Britain – sometime in the future. Law and order has broken down and people are fighting each other for the country’s dwindling supply of food. Most of the Government have decamped to the Scilly Isles to avoid the riots.
Linden Tallis, a champion archer, becomes the unwanted custodian of R311, a deadly killing agent, courtesy of her scientist brother.
Jack Ormond, an MI6 officer, tries to take the agent from her, specifically to keep it out of the hands of Colonel John March, a fascist dictator, who plans to run the country.
Because initially Linden doesn’t trust Jack, the Colonel manages to get the R311 from her. She, Jack, the erstwhile Prime Minister and several others then team up in an attempt to get the R311 off the Colonel, whom they suspect will use the agent in order to keep control.
Linden, Jack and the others endure hunger and hardship in their quest to remove the Colonel from power. Knowing they are no match for his fighting machine, their quest seems hopeless…until using their wits and courage, they embark on an outrageous offensive to fight him.
Targeted Age Group:: Adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Deadly killing agents are topical right now, however, they have been around for a long time. Even before the emergence of Covid 19, it occurred to me that it was only a matter of time before one deadly chemical or microbe would shatter our lives and put all of us in danger. I then multiplied that concern by one hundred when thinking of how bad things could get, if this killing agent got into the wrong hands. This thought-seed subsequently germinated and became Out Of Kilter
How is writing Science Fiction different from other genres?
Science Fiction of the dystopian genre gives me a lot of scope. I can take the world as we know it and re-arrange it to fit my story. That part is easy – at least for me. The difficult part is keeping the story 'grounded'. By that I mean I don't use 'made-up' worlds with strange lifeforms. I set my characters in the world as it is now I want the reader to recognise normal day to day people, who find themselves plunged into nasty circumstances, because of one disaster or another.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I'm great supporter of strong female characters and strong males who aren't afraid to take the lead. When I want a clever but despotic antihero – well the cynicism in me says there are plenty of those running different countries to draw inspiration from. Since I write grounded dystopian stories, it's important to me to have the reader identify with at least one of my characters, and see the others as friends or acquaintances. At the same time, it's just as important that they recognise at least one character they have known or heard of, who should be avoided.
Linden walked across the supermarket’s car-park, and kept her head down. The last time she came, fights broke out and she didn’t want to be dragged into any more.
There were fewer people about, much fewer than her last visit. Although this meant she was safer, it wasn’t a good sign.
Trolleys, no longer stacked up in their bay, littered the car-park. Some had overturned in the wind and nobody had bothered to pick them up. Linden took one and pushed it inside. Her inner voice chanted…I hope there’s still something left. Please don’t let all the edible food be gone.
But it had. As her eyes scanned the interior, empty shelf after empty shelf, looked back at her. Her local supermarket, once full with food of every description, now resembled a deserted aircraft hangar.
A woman, with red hair and greying roots almost collided with her trolley. Untangling her coat from the contraption, the women said, “Not much point in coming here anymore.”
Linden looked further ahead and she thought she saw some tins of something. Not wanting to let the woman in on her supposed find, she mumbled an agreement and turned her trolley to go.
The woman said, “You’re looking at tins of runner beans. That’s all there is now.
“Only runner beans?”
“No sustenance in them, is there?” All the good stuff’s gone. I was here only three days ago and managed to get the last couple of tins of corned beef. I also got some flour, but that’s all out now. When the electric went off, people ran down here and took everything they could, that’s the trouble.”
Moving away, Linden said, “Oh well, I’ll just have a look around, anyway.”
“There’s still some items in the chemist section.”
Linden glanced at the woman’s trolley and saw boxes of bandages and antiseptic. “Oh I have plenty of stuff like that.”
“So have I. But in times like these, you never know if you’ll ever be able to replenish what you use, do you? I wouldn’t go near the fridges and freezers, if I were you. They smell like rotten eggs now.” She turned to leave, and then stopped to add, “You know the council will be sending food trucks out every day as from tomorrow?”
Linden’s mood lifted. She managed a smile and said, “Food trucks? No I didn’t.”
“There’s a poster up outside about it. Don’t get your hopes up, though. They’re only coming once and day, and will only be supplying sandwiches.”
The woman headed towards the exit, saying, “I’d get some of that bottled water, if I were you. It won’t be long before the stuff coming out of our taps isn’t safe to drink any more.”
Linden took the last two large bottles of water, and left.
After trying three more supermarkets and finding them also ransacked, she went home.
At noon, the same day a thudding on her back door jolted her from an afternoon snooze. Without thinking, she ran down the stairs but hesitated with her hand on the bolt. She then heard a familiar voice from without and let out a gasp of relief.
Her brother William and ten year-old nephew Thomas stood on the doorstep. Before she could utter a word of greeting, her brother pushed past her and demanded she shut the door again.
She did so and the three of them faced each other in the hall. Seeing his worried face and sensing Thomas’ desolation, she said, “What’s happened?”
Thomas ran to her. “Mum’s dead.” He sobbed into her chest.
She soothed him, looked over his head and mouthed to William, “What?”
“They were coming for Dad,” the boy said, “but we were out looking for food. Mum was at home and she…” His sobs filled the hallway.
Noting William’s stricken look, she took Thomas into her sitting-room and asked him to wait while she spoke to his father alone.
When she returned to the hall William took hold of her hands. “Linden, I want you to do something for me…not just for me, but the whole country.”
“What?” What happened?”
“They think I’m still in Devon.” Tears filled his eyes and he tried to swallow them back. “It’s true, Marie’s dead. They shot her because they mistook her for me. I tried to keep her out of it, to protect her.”
He broke down.
She hugged him. “Oh God, what you and poor Thomas have gone through. But I don’t understand. What…”
He faced her and wiped his tears. “I hid the stuff in the cesspit down the bottom of the garden. They tore the place apart looking for it, but they didn’t think of searching there. Then I had to get Thomas away, but I’d run out of petrol and there’s no petrol anywhere. So I had no choice but to steal a vehicle and the only thing with four wheels and petrol in it was the Winnebago outside. I stole that and the last two cans of spare fuel from a neighbour’s barn.
Putting her hands up to her temples, she said, “Marie’s dead? Oh God, I can’t believe it. Who invaded your house? What’s going on?”
He paused and then said, “It’s a substance called R311…a new killing agent.”
She paused and then said, “Courtesy of Porton Down, I suppose?”
In answer to her disdain, he turned to peer through the front door’s opaque glass.
“You told me you didn’t work there any longer,” she added.”
“That was before phones and e-mails became a thing of the past. Almost straight after I last spoke to you, the Government closed down active production of chemical and biological weapons. They then destroyed existing stocks because of the riots. The army is disintegrating and couldn’t be trusted to guard the place any longer.”
“This is so confusing.
He sighed, and sat down. “When the Government left London, Britannia Reborn tried to get hold of R311. They weren’t supposed to know about it, but somebody obviously had told them. So MI6 commissioned me to get it before they did. That’s only because I have a home in Devon, which is in the same direction as Portsmouth. As you can imagine, the Government want to get the stuff away from negative forces. At the same time, they want to make more of it.”
“Make more? But you’ve just said the Government has closed Porton Down.”
“They want to make sure that there is at least one chemical weapon they can use for deterrent purposes. They chose this one because it’s new, and the guy who created it only made four phials. For his own reasons, he destroyed the formula afterwards. This means nobody can make more of it, unless they have access to a functioning laboratory. That’s all classified information by the way.”
“They actually want to make more of something like that? God, now I know the world’s gone mad.” She pondered for a moment and then said, “Four small phials? Is that enough to do serious damage?”
“Enough to kill many people. They’re outside in the Winnebago.”
“What? You’ve brought that stuff here?”
He got up and faced her. “It’s safely packed in an aluminium casket in the bathroom cabinet.” In an appeasing expression, he added, “I washed the poop off it.”
Taking her hands again, he said, “Linden, they don’t know the Winnebago so you should be able to get the stuff back down to Portsmouth unnoticed.”
“Me? I don’t know anything about MI6 and even less about biological or chemical weapons.
Looking downwards, he chewed his bottom lip for a moment, and then met her eyes again. “I shouldn’t be telling you all this, but I can’t see any other way round it.”
“Well you have. And to sum it all up, the Government appointed you, a middle-ranking scientist working in hell’s substation known as Porton Down, to get hold of this stuff before another group of mentally deranged people get their hands on it.”
“Well yes, but…”
“Answer me this, why should you risk your neck for them, when they’ve abandoned their people to the ruffians in the country?”
“I was recruited by MI6 and they’ve gone underground. That’s all I can tell you. As long as Britannia Reborn don’t infiltrate, they will carry on as they are. As for the Government, most of them have gone to the Scilly Isles, so they can gain strength enough to fight back and regain control of the country again.”
“It seems to me they didn’t have you and your family’s interests at heart, or they would have arranged for a military escort to transport the stuff from Porton Down to Portsmouth.”
A look of impatience joined his tired expression. “What military? I’ve just told you, the army’s dwindling in numbers. More and more men are deserting.”
“Well, wouldn’t it be quicker and safer to transport it to the Scilly Isles via helicopter or plane?”
“MI6 has a couple of helicopters, but something as dangerous as R311 would need a military escort, flanked by vetted soldiers. As for sending it by plane, since the Air Force has gone the way of the Army, there are no planes any longer.”
“Okay, I get it. So they dumped the responsibility of getting it down to Portsmouth on inconspicuous you.”
“Somebody had to do it. I was glad to help.” He paused and then said, “Since the media channels shut down, you civilians have no idea just how much of a meltdown the country is in.”
“Oh we know. It’s just been hitting us in different ways.” She turned away. “Not knowing what’s happened to Derek has been horrible for me.”
“Where is he?”
She thought of her boyfriend and swallowed down the urge to cry. Facing her brother again, she said, “He hadn’t heard from his mother and sister for ages, so he took off to check on them and didn’t come back. That was six weeks ago. I’ve been toying with the idea of going to find out what’s happened but I’m too afraid to leave the house for long periods.”
“You should have gone with him.”
“I didn’t want to leave this place to the looters. He promised he wouldn’t be long.”
“His family are from Reading, aren’t they?”
She nodded. “And that’s too far away from here. Damn Britannia Reborn…why the Government didn’t wipe out that organization as soon as it sprung up I’ll never understand.”
She thought for a moment and then said, “To me it doesn’t make sense. The Government destroyed all their biological weapons before closing Porton Down. You say they did that to stop any undesirables getting hold of them and possibly unleashing them on people. But, they still decided to keep this new one. To my mind, that makes them just as bad as those they want to keep it from.”
“Oh Linden, you’d never make a political tactician.”
She shrugged. “I make no apologies about that. I run an archery shop, or used to before the world went so badly out of kilter.”
She walked away, but then turned around again to say, “But, if they don’t know you’ve got the stuff in the Winnebago, why can’t you take it back down to Portsmouth. You’re a scientist and better able to handle something like that.”
“Because they’re looking for me. On the other hand, they don’t know who you are. Not yet anyway.” As though mumbling to himself, he added, “The very fact that they found me in Devon is proof they know who I am and who I’m working for. My job now is to get to London and let MI6 know that Britannia Reborn is on to us. I can’t do that if I’m heading back down south, can I?”
She watched her brother pace up and down the hallway.
“So, while I’m on my way to London,” he said, “you can be driving down to Portsmouth to meet my contact there.”
She shook her head.
Appearing desperate now, he stopped in front of her again. “Come on, Linden, you’re too young to be on your own in the world as it is now. You said the last time we spoke you didn’t feel safe living here anymore. Most of the people in the village have gone. Derek’s missing, so why stay here?”
“Because word got out that thugs are ransacking the towns and brutalising everyone who gets in their way. It just made more sense to stay.”
“That’s illogical. You’ll run out of food and have to go one day anyway. Apart from that, don’t you want to do something to save this country from the quagmire it’s in?
She threw her hands up in hopelessness and said, “I know I can’t stay here. Actually, I planned to go to Devon to stay with you and Marie in a couple of weeks. Ironic, isn’t it. The thing is I just don’t want to leave in case Derek turns up. Also, our family home is right here. This is mum and dad’s place, it’s where were we grew up, and it has the shop they were so proud of.”
“As though not hearing he said, “The man you have to meet in Portsmouth is called Carl Millen. You need to deliver the casket to him.” He thrust a scribbled map in her hand. That’s where he will be.”
“You mean, I’m supposed to find him via this scrappy thing? Isn’t there a field radio I can contact him on?”
“No radio. It’s too risky. When you’ve delivered the casket, I want you and Thomas to wait for me.”
“And you? After you’ve done your bit in London, you’ll come back to find us?”
“Of course. I wouldn’t desert my son and baby-sister, would I?” He put his hand on the door-handle and turned to her. “I’ll just say goodbye to Thomas.”
“Thomas? Oh he’s just lost her mother and now you’re running off.”
He bent his head and whispered. “I’d give anything not to need to do this.”
Linden waited in her kitchen until Thomas and his father emerged from the sitting-room. Bill gave his son one last hug and then hugged Linden before opening the front door.
He got as far as the gate before a bullet shot through his forehead.
Linden heard the ping of the bullet hitting the wall behind her brother. Then, like a felled tree, she saw him slope backwards and crash to the floor.
She screamed, ran outside and knelt beside him. His eyes, though still open, registered a finality that only death produces. Blood from the bullet’s wound in his forehead, channelled its way down his nose.
Thomas’s screams sent her into flight-mode and she pushed him to the floor and urged him to follow her in crawling the length of the path, back into the hall and then to the kitchen. From there, they descended the stairs into the cellar and she bolted the door behind them.
Both aunt and nephew stared at each other. Thomas put his hands up to his eyes. Tears flowed down his cheeks and swatches of his brown hair flopped over his eyes.
To stop him wailing, Linden pulled him to her and whispered, “Don’t cry now, Tom, they’ll hear us.”
The child bit his lip, remained mute and held onto his aunt, until his eyes registered what she had just said, “Who? Who will hear us?”
“I’m not sure. I just get the feeling that whoever…” She thought better of saying more and alarming him, but he finished her sentence with,
“You think that the person who shot dad is after us, as well?”
While standing in the half-light, trembling with Thomas, her worst fear materialised in the form of the sound of footsteps, coming from above. They seemed to stomp from room to room and then out of the house.
She heard movement outside. Looking up to the window, she saw shadows and then a man’s hand stretching down towards the window. Since the window was already open, he put his hand through it and she saw a blue and gold ring on his finger. The window, being too narrow, meant he couldn’t drop his hand further, so he withdrew it. She and Thomas then listened to the sound of his footsteps on the gravel.
Thomas opened his mouth to gasp, but she mouthed to him to keep quiet.
Next, she heard more shuffling and then heard a man’s voice saying, “Search the Cellar.” More crunching of the gravel followed.”
Moments later, Thomas covered his ears and sank to the floor when thudding assailed the bolted door at the top of the stairs.
She bent down to hug him and while doing so, glanced over the boy’s shoulder and onto the stock of archery equipment which she’d put in store. Most of the bows weren’t stringed, but four, which she’d used for display and demonstration, were. She got to her feet, grabbed two stringed recurve bows off the rack and searched around for a box of arrows.
The sound of pounding on the door stopped. Seconds later a slew of bullets striking it replaced the silence.
Panting with fear, Thomas watched his aunt grab a stock of arrows and place them on a rickety old table facing the stairs. Handing him a bow, she positioned him one side of the table and whispered, “Tom, remember I taught you how to shoot last summer?”
“I’m not very good, though.”
She placed the bow into the boy’s shaking hands and steadied them.
“I’ll fire the first arrow. I just need you to fire at anybody behind him, to give me time to get another arrow ready okay?”
“Just keep your head, and we might stand a chance.”
She set an arrow up on his bow and then fixed an arrow in her own. Pointing it at the top of the stairs, she drew its string in readiness to fire.
Thomas did the same.
The bullets stopped.
A prism of light appeared behind the first man on the stairs. Linden shot him in the neck. He dropped his rifle and tumbled downwards.
Thomas got the one behind in his stomach. The man bent over but then straightened up and managed to point his rifle at Thomas. Linden put another arrow in his chest. He too fell downwards.
The third man made use of having a little more time, and released a cascade of bullets.
By then, Linden had grabbed another arrow from the table, got down on one knee and gestured for Thomas to do likewise.
Being dark down below, the assassin missed his targets and bullets hit the wall behind. This gave time for Linden to place the arrow on her bow, and then fire it through his heart. He dropped his rifle and fell forwards until bumping into his two fallen comrades.
Heaving from fear, and staring at the top of the stairs, Linden and Thomas listened to retreating footsteps. Once they faded away, they stared at the three bodies.
“They won’t be bothering us again,” she whispered.
Thomas’s face crumpled. “Dad, they’ve killed Dad.” He dropped his bow and made to run upstairs.
Linden grabbed him, pulled him to her and whispered, “I heard somebody running away. We don’t know if he’s still up there. Stay behind me and don’t made a sound.”
Her bow and newly-placed arrow ready, they took the stairs upwards, inching their ways past the three bodies.
Five minutes later, after searching the house and finding nobody, they sank into each other’s arms.
Seeing Bill, her dear dead brother, with his blood streaming down the path, was for Linden the worst moment of her life.
As she and Thomas crouched over the body with tears blinding them, her first thought was to get away and down to Cornwall, where Thomas’ maternal grandmother lived. However, the idea of leaving Bill’s body to rot in her driveway appalled her. She glanced at her crying nephew and sensed that abandoning his father would also haunt him and she couldn’t be party to that.
Turning to the boy, she said. “We can’t leave him here.”
He sniffed and put his hands up to catch more tears. “Where can we take him, though? There aren’t any funeral places now.”
A pang of rage consumed her and inwardly she shouted…That’s when you know civilization’s well and truly gone. It’s not when there are barbarians thirsting for power and control overrunning the place. It’s not even when everybody’s scrapping around for food, it’s when you can’t even bury the dead decently anymore!”
She composed herself, grabbed the Winnebago’s keys from Bill’s pocket and said, “We’ll take him to the cemetery anyway.”
After locking the vehicle, she hurried inside to get three bed-sheets, two to wrap Bill in and the third to roll him on and drag him as far as the car.
In normal times, the drive to the cemetery would have taken at least thirty minutes. Being very little traffic to negotiate any longer, it took only ten.
* * * *
At the cemetery, they looked around for a suitable place for the body. Linden’s hope that there might be a ready, or even partially-dug grave, nosedived when she saw nothing but gravestones and concrete.
Thomas then voiced the obvious. “There’s nowhere to put him.”
“Nowhere at all.” She looked down and saw his reddened, tear-stained cheeks.
“I learned about the Vikings at school, Aunt Linden. The warriors always cremated their dead people, because they believed the smoke would carry them to Valhalla.”
She paused and noted the shadows of autumn bringing the afternoon to a close, while wondering what to say.
“I’m sure your father would approve of a Viking warrior’s funeral, but we don’t have anything to make a pyre with. Even if we did, I wouldn’t want to see him burning.”
The boy grimaced and said, “Me neither.”
She pointed to a spot under a tree, just outside the cemetery. “I think we should lay your father down there.”
They drove to the place and then dragged the body over to the spot.
Although already covered from head to toe with a sheet, they agreed that covering the body further with stones and dead twigs would be more respectful.
While they gathered suitable materials, both were unaware of a person watching them from behind a tall gravestone.
Almost an hour later, they stood over Bill’s body and its unconventional funeral covering. Although sad, she felt satisfied that they had done their best. Then, clinging to each other with the finality of their loved one hitting their hearts, they cried.
“Why has the world gone like this?” Thomas said through his tears. “I don’t know what’s happened. One minute me and my friends are going to school, mum and dad are working and it was great. Then, it all went bad so quickly.”
Through her sniffs and sobs, she managed to say, “People got tired of inequality, that’s what caused it all.”
“Inequality, what’s that?”
“Didn’t they teach you about social inequality at school, Tom? Didn’t you hear about the haves and have-nots?”
She dabbed her eyes with the heels of her hands and said, “Well in simple terms, it means that two percent of the world’s population own all the wealth, while the rest, including your parents, saw their standards go down and down. Those people even worse off than your parents, those without work, were even forced to beg for food on the streets?”
“I remember mum and dad talking about it, when it came on the news. They said we were living in a time when rich people just got richer and richer, and poor people got fed-up of seeing them swimming in money while they had to live like rats.”
He sobbed some more, and then asked, “Why didn’t the rich people share what they had and try to make life better for the poor? Then all this wouldn’t have happened.”
She glanced at his bewildered expression for a moment. “Well, so called experts used to say that a fair distribution of wealth wasn’t that simple, and I suppose it wasn’t. But the cynical part of me always says that the rich really didn’t give a damn about the poor.”
An unknown voice interrupted the conversation with, “You’re the one who used to run the archery shop, aren’t you?”
Both aunt and nephew started and turned around. Linden recognised the interloper as one of the few remaining people still in the village…somebody who used to come in the shop from time to time…but who spent more time looking at her than her stock.
“Yes,” she answered.
The fortyish man, with dark hair, scraped back into a ponytail, came up and offered his hand, “Hi, I’m Michael Kineton. We live quite near to each other, though you probably don’t remember everybody who called in at your archery shop. I know your name is Linden, though and I’ve known that for a long time. I used to work as a freelance helicopter pilot. That’s before everything collapsed, of course. My wife took off with the children two years ago, so I’m used to living alone, but I’d always much prefer having someone in my life, even more so now. I’ve always quite liked the look of you, and I was wondering whether you and I could team up together? You’re only a young woman and you look as though you could do with a man to protect you. There’s still some food in my cupboard.”
“He said all that in one breath,” Thomas whispered.
Linden paused to recover for a second, and then said, “Mr, whoever you are, has it escaped your notice that we’re conducting a funeral here?”
Raising his brow, he said, “Oh, yes…well…sorry. It’s just that in times like these, I thought we could do away with the introductions baloney and team up, just for safety of course. I saw what happened outside at your house this morning. One couldn’t help but hear the shots and so, of course, I came to investigate.”
He paused and smiled, as though enjoying her attention.
“When I got to your house, there were four men there with rifles. I wanted to rescue you, but there were just too many of them, so, I ran all the way home.”
Returning her attention to Bill’s body, Linden muttered, “Thanks for the information. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’d like to be alone right now.”
“Did those men kill somebody you knew?”
“Look I don’t know who you are, but I’m appalled by your lack of self-awareness! Please, just leave us alone to grieve in peace.”
Kineton’s smile faded, but only for a moment. “I thought we could take that Winnebago” He pointed to the body. “I presume the vehicle’s yours now that he’s dead?”
Thomas groaned and then said, “We’re doing a funeral for my dad, if you must know. Now go away!”
“Funeral is it? You know, of course, that if you leave him like that, the dogs will have him quicker than a wink.”
Thomas wailed, and released a fresh batch of tears.
Linden turned and glared at Kineton, intending to tell him, in an even blunter fashion that he wasn’t wanted. However, the odd light in his eyes silenced her. She took hold of Thomas’s hand and led him to the Winnebago.
“Women on their own won’t be able to survive now,” Kineton shouted after her. “You’re going to need a man to protect you. There are a lot of suspect people about, you know.”
“Yes,” Linden whispered while opening the vehicle’s door, “and you sound like one of them.”
They drove away, but even when looking through the car window, she noticed the man running after the car, still trying to engage with her.
On the way home, she thought of Kineton’s telling her he saw the armed men outside her house. Not having time to think the whole horrible business through, she assumed the man who shot Bill was part of the same group who tried to get into her cellar.
She tried to make sense of what had happened, but got nowhere. All she knew was her brother had got himself into something perilous, and he had paid for that with his life.
She shuddered and then forced her thoughts to switch to the responsibility she now had for a biological agent which, by Bill’s account, enjoyed being on a par with the most deadly other agents known to man. She wanted to be rid of it, but knew she couldn’t betray her brother and not carry out his wish to get the stuff into the proper hands.
Clearly, the so called Britannia Reborn organization must have known what her brother was doing and it was probably they who had followed him to her home. And, the fourth man who escaped would tell his seniors what had happened.
That meant she and Thomas would be right in the front of some very dangerous people’s radar. They had to get away and lose no time about doing it.
When they returned home, she took out Bill’s scribbled map of where to go in Portsmouth and mouthed the name, Carl Millen. It would be so easy, she thought, to rip it to shreds, throw the R311 away and go to Thomas’ grandmother in Cornwall. But then, Bill would have died for nothing and that must not be allowed to happen.
She stared at the Winnebago and thought of how easy it would be to pick out. Common sense told her to use her own car. They could get to Portsmouth quicker in it. But if she took her car, where would she put her archery equipment? She had to take that. Leaving it behind was unthinkable.
Thomas helped her pack the Winnebago with food, and they stacked its back bunk-room with her archery equipment. He then suggested they take the dead soldiers’ rifles. She told him, “No. They used one of those things to kill your father, so let’s leave them behind.”
Before she and Thomas left she answered the dictates of her intuition and decanted the four phials of R311 into a thermos flask. She then shut the casket up, after putting coloured water in the empty phials first.
About the Author:
Sandy Hyatt-James is an English woman living in Bulgaria, where she used to teach English as a foreign language. She was educated at Ruskin college, Oxford. After this, she spent eleven years as a child protection social worker, with the last three being in management.
She has written five novels and is currently working on her sixth. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing and amuses herself with the thought that she will probably be working on the draft of something, the day she ‘shuffles off’.
When she isn’t writing, she enjoys classical ballet and classical music. However, she admits to getting as much enjoyment from listening to Jimi Hendrix and Queen. Lastly, Sandy loves dogs. She owns four and would have more if time and space permitted.
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