Past events cast shadows you can’t outrun. Wayne and Phil knew that better than anyone, after Stevie died, way back when they were children. A pebble dropped in a pool. Ripples spreading outwards. Who knew where they would end?
If I’d seen Tyrone before he saw me, I’d have cut down a side street, turned and fled. I’d have barged into a store selling women’s lingerie or slipped into a sex shop – anything to avoid passing close enough for him to recognise me. But I don’t see him. He sees me, and having seen me, he walks straight over.
It’s late afternoon and I’m in the concourse in the town centre, a street away from the promenade. There are hundreds of tourists milling about, many of them freshly arrived. A few gulls wheel overhead, waiting for scraps. There’ll be plenty of those. Even from here, I can smell the burger joints and the fish and chip shops which line the seafront.
It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m on my way to a football match with a couple of friends. Tyrone doesn’t stand on ceremony. He takes me by the elbow and pulls me away. My friends turn, at first surprised, then ready to wade in to help me. Tyrone turns towards them.
‘You really want to?’ he snarls.
‘It’s okay,’ I say quickly, before things get out of hand. No point in littering the neat herringbone paving with blood and bodies. ‘I’ll catch you up.’
Only I don’t catch them up, and I don’t see the match. I’m on a chair in a dull, dimly lit cellar bar opposite Tyrone and two other men who don’t look like they’re here for social chit chat. One of them sits impassively with his arms folded like an eighteen stone, muscle bound, malignant Buddha, and, having fixed me with his eyes, he leaves me wriggling there like a butterfly on a pin.
The other is so smooth he could slide under a door; he’s in his mid-fifties, has dark hair, dark eyes, a dark suit, dark shoes, and a dark mood. It’s the mood that scares me most. That and the knife.
The knife lies on the table between us. The blade is long and only about five centimetres wide at the hilt. The grip is unadorned steel. There’s nothing fancy about it, but there doesn’t need to be. It has a cold, functional look about it that isn’t at all reminiscent a kitchen implement. No, this is completely different.
Barry Litherland is an author living and working in the far north of Scotland, not far from John O’Groats. He writes in a variety of genres but has achieved greatest success with his recent crime and paranormal crime thrillers, Waves Break on Unknown Shores, The Hand of Ronan Hawke and Turbulence. He is an avid reader and loves classical novels, modern literary fiction and self-published books. When he’s not writing or reading, he likes photography, at an amateur level, cycling, and walking the mountains and coastlines of the Northern Highlands. Some of his photographs are shared on his website bleaknorth.net.
After a successful and rewarding career in primary education, he now considers writing his new vocation, and writes a new book each year. He has two new novels awaiting proofreading prior to publication and – a new venture – two Middle Grade children’s novels (for 8-12 year olds.)
He is married to Susie, has three children, a grandson, Harry, and two springer spaniels, Ziggy and Daisy.
You can buy Waves Break (On Unknown Shore) from the following booksellers (and obviously many more! Support your local booksellers where you can!)