Club Medusa – Excerpt

Club Medusa – Excerpt

As you’ll know if you’ve been within a mile of any of my social media over the past few weeks, Club Medusa was finally released on 28th May. It’s a dark thriller set in Edinburgh’s Old Town and tells the story of an ordinary night out which ends as a nightmare.

A few weeks down the line I have to say I’m a very happy author so far due to lots of positive responses, including 27 five star reviews on Amazon, a ‘recommended read’ spot in the ‘Local Life’ Magazine and a lovely lady who stopped me in the local chemist to thank me for scaring the crap out of her. To say I’m blown away is an understatement.

As I’ve previously banged on about in this blog, there’s way more to independently publishing a book that anyone will tell you and even in the past weeks I’ve found more constant learning about the stuff you need to do to get your book out there – but more about that in a later post.

Anyway, right now I’m going to shut the hell up now and give you a short excerpt from around one third of the way into the book. By this time the two main characters are in a bad way – they’ve just been drawn into a fight which ended badly and they’ve had to literally run for their lives through Edinburgh’s Cowgate. They’ve briefly shaken their pursuers and have now stopped to draw breath and plan their next move – but as they’re talking, they realise two girls have been watching and listening to them from the shadows in the street…

They were standing silently in the shadow of the arch maybe fifteen feet or so away, smoking cigarettes and leaning casually against the iron street railings outside the tenements. The stone canopy deadened all the sound under it and I knew our voices must have carried. Had they been there all along? Probably. Shit.

“You boys in some kind of trouble?” asked the smaller of the two. I lifted my hand up to filter out the glare of the streetlight behind them and saw she was a slender girl with pale skin and dark blonde hair that hung around her shoulders. Her silhouette outlined a slight but defined figure in what looked like some sort of dark one-piece catsuit. Not so practical for the shopping I thought, but her poise was so casual and confident that somehow it looked just right. Anyway, who was I kidding, dressing like that would barely even register around the Old Town clubs on a Friday night.

So – what to say when lost for words. Blurting out the whole sorry story would be stupid but God, it would have felt good to offload to someone, to unburden some of that blame and vindicate myself, even if just a little. The conflict must have lit me up like a beacon as I stammered to say something that wouldn’t sound like a lie.

“No.” I said. It sounded like “Yes.”

Both girls turned to one another and whispered, the second girl bending forward slightly to hear what the blonde girl was saying such was their difference in height. It seemed as if there was some sort of hurried debate going on. I didn’t like it – I felt as if I’d been put on hold while they conferred.

Then as my eyes adjusted to the backlight I began to see more detail. The blonde girl was young – they were both young – probably early to mid-twenties, but there the likeness ended. The other girl was taller, just short of my own height with a mane of long, black hair which parted in the centre and from a severe fringe, flowed evenly down the sides of her face and back over her shoulders. She looked lean and was dressed more plainly in what looked like a man’s white shirt and worn, black leather trousers. Her arms folded in front of her as the conferring continued, the tip of her cigarette glowing, held at just the right angle to let the smoke drift away from her clothes. There was no denying both these girls were attractive – but they also looked as if they could handle themselves in a fight.

I suddenly became aware I was paying them far more attention than I should be. Daft wee lassies – maybe some other time. I paced back over to the crumpled form of Gerry, still with his head in his hands. I kicked him gently as a prompt to pull him out of his fit of woe. When I looked back up, I saw both girls scrutinising him. After a second or two, both glanced at each other and nodded almost imperceptibly, a movement so subtle I surely would have missed it had I not been so strung out. The smaller one spoke again, “Do either of you happen to have mobile telephones I wonder?”

Seemed an odd question, “Funny you should ask – but no.” I said. A glance and a slight nod passed between the girls as if that was just what they wanted to hear.

“It’s just, you would’t get any reception under that bridge,” she added.

Bit of a puzzling introduction I thought.

“Okay, where did you two spring from, anyway?” I asked, trying conspicuously to hold my voice steady.

Gerry looked up to see who I was speaking to. As I suspected he might, he quickly rubbed his face and began to push himself back up in an effort to regain some credibility in light of the sudden female company.  

“Hmm.” said the dark-haired girl, “We just came up for some air – it’s just a wee bit stuffy down in the Club.”

“What Club?” I asked, dreading the answer might be Lady’s.

“Medusa.” she replied quietly, and nodded over her shoulder down past the railings. I assumed there were probably some recessed steps behind her leading to a door below street level. That wasn’t unusual, a lot of bars and shops in the Old Town were accessed the same way – but I couldn’t recall ever having seen one here before. I stepped forward to take a look and as I moved closer I realised there was muffled music coming from somewhere below and behind them – something was obviously going on down there after all. I heard Gerry shuffle up behind me.

“I’ve never heard of that one,” he croaked.

“No, you won’t have, we don’t advertise,” said dark-haired girl.

I turned and looked at Gerry – this was wasting time, we needed to be away from here and fast. He shot me a look that asked ‘what are we going to do now?’

“Well, it looks like you’re in trouble to me,” said the smaller girl with a gentle barb of insistence. She nodded towards Gerry’s bloodstained shirt which I realised looked very obvious close up. Gerry folded his arms as if it would immediately make the mess disappear and began to stammer something which was cut short.

“Oh, you’re hurt too,” the taller girl directed at me. In a swift movement which took me by surprise, she quickly stepped forward and wiped some of the blood spatter off my shirt with a handkerchief she must have had balled in her non-smoking fist. In the earlier chase I’d forgotten all about my burst nose.

Err… thank you,” I croaked. She smiled, clutched the handkerchief then stepped nimbly backwards to her friend, quickly folding her arms again.

“I’m Keisha,” said the blonde girl. “This is my best friend, Teagan.”

“We do everything together,” said Teagan with a mischievous smile. She knew it was a cockteasing cliché and I wondered if she meant it as a joke. Keisha took a final draw on her cigarette and threw it down on the pavement, stubbing it out with a small Doc Marten boot.

“Maybe you’d both like to come down and join the party?” she asked.

It’s safe to say that things just go downhill from there.

Another blog post coming soon with such hilarity as web link issues, why the US don’t sell paperbacks with cream coloured paper, the best part of your head to bang off the wall whilst formatting a paperback on KDP and also my grand theory of why JK Rowling unwittingly stalled this from being published when I first wrote it.

Get your strong coffee ordered, bet you can’t wait…

Awesome cover design by [email protected]
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