BARNETT WEBB Faces come out of the rain

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

The scream tore through Henry like a knife at the same time he was knocked to the ground. The scream came again, desperate, terrified... human - Celia! As he got to his feet, he could see a body being dragged by its feet onto the grass. The blood drained from his face. He felt his eyes widen and pulse quicken, and his heart was thudding like a bass drum. “What the fuck! He shouted. Then he heard rustling coming from the ferns behind him.




Faces come out of the rain

Celia & Henry

Have you heard the rain this morning, Henry? Its crazy! Just for once we should go abroad next year? asked Celia, Where it is hot and sunny and you can get a tan, sit on a beach, or sleep by the pool? Anything but another holiday in England! she continued. Cheer up Celia. The forecast tomorrow is for sunshine all day. Said Henry as he drew the curtains and looked up at the rain pelting down mercilessly on to the rooftops and turning the cobbled streets of Pluckley village into a shallow river.

They had selected The Rose & Crown at Mundy Boiss a 17th century pub and restaurant set in the idyllic countryside in Kent, Near Pluckley, Ashford. It came recommended by some friends and was located only a stones throw away from the town centre, the village and the Church of St. Nicholas that which built in the ninety seventies.

 I dont want to see a ghostly watercress woman* or any other bloody spirit apart from a nice gin & tonic at the bar downstairs. Celia said as she pulled her duvet over her head and grunted. Oh, come on, you love it, really. Youre the one who sorted this holiday - not me. You’ve been telling me all week about this old bridge where locals say sometimes an apparition appears and hovers above the water, there was no joy in her voice, nor a suggestion of a smile. Just a groan and then she was gone.”

My boot will hover above your bum if you dont leave me alone and go away, she said with another grunt. Henry sat himself on to the bottom of her bed and whispered. 

If you are serious about going to a tropical country, just pick one and I will make the arrangements. We could go back to Seville. You loved it the last time we went. Didnt you? There was a shuffling under the duvet. Do you remember having a go at flamenco dancing in the Triana neighbourhood More shuffling. 

Look Celia, we have always gone on holiday together since we were kids and I really appreciate it. A ruffled head appeared. After mum passed away, all three of us used to go. Remember the great times we had with Barnett? Celia sat up with her hair looking as wild as a jungle. Luckily, though, she wasnt and had calmed down. Do you mean it, Henry? reaching out and holding her hand, he said. Honestly Celia, we can sort the holiday this afternoon. We could even ask Barnett along.

 Celia looked at him with her dark, sad looking eyes and tightened her grip on his hand. I feel mean though as we have paid a lot of money for our weeks holiday here and I know you want to stay.

Celia was a beautiful woman, one who shines from her soul. A good listener, someone who seeks to make connections and 

joy and see things from new perspectives. She had stunning eyes, perhaps that's the best way to say it, age can't touch that kind of beauty, it's just there. She was shorter than average with a wholesome figure, but she was stunning. Something radiated from her and men desired her and it was said women did, too. She sat up on the bed and looked into the mirror on her bedside table. Look at the state of me. I look like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards.

So much for you and your, have another drink, you only live once.Said Celia, sitting up from her bed. By the way, he wont come.Who? said Henry? Barnett, hes an arty farty famous artist now. He doesnt have time for us lower echelons. Henry turned and looked at her. His sigh was softly deflating. Because of Lydia. he said under his breath. See you downstairs for breakfast at 9.30. Dont be late. Shall I order youre usual? Yes please, said Celia dropping back onto the bed with a grunt.

 *Where an elderly woman well known in the village was gathering watercress from the river and then would sell it to the villagers. It is said that one evening after drinking; she fell asleep and her pipe dropped onto her clothing. Within moments, the flames consumed her. It is said she still haunts the bridge and goes by the name of the ghostly watercress woman. Some witnesses describe a faint pink glow, which appears in the air above the spot where she died.


Samuel was looking forward to finally having a look around his new dwelling after having to view so many others. He stopped the car outside the small modern looking house. It was quite unbelievable that they had finally found one and the place looked in good shape from the outside.  

Samuel thought to himself he would have to change the colour of the front door, though. We cant have it red. After all, Liverpool and Manchester united play in red and we dont want that, do we now? He took off his seat belt and climbed out of the car. Mabel followed him and as she looked up, she was mentally making notes We need a new roof and new guttering, she thought to herself as she followed him along the pathway.


Barnett stood in the stark white art gallery with his hand on his chin, wondering what he was looking at. One of his fellow artists had invited him to come to his exhibition and give his opinion on his latest work.

A Modern Art oil painting called Tower of love on sale for $1500. And it was also huge. If you purchased it, you would need a van to get the bloody thing home. 

He found the composition of the painting rather curious.

The best way to describe it is that the colours were vivid, the stroke lines were bold, a shame it looked like a giant penis.

Frowning, he looked around to see if this very modern gallery would have such a thing as a restaurant. It did, Cool, said Barnett to himself as he entered and joined the queue. Looking at the menu above the counter, he noticed they were offering large sausages, which made him smile. He couldnt believe he had come all this way to see such a load of tosh.


The Police, are so easy to control. All you have to do was offer them a lot of money, blackmail them, or corrupt them. If you pay the right money to the right person at the right time, you can buy anyone. Another option, you can always frame them with…

Ronnie suddenly stopped dictating into his Mobile and took the plug from his ear and carefully listened. Arising from his chair slowly and quietly, he put the mobile into his back pocket.

On his desk was a computer, a notebook lying open, and a stack of papers with his Glock 26 pistol lying on top of them. Picking it up, he slowly stood up and walked out into the dark office. It was deathly silent, apart from the clock ticking.

The office lay in subdued light; through the windows he could see the streetlights and the hustle and bustle going on far below. In a corner of the room, the air conditioner was blasting away above a swivel chair that sat in the middle of the office and it startled him when he saw that somebody was sitting in it. It was hard to make out who it was in the gloom as the chair and its occupant slowly turned towards him. He couldnt move and just stood there like a statue. Slowly he lifted his Glock and pointed it into the gloom. You wont be needing that, my old China. Said the shadow, coming into view.

Dining room

It was a quiet morning in The Rose & Crown at Mundy Bois in Pluckley Village; the dining room was unusually half empty. Once, the hotel had been the finest residence in the village, a place where you would get invitations for morning tea. The family who owned it fell on hard times a while back. They say the landlords gambling was their ruin.

The main table was in the centre of the room and around it was smaller tables, just big enough to seat two people. The wallpaper was fading and looked a bit worse for wear in the morning sunshine. On the walls were lots of mirrors, but the frames were dusty and when the light shone on them, showed years of grime and made the hotel look as if it needed a good clean. The floor, at first glance, appeared to need the same, but it was just grubby old terracotta tiles. Above the table hung an old wrought iron candelabra holding stumps of candles that had been burnt to stumps and many cobwebs fluttered from the draught coming from the windows.

Celia and Henry had found a table by the window, which was supposed to be one of the best spots in the dining room with a view of the village. Henry decided on a continental breakfast, Celia a traditional English breakfast. They perused the daily newspapers while they waited to place their order. Listen, Henry, I have been thinking about what you said yesterday and I am sorry for how I behaved and want to apologise. Said Celia, topping up her tea from a silver jug. No problem, sis, think nothing of it. Said, Henry, trying to get the waiters attention. I love you and your brother very much and think the world of you both. I miss the big guy and have decided we must get in touch with him and meet up. Could I have some toast please, Henry asks the waiter as he walks by. Turning back to his sister, he says, Great idea. Lets do it ASAP. I will ring him and Samuel tonight. Celia leaned across the table and gave him a kiss on the cheek and whispered, I also think we should finish our holiday here hunting your ghosts and spirits, as long as you promise me a tropical holiday next year, Seville would be lovely. She said with a big grin. They looked at each other and went back to the morning papers.

New Home

By the time Mabel saw the beautiful pine floor, she had already made her mind up. Her facial expression showed her decision as she smiled at Samuel, who looked back and winked. At last, seven houses, seven weeks, and finally she likes one, and it is number seven! 

Look at the garden, he shouted as he ran out on to the large lawn kicking a flat punctured football high over next doors fence. She ignored him and went into the kitchen, mumbling to herself. Got to make an offer tomorrow…


Barnett had agreed to go for a drink with some of his old mates from the police force whenever he was next in London; he hadnt been out on the town with them for a long time. Andy had spotted he was coming down to the old smoke while he was on Facebook and had pestered Barnett until he gave in and finally agreed to join them. He was feeling apprehensive, having not seen most of them since he left the force, and the last time he saw Andy was at that awful night at the welcome to hell house (as it became to be known). He thought to himself Anyway nothing could be worse than his morning at the art gallery.

They had arranged to meet at The Dublin Castle at Camden. Barnett had been there many times before, when he was a police officer with the lads, but not for a while. The most recent was a couple of years ago to see Samuels band, The Rainy season, who now were getting lots of airPlay and had just signed a record deal. It was a fantastic night, sold out, and packed with Ar Men, management and DJs.

The Dublin Castle

Barnett arrived in his cab about 5.30pm, stopped, and wiped the steamy pub window to see if anybody had arrived yet. He could just make out Andy at the bar ordering a round and about eight of his old associates standing around him calling out their orders. Oh well, here we go, he said to himself as he pushed open the heavy door and forced his way through the packed pub. Spider, you made it! bellowed across the pub, followed by an enormous cheer and lots of rather crude comments.

Evil ice blue eyes

Moonlight poured into the room, spilling across the floor in a large puddle. The light flowed throughout the room, outlining the features of the man sitting in front of him. Grab a chair and lets talk awhile, eh? Ronnie. said the shadowy figure. Do you mind if I smoke? He put his hand inside his overcoat. Nice and slowly, no quick movements please, said Ronnie.

Sorry to drop in like this at short notice, his guest said, leaning forward into the light putting the cigarette into his mouth. The man had the look of someone he wouldnt want to lock horns with, let alone cross. 

His blonde hair was closely cropped, a scar ran down his cheek and as he got nearer, you could see evil ice blue eyes watching him like a hawk. The visitor extended his hand forward, offering a cigarette. The offer was refused with a nod as his guest sat back into the darkness. The silence was eerily unnatural as they both stared at each other in the gloom.

I need you to do something for me. Before you open your mouth, just listen to what I have to say. I need you to kill Barnett Webb and get me back some items he stole from me.



You ready to go? Asked Henry. Did you contact Barnett and family?then silence. Oh shit, I forgot! Henry said with disgust. You remembered to get a beer in before the last bell sounded last night, though. Celia said, pulling her parka over her shoulders. Looking guilty, Henry sat down and put on his hiking boots. I promise I will do it later tonight as soon as we are back. Remember then, no phone call, no beer. She said, smiling.

Well, is it the haunted Pinnock Bridge or spending a night in the Church of St. Nicholas? I have bought along my camera, sleeping bag and some food for us as I feel it is going to be a long night. Did you hear the story about the people who stayed the night in the church and they saw an old man kneeling at the church altar who told them he was Albert the Janitor? Next morning when the vicar of the church came to meet them, they told him nothing much happened apart from seeing his old friend Albert saying a prayer, to which the vicar replied he had passed away twenty years ago!

Ohhhh. Too spooky, said Celia, opening the door looking, dressed like she was going to climb Mount Everest. Henry followed her into the starry night.

 The Builder

The house seemed welcoming to Samuel as he stood there talking to the large builder towering over him. I will get back to you with a quote as soon as possible, mate. he said in his thick Geordie accent. Dont forget the floor. He said, pointing down at the old-fashioned parquet flooring. It will be on the quote with other items to for you to show the boss, dont you worry. Cheers. I think he means Mabel when he mentions the boss, Henry thought to himself. I dont know why, though? He headed back out into the garden as the boss had asked him to clear the rubbish and put it in the skip that had arrived that morning like magic in the driveway. He grabbed an armful and headed out the back gate, following his orders. Looking up, he thought he saw somebody watching him from the house next door. Samuel frowned, looked back, and then disappeared down the alleyway.

The big lump

Barnett stood there propping up the bar, Go on, tell him you love him.said Jack, pulling one of his drunken mates over to him. Andy was pouring vodka shots while spinning around on his stool, and everybody was under the influence of alcohol. Everything seemed like fun, but Barnett had heard a few conversations he did not like concerning his dad that were brutally honest but cruel. A small voice in his head started nagging at the back of my mind.

See, they think your dad was a bent copper and took bribes, dont they? kept repeating around his head.

He looked for the exit and then he tried to walk towards it, but his legs were telling him differently. He shook Jack, who was slumped on the bar, and tried to wake him up and get the big lump out of his way. Pushing past him, Barnett forced his way to the pub doorway. As the door was closed behind him, he took a big breath of fresh air. Behind him he could hear Andys voice shouting oh! Where are you going, Spider? Were all going for a meal later and on to a club. Come back, you fucking lightweight wa… the door shut. The night was warm, and the streets were busy and Barnett weaved his way through the crowd heading to The Pack and Carriage Hotel, Camden. He should have known what state he would be in after a night out with Andys gang; he had been there many times before…

Making Waves

The man sitting opposite Ronnie looked familiar, and he had seen him before somewhere. Something made him think he was an ex-police officer. He was sure he was called Toni something, and he had a feeling he was a very dangerous man. 

Now, why would you want me to do that? Ronnie said, sitting down on one of the empty desks. He is making waves about his dad and people in high stations are getting worried. He said, lighting another cigarette and blowing out the flame. And would I know any of these people?said Ronnie, taking out his mobile and putting it on the table. You may do, but I cannot, of course, name anybody. All I can say is that all of them were involved in the betrayal of Richard Ernest Webb. 

I liked Dickie, but he was too honest for his own good. But it still upset me when I heard what happened to him. Many stories circulated about what went down, but in my eyes, you are the only one who really knows, Ronnie. Spinning round in his chair, he looked out as the moon shone down over the city below. 

Maybe I do and maybe I dont, but thats not your business said Ronnie. Just tell me if you can do it. When? How much? Etc. but I need to know by tomorrow or I will have to give the job to somebody else. With that Toni arose from his seat and buttoned his cashmere overcoat and said One thing I heard Ronnie, is it really true they killed him for a bag of sand? A lousy thousand pound? He said and strolled to the lift outside the office door, got in, turned around, winked as the lift doors shut and he was gone. Ronnie walked over to the window and watched him drive away. Goodbye Toni 

Silvery moon

As Celia and Henry waited at the Church of St. Nicholas, they looked up at the starlit sky and the silvery moon. They had found a great place with a magnificent view of any ghostly goings on. Dressed in all their warm clothing, huddled in their sleeping bags amid the perfume of the summer blooms. Here, have a drop of this, says Henry, pouring a whiskey for Celia in the flasks lid. The evening is cool, but I feel it may get a lot colder later tonight, so keep wrapped up. Said Henry, checking the area with his new Olympus DPS-I 8x40 binoculars. Lets have a go. Said Celia, grabbing the binoculars and putting them to her eyes. Mmm, let me see, ooh, there is something moving over by the trees. What is it asked Henry. Oh, its gone now, she said, scanning all around her. Maybe it was one of The Watercress Woman! she said, laughing. You should never joke about those sorts of things as it might come and bite you on the bum. Henry said as he opened a big bag of Salt & Vinegar crisps.

From the woods, something or someone was watching…

Behind the curtain

Mabel was so happy in her new house and she was playing about with some of the new features it had. She just left Samuel to get on with his chores. He was measuring the windows for curtains. As he climbed up onto the steps, his eye caught something move behind the curtain in the house opposite. Getting down, he moved away from the window and found a place where he could sit and could still see the neighbours window clearly. Putting his earplugs in and starting listening to one of the bands new live tracks he had recorded, and then he saw something that made him switch off the music. He was sure he saw the outline of somebody watching the house, and it looked like whoever they were. They had a camera and were taking pictures. 

He trudged down the stairs, wondering whether he should mention it to Mabel.

Curling under the duvet

Barnetts room was large, with all modern comforts; his bed was king-sized with pure white cotton sheets. He had his own desk, a thirty-six-inch TV, a sprawling leather sofa, and, on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows, was his own private terrace. The bathroom had a power shower and there was a bath big enough for a football team. He awoke suddenly. My fucking head, he said as reached over for the bottle of water on the side table. Squeezing the cap off, he gulped it down in one go, his head was pounding, and he had a vomit taste in his mouth. He knew he had met up with Andy, but he couldnt remember anything about what went on during the evening. His throat felt like sandpaper and it hurt to move. He knew it was all self-inflicted, which meant hed get no sympathy from anyone. At least the curtains were still closed. He was always averse to bright light when he was hungover. Maybe he could sleep it off. Curling under the duvet, and closed her eyes, he wished he were nineteen again. In those days, he didnt get hangovers. Now, with each passing year, they got worse. This must be why so many older folks dont get drink as much. Theyd learnt the hard way. 

Barnett looked for his Hublot Classic Fusion Titanium watch on the clothes all over the floor. He found it under the bed and he checked the time. He picked up his mobile and noticed there were lots of texts and messages. He pulled the sheets over his head, lay back and turned over and mumbled, I will read them later… need more sleep…

His voice was deep.

The telephone rang in his private room as he entered. Picking it up, he said, ok, sweetheart, I got it, can you put it through? Click Hello, whos calling? Its me Ronnie. His voice was deep when he spoke. I will accept your assignment. Then the phone went dead. Toni put the telephone down and left the room. 

A nice cappuccino

Two figures came out of the early morning mist as it turned to drizzle, looking rather dishevelled and very much down in the dumps. They were trudging along, loaded up from head to toe with many bags. Nearing the village, they stopped and sat on a wooden bench by the green.

Well, that was a bloody waste of time. You dont say, came the reply. The morning drizzle turned to rain, making Celia and Henry seek shelter. Getting up, they headed back to The Rose & Crown at Mundy Bois as quickly as they could. Well, anything to say? Youre not usually this quiet. She said, stopping for a second to catch her breath. Lets just get back to the tavern and we can discuss the evening over a nice cappuccino. Then I will ring Barnett and Samuel, but yes, basically it was a night from hell. We have only two more days before we go home, so we need to decide what we are going to do with them. Then Henry threw the sleeping bag over his shoulder, grabbed his tripod and walked on into the gloom with Celia struggling to keep up with him.

Rogers Bar

Samuel had always wanted a garden shed for one reason only: it was so he could have his own man cave. Ever since Roger from the band had re-decorated his old garage to make it look like the inside of a pub. It was brilliant, with a bar, pool table, bar football, dartboard and even a fruit machine. The décor was perfect with old style wallpaper and lights, sporting pictures, bar stools and the windows had frosted glass reading Rogers Bar. On the wall was a television for watching football matches, cricket etc. Behind the bar were pint glasses, shot glasses, wine glasses, whiskey glasses and to round it all off above the bar, a last orders bell. To say Samuel was jealous was an understatement. Walking back towards the house, he smiled as finally he would be able to have his own one. As he stepped through the back door, he heard Mabel shout, Samuel, Uncle Henry, on the phone for you!

Feeling of emptiness

The taxi pulled up outside the large iron gates of Humblers lodge. Barnett opened the back door and he could feel the midday sun on his face, and it was deliciously warm. It was the first actual warmth of the summer, and he was glad to be home. He grabbed his bag, paid the driver and climbed out of the cab; the gate was open on one side. Strange, not like James, he thought to himself. As he walked up the path towards the house, he couldnt help feeling something was different, and a strange feeling of emptiness had descended upon the house. 

Something was missing. Unlocking the oak front door and entering the house, Barnett noticed one door had been left ajar, which made him frown. James would always do his evening routine of checking the house. As he did, he would lock and shut all the doors in this part of the house. Upstairs, the rule was, they were shut, locked and double bolted. James! You home? Barnett shouted as he entered the hallway, then stopping and listened, but all he could hear was the wall clock ticking and his heart thumping. The dread crept over him like an icy chill as he entered the dining room.

James! Where the fuck are you? Echoed up in the rafters. Putting his coat and bag softly on to the dining room table, he stood still, scanned the room, and listened. Taking his mobile from his pocket, he dialled a number and put it to his ear. Hi, this is your loyal servant, James Plenty. I am afraid I cannot get to the phone at the moment. Please leave a message after the tone and I will get back to you. Now he was really concerned and had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach. His heart beat harder and faster, the adrenaline rises. The negative thoughts keep coming in waves and the arguments in his head started. 

His eyes focused on the open door and he hurried it. He did not own a gun any more after Andy had confiscated his old pistol, so he looked around the dining room for something he could use to protect himself. He noticed the kitchen and headed towards it. Pushing open the swing door, he quickly opened the knife draw and grabbed the biggest one he could find. Barnett weighed the knife in his hand. It was not very heavy with a serrated edge, but would cut on first contact, even with minimum pressure. The stairs ahead were twisted in a perfect spiral. Barnett was scared and his hand shook as held on to the banister as he moved as quietly as he could towards the landing. The voices ran through his head, taunting him.

Got your wife killed. Now it could be poor old James… You are a useless, nobodys safe around you. Barnett!

From the landing, he could see into Jamess room through the open door. It looked a mess but luckily seemed empty. There was a light on inside and the door was ajar. The chairs had been knocked over and broken cups lay on the floor. The bookshelves were crushed, and all Jamess books scattered all over the place. Even his family portraits were smashed on the floor with their frames broken. He certainly put up a good fight. Barnett frowned, picked up some photographs from the broken picture frames and sat on the bed wondering what to do next.

Tied up in the boot.

The Mercedes A220 sat idle in the lay-by, looking down on the large house that was just visible in the morning mist. There were two occupants of the car, one sat in the drivers seat, the other was tied up in the boot.

Earl Grey tea.

Henry stood looking out of the window drinking a cup of Earl Grey tea and munching on a Lotus Biscoff Caramelised Biscuit that was supplied with the room on the morning tray. He brushed the crumbs from his jumper and mumbled to himself, Im surprised Barnett hasnt called me back, I hope he does soon or else I will be in trouble, Celia will go nutsat me, I promised I would ring last night. He said, putting the empty cup on the side table. Through the window came the sunshine, and it seemed to lift Henrys spirits. Picking up the phone, he dialled Barnetts number.

Eyes cast down.

Barnett got up from the bed and picked up the vintage black telephone. Hello, can I help? he tried to stay calm even though his mind could not stop thinking about James. Hello Bruv, how you doing? Is that you Henry? Yes indeed, how is the talk of-the-art world? You must be a millionaire! Henry said, trying to sound like Delboy from Only fools and horses. Barnett was not really in the right frame of mind to talk to Henry so… Very funny Henry, but I am just with somebody at the moment. Would you mind if I catch up with you later, say 7.00pm tonight? No problem, Barnett but please do as Celia is driving me crazy, she needs to talk to you. Promise I will and give her my love.Will do, about seven then and on this number than its my new mobile. Cheers bruv. The phone went dead. Barnett put the phone down and sat back on the bed. His shoulders were slumped and his eyes cast down.

She just looked at him.

The door to Henrys room suddenly burst open and in came an angry-looking Celia. well have you rang him? she blurted. I ra… every time he opened his mouth to say something, she got angrier. Forcing Henry to hold her still and look straight into her eyes and whisper. He is going to ring us tonight at seven, o.k. She just looked at him with those eyes of hers. When she looked at him like that, there was nothing he can say that will make it better. I think something is wrong, Henry. I just have this feeling. Listen Sis, we will find out later and I also think we should have one more night ghost hunting then go home. What do you think? Calming down, she stood up and hugged him and said, Thats fine with me. Love you Bruv. Love you, Sis.

He came into view.

Uncle Henry, how lovely to hear from you. I have been meaning to call you, but as you probably heard me and the missus have purchased a house in Stoke Newington. Said Samuel excitedly. Brilliant, James told me. He said your band has signed a record deal and a new manager. I always knew you would make it one day; Sam. Mabel must be over the moon. She is, and you can guess what shes planning next, eh Henry? I think I can guess. Henry said with a chuckle. We picked the area, as it will be near our new management and Camden with all its venues. Barnett wanted me to move nearer to him but it would have been really awkward for gigs, rehearsals and meeting up with the band as they all live in London. Henry butted in saying, Talking of your dad, have you heard from him recently? Samuel walked over to the window to admire his new patio and, as he did, he was sure somebody had disappeared from the window opposite as he came into view. 

Yeah, we went to visit him a couple of weeks ago, and he made us a lovely meal. He was in excellent form. Turning from the window, he said, He even took us out in his beloved car! Why? Something wrong? Henry didnt want to make Samuel worry, Nothing, its just that I havent heard from him for a while, but anyway I rang him tonight, so everything is fine. When can we come and see the new house, then?Soon as her ladyship gives us the ok, you and Celia are first on the list. The doorbell rang, making Samuel jump. Got to go, Henry, somebodys at the door. Catch up with you soon. Mabel sends her love. No problem, Sam, be in touch, love you both. Said Henrys voice fading away as Samuel hurried down the hallway.

English teapots and Russian dolls

Antiques filled the shelves of the little shop. Many of them had lost their lustre, and they stood on display gathering dust. There was everything from around the globe and there they were, the antiques, the gems of times past from English teapots and Russian dolls, all of them covered in a fine layer of dust. The air inside smelt of mothballs and the windows were grimy with years of dirt from the London streets. But this shop was not an ordinary shop; this was Ronnies shop, little more than a front for organised crime. The shop sign read Authentic Antiques in gold fading lettering it was tucked away in Holloway Road, London, it had been in the family for generations and he knew all of their customers by name. It blended nicely in with the rest of the street, the sort of place you wouldnt take any notice of.

Ronnie unlocked the front door without putting on the light, then locked it behind him, carefully checking if he hadn’t been followed.He took his gun and holster and put it on the counter with a dull thud. He carefully undid his overcoat and hung it on the coat stand and then he turned towards the door at the back of the shop, unlocked it and entered.

The room had one door. No light. No windows. Or way out. They had tied him up. He was trapped and imprisoned in the dark, in a sitting position and chained to the wall. Good morning, James. He couldnt move any of his body, but his eyes said everything.

Sky-blue flowers.

Henry stood in the hallway outside Celias door, looking down at the carpet as he waited while she finished showering. It looked a decade too old and with an old-fashioned pattern of large flowers with worn and thread-bare patches. He was just thinking they could do with a new one when the door opened and his fresh-looking sister walked in with the prettiest smile he had seen in a while said. Good evening, Henry,she said, standing back from the door and letting him enter. She was wearing a pink dress, with sky-blue flowers, which shed purchased when they were in Seville. Her attire quite surprised him, as he hadnt seen her in anything else other than jeans and a fitted shirt all week. Shes after something, he thought to himself as he sat down on the only chair in her room. Shutting the door, she came and stood by the window. There was something in the way she was standing there that made him certain she was planning something.

Tea, coffee or something stronger for my lovely brother? She sighed and looked at him with those enormous eyes, and he knew at any moment she was going to strike. Henry… Uh ho, here it comes, he thought to himself. I have been thinking you know how you said we could go to Seville next year, well what about if we went this year?There it was. He smiled inwardly. I have been looking online and we could book a week in September. It will still be hot and we could go back to the Hotel Boutique Palacio Pinello in central Sevilles beautiful Old Town. Remember, the staff treated us like royalty and the location was perfect. Well… she cut Henry off there and continued. So, we could still do the last ghost hunt. Yes, Henry? Well… Please Henry.He was just about to answer when the Hotel telephone started buzzing.

Picking it up, he looked at Celia and nodded his head. Hello, Henry Webb, can I help you? OK, can you put him through? Thank you.Putting his hand over the mouthpiece, he said. Its Barnett. She stood on the other side of the room, hopping from one foot to the other like a little girl. She knew she had got what she wanted.

Hotel telephone started buzzing.

A frowning Barnett sank into the armchair with a glass of whiskey in one hand, the phone in the other, and a face full of sadness. In his large, empty, quiet, lonely house in West Yorkshire.

Barnett, is that you? Thanks for ringing back. The phone went quiet. Then he answered, trying to sound cheerful, which wasnt easy. Hi Henry, still chasing ghosts? Caught any yet? Seen any Ghouls, phantoms or poltergeists throwing things around your room? said Barnett, laughing. Yeah, yeah, Ive heard it all before. Anyway, Celia wants to talk to you as shes worried about her little brother, and hows that rascal butler of yours? Still winding you up, I hope. Barnetts facade melted. I urgently need to talk to you about James. Can you give me a ring when sis isnt around? Henry looked round at Celia, who was signalling with her hand to give her the phone. Er. Yeah. No problem. Im passing you over to your sister. Talk soon Bruv.

Grabbing the phone, she sounded not too happy with Barnett saying: So finally you get in touch with us eh, too good for us now just cos you can paint pretty pictures. Now youre famous. We are lucky to get a phone call, let alone a visit. She continued, Well, even if you dont, we care about you and worry about you living in that big house on your own. Its not good for you Barnett, youll make yourself ill again and…Barnett stopped her there, as he knew his sister could moan for England. Whoa, Celia, enough. He said sternly, I am the one whos doing all the visits to the family and asking you all up to the house all the time. So, lets get it into perspective, if you are so worried about me how is it you never take up my offers to any of my exhibitions or even or a slap up meal! Celias face was red with rage and she snapped. Pardon? Piss off Barnett! she yelled and slammed the phone down. Looking at Henry, she said, Im feeling really pissed off. Henrys expression changed, and he sighed and closed his eyes, leaning back in the chair.

Barnett realised they had cut him off, and the phone was dead. Said to himself. That went well.

Those painful memories.

That went well Samuels thoughts of the house next door kept going around his mind until there was no room for anything else. He had forgotten about his new house, his music, the band, and everything else. He needed to check it out, especially after what happened with Lydia, something he was still struggling to get over. Those painful memories scarred him deeply and horribly, and he was struggling to leave it behind. He had been watching next door, but nothing out of the ordinary had happened, so he decided it was time to get into the house. Barnett would go mad if he knew, but it was a risk he will take. He settled down for the night with his binoculars. Most people would watch TV. He was looking through peoples windows. What would Mabel think... she would kick me out?


He made his mind up.

Barnett did not want to get Andy involved yet. He wasnt happy with him anyway for leaving him in the pub the other night, going by the texts he got from him and the lads. Lets say he had learnt a lot more cockney swear words.

Whoever has kidnapped James, should be in touch soon, thought Barnett. He made his mind up. Knowing he could not just sit around and wait, so he decided to search for anything that may help him find out who had done this to James. He started his search for outside the front door all the way to Jamess room. It seems nowhere else in the house had been disturbed.

The heat of the day had ebbed away, and the sunshine has lost its brightness when Barnett slumped down in his favourite chair. He was tired and weary. Picking up the half empty glass of whiskey from the side table and gulped it down. Usually, he would have rung the bell for James to get him a refill, but not anymore. He would have to get used to getting things himself. He now realised how much he had taken him for granted. In fact, he was missing everything about him.

He had no luck with finding anything and decided that the days work was over and he would call it a day. 

Youll never find him. I would give up now! the voices in his head taunted him.


James tried to get up, but his arms were tied behind his back and then attached to a radiator. His mouth and legs were taped tightly. In the darkness he sat, muscles cramped and unable to move. The dark figure towering over him moved away, saying nothing, and back into the shadows. James was scared, but did not want to show it. But he could not hold back the fear spreading like a disease through his body as he lay there, not knowing what would become of him. From the darkness, the figure moved towards James, grabbed his head and tore away the tape from his face, then holding the back of his neck, he poured some water from a bottle into his mouth, almost choking him. I need you alive, James, said the deep voice. For now, he said, re-taping his mouth. Then he turned and left and locked the door behind him. James flopped back like a lifeless puppet, looked to the heavens, and said a prayer.

Celia tucked her arm into Henrys.

By nightfall, the familiar route to Pinnock Bridge didnt look so friendly as last time. Celia tucked her arm into Henrys as they trudged through the fading evening light. A fine mist appeared from nowhere, making everything gloomier. Even the woods looked eerie, and it was easy to imagine someone hiding behind each tree. Celia shivered saying, its very scary tonight, dont you think, Henry? Pulling his scarf down so he could answer, he said. Thats what we came for, isnt it? They continued along Mundy Bois road until they came to Smarden Bell Road, where Henry stopped and looked at the route he had worked out on his mobile. If we veer left here, we should be there in no time, he said, pointing down a narrow looking road, which led into the darkness of the woods. You sure? asked Celia, looking concerned. Come on, you big chicken, I thought you werent scared of ghosts? He said smiling and headed onwards. Henry had underestimated how dark it would be in the woods so he stopped and searched his backpack until he found his powerful 10000LM CREE T6 LED flashlight 5 Mode Zoomable Waterproof Torch and switched it on, then pointing it toward his sister who was lagging. When Henry shone the torch on her face, she looked terrified. Dont worry Celia, were almost there. Im sure the village is just around the corner. He said, spinning around and shining the torch beam ahead of him into the darkness. He could hear her moving closer to him when suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something moving fast through the thick maze of woodland. The densely packed trees loomed high above him and disrupted the reception on his mobile, which was now not working. He decided they were in too far in turning back; Celia had stopped about 20 metres behind and looked like she was tying up her shoe. The darkness pressed in on him from all sides as he headed back towards Celia. He could see how frightened she was, so as he neared her, he said. Its Ok sis, we can go back. Come and hold on to my arm. It was really dark now he could barely see where he was going, the path was uneven with knotted roots sticking up through the ground and he had to tread carefully around them, he noticed there was a deathly silence and suddenly nothing seemed to move around him even the trees were still. He was a few yards away from Celia and held his hand out to her.

The scream tore through Henry like a knife at the same time he was knocked to the ground. The scream came again, desperate, terrified... human - Celia! As he got to his feet, he could see a body being dragged by its feet onto the grass. The blood drained from his face. He felt his eyes widen and pulse quicken, and his heart was thudding like a bass drum. What the fuck! He shouted. Then he heard rustling coming from the ferns behind him.

Samuel all dressed in black.

Samuel woke up with a start. He had been having another bad dream again, the third time this week. It was always about the same thing, and he was fed up with it. In his dream hes searching a house as he has feels that someone is in the house watching him. He knows he is there but never finds him. Fuck it! I have got to get into next door or Ill never relax. He said, getting out of bed and putting on his newChelsea slippers. Creeping down the stairs, making sure he didnt wake Mabel, and made himself a coffee. Going into the back room, opened the sliding door on Mabels new wardrobe from Ikea and took out his recent presents. He opened the parcels while listening for Mabel at the same time; he checked each item and placed it on the floor in front of him. Lying there was a balaclava (black), an Under Armour Challenger Tracksuit Mens (black) and some Roshe Run Trainers (black). Samuel thought to himself, if Mabel doesnt kick him out for breaking into the house next door, she will for how much he had spent on the clothing. Then he smiled as he looked at himself in the mirror, all dressed in black.


The deep green 1959 Jaguar XK150 S 3.4-Litre Roadster pulled up slowly beside the police car and stopped. Barnett climbed out of his car and walked slowly towards it as the window slides open. What the fuck did you want to meet here for, Spider? He said, looking up at the big man. I am not sure; it just popped into my mind and stop calling me Spider. Shall we talk in the car or do you fancy a drink up to you?Said Andy. I could do with a drink, Barnett said as he opened the door for his friend. You sound depressed Spider; better make it two drinks!he said as he closed the car door, clicked the car alarm and followed Barnett. The inside of the Star Tavern hadnt changed at all. Barnett frowned as he took his jacket off and hung it over the back of his chair. Usual for you, Spider, anything to eat, sandwich, crisps, peanuts?Plain crisps would be great.

They keep telling him to forget, to let her go. How? He cant and he didnt want to. The wonderful memories keep him going and the bad ones make him want to curl under the duvet and never come out again. Thats why he chose this pub. He needed to see how he would react and deal with it again. There you go. Andy said as he placed the whiskey, a beer and the crisps on the table. No, plain crisps, Im afraid, me old mate. Taking his jacket off, he sat down and took a big swig of his Stella Artois. Ahh, thats better. He said before downing the other half. Still drink the old wife-beater then. Said Barnett. Andy laughed and tried to get the barmans attention by holding his hand up. Andy, I never really thanked you for what you have done for me and my family, how much you helped me when I was in the police force and with Lydia and Samuel. You have been a great friend to me and one day I will repay you. Andy had finally got his beer ordered by holding up the glass. Listen Barnett, I only did what anybody else would have done, but thank you for saying. But I still havent forgiven you for pissing off the other night The barmen came over with a tray and placed another whiskey and a Stella in front of Andy. On the tab, please. Do you realise you called me Barnett? he said as he reached over for his drink. Slip of the tongue, Spider, just a slip of the tongue. Now why have you been walking around like a wet blanket? Come on, whats up? Barnett put his glass down, looked Andy straight in the eyes, and said, I think someone has kidnapped James. Andys expression changed, and he held up the Stella glass.

Nothing moved.

There was a frosty chill in the air as the morning sun filled the forest; there was no sign of life to be found anywhere. Nothing moved in the woodland apart from time to time a flock of birds would cross the sky.

On the path lay a 10000LM CREE T6 LED flashlight 5 Mode Zoomable Waterproof Torch, with the beam still switched on.

The sky was a blackness it was so dark.

Samuel looked at his watch and then Mabel lying next to him driving the cows home; he quietly slid out of the bed and crept downstairs. Checking his watch again, he got the clothes from the wardrobe and started changing into them. Once he had changed, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. I look like the Cadburys Milk Tray Man from the sixties. He said under his breath as he took some items out of his toolbox on the kitchen table. He shut the back door behind him and locked it as he left, and headed to the bottom of his garden. Samuel found the darkness strange after living in the city. He had grown up used to having streetlamps, their light filtering in through the gaps in the curtains. The sky was a blackness it was so dark. When he looked skyward, he could see lots of bright stars dotted on the blackness of the night. The fence looked flimsy, and it was. He thought it was going to collapse as he pulled himself up and then dropped into the flower-bed in the neighbours garden. Samuel had picked a spot hidden from all windows just behind the large garden rubbish bin. So far so good,he thought to himself as he darted across the garden until he was kneeling down by the back door. He could feel the sweat trickle down his back. His head was boiling. He lifted the balaclava and wiped his forehead. Samuel had spent a lot of time planning this and he knew it would not be easy to get another chance. Barnett had showed him how to pick locks with a bump key when he was a police officer. He was just showing off, but Samuel had remembered every detail. He carefully listened and put the skeleton key into the keyhole, then turned it and it worked. Wow, how good is that, he thought to himself. Cosh in hand, he slowly opened the back door, noticing the build-up of newspapers on the mat. He stopped, held his breath, and listened. Not a sound. The house had seen better days. A few years ago, it was probably a really nice property, but now it all needed re-decorating. He headed to the stairs, shining the torch all around him, grabbing hold of the banister as he made his way up the stairs, listening carefully as he went. The only sound was the grandfather clock at the top of the stairs ticking the hours away. Samuel checked each room one by one; they were all bare and had no furniture in them at all. He came to the room, which overlooked his house, and he slowly turned the handle and opened the door. Shit. Samuel looked at the all the photographs on the wall. There were pictures of Barnett, Henry and Celia, James, and lots of him. He noticed they were all recent photographs. There was a camera on a tripod positioned to look into their new house. I knew it, he said, looking through the cameras lens. What fuckers doing this then? Im gonna get this bastard if it kills me. Samuel was going to take two photos, but thought better of it and pinned them back on the wall. As he did, he was sure he heard the front door opening. He pulled down his balaclava and stood deadly still and waited.


When did this all happen, Spider? After getting back from our drink at the Dublin Castle at Camden the next morning, I wanted to talk to you before I do anything. Blimey, thats a first. Usually, you would have been driving around the country chasing people with your old police revolver! Barnett didnt think this was funny and frowned at Andy. Seeing him getting upset, Andy said, Sorry, what you need to do is just wait for them to contact you, and Im sure they will. When they do contact me straight away and I will take over, do you understand, Spider? I said, I will take over. Get that through your stubborn head, will you? Barnetts frown disappeared, and he smiled. How you going to get home? Asked Andy. You might get stopped by the police, as you are over the limit. He said with a serious face. Barnett was just going to answer when Andy burst out laughing. Getting up and putting his jacket on, he said. Just kidding, did you say the only thing you found at the crime scene was a broken matchstick? asked Andy as held the pub door open. Have you got it on you? Shit, I knew you would ask me that. I left it in my other jacket when I changed. No problem, can you text me a pic and then send it? Andy gave Barnett a big hug and spoke. Drive carefully, Spider. I will be in touch. With that, he was gone into the night and the voice in his came calling.

What you going to do now? I suppose youll do nothing and let poor James end up like your wife!

Richard Ernest Webb

Ronnie sat at his desk in the dark, looking at some old photographs. Holding one up, he said, Richard Ernest Webb, still causing problems even when youre dead. Your son has a lot of new enemies now since he has started to poke his nose into what happened to you. I admire him though he always said he would like to come back one day and clear your name, maybe I would too. But a deal is a deal, he said as he lifted the telephone and put a handkerchief over the mouthpiece. Hello is that, Mr. Webb? Whos this? said Barnett. The muffled voice said. Dont talk, just listen. he said in his deep voice. I have James and if you want to see him again, I need you to send me something, then your butler will be given back to you. How do I know you have got him? I will send something to you in the post. You better not hurt a hair on his head? It wont be a hair. Your dad took some things that belong to me and I want them back. Once I have them, James, or should I say, most of him, will be returned to you. An angry Barnett said, Listen you cunt, I will find you wherever you are and kill you in a bad, bad way!Ignoring Barnett, he continued You need to find me an old red diary from 1977 and a revolver, a Belgian Browning Hi-Power Mk Once you have them, I will arrange for collection. Dont miss the postman, Mr. Webb!”” Fuck off! was the last thing he heard. 

“Who are you? What do you want? Money? Sex?

The large barn had seen better days, but it was out of the way of prying eyes. The years had taken its toll on the old place. Tiles were missing on the roof and the place was cold and draughty.

Celia came round. Realising her wrists were tied, she started panicking. She looked around for Henry and her heart skipped a beat when she saw him laying on some hay a couple of metres away. He was unconscious, but at least he was there with her. She tried to bite the rope binding her, but she realised it would be impossible to bite through it quickly. Suddenly, somebody behind her put something over her head. It felt rough like hessian and made her scream. Who are you? What do you want? Money? Sex? Henry had awakened just at that moment to hear this. They also put a sack over his head and they lifted him up and dropped next to his sister. Like his sister, his arms and legs were tied. Are you going to interrogate us? said Celia, talking in the wrong direction because of the sack. Are-we-going-to-kill-them-now, Constantin? The voice said with a strong Romanian accent. I have told you twice, alveady, ve will not kill them unless the man tells us to. Nicolae. Do you understand? Celia and Henry sighed with relief. We know their names now. Whispered Celia.

Did you check their vings? said Constantin. Yes, only loads-of-clothes and-food… Looking at a book he found in their bags he said, they-are-ghost-hunters. He said in his slow drawl. Who them?Nicolae said, looking at Celia and Henry. Suddenly, they both burst into laughter. Ha Ha, they are not very good ghost hunters, eh Nicolae? Give them someving to eat and drink, then tape their mouths shut.Said Constantin, walking out of the barn and heading towards into his Land Rover Defender 110 First Edition. Nicolae walked back to Celia, pulling the sack from her head. He waited until he heard the car drive away and then smiled, showing his rotten teeth and said, Money? Sex? Yeah!

 He kissed his mums locket.

He could hear heavy footsteps coming up the stairs. Holding the cosh above his head, he waited. Samuel was so frightened. He knew it wasnt manly to be scared, but he couldnt help it. Feeling the sweat drench his skin and the thumping of his heart against his chest as the footsteps halted outside the door. He was close enough to smell his aftershave… then he continued along the hallway and Samuel heard him relieve himself with a big, Argh. This was his chance and as the toilet flushed, Samuel disappeared down the stairs, out the back door and quietly re-locked it. The light was switched on in the bedroom as he ducked behind the bin, and like a tomcat, he was up and over into his garden. He crouched there for a while, catching his breath and thinking how lucky hed been, and kissed his mums locket that hung around his neck. He was out of sight now of the bedroom window and back in his kitchen, changing out of his dark clothes. Mabel never noticed him slide in next to her and he lay there thinking what he was going to do next?

Scrumping and the sun beating down.

Barnett slowly climbed the wooden ladder into the gloomy attic; he flicked the light switch and looked around, noticing a couple of his old paintings that he had forgotten about. He pulled himself up, ducking under the rafters, putting a builders hard hat on to protect his head, because of the times he had nearly knocked himself out, being 6 4tall. The floorboards creaked as he stepped on them and the many cobwebs seemed to dance in the gloom. He remembered exactly where his dad had placed the key. Taking a torch out of his pocket, he moved towards the brick wall and switched the torch on. Where the beam was pointing showed a brick that was not quite flat as the others. With his hands, he carefully pulled it out using his Swiss knife and stopped holding his breath and gave a sigh of relief… it was there just as he remembered. 

 The whole attic was full of all kinds of boxes, but he was looking for one in particular, and there it was. In the attics corner, he could see a brown leather chest with Richard Ernest Webb embossed on the front. He felt nervous as he knelt down, taking the key from his pocket. Lots of memories flooded his mind. The voices followed them. 

Your poor old dad, its about time you found out what happened to him?

Barnett frowned, turned the key, and lifted the lid. Images of his childhood flashed through his head. His father, Samuel, Mum, James, Celia & Henry, Grandma, Hopscotch, Picnics, Bedtime, Swings, Roller-skates, School, Holidays, Pens & pencils, Scrumping and the sun beating down. Oh, how he wished he could return to those pastures. 

The wind screeched through a gap in the skylight, bringing Barnett back to the real world. Taking out some items, he delved down into the chest and found what he was looking for. He knew he had seen them before when he used to play up in the loft and once emptied his dads things all over the floor; his dad caught him and made him put them all back. Telling him Never to open it again unless he was with him and showed him where he hid the key in case, he ever needed it. Holding the diary and a heavy object wrapped in a cloth, he wiped the dust from them and sat down on his mums old writing chair. He flicked through the diary and read a few pages and then carefully put it into his pocket. Gently unwrapping the cloth and placing the Belgian Browning Hi-Power Mk I revolver on the floor, he checked it making sure he didnt touch it. All was ok, and he removed the hard hat and wiped his brow before putting it onto the mannequins head. Ouch! Bollocks! he said as he thumped his head on the rafter as he stepped through the hatch.

The silver-grey Mercedes A220 cruised down the motorway, travelling south. Ronnie was driving and impatiently waiting for a phone call. At eighty miles per hour, the engine was only idling. The call finally came in on his car stereo, GPS Satnav Wi-Fi SD.

A ball of flame and a fist of grey smoke...

Hello Ronnie, where are you, me old mate? Busy, as you well know. Said Ronnie as he looked in the rear mirror and crossed into the fast lane. I hope I havent got anything to worry about as I am expecting some good news by now. Everything is going well, and I will meet up with you on Friday. I should have some good news and a present for you. Ronnie said as he flashed the car in front of him, doing seventy miles in the fast lane. Who does seventy in the fast lane? He thought to himself, fucking wanker! He moved closer to the back of the red BMW and was now was tailgating him. Great stuff, Ronnie, where do you want to meet? asked Toni. Ronnie could see the guy in the car in front was panicking now and trying to get in to the overtaking lane. Suddenly the car swerved, out of control. The two on-coming cars tried to avoid it - and failed. Both of them hit in a three-way head-on collision. There was an explosion, a ball of flame and a fist of grey smoke... A moment later, he could see the road light up with another explosion. 

Come to my house in Regents Park and we can either stay in for a drink or go to my local. Is that ok Ronnie? You having problems?enquired Toni. Nothing I cant handle. Is eight oclock, ok? Perfect, see you then. The GPS went dead as Ronnie dropped into the slow lane. He watched the flashing blue lights speed past him.

Stabbing him quickly six times.

But dont you want to kiss me if were having sex, Nicolae? Or you may want oral sex. Henry could hardly believe what he was hearing. Or I could suck your… Celia! Enough. shouted Henry. You, be-quiet-or-I-will skin-you-alive. Said Nicolae, turning and walking over to him. Celia said sounding as sexy as she could, Come on then, my lips are waiting for your huge penis. Celia! Please! Henry said before Nicolae kicked him in the head and picked him up by the throat and squeezed until he couldnt breathe. In desperation Celia said, Leave him. I want you to do it to me now! Nicolae looked at Celia, then Henry, and let him drop to the floor in a heap. Deal-with-you-later. he said looking down at Henry.

He stood over Celia and undid his flies. She heard the zip and said, You will have to take the sack off my head if you want full oral sex.

OK, he said and lifted it over her head. His coarse whisky tongue licked at her skin, but she was ready. She had hiddena knife in her sock and Nicolae never found it when he searched for her. She lay under her blanket all night, biting through the rope around her wrists, and then she worked on the rope tying her legs. Her luck was in yesterday when she had talked the not very intelligent Nicolae to leave the tape off their mouths, because they may suffocate during the night if they wore them and what would Constantin say.

Nicolae wrapped his arms around her and fondled her breasts. Now he was aroused and pressed his erect penis against her. She cut his throat with one quick slash, stabbed him quickly six times in his chest before he fell, grabbed a pitchfork she had hidden and stabbed it deep into his face. She watched until hed stopped breathing and walked across to check on Henry. He was badly bruised, but he would live. She had kept him in the dark about what she was going to do, as she couldnt take the chance of him ruining her plan. My god, sis, youre incredible, mad, but incredible. I should have known seeing you were in British Military Special Forces for years. Henry said. Celia helped him up. Barnett trained me as well, you know. They looked at each other with raised eyebrows as they heard a car pulling up outside the Barn.

Just going for a wee-wee.

Samuel didnt get back to sleep from worrying about his earlier experience and what to do next. His two options were going to the police or contact Barnett. He knew he wouldnt be able to deal with it on his own; his recent experience had changed his mind. Time to see the old man. He will know what to do. Thought Samuel as he headed towards the bedroom door. Where are you going? Said a half-asleep Mabel. Go back to sleep, sweetheart, just going for a wee-wee. He wasnt. He was in the spare room watching next door.

Morning Mr. Webb

The doorbell needed a new battery, but Barnett still heard it and rushed towards the front door, leaving the aroma of coffee and toast to him. Morning, Mr. Webb, said the cheerful-looking postman, handing Barnett a small parcel. Do I need to sign anything? Not today. He said, waddling away with his bag bulging. Barnett tore away at the small package as dread crept over him like an icy chill. He placed the small stainless steel cigar tube case container on to the worktop. His heart was throbbing as he opened it up. His wide-open eyes reflected the feeling of anger and hatred spreading through his body as he looked down at the familiar wedding ring on the severed finger. I will find whoever did this and he will suffer, I promise you, James. He sat down and rang Andys number, but there was no answer. All he got was his out of office message.

He filled the kettle and started eating a stale piece of toast from breakfast as the telephone rang. Good old Andy, he thought to himself as he picked up the receiver. Morning Mr. Webb, did you receive my gift? Barnett was caught by surprise and said nothing while he gathered his thoughts. He decided to change his tactics and not show him how much he was hurting. Are you there Mr. Webb? I have been looking forward to hearing your voice. Yes, thank you for my gift.Barnett said politely, even though rage filled his body. I have some gifts for you in return, he said, looking at the gun and diary on the side table. I have found the items you requested. How can I get them to you? he enquired. That is good news, so I do not have to cut anything else off of your lovely butler, he said, sounding very pleased for himself. We will have to meet up for a swap soon. How do I know you truly have the items? One second. He said, putting the phone down and fetching the diary. I will pick a page from the diary and read it to you which should put your mind at rest. he continued. Page 48 May 3rd 1976. Roger been arrested. If he tells the truth, we will all be in big trouble. It might come out anyway. We need to sort it and make it appear an accident… is that enough for you to believe I, have it?Perfect, Mr. Webb, we have a deal. I will be in touch to arrange the exchange. Look forward to meeting you. The phone went dead, and he smashed it down on to the receiver so hard it shattered into pieces. 

Toni heres the plan.

Mmm, very nice, 8 bedroom semi-detached, Regents Park Road N17. Ray said to himself as he pulled into a parking space in his silver-grey Mercedes A220. The place was incredible. Not bad for a copper, eh? A bent one, though. Getting out of the car, he checked his watch, picked up his gun from the front seat, but left the holster. He walked across the road and looked at the house and then walked on. I can see why hes meeting me down at the local. Not good enough for you, eh? Toni. He said as he headed to The Windsor Castle pub where Toni had booked a table. Luckily, it wasnt too far. The walk was pleasant and gave Ronnie time to think. Things had not gone quite to plan and they should have been further down the road than they were. He knew Toni would want to know why and wont be happy. Maybe I am getting too old for all this malarkey, he thought to himself as the pub came into view.

The Windsor Castle was full. He looked around and saw Toni Sitting at one table. Trying to get across to him wasnt easy, and he annoyed a couple who were eating and a family and their teenage children as he barged through. Seeing him, Toni stood up and pointed to the chair opposite him. He looked good in his suit, flawless. A group of young women on the next table who were slightly tipsy kept giving him the eye.

I see youve pulled then. Ronnie said, nodding to the table behind. He smiled and sitting down said, those days are over my friend. Im a happily married man now. He picked up the menu and said, they do some nice dishes in here, Ronnie. What you drinking? Bacardi and Coke, please.

They ordered their meals and then Toni said, Well Ronnie, I would ask how was the family was but I know you dont have any. I could ask you how business is, but I wont, as I am your business. We could talk about football, but you dont like it. We could discuss politics, but we know you dont give a fuck. So, what do we have left? Ah yes, what is it now? Any ideas Ronnie? Toni said and then took a sip of his White Russian. Shit, here we go. Didnt take long, did he? Ronnie thought to himself. The waiter asked Toni to taste the red wine, which he did, and then the starter arrived. Well Ronnie, any ideas? Everything is going well, James is safely tied up, literally and I should have the diary and revolver soon Wiping his mouth with the napkin he said, soon, what is soon? Ronnie finished his starter and sipped his drink. Tomorrow.OK, good, and at the same time, are we going to finish the deal?Ronnie said, moving his glass to make way for the main course. Mmm, this looks good, he said as he prodded the beef. As a waiter walked past, he caught his eye and asked him for a couple of more drinks. Thats the plan.

They both got stuck into the Beef Wellington and then the Tiramisu - Coffee Flavoured Dessert from Italy. Without Toni saying another word. They enjoyed the coffee and Toni lit a cigarette even though smoking wasnt allowed, annoying everybody around him.

Toni leaned across the table, beckoned Ronnie nearer, and whispered. This is what you are going to do, or you are a dead man. You will finish the assignment I gave you by tomorrow. You will also bring me the items by tomorrow. I will pay you. Then I dont want to see your fucking face again. He finished his drink and then continued. I have also changed a few things. Ronnie and enlisted a few of my old friends to make sure this all happens. I have also increased the body count because of circumstances beyond my control. My friends are not happy Ronnie and when they are not happy, people seem to die. Toni then got up, putting a pile of money on the table and spoke. I wont be seeing you again, Ronnie. Live long and prosper. A gigantic man appeared at the pub door and didnt take his eyes off of him and then as his boss got closer, he nodded and followed him into the night.

Ronnie lit another cigarette to everybodys disgust, took a drag and said, Well, fuck my old boots! I wasnt expecting that.

The peephole

Celia and Henry held a leg each and dragged the lifeless body to where the hay was piled, Cover him up and clean up the blood as best you can Bruv, she said peeping through a hole in the barn wall at the Land Rover Defender 110 parked outside. Hes on his phone to someone, but I cant hear what theyre saying. She said, hiding the pitchfork. Whats the plan, then? Henry said, trying to cover the bloodstains with his foot. Blitzkrieg* Henry, Blitzkrieg. We got to move fast, hit him before he knows it. You sit where you were and put the sack over your head and leave it to me. Constantin climbed down from the car and headed towards the barn but stopped and just stood there staring, he seemed apprehensive to get any nearer and took his gun out of his pocket. Shit, he knows something is up. Get up in the hayloft, quick. Take this with you. handing him Nicolaes revolver. Celia carefully looked back through the peephole; he was nowhere to be seen. She heard the gunshot before she felt the pain in her arm; the bullet wound was slight but somewhat ragged around the edges but barely bleeding. She checked the exit wound and cut off the blood-soaked sleeve. Two more gunshots coming from outside the barn, which just missed her. She could see Henry was panicking and worried about her injury. He looked like he was going to climb down from his hiding place. She mouthed to him she was all right and with her hand signalled for him to stay put. Suddenly, Constantin was sprinting towards her, firing as many shots as he could. Fear gripped her heart. This was it. She shut her eyes and waited for the inevitable.

His aim was true. The bullet went straight through Constantins head. He was dead before he hit the ground. He never knew what hit him. Celia opened her eyes to see Henry standing in the hayloft holding a smoking gun. Didnt know you were such an excellent shot, Henry.

*Blitzkrieg (German: lightning war military tactic calculated to create psychological shock and disorganization in enemy forces through the employment of surprise, speed, and superiority in material or firepower)

Samuel had a great idea.

As fate would have it, Mabel was meeting a friend, and they were going shopping for bits for the new house. Knowing Mabel, she wouldnt be back till late, as her shopping trips always seem to end up with a drink or two. So, Samuel had the day and the house to himself. He thought it was sensible to ring his dad first and arrange a visit. He stood by the upstairs window and dialled the number. Then, like a ghost, a figure appeared in the window opposite and just stared at him from behind the curtains. Shit, he knows I was in there. There was still no answer from Barnett, so he left a message. Hi dad, can you call me when you can? Its important. Love you. In the window opposite whatever or whom it was just stood there and Samuel had a great idea to take a picture of him with his phone to prove to Barnett he existed. Samuel held the mobile up and touched the button. When he looked back at the image; there was nothing there. Bollocks! he shouted as his mobile rang and he answered it. Hello Sam speaking. Whos calling? Hello Samuel, the last time you called me sounding like that we ended up at hell house. You, ok? Samuel was so happy to hear his dads reassuring voice. Listen dad, there are strange things going on at the new house.Youre not the only one. Said Barnett, interrupting him. No way, you as well. I need to come and see you urgently. When can I come?

Can you come today, Samuel? Brilliant, dad, I am on my way. See you soon. He said, grabbing his new car keys and wrote Mabel a note.

You wont have many family members left soon the way youre going!

The dark voice swirling round Barnetts head had returned, frowning as he slumped down into the big comfy armchair and opened the diary. A glass of whiskey stood on the wooden side table next to him. He took a sip and started reading.

Opening it, he nearly choked.

The detective who we shall call Toni has threatened to get even with the banker for not giving him a loan. Ended up him being carried into the basement, he weighed a ton and with every step we took, he got heavier. Finally, on the ground floor. We sat him in a sitting position and chained him to the wall… etc.

Barnett read every single page wearing his frown and when hed finished (the diary and the whiskey) he just sat there staring at the name at the bottom of the page. Toni Romano

He unwrapped the gun when the doorbell rang. Barnett looked out the window to see a mud splattered police car was parked out the front of Humble Lodge. Barnett opened the door to a tired looking Detective Andy Lancaster. Sorry, its taken so long, Spider, but the world has gone mad! Tell me about it. Said Barnett, leading him down the hallway to the dining room. What happened to your unmarked police car? Barnett said, picking up his hat from a chair for Andy. Write-off,he said as he sat down. You are having a bad time, arent you? After pouring a drink for both of them, he sat in the chair opposite. As Andy gulped back his whiskey, Barnett placed something that looked like a cigar holder in front of him on the arm of his chair and then sat down opposite him. Andy poured another drink and said, Whats this? You know I dont smoke anymore. Opening it, he nearly choked, What the fuck! He said and got up out of his chair. He turned to Barnett, looking white.

Thats not Jamess fucking finger, is it? Want cunt did that? Fucking hell, Spider, you could have warned me. What the hell is going on?Pouring them both a drink he said, sit down Andy and I will run through it all with you. Fucking hell Spider, youll be the death of me.

 last saw him in The Star Tavern. Can I take these? As they would be a lot safer with me, pointing to the gun and diary. Problem is, Andy, then he will either cut more pieces off of James or just kill him if he thinks we are on to him. Yeah, I see your point. What if I take the case over and you keep out of it? I think it maybe be better to continue for now but working with you Andy. You could put a wire on me and keep close to me until we have got James and then its over to you. Andy thought about it for a minute and then said reluctantly, Maybe. When I get back to the station, I will write a report and run it by my guvnor, Toni. You remember him, dont you, Spider? He used to work with your dad. Said Andy, getting up to leave. Barnetts look changed, and he frowned at the mention of his name. I remember Toni. Wasnt he one of the four who accused my dad of corruption? Dont know, Spider. It was a long time ago. Tara Spider. And he was gone into the night. Barnett picked up the diary and said to himself. I swore to Lydia I would prove my dads innocence one day. Well, dad the day may just have has arrived.

I am going to ring Barnett.

Henry patched her up as best he could from his medical box, but knew he needed to get her to a hospital or a professional doctor ASAP. She was still conscious and said she was fine. Please let me call an ambulance, Celia. How is going to explain this to them and we dont even know if there are more of them coming? Luckily, the bullet went right through my arm and didnt hit a bone. You have patched it up pretty good for an amateur, Henry, she said, holding his hand. My scout training in First Aid. He said smiling but worried inside. I am going to ring Barnett. Hell know what to do. And you have a phone, do you? she asked sarcastically. Shit, they took our mobiles! A guardian angel must have been looking down on them as the sound of a phone started ringing under a pile of hay. They looked at each other and Henry hurried to where the ringing was coming from. Brushing the dirt and hay from Nicolaes body, avoiding to look at his head, he found the mobile and rushed back to Celia, panicking. What shall I do, what shall I do? Quickly answer it, you idiot, pretend youre Nicolae and play along with him, so can we find out who it is? What is going on? Where are you a couple of Romanian twats? W-ea-r-ej-u-s-tg-e-t-t-i-n-g s-om-e p-e-t-r-o-l. Celia raised her eyebrows at him. You alright? You sound odd. Were you on the piss last night? the voice was sad. y-e-s, Henry said. Celia shut her eyes in disbelief. Listen, you wanker. You and Constantin are to get rid of the bodies and disappear. I dont care where you go, but hurry. Your money will be put into your account as soon as this is done. Now fuck off!

Celia groaned as the pain spread up her arm again and she said, now ring Barnett… it will be safer. Then she shut her eyes for a minute.

Wheres my favourite butler?

The Mini Countryman Plug-in Hybrid pulled up at the big iron gates and Samuel got out and pressed the intercom button. Its me, he said. Whos me? Stop pissing about, dad and open the gate. You like my new gates then, eh? The gate started opening as Samuel jumped into his new car and pulled up to the large house. Barnett was waiting at the door, his arms held out in front of him. He grabbed Samuel and lifted him up, and gave him a big bear hug. Youre crushing me, dad.Samuel enjoyed it really. This is your new car then, he said, walking over to it and shielding his eyes from the sun so he could see inside. Nice. He said as they entered the house. Oh yeah, I forgot you are rich and famous now. Can I get you something to drink? Tea, coffee, or a nice cold beer? A beer would be great. Wheres my favourite butler? Dont tell me youve given him a day off. Samuel said, sitting down. Barnetts expression changed as he walked to the fridge to get a beer. I dont believe it. You have only gone and got yourself a Samsung HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart TV, 50 He looked round at it and said, well youre not the only one whos doing well, my boy.

The atmosphere changed as Barnett said in a strange tone. I have some bad news about James to tell you. Lets sit down and get this over with. Samuel, our lovely butler, has been kidnapped and…Barnett explained all the gory details to Samuel, who sat there listening with a look of shock on his face and, for a moment, looked as if he was going to cry. His anger exploded, fucking brilliant! We got to do something, dad?

We need to plan this carefully or we could lose our lovely butler forever, before that tell me whats going on with you. Barnett offered Samuel another beer and began to tell what had been going on. Putting his drink down, he paced the floor, never stopping for even a moment. There is a weirdo living next door to us in our new house, dad. Hes been taking pictures of me and all my family and pinning them on his fucking wall! Hearing this Barnett arose from his chair and grabbed Samuel by the shoulders, Whats this you are saying about your new house? Yeah dad, thats why I came to see you, I knew you wouldnt be happy but I broke into his house one night to check it out and I think he may have seen me leaving. Samuel, are you mad? Why didnt you tell me? he started shouting but was halted by the sound of his mobile ringing in his pocket. What now, for fucks sake, he said, grabbing it.

Barnett Webb, he said, not recognising the number. It surprised him when he heard the voice of Henry. Barnett, we need your help us urgently! Celias been shot and needs a doctor, but we cant go to the hospital as we were kidnapped and we had to kill two of the kidnappers to escape. (breath) There were three of them and one of them is left. He is the boss and he will come after us. (breath)

Are you on drugs or drunk, Henry? Or is this some sort of Joke? I am already in the middle of a lot of trouble and dont need you to piss me about now. So, I am going to cut you off ok. (Quiet voice) Please help us, Barnett, we wont survive without you asked Celia. Sounding in agonising pain. Barnett could feel it in her voice and said, Be there as quick as possible. Get Henry to text me the postcode and details.Love you Barnett. Barnett grabbed his coat and Samuel Youre coming with me. I will explain on the way. The Mini Countryman Plug-in Hybrid sped through the opening gates and off into the night.


He removed the dirty bandage that was wrapped around his hand.

James lay in his own faeces and urine. He was in pain, cold, hungry, and thirsty, but he would not give up. In the shadowy darkness of the room, there was a silhouetted figure watching him. Morning James. How are you today? I think you need a shower and a change of clothing, as you could be on your way home today. Ronnie said as he unlocked the chains holding him to the radiator. James bent forward and tried to get up, but was too weak. He felt himself being picked up by a giant of a man who lifted him up and carried him out of the darkroom along a hallway and into a shower room. Removing all of Jamess clothes, putting them into a black plastic bag; he then sat him on a stool in the shower and turned it on. The warm water had a healing effect on James and he felt the life returning to his hurting body and he reached for the shower gel and washed his himself. He removed the dirty bandage that was wrapped around his hand, revealing the stump that once was his finger. The big guy said nothing but watched him like a guard dog and every now would point or gesture at something. He turned the shower off and gave James a warm towel to dry himself on, and then some clean clothes of sorts. James slowly got dressed in the slightly too big garments he was given. Looking in the mirror, even in his odd clothes, he was feeling human again. He turned to his guardian and said, thank you for your kindness, who just looked down at him and pointed to a door ahead of him. It was a small office that looked out into what looked like Aladdins cave. The big man pointed to a chair for James to sit on and then chained him to the radiator that was after he had gently re-bandaged his hand with the missing finger. He left the room and came back with some food and drink on a tray, pulled up a chair and sat down beside James and fed him like a child.

Ronnie was watching from a seat outside. His expression never changed, and his gaze was unwavering and unabashed.

Now it was up to his brother…

Celia was not in a good way, and Henry was concerned the other kidnapper would return any minute. So, he decided he would put her into Constantins car and then they could get away if he turned up. He found the keys in the back pocket of his lifeless body and then checked it was clear in the spyhole. And seeing everything was calm, picked up as much of their stuff and headed to the Land Rover Defender 110. Halfway there, he felt the mobile vibrate in his coat pocket. He continued towards the car and pressed the button on the key to unlock the door. Cramming everything into the boot, he looked at his phone and read the text that had arrived. It was from the real evil sounding man who rang before and read: Is everything sorted? Ring me when you can. R. Henry texted back. Will do then headed back as fast as could to Celia. He hid the bodies as best as could and made the barn look normal. Seeing a wheelbarrow, he carefully lifted and placed her in it and pushed her to the car. He struggled to lift her into the car without hurting her, but finally she was on the back seat. Now he had time to check how she was doing and change her dressing. Now it was up to his brother…

Nearly there, dad

Barnett was never a good passenger, and he drove Samuel mad telling him to do this, turn here, mind that car, what speed are you doing? He was so glad when Pluckley village appeared on his satnav. Nearly there, dad he said reaching over to change the radio station Barnett had selected. Hey, what you doing? he said. This is good music.Yeah, dad there s nothing like good music and thats nothing like good music, and laughed at his own joke. What was the address? asked Samuel. Smarden Road. We are minutes away. I will text Henry and ask him to watch out for us, said Barnett, touching his new Glock 17 pistol down by his feet. There he is, said Barnett, as the headlights shone on to Henry wildly waving and pointing where to turn. The Mini Countryman Plug-in Hybrid followed him and stopped as close to the Land Rover Defender 110 as he could. Barnett undid his safety belt and was out of the car in a flash. He hugged his brother. Shes in the back of the car, Barnett, and shes not great. Another set of headlights turned on to the small side road and crawled towards them. Henry pulled Nicolaes revolver from his pocket as Barnett walked towards the vehicle, followed by the others. Its ok Henry, put your gun away or else you may frighten the doctor away.

Away with the fairies

After stopping at The Rose & Crown at Mundy Bois to get Celia and Henrys things, they headed back to Barnetts house to rest and recoup before finding James. Driving was Samuel, next to him telling him how to drive was Barnett, and in the back was Celia away with the fairiesnext to Henry. Celia was resting after the doctor stitched her up and gave her pain-killers, saying she needed lots of rest and he would call back next week to check on her. Brilliant bruv, getting a doctor out to see her. He was good. What did you do with the other car? Said Henry, wiping his sisters brow. Samuel and me tidied the barn up and put the two bodies in the back and drove to Deming Woods and buried them. Then we pushed their car down a steep hill we found turning it into quite a mess. You sound like professionals. Have you done this sort of thing before? asked Henry, frowning. No, we just watch A lot of telly, dont we dad? Barnett ignored him. By the way Henry, did you catch any ghosts? No. came the stern reply as the laughter filled the car. Celia smiled, too.

It is time to finish it.

Toni sat in his Sauna sweating but it wasnt just the steam, things were going wrong and he of all people never got things wrong. Standing up and doing his dressing gown, he muttered, When is Ronnie going to get back to me and whats he doing with James? Is Barnett alive or dead and whos got the diary and gun? Wheres those idiots, Constantin and Nicolae? It seems they have gone AWOL and they dont answer any of my calls, and to round it off, my fucking partners are on my back day and night. He continued his rant. It all deteriorated when he started to stick his nose in asking questions about his fucking dad, another do-gooder! He walked across the room to his gun cupboard and, looking at his selection of guns, said, It is time to finish it.

Batter fried crispy squid.

Barnett decided the meeting would be around the main table in the Dining room. It was a grand space. They stacked the enormous mahogany table with food and drinks, but he had to order the main meal from a takeaway, as he wasnt the best of cooks, unlike James.

His family sat around him for the first time in many years, which made Barnett get quite tearful. Welcome, one and all. Have we all got a drink? Yes, ok can we stand, except Celia of course and raise a glass to absent friends! which they did. A few more toasts later, they sat down to eat. Please eat up before it all gets cold. Barnett said.

Everybody chatted away while they ate their selection from: Minced lamb, ginger and mixed herbs and spices cooked on a skewer. Batter fried crispy squid from the southern coasts of India. A mixed platter combination of monkfish, roasted paprika chicken tikka, barra kebab, & chicken chops. Tiger prawns in a highly spiced hot, sweet and sour sauce, served on a puree.

Then Barnett banged the table with his fist. Now it is time to get serious. Samuel, you said Mabel is staying with friends as we feel it is not the time to get her involved yet, agreed? They all agreed.

The room went quiet. Some time ago, we lost my dearest wife and Samuels mother, Lydia. You all know the story of what happened, some people believe it and some people dont. That is their right but now our family is being targeted again and I know why. He raised his glass regarding a picture of his dad hanging on the wall. Dad, you all know the horrible circumstances we lost him, accused of being corrupt and then him taking his own life… so they say. You know, I have always believed in his innocence. You only had to meet him to see he did not have an evil bone in his body. Well, this year I had time to go through his police records with the help of a friend and I found a few discrepancies. So, I contacted the Metropolitan Police, who never got back to me. Now somebody has taken James from us and whoever took him sent us back his finger to prove they had him. You could hear a deep intake of breath around the table. Then I receive a phone call with this bastards conditions if we want to see him again. What he wanted was these, pointing to the diary and the gun on the table. Nobody asked questions or talked, they just listened. This diary proves dad was innocent and murdered by his colleagues! Gasps sound around the room. The gun I think is mentioned in this book but has nothing to do with dad. While Barnett took a sip of his whiskey, everybody chatted and Samuel went to the fridge and grabbed a cold pack of four. Now I knew nothing about the two Romanians trying to kidnap Henry and Celia or the guy next door watching Samuel, but I think in one way or another, they are all connected. The only other person who knows everything about this is Andy Lancaster, a trusted friend in the Police Force.

I think the only way we can get to the bottom of this is to use Humble Lodge. My plan is to trap all of them, basically get them here on our home turf. What do you think? Samuel was the first to talk. How will that help me? Dad. Well, with your situation Samuel, I think we could get Andy to just break down the door and nick him. Now, Ok with me,he said, opening another beer. It will be my job to take care of James and maybe Henry and Celia could follow up on the guy who tried to kidnap them, who no doubt will reveal himself. Henry said but do you think she is well enough, Barnett? Celia butted in, Youre not keeping me out of this, Henry. After all, who looked after you at the barn?

Sitting down, Barnett said, We must get them here tomorrow, otherwise I think it may be the last we see, James, alive.

Oh dear, youre all going to die!

said the voice as it started to eat away at his confidence.

Swim in her dreams.

Mabel opened her front door and stepped into her lovely, warm house. She knew Samuel had wanted her to stay with her best friend, Louise. But as shes always said, theres no place like home, especially a new one.

She put her bag down and took her coat off and went skipping up the stairs to run a bath, changed into her dressing gown and headed down to put a bottle of prosecco in the fridge for later. She flopped down on her new settee, picking up the control, switching on the new colour TV.

From the darkness, he watches. Night is the only time I can visit her, smell her subtle scent, swim in her dreams. One day, she will be mine. I will be the one to marry her, make love to her, and she will bear my children. She will be mine to love forever. Oh, how sweet that will be. Oh, dear me, I think I woke her. I guess our lives together are starting sooner than expected...


Toni and his bodyguard stand by the Rolls-Royce Ghost 2015 (65 reg) looking across at the deserted barn. He scans the area through his Sunagor Mega Zoom 160X Binoculars while his companion pours him a cup of coffee from a flask. It looks deserted to me, which in a way could be good or bad for us, or should I say you. Off you toddle then.He said, gesturing with his hand to his silent partner. He sipped at his coffee and watched through his binoculars as Gene neared the building. And he could see that he was now holding his gun as he disappeared out of sight. Seeing Gene beckoning him, he brushed some fluff off of his single-breasted wool cashmere overcoat sleeve and put on some blue disposable overshoes, then screwed the lid back on the flask and put it in the boot, turned and strolled to the Barn. Something big happened here. Said Gene in a scouser accent. Ray followed him around the barn as he pointed out the hay with traces of blood, two other areas with bloodstains and bullet holes on one section of the wall. Looks like three people were killed or injured in here and somebody tried to cover it up. Rays expression changed as he heard what Gene had to say. Two cars have been here, one I think was Constantins and the other one was new, as the tyre tread was deep.Toni took his mobile out of his pocket and dialled a number. He put it to his ear, listened. It was Nicolaes, but nobody answered. Toni had a hunch. Nice work, Gene. Lets have a look around the area and then we need to pay Barnett Webb a visit.

One way or another, youre a dead man.

Samuel had just got off the phone to Mabel and everything was cool, he told Barnett, putting some bread in the toaster. Barnett was sitting in his favourite chair, enjoying a cup of herbal tea. How do you drink that stuff? Dad. Said Samuel, dropping the toast on to the worktop. Shit, thats hot. OK, I need a bit of quiet. I am expecting a phone call from our lovely friend soon. After all, he should be panicking by now. Like magic, the new telephone by his side started to ring and Barnett winked at Samuel. Hello Barnett Webb. What the fucks going on? said the deep voice. If you are not here by nine oclock, James is dead! said Ronnie, trying to sound calm. There has been a change of plans, my friend. If you want the items you requested, you will have to come here to get them. Inside Barnett was really nervous, but his voice didnt show it. Samuel sat down in the chair next to his dad and listened. No fucking way. You just have the police there waiting for me. The deals off and I am going to blow Jamess brains out while you listen on the phone! Ronnie had lost it now and was furious and continued. Right Barnett, I am now holding my gun to your butlers head, and I am going to count to three and then kill him unless you get in your car and bring me the diary and revolver! Barnett could feel his heartbeat… every single pound in his chest, but calmly said. It is up to you. I will make sure these two items end up in the hands of honest cops, which, as you know, will be none of the people named in the diary. The phone went quiet and then. I will collect them from you, Barnett, and I will take the chance. You may double-cross me, but let me tell you this. One way or another, youre a dead man, as is anybody else who I find there with you. See you soon

What is it with all you Webbs?

Andy Lancaster looked at the pile of paperwork on his desk and put his pencil in the sharpener attached to his desk. He looked in Tonis office, which was empty, and got up and pushed open the heavy glass door. It closed with a swish behind him. He looked around the office to see if they had signed his report off. There was no signature on it. Why is it taking so long? he said, looking at all the pictures of Toni on the wall. One picture caught his attention. It was Toni, looking quite young, shaking hands with Richard Webb, Barnetts dad. What did Spider say? I remember Toni. 

The lawyer with the briefcase wasnt he one of the four who accused his dad of corruption? Anyway, he needed to sort out this unsigned report. In the distance, he could hear his telephone ringing. Sitting down backwards on his swivel chair, he spun round, picking the phone up. Andy Lancaster, can I help you? Funnily enough, Sam, I have just been thinking about your dad. What can I do for you? Hi Andy, Dad asked me to ring you and ask you for a favour. He continued to explain the goings on and about the strange neighbour next door (leaving out the part about him breaking into the house) Andy listened as he slowly spun himself back and forward on his chair. Another favour? What is it with all you Webbs? If it isnt you, its your dad, and I am still following up a report they have kidnapped James. As its you and its not too far, I will check this out and get back to you. Its probably a waste of time and I dont want you to do something stupid like your dad and go it alone. Now do I? Andy wished Samuel well and put the phone down. He typed Samuels address into the computer and hit the maps app.

Lucky shot.

Henry said to Celia, You sure, your definitely up for this? Nobody would blame you if you werent after what happened. I am sure, Henry. My arm is feeling better and how would you cope without me? Anyway, I can shoot like Billy the kid as you shoot like Deputy dog! she said, laughing. Oh, my arm. He spoke. You wouldnt be here if it wasnt for me. I shot Constantin right through the head, and he was running at the time! Lucky shot. Replied Celia.


Barnett had given them one of his best rooms in the house, saying, only the best for family. It used to be one of the bed-and-breakfast rooms when the house was a hotel. Henry had stayed there when he was younger. I always thought this room was small, stuffy even, but now I can see how large it really is. Shall we get down to business?Celia said, stopping her boring brother from reminiscing. Right, the plan is we contact the last of the kidnappers, who we hope still think it is Nicolae hes talking to.

We get him to come here and capture him. Shoot him, capture him,OK Celia, if we cant capture him, we will shoot him! Happy now?Celia nods her head. You suggest ambushing them before they are inside the house. I feel we should wait for them up here, we have a great view from up here , we can see whats going on. We could make surprises for him like in home alone. Celias face said everything. How old are you? I was kidding. Henry said This isnt a game Henry, which doorknob shall we attach the electricity to? They both started laughing.


He got a shiver down his back

Samuel with Mabel were discussing colours of emulsion paint when the doorbell rang. Sorry Babe, gotta go someone at the door. I will ring you later. Love you. She could see the outline of the visitor through the mottled glass as she neared the door. She looked through the door viewer to see Andy. Andy, what you doing here? She said, grabbing hold of him and giving a big kiss. Hello Mabel, youre looking well.Come through and take a seat. Can I get you anything, tea, coffee? Soft or strong cold drink? she said as they walked down the hallway. Not for me. Thanks. Lovely house. Was it expensive? Andy said, taking his coat off and sitting down. Well, all the properties are quite dear round here but we got a good deal on it. Yeah, I know I tried to buy a house round here a few years ago but couldnt afford it. Money probably means nothing to you know youre married to a rock star. I wish. She said and then laughed.

Anyway, the reason for my visit is Sam contacted me the other day as he was concerned about a neighbour. He said he felt you were both being watched from the upstairs window. Mabel laughed and said, hes mad, he gets paranoid when I am on my own and he mentioned he thought he saw someone the other day. Getting up, he said, Do you mind if I have a look and use your toilet while Im up there? No problem, Andy.

He did his business and then walked along, checking each room until he came across the window that Sam had told him about. He stood back and reached forward, lifting the curtain slightly. Mabel walked in and made him jump, saying, were getting new blinds next week, maybe that will help.

He went down the stairs into the garden to look around, when he got a shiver down his back. Now this was famous in his police department because every time Andy ever got one, something was definitely going to happen. The problem was, it could be good or bad. Shit, he whispered to himself and walked out the front gate and into the house next door. He knocked on the door three or four times, but nobody answered. He looked through the letterbox and called. Hello is anybody home? To no avail. He decided he needed to get a warrant and come back. Hello you there Mabel? In here, came the reply. I am off now but will pop back and hopefully catch Sam, too. He said, kissing her on the cheek. Did you get the wedding photographs?Mabel asked him as he walked down the garden path. Yes, thank you.

Mabel stood in the garden and waved him off.

From the darkness, he watches.


The day smelt of storms.

It had been overcast all day. The sky was awash with various shades of grey. In places, a chink of light managed to break through, but otherwise it was almost as dark as everybodys mood. The day smelt of storms.

Barnett stood loading his new Glock 17 pistol, aimed it at the wooden target in the front of him and fired six rounds, the shots scared all the birds away. Samuel stood next to him wearing his earmuffs. Nice Shooting Dad, he said as walked up to the Portable Target Stand Kit. Three in the head and three in the heart. OK, lets see what youve got. he said after changing the target and handed Samuel the handgun. Wow, its quite heavy, he said, holding it out in front of him. Stepping back, he said, Remember what I taught you. Samuel aimed the gun and fired six shots as quickly as could. Barnett removed his ear protection and walked past Barnett to inspect. I am impressed. I think your shots are closer together than mine. Lets go back and prepare ourselves for whats ahead. He said to Samuel, who was wearing a big smile. As they headed back to the house, they could see Celia and John waving for them to hurry.

A packet of mints.

The Rolls-Royce Ghost 2015 (65 reg) could be seen driving around the cobbled streets of Pluckley village, causing a stir as it searched for any sign of the Land Rover Defender 110 and its owners. Toni pointed to a petrol station. Pull in over their Gene and get some petrol while I have a chat with the cashier. He nodded and parked by an empty pump. He strolled into the garage shop and bought a packet of mints. Gene put the pump into the car and started filling the car. 

Toni put the mints on the counter and said to the scruffy-looking youngster standing behind the counter, These and the petrol for the Rolls-Royce, good sir. Holding up three twenty-pound notes. Thats thirty-two pounds, please, sir. You could pay by card? Asked the shop assistant. I am afraid I dont have my card, but if you can give me a bit of information, you can keep the change and have this as well. He went to his pocket and added another twenty pounds and placed it on the counter. The assistants eyes lit up. Yes sir, if I can. 

I just need to know if you have seen a strange car driving around here or heard anything about one at all? Whats your name? Toni asked. Norman. Well, Norman? Not really. He replied, scratching his head. Toni was just about to put the money away when Norman continued. But I heard somebody saying that a Land Rover was at the bottom of a hill by The Derring Arms. Toni slapped the money in his hand and asked, and which way is that? Just turn left and stay on Smarden Bell Road. Its about three miles. Toni sprinted over to the car, jumped in, and said to Gene. I know where the car is.

He looked down onto the wreckage below him as Gene slid down the steep hill on his bum; Toni sucked a mint and watched along the road. His bodyguard started climbing back up the hill. He got to the top and went to the back of the car and opened the boot. Toni joined him and said, well Genie boy, what have you to report? That is their car, but I do not think they were driving it, or in it when it went down the hill. He said, changing his trousers. The car flipped twice, but I believe it was pushed down there. Look at the footsteps over here. He said, kneeling down and showing Toni. Two people walked away, two males, one big, one small. I also found a small amount of blood on the back seat and think it came from Constantins and Nicolaes dead bodies. Nice work Gene. Said Toni, getting in the car. Not a common name, Gene. Wheres that come from? My dad was a big Gene Vincent Fan. Toni looked at him and yelled Be-Bop-A-Lula as the Rolls Royce headed off before the flashing blue and red lights in the distance got any nearer.

We could play games.

The silver-grey Mercedes A220 was parked out the back of Authentic Antiques with the engine running, Ronnie and his giant minder Alfredbundled James onto the back seat, and Ronnie got in and sat next to him in the back I think me and old James here can have a little chat on our long trip to Humble lodge. We could play games like I spy or sing some songs. I have even bought a sandwich for us all that we can have with coffee too, which is here in the flask. Then James, I am going to blow your brains out, and kill the rest of your family slowly. He said, holding up his Glock 19. Handgun. Alfred, lets get a move on.



You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley.

Are from his favourite lines from his favourite film On the waterfront. Directed by Elia Kazan and written by Budd Schonberg. It stars Marlon Brando.

The film focuses on union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen, while detailing widespread corruption, extortion, and racketeering on the waterfronts of Hoboken, New Jersey.

Richard Ernest Webb was born in Whitechapel in the East End of London in 1955. He married Gladys Rose Hardy. Richard had left school and joined the police force when the government had reduced the number of forces in England. Gladys became a nurse working for the NHS when it was reorganised in 1974. They got married in 1975 at St George in the East Church in Whitechapel, and in 1976, Barnett Ryan Webb was born. Two more babies, twins, followed in 1978: Celia Gillian Webb and Henry David Webb. 

They promoted Richard to a Sergeant in the police force. Then in 1979 it was found there was corruption in the Flying Squad, and there were investigations into the Metropolitan Police. They arrested Richard Ernest Webb for being involved in the corruption and he resigned. Two weeks later, he was found hanging in his garage. The verdict was suicide. He had left behind a wife and three children.

What really happened…

21st may 1978

Rumours were rife with corruption in the Flying Squad and a special team of detectives were drafted in to investigate, they were led by a by a battle hardened officer called Jack Loft and his sidekick Toni Romano. These were well-known men in the Metropolitan Police and their reputations went before them. They also enlisted the help of an American FBI agent, Charlie Moss.

Charlie Moss

Charlie Moss was a good-looking man with a baby face; he had the sort of features that never seemed to age, enormous eyes and soft skin, but with a crooked nose. There was nothing rugged about his looks at all; even his jaw was shaved absolutely smooth. But beneath this boyish looks was a vicious streak and back home in California he was well known for his shoot first and ask questions later attitude. There was a rumour going round he killed six drug dealers for no reason in a shoot-out after he had taken two bullets in the stomach. When he wasnt working, he would be in the gym, as he liked to keep himself in shape. If he wasnt there, he was at the firing range. There was only one problem with Charlie; Jack Loft selected him because he was a friend and somebody he could trust, but also because he was a bent copper.


Toni Romano

 Toni Romano was renowned for being a brilliant detective, but also for his very violent background. He was a good friend of Jack Loft and has known him since they were kids and grew up together. And it was common knowledge that when Jack was worried, Toni was called in. He was old school and didnt always go by the book, but always got results. His dad was a cop before him - the Old Bill, as they were known. Over time, there had been complaints against Toni, but nothing came of them.

Some say there are good cops, and bad. Toni was a terrible cop.

Jack Loft

il Capo, the man who gave sociopaths a bad name. Others found it easy to trust Jack. He had an easy-going way about him, but it was his temper that made him dangerous. He hid his true self behind a friendly facade. There was no sign of evil intent, no hint of bad motives, but Jack didnt care whom he hurt to get what he wanted.

He could control others easily and rose through the ranks quickly, finally getting what he wanted, to become the Chief Superintendent.

Funnily enough, nobody opposed Jack…


18th June 1976

Its hard to imagine how it all went wrong for Richard Ernest Webb. 

One evening when he was with Jack and his sidekicks at their favourite pub, The Cross Keys, Covent Garden. There was a band playing that night, packed with lots of young students from the university. Jack pushed his way through the warm bodies to order a drink. He got as near as he could to the bar and shouts an order to the barmen who couldnt hear him above the din. He slowly mouthed the order until finally a tray gets passed across heads to him. As he turns, a young man accidentally bumps into him, making him spill the beers and soaking his tonic jacket. 

How Jacks eyes squinted and then glared at him said, youll be seeing me again. He pushed past him and joined his drinking partners, taking a quick look back at the student. Right lads, grab your drinks. He said, putting the tray on a table. Drink up, Dickie. Youre round next.Cheers Jack. He said as he stood there with both hands full. Wheres mine? Raymondo. Said a very unsteady Toni. E R, and give this one to Charlie, would ya? said Jack. At that moment, the student brushed by him and went into the Gents. Jack handed Richard his drink and followed him. Charlie noticed something was up and followed. The unsteady student stood at the urinal humming a tune and didnt even recognise the man who had followed him in. He did not know what hit him as Jack head-butted him. As he fell, he hit his head with a thump, then Jack kicked him in the face three or four times. Charlie walked in to find a bloody mess on the floor that had been his adversary. He was grotesque. Already his eyes were swollen over and bloody spit drooled from his slack jaws. 

Ray finished wiping his shoe with a piece of toilet paper as Richard pushed by Charlie and opened the door. Looking down at the horrible scene, he said, What the fucks going on, Jack? What did you do that for? kneeling down to check his pulse. He spilt my drink. Ray said, combing his hair in the mirror. As he followed him out of the toilet, he looked back and spoke. Another drink, Dickie?

07th September 1976

Toni beckoned Richard through the glass window to come in to Jacks office. He was sitting at his desk, sitting opposite him Charlie and standing up was Toni. The office was stuffy and there was a fan blowing out cool air. Jack was writing notes in a small red book and put it into his pocket as Richard neared. We need you this evening, Dickie. He had promised Gladys he would be home early, as little Barnett was poorly. Is that ok with you? Say if it isnt. Thats fine, Jack. He got up from his chair and put his arm round Richard and walked him to the door. Can you bring your car and meet out front at nine tonight? Oh, and make sure youre armed. Thanks Dickie. Much appreciated. Keep it to yourself, eh. Looking back as he walked to his desk, Richard noticed he was showing Charlie something in the little red book.

Richard gave Gladys and baby Samuel a kiss and headed out into the chilly night. He had a bad feeling about what was ahead as he pulled up and parked at police headquarters. From the shadows, three figures walked towards the car and got in. Jack sat in the front and Charlie and Toni in the back. Right Dickie, heres whats going down. Tonight, we will meet with some drug dealers who know the names of our crooked cops, as they have been dealing with them for a while. This could be a big breakthrough for us, but its going to be dangerous. Richard, youre only here to drive and back-up if needed. Stay out of the way unless we call you. He nodded. The meet is in the back of a shop in the Kings Road, so lets get going. Richard started the unmarked Jaguar S-type and pulled out into the traffic. Nobody said anything and you could cut the silence with a knife. You could hear Toni and Charlie checking their guns as Jack turned onto a side road called Glebe Place. Park here, said Jack. The car squeezed between two cars in front of a warehouse shutter. The three of them got out together. Remember what I said. Stay here unless we call you. Richard lit his Peter Stuyvesant and flicked the match out the window; he was wondering what time he would get home to see Gladys, when suddenly the shit hit the fan.

Gunshots come thick and fast the bullets were flying everywhere. Charlie fell out of the backdoor with his hand holding his throat and fell to the ground. The gunshots continued, and Richard made his move. Holding his gun, he was out of the car and heading to the where Charlie was lying in seconds. Kneeling down to see the entry wound was dead centre to his neck. He was losing a lot of blood. He let out a strangled scream as Richard wrapped his jacket sleeve around the wound. Leaving Charlie, he entered the darkness of the warehouse. The streetlight shone through the window, showing a dead man lying on his back, not three feet behind the door, in a pool of blood. Beyond them stood Jack with what looked like a slash across his gut, blood flowing through his fingers as he clasped the ripped flesh. In the half-light you could see in front of them on the floor, three lifeless bodies, utterly still, eyes open. It was hard to see in the gloom, but he was sure he recognised one of them. I told you to stay in the fucking car. Said Jack angrily. Hows Charlie doing? It doesnt look good, what the fuck happened? said Richard. Be a good lad and get them back to the station, Dickie. Said Toni, firing a shot into one body on the floor. Richard helped Jack to the car and went back to get Charlie. Leave him here with me. Hes dead. In the distance, you could hear police sirens getting nearer. Get going and if anybody asks, you know nothing. Now fuck off! He was in his car in seconds and pulling out of the side road just as the cavalry arrived. An ambulance was waiting for him when he arrived back at headquarters, they collected Jack and then left with aggressive speed. A very concerned Richard walked back to his car, shocked by the events of the evening. Everything about the night had gone wrong, and he needed some questions answered. As he turned around to see behind as he reversed the car out of its parking bay, he noticed something on the back seat. It looked like Jacks red diary and a revolver; he would take a better look when he got home.

13th March 1977

After the gunfight at Kings Road, Jack and Charlie died from their wounds. They set an enquiry for next year, 1977. Which gave Richard time to write an account. Through the grapevine, the whispers and rumours had started about what happened on that night of 07th September 1975. He had discovered the unpleasant reality. Hed been hurt, threatened, manipulated, shot at, beaten up, and almost killed. Finding himself in a world where he couldnt believe or trust anybody. And hed had enough. The problem was that two of the dead bodies at the scene were undercover police officers and he had recognised one of them. Out of the four bodies, only two were drug dealers. One was an international drug dealer who was wanted by the British government. One rumour going round was saying he (Richard) had planned the whole thing and was on the drug dealers payroll. He took Jack, Toni, and Charlie into a trap while he waited in the car and never went into the warehouse. Then when he did, it was too late and the three policemen had been ambushed. Cocaine worth £100,000 pounds and the same amount in cash was found in the boot of his car, but what was worse was Toni wasnt defending him. The only thing he had going for him was that the little red book of Jacks almost certainly proved he was on the take and hopefully the gun would have some fingerprints. Hopefully.

13th October 1977

Richard was just helping Gladys with their newborn twins (Celia and Henry, when the doorbell rang. Standing on the step were two police officers who Richard hadnt seen before. Can we step in for a moment? asked the older one. Its never good news when police officers come to your door. Its even worse when they remove their hat and request politely to come inside. In that moment, they try their hardest to be human and all you see is the dark blue uniform and the shiny shoes, come to pull your world apart with their soft-spoken words. Richard nods and follows them into the living room. They both sit down on the sofa.

The police officer stood up and addressed him, saying, Richard Ernest Webb, I am arresting you on the charges of Misconduct and a Criminal Investigation will take place on the 8th November 1977. You may remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Richard knew what was coming next and handed them his gun and badge. He put his jacket on and held out his arms. Gladys was in tears as she stood there holding the two babies.

She pulled the curtain back so she could see as they put her husband into the back of the Rover and drove away.

It usually was him shutting bad people away into cells, but this time it was him sitting on the bed looking at four walls. The eyehole opened and then shut in the cell door. Through the door in walked an enormous scary police officer, but behind him Richard saw a face that was a lot more fearful. Toni turned around and said to the guard as he was leaving the cell, yeah give us ten minutes. Roger, that should be enough time. Cheers. Jack told Richard to sit down on the bed and listen carefully. I bet youre surprised to see me Dickie, eh? I needed to have a little chat with you before the 8th of November. Theres two ways this can go. You can either stay stum and take the rap, and I will make sure you get off lightly. 5-10 years at the most and with a nice pension for you and the family. I will tell you exactly what to say and then we are even. Richard frowned and turned away from Toni. I am not sure I can do that. After all, you and your lies have finished my career for good already, and how long do you think I will last on the streets? Looking at his watch, Toni said. You sure I cant get you to change your mind? Think of your kids. Ill take my chances in court.He smiled back at him and spoke. You gotta get there first, me old mate. Then banged the door with his fist. Just before the big guard opened it, he continued. By the way, you didnt find a red diary and a Belgian Browning Hi-Power Mk I revolver, did you?

Ray arranged for Richard to get bail but made sure he didnt know it was he who organised it.

5th November 1977

A Jaguar S-type was parked along from the Webbs house. Inside sat three dark figures, just watching and waiting. The front door opened almost at the same time. Out came Richard, carrying Barnett and Gladys, pushing Celia and Henry in a pram. They walked along Underwood Road, Whitechapel, then on to Deal Street where Gladyss sister lived and went in. The car had followed them all the way there and now parked and waited. About an hour later, Richard left his sister-inlaws house and headed back the way he came. He stopped at a paper shop to get some cigarettes and then walked down Underwood Road until he was back home. The car arrived a couple of minutes later. They moved fast. He had no chance. They overpowered him as he opened the front door, carried him outside to the garage. Then they placed a noose around his neck and hung him until he was dead. They left the house exactly as they found it. Then they were gone.

The Wild Bunch!

Sometimes it takes a few more words to say something right, but for Barnett The time has come, I know your scared so am I. Fear runs through my head, and I would rather curl up where its dark and be warm and safe. He spoke from his heart. These men are evil men and will do everything in their power to kill us. I believe they were all involved with the death of my dad and your grandad. This is also a special day for my family and me, as I believe by the end, it I will have proved my dads innocence. We all know our targets and responsibly. Let us hope somebody is looking after us all and lets get James back!

Barnett had laid out on the dining table with his new collection of weapons, which comprised 2 Glock 17s, 1 Remington 1100 shotgun, 1 Walther P-38 and a Browning Hi-Power and Barnetts favourite a Winchester Model 70.

All were old weapons, but all in working order.

He had also purchased two Motorola XT180 Walkie Talkie & 2 Way Radios.

As they selected their weapons, he gave each person a big hug and a kiss.

Celia picked the one of the Glock 17s, Henry the Remington shotgun, Samuel the Browning and Barnett took the Winchester rifle and a Glock.

The silence was comforting as they stood there. Sometimes it takes a few more words to say something right, sometimes you need less.They looked at each and then they were gone.

Mabel and the thing

Mabel was missing her beloved Samuel and was glad he was coming home tomorrow. Planning a surprise and had purchased some sexy underwear from Anne Summers. She had looked for a nice recipe for later, but had a lot of other things to do before then. She needed to clean the house first and also do her least favourite chore, the washing and ironing. Looking at the new clock on the wall, and decided she had just enough time for a coffee, and a bit of telly. Why not? She thought to herself. Theres always time for a bit of loose women, she thought to herself.

From the darkness, he watches.

As the moon finally returned

The woods always look different under moonlight as the light drains away, and the darkness drifts under it, everything in this forest is hidden. Even the stars and moon cower behind a dense layer of cloud. The Rolls-Royce Ghost 2015 (65 reg) was parked with a perfect view of Humble Lodge. 

Toni scanned the area with his night vision binoculars while Gene loaded his two handguns. After they both had changed into camo woodland boilersuits and Doc Martens, they looked at each other and walked to the back of the car. Ray opened the boot and stroked his Barrett XM500 gas-operated, semi-automatic sniper rifle, then he lifted it and rested it on the top of his car. Twisting it, he pointed it at the house and looked through the sights. Everything seemed peaceful as the moon finally returned to light up the night sky. Pulling on their black balaclavas, they headed into the forest and headed towards the large house in the distance.

Ronnie stood on the small wooden bridge by the meadow, blowing smoke rings into the night air. Gene was re-taping Jamess mouth and checking the handcuffs as he sat on a wooden bench by the pond. Ronnie finished changing his clothes into a black boiler suit and a balaclava and whispered quietly into Jamess ear. Any slight problem with you and I will be back to shoot you where you stand, any sudden movement, trying to delay us or trying to alert anybody in Barnetts gang. You're dead. Do you understand? James looked up at him with hatred in his eyes and nodded. Gathering their weapons, they headed into the mist that had crept in and smothered the greens of the trees, the grasses and the underbrush.

Barnetts gang

Barnett stood back from the attic window where he was watching and pressed the button on his walkie-talkie. Germany calling, Germany calling, he said jokingly. Thats not funny, Barnett. Said Celia. Yes, it is, said Henry, and Samuel just laughed. Everybody works then. He said, laughing. From the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a flash of light from the footpath. 

He picked up his Winchester rifle and looked through the sights following the winding path and there they were, three outlines in the mist. He couldnt believe they were just walking out of the shadows. Oh well, easy pickings. He thought to himself. They were using James as a shield in front of them so Barnett would have to be careful and pick his moment. Speaking into the walkie-talkie, he said, Come in, rubber duck, we have a convoy, over. Oh, piss off Barnett! do you ever take anything serious? asked Celia. Sorry sis, I will stop it. Just to let you know, James is heading to us down the pond path. He is being held by two masked men dressed in boiler suits. They are both armed. All clear my way. Over. said Samuel. I think I can see two men dressed in camouflage moving through the forest. Over. Said Henry, loading his Remington shotgun. The voice of Barnett broke the silence. Love you all. Stay safe.


Anne Summers

As Mabel lay in the bath soaking, suddenly the light went out. She didnt hear the feet shuffling behind her. Strong hands grabbed her and knocked her to the floor as she was trying to get out of the bath. It hurt and sent swells of pain through her body. Two hands slid down her sides and pulled her along the floor and into the bedroom. The door slammed behind them as he lifted her on to a chair and tied her hands behind her back, then tied her feet and taped her mouth. Searching the room until he found the items she had purchased from Anne Summers. He knew she had bought some new stuff for Samuels enjoyment as he had followed her to the shop. He forced her to put them on and then started licking her skin, and ran his dirty fingers through her hair. Every time Mabel closed her eyes, he grabbed her by the throat and demanded she open them. She didnt want to. She closed them over and over. Anything rather than watch his face light up. He whispered close to her ears as the telephone started ringing, Ill see who this is and then we have lots of time to ourselves to get to know each other, Mabel and left without a backward glance.

Adrian Nice.

Andy listened as the phone kept on ringing as a shiver went down his spine. There it goes again. He thought to himself as he got up and knocked on the glass door with the name Toni Romano etched on it. Hes not in today. Came a voice said from behind him. Shit! he said, hes never here, he said, turning round. It was the office crawler, Adrian Nice. Well, can I help? I doubt it Adrian, you wont find out unless you ask. Andy thought to himself twat but said. I needed a warrant urgently, and I left it on Tonis desk a while ago and now its gone. Adrian smiled and said, do you mean this? Holding up a folded piece of paper. Andy grabbed it and said, I could kiss you. Leaving the room. I should be so lucky. Came the reply.


Bullets whizzed over his head.

Rifle shots broke the stillness of the night. Four or five shots hit the attic and ended up in the wall behind Barnett. It also sounded like their shots were being fired at a furious pace where Celia and Henry were. Every time Barnett tried to get nearer, the window bullets zoomed around him. Everybody ok? Over. He frantically said into the walkie-talkie. Were pinned down but both ok. Over. Replied Celia. Ditto, but not under any attack yet. Moving down to the dining room. Over said Samuel.

Barnett dived onto the floor as bullets whizzed over his head. With his back and head to the wall, he peeped out of a crack in the window to see where the flashes of gunfire were coming from. Glass flew everywhere. He ducked as the next flurry of bullets hit the roof above him. He noticed the angle they had been coming from. I think they are both here shooting at me. The bullets are coming from two directions. Ones down below me, the other shooter is level with me, maybe in a tree. Over. He decided this was not an excellent position, so he retreated to the door. Samuel, both of them are here. It means if Celia and John are keeping the other two busy and it sounds like they are. You could go through the dining room and then into the wine cellar, up the steps that come out behind them. Over. Barnett said as he went down the attic steps after leaving his hat on the mannequin by the window. Im on my way, over. Said Samuel.


In the shadowy gloom, a silhouetted figure crouches against the wall, taking in shallow breaths, careful not to make a sound. I saw them moving towards the house. I think it might be a good idea to find a new hide-out, Henry, said Celia. The room was a mess, a disaster zone. It looked like a bomb had gone off, strewing debris across the floor. Gunfire had pinned them down and hardly returned a shot in anger. Good idea. Lets get out of here now. He said, crawling to the door as another round of bullets hit the window, spraying bits of broken glass all over Celia.

Once they were on the landing, they quietly moved towards the spiral staircase, which looked down on to the dining room. They just lay there with a perfect view of most of the downstairs area. Hello team,Barnetts voice came from the walkie-talkie. Had to leave the attic. It was no good. They pinned me down, so heading to the living room. Try not to shoot me. Over. We have moved to the top of the stairs where we have a good view of the doorway and dining room. Over. Said Henry, checking all around him. Celia moved closer to him and whispered. Listen, what do you hear? Nothing. Exactly, its too quiet. She checked the cartridges in her Glock 17 and prayed.


Samuel had done exactly what his dad had told him and now was in the wine cellar. It was like a closet, only much larger. The walls were covered in shelves; they were stacked with wine bottles, arranged neatly. The floor was covered in barrels, filled with wine, and a dim light provided by the single bare bulb that dangled from the ceiling. He climbed the steps and unlocked the heavy wooden door, trying not to make a noise. Slowly it opened and he could feel the evening breeze on his face. He stopped and listened, staring up at the leaves falling from the trees. A gunshot in the distance made him duck for cover, and he moved swiftly behind one of the trees. He looked up and saw the stars. They illuminated the darkness and his fears crumbled to dust beneath his feet. He quickly crept through the ferns and almost bumped into a man wearing a boiler suit, casually smoking a cigarette. He turned and looked directly at where I was hiding and said, You must be Samuel. Nice to meet you. Just as Samuel stood up and pointed his revolver, a single shot sounded behind him in the night. Blood appeared on his opponents sleeve, radiating outward. He dropped to his knees and swore. This was now his chance. Samuel quickly took aim. His hand was shaking when his assailant said, If you shoot me, your James is a dead man. Pointing to two figures standing in the shadows. In a second, he decided and pulled the trigger. The bullet hit Gene in the forehead, killing him instantly. He had got a shot off at Samuel, which had grazed his neck. Checking his wound with his finger and at the same time realised Toni had gone and taken James with him. He picked up Genes gun and headed into the forest after him. He had to be careful because you know what they say about wounded animals.



Everything was quiet as Ronnie, and Alfred headed towards the big front door of the house. Ronnie put his foot up on the stone bloodhound and wiped something horrible from his soul. Then he took the hand grenade from his pocket, pulled the pin out, and lobbed it so that it landed at the base of the door. Nice shot. Said Alfred as they both turned and moved away. A blinding flash came from the point where the grenade landed and an enormous cloud of smoke rose in the air. The door was in shreds. They moved fast, firing bullets non-stop as they entered the house. They shot at anything that moved. The problem was Henry moved, and they shot him through the leg. He let out a strangled scream as he fell to the floor. Attacking was what Ronnie liked best. There were no holds barred when Ronnie went in for the attack. He just stood in the middle of the floor, firing continuously as Alfred now knowing who and where the targets were headed to the spiral staircase, firing as he went. Celia had him in her sights through the banister… she waited for his head to be in her gun sight.


Andy was deciding if he should go straight to Mabels house or park further down the street just in case, he decided on the latter. As he walked past the neighbours house, everything seemed normal. He hurried up Samuel and Mabels pathway and as he did, a shiver went up his spine, and he pulled his gun from his holster and slowed down to a stroll. The air is sweet and the breeze cool, a perfect evening in late fall. Yet with each step nearer the front door, his heart thumped harder. Ringing the doorbell, he waited. Knocking on the door loudly before looking in the window, and finally looked through the letterbox. He really should have called for backup but decided to go it alone. He should have known better. Trying the side-gate, which was locked, and gave it a hefty kick and dashed down the alleyway. He nervously stood outside the back door and thought to himself Im not allowed to be afraid or show the tenseness that grows in my head and heart. My job is to protect the public.

There was the noise of a key in the lock, and then the door swung open.

From the darkness, he watches.



Barnett had moved down to the Dining room to back up Celia and Henry. On his way there, he had noticed Samuel creeping past to the wine cellar. He followed him until he was safely in the forest and was just going to head back when he saw three figures heading towards him. Checking through his rifle sights, he could see it was the two tough looking bastards, and they were dragging along James! Thank god he is still alive. He whispered under his breath. As he got nearer to them, he saw Samuel appear out of nowhere, holding a gun. From behind, Barnett could hear gunfire. It seems Celia and John were in trouble. Loading his rifle, as he had decided he would have to help his son first. He aimed his rifle and fired. Aiming to kill, but only winged him. Samuel took care of the other one with an excellent shot. Last thing he saw he was heading into the trees after James and his captor.


With her blood-stained shaking hands, she aimed the Glock handgun as his face came into view. She saw the look in his eyes as she fired. Alfred never knew what hit him. The bullets tore the top of his head off and threw him down the stairs. The trail of blood followed him.

Seeing Alfred fall like a puppet as he hit the floor, Toni went crazy and ran up the stairs, guns a blazing, but he slipped on the blood-spattered stairs and fell to his knees. This gave Celia time to drag her twin brother in to a room and lock the door. He fired six shots through the door as he walked towards it, then he took another hand grenade out of his pocket and pulled the pin.


Ronnie got back to his Mercedes A220 and, with his shaking hand, tore off his boiler suit sleeve. Opening the boot, he took out his first aid box and a handgun. He locked James in the back of the car, bandaged his wound as best he could, and waited. Samuel watched from the dark woods and planned his next move. He didnt want to contact any of the others, as he might put their lives in danger. Circling round the back of the car through the thick undergrowth, to see if he could free James. Scanning the route, he would have to take, when he looked back at the car, the guy in the boiler suit had vanished. Shit! he said and ducked down in the ferns and lay there. His breath seemed to stutter in his lungs before he let it go, feeling the tension drain from his body. Laying there for a while and then started crawling along the damp earth on his belly, his hands trembled as he lay there. He thought there was somebody behind him and he felt the sweat trickling down my neck. He gripped his gun and waited. As he lay there in the long grass, he thought to himself, what would his dad do now? He smiled and suddenly gave out a yell. Getting to his feet, he ran as fast as could towards the car. He could see James in the back and leapt down behind the side of the Mercedes A220. He slid along the side of the car and opened the back door, and called to his friend. James, come on, lets go, hurry! He reached in and pulled him and Jamess lifeless body fell forward and his dead eyes stared at him. The blood flowed thickly from his body. James! Oh, shit! he shouted. His throat had been cut.


His aim was true. Bullets hit the target with extreme precision. The first bullet pierced his back and went straight through him, tearing his flesh open, the second followed soon after hitting him in the thigh. The bullets hit the target with extreme precision. Ray followed the bullets, moving fast towards the fallen Samuel, who had dragged himself into the woods. Ray underestimated the utter blackness of the woods. Samuel kept crawling, but he knows his time was up. As he lay there, barely conscious, he saw the outline of a man creeping towards him.



Andy had to be really careful, as Mabel was probably in there, too. He also did the unexpected rather than the expected. Holding his gun, he walked into the house and slammed the door behind him. Once the door slammed, he stood still and listened. He noticed everywhere was in darkness except for a light coming from the top of the stairs. Andy walked towards the light, holding his gun in front of him. As he neared the bedroom door, a shiver went down his spine. The scene in front of him was quite unbelievable. There was something so disturbing about seeing Mabel naked. She was showing vulnerability in her eyes and had been crying. Sexy underwear and a dildo lay scattered on the floor in the semi-darkness. They chained her to the bed and, standing behind her, was a man holding a knife to Mabels throat and a gun pointed at me. He was completely naked apart from a Leather Headgear Mask Bondage Restraint Blind Mask. Come and join the party, Andy. We have been waiting for you.


Barnett cut through the wine cellar and arrived in the dining room; there was an explosion. Windows shattered. Smoke and fire rushed out. Hundreds of pieces of glass and plaster, a deadly rainfall, showered down. Fucking hell! shouted Barnett as he ducked down behind an overturned table in the dining room. He crawled along the floor so he could get a view of the stairs above him and saw the wreckage that once was room number thirteen. Rather apt, he thought to himself.Weaving round to the bottom of the stairs, he saw Alfreds corpse. He took the handgun from his lifeless hand and, avoiding the broken pieces of glass, he crept up the stairs. There was absolute stillness. From the corner of his eye, he noticed movement from behind one door inside a darkened room. It was formless and indistinct, like a piece of shadow shifting. There was no sign of Celia and John but on the carpet was a trail of blood leading to the same room, He moved so his back was on the wall and took his walkie-talkie out of his pocket, he had second thoughts as it may alert anybody within hearing distance. He felt the cold barrel of a gun on his neck and recognised the after shave. Drop the rifle Barnett and put your hands above your head. said a strange voice. He threw his body weight behind the fist that hit Barnett in the face. It hit his jaw with such force blood pooled into his mouth. Pain erupted from the point of impact. He drew his fist back again and ploughed it into his stomach. It was like hitting a train head on. He continued this battering until he fell to the floor. His chest gently rose and sank with each shallow breath he drew in. Now where is the diary and handgun? Up my arse, Toni! he said through bloodied teeth. He was surprised he knew who he was. So, you know who I am, Barnett,He tried to sit up, but he was kicked heavily in the stomach. I take no pleasure in taking you down, Barnett. I liked your dad, but he had to go. All he had to do was give me the gun and the fucking notebook, but he was too fucking honest. No harm would have come to him just a few years in the nick, but he wouldnt change his mind. Then you started rocking the boat. Dickie would not have committed suicide. He wasnt that of type person. We framed him and there is the proof in the diary! Lifting his Glock 17 and kneeling down, he held it to Barnetts mouth. I will count to three. One… two… three… The first bullet blew the back of his head all over the floor, the second was dead centre on his neck. His body slumped lifelessly to the floor as the door along the hallway opened. Nice shooting bruv. You too, sis. Said Celia, helping the hobbling, Henry. Barnett pulled himself to a sitting position and smiled at the sorry-looking couple. You two are incredible. I just love you guys. Wheres Samuel? Barnett, He looked in the distance as the voices in his head said.

Its too late for Samuel and James. I am afraid Barnett. 


Put the gun down, Andy, or she will suffer more than you can imagine.He said, waving the knife at Mabel. He didnt and said, Dont call me Andy, only friends can call me that. Does your friend Toni Romano call you Andy? How do you know him? You weird fucker. Now, now, Andy if you want to know put your gun down where I can see it.Knowing he had another gun tucked in his belt at the back, he did exactly what he was asked and slowly placed it on the chest of drawers in front of him. There you are. That was easy. Oh yeah, where was I? Well, Toni is an old friend of mine who I do a few jobs for. He stopped and stroked Mabels hair, still holding the knife. Shes lovely, isnt she? Im afraid I fell for her.Bet you would like to give her one, eh? Andy?He continued. Andy was waiting for his chance and was crawling his hand back slowly towards the gun in his belt. Well Andy, Toni said he had a minor job for me, a routine mission, he said. He wanted me to watch, take pictures and keep him updated about a couple who owed him money. So, I did what he asked and watched the house twenty-four seven. There is nothing creepier than a person with emotions that dont match the situation. Andy thought to himself. The problem was that my feelings grew more and more for Mabel here, and my dark side fell for her and wanted her. What my dark side wants, he gets. His fingers touched the gun handle just as the creep turned and licked her cheek, then he ran her hands down her front, over her body and down to her thigh slowly. In that frozen second, his eyes flick from me to her. Andy was banking on him making this mistake and pulled his gun from behind him in a flash, but the creep was faster and threw his knife. It met flesh as the blade sank deep into Andys shoulder, then the creep was on him, twisting the blade deeper and deeper. His skin was tearing to shreds as the knife rotated. Then, without warning, Mabel was on his back clawing and scratching at his back and grabbed his mask, pulling and tearing at it with her fingernails. He now couldnt see and let go of the knife which Andy pulled from his body with a scream, he fell to the floor as his assailant bear down on him, then he sank to her knees, thick blood flowed freely from the gaping hole in his back. The creep fell to his knees, trembling and holding his throat collapsed, making choking noises. The half-naked Mabel smirked and pulled the blade away from her now deathly victim. She sank to her knees next to Andy and sobbed into his chest unceasingly. She held his hand in silence, rocking back and forth slowly as tears soaked her shirt.


Barnett helped patch up Celia and Henry as best and as quick as he could while listening to how they got out of room thirteen and werent blown to pieces. It used to be our room when we were staying here. We found a cupboard where we hung our clothes, which had no back to it, and went straight through into the next room, number fourteen. Luckily Celia had remembered it, otherwise we wouldnt be here., said Henry. Samuels weak and stuttering voice came through on Barnetts walkie-talkie. … James dead… they have shot me… Barnett, Celia and Henry just stood there in total shock until Celia burst into tears and Henry put his arm around her to comfort her. You two stay here and dont move. Find somewhere safe to hide. If Im not back in half an hour, call the police, said Barnett, with anger in his eyes. He picked up his rifle, checked he had some shells, and the gun was loaded, and then sprinted out into an incoming mist. The moon looked pale and wan, as if it shouldnt be up on a night like this. Barnett knew the feeling. Following the same route as earlier, avoiding the twisted roots and rocks until he found the path at his feet and followed it into the darkness of the woods. He dropped behind a fallen tree and rested his rifle on it. He scanned the area in front of him until he saw the Mercedes A220 and then moved in for the kill. Knowing it would be a trap, but there was nothing he could do. He was too worried about Samuel. In the shadows, Barnett heard something behind him about two metres away. He turned back and headed into the forest to where the sound came from. Then, in front of him, he saw a figure lying on the damp earth. He needed to get close to him without detection. As he got nearer, he recognised the clothes. It was Samuel, and he wasnt moving and looked dead. He leant over him and felt his pulse. Thank you, lord, he is still alive, he whispered. Hello Barnett. Crackled from the walkie-talkie in his pocket. I have you in my sights. Please throw the gun into the bushes or else I will shoot your son dead. Barnett did what he was asked and went back to help his son. A silhouette appeared from the forest and moved towards him. Put your hands up high in the air, please. Ronnie said as he came out of the darkness holding an AK-47 and a Glock 17. Thanks for this. He said, looking at his wound.

Your welcome Ronnie, said Barnett. So, you know who I am. He said smiling. I used to drive a police car with your dad for a while, you know. All Barnett was thinking about was Samuel. If I tell you where the diary and revolver are, would you let Samuel live? asked Barnett. I would have, but that was before you killed Gene. Now where are my items? he asked as he shot Barnett in the arm. Now we are even. He grimaced and grabbed his arm as the blood soaked through his sleeve. Ronnie moved forward and aimed his gun at Barnetts leg. Next shot, maybe through the thigh or the foot, I think. He said with an evil smile. Samuel wont last much longer. Saves me a bullet or two. In the darkness behind Ronnie, something was moving towards them. OK, last chance, where is the fucking gun and diary, you pompous piece of shit? His eyes narrowed as he got angrier. Barnett wondered if it was Celia and Henry behind Ronnie and creeping this way, and then he realised what it was and stepped back as a fly landed on Ronnies nose. Barnett could see the sweat on his skin as more flies landed on him. Behind him, he heard a hissing sound like a swarm of flies that was getting louder and louder as it moved towards him in the darkness. The swarm surrounded his face, making it almost impossible for him to see anything. They were now all over his bodythey were even getting inside of his mouth, his nostrils, and his ears. He felt himself choking on the insects and gasped for air. Dropping his guns, he covered his mouth so he could breathe. He turned around as his mouth opened in a silent scream. It was like a black, swirling mass with two red eyes in the centre, and as it got nearer and nearer to him, it felt like the eyes were looking deep into his soul, and somehow, he knew this would be the last thing he would ever see.

He said a prayer, and then he heard the last thing he would ever hear as Barnett fired a bullet into the back of his head. Thats for James.He said, turning to help Samuel.

Hearing the sirens in the distance as he knelt by Samuel and gave a sigh of relief when he checked his pulse. Standing up, and signalled to an ambulance, which swerved and pulled up on to the grass as close to his injured son as possible. He could see the flashing lights on three police cars and another ambulance parked outside Humbles Lodge.

He looked round for his saviour as a medic came over, sat him down and carefully cut away his sleeve and looked at his wound. There was the white jagged end of a broken bone cutting through the skin and blood was running freely. We need to get you to the hospital as soon as possible. The medic said as he gave him an injection. Before I go anywhere, I need to check my family are all ok. At that precise moment, Henrys voice could be heard coming from the walkie talkie. Barnett, Celia and I are ok and being looked after. How about you? Over, a relieved sounding Barnett replied. I am OK. Samuel is in a bad way but alive. Sadly, James, as you know, is dead. God bless you both. Over. Celia and Henry said at the same time. Love you Bruv. Over. While the medic went to get some things from the ambulance, Barnett walked over to the Mercedes A220 and got in the back and sat and put his arm around James, as the tears ran down his cheeks he said. Look what they have done to James, Lydia.

The voices joined him.

See Barnett, anybody whos round you long enough ends up dead.


Andy finished his call to Barnett and strolled towards the waiting police car. He stopped for a minute and looked up at the night sky. The blackness engulfed his thoughts and his shoulders slumped. Whats going to happen to us all? he said as he shut the door.

Dont give up on us, Barnett




Submitted: May 26, 2023

© Copyright 2023 F.T. Grey. All rights reserved.

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