One more post for my birthday. Here’s a little taster from Book 2, which I am currently working on.
The black car sat idling by the roadside, a figure discernible at the steering wheel. Ruby strained to see through to the back seat but the angle was not good enough and she had no clue whether or not David was still inside. Her wondering was disturbed by a sound in the woods to her right: raised voices bouncing off the trees. She recognised David’s London voice immediately and shifted away, trying hard to remain concealed from the driver of the car.
David’s voice was high, frantic. As she approached, she saw him in a small clearing staring venomously at the man opposite him: a tall figure in a slate grey suit, wetness creeping up the trouser legs from the sodden ground. In his outstretched hand was a gun, pointing at David’s chest.
“Very bloody convenient!” he shouted, pointing at the weapon. “Trying to escape, was I? You think anyone will believe that?”
“Mr Armstrong. I’m sure you will understand by now that people will believe anything if given the right evidence. This isn’t something I want. You do understand that? You could have happily continued your life with no interference from us.”
Ruby reached into her pocket and pulled out the mobile phone that David had bought for her the day before. She quickly opened the camera and started to video the scene being played out in front of her.
“Happily?” David spat the word at him. “You took my son.”
“Your son is fine, Mr Armstrong, I am quite sure.”
“Where is he, then?”
Smith looked up at the sky, pondered a while and then returned his gaze to the man in front of him. “I don’t know.”
Ruby inched closer to the clearing, holding the phone up to record all that was going on. She prayed that the sound quality on the device was good enough to capture this man’s words. Even she hadn’t believed David’s story at first. The bus crash story last year was one of the last things she remembered reading in the newspaper before everything went so wrong for her; it was a last piece of normality. David’s version of events was so far-fetched it demanded scepticism and yet, in the abandoned warehouse in which they had met, he had earned her half-belief. A bribe, some might call it. A hot meal and a smile was payment enough for going along on a wild goose chase like this. Now, though, she heard the truth from this man in the suit. David had been right.
“You don’t have children, do you Smith?” David’s broken voice shattered her daydream.
“I’m afraid that appeals to my-”
“-He’s somewhere I don’t know where and he thinks that I gave up on him. He thinks I hate him; that I let him go because I was sick of him. I let him get on that bus believing all that. He thinks I gave up on him.”
“And he will go on thinking that. Your failings as a father are not something which I can change now even if I wanted to. You have caused a great risk to our position and it is, with regret, that I must put an end to your struggles. You were arrested and escaped from custody while being transferred, having broken your thumb to release yourself from your handcuffs. I’ll take care of that after you’re dead.” Smith pulled a knife from inside his jacket pocket, flicked it open and drove the blade into his own thigh.
Ruby recoiled and almost cried out. Smith whirled around and looked in her direction but she ducked down in time to avoid his questing eyes. Turning uncomfortably back to David, he went on.
“I gave chase and you attacked me with a knife which had avoided detection when you were searched. Unfortunate as this will likely cost the Custody Sergeant his job, that poor girl Lewis, too I should think. You stabbed me in the thigh, tried to kill me and I was forced to shoot you dead. This will all be corroborated by my companion in the car. Your fingerprints will be on the knife and, as you will not be alive to give your version of events, it will be a very easy day for the Crown Prosecution Service, albeit posthumously as far as you’re concerned. I’m really very sorry, Mr Armstrong. I take no pleasure in this.”