I remembered the ring simply because it wasn't the type of ring that a man would usually
choose to include in his pro-macho jewellery box.
The rare stone at its heart shone like a bewildering beacon demanding attention in the
pits of hell, while its subtly alluring design was elaborately detailed yet delicate.
To all intents and purposes it looked like a lady's bridal ring, and thus the plot thickened.
A logical set of scenarios rushed through my head as the cutting wind whipped clean through
one ear and out the other.
Having settled for the night in Kyangjin, the much-needed respite from
trekking in the presence of my 'captors' allowed time to think things through more thoroughly.
Clearly the disappearance of the local girl was becoming a growing concern by the minute,
and the father of the child naturally appeared haggard with grief and mental torment,
racking his brains as to what could have become of his beautiful offspring.
I wonder to what extent the scenarios that I was entertaining differed from those that the father forced himself to endure. Long after his two friends had settled for the night, after a bowl full of nourishing noodle soup each to revitalise the nervous system, the father was still sat near the raging fire of the village tea-house in which we'd stationed ourselves: mutually thinking, and wondering, and hoping.
The 21st Century has hit even the most remote of regions in the world, yet there are
still pockets of relatively isolated civilisation and small communities that don't
have the so-called luxuries of modern living.
Some such communities have the chance of utilising electricity, for example, but
scoff at the thought of making life easier for themselves.
I guess life can become too easy, and once life becomes too easy, then people get
lazy... and (in an ironic twist of fate) even less gets done than before the infernal aid arrived.
So we sat and prayed by devilishly flickering candlelight, the father in his
shadow-strewn corner and I in mine.
I knew for sure that was no reason to fear
these men (thank God they weren't Maoists like I initially presumed), and I
truly hoped that I could help them.
They wouldn't have enlisted my help if they thought it was to be of no use.
For this reason I assumed they were exceptional judges of character
Even here, in the upper reaches of the Langtang valley, and closer to the fabled border with
Tibet than ever, there were still a few tourists around, staying in Kyangjin for the night
before either trekking a little further North-East into the highest reaches of the valley,
or prior to negotiating the ground over which we'd passed during the day - back down
first through Langtang, then past the smart mid-trek lodgings at Lama Hotel, and
on towards Syabru.
Kyangjin is the highest permanent settlement in the valley,
yet there are a fair few stone buildings scattered further up-valley that aid herders contain their yaks for example.
God knows where we were going to go from here, but I didn't want to worry about something
that didn't really need to be worried about.
Come dawn I would discover soon enough the plans for the proceeding day, and like the
obliging gent that I'd already proved myself to be I'd follow.
I'd listen to any orders that might be barked and comply.
Complicity is the new crime-fiction novella set in Hull featuring
Detective Sergeant Coleman and Detective Constable Maynard.
The thisisull.com serialisation is accompanied by the stunning black and
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Complicity and other stories are available for free.
Fiction - Welcome To Hellville - Part 16 By Rich Mills
"What music are you into, man?" The American exchange student who had earlier introduced
himself, without any regard for Alan's need to be alone, suddenly threw a curve-ball
of a question like this in his direction.
"Well I listen to..." What followed was a definitive list of bands from Alan's
wide-ranging rare vinyl and CD collection, he even
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 16 (1886: Hull, Yorkshire) By Frank Beill
It took only three days for timidity to turn into brutality and two little girls were directing it towards the latest addition to their family. Two small bodies were jumping on my bunk and I was still in it. If I hadn't been so exhausted I might have enjoyed the experience.
'Ger off!' I yelled.
They didn't know the words but they understood the meaning. Two frightened rabbits leapt off the bunk and
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Twelve By Steve Rudd
Dinner-time came and went, and on us four hardy men trekked. I hadn't been feeling too well for the past couple of days, so I hadn't been eating all that much. The reason I was probably feeling so down and out was no doubt due to the lack of food that I'd consumed, so it was bit of a Catch-22 situation all round.
Fiction - Two Extracts from The Shintae - a Novel by Brian R Hill
Fiction - Zero and the Neighbours Part 1 - Demo version 0.1 By Joe Hakim
Frank was one of the regulars. From the first day I started dealing poker on the tables, Frank was there. To look at, he was your typical moody old man - old in the Father Christmas sense - white hair, a huge white beard and a round gut that hung out of his shirt and over his belt. You could imagine him sat in a grotto in the bottom of Princes Quay with some mewling
Fiction - Just like Eddie by Bob Spence
I don't know exactly when I got into it but there you are.
Like most lads, I suppose it was the thought of being Bristol's answer to
Elvis that was some kind of inspiration.
Yes that was always there in the back of my mind, but the accent never sounded
quite right to be fair.
Anyway. The South Deans Village Youth Club was a right place back then and we used
Fiction - The Wall by Darren Sant
Sometimes your best is just not enough.
Panic stricken and panting I arrive.
There it is, a fucking huge wall. An obstacle blocking my progress.
A visible representation of all that I can't achieve.
Nervously I look behind me. I lash out at it, kicking and punching but to no avail.
It is rock solid. I jump but find it too high. I take a running jump
Fiction - Divine by Blair Ashworth
"Mein Führer? Mein Führer?" The old man in the long grey coat was bent over the body slumped in the chair.
"Give it a few more seconds, Henry," said the doctor. "Do you speak any German? It might lessen the shock." No, Henry didn't speak any German and he didn't much care about any shocks he might deliver.
Behind the heavy oak chair,
Fiction - Scissors, Paper, Stone! By Bob Spence
The Lord Nelson was your typical run-down seventies pub. The decor was in disarray, with half a mind to venerate the Royal Navy's biggest hero or to catch the eye of the potential clientele with the latest fashion. In this manner it achieved neither.
Mickey was the prototype glass collector for every
Fiction - Drowning, Swimming By Joe Hakim
Keith sat and stared at his wife, who was holding his daughter and staring at the
28" Philips Widescreen TV situated in the corner of his house, on his laminate floor,
flanked at either side by his Sony sound system and his X-Box.
He was sweating and his head was throbbing - the general effects of the weekend
Fiction - Any Instructions? By Denis Price
It wasn't the first time he'd missed the bus. From the Mess to the monitoring hangar was only a quarter of a mile walk, something he relished during the central European summer as the airbase had been carved out of heavily wooded countryside teeming with wildlife.
Fiction - Second Chances by Nick Quantrill
Available now, Second Chances is a crime fiction novella set in Hull that is
already attracting praise from readers.
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For a taster, see the extract reproduced below, only available
Fiction - Invasion By Bob Spence
Moody just couldn't stop scratching. His shirt was far too stiff at the edge of the collar
and the coarse material was driving him to distraction.
You could also say that Moody was distracted anyway. He was waiting for a letter from his fiancee
and there was none.
Fiction - The Death and Birth and Death of a Legend By Bob Spence
Goober liked to be busy. Some people could handle doing nothing, not Goober Walton.
Running the tidy but ancient gasoline concession suited. Suited well.
It was orderly and everything clearly had its place.
Some would say it looked almost military in its order and for that it
Fiction - Feller's in Cut By Maurice Fairfield
Well that's her gone. You don't remember me do you?
I'll have a pint while you're thinking about it.
It's me Jack, Harry Fergus's son. Here for the funeral.
Thought I'd see her get put under. Not sure why.
It's always a laugh though, watching a parson doing a
Fiction - Fishheads By Michelle Dee
Monstrous silver and blue -green severed fish heads emerged at the forefront of her mind.
Open, close, open, close the gaping mouths. She fancied there were others behind it.
Each time the razor sharp teeth were bared she looked into the blacker than