HH Com Rd 2 #53 (548)

Hook here

It was three days since Frank emptied the last of the poison into her food.
She still looked shaky but the colour was coming back to her skin. The damned stuff had not worked as well as he had hoped.
His mug of coffee tilted as she lowered it to the table.
“Careful, mum,” he said. “It’ll take you ages to clean that out of the carpet.”
He stubbed his cigarette out in the ashtray and shook his head.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that in here,” she said, glaring at the assortment of cogs and gears arranged neatly on the floor in front of him. He shrugged.
“I’m using newspaper.”
She tutted and went back to the kitchen to get her own drink. “I saw Helen at the surgery again, today.” Her voice sounded shrill, even from the other room.
“Yes?” Frank said, carefully greasing a metal disc and slotting it into place.
“She wants to do more tests. I feel more like a pincushion every day.”
“What is she testing for now?”
“I don’t know; something to do with heavy metals. I’m feeling much better, though. I think I’m over the worst of it.
Frank nodded. She certainly was. He looked up at the clock and sighed. Helen would be at the bingo hall for at least another hour.
The light of the television flickered in the corner of his eye as his mum began trawling through the channels. He began to place the discarded ends of rubber tubing into a careful pile beside his untouched coffee as he stripped the ends of the cables and wired the device.
“Oh, before I forget,” his mum said. Frank paused, holding the ends of the wires away from each other. He breathed deeply. “Margaret called earlier. She wanted to know if you could pop over there and take a look at her pipes.”
“From number forty-two?”
“Yes, that’s right. She wouldn’t have asked, but her husband won’t be back for another month yet. I think his ship is still somewhere near Gibraltar.”
Frank nodded. Her timing could not have been better.
“Alright, mum. I’ll just finish this first. Did she say what was wrong?”
“I think it’s that kitchen pipe again. I keep telling her not to pour old fat down the sink but she won’t listen.”
Frank put the last pieces in place and got to his feet.
“I hope you’re not going to leave that there.”
He rolled his eyes. “I was going to put it in the cellar. Could you get the door for me?”
She followed him out into the hallway and opened the cellar door. “It’s freezing down there,” she hissed as a fist of cold air rushed up to meet them.
“The heater’s broken,” Frank said. “I told you last week.”
“Oh, that’s right. Listen, can you fetch me a bottle of wine? Helen said she might come over after bingo.”
“Sure,” he said. She usually did.
He went down the stairs and very carefully placed the device on the shelf. It looked snug, sandwiched between two pyramids of jam jars filled with nitro-glycerine.
Frank set the clock and walked slowly back to the stairs.
He paused by the wine rack and picked out his mum’s favourite. As he climbed the stairs he slipped off the marigolds and left them dangling like a deformed pair of hands over the rail. He shut the door behind him and took the bottle through to his mum.
“I’ll be as quick as I can,” he said, giving her a peck on the cheek. Up close he could see the coarse hairs that sprouted randomly on her chin. The perfume she wore was sweet and cloying. He was glad he would not be home when Helen arrived.
She looked up at him from the corkscrew and smiled. “See you later.”
“Sure,” he said. He glanced around as he took his coat off the hook and nodded to himself. “Bye, then.”
He stepped out onto the dark street and lit a cigarette. It was a chilly night but at least the rain had stopped. The dark tarmac shimmered gently under the harsh sodium glare of the streetlights. In the distance a dog barked.
He began to walk slowly along the pavement, enjoying the tranquillity. Dylion Crescent was close to a mile long from end to end and formed a crooked smile on the side of the quietly industrial Devonian town.

scary sod indeed.
I'd be asking for pages via email on this one.
At some point, I'd need a damn good synopsis to make sure there's a plot lurking somewhere. Very black comedy is a tough sell, but I'd probably try to call it something else if I really loved it a lot.


Me Be Free Someday... said...

I like this one a lot. Definitely want more to find out what's up...and isn't that what it's all about, really?

Get us wanting to turn pages?

Good job, I think this is my #1.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to focus on the trivial but 'Devonian' doesn't sound right. (Right up until that penultimate word I was enjoying the ride. Then I fell off.)

The only time I've heard Devonian is in palaeontology. It refers to the prehistoric period when fish ruled all those bits of the world that weren't covered in red sand.

This might be my problem, of course, and no one else's. I'm prepared to go quietly.

Anonymous said...


This is directed to the anonymous comment on the word 'Devonian'.

You might be American so if you are fair play.

There is a County in England named Devon.
Devonian refers to that.
Suffice to say this story may well be set in Devon, England to begin with.
Unless I'm wrong of Course.


Anonymous said...

Yup. This is my #1 too. It hits all the right spots without too much or too little. Wonderful work, writer! I wish you the best.

good luck.

McKoala said...

Not one to rush through. I like the mundane conversation contrasted with his evil intentions. I'd be reading on.

Marigolds - I'd say cap 'M' if talking about the gloves not the flowers. Devonian is OK, but does it matter here?

Brady Westwater said...

I like the writing... a lot. But I can not imagine where the story could go after he kills his mother. I'd like to know something about why he's doing this in the front pages to give me even more of a desire to read further.

Rhease said...

Greetings, author here: mwah ha ha haa.

Sorry, just chuffed that Miss S enjoyed it. You lot too :)

I've enjoyed this happy hooker crapometer although I must confess I did not read every single entry of either round. How does she do it? This has definately given me the kick up the upside-downs to get on and get querying.

Thank y'all :)

As for the "Devonian", I've just googled it. It would seem that the normal translation for the word outside of the UK is the paleontological. Ah well, win some lose some! Impossible to avoid that sort of thing unless you google everyword as you go, and that would make for a slow day, don't you think? lol

I think I might change that if sending it overseas, but it works as I too am from the sunny climbs (or perpetually rainswept, depending how true to life you like your fiction) of this blessed isle!

Alley Splat said...

Yep, I think this is a good one.

Speaking as a Brit, 'Devonian' interrupts the flow for me too - it has paleontological overtones over here as well. 'Devon town' would be fine.

Rhease said...

Hi again. Thanks to the few that have reviewed this. I know this sort of book doesn't appeal to everyone, but I think (and Miss S seems to agree) that it is a good example of its kind.

If you were to follow the link over to my blog you may notice that I already posted the complete first chapter and I had already made my final tweaks in which I removed Devonian anyway. The rhythm was off, even if I hadn't studied paleontology.

Mr Westwater, ta very muchly. I didn't want to bog down the reader with why he kills his mum, as that is kind of where the book is going as a whole. I wanted the opening to be snappy, explosive stuff! Not all set up and backstory like so much of the chaff from which this wheat was pruned!

The hook sort of gives an overview of where the plot goes, but frankly, without posting the full synopsis, I won't be able to convince you that there's a plot and a damn good one at that. There just is, okay?!

If you liked the writing, and you see a blurb smiling at you from a bookshop at some point in the (hopefully) near future, have a gander and see if I'm right :)

Thanks to all again, and especially to the illustrious Miss Snark. And give the KY a squeeze from us all!

Emerahl said...

loved it :0) id definalty read more

Anonymous said...

You might be American so if you are fair play.

No. From Bristol. Anyway, isn't the term 'fair game'?

There is a County in England named Devon.

Who'd have thought it?

Devonian refers to that.

In a vanishingly small number of instances. I hadn't heard it used in that way before and assumed that the author was not from the UK. But after googling, I find that there are 35 instances of its use outside this blog. Compare that with the 1,800,000+ instances of Devonian in the palaeontological sense.

Not that I want to make a mountain out of the Old Red Sandstone.