Saturday, 20 February 2016

ATLANTIC IN OUR BONES Chapter 3 of my Scottish thriller.

Pasting here third chapter of my new Glasgow-based thriller ATLANTIC IN OUR BONES which I'm currently in the process of revising. If you want to HEAR me read the chapter on Soundcloud, them here's a link: L I N K

And here's the text of the third chapter....

3./ "You sure you're alright?" the man in the driving seat asks.

Mhairi, gaze searching the mountainous darkness for any hint of Loch Lomond, is slow to turn round.

"What?" she asks.

"That bump I gave you."

He looks kind enough, a wee bit sagged and rumpled and middle-aged; maybe, she surmises, a bit sad about something at the far back of his mind.

"It wasn't much," she shrugs. "I’m okay."

"The guy in that other car, he was hasslin' you?"

She roves her stare past the flashings-by of headlit trees.

"He gave me a lift. Got a bit creepy."

"I bet," says the man. "What you doing, taking lifts off creeps?"

She faces him again, sees him show a lop-sided grin. "I exempt myself, of course, from classification as a creep," he says.

"You sure?" she asks.

"Absolutely. Took the blood test for creepiness last month. Got the all clear. Want to see my certificate?"

"I trust you."

His grin hardens past humour. "Really?" he asks. "How come?"

She shrugs again. "People's hearts aren't so hard to see into."

"Yeah... well... I’d look extra close if you're going to make a habit of hitch-hiking."

"I don't plan to."

“You know anyone in Glasgow?"

"I’ll be okay," she mutters.

"It's not the best place to be stuck without a friend."

"I know someone," she says. "Don't worry."

"A someone who knows you're coming?"

"A someone I can trust."

"Well, I hope that someone doesn't go to bed early. It's going to be the wee small hours by the time we hit town."

He sounds as if he cares. A trick? The closer she lets him take her to Glasgow, the better placed she'll be if she has to make a run for it. The hand furthest from him checks the weapon in her fleece's pocket.

"I’m not gonna drop in out of the blue. I’ll... I’ll sort something else out tonight."

"Yeah. Glasgow's full of parks. You'll find an empty bench, I’m sure."

"Maybe..." she ventures, "...maybe you know somewhere I could...?"

His eyes fix upon her, so tightly she fears he'll forget the road ahead and kill them both.

"What island did you come from?" he says.

"Island - ?"

"Your accent. It's - what? - from the Orkneys, the Hebrides, someplace like that, huh? And your general approach to getting by in this big bad world, which floating rock of hopeless naivety did that swim in from?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, sweetheart, watch what suggestions you make with that lilt and them fluttering eyes, when you're sat in a car with a guy who could be anyone."

"What suggestion was I making?" she says.

"The fact you don't know makes it makes it all the more dangerous."

"Was I making it at all?"


"Maybe it's something you made up inside your own head."

She twitches down the first couple of notches on the zipper of her fleece's pocket.

"Guess what, darling," he says, "there's worse heads than mine in Glasgow. So the point is... take care."

"You don't trust that place, sounds like."

"Bitter experience."

"What sort of experience?"

"Too bitter for talking about this time of night. Listen, we... um… I
do hate to think of you sleeping rough.... I, um, I live just north of the city. Got a spare room. You could kip there for the night. I could drive you into Glasgow in the morning. Strictly innocent, I assure you."

"I believe you," she says, staring past the shadows of the branches as they stream across his face.

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