Billy Part 19 - Supply & Demand

1946

“Staibey Nayes?”

“That’s right. They’ve moved out lock, stock and barrel. Heard say now the war is over there’s other places more suited to what they need. Heard they didn’t much like it anyways, spooked by the dell. Its inhabitants more like -- after all those scare-stories we’ve been spreading round!”

Raucous laughter spread throughout the pub like wildfire. Billy looked at his cards. He could win this round. Switch, the twenty stone King of Crime, was in a good mood for a change. Billy put out his cigarette and took a sip of his pint.

“It’ll work out well for storage and also be a good place to hang out when the heat’s on. That swine Allen’s still got a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle despite all the readies we’re bunging him. Heard he has quite a grudge against you, Billy -– been shagging his wife or summat?” Blade asked, throwing a ten shilling note into the pot of coins and notes already on the table.

The infectious laughter echoed around the room and Billy joined in. He didn’t mind being the brunt of it, not tonight anyway. Not when he was on a winning streak. He placed his aces on the table. “Not yet!” he said coolly and lit a fresh cigarette.

Switch studied him keenly and then burst out laughing. “Not yet! Not bloody yet! I like his style!” He pushed the money in the pot over to Billy and then continued in a more serious tone, “What’s he got against you, Billy? Apart from the fact that you are a lying, cheating little shit.” Switch leaned in and held Billy’s gaze a fraction longer than necessary. “But then again -– aren’t we all?” he quipped, leaning back and pulling his braces forward.

The room exploded once more.

Billy casually collected his winnings off the table and put them in his inside jacket pocket. He made a mental note to give Ann a bob or two of it to spend on herself and the kiddies. That was if he had any left after he had finished paying his dues and put aside what he needed for his fags, beers and bets next week. He drained his glass and passed it to the vivacious Cora who, as usual, was hovering enticingly nearby.

“A few year back I gave his mother one,” replied Billy in a deadpan manner, inhaling deeply on his cigarette and blowing a smoke circle into the room. Switch actually looked like he believed him. “I’ve no idea,” he added quickly with half a smile. “He’s just a nasty piece of work.”

“You can say that again,” said Gorgeous George from where he stood, leaning against the bar leering at Cora as she walked past with her hands full of dirty glasses. Billy ogled Cora too.


Been there


“Right, gentleman! Time to say good night and thanks for donating to the House of Lawrence. Same time, same place, tomorrow.” Billy kicked his chair back and stood up.

“Not tomorrow,” Switch looked up at him. “I want you to deliver that last load down to the Nayes. Have it there for 10:00 p.m. Mark my words now, lad.”

Billy nodded and walked away, stopping briefly on his way out to have a quiet word and squeeze with Cora at the bar. The opportunity to mark his territory was too tempting for Billy to resist.

***

The road leading down to Staibey Nayes was accessed from the far side of town. It was tree lined, had no street lights and was wide enough for only a single vehicle to manoeuvre at any one time. The road continued for about three-quarters of a mile and to a stranger would seem to come to an end in a wood which appeared on the horizon beyond. A local, however, knew that just before the end of the road was reached, it branched off to the right and opened onto a building complex.

During the war, the entrance to the complex had been barred by a gated sentry box which had been manned by two fully armed security guards at any one time. Tonight, though, the gate was open and the chain and padlock were tossed to the side of the road.

The buildings had existed centuries before the war. For a period of time before war broke out, they had served as a depot for the engines which carried the stone through the dell from the quarries above. Prior to that, they were warehouses for the cloth made in the cotton mills close by and before that still, a local wool merchant had built his mansion here. Ever since records began, there had been buildings in the location of Staibey Nayes. Billy had learned that at school when they had been taught about the Doomsday Book.

Billy expected to get a good cut from tonight’s load. He had no compunction about fuelling the black market. After all, they were only supplying a demand and someone had to do it. If it wasn’t them it would be someone else.

Billy had expected to see other vehicles in the empty quadrant. He pulled up and parked the stolen lorry, and then checked his watch: 21:55. There was still time for a cigarette. He opened the cab door of the lorry and stepped outside into the cold night air. After transferring his cigarettes and matches into his trouser pocket, he threw his jacket and scarf back inside the cab despite the chill.

The wind blew up and whistled through the trees, carrying the sweet scent of night blossoms and the call of an owl. Billy tried to decipher which part of the dell the sound had come from. The silhouette of the leafless trees against the raw black and twinkling night sky caught his attention and he leaned his head back and tried to decipher his favourite constellation, the Plough. The moment was spoilt when the door of the building to his right was opened and Gorgeous George waved him over.

Both men worked up a sweat carrying the cargo from the lorry into the building where Gorgeous had been waiting. Billy also worked up quite a temper. He was raging that no one else had been there to help them. He wasn’t anyone’s freaking monkey! Switch should know better than to waste his time and sweat on shifting this crap.

Eventually, the job was done and Billy followed Gorgeous back into the building to collect his earnings for the night’s hard work. He couldn’t wait to get his hands on that wad of cash!

Gorgeous walked through the former office where they had stacked the goods and into the one beyond, where Billy could see a black holdall resting on a makeshift desk. Billy lit himself a well-deserved cigarette and as he waited for Gorgeous to get the money together, he walked over to the window to continue his earlier aborted search for the Plough.


Freak


He threw his cigarette on the floor and stomped it out viciously. Standing against a dry stone wall near to the parked lorry below was a young woman in a red coat, looking up at him. Shocked, he watched dumbfounded as she turned and seemed to be intent on something that was happening in the dell beyond. Billy turned to let Gorgeous know about their unexpected visitor and felt the impact of a heavy metal object. Billy fell to the ground and into a vicious kick from the boot of Gorgeous George.

“Not so freaking handsome now, are you, Billy Boy?”

***

Billy was in the water, Charlie was crying out in the distance. Billy swam out to meet him.



again and again



Peg stood between Billy and Michael, her eyes wide and pleading. Billy lifted his rifle and pulled the trigger.



again and again



Cora moaned softly into Billy’s ear, her breasts pressed tightly against his chest. Anne walked in and caught them.



again and again



Billy treaded water as the incendiaries came down and screams echoed around him.



You’re going to Hell, Lawrence



“I’m already freaking there!” He screamed.

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4 Comments:
  • At 5 March 2010 at 18:32, Blogger Charles Gramlich said…

    I wonder why these are not loading no my google reader. I seem to have missed some posts and thought you were taking a break. I noticed your post on facebook that brought me here.

     
  • At 6 March 2010 at 16:27, Blogger Miladysa said…

    I've no idea Charles - I've been posting as usual. I'll go over to feedburn & give it a BIG kick - that may help :)

     
  • At 11 March 2010 at 13:42, Anonymous Melissa said…

    Wow!! Can I tell you that you are getting better and better, Milady? This was brilliantly done -- I *love* the "little" details that add so much to the scene, like Billy's cigarette, the eye contact held a heartbeat longer than needed, the looks that pass between the men. It all adds to the tension of the moment. LOVE the scene at Staibey Nayes, "still time for a cigarette," looking at the constellations, and Elizabeth's appearance. And what a way to describe the beating without going into literal detail -- the reader gets a clear picture of it all by the memories that come back with each hit. Wow. Love this!

     
  • At 12 March 2010 at 13:32, Blogger Miladysa said…

    *blush*

    Thank you Melissa - you make writing feel worthwhile :) x

     

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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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