Remember the blurb of my book, which tells you that ‘law and order begin to break down’? Chapter Seven is where the fray begins:
He was ashamed to admit it to himself, but he felt a craving to see chaos and disorder. He wanted to see a fight. He had not been in one since he was about eleven years old. He used to work in the computer room at school. Two boys would switch off his terminal at the socket to disrupt his work. One afternoon one of the pair’s smug faces had wound him up a notch too far. Dan did not have a reputation as a fighter at school. He had the element of surprise, something he used to his full advantage as he punched his bully in the face. He landed a clean shot before being soundly beaten up in return. Unconsciously he rubbed his cheek as he remembered that episode. No, he told himself, he wanted to observe, not take part. He would fight in self-defence only. If anyone were to ask why he was there, he would say he was looking for Laura. He hadn’t heard from her. It was a plausible alibi if the police asked him anything. Besides, it wasn’t illegal to be outside. Decision made, he grabbed his coat, scarf and gloves and took the stairs two at a time. His heart was already beating fast as he put his hand on the door handle. His better judgment put up one last fight. It told him not to be a fool; not to risk being arrested or hurt. He took a deep breath, silenced it and stepped outside.
He walked for a few minutes. The streetlights bathed the roads in an orange glow. The light flickered. A rubbish container was on fire. The lid was open vertically and smoke was rising from it. He followed the smoke upwards with his eyes and noticed a neighbour staring at it from a first-floor window between some blinds. She made eye contact with him and let the blinds fall. His nose twitched as a foul smell of burning cardboard and vegetables reached his nostrils. He stepped over some spilled rubbish, hurried on and turned a corner. A former public toilet stood on a little concrete square. It was a popular spot for graffiti artists, who periodically repainted it with the latest cause or fashion to catch their attention. At that moment the streetlight illuminated an oblique map of Britain encircled with barbed wire, with ‘Olof’ stamped diagonally from Wales to Newcastle. Yells came from his left. Dan turned to find his first participants in the night’s disorder. A group of half a dozen young men squared up to two door staff of a bar. One of the group took a step forward into the bouncer’s personal space. He held his ground. Sensing easier targets, the men moved on out of sight around the corner. He followed them in defiance of his instincts, which were warning him of danger.
He was stunned into silence. He had found the war zone.
This is the last extract I’ll be publishing. The Amazon link is here.