This is something I’m working on and hoping to make it into a much longer piece, perhaps…………….(Excuse the language but I’m looking at a different voice and audience than I usually aim for)
Part time heir hunter Lucy Green is haunted by the one family she can never find, her own. Growing up in care had left its mark. Unable to trust, never able to let anybody close she lives in fear of anybody finding out her shocking secret. A secret so dark, so terrible that the devil had risen up from hell and stolen her soul. But the devil wouldn’t rest and he was coming back for more.
Throw in two eccentric 80 year olds, a drag queen, a mysterious foreigner and an agoraphobic chemist and Lucy Green is hurled back into dangerous territory. A murder in a club, a dead man walking and a mysterious bundle of letters slams the door wide open and lets the devil walk back in……
The sun hit a trail of nylon that was draped across the rug. Threadbare swirls of green and gold had a temporary revival in the morning sunlight as a gentle wisp of breeze caught a curtain off guard, making it dance against the glass. Under a duvet a wild mop of darkly tinted curls were splayed across a white cotton sheet.
Lucy tried to open one eye, then the other. Nothing happened. “Shit, shit, I’ve gone blind” screaming she frantically kicked at the duvet and kneeled up on the bed.
“Ow, Ow, Ow, shit, shit, shit” then something flickered, a tiny spec of light. She rubbed again, “yes, yes, come on”, another spec of light. She kept rubbing. Until wide eyed and panting she fell back against the bed.
Cursing last night’s ‘permanent ‘ mascara she put her hands to her temples and braced herself for the mother of all hangovers that hit right on cue.
Last night came hammering at the door. Disjointed memories hit like a rolling flash of tin hitting the central reservation. A kaleidoscope of fleeting images that flickered like a strobe light in her head. A pounding rhythm, on-off, on-off, on-off.
Lucy got a picture of the crowd. She tried to focus. She remembered them ten-fold against the security barriers; a rabid mass of sweat and alcohol and tits and testosterone fighting for the stage. The band just feeding the frenzy. There was a pretty blonde with a knicker high skirt; her arms in the air, head thrown back and tits out front. Then the blonde’s chest suddenly covered in paint!
Reality hit. Lucy shivered. Last night came flooding back in all its techno coloured glory. She’d seen the girl’s hand move across the darkening stain, she watched her turn it, raise it, and bring it up. She’d watched the girl’s colour drain and her baby blues darken and sink back into her head; then watched her free fall to the floor as an echo of gunshot faded into the base.
“MOVE, GET OUT OF THE BLOODY WAY”
She’d ramrodded the jeering crowd. Elbowing a huge mound of flesh to her right and a hairy arm with a crudely penned tattoo had lashed out, nearly knocking her over. Falling forward she’d knocked a drink out of someone’s hand, soaking a tiny red head stood in front. The leprechaun had turned, flicked Lucy the bird and called her seven different types of prostitute.
“FOR FUCK’S SAKE” Lucy shouted, “Somebody’s been shot, MOVE OUT OF THE BLOODY WAY”.
She remembered dropping to her knees. The red head and the hairy guy missed it. She’d crawled through swinging legs, getting a couple of kicks to the ribs and a boot in her thigh as she pushed through. The crowd didn’t stop. Lucy had grabbed the girl and felt for a pulse. She’d screamed again, straining her throat making tears sting in her eyes.
“SHE’S BEEN SHOT, SHE’S BEEN SHOT” she’d shouted as she cradled the limp girl in her arms.
The crowd seemed to hush. Moving backwards, stumbling over feet. Some fell sideways knocking others further back. Somebody knelt down and reached for the young girl. A voice, quiet and edgy, cracked with emotion, making it raspy and uneven.
“Oh god Jasmine, it’s my fault, it’s my fucking fault”
Lucy looked up. Their eyes locked. Electricity buzzed. Lights had flickered overhead. The breath had caught in her chest. She’d tasted sick at the back of her throat and a swirling chasm of pain had hit just above her pelvis. Then the pain hit harder. This time IN her pelvis, she’d shivered.
Jason Stone stared back. Lucy saw his thick dark lashes, too long and lush for any man, flicker just a touch. There was a second of recognition and then just as quickly a mask came down and the moment went.
Parting the crowd like a knife through butter a medic arrived and dropped to his knees,
“What’s her name”? Without facing him, she’d mumbled “I don’t know” “I don’t know”.
She’d tried to explain that she’d just seen the girl fall and heard the shot. The medic felt for a pulse, nothing. He felt again. Lucy sensed somebody behind her and a strong pair of arms circled her waist and hoisted her up. She tried to struggle but he tightened his grip. The stubble of day old whiskers brushed her face and a whisper skimmed her ear,
“Leave him, Let him work on her”.
She remembered being sat at the bar gripping a half empty glass of brandy. Her hands shaking, she’d put it back down on the counter before she dropped it. She’d looked to her right, Jason Stone; lead singer of ‘Raising Cain’ the hottest man-band this side of the equator was in a corner booth.
His features blank as the two plain clothed detectives quizzed him, jotting notes into a little black ringed notepad. Lucy had edged over on the stool to hear. Skimming her eyes to the left, then the right, nobody looking, she’d edged a bit more. Wedging her elbow on the bar and wrapping an ankle round the base of the stool she leaned in. She heard Stone saying he didn’t know the girl, that he’d never seen her before. Lucy stilled.
Why did he lie? He’d called her Jasmine, he knew who she was!
She edged a little bit more and felt a burn at the side of her face. Looking at the booth she’d seen him glaring. Hard, unreadable and was that fury? It was definitely something!
His eyes went to her chest, “the bastard is eyeing me up, of all the sick, twisted……” her thoughts had trailed off as she’d looked down at the mottled blood stain still marking her top.
Then the floor had risen up to meet her as she stumbled off the stool and fell in a glorious heap of stupid at the feet of Jason Stone. The first guy she had ever slept with. Only he wasn’t called Jason Stone then!
The weirdest, most amazing day of his life, the day that had changed his world had started like all the others. He’d woken up to normal but had gone to sleep with euphoria. Lucy Green had made him gaze into the deep, senseless black that came in the night. Lucy Green had never fallen on her knees and screamed in terror. When he’d seen her walk into the club, it was if the lights had just gone on. The hairs on the back of his neck had stood on end. His blood went cold and his cock had twitched in reconition. He’d missed the first beat but caught the second. Both hands gripped the mic anchoring him in place and for a second he’d froze.
She still looked the same. Her hair was shorter, still inky black and smooth as hell. Little waves of mischief that did their own thing; delicate curls of silk that flittered around her alabaster neck. God, she hated those curls. She never saw how cute she looked bouncing down the street with a wild mop of ringlets dancing round her face.
“What the hell happened to cute, tonight’s curls were fucking sexy. Too damn sexy!” His cock agreed and twitched again.
It was like he’d stepped out of his body. The room had gone quiet. The crowd had stilled. He’d watched her move to the left, spotting a gap. She’d squeezed through. As she did, her sheer, cotton shirt had pulled tighter, skimming her breasts. She’d lifted an arm touching someone’s shoulder and it notched up a couple of inches exposing her skin. He’d gulped. His knuckles nearly breaking through the skin as his hands fisted at his sides.
Lucy had been glued to the ground. Her forehead was perilously close to the toe of a scuffed brown loafer and her eyes level with a bobbled white sock and a chunky mottled ankle. She’d been mortified. After taking a few deep breaths she’d moved her arms, putting both palms face down locking her elbows, but someone had grabbed her from behind and roughly hoisted her up before she could do it herself.
“Will people stop bloody grabbing me” she’d seethed fighting the hold.
Her feet had stumbled forward, knocking the table. She’d tensed. The table rocked. Everybody waited. She’d tried to grab for the steaming cup of coffee balancing on the edge. Too Late! Stone had fallen back against the seat flinching in pain as molten lava soaked his crotch. Lucy spotted a tiny muscle jerk in his cheek, he was seething.
“I hope it hurt” Damn, she hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
He stood up. “IT DIDN’T HURT A BIT, Lucy Lou” his voice had slightly lowered on the Lucy Lou. She’d shuddered.
Shooting a glance above her, he gestured his head to the back of the stage.
“Get her out of here, NOW” he balled to the security guy stood behind her.
A wall of muscle had pulled her away. Too stunned to protest, she’d let him. Her thoughts spinning, re-hashing what he’d said.
He’d called her Lucy Lou. She hadn’t been called that since they were kids. Nobody had called her that, only Jimmy. But he was dead. She’d watched him die. The best part of her had died with him. The air left her lungs, the room started to spin and everything went black……..
The strobbing flicker of images stopped and Lucy couldn’t remember anything past blacking out last night. She couldn’t remember leaving the club, or even how she got home. She looked down at the over-sized Madonna T-shirt she’d woken up wearing,
“I can’t remember getting home, but obviously not too drunk to go searching for Madge” she thought, shooting a worrying glance at the neatly folded pile of last night’s clothes on a chair in the corner.
Instinct told her to check her underwear. Still on. “Thank God”
She scrambled off the bed flinching then rubbed at a large purple foot print near her hip. Her feet hit the floor, she flinched again. The ache hit her head with a hammer. She needed to pee and she needed to throw up, but didn’t know which first. Acrid bile hit the back of her throat and her mouth filled with water. She gipped and swallowed something awful back down. Her bladder won, only just.
Twisting awkwardly at her knickers she sat on the bowl to pee and twisted the top half of her body over the bath to throw up. Spit drooled down her chin. She wrapped an arm round her stomach and heaved into the cast iron bath. She reached for the taps and the pipework shuddered and argued its way into use. A loud gush of water hit the bottom of the tub, reverberating in her skull; jolting her backwards against the icy metal cistern tank.
“What the hell happened?” she thought, rubbing at the congealed mascara still clogging chunks of her eyelashes together.
“What happened to the blonde? Why would someone shoot her? This was bloody Leeds for god’s sake not LA”. She gulped in air and stayed where she was.
‘HIS’ face flashed into her conscious again. She tried to shift it. Put it back in the darkness. It had taken years to bury the pain; deep enough that it didn’t control who she was or what she did every hour of every day. She twisted her body back to the bath and started throwing up all over again. There was nothing left to throw up but still she kept going. Tears stung at her eyes, her throat was on fire and her stomach coiled. She put out an arm steadying herself against the dry heaves and saw the writing on her arm.
“No, not writing, it was numbers.” She blinked rapidly, trying to focus on the pen marks.
She turned her arm, brought it closer. Written across the underside, from her wrist to just below her elbow was a number in thick black marker. No name, just a number!
Grabbing a handful of toilet paper she wiped her mouth and ran to the bedroom. She swiped across the desk, sending papers flying to the floor. Nothing.
“I need a bloody pen, why is there no bloody pen” she screamed as she pulled a half opened drawer completely off its runners.
She blindly felt around a pack of tobacco and stuck her fingers in something wet and sticky. She pulled out her hand; three fingers were covered in blood,
“Arghhh, what the hell”. Then smelt it and realised it was pesto!
She spotted a half chewed biro on the floor by the bin. Grabbing it, she dropped the drawer on the floor and whipped a post-it note off the pad on the desk. Sitting on the edge of the bed she stuck the post- it to her knee. Turning her right arm over she tried to write. She stared at the figures jumping off the paper, a phone number.
“It looks like a mobile number! Whose is it? Shit,” she didn’t have a clue.
Lucy squeezed her eyes, rubbed her temples, tried to remember. Nothing. A sudden waft of sick hit her nose and she nearly threw up all over again.
“I need a shower” she thought as she stood, pulled some photos off the wall and stuck the newly written post-it in the centre.
“Wash first, it will help me think”
She didn’t make it into the bathroom before there was a thundering rap on the door. Lucy’s eyes squinted, her head ached and she gripped the neck of her T-shirt to see if she could still smell the vomit.
“You, awake, Baby Doll?” a familiar shrill filtered through the tiny gaps in the door frame.
She relaxed a bit, turned the key and held the door ajar. Then set her forehead against the door casing letting the cool surface ease the heat in head, just enough to stop her from gipping again.
Kevin’s flat was on the floor below, “Whoa, Baby, you look like shit and…” his voice trailed off as he caught a whiff of something bad and put two fingers under his nose and pressed. “Good night, then?” he asked rhetorically, pushing his glasses back up along his nose.
She shrugged, lifted her head from the paintwork and walked back into the room. Kevin followed her in.
“You shower and I’ll get the coffee on” he threw out over his shoulder as he walked to the kitchen top and flipped on the kettle.
Lucy mumbled something about ‘Diva’ and ‘Bitch’ as she lifted her T-Shirt and dropped it on the floor, then stood out of her knickers and trudged naked to the bathroom. Kevin took no notice.
He picked up a cloth on the counter and ran it under the tap. As much as he loved Lucy his OCD hit fever pitch when he was in her flat. That touch of vulnerability she tried to hide along with her aversion to housework always sent his stress levels off at a kilter. He often followed her round with a damp cloth and a bin bag. He picked her T-shirt up off the floor and with barely a touch he lifted her discarded knickers putting them both in the already overflowing wash basket.
“Madonna will be chafing in her corset” he shouted through the bathroom door.
The kettle popped and he walked back over to the kitchen, humming ‘Like a Virgin’ as he reached into the cupboard for two cups and a jar of Nescafe.
Lucy lent forward just a touch and steadied herself with her palms flat against the tiles. The steaming jets of water beating at her back. She lifted her head and arched into the flow. She let the steam blanket her body and fell into it, soothing the pressure in her head. Ten minutes later she pushed back on her palms and lent back against the glass. The headache had eased but there was still a fog around what happened last night. Was it really him? Maybe she’d imagined it. It could have been the shock of the shooting. Maybe it just brought back the stuff she’d kept buried in her head, but she wouldn’t go there, she couldn’t go there.
In a darkened hotel room across town, Jason Stone was lying on his back, a twisted cotton sheet tangled round his legs. He hadn’t slept. His left arm was raised and loosely draped across his forehead and his right hand was stroking the growing appendage jutting out between his thighs. He’d fallen into bed with a hard on and the damn thing had never left. In fact he’d been achingly hard ever since he’d seen her walk in the club. He knew he couldn’t go there. He couldn’t go back. He had no past. They had seen to that.
His mind flew to Jasmin, her face twisted in pain, a hole in her chest. He felt his cock soften in his hand. He let go. He lifted his arm and ran both hands through his hair. He tried to end it weeks ago, she just wouldn’t accept it. Where ever he went she was there, every premier, every after show party. His guys knew not to let her near, but somehow she always was. Only last week she had cornered him in the gents toilets at the MTV awards. She was wearing nothing but a taupe mac and a pair of killer red heels. What could he say, he was human! He’d fucked her up against the wall, without even opening her mac. He called it goodbye, she called it proof.
Fucking was fucking, it meant nothing. His childhood taught him that. It was just an act, a function that needed taking care of. He thought of Lucy. He hadn’t fucked Lucy Green. No, that had been something new, something he’d never tasted before. It was pure and it was good and it was something he knew he could never have again. He shivered in the cold and reached for his mobile. He flipped it open, hesitated, and then slammed it shut. What could he do? She must have been as shocked as him. Hell, she’d gone down like a sack of potatoes.
The security guys had gone through her bag looking for I.D. She hadn’t been carrying much. Pete, Head of Security and nearest thing to a best mate Jason had, emptied her stuff onto a table and spotted the small silver chain and locket. Jason lunged at Pete’s hand and almost wrestled him to the floor. He grabbed the chain and buried it in his fist. Pete said nothing, just raised a thick eyebrow. The locket burned in his hand, scorching his skin, branding his palm. He shoved it into his pocket.
The bands manager, Steve McMahon (Mac), a greasy haired sickaphant with Hollywood veneers said he’d take care of it. Said he’d throw her in a taxi and get rid of her quietly but something jarred in Jason’s chest, he couldn’t let her go. He’d come close to physically punching the guy when he’d tried to stop him leaving. It was only Pete holding his arm back that stopped him. Mac had nearly pissed himself on the spot. A quick convo between security and the blacked out SUV was brought round back. Jason carried Lucy out and got in the back. He put her across his lap and signalled Pete to drive. He could almost taste the scent of her wrapped in his arms. He lowered his head to her hair and drew in the Apple Blossom shampoo; he recognised the smell and nearly came in his pants.
“Fuck, she still smells the same” and he lifted an inky black curl rubbing in between his thumb and finger.
Pete caught Jason’s eye in the rear view mirror “You sure you know what you’re doing, mate? this could turn into a whole load of shit, know what I mean?”
Jason just answered with a slow, drawn out “Yeah” and turned his head to the blackened window. Ten minutes later the SUV pulled up outside the address on her driver’s licence. Pete came round and opened the side door,
“You want me to carry her” he asked reaching out to grab the curled up bundle still asleep. “I can manage, just give me 5 minutes and keep the gas running” Jason growled.
He carried her out of the van and still she never stirred. As he got to the front door, somebody else was already there. A 6ft blonde in a diamanté dress let him in and Lucy had nestled in closer, wrapping her legs around his waist. He’d shuddered. ‘Diamond Dave’ had shot him a curious look. Then he’d pointed to the stairway and followed them upstairs. Jason laid her down on her bed and stood back. The guy in the dress immediately started fussing, so Jason moved back. Once he knew she was ok her left. He didn’t want to, but there was nothing he could do. Jason walked away forcing himself not to look back. He’d taken the stairs from her flat, two at time keeping his head down. He didn’t notice the tiny shaft of light from a partially opened door, or the darkened pair of eyes that followed him out before flicking back up at Lucy’s door.
“Jesus, I’m a nut job” Lucy thought as she turned off the shower and stepped out.
She reached for a towel and rubbed it over her hair. The ache in her head was hanging in there. She reached for the robe on the door, put it on and tied off the belt. Bracing her hands on each side of the sink she eyed her reflection in the mirror.
“Shit”. She didn’t say anything else.
Lucy scanned the mass of curls haloing her head and the deep red veins that threaded her eye whites. Her eyes had sunk back into her head and were way too small for her face.
Kevin opened the bathroom door, “You back with us now?” gesturing an eyebrow towards a cup of coffee on the table. She gave him a tensed smile through the mirror but didn’t move.
“So, who was the hunk who carried you in last night? She froze. Then quickly turned, catching the back of his head through the door.
“What do you mean, who brought me home?” shouting louder than she meant to as she rushed after him. Kevin cocked his head and lowered himself into a chair.
“I mean the gorgeous hunk of meat that carried you in last night, the one with the ‘Fuck me’ stupid eyes” he held her stare across the room.
On a weekday, Kevin’s language always seemed out of place with his dress code. The pinstripe tailored three piece, the stiffly starched white shirt and dull grey tie were standard bank manager issue. They were a perfect counter balance for his weekend persona of ‘Candy Labra’ the dirtiest, cattiest Diva this side of the Northern hemisphere.
“When…what… Oh my God Kevin, I can’t remember a damn thing” she stuttered over her words and put her hand to her mouth as it gaped open.
“I’d just got in, Oh babes, you were right those new heels were killers, my bunions were on…….” Lucy cut him off mid flow,
“Screw your bunions, tell me what you saw” Kevin raised a pissed off eyebrow and traced the pleat down his trouser leg.
“Okay, Okay, keep you bloody knickers on” then glanced across at the used pair he’d picked up earlier and gave an overacting grimace.
“Sorry, I just need to know what happened” her big dewy eyes soothing his feathers slightly.
“Erm, right, where was I?” and he fell back into his enhanced tale of last night’s visitor, or she hoped to God it was enhanced. For some reason Kevin’s tales always seemed to edge towards pornography. He told her about the hunk that had carried her in. About the smut that had come out of her mouth and how she had wrapped her legs around his middle and rode him like a rodeo horse. She said a silent prayer that he was exaggerating the last part.
“When did he write on my arm?”
“Write what? Who wrote on your arm?”
“The hunk….. Jason.. Jimmy” she stalled over his name, not sure which to use.
“You had no marks when I left Baby Doll” he looked at her questioningly.
Lucy looked down at the newly scrubbed arm, then jumped up and ran to the post- it note. She ripped it off the wall and threw it back at Kevin. He eyed it, studying the numbers.
He raised his head “Looks like a phone number”
“That’s what I said. See, he wrote it on my arm” and she threw the underside of her arm up to his face.
“Umm, you’ve been using that lavender again haven’t you? You’re going to get thrush again” he scolded.
Guilt made her pull her arm back swiftly.
Quickly changing back to the subject in hand, “If he didn’t write it, then who bloody did?”
Silence followed, they looked at each other. Lucy was too afraid to say it out loud. Kevin beat her to it, “Nobody could have got in after I left, I had my spare key and I locked the door, I swear.”
Ring Ring, Ring Ring
Lucy flinched, Kevin screamed. She scuttled around looking for her mobile.
Ring Ring, Ring Ring
“Got it” she looked at the screen, number unidentified. Hang on those last digits look familiar. She ripped the post-it note back off Kevin and scanned the number.
“Shit” she looked at Kevin and gulped.
The led dial dipped, then died. The phone went black.
“Charger, where’s my charger” she flew off towards the kitchen. Kevin sat back, crossed one discreetly shaved leg over the other and eyed Lucy frantically searching for the last place she left it. His OCD went into over drive.
Chapter 2 …………