Songs of Bliss
A frantic phone call; triple nine, garbled words, gun shots, men, cars without
windows. Staccato bursts; calm down, blood and guts, one of them is still there. Where?
What? Where? When?
“Sillick Farm, Higher Clovelly, by the garage, the Hartland road.”
“Lock your doors and windows. Is there a room at the back of the house? Good.
Stay there. Don't speak to anyone! Don't answer the door unless it's one of our officers.
Keep away from the windows!”
On their way. Please God, just get them out here. Guns. Easter. Idyllic. Richard
Littlejohn. K itchen solitary with a boiling kettle. Brandy. Medicinal. The sun is over the
yard arm in Singapore. Confusion, a world tumbling out of control. The landlady?s worst
fears have finally, gratuitously, thrillingly, been realised. She knew she was right.
A revving engine in the barn at the back of the courtyard buries the sound of death
in a diesel cough of thick oil and cold metal. The lump under the bonnet of the Transit takes
four twists of the ignition key to fire. Flooding the injectors. Eventually Davie kicks the
beast into life and holds the accelerator in the mid-range for a few seconds. The barn fills
with the reek of diesel fumes and he lets the engine idle. He holds his hand over his nose
and mouth as he makes his way to the back of the barn to open up the double doors that
lead down on to concrete hard standing at the entrance to the top field. A car backfires in
the distance. Davie ignores the bark and concentrates on doing his job. A seco nd backfire.
Only this time the sound of the exploding exhaust seems to shift, seems to echo off the
walls. Davie stops by the doors and waits, listening. The Transit needs a minute or two to
warm up. A third backfire and tyres squealing.
Davie decides to take a look, to check on Jock and his brother. Something doesn't
quite feel right. The sums still don?t add up.
Going Out of my Head
It?s a weird kind of silence in the eye of the storm. Billy is torn. Alex is the only
person he trusts, the only person who seems to know what is going on and Billy needs that
reassurance. There is something else, though, something heavy and deep, that prevents his
feet from moving back up the lane, something dark and compelling drawing him down
towards the farm courtyard.
As far as he could tell, the occupants of the Lexus were strangers to him, which
means that Jock has to be on the premises somewhere. He has an uncomfortable feeling in
the pit of his stomach, as though lidless eyes are staring at him as he straightens up and
turns to face the barns.
The old farm house looks cold and uninviting, brooding over the loss of past
generations of pig breeders. The place is a mess of broken fence rails and overgrown
hedgerows. Gates hang loose, buried in bramble runners and the first spurt of cow parsley.