I am releasing the first chapter of The Wrong Kind of Clouds this week. Part 1 was on Tuesday. Part 2 was yesterday. Here's the final part. Hope you all enjoy it!
The van turned a corner, rolling him on to a bruised rib and making him groan. Patrick lifted his head, groggy and disorientated. His left eye wouldn’t open but through his right he peered at his surroundings. A crack of light invaded through the edge of the door; he was still in the back of the transit. The hard floor was cold under his shoulders and his arms ached. Wriggling slightly, he realised his hands were tied behind his back with what felt like plastic. A cable tie? Squinting at his feet confirmed his suspicion; a narrow black strip of plastic bit into his flesh above his ankle bone. He licked his lips and tasted the metallic tang of blood. What the hell had happened to him?
His head pounded, retaliating against his efforts to remember. He had been taking out the recycling. Glass in the yellow crate. Someone had been behind the bins.
He lurched sideways again, banging the side of his head on the wheel arch as the van cornered sharply.
His voice was thick and blunt, his mouth too bruised to aspirate. Where was he going? He listened. Busy road? Quiet road? Was it worth trying to shout for help? Probably not.
He manoeuvred himself painfully until he was sitting up and able to brace his legs against the movements of the van.
Who had it been by the bins? Someone he knew? Some thug back to give him another reminder? They had hit him. Knocked him to the ground, saying something. What?
Phone. His phone had been in his hand. He’d wanted to call the police but he must have hit speed-dial when he fell. Who had he phoned?
Christ on a bike, it was Summer.
Well, could have been worse, could have been Kate. Could have been better, could have been Helen, but he wasn’t stupid enough to have either of them on speed-dial. Sheer laziness that Summer still was.
She didn’t hang up. Would she help?
How can she help, stupid? How can she know where you are? You don’t even know where you are.
We’re slowing. We’re stopping.
‘Help! Help! Help! Help!’
The van door swung open.
‘Shut the fuck up! No one can hear you anyway!’
Patrick squinted at the brightness, trying to see the man’s features against the sudden light.
‘Who are you?’
‘Someone you’ll wish you’d never met. Where the fuck’s your shoe?’
The man climbed into the back of the van and kicked Patrick’s foot. Patrick gazed greedily at the freedom through the van door and thought he caught sight of someone walking a dog.
‘Help! Help! Aagh!’
The man swung his boot into Patrick’s face, cutting off his cries.
‘I said, shut the fuck up. No one will help you.’
He jumped back down and slammed the door shut. Patrick reeled backwards, blinking away stars and spitting blood.
The man walking his dog would have seen and heard nothing.
The Wrong Kind of Clouds will be published on 28 May, 2016
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