even though there are memories up there. It’s no good letting stuff like that dictate what you do. I don’t know much more than that. I remember that young lass, the one that helped. She clambered down to me, somehow opened the car door, called the police. Saved my life I expect. I’ll tell you sommat but you must promise not to say a word – right?”

“Erm, yes okay.”

“I didn’t ‘ave my belt on. Bloody belts, I ‘ate ‘em, always ‘ave and every now and again I just leave it off. If I’d not been such a stupid, stubborn old bugger I could ‘ave walked away from this. Well, serves me right. I were probably goin’ a bit quick truth be told. No point ‘avin’ a powerful motor if you don’t let it off it’s leash now and then.” He gave a throaty chuckle but it caused him to cough and Simon helped him to take another drink. “Bit of slide on corners you know, bit of a twitch in the rear, just for the ‘ell of it. Bit ‘o sharp brakin’, testin’ ‘er metal, you know? They’re sayin they think I fell asleep but that doesn’t feel right, not right at all.”

“No, not from what you’ve just been saying.”

“Aye, well I don’t want em pryin’ too much, crash investigatin’ and what ‘ave you, so I’ll let ‘em ‘ave their way and take the ‘it on the insurance. Serves me right and I’m paying for it now. But truth is I don’t remember anything properly, just flashes. I can see that girl, but it’s odd because sometimes it seems that maybe there were another one, ‘appen a woman, ‘appen not, but anyroad it’s all a fog. It’s just the drugs and my poor scrambled brain but… Let’s be ‘onest, I reckon they know, about the seat belt I mean, they can tell these things from bruises, stuff like that, but sometimes, well if you show folks an easy way out they’ll likely take it.” He flapped a hand weakly now against the bed covers. “It’s no good I’m befuddled. They reckon it might come clearer in time but right now I just don’t know what ‘appened. Been drivin’ for more than fifty year and only ever ‘ad one other accident – years ago when I were a daft kid.” Simon saw exhaustion and medicine take Charles Clegg away again. He left the little get well card on the table and walked quietly out of the room.

It would be useful to speak to the woman who had helped him. Maybe her name would be in the paper by now. He pulled out his phone and made a note to check.

So, the afternoon would be spent on the computer. This wasn’t quite as he had imagined it would be but the web was such a great source of information. He hadn’t been able to do anything about tracing the veterinary nurse though, he had spent hours well into the night bent over his desk.

When he phoned Gloria they decided the only route left open to them was to call all the local veterinary practices – “At least there are fewer than there are hairdressers.” Gloria had laughed and they had taken half of the listings each to work their way through, just calling and asking if Fiona Carpenter worked there. “You know they might start with the stupid privacy stuff don’t you.”

“Yes, I know but at least we’ll have tried.”

He called at the little convenience store and picked up a Lasagne ready meal for lunch and a six pack of lager. He was seeing Gloria for dinner but for now he liked the idea of getting on with what he was thinking more and more of as his job.

The shop front looked smarter with the new pane and he decided to have it painted. Now they were talking again he would speak to Gloria about making an offer to buy it. It would be much simpler having cleared his name and he would love to own his own place. He was settling and becoming attached to his home. It was a good feeling. He knew it would please his dad as well, so that was another plus.

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Truth Series. Book 2/Chapter 12

Link to Twist of Truth on Amazon

“Poor old thing. Did you get any details?” They were driving away from Ramstone. They passed the bungalows on the outskirts of the village and then it was all dry stone walls and fields dotted with shaggy sheep and low, wind formed trees. As soon as he had closed the car door Simon had blurted out the news about his ‘client’.

“No, not really. There’s no real reason to do it but I’ve been arguing with myself back and forth, trying to keep things in perspective, not jumping to conclusions, but I just keep thinking it’s bloody odd.”

“Do you know where it happened?”

“Yes, I looked at the local news on line. It’s not all that far from where Melanie was killed, and I’m trying not to read anything into that. It’s not the most direct route but it is the nicer one, going over the tops as it does but…”

“Did you make a note of whereabouts?”

“Yes, can we go and look, can we do that first?” She nodded.

“I know these roads can be dangerous but it’s a heck of a coincidence isn’t it? Or am I just a bit freaked out and overreacting?”

What had promised to be very little more than an excuse for a winter picnic had become something else and the atmosphere in the little car was sharp with tension.

It was easy to see where the accident had happened. The grass beside the road was torn and muddied. Great clods of soil had been thrown up the bank which was scarred with huge gouges where the big four wheeled drive had plunged down the embankment. Yellow paint on the road, marking the start of the skid and swerve evidenced the police investigation. Simon and Gloria walked back and forth. A wet wind began to blow and grey clouds scudded low across the sky.

Gloria pulled her collar closer. “Not much to see really is there? He’s lucky someone came along, it’s not that busy.”

“It was a young woman, been taking her daughter to school apparently and just coming back a different route from normal.”

“I wonder if we can find out who that was?”

“Perhaps. I think I’ll go to the hospital as soon as they say he’s well enough to have visitors and maybe Charlie will be able to tell us more.”

“Well, I wouldn’t bank on it. If he was knocked out he might well not remember anything.”

“No, but – well, I can ask.” She nodded and climbed back into the warm car.

“So, the other accident, the first one. Can we work out from the plan exactly where that was? As we’re here we might just as well carry on.”

“Yes. Down here, there should be a narrow turn off and it was just before that.”

“It’s an odd place for a young girl to be walking about on her own isn’t it?”

“Yes, I’ve puzzled about that myself but her friends said that she often walked this way. Did it because she enjoyed the buzz of being on the hills alone. I can sort of understand that because I love it myself but it’s not that usual for women, girls, is it, even these days? Plus, it was winter, latish in the day, all just a little bit of an odd choice to make.”

“Well, I guess she must have been pretty self-confident. Didn’t do her any favours though in the end. Here we are. Is this the turn?”

“Looks like it. It’s very isolated.”

“Yes, but once you get over the dip there are houses, not quite as lonely as you would think. I wonder where that turn off leads to?”

“High Hill Farm according to the OS map.”

Clouds had gathered in grey heaps on the tops of the moors and they lowered now over the peaks and flowed into the valleys. Sheep huddled at the foot of low walls and in minutes they could see only a couple of hundred yards in any direction.

“God, the weather’s turned now. Come on Gloria, get back in the car. Did you bring something hot to drink?”

“I did but I don’t think this is going to clear do you?”

“Let’s give it a little while it might blow over. Anyway I rather like it when it’s like this. As long as you’re not out in it with the wrong clothes on it can be fun and it certainly makes you appreciate a hot shower after.”

She poured soup into mugs and gave him a packet of cheese and ham sandwiches and they ate quietly, watching through the streaming windows as the moors, the road and the walls vanished in swirls of mist.

The roads ran with water and fine rain whispered against the windows. But every now and again a glimpse of blue peeked through and as suddenly as it had begun the drear weather cleared. Beams of light speared through the remaining clouds and the pools and puddles shone in wintery sunshine. Grass and leaves twinkled with moisture and as a hawk spiralled up into the rapidly clearing sky Simon sighed and leaned forward to wipe with a cloth at the condensation on the inside of the windscreen. “This is what it’s about for me you know. This is the closest thing to magic that I can imagine. I know it’s lovely in the summer but this, this wildness is what I love.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty special, I used to enjoy it back in the day, with Dave you know.” She sighed. Anyway, we need to get back, if you’ve seen all you want to.”

“I think so, to be honest I’m not sure I’ve learned anything much but it’s been good to come here, it all helps to make it real.”

Gloria pulled out onto the narrow highway and gave a little squeal as a horn blared loud into the quiet. She wrenched the wheel over as a Land Rover, its headlights flashing, streaked past them down the gleaming tarmac.

“Bloody hell. That’s a bit quick for the conditions isn’t it? I’m beginning to think this road is jinxed.” She puffed out a sharp breath and then slipped the stalled car into neutral.  She turned the key, Indicated and turned to look back through the window, no longer trusting what she saw in the mirror, she pulled slowly onto the road.

Simon reached over and touched her leg, “Are you okay, you’ve gone pale?”

“Yeah, yeah I’m fine, it just made me jump that’s all. It came out of nowhere.”



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Truth Series. Book 2/Chapter 11

The shop looked forlorn with old planks nailed across the front and they sighed and shrugged when they saw that ‘Gazo’ had already tagged it. It didn’t matter. The insurance company had arranged for a glazier who was coming by the end of the day.

“There’s no real damage is there, apart from the window? Did they break in by the back door?”

“No, I reckon they must have come in through the broken glass. Bloody dangerous really, those big shards have been dropping out all the time, whenever a car goes past. They could have been sliced in half.”

“Oh, don’t!”

“No, you’re right. It was messy but apart from the wood on the skirting boards here and there, oh yes and my trainers and jeans, there’s nothing much to see really.”

“It makes me even more sure that this wasn’t meant to do real damage, not meant to hurt you. You haven’t said but I’m guessing you haven’t called the coppers?” Simon shook his head.

“I don’t see what they could do and I can’t face it. There’d be fuss and risk that the papers might find out and – well you know what it’s like.”

“Yes, but it’s just that they would have access to any cameras and might be able to see the car. At that time of night there wouldn’t be much traffic would there?”

“I think for now at least I’d rather not.”

“Fair enough. So, what are you going to do? Are you going to call Mr Clegg?”

“I am, yes. But for now I’m not planning on mentioning this. I don’t want to worry him; he’s got enough on his plate.”

“Okay, so I suppose the thing to do is to get going on trying to find out about that poor girl and the bloke in jail. I’ve been thinking about that though, since last night and it’s not like you is it?”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, you fought it right from the start, you denied everything even after they locked you up. Yes, you knuckled down later but at the beginning you told them it wasn’t you. But this bloke hasn’t. Isn’t that a bit odd? I reckon that for the time being at least you have to keep in mind that he might actually have done it and it’s Mr Clegg who is just clutching at straws. With his sister so ill and everything.”

“I’ve been over that and over it in my mind and you’re right, but this puts a different light on it doesn’t it?”

“Maybe. How are you going to start?”

Simon shrugged and for the first time in months Gloria laughed aloud, it surprised her as much as him. “You haven’t got a clue have you?”

He raised his eyebrows, “Well, that’s not strictly true. I have found out about her friends, the ones she was with that night. I thought if I could find them and have a word it would be a start. I also want to go and have a look where it happened. Charlie gave me a plan, it’s out on the moors.”

“Yeah, that seems like the right place to start. What do you know about her mates?”

“I have their names. They were all college friends. Hairdressers and a veterinary nurse.”

“Well she’d be your best bet I should think.”

“How so?”

“Well, they’ve probably graduated and finding a young woman hairdresser would be like trying to find a piece of wood in a log pile but surely a veterinary nurse would be registered somewhere.”

“Brilliant. See, I knew I needed you.” He leaned and hugged her. She smelled like Gloria, shampoo and the perfume that she had always worn.

“I’ll go on line and see what I can find out about it. Hopefully I can at least find out whether or not she qualified and then if it comes to it I’ll just start ringing round the veterinary surgeries.”

“It’s a start at least.”

“When the bloke’s been to fix the window I’ll drive you to the accident place. I’ll go back home now and make a flask and some sandwiches. Let’s have a picnic.”

“A picnic, it’s bloody cold and it’ll be even colder up on the tops.”

“I know but I feel like a picnic. I’ll make soup. Don’t be a wuss.” She paused for a moment and then raised her eyes to his. “Thanks Simon, I feel so much better already. I can’t believe the difference a couple of days has made. God, I’m a stupid cow sometimes.”

“Yeah, well.”  She thumped his arm and then turned to leave. “Give me a call when the glazier’s finished.” And she was gone. Simon went up to the flat with a grin on his face and his spirits in a much better place.

He was surprised that a female voice answered when he called what he understood to be Charlie Glegg’s private mobile number. “Hello.  I’m trying to reach Mr Clegg. My name’s Fulton.”

“Hello Mr Fulton, this is Beryl. I’m sorry you can’t talk to Charlie just now.” Simon caught the break in her voice.

“Is he okay, is everything okay?”

“No, not really. We’re at the hospital. Charlie’s having an operation, he broke his leg.”

“I am so sorry, did he fall, is there anything I can do?”

“No, he didn’t – he didn’t fall Mr Fulton. He was in a car crash; his car went into a ditch. We’re lucky he’s still alive. If it hadn’t been for a young woman passing in her car I dread to think what would have happened.”

“I am so sorry. Will it be okay if I call again, in a little while? Just to see how he is?”

“Yes, alright. I’ll tell him you rang. Thank you.”

Simon turned off his phone and stared out of the window. Poor Charlie, his money wasn’t saving him from trouble heaped on trouble. Was it?

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