A snippet from my upcoming work ‘The Hunters’ – due in October

Here’s a snippet from my latest piece, a dark novella called The Hunters, set in Teesside. It’s due to be published in October (Kindle and paperback). As its still in progress, what you read here will undoubtedly be given a spit and polish. Comments are welcome. Enjoy…

We were in the kitchen, which was dark and stank of old grease and takeaways. I used my mobile phone to light the way. The kitchen was small, made smaller by the fact that Brodie had filled most of the space with a huge dining table. We wound our way through the obstacle course of carelessly discarded wrappers and cartons that were strewn across the floor. We reached the living room door. There was no band of light coming from beneath it, which meant the lights in the living room were off. I listened for voices or the snuffling of a second dog, but there were no noises at all. I opened the door carefully. My heart was beating quickly now, boom-boom, boom-boom, boom-boom, and sweat nestled uncomfortably in my eyebrows. I wiped it away with the sleeve of my jacket and moved into the living room.

I illuminated the room with the mobile phone, bracing myself for an attack from Brodie or one of his people. The room was empty though. The light from the phone threw everything into deep shadow, like badly lit film noir, and gave the furniture a sinister quality. The room was tidier than the kitchen, but not much. The furnishings were minimalist. There was a sofa in front of the living room window, a flat screen TV was fixed to the wall above the fireplace and in the centre of the room was a large circular coffee table, which was awash with crushed beer cans, lighters and other pot smoking paraphernalia. I stopped at the table, picked up a couple of spliffs and put them in my pocket for later. To the left of the sofa was the door that led to the stairs. I opened it and looked around the corner. The staircase was dark and silent. I gave the area a quick flash with my mobile. It was clear. We crept up the stairs slowly, carefully, hoping that they didn’t creak. We got lucky. At the top of the stairs I nudged my brother and whispered, “Gimme the gun back.”

“Why?”

“I’ll lay good odds Frank’s the kinda bloke that sleeps with one eye open and with a weapon nearby.”

“So?”

“I’m a better shot than you.”

“Are you fuck.”

Dave butted in, “He is, you know.”

My brother turned and looked at Dave. “Who the fuck asked you?”

I elbowed my brother in the ribs. “We don’t have time for this shite. Gimme the gun.”

My brother hissed, turned and rubbed his ribs. He handed me the gun, which I snatched away from him. “The fucker’s probably awake now, thanks to you.”

My brother hissed under his breath, like an angry snake, profanities mostly. I let it slide – I had bigger problems to deal with. I had no idea which bedroom Brodie was in, but I figured that the door to our left was probably the best bet. It was above the living room, so was probably the largest bedroom and I figured Brodie to be a master-bedroom kind of bloke. I crouched low and to the wall side of the door and worked the handle slowly. All went well until I pushed the door. A piercing shriek from the hinges gave Brodie a warning. I rushed through the door, crouching low. Brodie was already moving, reaching towards his bedside table, his right arm outstretched. I dropped down on to my left knee, both hands on the gun, squeezing the trigger. A blinding flash of light burned Brodie’s silhouette onto my retinas. His silhouette glowed brightly for a moment then started fading as the room plunged back into darkness. I couldn’t see a thing but I heard him screaming. The lights went on but my retinas still burned and it was hard to focus. The only things I could make out were the blurry figures of my brother and Dave as they beat Frank Brodie into unconsciousness.

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