Extract: ‘The Devil In Soho’
His finger itched the trigger again and another slug whizzed close to my face, feeling it nick my right cheek. Something wet slid out of a sting against my mouth, as the ping of a bell behind me heralded the tailor’s shop door swinging on its hinges. Diving inside the shop, and slamming the door behind me with a boot heel, I confronted a slightly built middle aged man. His mouth dropped open, I guessed in shock, and he gasped when I burst in. The outmoded little shop one of many London boasted, and still remained. The place was dingy, smelt stale, musty. The self-same wickerwork dummies graced the room as they had the windows.
“The shop ism’t… isn’t open yet. Wh… what are you doing here?” The man stammered, staring in horror at the blood soaked hand I pulled from inside my jacket. I caught sight of my reflection in a long mirror on a stand in the middle of the shop. Clocking the thin trickle of blood that oozed from the side of my mouth, my wild tousled curls, I guessed how much of a sight I must appear to the tailor.
He exclaimed in disgust at the blood I’d begun to drip on his carpet. I’d taken the liberty of locking his door when I saw he had left the key in it. I guess he had forgotten to do it himself when I burst in. “I’m sorry about this,” I told the suspicious eyes. He began to edge toward an adjacent door, I figured for his living quarters.
“Look, I know the shop ain’t open, but I had to come in. I’m sorry to frighten you, and I promise I’m not here to harm you. Someone’s trying to kill me.” I blurted, holding up my injured hand. A trickle of wetness disappeared into my jacket sleeve and down my arm.
The piercing blue eyes continued to regard me with suspicion. I know if I’d been in his shoes, I’d have viewed me in a similar fashion. Obviously he failed to believe me. Who would believe me in spite of the bloody hand and lacerated cheek? The way he stared at me with his mouth open as if frozen in shock, the furtive darting to and fro of his strange little blue eyes. “There’s a guy out there,” I gestured to the door, “on a motorbike. He has a gun.”
Extract: Stalking Aidan
“I told you, I can call the police.”
He shakes his head negatively. “You can’t.”
“I mean you can, but the suits have the tape.”
“The tape?” I drop back into my seat, my eyes narrow, as a glacial hand clutches my stomach wall, I don’t have a clue what he’s eluding to. “What fuckin’ tape? A tape of what?”
Mitchell leans so close and lowers his voice considerably. I am almost compelled to hold my breath to catch what he says. “There’s a DVD roaming about. Remember Joydens Wood?”
“What?” I swallow and entertain the uneasy feeling that the world is closing in on me suffocatingly. That the few moments of happiness are about to be pulled away. “What about Joydens Wood?” I demand in a voice I hardly recognise as my own.
“You and Verdi Benson. I ain’t saying no more. The suits reckon you did a good job. The Fitzwalters were renegades.”
A loud noise, as if a body has fallen, emanates from upstairs and causes both Mitchell and me to practically jump out of our skins. Especially after what Mitchell has intimated, concerning the nightmarish episode at the Joydens Wood farmhouse.
“What the bleedin’ hell was that?” Mitchell hisses.
“I don’t fuckin’ know.” I raise my eyes ceilingward. “It sounded as if it came from the room upstairs. Look, you stay here. I haven’t finished this yet and I want you to tell me about the tape.”
Clutching my arm all at once, Mitchell urges, “look, McRaney, Aidan. you got a piece?”
“A piece of what?” I ask obtusely. Of course I’m already aware of what he means. I swallow uneasily again.
“A shooter. A pistol?”
“You think I need one then? Only its life now for firearms possession.”
“I know that, but sometimes a man has to protect himself and his family, get my drift? Here…” Reaching to the inside of his jacket, he must have witnessed me stiffen, because his face breaks into a wry smile. ” No I ain’t tooled up. What, in this jacket? If you need anything, you know what I mean. I know the merchants, man, and I know you’re good with the heat. The suits know it too. That’s why they could use you.”
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