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peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 1/16

The beautiful blonde beckoned James forward, disregarding her saucy cloths as if they had just gone out of fashion. The reddest, roundest, fullest lips a mouth he had ever seen, panted for his favours. He closed in just moments away from sensuous bonding… he awoke.

He’d felt restlessly, uncomfortable becoming aware of reality, from a uneasy sleep after the night before. A thumping head hinder his eyes focusing, leaving just a dim blur, but worse, far worse, his mouth was a stone dry, Sahara desert’s portable toilet. Now James could not escape a weird fuzzy picture, enclosed his confused mind, of attractive blond girl, with some special curves. Abruptly, he became aware of a deafening unnerving silence, which should not be, so, for the guardian of the flat…his mutt, usually is all over him by now.

Slowly rising out of oblivion, not the land of nod, just out senselessness for some hours. James could recall swigging back some mysterious alcohol, as if tomorrow weren’t related, anyway, he told himself, no work in the morning. Who was he kidding; no employment for some time, no inquires for his agile profession, his manner of expertise? Glancing around with a head still not connected to any brain, wondering when he had come home… and how. He hoped he had not driven. First thing obvious, he was fully clothed except for his cowboy boots. He rose and in the dark, moved to the kitchen to find cool fluid, any liquid would do, even water, to quench his thirst.

James had no idea what he frantically gulped down out of a tatty old carton, but instantly solved his immediate dire thirst, shocking the system as it went…but the hairy tongue soon came back. His mind raced back to where was his dog. It had been with him for some time, then his curious habits made a perfect sentry canine. The mutt would let anyone in, even if they busted in, uninvited… the hound would not let them leave, in any manner…then came terrible retribution

Flashing back to the night before, straining through the unknown. It had been a 60s night, tried to pull on an old pair of flower power brushed denim flairs, however there was no way he could haul them past his knees. It was calmer to go as an easy riding cowboy, close to the ‘James Dean’ look; brilliant white tee-shirt, tight jeans, and a cowboy hat, though he could vaguely recall, some joker cruelly baptised him; as ‘Pearl & Dean’.

Doubting why he was sleeping on the smelly old couch, (for that is where the crossbreed napped), instead of his king-sized bed, he bumped into some sparse furniture, almost falling back into the couch where he played knocked out. Just managing, with great exertion, to reach the light switch. He turned on the power… to find chaos. The room was in ramshackle turmoil, books… records strewed all over the place, while his cherished couple of seats overturned and broken. The whole thing would not register, this could not be real…so instinctively he switched the light back off, standing in the dark solitude, impassive. Still, the image of this good-looking female would not leave his mind

Slowly moving to the kitchenette, put on its light then immediately switched them back off as they were far too bright straining his crippled eyes. Opening the fridge, his eyes tightly avoiding the glare from the inside bulb, reached in for a can of juice. He had no idea what kind, but he was not fussy, just desperate to rid himself of his furry tongue. Gulping the cold fluid quickly, then pushing his head back making it hurt more than before.

Aiming the empty can for the bin but just missed, bashing against the wall. James forced his eyes open, flicked the light switch again, realising even a bigger turmoil mess in the now upside-down kitchenette. He could not figure out why?... was this a burglary …but what were they looking for? Cautiously moving back into the room, switched on a sidelight. What a bloody mess, a real turnover…the bampots, whoever they were. He then instantly checked the front door. No sign of a forced entry though a slight noise from inside the master bedroom, alerted him to almost being sober.

Grabbing the first thing at hand, which happened to be an imitation miniature statue of Rodin’s “The Thinker”, silently proceeding, checking every step he made, as you would expect from his disciplined speciality, moving towards his boudoir. Glancing through the ajar door, he entered the doorway. Prostrate, naked on his king-sized bed, was a young attractive woman, with blood down the side of her mouth, now congealed. There was lots of it being highlighted by the bright yellow silk sheets. Pools of blood, spread on the rug and flooring, some on the far away wall. It looked as if she had put up one hell of a fight.

She was the very image of the girl in his mind since the moment he had come to life…. She was dead… but lying motionless beside the bed, tongue flabbily on the floor carpet…. was his dog!
TeeHeeHee
Assuming that like any writer who puts pen to paper in expectation that someone somewhere will read the fruit of their labour and offer fair critic, I hereby submit mine: Pure Shite.

C'mon Dylan, sun's out, lets go walkies. rolleyes.gif
peter.howden
Thank you TeeHeeHee...for reading my scribbles...and your statement...hope I don't receive too many complains
TeeHeeHee
You're more than welcome biggrin.gif However, don't confuse honest critic with complaint tongue.gif
peter.howden
Good morning TeeHeeHee… I will endeavour my pencil will not lead me there??
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 2/16

The bloody shock of finding a lifeless body would have various effects on different people, even for those who alas have to deal with such affairs on regular occurrences… yet, never become used to it, except for those mortuary workers who are a separate breed to the normal. This time it caught James well below par , a jolt waves hit his consciousness dealt with what at first could be an allusion, although experience told him above all else it was indeed… fact. .He had to leave the scene to think, and think hard, so quietly closing the bedroom door over, then wondered why he did so, for it was a sure bet the female had no ability to go anywhere, even if it was her last wish. The door lock clicked shut allowing short relief.

James retraced his steps back into the kitchenette, ignoring the chaos while searching for the electric kettle, then the precious coffee, but then again more important, the allusive clean mug. Pouring several large spoonful’s of sugar, and teabag… the Glesga antidote to comfort his worried soul. The kettle came to the boil and James filled his mug, sat down, drank the dark liquid until it cleared his head of any insignificant nonsense and senseless drivel . James knew what he must do, but before phoning the law, he must lay to rest old ghosts, making sure he has his facts right. For one thing he couldn’t remember…the good time he must have had last night, as the dead body was completely naked in his bed.

Grabbing some tools of his trade, the small trusty pencil torch, two sharp pencils and a pair of fine rubber gloves along with a couple of small plastic bags, plus a glass cleaning cloth; he could no longer delay anymore. Putting on the fine plastic gloves, taking the soft cloth to wipe the door handle on the outside, then inside while shutting the inside door behind him. James placed his torch in his mouth, standing perfectly still as he pointed the beam towards the deceased.

Very slowly his light scrutinised each line available without disturbing a single hair. There was obvious sign of struggles as the bed clothes were sprawled across and twisted over the top end of the bed. There were cut marks of the mattress with some kind of sharp instrument, as if someone blindly plunged at the victim. Spots of blood were sprinkled over the bottom half of the bedding.

The lady of the piece with a beautiful face even in death, though now rather swollen around the mouth and eyes, which could suggest some form of asphyxiation. James ’s thought for a moment; he recalled a blond girl’s features where on his mind while he woke from his intoxicated sleep. Sharply he wondered if there was any connection or just a drunken lure. His professionalism returned quickly, reminding himself never to jump to ill substantiated conclusions. Uncle John would shudder or roll in his grave, face hardened with recalling Uncle John… and what happened to him.

The phone rang in echoes depriving him concluding his thoughts as he automatic reached for it on the small dresser in his bedroom, but the furniture was upside down and scattered. Keeping his cool he waved his head around the whole 360 degrees, then up and down. He made a hasty grab for the object and it stopped ringing. A voice loud and laughing shouted at the other end. “I guess you have found your little present, from me by now?”

The deep-toned voice sneered again, “How could I do this to you? I will not tell you anymore you bastard; …just put it down to fate or bad luck”. James questioned who was speaking, and what the bloom were they talking about, but the intruder ignored him by continuing, “and you and that bloody relation of yours crucified me! Mamma, this is the real thing to me” , James asked again, but this time in demand form, but the voice just continued with a laughing menace in his voice, “I have phoned the cops you son of a bastard …Talk yourself out of that…you wally!”. The crude dialogue ended abruptly, a thunderous click of the phone at the other end… rocketed through the line into James ’s ear.

Just then…. the doorbell rang right through the whole apartment.
peter.howden

GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 3/16

Believing the police were behind the heavy oak front door, James quickly covered his deceased dog, to give his staunch hound some sense of privacy . with the local cop shop, crossed swords and a tedious relationship existed, concluding, it would be better to open the door willingly rather than having it forcibly broken down. With the latch on, he opened the door ajar, attempting to look normal, whatever the hell that was? James almost swore, as the devious face of his next-door neighbour Frankie emerged, slurring his words as usual, “Hell of a noise coming from your place last night?”. A long pause followed as if Frankie was waiting for an apology of sorts, then realized none was coming… added slyly, “I was a bit hurt you never invited me in; the line of work you’re in must be able to pick the birds?”

Frankie’s manners less than recommended for a sub species, but he had been handy to have in the past. “Sorry Frankie, but it was one on one”. “No need to say any more you lucky B”… James shut the door before the thug had time to finish his obvious sentence. Frankie was a dinosaur ,still thinking of woman as birds, wearing high heeled shoes, suspenders, and wiggle,

Turning back into such a horrendous scene, assuming the murderer struck in the dark, James kept the main light off, hunting for clues left at the extreme crime. The blood’s consistency had not changed, bruising around the mouth cheeks and eyes were certainly some hours old. She had been smothered but as far as he could detect, not by pillows which remained unruffled and slinky, as silk pillowcases are. Slapped around before being murdered, though somehow, all the details did not connect. The slashing or stabbing was all out of concept, and the smell of urine was not there. Something was definitely wrong with the mouth, the blood on the teeth and gums.

Meticulously examining the half-lit corpse at an angle, exposed a fragment of paper lodged in her mouth . Taking two thin pencils as chop stick pincers, managed to free the piece from the body fluid-stained teeth. The lips by this time were a odd pleasing blue, a macabre beauty as the body lay unprepared for her maker. The doorbell rang; then rang again…constantly. Hearing Frankie’s door open, then close much quieter, James prudently placed the blood-stained note into his jean’s back pocket.

Opening a large drawer, removed the plastic gloves placing all his protective gear into it…then made his way to casually open the door, without the latch this time. Staring into the doorway was a freckled reddish faced plump man, sporting an odd hat, and a coat almost trailing to the ground. Roy-poly would be a better description however his face screwed sternly, not matching his clownish appearance. “Well!”… cackled the man; “I’ve a warrant to search these premises …for I have reasons to believe a foul deed has been committed!”.
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 4/16

The wee bauchle inspector Andy Clyde was old hat, should have followed as his name suggests,
joining the river police for he was always splashing around in dichty water with nowhere to go… and certainly no imagination. A dour face lacking humour, always said nothing got past him, but what could you expect from someone who had been in the force forever and well past his sell by date… if he ever had one. A bigot, nicknamed, ‘Andy Pandy’, by other officers, because so easy to pull his string… just mentioning his beloved Rangers lost at the weekend.

The Inspector knew Uncle David years back, as constables on the beat in the early days. Within seconds of waving his permit, Andy and his team were already searching with hands and eyes. Surveying the savagely beaten corpse all the spinless inspector could say was “Tut; Tut, what have we hear?”. James answered with more than a note of sarcasm; “It’s sad to say it’s obviously a dead body, but you are the policeman!”. This apparently skid straight over the older man’s head, confined in James “We received an unspecified phone call, revealing a narrative about a dead battered girl being here”. A note of disdain filled the air as he continued… “Did the sex get to rough?”

The senior policeman didn’t say anything else, left leaving the door ajar, mumbling to the other policemen. James sat down realizing the third degree will come now. he slipped out the piece of paper from his jean pocket, cautiously opening the tiny slip. Only; ‘CUTTY SARK’… in bold capitals, followed with, ‘direc’ scribbled; then nothing though there was space left.

Staring at the parchment wondering what it meant, and why a young foreign woman would have it concealed on her person. Yes, he worked out the dead woman was not Scottish; perhaps somewhere in the Mediterranean. Her skin texture was the tell-tale sign, even with using tatty tanning shops every day, no Glasgow skin could deliver such a deep splendid natural colour. Another thing: even after being through such desperate struggles, her dyed blond hair was certainly well care for, fingertips were manicured as well as her toes. Her makeup, though smudged, certainly expensively manufactured. Alas, she was in the pink of health for a corpse. In James profession, it helped to notice these things quickly, even under pressure. One thing he failed to notice was her clothing. She must have arrived in some attire, but as far as he could see, there was no sign of any .

James stared hard at the abandon piece of paper, trying to gain divine inspiration, but the tall ship, Cutty Sark', wouldn’t budge. Where the hell did this fit in with a gruesome murder? Before he could ask himself again, sounds came from the other room. He swiftly folded the evidence, sneaked it into the ticket pocket of his wranglers.

The pompous detective returned with a sly smirk on his face. “Of course, its early days, yet it appears this body did not die here!”, said in a knowing voice, as another policeman checked his fingertips. “ I reckon the body was planted to get you into hot water”, swiftly concluding, “My admiration for your late uncle; the salt of the earth, a good friend”. “Do you know”, he paused for a brief moment, then resumed, “of course you do, after all he was your uncle, but straight as a die and fists like sledgehammers…he is well missed!”

He halted for several moments to pay particular attention, trying to catch a reaction, then followed with; “Someone’s got it in for you… Have you upset one of your punters?”
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 5/16

Before James could reply, Andy continued with, “Your uncle wanted you in the force, but you…being pig headed decided to go private, hurt him for a while, but deep down, he was proud”. Andy gruffly spoke but almost sounding human. James knew Andy not only admired his Uncle David, for he helped him through the ranks, refusing promotion for himself. His last beat had been Boots Corner, and Glasgow’s central streets. Closing the door, back to being grumpy, he rasped, “Don’t stray far from Parnie St…. don’t leave the city!”

James picked up his leather jacket, closed the main door, headed for the stairway with a sigh of relief over the few hours. The neighbouring door creaked open, revealing the frightening figure of Frankie, notorious for being a doobie heavy, never quite made the thinking team in his unlawful occupation. Frankie confessed to all and sundry of his intention of going straight, yet, the truth was cruel, a younger team had taken over, no longer wanted the mayhem he could bring. “Where are you going, can I help?” as James passed, he replied, “ useful if you’d look after the place, and who comes up the stairway”. Frankie smile crossed over the powerful square jaw, giving thumbs up as James headed down the stairway into a dreich wet street in Saltmarket,

James had a drooth but passed the pub on the Corner of Glasgow Cross, contemplating walking towards the Trongate. His mouth was fowl, as he crossed over London road, past Mercat Bidg, then under Gallowgate bridge to the old café opposite Schipka Pass. He was a regular in the cosy place, seldom cooked in his flat. With just a nod, the proprietor knew exactly his wishes as James sat down at the very back of the snack bar. He pondered if he was right at keeping such vital evidence. Placing his arguments in a sense of proportions, he concluded his plain cloths profession ,would allow him to go where the boys in blue could not. There was little reason not to peruse his own investigation… now he would be engaged.
.
All he knew about the ‘Cutty Sark ‘was a tall old ship clipper built in Dumbarton, but, berthed down in London. So why here in Glasgow, to murder a foreign woman. Engrossed in the enigma; he failed to whiff skinnymalinkie Harry, failing to see him come in…however, the aroma was unmistakable…harry just didn’t wash. Nicknamed ‘dirty Harry’, for obvious reasons, the neighbourhood did not trust him, he was a snout to the law, or anyone who would pay him.

Peering under the table, then squinting at the door, Harry uttered, “I heard you have a stiff!”. screwing his hawk eyes, completed the sentence, “Do you want to know where she works?”, James grabbed this pathetic excuse for a human being by his lapel, hauled him dangerously close, “look you moron…how can she work when she is dead?”. “You’re so right Mr James, but do you want to know where she did work.” Harry nervously realized James was not sold on the idea of talking to him, quickly added, “ Your Uncle always played square with me, so I don’t want a penny for the information, just tell the big man, you know how I helped you….Is it a deal?”

Relaxing his grip on the minging collar, shoved himself as far away from manky nyaff Harry…as the bolted seats would allow. Nervously, Harry now sweating profusely, spoke tensely in an exceptionally low tone; “Witch’s Club…Under the Central Station arches…Left in Midland Street”. James attention was on a peculiar noise, turned around to see nothing. Turn back; like a ‘thief in the night’, Harry was gone, leaving a hovering odour…that would give anyone the boak.
-=-=-=

peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 6/16

Served with a bacon sandwich, extra strong mug of coffee, no hint of sugar, James felt uncomfortable about a wee bugger like Harry, should suggest friendly terms with Uncle David. He knew David dealt with all forms of low life which brought back the pain of his disappearance, which every policeman in Glasgow believed it was foul play, but unable to scrape one ounce of information to help, for the entire underworld from the centre, far beyond the boundaries of greater Glasgow, had lost their tongues. Even clarty Harry, or any of his kind; kept totally silent on this. Oddly, it was the first time he had mentioned the uniformed bobby’s name to James .

It’s a bit early but let’s go and find witches, he thought while gulping the last remains in the mug. He took his cutlery down to the counter , reached into his pocket to pay. Tony, an Italian Glaswegian whose café was a little gold mine, trading from the crowded Barra’s at the weekend. He motioned no need for money, however James insisted on paying, recalling one piece of advice David gave him; “Never be beholden to anyone in this job Jamie”. Uncle David was the only person to call him so, as it was a brigand character from David’s favourite film…The Black Swan.

Leaving the café, to pay a courtesy call to the Wee Red Shop, in the middle of the Barra’s. The all-purpose shop owned by Hammy, originally from Pakistan though like Tony, was more Glaswegian than most people who stayed within the boundaries. Both had been here since god knows when, had interwoven themselves into Glesga culture. Hammie joked going for a sun bed, as he was only called a black bastard twice in one day, frightened his colour was fading. James didn’t know Hammie’s real name, never thought it was anywhere important.

The Wee Red Shop in Kent St, being a busy place at weekends, but quite slack throughout mid-week. Hammie stood behind the battered counter, always with a beaming smile, revealing white teeth broken by a gold tooth or two. After polite nods, James asked the man if he had heard of anything going on.

His answer was a direct “Naw”, but he had been informed of the predicament. James was not taken by surprise as the word went round quicker in Saltmarket than in Barlinnie. In the establishment of correction, the cons know the score before the screws, and sometimes before the court sends the misfortunate down. Hammie sympathetically added, “Listen James, something is bound to happen with the weird cases you take on… I owe a favour or two, as your Uncle was a gentleman, never tried to huckle me like some of the other bastards I could mention”. Hammie stopped for a moment to focus on how to say the next line. “This dead body thing is all tied up with your Uncle’s disappearance, if I were you, I would look no further than the Carrick first!”.

James took a few moments to think as nothing had been uttered in three whole years and in one hour, Uncle David’s name comes up three times. He looked hard at Hammie, he seemed to read his thoughts and quickly butted in, “Look James, you and I know each other for some time and there is nothing more I can say… apart from Black Tam.” With the conversation over because Hammie did not wait for any reply, made his way down to the basement of the shop, shouted up when reaching the bottom, “Good luck James ”.

As James walked towards the cross deep in thought, and more than a bit disturbed. Hammie was no fool, in fact studied to be a lawyer having ambitions to be a judge in Pakistan. This was 1971, but In 1957/8, the safety net against tyranny vanished when it’s supreme Court dismissed the popular Prime Minister. The country failed democracy by a permanent dictatorship. Being unable agree with the political climate, his life was at risk, he fled choosing Scotland, residing here ever since. He knows the dirty side of Glasgow, the one the tourist don’t see. So, what is this clue ‘Black Tam’… why the Carrick, since the small piece of paper was marked with Cutty Sark?

Like almost all city dwellers of Glasgow, James knew many souls who could be classified as, “Tam the Bam”… and many unsavoury characters deemed to have a black nature.
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 7/16

James Making his way down to the famous river Clyde, cutting through Bridgegate to reach the berth of the Carrick sailing ship, stopping to observe the floating time piece, a belter of a tall old ship. Sauntering along the river side, passing Broomielaw heaps and piles of small stones and sands, grit, and earth, sitting like weird small pyramids right along to Commerce Bridge. He tried to make sense of it all, the dead girl…gave him the willies from the moment he pulled out from self-induced liquor trip, away from reality. He had no problem with booze …although some others may argue, citing how constant strong beverage punishes the body …if not the soul.

Belonging to the railway until recently, their hired out arche was the club was In the middle of Midland Street.. No public queuing in the street under the bridge, far too early for the ravers. Witches entrance was a large arched wooden frame with heavy cast iron hinges. At the right side was a smaller door, which happened to be slightly ajar. Had the occupants been warned…was this rather dicey? James knew the answer to both questions. Cautiously opening the door caused a chilling creaking, heightened by the arched brick acoustics acting as an amplifier.

The toatey place was a baltic manmade cave in deadly silence., yet deemed to be the hottest club venue in town. Turning into a hidden corner, James was abruptly struck dumb by seeing a female, nigh identical to the murdered woman in his flat…could this be possible rattled around his mind. “Who the hell are you?”, she continued in an screechy vocal, “Are you here to see the boss, Charlie?”. James was reduced to a awkward nod. The un-named doppelganger waddled towards the door, motioned James to enter. He struggled passing her, as she leaned further forward, whispered, “I want to see you before you go…don’t tell that wee nyaff”.

Squatting behind a walnut wooden desk was a shifty character in an ill-fitting suit covering an unfit body. A large cigar flaked in a marble ashtray, while he sipped whisky out of a crystal glass. “Nectar from the gods, called ‘Tears of Angels’ in the Gaelic!... I heard you were looking for me ?”. In a mocking way, “where are my manners for I have heard you like a drink or two…what’s your pleasure?”. The big desk kept people at bay from the wee bachle…shit looks, shit is

James refused, but asked how he knew him since they never had met. Once again, the one toned man spoke “We have someone in common, you and I as I knew your Uncle…by the way how long has it been he has been gone?”. Before James could reply the sleekit bufter added, “A few people just vanished, and I find it harder to bare the pain, when a few of my very good friends have disappeared also…funny that isn’t it?”. James remained silent, didn’t take a blind man to hear this raw threat. He saw the creep as he truly was, a two-bit villain having money to buy muscle to do his bidding.

“No hard feelings now… but remember, just because you know a few powerful citizens, and you talk to the real big man, this will not protect you from some silly accident…now come on be a lovely man…just forget the whole thing?” Charlie coughed uncontrollably while lifting his generous glass and took a big gulp. James swallowed hard to stop him saying what he really thought… “Look Charlie…can I call you Charlie….could you tell me who the girl was?”

This took the runt behind the big desk by surprise, “She did work for me some time ago… but left, and apart from that…. I’m as wise as you”. Before a moment passed, the prickly boss rung a hidden bell…the door of his office opened up wide by a loutish thug. “Just get smart James ”, came from behind the desk.
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 8/16


Leaving the weasel’s mingin den, one thing was certain, James craving to smack the Charlie… yet, resisted the raw urge . He had seen the same small-time thugs in Liverpool, Manchester, and Hull, linking themselves to Edward G Robinson character in ‘le Caesar’… wee empires built on street wars. Nothing to admire about their crude terror, running such enslaved debauchery businesses. In the darkness of this hallow brick cave, a familiar aroma drifted, perfuming the unpleasant air. Farthest ahead of the makeshift corridor, there she sat, an aura to die for, beckoning James into a darker corner away from the main passage . A small snug appeared as both bodies slowly squeezed through the narrow opening.

Looking closely, James saw an entirely different silhouette, a face showing terror, with eyes cold, dark, and deep. The nervous girl whispered, “Listen; not much time…dead girl was Annette; don’t know her second name, brought in from Minsk through the black trade”. Suddenly ceasing her rabbit like delivery, listening intently out for a noise, any noise. Once assured no one was around, spoke fast again, “Originally from Albania, would not take drugs and refused to play ball, silly bitch?” “I gave your Uncle some information before he departed… I think that’s what got him killed”.
“I kept you company that terrible night, because ordered by Charlie’s insane idea, to frame you for murder, rid him of the daft mama ”.


Her face changed, showing a hint of melancholy, “I want out…you’re the only person that can help… no talking to cops; you’ve got true connections to who I need to confess too!”. Before continuing, or James having the chance asking, to who, or whom she meant, a loud noise interrupted, coming from deep into the darkness. Gripped with absolute fear, anxiously to leave, she muttered under her breath, “Meet you after tonight’s work outside the Peoples Palace, about one”. No further words were spoken as she disappeared safely into the ladies.

Silently walking away, James doubled checked if anyone was following him, or looking where he was going. He vanished around the corner into Jamaica Street, stopping at Paisley’s shop window to check once again if anyone was following him. This was now becoming murky, for James had heard of the black trade before, it stood for twin trades…slavery and drugs. Most people envisioned slavery had died out long ago, but it was rife in all major cities in Europe. Now he was really in shit…having information which would assist police in a murder investigation.

James calmly thought, what evidence do I have? A crime boss gone out of his way to threaten me. A girl wants to confess to her part in the black trade, but I don’t know her name. Wants to meet just after mid night, to make a clean breast of things. It’s all loose threads, weaving a picture with no substance except….a ruse arranged by her slimy boss.

Uncle David was a film buff, always quoting from his favourite lines in old movies. One such quote was in the ‘Sign of four’… Sherlock Holmes declaring, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth... But the problem was… James knew all was possible.
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 9/16

Annoyed at himself for not giving the Charlie a skelp, also hazy as to what he could depend on, more important, who he could count on. Right now, turning the corner at the Clyde, he came across the nearest pub facing the river, James fancied a pint glass. Entering the dim interior of the auld establishment, which was indeed a well kent bar for the pink pound. Owing to the law of the land, such sexual behaviour was more than frowned on, times hadn’t changed that much, no matter how Dylan sang. He nodded knowingly to the well-built bartender, who automatically brought a glass, and a opened bottle of beer, of James preference. All around in the darkness, in separate private tables, intimate couples communicated without words. James held nothing against this community of society, but his mood right now, he’d rather give it a miss, swallowed the dregs of the glass…walked out again.

Saunters aimlessly along the Broomielaw, crossed over the road at Victoria bridge, passed the ever-busy Paddy’s Market, his mind slowly cleared, opting to head for the Old Ship Bank Vault. Cathy was the woman who ran this inn, where James could always count on a grand cup of coffee. With a caring voice she swiftly spoke, “You look as if the cat dragged you in… you should be at the next corner to the mortuary… or can’t you remember?

“It’s much worse” James quietly said with pathetic agony in his vocals. He sipped frothy stuff from the espresso cup, which somehow soothed him for a split moment. “I know” replied the ample built woman, in a motherly way. James reacted in an feeble apologetic way, “Just for the record her name was Annette”. Still uncomfortable with his head, swamped by endless streams of excuses why it should have not happened to him. Self-pity can destroy reason. “Kath; I do not know for certain if I had any?”……Cathy put her fingers up to his lips preventing him continuing, “Listen you idiot, it’s not how you dress which calls the man, it’s the skin that holds the bones together … so bloody butt out this ego tour, work out where you go from here” Cathy insisted with a responsive sincere smile, she kept for just him.

James recalled another of Uncle David’s sayings… always do the right thing. This will please the people who are important to you, but more crucially, surprise others who aren’t. There and then he chose to keep the People’s Palace appointment, on the slim chance the girl was telling the truth, and really needed help.

“Thanks Kath; you always know what to say to me, you clean my soul… believe me… it needs cleansed often”. James stopped at the doorway leading on to Saltmarket, turned to ask just off the cuff , “What do you know of Charlie who owns Witches?”. Cathy’s usual cheery disposition shifted instantly, grimly warned “Don’t be messing with him; please James ”, almost pleading, adding straight away, “You’re bloody good at what you do, but he’s sleekit, blacker than any blackness”. “He believes being a direct descendant to the royal Stuarts, enjoys violence, just because... second only to that scaffer Tam…the whole shebang they touch turns tacky putrid”.

James asked, “What’s Tam’s surname?”, rummaging for the elusive extra clue. “Sorry James, naebdy can do, the keech revels in the Black Tam original bam… to evil to be a heedcase”. James closed the swing door into the wet street with intentions of heading home. . Again, his concern over David’s disappearance, how he was involved in all this, and why Tam’s name keeps coming up like a bad penny. Wait a minute, your miles ahead of yourself, thinking of Simon and Garfunkel advise in their song –slow down you move to fast. James formed a plan, to rest up for a few hours before keeping his rendezvous with his mysterious blond.
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 10/16

Turning into Osborne Street, the old Jewish tailor from across the top of Saltmarket, came hurling over the traffic yelling, “Hey there you auld blaggard, I’ve a message for you”. By the time Duman had reached James, ‘Rumpole of cloth cutters’ with his trusty tape measure wrapped around his neck, was well out of breath. Peched for breath, he spluttered, “some heavy thugs asking if anyone had seen you…they bought nought, are you in ‘shtekn’ again?”. The B-spoke shop keeper inquired with more than a measure of anxiety. James smiled, “Thanks,” replying to the warm-hearted persona… but, almost everyone is a character around Glasgow Cross.

James chose to call on another such eccentric, Dirty Dick’, who ran a flea market in Schipka Pass. As James arrived, music from a pair of tatty speakers, attempting to play an oldy record of Elvis the pelvis’s, ‘Wooden Heart’. Dirty Dick may give the appearance of being on the skids, but you would travel far to find a shrewder guy. He patiently listened to James lengthily explanation before speaking softly; “Listen you daft pratt, , as Donnelley’s nephew-in-law, no one around here believes any of that rubbish, but you have scurried with some dangerous people…you may believe you have a guardian angel… but he can’t always be about… so bloody watch out.”

Dick attempted to drag on a dowt, almost burnt his fingers before whispering again, “Keep close to Frankie, a bit loony parrot with a low vocabulary, but being as big as Goliath, twice as strong, so stick close”. “You do know of course he thinks you are a God; the sun shines out your arse!”. Dick always wore patent dance shoes, telling people, its to keep one step ahead. He winked while shaking James hand warmly, continued his line of business, calling out, “Knickers down… half price”. James smirked slightly, leaving to go home.

Inside the wally close, an uneasy quietness was in the air while climbing the twisted staircase. A sinister echo alerted James to something being wrong, very wrong. A light tap on Frankie’s door opened with an ear cringe creek. The light in the single ends room was swinging like a pendulum. One step into the small flat took no grand detective, to realize some struggle had taken place. The meagre furniture smashed beyond recognition, a gale wafting through the smashed window behind tattered curtains, was the reason for the swaying light fitting.

In the corner of the ill fitted hovel lay the battered body of Frankie… with blood congealing on his head. James felt for a pulse, much relieved to find one. Frankie’s eyes flickered as he tried to open his mouth, but failed, causing blackish blood just to ooze out. James knew he had to call an ambulance and the police. Making sure Frankie was indeed alive, he headed for his flat. Down at the bottom of the staircase, James heard someone come into the close. He shouted down, his voice harsh, to whoever it was, to phone for an ambulance.

James twisted round to see blood clotted all over the tile-work leading to his house, plasma on the banister opposite but far more worrying …his door was half ajar. Slowly moving forward, slightly eased the door open a bit more. Squeezing his way into the little hallway, cautiously looked into the main room, though the Venetian blinds dulled the area. The light from the close etched its way forward as James opened the front door to full potential, revealing the true horror unfolding in front of him. Seeing a large pool of putrid blood on the linoleum chilled him, witnessing drips of blood still splashing continually almost made him scream out loud.

Hanging from the indoor kitchen pulley, was the body of a woman, her lifeless head drooping as dark blood mixed with her dyed blond hair. Her throat had been cut from one end to the other.

It was obvious she was way beyond help…defiantly dead……
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 11/16


A slight hint of a particular perfume drifting through the hectic confusion, forced James admitting this poor bloody body, once his dream, but now a nightmare. His heart reached out for the lost limp soul who suffered such unwarranted agony. Who could be responsible for this diabolical act against life? He had a grim idea who. Unlike the rammy in Frankie’s flat, nothing was disturbed within his abode, bar the evidence above.

Without warning, all hell broke loose, forcing James physically against the wall nearest the door, as arms reached to shackle him, an elbow compelled his head to remain motionless. Through the dark abyss, came the well kent voice of the blatherskite, Inspector Urquhart, “Carved and hung like a goose”, was the sour words spoken by the pompous policeman, “I supposed you will tell me this to be a trap, but from where I stand ...you have no proof”.

The strong arm of the law which held him tied against the wall, released its grip, allowing James the ability to turn his head, to confront such a smirking face. “It is all right, I saw you come in as my men surrounded the building after a tip off”. “Lucky for you is it not?” spoke the snide cop. James was scunnered with the cretin, his voice cracked, “Unlucky for the poor girl I would say, pity you were not a bit earlier, were you away for a pish?” It was unlike him to be scathing but the ghoulish happenings forced such reaction.

James was deeply incensed for such waste of a life, however, could not help but wonder why this shit happened again. It proved one thing, the girl was ready to talk, and the bastard Charlie and his cronies were the heavy rank bajins to blame. The Forensic pathologists crew lowered down the lifeless body, laid it on the special body bag for such occasions. The head rolled to the side as if one more desperate effort to contact the living. A small piece of paper washed out amongst the bad dirty blood from the petite but blue mouth. James slowly knelt down so not to draw attention, grasped hold of the stained piece, rushed it into his pocket.

Andy shouted, “Hey wait a minute”, while moving closer towards James ; “what were you doing with Charlie Stuart, not in your bag I’d have thought… even with the low life scum you associate with”, stopping for breath then quipped, “you keep coming up with dead bodies so watch you aren’t next!”. James stayed close to the wall away from Andy, for he knew he would not have a wing or a prayer if per chance, Andy spotted the blood smudging his pocket. “Just trying to make sense of it all”, replied James coolly…. though not used to direct lying, however, the situation justified it.

“You’re not a patch on your uncle, to be honest I don’t like you with this bloody goody, goody attitude. You could have followed him into the force, but you wanted to go private, so leaving all the detection to me”… Andy quoted with a scunnered tone in his voice. James dander was rising, and he could do nothing but retort “As my grandfather used to say; if we all liked the same thing, the whole world would fancy yer granny”. The wee squirt couldn’t detect a whiff of a smell in a barrel full of farts, thought James silently.

The sleekit detective signalled his team to wind up the processes, to be carried on down at the lab. The body bag, without ceremony apart from being labelled, zipped up… taken away along with most of the squad intruders following.
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 12/16

The Plowter

Straight down by the stairway, marching out of the close, feeling slightly uncomfortable with his unprofessional conduct, being in danger of making it personal with Andy Pandy, who was completely opposed to his ethics. James gave himself a mental shake, invigorated the need for rationality…knowing there was no going back.

Firstly, there was a shadowy external interference which wrangled James reckoning right from the start, a conjecture of a notorious name being responsible. The elusive “Black Tam!”, still to be located, which normally someone would know, if only the characters around the Mercat were not so blasted scared. Catching a taxi from underneath London Road’s railway bridge, he tipped the wink to the driver…head for the Royal Infirmary. James held a certain need to visit Frankie which far outweighed the extra expense it may occur. Whilst being whisked up over the ‘Bell o the Brae’, he took time and careful trouble as best he could dry, then separate the folded piece of paper rescued from the dead girl’s mouth. The message; bold and clear, was ‘Cutty Shark!’, the same as the first one.

Frankie lay so obviously uncomfortable, due to his obese oversized in a normal sized bed which could not be said about his appearance. The poor bugger, those bloody braggards really work him over, felt James, as he smiled approaching the battered man. Frankie made every attempt to raise himself from his confinement, but failed miserably, as he slumped painfully back to where he started. He struggled to smile, then…very softly, if not in a low harsh whisper, he conveyed regret for not protecting James ’s property.

“Just before I went up to your flat, old Jacob the tailor warned me about three heavies hangin around the area”. Frankie stopped as if out of breath, then slowly added, “I’m there in the flat, a knock on the door…next thing wallop, a hammer on my nut…sorry, I was out for the count”. Again, out of breath, he stopped, gasping for air as he murmured in a dithering voice, “did they do the place over?” James spent the next few minutes trying to tell his next-door neighbour just exactly where he was up to now and then asked Frankie if he knew any more.

“Plenty of bad stuff on the streets, sold all over place, the whisper is, it’s being stashed down by the Clyde Side somewhere, and another thing, the street girls are complaining business is bad, really bad with no deposits or withdrawals being made”. Whilst Frankie was grimly recalling all this info, James identified with the sheer pain the man was suffering, revealed in his facial expression while clinical tubes were in every decent orifice that could be found.

Frankie, with immense effort, made a final burst; “I bet it’s got something to do with that English bampot bastard Tam-Oh- something, a toe rag of the first order”. “By the way; I’ll be as sound as a pound tomorrow”, with these final words, he crumbled into a deep painkiller sleep. The medic was amazed how hard Frankie’s scull must be, to escape such terrorizing blows, as he did with little damage retrospective. He assured James no fatal injury, however needing a good month’s rest with no excitement was on order. Just before leaving the patient’s bedside the Doc concluded, “He will be far away for hours now…I gave him adequate amount to knock out a bull!”. This might not be enough…James thought silently.

Standing alone just outside the ward in the hospital corridor, James took out the scrap of paper once again. Something with the big man being tongue tied, connected in James ’s mind, and for no apparent reason he recalled his school days way back, his Burns readings… and how the Bard helped him in his hours of need whilst being detained in Barlinnie. Then, just like a bat out of hell it struck him, “Tam O Shanter” It was all in there…this most gallus verse.
-=-=-=-=
peter.howden

GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 13/16.
The Ruse


Still within a scattered mind, James kept repeating, “Tam-O-Shanter”; as he took off like a bat out of hell, while concluding the dire need for a library close at hand. Being the nearest the best was the splendid ‘Stirling Library’, the first free archive originally set up in Miller Street 1791, moved to Royal Exchange Square in 1954, second only to the city’s magic resource, the hub of knowledge Glasgow’s ‘Mitchell Library’.

James relished the challenge while reminiscing several lines from his school days reading the poetry of the famous Scottish Bard. Robert Burn’s creativeness connected all these lose fibre clues. It was now essential to search through maritime records of the past and present. Information gathered, casting caution to the wind, as he scurried to catch the ‘ships of the line’ at custom house, feeling extremely blessed, now possessing a sharp written hook… to fish out rank bajins.

Several hours later, immerging ruffled but well pleased, in the café under the Gallowgate Bridge, which was jummpin with hordes of bodies avoiding the rain, needed to clean the dirty streets of the named green place. His lose associates, Hammy and Dirty Dick were beside themselves listening to James explaining what he had dug out from data available housed in the solid walls of the Stirling Library, also further success in the custom House Records. Oddly, within the hustle and bustle of the café, James appeared not to notice Harry the snitch, squatting within ear shot… but even more surprisingly, failed to inhale the minging waff, which always accompanied this poky wee nyaff.
j
“Now have you both got it ,quite clear about our plan, and vital timing is of the essence, as Sherlock himself would say”, James spoke softly to his colleges so not to be overheard. Dirty Dick was pleased but offered caution, “Look James, you seem to take this as a game….these are ferocious mindless buggers who would think nothing about doing you a hammering, then feeding you to the fish”, said the rough Glaswegian. Hammy nodded in agreement, added, “James, I’m with you all the way, but these rochians are tooled-up heavies, right hefty nutters…even you are being a big guy, able to handle himself, cannie beat these sleekit low life heed-bangers!”.

Continuing in a stern vocal manner, James chilled eyes turned inwardly as his thoughts automatically darted back, “I’m bloody sure those two beauties are responsible for Uncle David’s disappearance!”. He stopped for a moment, almost choking with pent up emotion…“I think these bastards killed him, sheer unadulterated evil”. Stopping to prevent excess repulsion, He pleaded, “Remember, I have a better chance of some kind of confession…I can open doors that you can’t”

“Dick, bring the listening apparatus around to the old man’s shop, I’ll strap in later”, instructed James with air of being accustomed to giving orders. “Now Hammy, make your way up to Frankie; explain to the nut, he must stay where he is….All I need is for that big clout coming down and spoiling everything”.
Without another syllable being spoken, the two comrades in arms sped off into the oncoming rain. After giving a quick glance around. Just a few moments later, James stepped outside then headed over to High Street, pausing deliberately at the Tollbooth, just to check for any unwelcome footsteps following him. Scurried across over the old underground railway station he headed straight for the old curiosity shop; It was the nickname for the gent’s tailors which gave the appearance of a Charles Dickens era.

Opening the heavy door to hear a grumpy voice, “Ah your back then you Blaggard, and what can I do for you…will I measure your snake hips?” James tells the cantankerous old man everything so far.
After carefully taking in the whole lot, he grimly answered, “I need to help; your uncle was kind to me when so much anti- Semitism was shown when I first moved here…Now James, I used to play rugby for my Ayrshire School, so I know how to tackle;”. “Sorry old man ,but I need your shop only, you can keep an eye out for any trouble from this end, O.K.”

Duman agreed, for he knew James well, he slyly added, “Look here… tell me to mind my own business but I have always wondered why you never married…your allowed to as far as I believe?” This touched James even with all the hullabaloos going on. He took time to answer, “No use searching for the illusive companion if you have trouble keeping yourself company?”

Just then, He heard unwanted sounds outside, then a bang at the door. James swung around to face the entrance……
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 14/16.
The Spiel


Dick concealed the delicate equipment needed, around his person, sneaking into the auld shop before James arriving. With time being of the essence, they both sped down the cracked basement stairs, away from prying eyes above. Drookit with the rain, Hammie deliberately took a wide berth, scrambled up the once, ‘Bell O’ the Brae’, to the Royal infirmary, ready to swipe Frankie’s cloths, lumbering him to stay in the hospital ward. Three rings on James mobile, then stopped was the code given that he had completed his mission. James sighed with genuine relief, “Thank God… Frankie is always a bull in a china shop!” “Saw him in a near psychotic craze just the once, not a pretty sight, for the guy was so incensed within an inch of his mental demise… close to a devil’s prayer that day!” James woefully recalled.

Dick reminded him to be cautious, as he was about to leave. James humorously retorted, “How can you rate yourself as being a gigolo; if you can’t dance, and Barraland just around the corner?”. The Gallowgate entrepreneur, of sorts, took not a spit second to reply, “Why do you think I wear patent dance shoes?” then disappeared

Caught by surprise with last minute shakes, creeping into James mind, asking if this was really his bag. It is easy to be brave in front of people, or a crowd, but alone, in a wee dingy shop, doubts started to surface. The old tailor came through from the back, seemingly sensing James private dilemma. Without being asked, he quoted; “The disappearance of a sense of responsibility, has the most far-reaching consequences of submission to your own insanity”. What does this mean” asked James? “I don’t really know” answered the tailor, “but my father said it more than once so it must be profound”. James did not know why, but he felt better…so, with not another word, he left into the street. He knew what had to be done.

Striding deliberately towards the Tron, James felt this could be from the film, ‘High Noon’, apart from the fact he was no Gary Cooper, and this was not a theatre movie, but a desperate bid of revenge. Was he right to think this savage way, and if so, was it for the correct reason of law? Two girls were certainly dead by those villains’ hands, plus attempting to frame James…then there was Uncle David. He stopped besides the main door of M&S, to light a mentholated cigarette and inhaled as much as the filter would allow. Yes, I bloody know they were involved judged James, perhaps this is against the law, or God’s code of practice… but I must go through with it.

Once finished with his daily stimulant healthy fag, James marched powerfully towards Boots Corner, around down Jamaica Street’, passing the stingy cinema entrance with enticing posters. It was the motion picture hall usually filled with bald raincoat men; eyes glued to X rated exotic risqué films. All the time his heart was leaping all over the place. Could, and more important, would his simple hair brain plan work. Uncle David always insisted on keeping everything simple. James was angry at himself, for he should be used to this, having dealt with some low life in his chosen profession. What really troubled him, as he was just about to turn the curve into Midland Street, calling his plan, ‘dead’ simple

The lone figure of James reached his destination, constantly perspiring, making a clammy canal down his back, along with a drooth mouth , his mind blurred. One final deep breath at the lion’s den, he pounded the heavy door. It rebounded a certain unnerving echo, yet… no response from within.
With pure built-up emotion, James kicked the door and to his surprise the heavy entrance swung open. Stepping gingerly into the darkness beyond, other than a faint light glimmering in the room far off, where he had been before with the slummy Charlie. He straightened his soggy back, walked steadily towards the brightness where the gangster boss sitting.

A massive hand, followed by a bulging arm, stopped him dead in his tracks. “I think you should allow Tam to search you, just in case you are wired or something stupid ?” croaked Charlie.
From out of a dark hole in the brickwork, scurried a very agitated bowfin Harry, seemingly genuflecting with every boggin movement. The wee naebdy, constantly half looking at the crook behind the mahogany desk… and his own warped feet. His legs were so tight together, as if bursting for the toilet. .
“We know all about your little surprises, thanks to this fine upstanding citizen”, said a voice… trying to be sardonic. “I think you have made your last mistake”
peter.howden

GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 15/16.

Nearly The Eyn…


The thug Tam, forcibly stripped James of electronic wires and receiver, as Harry edged his trembling feartie frame towards the shaft door. “Just a wee moment, my coordie friend” spoke the podgy racketeer behind the eccentric furnishings. Short words but cut deep into Harry’s already insecure presence. “Mr Stuart, I was just covering his back in case he bolted,” insisted the bletherie man, now oozing moisture, while slowly retracing his sly steps, with Tam’s eagle eyes watching.
“Thanks Thomas!” mumbled the fat controller, swivelling around in his leather-bound executive’s chair. “Now James ; what is your problem, apart from the Glasgow’s ‘finest’, scouring the streets for you…you are who you are, what have we been up too??”.

James shook his head deliberately looking straight into the gangster’s cracked face, caused from one too many sun beds. “Well, I reckon you’ve got me cold, thanks to that hack pishin himself in the corner, so what?” “At a wild guess, your associate goat here is Thomas Wentworth, registered captain of the city of Adelaide which sailed from Marseilles to the tail of the bank at Greenock”. James stopped to sniff, added, “Did you know Marseilles is a twin city of Glasgow?” while walking around towards the ornate desk, plunged straight into the significant part, “No! … you three are just manky cockroaches, sucking any decency from everything you touch”

Carry on James , you know your digging your own grave”, Charlie’s intimidating words spoke. “Wait a minute, Mr Stuart?”, came a quacking voice, “I’ll have none of this kind of shenanigans, hell, I’m out of here”, cringed Harry, ready to run like a rabbit at a dug meeting. “Harry you fragile eedjit, you’ve no chance shootin the craw, your lumbered just like me”, bellowed James to the threepence away from the shilling cretin. ” What did you expect, a skite around the lughole and a tanner for your trouble?”. James added sarcastically; “Shit evolves Harry; shit evolves”. Tam the bam motioned to move towards the shaking wreck, Harry froze as stiff as a board.
Brashly James turned to his quarry; “I recalled Robbie Burn’s, ‘Tam O Shanter’s two special verses, it calls on, ‘Cutty Sark’, he quoted. “It was all an elaborated code, for you thought you were cock of the north ,as you planted the message for others to be warned… no messing with you”.

“I was stuck looking for a boat, but the Cutty Sark referred to the scanty shift worn by one Nannie Dee, a nark, graced a dance of witches in the verse”. “ but, her sister ship, ‘The Carrick’ lying down at the Clyde, originally named ‘City of Adelaide’, transporting convicts to Australia but some of the more unscrupulous captains, brought back aborigines to Africa, since Britain was supposed to have denounced the slave trade”. You just carried on this revolting market.

With smugness of Blofeld, bond movie arch enemy, the gangster boss lent forward towards a drawer hidden from view, urging James to elaborate, while twitching Harry started to smell, and smell bad. Tam the Bam was giving signals wanting to waste both hostages, but Charlie obviously was in charge, preventing the hooligan by just a slight nod.

“ I checked with custom House in the Broomielaw, saw a copy of the Bond Note issued to his boat”, James pointing to the maniac hooligan, “ showing paperwork for the ship-Adelaide calling at the port of Rijeka in Croatia, then Benghazi”. “Word around say’s you are double dealing in drugs and prostitution, so it all adds up”. Before James could utter another word, Tam turned and walloped him with a back hander, which almost felled him on the spot . The villain shouted “How much more crap must we listen to…just let’s do the business” …. “Shut it you fool”, roared Charlie as he looked uncomfortable for the first time.

James seized his chance, “you can’t even control a couple of women …some thug you turn out to be!” “Well, we took care of your interfering relative”, this came as a boast from the screwed-up lips of the so-called Thomas. Charlie did not allow him to finish, roaring, “Christ… can you not shut that big gob of yours”, growled the lowlife boss. James attention was caught by the fleeting figure of spiffy Harry’s bolt for freedom, only to be stopped dead in his tracks by a flying cosh knocking him physically senseless

“Well!” stated Charlie coldly but still in obvious rage, “I may as well tell the rest.” “The girl found in your abode, would not play ball, I just had to pump her with dope, planting her body in your flat, after your booze was spiked by Danielle, but that bloody stupid bitch was going to peach on us all…I’ll miss her, but she had to be ripped for being a grass; nice body don’t you think ?” “You’re so predictable James… I did chuckle, but as for your nosy Uncle, let us play Russian roulette…then you ask him., personally ? ” was the poisoned ending to the conversation.

Charlie pulled out a gun, pointed it at James temple…James heard the clicking of the hammer….
peter.howden
GLASGOW’S BOND NOTE; 16/16.

The Eyn…at last



One split moment away from death, out of the blue, like a bat out of hell, came a roaring saviour, crashing through the doorway as if all the heavens were to behold. Taken by complete surprise, Charlie lost concentration, lowered his weapon, James turned sharply to relieve the thug’s hand from the deadly weapon, but it stayed in the desperado’s clamped fist, yet, for some unknown reason, he was unable to fire the horrendous gun piece of death. In this precise moment, James turned around to see a bulging Frankie, on a white motorbike, almost nude, but just about decently covered by a hospital goony, complete with feeding tubes and bloody flex things dangling from his arm and chest. Frankie was the epiphany from the Bible quote… ‘I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him’

Not one more precious moment past before the wild Frankie leaped from his purloined machine, landing right on the fearsome Tam. With a viciousness of an injured wild animal, Frankie tanked ferociously into his adversary with no sparing fists. Bouncing Tam’s head off the hard wooden desk, the hoodlum was knocked near unconscious. In the commotion, some flying debris from the wrecked door, struck Charlie’s hand holding the gun. Being now defenceless the pratt began to run for a hidden exit, when another missile whisked past James…belted Charlie on the back of his bald head, rendering the vile piece of crap, completely spread across the floor. In the far corner Harry looked chuffed because the missile that hit him, had been Tam’s cosh…it was poetic justice thought James.

Before he had any chance to thank Frankie, James heard the sirens and suddenly the place was filled with police officers. Looking down at the germ called Charlie, “You bastard, no one deserved the treatment you dish out to these girls, especially Danielle… just for your information ,the name means, ‘God be my judge’, and I hope so”. Just as he finished spitting out these few words, James could not help but give in to the compulsion of whacking the scum bag. He really relished the crack his boot made.

Welcomed the arrival of the boys in blue even pleased to see Andy Pandy making his way through the throng. “Looks as if you and your man have knocked hell out of the evidence”, the smug little copper quipped. “Not in the least” James smugly replied, bringing out a small tape recorder hidden well in his person. “You see Harry, we knew you were listening all the time, you would shop your Granny for a couple of quid….so Dick fitted two…..clever was it not?”

James ’s voice changed as he added, “It is just a pity the bastard would not go all the way, let me know where Uncle David is?” Just then Frankie, now having been persuaded to release his hold on Tam the bam, rush over to give James a manly hug, nearly shattering his back. “Get oft you lump but thanks… Big Man,” however I think you are in trouble with the bike”. With a boyish grin on his face, Frankie admitted the bike belonged to one of Charlie’s henchmen, who had been sent to spy on him at the hospital. “He must have been waiting for me to be released, to bump me off, so, I surprised him, could not leave the bike unattended …could I?”.

Hammy and Dirty Dick were now on the scene, walking through the chaos to check on James, as the inspector’s team, rounded up everyone in the building. “Well, I reckon that’s the lot” Andy said in a pleasant tone as James handed him the recorder. “Thank heavens Hammy had the sense to inform the police station of your crazy plan”. the policeman spoke in admiration. “Thank goodness your big man is always on hand…hey James ” Hammy said, winking at James . James agreed.

A young novice policeman, holding his trusty notebook ready, had been given the task of noting down the names, and addresses of everyone under the bridge. He now stood in front of James asking for his details.
“My name constable”, James hesitated for a moment … “My name is James David McKenzie…Reverent, James David McKenzie, by the way my big man is……?

The End…Perhaps God Willing
peter.howden
A new Story

Liquid Gold ;(1/18)
Fuel.



Two strangers slowly moving closer towards each other, individually surveying the whole public area with prying eyes for lackeys, who would sell their grannies if the price were right. A final security check completed, they nod discreetly, then a quiet, but stern voice asked, “Did you get past security without suspicion…Mr G?”. Mister ‘G’ did not answer, his stone face, and his silence made it clear…he trusted no one. The other man had no choice but to follow the strict protocol dictated by the covert association.

During the recent months, many of their best operatives had been ruthlessly picked up by local agencies. These law henchmen accepted bribes, to bring the prisoners into the clutches of the junta. What then happened, no one knew, but grimly predicted. Therefore, single letter’s introduction, so no one could name anyone, or give away titles when subjected to all forms of torture. A few secret signals in sign language instructed his title was ‘Mr C’, reduced the tension between the two couriers. Once the careful Mr “G” was satisfied everything safe had been completed as best they could, he replied shrewdly, “Yes, I trust so, without one single drop being discovered”.

They both moved into the Shadows offered to them by the honeycomb of the half-demolished building. Only the previous week, horrendous fighting, ended by mortars being used by the overzealous regime forces. “How did you get by the detectors without a bar code?”, curiously asked Mr “C”, to the now more relaxed other man. “ In these fraught times, as well as you know”, replied Mr “G” picking his words carefully, continued, “since 2069, nothing passes the protection corridor without one such markings, so I created some of my own”. “As far as these goons believe, their detectors picked up I was carrying some valuable sperm for a bull” whispered the dark caddied Mr “G”

“But is it the genuine article” crocked Mr “C”, his posture displaying some anxiety; “Will it convince the cynics?”. “This;” replied Mr “G” with a built-up authority in his voice, “Will blow their tiny little minds, even to the harden sceptics, how this reputed cherished leader, and his cronies, have been deceiving the populace for such an incredible long time”.

Unexpectedly, an unusual clatter from beyond the dimness , instantly both men crouched in defence mould…scrutinizing all directions their slim position would allow, they remained motionless until a rat scurried past Mr “C”. Without a word passing, slowly they turned to face each other, nodded to move closer to the main wall deeper in the darkness. Once ensuring safety, they exchange notes and Mr “C” took hold of the valuable cargo.

Before moving off in separate ways, Mr “G” looked at his counter partner with cold steel eyes, and instructed him; “Be extra careful, real cautious; many a good man has died so you can do your part”. Standing eyeball to eyeball, they locked gripped hands as old comrades, “I wish I knew your clan so I could salute you?” ruffed Mr “C”. Mr “G” replied, “but in our hearts, we will know”. With this final remark, he moved away towards the light. Mr “C”, almost running, sprang in the opposite direction, in the direction of some darker buildings further on.

Only a few hasty minutes passed before Mr “C” heard the familiar noise of gunfire coming from a sub machine gun. These bastards had silent laser guns but liked to make as much clatter as possible, warning everyone what will become anybody who disagrees with the law maker. Silence fell once more. Mr “C” moved even swifter to be as far away from the scene as possible. He checked his specific cargo was whole…there was a long road ahead.
-=-=-=-=-
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 2/18


Cautiously penetrating far down into the deepest section, somewhere within the putrid globe city, Mr ‘C’ had been forced to seek protection of this shabby obscurity. Inching towards the darkest corner of an abandoned building, no longer used for its intended purpose, paused to recuperate, desperately needed rest. He had been shifting from one dead end to another for so long, he had forgotten how to act human. This mission was vital if his countrymen were to be free from oppression….so crucial to live rather than slavery. This was for mankind’s future, and Scotland’s glory.

Those words had been enough encouragement to battle against authority at the beginning, but now, his honesty was lost, and this was just a run of the mill subsistence. One thing had been constant… fear. If caught, torture, then his life would not be worth a farthing, but then again, too torrid to think or dwell over. Almost all inhabitants of the four dwelling areas had no clue being drugged induced, had no reason to rebel or fight for anything else

Before he rested, checked his precious container holding the means of hope for his compatriots; hidden though they may be. No seal broken, no cracks, surprising, for the harsh terrain he had travelled. There was no denying, above all the severity and a crucial reason for such espionage, he became involved with this conflict by accident. Mr ‘C’ was now reaping an inner thrill from outwitting the suppressers of his ancient Celtic country. Perhaps …Tomorrow, no way out except demise. This was the vibration of his existence.

While recouping his stamina, he drifted back, learning fascist, had substituted clean drinking water, with a guddle of chemical liquids containing drops of Methanol into mixture…deemed, by the regime, purified water. This was akin to the shit put into Uncle Sam’s probation alcohol in 1920, killing thousands of punters while millions more were blinded and crippled. All four official dwelling areas were total barren regions with the occupants totally dependent of the powers that be. Mr “C” remembers a quote from early Gaelic history; “they make a desert and call it peace”…terms from old Alba but proving no truer than today. His eyes were always alert, surveying his cramp hastily made retreat.

Mr “C” had been on his own since way back, however, recalling how warm it was to be part of someone’s life. We need company no matter in what manner we pretend we do not. It is the difference between living and survival, and on the edge of existing far too long. The cold, which always has been an enemy, because he had halted, became all too aware it was creeping over him. His bones begged for warmth, of any kind, but he could not risk an open fire, even if he could find something to burn. A distant memory of a hot cup of brew, haunted Mr “C” thoughts, for he could not remember if he had tasted this nectar, or if his imagination had made it real.

A slinky light flashed far left of the corner, where he was but had not checked. A cold drop of sweat trickled down his back, and then dripped little by little… constantly. A noise followed that sounded deliberately made. Was it a trap? Could he evade it and still contact the purple group?
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 3/18

A constant loud drool from the air ventilators, though noisy was usual in any of the four-globe metropolis making pinpointing another sound almost impossible. The laws of nature, beyond for survival was Mr ‘C’s, main attribute, and canny with it. He witnessed so many people being executed, simply for believing they should breathe fresh clean air, while drinking sweet Adams Ale. Mr “C” had never taken one breath of fresh air, or had seen a leaf, or a blade of grass. No such luxuries existed for the decreed populous, but the elite flaunted their corruption, abusing authority far beyond any human endurance.

Another flicker of crazy light promptly scooted across the bleak brownish walls, making it nigh impossible to isolate its source. His mouth dried at an instant, concentrating in both sound and sight. Without warning, another glimmer of faint light hit the tarnished partition, followed by a brief movement somewhere in the dark. Now, Mr ‘C’, was clear where it was coming from, bracing his body ready for action. Out of the darkness, echoed a voice yet unclear, not because of the hollow acoustics but for being a low quavered uncertainty.

Just then, a hazy form slowly emerged into the half-light. It was of a child. Mr “C” moved curiously forward, still alert for anything. The nearer he came to the outsider, he realized that it was not a child, but a ragged manky girl, seemingly bewildered, hovering with steps unsure…still moving forward. Something about her kept saying; take me; not in a sexual manner; but a helpless pleading flaunts.

A little mawkish spark lit inside Mr “C” from old feelings, cut his guard, ignore his chilled bones, coming close to the pathetic female. He held out his hand to assist, within seconds found himself whipped around, with his arm torturous up his back and a converted tin lid exposing the vulnerability of his throat. Not only had he been taken by surprise, but he was now humiliated as others miraculously appear from all sides.

He defied movement, it was particularly clear the female cat would complete her threat, without hesitation. The obvious leader of the hidden group now stood right in front of him, unexpectedly uttered the introduction of the secure code of the freedom fighters. Mr “C” found himself quoting the next line, then repeating the first as the organized protocol insisted. The male leader nodded…the girl’s hold relaxed, then her sharp homemade weapon lowered.

The leader cautiously informed Mr “C”, their central hideout had been raided, destroyed. All members of his group caught, were taken up in front of a wall and mowed down by machine guns. The racket bounced about the whole area long after the catastrophic action, as the usual warning to the weak, or strong, who would dare defy the authorities.

Worryingly abrupt, , the leader gruffly spat out “There is a traitor and I’m not sure it’s not you?”
peter.howden
LIQUID Gold;4/18

No sooner had those tricky words had a chance to bounce around the emptiness, Mr “C” was without warning, caught by two extra burly bodies, who had sneaked nearer to him than he allowed for. The spice trap, the Girl with wanting on her face, staring innocently at him being forcefully manhandled, moved out of sight of the main gathering, quickly followed by the leader.

Silence swarmed among the makeshift group , followed by some hitting sounds as if someone being given a going over. Sure, enough some minutes later, Mr “C” emerged with blood trickling down from his mouth, clothing torn and his knee pads, soiled as if he had been forcibly on his knees, assuming the leader’s manner for asking some thought provoking questions . For a moment not a murmur could be heard until the leader motioned for the unit to move on. At the same time, he called out for all to hear; “ O.K, I think he can be trusted!” Straight away the young female purposely moved closer to Mr ‘C’, smiled a smile that gave the impression of displaying sorrow…that he had to endure such rough justice.

Some ten minutes passed as they gingerly made their way to some secret place or hide out. A small clearing, where there was simply nothing ether blocking or lying on the floor, however clearly different from the rest of the area. Unexpectedly a door opened just off to the right where they were. They checked, then double checked all around before moving swiftly through the disguised entrance. The formally outside public places were now ether dirty grey alleyways, or manky buildings, in various states of disrepair. This entire falcate metropolis was so, as was the three other hemispherical cities… had been since living memory.

Inside this refuge, a vibrant air of unexpected vivid illumination, which Mr ‘C’, had only achingly dreamt of before. The Girl cautiously took his hand, led him in a mystery tour which he was a willing partaker. Through several passageways they arrived at a basement, he saw in a distant corner, one narrow door not built for his larger frame. He managed to squeeze through to be astonished. A reproduction display of an old-fashioned room, much in the making of the auld photographs of legendary Glasgow’s single end, displayed in antiquity books way back.

Within this spick and span accommodation was a small cooking frame at the one side, while lodged set into the wall was a miniature wash hand basin, with a tap in the centre. A table and two hard back chairs, plus a cosy bed laid in the corner, opposite a set of drawers for personal things. A pleasant fragrance of burning wood was lingering….yet, no sign of a fireplace

“ Obviously, no water to flow into the basin, however it comforts me somehow”, softly echoed the girl’s voice, motioned Mr “C” to sit at the table as she recovered some cloth from the drawers, a tiny bottle of bathing lotion to free up his face from the now congealed blood. Not another word was spoken, only purloined glances as their eyes met. Before he could thank her, she produced this steaming hot beverage from nowhere, along with two beakers to drink from. “Please”, she spoke as gently as before; “Please don’t ask what it is, for then you will not drink it, I can assure you it will do you good”.

Wordlessly, they consumed the hot grog which tasted revoltingly horrid, but Mr “C” had not eaten for donkeys, was quite close to starving…anyway, he trusted her. Observed the girl as he sipped his cruel beverage, there was no way of telling how old she was, or if in fact she was cute, but there was something quite extraordinary about her presence. Here it was a dream or an island inside a grim reality. Company, and a female, had been a luxury denied to Mr “C” for a long, long time and he had no wish to spoil it…however time would not allow this contentment to continue…Hell was but a heck of a heartbeat away.
0-0-0=0-=0-=-=0=0=0=
peter.howden
Liquid Gold 5/18

Staring at something out of place, a round cast iron burner in the far corner, a flue reaching straight up through the ceiling. It was large enough to see at an instance entering this petite abode…so why didn’t he. The type was used by Canadians, or early American settlers to burn anything just to keep the premises warm. Gradually moving towards this dated piece, as the girl explains “we haven’t actual water since I’ve been here, but we make do”. Her alluring voice made him listen keenly. “I wish we had fresh meat but alas no animals apart from us survived…other than rats and cockroaches, so we must accept what the authorities give us”. This was said in a manner of reality, yet it rang in his ears as weird poetry, she closed with; “One day…yes, one day!”

Her delicate voice emanated in the air, beckoning him to heed intently, for an unknown promise experiencing optimism, and if not that, something close. He had not had a light heart for such a long time, although he was wary of this sentiment, her voice allowed him this limited comfort. The small glow of the antique hob, promised instant heat, sort of hypnotized Mr “C”, attracting him like a moth would be to any light to go closer. Now the Girl was preparing something to eat, over at the table, or as she said, “Get your teeth into”.

For some unknown reason he felt compelled to visually explore the source of tremendous heat coming from the stove. Slowly peeking down to the left…what he saw stunned him into disbelief. Truly hardened by events which were forced onto him, but this caught him off balance. Raising his head sharply without true control, surveyed the room again. The Girl was still busy preparing something, which stank quite awful, everything else in the chamber was in the same place as far as he could tell. He took courage and this time stepped to the side for a better advantage. With both eyes opened wide…he gawked upon an atrocious sight.

In the middle of the stove’s white heated fire …was a hand, three fingers moving, as if frantically scratching the way out of this abyss. Two of the fingers, were burnt to almost unrecognizable formation. With a raised foot he slammed the flap shut, however the flap just sprang open once again. He dared himself to spy in the same direction.

The fingers had reached the opening, but where fingernails and skin exposing once, there was a charred pointed blob gripping the edge of the rim. This time…a noxious smell reached his nostrils. One finger raised as if the beckon him closer but had the opposite effect. Mr “C” jumped back, as his brain raced to keep balance. There had to be a logical reason for all this…witnessing his lovely host still absorbed with domestic chores.

He had a woeful problem controlling his opinions, blocked by ruefully asking himself “What the hell was going on?”
peter.howden
Liquid Gold;6/18

With a combination of brutal training, and natural impulses, made Mr ‘C’, appreciate his abilities of common sense, to check his goal, and precious cargo before assessing his latest position. The passport through this synthetic hell was completely intact. This small flask was more important than his own life, for being a beacon to light up a future path through the concentric nightmare…for ‘Brythonic Alba’. For just one brief second, he thought the blazing hand was an allusion, forcibly arranged by sorcery as a decoy to seize the invaluable consignment. Without warning, the stove door burst wide open, threatening tempestuous flames flared…then as quickly…died, returned to a tarnished apparatus. All this unreal rumpus happening without the Girl even flinching, or bloody noticing anything. There was certainly something macabre about the whole affair.

While grappling with his uncomplicated emotions, wither he saw, or believed he witnessed, was real or some kind of black supernatural mirage, then observing another concealed occurrence. The candle in the middle of the dullish room, gave more luminosity than its composition intended, by flickering in precise intervals. Whatever this was, danger was lurking, critically risking his quest. Having been in numerous tight spots, seen many a gruesome sight, but this moment, he was shaken to the bone. Mr “C” realized the urgency to gain a grip of himself, even if the impossible was happening.

Recovering his steel emotions…by retracing his steps, then seeing the Girl still unaffected by all this, she muttered, “are you hungry?”. He had been ravenous before, but the weird vision had wiped is appetite clean away. “No, I’m not hungry, but I will not offend you by not eating”. Though unwittingly, once again a thought passed his mind; wherefore had the Girl not turned around with all the hubbub, it was impossible not to be aware of something, but she just carried on ….why?

Mr ‘C’ now faced another dilemma, he must have another keek at this hideous manifestation. With a pair of tongs laid aside for this very purpose, carefully reopening the rusty grid, causing an ear-piercing creaking clatter. The hand was there, clearly no doubt about it, with obscure fingers soon be ashes, as the flames engulfed blackened skin by each second. Some instinct told Mr “C” to close the stove gate, then move several feet away from the hob

At that precise moment, The Girl turned around serving some kind of dish. Mr ‘C’ played around with the reputed food which was anything but nourishing…the Girl just sat there taking no part in the meal. “We have had no meat for ten years or so, the Sonya ran out some 11 months ago, but the worse thing is no clean water”, she claimed. He remembered both of them getting soiled and manky during the tussle, as she grabbed him… with strength deceiving her slim petite frame…but now, she appeared as fresh as a button. He reached out for her hand, touches it, but she nudged it swiftly away. “No contact” she uttered for the first time…in a more than a harsh sharp response.

Her tiny hand was not cold… but zero ice frozen !
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 7/18

Instinctively Mr ‘C’ was extra cautious, things just didn’t add up, even under such brutal times where alertness is automatic for survival. There was weirdness beyond psychic or his basic perception, but more crucial the need to rest physically forced him to lie down, but with his mind eye open. Two hours later they both prepared to depart from the small room together, neither spoke nor recognized each other. It was as if mutually realized by talking, they would either be discovered… or uncover something they could not accept.

Silence as an unshakable ghost followed them sauntering through the rubble and remnants of this once proud city, now depressing greys and grimy browns, nothing worth its prior purpose. Along some decaying walls, flaky legible archaic Gaelic phrase, ‘Aigha Bas’, meant reputedly ‘Battle or die’, strewn around areas of the grim city not so green, telling of olden squabbles once upon a time. Obvious by its absence was vermin such as mice or even the detested rats. There was not one indication either of domestic animals like cats, dogs… Et cetera.

Catastrophic ruins were the same in all of the four occupied domed cities in Alba, once honoured in the distant past, now the current ruthless regime has forcibly taken over. Power was spread by fear and bribery in the name of martial law, but sat like fat pigs in the fable, ‘Animal farm’. Everyone suffering beyond endurance…but them. The heart of the populous had been squashed except for a couple of pockets holding resistance fighters, secretive orders run by the valiant desperate controllers, who had sent him on a secret contract mission. Mr ‘C’, saw them as country’s freedom…it’s only hope. Out of the grim, they passed groups of peoples wandering aimlessly around, as if hypnotized or in a permanent stupor. Ahead of them was the stout leader, who placed his shotgun in safety mode, greeting him, and the Girl. Mr ‘C’ asked him who they were.

The leader raised a weary head as if ready to cry, quietly struggling inside himself to answer. “I’m anxious they could be anybody, even friends of mine , hard to tell as there has been no water in almost”. He stopped sharply, before continuing more in a lecture tone, “The time is not known, however water plays a number of important roles in the body. It regulates temperature, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, removes waste, protects organs and tissues. Since the brain is 70 percent water, blood is 82 percent water, and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water, it is easy to see how even mild dehydration can cause problems.” Again, he paused, regretting what he had to convey next, he continued, “all the population of this place are way beyond that, even if fresh water was available….it is doubtless they can be helped?” Some of those desperate souls are just waiting for Jesus to come?’ he added softly.

“ With this methanol; which is in the city supplies… what does that do?”, queried Mr ‘C’. The main man sat down, sluggishly looked at him, shrugged his shoulders affirming, “short-term inhalation exposure to methanol causes headaches, elusion, and blindness, but Long-term hits shock creating kidney failure, followed by permanent damage to the central nervous system…to produce walking sightless dead!”

With such a cold and calculated statement, the leader unexpectedly changed the subject deliberately. “There is without doubt a F---ing weasel in our camp, but, in fact I’m certain it’s not you!”. “ I did a little soul searching, minor things that should have not gone wrong have been occurring, for quite a while now. Only recently we lost our main base, but this has been building up…so when you came along!” There was a sort of query in a contrite voice,
coupled with a dread tone… but that is where it ended.

Before Mr “C” could interrupt, explain what he had witness with the Girl, and the stove, a massive explosion blew the hearing out of his brain, followed by complete nothing
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 8/18

Hastily attempting to stand back up with senses blurred, his eyes caught a clink of light, perceiving something sharp was above him, his inbreed instincts to protect himself. Utilizing all his feeble force, Mr ‘C’ grabbed a foreign arm, until he heard a yell of severe pain. By this time, his vision was nigh functional, he was grappling with a tatty medical orderly, apparently sedating him by the orders of a doctor, presuming Mr “C” would be suffering extreme pain. The male nurse swore profusely, now the one in extreme discomfort, having no wish returning to assist the reluctant patient.

Mr “C” checked his most precious cargo, then lowered his aching body back down on this makeshift table, relaxed as best a man of his calibre could. A strong voice came from over further than his eyesight could see. “If I approach, will you not hurt me?” Mr “C twisted his head around to see a reasonable built man, dressed as a surgeon should be dressed. Still unmasked and with a squint of a smile, moving forward. Before Mr “C” had a chance to reply… the Doctor added, “This is going to hurt you far more than it will me!”.

For the next nail-biting minutes, the physician stitched up wounds around the patient’s head as blood slowly trickle down towards his neck. “Sorry; there aren’t any pain killers, or sterilization of any kind”. A female came in with a bowl, steam rising from its rim, “It’s as purified as we can make it” added the Doc. “We use a substance secreted from bees but that was so long ago and of course before they came extinct”, while dipping a ragged cloth in and out of the substance. With a very dark tone added, “It almost proved we humans longed for Armageddon… when those little underrated creatures flew their last flight!”.

“The ruthless authorities assumed it would only be honey sacrificed, however it proved a deck of cards of isolation, for simply these busy little beasties fertilized almost all bloody crops”. The curative man stopped…looked almost bemused before he turned to Mr “C” and wailed, “The bastards did not listen!”. With more than deep compassion in his shaking voice, he added, “If only they had not contaminated the water…our only route to compatible survival, instead of creating this vile living hell!”.

As if Spartan trained, Mr “C’ harshly interrupted by asking who caused the explosion. Just then, the door opened, and the humanitarian leader entered, his arm supported with a brace bandage, two massive black eyes, proving he was certainly one of the targets. He spoke and not softly either…“I was starting to have my doubts about you again, but I received information and orders from above… to comply with anything you want…if I can get it?”

“The trouble is, trouble follows you…and we have at least one traitor in the camp”, the leader looked directly at him, and added ….“any ideas?”
-0-0-0-=0-=0-
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 9/18

Shock may have caused gaps in his mind, or just bloody fatigue, but then something was odd, not adding up about this leader, or indeed this doctor, so instinctively Mr ‘C’ remained silent as to his true mission. Due to pain and a head buzzing, he made an awkward effort rising from his bench to ask, “Have you any local knowledge of who; why and how?”. There was no instant response, he continued with crude observations; “Your fighters are battle weary, because the regime men are all kit out with guard helmets, creating a faceless imminent enemy, which keeps coming. Your illogical reaction is their immortal!” No response came.

“Look” he said with a dispassionate voice, “This tyranny can be defeated but first you must decide who is guilty of inner espionage”. Taking a large gulp of air, not waiting for any reply, angry Mr “C” pleaded, “bloody check with control again…search for the real culprit”. The pan faced doctor turned around, asking if Mr “C” had drunk anything lately without checking with him or the leader. Mr “C” nodded. The doctor asked then if he had suffered any illusions. Mr “C” nodded again. “You will find it hard to tell reality from illusions , so I would advise you not to, no matter how thirsty you may be”. Mr “C” angrily responded with venom, “All I’m telling you all…is fight or die!”.

Silence fell, except the droll of the rusty air condition, plus the faint noise of rapped gun fire , so far off echoing in some quarter or other, it was impossible to trace. More eerie noises slipped into his hearing although their origin or purpose, he had no clue. The grunge and sordidness were the same in all these enclosed stations. In Alba, there are only four such orb cities where the ordinary population have no idea what lies outside from these huge globes. There had been no physical contact between them for some twenty years, as the rest of the world just doesn’t exist since the military takeover. A fascist brute named ‘Wallace’, regularly broadcasts this, to protect the public, or so he keeps telling the captive audience via the primitive but effective sound system. He is no ‘William from Elderslie’ liberator…and certainly no Guardian of Scotland

Mr ‘C’ thought without doubt, the habitat wasn’t worth risking his neck for, but the humans remaining deserve protection, more important…worth believing in . Within a couple of minutes some people joined the leader, as the doc whispered amongst them. The leader came close to where Mr “C” stood, saying, “We will fight… but one question before anything…was the agent you met on first arrival killed…did you see it?” “No, I didn’t witness the actual death”, growled Mr “C”, “saw his capture, heard the machine guns of the death squad…why do you ask?” Mr “C” knew exactly why they did…. but still not in the mood to trust them.

We reckon he was the turncoat and before we indiscriminately go into battle, we would like assurances he is dead. Mr “C”, thought for a second, then called out, “I can’t give you assurance simply because there is no such thing in any struggle, but I can show you what you have committed your lives for.

Mr “C” slowly brought out the small but extremely precious container; opened it carefully allowed a distinctive clear drop to fall into the bottom of a small plastic cup.
“The original, two atoms of hydrogen combined with one atom of oxygen: in other words…Pure, unadulterated water… h2o” , rasped Mr “C”.
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 10/18

Mr ‘C’ witnessed scepticism around him as he persisted, “thru this brutal regime, rounded up survivors like sheep into anxious pockets, for your safety they said… when in reality, these massive cities became atrocious sphere prisons. What was the simple truth , to sell vast quantities of your generation’s inheritance to every foreign land in this entire globe?” Taking a gulp of foul air Mr ‘C’ carried on, “Out there, there’s no fabled ‘Garden of Eden’, just pure clear water, fresh air for a reproductive earth, just waiting for Adam and Eve”

“I don’t bloody believe it?”, a sharp call struck from a hidden voice inside a bunch of dishevelled men…“,it’s been like that forever because I’ve seen it with my own eyes”. The opposition stopped in time to hear grunts of agreement, “I’m telling you, at the edge of the dome there is nothing staring back but desolation,”. “I don’t care what you believe;”, bellowed Mr ‘C’, losing patience seeing some disturbed eyes looking back. In exasperation he maintained, “Outside these domes, the whole of Alba is surrounded with green and blue skies, with abundant growing power, gained with pure rainwater!”

“ Foolishness… just with a few drops of water, how can we believe you...there is no idea how old those dribbles are”, came a hesitated response from the leader. “Shit?”, yells Mr ‘C’, “Purifying water itself via nature, has been recycled long before the dinosaurs”. “Outside I’ve seen reed beds, high as one’s eye, far as the eye can see, suitable for just that purpose”. Right back into the ground goes human waste, for it’s a valuable commodity and funnily enough, more essential than your miserable souls. I have one more item to show …Plants use water in photosynthesis…and if you ask Doc there, he will tell you, they need loads to produce flowers”.

Following these bold statements, Mr ‘C’ produces from another undisclosed hiding place around his person, a singular tube. He opens carefully to show a green stoke plant with a most gorgeous creamy flower protruding from its delicate state….edible meadowsweet in its purest form. .

Just then, a lone but loud single handclap came from within the mirky quarter the makeshift lights could not reach. The clapping came closer, and everyone’s ears were straining to pick up the source. Out of the shadows stepped a man Mr “C” assumed no longer existed.
peter.howden
Liquid Gold 11/18

Within the realm of dimness, cast the shadow of Earl of Hell’s Waistcoat Mr ‘G’, his hands clapping in subversive mocking glee… definitely as he was not alone. Surprising Mr C’, though skilled to hide such futile emotion, turning to suppress his actions of laying the precise flower onto the counter, calmly talking, “Well… it had to be some grovelling worm, so it may as well be you”. No one who heard knew if it was a statement or a question, which did not matter the bloody slightest, when surrounded by so many guns pointing directly to Mr ‘C’.

The deemed traitor gradually moved towards the worktable where the two probation items laid. “You’re a pratt, Mr ‘C’…believing all these hypothesise hogwash words spouted by jaded old men, but you had a mission Mr “C” did you not? Unlike you, I was always only here for the wolf’s money, for that is what we are, we eat all the wee sheep bleeping about freedom”, with indifference Mr ‘G’ retorted. The leader’s hand edged for his handgun but received a butt end of a semi-automatic for his troubles, Doc was then kicked in the face and left bleeding where he fell. Mr ‘C’ moved not a single muscle

Imitating an edgy slinky animal, Mr ‘G’ made his way around the degenerated unhealthy men now standing like unkempt statues, “No way could I’ve done this all by myself, heaven forbid; I had the help of the Girl…by the way where the hell is she?” Mr ‘C’ changed the issue by asking who he was working for. This did not please the aggressor by any means, as his fevered arrogance elevated, savagely lashing out at the nearest prisoner to him. The feeble man buckled by the unexpected blow enhanced by the wrong end of a rifle. Another crumpled body lay where he fell.

“Where the f--- is she” came the wild crass voice not getting his way. Positive she was there, Mr ‘C’ genuinely looked around . Crowds worried M ‘C’, they were collection of people who instantly could turn into an uncontrollable mob. Personal reflections were darting through his mind …was she a collaborator? Some weird stuff happened around her, convince him she was something inhuman. As he visually scanned the area, a thunderbolt hit him hard…where is his consignment, where was the test tubes? The table was cleared.
“ Never mind I know where to pick her up…her apartment is one of the best in this bloody dump”, Mr ‘G’ crude loudmouth interrupted his thoughts.

“Now you have wondered where your cargo is as it is not where you left it and that’s for sure.” Spouted Mr “G” strutting around the empty table like a peacock who had just found the jam. “Quick thinking Girl she is”, he jeered, with the confidence of the victor, then as if an afterthought added, “She has it in safe keeping in one of her unusual hiding places”. .

No visual words or orders were seemingly given however those dark troops all wearing crash helmets, rounded up everyone bar the Doc, who was left on the floor, along with the leader …and of course Mr “C” . “We are going to revitalise that old Celtic tradition called first footing… but, with a quaint difference”, Mr ‘G’ sneered. His mouth squirted out malice, screeching like a banshee’s wail, “It will not be bringing in the new year…but cancelling all the years coming!”
peter.howden

Liquid Gold 12/18

As if by radar, or since he knew the way so well, Mr ‘G’ with armed bouncers, bullied and shoved the three captives directly to the female’s flat. The Doc had been given a hard time by the mindless guards, whose only function was to obey orders to the letter. They dragged the poor guy, and at one point played football with him kicking his limp body mercilessly. Just before the bottom step they stopped, as Mr ‘G’ turned with a pathetic grin on his face, called out loud, “Now come along fellow best footers, forward onto your last journey here on earth”. Heading along the narrow hallway towards the diminutive main room, only two of these robotic guards, in single file, could squeeze through

These two escorts followed the three prisoners, blocking everything from view, leaving the ruffled Mr ‘G’ squawking for them to get out the way, and don’t hinder anyone while you pass. With this obvious order, the guards did exactly this, standing to attention forcing the enraged Mr ‘G’ to further yell, “Get the f--- onto the landing” This they did taking no notice what was in front of them.
Inside the totty room was Mr ‘C’, along with the leader who was trying to support the Doc, now in a poor state. In the opposite corner, alone was the cringing Mr ‘G. so gleeful his mouth almost reached his drooped ears . Lying on the table were two objects Mr ‘C’, frantically wishing not to be there. On the rough surface was the cylinder holding the precise life restorer, along with all its delicate packaging, including the flower, which could have been the freedom blossom of Alba. This meant Mr ‘G’s’ little lady was indeed a traitor, but far worse than that; had fooled Mr ‘C.

Behind a curtain, unseen, the Girl appeared in the room wearing little in garments but showing no obvious emotions. Mr ‘C, saw something different about her, a deliberate gesture ,while giving little hint to anyone else. She mesmerized the reptile Mr ‘G’, pawing her all over with lechery’s eyes full of expectations. Every single movement of her enticing body was etched on his mind, as she slid around the room to reach the table. Then with a quickness of hand which deceived everybody, including the lecher, she grabbed the items of fraught hope, flung them straight into the stove fire.

A horrendous gasp came from all persons followed a period of disbelieving silence. This calm was broken by high pitch exasperated cry from Mr ‘G’, as he pushed away the source of his carnival craving eyes. Single-mindedly lurching himself towards the stove. In his haste, was caught by the retreating knee of the Girl, so violently it made him almost double up. He stumbled further, though half crouched, his right hand fully stretched out, trying frantically for support and balance…only resting place was the flat of the stove.

The near insane scream vibrated from Mr ‘G’, placing his palm on the red-hot stove. The bowfin stench of burning flesh rippled through the minor room instantly. His twisted face displaying absolute agony screwed up as drenching sweat discovered routes to pour from his brow. This added to the putrid smell surrounding the very unhappy creature.

With his other hand Mr ‘G’ awkwardly pulled out his revolver, waving it menacingly at the four peoples in the room, who now beyond doubt expected to be shot…or worse…be taken to be tortured .
peter.howden
Liquid Gold 14/18

What happened next cannot be called strange, for calling it so does not do the facts any merit, for it was weirdly nigh impossible… but it happened all the same. Although in excruciating pain as live tears streamed down his contorted features, Mr “G” somehow managed to muster the strength to move closer to the red-hot stove. At first, it was not quite plain what he actually intended to do, but, as he got nearer to the grid, his actions had no other route.

Clutching his tortured black hand resembling a crippled baby being cradled to sleep, his other hand holding the handgun motioned them to the furthest corner possible. Carefully navigated his position opposite the grid opening, glancing to secure where his foes were, a brutalized smirk before using the tip of the revolver to open the latch. His eyes never lost their gaze straight into the centre of the stove, as if expecting something…but what?

Within the burning stove, came a mysterious pitiless squeal, which never could be match whatever known by anything human…living or dead. Mr ‘G’ stood frozen to the spot, terrified beyond reason. The fear mounted as his scowl could not alter his involuntary trembling with anxiety, seen by his captives .Without warning or any visible sign of aid or help, the grid slowly shut…suddenly, it was closed.

Mr ‘G’ let his good hand fall to his side, releasing his grip on the threatening weapon. It dropped clumsily to the floor. Then as a memorized soldier Mr ‘G’ fell to his knees, releasing a final wail of trepidation. Stunned in an instant time bubble, no one attempted to move, having no clue as to why, or what had just happened. Mr ‘C’ training allowed a calculated theory a pass, that Mr ‘G’ was waiting for instruction from an entity within the stove…but exactly how was way beyond reality

The bubble burst as Mr ‘C’ raced forward, plucked up the pistol from the floor. Numbed from emotion, he pistol-whipped against the kneeling man’s bare scull, sending him crumbling comatose to the floor. No one objected. Now Mr ‘C’ turned his attention on the Girl. His voice deliberately cold, questioned her with one word only… “Why?” His callousness meant it as a question of guilt …and the reason behind turning traitor. He had the gun, quite mindful of using it on her. Her reply totally overwhelmed him, and the other two.
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peter.howden
Liquid Gold 14B/18

Unprofessionally Mr ‘C’, hesitated whether to shoot the mystery Girl, or not, who was now sitting on rusty ancient computer chair, looking straight at him. She spoke softly, “ You should have a squint inside the stove, you may be surprised?”. “How can I trust a turncoat?” he responded. Contemptuously she called out the dare, “Come on then, you’re going to take the breath of my body, so at least have the bottle to look”.

Slowly, carefully, deliberately, Mr ‘C’ approached the stove, wary of the weird presumed supernatural which added to the cruelty he witnessed in this dome. One thing was sure…she certainly had spunk. Keeping arm’s length from apparent danger lurking within the silent world of the fiery dead, warily he opened the keep. To his amazement, there was objects within, but not what he expected. Set in the cold brace, his assignment’s precious cargo of hidden water, plus the man-made miniature casket holding the blooming flower…astonished, he takes a welcome gulp of air.

Mr “C” was entirely foxed by all the unnatural activities taken place, the Girl quickly jumped in, “Mark my words…they are truly untouched, you and everybody else only see what is suggest from the will of creative supernatural ” she announced. She swiftly added “It would be wise not to ask any more than this, but it was my covert hiding place…no worse for such illusions”. “Were you the instigator?” asked Mr ‘C’ in a slightly unsteady voice. “Well,” answered the Girl “The wizard of Oz could be true, except Dorothy never returned home from the secrets of the Golden dawn , though suffice to say I believe roots without ends… I think you did too?” queried the Girl, staring straight at Mr “C”.

The Girl then lifted a green cloth of silk, revealing a small clear sphere, adding gently, “The power points of this fragile planet; Stonehenge; Skellig Islands; Serpent Mount and the Black hills may be impossible to reach but I hold their gargantuan power within”. Mr “C” felt slightly uncomfortable, for if the Girl was suggesting what he thought she was, then he was deemed one of the bad guys because he saw the burning hand in the non-existing fire. The Girl’ commanded, “Please do not approach yourselves for it is beyond us all. There is a presence of an invisible realm eternally meeting temporal earth. This is the place where there is more to the universe than perceived with our physical senses, no harm would come to the seed of life and the giver of life”, stated the Girl

Mr “G”, now imitating a cowering trapped animal, barely conscious of his senses, hiding his cunning ruthlessness of a reduced excuse for a human being, but realizing his moments are counted in the barrel of his own revolver, rigidly pointed at him. Mr “C” asked on the rest to start thinking how to escape the flat. He reminds the others that they have three immediate problems apart from being fugitives. One; the cunning rat on the floor; two; the couple of brain-dead goons outside, who only obey orders. Thirdly, the army of more mindless thugs awaiting at the base of the wallie close. Finally, he barked “Don’t waste words for they will only get in the way”

An uncomfortable silence fell on the confined group while the sleekie prisoner scouring the room with his pinball eyes, gradually spoke with indifference in his voice, “You are in a hopeless position, certainly no escape possible unless you do exactly as I say”. There was wickedness in the air as he rose from the floor, facing sneeringly at Mr ‘C’. “What did you expect me to do?... Command my troops to return to the barracks...I will handle these traitors myself, if you believe that, you are all in cuckoo land” . With a coldness he continued “No my friends….unless you do precisely as I instruct….you are dead meat”

Ending his fearsome announcement, he allowed himself time for a distasteful smile …directed straight at Mr ‘C’.
peter.howden
Liquid Gold 15/18

For the briefest of moments, not a single movement disturbed the silence until Mr ‘C’ told the traitor, “You’re not to be trusted, yet this is exactly what you’re going to tell your imbeciles”; The fury of pronunciation with the last word was certainly not wasted on anyone present except Mr ‘G’, looking confused and horrified at the same time. “When we are finished, you’ll scream while being dropped back into the sewer where you came from; so just shut your gob !”. Mr ‘C’. put his hand into a pocket, pulled-out a tiny tape recorder. Pressing the correct button, it played back exactly what the traitor said….word for word.

Mr ‘C’ clarifies, “If I edit this message in a special way, add the one collected earlier on, into one concise communication …I think we can trick these goons.” Just then Mr “G”, without the others seeing him do so, rushed for the door then screamed, “Action; Action, I’m being…”, not one more syllable left his lips as he unwillingly sprawled across the floor. The Doc had stopped him dead, with the help of an old-fashioned fire extinguisher walloped across his nasty nut. “That will take the heat off the moment” cracked the medical man, grinning as he added “That’s for him letting his vicious guard use me like a bloody bladder”

“Glad you’re on our side Doc, I’d hate to miss my medical bill if that’s how you deal with a patient”, glibly responded Mr ‘C’, taking the strain from the severe position they were all in. “Doc, have you anything which will knock this bandit out that won’t kill him”. “We need him alive if we can follow what I intend to do”, swiftly explains, “I’ll need all your strength and everyone’s if we are going to bluff our way out of this hole”. Turning to the Girl, who was ready to go into hiding, Mr ‘C’ lowered his natural strong voice, “I’m really sorry the way I treated you, though not quite sure what and how it happened but thanks for the much-needed help”. The Girl just smiled.

Turning back Mr ‘C’ asked the leader if there were any firearms near or was this the only weapon he could depend on. The answer was given by a simple shrug of the shoulders. Just then the Doc returned to the main room with some kind of liquid and a large purple pill.

“I carry four of these wee beauties in case there is no hope, but one should suffice for our needs”

“You mean you don’t know Doc?”. “There are no guarantees, or certainties in the whole universe, only a maybe” answered the medic man. “Well, we have no choice but to run with its Doc, dish the dirt” ordered Mr ‘C’. Doc forced the pill down the throat of the turncoat, followed by the putrid liquid as the human rat screwed up his haggled face. He was about to say they would never get ten metres, when the leader gave him such a kick in the ribs. The double agent flaked unconscious . The leader wondered if this was déjà vu … or had he been automatically dreaming.

Coolly explaining what his plan was, what they had to do to succeed, Mr ‘C’ with great emphasis that this little creep had to look normal if it was to work. “If you two hold him up and walk with him, but make sure not one of these robotic guards see his actual lips”. He turned to the Girl again, to inform her of her roll…although shocked at his suggestion realized the necessity of complying with the plan.

Checking everything and armed with the tapes volume ready to switch on… at full blast, Mr “C” nodded to the rest. The e Girl takes hold of her courage…opens up the flat’s main door.
peter.howden
Liquid Gold; 16/18

The trapped group held their breaths as the creaky old door moved half a jar, before Mr ‘C’ pushes the tape recorder button, sending his altered message clear as a bell convincingly louder than expected, apparently being shouted from behind the door inside. “ All of you return to your barracks, quickly”, repeating the very words sputtered out with contempt ,just a short while ago …but not in that order. Immediately, the Girl opened the door fully ajar so that the armed guards could see their commander, standing there in-between two men.

The sentries stood motionless, then routinely saluted, turned, and marched down the remainder of the stairway following the verbal instruction to the letter. What was actually gruffly said between them, could not be heard in the flat even with the door as it was, however there was no mistaking loud boots marching, fading into the night. Making sure Mr ‘G’ was securely tied and gagged, the cautious Mr ‘C’ knew he had to trust the Leader/Doc and the amazing Girl, mainly because this was their back yard. He asked the leader how long it would take to be in a safe place. “Not too long but it would be much easier without excess baggage”, pointing to the slivering bonded turncoat; “Let me finish the job right now and just leave him here”. “Wish I could but remember, if any patrol comes back, finds this rat dead, then they will pull all resources to find us”. This made military sense to comply with, although the leader had dire revenge on his mind. Mr ‘C’, with almost a chuckle in his voice. added, “And anyway…you never know when he will come in handy?”.

He kept back so the prisoner would not see him check the valuable cargo, then restore it about his person. Just as he was ready to move off, the Girl staring closely into his eyes as she brushed past him. By resolve or accidentally, their fingertips touch, sending unexpectedly past emotional cherished moments between them when isolated from the group earlier. For a few fleeting moments, waffled a sharp strange feeling, which he believed such sentiments were dormant within his cynical shell. Pleasingly looking closely at her tiny face… completely surprised at finding an illusionary island…oblivious to its crappy surroundings.
He felt instantly gentle, yet protective at the same time, resisting the want to look into her eyes, tempting though they were, captivating his inner deep emotions, wishing he could swim for ever more in a cerebral whirlpool. Then, as it was suddenly started; ended just as sharp, he felt at one with her and more important…he knew she felt the same.

Not a single word was spoken by the small group going downed the warped stairs melting into the night. Eventually after twisting and turning at one point back on themselves, they arrived at an appointed destination the leader called a ghost station. Not all that long ago, this was the place the massacre happened, which the leader argued was the very location the authorities would doubtfully look or search again. Mr ‘G’ turned pathetically white, for he also understood what this place was where his inborn cruelty went out of order…all down to him.

“We may as well take some time to rest, for we are uncertain when the opportunity will come again, plus more important, there is some hidden supplies stocked in cashes,” instructed the leader, himself looking knackered. One sharp boot from the Doc sent Mr ‘G’ scattering into a filthy corner. The doc waited for a few moments, then cursed, “I’m going to have you blaggard…and that’s an end to it!”. At that very moment, the petrified captive realized his jailer meant it…….but when will it come?
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peter.howden

Liquid Gold 17/18

Everything around spoke of hellish hard times of human neglect, yet if anyone dared the trouble to glance closer at the pulp apparatus Mr ‘C’, while he was observing the Girl, they could not help but notice the distinct difference from his scary steel cold eyes glower. No fain blinks between them…no acknowledgment yet faintly his eyes mellowed while in her direction, as far as a ruthless hired dispatcher of his calibre could reflect an inner need or want. No friends or relations to speak, few enemies left alive at any time, yet it appeared she filled a void that he himself did not know existed. His stare was kindly but not as a lover visually fondles a cleek, more a protector for a hopeful protégé, a special virginal castle in the air between life in a merciless cold world.

The leader had no such fudging while observing Mr ‘G’ play the anxious prisoner, whilst just waiting for an open opportunity to practices his deception and flee. The leader also knew that his tiny band were not exactly made up for survival, for Doc only wished revenge, Mr ‘C’ was a killer, and the Girl was just one big bloody mystery. How this mixed bag was to be the saviours of the human race…. if so, it was all turning out wrong. The leader questioned the stony Mr ‘C’, if the priceless cargo was safe, not only to double check but to ease his anxious mind. The trained slayer answered he had regularly checked the precious freight was safe inside his home-made leather baldric.

Meanwhile, Mr ‘G’ was waiting to pounce at any given opportunity, though still performing publicly shivered and snivelling whenever any eye looked over his way. Entirely secretive he had acquired something handy, hid it from view from his captives until need. Some food was spread around silently, then eaten carefully along with a manky bottle of an unnamed substance passed as liquid…so the feast in the dungeons could be washed down.

Eventually Mr “C” threw a couple of mouthfuls, and the dregs of the reputed liquid to prevent the caught cretin becoming dehydrated… not because of a suddenly spirit of the Lord Jehovah, or for any humanity purpose, but that spy was useful, either dead or alive, but useless fatigued beyond endurance. Time was pressing the need to move off again, The Girl went first, followed by Doc, the now smelly Mr ‘G’ deliberately stumbling. The Leader followed quite a nose breath behind… bringing up the rear…Mr ‘C’.

They moved swiftly towards the obscure objective, dodging many patrols who seemed to be on full alert. Each time the leader chose a new and complicated route, somehow the regime forces were ether near or almost spot on their objective; but the small convert group succeeded diversely moving in and out of these situations, quiet as mice. At one rather dicey point; passing directly under a full body of enemy guards. Within a couple of hours their original destination practically just footsteps away. The small group still hidden from noticeable view as the leader was being realistic and careful, even though the underground fighters, from the next quarter of the domed city, had made contact, via portable speakers.

In the distance some hundred or so metres over to the left, could be described as a makeshift parade ground totally empty. Then it happened, starting simply enough by both sides being extra vigilant, because of the dire seriousness this escapade meant to the free peoples of Alba… if not… the entire planet
peter.howden
Liquid Gold 18/18

Cautiously, the Girl stood up, began a pre-arranged signal to her counter partners across the spare piece of ground. Up sprang Mr ‘G’ as quick as a flash, apparently free from all bonds pulling something sharp from his tatty coat. Hardly a second passed, he plunged a concealed knife into the unprotected back of the Girl. As if it was a wicked cartoon, everyone in the small band stood motionless, even the sleekit predator. Then the cruel spell was broken forever. Mr ‘C’, lounge his muscular body forward grabbing the rat by the privates, forcing the slippery marauder to the ground, landing in such force, set the captive screaming in chronic pain. Mr ‘C’ intensified his grip, so much so, that the victim was screeching. Mr ‘C’ instinctively knew the Girl was certainly dead, almost from the moment the vile weapon struck.

Something unattainable lingered, care as he might have, emotion was switched off, nothing he could do to help her lifeless body lying crumpled on the floor. Mr ‘Cs’ training insisted on action against any adversity, but it was his choice to act physically, experiencing an unexplainable rage as he pounced like a wild animal. The tearful intensity of the grip Mr ‘C’ had on Mr ‘G’, prevented all muscular happenings in the little creep’s body, now including sound. Mr ‘C’ had no true recognition of the force he was wringing the agonized turncoat, yet, if he had it would have made little difference. The wee slithering toad’s bulging eyes, just like a frog, with facial skin dark grey. Abruptly the uncontrollable tears ceased… if he had reached his maximum endurance of pain.

A single shot rang into the double agent head, forcing Mr “C” back from the brink of insanity. The bloody body suddenly went limp, falling heavily on the floor. Mr ‘C’ own focus returned in time to see a smoking gun pointing to the floor, there stood the Doc in a desperate state. Raising his head slowly to face directly at Mr ‘C’, he called out, “Sorry for spoiling your fun, the swine would only have said what we wanted to hear”. He added; “Anyway, his balls were so tight he could not open his mouth”. The Doc then kept his promise by giving the dead Mr “G” several low based kicks good and strong

Looking at the agent’s facial expression, the Doc continued, “I liked the girl as well, but she is not the answer; in fact she’s not even the question…We have to deliver this vital information deep into the heart of the capital, where the rebels are, needing the evidence that won’t last forever”. The Doc could see a Mr ‘Cs” different expression of determination…to see the mission ended. The Doc didn’t mean to ask but it came out anyway “Can I come with you? I won’t get in your way, and I might be some help in a tight corner”.

The leader looked up without showing anything...walked outside, leaving the two of them to their private conversation. Surprisingly quiet spoken Mr ‘C’ replied, “Doc, you have your battle and I’ll have mine and thanks for I would have strangled the little shit?” The Doc was going to say that he had the wrong end….but thought better of it
All the time, Mr ‘C’ was thinking, amateurs are all right in their way, but they do get tied down by morals and the like. No good in this line of work…for that is all it was for Mr ‘C’. Not to save humanity…not for a better existence….not for love; his thoughts hesitated for just a split second.

. Mr ‘C’ Strongly shook both men’s hands…but with some compassion, so thought Doc. Into the unknown Mr ‘C’ departed…enduring all to complete his mission

The End…
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