Billy Part 17 - Hoppers


The safe job had been easy enough. Billy was aware that the police suspected he had been involved somehow. He also knew that if they could, they would fit him up for just about anything. The newly promoted Sergeant Allen in particular was a nasty piece of work.

Takes one to know one

Switch had been fair with Billy up until now, so he had no complaints. He had initially misjudged Gorgeous George and Dan the Man -– they were a bit barmy, mean to be sure, but not bad with it. You knew where you were with them and the consequences of crossing them, he could handle that. So far, there had been the one explosives job, a few lorry heists and a huge amount of black market profiteering.

His little side job with RoYds was proving to be a good number too -– money for old rope. He wondered what they had in store for him this time as he walked up to the now familiar open oak door and stepped inside.

“Afternoon, Mr Lawrence. Dark out isn’t it?”

Wilfred never changed. Billy wished he would take the stick out from up his arse and cut the brownnosing.

“Stanley in?” he asked, throwing Wilfred his coat and starting off down the passageway.

“As a matter of fact, Sir, Lady Mabel would like a word with you this morning. You will find her in the office, Sir, first door on the left.”

Lady Mabel! He had yet to have the pleasure! He whistled merrily to himself as he continued down the opulent cobalt blue-decorated corridor and waltzed into the more practical office, usually reserved for unsuspecting members of the Living who required the services of RoYds.


“You want me to what?” Billy snarled, closing the distance between them. “Where the hell do you get the idea that I would do something like that? What do you think I am -– your lap-dog?” He was furious.

Jumped up little tart

Billy stopped thinking when his back slapped against the wall behind him and his head smashed up against the ceiling. A split second later the door slammed furiously open and shut leaving him alone in the room.

He looked down, the view was just like he suspected it would be from this angle -– not that he had ever given it much thought, mind you. He would probably break a bone or two if he just fell to the floor and said a silent prayer that whatever power was keeping him up would let him down slowly.

Tashriel appeared in the room below and Billy found himself standing by his side.


“What?” Asked Billy exasperatedly, brushing the plaster from his made-to-measure navy suit and exercising his neck in an attempt to ease the newly acquired crick in it.

“Silver. Offers no protection against your own kind, but if you carry some on your person, Lady Mabel -- and other factions -- will not be able to harm you. I doubt Lady Mabel intended you any real harm. You are still breathing.”

Smarmy pretty boy

“And who would you be then?” Billy replied sarcastically. “Someone she just mistook me for?”

“I could always put you back up there if you prefer,” Tashriel volunteered, looking up at the space Billy had so recently occupied.

Calmer now, Billy considered Tashriel’s offer. “ thanks!” He pulled a packet of cigarettes from his inside pocket and helped himself to one before offering the packet to Tashriel.

“I know that Stanley enjoys a fag,” he said hesitatively.

Tashriel politely declined. “What was it about Lady Mabel’s request that enraged you?”

“I’m no cold blooded murderer!” snapped Billy in reply, removing the lit cigarette from his mouth. “Seems to me that witch is quite capable of doing the deed herself!”

Tashriel sighed, “As I said, keep something silver on you at all times to prevent it happening in future. Better still, try to get control of your temper.”

Something about Tashriel’s tone brought Billy to his senses. “Aye. Suppose you’re right.”

“Besides, you are simply being asked to contain a situation,” Tashriel remarked casually. “The real John Sweeney is already dead -– your role is merely to evict the entity that is squatting in his body.


It had been drizzling all day, perhaps all week, he couldn’t remember. Billy wondered if it would ever stop and, upon further consideration, whether it was possible for an entire town to weep. Personally, he had no time for tears. As far as he was concerned, they would not serve any purpose and only distract from the job at hand.

He buttoned up his navy overcoat, pulling the collar up as far as possible as he did so. Casting his eyes down towards the grey flagstone pavement, he took the identity of a grey man amongst other grey people. The house was straight ahead.

It was not his first visit here; he had recce’d the place on several occasions at various times of the day and night. He knew exactly where he was heading -– some would say straight to Hell. He had no doubt that he would be on the guest list if such a place existed.

Nearly there now, he unbuttoned his overcoat, turned off his wandering thoughts and went into autopilot mode. He knocked on the door and it was answered almost immediately. Billy put his full weight into it, pushed the occupier backwards and into the hallway. Slickly kicking backwards he closed the door in one fluid movement.

Looking into the target's eyes, he saw fear and savoured it for a moment. The anticipation of what he was about to do almost managed to break through the ice encasing any emotion that still existed within him. He washed it back down with a blink and advanced on his captive.

“Who are you? What do you want? The...there’s no money in the house.”

His weapon, of limited choice, was a Webley revolver, but on this occasion it would remain inside his overcoat. “Upstairs.”

“What? There’s no money upstairs either... I don’t have many possessions...”

They were at the bottom of the stairs so there was nowhere his prey could run but upwards, herded expertly by Billy like a Collie dog at a sheepdog trial. When they reached the top of the stairs he speedily herded his quarry into the bathroom and half-filled the bathtub with cold water.

“Get in the bath.”

“What?! I... I don’t understand.”

“Get in!” Billy’s voice, although barely raised above a whisper, was commanding and did not broker refusal.

“Now look here...”

Billy pulled the revolver from his overcoat and snarled in the direction of the bath. The message was conveyed without argument this time as John Sweeney shed his fleece and sat down in the water. Billy returned his revolver to its resting place within his overcoat then lowered the wooden toilet seat and sat down.

Sweeney, or what was left of him, frowned and then looked away, clearly unsure whether or not he should make eye contact.

Billy reached into his pocket and took out a silver ring. At last, Sweeney made the move Billy had been waiting for and reached urgently for the bath plug. Billy leaned forward and threw the ring in the direction of the bathtub. They both watched as the ring flew through the air and descended into the water.

The water fizzled and so did the body sitting in it. Out of its mouth flew a dark shadow no larger than a small moth. It flew to the light of the closed window and banged against the pane.

Damn hoppers

Billy made his way down the stairs and buttoned up his navy overcoat pulling the collar up as far as possible as he did so. He exited through the back door and casting his eyes down towards the grey flagstone pavement he took the identity of a grey man amongst other grey people.

The clock of St. Birch’s told him it was 8 pm. It would be at least a further hour and a half before the body of John Sweeney would be discovered. Billy did not want to think too much about the fate that had befallen its original occupant; those kinds of thoughts might lead to madness.


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  • At 1 March 2010 at 17:08, Anonymous Melissa said…

    That was fooking brilliant!! I laughed out loud at the scene with Billie, Her Ladyship and Tashriel -- so well done I could see Billie up by the ceiling and from his point of view up there, too. You are such a wonderful writer and I didn't want the scene to end -- love the exorcism and that Billie is doing this good now after all he went through (his inner thoughts are great - thank you for sharing them!). Love the details like Billie's new suit and the silver going from one scene to the next. More, please! :)

  • At 2 March 2010 at 13:42, Blogger Miladysa said…

    Melissa - Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! x

    My name is Miladysa & I am a comment adict!

    This is what I write for :)

    Yesterday, I was thinking about giving up on Volume 3 - now I'm not so sure LOL


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Whituth's living can't see the dead but psychic Elizabeth Whyte can see everyone: living humans, delayed souls, fallen angels, vampires and fae. She helps maintain the fragile peace between light and darkness in her work with RoYds, an unworldly refuge. But that peace has suddenly become fragile. Whituth's carefully maintained balance is tipping toward darkness. Now Elizabeth and her angelic allies must discover who or what is threatening both town and refuge before balance is lost forever


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