Gales crashed onto the housing estate. Grey sky like fractured mountains.
In the passenger seat Dennison read through the paper, as Snaith drives. As some story or headline caught Snaith's attention he would ask Dennison to read it in full.
The council estate was a maze of similarity -a dizzying optical illusion where homes, roads, and people all looked the same- they blur together creating the effect of moving in space, but not in time.
"OK." Dennison felt this would please Snaith, "Automation in surgical procedures...well?"
"Yes..." Snaith rolled the word on his tongue, clearly his interest had been stimulated, "Consider the possibilities...what sort of cosmetic surgery would satisfy a machine's notion of beauty?"
"No idea. You want me to read it?"
"Later. We are almost there..."
"How can you tell? It all looks the same..."
The car turned a corner into a cul-de-sac, in the dull grey light and searing wind young louts in tracksuits and baseball caps -scarves pulled around faces to reveal tiny eyes as hard and cold as obsidian - caught in the raw pink of their features. Hands in pockets they shuffle around, eyes darting rodent like, appraising everything around them.
The scruffy art deco building was totally at odds with its surroundings; the peeling white paint, decaying grandeur. Clearly it pre-dated the estate that had grown up around it.
As they enter Dennison had the sensation that it was a doctor's surgery, some official, and community based function, railings to assist handicapped visitor, vases of flowers everywhere, soothing anodyne art and the nurses sat around in relaxed uniforms, drinking coffee.
As they walked to the reception desk, an attractive young woman in a grey dressing gown, with a drip at her side smiled as Dennison approached her. She suddenly let her gown fall open revealing an angry red scar where her right breast should be.
"What is this place Snaith?"
The Terminal Brothel was a combination of hospice and whorehouse.
Snaith and Dennison were led into a chilly office where an officious young
woman sat behind a desk.
She looked at the both of them with factual brown eyes. Her brown hair tied back in severe fashion. Her face struck Dennison like the identikit of a criminal suspect, in that all the features were there, but the attempt to put them together failed, so any overall impression remained elusive. She looked down at a file.
"Male? Female?" She picked a pen up from the desk.
"Male. Right?" Snaith turned to look at Dennison, who was still in a state bordering on shock. In no real position to respond, so Snaith responded for him. "Yes, male, for both of us."
"Good." She pushed a ring binder across the desk to Snaith, whom she must have assumed was the brains of this outfit. It was filled with laminates. Head shots, full body poses of men, aged between 16 and 40. They showed scars and wounds as well as more normal poses. Listed opposite was a page of personal details, name, age, diagnosis...
"They are all dying?" Dennison spoke, his mouth dry so that it felt as if the words were sticking.
"Yes, of course they are." The woman spoke as though Dennison was an imbecile for even asking.
Pencil in hand, he stands immobile. His eyes are locked onto the pristine expanse before him as though searching for some secret buried within the paper itself; an image that his pencil will simply be highlighting rather than creating. Above and beyond his eye line, the graphite point gleams dully in the harsh light that cascades down onto the easel.
Fiction - Independent By Katherine Horrex Photos by Darren Rogers
The room was pulsing with white noise and euphoria. Giles was positioned behind the sound booth, stupefied by the scene on stage: five Burberry clad men thrashing manically at their instruments, their sixties feather cuts flicking through the damp air.
A final power chord growled through the Marshall stack, reverberating triumphantly and the lead
Fiction - 3 Phones, 300 Words By Joe Hakim
She smiled as she handed him the bottle. He took it from her and poured himself a glass.
'So what do you think?' she asked.
'I'm not that bothered,' he replied.
He was pretty drunk by now and he attempted to think of something to say, but the silence remained stagnant. She took a gulp from her glass,
Fiction - Lessons Learnt By Nick Quantrill
DS Richard Coleman pulled into the lay-by and headed towards the flashing blue lights. An hour later it would have been someone else's problem. But it wasn't. An articulated lorry had been isolated from the other vehicles, cones placed around it, linked together by barrier tape.
A mobile generator providing power to the small floodlights
Fiction - Mr Keith Fortner By The Silver Fox
In assessing the nature and worth of Mr Keith Fortner, it helps to be acquainted with one or two salient facts about his background. This is true of anyone, of course; understanding can rarely come without some awareness of their past experiences and emotional development after all.
Even the vast majority of people who tend to exist in a very limited context - the parameters
Fiction - After The Rain By Joe Hakim
He noticed there was another crushed snail by the doorstep. It was the third one he'd found this week. It was funny because he could never recall standing on the snails, but there they were.
He opened his back door and lit a cigarette. He'd been in this place for a month now, but it still didn't feel like his home, just a place he was staying in for a while.
Fiction - The Suicide Park, Self Surgery And Brutalised By Affection By Christopher Skolik
Dennison followed Snaith from the road, through trees, to a wire fence. Snaith slipped through. Beyond the skeletal
trees, Dennison could see a smoky illumination. Snaith and Dennison walked around as if inspecting a gallery.
It looked like a derelict industrial estate from a distance. Only when he got closer could Dennison hear the sound
of 22 engines humming.
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 4 By Frank Beill
'There, there bai'n. It's o'right now. The bad man's gone away.' Sal walked up and down her bare living room, hugging her sobbing baby.
'Sorry, Sal. I shouldn't have done that.'
'Don't matter, Sammy.' She kissed the child's tearstained cheek. 'He deserves a good hidin'!'
'What was it all about? Sounded as though he was up to no good.'
I put two large lumps of coal
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 3 By Frank Beill
The red brick Board School stretched for nearly half the length of the street. Did Sal still live 'somewhere opposite'? My heart sank seeing all the doors to be knocked on especially after the Westbourne Avenue experience.
Fortunately, shops and other businesses occupied most of the buildings facing the school.
One caught my attention: Henry Tiplady,
Fiction - Smooth Operator By Edward C. Lynskey
Kenny was a thief. Nothing big. He'd only rip off the 'swag' owners wouldn't miss right away: CDs, auto parts, jewelry, tools, handguns from nightstands. Yeah, he was a smooth operator, nickelling and diming 'ditch-digging chumps.' A pawnshop run by his pal (never mind who) did a bang-up business, too.
Why did Kenny steal? Can't say. Could be he swore the world owed him
Fiction - Merry Christmas, Here's A Present By Nick Quantrill
Brett 'Razor' Rawcliffe; 'Razor' to his friends because they thought he was sharp as a tack. He was 16 years old but he'd already built a rapidly expanding drugs empire specialising in supplying his schoolmates and friends. It was one day away from being Christmas Eve and he was sat in a city centre pub with his trusted side-kick, Stevie.
The Christmas CD compilation
Fiction - Fighting the Drink By Jose Escobar
My opponent stands before me, tall and proud. We size each other up, bare knuckle fighters circling each other in the ring. He feints towards me but I don't flinch. Then one move and combat begins. The rules the same as always, last man standing wins.
I make the first move, one quick slug and the rasping and burning in my throat begins. Discover an old ulcer
Fiction - Cinch Hand By Nick Quantrill
Joe Berry, Private Investigator. That always grabs the attention. I'm a PI, but it's not as exciting as it sounds. No way. I say that with confidence as I stare out of the window of my detective agency into the overcast Hull night. That's right, Hull - the jewel in the crown of East Yorkshire. It's not a glamorous city, but it's where I lay my hat and I've just about scraped a living from
Fiction - The Post Office of Doctor Moreau Part Two By Kenton Hall
Previously on The Post Office of Doctor Moreau...
Sandy (tears in her eyes): But, Jonas, I love you.
Jonas (squinting): I know that, Sandy. But you must know this. I can not love anyone. My life is one of danger. Of intrigue. Of brooding handsomely in wine bars.
Sandy (suspiciously): Uh-huh.
Jonas: Yes. I am a lone wolf,
Fiction - The Post Office of Doctor Moreau By Kenton Hall
I was lying on my back - hands tucked neatly behind my head - and staring at the ceiling, where the Visigoths who had decorated the hotel room had utterly neglected to place a slow-moving fan.
Sometimes, a protagonist just can't get an even break.
I mean, I could feel it in my bones. I was about to be summoned on an adventure that would utterly and irrevocably
Fiction - The Prodigal Son By Joe Hakim
stuck in my room again/ looking up at the blinds/ gaffa-taped shut, keep out the light/ single beam escapes through a gap/ one piece of light concentrating on the wall/ imagine it to be hot like a laser/ imagine the smoke rising up like a spirit/ but it's not there, not there at all/ it's only in my head/ only in my head
Fiction - End Of The Line By Nick Quantrill
This is how it happened...
I was driving down Lowgate. There's got to be a better way than this, I thought to myself. But then I saw her, clinging to a lamppost, holding her hand out as her friend tried to stop her from falling over. I indicated and pulled over; she would do nicely. Her friend bundled her into my car.
No respect for anything, least of all herself, I thought
Fiction - Another Brick In The Wall, Another Man In The Crowd By Steve Rudd
'It doesn't look any different on this side,' the disembodied voice yelled over the void.
'I never said that it would look any different. But I bet it feels different,' ventured an old man's voice on the Eastern side of the wall.
'Not really,' the disembodied voice declared. 'At least not from where I'm standing.'
To some people, the momentous fall of the Berlin Wall signified freedom
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 2 Chapter 2 By Frank Beill
It was too late in the day to visit Tweed Street school - the children and their teachers would be long gone by now. This left only the address I'd been given for George. Hessle Road was not a long walk from Princes Avenue but a tram ride was quicker or to be precise two tram rides were: one into the city centre and one back out again to get me to my destination.
All the old reactions
Fiction - The Service By Joe Hakim
I'm a professional. I get the job done.
It's already getting dark as I arrive at the station. I make my way past the perimeter fence and park my car in the shelter. So begins the process of shedding everything that makes me who I am, in order to become somebody else.
You can never tell what kind of night it's going to be, so even now after all this time the anticipatory adrenalin
Fiction - The Emporium of Illusions By Andy Bilton
I cannot decide which foam bath to put in to the tub. Mood, I feel, is an important player in a first date situation and I do not want to fold at the first hand by getting in to the wrong one before tonight's encounter.
So do I pour in some of the Marks & Spencers 'Tranquility' that has an unnerving resemblance to Rowntree's Lime Jelly and 'treat myself to an indulgent bathing
Fiction - The Horrible Death of Tony Clare: Retribution and Revolt By Sean Davey
Tony Clare, British Premier, bringer of war, pestilence, famine and social impotence, died today. Killed by an unknown man. A man driven not by his hatred for the Prime Minister, but by his own need to right the wrongs that Tony Clare's society was responsible for.
A society which neglected its own people, raped the land, taxed the workers and killed the innocent.
Fiction - Dig Your Own Hole By Joe Hakim
Things were going well. We were on schedule and under budget, Chris Chambers, so my boss was chuffed to bits. "It's going to be a good year," he said slapping me on the back, a huge shit-eating grin plastered across his face. As he looked around the building site, he tipped back his hard-hat and his chest expanded like a proud father watching at his children running around.