As Zen Kettle Books resident sage, Ket Zen, is wont to say: The journey of a thousand steps begins with the sound of ten digits tapping.
Here’s a taste of Spawned Secrets for your enjoyment:
Operation Bluewater Polaris #001
It was Dave Brubeck. Listen to the tempo, Dave on piano, the maestro leading them out, turning back, in and around, sliding between bass and drums And the sax, by turns liquid and jaunty, joyful, feisty, the coolest of the cool. ‘Take Five,’ blasting from somewhere behind him in the darkness. One of his favourites.
He wasn’t sure which bed he’d stumbled into tonight, but it didn’t matter; his daughter, Miriam, was long gone, his wife had left him, again. She’d be back. The profit margins even now, for those with the right attitude and sleight of hand, were too good to abandon; he’d seen to that. He rolled onto his side, pushed himself up to a sitting position, and instantly he felt nauseous and giddy. His feet didn’t touch the ground.
‘Jesus,’ he said aloud. What had they slipped him at the staff club? He’d throw up if he didn’t put his head down right away. It was so dark. He eased himself down, realising that the bed was hard and cold against his bare skin; no sheets, no pillow. A table? He’d fallen asleep on the dining-room table? Damn it. He needed comfort, he needed his bed, and now he needed Dave to stop. His head was throbbing itself into something nasty.
He couldn’t remember anything after he’d rolled out of the club, stumbled through the bamboo garden and down the hill towards the lake and the car park. Somehow, he’d made it home. In his car? Good Lord. Painkillers, water, buckets of it, bed, for Christ’s sake.
Dave and the gang grew quieter. Maybe his wife had returned, after all, had snuck in under cover of his stupor. Maybe she’d come over and help him to bed. And in the morning, they’d make up, again.
‘Deirdre? Is that you, sweetie?’ He tried to inject a tone of contrition into his voice.
‘Not Deirdre, sweetie.’
No. ‘Is it you, Richard? Did you drive me home? Thank God.’ He certainly had no memory of the drive. He pushed himself up onto his elbow, and then, very slowly, rose once more to a sitting position. The giddiness wasn’t so bad this time.
‘Richard, turn the lights on, will you. I need a pick-me-up. It’s so bloody dark in here. I thought I saw a moon earlier.’
‘The moon has retired for the night, sir. It’s a brand new day and time’s a-wasting.’
It wasn’t Richard Scrimshaw, his golf partner. Then who, in his own home? One of Miriam’s old boyfriends straying off-course?
‘Who is it?’ He pushed himself off the table and took a step forward. So far so good. Dave and the quartet grew louder again. ‘Miriam isn’t here, if that’s who you’re after.’ Something tingled in his extremities, and his mouth grew dry. Where was the light switch? Which room was he in?
Then, bright light filled in every space, and his eyes closed involuntarily at the intense glare from banks of fluorescent tubes overhead. He covered his face with his hands and gradually opened his eyes, peering through his fingers. He turned around. He’d been lying on a table, all right, an old wooden one with turned legs, all chipped black paint and dented surfaces. To the left of the table, in one corner, were half a dozen music stands, crammed up together, leaning into each other, looking strangely huddled. Beyond the table, which had been placed in the centre of the small room, the top half of one wall was made of glass. Behind the glass, in an even smaller room by the look of it, were black consoles. A recording studio? A radio station? It had to be a student prank. They’d find out all about pranks once he called the Dean, the little bastards. He tried to blink some moisture into his burning eyes.
When he turned to face the door, a figure was standing directly in front of him. A man in dark overalls, wearing orange safety goggles, and black gloves. The man smiled at him; he smiled back. Automatic.
‘Is there a problem?’
If you enjoyed this taste, find the whole tasty story at the following outlets:
Let us know what you think, and we hope you enjoy Spawned Secrets. The ZKB Press Gang.