As publication of “Thurlow Junction” fast approaches, we thought we might tease you just a little by offering a section from the Prologue of the book, just to whet your appetite and get you in the mood for the latest adventure with Sheriff John and Deputy Dawg Janowski…
It is almost dark, and he is running. Scared. Scared of what has happened, and scared of what could happen. He is running away, every painful step releasing a tiny grain of hope that he could escape from this nightmare and perhaps get back to a normal life. But who is he kidding?
He stops to get his bearings. He knows Thurlow pretty well, having been brought up here, and he recognises the corner of Silver and Cherbury Streets, the latter leading to the old, long-forgotten railway sidings. This is the first time he has been able to catch his breath, and he hears the wheeze of his chest and sees the puffs in the cold air as he exhales sharply. He is sweating, but feels cold. He rubs his hand over his brow, sensing the dampness. His ears are pricked, like an animal expecting predators. He feels a wry smile curl round his lips, realising that, after all, he is indeed prey for a larger beast.
Silence, save the muted sounds of cars over on the highway, some leaving Thurlow headed for Bakerton, others aiming the other way to the city of Altona, the place where his nightmare began. He throws his arms around himself, suddenly feeling the chill of the night air.
He heads down Cherbury, now at a steady trot, his breathing easier after the few seconds’ rest he has allowed his body. It is getting much darker now, the houses beginning to take on their black, more sinister appearance, as if they are about to crowd round him and squeeze the life out of him. Some of them wink at him, their little lights going on and off as their people move from room to room. He craves the normality of it all, and still he trots.
He reaches the familiar creek where they used to go tadpoling as boys, and he takes the opportunity to stop again, still listening, but relaxing just that little bit more. A car approaches, so he crouches, nerves jangling and body shivering, with both cold and fear. He slides down the bank and ducks his head under a clump of roots, willing the car to go on its merry way. It slows to negotiate the slight bend leading to the new housing estate, and for a few moments its headlight beam picks him out. How can the driver not see him? He shrinks back, gripping a root to avoid sliding into the shallow water just below. He looks down, and then he sees it… the blood, now congealing on his hand and around his fingers. A tear fills his eye, because he knows it is not his blood.