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Authors: Al K. Line

Hexad: The Ward

BOOK: Hexad: The Ward
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Title Page


A Bad Head

Where's Our Pub?

Unfinished Business

Not Quite a Stranger

"Learn Your Lines...

Sausages? Really?


Stupid Ideas

Caught You!


Prove it Then

I See You

Wozzy Wot Wot

Ah! Simples, Innit?

Definitely Spooky

Outta My Way

It's Coming

Shiny Futures

Home Sweet Home

Some Alone Time

You're not Well

It's all in Your Mind

New Friends

One Step Forward...

Home Again

How Long!?

What Now?

Is That Me?

Yeah, but no

Lost but Found

You Sure?


An Explanation

Some Down Time

The Return of Wozzy

Stop, Thief!

Close Encounters


Poor Wozzy

A Welcome Rest

You What!?

Damn Cat

Too Much

Things Get Weird

A Little Unexpected

Out of Time

Going Home

An Explanation

Looks Familiar

Not You Again

Double Confusion






The Ward

(Hexad Book 3)




Copyright © 2016 Al K. Line



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All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.








Present Day


Amanda slammed the bedroom door behind her but it caught on the jamb — it hadn't closed since they moved in and Dale promised to fix it but never did.

What was she thinking? Door jambs? She had a stranger in her bed. Who was that man? He looked like Dale but it wasn't Dale, was it?

What was wrong with her? How could she wake up to find a stranger that wasn't a stranger beside her? He smelled different, alien. Like... Like a man had taken Dale's skin and wrapped it over himself, but that scent wasn't him. They'd been together for over ten years, the way each other smelled was as familiar as her own perfume, and that man was not Dale.

She panted heavily, chest rising and falling as if she'd been on a run. Sweat was already trickling between her breasts and her long hair, her pride and joy, stuck to her skin like glue, the curls limp with fear.

What should she do? Was she having a bad dream?

Ah, the alcohol, that was it, she was having a panic attack from too much booze. They'd had their usual Friday night bout of overindulgence, drinking glass after glass of wine that was always on discount if you bought six bottles, Dale reasoning it was silly not to buy a half-dozen if it was cheaper than buying four. How much of it had they drunk? At least three bottles, if not more.

Was that all this was, a hangover? A stress-reaction to alcohol? Was she poisoned?

Had she drunk water before she fell asleep? No, it was still there on her bedside table. She'd seen it before she ran out of their bedroom, naked and freaking out, shouting at her partner that he wasn't the man she knew, he was an impostor. A stranger.

"God, what is wrong with me? Dale must be wondering what the hell I'm doing. Haha. Stupid."

Amanda looked at the door as though it too might be unfamiliar, but it was the same door it had always been: white gloss in need of a paint, stupid round handle that was too close to the frame so you always caught your knuckles on the wood when you closed it as much as you could before it stuck.

Should she go back in? Was that man stood in their bedroom yielding a knife and waiting to slice the skin off her naked body and turn it into a lampshade?

Ugh, what is wrong with me? That's it, no more booze for me.

Amanda gripped the handle with a slick hand, feeling extremely exposed — the only time she'd ever felt uncomfortable naked with Dale apart from the first time they slept together. She felt her red-painted toes sink into their new carpet; a draft was making her bum feel cold — she should have set the thermostat higher, but it was the height of summer so it should be warm.

This is ridiculous. Just get back in there and say sorry. You just had a bad dream.

What had woken her up? It was just Dale snuggling, wasn't it? No, she was half-awake anyway, wasn't she? Yes, with the remnants of a dream fading as she returned to consciousness — something about a strange inverse world or something, about jumping through time and Dale disappearing.

Ah, haha, that's it! We had that stupid conversation last night, half gone on Chardonnay and we started talking about how cool it would be to time travel. Yes! That's it. We said we'd bury proof under the apple tree, proof that we would send back from the future if time travel ever became real.

Amanda pushed ever so slowly at the door, feeling more nervous than she could ever remember being in her entire life. Wow, she'd let that daft talk of time travel, and her dreams, totally mess with her head. Poor Dale, he was probably too scared to come after her in case she freaked out on him again. Better go and say sorry.

Calm down, calm down, everything is fine.

"Dale, I'm so sorry. I had this dream, and that time travel talk last night messed... Oh."

Dale was fast asleep, buried under the covers with only his mad hair sticking out the top. His brown curly mop was getting long now, but she did kind of like it.

How could he have gone back to sleep? After I shouted at him? Because he's probably totally hungover too, that's how.

She pulled the door closed behind her, padded down the hall and turned up the thermostat. Was it still early? Surely it should be warmer?

The floor creaked a little as the central heating kicked in, hot water running under the carpet-covered floorboards, pumping to the radiators they had replaced before the new carpet went down. By the time she closed the door to the bathroom the house was already warming up nicely. As she sat down to have an urgent pee, Amanda put a hand out onto the chrome radiator next to the toilet and then put the toilet roll on it so it would be nice and toasty.

Ah, the simple things in life.

After relieving herself, having a quick wash, then scowling at her limp hair in the mirror, Amanda went into the kitchen. First she needed coffee, then she needed to have a shower. Her hair was annoying her already — it was definitely a double conditioner day. Amanda shivered as the sweat cooled on her skin and her pulse began to slow to normal — what a way to wake up!

Amanda filled the kettle and switched it on to boil, then got two mugs out of the cupboard and put a spoonful of instant coffee in each. She took one mug over to the fridge and got the milk carton out, adding a splash to Dale's for when he got up.

While she waited for the kettle to boil, Amanda stared out of the kitchen window over the sink, noting that the lawn needed mowing and that the damn squirrel was hanging upside down from the bird feeder, tipping it sideways to spill the rest of the seed onto the grass.

"Stupid squirrel, it's costing us a fortune in feed. There must be a way to stop it."

The robin that followed you everywhere in the garden, seemingly fearless when it came to humans, chattered angrily at the squirrel then chanced it and landed beneath the feeder and pecked greedily at the spilled seed before returning to the safety of the apple tree.

The kitchen was warming up nicely and Amanda was thankful for the cooling effect of the newly laid tiles. She'd argued with Dale over them, telling him that spending the extra on good quality porcelain would be an investment, him arguing that tiles could never be anything but just tiles — she'd won in the end.

It looked like it would be a glorious day: the sun was shining and as she opened the window a nice breeze greeted her with scents of the flowers she and Dale looked after as best they could with their limited horticultural knowledge — it didn't stop them making a beautiful, tranquil oasis in their end-of-terrace, bought more for the size of the plot than the bungalow itself.

The kettle flicked off and Amanda poured her own coffee, then decided she better have a glass of water. Her head was definitely not right. How could she have been so crazed when she woke up?

Downing the water, suddenly realizing just how dehydrated she was, Amanda recalled the night before and felt an urge she knew was ridiculous, but what if?

No, it was nuts, sending proof back from the future that time travel existed? Yeah, right. Actually, now that she came to think of it, it wouldn't be a message from the future exactly, but rather it would have to have been buried in the past, so it would be there now.

Amanda found herself staring out the window, the water forgotten. She counted in her mind where a spot three paces to the right and one back from the apple tree would be. She leaned forward, breath fogging the glass, then banged on it to get the stupid squirrel to move. It stared at her then dropped to the ground and nibbled on the remaining seed.

"Stupid squirrel."

The spot on the lawn, that was always a nightmare to cut with that budget mower she knew Dale regretted buying, looked the same as the rest of it: green going on yellow from the lack of rain and the welcome sunshine, nothing to signal it had been dug up and something spectacular hidden beneath.

What if?

"Haha, gosh, definitely need to stop drinking wine." Amanda looked out the window again, eyes drawn to the spot, and knew she would have to take a peek. Dale was still asleep, probably would be for ages, he did like a lie-in on the weekend.

"Won't hurt to check it out before he gets up. If he sees me I'll never hear the end of it, so if I want to do it I better do it now." Amanda felt silly, knew it was foolhardy, but was certain it would drive her crazy if she didn't satisfy her curiosity.

"I must be mad."

She unlocked the door that led to a nice seating area along the side of the house, the old flagstones giving the area real character, further enhanced by pots of large geraniums almost singing in the beautiful weather, their red flowers giving a Mediterranean feel to the space.

Amanda stepped out into the sunshine.

"Ugh, get a grip, Amanda, what is wrong with you today?"

As the sun hit her bronzed skin, Amanda realized that she was still stark naked. She had put nothing on her feet either.

"Bloody hell, I think I should just go back to bed." Maybe she should? Cuddle up to Dale, see if she could wake him up in that special way she knew he really liked? She smiled at that, but then poked her head out of the doorway again and stared at the lawn.

"Maybe I'll just get dressed quietly so I don't wake him up, have a quick look, then jump back into bed."

Mind made up, Amanda walked back into the kitchen then saw her mug of coffee.

She picked it up and blew on the strong liquid, dry lips tingling at the thought of some much needed caffeine.

"Hello, Amanda," said a man in a retro sixties pinstriped suit with a Fedora tucked neatly under his arm. He smiled at her warmly and said, "You are looking well, if you don't mind me saying. Nice tan. You're younger than the last time I saw you, at least ten years."

Amanda dropped the mug, china and coffee spilling all over the porcelain tiles. "HELP! HELP! RAPE! RAPE! There's a burglary. DALE!" Amanda dashed for the door to the hallway, almost falling as she slipped in the coffee. A shard of china stabbed into a big toe.

"Wait, wait. Why are you running? It's me, Tellan. You know, The Caretaker."

Amanda turned just as she was about to leave the kitchen, staring at the man. He didn't look like a maniac or a serial killer, but then, what did they look like? "Get out! Get out!" Amanda tried in vain to hide herself, putting one hand to her chest, the other to her crotch, realizing it was entirely futile.

"Oh, sorry. I didn't really think about you being naked. Not anything I'm interested in, to be honest. I'm a little old for all of that, and, well..." The Caretaker waved a hand toward Amanda, signifying that her slender figure and taut breasts were of no more interest to him than the hat he studied deeply — probably he had more interest in the hat.

BOOK: Hexad: The Ward
9.99Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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