Excerpt from Chapter 15 - Plans

    Mum sat and stared down at the pictures on the table and then closed her eyes and asked, “So what is it that you finally trust me enough to want my help with?”

   “We need to get these pictures to the police and they mustn’t know they came from us or Walmsley will be sure to have someone come after us even if he ends up in prison. But first we need to get past Lough and he’s out there waiting for us,” Aimee explained, the anxiety beginning to show on her face.

   “So who do you think that man… Lough, is after - you or Mike?” Mum asked, still trying to get a grasp on what needed to be done.

   “Me!” Jamie exclaimed, “I used to talk to Billy down at the docks and I used to buy ice-cream from Lough so he must have seen me with Billy and now he thinks I know too much and he wants to bump me off!”

   “Bump you off?” Mum repeated, wondering where he had picked the phrase up from.

   “Yeh, he’s killed Billy and now he’s coming for me!”

   “Or Dad, remember Walmsley thinks that Dad is here so he might have sent Lough to get Dad,” Aimee added.

    The room was silent as Mum sipped her tea and thought things out. They watched her head nod and shake as she went through plans and weighed up their potential. Suddenly there was a thump against the garden door followed by scratching so vigorous that the whole door began to shake. Jamie ran and hid behind Mum who sat upright in her chair and stared at the door handle, waiting for it to turn. Aimee stood up cautiously and moved towards the door.

   “Aimee, What are you doing?” Mum shrieked.

   Aimee continued towards the door and with her hand on the handle turned to reply, “Letting Cuddles back in!” The door burst open and in shot Cuddles, skidding on the tiles, wide-eyed and tongue lolling, plodding around the kitchen and wanting to greet everyone with a sloppy lick. “I’ll give him his breakfast before he eats one of us.”

   “Right, I think I’ve hit on a plan,” Mum declared when everyone was settled at the table again. “Aimee, you go and ring the police and tell them there is a strange man hanging around outside the house. When they come he is sure to make himself scarce then we can go out and deliver the photographs. I’ll go and get dressed while you do it, simple see!” and she stood up and walked towards the stairs.

   Jamie looked at his sister and rolled his eyes, but Aimee did as she was told and returned two minutes later. “The phones gone dead, I think he’s cut the wires!”

   When Mum came back down she was dressed for work. “Jamie, go and wash your face you’re coming with me. Aimee… Aimee what are you looking at me like that for?”

   “He’s cut the telephone wires, we can’t call the police.”

   Mum smiled, “Yes, I thought he might… shame we haven’t got a mobile phone really… still it was either a mobile or the car we can’t afford both on my wages. Never mind, it’s just as well we’ve got plan B. Sit down you two and I’ll fill you in. As I said, Jamie is coming to work with me. We’ll walk quickly to the car and drive off as smartly as we can. If he wants to follow us he can do, but there are a lot of very big men working at the printers and at the time I arrive they’re usually in the yard getting the lorries loaded. As for you Aimee, you are going to take Cuddles here for a very long walk. Keep away from the house for as long as you can. I think that…”

   Jamie suddenly sat bolt upright and exclaimed, “But what about La… Oww!”

   Aimee looked sharply at him as she pulled her foot back under her chair.

  “What about who?” Mum asked with a puzzled expression.

  “Nothing Mum, I thought I thought of something but apparently I didn’t so it doesn’t matter.” Jamie answered and looked down at the table to hide the tears forming in his eyes. 

   “Right… I’ll make sure the photographs get delivered, Jamie can do that on the way to work if we’re not being followed, and I don’t think we will be.”

   It was Aimee’s turn to look puzzled now. “Why not Mum?”

   “Because I reckon he’s after your Dad and he’ll break in here looking for him when we’re out and as he isn’t here he’ll be disappointed won’t he. If the police are any good they’ll look at the photo’s and have Lough caught by the time you get back here, Aimee my dear. I’ll ring them from work about the strange man just to put them on the right track. Now, does that all seem to make some sort of sense to you? Good, now let’s get going.”

   Jamie gathered the photographs together and shot off upstairs and returned with a bulging large, brown envelope. He turned to Aimee as Mum went into the lounge for her handbag, “Don’t worry about Mum’s fingerprints, I’ve put some copies I made in the envelope. The ones Mum looked at are in one of my secret places so Lough won’t see them.”

   “Good thinking, Bruth.”

   Mum returned, stood with her back to the door and addressed her children like a general on the eve of a battle, “Now remember you two; keep calm but walk out quickly and don’t let on that you know he’s there. If he thinks we’re acting normally he will carry out his plan and not panic and disappear. Then our plan will be underway.” 

   “You’re really good at this, Mum,” Jamie grinned, his fear of Lough blown away by his Mum’s confident attitude.

   Mum smiled back at him, “Stick with me kid and I’ll show you how it’s done.”

   She opened the front door and there stood facing her was Davy Lough.

 “Going somewhere babe?”

   “Babe?” Mum winced and in a sudden movement of her right arm brought her fist straight up to meet Lough’s jaw with a resounding, “CRACK!”

   Lough’s eyes rolled up to look at the sky and he staggered, took two small steps backwards and collapsed in a heap on the driveway.

   “Babe? He’ll not call me that again in a hurry! Right kids, plan C… same as plan B but the police should have an easier job.”

A walk on the beach … a landslip… a scavenging gull… suddenly Aimee and her brother are forced to confront their enemies, past and present. The ‘accidental’ discovery of an old bottle with remarkable properties brings them face to face with Larus, an evil adversary of their ancestors. This conflict is mirrored by their families fight with George Walmsley, a murderous villain, who is responsible for their father’s disappearance. And when Walmsley and Larus join forces only quick wits and a united family can hope to survive. Great excitement, great fun and Cuddles the dog as well!