This post contains chapters 1-5 of a novel I am writing on Facebook. Each chapter is only a few hundred words long. l intend to update this post regularly with the latest chapter so keep in touch if you want to read the story in larger chunks. Chapter 6-10 can be read here
The man got out the car and slammed the door shut. He looked about as if expecting to be attacked. His steel toe-capped boots were thick with mud and his jeans had small red splashes on them. He thought about going back to his car and getting the hammer that sat in his glove compartment but he didn’t think it would be needed this time. The sun was out but obscured by clouds threatening rain. He marched towards a block of flats where a small patch of grass clung on at the front of the building, protected by a navy blue metal fence rusted in places. It was early morning. He pressed the service button and gained entry to the building. He scowled as he ran up to the top of the building. Once he reached his target, he banged on the door of the flat. The noise of his fists pounding the door reverberated throughout the close. He didn’t shout or scream. He simply kept on banging on the door. He stopped when he heard the door being unlocked. An old woman with small glasses and a big smile opened the door.
‘Oh, hello son,’ she said, smiling. ‘What bring you here?
As the old woman smiled at Jack Ledger, the door of the flat across the landing opened. A middle-aged man with a comb-over and thick glasses stepped out. He could only see the back of Jack Ledger’s body. Perhaps it was the black overcoat, scruffy jeans, cat boots and skinhead that did it, but it was enough for him – he scurried back into his flat.
Despite his appearance, Jack Ledger wasn’t a violent man. Sure, if people messed with him, he’d put them down hard, but he wasn’t in the habit of looking for trouble.
‘Are you going to let me in, Gran?’ Jack asked, trying to raise a smile to hide the anger he felt as he looked at the black eye and cut lip on his gran’s face.
‘Oh, yes,’ she said, feeling foolish for leaving her grandson standing there. ‘You came at the right time. I just boiled the kettle.’
As he sat in the living room, Jack found himself getting angrier and angrier. He gripped the arms of the chair he sat on that tightly that it looked like he might pull them off. As his gran handed him a cup of tea, he asked, ‘Has my mum been to see you yet?’
She smiled. ‘No dear, she hasn’t.’
Every hour on the hour, the clock in his gran’s living room springs into action and releases its mechanical cuckoo from its cage. Jack looked at his gran, looked at the clock and looked at his gran again. The seconds ticked down until suddenly the cuckoo burst out its mechanical cage and filled the silence between them. ‘Cuckoo, Cuckoo, Cuckoo.’
When the cuckoo retreated into its wooden prison, Jack spoke. ‘I think—‘ He stopped in mid-sentence. He heard the lock on the front door unlock.
Jack gritted his teeth as he guessed who was unlocking the door. His gran sat in the living room with him and looked at her grandson with concern. She stretched out a hand to comfort him. Jack gripped the armrests of his chair like a prize-fighter ready to explode into action at the ringing of a bell. The front door finally opened and then closed. The sound of a bag falling to the floor punctuated the silence, and then the living room door opened.
Doreen entered. Jack did not get up. He could smell the alcohol on her from across the room. She reeked of it.
‘Hello, son,’ Doreen said, sarcastically. She was still wearing the same dress she put on the night before. Her lipstick was smudged, and mascara was streaked across her face. Most of her hair was tangled into knots and her fringe was plastered to her face. She giggled as if lost in a private joke.
‘You think this is funny,’ Jack said, not getting up from the chair, but gripping the arms of the chair tighter than he had a moment ago.
‘What?’ Doreen said, her face souring.
Jack pointed to his gran’s bruised and cut face. ‘That,’ he said, grinding out the word.
‘That wasn’t me.’
‘But you know who, don’t you?’
‘Now, Now. It’s only a scratch. I’ve had much worse in my time,’ Jack’s gran said while standing up and putting her arms out as if to separate the two of them.
Doreen had left the front door open and, as well as a draft from the landing, there came the sound of a nasal voice with a Glasgow accent
‘Doreen, are you going to hurry up,’ the voice called out.
Without warning, Jack bolted from his seat, barged past his mother and headed towards the voice outside on the landing.
Jack bolted from his chair and barged past his mother, Doreen, and headed straight toward the voice calling for her from the landing. As he sped through the hall, Jack’s body pulsed with uncontrollable rage. He yanked back the front door and stepped out onto the landing.
‘Dore—’ said a man in a white tracksuit and baseball cap.
The man gulped as he saw Jack. He knew he was in trouble. He saw the fury on Jack’s face and tried to back away. Before the man could retreat further, Jack pounced on him and lifted him up off the floor with one hand. As Jack lifted him up off the ground, he tightened his grip around the man’s throat and continued to squeeze the man’s throat as he held him in mid-air dangling over a long set of stairs. The man beat at Jack’s arms all the while his fear and panic increased. Every second was now an eternity.
‘You’re hurting me,’ the man rasped, struggling to speak and landing feeble blows on Jack’s trunk-like arms. Jack’s grip tightened in response to the man’s vain efforts to break free. Jack stared into his eyes and smiled as he continued to wring the man’s neck. That glint of madness had returned to Jack’s eyes…
The pain he felt as Jack continued to crush his throat was excruciating. It was mere seconds since Jack lifted him up of the floor and had him dangling over the landing with a set of concrete stairs ready to greet him should Jack decide to drop him. The only thing that dwarfed the man’s pain was the fear he felt as he looked into jack’s eyes and realised he might die here.
‘Let him go!’ shouted Doreen as she ran out of her mother’s flat and began to beat at Jack’s arms and kick his shins.
Despite Doreen’s frenzied blows, Jack was as solid as a rock and completely immovable. Doreen’s blows were mixed with hot and bitter words, but Jack just stood there continuing to throttle Doreen’s latest boyfriend. All the while, his anger increased.
Of course, Doreen’s violence wasn’t that unusual. Everyone knew how volatile Doreen was. The pain Jack felt as she landed blows on him and kicked at him wasn’t any worse than the sort of beatings she used to give him as a child. Now, though, he was much bigger and stronger. And now she was just old.
Whether it was his anger or the adrenaline that coursed through his veins, to Jack it seemed like her punches and kicks were little more than bee stings – more irritating than painful. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw his gran leaning against the door looking on.
‘You did that,’ Jack said, pointing with his free hand at his gran’s bruised face and cut lip.
‘He didn’t mean to,’ Doreen screeched. ‘she wouldn’t give him—‘
While continuing to strangling her boyfriend, Jack knocked his mother down like he was swatting a fly and bared his teeth.
For Chapter 6-10 click here