Sunday, 3 April 2011

The Journeyman- Chapter 4

Jim Docherty’s Story

Jim poured himself another cup of tea dulling the taste of the medicine that eased his pain and turned lethargy to stupor. Stupor but rarely sleep. He knew why he was tempted to help Cameron but wondered why Pat had bothered? Never in a million years could he have been taken in, or could he? Reluctantly allowing his mind free range, he found it reeling back to an October Thursday in 81. The last day his world had been real.
Some people say late middle age is the autumn of life, for Ann and me, it was the age of whimsy. The business was solid and well run, despite my paternalistic tampering. The Brotherhood had settled to political and commercial espionage rather than the gut and gun running of old. We were part of the majority now, part of the EEC. So was England, but less committed; they still had the arrogance of position and empire to get rid of. 
We'd been blessed with the one girl before Ann suffered a touch of the woman troubles. Joan not having a brother or sister was never a loss to us, more an unfulfilled wish. So time went on and it wasn't a bad time for Auld Ireland. We had a bit of peace. Folk, for the first time, were beginning to look to the future without reference to the past. Sure there was still the shenanigans up in the north, but that was there and we were here; and wouldn't Westminster have to tidy that up before it slithered its way out? Meanwhile Joan had grown up. On the day of her graduation at Trinity she had disengaged herself from Pat, hugged us both and admitted to being amazed at the amount of wisdom we'd both gained since she was fifteen. Do you ever lie there at night and wonder what you've done to deserve being so happy? And that night I knew Ann was feeling exactly the same. She never, well, hardly, batted an eyelid when Joan announced that she was moving in with Pat to be nearer to her office. It dampened nothing; they were obviously in love. An item they joked, touching one another. DINK's I suggested, stretching my `cool' to its limits. Not for long, Pat stated, getting a raised eyebrow from Joan and a warm smile from Ann. I managed to get Pat drunk that night. I think that was a first. Certainly for all of their marriage it was the last.
It's a strange relationship, father and son-in-law. You either get on with somebody or you don't. I'd no problem with Pat. He came over to me as a big, gentle bloke with a soft heart stabilised by a hard head whose love for Joan was as deep as his voice was soft and his mind-set held in granite. Never limited to being a man's man, he was his own and Joan's. When Emma and Christine came along he was their man as well and I think he began to understand how I'd felt about Joan and with both his parents being long dead we felt we'd gained a son. 
Never did it enter my mind that his career as a detective was a threat to my business or its involvement with the movement. Nor had I thought of the threat being reversed. It just wasn't part of our ‘lives' equations; we were at the whimsy stage.
Emma had got her pony for her fifth Christmas. God forgive me but I've a mental blank over the name of that pony, though I must have groomed it twice a week for the two and a half years she rode it. The other whimsies? Taking Emma and Christine to the Disney thing in Florida, thinking I'd hate it only to find myself loving it, mainly because they did. We went to Wimbledon. Joan and Ann watched the matches while I took the kids to the Planetarium and saw Christine lost in amazement while Emma knew more than I did.  Life was pretty good; better than that. I wouldn't realise just how good till the greed of circumstance called itself fate and decided to visit us. I suppose I'd be classed as moderately rich. I had a home overlooking Ireland's Eye and the time and wherewithal to pander to our whimsies. But we were fairly moderate. For instance my car was a four-year-old Granada estate; the dinner jacket got an airing two or three times a year and we socialised with friends, not status holders. I'd like to think we were strong on substance if short on style. Mark that down for Pat as well.

It was probably on a whimsy that I decided to take the load down to Arklow that particular Thursday. The driver had reported sick. We had just taken delivery of six new Volvo units so, besides keeping my hand in, it would give me the opportunity to test one hauling a full load. I could leave late morning and still be back in time for a couple of glasses with Pat before dinner. We'd the kids overnight and were expecting Joan around lunchtime. There was talk of them going down to the cove if the weather held. There are times to this day when I'd swear I can feel the weight of Christine doing her favourite delaying tactic of standing on my feet and holding my belt matching her backward steps to mine while Emma skipped beside me, both chorusing, 'Take us with you Granddad.' And I'm laughing and promising other treats and times.  Christ this is hard on me telling this. People lead lives that I no longer understand. They have feelings like pleasure, compassion or hate that I can no longer give, afford or enforce. The pain slowly eating my gut is keeping me alive rather than killing me. It was the day before the obituaries to my life headlined every Irish paper.
I’d enjoyed the run as I wheeled the unit up the private road, past the drive to the house and on to the yard. I was almost past the drive before the confusion of blue flashing lights and the bright red truck pierced my brain.  Standing on the brakes I ran towards them fearing the worst and praying for the best. Over the gentle crest I saw the glass wall of the lounge, shattered. Curtains in shards, fluttering as though in shock and smirked in sooty grey. It's been a fire. Shit!  I slow down, already out of breath.  My eyes are a little fuzzy with the exertion but there's no ambulance that I can see.  I walk on, back in control. There're a lot of cars, though the Guardia look pretty relaxed; as though the panic's over, everything’s under control. 

The sob when I first heard it doesn't register because it's a man's sob; more a keening, a strangling of breath. It makes me quicken my step. It's coming from one of the cars screened by uniforms.  Nearer its despair reaches into me and begins to grip my heart. I’m running now, almost stumbling, listening for the same despair to be matched from women and children's throats.  ‘Pat?’ I scream, but I didn’t exist for him. ‘What’s wrong man?’ selfishly hoping his grief was not mine but knowing it would be. A policeman who cannot find the words nods towards the house. 
When you've nobody to cuddle, to cry over, nobody to kiss good-bye, something in you dies; it’s as simple as that. 
There were parts, bundles, bundles of parts. Old bloody limbs, young bloodied limbs and little bloodied limbs. Some still attached to mangled flesh and shrouded in tattered scraps of cloth. Flesh, solitary, separated, in impossible conditions, incongruously clothed. It was so far beyond belief; incomprehension kept me going. I saw one of Christine's sandals next to a porcelain ornament I'd suffered from our wedding, both still completely intact. I picked them up. Somebody held my wrist, mentioned something about a crime scene. I remember shaking him off, telling him to 'Fuck Off,' then feeling blasphemous. Knowing I was beginning to believe, I looked at the stupid ornament and screamed 'Why?' That scream was in my blood, a conduit to every part of my being. Every nuance of destruction, every colour, every smell, texture, touch and torment was captured by that scream. Locked for life into all of my senses but at that moment without a connection to a reasoning brain. 

Four bundles were covered. The smallest I took to be Christine. Lifting the cover gently I found Ann and felt pain course through me. Dropping to my knees, I never saw the gore only the face I’d always see. I kissed her and struggled to get the words 'I love you' through a choking throat. The same for Joan, Emma and Christine. None was easier, none harder, it was simply and hellishly total.
Outside of me, somewhere in the hell that surrounded me, I heard a voice use my name and a gentle hand insistently pull at my elbow. I felt myself drawn from the room, still holding Christine's sandal and the ornament. My eyes constantly roved round the carnage as though amazed at the clarity of a nightmare. I was led through to the kitchen. Normal, except for the strangers who'd taken the roast out of the oven and were slicing it for sandwiches. The slicer's colleagues smirked at his embarrassment when their boss barked, 'Get the hell out of here.' I wasn't bothered; nothing was real enough to get through to me. I took a coffee, even had a couple of sips after he'd laced it with brandy from his flask. I remember him holding my arm as though he was frightened I'd collapse, then asking me if I'd any idea who could have done this. I shook my head. I didn't even know what had been done; just who and what had gone. 

He was doing his job, 'Please try to think. We reckon it was you they were after. They either didn't check or didn't care who was with you just made damn sure nobody in that room came out alive. We need…' 
           I think it was my starting to cry that stopped him.
'I'm sorry. I'll get a driver to take you and Urquhart wherever you want to go. If you do think of anything, let me know at once, will you? It could be important. What the hell am I saying, Urquhart will know to get in touch.'
I suppose I glanced at the card that was put into my hand before slipping it into my shirt pocket. Pounding in my brain was the need to get out. Strangers were everywhere. This was their crime scene, no longer my home. There was nothing to stay for. I needed privacy and felt numb yet, in a strange way calm. Refusing the offer of a car I went into our bedroom and, careful not to touch anything of Ann's, threw some clothes into a bag and left the house. As yet I've never been back. Maybe some day I will. 

I waited while the police manoeuvred vehicles till I could get my own out of the garage and for Pat to get in with me. I'd to stop again at the bottom of the drive while Frank, my manager and oldest friend, moved the unit I'd come home in. Home, the thought of never having a real use for the word almost broke whatever it was that was holding me together. The brimming eyes of Frank didn't register till a long time after. 'Get in touch with Gerald and sort out the business between you, I'll get in touch sometime,’ I could see Frank struggling for words as I drove off, but words change nothing.
I don't know how far I drove. A road block appearing for the second time made me realise I'd driven a circle and I pulled in to the next lay-by. Neither Pat nor I had spoken. In the headlights of a passing car I saw him turn his head to the blackness outside his side window. Neither of us was ready to share; sharing would be admittance, the end of any sliver of denial. His hands were clasped between his knees, I put my hand over them, felt his unravel and one of them grasp mine. 
           I waited till Pat slept before I got into the back of the car, curled into a ball, and gave in to the black misery that seemed to spew through me without relief. If God had any knowing of love, surely now would be the time he'd take me. Perhaps he did in a way, because dawn was making a show when I knew he hadn't, and the passenger door was open and Pat was gone. I feared the worst till I heard the sobs between the bird song. Climbing out I watched Pat trying to clean vomit from his coat and trouser cuffs. The sight of him has haunted me since; the abject misery of a child etched on a man's face.
'Why? For God's sake, why?' Pleaded out of him.
I felt hopeless, inadequate and frightened. The hellish cauldron of misery in the lounge had finally crawled through to reason and hissed explosion. Fear came when guilt snapped at my conscience, none of which I was ready to handle yet. Instead I started the car to get some heat and to keep from having to look directly at Pat. I tried to find the saliva to wipe the salt of dried tears from my face. Needing a place to go I glanced at Pat and drove to the Riddle Hotel. Nowhere would be without memories.
The owner said nothing when I asked for a room. Turning he collected a bottle from behind the bar and took us to a room at the back. 'Call me for anything you want. I'll look after the car and see you're not disturbed.' He said something else about phones but I was already looking round the room and wondering what I was doing here. We were there for three days. Pat and I hardly talked because we would have asked each other impossible questions. I don't know if it was the same for him but his presence for me was both a right and a torment. Grief shared is not halved. I've recollections of us both being awake, acting almost like strangers. I have hazy recollections of coffee flasks and half eaten sandwiches, and of bottles, though I never felt drunk.  At times I lay listening to Pat sobbing and I suppose he in turn listened to me. Nothing made sense or gave comfort. I feared sleep because of the misery that waited on waking. I almost envied Pat the innocence of his grief.
This hadn't been an accident, or cock-up of identity. It was annihilation, devoid of any considerations other than result, and credence by  my membership of the brotherhood. Why didn’t matter now, only who.  A splinter group, or a callous decision by people I'd befriended, worked with and trusted? The U.D.A or the other lot, branching out from the six counties? Either way my involvement denied me innocence. I was tormented by the misery I'd landed on Pat and the price my family had paid. They had to be found and exposed, whoever they were and no matter the costs. 
I'd asked the owner if there was a private phone I could use and was taken to his flat. My receptionist's sympathy was expected, though I wished she'd just do as I asked and put me through to Frank. She began to cry and knowing it wouldn't take much to set me off, I'd to remind her why I was on the phone.
'Jim! Where are you?'
That question sowed the seed. Just whom could I trust? There was only one I could take for granted, only one who couldn't be involved, Pat. Everybody else would have to be tried and tested. I broke the connection to give myself time to think; until it dawned on me I didn't need to trust anybody. When the specialist had diagnosed cancer I'd thanked him, sworn him to secrecy and told Ann an ulcer was the reason for the medicine. I just didn't go in for this chemo stuff that sort of killed you to half cure you. The cancer had forced me to make arrangements as far as my businesses and estate were concerned. I decided to make myself controlled bait. I selected three people to start with. By necessity Ronnie and Dave would know where I was; Frank wouldn't but would know they did. After them I'd add names one by one to the list, watching carefully for results after each one. I called Frank back.
Two hours later I watched the headlights of Frank's car pull in behind the one I'd borrowed from the hotelier. It was the lay-by where Pat and I had spent the first night. I watched Frank get out and check over my car. Then, leaning against it, lit his pipe. After a couple of minutes he shrugged and, walking back to his car, opened all the doors, letting the courtesy lights show its emptiness. By this time my legs were beginning to cramp with the effort of squatting behind the opposite hedge so I made my way over to him.   'Frank, I didn't want to say too much over the phone. Have any of the drivers left or gone missing?'
Frank drew on his pipe. 'Now why did I think that'd be worrying you. The answer's no. And any other time I'd ring your neck for thinking it, let alone asking.'
'I don't care, Frank. I've got to be sure.'
Frank's arm went round my shoulder and drew me to him. 'I know that Jim, we all do and I suppose you have to start somewhere, but not the lads. Most of them knew you were taking the load to Arklow and nothing makes sense if you weren't there.'
'What about Brennen? It could be his reason for ringing in sick. He wouldn't know I'd taken the trip.'
'Tom was taken in with a bust appendix. Jim, just back off. It wasn't any of the lads. The place has been like a dry wake since it happened. Gerald's practically coming down daily from Belfast just in case you turn up. I don't know what I can say to convince you but I reckon I know when somebody's acting and believe me, they're all on a down over this. You won't have any problems getting help when we know who did it.'
‘I'll get to know, Frank, never fear about that.'
'I know how it looks Jim; I just can't see what the movement's gained by it. I thought it might be one of the blood and guts brigade trying to make a name for themselves but now I doubt even that.'
Frank shook his head, 'They'd have been claiming the glory before now and, one way or another, we'd have heard.'
'What about the police?'
'Don't see much of them now. They've run us all through the mill pretty thoroughly, but the fact is they don't seem to have much to go on.'
I tried to think. Everything was as I wanted to hear but they'd know that. Frank smoking made me want a cigarette and patting my pockets made me realise I'd none. I hadn't smoked since I left the wagon. Now wasn't the time to stop.
           'I want everyone to be extra careful. We're out of the loop till I've cleared a few things. Tell nobody but Ronnie and Dave that we've met. Not Gerald or the police; not even Pat.'
Frank scowled at me. 'Bloody hell, Jim, that's hard on the bloke. Mother'n Jesus, you're the only family Pats got left. You surely don't suspect him?'
'No Frank, not for a moment. How can I even look at Pat until I know it had nothing to do with my being in the Brotherhood? If it was down to chance it won't make it any better, but I'll know I'm not the cause of it and I can grieve with him. Until then I'll feel like a Judas without any right to comfort.  Meanwhile I'm going to ground.'
Frank gave a sigh. Obviously trust was to be rationed. 'All right, as I said the police are hassling to talk to you. Gerald will understand and wait. It'll be a lot more difficult with your friends and Pat. Oh, and you've three numbers to ring that I think you know about.'
'Frank, if you don't know, you can't tell. Better like that for now. If there's anything I need to know, tell Dave or Ronnie, they'll know how to get it delivered. If I want to contact you I'll either do it through them or phone you. If the phone rings once and goes dead, make sure you answer when it rings again. Anybody else answers I'll hang up.'
Frank sighed three people were to be half trusted, and he, his oldest friend, wasn't to be trusted with knowing where he was. And if he asked Ronnie or Dave he might find himself not being trusted at all. 'Have it your own way and in your own time, Jim. We're all here for ye.'
My hand didn't quite make it round the big man's arm but it never had. 'I know you are, Frank. Just pander to me for now because this is tearing at me.'
'I can see it, Jim. Though, candidly, I hadn't even thought of the connection. Thirty years back, maybe, but it's not the way here now.' Holding his hand up he thumped the pipe out against the palm. At least he'd half a start to build on.
I went to ground in the flat that Cameron visited. My reason for including Ronnie and Dave was that they lived with their families in the flats below. They'd bought them through the normal channels and I'd reimbursed their costs and mortgages. Three people knew of the arrangement. Only Ronnie and Dave knew of the use I made of the top flats. I'd bought the building along with four of its neighbours through a holding company, keeping the tenancy of my flats in the names of the pensioners who'd last stayed in them. One went to Canada to stay with his son; the other was staying with a daughter in Warwick. They 'visited' a lot. Their papers were regularly cancelled then re-ordered and local shops got their shopping lists, handed in by Ronnie or Dave. Weekly they'd get an envelope carefully marked with the name and an amount clearing their bills. While Old Thurrock wasn't as prompt or accurate as Mr Gray, wasn't that the way it had always been. No suspicions were aroused. The very few people that went up to the top floor weren't noticed.
Back at the hotel I asked the owner if I could have the use of his phone again. None of the numbers I rang were the ones Frank gave me. Anybody trying them would probably end up with three perplexed housewives. The code was simple and probably not beyond the wit of man to break. Every digit up to four you doubled, five and above you subtracted by four except for nine. I suppose it was another hangover from the past with still some use in the present. If you were taken there were only two the brotherhood had to cover to break the chain of confession. It had all seemed a bit fanciful to me but now I could appreciate its uses. I'd a fourth number but I'd to be invited to use that by one of my other three. None of the calls lasted longer than a minute. The first told me, that while it was no operation known to them, they'd 'keep their eyes and ears open.'
I said, 'For the time being we're out.'
'Understandable.' And the line was dead.
Dialling the second number caused a phone to start ringing somewhere in the flat. Breaking my connection stopped the ring. Dialling again got a repeat performance; this time I let it ring till I'd pinpointed the sound to a locked bedroom. My third gave much the same message as the first, though coming from a friend his sympathy softened it. No names were used. 
      'I got the same message from my other contact,' I said. 'So I'll tell you the same. We're out for now, but if you hear anything, anything at all get it to me through our friend.'
'Right. He wants you to ring. Like us he's deeply distressed.' 
          I said I would but I didn't. Instead I helped myself to a whisky and a cigarette from the box beside it and settled back to wait for the owner. .
'Not quite. I've one call still to make that somehow I don't think is private. Dialling my second number he smiled at the muted ring.'
The owner nodded. 'I'd a fair idea who you were. After I heard I tried my numbers I got two without the third. I think we share two numbers that's how I got confirmation.'
That set my brain racing. The brotherhood had known where I was all the time, or would have known if they wanted to. I'd have been an easy mark and Pat being with me wouldn't have bothered them after what had been done to my family. Now I definitely needed space. I asked, 'Any chance of telling me your three numbers?'
The owner shrugged, 'Why not. Can't see any harm.'
One of the numbers was mine and his second matched my first. I'd to think a moment before his third registered, it was the Wicklow number. My fourth, the one I could only use if advised, the owner reported to direct. 'Have you told any of them I'm here?'
'No, what you're going through can't be imagined. I just did what I did when you turned up. Bugger business.'
'Thanks, but can I ask another favour?'
'If I can.'
'Don't tell anybody I'm here.'
I won't but this is a hotel and while we can keep you quiet it's hardly secure and I don't know if you expected it but Pat's left.'
'Where's he gone?'
'I don't know, but he made a couple of calls.' Indicating for me to follow him he unlocked the bedroom door opened a cabinet and pressed a button. We listened to a phone connecting then Pat asking to be put through to his boss. Learning he was unavailable the process was repeated to a friend in his department that I recollected meeting at one of Pat and Joan's barbecues. The friend told Pat he'd heard nothing and that Butler was playing it close to his chest. Pat asked if Butler was in and if he could be transferred to him. Seconds of silence then the odd click and,  'Damn. Are you still with me?' Then Pat's oath when the system beat his friend and the line went dead. While we waited I reached into my shirt pocket and extracted the card. Same bloke, Butler, I remembered the quiet authoritative voice. The phone started ringing again and this time Pat asked for Butler direct.
'Where the hell are you? Is Docherty with you?' Pat didn't answer him, merely repeated his own questions.
'We've a couple of possibles, but the two of you being out of the picture isn't helping.'
Pat didn't argue. 'Right, I'm on my way in.'
The hotelier switched the tape off. 'That's it. I'll clean the tape, same as I've done with the call you made.'
It seemed the move was being forced on me. 'Looks like we can expect a visit from the police tonight. And there was me hoping to get cleaned up and leave in the morning.' 
' I doubt if they will. Pat left around eight-thirty, it's near midnight now. If they were coming they'd have been by now. Why should you go? All we've done is give a room and some privacy to an old client in exceptional circumstance. There's no crime in that.'
I'd assumed Pat had taken the car and with it gone, my presence in the hotel would be deniable, especially if my clothes were cleared out of the room. I wasn't so sure they'd wait until morning and said so. Fifty minutes later I was fed, changed and ready to go except for one question. 'Can you remember when you rang your numbers was mine the first, second or last you rang?'
He closed his eyes for a second. 'The last I think.'
'Did the other two know of it?'
'The first, no. I didn't get an answer from Wicklow.'
I parked my car in the car park of a firm of solicitors and got a taxi from there to the flats. Hauling the two cases up the stairs had me winded and the nagging in my gut was getting pawky. It'd be too much to hope that Frank's wife Sarah had packed the medicines but bless her, she had. Taking a hefty swig I lit the gas fire and the oven to take the chill off and waited for the gut to settle, knowing the mind never would. A squall of rain rattling the windows and drenching the glass in staccato splutters distracted me enough to allow a flash of reason. Something I hadn't been asked by the hotelier. Where was I going? Perhaps I'd another potential source.
On one thing the owner was wrong. At three a.m. the police called for Mr Docherty.


Pat Urquhart’s Story

When I left the hotel I’d no intention of walking out on Jim. When the owner came in with my clothes washed and pressed I went for a walk to get some air into my lungs and Butler’s curtness out of my head. I hadn’t gone more than half a mile when I passed a parked car with its hazards flashing. Minutes later a passing motorist assuming the car was mine offered me a lift into the city.

The boss wasn't very good at this sort of thing. Interrupting my D.I's sincere but fumbling condolences I asked the impossible: to be transferred on to the case.
'Knowing you'd ask, I've already been told by Butler you're not wanted. And yer man says it's nothing personal. I've got you a month's compassionate leave and what you do with it is entirely up to you. I'm sure your mates won't mind leaving the odd file around and that includes me. Now get along and see himself.'
On the way over to Butler's wing I tried to stifle the aversion I felt towards him. Once we'd crossed swords, not directly, too much difference in rank for that. I was about to close on a dealer who'd been busy building his cred and bank balance on the school runs. I'd been advised to back off. No discussion or explanation. My protests bounced off walls suddenly devoid of ears. More than a year of work wasted and the creep still running around in his Beemer living high on his killing crap. He was a Butler grass and Butler had blocked me out. 
His secretary gave me the nod to go in. Butler, on the phone, indicated for me to take a seat. I could hear the person on the other end still talking as the phone went down. I tried to keep easy and waited for Butler to kick off.
'I was probably a bit sharp with you over the phone but on a case like this you of all people should know better than to go missing for days. Especially one as god awful as this. So far every enquiry we've made has drawn a blank and maybe it's something only you or Docherty will know that will give us the line we haven't thought of. Grief, Urquhart you must want to get these buggers?'
Not the most considered question. I wanted to get them so much I’d force time to warp. I wanted the explosions to happen again and for these shits to feel their bodies scythed with metal shards and their skin crinkling like pork crackling. And because I knew it couldn't happen I wanted to rip them apart with my hands and God could take their confessions and his forgiveness and atomise their shards with mine and allow me to torment them till eternity.  Perhaps Butler had a point; I shouldn't be on the case, it could slow me down.
Butler coughed.  'So where's Docherty now?'
I willed myself to appear co-operative and didn't quite make it. 'Don't know where he's at the moment. We got drunk and he was gone when I rang you this evening.'
All right Urquhart, don't have me going all round the friggin houses. Where's he gone from?'
When I gave him the name of the hotel. Butler cracked his pencil in half. 'Bloody incompetents. The wooden tops have supposedly searched the width and breadth of the country and you're both under their bloody noses. Oh never mind. D'ye think Docherty will be back there?'
Shrugging I said, 'All his stuff's there.'  I'd to struggle to get the next word out. 'Sir what about letting me help out on this one?'
Butler's head pivoted from side to side as though the arc would emphasise the impossible. 'Can't be done. I understand how you feel; that's how I know it isn't on. You're a good cop, but a bit of a loner. I've invested a lot of effort welding my squad into a single-minded unit. Sorry Urquhart but that's final and you should know enough to have expected it.
'I'll promise you this, though. Whether we get a breakthrough or not, it'll be a long time before I let this one go to a side burner.'
Getting up to leave I wondered why I didn't feel disappointed. My hand was reaching for the door when he said, 'I meant to ask. Are you going back to the hotel, staying with friends or going home?' 
It was something I'd thought about less than he had.  Home? The fucking edjit! He didn't seem to notice the hurt when my eyes began to brim. 'I'll let you know.'
That got a dismissive nod. 'Might be as well to get back to some normalcy as quick as you can.'
I didn't want to think about it so I went back to my desk and started checking through my case files. My hands were turning paper but nothing focused in any sense or form. Normalcy, shit! Picking up the phone I rang Butler and asked if my car was through forensics. He gave the go ahead to collect it.
It was desolation standing in the hall of my house, my presence doing nothing but emphasising its emptiness.

© under author's copyright


J. R. Tomlin said...

*cough* After the way I went off on you the other day Rosie, I was rather embarrassed at the review you left on Smashwords. I'm afraid you hit one of my hot button issues there, but I didn't have to be quite so harsh.

Thank you very much for your kind words and I'm truly glad you enjoyed the novel.

subrosa said...

Jeanne, don't you dare apologise for being passionate about a subject. I wasn't offended.

Sorry I didn't write a review before. I'd quite forgotten to do so. My apologies.

J. R. Tomlin said...

I'm glad you weren't offended. Thanks. No need to apologize and thank you for what you said! Coming from you, it meant a great deal to me.

subrosa said...

Jeanne, I hope you're working on Volume 2. :)

J. R. Tomlin said...

Actually, I'm not working on it. The next one has been written for quite a while. It's the one after THAT I'm working on. *grin*

subrosa said...

Ah right Jeanne. Now, do you intend to publish the third volume as a trilogy or a stand alone publication? I rather like trilogies in one cover. Mind you, you could do both couldn't you?

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