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Horror Mystery Thriller

‘YOU’RE BETTER THAN THIS.’

‘Yeah. Then what?’

‘Sports writer for some local rag? Come on,’ Bert, the night editor said.

‘I’ve been scribbling about the local football all day. Now, I’m waiting for our local cricketing hero to score a few runs in Australia. Four in the morning in London, and it rains in Sydney. I’m knackered and have wasted my time, our star player is in the pavilion drinking tea.’ said Rick. They both laughed.

‘If you worked for a decent paper they would have flown you out there.’

‘Yes, but I work here with you darling,’ both men laughed again. ‘I’m going home, get a couple of hours kip, then back at it tomorrow. See ya.’

‘Actually, it’s not tomorrow, it will be later today.’

‘That’s why you’re an editor. A writer calls it tomorrow after he’s slept.’

‘Why don’t you go and live with your Thai beauty and write a thriller novel? We all know that’s what you want.’

‘I have thought about it.’

Rick’s battered Toyota saloon started first time even with the winter’s minus degrees. ‘Come on baby, get me home.’

The vehicle turned onto the side road away from the print works and was the only car on the street out of this part of London. He soon joined a dual-carriageway and sped westwards towards home. Ahead the traffic lights were green. Rick’s foot went down, sixty, seventy, eighty, he didn’t want to wait for the lights to change.

‘Red. Bollocks.’ His foot went down harder on the accelerator, and Rick’s hard right turn appeared safe. ‘No traffic, so what?’ He glimpsed a bright red flash behind in his rear window, but it was in the straight-ahead lane and not a police car.

He crossed the empty lane. A red line streaked across his windscreen. Then a blast of tearing steel, he spun like a referee’s watch. The second hand was on drugs. He hit the far wall bounced to a stop, and passed out.

‘Good morning, Sir.’

Rick’s head turned left and right. ‘Where am I?’

‘You sir, are in a hospital bed. I’m here to ask you some questions.’

‘Oh yeah, about my car?’

‘Partly yes. The good news is you had no alcohol or drugs in your system.’

‘Great, so are you inviting me to a party?’

‘No, Sir. The bad news is, you were speeding and failed to stop at a red light.’

‘What about the other car, the red sports job?’

‘Luckily for you, there was no other vehicle involved. You’ve written off your saloon and damaged the council’s fence. They will be in touch soon, no doubt.’

‘But officer, at the last second a red car smashed into the side of mine.’

‘Fortunately not. No other car was on the video.’

‘But, how did I spin?’

‘One tyre burst, that could have caused you to lose control. Especially at that speed.’

‘Have you finished, officer? I need to tend to my patient,’ a dour nurse said as she breezed in.

‘Hello nurse, a smiling face at last,’ Rick smirked.

Her glare was enough to shut him up.

‘Eh, what’s wrong with me?’ asked Rick.

‘You dislocated your shoulder…’

‘Is that all?’

‘I haven’t finished yet. You have been unconscious for ten days.’

‘What?’

‘Do you have a headache?’

‘No, nothing more than a Sunday morning, what is today?’

‘I’m here to escort you to see a doctor, he will run some tests.’

‘Hello, Bert, great to see a happy face.’

‘You look surprisingly well. A few bruises it looks like you attempted Thai boxing. Although knowing you, you probably already have.’

‘Let’s say I’m better at watching sports than playing anything.’

‘You’ll have plenty of time to watch sport. They are closing the paper.’

‘Oh, great, no job, no money, no car.’

‘You will get redundancy pay. At least you are young enough to find another job.’

‘Decision made. I’m off to Thailand.’

‘Great, you got my email. I wasn’t sure.’

‘Yes, I got it. I was unsure of what to reply,’ said Rick’s girlfriend, Yah.

‘But, here you are at the airport. Thanks for coming.’

‘Yes,’ Yah said.

‘What’s wrong? You are not as bubbly as normal.’

‘I’ve had some family problems.’

‘Oh, really, anything I can help with?’

‘You caused them.’

‘What have I done?’

‘It is what you haven’t done.’

‘I’m not with you?’

‘You met me in London when I was an exchange student, and since then, you’ve spent your annual leave out here with me.’

‘Yes, what’s wrong with that?’

‘I’m a Thai girl.’

‘Eh, yes, so?’

‘I can’t be your bit of Thai, what do you call it? Crumpet.’

Rick laughed, but he soon realised that was a bad move.

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to laugh at your English. It’s just…’

‘Just what?’

‘I don’t understand what you mean, what’s wrong.’

‘We can’t go on like this. My family want me to get married.’

‘I eh, I mean…’

‘Not to you, they want me to marry a boy from here.’

‘Oh, I see. You mean we are through?’

‘No, idiot. But you have to convince them we will wed someday.’

‘What if I say I’m staying here?’

‘That will help.’

‘But, I haven’t got a job anymore.’

‘What happened?’

‘They closed the business. Now I want to write a book.’

‘Hi, Dad and Mum, you remember Rick?’

‘Yes, dear, how could we forget him,’ Yah’s mother said in Thai. She smiled while facing Rick, and rolled her eyes as she turned.

‘Yah told us you will be the next Khun Steve,’ said her father.

‘Khun Steve?’ asked Rick.

‘He means Stephen King.’ said Yah.

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Try not to have an accident while our daughter is with you.’

‘Christ that was uncomfortable,’ said Rick. ‘Did you tell them about my accident?’

‘No.' She looked puzzled. 'Sorry, they didn’t exactly make you feel at home,’ said Yah, as their beers arrived at their street side table.

Screams were heard from passersby. Yah’s eyes widened like golf balls, and she stood kicking her chair behind her.

‘Move, get out of the way,’ she bellowed.

Red steel flashed and was buried into the concrete electric post. Rick was too slow. The car burst into flames, sending sparks, and sheaves of steel melting their plastic table. Traffic on the street screeched to a halt. Wailing and tears overtook the street noise. Yah screamed for help, as she tried to halt his bleeding.

‘Darling, wake up,’ Yah said as she stroked his brow.

‘Please don’t touch the patient,’ said a nurse.

‘Will he be okay?’

‘He’ll live. The fire melted his T-shirt to his back, and his hair was burnt away, hopefully, it will grow back when the bandages are removed.’

Rick stirred and growled in pain.

‘Take these painkillers,’ said the nurse.

Yah’s mobile purred to life.

‘Yes, Dad, I’m with him at the hospital. You think he should visit Gran?’

‘When is the doctor coming to sign him out?’

‘I’m sorry young lady, but it doesn’t work like that. The doctor is a very busy man.’

‘Yeh, yeh, yeh, either he signs him out today. Or he’ll leave without paying your outrageous bill,’ said Yah.

‘Now what is this all about?’ asked the doctor.

‘He needs to leave, now. Do you have any painkillers or advice for me? asked Yah.

‘Number one, he is in no state to go home. But, if you insist, he must…’ he doctor reeled off a list of instructions coupled will pots of pills.

Rick struggled to get his words out.

‘We are going to visit my grandmother in the north.’

‘Why?’

Yah said no more. She ferried him from taxi to train and another cab until fourteen hours later they arrived at a dusty farmhouse.

The elderly lady looked older than she was. She rabbited in an accent most Bangkokians wouldn’t pick up. But her granddaughter understood perfectly well. Rick was led through to a sheltered open-sided space at the back. Chickens made all the noise, no neighbours, no traffic and it appeared, no grandfather.

‘Sit,’ ordered Yah.

There was only one stool, and Rick was happy to take the weight from his hot aching feet.

Small bottles, coloured pins and a petri dish of powder appeared. Both women knew their uses, but Rick didn’t.

Yah placed a sharp pointed bamboo pole into the ground in front of him, then she leant it forward to touch his sternum. Touching skin, but not drawing blood. Then another against his back, then one under each arm. Rick couldn’t move without impaling himself.

The old lady chanted with a red three-inch long pin flapping under his nose. She waved it faster and faster. Yah kissed his head and patted his cheek. The pin was then driven through his upper lip and into the lower one. Rick’s eyes were like white snooker balls. Fear and sweat fought, both going unattended, at least by Rick. The lady tossed brown powder in the air, as it drifted down onto Rick’s head it shone bright scarlet. The bottles were flicked at him, liquid splashed his face and joined the blood running down his chin. Rick’s eyes disappeared into the top of his head. He feinted. Yah held him upright.

When he awoke, he was on a wooden bench, a hand-made pillow under his head.

‘What the fuck was that all about?’ he screamed at the girl sitting cross-legged on the ground.

She smiled and answered, ‘My grandmother saved your life.’

Rick licked his lips, no swelling, no scabs, no blood.

‘What do you mean?’

‘You were under the influence of a powerful spell. Do you know who could have done that?’

‘No, no one. We don’t have witches any longer in England. Why would they?’

‘Is there somebody who loves you back home?’

‘No, of course not.’

‘Maybe someone who blames you for losing their job?’

‘That was not my fault. There is only…’

‘Go on, who?’

‘A gay Jamaican called Bert.’

The END

December 01, 2023 07:52

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2 comments

Gip Roberts
22:33 Dec 01, 2023

You've got a good start to a series going here. I'm always interested in learning about other cultures and I like how you've weaved Thai culture into this.

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Colin Devonshire
07:27 Dec 12, 2023

Thank you, Gip. A new on this week.

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