In The Dark

A chapter from my work in progress – In The Dark

There is a hint of lemon cleaner still lingering on my table. It contrasts with the sweet chilli sauce I have just put on my chips. I pick one up, squashing it between my fingers, before I eat it in one go.

Crackle, spit, hiss – the coffee machine cuts through the silence.

For now, my mobile is on my lap, all set to record this meeting. Scott is only a young man, boy really, who is too small a minnow for those in charge to worry about. He is wearing a tracksuit combo and looks like he is ready to go to the gym. On the streets they call them paper men – if there is a fight they will crumple. This is the one part of being a journalist, I lose sleep over, but there is no other way.

We have to get closer to the monster behind the mask.

No doubt, they will be living in plain sight, they will have kept their own hands as white as ice. A family man, or woman. Their money earnt of those addicted to misery. They wouldn’t want their own children reliant on drugs but are more than willing to make their money on the desperation of others.

Crossing county lines, using teenagers to do it, is a big problem, not just in the cities, but in the little seaside towns. Amongst the candyfloss and fruit machines, drugs are rife.

Shaking more sweet chilli sauce on my chips, I take another bite. The spice is not bothering me in the least. Graham always jokes if I want a career change, I should become a food critic.

The door opens, a brief, momentary chill pulls at the hairs on my arms. I shiver, like someone has walked over my grave. It disappears as quickly as it started; the door shutting with a soft thud.

There is a sweet, sickly smell, which overpowers the overcooked burger. Observing him stumble towards the table, I take a deep breath in. My thoughts crash back to Joe.

Old enough to drive, but too young to be an addict.

‘Hi Scott, didn’t know what you like, but I’ve ordered you a burger.’

Head down, he eats it, quickly followed by the second burger. Only after his plate is empty, he faces me.

‘I still gets the cash, yea . . . whatever information I gives you?’

‘Of course, I promised.’

‘It’s like, I still don’t believe I’m in any danger man, but I needs to get away, that Chelsea kid, I knew her like. I ain’t shitting you, she looked deathly pale man. Like someone turned out all the lights.’

‘She was only sixteen Scott.’

‘Nah man, I want out now, but I need protection yea, they don’t like you going against them.’

‘I’ll keep you safe,’ I say. ‘You said on the phone you had information about where you take the drugs.’

His mobile rings, and he almost drops it into his drink. As if it is going to explode, it fumbles around in his hands.

‘Yea man, yea, I’m okay right, I can do you that favour like, yea, no worries, but I’m at my old ladies, she’s a bit nosey innit. I’ll ring you back.’

He is sweating and drops it to the table like it’s burning hot metal. ‘They know I’m here, I’m sure of it, nah, can’t talk to you, they’re into dangerous shit man. If I get caught snitching to you, I’m dead fam.’

‘It’s the only way Scott, or you will be expected to do more than you want to do.’

‘You don’t get it. They’ve eyes everywhere man . . .’ His head twists back and forth, like there is an imaginary monster lurking in the corner.

‘Scott, it’s okay, and besides I can find you a great doctor, someone that will help you with your addiction.’

‘I’m not like them skanky homeless guys on the street,’ he says. It is a high-pitched whine. This man, young boy really, is genuinely scared, but he has every right to be. The people with whom he is dealing are dangerous people, drugs a lucrative business worth millions. Those in charge aren’t willing to give up that sort of pay day.

‘I’m not saying you are Scott, but you want out, I can tell.’

Published by writerravenclaw

I am a fifty something mother of two grown up children, and one beautiful grandchild. I have been married for nearly thirty-four years. My first book was published ten years ago. I wrote my book Sticks and Stones because of my experience of being bullied at school.

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