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Matt Drabble

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Fangland by Matt Drabble

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1994 - Jimmy “Eyes” Dent and Abraham “Ghost” Kane; they are torturing their boss Drake for security codes in order to assume control of his criminal empire. Once they have the codes they dump the near death Drake into the river and leave him for dead.

Present day - The successful and flourishing Ghost and Jimmy; Ghost as always is infuriated by Jimmy’s inability to fly beneath the radar. Jimmy is the face of their firm and Ghost keeps behind the curtain and is the whisper in the king’s ear. We meet Eddie, Eddie is muscle of very long standing to Jimmy and ghost, Eddie idolises Ghost but is a little slow.

1987 - We see Abraham and Jimmy’s origins in an orphanage; Jimmy is charismatic as a child, whilst Abraham sits on the outside of every circle. Jimmy fights the caretaker’s son who is an older boy and a sadistic bully; Abraham witnesses Jimmy’s crazy violent side during the fight. After Abraham’s assistance during the fight, Jimmy christens his new friend and protector “Ghost”.

Present day – A drug pusher is murdered by a strange shadowy figure in the darkness. Ghost attempts to subtly defuse Jimmy’s now infamous temper as he bully’s Jackson Moon, the criminal firm’s accountant. Jimmy is convinced that they are being stolen from and also tells Ghost that their inside man on the docks, Gareth Jenkins is missing and this worries Ghost as Jenkins is always reliable.

1992 – We see Jimmy and Ghost’s beginning to rise to power within the criminal underworld of the city of Eagleport. Jimmy’s natural personality makes him the ideal face to front the firm; they both understand this and agree. We learn that Ghost has been cultivating a friendship with Eddie as he sees potential in the massive slow witted youth; he sets up a false attack on himself so that Eddie will come to his aid. Together they kill the attacker and thus seal their relationship with a dark secret.

Present day – We meet Jessica Kyle, three years ago she was a reporter for the city’s biggest newspaper, when covering a charity event she was assigned to cover the now larger than life celebrity gangster Jimmy Eyes. At the event she witnesses Ghost in the background and deems him a subject worthy of investigation, her editor disagrees and she quits to pursue her side project seeing a lucrative book deal. After three years she is frustrated by Ghost’s adherence to his nickname. She sees Ghost’s brief second of friendliness with Eddie and sees her opportunity to get closer.

1994 – Drake is pulled from the water almost dead, he is bitten by his saviour and thus begins an eternity of hatred towards Jimmy and Ghost, his attackers and betrayers.

Present day – Jessica uses Eddie’s love of video games to trail and befriend him.

1993 – Jimmy and Ghost are growing and are beginning to be noticed by Drake who runs the city. More definition of Jimmy and Ghost’s relationship.

Present day – Ghost goes to the port manager’s Jenkins home, the house is dark and ominous, windows and curtains shut in the middle of the day. Inside the house Ghost is scared and nervous in contrast to character stereotypes; he stumbles across the body of Jenkins’s wife and flees the scene. Jessica is playing Xbox live with Eddie and gently prying information whilst bonding. Ghost reports the death to Tim Rybeck who is a police detective inspector on Ghost’s payroll. Rybeck was seduced by a woman and the desire for more action in his job, Ghosts set up the meeting in order to sign Rybeck up. One of the firm’s high end brothel managers is bitten by one of her girls. Back in the firm’s office Ghost returns to a meeting between Jimmy and the firm’s lieutenants, Johnson, Castle, Tank, Grundy, McGinnis and Langstrom. Ghost has an altercation with the young and ambitious Tank and embarrasses the younger larger man. Jimmy is convinced that the Parker brothers, the up and comers on the criminal playground are moving in too much and wants to go to war, Ghost doesn’t as he is in the process of moving the firm into legitimacy.

1993 – Jimmy murders a Drake lieutenant in order for them to attract Drakes’ attention and be called to see him.

Present day – Rybeck informs Ghost and Jimmy that there was no murder and he spoke with Mrs Jenkins who was little distant but alive. Ghost rushes to a casino that they own as the trusted Johnson is missing, he finds the dead body of Tank who then opens his eyes and speaks.

1995 – Drake is learning about his dark rebirth, his saviour/sire and his new abilities and vulnerabilities.

Present day – Ghost fights with the inexplicably fast and powerful Tank, takes a beating but manages to pierce Tank’s heart and kill him, Tanks appearance reverts to normal after death, Ghost doesn’t believe it, but thinks vampire. Jessica stakes out Ghost’s house and witnesses Eddie attempting to rouse Ghost, she fires off some photographs and catches one of Ghost on his doorstep looking scared, this intrigues her. Eddie gains access to Ghost’s house and finds him drunk and dishevelled, he treats him with care and love.

1995 – More on Drakes evolution as he frees himself from his sire and makes plans to regain his empire and wreak revenge.

Present day – Ghost is embarrassed by his loss of control. We meet Kofi, a drug addled psychopath who Jimmy only uses for the most heinous of activities. Langstrom and McGinnis take Kofi and his boys, a bunch of mini Kofi’s to one of the Parker’s warehouses to seek retribution for what Jimmy sees as Tanks defection to the Parkers and the subsequent attempt on Ghost’s life. In the warehouse Kofi and his boys are attacked in the dark and Drake takes Kofi in order to turn him.

1993 – Ghost and Jimmy are summoned to see Drake; unbeknownst to Ghost Jimmy has orchestrated an attempt on Drake’s life. Jimmy takes the bullets and Ghost kills the would be assassins.

Present day – Rybeck meets with Dr Elliot his friend and another outsider within the department mainly because Elliot is gay. We learn of Rybeck’s grandmother who hails from Romania and used to terrify him with stories from the old country. On the autopsy Dr Elliot confirms that the body of Tank was drained of blood, they joke but Rybeck’s grandmother’s tales spark hi vaunted imagination. Jessica spends more time with Eddie. Jimmy abducts Rybeck over an earlier phone call hang up, he loses control and almost kills him before Eddie yells and stops him. Ghost catches Jessica following him and warns her off because of the new and strange dangers that surround him. Another local trader is taken.

1999 – Drake storms his old mansion in fit of rage at his inability to transform his new power into his old power. In the house he takes and turns Jackson Moon, who is in the present day the accountant of Jimmy and Ghost.

Present day – Jackson Moon has to flee Jimmy and Ghost, his secret isn’t uncovered but too many suspicions are raised. Drake grooms the newly turned Kofi as his number two. Jessica is attacked by a vampire in her apartment survives with garlic leftovers and Eddie’s help. Jimmy and Ghost discover that Jackson Moon has bankrupted the firm; everything has been stolen or transferred out of their names. Ghost makes Jimmy go to ground whilst he operates.

1994 – Drake waits for his meeting to terminate the ambitious Jimmy and Ghost, curses himself for placing too much faith with the duo as he’s now hearing tales of mutiny.

Present day – Rybeck stakes out an address of the Parker’s, a converted church, attacked by dogs, knows something is wrong there. Eddie takes the injured Jessica and the subdued vampire to Ghost’s secret safe house, Dr Elliot and Rybeck both show up unaware of each other’s illegal duality. Dr Elliot experiments on the vampire providing useful information. Jessica and Ghost bond a little, Eddie becomes jealous. Drake unleashes his army to finish the takeover. The lieutenants Castle and Grundy are killed in separate incidents. Langstrom and McGinnis are revealed as gay lovers before going out in a blaze of glory. Johnson has been turned and tricks his way into the safe house, he attacks the inhabitants and kills Dr Elliot before being killed. Ghost spots Drake in a car pulling away from his house as he, Jessica, Rybeck and the jealous Eddie escape to a motel. Word is out and Drake is searching for the survivors and quickly learns of their locations. Ghost has a talk with Eddie and promises him that he has no interest in Jessica but during a brief moment they share a single kiss, Eddie sees this and storms off. Ghost and Jessica go after him but are surrounded by attackers in the motel. The men are human but Rybeck is badly injured and Eddie takes a last minute bullet to save Ghost’s life and dies. Ghost leaves the injured Rybeck and Jessica in order to keep his promise to Eddie and heads for the address at the church that Rybeck had visited. Ghost is captured at the church by Kofi but saved by Jackson Moon who is deeply unhappy at being a vampire; Moon kills Kofi before making Ghost kill him. Ghost confronts Drake only to find that Drake has Jimmy bitten but not fully turned as he has not fed on a human yet so he is as weak as a baby. Ghost tries to fight Drake in vain; he’s wounded and bloody and struck by inspiration shouts to Jimmy to feed on him. This gives Jimmy the strength and power to defeat Drake, as Ghost lies dying Jimmy turns him to save him. Jimmy vision is for the two of them to now be unstoppable vampires and rule the world. Ghost finds his conscience and sadly stakes Jimmy, he then walks out into the night to wait for sun to rise and die.

1988 – Ghost and Jimmy as children on an orphanage outing to the beach, it’s the first time that they’ve seen the ocean and It was the last day that they were both truly happy.






Sample Chapter

Ghost walked carefully up the pathway having first scouted around the house. The home was modest, especially given the amount of money that Gareth Jenkins had earned in years since he had been on the company’s payroll. The lawn was cut within an inch of its life, the grass lushly green and treated. The bedding plants lined like soldiers on parade and stood to attention. The house was detached in a cul-de-sac of brethren, all proud and gleaming, second cars lining some of the driveways. Ghost drove one of the company’s pool cars, a nondescript Japanese sedan selected for its anonymity.

The Port Authority Manger Jenkins had been paid a small fortune as their contact, he was the facilitator; every shipment from around the globe came into Fresh Haven under his nose. Every container that they wanted to pass without inspection and came through the port with a whisper. Jenkins was never a greedy man; he was a stably married man with a loving daughter away at university.

Ghost approached the house wearing the uniform of the bureaucrat, scuffed brown loafers, stone colored khakis, a short sleeve beige shirt and slight stained tie and a Port Authority ID tag procured for the occasion. Ghost’s wardrobe at home was a cornucopia of outfits for many events and outings. Another of the number one rules in the Ghost handbook was preparation, there was an old sporting mantra that said, “Fail to prepare and prepare to fail”. Ghost was never one to draw attention at the best of times; his greatest weapon had always been his anonymity. He was not about to pull up to this modest cul-de-sac in a luxury automobile, wearing an expensive tailored suit and flashing a watch worth more than the average car on the block.

Despite being late afternoon and a sunny mild day the front windows of the Jenkins house were all closed and the curtains drawn against the sunshine. Holding a clipboard with Port Authority headed paper on it Ghost strode in a confident manner up the pathway to the front door and rang the bell without hesitation. A confident manner and a clipboard accomplished more than waving a large handgun he had found in his work. There was no immediate answer from within the darkened dwelling; Ghost peered through the frosted glass of the front door. Inside he could only make out that the curtains must be drawn in every room close to the hallway as the blackness seemed to resonate throughout. Now he faced a quandary, he needed to find out what had happened to Jenkins as soon as possible as the man was crucial to their operations at the port. He could break into the house without too much trouble, but the risk of being witnessed by a twitching curtain on the close was great. He glanced back casually; the cul-de-sac appeared at first glance to be deserted. There were only a couple of cars on driveways; Ghost had picked the school rush hour time deliberately in case of such a scenario. As part of the perks of working with the organization the Jenkins family had been provided with the house at a bargain price, low enough to afford but not low enough to raise suspicions. When they had moved into the area Ghost had used his own people to handle the sale of the house, the financing, the removal, and the changing of the locks. Ghost had close to thirty sets of house keys safely secured at his home, of employees of the firm from accountants and lawyers to wheel and trigger men. Jimmy as usual had balked at the large expensive of providing homes for their employees at lower than cost price, but Ghost saw it as an invaluable investment in his future that he hoped would never include a prison cell.

Ghost slid the front door key into the lock and felt the tumblers tumble and the door swing open. The darkness was not welcoming; Ghost eased into the black hallway silently and closed the door against the light behind him. His senses were flying, his nerves tingled and his fingers twitched, for the first time he found himself wishing that he had brought a little protection. Checking up on a man like Jenkins had not required the risk of coming armed and yet now he was uncharacteristically nervous.

Ghost was a man who had been surrounded by violence all of his life, his story was one of unknown parentage and state system bouncing, as far back as he could remember he had always been alone. The orphanage at St Marys had been a weigh station, he left others alone and they in turn did not bother him. The nuns had their hands full of many disruptively damaged kids and only had so much energy and attention to go around. Abraham had been a quiet child, never noticed, and never seen, he had floated at the back of everyone’s attention drifting through classes and time rippleless. He had always known that he was meant for something special, he knew that he was possible of achieving but he did not know what. It had only been when he saw Jimmy attacking the bully that he realized his potential was at hand. He knew that they made quite the pair, Jimmy the psychopath and Ghost the sociopath. Two halves of the same badly formed mind, combining to make one whole and deranged person rather than one that was complete and normal. Ghost knew that he lacked the tools to form a real boy; he was missing some vital ingredients. He wasn’t angry like Jimmy, he wasn’t sadistic like Jimmy could be, he just wasn’t all there. A few years ago he had been transfixed by an American TV show called Dexter, the show was about a serial killer functioning in the real world. Ghost had watched the first season over and over again, the story of a man who had no emotions, no love and no hate, had fascinated him. Dexter lived by a code taught by his adoptive father who was also a policeman and taught him to channel his desire to kill into disposing of those criminals who had beaten the system. Dexter followed this code not because he believed in the cause, not because he wished to become an avenging angel, it was sheerly out of self-preservation. He knew that he had a dark desire to kill but this way was better than getting caught stabbing a random citizen in broad daylight. Ghost had immediately identified with the character, whilst he did not share Dexter’s passion for murder; the difficulty of seeming human in the eyes of your surroundings was one that Ghost had long struggled with. He had learned how to fake emotions over the years but he still did not really feel any of them, he had never known real love or subsequent loss. His reactions to personal stories were always slightly delayed as he watched others to take their lead. He had experimented with sexual relationships with the various women that the firm employed at the clubs and bars but hadn’t taken any great pleasure from the experiences. Sex seemed to be an awkward and messy affair, the women either feigned as much interest as he did or became clingy and intrusive. In one on one situations he never knew just what was expected of him and how he was supposed to respond. He did not feel attracted to men either but had not experimented in this direction as he was well aware of the attitude towards homosexuality in his industry. Eventually he became successful and feared enough that he no longer felt that his actions were the cause of comment as Jimmy became the only man alive that could question them. It was clear from very early in their budding careers that violence was an essential tool. Whilst Jimmy had natural violent tenancies and a predilection for causing pain, Ghost had had to work at the subject. He had studied for this new skill with the same dedication that he studied everything, nothing was left to chance and no stone went unturned. He firstly attacked his physical makeover; he was in decent natural shape to begin with but soon swelled his frame with painful dedication. He studied with every fitness and martial arts trainer that he could find, devouring their knowledge and compiling his own internal database, from Nigerian Dambe to Japanese Ninjitsu and everything in-between. As he trained he found that his mind was somewhat empty and eager to be filled perhaps from its lacking of natural human emotions there was a lot of free space available. Even after years of training Ghost was well aware that real life was nothing like the movies. It did not matter how much physical prowess you had, ten guys did not form an orderly circle and attack you one at a time. Skills counted for nothing against superior numbers and blunt objects. The trick was always to create an aura that nobody fucked with. His own men were wary of him through experiences, but they were scared of Jimmy because he was quite simply crazy. Early in their budding criminality Ghost and Jimmy had taken on The Raphael’s from Sandy Bay, a small town several miles along the coast from Fresh Haven. The Raphael’s had been well known throughout the territory, their reputation was drenched in blood and they were ruthless and bloody. Ghost and Jimmy had driven up to The Raphael’s home turf, loud and proud. In a deserted parking lot behind a closed shopping centre Ghost and Jimmy had taken on Tom Raphael and four of his biggest lieutenants. The two of them unarmed against wicked blades and blunt batterings. Whilst Ghost had fought with skill and direction, Jimmy was a wild man caring little for his own safety and spraying as much of his own blood as he spilt. The CCTV footage that Ghost obtained from one of the outlets became their fable. The two gladiator’s victorious stance against desperate odds raised their profile and started their legend. The footage of Jimmy unleashing his rage ran the courage to water of their competition. Ghost knew that most of the crews around them were run by talkers, now the whole world could see that here at last were the real deal.

            Ghost edged along the hallway, his back pressed against the wall, his body turned slightly sideways to minimize himself as a target. Once inside the house he was first struck by the pungent smell, it was blood and death. He knew that he should immediately head back out of the house and away from a soon to be a crime scene, but he pressed on against his own better judgement. Whatever had happened here could be related to the firm and Jenkins job within it, he would need any advance knowledge before the police investigation gears began turning. He knew from the regular surveillance that he kept on all of their civilian associates that Jenkins had an office at home. He’d had the system regularly hacked from a remote access point after a subsidiary of the firm had installed the computer equipment. At the last scheduled check there was nothing incriminating towards them on the Port Authorities Manger system, only some mild porn of the normal variety was carefully hidden.

As Ghost edged silently along the wall he unhooked a small but powerful keychain torch that he always carried, evaluating the risk he shown the light around the lounge area. The curtains were not just drawn; someone had hung thick woolen blankets taping them with duck tape to the walls creating a blackout effect. The room was lightless and airless, the atmosphere was choking and an unmistakable copper smell hung heavy in the lifeless room. Ghost edged around the plush sofa that dominated the middle of the spacious room. A small delicate foot poked out to welcome him in an obscene greeting. On inspection the body was much larger than the single foot had suggested, the woman was in her fifties, limp and inert hair fell around her downturned face. She wore a white nightie that strained at the seams to contain her large bulk. Ghost knew this woman had been Mrs Jenkins, the man in questions wife. The nightie had risen up the back of her legs leaving the doughy white flesh exposed. Ghost had seen his share of death before but the color of the woman seemed strange, her once pink skin appeared translucent with a bluish hue. He could not see any sure signs of violence on the body as it lay face down and he was not about to move any closer and certainly not touch the corpse. Ghost knew the Eagleport forensic boys were the top of the tree when it came to finding rogue hairs and fibers and was not about to place himself at the scene.

He eased himself back out the way he came and headed for the fragranced relief of the outside. A feeling of sound caught his senses; it was not a noise as most people would perceive it but Ghost’s reactions were honed to be razor sharp, it was what kept him alive. He froze instantly, eyes closed he felt the house, his mind drifted around the room and beyond. Sightlessly he explored the darkness, claiming his surroundings and searching for intrusion. Eventually he released the breath that he had been unwittingly holding; now the notion of being nervous was the very thing making him nervous. It had been years since he had felt anxious in any way and he did not like it. He had always found it annoying that in every scary house movie, every character in it had never seen a scary house movie, he was not about to betray his instincts and start exploring the house alone and unarmed.

Slowly he backed down the hallway, his eyes constantly flitting around in the gloom, his fists clenched and muscles tensed ready for confrontation. The front door bumped softly into his lower back startling him, he knew that he would feel foolish the moment that he stepped foot back out into the world. He deliberately stayed his hand on the door handle and held for a second longer than he wanted to. He captured his feelings of the house and the body, imprinting them on his memory, ensuring that they would not be dismissed so easily once he felt safe. In a flash he was outside again, the evening dusk was rolling in and it wasn’t until he safely behind the wheel of the rental car and pulling out onto the main road again hit by the headlights of other drivers did he relax. As he thought, his mind began to rationalize his feelings, processing the raw data and finding explanations. He stopped his thought process savagely and grasped hold of the captured moment just before he left. Again he felt the blackness of the house, the strange color of the body and the sense of someone else there. The feeling of everything out of balance, he looked down at the steering wheel and his hands trembled.


Jessica yawned and pinched the bridge of her nose rubbing vigorously; she could not remember the last time that she had felt so exhausted Eddie was insatiable. They had been at it for hours, at least this time he must be finally spent.

“Jessie, Jessie” a soft voice whispered in her ear, no, not again she thought, he can’t be ready again, her wrist was killing her.

“Jessie” the voice persisted.

She lifted her weary hand to the wireless Xbox earpiece and un-muted it, “Eddie, I’m still here but a little tired sweetie”

“Just one more time, just once more” he pleaded

They had been playing Gears of Wars 3 for several hours now streaming over the broadband bridge that linked players from around the world in a heartbeat. She’d had to purchase an Xbox system that afternoon and charmed an eager young assistant into ignoring his workplace duties to run her through the basics. She had been surprised to find that the gaming system was not beyond her technical capabilities. Even some of the test games that the assistant had run her through were fun and a little addictive. A little cleavage and a lot of flirting had gained her access to some of Eddie’s personal details including his gamer ID tag and favorite games, Gears being one of them. Her afternoon tutorial had left her with the ability to hook up her Xbox to her flat screen, create an avatar and an online presence and then to locate Eddie online that morning. Since which, they had been pummelling an alien army during wave after wave of attacks in something called Horde mode. Eddie was a master of the game, for such a large bulky man she was astounded by his dexterity and skill. For the first couple of hours she had felt a hindrance but at long last she had found her niche using a sniper rifle from strategic cover. At first they had been constantly interrupted by a succession of other gamers, some were polite, some were aggressive and many more appeared to be overly stimulated by the mere presence of a female in their midst. After a short while, Eddie had placed them both in a private chat area where they were not disturbed. Dealing with Eddie in a faceless environment, existing only as a voice in his head and in his world, had enabled her to deal with a more relaxed and confident man. In this world Eddie was friendly and talkative, it took her a while to draw him out, but slowly and piece by piece his story came together. She felt annoyed at herself for dismissing him as having learning difficulties, but the more that they talked the more that she realized that there was more to him than she had first thought. His speech patterns and use of language appeared to be mainly the result of his missing education rather than any major impairment. His confidence was low in the real world and he seemed to have conformed to others low expectations of him, rather than to grow and evolve. Once during their game play he had suddenly piped up with, “Do you ever think Jessie that on Eastenders, because of the actors involved, in their world things like the Carry On films and Spandau Ballet never existed?”

The biggest reticence he seemed to have, had been about Abraham “Ghost” Kane, his answers on the man were always guarded and suspicious and she’d had to delve deftly around the corners of Eddie’s friend. The intensity of the crammed in hours that they had spent together had been the equivalent of several weeks in the real world. She gave herself a self-indulgent mental pat on the back for the idea. The biggest thing that had she had found was that Eddie near idolised the man. She had poked deliberately and delicately at Ghost from time to time, hearing the bristling anytime that she offered anything remotely negative. Eddie spoke with pride and admiration of his friendship with Ghost; he spoke fairly fondly of Jimmy from time to time as well which surprised her. She’d learnt very little of the specifics of Eddie’s work, he almost seemed embarrassed about what he did and she filed this fact away for later use. She managed to pry several tidbits from Eddie during their long hours together. She learnt that Ghost was definitely more than a mere employee, Eddie spoke about Jimmy and Ghost, Ghost and Jimmy. Every time that Jimmy said something, Ghost’s voice was right behind; Eddie appeared to sit on the inside of the organization, a silent oak tree in the corner. She knew the timeframe of Jimmy Eyes rise to the top and Eddie had been there from almost the beginning. In the early days it was just the three of them, as far as Eddie was concerned these had been the happiest days of his life. He had never known friends before, but back then he’d felt like he had a family. She knew that these feelings ran cavernously deep in Eddie and those foundations would never be shaken. She also knew that she would never be able to appear to be undermining Ghost or even Jimmy. Eddie would never betray either of them and would die before he would allow them to come to harm. If she wanted to pry enough information about Ghost for her book, then she would have to walk a tightrope of care. The prime nugget that she had mined today was that all was not well in the organization. Eddie had mentioned the Parkers at one brief point earlier in the morning. She knew that Richard and Bob Parker were a low level crew who were making noises in the underworld. They were said to be the new up and comers on the block, ruthless and violent and in some corners they were considered to be the heir apparent. Eddie became stressed and nervous whenever she broached their subject, she got the impression that Jimmy was becoming more and more agitated and this was what was making Eddie the most nervous.

“Look Eddie, I’m going to have to call it a day, I’m beat” she said

“Awww, really?” was Eddie’s disappointed response.

“Look is this channel really private?”


“Ok, grab a pen and let me give you my phone number in case you want to talk if work gets too heavy” she casually offered.

“Got one right here” he responded immediately.

She gave her mobile phone number and listened as he wrote it down repeating the numbers as he scribbled. She signed off and disconnected, standing and stretching, her spine cracked and her neck popped as she eased her discomfort. She picked up the note pad that had been lying next to her on the sofa; she knew that her one handed scrawling would take some deciphering, at first glance the only words that jumped out were, St Marys and Drake, it was a start.


Tim Rybeck had always dreamt of being a cop, from early childhood he had kicked down imaginary doors with his imaginary badge. His name had dictated a profession choice; “Rybeck” conjured images of storming detectives. His father was anything but a Rybeck, a small sombre man of little imagination and practicality stamped through his very core. He had been dismissive of Tim’s career choice and sought to dampen his dreams at every opportunity. Whilst Tim envisioned car chases and shootouts his father spoke of pushing papers and filing forms, unfortunately for Tim his father had proven annoyingly correct.

The academy had been filled with like minded cadets dreaming of excitement and the class work had soon begun to weed out the weaker willed. Tim had persevered and soon began his probationary period breaking up drunken Friday nights in the Fresh Haven port area. The bars were dark and violent and the inhabitants worse. He could handle the constant bullying of his senior colleagues, he could handle the long late nights and the poor shifts, it was the tedious repetitive boredom that got to him. He still persevered through this period knowing that if he paid his due and worked through the bullshit he could make detective and his world would change. Eventually the wheel turned and he gained his promotion, the disappointment this time was all encompassing for there was nowhere else to go from here. Instead of his world lighting up with stimulation he was plunged further into desk bound tedium; his days were filled with excruciating paper shuffles. For a cerebral man of imagination, the real world of paper shuffles was mind-numbing beyond compare. Investigations did not consist of car chases and door kicking, only following up mundane leads, chasing credit card receipts and hours with his neck crooked and telephone balanced. It was inevitable he figured, that his want for adventure had led him down the wrong path.

He met the girl in one of the port bars on a Saturday night, within two hours he was half in love and all the way drunk, she was all smiles and salacious flirtations. She had beautiful golden curls that tumbled and breasts that strained at the leash; she had expert wandering hands and innocent freckles. He had spent half the night inside the bar and the following two weeks inside her. Tim did not consider himself a stupid man but every time that he was able to take a breath and try to clear his head, she would have a hook on his mind and a hand in his pants. It started as it always does slowly, a parking ticket to be fixed, then a noisy neighbor to be leant on, then a car registered to be traced due to a small dent in her car and the perpetrator driving away. Almost without noticing he was doing favors without explanations, she did not introduce him to hard liquor and harder drugs as it would have rendered him useless, she became his addiction and his will was gone.

He had only met Ghost when it was too late, Ghost came into his life as she smoothly exited the other way, it was only then did he think that his career was irreparable. The movies had him believing that now that was in too deep, then his life would be ruined, that once the criminals had their hooks in you then everything was soon destroyed. What he found in reality was that his life actually became fun again, he was never asked to participate in crimes and he was never asked to break the law. What he did was to provide information, he tipped Ghost off whenever the department was looking at his firm and in return he was given genuine tips on the competition that led to some major raids and arrests. His stock in his division rose at a steady rate over the following years until he reached the rank of Detective Inspector. His tips were never given too close together and he was given enough bad leads to avoid suspicion. He had met the boss, Jimmy Eyes and found the man to charming and charismatic. Ghost had introduced them and he had felt welcomed, they may be criminals but the firm was run as a business. Although Jimmy sat upon the throne he had always felt that Ghost was more than a mere right hand. To insulate everyone involved it was only Ghost that he dealt with. His bank account slowly swelled through careful long term investments arranged through the firm. Ghost, he had found was a master of the cautious and nothing was left to chance. There were no brown packages stuffed full of dirty cash, he had no secret bank accounts overseas. His income was all accounted for and the tax was paid and the money clean. He had felt angry and stupid in equal measures at his seduction but by now, he had grown content and comfortable.

The night was closing in, Rybeck was in his car and now off duty, normally he would not go within a hundred miles of the Quebec bar but tonight was different. Ghost had contacted him earlier that afternoon; the man’s voice was strained and off key. He had never witnessed anything but total self control and possession from the man and that voice had worried him.

Ghost had given him an address and a basic crime scene description; there was a woman’s body at the location and obvious signs of foul play. Rybeck didn’t need to ask the circumstances as Ghost would not be calling him if he or the firm were involved. He parked a short distance away from the Quebec bar. Leaving his car only once he was satisfied that there were no unmarked surveillance vehicles scheduled for this night and indeed that none were parked. He slipped into the rear car park that had been arranged to be left open. The rear private entrance door opened, the interior light was off so as to not illuminate him or the inhabitants and he followed Eddie the monster, up to the private office.


Selina Gordon hefted herself up out of bed and staggered to the bathroom, remnants of gin and bad takeaway food lay heavily in her stomach. The room was large and salacious, the thick red carpet cushioned her bare aching feet and the walls were a blood red paint with a black on white statement paisley wallpaper behind the bed. The bedrooms aroma was laden with roses and musky perfume and expensive clothes lay strewn across the four poster bed and scattered on the floor. The luxurious white lace netting that framed the large portrait windows rustled in the breeze. Selina poured herself a night-time breakfast gin and took it to the window. The glass was stained with yesterday’s lipstick but she did not care. The familiar tug of common sense poked and prodded around the edges of her conscious mind. Anyone starting their day with alcohol drained from dirty glasses had a problem. Her business was men and after all these years she needed a kick start to get her going. It had been a long time since she had made her living on her back, nowadays she earned it in the manager’s office and she was still not sure which was the easier life.

The brothel belonged to Jimmy Dent as did all the girls who worked here, despite being management Selina was under no illusions that she was not listed under the fixtures and fittings. Back in the day she had been an exotic beauty that had captured hearts and wallets. Her acute business acumen had set her above the addicts and the desperate that passed through the industry. It had been Jimmy’s strange and quiet right hand that had promoted her before her looks and begun to fail and gravity dragged her assets south. Ghost, never was a man more aptly named she had always thought, came and went silently, never taking any of the girls or even any of the men that were available. He never had his fingers in the till, was always polite and courteous and he seemed to know every inch of the brothel. He knew every girl that came in and every one that started using. He would appear out of nowhere with an uncanny instinct for showing up just before there was trouble. Once, a few years back, one of the girls had a regular who happened to be a minor celebrity with a penchant for bondage. She’d had the not uncommon idea of selling the story. Ghost had shown up before the story ever got close to the page, before she knew it the girl was gone, no fuss, no screaming, no threats or warnings, just gone quietly in the night.

Selina cast her eyes downwards over an aging but still pert figure, her legs were long and smooth and still proudly toned, her stomach was flat and her breasts had not yet succumbed to age. Her face was still manageable with careful makeup; the worry lines were visible and growing through tiredness and alcohol. She had always managed to avoid the dreaded effects of smoking and her only vice was the gin, although that was an army on the march.

She glanced down at her slender gold watch, 9.10pm, the doors opened at 10pm and the punters would begin their furtive procession. This establishment dealt strictly with invitations only, the clientele were of the upmarket and discreet variety. They were men of money and authority, used to getting exactly what they wanted. It was her job to make sure that they received just that, all tastes were catered for and all perversions could be purchased.

She drained the glass and shuddered with the sudden explosion of gin as it hit her system, time to get steeled and glamorous, she thought with a sigh. The nights seemed to get longer and the days between shorter, her retirement was rapidly approaching. She had a nice little nest egg set aside and it was getting close to hatching. She had approached Ghost many years ago, wanting access to the investment side of the company. She had been worried that he would view her request with scorn and derision but to her surprise he had been helpful and supportive. She had funnelled her earnings into the fund, she had taken every penny that she could spare and on some occasions, more than she could afford. Her dream was to purchase a small cottage on the Californian coast, somewhere warm all year round and with a view of the ocean. She was going to get a black Labrador for company and spend her days under the hot sun with her toes dipping in the cool waters, next year she would have enough to buy her new home and life.

She switched on the bathroom light, the energy saving bulbs took their time to brighten and she enjoyed her reflection more under the dim glow before the full glare illuminated every flaw. She ran the shower water and waited for it to warm, her mind locking away retirement thoughts as they were an unwanted distraction during her evening activities.

The brothel had been a strange place of late and perhaps she was getting out not soon enough. The girls seemed more distracted than usual, their behavior erratic running the gauntlet between lethargy and manic. She had always tried to run a clean shop as drugs were a constant infringement as many of the girls needed a crutch to manage the crotch and lately some of the girls were showing classic signs. They were never the most active during daylight hours, but some of them were becoming positively reclusive. She was going to get Ghost in to run some blood tests.

She stared deeply into the mirror assessing her career damage as she did every night before starting work. A movement made her turn in alarm, Talia stood behind her radiant and beautiful, the woman was twenty and new to the brothel, tall and striking with pale features and cheekbones that were razor sharp.

“Talia, you scared me” she spluttered nervously.

The woman stood impassive, her eyes sparkled, a beautiful black evening gown clung lovingly to her tall lean figure. The scooped low neckline accentuated her small perfect breasts and her lips were full and dark.

“What are you doing here?” Selina tried for an angry authoritative tone, but her words tumbled out slowly and fell short of their target. Her will felt sapped and she was unable to move as Talia reached out with a slender manicured hand and stroked her face softly. She summoned up the last of her courage and turned away from the hypnotic stare. Talia brushed the hair from her neck and she shuddered as the warmth spread downwards and tingled between her legs, moistening as it went.

“Don’t” Selina whispered softly as Talia’s hands moved over her shoulders and began to expertly caress her breasts through the thin nightdress that she wore. There was a sudden explosion of pain in her neck that was replaced by a feeling of drowning in warm waters beneath a beating hot sun. As she drifted away she looked up into the bathroom mirror and realized that she could not see Talia, only her own fading reflection.