Saturday 28 February 2009


Here's the latest offering from Col...just be careful what you accept...

The Handshake

Derek Oddman didn’t realise about his ‘strange gift’ - if you could call it that - until the day he shook hands with his old snooker buddy, Jack Rickman.
He’d not seen Jack and the snooker lot since moving in with his girlfriend, Jenny, two years ago. Why-O-why had he dedicated so much of his bloody time and energy on her? When she’d just kicked him in the teeth (or should that be bollocks?) that fateful day last Tuesday when Derek had finished work early.
He thought he’d surprise Jenny on her birthday, twelve roses behind his back, only for him to hear the ominous moaning coming from the bedroom followed by him finding Jenny in their fuckin bed with that bastard, Gerry McEwan!
Any man in his right mind would’ve given it to McEwan good-style, but no, not Derek. Such was the shock, his legs became blancmange and he tossed the roses downstairs at the fleeing and half-naked McEwan. That’ll teach him: yeah, right.
His hopes and dreams of having kids with the girl he loved and living happily ever after had been annihilated as sure as a size ten boot on an ant. Derek didn’t do disloyalty – end of. So there was no going back, no forgiveness and no interest in any explanation.
The same old repetitive mistake of becoming obsessed with a woman and neglecting all your friends when it’s those very same friends who are there for you in the end to help you pick up the pieces of a shattered life. So with the proverbial tail between his legs he’d returned to his old haunt, cue in hand.
The most awkward thing about seeing his mates again wasn’t so much the guilt at having completely ditched them for a woman, no. After entering the spacious snooker hall, with the clink of balls being potted echoing around the place, Derek instantly knew that they already knew that one of their own was responsible for breaking his heart.
Though, fortunately, McEwan wasn’t there tonight.
A few of the lads came over and passed pleasantries, telling him to get his name up on the chalk-board for a game and that he was welcome to rejoin the team, Derek clocking their lack of eye contact.
It was then that snooker veteran, Jack Rickman, came over.
‘I heard what happened, mate, and I’m so sorry. McEwan’s an arsehole,’ he said, proffering a hand.
Derek didn’t even have time to answer before he instinctively reached out his own hand. At least old Jack had the balls to speak his mind.
Their hands clasped in a friendly, but firm, handshake. Jack even leaned in and gave a partial hug, saying, ‘It’s good to see you back, Dek.’
As their palms met, Derek felt a surge shoot up his right arm into the base of his stomach. Nausea engulfed him. Derek felt completely drained of energy; although he did manage to don a forced smile and quickly release his grip, saying, ‘Cheers, Jack…I’m just gonna…nip to the loo.’
A few violent heaves later and the toilet was full of puke: a bog full of badness. And Derek stared at his reflection in the mirror wondering, what the fuck was all that about? Nonetheless, he persevered with the evening and after a few beers began to feel a little more at home, managing to have a laugh while temporarily suppressing his troubles and even arranging to meet them all for the next match.
The next morning he was awoken by his mobile ringing, his head feeling like he received a couple of whacks off Mike Tyson.
‘Yeah…hello,’ he said, half asleep.
‘Derek, it’s Tim, from the club. Bad news, mate. Jack had a heart attack last night.’
Derek’s senses suddenly kicked in. ‘What? How is he?’
‘He’s dead, mate.’
Derek couldn’t deny he’d thought about the handshake, but soon dismissed it as him feeling sick, a reaction to his current circumstances. The lads had all agreed to play the next match – ‘Because it’s what Jack would’ve wanted’ – and the score was 2-2 with Derek on the decider.
He thought of Jack throughout, summoning all his reserves of concentration and experience to win the match on the black and got a good old buzz from his team-mates’ cheers. He strode proudly over to shake his opponent’s hand and…
…ZAP! This was like an electrical surge throughout his body. Yet the other lad didn’t seem to feel it one iota. Derek quickly released his grip and avoided the handshakes from his friends, settling for pats on the back and clinks of pints glasses.
Later, in the back box-room at his parent’s house, he began to dwell on this handshake business. He recalled a time as a kid when he also had a shocking handshake experience; although this was somewhat different.
Bobby Maguire. One of the most evil kids in the school, Maguire, had tagged along with a gang of them as they headed, out of sheer morbidity and laddishness, up to Asker Hill, or ‘Death Rock,’ as it was commonly known: the local suicide spot. Five lost souls had already jumped back then, and to this day the death toll was well into double figures.
Maguire, in his wisdom - and bang in character for the school bully that he was - had thought it funny to pretend to push Derek over the edge. Derek recalled shitting himself and quickly shuffling aside only for Maguire to slip over. Derek had frantically grabbed his hand and managed to clasp it while the others were screaming hysterically clutching onto Derek’s legs. Derek could see the utter terror on Maguire’s face as he pivoted to look down and then silently pleaded with desperate eyes.
However, Derek couldn’t hold on and he watched Maguire disappear into the distance, his shrieks diminishing with him, a sickening splat and crimson spray as his body buckled on the rocks below.
Over the years Derek had slowly forced this into the gloomy recesses of his mind, but this handshake business had somehow brought it all back.
It was standing room only at Jack’s funeral. His favourite song, ‘My Way,’ intensified the emotions as the burgundy curtains closed on Jack’s coffin; a plethora of forlorn faces, the sniffles of his family on the front row.
Derek, however, felt emotionless. Of course he was sorry to see Jack go as he was one of life’s true characters, but Derek had been doing a lot of soul-searching, a lot of deliberating. Especially since he’d heard about the lad he’d played in the deciding snooker game last week. Only twenty-five and, while out jogging, he’d dropped dead from a mystery illness even second and third opinions couldn’t diagnose.
As the congregation edged out of the crematorium the vicar was shaking the hand of each passing person. Derek avoided the cleric, just giving him a polite nod. Instead he headed for the group of snooker friends and saw McEwan amongst them. The lads looked up at Derek, their faces tense, one even placing a cautionary arm across him.
‘It’s okay, lads,’ said Derek smirking.
McEwan moved towards him. ‘Look, Dek, I’m really sorry. Can you forgive me?’
All stared agog at Derek.
‘Sure, man,’ he said coolly, ‘Let’s shake on it…’

Monday 23 February 2009

EALING TARGET by Bill Haddow-Allen

Here's an excellent 'assassin' tale to welcome Bill to the fold...


Rafferty watched Kate on the edge of the platform and he inched nearer and nearer to her. One quick push and it would be done. Easy! Suicide of hard working civil servant. Pressure of work, family problems, a hitherto unknown history of scarcely believable perversions. Rafferty would create a suitable background to make sure that nobody worried too much about Kate King. The stench of the background he created for her would expunge the truth.

Kate King looked ordinary, but she was employed by the department because she was extraordinary, her delicate demeanour concealing a resolute toughness and single mindedness.

Rafferty was the department’s man who ‘dealt’ with problems. Usually, the problems were people. He enjoyed his work, and he planned meticulously. This was a rush job. He had tried to refuse, but Quartermain, the department head, said that Kate had been cooperating and assisting terrorists for years and had to go. Today.

Rafferty was astounded. He was the one in the dept. working against the system, and he had been nervous about outrunning his luck. This was a godsend, a perfect way out. He could cease his activities and take early retirement, go abroad, disappear.

For this reason he accepted a job he would normally have refused. Rush jobs were sloppy, unprofessional. Rafferty’s successfully completed tasks went unnoticed, as mysterious disappearances, unaccountable suicides, unfortunate DIY accidents, a grotesque disease. Sometimes, and this was his favourite, a politician or civil servant might be found dead as a result of some bizarre sexual practice that went wrong.

This job really needed planning, and time. He hated rush jobs. Kate would be Rafferty’s first female target but he had no compunction about executing a woman. If Kate was out of the picture, his crimes would go with her.Serves her right, he thought, this nasty business is no place for a bloody woman.

The subdued thunder and rattle of the approaching train made everyone move forward expectantly. A woman slid a huge suitcase in front of him. He missed the opportunity to give Kate that push that would solve his problem. He cursed. He would have to race ahead to Kate’s home and do the job there. It was already getting messy. He might have to use a weapon.

Kate would have to change trains at least twice. He would get there first. As he sped along the A40 he considered how he would kill her. He was ghoulishly clinical. What is needed, he thought, was a finely engineered amalgam of metal, a small lump of it, in the centre of her brain. He wanted to be sure first time; no messing about with knives, or struggling with cords. She wasn’t very big, but he knew from experience that the condemned struggle violently.

His rain-wet car steamed like a beast when he parked on Ealing Common, two streets away from Kate’s home. He knew the layout of the house. He had visited the house before. He had made it his business to familiarise himself with the houses and flats his colleagues lived in; he knew their habits, their hobbies, and their routines. He knew of all their private indulgences, those conscience piercing activities they would never do in the company of others.

She would go to her kitchen, make a cup of tea, take her tea to her study, sit in her high backed chair, and study her chess problems, experimentally moving the pieces around for a while before micro-waving her evening meal.

There was an unused alcove covered by a curtain situated behind the high backed chair. Rafferty waited. In addition to a variety of innocent everyday things he could use as a lethal weapon, he had brought with him two pistols, carefully chosen. One of them was a Rafferty designed special of limited power. He would shoot Kate through the back of the chair. The bullet would come to rest inside her skull. There would be no messy wallpaper.

While he waited he remembered his conversation with Quartermain. He was surprised that he had asked him to hurry a job like this. What was so urgent? Quartermain was the epitome of everything Rafferty hated; cynical, cultured, aloof. He didn’t understand the real world. He kept to his own coterie of like minded friends, inhabited clubs and country houses. He kept the real world at arms length by vague euphemisms. To “deal” with problems often meant horrendous activities which undermined the economies of poor countries, or destroying families. “Make the usual call. You know, laundry to collect, or something. There’s a good chap.” Rafferty gritted his teeth just remembering it. He hated “There’s a good chap”. People like Quartermain just couldn’t help being patronising.

He heard Kate’s key in the door. He was normally sure footed but there was a nagging uncomfortable ness with the situation, unaccountably troubled with a feeling of worry. He felt something was going to go wrong. It was because of this rush-hurry job, he thought. It should have been planned and perfected.

He was reassured when Kate behaved as predicted. He listened as the kettle boiled, heard the fleeting kiss of cup and spoon as Kate swirled the sugar in the cup.

She entered her study and settled in her chair. Like a beast of prey at the moment of a kill, he could smell her now; her living warmth and the feminine odour tinged with perfume.

He levelled his weapon at the calculated point on the back of the chair. The chair swivelled round. Rafferty dropped to the floor. There was a small, neat hole in his forehead.

Kate picked up the telephone, dialled, waited, then said, “I have some laundry for collection. There’s a good chap.” She put the telephone down absentmindedly, concentrating on the chess problem, moving a piece before the telephone was returned to the cradle.

Friday 20 February 2009


Back by popular demand (at least one person asked), the further adventures of our feckless Wile .E. Coyote killer...

Another Slice of Pie

My wife, Roxy, died in a head on collision with a speeding train.
Actually, she probably died a couple hours earlier when I smacked her round the head with an iron bar because she didn’t come round during the time I parked her car on the level crossing and waited for the train to arrive.
Then she was dead and so were about two dozen others on the train when it derailed and went to pieces all along the line. Sadly, I missed killing my work mate, Robert, who should’ve been on that damn train. He out-foxed me, but he wasn’t going to get away so lightly next time.
I’m not a bad man by nature, but it was Robert and Roxy’s affair that tipped me over the edge and turned me into this killer. Turns out they’d been having an affair behind my back for years. I heard the whispering after Roxy’s funeral, the little nods and winks from the congregation when Robert stood next to me at her grave and laid his arm over my shoulder. The facetious, smug son of a bitch said he was sorry for my loss. He’d lost too, but his were crocodile tears.
He wasn’t bothered by her passing; he had his fingers in lots of little pies.
Latest little sweet pastry he’s been knocking off is Chantelle down at the hairdressers on the high street. He even has an appointment booked in: regular as clockwork. 2 pm every other Thursday.
Today’s Thursday and it’s 13.55.
He left the office earlier than normal. I gave him a few minutes so that he wouldn’t spot me following him, then I made my way into town and stood on the steep incline opposite Chantelle’s salon, ‘Hair of Superiority’. I couldn’t see inside but I didn’t really have to. The Closed for Lunch sign had gone up but there was movement behind the smoked glass window. Him and Chantelle getting jiggy with it.
I didn’t plan to kill him today but I was offered an opportunity I couldn’t ignore.
The huge UPS van was left idling on the hill while the driver ducked out and headed off with a bundle under his arm. Them guys are in and out so fast that they never bother locking the door.
I leaned in, pulled my sleeve over my hand, and then disengaged the hand brake.
I watched distractedly as the van began a ponderous roll backwards. Then it picked up speed and it was a rolling battering ram. I stepped back into a doorway even as a brown streak shot past in pursuit, the driver shouting out in dismay.
He didn’t get to the truck in time. It crashed right through the front of Chantelle’s and didn’t stop until it rammed right through to the back wall. There’d only been a couple of brief shrieks but they’d curtailed the moment the truck had come to a halt.
Down on the high street the driver was holding his head in his hands. Ohmigodohmigodohmigod...
Poor bugger, I could almost feel sorry for him. He was going to catch all the shit for this. But I couldn’t help smiling as well.
Other people were descending on the scene.
Some braver souls went inside the wrecked shop, but came out almost as quickly, faces ashen. One of them was sick on the pavement. I walked down and stood beside the vomiting man.
What happened? I asked him as I patted his back.
They’re dead. Flattened. God help ‘em. Then he was sick again.
I muttered consoling sounds, to him. Then turned away.
Just as Robert came out of Charmaine’s Salon, 'Superior Hair', three stores along.


This tale comes straight from most cops' dread tank...

Death Message

Probationary Police Constable Dave Keane was brimming with apprehension as he walked gingerly down the dimly lit cul-de-sac. He took in a deep breath as he counted down the door numbers of the garden-less terraced houses…12, 10, 8… and came to a halt at number 6. The curtains were shut, but a light was on inside.
It was his first ‘job’ since becoming independent after ten weeks with his Tutor Constable, Johnny ‘Robbo’ Roberts, and he recalled his ex-tutor’s words before Dave had set off on foot from the station, A to Z in hand: ‘Take a deep, breath, compose yourself, get them to take a seat then just cut to the chase as there’s no other way. Don’t patronise, but try to sympathise and empathise where possible, and be prepared to act as a buffer. Then get the hell out of there – job done!’
Robbo made it sound so bloody simple. Dave was shitting himself. Of all the jobs to be tutor-less at, it had to be this one. If he fucked it up he’d never live it down. He’d seen it done on the telly and now he was about to do it himself. Dave Keane, the trainee mechanic-cum-window cleaner-cum-postman from Salford. Although he wasn’t delivering letters anymore…he was now delivering a death message!
Just as he had an urge to nip round the back alley for a sly cig he saw the curtain pull back and a man’s concerned face eyeballed him.
The hall light came on and within seconds the door was open revealing a middle-aged man, unshaven and generally unkempt. Probably the dad.
‘Evening, Sir. Are you Roger McPherson?’
‘May I just step inside?’
‘Why…what’s up officer?’
PC Keane glanced over his shoulder at a couple of hooded teenagers gawking at them from across the street. ‘It’s best if we talk inside, sir.’
Mr McPherson moved aside and gestured PC Keane in. The Constable could feel his heart palpitating behind his body armour as he briefly spoke into his radio to inform the comms operator he was in attendance at the job, his voice wavering somewhat in the knowledge the rest of the shift would all know which job he was doing.
‘Take a seat, Officer. Do you wanna brew?’
‘No thanks.’ PC Keane sat on an old sofa while trying to maintain focus, clocking that the place was a tip and had a musty smell. Could I ask you to take a seat, too, please, Mr McPherson?’
‘Sure. How can I help you?’
‘Have you got a son, named Steven?’
‘Yeah…yes I have…what about him?’
‘Well, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news.’
‘Bad news? What’s happened?’ Panic swept across his face.
‘There’s been a road traffic accident and…’
‘Please…don’t tell me!’ Mr McPherson stood up abruptly.
PC Keane hesitated then recalled Robbo’s advice. ‘I’m sorry to inform you Steven has been killed....’
‘NOOOOO!’ The father put his head in his hands and fell to his knees in front of PC Keane.
The Constable felt for the man and placed a consoling arm on his shoulder. Mr McPherson responded by gazing at the officer and they were soon locked in an embrace. PC Keane was professional enough to ignore the smell of BO and could feel the sheer sorrow emanating from this poor man as the hug graduated into a squeeze.
After a few minutes Mr McPherson, clearly in a state of shock, released his grip and PC Keane made him a brew, glad that the worst was over, feeling a tad guilty he’d again declined a cuppa himself because the kitchen resembled a warzone.
Mr McPherson, who he was by now calling Roger, had asked for the details of the accident and PC Keane had informed him in a hushed voice that his son didn’t suffer and most certainly died on impact as the HGV had no chance to brake whatsoever, because according to witnesses Steven just walked straight out in front of it. Also the formal ID could be conducted at the hospital’s mortuary tomorrow: a necessary evil, despite Steven’s friend being present and Steven having had his student ID card on him.
PC Keane chose the right moment and after a handshake and another prolonged hug he bade Roger McPherson a sad farewell.
Once the door shut he resulted the job on the radio stating, ‘The message has been passed successfully,’ after which he heard Robbo’s voice pipe up on the radio: ‘Well done, Dave!’ followed by Patrol Sergeant Thompson's gruff tones: ‘Nice one Keano, lad!’ This made him feel a whole lot better: another step to becoming a decent cop.
Then an elderly woman opened the door at number 8 and asked, matter-of-factly, ‘What’s he been up to this time?’
PC Keane looked up at her, observing the curlers in her bluish grey hair and her lack of dentures. ‘Pardon?’
‘That bloody faggot next door. Your lot are always there. Bloody sick of it I am.’
‘Faggot, madam?’
‘Yeah, bent as a nine bob note, that one. Mad as a box of frogs, too. Was sectioned only last month, but they let him out…again!’
‘Who, Roger?’
‘What…? No Billy Jones…or the Crazy Bender, as he’s known round ere.’
Then it hit him. ‘Is this Granger Street?’
‘No, you berk…Granger Street’s round the corner…this is Granger Avenue!’
PC Dave Keane glared at Billy Jones who was waving out of the window, before he grinned manically and blew the Constable a kiss.

To catch more of Col's writing why not take a look over at

Wednesday 11 February 2009


A slice of real life...

Caught in the Headlights

Brenda was bubbling with concern as the words echoed through her soul. Surely her eldest daughter, Lucy, wouldn’t, would she? Was Brenda such a bad mother that it had come to this? And as for detox - no bleedin chance! Her weary mind refocused on the now and the job in hand, which would lead her to her next fix.
The evening was dark and dank and, business-like as ever, Brenda lifted the collar on her three-quarter leather jacket to combat the descending chill, knowing tonight would be a longer night than usual. She hated arguments, but they seemed to love her, following her around in all their guises for as long as she could remember.
She tried again to control her fuzzy thoughts, pushing Lucy from her mind in order to concentrate on the habitual short term problem; a problem that had once never existed in the happy days, but was now as regular as going for a pee. She hesitated when headlights flashed by, but the car wasn’t slowing so she kept pacing to keep warm, the hollow sound of her heels on the pavement, the cool air drifting up her slender bare legs.
Was she really finally losing her grip on reality? Did she hear Lucy right? Brenda’s pitiful life was hard enough without added worries. A pang of emptiness rattled through her body, worse than hunger, more immediate. Guilt wanted some air-time, too. She pictured her five kids and another bout of fragmented depression began to loom over her like a thundercloud ready to offload at any moment. Hearing voices, she pivoted with a tingle of excitement then changed direction and headed for the two youths.
It was time to act, but suss them out first, as always.
‘Hiya, lads. What’s happening?’
One of the hooded youths froze to the spot and the other hesitated before casually strolling towards her. ‘Brenda, I need a favour.’
It was Tommo, wanting yet another favour. ‘What can I do for you this time?’
He was up close now, his breath dancing in the cool air as he spoke. ‘It’s me mate, innit. Wants to pop his cherry, you know.’
Oh, great, another virgin to add to her legacy. Although it beats smelly old pervs, she supposed. She glanced over at his mate skulking under a streetlamp. Her gaze returned to Tommo. ‘Has he got dosh?’
‘Oh, yeah, I’ve got it ‘ere. How much tonight?’
‘Thirty, all in.’
‘Fuck me! Has it gone up?’
‘The credit crunch affects us, too.’ Her smirk revealed tobacco-stained teeth.
She was impatient and knew that would suffice for what she wanted, needed, desperately. ‘Okay. Cash up front though.’
Tommo fiddled in his pocket and pulled out two tenners before beckoning his friend over, who reminded Brenda of someone walking the plank.
‘Come on, I won’t bite!’
Tommo grinned. ‘Give us the money back then! Only kidding.’ He patted his mate on the back in encouragement.
Brenda walked ahead, saying, ‘Behind the flats, Romeo.’
A curtain twitched a few floors up as they passed. Brenda and Romeo were soon standing at the rear of the flats, dark and secluded. Brenda opened the creaking back door of a decrepit looking Mondeo that even a skint scrap yard owner wouldn’t entertain.
‘In you get then,’ she said, partly relieved she’d soon have what she wanted.
Romeo looked round shiftily before climbing in. Brenda followed.
‘It fuckin stinks in ere,’ he said, scrunching his nose up.
‘What do you expect for twenty quid, the bleedin Hilton?’
Impatiently, Brenda got down to business, but Romeo wasn’t responding, and he pushed her away.
‘No. Let’s just sit ‘ere for a few minutes,’ he said, staring into space.
Brenda was surprised. ‘You not up for it then, chuck? Has Tommo been pressurising you?’
Romeo nodded shamefully and Brenda was more than happy to take the easy money knowing her fix was only minutes away. She flicked through her mobile to her dealer’s number and had it ready on the screen, anticipating the relief she would soon be feeling, Lucy a million miles from her mind.
After five minutes they got out of the car.
‘Right,’ said Romeo, ‘Give me the money back then.’
‘Yeah, right!’ she said sarcastically. ‘Not a chance. Time is money.’
Romeo’s tentative demeanour suddenly changed. ‘Look you fuckin whore. Give me the money now, or I’ll knock you out.’ He raised a clenched fist.
Brenda motioned to move away, but he clasped her upper arm. ‘Do it then, you wanker! But I’m keeping the…’
Before the sentence was finished, Brenda felt a whack on her cheekbone and her legs buckled. She collapsed to the floor feeling dizzy and felt him rummaging through her jacket pockets.
When she returned to her senses – loosely speaking – she realised that the money had gone and anxiety began to grip her, choke her. Her stomach tightening by the second and mouth parched, she lit a cigarette and quickly sucked it to death as she headed back to the road. Rubbing her swollen cheek, she pictured herself injecting heroin and hastily scanned the road for the next punter. Come on headlights!
Half an hour later and there was still no sign of her clientele. She was feeling colder by the second and the withdrawals were kicking in causing her shivering to intensify; paradoxically sweat had formed on her brow. An image of her children popped into her head again, but she shook it out and lit yet another cigarette; the steady stream of exhaled smoke visible under the streetlamp and enhanced by the ever-chilling air.
Her heart flickered when she saw headlights in the distance, gaining ground rapidly. The spurt of adrenaline was soon tempered when she recognised the car as it skidded to a halt beside her, trepidation engulfing her.
It was the boss.
The tinted driver’s window wound down with a whirring sound and the voice was gruff as usual. ‘You got my cut?’
‘No punters, Lenny.’
His dark eyes narrowed and he jumped out. Brenda knew the look only too well and cowered.
‘Don’t lie to me, you smack-head piece of shit!’ He gripped Brenda’s hair and pulled her awkwardly towards some nearby bushes.
Brenda had shooting pains all over her scalp, but tried to pacify him. ‘Hon…estly…I’ve…aargh…not….been out…very…’
Lenny yanked harder and Brenda screamed. ‘You know I have eyes everywhere, don’t you?’
Brenda thought of the curtain twitching in the flats. ‘He didn’t…pay me…look.’ She pointed at her swollen cheek.
He studied it for a second and released his grip. ‘How many times do I have to fuckin tell you…cash up front.’ He pushed her to the floor. ‘Go earn me some cash, ho. I’ll be back later.’
Brenda didn’t try to explain and after a wheel-spin, Lenny was gone. She knew he’d be back so a punter was needed urgently.
A few cigs later and another set of headlights appeared. Thank God for that. Hang on. What’s going on?
The car stopped fifty metres away and Brenda could see a short-skirted female leaning into the driver’s window.
Bitch! That’s my next bleedin hit!
A sudden hissing downpour began to drench her. She removed her high heels, both to run faster and to use as weapons, if necessary. Within seconds she was just ten metres from the car, its headlights illuminating her manic expression as she yelled, ‘This is my bleedin patch and Lenny’s due back so you better…’ She skidded to a stop when the girl straightened up to look her way.
‘I warned you, Mum,’ said Lucy firmly, walking round the car to the front passenger door. ‘You’re children need feeding,’ she shouted as she got in and the driver sped off.
‘Noooo!’ Brenda fell to her knees, oblivious to the headlights appearing behind her, which halted twenty metres away. Immersed in emotion, her tears rushed out and her frail condition fuelled their intensity.
Hearing someone chatting in the distance she managed to glance up from her bedraggled stupor to gaze into another set of headlights, blurred by tears and rain.
‘Jesus, no!’ It was her other daughter, Hannah, getting into another car!
‘Please, she’s only fourteen!’
Brenda somehow summoned the strength to frantically pursue the car, but its rear lights soon became two red dots in the distance: the eyes of the devil mocking her.
She collapsed in the middle of the road, totally broken, the need for drugs expunged by the fear for her daughters’ well being. Sobbing uncontrollably, her mind whizzed back to the happy days: holidays at Pontins, North Wales, sandcastles, splashing in the sea…Christmas as a proper family, the excitement of the perfect present, wrapping paper everywhere, snowball fights…school plays, birthday parties, love and laughter…gone forever. She’d fucked it all up…Big Time!
More headlights appeared, flashing, the car’s engine revving angrily.
Oh, no! It was Lenny. She heard the door slam.
‘What are you doing, bitch?’ Lenny towered over her. ‘Why aren’t you fuckin working?’
‘I’ve sorted Tommo and his dickhead mate out…a bit of Lenny justice. They won’t be ripping us off again that’s for sure.’
Brenda tried to climb to her feet, but he thrust a large boot on her back.
‘Look at you. You need teaching a lesson, ho.’
Brenda couldn’t take anymore and knew what was coming, so she stopped resisting and crumpled onto the wet floor.
‘Leave her alone, you coward!’
Brenda felt the pressure instantly release from her back and looked up. Johnny, thank God.
‘Who the fuck are you, man?’ The question was spat out with venom.
‘You’re gonna find out, you low-life.’ The venom was spat back.
Brenda watched her son strike Lenny with a rapid flurry of punches and within seconds the Pimp’s sugar pedestal crumpled beneath him, dissolving in the rain.
Johnny gave Brenda a hug and drove her to the hospital where, to her utter relief, Lucy and Hannah were waiting. Despite her dazed state reality finally shone through those dark clouds that had pursued her for so long, and she whole-heartedly agreed to enter into a stringent detox programme.
Brenda had been caught in the headlights of life, frozen in time, for far too long now. And the biggest argument of her troubled life was now to conclude; that of proving to her children, and herself, she could finally beat heroin.

Once her Mum was wheeled away by the nurses, Lucy asked Johnny to thank his friends for posing as punters in their cars earlier, in the knowledge that when her Mum was totally clean, she would tell her the truth. And hopefully they’d chat and laugh together again, like they used to do…throughout the happy days.

SAFE by Vallon Jackson

Just one of them random thoughts that come now and again...


Maureen was street savvy enough to know that she was in danger.
She had been warned about walking home from the nightclub, dressed in her micro-skirt and boob tube. But all the other girls were the same: why should she go out dressed like Miss Jean Brodie? You’ll attract the wrong kind of men, her mother had scolded her, that’s why. Well, the wrong kind were the right kind in her estimation. She wouldn’t end up in a ditch like her mother warned, she’d end up having her night out paid for.
It had been a good night. Up until the point where she’d went down on her knees in the back alley behind the club. After that her beau had suddenly realised he had to be somewhere else – when he found out that she was only fifteen and not nineteen as he’d thought. The git hadn’t even sorted her some taxi money.
She set off walking. Grabbed a kebab full of crinkly salad and all that red hot stuff she hated. She left a trail of bits like Hansel and Gretel, though the trail wouldn’t lead her back to where she wanted to be.
To get home, she could go the long way round or she could cut through the housing schemes. Rough neighbourhood, or not, it cut out almost a mile. A mile less in high heels won her over.
But now she felt that she was being watched. She heard the occasional scuff of shoes as someone followed her. Caught sight of a shadow ducking into an alley when she glanced back.
She felt in her handbag for something to use as a weapon. Brush, lippy, Durex, not a whole lot more. She hadn't thought to bring her steel comb with the long handle before leaving home.Too busy supping her dad's stash of QC for that.
She’d seen a programme on TV about women’s self-defence. Aim for the vulnerable spots, she remembered. Well, she’d already done that once tonight, she giggled. Better advice was to not make a victim of herself. Walk tall and in command. Look like you mean business. Easier said than done with too many vodka’s on board. If you’re afraid, go to a house with the lights on. Knock on the door and ask for the occupants to call the police.
She heard a clatter, jumping in fright. Quickly looking around she was sure she saw someone slink back into the darkness.
She looked around. Where the hell was she anyway? Couldn’t remember the name of the road. Was it Cornwell or Crumble Street. Something like that!
There was a light on at number 25.
She walked quickly to the door, noticing a spade propped against the wall. The occupant looked like a keen gardener. Probably an older man or woman. SAFE.
Maureen knocked, heard movement from inside.
The woman who answered the door was frumpy. Dark pudding basin hair and round glasses.
“Help you?” she asked.
Maureen glanced back over her shoulder.
“There’s someone following me. Would it be okay to call the police for me?”
“Come in, come in,” said the woman. Moira saw that the house was a little shabby. Looked like there were kids inside. SAFE.
The woman ushered her into a living room and there was a dark, wavy-headed man sitting in front of a late night movie. “Fred,” said the woman. “This poor girl is being followed. Go out and see who’s hanging around while I phone the police.”
“Okay,” the man said, winking at Maureen. He had a jovial, almost comical look. A bit like a monkey. “But I wouldn’t bother phoning the police. It’s probably nothing. Just some of the local kids trying to frighten you.”
“Probably,” Maureen admitted.
“I’ll go and take a look. You just sit here and Rose will look after you.”
Rose smiled at her.
Lovely folk, Maureen thought. She didn’t care what people said about the estate, there were still nice people around. Especially here at...ah, that’s it! 25 Cromwell Street.

Thursday 5 February 2009


Here's a little flash fiction for you about a highly trained detective and his hunt for a master criminal...

Crime Of The Century

Leticia Wiesel could fool everyone else but not Detective Simmons.

He knew her type. Her slight build and elfin features, complete with big baby blue eyes twinkling behind her spectacles, gave her the innocent look that people associated with kindly grandmothers. She could come and go about her business with impunity, and never have a suspicious eye cast her way. But Simmons was too good a detective for that.

He knew her for what she was: A career criminal who’d avoided prosecution only because no one suspected that she could do any harm. She was slippery and cunning, years and years of experience behind her making her a master of her craft. A professional.

Simmons had been after her for months now. The tricky devil had been too subtle on too many occasions to count, and had until now continued with her nefarious criminality. But he had her now. Bang to rights, as the saying goes.

He watched her, blending in where she wouldn’t notice him. Waiting for the final step that would incriminate her fully in the crime.

She was canny: eyes darting, searching for surveillance, mindful of anyone who might be offering her more than passing notice. Her body language – though too subtle for one untrained to notice – said that she was only seconds away from committing the crime. She was a professional, but so was Simmons when it came to reading a criminal’s intention.

He could stop her now before the crime was complete. But he wanted her too much for that. He watched as she took one final look around.

Simmons felt the adrenalin bubbling.

Then the deed was done, and Simmons felt his knees weaken at the realisation that finally Leticia Wiesel would be uncovered as the terror she was.

Freakin’ A! You’ve got her, Simmons!

All thoughts of disguise or subtlety gone now, Simmons raced after Wiesel, pulling out his ID.
Wiesel felt him coming, spinning round and staring up at the big man holding out his badge like it was a handgun.

She didn't try to escape. Too coy and sure of herself for that.

“What can I do for you, young man?” she asked sweetly.

Simmons sneered down at her. Her sweet, little old lady act didn’t work on him. No way.

Full of vim, he said, “I’d like you to come back into the store, madam. I believe you have a block of butter that you haven’t paid for.”

Wednesday 4 February 2009

Title change

Since 'googling' for thrills kills n chills, I came across another website with a very similar name, and to avoid confusion (or copyright infringement) I've changed the title of our blog to Thrillers Killers 'N' Chillers. This does not affect any of the links and I'm sure everyone will understand.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Call for more stories

I hope that you are enjoying this new venture. We've got the ball rolling now and have a good mix of action (thrills), murder (kills) and horror(chills) so I guess you can see where we're going with this platform for new unpublished writing. Why not submit something - see the welcome message opposite.

Monday 2 February 2009


Here's another horror shocker in the old Tales of Terror style. Enjoy every juicy morsel...

Introducing Gemma Nye

When she first walked in the bar, Adrian’s eyes had followed her from the doorway all the way across the crowded Newcastle pub.

She was wearing or nearly wearing a sheer silk dress. The silver fabric clung provocatively to every lithe curve of her body. The bottom of the dress barely covered her buttocks. Small sequined straps stretched the fabric almost to bursting point. A matching set of gloves and high heels complimented the sexy ensemble perfectly.

Adrian licked his lips which were suddenly dry despite the large Jack Daniels and soda in front of him. He half stood up out of his seat in a primitive urge to be closer to this beautiful creature. Then common sense prevailed…what the hell was he going to say? ‘Do you come here often?’ 'What sign are you?’ Hmmmn?

Adrian plopped back despondently. Firstly his friends had stood him up again – they were probably waylaid down on the quay-side, and now he nearly made a fool out of himself by trying to chat up a woman that was obviously so far out of his league that it wasn’t funny.

The woman seemed to glide through the bar without touching or being jostled by the rowdy crowd. She paused from time to time to peer through the crowd…was she looking for someone?
Of course she is! Adrian told himself. A beauty like that is hardly going to be out without some male model type to buy her drinks all night.

Then quite surprisingly, she turned her head and their eyes met…across a crowded bar if you can take that…then ever so slowly she padded across the room towards him.
Adrian looked around but no one else in the blue neon lit alcove paid him or the woman any attention. After what seemed like an age, she appeared in front of him.

“Hi,” she purred. “Mind if I sit?”

“No, no, sit down…please” Adrian blabbed. He brushed imaginary dust from the vacant seat.

“Thanks, you’re a real gent.”

Adrian felt himself begin to blush, he hated it, but he turned a deep shade of red whenever he tried his hand with the opposite sex.

The woman held out a slender hand in greeting. “My name’s Gemma.”

“Adrian…Adrian Baxter,” he reciprocated, shaking her hand gently, then, “Nice gloves!”

Gemma smiled. “Yeah, I like them. They keep my hands soft and gentle…” She gazed directly into Adrian’s eyes as she spoke.

Adrian tried not staring at the expanse of bare skin on show as she crossed her very long legs, this causing the already revealing skirt to become nearly pornographic as it rode up her upper thighs.

“You meeting somebody here, Gemma?” he asked, not daring for a negative response.

“No, just out seeing what I can see.” Her eyes flashed and reflected the neon on the bar's windows.

Adrian struggled for a follow up for a second then offered, “Would you like a drink?”

Gemma smiled and tilted her head in subtle response.

“What would you like?”

“Oh, you figure it out…” she purred playfully.

Adrian made his way to the bar as quickly as possible, all the while trying to fathom the best drink for someone like his new companion.
He looked back at the woman who now appeared as a statue, motionless, bathed in blue light and achingly beautiful.
Minutes later, he appeared back at the table, amazed there wasn’t a stream of men trying their luck with this half naked Venus.

“Champagne with a shot of pomegranate juice?” as he offered the glass.

“Perfect, see I knew you had a talent for it!” She smiled.


“My drink…it’s what I would have chosen myself."

Adrian smiled in joy: damn it, he was making real headway with this babe!

“What do you do Adrian?” she enquired directly.

“I work at the Body Perfect Gym down at Durham. I’m one of the fitness instructors.”

“Hmmn, that figures by the look of you. You’ve got really good arms. No shortage of meat on your bones!” She said approvingly.

Adrian felt the blush starting to creep up his neck again. “So what do you do then? Do you live in Newcastle?”

“Well, no I don’t live here, just passing through. And to what I do for a living, I work with the Cirque de Macabre show.”

“Cirque?...Oh, the show at the O2 stadium? What do you do in it?” he asked. He’d seen some of the posters around the town advertising the risqué show. The posters had a few girls in bondage gear in provocative poses strewn around a piratical looking front-man.

He leaned closer and she mirrored his advance.

“I’m one of the performers, Miss Gemma Nye-Panthera at your service!” she announced slyly. A pink tongue flicked across her perfect teeth as if he needed any more enticement to keep him interested.

“What kind of performer?” Adrian’s trousers seemed suddenly tighter; the bar a lot warmer than it had minutes earlier.
“I’m one of the contortionists. We do the slow tumbling and stretch routines. I work with three other girls. I’m told it’s very…sensual to watch”

Adrian leaned forward again, more to disguise the swelling in his pants than to hear her. He very nearly asked ‘are you really bendy and stuff?’ then caught himself at the last second. Sexual possibilities steamed across his mind like a newsflash.

Gemma leaned back in her seat stretching her long tanned legs as she did so.

“So where are you stopping while you’re in town?”

“I’ve got my wagon up on the fields near the race-course,” she replied. She swirled the drink around as she spoke, sending a stream of pink hued bubbles spiralling to the top of the glass. “Why do you ask?”

“I…I…just asking, I didn’t mean…”

Gemma smiled, as if taking pleasure in his discomfort. “I’m just being tricky, just teasing.”

Adrian took a long pull on his whisky. Then when he had recovered he asked, “How long are you in town?”

“We’ve got one more show at the O2 then we move south. We leave for Manchester tomorrow night.”

“Shit!” he declared under his breath.

“Don’t worry Adrian; that still leaves tonight. The show finished at nine, so I’ve got the rest of the night to myself.”

“What…what do you have in mind?” he dared to ask.

Gemma leaned forward and whispered a question in his ear, so low and sensual Adrian thought he had misheard her the first time. She asked again and he nodded energetically in response.

She smiled and leaned back into her seat again.

“Well I share a caravan with my twin sister; she’s just a little on the shy side when it comes to going on the prowl. So I tend to do it for the both of us! We’re not identical but she’s still a real cute pussycat!” She arched a perfectly plucked eyebrow as if to test his responsiveness to this nugget.

“Twin sister?”

“Yeah, my sister…and me of course…could you be interested in a late supper?” she barely breathed the last words filling them with unspoken delicious suggestion.

“Of course I’m interested!” Adrian grinned. He looked around the bar as if to share his moment of glory but bizarrely, no one seemed to be clocking this half-naked temptress with legs as long as the M6.

“Come on then, no time like the present.” She uncurled her body and seemed to glide towards the door.

Adrian Baxter, knowing a chance of a lifetime when it came along, downed the remainder of his drink and followed.

The night air was sharp as he emerged from the bar, but as he followed Gemma’s barely covered rear end across the Big Market, he soon forgot the cold.
Her long athletic legs seemed to defy physics as she traversed the pavement with feline ease.

He trotted to catch up with her. His mates wouldn’t believe what they’d missed tonight. But then again if they’d been in the bar, Tony would have probably scored with Gemma instead.
Mr. Good looking - Tony would just have to miss this one!

“Where are we going?” asked Adrian as he drew level with the object of his now snowballing fantasies.

“I’m parked just round the next corner,” she replied. “Come on, keep up!”

“Lead the way Gemma lass!” he grinned.

In a few minutes of speedy walking, they arrived at a large Freelander.

“Nice!” declared Adrian as they clambered into the large 4 x 4.

A soon as the doors were closed, Gemma pulled him close and kissed him so deeply he felt intoxicated by the sudden contact. “Just a little taster before the main course!” she growled.

Adrian flopped back into his seat as she accelerated away north.

“So how long have you been with the show?” he asked.

“I was born into it. I come from a circus family.”

“So was you’re Mam & Dad gymnasts like you?”

“Well I’m not really a gymnast in the strictest sense, but I know what you mean.” She paused for a long beat…then…”My father died years ago in an aeroplane crash. And my Mum, well…have you heard the story of ‘The Elephant Man’?”

Adrian nodded. “I’ve seen some of the movie...why?”

“Well, the story goes that Joseph Merrick’s mother was startled by an elephant while she was pregnant and the Elephant Man was born as the result!”

Adrian looked across at the beauty queen as she drove, “I’m sorry you’ve lost me!” he apologised.

“Well, a big cat scared my Mum while she was carrying Della and me and we came out like this!” she cast a teasing look at her male passenger, a wicked grin curling up her glossed lips.

“You’re terrible Gemma, you really had me going for a second there!” he admitted.

“Adrian you’re going to have the time of your life. Just sit back and think about everything two perfect pussycats can do for you...or to you!”

He did just that; phantasms assailed him as he dared to imagine all of his sexual needs fulfilled. And damned if he couldn’t imagine quite a lot!

Within quarter of an hour they turned onto a darkened farm road. The Freelander bumped and jostled on the twin rutted dirt track.

“Not far now,” offered Gemma.

True to her word, within a few minutes, a large caravan was illuminated in the headlights of the vehicle.

The caravan was one of those big types that you see more on residential caravan sites. Not a little weekend tour caravan for sure.

“Come on then!” smiled Gemma as she hooked a gloved finger onto the waist band of Adrian’s trousers. “Let’s see what you’re made of!”

He followed her eagerly towards the large silver trailer. He hoped the twin sister was as good looking as Gemma. “Are you sure you’re sister - Della was it? - is OK with me coming back?”

“She’ll love you; don’t worry about it. Now, come on!”

As they entered the caravan, Adrian’s eyes took in the most wondrous sight.
The caravan was awash with art deco prints and objects d’art.
All of the seats and floors were finished with a layer of thick vinyl. Posters displaying nearly naked women were everywhere.

His eyes latched on to one in particular.

Although the bottom half of the poster was ripped away it was still plain to see the details on the remaining section.
The top half of Gemma’s chest was showing on the poster, a scant costume barely covering her modesty.
Red and gold script surrounded her image.
“Wow this is bloody amazing!” declared the impressed suitor. “This is you…” he said pointing to the poster. He began to read; “Introducing Gemma Nye…mistress of the dark, and the Fabulous Della Nye…the Panthera twins…and that’s your sister!”

Gemma smiled, scoring a ten on the sultry meter. “You want a drink?”

“Yeah sure!” he replied as he looked at the posters for various stage shows from past and present years.

He took the glass of amber liquid from Gemma and downed it in one. “Now then, where’s this sister of yours?” he asked enthusiastically.

“Oh, she’ll be through in a minute.” She nodded towards a double door that halved the caravan’s length.

Adrian sat back on a plush seat as his legs began to tingle. He tried to sit up but was surprised to find that his legs didn’t want to work.

“Gemma, I don’t feel right. My l...”

“Legs don’t work?” she interjected. “That’ll be the poison in your drink. Well not a poison really – a paralytic narcotic to be exact. It affects the limbs and your speech…but you can still feel everything else. You just can’t move or speak!”

Adrian’s mind reeled in disbelief as he tried to comprehend the sudden turn of events. “You lied to me…!” he croaked before his vocal chords ceased functioning.

“Oh no, I told you the truth. My twin sister and I do work in the shows. And the story is supposed to be true about my mother’s encounter with the big cat in India. But who really knows?” A long dramatic pause followed, then; “Would you like to see something really cool?”

Adrian tried to shout NO and shake his head but nothing but a slight tremor escaped him.

Gemma Nye pulled off her gloves and flexed her fingers. A set of two inch long talons sprang from her fingers like switchblades!

Adrian stared in mute terror at the monstrous claws.

Then Gemma smiled fully for the first time and he saw the long needle-like fangs that she had kept covered with her coy smiles and sly glances. “Are you ready to meet my sister?”

As if on cue, the double doors opened with theatrical aplomb.
Adrian screamed with all of his essence, yet all that escaped was a strangled high pitched wheeze.

Standing before him was the most horrific beast that he’d never dared to imagine to exist.
The creature defied clear description but between the rolls of deformed flesh Adrian’s fractured mind recognised details that he could actually register and comprehend.

A brief snap shot from an old horror movie flashed through his mind, the beast from ‘American Werewolf in London’ stalking through the tube station, silent but menacing to the extreme.
The thing that was Della Nye loosely resembled an immense cat, but devoid of a single hair. Its/her bald and mottled skin held faint stripes across her back but these were as shadows on a lawn at twilight.
Della Nye opened her jaws and Adrian Baxter forgot every thing else in the world! The yellowed fangs were a direct contrast to Gemma’s demure needle fangs; these were huge tusks in comparison and perfect for crushing and shredding flesh and bone.

The twin sister to Gemma walked towards the stricken man on four grotesque feet. Della’s huge back rippled with muscle as she moved.
She appraised Adrian with a bestial gaze.

At that moment their eyes met and Adrian’s already terror stricken mind started to splinter uncontrollably. Della’s eyes were unmistakably human.

Adrian Baxter began to convulse with shock and Gemma Nye, ever smiling slipped next to him. A single claw raked a neat furrow down his left cheek.

Adrian vomited a stream of bile as the twins laughed at her taunting. Della’s laugh was the bubbling of phlegm in a barrel chest.

“Remember in the club when I asked if you liked to eat pussy?”

A single tear was all Adrian could manage as he recalled Gemma’s whispered question.

“Well this time the Pussy gets to eat you!”

Gemma clamped her needle teeth down onto his right forearm.

Adrian, although completely unable to move; could feel every shred of living agony as his flesh was flenched from his bones.

Then Della clamped her cavernous jaws around his throat and he knew no more.


Paul Whittaker couldn’t believe his luck when the girl he’d been staring at looked up and flashed a sexy smile back at him.

He was nursing a beer in Hodge’s bar; one of Manchester’s better establishments if you were hoping to meet an eligible single of the opposite sex.

The Lycra-clad babe padded over to him, smiling as she came.

She slid into the seat next to him with a feline grace. “Hi there, my name’s Gemma, what’s yours?”


Remember to check out more of Jim's weird and wonderful fiction at

SMOKE AND MIRRORS by Vallon Jackson

Here's a horror tale to get the slightly darker themes rolling. But it's also a crime story and (hopefully) thrilling...


The fireworks went off in his skull when Lucy Chalmers showed Gerry Brook the body in her car. It was a man. He had a single wound at the centre of his skull, as though some trepanning enthusiast had gone at him with a hammer drill.
Outside of a hospital bed, it was the first corpse Gerry had ever seen. The dead man was an anomaly that his confused senses couldn’t make sense of.
“Is he dead?”
Lucy blinked her large blue eyes at him. “Yes, Gerry. He’s been shot in the head. What do you think?”
Moving closer, Gerry got a whiff of the blood that was turning the seat cover coppery. It was the same smell that wafts from the steel bins at the rear of the butcher shop where he worked. There was a slow plop as semi-jellified blood dripped into the growing pool in the foot well.
“Who shot him?” Gerry laid a hand on the open window frame, then snatched it away as though avoiding a snake’s fangs. Fingerprints, he thought. Not good to place his fingerprints at the scene. He didn’t want the blame for this!
Lucy opened her handbag and showed Gerry a gun stashed between her Radley purse and the other indescribable objects that only women carry.
“You, Lucy?”
“Yes, me,” Lucy said. She gave him the kind of look reserved especially for him in these moments of supreme idiocy. “You know that I had no other choice.”
“But…the police?”
“The police wouldn’t help me. You know that. I went to them and they thought I was nuts!”
“I meant that the police will now be coming after you.”
“Not if we get rid of the body,” Lucy told him.
“We? You want me to…” Gerry shook his head wildly. “No way! I’m not getting involved in a murder!”
“This isn’t murder, Gerry. He was a monster. A thing. I’ve just stopped something very evil.”
“But how could you know that?”
“You’ve seen the news haven’t you, Gerry? All those bodies turning up with their throats ripped out and drained of all their blood?” She pointed at the dead man. “What do you think was responsible for that?”
Gerry peered into the car. A slow ooze of blood welled out of the hole in the man’s skull like something inside was pushing its way out. “But what if you’re wrong, Lucy? What if he’s just a man?”
Lucy ignored him. “We must see to things properly. Immolation’s best.”
“You want to burn him?”
“To ashes. But we must decapitate him first. Bury his skull in salt so he can never come back.”
Gerry rubbed trembling fingers over his face. “Shouldn’t we ram a stake through his heart as well?”
“That’s just nonsense from the movies.”
“Immolation and decapitation isn’t? It looks to me like a bullet through his brain did the trick.”
“That has only killed the vessel that carries his spirit. To finish him once and for all we most force a disincorporation of them both. Otherwise he’ll just come back in another body.”
Gerry dropped his hands by his sides and blinked at her. He’d never heard the term disincorporation before. Lucy wasn’t even sure that she had used the correct term. “I heard that once: something to do with sundering the flesh from the soul. Could have been incorporeal…”
Gerry gawped at her.
“Any way, it doesn’t matter. We have to get on and do this before nightfall.”
“If he’s what you say he is, how could he be out in the day time? Shouldn’t he have burst into flame or something?”
“That’s another myth from the movies. So is turning into a bat, or becoming smoke so he can get through a crack under a door.”
Gerry looked at the dead man. His blued lips were peeled back in a grimace of horror. “I suppose the sharp teeth are made up as well?”
Lucy tapped a manicured fingernail against one of her own incisors. “We all have teeth made for cutting, Gerry. They don’t have to be any sharper than our own to break the skin.”
Gerry tested his own teeth with his tongue. He nipped himself a little too hard. He pointed at a crucifix around the man’s neck. “What about that?”
“They originate from all faiths, Gerry,” Lucy leaned down to study the cross hanging just beneath the dead man’s chin. “Maybe he was Buddhist or something.”
Gerry wasn’t known for his sharp mind, but even he twisted his face at Lucy’s logic.
“It doesn’t matter,” Lucy said. “He’s the same one who has been following me. Every where I went he did, too. He was staring at me like he was sizing me up. He was planning his attack I’m sure, but I’ve stopped him.”
Gerry stood alongside the car. “I can see his reflection in the mirror, Lucy.”
“More myth,” she said. “Now are you going to help me or not?”
“Yes, I’m going to help you. It’s just that I’m frightened, that’s all.”
“There’s nothing to be afraid of, Gerry. Not if we disincorporate him like I said.”
Gerry bunched his hands in his pockets. He fumbled with a heavy object that tugged down the front of his hooded top. “That’s why you asked me to bring a meat cleaver, huh?”
“You’re a butcher by trade. Cutting it up should be no different than a side of pork.”
Gerry glanced around quickly. The alley they were in was deserted but the brooding eyes of windows stared down on them. “You want me to do it here?”
“Of course not. We’ll have to take him somewhere more remote.”
Gerry squirmed. “You want me to drive that car? It’s all bloody.”
“We can shower afterward,” Lucy said. She gave him the other look she reserved for him. “Together if you’d like.”
A man’s corpse proved not so different from a side of pork when Gerry got down to business. Once the head was removed and the clothing stripped away, the man’s slightly rotund body, all pink and hairless did bring to mind the countless pigs he’d dismembered over the years. Lucy saw to the head, taking it away and burying it in a hole that she filled with rock salt from a container they found at the side of the road. The salt was for gritting the road surface when the weather grew frosty, but it did equally well in salting the earth.
Gerry concentrated on chopping the man to manageable chunks of meat and bone. Then he dumped them in an old oil drum, sloshed them with petrol and threw in a burning rag. Black oil and a smell not unlike cooked pork fat surrounded him.
That done, he turned and saw Lucy walking back towards him. How she managed to remain spotless after carrying the bloody skull on its stump of neck amazed him. He was splashed with gore all down the front of his jacket and he was scarlet to the elbows. He was also feeling a little pleased with himself. Kind of empowered. Lucy made him feel like that. He was also as randy as hell.
“You should dump your clothing,” Lucy said. “Throw them on the fire and get rid of the evidence.”
“You want me to strip right here?” Gerry’s breath quickened exponentially.
“Why not? No one is here to see us.”
“But the shower?”
“It can wait.”
Gerry tore at his clothing while Lucy watched him coyly, the tip of her tongue caressing one eye-tooth.
Afterwards Gerry wanted a cigarette.
Standing bare in the forest glade, the smoking oil drum throwing heat on his sweat-slicked skin, he looked down on Lucy. She was as naked as he, lying in the grass and looking up at him with her deep gaze. Her clothes lay in a loose pile beside his discarded underwear and amongst them was her handbag. He could see the butt of the gun, her Radley purse and a pack of JPS poking out the semi-open bag. She’d given him cigarettes before when he’d wanted one and he reached for the pack. Beneath the pack was what looked like a man’s wallet.
“What’s this?” he asked. Lucy just watched him steadily.
Gerry teased out the wallet. “Is this his? We should throw it on the fire.”
Lucy sat up slowly, watching as Gerry’s curiosity got the better of him and he opened the wallet.
“Oh, fuck!”
“It doesn’t make any difference,” Lucy said.
“But…but…he was a police man?”
“They come from all faiths,” Lucy reminded him, “and all kinds of backgrounds. It makes no difference that he was a police man.”
Gerry stared at the warrant card with the man’s identification and photograph. Detective Sergeant Crowley. “This is the same officer you said you spoke to when you went to the police station. The same man who you said brushed you off when you said a vampire was responsible for the killings.”
Lucy nodded. “He was looking at me funnily.”
Gerry's jaw dropped open and he turned slowly to look at the flaming oil drum. “You killed an innocent man, Lucy. And I helped you get rid of him.”
Lucy stood up silently and took a step towards him. She reached out and placed a palm on his shoulder.
“He was suspicious of me, Gerry. He followed me. I had to stop him.”
Gerry spun around and stared at her with wide eyes. “You shot him, Lucy! Where did you get the gun?”
“I took it off him.”
“You took it off him?” Crowley had been a big man, trained and used to dealing with violent offenders. Lucy was a slip in comparison.
“It was easy,” she said. “He thought that all he had to do was wave that stupid crucifix at me. He had more faith in Jesus than he did his Glock. So I showed him what was more powerful.”
Gerry was caught in that stunned immobility that comes with terror.
“It’s true, Gerry. Vampires do exist. And DS Crowley knew it.”
Gerry shook his head wildly.
“Of course, he didn’t know all that Hollywood stuff is just nonsense,” Lucy went on. “Vampires aren’t supernatural beings, just a different strain of humanity. Crosses don’t work, sunlight doesn’t burn, they do cast reflections and they have nothing at all to do with bats. The only thing that Bram Stoker got right was their lust for blood. They must drink to live. Through a hole in the neck or from a bullet wound in a skull, it doesn’t really matter.”
Gerry tried to step away from her but felt himself rooted to the spot.
“Oh, that’s something the movies have got right,” Lucy said, “the vampire’s ability to mesmerize a victim. I’ve been doing that to you since the moment we met.”
Gerry wanted to shout but his mouth wouldn’t work. His eyelids widened as Lucy took a step towards him.
“Plus, about the teeth?” she said. “I lied.”
The last thing that Gerry saw was the widening of her mouth, her glistening fangs lengthening as she launched herself at his exposed throat.


Introducing The Hoodie Hunter...

Blind Alley

His hit-list was extensive and somewhat depleted. Five names remained and the cops were closing. It was time to step up the pace.
He’d been watching the news and wasn’t overly impressed at being dubbed ‘The Hoodie Hunter’ by the media. To an untrained ear it sounded like he’d been frantically shopping for a new sweater; far from it. However, to the streetwise, the nickname did sum up his actions, he supposed, as he’d certainly sent shockwaves ripping through hooded youth fraternity. And from what he’d seen of that Detective Inspector Jack Strider in the many press conferences he did seem like a decent cop; another reason to focus.
He knew where the final five on his list would be hanging out. No surprise really as he’d been patiently watching them for nearly two years since that fateful night.

The call box door squeaked shut and he undid the top couple of buttons of his black trench coat, his funeral coat that held the memories which spurred him on. After a deep intake of the chilly night air to compose himself, he dialled the number. Three rings later and an official sounding female answered.
‘Emergency services…which service please?’
A few beeps later another female, same officious tone. ‘…Greater Manchester Police…which town please?’
‘Moss Range, Manchester.’
‘What’s the nature of your call?’
‘It’s about that killer on the news….The Hoodie Hunter I think they call him.’
‘Oh, really?’ She sounded surprisingly unconvinced. Silly bitch.
‘Yeah, really.’
‘And what about him?’
‘Well, he’s attacking a lad on Moss Park.’
‘Oh, right….and your name is?’
‘That’s not important, but you’d best send someone down here…pronto.’
‘How do I know this isn’t another crank call? We get loads, you know?’
‘You’ll know when you get here cos there’ll be another dead lad!’
‘Okay, okay. So how do you know it’s him?’
‘He uses a baton right?’ Silence on the other end. ‘It’s him. Listen…’ He pushed play on his dictaphone and intermittent screaming could be heard in the distance.
‘Okay…can you still see him?’ There was urgency in her voice now.
Can you stay on the line until we get patrols there?’
‘No.’ With that, he hung up.

Ten minutes later he was driving in the opposite direction towards the city centre, having passed half a dozen speeding police vehicles, blues lights and sirens in full flow, plus a couple of plain cars carrying whom he suspected were detectives. He could’ve sworn he’d seen DI Jack Strider amongst them.
Job done.
He pulled the black VW Golf GTI into a side street, checked his mirrors and got out. As he descended the steps of the dim, dank subway, what others would construe as fear intensified. Although he knew fear was his friend and it was just adrenalin heightening his senses, preparing him for battle. He rolled down his hat which doubled as a balaclava.
On his approach he could hear their voices growing louder. There was laughter, too, but not for long. He saw the first one, then the second and soon clocked that there were six in total. Careful. They were listening intently to a big lad in the middle who was gesticulating as he described beating his latest victim. The words, ‘Ra, ra,’ and ‘Innit,’ were prevalent. His recognition of the big lad, known as ‘Big-un,’ gave him a surge of excitement. The others were dressed in usual dark sports gear with their hoods predictably up. He stopped at the subway’s entrance, straining to identify his prey from twenty metres away. He withdrew a small pair of binoculars and soon sussed the one he had no interest in had a white stripe across his hood. Right.
‘Oy, dickheads!’
They pivoted in unison, looking surprised.
‘Want some?’
‘You fucking with us, man?’ shouted Big-un.
‘What do you think, you bunch of pussies?’
They all surged forward as one, a mass of arms, legs and aggression, their profanities resounding off the subway’s walls.
He turned and ran, like a fox being hounded. He took the steps three at a time and passed a cul-de-sac on the right…one…then a second…two…he turned into the third, breathlessly withdrawing his baton. And he waited…
The noisy throng emerged at the top of the dark street.
‘There he is…the cheeky fucker!’ Down they ran. He stood his ground, baton at the ready. They slowed up, still cursing, a wariness creeping into their psyches. Big-un drew a blade, glistening under a streetlamp. ‘You’re fucked now, gobshite!’
He backed off from the gang, slowly edging round them, baton out-stretched. Eyeballing Big-un, he subtly manoeuvred them into the opening of an adjacent alleyway. They edged forward, spreading across the alley’s entrance. One tried to sneak behind him, but the baton cut noisily through the air.
‘Wanker! Am gonna shank you,’ he said, clicking a flick knife open.
He jockeyed them back a few paces with a few sharp forward steps, further into the alley, capitalising on their hesitancy.
He spotted a third knife appear and took a step back himself.
‘He’s bottling it now. Ha! Fuckin slice him, bro.’
Three metres away, if that; their pallid faces just visible in the darkness.
Big-un lunged forward, the others followed shouting. He side-stepped Big-un, grabbed his arm and jerked it behind his back before wrenching it up to his neck until it cracked. He threw in a kidney punch for good measure.
‘Aaargh!’ Big-un’s knife clanged on the floor and he dropped like a bag of shit. One at the back shaped to throw something and he ducked as a bottle smashed beside him on a wall. He expertly swung his baton and impacted on the nearest cheekbone with a thud. The youth yelped like a puppy and the others hesitated, giving him a second to remove a brick in the wall.
‘That won’t fuckin stop us, you muppet!’
Behind the brick was his trusty Glock 17. ‘This fuckin will though!’
He retracted his baton in an instant and slipped it up his left sleeve. He gripped the Glock in both hands and took aim. Their pallid faces appeared even whiter as they turned to run.
‘It’s a dead end, boys…just like your lives!’
Four shots blasted out, one for each forehead. They dropped like dominoes. Big-un tried to clamber up the wall, but fell to his knees and glanced up. ‘Pleeease…you’re Him, aren’t you…The Hoodie Hunter?’
‘Yes…I’m Him.’ He heard someone sobbing and looked up at the last lad standing, with the white stripe on his hood. ‘Go now! And sort your life out!’ The lad left like shit off the proverbial shovel.
‘Can I go…pleeease?’ asked Big-un, pathetically.
‘What do you think?’
He stepped back and blasted Big-un through the skull, his brains - surprisingly bigger than a pea – spurting out of the back of his head across the wall.
He stepped over each body, checking, and resisting the overwhelming urge to spit. Still no DNA for DI Jack Strider and co, whom he’d also sent up a blind alley earlier. They’d know it was him anyway. Time to start a new list…