The following excerpt is from my upcoming novel, ‘Alice’, due for release in autumn, 2016. The book is being released under the pseudonym C.P. Wilson:
Copyright, Mark Wilson and Paddy’s Daddy Publishing.
“It’s about time you got your arse in gear,” he growls from his chair. Remaining silent. I bow my head, chin to my chest. Chopping carrots, I have my back to him. The chair screeches across the tiles as he rises to his feet. Fists thumping the table top, he demands, “How long is that gonnae be. Fuckin’ starving here.”
“Not long now, Mike,” I tell him quietly.
I can feel him regard me for a few moments. Lighting a cigarette, he blows the smoke out forcefully.
“You sound funny, you’d better not have a cold coming on.”
“Just allergies,” I reply.
“Good,” he barks, “Can’t be doing with you being off your game just now.” He returns to his chair. “Your hair looks different,” he accuses. “Who you trying to impress?”
I force cheer into my voice, “No-one, Mike. Would you like a beer?”
He snorts his derision at me, “Took you long enough to ask.”
Placing the chopping knife onto the counter-top, I keep my back to him as I reach into the freezer.
“Beer’s in the fridge,” he cuts in. “Idiot.”
“Oh, I put one in here a little while before you came home, love. Get it nice and cold for you.”
Keeping my chin tucked in low to my chest, my face obscured by my red hair, I hand him the beer without opening it.
Mike stares at the can in my hand, incredulous. “What am I supposed to do with that?” he asks. I let the can slip from my fingers. His eyes follow it to the tiles, widening as the can splits upon impact, sending a spray of beer scooshing around the kitchen.
When he looks back up at me, I watch his face through strands of my hair. Morphing from surprise to a grotesque anger tinged with joy, he stands, pulling his belt from his waist.
“Dearie me. That was unfortunate.” He sing-songs the words. The bastard is delighted to be given an excuse to punish me. Before he strikes, I lift my chin, showing him my face for the first time since he arrived home. My right hand is already in motion. Our eyes meet and the shock breaks his glazed predatory leer. “Who the fu…”
Sliding six inches of ice-blade into his neck, I shove him back into his seat, turning the blade in his neck to widen the gash in his carotid artery as he flumps onto his rump.
Mike’s eyes are fixed on mine as I clamber to sit astride him, in his lap, a leg at each side, pinning his jerking legs. His belt has fallen to the tiles, his hands claw at his own slick neck. “You’re not…” he coughs blood-mucus.
Withdrawing my weapon from his neck, my eyes flick to the edge for a second. The arterial spray redecorates the walls. Noting that the edge is still intact, I plunge the tip into his right eye.
He screams. The Sclera of his eye slides down a few millimetres on my knife tip.
“No I’m not Sadie,” I say quietly. Sadie is gone. Despite the mortal wound in his neck, the mad woman on his lap and the ice-blade in his eye, hatefulness flickers once more in Mike. He can’t stand that she’s out of his reach.
“She’s not coming back, Michael,” I tell him. Don’t bother with the tantrum, you don’t have the strength anyway. I nod across at the blood-splattered fridge.”
My words are wasted, he’s already slipping deep into shock. The arterial spray from his neck has died to a throbbing squirt in time with the slowing beat of his heart.
Disappointed at the speed of his death, I pull the weapon from his eye which flops onto his upper cheek; a thick mishmash of cords and vessels snaking into the socket. Most of the ice-blade is wet now, its structure is beginning to disappear. Unwrapping the leather straps from around the handle, I stand and place the now-slippery weapon onto his lap.
Clawing irritably at an itch under the wig, I remove Sadie’s clothes and stuff them into a carrier bag. Stood in only black leggings and long sleeve T, I shiver upon opening the front door. The cool darkness rushes into the heated room as I leave, stirring the iron blood smell around the room then sucking it out into the darkening night. Suddenly, I wish I hadn’t left my jacket on the bike. Never mind.
Stepping out into the Edinburgh dusk, I briskly walk the five miles to where I left my bike in the shadows of a Sycamore, on Grosvenor Crescent. A few minutes later I’m on St John’s road, headed for the M8.
The warmth of my Hamilton apartment embraces me. Headed directly to the living room, I make a quick check that my blinds are closed, and that the fire I lit earlier is of sufficient size and intensity. Absent-mindedly singing to myself, I retrieve the leather strapping from the ice-blade’s handle and drop it into the fire. Hand over hand I roll Sadie’s clothes into a tight cylinder and lay them onto the fire. There they join the leather strap, followed by, the wig which crinkles and melts as it lands in the heat. Left wearing a simple plastic bodysuit, I watch the flames devour the last of Sadie, only a faint sense of loss tugs at me. The flames swell and dance around as I unzip the plastic suit, leaving myself naked. Kicking the plastic suit into the fire along with the rest I head to the bathroom.
Almost a full half hour later- skin reddened from the long immersion in the heat and smelling strongly of carbolic soap- I step carefully from the cubicle. Catching myself in the mirror, I toss a wink then pad, wet-footed into the bedroom. The white tiles underfoot throughout my little apartment, feel cool and clean against my skin. The clinical detachment of the day- washed from my body as surely as any traces of Mike and Sadie’s home- is replaced by the glow of expectation.
Once dried, perfumed and dressed, I leave my little apartment at the Racecourse. My Ducati seems to grin at me from the garage as I step inside. Come on, let’s fly.
Like I need any more exhilaration tonight.
The lock slips open. Silently I slide into the hallway, closing the door gently behind me. My phone screen tells me that it’s two am. Choosing my stairs carefully on the ascent, I use the sides of each stair, feet in against the wall where they’re less likely to creak the boards beneath. I’m good at this, the sneaky stuff. Before I reach the topmost stair, the sound of his snoring reaches my ears. Unwilled, a smile tugs at the corner of my mouth. In a few paces, I’m through the bedroom door, peeling clothes as I pad silently towards the bed. Stealth matters more than neatness, so I leave my clothes crumpled on the landing floor.
Abruptly his voice breaks my stride,” Hey, hon. How did the research go?”
I enter the room and grin broadly at him. “Sorry, love. Was trying not to wake you.”
Jimmy sits, two pillows propping him. God, he looks tired.
“S’okay. Was only dozing anyway,” he smiles at me. “How’d it go? Get what you need?”
“I did, thanks, love,” I say, truthfully.
The moonlight coming in through the window cools the room, giving it a waxy look. He never draws the bloody curtains. Fussing at the tie-backs I speak over my shoulder, “Well, get back to sleep,” I admonish. “You’ve on an early shift in the morning.”
Jim nods, “Aye, I will, but c’mon.” He pats my side of the bed, “Spoon time.”
“Just let me brush my teeth, love. Won’t be long.”
“No shower?” he asks. “Had one at the gym,” I tell him as he slips under the covers, his back to the vacant space in the bed.
“Mmhmm,” good,” he drowses.
A few minutes later, I curve my cool body around his, absorbing his heat.
“G’night, Alice,” he mumbles.