Two, middle aged friends find their life-paths crossing - after having had no contact since their student days - when a terrible shared secret comes screaming through the years to haunt them, threatening their sanity, freedom and comfortable lives.
Evidence surfaces, when Joshua (the ten year old son of the family who had just moved in to the former student flats) finds a ring in the back garden. This leads to further discoveries of human bone and a police inquiry quickly links the house to the era and the two main characters.
As the story unfolds, we hear personal accounts of the sequence of events told by Dave (a respectable dentist) and Tom (an IT consultant) and see how their viewpoints differ. However, in the process we see how the secrets they each keep (from themselves and each other) have shaped who they have become. These statements are set against (and woven amongst) present tense revelations as the inquiry unfolds, revealing that the girl was a flatmate of Dave and Tom, who was not lost on a backpacking holiday as the reports had suggested in 1976
We learn from Tom and Dave that their extreme student lifestyle - constantly in search of the ultimate thrill - led (through a combination of drink and mushrooms, on Halloween weekend) to the drowning of Clare (an archeology student), in the bathroom at the house.
We hear from Tom that the secret he kept from Dave was that he had sex with her almost-dead body, causing her to drown. However, we learn from Dave that it was his idea to dispose of the body (to hide their grisly excesses) instead of reporting the incident.
Having tried a variety of methods (including food processors and a bonfire in the garden) they are satisfied that the incident is behind them, but rivalry between Dave and Tom reaches a climax when Tom tells Keith about the party. Dave had stolen Keith’s girlfriend and the tension between them was already there.
Now, in the present day only Dave and Tom know the full truth but the police (as yet) can’t directly link them. That is, until Keith arrives back on the scene. Dave convinces Tom that the only way to retain their anonymity is to make sure that Keith doesn’t reveal all that he knows.
However, following the ill conceived murder of Keith, fresh evidence emerges which irrevocably incriminates both Dave and Tom but for different reasons. From beyond the grave, Clare appears to have had a hand in posthumous retribution.
Far away and in darkness now, the still night changes the features of this street to carbon black and there: like a dense, solid mass is a house like any other - the rolling fog of early autumn sticking to its damp walls. Upstairs, a thin light breaks through the curtains in the gap created by the lens of a telescope; impotently peering out. It stands, attentive but redundant and inside he sits beside its tripod and slightly turns the pages of a book, occasionally glancing at the sky, waiting for a break in the clouds and a respite from that stifling shroud. This night was logged as the perfect time for him to view Alpha Centuri but he is denied the spectacle. He sits in his upright chair and demands the fog to recede but like Canute and the ocean: it defies him.
About him, the ephemeral details of his passions are evident in every quarter. The walls are filled with prints and posters of astronomical instruction; charts of moon phases; artists impressions and tales of places he could never visit but still, he dreams. Comic books line the shelves, fingered and much loved - their contents memorised and captured as imprints in his memory. The details, carefully logged for potential future reference in the event of their circumstances presenting decisions he must make. But, as he surveys his kingdom, a sense of the overwhelming fruitlessness of his labours takes hold of him as a symphony of minor chords and choral tragedy rises to a deafening crescendo in his consciousness as he covers his ears and forces his eyes closed.
Since the beginning, he was captivated in those stories that he heard spoken through a grill darkly - carefully documenting every word as a child. The impossible lives and astounding tales of wonder reverberated in his imagination, brought alive by that deep and cosseting voice which accompanied him to sleep regularly through his impressionable years and burgeoning cogniscense. But, like all dreams of childhood: they were shipwrecked on the rocks of truth as the hard edges of the real word bruised and tore at the fragile sails of innocence.
Each entry, like the splintered fragments of an eggshell, being carefully pieced back into its ovoid whole through the pages of this book. Page after page of hand written words in a book full of wonder that lies dull in his hands now. Turning the pages, he looks upon each entry: carefully transcribed from that voice to his hand.
“Lies and more lies,” he says through stinging tears as the concepts fly from the page to his memory, reminding him of the depth of detail that is now as meaningless as it is unfathomable. The endless lists of prime numbers like exotic islands of perfection, with white beckoning sands gleaming in an endless sea of integers - the surface of which ripples above the ocean of real numbers. The simple decimals and fractions are the shallows and rock pools where the silver fishes play and the irrationals and transcendental numbers are the abyssal deeps: uncharted and dangerous. But their hidden references and continual emergence through those stories, to him now, mean nothing at all. They didn’t signify the ‘ultimate’ truth, only a cacophony of misinformation and misdirection.
The many hours invested in this document now lay heavy on his heart for its worth is empty to him. As his search for scientific proof reached further into the void, the more it revealed the impossibility of the claims and he seethed with the insult of it all. Then, he remembered the letters - each one, lovingly scripted and worded with respectful élan, which had fallen on closed ears, despite their pleading requests for answers. They were nothing more than another gate closed to him by the keeper of secrets.
His resentment fully engaged now, he grips the page and tears it out. First one, then another until the act of tearing his fantasy apart becomes a theatre of spiteful revenge and the impetus it brings makes him feel invigorated. Demolishing the very evidence of his deepest desire propels him higher than the pedestal he took it from and the destruction brings not only a euphoric calm, but a resolve. A solution, intact and perfectly formed.
Reaching, now, for the shelves, he takes a reel of tape from the many. A carefully indexed but perfectly ordinary spool of brown magnetic recording tape and with his finger in the spindle, uses his other hand to wrench the ribbon from its axis. Imprinted in the analogue and undulating magnetic fingerprints of this tape are hundreds of hours of documented adventures, each one beginning and ending in the comfort of the fireside. Warm tones and distant, ghostly voices coming alive each time the tape is played are disseminated - never to be heard again as the lengths of their sonic pattern is strewn through the air. Flaying his arm back and forth, the tape cascades around him in delicate loops and as the first reel is emptied, he turns to the next as the shiny brown bunting falls, drifting at his feet. Boxes are torn apart and cast aside, as each recording is tortured by ritual and he executes his rage upon them without mercy and curses the air.
Standing at the window and looking out at the bleak, milky dark air - amber cast by suburban incandescence, he breathes deeply. His breath catches the glass and forms yet another barrier between him and whatever it is that he believed was outside his four walls. There is no escape, he thinks as he looks over the gardens and shed rooftops into the dreary expanse of houses just like his.
Behind him, his studies reveal another side to his anguish. Piles of reports and essays, neatly written and diligently crafted with the intention of attaining the highest grades which always came almost too easily. His reports and assessments bear testament to his considerable intelligence but are also his prison. The text books now lay asunder with the remnants of the catalyst that bore them as fruit. Standing in the wreckage of his endeavours, the sum total of its futility weighing greatly on his young shoulders, he thumps the glass with his fist. He snatches at the faded curtains with their rocket ship print design and tears them violently from the rail. Plastic lugs ping and ricochet against the pane as he shreds them to bandages - swaddling that might have salved his pain and the fabric which his grandmother had carefully chosen to incite his imagination but which now, burned like acid in his thoughts.
Turning, he steps through the detritus. As the crunch and snap of each footstep brings a closure to the devastation he has wrought on himself, he approaches the radio - a project that he and his father undertook one boxing day, many years ago. The beeswax casing, polished to a rich, penumbrant glow, sits benignly on the shelf by his bed but is now the focus of his irritation.
Reaching for it, he forces the back open and reaches inside for its guts. Tearing wires in handfuls, he pulls at the body of the thing until he finds the core - the tiniest granule of galena crystal that causes its heart to beat, and squeezes it, unyeilding between his fingers.
“All for this!?” he cries and throws it into the air. Then, unravelling lengths of copper wire, he casts them to his floor with the audio tape and hurls the case at his mirror which, for a moment, captures his raging face then splinters with cascading music.
“I shall have my audience. I WILL be part of all that: all that I have worked for. You will be mine,” he says into the stunned silence of his room. Outside, a dog barks into the night.
This isn’t the usual kind of post that I would normally make but this week has seen some extraordinary activity on Tumblr that I couldn’t let pass without some acknowledgement.
I am in the process of ‘workshopping’ my current work in progress: a valvepunk comedy epic psychological adventure, and from now on, various chapters and extracts will appear amongst the usual short stories, sketches and literary obseravations, advice etc.
However, I was surprised to pick up eleven new followers in the week and thought that I’d like to give you all a big thank you. You are (in no particular order): bmulhill, readingme, scrawlingtruths, onceuponatimewriting, bvjk, theriverrunswild, thatneedstogo, pianoghost, iwanttobelikearollingstone, ninjamnah, nureenvelji - and I’d just like to say “Hi, I know you’re there and I’ve followed you back to say thanks”
Just because I don’t comment on posts as a rule doesn’t mean that I don’t read what you put. I enjoy checking stuff out just like the rest and as a writer (!) enjoy a distraction whenever it comes along, like we all do.
Once again, thank you and I hope that you have enjoyed what you’ve read and that you will take time to trawl back through my archives and check out the new stuff as it comes along. The new novel is going to be great and there’s enough depth and intrigue in there to keep anyone guessing (and chuckling) for a long time.
A good writer should have their radar on at all times. Life has a way of hurling incidents that, when viewed with ‘novel-goggles’ has a perspective which makes them larger than life and absolute gold dust when it comes to the tricky business of inspiration.
There was an incident which happened to me today which I have to admit was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. So, as an example I guess it’s not typical. However, I wanted to tell you about it as it is still very vivid in my mind and I think it might inspire a bit of creative exploration in your own imagination.
I was waiting in line at a gas station. It was a clear, sunny day with a slight breeze. Ahead of me was one compact vehicle with a female driver. To my left were two other pumps with two and three vehicles respectively and to my right were another two pumps with about the same amount waiting there. It was a busy morning stop-off for us all by the look of it.
The woman in front worked for a real estate company, judging by the signs and livery on her small car but it was clear that she was unfamiliar with the workings of the gas cap. She struggled with it for at least five minutes before eventually (it seemed) breaking it off completely and it rolled under the white van to my left. She heavily stuck the pump nozzle into the hole and walked around the van to get the cap.
She must have been filling the tank to capacity as it seemed to take at least another ten minutes during which time I looked around at the other occupants waiting their turn. By now I had switched off my engine. Behind the van at my left was an old couple and behind me were two female students. To my right was an old man and his wife and behind him: a business man in a suit. Between the pumps I could see a mother with two small pre-school children in the back, but any more than that I was unable to see.
As I sat there just observing what was going on, I became increasingly aware of a terrible sense of dread overwhelming me. I began to have doubts about all kinds of things but wasn’t sure what they were. I had a cascade of fragmented dream sequences slicing their way into my thoughts but they appeared to me as shards of important things forgotten. I began to feel a prickling sensation across my neck and forehead as I grasped at these shattered bytes of what began to feel like an alternative reality in the same way that a hangover delivers you a handful of blurred polaroids and says: “remember this from the night before?” and try as you might, you have no recollection of the scenes before you.
Eventually, the woman appeared to have finished and I was more concerned about being late for work to notice how long she had taken paying for her fuel, but when she returned she seemed concerned that the car wouldn’t start. She fumbled endlessly with the keys and eventually got out and gestured to me to help her push it out of the way. As I stepped out of my car, I realised that I was standing in an inch of petrol which had spread from under her car and outwards to the kerb of the pumps and had flowed under my car and beyond, behind me under their car.
A forecourt attendant ran out from the cash desk and helped push her car forwards to let others through but seemed to not notice the several gallons of freshly seeping petrol that her car was oozing. I went to the back of mine and told the students to back up, or in effect I think in my mental state I actually told them to get the hell out of there, which they did pretty quickly. I too, started my engine up (which I instantly regretted) and backed up enough to get around the furthest pump to my left and past the tanker which had arrived with a delivery of fresh petrol. I drove away from the station, convinced that I hadn’t paid for something or had just robbed them. Such was the state of mental confusion I was experiencing. I have no idea what the outcome of the incident was, but as I never heard an explosion or heard anything on the news, I have to assume that they got the spill cleared up.
My mind was in a state of mosaic, almost hallucinatory paranoia for about two hours after that and it was only after lunch that I was able to check out on the internet, what might have been wrong with me. I realised that I was experiencing a ‘real time’ dream which was being fed to me from my memory. From what I could discover, I am pretty sure that I must have been suffering from a mild case of ‘Toxic Psychosis’ which is a side effect from inhaling petrol fumes, Wikipedia told me. Further, it said that in mild cases, a subject might experience a ‘detachment with reality’ and in severe cases ‘paranoid hallucinations’ and even death. I then recalled that the air inlet pipe for my car is just by the nearside tyre, about six or eight inches from the floor. Then, my ‘novel-goggles’ came on.
Take the above scenario; the characters and add to it a punk robbing the cashier at the same time. He has a stolen car which he can only start by hot wiring and add to that: the tanker fully loaded who clipped the kerb as he parked up, sheering a strut at one end (which now hangs precariously against the concrete and will spark if he moves forward or backward.) With me so far? Ok, this is where it gets exciting. The businessman has just lit a cigarette and the old woman with the old guy (remember him?) is now having am asthma attack, which he is unaware of as he pays. Top it all off with everyone tripping out on the fumes as they sit on this ticking bomb and you have one hell of a great story - who’s going to rescue them? Will they rescue them? How are they going to do it? Will they all fry?
I don’t have an answer, but I’d love to see what you could make of it. I may well do something with this set up at some point, but for now I just wanted to share with you the endless possibilities of real life as a ‘story starter’. Keep your eyes open at all times, just in case that ‘big idea’ comes right up and says hi.
P.S. if you do want to have a go at writing this story, I’d love it if you’d let me know, so we can all read how it ends up, and I’d be kinda grateful if you kept my name on it somehow as the person it happened to or at least inspired your version. Have fun.
‘My wife was murdered you see? If only I could change the way things turned out, I wouldn’t feel so empty now.’
George looked at him, sitting there in the poor light of his humble lodging house. He’d had a few strange guests over the years but this one was stranger than most.
I’ve got a question for you Izaak. How did you know that I had a room to rent before I had even placed the advert?
‘I know a great deal about you George.’
He drew back his chin and looked straight into his cold blue eyes.
‘How is that so?’ said George.
Izaak leaned forward and whispered: ’ I know about your son as well and it is HE that will cause my sadness.’
‘My son? I don’t have a son,’ protested George, grasping the arms of the faded armchair in astonishment.
‘Oh but you will have and not too long from now but I’ve come here to stop you.’
George struggled with the idea but then Izaak continued: ‘In the future, it is your unborn son that will kill my wife and I cannot let that happen,’ and with that, he revealed an instrument which George didn’t recognise and a blinding instant later, Izaak was alone. He watched the room slowly fade from view as he returned to his life, many years from now and was once more reunited with his love. Now that George had been eliminated, their paths never crossed and Izaak was fulfilled at last.
How would you like to die? It’s not a choice anymore, you have to face facts. You had a choice, once, but now it’s simply a matter of detail. You drift from dull thoughts into a world of pain and sounds you don’t recognise. Everything is strange and jagged in your memory but you are desperate - driven to know where you went wrong.
The sounds hit you first: soft chatter and the bleeping of machines and then you try to open your eyes. They are stuck together but you force the muscles to prise them open and all you can see is a blur. You try to move but you ache all over. Your back feels shattered and your legs are heavy. You try to raise your arm to your face to wipe away the confusion but all you can feel is the weight of nothing, grating against the rough linen as you lie in an unfamiliar bed. Your face is burning as much as your need to understand why you are here. Now you can see tubes and wires stretching from the pain in your body, out into the room.
‘Can you hear me?’ says a voice, echoing in the onslaught of panic descending quickly.
‘I’d like to ask you a few questions,’ he says but you have questions of your own. Questions that sear deep inside and you search frantically for answers and then you remember the hundred thousand pounds. The fortune that was just within your reach, the cash that was going to open new doors and set you free - and still you believe that there is a chance.
It came to you in a moment: that day when they opened the doors and sent you back out into the world. Free after eleven years and a hundred and forty nine days (give or take a few hours). A hundred thousand hours of your life, cruelly taken from you, in payment for a crime you never committed - and how you raged with revenge at the thought of it. Someone was going to pay for your sacrifice and as you walked the driveway from the jail into the bright spring morning, all you felt was determination to seek pay-back. “Give a dog a bad name…” you figured. You’d been to hell, how bad could things get?
‘Need a lift?’ said the stranger, leaning over and looking at you through his open window. It was a nice car, the road was long and you’d been hitchhiking for a few hours now. You had no money; only the clothes you stood up in and nowhere to go, so you thought: “Why not?” And now, you are about to re-live the whole splintered thing, as if it were happening, again.
‘Thanks, buddy,’ you say, as you throw open the door.
‘Where are you heading?’ he asks.
‘Wherever you’re going,’ you answer and he grins.
‘Ah, the great adventure, eh?’ he says as the car gets back up to speed.
For a long while he says nothing but eventually he becomes curious. ‘What’s your name?’
You think fast. Something is stirring in you and you begin to feel that this might be a situation you could use.
‘John,’ you lie.
‘Pleased to meet you John. My name’s Timothy - Timothy Nolan.’
You look at him and he turns briefly to see your face.
‘I’m going to Whitehaven, is that any good to you?’ he asks.
You have no idea how to answer and you shrug. Then, the gears kick in.
‘What’s in Whitehaven?’ you ask him.
‘I’m going to see my old uncle. Haven’t met him since I was little. But this weekend is very special.’
Yes, I’m going to collect my inheritance,’ he says and now you’re interested.
‘Poor old Montgomery. Blind as a bat. Lived alone in that big house for many years and never trusted banks. Keeps his fortune in a safe in the cellar.’
Your thoughts are racing now. Scheming and planning your next move. There was a silence for a long time and then he spoke.
‘I reckon you’re thinking how you can bump me off, trick the blind old fool and make off with the hundred thousand, aren’t you?’
‘Is it that obvious?’ you say with hesitation in your voice, but he just laughs.
‘Ha, I can read you like a book. I’d think the same but it’s not so easy,’ he says but now, you’re looking for clues.
‘There’s something I’ve not told them,’ he says. ‘I’m dying. Just six months left, I’ve been told. But that’s just enough time to make sure the money falls into the right hands first.’
Your mind is racing now and you ask:
‘What’s wrong with you?’
‘Weak heart, you see,’ and then you act. You grab the steering wheel, aiming it for a tree, just beyond the river at the side of the road. He panics and starts to gasp as the car rocks to a halt.
‘You’ve got to get me to a doctor,’ he says but you have other plans. If he dies of a heart attack now, it’s not your fault. You know all you need to know so you go along with your instincts.
‘No, I don’t think so,’ you say with a coldness which makes him stare at you with pleading eyes.
‘So, you think you can get away with it? Well perhaps, I knew this would happen. Maybe it was fate, maybe I just didn’t want the cash to go to the wrong one. Call it a gift from a stranger,’ he says as he slumps forward, writhing in pain.
You have to act quickly, so you wrench his trembling body from the car and drag it back to the bridge you just crossed. You look around. You’re deep in the country, not a soul for miles. This is too easy, you think. You take his jacket and try it on, fastly searching the pockets - a wallet, a lighter, some small change: it’s all you need for now, if all else fails. Sure, you could pass for him. The old man is blind. hasn’t seen you for years. What could go wrong?
Lifting him, you let his body fall heavily into the fast moving water below and watch it sink as the current flows away and then you stand back and breathe out.
Driving a few more miles down the road you enter Whitehaven and see a big house on the hillside. This must be the place and you decide to take a chance. Arriving up the gravel driveway your heart is pounding. So close now, this should only take a few minutes.
You let yourself in. Why wouldn’t you? You’re family now and you creep slowly through the main hallway looking for a way into the cellars. Once inside, you fumble with the combination. You know how to break a safe, the guys had talked about that, back when you were inside, but it’s not easy.
‘Timothy? Is that you?’ says a voice at the top of the stairs and you hear the tapping of a cane approaching in the darkness.
‘Why didn’t you say hello when you arrived?’
‘I was…’ you think on your feet, ‘just checking.’ It doesn’t make sense but you don’t care any more. He laughs.
‘You’ll get the money. All in good time - after the wedding.’
Suddenly, you’re confused.
‘The wedding?’ you ask. ‘Ah yes, the wedding.’
‘Timothy, your voice is different. Let me feel your face. See how you’ve changed,’ but his approach is more than you can cope with. You have to buy some time. Try not to alert him too much, too soon.
Look,’ you say, remembering the lighter. ‘I need to get some cigarettes. I’ll be back in a while,’ and you rush past him, back up the stairs. He turns.
‘Always was the impetuous one. Always dashing about,’ he says and follows you. ‘Make sure you get back before Stephanie arrives,’ he calls in the distance.
You drive back to the village and buy some things but returning to the car you are approached by a man who calls to you.
‘Have you a light?’
You stop and search in your pocket while he looks at you.
‘New to these parts?’ he asks and you race for an answer.
‘Just visiting the old man,’ you say.
‘Montgomery?’ he asks. ‘How do you know him?’
‘I’m Timothy Nolan, his nephew,’ you lie and it’s then that you are stopped in your tracks. You see the man reach inside his jacket and show you the barrel of a gun.
‘Get in the car and drive,’ he says.
As you pull away from the village, he has you in his sights.
‘Let me introduce myself. I am Justin Nolan. Timothy’s younger brother and I don’t know what you’ve got going here but it seems rather convenient.’
Pistol-whipped by this new turn, you say nothing and keep your eyes on the road.
‘See, Timothy owes me a lot of money. A lot of money and, well, I was planning to collect - but with you in the picture it changes everything. I suspect you killed him. Am I right?’
Suddenly, you find yourself with a get-out.
‘Weak heart. He just died on me.’
‘How convenient,’ he says. ‘Well, we can play this a couple of ways then. Either I can go back to the house, kill the old man and get the money, or you can do it. If you do it, I won’t have to kill anyone and all you’d be guilty of is a bit of petty burglary.’ he says.
‘What’s in it for me?’ you say quickly.
‘If you do as I ask, say: sixty forty,’ and then he pauses. ‘Or I could just take it all, if you know what I mean.’
His proposal doesn’t fit in with your plan and you’re not prepared to share with this idiot and his ideas of betrayal so you flick up your arm and the gun goes off, firing a bullet into the roof. You grab his wrist and let go of the wheel as the car careers off the road. You struggle, but he is strong and you have everything to lose so you elbow him in the chin and manage to get the gun which you turn on him. Squeezing his own fingers on the trigger it goes off again and he becomes limp. Now, you have a new problem but you remember a lay-by a mile or so back with some public toilets so you drag his body into a cubicle, lock the door, fire a couple more rounds just to be sure and climb over the paneling. No one will find him there for days, you think, but the sound of a horn alerts you. You’d left the car in the road in the rush and it was blocking the turning. A woman in a convertible is calling to you.
‘Can you move it please? I’d like to get past,’ she says but as you approach you see her looking, searching.
‘Did I hear shots?’ she asks.
‘Yes,’ you say, scrambling your senses. ‘Some rabbits. I was just practicing, but I’m not a very good shot,’ you lie.
‘I’m Stephanie Miller,’ she announces and you freeze.
‘Hi. I’m just on holiday for a few days…’ but before you can introduce yourself - make the situation appear ‘normal’ - she interrupts.
‘Isn’t that Timothy Nolan’s car?’
She sees the fear in your eyes and knows something is wrong. She starts to reverse up but wait! if she does that: goes to the village to tell someone, your chances of getting to that money will be lost forever. Without thinking, you aim the gun at the back of her head and fire. You watch as a pretty pink spray covers the windscreen and the bullet ricochets off the metal. You’ll be damned if you don’t get that money. Eleven years and a hundred and forty nine days you’d waited. Nothing was going to stop you now.
Stuffing her body into the boot and wiping down the windscreen, you push the vehicle into position. There, it looks parked now. She might just have easily gone for a walk. No one will know. Not for a while at least, just enough time to collect and be away. Out of here, forever.
Back at the house, you urgently try the combination again. It seems so close, you can almost imagine your fingers counting the crisp, clean notes.
‘You’ll never break it,’ says the old man’s voice behind you.
‘Only Justin knows the combination. That was my security in case you ever tried something like this. It was my way of being sure that you married. It was a condition, Timothy.’
This is all too much now. You want to keep up the pretence but time is running out. The old man moves closer, tapping his way towards you.
‘That smell. Are you bleeding? What have you done?’ he asks but enraged, you whack him with the first thing you can reach and he falls, unconscious. You heave him into a corner and set about making an explosive. It’s not hard, you picked up a lot of new skills inside. Some weedkiller, toilet cleaner, other bits and pieces. All stuff that’s lying around you in the dim storeroom.
But then, as the fuse is burning, you hear him! He has your gun but you know he can’t see you. You reach for a rake and start to swing but he aims for the noise. Shots ring out. He gets you in the legs and shoulder but the rake catches him squarely in the head and you both fall. The fuse is burning and you must get out. Crawling across his bloodied body you reach the door. The money! All you can think of is the money!. The door is locked. You try it, furiously but it is bolted from the outside. Impossible! Fear and greed are tearing through your brain now, thundering past every station into the blackness and you close your eyes tightly shut. Just waiting.
‘So, will he live Doctor,’ you hear him say. The voices are too quiet to hear an answer but you hear the detective clear enough as he satisfies himself.
‘Good,’ and then he comes back into the room.
‘Are you ready to talk now? Why was the old man trying to kill you? What were you doing in the house?’
None of it makes any sense to you and although his questions seem obvious, you look at him with a hundred thousand thoughts rushing through your ears. You mustn’t reveal anything yet. There’s still a chance, you think but something’s burning away in your brain.
‘How did you find me?’
’ We got a call from a girl. Told us that you were planning something’
‘Stephanie Miller’ her name was. Do you know her?’
The name hits you like a car and then you remember. Your eyes are wide open now and you stare at the detective.
‘That’s not possible. I…’
(An experiment in ‘second person’ writing. Unedited second draft. 2,578 words.)