Friday, November 07, 2008

NaNoWrimo Challenge

I've been taking part in the NaNoWrimo Challenge for the past week. I have been so busy with my Open University course and work that I forgot all about it starting on Saturday, until late that evening. Still, I haven't done too badly compared with last year. I'm up to 11,000 words.

Here's a taste of my NaNo novel [unedited of course]!

Synopsis: The Clock Strikes Twelve

"When several young women are murdered in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, over a period of several short weeks, the hunt is on to find the serial killer known as 'Prince Charming', so called because his m.o. is to steal one shoe from each woman as a trophy following the kill.

All the women have something in common: they are young, attractive and out for the evening in the pubs and clubs of Merthyr.

D.C. Vince Conway and his partner, W.P.C. Helen Carter, have just forty eight hours to catch the evil stalker before he makes his next move.

Clues are left to taunt the pair, demanding to be deciphered before the ticking clock strikes twelve."


Excerpt: The Clock Strikes Twelve

It was getting colder. The wind was arctic like. Dawn stamped her feet to keep warm and blew on her gloveless hands.

“Somehow ironic, isn’t it?” Vince said, breaking into her thoughts.

“What is?”

“Us freezing our knackers off out here at the back of the Iceland store!”

No matter how she was feeling, Vince always brought a smile to her face. He had been her partner at the station for the past ten years and one of the only people she trusted with her life. Literally. “Enough of the jokes. What do you make of it all, Vince? Could it be him? Prince Charming?”

Vince chewed on his bottom lip. “Possibly, but it doesn’t explain why he went quiet for the past thirty odd years, does it?”

“Maybe he hasn’t been caught yet. There are plenty of unsolved murders up and down the country.”

Vince dug his hands deep in his trousers pockets and jangled some coins. “Or maybe he’s been inside.”

She had thought of that. “Well, if he has been inside all this time it would have to be for another murder or murders for that length of time.”

“There’s also another possibility of course, he may have been living abroad. It might be an idea if we contact Interpol to see if there are any other murderers, maybe on the continent with the same modus operandi.”

“Boss,” Vince turned to see one of the uniformed bobbies standing behind him with a scruffy looking fella in a bright yellow vest. “This is Bill Davies. He’s the one who found the body.”

Dawn looked at the man, whose skin looked as putrid as she felt. She sidled over towards him. “I’m going to need to take some info from you, Mr Davies.” The man nodded. “It can’t have been an easy morning for you.”

“You can say that again.”

She pulled out her note pad and pen. “So, what happened?”

The man briefly closed his eyes as if trying to envisage the scene in front of him and then opened them again. “We were emptying the bins at the back here at about 10.15. We didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary until I put my hand in that bin here and found it…I mean her?” He pointed to the body on the floor that was now being zipped by scenes of crime in a black body bag.

Dawn’s upper lip felt frozen to her face, she quickly ran her tongue over it, at this rate they would be getting frost bite. “And why did you happen to have your hand in the bin in the first place?”

“It was Mal, over there?” He pointed to his workmate standing in the corner. “He thought he found a dummy in the bin and wanted me to pull it out so we could have some fun with it. You know tease the guys at work, that kind of thing. All sounds a bit daft now…” His voice trailed off.

“Not all, Mr Davies,” Vince butted into the conversation. “There are plenty down the station, I can tell you,” he winked at Dawn, “who would have got the same idea.”
Bill Davies straightened himself up, as if he were proud of himself now, for finding the body, although of course it was Mal who had got the original idea to go dumpster diving in the first place.

“We’re going to need for you to come into the station at some point to make a statement about this,” Dawn said.

Mal was now standing at Bill’s side. “We can come in as soon as you like, officers.” There were obviously no flies on him. It was probably a good excuse to get an hour or so off work, not just from them now having to leave their bin duties to go to the police station, but no doubt they would get a couple of hours, or maybe the rest of the day off for the shock of finding the body in the first place. Nowadays, people were such a lily-livered lot. Not like her Dad, who had fought in the Falklands War. Death was common place to someone like him.

Dawn took Vince to one side, so that they were out of earshot. “So, what now?”

“Well, we need to establish who this female is. She looks quite young, doesn’t she? Maybe nineteen or twenty. Someone must be missing their daughter from home around here.”
Dawn nodded. “Probably. Or maybe she lives alone. We haven’t had any mispers reported over the weekend.” A Misper was well known police jargon for Missing Person. In Dawn’s experience, most of them turned up safe and well, either their actions had been entirely thoughtless and they’d forgotten to inform whoever it was that they were elsewhere, or it was more serious in the case of a depressed person who might do themselves harm. In all her years in the force, she had only come across one other case where the misper turned out to be a murder victim.

Dawn strode towards the two refuse collectors. “Right you pair, meet us at the station in half hour. Grab yourselves a cuppa with plenty of sugar, you’ve had a nasty shock.”
Dawn knew only too well what that was like as the shrouded body was loaded into an awaiting van, her mind drifted back to the moment she found out that Jen’s body had been discovered back in ‘75. She had been in school on lunch break. Some of the girls at Cyfarthfa High School, which was in actually a school inside a castle, were wondering around the grounds, heading towards the Cabin as it was called, which was a small snack shop in the park. They were going to get a beef pasty or a Mars bar, and one or two of them wanted to buy some Woodbine singles to feed their nicotine habits. Ruth Jones, the teacher’s pet, came rushing up behind the small gathering.

It was almost as though things were happening in slow motion. Dawn knew as she turned, before Ruth even uttered a word, that it was something about Jen, and not good news. Of all the people in the town, Ruth was the last person she needed to hear it from. She relished all the gossip and was a well known stirrer.

“Girls,” she bellowed, with a sadistic gleam in her eyes. “You’ll never guess what. It’s just been on the radio. Jennifer Johnson is dead.”

The gang crowded around her. So this had been Ruth Jones’s fifteen minutes of fame. For once, she was highly popular with the girls as they hung on to her every word. Who? Where? What? How? In some sad way, it would not have looked out of place if she had sold tickets for the event.

* * *Disclaimer

All characters are fictitious, the places mentioned are not. Iceland Stores accept no responsibility for a dead body being discovered in a large bin at the back of their store.

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