Monday, 24 February 2014

"How do you write a good page turner?"

Recently I was asked a question.

"How do you write a good page turner?"

I thought about it for a while and this was my response.

How I write:  

Lots of people have a story to tell and its how it is told that makes the difference. For writing to be effective you must be able to understand the basic elements of storytelling. There are many fundamentals that make up a good intriguing story or page turner. 
    I would consider my crime thrillers to be what is sometimes referred to as hard-boiled or crime noir.  I must confess I do favour narratives about good people who do bad things for good reasons. My stories are full of action and intrigue, I don’t just want the story to flow I want it to surge.  I write about characters that are tough and quirky, carefree, exciting, loving, loyal, larger than life and dangerous.  I like to write about the power of one and people who are up against the odds but carry on no matter what the cost.  I  write about people who are right at the end of their tether, and then I drop them in the deep end to see how they survive, if at all.  I try to make the good characters likable and of course the opposite applies to the villains, I make them utterly detestable creatures.

The basic ingredients for writing a story:

Points of view, setting and dialogue.
    Before you start your story you must make sure you know who is going to tell it. Simply put the first person narrative is when one of the main characters tells the story. The reader is ‘with’ the same person all through the book. The third person point of view is when both the writer and the reader know what is going on. The third person narrative can put one character on the stage all the time or there can be multiple view points, the action moves along from person to person. Third person point of view can be all knowing, the narrator knows everything that is going on in the characters minds and therefore can reveal these thoughts to the reader. By using breaks between the scenes and new chapters I can jump from one character to the other. I’m mindful not have too many characters telling the story as this can be confusing for the reader so I set a limit.
    For me it is essential that the description of the setting that the character or event is taking place in must be described in detail in order to convey the right atmosphere. I must admit that I’m guilty of over doing this aspect on occasion and I have to remember to reign myself in.  I start with the basics and embellish the scene until it feels right. 

Basic points to remember: Is the scene taking place inside or outside?  The elements are always important for conveying mood.  Is it busy outside are there traffic jams are people rushing around? What time of day is it?  Is it hot or cold outside etc? The sights, sounds, smells and colours of the world around your character must be described in succinct detail.  I try to paint the picture for the reader and then lead them into it.

Setting: extracts are from Necessary Evils:
1.       As he stepped outside a gigantic flash of lightning lit up the entire street, followed a split second later by a terrific detonation of thunder that shook the ground; he stood for a moment and gazed up in wonder as the battle raged amid the dark clouds. 

Where is he going what does the scene convey to the reader? There is great drama building here.

2.       He pulled the warm quilt over his head, curled into a ball, and tuned his ear to the muffled sounds of the world outside, a despondent yelp of a dog, a rumble of distant thunder, the faint wail of a police siren.
Why is he hiding under the quilt? What has done? Where has he been? Are you hooked, do you want to read more do you feel the need to turn that page to find out what’s happened here and why?
    Dialogue is quicker to read and therefore moves the reader faster through the story. Dialogue defines the character.  I must confess that I do tend to use a good dose of colourful language in my dialogue, but for me with the type of characters that are in my books it would be strange not to have the odd curse or swear word in there somewhere.
    Dialogue makes the distinction between characters by the way they speak to each other.  I keep it real, and just like an everyday conversation the sentences are kept relatively short.
Writing is an art form, a craft which takes a long time to perfect. The more you do it the better you become, for me it’s a slow process full of pitfalls and hurdles to overcome and can be a tremendously frustrating undertaking at times. However, to have a book that you have lost sleep over and have spent a year or two writing sitting in the palm of your hand is a truly extraordinary experience. 

Warm regards from your humble narrator and best of luck with your writing endeavors, 

Amazon links

Amazon links

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The art of tameshiwari!

It’s all in the mind.

The art of tameshiwari!

In the world of karate once you have progressed to a suitable rank there is a type of technique that is used as a test which is called ‘tameshiwari’ a Japanese term for destruction.  It is the ultimate test of whether the correct transition of power is being used when striking.  For example, your striking techniques may look very crisp and effective when punching into thin air or when striking at the punch bag.  It is when you are faced by an inanimate solid object such as a 4 inch thick 8 inch wide concrete block that your striking techniques and state of mind are put to the ultimate test. 
    However a test of this nature is more of a mental one than one of just utilising raw power, it is a test of self-belief . When undertaking a break of this nature it is essential to have attained a  mind-set that is completely uncluttered from all thought to obtain a calm, clear mind.  And then to focus all of your body's energy into one single devastating strike in a flash of a moment.

    Even though I have performed breaks of this type quite often I still find them difficult to accomplish. You have to put all thoughts of the outside world elsewhere and every particle of self-doubt must be driven from your mind or you will fail, and that is the most difficult part. These are the elements and origins of true karate. Osu! 

Check out the Modern Warrior Handbook for more insight into real self defence.     

Twitter:  @billcarsonbooks  

Sunday, 3 November 2013

My BookBub experience.

Free book downloads do they actually achieve anything for the author?

An update on this subject:

Hi all, I just thought I'd let you know about my BookBub experience.

For those of you who don’t know BookBub is a site where authors can for an upfront fee promote their books. They have a vast mailing list and will promote free ebooks and paid books to their huge army of readers/customers.

The amount you pay is dependent on the genre of your book, for a free book the fee is cheaper but still quite considerable.

A while back I decided to give it a go as an experiment as I had heard great things about BookBub. What I can say is that they delivered up to a point and my free ebook was downloaded 37,000 times!  Which quickly placed my crime thriller to number 1 status in free books on Amazon and for about five days I stayed at the top of the pile. 

However once the promotion was over the book steadily retreated backwards through the ranks once more to settle back to roughly where it was before the promotion went out.

OK so BookBub got a fist full of cash. What did I get?
·      I did receive an upsurge in reviews very quickly; about twenty new ones appeared over a week or two. Most of them were great I might add.
·       Did my other books start to sell as result of the promotion?
Yes but I only noticed a slight difference.
·       Would I consider another promotion using BookBub?
Maybe but they are rather expensive especially for paid books.

Check out the site and take a look but make sure you read all of the info before committing here’s the link.

I must confess that I don’t find the creation of a new story easy, for me the writing process can be a problematic and somewhat torturous undertaking, fraught with many pit falls and hurdles that only time and great effort will overcome.  I spend weeks or even months just thinking about the story before even going anywhere near the keyboard. My first crime thriller Necessary Evils took me two years to complete.

And now to the point of this post, I have been pondering over this question for some time now.

Free ebooks, are they good, bad or just a waste of time and effort for the author? 

I have in the past put some of my books up for free as a promotion, on a couple of occasions they have reached number 1 in their specific crime thriller genres which is great and showed that the book was being downloaded hundreds of times, but what’s in it for me? Well very little in fact.
    I believe that there is nothing more all-consuming than writing a book, and so I think that the book that you have sweated over, lost sleep over, worried and fretted over for ages that has had a beautifully designed cover and has been faithfully polished and crafted by your editor and painstakingly cleansed of all imperfections by your persevering proof-reader surely deserves a better fate than to be given away for nothing. 
    It is the belief of many that a free book may help to get you noticed; I believe this to be a flawed strategy. Do free ebooks even get read? How many times have you clicked on a free download and then have put that freebie to the top of your reading list?   I think that many freebies just get lost within the freebie slush pile, book downloads that are paid for will most certainly always be read.

What do I do to promote my books?
I think that the best way forward for the Indie author to promote their work is to firstly have a really good eye-catching book cover;  I know this has been said before but it is true and make sure the book is reasonably priced.  I price my kindle books between £2 - 3. Print books at £4-99 and special offers generally go in at 77p.  

Promoting the occasional special offer on Twitter and Facebook is always a good idea.  It was something that author John Locke said that really puts the point across about pricing.

“Price wise I no longer have to prove that my books are as good as the world’s most famous authors, they have to prove that their books are worth ten times what mine are.”
     Tweeting your books? It’s perfectly acceptable to do so in moderation. Try and make the tweets quirky and eye-catching, make them short and hard hitting. Get a blog up and running and have your book links and website on there.
    Buyers will have no problem paying for a good professionally proof-read well-presented well edited book; the reviews that you receive for your hard work will reflect this.  
    I would just like to end now by sincerely wishing you all the best of luck in your future endeavours, personally I have found the literary road a tough but rewarding one. The utterly unique feeling of self-worth that you get when gazing upon your new creation glowing in front of your eyes on Amazon is a truly treasurable moment.
     Power to all the Indie authors out there, I truly believe that the future of books rests with us!

    The details of the proof-reader/editor and book cover designer that I use can be contacted via the links below, without them I would never have been able to accomplish my goals, the professional edge that they give is something that will be noted by all the readers out there.   Book cover designer.

Books by Bill Carson

The Modern Warrior Handbook  
Crime thrillers

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Be smart be safe!

Common  sense/self-defence tips for  women.

As the party season draws ever nearer I thought it might be an idea to share a few safety tips with you all.  At around this time last year I tweeted a number of safety tips for women.  After having received some very positive responses about those tweets I have decided to put them out again this year. This time I have compiled them into a list so that you can cut, paste, copy and keep.  They are in no particular order of preference as I believe each one holds equal status of importance.
    These concepts are pretty much what you already know, however it doesn't hurt to have a little reminder, especially now that the Christmas and New Year celebrations are rapidly approaching.  I don’t want you to get paranoid I just want you to think a little differently when you girls are out and about.


When you are out walking alone walk briskly, keep your head up and look around in a confident manner and keep your body erect as you are walking. Most street robberies will be perpetrated against people who look like suitable victims, your body language can give you away, for example being hunched over and moving slowly with your head down looking at the pavement.  Muggers will be looking out for these signs, so don’t make yourself look like a victim, switch on as soon as you close that front door and stride out with confidence and purpose.
  •      Always go out with a crowd, you are far less likely to be attacked when in a group. People who are out and about on their own make the easiest targets for muggers.
  •      When out walking alone take the occasional glance over your shoulder to see if there is anyone behind you, if your gut instinct tells you something is wrong cross the street or go into a house that has its lights on and knock on the door.
  •      If you have to walk down a side street alone at night try to keep away from dark doorways and entrances to alleyways, stay to the edge of the kerb/sidewalk.
  •      If a car were to suddenly pull up beside you when out walking alone, never ever go over to it, do not speak to the occupants, increase your walking speed and keep moving. If necessary find a public place and call the police.
  •      When out walking alone face the traffic flow if possible.  If someone were to try and force you into the car run across to the other side of the road this will make it difficult to turn the car around to come after you. Run as quickly as you can and find the nearest public place and again call the police.
  •       If you are coming home alone late at night to an empty house take a moment to look for obvious signs of a break in, if you do notice something suspicious do not enter the property, back off and go to a friend’s house if possible and phone the police immediately.


  •      It is in my opinion best not to accept drinks from strangers, and it’s also a good idea not to leave your drink unattended. It’s better to buy your own drinks that way you know what you’re drinking and how it should taste. It’s worth remembering that the drug most commonly used to spike drinks is in fact alcohol.
  •      If drinking from a bottle a simple and effective technique to combat drink spiking is to put the tip of your thumb over the top of the bottle.  If drinking from a glass and you become suspicious just keep your hand over it.  It’s also a good idea not to drink something you didn't open or see being opened or poured out by the bar staff.
  •      If you’re in a bar and feel light-headed, dizzy or that you are about to throw up ask someone you trust for help. If you’re alone tell the bar staff or the bouncer, don’t be afraid to approach the bouncer’s that’s what they are there for.  
  •      If you’re alone or waiting for a friend in a bar and someone you don’t know is becoming a little creepier than usual make an excuse and go to the ladies toilets and use your phone to call your friends to come and rescue you.
  •      Always make sure you are picked up by a licensed cab that you have ordered. When ordering a cab make sure you are out of earshot of strangers, someone could be listening in to your conversation and obtain your name and address.
Be smart be safe!

Please feel free to drop me a line, if you would like some more self defence advice just leave your email address at the top of the page and I’ll get back to you. 

If you want to find out more about self defence check out

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Who is your favourite book villain?

Who is your favourite book villain?

Love them or loathe them villains make the most memorable characters. Here are four of my personal favourites.

Odd Job.  

The bodyguard of super villain Auric Goldfinger takes some beating; he is a Korean killing machine and built like the proverbial brick shit house that uses a steel rimmed bowler hat like a Frisbee to take you out. In the book, Goldfinger instructs Odd Job to demonstrate some Karate techniques to James Bond as a warning; he does this by smashing through an oak banister on the staircase with his bare hands and then kicks the crap out of the mantelpiece, he then eats Goldfingers cat for his dinner. The film version is good but the book is so much better.

Doctor No.   

In the book of the same name the character Doctor No is an extremely complicated, weird and sadistic creature that lives under the sea in a huge secret complex, and of course is getting up to no good whatsoever down there. His interests are many but one in particular is to discover the pain threshold of human beings. He has black eyes which are made of glass, has had extensive plastic surgery on his face, has an elongated spine, and his hands which were cleaved off by Chinese gangsters have been replaced with steel pincers. Forget the film read the book.  

Doctor No brought the steel claw delicately in front of each eye and tapped the centre of each eyeball. Each eyeball in turn emitted a dull ting. “These,” said Doctor No “see everything.” Extract from Dr No by IanFleming

Nurse Mildred Ratched.

The cold character from Ken Casey’s 1962 book One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Nurse Ratched would not be everyone’s first choice as a villain, but she certainly scared me. She is a formidable manipulating authoritarian who is basically a power-crazed head nurse at a mental institution. She carries out her duties knowing full well that the mentally ill patients who she rules with an iron fist are totally helpless under her command.  Brilliantly played I might add in the superb film version by Louise Fletcher.

Annie Wilkes Dugan. The Dragon Lady.

The character from the Stephen King novel Misery Annie Dugan is truly terrifying, a sick psychotic manipulating murdering ex nurse who rescues her favourite author from a car crash and keeps him prisoner at her house. She uses her skills as a nurse to bring him back to health. However to stop him escaping she decides to chop his foot off with an axe. She kills her dad, kills the neighbours, kills a cop, kills her friend, and kills kids too.  And to top it all believes that she is a Christian?
There is an excellent film version of the book by the same name and the characters are superbly played by Kathy Bates and James Caan.

Those are four of my all time  favourite book villains; I wonder who your favourite villains are?  Feel free to post your own preferences, thoughts and comments. Don't forget to leave your email address at the top of the page.

Books by Bill Carson.

 Necessary Evils    Necessary Evils 

The sequel to Necessary Evils is now available. Nemesis John Kane's revenge.

Nemesis     Nemesis 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Necessary Evils.

Hi and welcome to my blog, the excerpt you are about to read is from my first crime thriller Necessary Evils. Your comments would be most welcome and please feel free to leave your email address at the top of the page. Enjoy.

Before you begin here are a few five star reviews.

5.0 out of 5 stars
Necessary Evils by Bill Carson20 Jun 2013
Miss L. Charters "lyn16780" (Barnet, Herts, UK) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Necessary Evils (Kindle Edition)
Bill Carson is a superb storyteller. I was hooked from page one and I literally took my kindle everywhere with me when I was reading this book. It is, quite simply, un put downable. The character was superb - I was both horrified by him and yet I had empathy for him too. His urges for revenge on the people who killed his wife knows no boundaries. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Read it people - it's great!

5.0 out of 5 stars Just like real life!!!8 Mar 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Necessary Evils (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant book written in a way which virtually every reader can, and will, relate to. One of the most compelling books I have ever read.

5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary EvilsMarch 10, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Necessary Evils (Kindle Edition)
Started reading Necessary Evils a couple of nights ago and the biggest complaint I have is I have not got much sleep since starting to read it.
I end up staying up way to late reading the book instead of going to bed like I should and find myself dragging my feet the next day.
This is a great mystery/crime novel that keeps you interested from the very beginning. I haven't quite finished it, but I hear from a reliable source that it has quite an ending. Will be waiting for another book from Bill Carson.

An update, just finished reading the book and the ending was a surprise and now I am waiting for a sequel for sure.
If you like crime novels make sure and grab you a copy Necessary Evils.

Necessary Evils


DI Harland scanned the room and studied the positions of the inert, twisted, blood-soaked bodies; they had become one with the lush cream-coloured carpet, which resembled a disturbing tapestry of death.  That commando dagger makes a very unique wound; could be a coincidence, of course.  Who am I trying to kid, it was him, and once we dig the slugs out of these poor bastards I’ll lay odds they’ll match the bullet found at Leicester Square.

Chapter 1

What can't be cured must be endured

John Kane threw back the warm heavy quilt, yawned and stared blankly at the ceiling. As the aroma of fresh coffee drifted upstairs he decided to face the day.
He stopped before entering the kitchen and smiled as he watched Sarah through the gap in the door. Her hair was still slightly damp from the shower, her makeup sparse over her flawless skin.  Her tight, sapphire silk blouse shimmered with flashes of subdued lightning as she moved past the window; her tailored, jet black knee-length skirt accentuated her superb figure as she reached into the cupboard for the coffee cups.
He crept up behind her and wrapped his arms tightly around her slim waist.
“What are you doing, John?”
“Just giving you the once-over.”
He spun her around to face him and looked her up and down admiringly.  A rosy tint flushed her cheeks as he did so. She hasn’t changed a bloody bit, still the same girl the same innocent girl I married all those years ago, he thought.
Sarah had a ballerina-type physique, slender and pixie-like. She was golden haired with a heart to match, and when she smiled her cute turned-up nose wrinkled in the most delightful manner.  The years had been kind to Sarah and she was often mistaken for being ten years younger than her forty-three.
“Give us a kiss?” he said, and puckered up, Mick Jagger style.
“You’re mad. Go and sit down, or you’ll be late for work,” she said.
“No, I’m not shifting until I get m…”
She interrupted him mid-flow and pressed her lips tenderly against his; he could feel their warmth and could taste the freshness of her mouth.  He held her close and was tempted to suggest they go back upstairs and stuff work for the day, but she pulled away as two slices of bread popped out of the toaster and interrupted the moment.  
As he poured the coffee she began prattling on about her mother coming over one evening this week, and about a woman at work who was getting her varicose veins sorted.  The subjects that she brought up for discussion at meal times never failed to amaze him.  At that point his mind drifted as his eye caught the headlines of the local newspaper.
“Seen this, Sarah?” he said, and pointed at the front page which read, ‘Woman Raped at Knifepoint’.
“That’s just down the road. The crime rate has soared round here over the last few years. What was once the exception has now become the norm,” he said.
“I’ll start a collection, get her a nice card and some flowers with the proceeds; she’ll need cheering up,” Sarah said.
“You don’t know her… do you?”
“I’ve known Kate for years, John.”
“Kate?” John said in puzzlement.
“She’ll be laid up for a little while after her ordeal, poor soul.”
“Sarah, I was talking about the woman in the paper, not the woman from work,” he said, and showed her the front page once more.
“Who?” she replied.
He smiled, shook his head and folded the paper, reached across the table and pushed the button on the small silver digital radio.  ‘Classic Gold, the sensational sounds of the sixties, seventies and eighties’ the jingle said. He dipped the butter knife into the large jar of chunky marmalade and began to spread a sizable globule over another piece of toast.  Sarah looked on despairingly as he synchronized the movements of the knife to the strains of an Ian Dury track.
To hell with the train, he thought, as a quick glance at the clock over the rim of his coffee cup told him he was behind schedule. He poured himself another cup as Sarah began clearing the table.
By ten past eight John was finally ready to face the wicked world outside.  He grabbed his Parka from the coat hook, straightened his tie, checked his hair in the mirror and opened the front door. He then paused before stepping outside.
“Hey Sarah, I’ll tell you what, how about a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of wine tonight?” he shouted from the hallway.
“Yep, sounds good to me,” she said, as she popped her head around the kitchen door.
“I’ll pick the wine up from that little off-licence on my way home. Jacob’s Creek all right?”
“Wow, exotic food and drink on a Monday night, how decadent! It’s a bad road, but I’m not complaining,” she said with a wry smile.
“Saves cooking, doesn’t it?  And I do occasionally have a good idea, you know,” he said, tapping his index finger against his temple.
“If you say so, love,” she said.

    Sarah lifted the net curtain, rapped on the windowpane with her fingernails and blew him a kiss. He smiled and waved as he closed the gate.  A slate grey sky hung low overhead as he embarked on the dreary walk to the station which would usually take him roughly fifteen minutes. However, today being the first day back at work after the holiday, it would take at least twenty-five.  As he stood on the packed platform his mind began to wander.
Twenty-four hours in a day, a third of those spent at work, an hour each way travelling, eight hours sleep – that leaves six hours to myself, week in week out.  I don’t want to end up as just another old codger pottering around in a stuffy office for the rest of my life.  There must be a better way. It’s the place that does it; the old country’s tired, and it’s on its last legs.  The States, now that’s where you need to be. They live well out there, whereas we just seem to exist. We work the longest hours in Europe and we’re taxed to the bloody hilt for doing so. On top of that you’ve got VAT, the poll tax, the credit crunch, congestion charges, rising prices, unemployment, pollution, terrorists, and the biggest crime wave since records began. That Samaritans switchboard must be glowing red hot.  

    For John this type of grave analysis was a regular occurrence; the worst was reserved for Monday morning and would diminish in severity as the weekend loomed.  He slipped sharply back into reality as he forced his way onto the jam-packed train, which was late as usual.  

    Forty-five minutes later he ascended the steel steps of the ultra-modern office block.  The huge glass doors silently opened as he approached. He swiped his ID card over the security sensor, and the stainless steel turnstile granted him access.  He strolled through the chic marble-floored lobby and into the inner sanctum.  Brian Grison sidled up unnoticed as John hit the button for the lift.  Brian was a know-all, and could be incredibly annoying at times. However, on occasion he could be the exact opposite; you just never knew with Brian – until he opened his mouth, that is.

“Hello stranger, good to see you back mate. How was the holiday then?  Plenty of sun, sea and sex, eh John?” Brian said, nudging and winking Monty Python style.
“Morning Brian. Yeah, it was great, thanks,” John replied as the lift doors thankfully opened.
“Nice one, hey. I’ll tell you what, John boy, I’ll buy you a pint after work and you can fill me in with all the details.”
“Sorry Brian, can’t tonight. I’ve promised Sarah I’d be back.”
“Under the thumb or what. Chill out,” he replied in an irritating manner.
“Listen, I’ll call you later,” John said as he stepped out at the sixth floor.
He looked back toward the lift just as the doors were closing and caught a glimpse of Brian grinding his thumb into his open palm.

    John made his way along the short narrow corridor, which led to his small cramped office.  He hung his coat on the back of the door, sat down and stared at the blank computer screen, and it seemed like he’d never been away.  Eventually he plucked up the necessary courage to push the start button and tapped in his password, S-A-R-A-H-1-3-1-0-6-4. He double-clicked on the email icon, and then wished he hadn’t as 154 unread emails suddenly filled the screen.  John was the transport manager and was also the supervisor of a small team, his main responsibilities being overseeing the fleet of chauffeur-driven limousines which ferried the chief execs back and forth from their country retreats.  He also had to manage half a dozen shuttle buses, which ferried the staff to and fro from various tube stations around town.  It was safe to say that John’s job was a boring little number, but at just under forty grand a year he could not complain too much. And there were aspects of the job that were OK: he had his own office, never needed to bring his work home and had never worked a weekend in eighteen years.  The downside was that it was a thankless task which rarely altered, and day in day out he had to deal with the same sad, tiresome people with the same old tiresome complaints.  He was stuck in a rut and knew it.

    But it was steady work which assured that Sarah would want for nothing. He kept his head below the parapet and made sure he tugged his forelock in all the right places, and when all was said and done, it wasn’t the worst job in the world.  
By one o’clock he had tackled the majority of the emails and had decided to venture to the pub over the road, figuring it would save him some time if he grabbed the bottles of wine now rather than after work.  As he entered the trendy bar he heard some familiar, false high-pitched laughter. It was Brian, and he was seated in the corner with two of his pals. John sneaked round the other side of the bar and out of Brian’s eye line and quickly purchased the bottles of white wine and slipped quietly out of the side door.

    At exactly three minutes to five, John Kane whipped his coat from the back of the door, grabbed the carrier bag from beneath his desk, skipped out of the building and disappeared into the gloom of the damp evening, another wasted day behind him.  His pace quickened as his thoughts turned to Sarah and, for the first time that day, the hint of a genuine smile creased the corners of his mouth.  Half a dozen paces from the station his mobile began buzzing like an irate bluebottle trapped in a jar. He ducked out of the crowd and side-stepped into a shop doorway as the multitude of faceless beings bustled past.  He wiped the droplets of rain from the illuminated screen, which revealed an unfamiliar number.
“Hello, John Kane?” the edgy male voice asked.
“Yep, who’s this?” John said crustily, irritated at the thought of being delayed about a work-related matter.
“This is Police Officer Burgess from T Division, sir. I just want to confirm a couple of details with you before I go any further.”
“Er, yes go ahead,” John said quickly, still thinking that it was something to do with work, probably a shunt with one of the buses or limousines.
“Are you married to a Sarah Kane of 9 Westfield Road, Ealing?” the policeman asked.
“YES! I am.” So it wasn’t work. “My God, please tell me she’s OK?” he pleaded.
“She’s been taken to Charing Cross Hospital, sir. I’ll wait for you at the reception desk and I’ll be able to explain a—“
John’s arm dropped to his side and a tremendous cold shudder shot through him. He shook from head to toe.  Through the drizzle he caught sight of the orange ‘for hire’ sign of a black cab. He pushed through the crowd and ran out into the middle of the road, his sudden appearance causing the cab to skid to a halt.  He ran around to the window and explained the situation to the driver and then quickly jumped in. The driver put his foot down, and half an hour later the black cab came to an abrupt halt in the zone reserved for ambulances.

    John offered the driver a soggy twenty pound note.
“Forget it, this one’s on me, mate,” the driver said.
John watched the rear lights of the taxi merge with the blackness.  As they disappeared from view, he turned and faced the doors of the hospital and his spirit sank as the cold cloak of despondency enveloped him once more.  Something was telling him she was dead and somehow, deep down inside, he knew it.  
Don’t think the worst. Think positive, she’ll be OK, he thought as he approached the entrance.  However no matter how much he tried to convince himself otherwise, he knew that the most terrible scenario imaginable was about to unfold before him.
The automatic doors of the A&E department swished open as he approached.  He marched toward the reception desk and told the bug-eyed young girl behind the glass screen who he was. She picked up the phone and within seconds a doctor appeared in the corridor behind him.  His pure white gown was in stark contrast to the dark official garb of the policeman next to him. Their facial expressions and body language confirmed what he already knew.  After a brief word they ushered him into a small waiting room.

“I’m Doctor Sharma and this is Officer Burgess. I understand he spoke to you earlier this evening?  I’m sorry Mr Kane, but there’s no easy way to say this. I’m afraid I have some very bad news.”  His large hazel eyes fell to the floor, unable to hold John’s pathetic desperate gaze.
“She’s dead, isn’t she?” John said softly.
“Yes, I’m afraid so. We did everything possible but unfortunately we could not save her. The injury was just too severe. I’m very sorry, Mr Kane,” the young doctor said as he nervously toyed with the twin set of biros in his top pocket.
“What happened?” John asked and jabbed a finger in the direction of the pale-faced copper.’
“She was attacked with a knife, Mr Kane. There were two of them, and that’s all we know at the moment, sir.”
As John’s knees buckled the policeman took him by the arm and guided him into the soft lime-green armchair.  Sarah had actually bled to death before the ambulance arrived, despite the heroic attempts to revive her by members of the public.  They did their best but the blade had accomplished its worst and had pierced her heart. She died in a pool of blood on a filthy pavement.  And as far as the police were concerned, Sarah was just another statistic: a nonentity, a number and a name on a file.
“Decent people do not deserve to die like that. My wife, my poor dear Sarah, gone,” John said softly between the sobs.
At that moment his rational mind had started to switch off. He looked up and could hear their voices and could also see that their lips were moving, but their words had turned into a nonsensical babble.
“Where is she?  I wanna see her. I wanna see her NOW!”  His face noticeably reddened as he stood up.
“OK, I’ll take you. We’ll need you to formally identify the body at some stage anyway. Follow me, Mr Kane,” the doctor said and gestured toward the lift lobby.
John was led into the corridor where they waited for the lift.  The oversized stainless steel lift slowly descended two floors below ground. It was quiet and strange down there and an unfamiliar unpleasant smell hung in the air: it was the stench of death.  The doctor paused before going into the mortuary and advised John to wait for a moment while the technician prepared the body for viewing. John pushed him to one side and burst in. The doctor quickly followed and whispered some details to one of the attendants.
“Where is she?” John said.

    The drawer of the huge cryogenic filing cabinet behind him suddenly clattered open. John turned around and his eyes widened at the sight of the motionless black slug of a body bag which lay before him.  Through the open zip he gazed at Sarah’s ashen features. She looked remarkably peaceful almost doll-like with no traces of pain or anguish.  With tears streaming he leant forward and pressed his lips against her cheek; the absurd iciness of her skin tore him up inside.  His head started to spin and a million fragmented kaleidoscopic images began to tumble in his brain.  Maniacal laughter and the disturbing incessant despairing cry of a new-born baby seemed to echo all around.  The room started to spin and all logical thought disappeared. Mixed up and swirling emotions, transient vivid images began to fly through his mind: the first time he saw her, the first time they made love, the wonderful warmth of her smile, the last meal they’d shared and their last kiss that morning.  Powerful emotions were now set loose which completely overwhelmed him and he fell heavily to his knees and doubled over. A deep groan came from within him, summoned from the depths of his tortured soul.  
Then, quick as a flash, he was on his feet and flying toward the door. In seconds he had escaped from the dreadful place. He was just a blur as he scurried up the two flights of stairs and at the top of the second staircase he crashed through a fire exit door and fell flat on his face in the car park. He picked himself up and then aimlessly walked for miles, through endless unknown streets. He arrived home many hours later not knowing how he had gotten there.  

    The next few days were long and lonely. Night and day had passed without him noticing as he just sat frozen in the armchair and stared blankly into space. However, by the fourth day exhaustion had set in and sleep finally won the battle for his consciousness.
Twenty-four hours later the blinding light from the rising November sun broke through the window and engulfed him in a warm yellow shroud. He stirred and wiped the sleep crust from his eyes and looked about the room in confusion. In his dreamlike state the comprehension of Sarah’s murder took a moment to sink in, and when reality suddenly dawned on him the vomit rose in his gullet and he made a dash for the bathroom sink.  
He watched the tap water sluice away the mess and he splashed some cold water onto his face. That seemed to bring him around. He stepped back and sat on the edge of the bath and his eye fell upon a shiny brown bottle of tablets in the cabinet. He took them out shook them and eyed them curiously. Sarah’s name was printed on the label. I never knew she had these, he thought as he held them up. He twisted off the cap and peered in at the large red bullet-shaped lozenges. He sat on the rim of the bath and dark thoughts entered his unstable mind. It wouldn’t be difficult to get a few of these down my neck with a bottle of Scotch and it will all be over.
For a moment he was tempted.
But what if it doesn’t go to plan? What if I survive the attempt and became paralysed for the rest of my life stuck in a wheelchair and crippled, or I end up a vegetable and completely unable to function? Or I could be lying on the floor in terrible agony for days waiting to die?  Said the small voice in his head.

    He put his head in his hands and slumped to the floor in a helpless state of anguish. Life without Sarah was unimaginable. He reached up, grabbed the edge of the sink and hauled himself to his feet. He stumbled into the kitchen and snatched the bottle of whisky from the cupboard and reached for the tablets in his pocket.  He scanned the assortment of cups and glasses on the draining board and settled upon an old-fashioned chunky beer mug. He began to rinse it under the tap and then stopped. Why am I washing it?  What difference does it make, clean or dirty?  

    He took a saucer from the sink and tapped out all of the tablets onto it and then ground them into a fine powder with the back of a tablespoon. He then scooped the small mound of toxic red dust into the beer mug which he then filled to the brim with whisky, and gently stirred. He put the mug to his lips and, without another thought, gulped down a mouthful and then another and another. It was slow going that way, so with half a pint left he decided to down it in one.
    He then groggily made his way into the living room, slumped into the armchair and his eye was drawn to the movement of the second hand on the small brass carriage clock as it ticked his miserable existence away. After thirty seconds the poisonous brew had become well-established within him and had seeped into his brain and vital organs. He glanced up at the clock once more; the second hand stopped, and then it started again, only this time going backwards. His pulse began to hammer in his ears, and as the room began to spin his fingers instinctively clamped themselves to the arms of the chair in readiness for a most unpleasant trip, and he was now not in this world. The walls slowly began to crowd around him, and as the room darkened, the floor dropped away to reveal a deep black chasm. He threw his head back and the ceiling instantly turned into a swirling sickly grey mass. Fragments of every conceivable colour were exploding like a monumental firework display in front of his eyes, and his chest felt as if it were being trampled upon by some colossal animal. The pulse in his ears raced and steadily grew louder and soon reached an unendurable level. “GOD HELP ME!” he cried as everything suddenly went black.  
Three hours later John slowly peeled the side of his face from a sticky, congealed puddle of bile. He got to his feet and staggered around the room like a drunk. The floor seemed to be yielding beneath him, as if made of cotton wool. He stumbled into the next room and the black curtain fell over him once more.  

    He came round in the early hours and dragged his carcass to its feet and laced his fingers around the top of his aching skull. He felt sure if he were to release his grip his head would simply crack open.  His vision was misty and blurred and his eyeballs felt as if they had been buffed with sandpaper. His stomach was ice-cold and ripped to shreds inside.
    He knew he had done wrong and was feeling thoroughly ashamed about the botched suicide attempt. After cleaning up as best he could, he showered, changed his clothes and now felt a little better. He shuffled into the hallway and took a gander at himself in the mirror. He examined his features. His eyes had taken on a malevolent look about them; they were slightly sunken and held a peculiar stare. He went into the kitchen and gulped copiously from the spout of the cold tap to soothe his raw throat. Once his thirst was quenched, he returned to the living room and dropped his aching bones into the leather armchair and stared out at the darkening horizon through the bay window.  
He sat stock still for the next few hours and let the effects of the seizure ease. As they did so, he began to feel different – no, odd – physically and mentally. He felt altered somehow. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to die? But why?
Something suddenly clicked in his brain.

    Where the idea had come from he couldn’t say, but there it was nonetheless: an overwhelming urge, an all-consuming uncontrollable desire. The pain and anguish over Sarah’s murder had now been harnessed, moulded and channelled into a hatred of abnormal ferocity, and an un-closable door had now been wrenched open. He had crossed over into the darker realms of humanity where the merciless, cruel, vicious and uncompromising sides of human nature resided. His brain had been rewired and the switch had been flicked.

    That night John woke suddenly from a disturbing dream. He got up, took a leak and then settled back once more. As soon as he closed his eyes, he found himself standing at the edge of a cliff looking out across a calm, endless blue sea. The earth under his feet began to disintegrate and he hurtled headlong to certain death. There was no perceivable sound except for the constant hiss of white noise. So real was the vision that he could feel the blast of air pressure against his face as he plummeted. He reached out in desperation and snatched at the small tendrils of branches and twigs that projected from the jagged white rocks, each crumbling into a fine dust as he clutched at them. He looked down and could see neat swathes of the lush green grass below, and in the centre the small black shadow of a falling man rushed toward him at immeasurable speed. He screamed out as his body slammed into the soft earth.  Suddenly there was a huge blinding flash of light and he woke with a start.  
    He threw the quilt to one side, caught his breath and began to cool off, and after a minute or two he decided to head for the bathroom to towel himself dry. While doing so he caught a glimpse of his body in the mirror. He turned side on and placed his hands under his well-established pot belly and shook his head at the undeniable evidence of his idleness.  Having decided that there seemed little point in trying to get back to sleep, he filled the kettle, grabbed a pen and notepad from the drawer, and sat at the kitchen table.  As he sipped the hot brew, he began to set down the first phases of a plan, and as the sun broke over the horizon, the embryo of a strategy had emerged.
And so, from a small unassuming house in a mediocre street of west London, John Kane decreed an oath, which read:

As God is my judge
I will be the Alpha and the Omega
I will be vengeance
I will be the bringer of death
I swear it.

He reached over, took a sharp knife from the drawer and dragged the blade across the top of his thumb, and signed the extraordinary litany with his own blood.  

John had gone insane.

 Necessary Evils    Necessary Evils 

The sequel to Necessary Evils is now available. Nemesis John Kane's revenge.

Nemesis     Nemesis

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