Progeny Of A Killer: Chapter Two, Part 2

As promised, here’s Chapter Two Part 2. You can catch up on Part 1 here.

“Jesus, man, let him up, he needs to talk,” I tell him. “So this Irishman. He’s taken over from Ray Lamond?” He nods but perfunctorily. “The tapes in your basement. Is this where you store the perverted stuff to sell on the Internet’s forbidden sites?”

Cartright has trouble speaking, so that his words issue with a lisp. Blood continues to drizzle through what remains of his teeth. “He’s from the North. Northern Ireland.”

“So do we have a name? Where can he be found?” I remonstrate.

“I don’t know, honest. I told you I don’t get to see him. Neither does Louis.”

“So, Martin, tell me how many children you and your pal Platt have tortured and burnt?” Although my tone remains in the selfsame congenial timbre, I cannot fail to avoid the rise of anger that gnaws and burns at my insides. The sensation is so predominant, that it practically makes my head spin. The only thing helping me to sustain the pretence of a cool, calculating demeanour is the savouring of Martin Cartright’s punishment.

“I ain’t admitting to any of that.”

“How fuckin’ many?” This time the inherent anger is allowed to pervade and I rasp, “how many?”

“Ten, twelve,” he offers the information so nonchalently, that Mitchell and I can’t avoid a sickly exchange of disbelieving glances. “There’s a lot of likeminded people out there that like to watch kiddies being touched. The boss knows that. I can’t expect people like you to understand.”

“Understand? Is he having a fuckin’ laugh?” growls Mitchell. ” Let ‘s get him out of here before I throw up. Hood him so we can take ours off. My fuckin’ face is beginning to itch.”

“Where are you taking me?” Cartright sounds anxious again. “I thought you wanted to ask me more questions.” He directs his attention to me, the guy that maybe he views as the good cop. The guy with the softly-spoken Irish accent. The proverbial iron fist in the velvet glove. One he fails to realise may yet come up with the metaphorical knife blade.

“Sure now, you’re not going to tell us anything more are you, man?” I say I’m conscious that he’s stalling for time, aware that we’re going to kill him and it’s obvious that his intention is to buy that time.

“I ain’t lying when I said I don’t know the boss’ s name, but Louis Platt, he lives alone in the house. He used to live with his old lady, his mother, but she died. Like I said,  it’s out Camden way. I ain’t ever been there, so I don’t know whereabouts. And the Paddy, the Irishman, all Irish accents sound pretty much the same to me. but you gotta softer way of speaking. He’s a fuckin’ abrupt bastard.”

“Jesus, mate, he’s either making a pass, or he’s trying to get onto your good books,” Mitchell quips.

“It’s called gentle persuasion, my friend. It’s surprising what you can get out of someone with a wee bit of that.”

“So where you from then?” Cartright dares to enquire.

“Och me? Dublin. So if there’s nothing more you can tell us…”

I’ve heard enough already. Besides, the place is beginning to give me the creeps. The small box-like lounge, the TV resting on a glass shelf in the corner, all so comparitively innocent. Nevertheless I have cause to wonder how many children have been lured to Cartright’s Brixton home. The stench of freshly painted dark blue on the walls, in all likelihood, attests to its own depraved story.

Mitchell wraps tape around Cartright’s mouth before slipping a black hood over his head. There is both an absence of either mouth or eye slits in the hood. Mitchell tightens the hood at Cartright’s neck unceremoniously, enough to close off his breathing if he so desired.

I manage to suppress an involuntary shudder when Mitchell deigns to enquire about the woman. An unmistakeable sound of whimpering, reminiscent of a wounded animal, issues from behind the hood.

“What about her?” I ask

Mitchell gestures upstairs. “I called the boss.”

“And?”

He merely shrugs and purses his lips.

“I told you, she stays where she is. I won’t be a party to that. And when this is over…”

“You’ll what?”

It’s my turn to shrug. “It doesn’t matter.”

“You always was a fuckin’ moody paddy.” Mitchell pulls the Glock from his jacket. Aware of his intention, I lay a restraining hand on his arm.

“You don’t have to do this, man.”

“It’s okay, you won’t be implicated, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“That’s not what I meant. She’s a….”

“A woman. Just get him into the fuckin’ van.” He gestures to the hooded figure.

I allow him to go upstairs reluctantly. The woman is probably innocent, plus I can hardly believe that Treveleyan would sanction such an action.

I grab Cartright unceremoniously by the arm, reminding him that if he makes any escape attempts that I won’t hesitate to shoot him. I bundle him into the back of the van. One Mitchell had stolen earlier and consequently changed the number plates. I slam the door hard. I snatch off the hood and drop it into my jacket. Jumping into the driving seat, I swiftly imbibe a swallow from the hip flask before igniting a smoke.

“You’ll fuckin’ set fire to yourself one day, McRaney,” Mitchell complains with his familiar growl.

“What the fuck’s that supposed to mean?”

“The whisky. I know what it is ‘cos I can smell it, and then lighting up a fag. So you going to let me have some?”

I reluctantly pass the flask.

“Fuck, McRaney, how long you been drinking?”

Clambering into the seat next to me he snatches off the hood. Cartright lies recumbently in the back of the Trafic. His hands are bound behind him. His feet strapped together. I had checked the tape and re-tied the hood.

“It’s got nothing to do with you,” I retort. “So I suppose you’re going to grass on me to Treveleyan, ‘that Aidan McRaney’s an alcoholic.’ Sure it’s the only way I can get through this shit, man. So where we headed? I thought maybe out Epping Way. It’s pretty isolated. So what about the woman?” I ask as I swing the van out into the street.

“You don’t have to worry about her. If you ain’t got the stomach for it.”

“I didn’t say that. It’s just that I don ‘t believe in killing innocent people, that’s all. Nothing fazes you does it, Mitchell?”

“Oh it does, believe me. If you must know, I didn’t kill the woman.”

“You didn’t?” I favour him with an unaccustomed smile. The first probably since we had taken on this business. “I’m glad to hear it.”

“We didn’t know the bird was going to be there, or how involved she is in this.”

“Surely if the cops sanction this they’d draw the line at killing innocent people?”

“Innocent, law-abiding people yes, but that Rosie, she knew what he was doing. She must have.”

“So what happens to her?”

“It’s not our problem anymore. That is, however…” He gestures to the rear of the van. “So you think you’ll be pissed by the time you do this? I knew you was drinking, mate. That’s why I asked if you were okay. Look, there’s gotta be better ways of handling this than getting fuckin’ pissed, and maybe getting picked up on a drink driving charge. We’re toting shooters, mate. That’ll take some explaining, even if they are licensed.”

My breath issues hard and ragged, while a cigarette remains an omnipresent fixture. I refrain from glancing at the other man as we head towards Epping Forest.

Advertisements

Progeny Of A Killer: Chapter Two, Part 1

I thought I’d put up bit more of a taster for my current work in progress, my new novel Progeny Of A Killer. If you want, you can go to Chapter One Parts 1 and 2.

It’s probably best to add a little warning that there’s some violent content and strong language.

Cartwright’s Confession

“Who… who are you?” Cartright asks, now displaying an initial sense of fear. Particularily as Mitchell has yanked his arms so far behind him, the limbs are in danger of being snapped.

“Guns? I thought you were just going to beat me up. That’s what usually happens. I thought you were them kid’s dads or something.”

“Shut the fuck up! You talk too much.” The gloved fist I slam into Cartright’s  mouth takes him by surprise. He jerks his head back as blood drizzles from a lacerated lip. “The only talking we want you to do is to answer some questions.” I return the Browning to my holster. I warn him that just because I’ve put my gun away it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to kill him.

“Is Rosie okay?” Perspiration beads his forehead, dripping from his hair into his eyes. He blinks it back swiftly.

“We ask the fuckin’ questions.” Mitchell binds rope around Cartright’s hands, tightly interlacing the hemp to the back of the chair. While he does, Cartright emits an agonising ‘ouch’ of pain.

“Now, you fuckin’ perverted bastard, you’re going to tell us who that little girl is on the tape. The poor kid. You fuckin’ set fire to her. She tried to scream, but you gagged her, you bastard.” The blow Mitchell delivers resounds like a thundercrack as it connects against Cartright’s jaw, causing the tears to spring into his eyes. His pleas for mercy go unheeded when another blow almost sends him reeling from his chair. Mitchell is a powerfully built guy. “I asked who was she?”

Our faces remain concealed. Cartright attempts to penetrate the masks, while his eyes are narrowed as if with recognition.

“You heard him, bastard!” My anger is a formidable living, breathing force.

“Why should I tell you? You’re going to kill me anyway ain’t you?”  The words issue almost like a challenge, an open defiance. It’s as if he’s sure of himself, even when Mitchell, pulling the weapon from his jacket,unceremoniously whips him across the jaw. He wraps a muscular arm about Cartright’s windpipe, practically shutting off his breath.

“That depends on you, you bastard. You want to live? Then talk. That little girl. You still haven’t told us who she was. What did you do to her afterward? And her family, how do you think they feel? I bet it didn’t occur to you to think what they might be going through.”

Cartright’s nose is bleeding profusely. Blood continues to ooze from a split lip, seeping between a couple of shattered teeth. He spits out the blood, narrowly missing our boots. He regards Mitchell and I with an open defiance once more.

“She’s fuckin’ dead ain’t she? We fuckin ‘ buried her. Go on, fuckin’ shoot me if that’s what you’ve come for. He wanted us to do it. We didn’t want to burn the kid. It was his idea…” He ceases his talk immediately, as if he’s said too much.

“Who wanted you to do it? Who is behind all this? Because I don’t think  for a minute, that you’d have the brains. Not that what you did needs brains.” I listen to the impassioned anger present in my voice. It would be so effortless to simply plug the bastard where he sits, bound and helpless to the chair.

Cartright hesitates. I bring my face up close to his. Martin Cartright’s bloodied lips remain firmly closed.

“I… I don’t  know his name. He ordered us to abduct the kids, film ’em.”

“So was it his idea, whoever he is, to set fire to that  wee girl after you’d finished with her? She was hooded. Still alive…” I allow my words to trail. All this sickens me to the stomach. I never imagined how evil people can be even while I was in prison.

“You okay?” Mitchell enquires, concern in his voice.

I barely glance his way. My attention is centred on my attempt to discover more information from this monster. His bloodied lips negotiate a grotesque twisted line. He hisses, “if you kill me you’ll know nothing.”

“You only have to move your head, Cartright, and my pal will snap your neck. You said ‘us’. Is Louis Platt the other guy in the film?”

Aware of his hesitation, I repeat my question angrily.

“What film?”

“The fuckin’ home movie. Is that how you want to die, Cartright?” I mock contemptuously.

“What?” Perspiration breaks out along his brow again. There’s an unmistakeable stench of urine pervading the room.

“You filthy bastard! Come on, we ain’t got all night.” Mitchell hisses impatiently. “Now tell us about Louis, where he lives, and about the bastard whose pulling your strings. We know it used to be Lamond, but he’s brown bread. So who is it?” Mitchell wraps a gloved hand around a handful of Cartright’s hair and yanks it hard.

“Okay, okay, I… I’ll tell you. And if I do you’ll let me go?”

Let him go? To inform the guy whose pulling his strings? Our orders are to obtain answers from Martin Cartright. It’s the way Sir George Treveleyan works and this underground agency of his. Discover as much information we can from the mark, then terminate his life. Like I said it’s shit.I t’s no wonder that I drink, as I find no other outlet from this heinous occupation.

“So, Mr Cartright, who are you working for?” I adopt a more conciliatory tone, conscious of Mitchell’s eyes narrowed my way in the slits of his mask, warily. “Your pal Louis, you think he’s going to care? Or the guy you’re working for? They aren’t going to shed any tears at your demise are they? You want to take this rap alone? We kill you, and your pal Louis and the boss man whose behind all this are probably laughing. They’ll think you gave your life away to keep them in the clear. Ray Lamond’s dead. We know you worked for him. So whose taken over?”

“He’ll kill me if I talk.”

“And we’ll fuckin’ kill you if you don’t.”

“He’s like you. I mean he talks the way you do,” Cartright stammers. I observe there ‘s more urine leaking through his tracksuit pants.

“Filthy bastard, you fuckin’ stink. You’ve fuckin’ peed yourself again, ” hisses Mitchell.

I bring my face up close to Cartright’s. “So your pal Louis. His surname, is it Platt?”

“Yeah, his name’s Platt. Louis Platt.”

“Where does he live?” I insist.

“In Camden. He lives in Camden.”

“And the boss man. Tell us about him.”

Cartright is practically crying now, as evidenced by the drizzle of wetness that stains his cheeks. Tears intermingle with perspiration. As he’s bound to the chair, he’s compelled to allow both of them to fall unchecked. “I… I don’t know his name, but he’s a paddy. That’s all I know. A voice on the end of the phone and a package in the mail when he wants a job.”

“A paddy? You mean he’s Irish, this boss?” I cup a forefinger beneath his chin. “He talks like me?”

“Yeah, but harder,” his words are allowed to trail because Mitchell has wrapped both hands about Cartright’s head, as if it’s his intention to twist it right off. A singular twist in the correct place is capable of splintering the bones in the neck, enough to render him paralysed for the rest of his life, or to kill him.

Look out for the second part of chapter two this Thursday!

Short Story: Be Home Before Dark, John

In her rounded and softly moulded features, Mother’s eyes were deeply seated and of a soft gentle grey.  The way she dressed was reminiscent of the turn of the century.  Her bodice, fashioned with small white buttons, she wore high to the neck.  On her breast she sported a porcelain brooch, a present from Father that she had worn since they were married more than forty years ago.  Her hair was pulled tightly back from her forehead and worn in a bun.  I had never seen her hair loose.  Like her relationship with my father, that was something she kept.

“Be home before dark John” she said.  And there was no mistaking the anxiety in her voice while she adjusted the scarf about my neck, the scarf she had knitted for my brother Edward the previous winter.

behomebeforedarkWhen mother’s eyes strayed towards my father seated in his high backed chair by the fire, he turned slowly, the glance exchanged, though heaven knows how for my father was totally blind.  In spite of his blindness theintonation lay between them all the same.  I suppose that’s what happens when a man and a woman have been married as long as they have or have had as many children.

I was the youngest of ten; five brothers and four sisters, or I would have been if my six year old nephew Lenny hadn’t joined us.  Lenny was my sister’s illegitimate child, not that I fully understood what had happened to bring a return of my sister Kate to our humble cottage, sporting a swollen belly and two swollen eyes to match.  Kate had once been a pretty girl before she met and married the man she called ‘the major’.  Lenny wasn’t the major’s child.  The major had taken her in but Lenny got frightened when he major hit his mother.  When Mother spoke about the major she hinted that he wasn’t really a major; that he hadn’t even fought in any war and when she said it the familiar trace of bitterness punctuated her words.  I knew it wasn’t because of my sister’s predicament.  I had three brothers, Albert, Arthur and George fighting the war in Belgium in a town calledYpres.  Arthur had left behind a wife and a six month old infant son.

Laying my bike against the hedge beside the rail tracks I sat down on the grass, opened up my lunch box and began to tuck in to cheese sandwiches made with mother’s home baked bread, to find that the bread was still warm.  The disused railway sidings were my usual Saturday afternoon haunt, the tracks abandoned now; something to do with the relocation of the railway closer to town.   The deserted old sidings brought a return of the sadness I’d experienced on waking this morning.  The sadness was so overwhelming it almost made me cry, but fifteen year old boys don’t cry.  There was no reason for the sadness but I just couldn’t help it.  I would be sixteen next April and I knew in my heart that if this war went on any longer I would be sent to the Front too.  I heard from Edward they were taking lads as young as sixteen and seventeen as soldiers.  ‘But whatever you do John, please don’t tell Mother.  It would break her heart if you went as well’ Edward had warned.  Mother wouldn’t stand in my way of course.  We were at war. We were also British and it was expected that every young man in our village should wish to fight for his country.

It was late September.  Warmed by the unaccustomed afternoon sunshine, my belly filled with hot sweet tea and my mother’s bread, I suppose I must have dozed, for coming abruptly awake I realised that it was already dark.  In the distance I heard the screech of a night owl – the only sound to penetrate the stillness.  I had no watch so I had no idea of the time.  I could only guess how late it was and Mother’s words ‘be home before dark John’ slipped into my head once more.  Dark!  It was already dark.  Jumping up, brushing off my trousers and grabbing the bike, I leaped onto the saddle and pedaled as fast as I possibly could in the direction of the village.  I knew I had to make it home before Mother discovered that her youngest son was absent from supper.

The coldness of pale moonlight, a halo of steely silver, danced amidst the hedgerow and lent the road not only a sense of eeriness, but also of loneliness and desolation.  Mother would certainly be worried by now.  Why?  I didn’t know, after all I was old enough and strong enough to take care of myself.  The depression of earlier suddenly hit me again as I approached the village and the two white walled thatched cottages huddled closely together at the side of the road.  The feeling of sadness was so strong now that the tears filling my eyes blinded me a little and I was forced to swipe an impatient hand across my face.  What did I have to cry about anyway?  I was almost a grown man and grown men don’t usually cry about missing supper.  The light from the cottage window, illuminated by the flicker of the oil lamps, was a welcoming sight.

Suddenly and without warning I saw ahead of me what appeared to be a gigantic glowing light, but no kind of light that I had ever seen before.  Hanging suspended in the air it must have been at least six feet tall and about three to four feet wide.  It was also opaque; solid so that I was unable to see either the road or the surrounding area through it.  Cylindrical in shape it appeared to shimmer like a heat haze on a hot summer day.

I had already dismounted.  Only the cold grip of the bike’s handlebars beneath my clutching fingers indicated that I was awake and not dreaming, although my boots seemed to be fixed as if secured by nails to the road.  My heart banged so loudly in my chest I thought I would faint.  I stood there for what seemed a lifetime, rooted to the spot while the cylinder shaped light continued to pulse as if endowed with a life of its own.  I only managed to tear my gaze away from the thing with the realisation that the hour was late and I visualised Mother regarding the clock uneasily when I had not returned.

Thinking about Mother made me realise that I could move again.  The light had given me quite a shock at first but no light, as strange as it was, was going to prevent me from getting home.  Bravado fuelling me, I guided the bike forward.  It was obvious the light had no intention of letting me pass so I thought to outwit it by steering the bike off to the left of it.  Intercepting my actions as if we were playing some odd game of chess, it moved in the same direction.  When I attempted to veer to the right, the light definitely and defiantly had a mind of its own, for it also moved in that direction.  I was beginning to grow really afraid now as my bravado of earlier evaporated.  Nonetheless, when my mother’s anxious face rose up before me in my mind’s eye I knew what I had to do.  I had no alternative but to pass straight through the light.  Closing my eyes tightly I gripped the handlebars until my knuckles were white.  Muttering a half remembered prayer I’d heard in church, I marched deliberately and with determination head on into the light.  As I did so it exploded with such a deafening ferocity it almost shattered my ear drums and thundered through my head like a hundred stampeding horses.

Not daring to glance behind at the outcome of the explosion I jumped back onto the bike and as if all the legions of hell were after me I raced toward home.  I wasn’t about to hang around to discover if anyone else had heard the noise, though of course they must have done.  An explosion of that magnitude had to have been heard for miles around.  Tomorrow I would find out.  Tonight I was much too afraid to even think about it.

When I finally reached home I found Mother, Father and my brother Edward already seated at the supper table.  “John, whatever’s the matter?” Mother exclaimed, rising from her chair and glancing at the clock anxiously.

Wiping his moustache and lips on his napkin Edward said “We were getting worried John.  It’s late, and not like you to miss your supper.”

Still panting and breathless from my wild ride, I enquired if any of them had heard the terrible explosion tonight.  Oddly all three shook their heads.  It was Edward who asked what explosion I was talking about.  But they must have heard it.  My ears were still ringing.  Guiltily I stole a glance at the old grandfather clock in the corner of the room.  It was ten minutes to ten.  No wonder they were all so concerned.

The following day I made it my mission to enquire in the village if anyone had heard the explosion, particularly at the two old cottages along the road where the light had shattered when my bicycle collided with it.  Strangely no one had.

It was a week later that Edward and I returned from working on the farm to find my mother slumped in her favourite armchair, my father’s glaucoma-ridden eyes stained with an unaccustomed wetness.  I saw that the hand he rested on mother’s shoulders was trembling badly.  Kate was there too.  She held chubby little Lenny in her arms, tears running unashamedly down her cheeks.  A black edged letter I recognised as a telegram was clutched in her other hand.  She passed it to Edward.  I had never seen such a letter before but young as I was I knew exactly what it meant.

“It’s Arthur.  He… He’s been killed in Belgium” my sister blurted out, cuddling her son to her bosom protectively.

“What happened?” I heard Edward ask, a thickness in his voice.

“There was an explosion in the trenches” Mother said.

“What time did it happen?” Edward asked and I felt his arm slip around my shoulders.

“About nine thirty, ten o’clock, last Saturday night.”  Kate’s words ended on another broken sob.   I froze.  The exact time I had seen the light and heard the explosion that no one else seemed to have heard…

Eighteen months later I was sent to the Front as a boy soldier.

In March 1918, badly wounded in the leg, I was honourably discharged from the Army.  I was almost nineteen years old.

1914-18

The image above is of my uncle, Albert Smith, and comrade who served with him in the Royal Berkshire Regiment in the 1914/18 War. My uncle was one of the first to be called up, and was known as an Old Contemptible. He had spent his first Christmas behind enemy lines, just after the recent First battle of Ypres. Queen Mary had dispatched some Christmas goodies, mostly consisting of tobacco, to the troops.
My uncle spoke of a sighting of the Angel of Mons, which is now believed to have been nothing more than a peculiar cloud formation. However, as feelings ran high during that time, the soldiers believed that it was a sign from God.

Progeny Of A Killer: Chapter One Part 2

You can read the first half of the first chapter of Progeny Of A Killer here.

“I… I don’t know.” Tears fill her vision, and she averts her head. “He keeps the basement locked  and tells me not to go down there. Martin can be… be quite aggressive at times. I’m too scared to ask him questions.”

“Well I’m asking questions, Rosie. We can do this nice and gently. I don’t want to hurt you. but I can’t promise that my belligerent pal downstairs will be quite so considerate. You know exactly what Martin’s into, and yet you stay with him. Maybe he’s a good shag huh? Jesus, he’s fat and ugly. Plus he’s a fuckin’ paedophile. Maybe more than that. Do you know what was on that tape, Rosie?  There was a little girl. She was hooded and so were  the guys with her. But I knew it was your fella. They were touching up this girl. She was just a child. I reckon seven or eight. Your fella and another guy were laughing as they poured petrol over her. Talk to me, Rosie.”

Shaking her head she maintains that she knows nothing, except to suggest that we ask Martin.

“Oh don’t worry, Rosie, we’ll do that alright. The thin guy in the film. Is it Louis Platt?”

“I don’t know.”

“The other man?” I rasp.

“Yes, yes! Martin calls him Louis. That’s all I know.”

“If you’ve finished bellowing at that bird, mate, Cartright’s here,” Mitchell declares. A kind of bemused smile flirts around his lips, indiscernible in the narrow slits of the hood.

After replacing the tape, I ascertain that the ropes are secured. Counselling her not to move, I straighten to my full height. I enquire of Mitchell if he watched the tape.

He swallows hard. “‘Til the kid was fuckin’ burning.”

“I didn’t get that far. I have kids.”

“C’mon, lets intercept this fuckin’ bastard.” Mitchell pulls a Glock pistol and checks the clip. The smile, disappearing behind the mask, is swiftly replaced by a tightening set to his mouth.

Mitchell says, “by the way, I spoke to the boss,” in a sort of conspiratorial whisper.

“And?”

For an answer, he positions a couple of gloved digits adjacent to his temple.

“Fuck,man, I’m not going to be. party to that. She might be fuckin’ innocent. I’m not touching her.”

“Innocent! Jesus, listen to yourself. She lives with him. Screws him. It’s fuckin’ Fred and Rose West all over again. There’s stuff in that basement that no mortal eyes should have to look upon. Any decent woman would have had it on her toes ages ago, but she stays. That’s a fuckin’ double bed. She probably lets him fuck her after what he’s done.”

“Fred and Rose didn’t burn their victims. They just had more patios laid out. And maybe she puts up with it ‘cos she’s too scared to get away.”

“And maybe we was fuckin’ wrong about you.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You can be all fluffy-bunny and Daddy to your kids, but when we’re on a job all that goes out of the window, understand?”

“I’m not fluffy-bunny. Jesus, man. I can prove it, okay? But I still say we don’t kill the woman. She isn’t our mark.”

“It’s okay if you don’t have the stomach for it.”

My mouth is tight, and I push him ahead of me. “Maybe it’s not the stomach you gotta worry about. Maybe it’s the conscience.”

The woman isn’t armed. She lies upstairs bound and gagged. Will I be able  to live with myself again, with my baby, my wife and my ten year old son?

There’s something Mitchell knows nothing about. At least I hope he doesn’t. Since I’ve been doing this, a small hip flask has become my constant companion. I carry the flask inside my jacket adjacent to my pistol. Right now it’s the former that I close my hand over.

“Look, man, you go ahead.” I instruct him.

I hear the door bang downstairs. Cartright calls out. “I’m coming to get you, babe, ready or not,” to Rosie. Which makes me positively cringe.

“I’ll check on the woman again. Make sure she’s trussed-up, okay? Don’t waste him before I arrive will you?” I attempt a modicum of humour. To which he merely shrugs.

I wait until he returns downstairs before I retreat back into the bedroom, casting a cursory eye over Rosie. She’s trussed-up fine. All an excuse of course. I imbibe a much needed swallow before I return the flask to my jacket. The drink serves both to fuel my aggression and, more importantly, to lessen the guilt at what we are about to do.

Downstairs I discover Mitchell has Cartright pushed into a chair. The expression on Cartwright’s face is one of puzzlement rather than actual fear.

“Wh…what do you want? If it’s money, I… I’ve got some stashed upstairs.”

Cartright is a burly kind of guy filling out the black tracksuit he’s wearing. His hair is thick, but lank as if he hasn’t bothered to wash it.

55 years old. He’s been in and out of care homes since the age of eight. Institutionalised for child abuse, which had actually begun while in the care homes.  At 15 he’d sexually abused a nine year old girl. According to our brief, his predilection for children, particularily young girls, saw him moving from one home to another.

“Look, when you’ve finished beating me up, not that I haven’t been beaten up before, call me an ambulance will you?”  he implores.

“When we’ve finished with you, you fuckin’ perverted bastard, you’ll need a fuckin’ hearse,” I rasp. Pulling the Browning from my holster, I fit the silencer.

Progeny Of A Killer: Chapter One, Part 1

THE COLLECTOR

 London, 2012.

The basement was more spacious and accomodating than I had imagined. It was reached by yet another staircase. This one remains uncarpeted. My boots echo noisely on the bare boards. Flicking on the shadeless bulb, I observe it’s one of those low energy affairs. The light glows brighter, enough to illumine my surroundings. I kill my torchlight and slip it into my jacket. Pausing to light a cigarette, I scan the room in disbelief at the extensive amount of DVDs and VHS tapes occupying a couple of the large teak bookshelves. The only light in the twelve foot square room emanates from the bulb. A 42 inch TV, complete with DVD and video player, sits on a glass shelf.

To all intents and purposes, the basement appears innocent enough. A veritable haven for any movie buff. Except these aren’t the kind of movies you can enjoy with a beer and popcorn.

There’s a couple of hard backed wooden chairs face the T.V. I deposit my weight on one of them. I allow my gaze to traverse the room for anything that might be worthy of note. Nothing does it seems, apart from that huge television now standing idly by, collecting dust on the glass top.

I rest a hand on the chair arm, thankful that I’m wearing gloves, because something that looks suspiciously like blood is caked into the arm.

The stench pervades my nostrils and I swiftly leap from the chair. I taste the sliver on the leather. It’s definetly blood. I quickly rub the glove on a handkerchief.

Inspecting the shelves I read the titles. You certainly won’t find ‘Gone with the Wind’ or ‘Casablanca’ here. Nevertheless the titles catch my eye. Titles. Dates. Martin Cartright worked for the gangster, Raymond Lamond. He’s still working for someone, because Lamond’s been dead since February. The dates on some of the DVD’s are more recent. April. May. Up to August. Even two weeks ago.

My curiosity is aroused, and I remove the tape from the shelf. The smoke anchored an omnipresent fixture. A decidedly uneasy sensation now permeates my insides as I slip the DVD into the player. Sometimes, as now , I wonder what the hell I am doing here in a guy’s basement, awaiting his return. Upstairs, Dennis Mitchell guards his woman, whom he’s forced to the floor, before tying her up and gagging her. It was the reason why I volunteered to check out the basement.  I couldn’t bear to look into that woman’s terrified features any longer.

Two masked men had burst into her Brixton home, pulling guns and forcing her upstairs. This is shit. I know it, but I can’t help myself. It has to be my alter ego who flicks the remote of that DVD player. I wish to God that I hadn’t. Our brief is to check out some of the stuff Cartright houses in his basement.

The static is momentary, swift to clear. And there it is. My heart pounds. A trembling hand traces my bearded jaw thoughtfully. The scene unfolds. A child. A little girl wearing a grubby dress. There’s a suspicious saturation down the front, as if maybe she’s peed herself. The film is black and white. It’s only saving grace. She’s wearing socks that were once white, but are now grubby. No shoes. Her feet and hands are securely bound to a chair.  Who the girl is, or how old she is, I have no idea. She has a white hood, similar to the old fashioned flour sacks, pulled over her head, and tightened with a drawstring at the neck. I feel every tremble that she makes.

The two men with her are masked, balaclava hoods exposing only their eyes and mouths. One of the men is quite rotund, in possession of a stomach that is badly running to fat. In marked contrast, the other is positively skinny. Both are wearing camouflage. Because I cannot see their faces, they remind me idiotically of Laurel and Hardy. One thin. The other fat. ‘That’s another fine mess you’ve got me into.’

A laugh of sheer nervousness escapes me at the comparison, plus a physical sickness because I know that the fat one is Cartright. He’s the one touching the child up, while she sits there helplessly bound to the chair. She emits small, animal-like whimpers behind the hood, which makes me believe that she is gagged as well. I freeze when I think of my five year old neice, Samantha. My wee baby girl barely six weeks old. I can’t avoid the element of hysteria that rises. Only for it to subside, when breathing out I’m conscious of the semi-automatic .9mm Browning that nestles behind my jacket, as if the gun were an old friend. Oh yeah, Cartright. It won’t be much longer now, you bastard.

Cartright’s  laughter is ugly and forced as his big gloved hand slides  up inside her, beneath her dress. I catch a glimpse of the young girl’s almost hairless pubes. It’s plainly obvious that she isn’t wearing any knickers.

The skinny man. Treveleyan suggested his name is Louis Platt. It’s Platt who rips at her dress. The material tears apart in his hands, as if the dress were rotten. The hand rises upward toward her almost non-existant breasts. I would put the child’s age at around seven or eight. Aware that I should switch it off, I pull the tape from the machine, and crush the ungodly filth beneath my boot. But Treveleyan wishes for nothing to be destroyed. “Evidence, my boy, evidence.”

So I stare as if hypnotised, when Cartright pours what appears to be an almost colourless liquid from a small red can over the child’s head. I observe her entire body quiver inside her bonds. My stomach knots. My heart races so predominantly I can practically hear the rush of blood as it crashes through my skull.

Cartright and his companion evoke ugly, perverted belly-laughs. Their laughter is so sadistic and evil that I can barely believe that it emanates from a human being and not a demonic entity, summoned from the very bowels of Hell itself. Neither can I help but expel an involuntary gasp and feel the need to vomit simultaneously. Unable to watch any longer, I switch the abomination off And bury my head in my hands.

I have no idea how long I remain there, killing and lighting one cigarette from the glowing butt of the first. There’s a sound of hurried footsteps on the stairs. Dennis Mitchell exclaims, “What the fuck, McRaney? I wondered what was taking you so long. Did you find anything?”

“Oh sure I found something.” I attempt to clear my throat. Kill yet another cigarette. My stomach remains a bundle of knots. I swipe a palm across my eyes. There’s no way I can possibly allow this guy to remotely detect that I have shed a tear. He’ll think I’m not up to it. Maybe I’m not. But what else have I got left? Three eviction notices on my flat. My concern that my wife and baby will be homeless. It seems that no one wants to know an ex-con, especially someone whose been inside for manslaughter. “If you want to know what I’ve found. Then take a look in that machine, man. See what that bastards been doing.”

Mitchell’s eyes are of a strangely flecked hazel when they bore into mine. “I know what kind of shit he’s into.”

“Take a look,” I urge, and pass the remote. “You take care of her then? The woman. How much do you think she’s implicated in this?”

“I dunno. She lives with the bastard. don’t she? The stuff’s in the basement. What do you think?”

“Well, did you ask her? Were you able to get anything out of her?”

“I’m going to have to call the boss.” His tone of voice borders on the sombre.

“What about? To send in the cleaners?”

“That won’t be necessary. We’ll take the bastards with us.”

“The woman isn’t the target,” I point out. “We didn’t know she was going to be here. We were led to believe he lived alone. That wasn’t our brief, Mitchell.”

“That’s why I have to call the boss. See what he wants us to do.”

“Let’s concentrate on Cartright.” I flick a glance at my watch. “How much longer? Maybe the wee bastard’s got wise to us.”

Mitchell purses his lips.”We don’t need to fuck up. I wanna get this over with as quickly as possible. Look, McRaney, why don’t you see if you can get some answers from Cartright’s bird?”

“Don’t fuckin’ tell me what to do, Mitchell.”

I’m angry enough at what I have witnessed without  him assuming an unwarranted authority. Nevertheless he is correct in his assumption. We need to get this over with. Had expected our target to be present. Disposed of. Then to contact Treveleyan to send someone in  to seize the condemning evidence. That Cartright has been abusing young girls, most of them under 16. The girls are invariably masked, as are the abusers. The atrocities sold on forbidden Internet sites.

Apparently the late, lamented Lamond brothers were reputed to have had their depraved

fingers in a lot of pies, that even I had been unable to guess at. I’d not remotely suspected paedophilia. But Raymond and Francis Lamond are now dead. Alternatively,as attested to by the recent entries on those incriminating DVDs, someone else is ultimately working the ‘kiddie fiddling’ racket. Martin Cartright, a known paedophile, is merely acting on their behalf.

Unable to forget what I’ve seen on that tape, I leave Mitchell to check out the DVD. I move into the room upstairs where the woman lies on the floor. Her hands are bound behind her, her feet secured. Duct tape seals her mouth. Rolling a balaclava over my face before she clocks me, I observe her move her head in my direction when I enter.

She offered her name as Rosie when Mitchell asked. I judge her to be somewhere into her mid forties. She’s not bad looking I suppose, despite the addition of the peroxide blonde. Slenderly built, she wears pink pyjama bottoms with a tee shirt top. Rosie mutters incoherently behind the gag. I peel the  tape from her mouth. She regards me without speaking from wide, terrified eyes. She obviously believes we are there to kill her. I cannot speak for my companion, but killing her is certainly not my intention. All I require is some answers. Hunkering down to her level, I warn, “don’t scream, Rosie. I don’t want to hurt you, understand?” I talk to her gently.  “Understand?”

“I… I understand.” She starts to cry silently, allowing the tears to slide unchecked down her face. I wipe them away.

“That’s good. Because I need to talk to you before Martin returns. It is Martin isn’t it?”

Her nod is perfunctory. I guess it’s difficult for her to keep her head erect when she’s practically eating the carpet. She lies half-in, half-out under the bed, flat on her stomach.

“Are you going to kill him?”

“Depends on what he tells us sweetheart. You live here? I mean is this your house or Martin’s?”

“It’s his, M….Martin’s.”

“I need some answers. How much do you know about the stuff in the basement?” I maintain a carefully controlled voice, in spite of the perverse desire to grasp  her by that peroxide hair so belligerently  that it will make her eyes water.

“I don’t know nothin’. It ain’t nothin’ to do with me.”

“You’re lying, Rosie. How can you not know when you’re living with it in the house ? I’ve just watched one of those DVDs. It was called The Burning. What do you suppose that means?”

Short Story: The End Of The Road

This is just a rough draft, but thought it would be fun to share.

The End Of the Road

 Who would have thought it? The office mouse marrying the boss’s son, let alone dating him. His father, Samuel Pryor, was head of Pryor Holdings. Since the latter had suffered a heart attack recently, it was left to oldest son Mathew to run the London office.

photo Fresh out of secretarial college, Cathy Townsend had been lucky to acquire the admin job at Pryor Holdings. At first, Cathy believed that Mathew had asked her out solely for a bet. She had invariably seen the other girls in the office, laughing and joking with him. After all, at 26 he was a good looking man with his dark wavy hair, and such profound brown eyes. Cathy had often caught herself glancing away shyly, colour rushing to her face whenever he spoke to her.

Not only did the first date turn into a second, it developed into a relationship, then came the engagement. Now here she was, Mrs Catherine Pryor. They had recently returned from a three week romantic honeymoon in Italy. She had never realised how true happiness could be. Now she had found it in the arms of this man. She knew that the girls at the office all expected such a whirlwind romance to fail, and that a man like Matt would soon tire of her.  After all he could have had his pick of any girl.

Throughout the holiday he’d been both a constant and attentive husband. On their return he couldn’t wait to show her the new house in Kent. The place was out in the countryside, and all bought and paid for by Sam and Mathew. The young couple wouldn’t have to concern themselves with trifling mortgages. They could concentrate on making Sam, and his wife Andrea, grandparents. Sam was over 65, and wondered if he would ever have any grandchildren.  Cathy only wished that her mother could have been at her wedding, to witness her marriage to a man who was both attractive and wealthy. A man who never tired of telling her how much he loved her.

Matt and his brother David had spent the past few days fixing things up at the house, so that it should be perfect for the new Mrs Pryor. It was refreshing to escape into the countryside after the bustle of London. Cathy observed the hedgerows speed by beneath the wheels of her husband’s sporty red Porsche. He would often press a hand to her knee, smile and enquire solicituously if she were happy. That he would do anything to please her. He loved her so much. She had never entertained such peace with the world. She believed she never would again since her mother’s death. Her thoughts returned to the latter often, particularily since her marriage.

When the phone shrilled sharply on the dash, Cathy couldn’t help but jump, startled out of her reverie, annoyed that the instrument dared to disturb the peace. Snatching up the mobile, Matt demanded, “Stevie, what’s wrong, mate? You know I’m taking my wife to view the house today. I didn’t want to be disturbed. It had better be important.” The smile he directed her was apologetic.

Cathy had often wondered why he didn’t use the hands-free. But Sam had the idiotic notion that you never knew who might be listening in to the conversation if it were on loudspeaker.

“What?” Matt exploded, jerking himself up bolt upright in the driving seat. ” I thought that deal was in the bag. Come on, Stevie. Look, I’ll be back soon, but not today. You can handle it surely…”

As he talked he was prompted to swerve, narrowly missing an oncoming car. Her heart crashing, Cathy was compelled to grab the steering wheel with the warning for him to be careful.

“Don’t be a nag, darling.”

There was a distinct reprimand in his voice, one that caused her to lapse back into her seat in a subdued fashion. One of the reasons her Dad cited for leaving her mother was because he reckoned that her nagging had driven him into the arms of another woman.

So she said nothing, except to allow Matt to continue talking to his colleague over the phone. He was still talking when the huge stag came crashing out of the undergrowth. Cathy failed to avoid screaming in alarm when the creature stood before them, appearing as surprised as the Porsche’s occupants. Its antlers proud and erect, the animal seemed to emulate a kind of regal bearing as if they were the intruders, in the Porsche’s headlamps. It was already growing dusk.

The stag continued startled, but refused to move from its position in the middle of the road. The phone dropping from his grasp, his “Oh shit, fuck, what the Hell?” indicated that he had precious little control of the car, so that he couldn’t avoid hitting the creature, grazing its side, before the stag limped off into the bushes.

The Porsche, out of control, veered off into the side of the road, crashing into the undergrowth. Cathy was scared, and screaming, her hands covering her face as she felt the car bump ground, judder and threaten to overturn. Her husband managed to maintain the vehicle upright. All Cathy could feel was the excruciating pain as it throbbed through her head when it made contact with the framework of the door.

Momentarily, everything went black, except for the sensation of blood that seemed to fill her head, travelling down the side of her face. There was a kind of buzzing inside her skull, and she had lost consciousness for awhile. She was woken by Matt crying and yelling at her to hang in there. “Cathy! Cathy! Do you hear me?”

She came to then to find her husband bending over her, his face bruised, his hair falling into his eyes. “Oh Cathy, thank God you’re okay. You are okay aren’t you?”  He cradled her in his arms. “They should have put a warning sign up. I didn’t expect a damned stag to come charging out of the bushes.” She wanted to say, “but you shouldn’t have been talking on the phone.” She refrained in case he accused her of bring a nag again.

“The Porsche is a write-off of course,” he complained, scratching his head woefully as he regarded the damage to his pride and joy. “The old man is going to throw a fit.  But as long as you are okay, sweetheart, that’s all that matters. Look, you still got your phone, I’ll call an ambulance, get you checked out. Your head’s bleeding.” He touched a palm to the wound.

“It’s okay, really.” The last thing she wanted to do was to spend the night in hospital. She  had been looking forward to being alone with her husband in their new home. When she touched a hand to her head it came away sticky with blood, although the blood was already beginning to congeal. “If you’ll just help me out, I’ll be fine. It’s just a scratch that’s all.”

“But we should…” he started to protest. “And I’ll have to get someone to shift the car tomorrow.”

Matt managed to help Cathy from the car, explaining that the house wasn’t too far away. He continued to remain anxious however, about calling an ambulance. That he was worried about her.

“I told you I’m fine. ” She hugged him close. “Besides I want to see the house.”

“Okay,” He heaved a sigh of resignation, “but first thing tomorrow, Miss, I ‘m getting you checked out.”

“I’m not Miss anymore, remember. I’m Mrs Pryor now.” She imagined that she sounded a little slurred as if she had been drinking, while Matt cast her an uneasy glance.

“If you’re sure, Mrs Pryor.” He kissed her lips.

“Quite sure,” she told him, allowing him to take her into his arms.

Her initial reaction at sight of their new home wasn’t, much to Cathy’s chagrin, what she had really expected. The place was lovely, there was no denying that, with its white-facaded, old-style paned windows and fresh red brick. Even a small white picket fence encircled the Autumnal garden. She could  easily imagine how beautiful and filled with nighttime scents in the Summer. Obviously the crash had taken its toll. While Matt was rubbing his knee, that was already beginning to bleed through his jeans, Cathy attempted to muster an enthusiasm she was far from feeling, as he went onto explain the finishing touches he and David had accomplished. After ushering her into the house, he set to clean up her face, inspect her injuries.

“So how are you feeling?” he asked with the utmost concern as he taped a small bandage to her right temple. “Just in case. Although the bleeding seems to have stopped. Remember when I fell over on my stag night? Hit my head and had to have all those stitches. You threw a fit.”

“Of course I do,” she told him quietly.

He asked her if she might have a headache, that he’d fetch her some paracetemol.

“No, I don’t have a headache. In fact I feel fine,” she assured him.

“Well you look very pale, sweetheart. Perhaps I should get you to hospital after all. It’s not just the cut on your head, you might have internal injuries or something.”

“I told you I was fine,” she retorted a fraction impatiently, although she had no idea why.

Attentive as always, Matt  helped her into bed. After she’d undressed, Cathy entered the bathroom. She imagined that she heard the phone downstairs, but wasn’t sure whether Matt had bothered to answer it.

He had caught her shivering on occasions. It was the shock coming out, he’d said, for which he had prescribed a hot, sweet tea. Whenever he referred to her getting checked out at the hospital, Cathy thwarted him at every turn. She had the strangest feeling that if she spent even a night away from the man she loved, she might never see him again. A ridiculous notion of course, but one she failed to shake.

Inspecting her face in the bathroom mirror she was aware, with something akin to shock, how pale she was. Her eyes appeared to be practically sunk into the depths of her face. How the darkness enshrouding them had rendered her stark white features a skull-like appearance. Cathy discovered herself emitting a startled gasp. She was obviously still in shock. She couldn’t help but shiver at the recollection of the big bold stag standing there in the middle of the road. The way it had stared at them with such open defiance.

At first she was barely aware of the shadow that ostensibly flitted across her peripheral vision. In fact she thought she had imagined it, until the scream rose in her throat when she saw the woman. She was reflected in the mirror behind her. Cathy observed how the woman’s eyes were encircled by the deepest, darkest shadows so that they practically disappeared into the white skull’s face. The woman’s lips, a barely discernible line, formed into a kind of grotesque smile.

Cathy realised that she must have screamed, because Matt quickly burst into the bathroom, to find out what was wrong. Cathy asked him if he thought the house might be haunted. She explained about the woman she had seen in the mirror, although she had obviously vanished the minute Matt appeared.

“Haunted?” He attempted to suppress a rising tide of laughter. “You mean as in ghosts?” Cathy described the woman she had seen. “Of course not, sweetheart. Besides, ghosts aren’t real. They don’t exist. Anyway, Dave and me stayed here for a few nights while we got the place ready, and we didn’t see anything. I can assure you that the place isn’t haunted. It’s just the shock coming out that’s all. We’ve both been shaken up pretty badly. But things could have been worse.”

“Do people suffering shock hallucinate?”

“Maybe they do. You need to get some sleep.”

“You mind if we don’t?”

Kissing the top of her head, he held her close. “Guess I’m still too shaken up myself to even consider having sex. Besides I need to do something about my knee. it’s getting pretty painful. I’ll get that checked out too.”

“Did I hear the phone ring awhile back?”

“No, sweetheart, I didn’t hear anything.”

“Hearing things as well as seeing things.” She made a face. “I really must be in shock.”

During the night she had begun to feel so inordinately cold, that Matt reckoned she was making him feel cold in bed too, so he fetched more blankets and hot water bottles for her. He declared that first thing in the morning they were going to the nearest hospital. Cathy felt far too tired to argue.

Getting up in the night, and going to the bathroom, Cathy felt a scream rise up in her throat once more when she saw the woman again. Except now, she realised who the woman was. Although Cathy froze rooted to the spot, the woman’s thin lips broke into the semblance of a smile. Huge tears slithered down Cathy’s cheeks. This time she refrained from mentioning her to her husband.

The following morning, without further protest, Cathy allowed her husband to take her to the nearest hospital. Matt supported her with his arm around her. A nurse explained that he would have to wait. “But my wife is ill. She’s in shock. You see we had an accident.”

“I’m sorry, you’ll still have to wait,” the nurse retorted. “Mr…?”

“Pryor. Mathew Pryor of Pryor Holdings.” Although it was plainly obvious that the mention of Pryor Holdings made little impression on the stern-faced nurse.

“Matt!” At the mention of his name, Matthew Pryor turned simultaneously, to see the woman who had spoken. Andrea Pryor hurled herself into his arms, hugged her son as if he were a small boy again. His father was there too. His brother David, looking white and scared.

Matt realised that Cathy was no longer beside him. Where had she gone? He glanced around the room in bewilderment. “Wh… where’s Cathy? What are you doing here? Mum? Dad?”

His brother David had tears in his eyes, which he made a vain attempt to sweep away with a shaking hand. Sam approached his oldest son and shook his head, before wrapping an arm about his shoulder.

“What is it, Dad? Why are you all looking so upset? Me and Cathy had an accident. She’s getting checked out. We’re both fine. Just a little shock that’s all.”

“We tried to get in touch with you,” Andrea said. “Where were you?”

“I was at the house with Cathy.”

“You couldn’t have been, son. This accident…”

“Yes. A stag ran out in front of us. The Porsche is a write-off I’m afraid.”

“That doesn’t matter now, son,” Sam told him, brushing aside a falling tear. “I’m so sorry about Cathy.”

“What do you mean you’re sorry? I don’t understand.”

“Cathy was found dead in the wreckage of your car. You had crashed into a tree. Seems Cathy suffered a head wound that caused bleeding on the brain. We tried calling you. But there was no answer. No one could find you. Perhaps you went to get help” his  father suggested.

Overview of the Aidan McRaney Trilogy

StalkingAidanThis post is an overview of the three Aidan McRaney books, Stalking Aidan, Borrowed Time and the third book, Progeny of a Killer, which I’m still working on.

Again massive spoilers ahead! However you can just read a couple of excerpts from Stalking Aidan and Borrowed Time instead.

The trilogy is a profile of a young Irishman Aidan McRaney. The stories revolve around an Irish family living in London.

Aidan is the narrator, and the proverbial black sheep of the family. The only member of the family who has spent time behind bars. He was unwittingly uprooted from the Dublin school he loved at age nine and a half, without knowing why, to live in Blackheath in London.

There he changed from the quiet studious boy he once was, to a rebellious teen, turning his back on his schooling and getting into trouble. After saving the life of mob boss Frankie Lamond, Aidan becomes his number one minder.

One night an assassin strikes, after Lamond reneges on a drugs deal. Aidan kills the assassin, whom it transpires is one Brian Fitzwalter; the son of the man whom Lamond cheated over the drugs deal. Lamond’s girlfriend, Leanne Harlow – who is also Aidan’s mistress – is shot and killed.

The sight of her lovely face destroyed by Fitzwalter’s bullet haunts Aidan during his time in prison. At Aidan’s trial, the Fitzwalters vowed to get even. That the young Irishman was, “already a dead man.” Now he’s out. In ‘Stalking Aidan’ we meet him for the first time. Aidan’s older brother, ex-squaddie Harry, employs Aidan at his landscape business.

Much to Aidan’s annoyance, the ever vigilant Harry is always expecting his kid brother, whom he knows still has mob connections, to put a foot wrong. Harry is there to make certain that he doesn’t. However, Aidan’s only desire is to be a proper father to his nine year old son, despite the undisguised disapproval of his ex-wife.

There are others ultimately interested in the young Irishman’s progress, resulting in the death of his beautiful 18 year old sister Laurena. A wheelchair -bound ex-police sergeant Sir George Treveleyan in also interested in the young man, for his own designs.

Aidan encounters Sir George for the first time when Aidan is injured and half blinded in ‘Borrowed Time’. Unbeknown to Aidan, Treveleyan is intent on manipulating him for his own sinister purpose. A purpose that’s finally revealed in the final book ‘Progeny of a Killer’.

The book explains Aidan’s late mother’s fidelity is exposed in illicit affairs that her family knew nothing about. Aidan only learns from Harry that his sister Laurena is another man’s child. He also finds out the reason behind their impromptu exit from Dublin.

Dermot, Aidan’s father, killed one Michael Docherty, the man his wife had an affair with. Why does Aidan experience odd dreams and visions of a dead Provo who uncannily seems to bear a resemblance to him?

It transpires that Sir George Treveleyan is a dangerous man. A man equipped with knowledge of the occult mysteries of Tibet. He uses remote viewing to find anyone in the world, even if they have no desire to be found.

Only Treveleyan is aware  of Aidan’s secret. A secret even Aidan has no knowledge of. Treveleyan uses ex-cons as his operatives. Who better to know the criminal world? It has been Sir George’s intention from the outset of Aidan’s release  to manipulate him for the one ultimate goal. In the wake of the Lamond brothers demise, someone has taken over the criminal underbelly of London. A man burning with hate and revenge.

Other agents have gone in but have been destroyed. Treveleyan knows that Aidan McRaney, the man he has groomed for such a mission, is the only one who can ingratiate himself into the treacherous world of a fellow countryman. A man deep into the world of white slave trafficking, paedophilia and other heinous crimes.

It is only when he finally confronts this man that Aidan realises the terrible truth of who he really is. Faced with the ultimate decision of life or death to his enemy, Aidan is unaware of what the man is capable. The only people in his life who really matter, his 10 year old son, his little baby and his beautiful young bride are in danger from this man’s treachery. Can he save them in time?