catch (v) 1. to capture somebody suspected
of wrongdoing 2. to trap something or
become trapped 3. to understand or
manage to hear something that is being
said 4. to trick or deceive somebody 5. to
record something or somebody on tape
Death has played in this room. Raymius can sense it. He
moves his head a little. The outline of the vault door is around three feet by nine. The ceiling is around twenty,
if his guess about the door is right. Each light overhead is
protected by wire mesh. Apart from the trap door next to his face everything is covered with white tiles. There are little perspex spheres in each corner of the ceiling. HTFO, hi-tech fibre optics – electronic eyes. On the plastic table there’s a cup like the type you get from a water dispenser at the dentist. It has clear liquid inside. In between the tiles are intermittent dark stains that could’ve, once, been blood. He thinks about. the 11th Commandment, thou shalt not get caught.
prologue (n) 1. preliminary discourse, introducing act or event, serving as an introduction...
It’s dark, total blackness. Her eyes are wide open so she knows it’s not a dream. The only sounds are her irregular breaths and the beat, beat, beat of her heart. Fear holds her chest the way the angler holds the fish. A vice-like grip moments before the metal hammer stuns the brain and ends life. Helen Carter doesn’t know where she is or how long she’s been there. She knows what way is up and what way is down. She’s curled on her left side. Her right side feels tender. She is free to move around but there is nowhere to go. The room is eight steps by six steps. The ceiling is out of reach. She is also free to cry out, but no one is listening.
oubliette (n) 1. a dungeon designed with only one method of entry or exit 2. an underground cell where the only way in or out is through a trap door at the top. 3. a dungeon with only one way out...
It’s still dark, blackness, until she lights the last one and collapses on the sofa, mashed off her face with heroin. Four black candles blink in each corner of the room. Yvonne Morrison smiles across at Emma Burgess and then dares to deviate from the instructions. Yvonne doesn’t normally walk around without anything on. She’ll always don a pair of pants or even the littlest of towels to hide her modesty. She’s not a prude, though. They’ve said many times.
“You really are quite liberated, Yve, are you not?”
She hates the way these posh bastards speak to her.
currency (n) 1. the system of money
in general use in a particular country
2. the fact or quality of being
generally accepted or in use 3.
from Medieval Latin currentia,
literally: a flowing 4 from Latin
currere, to run.
Emma’s voice pierces the air like a spear. It comes from the corner of the room, defiant. “You’re f**king insane,” she says. His mobile phone rings. He answers her first.
“Let me get rid of this call, then you’ll have my undivided attention, darling.” He turns his back on her and puts his free hand into his pocket.
“Yes, twenty-four red roses. Yes, the biggest you’ve got. No, no message. No, no card. Yes, just put it on my account. No, not at all, thank you. Yes, you too.” Click. He ends the call, snaps the mobile shut, slips it into his shirt pocket. He’s not big on conversation but when he speaks, you listen.
“I’m a celebrity get me out of here, Big Brother, Corrie, Easties, Emmerdale fucking farm. Please! What’s your definition of insanity? Go on, you tell me. Working forty years for an employer for a wage that keeps you three paycheques away from the building society repossessing your home. No, not your house may be at risk if you don’t maintain the payments. Home, as in homeless, as in shop doorways, as in the Big fucking Issue. Insanity, what do you know? So you think I’m insane?” He laughs mockingly, shaking his head as he turns to face her.
introduction. (n). 1. explanatory section
at the beginning of a book or a another
piece of writing, e.g., one that summarizes
what it is about or sets the scene.
Another Monday morning, beneath a bright blue Scottish sky. Outside feels like being inside a deep freeze. They sit in their unmarked car with the windows down and the engine off. They look like two lumps of ice sitting in a frosted glass. DCI Ribbon’s face is grey, but his ears, nose and cheeks are pink and sting like a well-skelped arse. He watches DS MacMillan use a half-eaten pencil to do battle with the daily crossword.
“What you stuck on, Mac?”
“Who says I’m stuck?” Ribbon doesn’t have to say anything. His look says it all. Mac scratches his head and continues. “Indo-European languages in North Eastern Europe. Closely related to the Slavonic group, six letters, begins with a 'B’."
Ribbon looks at the condensation in the inside of the windscreen and then down the street. Everybody has a scarf and hat on; well, almost. It seems everyone is smoking too, but of course they’re not. Hot breath swirling in the morning air makes it look this way. That’s Ribbon’s job – to find out the way things really are, not the way they seem...
omen (n) 1. a happening that is regarded as a sign of how something or somebody will fare in the future.
As he walks past Bothwell Lane one flatfoot remains alone, still guarding the entrance to the alleyway. The River Clyde runs though the centre of Glasgow about five minutes from the station. Raymius pops an Embassy Regal in his mouth and sucks hard as he heads for the bridge. The trains clatter on the tracks overhead, the cars honk with rage. The traffic lights seem to pause, for only him. Nothing gets in his way. He walks slowly but deliberately. By the time he gets there his cigarette is all but, finished. He holds it between the nail of his middle finger and thumb. He flicks it over the wall into the water. Just like the movies. He watches it float away and pass a rock that peaks out from the depths.
On it an odd-looking bird stands tall and motionless on one leg. The Heron. The Clyde is calm and perfectly clear. Perhaps his feathered friend also wonders about the reflection that looks back at him every day, from the mirror. Raymius takes the envelope out of his back pocket, crushes it in his fist and drops it over the barrier. He waits until he sees it make contact and watches it drift off with the current, or the tide. Whichever, it didn’t matter; it was done...
The Heron by David Richardson
The LULL by David Richardson
Waiting by David Richardson
City and Landscapes by David Richardson
St Andrews on the Square by David Richardson
Scott Monument by David Richardson
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