And here's the opening of the thriller, which I'm now calling - The Slip
“Did you hear me, John? I think I killed someone…John?”
Confused, John Rotter switched the mobile phone from one ear to the other. He pushed open the rear door of the club and stepped out into the alley, away from the thundering music and his duty.
If this was a joke, it wasn’t a funny one. Then again, Amy never did have a sense of humour.
“What did you just say, Amy? Can you repeat that, I couldn’t hear you with all the music in the club?”
“There’s a man…he’s at the bottom of the stairs and I think I…I killed him.” Amy’s voice was lost in sobs.
Numb, John leaned against the wall. He shook his head.
This wasn’t a joke.
“What did you do? Who’s the man, Amy?” he said.
“I don’t know.”
“A burglar, do you think he might be—“
“Fuck, John! I don’t know, okay, I don’t know. I woke up and he was there, he was just there. I ran and…” Her voice trailed away into sobs.
Christ, John thought, this was their marriage all over again. Only for the four years he and Amy were together there’d been no dead bodies involved.
“Okay, it’s alright,” he said in a soothing voice, “we can deal with this. We just have to—”
“How, John? How do we deal with this…mess? It’s a dead body not a bloody broken door or the car not starting.”
“There’s nothing to worry about, trust me. It was self-defence. You fought back and—“
Silence. It spread out across the phone line taunting him.
“Amy are you still there? Amy?”
A knife twisted in John’s gut. Silence was never any good. Silence was what happened when people died on you. He’d experienced that silence once too often in his life and you never got over it, or fearing it when it came.
John broke into a run.
Parked just around the corner was his company car. A black armoured BWM S-Series Wisenor Security had given him for all his protective duties. He’d never needed the armour, but if this silence went on much longer, he knew he’d need the speed of the car.
“Amy, is there anybody there with you? Can you hear me Amy?” John said, as he turned the corner and spotted the car. “Listen, Amy if you can make a sound, just—“
“I shot him, John. I shot him.”
The words were like taking a bullet while wearing a protective vest. John cut his run short.
“You did what?”
“Oh Christ! Jesus! I shot a man…I shot a man…” Her voice reached a hysterical pitch.
John clasped the phone tighter at his ear. He knew Amy was in shock, it was like that for most people when they shot a man for the first time. But this wasn’t war, this wasn’t soldiering. You weren’t supposed to be firing a gun in your own home.
There was only one remedy for shock that John knew. Calm, in equal measures.
He took a breath, regulating his breathing before he spoke again.
“Calm down, Amy, I need for you take a deep breath and calm down before we—“
“Are you fucking kidding me? I’m sat here looking at a dead man and you want me to—“
“You need to get your head straight before we call in the police, okay, are you hearing me?”
“No, wait, let me just turn up my hearing aid, you know because I'm that old.”
John smiled. Some of Amy’s sarcasm was creeping back into her speech. That was a good sign, better than hysterics when you were dealing with people who’d just taken part in extreme violence.
“Okay then, I need to ask you; was the gun yours?”
John hit the button on his keys.
The BMW clicked as the doors unlocked.
“Does the gun belong to you, Amy? Did you buy a gun illegally and keep it in your house? I need to know before we call in the police on this one,” John said as he climbed in behind the wheel.
“Course it doesn’t, where would I get a gun from? I’m a bloody journalist not a gangster, what the hell kind of question—“
“Good, I thought not. Now tell me, does it belong to the man you…to the man at the bottom of the stairs?”
“Yes, who else would it belong to? Are you trying to piss me off here, John? I’ve just shot a man and you’re asking me all these stupid questions. Did you hear me I just shot a man, I’m not stupid.”
John slipped the electronic key into the ignition and hit the button.
The car started with a low growl.
“Just getting our facts straight. Now, tell me, did you call the police?”
“I called you first. You said to call you if anything—”
“What’s good about it?”
“I’ll tell you in twenty minutes. I’m coming over, Amy. Don’t do anything till I get there.”