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Just Another Winter's Tale - Chapters 1-5

Just Another Winter's Tale - Chapters 1-5

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Published by Tally Pendragon
Elaine Bell has a grievance with a certain man from her past; her friends have grievances with another man from her past that run far deeper even than hers. Everyone will get what's coming to them, eventually.
Elaine Bell has a grievance with a certain man from her past; her friends have grievances with another man from her past that run far deeper even than hers. Everyone will get what's coming to them, eventually.

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Published by: Tally Pendragon on Sep 26, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tally Pendragon
 Just Another Winter's Tale
Part 1
Chapter 1
A gleaming dove-grey Jaguar slid into the shabby row of Victorian terraced four-storey houses. Not all of South-Eastern Road was shabby. There were some fine modern buildingsin amongst the larger, older ones that had not been converted into cheap flats. They hadowners with mortgages who cared about them and spent their disposable income on theirupkeep. The Jaguar pulled up outside one of the older and shabbier of the Victorian terracedfour-storey houses, where it looked the most unlikely to belong. Its engine hummedexpensively to silence.The occupants of the house may have been living proof that dilapidation starts fromwithin, but the girl who stepped so gracefully from the expensive car, who seemed so at homewith the style it implied, appeared unbothered by its lowly aspect. Her few steps to its frontdoor were as precise and measured as her knock upon it.She seemed so out of place standing there. The fresh perfection of her makeup, thesoft rippling waterfall of gold hair that fell down her back almost to her tiny waist, the tastefuladdition of accessories that enhanced and contrasted her figure-revealing black leather skirtcut just above her knee, black lace stockings and black suede stilettos, the simplicity of black angora of the sweater cutting a wide arc from shoulder to shoulder: all were paradox to thefront door this girl knocked upon. Small as she was, she seemed a gem of perfection, out of time, and definitely out of place, where she now stood.Moments later her knock was answered by a woman who was indeed living proof oinner dilapidation.“Hello Maggy!” she said cheerfully as the woman peered suspiciously round the door.“Is Gerry in?”“No! He’s--”“Shame. I’ve got something I think he might have liked.”The woman, middle aged and more haggard than her years, appeared as sharp as ahawk at the words of the other. The girl, not waiting for the reply, simply stepped inside thedoor, forcing the woman to move backwards along the passageway as she did and shut thedoor behind her, answering the unspoken question in the older woman’s eyes.“I think you might like it too, Maggy.”There was no surprise in response to the girl’s actions, or words. More a greedy relishof inevitability, which had not escaped the girl’s notice. She smiled knowingly at the back of the woman as she followed her into the house.She let the woman lead her up a badly decorated flight of stairs and along anotherpassageway, dimly lit and stale smelling, before entering a sitting room at its end. Here thegirl confidently seated herself in an old leather armchair, the knowing smile still on her lips,unconcerned that no more words had yet been spoken, expecting none.“Got a nice bit o’ powder you might like to try, Maggy,” she said smoothly.“I didn’t think you’d come ‘ere to score done up like that!” The other woman’s voice
Tally Pendragon
 Just Another Winter's Tale
was thick with sarcasm and loathing. “Wha’ d’you want wi’ Gerry now then?”“Turn ‘im on to a nice bit ‘o powder, that’s all. Maybe go for a drink? You know, forold time’s sake. Why? D’you object?”“Why should I? He only lives ‘ere. Not up to me what ‘e does.”“Here! Get this up yer nose an’ tell me what you think.” She slid a small mirror out of her handbag, and with a little silver spoon tipped a small mound of white powder onto it. Shehanded it to the other woman with the same tiny curve of her mouth that expressed anythingbut a desire to please.Every dog has its day, she said to herself as she watched this hag-like woman trying tokeep the greed out of her actions and the powder inside the five pound note, now rolled upand pressed to each nostril in turn, as it ate the substance on the mirror. The envy, she knew,would be almost tangible, once the goods had been snorted.“Gerry shouldn’t be long, as it goes. You gonna wait for ‘im?”“Only as long as it takes to drink a cup o’ tea. Then I’ll disappear, an’ you can tell ‘imwhat ‘e missed.”“Pretty sure ‘e’ll want to see you, ain’t ya?”“I can always be sure o’ Gerry. You gotta admit he’s nothing if not predictable.” Therewas still the same knowing little smile on her lips.“Predictably what? Un-fuckin’-reliable?” Did her reaction contain more bitternessand letdown than she intended? Was this powder that good, already?The girl laughed inwardly to herself, glad that she was no longer a participant in thisgame of cat and mouse, just a spectator with a desire to be entertained. And this wasentertaining.“Oh, he’s reliable enough, when the payment’s right.”“I’ll make some tea, shall I, seein’ as you hinted so subtly?”“Cheers.”She felt the discomfort in the woman’s voice, felt the unspoken accusation hanging inthe atmosphere between them, and respected this woman’s pride in not voicing her chagrinaloud. There was no need to speak, each knew the other’s mind. It was all part of themasquerade, the keeping up of appearances.The older woman left the room with dignity but reached her kitchen seething withrancour. What does that bitch wanna come flaunting her prosperity round ‘ere for? As if Idon’t ‘ave enough problems of me own! And to come armed with that big bag o’ powder, too!Bloody cheek of it! It’s good, though, damned good. The internal dialogue calmed herfrazzled nerves until all that fuelled her was the question, where’d she get whizz that good? DoI swallow me pride an’ ask, or just hope she tells me anyway? Yeah, as if. Gerry, where thehell are you, ya bastard. Never around when yer needed! Jus’ wish I ‘adn’t bin so ‘igh an’mighty with ‘er las’ time she came to score off of me.The sound of another engine outside brought her out of these ramblings, and, just asthey had done earlier, the sagging eyes became hawklike with precipitate gain once again,. Acar door slammed and she breathed a sigh of relief as the front door opened.“Gez! Here!” Her voice a rasped whisper from the kitchen at the other end of thepassageway.
Tally Pendragon
 Just Another Winter's Tale
“Wha’s the matter?” He sounded more irritated than curious.“Elaine’s here!”“What?”“Shut up an’ listen! She’s got some blinding powder. Don’t leave ‘er side ‘til you findout where she gets it from! I’ll ... we’ll make a sodding fortune from these prats round ‘erewith that. I’m telling you,” she continued, thinking out loud. “I could cut it double an’ doubleagain an’ they’d still get off on it more’n the stuff I’ve had lately. Don’t leave ‘er side now, youhear me?”“You’re a sly bitch, Maggy.” His contempt was unmasked. “If I stick by ‘er it’ll bebecause I want to. Not that it sounds such a bad idea.” The glint in his eye was as greedy ashers, but maybe for different reasons.The girl, still upstairs in the living room, laughed again to herself as she heard the clink of cups on a tray being carried upstairs. She knew almost word for word how theconversation in the kitchen would have proceeded since she had seen Gerry arrive and heardthe front door closing behind him. Predictable, always so predictable. She could play them,like living chess pieces, so easily. The game was almost too easy to be fun, but it was the endresult that would be so satisfying, surely.Maggy entered the room bearing the tray, Gerry close on her heels.“You’re in luck! The wanderer’s returned.” She looked askance at him, willing himnot to let her down.“Orright!” It was a statement rather than a question. He hadn’t seen her for almosttwo years, yet he seemed to accept this meeting with a strange sense of the inevitable, noelement of surprise in his demeanour at all.Perhaps there genuinely was no surprise. No! She knew better. The motivation of personal gain overrode the element of surprise. This was a man seasoned with the dirt of thegutter, and gutters held no surprises, only other rats, and with every one the opportunity toexploit them. Survival took many different paths, but in the gutter none were decorated withsurprise, only cold calculation. Yes, reliable enough when the payment’s right, she thought.“Wanna line?” She already had what she knew he’d want, ready and waiting in her bag.“Silly question I suppose!”“Got any works? I’m all out.”“Even better. Here’s one I prepared earlier.” She flourished it with a big smile. “I’vealways wanted to say that.”“Don’t change, do you Elaine? Always know the right way to a man’s heart.” He took it from her hand and quickly emptied the contents into his vein.She watched him closely as the rush from the concoction in the syringe hit him,knowing how good it was making him feel, savouring her own thoughts. Some people were sogullible it was unbelievable. You could give them water in a syringe and they’d get off on it.But this had more than just plain water in it. Oh, yes, she thought, a lot more.He bent over double, gagging as he did so, then straightened up again, eyes very wideand bright, laughing roundly. “Fuck me! That’s good powder! Ain’t had nothin’ like that inyears!”“Fancy a drink?”

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