Chapter O ne
I felt the cold iron bars on my face as the tears ran down my face. I had run as far as I
could away from the class bully. I pressed my head against the school perimeter railing and
watched the blurred images of people passing by. I was surrounded by other pupils who sang:
“Tubby flubby you're just a big cry baby!”
Suddenly, one of the blurred images outside the school stopped, and said: “Listen son, I„ve
seen you getting bullied before. Why don't you go and stand up to him, he's smaller than
I blinked to clear the tears from my eyes and found I was looking at an old man who stared
at me with understanding written across a wrinkled face. The intensity of his stare seemed to
reach down into my subconscious and pull something up.
I pushed the bars away and turned around to face Gary Tosh, who was indeed smaller than
me. I glared around at the circling pupils, which made them stop chanting. Then I strode
toward Tosh with a new found bravado, but I didn't know what I was going to do. I stared
into his eyes and for a moment saw primal fear then I screamed as pain I had never felt before
ran through my stomach: the bully had swiftly kicked me in the balls.
The chanting started again as I fell to the ground in a mass of tears and Tosh towered over
me with an evil grin painted on his face. “Help me…anybody,” I pleaded. I looked over to the
perimeter railing, but there was no one there. Suddenly a hand was thrust out to me and a
voice said: “Give me your hand, and I will save you.”
My mobile ring tone brought me out of the reverie. I looked at my gloved hands covered in
blood and below them the pleading face of Gary Tosh with the ducting tape I had stuck over
his mouth. I wiped my hands and answered the mobile. “Yeah, Devine.”
“Sir, it's DS White here, we've got some news on the Dewar case.”
I gazed in horror as blood dripped off the end of the phone, “Okay, I'll see you at the
All through the meeting at Tayside Police Headquarters in Dundee I listened to Derek
White and Susan Moran talk about the new evidence they had found about some case, but my
mind was watching Tosh make muffled pleas for his life after I had punched his useless body,
where I had bound the wrists and ankles.
“What have I done to deserve this!” screamed the pathetic drug user through the tape.
He didn't remember me! This made me angry, and I raised him up and punched him across
the room. I then crouched down where he lay and looked into his drugged eyes and said:
“Think playgrounds Gary, think a fat kid, think a kick in the balls.”
As I watched his eyes register something, I thought: am I locked in an endless karmic dance
with this sad soul. Was this what both of us were born for?
“Sir?” Moran asked.
I regained the present, and said: “Yes, that's fine, go ahead.
I climbed the tenement stairs in Arbroath which I had climbed hours before and pulled on a
pair of shoe protectors then ducked under the police tape across the open door frame after
announcing myself as DCI Devine and showing my warrant card to the young, local copper
standing outside the apartment.
“Ah, sir,” said Derek White as he approached me.
“Jeez! What's this Derek?” I asked looking in disbelief at the dead body of Gary Tosh.
There was a large pool of dark- red blood, which was seeping into the carpet under a long
slash across the side of his neck.
“The victim's name is Gary Tosh – a known drug user.”
“Wasn't drugs that did this,” I said as I gently moved the head, looking at the slash. I then
stood up and watched the people in white suits dust and analyse.
I looked at the television in the corner of the room as it hissed with static. Someone must
have slipped in here after I left, I thought.
A green protective suit entered the room and nodded to me.
“James,” I said, acknowledging Doctor Cochrane the Pathologist, “another druggie,” I