Category Archives: Thriller/Mystery

Peace Shattered…3

Chapter 3

It’s been about two weeks now since the episide with the stranger in the garden and as they say “all’s quiet on the western front”. In my case ‘all’s quiet’ everywhere. My hours of peace during the afternoons have returned to just that and there have been no more disturbances, except those perpetrated by my furry family and those I am well used to.

Some days ago I had an uneasy feeling that I was being watched. I had no evidence for this except that sixth sense we all seem to have about these sorts of things.

I did a quick check through the front window and there were no black SUVs in the street that could be surveillance vehicles and no men, or women, in trench coats watching the house from behind lampposts with binoculars in hand. Similarly a quick scout around the house brought up no cameras watching nor microphones recording my every conversation with the cats.

I did wonder if my phone was maybe being bugged but dismissed the idea as complete paranoia. That was until this evening.

I had just returned from a quick trip to the bar on the corner where I had enjoyed no more than three beers, maybe four. I dropped my keys into the bowl on the desk in the hallway and kicked my shoes off leaving them under the desk as normal.

Most times when I get home at least one or two of the cats comes to greet me and more often than not they all end up in the hallway to say hello and meander about as if they have a plan to fell me before I get to the living room. This evening I was the one meandering down the hallway, no cats in sight.

“Miserable lot, you all are. No greetings for me tonight?” I shouted ahead of me.”Got something more interesting to keep your attention have you?” I added.

On occasion the cats acted like a pack and caught a bird in the back garden. This could mean they would be occupied for sometime teasing the poor creature until it ran out of breath and chances. They would then get bored and search me out once more. I guessed they were deeply involved in this torturous game.

Coming into the living room I flicked the light switch, flooding the room with immediate light only to see the cats sitting on their various perches around the room staring at the sofa in the corner. I turned to see what was holding them so rapt and quiet and there, once more, was the oddly dressed stranger, although this time his jeans, shirt and jacket were much more in keeping with the time and soundings. They just didn’t seem to fit him well.

Once more my heart leapt into my mouth which had dried as a result of the surprise and my mind tumbled over itself for words with which to assault the interloper.

“You again?!” Was all I managed to blurt out.

The stranger held out his hands in a “guess so / you’ve got me there” gesture.

“Ok. This time I want some answers.” My mind had caught up with the situation and I intended to take charge. “Firstly who are you and how did you get in here this time?” There, the first questions were asked.

“I too am Saul.” Was his succinct reply.

The possibility of us sharing a first name was too much of a coincidence. “You’re joking,” I told him.

“Not at all. I am Saul.” He folded his arms across his chest in a manner that indicated further discussion on this detail would be useless.

“It’s not like it’s a common name,” I commented. “So the chances of a housebreaker breaking into my house with the same name as me must be millions to one.”

“Much greater than that,” Saul replied. “But I am no housebreaker.”

Up to this point the cats had staued in their places watching the interchange between us. All of a sudden they leapt up as one and shot through the door in a flash of fur, headed towards the garden. Arson, thus named for his flaming ginger coat, was just ahead of the others by the time they passed through the doorway and it was his howl that pierced my ears first from outside. I knew each of the cats voices as well as I knew the voices of family and friends.

“Do you always create such disturbances?” I asked of my visitor as I gave chase to find out what had made Arson screech so. “And stay put this time,” I told him. I wanted to find out more and didn’t want him disappearing while I was out of the room.

I didn’t catch his reply as I exited the living room but it must have been in the negative for when I came back in sometime later he had indeed gone.

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Dark III

The second of Chrissy’s writing challenges was to …
“Ask three people, on line, on the phone or in person what their favourite onomatopoeia is. Write a short piece with these three words in the text.”
So the words I eventually ended up with are… sizzle, trickle, drizzle, purr and clunk…

***************************

The guy in the park had been less informative than I had expected. He had done little more than tease me with the short interchange we had shared, then invited me to join him at a group of which he was part. He gave me a card, that was more like a tarot card than a business card and said he hoped that he’d see me at the group the next evening.  At the time I took hardly any notice of his card and shoved it in my pocket with little more than a quick glance.  From it I learnt that his name was Dane Slagskygge and that  the group, which he had already told me, was ‘From the Shadows’.

Walking to the park, and sitting in the sunshine had raised my mood slightly, but the encounter with Dane and now the drizzle that had started out of nowhere had pushed me back down.  The words from my waking dream were back with a vengeance and running round in my head.  They had returned as an intrusive repetitive purr but were gaining strength. A migraine wouldn’t be far away.

As I trudged homewards the sky darkened even more. It was clear a storm was coming. I was now wishing I had put on a warm coat instead of the shades that were now surplus to requirements.  The rain had started to trickle down my neck wetting my collar and my shoes were soaking up the water as it settled in small puddles.

Instead of rushing home and getting a complete soaking I decided to duck into the cafe I sometimes went to for breakfast. Looking through the window I could se that I wasn’t hte only one caught out by the suddenness of the change of the weather.

I pushed the door open making the bell above it jingle.  It was such a traditional greasy spoon type cafe. There was a low murmur of conversation but the dominant sound that grabbed my attention was the sizzling of the grill from which the smell of bacon wafted across the room assaulting my nostrils. I moved towards an empty table and took a seat on the bench along the side wall.

” You’re late today. The usual?” Belle, the waitress asked as she sidled up to me with a coffee jug in her hand. She was easily old enough to be my grandmother but as spritely as a teenager, and so much more pleasant. She placed a mug on the table in front of me.

“Fill her up,”  I told her pushing the mug towards her. “And yes the full veggie.”

“A man of habit,” she commented as she filled the mug. “Bad day today?”

“Again,” I replied. She instinctively picked up on my demeanor.

She knew me well and instead of offering some pointless platitude simply tilted her head signaling her understanding, giving me a wink at the same time. She grabbed my shoulder as she returned to the kitchen.

Beside me on the bench there was a damp newspaper. I didn’t usually read the news, finding it all too depressing, but something about the headline had caught my eye.  I picked the paper up and shook it out to read the article.  I was just a few words into the story when there was a loud clunk on the table. I looked up from the paper slightly startled, but it was only Belle with my all-day breakfast.

She was normally a seen and not heard kind of waitress, unless you were looking for conversation. Then she could talk the hind legs off the proverbial donkey. I looked up from the plate to her. For just a moment she had a blank look on her face.

“Don’t go,” she whispered. Her face changed as if registering where she was after a long sleep.

“I’ve only just got here,” I half-joked away the awkwardness.

“I know, love. More coffee?”  She asked brightly. It was clear she had no recollection of what she had just said.

I nodded and as she moved away looked back at the article I had been reading. ‘What the hell is going on?’ I asked myself under my breath.

01-14 Drizzle

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Filed under Contemporary, Intrigue, Mini Saga, Thriller/Mystery

Dark II

Although I had decided not to listen to any other self revelations from the recording those three words stayed with me.  They weren’t constant but once they started the self maintaining loop, they were worse than any earwig pop song.  

Sleep was elusive even when dusk turned to night.  My insomnia was a two-pronged problem.  On one hand my mind wouldn’t, or couldn’t let go, while on the other I wasn’t ready to return to the darkness of sleep.  What might wait for me in the unconscious slumber scared me.

No matter how much I tried to fight the pull of sleep it gained the upper hand on occasion during the night, but it failed to be restful and when morning came I was exhausted and out of sorts.  

After the briefest of ablutions I decided that a walk would do me good. The dark corners in my mind that usually retreated with the dawn were more persistent than usual.  I needed time in the sun.  Donning my shades to hide my tired bloodshot eyes I headed out to the park. 

After having walked around for what felt like at least an hour I could feel my spirits rising, while my energy depleted. I decided to sit on the closest bench and enjoy the warmth of the day.  I crossed my legs and closed my eyes, leaning back to get the full sun on my face.

I hadn’t been sitting long when a shadow briefly fell across my face.  I ignored it until a voice quietly asked, “May I?” 

I opened my eyes.  A blond man of indeterminate age stood there.  He gestured to the bench.  He clearly wanted to join me. I gestured back indicating he should feel free to do so. 

“Lovely day,” he said as he sat.

I  hardly took any notice of him and didn’t want to get into conversation so nodded, hoping that he would take the hint.  He was good looking but I hadn’t come to the park to cruise. 

“But the shadows remain,” he added in a deeper tone. 

Now I was interested.  “Sorry?” I asked.

“I know you heard.  I know you understand,” the blond stranger told me. 

“You wha…?” I began to ask then switched to, “who are you?”

“Someone who knows,” he replied enigmatically. 

“Knows what?” I asked him. He knew he had me hooked.  He had a satisfied look on his face. 

“How it feels, and the answer to that question stuck in your head. But…” He started to stand up. 

“But nothing, sorry,” I quickly interrupted, “please…” I needed to know more. I wanted those three words and the feelings they caused out of my head. 

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Nanowrimo update / Mistakes

Today I shot over the 25% having written just over 13,000 words so far this month. The story is flowing fairly smoothly, and details become clearer as I write. 

Here’s a bit more from Craig, picking up whee I left off last time…

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Below the message there was a button titled ‘Help’  which if clicked would take him to a specific link.

“Sod that,” he said aloud to the empty room. “That’s where you’ll get me and a bloody virus will infect my pc with a Trojan or something.” He felt quite pleased with himself for spotting that one, even if he wasn’t sure he’d got the terminology spot on.

Craig clicked another couple of buttons and banished the strange email to something his virus-checker called ‘the sand-pit’, which sounded to him far too simple a location to be somewhere safe to dump dangerous items .

Without further thought he turned back to his writing programme and set about making a start on chapter two.

Before he had managed to type more than another ten words the landline rang startling him out of his other world.

“Who the…?” he said to himself as he jumped up and moved into the hallway where the phone was trilling away. “No one calls on the landline anymore, except Barry, and he’ll be well out of it by this time of night.”  The clock on the hallway wall was at just before midnight.

Snatching up the received and pressing the button which opened the line he put it to his ear.

“Hello, Craig speaking,” he said feeling just a little bit formal.

The line crackled slightly, which Craig put down to the weather that was still thrashing about outside, but no one spoke.

“Hello,” Craig said again. “Hello.”

For a few moments he considered that it was probably Halloween pranksters that were having a bit of fun with him. He strained to see if he could hear anything in the background but couldn’t identify any of the noises for definite.

As he was about to take the phone away from his ear and hang up there was ripping sound and a woman’s voice breathed in an hoarse, almost sexy whisper,  “ Craig? Craig? hello?”

Those two words were followed by static and then silence.

“Who’s there?”  Craig asked. “Who is it? What do you want?”

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Mistakes (3)

Jumping forward slightly in the story
                                 and to another location and character …..

Craig

Craig hit the space bar on his lap top five times then settled back in his chair.  It had been a long time since he had got so lost in writing that he was thrilled to see the words rushing onto the pages as his fingers whizzed across the keys, albeit with a whole gamut of typos for correction later.

For the past few months he hadn’t quite had writers’ block more of a lack of intention. Where in his head his writing usually was there had been a space, now it was rapidly filling with images and characters whose stories needed to be told. Well to be honest not a crowd of characters just a few special ones; the ones that were already making the pages of his new… novel perhaps.

For Craig his writing came alive; from his mind to his fingertips to the page and back round to his mind. It felt like a continuous loop. The more he considered his characters the more they gave back to him in the means of their stories to be told.  To Craig his characters came to life. In one of his first books he had felt obliged to kill off a character, and even as he typed now he felt some level of guilt and having caused the other characters in the book pain. He also missed Stanley like he would if he had really been bereaved.  Sometimes the borders between reality and the worlds he created became blurred and he found himself spotting his characters on television, and at time in his day to day life.

Grabbing his mug of tea, which had more or less gone cold, Craig reread the first chapter of this new story that was coming together before his eyes. Once again he marvelled at the process.  Reading the words off his laptop he silently mouthed the words, something that was left over from learning to read as a child, something Sonia said she hoped he never lost.  She said she found it enchanting. Craig wasn’t so sure and wondered if perhaps it just made him look stupid.

After tweaking the vocabulary and grammar here and there, with the help of the ever present auto-correct, Craig was satisfied with this first draft.  He sat back again feeling a sense of accomplishment. He sipped the now cold tea and listened to the storm raging outside.  It really sounded like it was ratcheting it up to be the storm of the century.  Thunder and lightning never worried him. On the contrary they were his friends.  They were friends that had already added a touch of drama to his latest offering.

For a moment he thought of his girlfriend, Sonia, who had gone out to a friend’s early Halloween party. He had tried her mobile a couple of times but had been unable to get any answer. He guessed either the storm was interfering with the signal, or that Sonia couldn’t hear her phone amid the hubbub of the party.  Although Craig loved to dress up, and loved partying too he had decided to stay in and get to grips with the writing while the ideas were alive. If the truth be told he was sure he was having just a good a time sitting in front of his laptop with his newly created characters as he would have had at any party.

All of a sudden the lightning shuttered through the window once more, accompanied by a simultaneous crash of thunder making Craig jump at its ferocity. The storm had to be right overhead at this point he calculated. Within a second or two the lights flickered and his laptop screen went blank, before reappearing moments later with the sign-on screen. Craig had a moment of panic not remembering if he had saved his first draft or not. Signing in he hoped against hope that he had been conscientious enough to have done so.

As the laptop windows opened that he had previously been using he was struck that  the email window appeared on top. Without checking his emails he switched to his writing programme window. As it came to life on the screen he took a deep breath and scrolled up and down. With relief he saw that it was all as it should be. He had been careful enough to save as he had been going along and had lost nothing by the temporary black-out.

In the bottom corner of the page a reminder window was flashing telling Craig that he had two new emails. He clicked the window opening another full screen one with his inbox displayed. The first email was from his credit card company offering a free transfer of any balance on other credit cards. He deleted that without opening it. He had no interest in adding to any credit card account, not while he had a bit of money in the bank.

The other email had no title in the subject line and in the sender information box it appeared that he had sent the email to himself. It looked a bit suspect so he opened it cautiously, after clicking the command telling his virus checker to scan the email for malware. He had had the misfortune to infect his laptop once before by not being cautious enough with a suspicious email.  He wasn’t going to do that again if he could at all help it.

The email opened full screen on his laptop. The only thing the message said was:

“Lost something recently?
Is there a space in your life when once there wasn’t?
We are here to help you get it back.”

you have mail

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Mistakes ……

The story continues ………………………………………………………………………………

……

For too long now she had had enough of the physical and emotional abuse that was being unleashed on her daily and tonight had found the opportunity and strength to break out and get away. She could hardly believe it.

Her mind hadn’t processed anything further than making her escape from the dungeon that Mack had created for her. Still, nothing had changed, rushing along the dark streets with the rain lashing against her face she had no clear plan of what she was going to do. To her this was a strange town and she had no idea where she was or where she was going, but at least she was getting away.

Huddled inside the blanket she felt her baby sneeze.  Instinctively she pulled the blanket tighter to her breast. Her baby was all she had in the world and she couldn’t even begin to think about losing him.  Yet those thoughts still pushed insistently into her mind as she felt him shiver and sneeze again.

The lightning lit up the sky and the wet streets with a sporadic regularity, followed by thunder loud enough to rattle windows and doors. Tanita was petrified.  Everywhere she looked she saw danger, even imagining she had seen Mack’s face in some of the shop windows as she ran by. All of a sudden the street lamps went out and the town was plunged further into darkness. Now only the latent light from the windows of the buildings lit up the streets. Although this would probably help Tanita’s escape she found that the outside world was such a scary place and she almost regretted her decision to escape. The further she got from Mack’s hideous grasp should have made her feel easier, but she couldn’t let her guard down for a second.

Tanita’s stomach rumbled almost as loudly as the thunder overhead. She couldn’t remember when Mack had last fed her, but thought that it hadn’t been at any point that day.  The gruel he fed her, although nutritious never satisfied her desire for fresh food.  She vaguely remembered eating pineapple so very  long ago in her past. The thought that someday she may once again get to eat such a delight made her salivate and her stomach groan even more energetically.  She would have to find some food soon or she wouldn’t be able to continue at such a pace, and feeding her baby would be just as important.

Once again Tanita’s instincts kicked in. She looked around in the hope of spotting some place to find some food, but could see nothing in the almost pitch black.  She sniffed the air to see if she could locate and aromas that might give the game away of a food store nearby, and thought she could smell something edible.  Clutching her baby tighter to her breast she picked up her pace and set off in the direction in which she was sure food might be found.

…….

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Mistakes

So here it is – the start of my new novel ….. and I really have no idea where things are going to go… 

 

Tanita

Clutching her baby closely to her chest she ran down the rain soaked street.  It wasn’t a good night to be out as the promised storm lashed the coastal town with a force greater than predicted. The lamplights cast pools of light and dingy shadows full of promise. At the same time the rain and lighting caused disturbing shadows and frightening images in every doorway and plate glass window and door.

Running as if her young life depended on it she was careful to stay hidden in the shadows. She wanted nobody to see her, and luckily the weather meant there was hardly anyone around. The storm had sent the whole town’s population heading for cover on this fateful night in October. Now everyone was holed up for the night in their warm homes. This year there would be no trick or treating, or at least none of the traditional kind that usually filled the streets.

As she ran she could feel her heart beating wildly in her chest. She could also feel her baby’s laboured breathing through the blanket she had snatched up and wrapped him  in as part of their escape. Although her thoughts were jumbled and her mind consumed by fear she also felt a kind of elation that at last she was free, that they were both free from Mack and his cruel ways.

 

Any thoughts? Comments? suggestions? Encouragement? ….

 

11 - Mistake

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