Hello, I am taking part in NaNoWriMo 2019. For those of you who don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. (I guess it should be called InaNoWriMo as it is now International!) The idea is to write a novel length story (at least 50000 words) in one month (so at least 1667 words a day for 30 days). Last year I took part and “won” (ie I wrote over 50k in a month). This year I am going to give it another go.
As I did last year I will use @MarianneWest’s daily freewrite prompt as a starting point (so each day I will use themostdangerouswritingapp.com and write for 5 minutes with @mariannewest’s prompt in mind. I will then write another 1500 odd words and publish it on the blockchain so you can see what crap I come up with!
Today is 6rd November 2019 and I am using yesterday’s prompt to write the sixth chapter of my story
Today’s prompt is:
William sat on the backseat staring out of the window into the yellow lighted London streets. He was only half listening to Marlie talking to the old geezer.
The old tosser was telling Marlie his life history. Marlie always was a sucker for lunatics and sick people in general.
She attracted them.
Like she was some kind of nutter-magnet.
God, the old man could talk.
He closed his eyes, leaning his face against the cold juddering window. He was tired. It had been an exhausting few days.
William - Marlie was the only person in the world he allowed call him Billy - had taken a lot of risks in his life. But the last few days... well, he was risking his life and Marlie's.
His eyes fluttered open and he glanced at her. He loved her. At first, he went for 'cos she was the prettiest girl around.
A trophy to be won.
But there was something about her that was different from the other girls. Something that helped him remain human.
And in his line of work sometimes it was difficult to not turn into a monster.
She had a kind heart. With one eye open, William looked at Marlie’s face while she listened to the old guy drone on. She genuinely cared. He could see a tear well up in the corner of her eye as the old man was talking about watching his wife slip away before his eyes. Her eyes flicked to him and William closed his eye quickly, pretending to be asleep.
“I don’t know how you did it,” Marlie said to the old bloke - what did he say his name was again? Pete? Paul? “To watch someone change like that. It must have broken your heart, Phil.” Phil. That was it. “And after being together for so many years. Fifty four years! I can’t even get my head round a number like that. Me and Billy, we’ve been together almost two years.” William felt Marlie’s hand take hold of his. “And in our circle of friends, that’s a record!”
“Kids today! People don’t commit to relationships these days.”
Here we go, William thought. Bash the youth, talk up the good old days. Old fuckers are all the same. They think they know best and we know nothing.
“Swopping partners like cigarette cards,” Phil said, sighing.
What the fuck are cigarette cards? What is he talking about?
William sat up snatching his hand away from Marlie’s. She looked at him, her brown eyes large and hurt, like that baby deer off that Disney cartoon. How long until they could get off this bus? He took hold of Marlie’s wrist and looked at her watch. Then pulled out the scrap of paper where he had written down the scheduled stops of the bus, he’d looked up on the computer in the library.
Fuck! Another two and a half hours.
He felt lost without his phone. But he knew that Urwin had a tracker on it. He wasn’t supposed to know but all the boys and girls that worked for Urwin had their phones tracked.
“You haven’t got your phone have you?” he asked, suddenly aware he hadn’t checked that Marlie had done what he’d asked. She ignored him, nodded at whatever boring crap Phil was saying. William nudged her. “Marlie! I’m talking to you. Did you leave your phone at home?”
Marlie turned her head, her eyes cold. “That’s what you asked me to do weren’t it?” William nodded. “Well, Billy, if that is what you asked me to do that is what I did. Now, if you don’t mind Phil and me are talking.”
She had the right hump. Well, he supposed he couldn’t blame her. Having to leave everything behind like this. He turned his back on her and closed his eyes again. He’d talk her round. When they got up to Scotland he would spoil her. They would have plenty of time to talk things through.
He hoped they would be safe in Scotland. As far as William knew Urwin had no contacts in Scotland. He’d always claimed to hate the Scots for some reason William had never gotten to the bottom of. William had known a few down in London, and they had all seemed like solid geezers.
He’d never been to Scotland, he’d never been that far North. Once, as a kid, his mother had dragged William to a family wedding up near Newcastle somewhere. Some distant cousin he had never met, or even heard of before the invitation arrived. His mother was excited, had spent weeks planning how they would get up to Newcastle that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. His dad had buggered off and left them with nothing but debts and bad memories, so money was an issue. William remembered asking his Mum why it was so important to go to the stupid wedding. She had looked at him and sighed.
“Family is important, William. We ain’t got a lot of family left.”
William’s only experience of family was his mum and his dad. And his dad had abandoned them both. As far as he could see the only people his mum and he could - and should - rely on were each other.
William never did find out where his mum got the money from - although he had his suspicions - but somehow she found enough for two tickets it and much to his annoyance they found themselves on a bus. William opened his eyes. It wasn’t much different to this bus.
His mother had arranged with a friend of the cousin to stay in a spare room in the outskirts of the city. This friend, a woman called Tracie, about his mother’s age, came to collect them from Newcastle bus station in a battered VW beetle. She chatted all the way back to her house and William didn’t understand a word she said.
Later - in the tiny bedroom, his mother in a single bed, and he on the floor in a sleeping bag - he asked what language Tracie was speaking. His mother laughed.
“It is a strong accent,” she said. “And some of the words they use here are unique to this part of England. But she is speaking English.”
William had spent the first part of the weekend feeling like a foreigner, but after a while he began to understand what people were saying and by the time he had left he found himself mimicking the accent.
“We’ll make a Geordie out of you yet,” Tracie said, laughing as he climbed the stairs of the bus. “Come back next year.”
William’s mother promised they would. But it never happened. That journey was the first and last time - until now - he had taken a bus that wasn’t just going from one London Borough to another.
A month later, his mother was dead. And William found himself in a foster home.
The police said it was just a mugging, that had turned bad. His mother had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone had panicked and used a knife they should never have been carrying.
William didn’t believe it for a second.
For one thing, his mother never had any money. Anyone looking at her could see that. She was too well known in the community and too aware of her environment to get taken by some stupid druggy twat with a knife. No. William thought the person who had stabbed his mother, leaving her bleeding to death on the stairwell of the flats they lived in, had been looking for her.
Sitting on the strange bed in the foster home, too stunned to cry, William made a promise to his mother he would find her killer and he would pay him back in kind.
He was eleven years old.
William thought he knew where to start. He remembered a line from an old film he’d seen once: “follow the money.” His mother owed money, he knew that. Not only the money she had borrowed, but she was still paying off the debts of his father.
He didn’t know the name of the man who came knocking on their door every Friday evening. But he knew what he looked like and he knew where he’d be and when.
Thinking back on it now, William couldn’t believe how fucking stupid he’d been. That Friday morning, at breakfast when Rod, the well-meaning, but rather wet, owner of the house, was preoccupied with a younger kid who had thrown cornflakes all over the floor, he had taken a small knife from the kitchen drawer. It was a fruit knife, the blade no longer than a couple of inches. The foster home was located in the neighbouring borough - social services liked to keep it within borough if possible but demand for places was high and supply was low. A taxi had been arranged to take him to school and when the taxi dropped him at the gates he pretended to walk in, instead, he turned left, walking with purpose towards the flats where he had lived for all of his life.
The debt collector was a skinny man with greasy hair, bad teeth and a scar on his left cheek that everyone said he’d got fighting some nutter with a machete. The nutter didn’t fair too well. But either William had forgotten the story when searched the stairwells and corridors of the building or he just didn’t care. He couldn’t remember which, now.
He found the man on the second floor, knocking on doors, collecting money from people who could barely afford to eat. William walked up to the man pulled the knife from his pocket and stabbed the man in the stomach. Or at least, he had tried to. The knife was blunt and he lacked the strength. The next thing he knew he was on the floor with the greasy haired man choking him.
“Hey! I recognise you!” the man said, suddenly, releasing his hold and pulling William up by the shirt. “You are Sam’s son. Mr Urwin wants to talk with you.”
William couldn’t speak, this throat hurt and he could barely breathe. The man dragged him along by his shirt, down the stairs, past the spot where his mother had died, and into a car that sat on the kerb.
Fifteen minutes later he was sitting opposite a smartly dressed man he had never met.
“So you are Sam’s son,” he said looking William up and down.
“My dad is dead to me,” William said. “I am Debbie’s son. And this bastard killed her.”
The man - Mr Urwin, William presumed - laughed.
“You’ve got balls, kid. I’ll give you that. Your father is dead to me too. Or would be if I could find him. In the meantime, you have inherited your father’s and your mother’s debt.”
“I have no money,” William said. “You’lll have to kill me too.” And he meant it.
“Money is not the only way to pay debts, kid,” the man called Mr Urwin said.
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