Guns for Hire

1349149576_207110572717748_346456661_nI went to work the following day, but couldn’t concentrate. Dear God let me survive tonight! Honestly, I was more worried about Jack than myself. I spent my teenage years on the wrong side of the track. It’s a wonder I lived to see twenty, but I did. I talked myself out of so many bad situations I couldn’t remember them all, but Jack, well he didn’t look that strong. I left work early, we’d planned to meet Larry, the old guy from the bar, at eight o clock. I wanted to get home and have a couple of hours to myself first. I hoped to get a few words of wisdom from my gran. She had a habit of appearing when I needed her, but she’d been silent for a while now.

I looked at myself in the mirror, not sure dressing like a hooker was a good idea, but I didn’t want to stand out and the only women in a bar we were going to, were working girls. I honked the horn outside Jack’s house. He appeared immediately and we drove to the Stage Coach in silence. We walked through the door to see Larry already waiting for us at the bar. He looked me up and down as I entered, but said nothing. Jack hadn’t noticed my outfit until now. His face told me what he thought.

Larry ordered a round of drinks. He and Jack ordered a shots, I stuck with beer.

“It shouldn’t be too busy tonight, it’s the beginning of the week, but for Gods sake be careful. Be pleasant in a rough sort of way. These folks look after their own and don’t care about anyone else. Women have one use to them and one use only. Sheila, you’re with me. If you have to sit on my lap all night, do it, it’s for your own safety. Giggle a lot and kiss my cheek if you feel like it, but you’re with me. Let them think I bought you for the night.”

Jack ordered another shot, he didn’t like this one bit.

Bonnie looked concerned. I followed her as she cleared tables at the far end of the Saloon. “What do you know about this guy, Larry?” I asked.

“Larry’s a good guy, drinks too much, but he’s OK! I’m not sure if he’ll be able to protect you if things go pear-shaped though. You’re going to a rough bar on East Colfax. Even the cops leave that place alone.”

“We have to do it! We have to try to save this girl. I think we’re her only chance of a normal life.”

The door opened and four guys walked in, they were big and rough-looking, I hadn’t seen them before. Larry raised his arm when he saw them and they pulled out chairs alongside him at the bar. Bonnie went to served them and I went back to my seat.

“I brought reinforcements.” Larry said. “I thought we might need them.”

Jack swallowed another shot, I don’t think it touched the sides as it went down his throat. I smiled and stuck my hand out “I’m Sheila and I’m really glad to see you guys.”

“You don’t need to know our names, in fact its better if you don’t.”

I looked back at the four strangers. They all grinned at me, showing lots of teeth, not all of them white.

“Drinks all round.” Larry said.

Bonnie obliged, then leaned towards me and whispered in my ear. “I feel a whole lot better now.” she tilted her head towards the guy standing closest to me. He had a gun tucked in the back of his jeans.

Guns for hire, I hope they don’t have to use them!

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Janie’s Home

JOY1690.0LJack and I stood still, holding our breath, thinking she’d turn and run at any moment. She kept coming though. When she was a few paces away from us she stopped and looked around frantically as though she’d suddenly remembered something.

“Walk, I’ll follow you,” she whispered.

“Your house or mine?” I asked Jack.

“Mine,” he replied, “It’s closer.”

I wanted to hurry. I wanted to get her inside to safety. She was afraid of something or someone and looked like she could turn and run.

“Do you think she’s in danger?” I asked Jack.

“Not sure, but somethings wrong.”

The footsteps behind us stopped, Jack and I continued walking slowly, hoping we’d hear them again. We did! When we approached Jack’s front door I was smothered with emotion. Not sure what was causing it, but it was overpowering. Maybe it came from Jack’s wife and daughter. Their presence was all around us. It felt good. I stepped onto the porch and turned to gesture Janie into the house ahead of me. She was smiling, her face was glowing. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. “Mama!” she said.

Jack was already inside and didn’t hear her, but I did.

The wind chimes hanging from the porch, whispered  gently in the breeze. The sound comforted Janie. She looked like a different person as she stepped inside the house. I stood on the porch and watched her walk into the kitchen. She pulled out a chair and sat down as though she’d lived there her whole life.

Jack beckoned me to join them, he was smiling too. “Come on in Sheila. Janie’s home.”

I joined them, greeted by the smell of coffee and fresh bread.

“Mama brought me here,” Janie said, “She brought me home.”

Janie clutched the locket to her heart. “Mama and Granmama.”

 

Alone Again!

FootstepsLes washed his anger away in the shower and came down for breakfast in a better mood.

“Time to get my kit together after breakfast, my flight leaves at two fifteen.”

“I’d forgotten you were flying today, I suppose it’s best, DC is a long flight, if you left it until tomorrow you’d miss a full day of work.”

“Yes, and we go live next week. Are you OK, you’re quiet?”

Had he really already forgotten my nightmare? 

“I’m fine.” I replied. Not that you care anyway. I returned to my thoughts.

Shall I visit the barn again, or shall I go and talk to the old guy down the road? Yes, this could be my next story, but I had to see how it ended before I began to write. 

“I said, what do you think?”

I snapped out of my thoughts and looked up. Les was staring at me, waiting for an answer.  “Sorry, think about what?”

“Oh forget it,” he said irritated again.

“What did you ask me? I didn’t sleep well remember! I’ll probably try to nap this afternoon when you’re gone?”

“I said what do you think about flying out to DC in a couple of weeks instead of my flying home. You said you wanted to see where the President lives. How about it?”

“Yes, sounds great, I’d like that. Can you arrange a visit with him?” I replied, trying to be light-hearted and not show how I really felt. I really did enjoy traveling I’d wanted to go to DC for a while. DC and Boston were the only two US cities I hadn’t managed to cross off my bucket list yet.

I was relieved when Les finally left for the airport. I’d managed not to show it, but I really was hurt and upset with the way he’d talked to me. I needed him gone for a week to get over it. A nightmare was one thing, but surely he knew this was more. I waved him off, smiling as though nothing was wrong, but the smile faded as he drove away.

How am I going to handle this? 

My question was answered. As I turned to go back inside, a solitary figure appeared at the end of the drive. It was the old guy from the Stagecoach. He walked slowly towards me as though every step he took caused him great pain. I wasn’t sure if he’d even seen me standing at the door, his head hung so low his chin almost touched his chest.

I shivered as I looked at him, and the shadow that followed behind.

Gran, I hope you’re still looking out for me, I think I’m going to need you!

Get Rid of Him … Rock On… with the DEAD!

Richmond at nightWe finished our drinks and walked back to my flat are in arm. Pete was easy to be around. I enjoyed his company even more after we stopped dating.

“Do you want a cup of coffee or anything?” I asked.

“No thanks! I may jump in the bath though, I still feel grimy from work, want to join me?”

I didn’t answer, just threw a clean towel at him, and a robe he’d left here over a year ago.

I opened the window in my bedroom, enjoying the cool breeze. It was quiet outside, the rides and their music, had to shut down at then o clock during the week. They made up for it on Friday and Saturday, when the little market town rock and rolled until midnight. I made myself a cup of Horlicks, I needed to sleep and it usually helped.

Pete emerged from the bathroom in a halo of steam, smelling fresh and looking relaxed.

“I think you’ve lost weight, that robe was much more snug last time you wore it.”

His face beamed at the compliment. “You’re the only person who’s noticed, I’ve started running, and I work out.”

He made to open his robe, “want a closer look?” he asked hopefully.

I turned my head and held up my hand. “Stop now!” In truth I was tempted to look. I’d always have a soft spot for Pete. I think all his ex girlfriends would (and there were a lot of them) he was that kind of guy.

He looked at the sofa. “How about you let me in your bed? I promise I won’t touch you. Well maybe a cuddle, but the sofa is too short, I’ll never sleep on it.”

“OK, you can sleep with me, no cuddles though, and no wandering hands. Please put something on, I don’t want to wake up and see you naked! I think there is still some of your underwear in the top drawer; I never got around to………”

I never finished my sentence. The bedroom door slammed shut and I heard what sounded like laughter.

“What the heck?” Pete looked alarmed.

“I opened the bedroom window, I’m sure it’s just the wind.”

“Oh and the wind has developed a laugh now has it?”

We walked together towards the bedroom door and I stood back while Pete opened it and went in.

“It’s safe,” he said putting the light on.

“Why wouldn’t it be, its my bedroom, I’m on the second floor, if anyone came in here they’d have to walk through the living room and I didn’t see anyone, did you?”

“You told me you were being seduced by a ghost….”he continued talking, but I wasn’t listening. I was mesmerized by the music wafting through the window.

The darkening streets outside were beckoning me.

Hey kid, rock and roll
Rock on, ooh, my soul
Hey kid, boogey too, did ya

Hey shout, summertime blues
Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes
Hey kid, rock and roll, rock on

And where do we go from here
Which is the way that’s clear

Get rid of him…tonight should be ours………….Rock on! Lets Rock On!

Check out my other blog Travel Tales and Mishaps.

Also take a look at the reviews of my first novel on Amazon Dead of July.

Remember the Cemetery?

Easby cemeteryThe Black Lion was the closest watering hole, and one of my regular haunts. Pete opened the door for me and then guided me to a table. Why wasn’t he this nice when we dated?

“I’ll get the drinks,” he said.

“But I’m paying,” I replied as I pressed a five-pound note into his hand. He didn’t object. I was relieved the evening rush hadn’t found its way to the pub yet; I didn’t want to have to shout above the noise. Pete soon returned with two large Brandy and Cokes.

“I ordered some fish and chips too, you shouldn’t drink on an empty stomach.”

“You sound just like my mam,” I said smiling weakly.

“As long as I don’t look like her too, no offense, she’s a fine-looking woman, but I don’t want to see her face looking back at me when I look at myself in the mirror.”

I laughed remembering the days when we dated, my mam had liked Pete. If only she’d known what a womanizer he was.

“OK, spill, what’s wrong?”

I tried to organize my jumbled thought, wondering where to start.

“Try starting at the beginning,” Pete prompted, “It usually works best.” He always seemed to know what I was thinking.

“Alright, but open your mind, remember how scared I was when I ran from that cemetery at Easby Abbey?”

Pete laughed. “When we all went on a midnight Halloween Ghost hunt! You were really freaked. You started seeing things!”

“No I didn’t START SEEING THINGS! I saw a woman sitting on a grave crying. She looked at me and held out her arms. Then she was snatched away by something dark!”

“We’d been smoking pot!” Pete was laughing now.

“Pot doesn’t make you HALLUCINATE, anyway, I’m not going to argue with you, if you can’t keep an open mind, I can’t talk to you now.”

“Ok, I’m all ears! I’m sorry.”

“Pete, I have a gift. It’s a gift I’d give back if I could, but unfortunately I’m stuck with it. I attract restless spirits, among other things, and I have a feeling I’ve attracted a dark handsome dead stranger (My heart fluttered just thinking about him). He’s playing with me.”

“How?” Pete wasn’t laughing anymore. He ordered another round of drinks and listened attentively as I told my story.

I love to tell stories and I love to travel. Check out my other blog Travel Tales and Mishaps. Learn about the places I visit and the everyday adventures of my ordinary (and sometimes not so ordinary life).

I published my first book Dead of July, in December 2013. You can buy it on Amazon for $0.99. Give it a try. There are more books to come when I find time in my busy life to publish them. Thanks for visiting this crazy lady. I hope you’ll come back one day.

Hey Shout Summertime Blues, Jump Up and Down in your Blue Suede Shoes – ROCK ON!

FairgroundCindy arrived mid-morning. “Still no Jan?” she asked.

“No, no phone calls either, maybe she’ll be in later.”

Cindy settled herself behind her desk. “You look tired, are you alright? You aren’t getting sick too are you?”

Shall I tell her about my dream? Will she think I’m losing my mind? I looked up, but she was already focusing on a computer print out, pencil in hand. The moment of confession passed by.

“I’m fine, just didn’t sleep well.”

“You ‘d better get as much sleep as you can tonight, the fair will be here by tomorrow. I don’t know which is worse, the noise they make setting everything up, or the blaring musing and screaming kids on the rides. I don’t know why they put it in the market place; it should be in a field out-of-town. It must damage the cobblestones.”

I smiled, “its tradition Cindy, the fair has been here over Whit Weekend for over a hundred years hasn’t it?”

“They didn’t have waltzers and dodgems over a hundred years ago though.”

Oh dear, she’s getting old! I hope I never get tired of things like the fair!

I put my head down and got on with my work. I don’t remember singing to myself; I don’t remember it at all. 

Hey kid rock and roll
Rock on, ooh my soul
Hey kid. boogey too, did ya
 

Hey shout, summertime blues
Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes
Hey kid you rock and roll, rock on
 

And where do we go from here?
Which is a way that’s clear?

Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen
Prettiest girl I’ve ever seen
See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean (James Dean)

“What is that song? I’ve heard it before. I really like it!”

I looked up to see Cindy staring at me. “What song?”

“The one you were just singing.”

Like a mist in my head, the tune hung there. I could hear it, but I didn’t know what it was. “I don’t know, I didn’t even realize I was singing.”

Then we both heard the song loud and clear. It came from outside.

And where do we go from here?
Which is a way that’s clear?

Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen
Prettiest girl I’ve ever seen
See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean
Jimmy Dean
Rock on

Rock on
Rock on
Rock on
Rock on…

I walked over to the window and looked out. The first of the huge lorries that would park in the market place and set up the equipment for the fair drove past. The music came from his open window. It was loud!

“Oh no, its starting! Peace and quiet shattered now.” Cindy said shaking her head.

I didn’t respond, I was too busy looking at the figure in black riding his motorbike behind the lorry. Was he looking back at me?

Hey kid rock and roll
Rock on, rock on
Hey shout, summertime blues
Rock on, rock on
Hey kid boogey too
Rock on, rock on
Hey kid rock and roll
Rock on, rock on

I was a child of the fifties and music ruled my life. Every memory comes with a tune. This is for those of you who remember David Essex when he was a young man. He melted my heart. This song still gives me the chills. 

The eighties were pretty good too! Dead of July is set in the eighties. 

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

Buy it on Amazon for $0.99.

The End!

EasbyStAgatha2Lindsay couldn’t remember if they gave her something to help her sleep, or if she was so traumatized she blocked everything out, but she didn’t recall getting in the ambulance. When she opened her eyes she found herself in a hospital bed with the worried face of her mam looking down at her.

“Oh thank God. I was worried you’d never open your eyes again,” she said as she planted a kiss on Lindsay’s cheek. “I had no idea what was happening or we’d have come back sooner.”

Lindsay smiled weakly. “It wouldn’t have changed anything.”

“I spoke to Mel’s mam at the funeral, she….”

“The Funeral! I missed the funeral? How long have I been in hospital?”

“Since yesterday afternoon, the funeral was this morning.”

“I wanted to go, I wanted to say good-bye.”

“You can say goodbye any time. It was a lovely service. Reverend Stegall made it very personal, he christened her you know, back in 1959.”

“He shouldn’t be burying her yet though, she’s too young, why did this happen?”

“It’s the bloody IRA, why do they do anything?”

“It wasn’t the IRA mam, the man who did this was grief-stricken at losing his sister. Cross fire with the British Army and the IRA. He lost his mind.”

“Yes, lost his mind and killed over a hundred people.” Lindsay’s mam said bitterly.

No one spoke for a while.

“There was a policewoman at the funeral, she asked after you.”

“Barbara? She was helping me.”

“Helping you with what?”

“Don’t worry about it now, I’ll tell you another time. You wouldn’t understand.”

Her mam’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You’re not in trouble again are you? Please tell me you weren’t smoking that cannabis stuff again. Didn’t you learn your lesson last time.”

“No mam, I haven’t smoked any cannabis, I told you I’m over that.”

A nurse walked into the room, saving Lindsay from a conversation that was making her anxious rather than soothing her.

“Hi Lindsay, the doctor’s coming in to check you out, he’ll probably give you the all clear to go home.” She looked at Lindsay’s mam. “Could you leave us for a few minutes please while we examine her.”

A young Indian doctor appeared in the doorway. “How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Tired,” Lindsay replied.

“It’s shock, you have been trough a lot in the last week and sometimes, in these circumstances your brain shuts down because it can’t cope with anymore. It makes you tired. Sleep blocks out the pain. Sometimes its a good thing.”

The doctor pointed a light into Lindsay’s eyes as he spoke. He checked her pulse, put a stethoscope on her back, took her temperature and asked her questions. Lindsay answered automatically, but her attention was focused on the doorway.

“Was anyone else admitted to hospital with me, did anyone else survive?” she asked.

The nurse hung her head as she answered, “No, sorry pet, were they your friends. Two young men died at the scene. There was an explosion, they were dead before they hit the water.”

Lindsay continued to stare at the doorway where Michael stood. No one else saw him. He smiled at her. It was a beautiful smile.

“Michael, I’m sorry.” She said.

Both the doctor and the nurse followed Lindsay’s gaze, but all they saw was an empty doorway.

“We may have to keep you in for observation.” The doctor said with a worried look on his face.

“Did you find anything wrong with me?” Lindsay asked.

“No but….”

“Then I’m going home.”

And another short story comes to and end. My head is full of them, so pretty soon another will begin. I hope they give you some pleasure, I certainly enjoy writing them. I’ve provided a link to my first novel below. It took me a couple of years to write and perfect, but I think it was worth it. It may be the best $0.99 you’ll ever spend, who knows?

Dead of July

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

Let me die along with my friends!

BodyLindsay hung onto the branch for dear life waiting for the mayhem to stop. Her ears were ringing as though someone had sounded a tuning fork in her head. She was hit in the face by an object she didn’t see coming. Blood dripped into her eyes but she felt no pain. Dear God let this be over. She thought about letting go, ending it all. The sole survivor of the hellish fire, she wanted to die. Death must be better than this!

“Who’s there?” Lindsay asked, feeling she wasn’t alone. The hairs on the back of her neck bristled and she felt a chill running down her spine. Her hands slipped a little and her toes hit the cold water.

Just let go Lindsay, join your friends. You deserve to be with them. You’re as guilty as they are. You bloody English thing you own the world.”

“What?” Lindsay looked up and saw a shadowy figure standing above her on the path. It was Colleen. Her terrible beautiful face was contorted in pain and anger, her dress red with blood. A shadowy figure formed by her side.

“Come on Patrick, let’s go now. There’s nothing for us here!”

Patrick? The shadows faded, merged with the breeze. Back on the water, shapes appeared, a shoe floated past, part of a backpack, a plastic bag, a glove with something trailing out of it.

Oh God, there’s a hand in there.

“Help, can somebody help me.” Lindsay shouted.

She was surrounded by silence, but not for long. Voices approached, shouting in panic, followed by footsteps.

“Lindsay, hang on. Bill, Steve, make a human chain get her off that branch, it’s not going to hold much longer.”

She looked up to see Barbara and two other police officers. They were reaching down to her.

“Take my hand love.”

Lindsay obeyed, but daren’t let go of the branch.

“I’ve got you. You can trust me.”

She did as she was told and felt herself being pulled to safety.  She collapsed weakly to the ground and looked back towards the river. The glove had floated out of sight. A human shape had taken its place. It floated lifelessly, face down in the deep dark water.

Patrick? Could that be him? Is he with his sister now? For a moment no one moved.

One of the Police Officers sprung into action, pulling off his shoes and jacket. “I’m going in, I’m a strong swimmer.” He plunged into the cold water and made short work of reaching the shape, pulling it easily to dry land. Lindsay was aware of a gathering crowd, some of whom helped pull the lifeless body out of the river.

A woman pushed her way through the crowd. “I’m a nurse”, she said and tried in vain to resuscitate the man. Someone else bound the stump of his arm, where his hand used to be.

Lindsay knew it was too late. Patrick had joined his sister.

“Who is this, do you know him?” Barbara asked.

Lindsay opened her mouth to speak, but screamed instead. A second shape appeared in the water. It was Michael!

Oh the stories that rattle around in my brain. Check out my first novel Dead of July is available on Amazon for $0.99. Give it a try. 

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

 

 

 

Let the Dead stay Dead!

fire-garden-wheelbarrow“Okay stop, stop now!” Lindsay yanked her hand out of Michael’s grasp and stood still. “What the hells going on? Who’s following you? Who was looking over my shoulder? I saw a face in the river. I saw someone running away on the other side of the river too.”

“Not now! Come on, I don’t want to be alone down here. Do you have café in the village, or a pub? I think we need people around us.”

“No café, I don’t want to go to the pub looking like this. I have no makeup on.”

“Lindsay, makeup should be the last thing on your mind right now. Come on, lets got get a drink. Do you know the people in the pub?”

“Yes of course I do, I live in a village, and everyone knows everyone else.”

“Good, I think you need to keep friends around you.”

Lindsay smelled burning. It was strong. She looked around for signs of danger. OK it’s my imagination, but it wasn’t her imagination, smoke billowed from the garden of one of the cottages that backed onto the lane. She couldn’t handle anymore fires.

“Hi Lindsay!” It was Mr. Hodgson. He was burning dead branches.

“Hi!” Lindsay replied, forcing a smile. Then she stopped dead in her tracks. Through the smoke she saw the figure of her dead friend. Mel raised her arm in greeting; flesh sloughing off it and sliding into the fire. Lindsay bent double, throwing up immediately. She almost collapsed into the pool of steaming puke. Michael grabbed her arm, steadying her before she fell. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

Lindsay pointed towards the fire, “Over there, by the fire, what do you see.”

Before he had time to answer she heard footsteps as another figure approached, “Oh God no.” Lindsay closed her eyes, terrified it was her dead friend.

“Lindsay love, are you alright, do you want me to call someone?” It was Mr. Hodgson, “You’re awfully pale, do you want to come inside and sit down a minute?”

She sighed with relief, “No, I’ll be alright. Something I ate I think,” Lindsay looked back at the smoke in the garden, but that’s all she saw, just smoke! I’m going crazy!

“I’ll make sure she gets home alright,” Michael said.

“What’s your name young man, I don’t think I’ve seen you before?”

“I’m Michael, a friend of Lindsay’s, I’ll watch out for her.”

Lindsay smiled weakly, “I’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

“Alright then, say hi to your mam and dad, they get back from France today don’t they?”

“Yes, later tonight”

“And Lindsay, I’m so sorry about your friends, it was horrible. You’re very lucky to be alive. Awful tragedy. Any idea what started the fire yet?

Lindsay shook her head.

“Well if you need anything let me know. I’ll let this young man take care of you. Do I detect and Irish accent Michael?”

“Yes sir, I’m from Dublin, I’m visiting family in Richmond.” Michael lied. “I met Lindsay the night of the fire. I was just checking in on her.”

“Oh, I thought you had a softer accent, not harsh like Belfast. Awful business with the IRA isn’t it! Sad that so many people are dying and blaming religion. I wonder if it’ll ever be sorted out.”

“I hope so sir. You’re right, too many people dying, British and Irish alike.” A cool breeze chilled everyone as Michael spoke. Lindsay shivered and Mr. Hodgson pulled his jacket closed.

Michael run away, these non-believers will get you killed. Come home! Where’s Johnny?

“Well take care of Lindsay, and yourself.” Mr. Hodgson turned and went back to his fire.

“What was that all about?”

“I’m going fucking crazy, that’s what that was all about. I saw Mel at the other side of the fire. Her skin was smoking and dropping off her body. Now I’m hearing voices. I’m totally losing it.”

“Come on, we need to talk. Maybe you should go home first and wash your face, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“I have seen a bloody ghost, and it’s not the first time. I truly wish I were dead. I can’t handle this much longer.”

I just can’t stop writing.  Dead of Julymy first novel is available on Amazon and will soon be joined by two short stories. 

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson