Every Thursday until my SPECIAL NEW PROJECT begins (don’t ask, it’s a secret) I’m going to post some random writing: a rhyme, something old or a new work in progress, or if all else fails whatever random thing I scribbled down during the free-write warm up of my Tuesday Night Writers Club.
Here it is: the first Mid-Weak Writing of 2015! As with many of the free-writes, on Tuesday evening I bashed out something with an element of crime fiction to it. One of these days I’ll line them all up and realise I’ve finished my second novel.
This time, after seeing who the first prompt led me to, I decided to follow up with his adversary to be…
I don’t do it on January 1st.
On January 1st, I don’t do anything but think about last year. If I make it through the whole year safe, if they don’t figure out what I did, then they can’t touch me. It means I got away with it again.
On January 1st, at the end of the day, I open my new calendar. I lie in bed and I look at the pictures of the new year. Then I put it under my pillow and turn out the light, and I wait for sleep. While I wait, I imagine what I will do this year.
On January 2nd, I start to hunt.
I don’t know who it will be, but I am watchful. I hope the right person will make themself known to me, but on January 2nd the need is still quiet, small, easily kept inside. I don’t mind if no-one makes themself known even as long as January 5th.
If I am still hunting on January 6th, the need begins to grow a little. It is still okay, but it is harder to hide, easier for them to see, and that makes it harder to hunt.
If I am still hunting on January 14th, the need is almost as big as I am. It is like there are two of me, two cramped into just one body, and everything I want to do I must do in negotiation with the need.
By January 20th, the need would push at my seems, threatening to burst me apart. This is when the danger is greatest.
I do not know what will happen if I am still hunting when the month is done. I hope I never do.
Fortunately, on January 4th, someone makes themself known. I draw their picture, in the little square of their day. The hunt is over.
Now I start the stalk.
The Cuckoo Clock
Widnes sat outside the Chief Inspector’s office, deliberately not wondering why he was there. In his experience, wondering created expectations which were always proved wrong. If you don’t know why the boss wants you, don’t try to guess, don’t try to plan, you’ll just end up prepared for the wrong eventuality, and you’ll cling to it like a life-belt with a hole in it, the Chief Inspector circling and waiting to drag you under.
Widnes looked at the clock on the wall instead. Not at the face, not the hands, not the time, never that. At the clock.
A tiny Swiss chalet on a grey Leeds wall, chocolate matchsticks in the shape of a fairytale home, a trap for careless children at the heart of some forest. Its door closed, windows shuttered, fakes, just decorative shapes on the wall – like the clock itself – but beneath the peaked eaves was the cuckoo’s hatch, waiting to burst open, for the bird to lurch out and cry the hour.
Widnes hated it. Not just the cuckoo, the whole thing. It was absurd, doubly so to be here, on a wall in an English police station, outside the office where the region’s senior copper lurked.
The ugly little bird popped out and Widnes jumped. It whistled its name four times and then retreated. It was 4pm.
The Chief Inspector’s door opened as the cuckoo’s hatch closed, as if he had been standing right there waiting for its permission.
“Come in, Widnes,” he said as Widnes rose.
“Thank you, sir,” Widnes said.
The Chief Inspector grunted. “Don’t thank me. He’s killed another one, and since Jones couldn’t catch him I’m giving them all to you.”
“Hello, Widnes,” said Jones as he walked away.
…to be continued?
If you like what you just read, then know this is nearly the last chance to pick up a copy of my weird western ebook End Trails at half price! The deal ends this weekend – so go to Smashwords and use the discount code UW22V.