Please remember this story is being written and posted 'live' every day. I am writing today's episode and posting it here without benefit of a read-through, let alone an edit. I don't usually work this way and this experiment is exciting and different for me, not my normal work-ethic at all. To that end, please forgive me any typos, grammar errors and anything that you may think should have been picked up in an edit - it WILL be picked up in the edit.
I've already spoken with a publisher about getting this story published - possibly after Christmas, we'll see how it goes.
So Ash was able to ‘pack’ for her sleep-over without any suspicion as to what she was taking with her.
“I’m off now, Mum. For that sleepover at my friend’s see you tomorrow night!” she called and slammed the door before her mother had chance to ask “Which friend? Where will you be? What’s their parents’ names and phone numbers?” and any number of other questions she could have asked.
Ash’s mother didn’t ask those questions anyway…
Ash went round to Justin’s, dropped her ‘luggage’ off, sorted out the piss bucket and made a cursory and swift clean-up before making a cuppa and a sandwich for Justin.
Robin came and went as she worked; hardly a word said between the three, they all had their tasks to perform and all concentrated on what they had to do.
Ash changed clothes; scruffy, dirty, holey jeans, a stained t-shirt and an old coat of Robin’s. Much too big for her and rescued from the ‘rag-bag’ earlier that day.
Justin spoke on the phone all the time Ash worked and she waved a silent ‘seeya’ as she left.
She knew at least three places where she could go to find Nigel and when she didn’t find him at any of those, she went further afield, almost into the next village, to the scrap-yard.
Ash was wary as she pushed open the metal gate to the yard. There were rumours of a vicious dog, she’d never seen it, but best to be safe than sorry.
She picked her way across the hard-packed, black-ash ground – someone had once told her they used fire ash on the ground in scrap yards because it soaked up the oil. How true that was, again, was anyone’s guess.
Ask made sure of her footing because the shoes she had on were all-but worn-through on the soles and a nail or piece of glass could poke through the wafer-thin bottoms of the shoes with no problem.
Looking ahead, left and right and even behind as she walked, her nerves jangling because of the threat of that rumour-dog, she passed between two stacks of cars. Ash leaped out of her skin at a loud barking and snarling to the side as she passed the stacks.
A massive man, grease smeared up to his elbows, a rag in his hands moving the grease about on his skin, laughed at Ash’s fright.
“Whatcha doin’ ‘ere, kid?” he snarled.
“Lookin for Nige,” Ash said. “He told me to meet him here, he wants me to do some running for him.”
“Over there, in the shed,” the man growled and nodded toward the trailer with the word ‘Offic’ above the door.
Ash pointed and looked at the man. “There?” she asked.
“Jus’ behind the office, there’s a shed. Tell him to clear up his gear and fuck off, I’ve an inspection due and don’t want any nosy bleeders finding that shit on my yard.”
“Right, I’ll tell ‘im,” Ash said, running off toward the shed, the fear of rusty nails and broken glass forgotten for the moment.
She slowed down as she approached the ‘offic’ and peered around the side of the temporary building.
True to his word, a ramshackle shed stood, or rather leaned against the ‘offic’.
Ash made her tentative way across to the door.
‘Nige’ lay sprawled in squalor just inside the door of the shed.
Ash took one look at him and her heart lurched in her chest! He looked dead.
She pushed him gently with one outstretched toe. He didn’t move.
She pushed a little harder with the toe of her shoe – still nothing. She got a little closer and booted him in the side.
He grunted in his stupor and she breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn’t dead.
“For fuck’s sake, you nearly gave me a fucking heart-attack you twat!” she muttered.
Looking around at all the drug-paraphernalia, she knew she needed help to clear it all up.
She went back to the greasy-grease-monkey she’d spoken to earlier.
Head down, hands in pockets, moving fast, she deliberately gave herself an air of shiftiness and made sure the man saw her and thought he’d not been meant to see her leave.
“Oi! Kid!” he yelled.
She ducked down and started to make a run for it.
“You’d better stop or I’ll let the dog loose!” he shouted.
Ash froze. There was no dog, she knew that as soon as she realised it had been the man barking and snarling at her.
“Don’t set the dog on me, mister,” she said in a whimper.
“Where are you fucking off to? I thought you wanted Nige?”
“I did… but… I don’t… I don’t think he’s…” she stammered, drawing him in. Ash leaned forward, stealing sly glances around to make sure no one overheard. “Mister, I think he’s dead!”
She started moving toward the gate and he grabbed her arm in one massive, greasy mitt.
“I don’t fucking think so!” he snarled. “You’re coming with me.”
Nige still looked dead as they approached the shed.
“Pack up that shit into that box,” the man said, pointing to a discarded broken plastic container.
“Be fucking careful, he’s a junkie and you don’t wanna stick yourself. Here, use these,” he said, handing her a pair of long-nose pliers.
She picked up all Nigel’s kit and dropped it into the box as the man watched her. She stood up and nodded to the man and he nodded back. He went through the almost-comatose junkie’s pockets to make sure he wasn’t likely to get stabbed by any needles and then he pulled the junkie off the ground by his coat and part-dragged, part-carried him to a truck.
The man hefted Nigel into the back of the covered truck and told Ash to get in.
“Leave the box with him and get in the front,” he said.
Ash nodded, wedged the box between Nigel and the side of the truck and hopped into the cab.
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