Thursday, 28 February 2019

The Unknowns...first four chapters

What do you yet it is unpublished and runs to over 60k words. 

Unknown..  Book (Working Title.. 

  Chapter one.

Five years ago.

 A Sunday morning in a small Northern Ireland town.

    A light breeze is blowing some discarded fast food wrappers and other rubbish along the pavements on the main street which is deserted, no traffic, no pedestrians. The churches are full and the public houses are not yet open but it is still unusual for there to be absolutely no one walking the streets of this normally busy little town.

    During the so called “Troubles” in this part of Ireland it was usually taken as a warning that something untoward is about to take place and the word has gone out…stay away.

    The deserted street is being scanned through a pair of high powered binoculars from a long distance away and a slightly elevated viewpoint…they continually move across the area.

    A man with a broad Irish accent says brusquely “They’re here …get ready.”

    The binoculars settle on a Garda Police car and a white  transit van as they move over the brow of a hill and into the area. Moving rapidly down the road they then swiftly move over to pull up in front of a grey granite faced building. The sign above the heavy oak doors which are at the top of a flight of five stone steps states that this place is a  Garda/Police Station.

    At the side of the Police Station is a narrow alley-way and walking down to the main street is a woman in her thirties and a girl aged about eight. The little girl has a bright green envelope in her hand which she happily waves about as she skips alongside her mother who holds her other hand. 

    The large wooden doors to the Police Station push apart and two men wave for the drivers in the  car and van to come inside. The car doors swing open and two men dressed in civilian clothes get out and they slide open the side door of the van. Three more men get out, The man in the middle has a grey blanket over his head.

    Four men from the car form a small defensive ring around the captive as they begin to cross the wide flagged pavement to the stone stairs.

    As they exit the alley way and the little girl spots the post box at the edge of the pavement, she lets go of her mother’s hand and runs to it. When she reaches the post box she turns to her mother, waves the blue envelope then stands on her tip toes as she stretches up to reach the slot.

    The Irishman’s voice “Stand by…on my word…wait until they get to the door, get all the  bastards in one go”.

    The Police are now moving up the stairs, the little girl is still hanging on to the envelope and grinning at her mother who is urging her to drop the letter into the box. Both of them are unaware of the drama being carried out on the steps behind them.

    Another mans voice “We can’t do it Vinny, the woman and the kid.”

    “Now it now.”

    “No way..not kids.”

    “Fuck em..give it to me.”  Inside the small dimly lit rear bedroom in a terrace house looking over the main street a mans hand grabs a detonator from his colleague  and firmly presses the  red button on the top.

    “Fucking now.”

    On the steps of the Police Station the police have almost reached the door with their reluctant guest and the little girl finally lets go of the green envelope when the small green delivery van which is parked on the opposite side of the street to the station erupts in a ball of high explosive from the two Claymore bombs which also ignite several canisters of petrol.

    An enormous blast and fireball envelops the police and the mother and child.

    The man looking through the binoculars waits for the smoke to settle and disperse, then , happy with what he sees “Got the fuckers, all of em, that traitorous bastard will be giving nowt away, now lets get out of here.”

   The multiple killing takes less than three seconds.

Chapter two. Present Day

    The almost constant rain downpour hammers against the large office window, blurring the lights on the boats forging up the River Thames and the headlights on cars that seem to be in a permanent traffic jam on the Lambeth  Bridge. The stream of water creates a kaleidoscope of colours and this attracts the attention of Angus McNeil, Head of Analysis,who sits behind his desk, slowly chomping on the stem of an unlit pipe. A small desk light is the only illumination in the room which is filled with deep shadows.,after a few more moments of chomping he speaks.

    “Shit deal eh”!

    The man at the other side of the desk nods his head “Yep”

    McNeil puts  his pipe into a large cut glass ashtray, “Hmm, no choice, not when these arrived.” He pushes a long white envelope across the desk “And you had no idea?”


    “Very unusual, had it checked twice…totally pukka.”

    “And pressure?”

    “Masses..The top table nearly had a fit, wanted you taken out immediately, blows everything out of the water, oddly enough the Yanks seemed pleased.”

    “ They got involved?”

    “Had to be, this crap is heading their way, they need to deal with it now, very happy when our boy was on the trail but now he has gone fishing, so it’s their baby.”

    “Not exactly fishing.”

    McNeil peers at him “Oh yes...some Orniything.”

    “Ornithology…bird watching”

    McNeil nods, “Right  seen some of your snaps in the corridor…very nice..wish you luck with that, not many of our feathered friends around here.” He waves a hand towards the window which is still being washed by the heavy rain “Cant say I blame them.”

    “That’s ok. I know where there are lots.” As he speaks the man, Patrick Quinn rises from his leather chair and seems to tower over McNeil. At six foot two and with an athletic build, Patrick looks much younger than his xxxx years, his thick unruly dark hair enhances his boyish looks.

    Peering up at him McNeil holds out his hand “Good luck Patrick, I hope to see you back here again in six months, this department needs you…go get the birds you are looking for.

     Patrick shakes his boss’s hand and without another word picks up the envelope from the desk and leaves the room. McNeil watches him go and then pushes himself away from the desk and steers his wheelchair to the window where he seems to enjoy the watery view.

85 Albert Embankment.. MI6 Headquarters. Vauxhall. London.

    Completely ignoring the gusting rain that sweep across the city, Patrick walks rapidly through the imposing front doors of the not so secret Secret Service building and out through the security barriers on Albert Embankment..hardly believing his good fortune a taxi is dropping off some passengers just as he reaches the pavement, he jumps into the now  vacant cab and tells the driver  “Coopers Arms please, Flood Street,.  Chelsea.”

    Despite the  almost continuous downpour, the Friday night crowd of  City workers, bankers and traders begin to arrive in droves for their  weekly “Fizzy Glug” at The Coopers Arms pub. It takes only a few minutes for the ‘local’ area pub to go from  being occupied by a gaggle of old regulars nursing their tepid pints of beer to being  standing room only as the young and wealthy crowd begin to slake their thirst, downing copious amounts of alcoholic beverages.

    The Friday night extra  bar staff are busy supplying the demand, the popping of corks and the  ringing of the till is almost continuous.

    This popular pub, just off the busy Kings Road in fashionable Chelsea had recently seen an upturn in its fortunes, going from a sleepy backwater boozer it suddenly became the drinking hole of choice for the many young, well educated and seemingly wealthy clientele who have moved in from the slightly less salubrious area of Fulham and Battersea as the City of London started to boom and salaries plus bonuses began to rise accordingly.

     At the big square bar the crowd is now approaching several customers deep, all trying to attract the attention of the busy bar staff, no one wants to sit down at the many battered old tables in the spacious sitting area… except for Patrick who occupies one that is crammed into a corner as far from the bar as possible.

    One more occupant shares this secluded corner of the pub, it  is a full size stuffed brown bear, its once thick shaggy fur is now well worn with bald patches. Standing on its rear legs like some guardian of the quiet places. Patrick sits almost side on to the  bar and removes some sheets of paper from his brief case. He has a quick glance to make sure no one at the bar can see the papers as he begins to leaf through them. The first document is in letter form and is headed ..

    Instructions Regarding Immediate Leave of Absence…Terms and Conditions.

    The one sheet memo is quickly scanned, folded in half and placed back in the brief case. Two more sheets, stapled together at the top left corner are also given a quick glance. Several of the lines at the top have been blacked out, obscuring the names of the subjects, below the redacted names is the heading..

    DNA samples and comparisons for subjects named above. Strictly confidential.

     He takes his time with these sheets and looks carefully at the detailed DNA samples which are in graph form. After a minute or so of close scrutiny these sheets are also folded in half and placed in the case.

Taking the last item from the table he  has a little smile, the envelope is sealed with a hand written message scrawled across the front.

    For the sole attention of CIO Patrick Quinn.

    Underneath that message and in the same scrawled writing it says..

    Delivered sealed  and by hand via the USA Embassy London.

    Patrick rips open  the envelope  and takes out a small card which is once again in the same handwriting  ..

    Bendigo.. Oregon..Confirmed. Call me when in situ..B..x

    Patrick stares at the card, it carries no more information, except the fact that his already problematic life is about to take another turn, it may not be for the better.

    Leaning back in his rickety old chair, which matches the table, both bought from a junk shop sale by a long since departed publican, he slides the card back into the envelope and then back into the briefcase which he carefully fastens.

     Slowly turning to look at the boisterous crowd, which he seems to be noticing for the first time, he smiles, picks up the glass of Youngs Beer and drains it. Standing up, he puts on his rather old fashioned raincoat, pulls out an Irish tweed woollen hat  from the coat pocket which he jams on his head and picking up his briefcase he carefully skirts the drinkers and pushes his way out of the crowded  pub where he takes a right turn to head along the rain swept St Leonards Terrace.

Chapter three. Mexico.

    The fruit freight depot is in a neglected, sparsely lit, back street just on the outskirts of the Mexican town of Tijuana, near the USA-Mexican border. The shabby collection of sheds and rickety corrugated iron roofed outbuildings glories in the name of Miguel’s Flying Fruit Freight, at least that is what the hand painted sign above the door once said, but that had been nailed up many years ago  when Miguel was a young man with dreams, dreams of quitting the hell hole of Tijuana and moving north to what he saw as paradise, the United States of America, like his dreams the sign is now faded, cracked and the paint chipped.

    Miguel’s vision of one day having a fleet of lorries transporting the cheap fruit from the flatlands around his part of Mexico never seemed to get off the ground, maybe it was the monthly payments to the local “protection and insurance” gang that ran his area, paying for the medical attention for his asthmatic wife, helping his aged mother with the rent for her cockroach infested shack or  maybe he was just a terrible business man.

    All of these concerns mattered not at all to him now as he and his two employees, a couple of middle aged men he had known from his childhood, lay on the blood soaked earth just inside the yard where he kept his one battered old truck. It would never matter to him because just beside his blood spattered body and the bodies of his two men lay three severed heads, theirs.

    The execution had been swift and brutal, four men had walked into the front office, all of them carrying guns. Miguel and his two old friends were engaged in their nightly game of cards. One of the intruders motioned for the three amigos to move out into the rear yard where one of the gunmen spoke only one word “Arridolarse”  the three Mexicans immediately obeyed him and knelt on the ground,  with amazing speed two of the gunmen unsheathed large cane cutting machetes and simply lopped off their heads, it took three seconds.

     Business discussion and conclusion…Execution…. Mexican Drug Cartel style.

     Hundreds of flying night bugs flitting around the lone suspended light over the yard paid no attention to the scene below them as the unlocked  wire mesh gate was pushed open and one of the gunmen climbed into the  decrepit and careworn vehicle, casually driving it out into the lane where  another vehicle, a large Mercedes, is waiting..The headlights on the limousine flashes once and it moves off, followed by the fruit lorry. They both move slowly along the still dark alleyway towards the slightly better lit main road leading to the bright er lights of Tijuana where the early morning traffic is beginning to cram the streets.

Chapter four. London.

     Patrick turns the corner into the narrow little Smith Street and still bending into the foul weather he makes his way along the row of small artisans cottages which have now become very fashionable and expensive places to live in this part of Chelsea. No one else is braving the weather and he is the only pedestrian on the street as he stops at a door halfway along the deserted  thoroughfare.

    Entering the house he walks down the short passageway, takes off his coat and hangs it on a wall mounted coat rack and turns left into the living room and dining area. Since inheriting the house some years ago from his mother he has spent a lot of time and money transforming the interior and what looks like a narrow little abode from the street is in fact a very modern, spacious home with  a combined living, dining and kitchen area  which stretch back into  the property, where a large glass conservatory is comfortably furnished.

    Taking a heavy crystal tumbler from the kitchen worktop he pours himself a generous measure of whisky from a half empty bottle, adds a small drop of soda water and takes a long drink.

    He slowly turns and looks back into the now dark  living area and leans against the kitchen worktop scanning the many framed pictures that almost tell the story of his life, many of them are of wildlife, mainly the feathered variety and along the top of the fireplace are a number of family pictures, mainly of a woman and her child. He tips his glass towards them .

    Without bothering to look he reaches behind himself, puts down the whisky, takes the phone handset from its charger and slowly begins to punch in a number.

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