Here’s a sneak preview for you – the opening prologue of my crime novel, SAFE HANDS.
SAFE HANDS by W.A. Kelly ©2023
The body’s wrapped in a plastic tarp. I block out the smell, think of Spanish oranges, sunshine and sangria. I bend my knees and drag the tarp towards the end of the bridge and the footpath. Walking backwards, drawing a line in the wet gravel, like a train rail telling me where I’ve been, but not where I’m going.
Come on, Mickey, last ten seconds!
That’s what my cornerman would shout into the ring when I started to flag at the end of a round. Words to help me squeeze the last bit of energy from my dwindling reserves, find one more punch. Right now, I’m running on empty.
Eventually, I reach the entrance to the air shaft. It’s a three-by-three square opening in the ground, ventilation for the disused railway tunnel beneath it. The rain seems to be slowing, its pitter-patter rhythm quietening down, becoming more random in the mud and the gravel and the trees. I’m soaked, the tarp is soaked. Every muscle in my body screams to stop. To lie down. Instead, I grab the jacket collar of the corpse and drag it towards the hole. My heel scuffs the lip of the stone plinth, heart catching in my throat as I picture myself tumbling down, trapped under the body.
Breathe through it, Mickey.
I manage to stay upright and pull it across the plinth, side-stepping the shaft as I lay the head and upper body over the hole. Breathing ragged, I trudge back until I’m standing at the feet.
Bite down, Mickey. Last five seconds!
One more deep breath, I crouch, lift and let gravity take over. The body slides and there’s a sound like a flag flapping in the wind, as down he goes, head, chest, legs and feet disappearing into the black below.
A splash-crack at the bottom.
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