'One more word out of you, and it'll be your last - I promise.'
The ice-cold gun nudging Ellie's temple was motivation enough for her to keep her mouth shut, as she trembled with fear. She daren't even sob in case her captor construed that any form of noise was reason enough to blow her brains out without further ado.
So much for being a superstar in her own right, an actress who had arrived in Hollywood almost fifteen years ago with little more than $50 to her name. Now, with the world seemingly at her feet, she couldn't quite comprehend how her life had taken such a heart-attacking turn for the worst, especially since her beloved husband of ten years had only just walked out on her a week previous.
If she was honest, she might admit that she'd considered putting a gun to her head some seven days before in any case. Ellie hadn't been taking the fact that her husband had left her for good very well at all, yet now that somebody else was threatening to take her life, she wanted nothing more than to live: to see this twisted situation through, and steam out the other side with all guns metaphorically blazing.
She thought that her suicide would make her a legend (if she had the guts to pull such a desperate stunt off, that was), but that her murder somehow would fail to embrace the same impact.
The long-haired, dark-skinned man who had broke into her high-security home and was threatening to kill Ellie had pinned her up against her sea-facing bedroom window. Outside, three independent TV camera crews jostled to gain the best shot of Ellie, who was stood stock-still and staring down at them as the man at her side continued to hold his gun to her pretty little head.
The images that the camera crews were capturing were being beamed onto TV live - as the action happened, the plot thickened and the woman in white potentially lost her mind, courtesy of a single skull-piercing shot of sickening devastation.
America was shocked. Ellie, a mere two months ago, had been waltzing along the red carpet in LA, attending the world premiere of her latest blockbusting movie. She looked a picture that night, adorned in fine jewels aplenty and slinking into the cinema beneath a cutting-edge dress so tight it had to hurt.
Still, she never stopped smiling, waving and basking in the glory that surrounded her. The same glory that did in fact threaten to simultaneously suffocate her.
Now, she was fighting for her life... but not in body - purely in spirit.
If she dared to lash out at the beast beside her she knew, in her heart of hearts, that the man would most probably pull the trigger without a second thought. Ellie wasn't willing to take that risk. Not since her new lover was due to call her up any minute.
Yes, Ellie had wasted no time whatsoever in hitting the nightclub scene hard since her husband, Kell, had left her. She'd never been the type to sit at home, alone. Sure, she had a couple of maids in her employ who were good enough company, but Ellie was a born and bred party animal.
So, as soon as any initial thoughts of suicide subsided in her mind, she got all glammed-up and strode out on a mission to pull the first great-looking man she set her eyes on.
Yes, Ellie had no shame. And she had always been the first person to admit it.
Fiction - Off To See The Wild West Show Part 20 (1886: Hull, Yorkshire) By Frank Beill
The deck rose and fell beneath my feet. My moccasins were meant for the solid earth of the Dakotas, not a slippery wooden deck in an Atlantic storm. I continued focusing on the infant pony and repeated all the psalms and hymns I could recall. Words that were drilled into me. I never thought they'd ever be of any use, other than to avoid Jolly Rodgers'
Fiction - 'I Do' By Steve Rudd
Nobody told me marriage would be like this. I thought it would be bliss, day in and day out,
but problems soon surfaced, after our hastily arranged elopement in good old Gretna - that bizarre little settlement that straddles the border between England and Scotland as though it can't quite decide where it stands; where it belongs; which side of the metaphorical fence it is
Fiction - Two Sides : A Friday Night Out In Hull By Joe Hakim
I'm just finishing off at work, watching the clock and loading the pot-wash with plates and cups,
waiting for Sarah to start her shift so I can go home.
It's been a really busy day, so I'll be glad to see the back of the fuckin' place.
I've been working at Sparks cafè bar on Newland Ave for over a year, but it's only been in
the past couple of months it's got really busy.
Fiction - Complicity Part 6 By Nick Quantrill
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
white photography of Roland Standaert, which illustrates the story and takes a unique look at the city.
Complicity and other stories are available for free.
Fiction - Gloomy Sunday By Joe Hakim
As we got closer I could see it framed against the horizon. From this distance it just looked like a huge black shape, like a giant lump of coal or something. "Jeezus, it's huge," I said. "Yeah, I'm guessing it's a male," Mike said. "Could be about fifty tonnes of whale washed up down there." Mike was a marine biologist.
He'd been given the task of studying
Fiction - Kat Out of the Bag Chapter Thirteen By Steve Rudd
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.
Fiction - The M1 McDonalds Girl and the Most Suitable Bloke By Andy Bilton
So I'm heading home. Heading north. Eighty, on the M1, just south of Sheffield. Pissing it down. That horizontal stuff that totally obscures your view, your only safe option being to get in to the inside lane and follow the red cat's eyes. Not ideal weather conditions for a must-get-there-quicker sort of situation such as this.
I should slow down really but Helen's already been on the mobile
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 - The Guy Who Had All The Time In The World By Joe Hakim
Sometimes it gets to be a bit too fuckin' much, I decide, after another day spent wandering the streets aimlessly.
The sky is still bright purple - the colour of a fresh bruise - and the streets are still completely silent; not even the sound of birds chirping or distant traffic in the distance.
Aside from that, everything seems to be much the same, at least on the surface.
There's no visible
Fiction - The Burden - A Short Story By Joe Hakim
I step out into the sun and close my eyes, letting the light wash over my face.
It's cold, and the wind pinches my cheeks but I feel complete, for the first time ever.
Today the world is different. Today is the first day of a new beginning.
Everything feels real and vivid, and I bathe in it, taking it all in like a child
seeing a painting for the first time, judging the angles and
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.
Influenced by crime fiction heavyweights Ian Rankin and Hull's Robert Edric,
Second Chances is set to be a great success.
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