Authors: Ryan Casey
Tags: #Fiction, #Thrillers, #Mystery & Detective, #Private Investigators, #General, #Suspense, #Thriller, #Mystery, #Crime, #private investigator, #Detective, #Police Procedural, #Series, #British, #brian mcdone
The Second Brian McDone Mystery
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, a chilling suspense novella.
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Buried Slaughter is the second book in the Brian McDone series, however it can be enjoyed as a standalone book.
If you'd like to read the first book, Dying Eyes, visit here:
Dying Eyes on Amazon
Darren Anderson had never believed his mother when she told him there were witches on Pendle Hill.
He ploughed his spade into the ground. The rain lashed down from the cloudy sky. The blanket of thick, stormy cloud carpeted over the archeological dig site like it was trying to protect some secret from escaping. A secret, buried beneath the Davidson Archeological Contractors’ dig site on Pendle Hill.
He pulled up some mud on his spade. Saw something poking out of the almost vertical trench that his team and he had been digging for the last seven days. He reached down and squinted at it. The people who hired his team hadn’t told them what they were looking for exactly. Like finding a needle in a haystack, or a clean whore in a Preston brothel. Impossible.
He plucked the damp object that had caught his eye out of the mud and held it between his index finger and thumb, smiling and shaking his head as the torrential rain dripped from his hair. A cigarette. Brown and damp. Tossed into the ground years ago, never to emerge again. Not until today.
“Any luck down there, Daz?”
Wayne leaned over the trench. He had an orange helmet on his head, a high-visibility jacket provided by the contractors wrapped around his chubby waist. A few crumbs from the Ginsters pasty he was chewing crumbled down into the trench, softening in the rain and sprinkling into Darren’s face.
Darren spat the crumbs away and wiped his nose. “Not a thing. Oh—an old cigarette stub. Is that what they had us out here looking for, you reckon? Old cigs?”
Wayne took another large bite out of his pasty and chewed it with his mouth wide open, looking down into the trench. In the distance, the sound of a digger rattled into the ground. Perhaps it’d find a cigarette of its own. Lucky day for all.
“I hear there’s a load of weird history around here,” Wayne said. He crouched down and scanned the area above Darren. “Load of crazy witchcraft and stuff. Gives me the creeps.”
“And which history book is that from? Harry fucking Potter? Viz?”
Wayne tossed his empty pasty packet at Darren and shook his head. “Heard it from Pete, actually. And you know what Pete’s like with his history.”
Darren ploughed his spade into the ground and tossed another heap of mud to the side. The trench was around ten foot deep now. He felt like he was digging his own grave. Might have been worthwhile.
“Witches. Ghosts. Spooks. All kinds of shit like that.”
“And you believe it, do you?”
Wayne shrugged. “Well, like I say. Pete’s good with history, isn’t…Hold on. Stop.”
Darren kept on digging into the ground and tossing mud to the side. He barely acknowledged Wayne’s shout. Figured he was calling for somebody else on the dig team. There were eight of Preston’s best archeological minds on the task, including him. Unfortunately, being one of Preston’s best archeological minds was derisory next to being one of Preston’s most average call centre attendants.
“What is it? Whatever…Whatever you want, man. Whatever the fuck you want. Just…just lower that gun. Lower it. Please.”
Lower that gun.
Darren ran over Wayne’s words in his head, one by one. Lower. That. Gun. He tried to make sense of it. Tried to comprehend what Wayne was saying. A gun? Who would be carrying a gun in the north of England?
Before he had time to shout back to Wayne, he heard a series of shots.
Darren fell to his knees. The shots rang out around him. He heard crying out. Screaming.
He panted. His entire body shook. He curled up against the wet, slimy mud of the trench and clenched his eyes together as the shots continued to fire. The screams gradually became less frequent. The rain waterfalled down onto his body.
And the shots stopped.
Darren eased one eye open. Peeked up at the top of the trench. Nothing but grey sky. More rain falling. He had to do something. He had to get away.
Then, footsteps. Footsteps getting closer to the top of the trench. Boots sloshing in the sinking mud.
Darren completely froze as the footsteps stopped at the top of the trench. The person was right above him. They could be staring down. Watching him. Waiting for him to squirm before firing.
But then, the footsteps started to move away. Somewhere over towards the digger on the left. He kept himself still. He wasn’t sure if he had much of a say in the matter. The shots. The screams. The footsteps.
“Lower that gun…”
Darren wasn’t sure how much longer he was lying there. He heard shuffling. Struggling. The sound of squelching, like a watermelon being sliced in half.
But he waited. Waited until he had a chance—a real chance to leave. There could be somebody out there still. Somebody preparing to fire. Somebody watching.
He waited for what felt like an hour longer, his body completely rigid. Mud dribbled down the side of the trench and covered his face. His jaw shook. His stomach turned. He’d have to get up. He’d have to get off Pendle Hill and he’d have to leave. They couldn’t find him here. They might suspect him. Think he’d been up to something.
He took a few deep breaths and steadied himself. His head spun after being laid down for so long. He stood upright and placed a hand on the ladder at the side of the trench, climbing back up it, step by step.
The bodies. They would be waiting for him at the top. Wayne’s body. He’d seen real gunshots on those Internet videos. It wasn’t like the movies. Eyes popped out of sockets. Pieces of skull shattered, sending the brain spilling out of the skull like a thick soup. He had to be ready. He had to be composed.
He lifted himself up the top step. His entire body went numb as he looked around.
There was nobody in sight.
The engine of the digger rumbled on. Darren took a few steps around the site. He couldn’t see any blood on the ground. Couldn’t see any signs of a struggle. Had he gone mad?
“Guys?” He peeked around the side of the digger, where the other trench was and the bulk of his team had been working. “Stop…Quit messing around now. Please.”
He stepped to the edge of the trench. Stared down it. His eyes widened. His legs turned to jelly.
He pulled himself away and threw up on the ground. This couldn’t be real. That couldn’t be…that couldn’t be them.
He took a few deep breaths then returned to the edge of the trench, staring down at it. He dialled
and held the phone to his ear with his shaking hand. This wasn’t right. All seven of them. Like…like that.
“Emergency, which service?”
“Which service, please?”
“I…There’s been—there’s been a massacre. There’s been…Pendle Hill. Something’s happened.”
“Okay, I’ll put that through to the police. Pendle Hill—which region is that?”
The words buzzed through Darren’s ears as he stared at the trench. The bones. The skeletons, all of them circled in that pattern, with their arms pointing out like they were doing star jumps. Leg bones attached to the arm bones.
“Sir, can you please…”
And in the middle of the circle, a pile of heads. Pete’s head. Shenice’s head.
And on top of the pile, muscles and veins dangling and eyes staring out in bloodshot fear, Wayne’s head. Severed.
“I told you a hundred bloody times already—it went up that tree!”
Brian McDone tried to keep a straight face as he stood in the pathway of the terraced house on Stocks Road. The woman opposite him, who had greying dark hair and a line of fur above her top lip, gestured at the tree on the pavement with her flimsy arm.
“We’ve had a good look up there, Mrs. Wilson. We’re…We’re just considering the possibility that Mr. Tibbles might have ventured out of the tree while you weren’t looking.”
Mrs. Wilson shook her head. “Nope. I know my Mr. Tibbles. He wouldn’t go any further than that tree. Nope, not even if those bastard dogs next door chased him.” She raised her voice and shot daggers in the direction of next door.
“Well, we’re doing everything we can,” Brian said. He turned away from Mrs. Wilson and sighed as he walked down the pathway towards his colleague. “See anything, Scott?”
Scott Collins, who was an experienced community support officer with a good five or six years to his name, shrugged and glared over Brian’s shoulder at Mrs. Wilson. “Nothing of the feline persuasion. Old bat needs to give it a rest. Not surprised her cat went and did a runner on her with that stupid loud mouth of hers.” He winced as he turned to look up the tree, squinting, the lines on his forehead prominent when contrasted with his bald head. “Dunno why any man in their right mind would join community support. You had it all, up in that DS role. Even talk you were gonna get the big promo—”
“Is that a cat there?” Brian said. He hadn’t seen anything, but he just needed to change the topic of conversation. He didn’t like to think too much about the events of two years ago, when he’d finally packed in his job as a Detective Sergeant. The Nicola Watson case, the cutting…that was in the past. He was a new man now. A relatively stress-free job—unless runaway cats had something to say about it. A good relationship with his son, Davey. Amicable terms with his ex-wife, Vanessa.
And a smaller waistline since quitting the DS job. Which was the most important thing, of course.
“Just baffles me a bit, that’s all,” Scott added, as Mrs. Wilson started to spring to life again in the background. “I guess status ain’t happiness after all, eh?”
Brian smiled. “Indeed. Anyway, we’ve got bigger things on our plate right now, and it’s arriving at our location in approximately three, two…”
Brian felt a hard thump on his back. He turned around and saw Mrs. Wilson behind him. Brown earwax coated her ears. Needed a bloody good scrub, that’s for sure.
“Have you found him? Have you done your jobs yet?”
“Look, Mrs. Wilson.” Brian rested his hand on her shoulder. Time to bring out some of those old DS confidence tricks. “I’m sorry about this, I really am, but there’s no chance your cat is in this tree. We’ve looked. I swear to God, we’ve looked. Do you not think—just perhaps—Mr. Tibbles might have ventured a little further down the road?”
Mrs. Wilson opened her mouth to protest. Stringy saliva stretched out from her teeth. Her eyes started to go bloodshot. “It’s just…he’s all I have. He’s all I’ve had for years since Gregory died.” She lifted the sleeve of her stained brown cardigan to her face and sniffed.
Brian and Scott looked at one another. Scott raised his eyebrows and started to shake a few of the loose tree branches.
“I am sorry,” Brian said. “But there’s no need to be upset. I’m sure Mr. Tibbles will show up.” He cringed every time he said the stupid cat’s name. Mr. Fucking Tibbles. But people seemed to have these weird bonds with animals. Brian could never get his head around it, not really.
“I want compensation,” Mrs. Wilson said. “If—if you’ve lost my cat, I want compensation.”
Any speck of sympathy that had emerged instantly vanished when Mrs. Wilson uttered the “c” word. Brian moved his hand from Mrs. Wilson’s shoulder. Scott narrowed his baggy eyelids.
“We haven’t lost your—”
“He was up there when you got here,” Mrs. Wilson said. Her jaw was shaking now. Her face was red. She was showing off her fangs, like an angry old vampire. “He was up there and—and you’ve scared him. I just know it.”
“Look. Mrs. Wilson,” Scott said, grabbing a higher branch. “Your bloody cat isn’t up here.” He shook the branch rapidly upwards and downwards. Autumn leaves dropped down onto him. “He’s not up here, and we haven’t had anything to do with it. So I suggest you have a proper look yoursel—”
Scott’s words were drowned out slightly by a high-pitched squealing.
But then, they were drowned out completely when a furry grey creature tumbled down from the tree and smacked him on the face.
Scott wrestled with Mr. Tibbles, who clawed into his face. “Get—get it off me! Get it the fuck off me!”
Brian rushed over to Scott as the fat cat continued to dig right into his face, refusing to loosen its grip. He grabbed its back and started to pull it away, but its nails wedged into Scott’s cheeks.