Saturday, 28 July 2007

Monday, 23 July 2007

Chapter 11

Well here is Chapter 11... I'm no literature fiend so please forgive mistakes. I don't rate my ability to paint pictures with words so I just concentrated on the plot really. I hope you like it. Feel free to suggest changes, additions and deletions.

Ryan awoke, immediately feeling that nasty taste in the back of his throat that told him that he had drank more than one too many 7up and vodkas last night. As he recalled the awful nights sleep he had just endured, he turned over to try and find the hotel room clock. As he found the bright red glow, his focus slowly worked its magic and the numbers gradually became clear. “10:07”.

“Shit” Ryan muttered to himself, he knew this meant he had missed breakfast. Although he gave a slight smurk to himself as he threw a fake gun pose towards the clock, as he noted the James Bond reference in the last 3 digits, made by the glowing LED’s.

“Grow up dickhead”, he told himself afterwards.

As Ryan dried himself after his refreshing shower, he continued to gradually piece together more of last night. It had all started with a few drinks in a small, but what seemed a very exclusive bar. He felt Phile had fitted much better in the swish bar than he had, looking absolutely majestic in her long body hugging dress showing off her talented curves. He remembered that he continually had to keep bringing the conversation back to the hunt for Eddie, after all that’s why Phile had convinced him to follow her out to Iceland. He was eager to get moving as quickly as possible, but last night it seems Phile was totally disinterested in discussing further plans, which seemed odd to him. In fact on one occasion she grabbed his hand and told him to relax and enjoy the evening, “We can talk about Eddie later” she whispered in her velvet tones. Her lack of interest had continually confused and narked him but he continued to bite his lip and eventually made a conscious decision to leave it and just try and enjoy the rest of the evening.

Later on they both moved onto the Opera, where they watched a divine performance, the name of which slipped his mind at the moment. What certainly hadn’t slipped his mind is the absolute heavenly voice of the beautiful lead singer. Throughout the performance he recalled how he had continually slipped away into an almost trance like state as the vocalist with her doll like appearance was able to seemingly hypnotise him in to a state where all his troubles just lifted from him. The problems he was having with Caro and the search for Eddie just evaporated away in these moments. Unfortunately Phile had kept bringing him back to reality by whispering something to him or brushing parts of his body in a way that would be very uncomfortable if it was just a normal work colleague. Phile would apologise claiming it was an accident, but he wasn’t so sure, although he couldn’t of really cared less either. At these moments his mind would return back to Caro. What was she doing now? Had he been too harsh to her? Would she be coping in London without him? She’s probably pissed again he would think to himself.

What happened after the show was still a bit of a blur to him, although he does remember Phile asking if he’d like to go back to her hotel for one last drink at the end of the night. He declined, as he thought he’d had enough and wasn’t completely trusting of Phile yet, or himself for that matter. So they hailed separate cabs and departed in different directions.

Ryan stared into the dark black coffee as he sat in the bright but bland hotel bar trying to recover from last night’s hangover. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do for the rest of the day but right now he didn’t care he just needed to get rid of this pounding head. A group of bubbly woman had caught his eye on the other side of the bar as they muttered in their native tongue. He noticed some of their handbags where hanging from the tables by some hooks, which he thought, was a clever idea. As he was gazing in their direction, the woman finished their drinks and stood up to leave, taking their handbags and hooks with them. As Ryan contemplated this handbag hook thing, the ladies wandered off and behind them a familiar face came into view. He quickly glanced back to his coffee, to prevent eye contact, and began racking his brains for whom this face belonged to. A few seconds later the guy got up to leave and Ryan caught another glance. It clicked, it was the guy who was speaking to Phile in the hotel bar in LA, when they met for their first drink together. “Too weird”, he thought, he felt uneasy but for some reason decided to follow him. The guy took the lift and Ryan followed via the stairs hoping to catch him on one of the corridors of the hotel. Unfortunately this wasn’t some fictitious movie chase and the chances of guessing the right floor at the right time was too slim, so Ryan quickly gave up and returned to his room.

Ryan became increasingly uncomfortable about the sighting and along with the weak shower and uneven bed he had endured, he decided he wanted to get the hell out of this place, there are plenty more hotels after all. He hurriedly packed his belongings becoming increasingly agitated as he did so, and was feeling the urgent need to get some fresh air. As he left his room he weighed up whether to take the lift or stairs. Ryan had never been fond of lifts since a child and always preferred to take the stairs but today he was in a rush so he thought he’d brave it, after all it was only a few floors.

The lift began descending but then began to slow a few floors before the ground floor. Ryan shut his eyes and muttered a wish to himself that this wasn’t the lift breaking down. Of course it wasn’t, and as he heard the bing sound he knew it was just the lift stopping to pick up some more people. His heartbeat started to return to normal as he told himself off for being so panicky and the doors started to open. Ryan caught a glimpse of some matted female hair through the widening gap and then time suddenly seemed to slow, to almost a complete halt, the lift doors slowly revealed more and more of the soon to be new occupants. It wasn’t was it? It was. What the… “Caro!” Ryan was meant to say but as he opened his mouth nothing come out. At the same time his eyes locked onto Caro’s eyes which moved to the left and if instructing his to do the same. Ryan’s gaze obeyed and then locked onto a new face, another familiar one. This one was Phile’s!

Sunday, 22 July 2007

The story so far 1

And only one glaring inconsistency* - yay us.

Ryan is in LA, ostensibly on business but in reality to find Eddie Roberts. He wants to atone for events in the past.

He meets colleague Phile at a work meeting. Later, she mysteriously invites him for a drink.

Ryan is in a relationship with Caro who has a drink problem. He has cheated on her once. Now he wants to give her back to Eddie.

He meets Phile in the hotel bar. She is just completing a meeting with an unnamed man. It turns out she and her employers (whoever they are) also want to find Eddie and she is keen to encourage Ryan in his quest because he has 'something' that they don't. Is this Caro?

We meet Eddie in LA. He's failed writer. He tries a last pitch to Larry David and fails although Larry gives him his number. Then he thinks he receives a message telling him to go to Iceland. He leaves, deserting his prostitute/ pornstar girlfriend Carmen.

In the meantime Caro is kidnapped and made to go to Iceland. She thinks it is Eddie who has organised this. She throws up a lot.

Ryan meets Carmen who tells him Eddie has left LA.

Backstory - Ryan, Eddie and Caro were friends at university. Eddie became an Icelandic gangster. Boring Ryan, jealous about Caro (who has since married, had a child and left her husband because she loves Eddie), shops him. Eddie goes to jail. When he gets out he gets a job at the BBC, defrauds it and flees to Hollywood to be a writer. His ex-BBC colleague oddball Phillip vows revenge.

Phillip is also currently in LA, after Eddie. He says he knows Ryan and Caro and believes he is masterminding the entire plot. He has arranged for Caro to be taken to Iceland*.

Eddie awakes from a bad dream, featuring him having been captured by Ryan and Caro. He's on a plane, en route to NY where he will catch a plane to Iceland. Unbeknownst to him, Phile is on the plane too. Once in Iceland he will restart his career in crime, working for Iceland's biggest corporate raider and he will see Caro who he has arranged to be taken to Iceland*.

On the NY - Reyjavik leg, he finds himself sitting next to Phillip but chooses not to recognise him. Phillip is stumped by this.

We find out more about who Phile is but not why her employers want Eddie.

In Iceland, Caro is locked in her suite and drugged. She throws up a lot. Phile appears (so clearly Eddie and Phillip have arrived too) and interrogates her. We learn that Caro also betrayed Eddie, unknown to Ryan. Phile states that Caro knows where 'the money' is.

Sooo... still lots to sort out. What about Ryan for a start? Is he still in LA? Not least....

* The glaring inconsistency. So what is it? Did Phillip arrange for Caro to be kidnapped? Or did Eddie's Icelandic chum?

Over to you James...

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Chapter 10

While Philé was licking her lips over the last of an over-sugared coffee, Caro was huddling into the sheets of her hotel bed. She had tried the door many times over the past ten hours. The phone was, predictably, disconnected, and she supposed there was a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door, but she didn't know how anyone could ignore her yelling, pounding, even breaking the mirror on the closet door. She regretted the mirror, now. Seven years' bad luck was just more that she didn't need.

The hotel check-in had gone smoothly, despite the overcrowded lobby that suggested high tourist season. The Art Deco surroundings had calmed her. Lulled by the white-glove treatment and the exquisite suite, she had begun to persuade herself that the earlier — kidnapping, wasn't it? was simply a figment of her imagination. Surely there had not been a gun. Had she actually seen the gun? Caro was all too aware that her memory was not entirely reliable.

But twenty minutes after she had checked in, when she was in the black marbled bath, leaning back into warm water and trying to rub the swelling out of her eyes, the noise started. It sounded like someone was trying to break into her room with a drill; she stiffened, reached for a towel. Her reflexes were always slow now, her aim always a little poor, and she knocked the towel onto the floor, but she managed to get out of the tub and wrap herself in the thick cotton. She stayed in the bathroom, listening, her back pressed against the towel bar.

After a few minutes the noise stopped, and Caro edged cautiously out. There was no one in the suite, unless they were hiding; she checked the closets and under the bed. No. No one. She dried herself, got dressed a little shakily. Still nothing.

It was not until an hour later that it occurred to her to try the phone, and then the door.

Thank goodness it was a suite, and there was a small mini-bar and fridge. She didn't miss the food — oh, there were nuts and other nibbles, anyway. There was chilled sparkling wine, small graceful bottles of vodka. After the first hour she had forgotten to be afraid.

After the second hour she started to vomit.

What was in the drink? Or was it something from the plane? Caro didn't know, only knew that she couldn't drink, couldn't eat, couldn't get warm even in the luxuriously heated apartment, even burrowed into the duvet wearing her thickest socks and coat. Sometimes the room blurred for a while, sometimes it calmed and she began to think she was all right; the illusion shattered every time she got out of bed. She had made it to the bathroom several times, even so; but now she shuddered as she hauled herself out of bed once again and faced the cracked mirror, her reflection sundered by a missing triangle of glass. One step, two steps and then—

The noise again. Like a drill. Coming from the door, and only inches away. Caro backed up, knocking over a chair just as the door shuddered open.

A woman pushed into the room, past the man holding the electric screwdriver, who quickly withdrew. Caro could see the suppressed look of disgust on the other woman's face — she knew the room must smell bad, she didn't try to think what she must look like. She watched the unknown, olive-skinned beauty take in the room and Caro, then make her assured way to the most comfortable chair. Drained, Caro sat down on the end of the bed, leaving the chair she had dislodged on the floor with its legs in the air.

"I'm Philé." The woman pulled a cigarette holder from her handbag and lit up, not offering Caro a smoke. "We don't have much time. I need you to tell me all about the deal with Eddie Roberts."

"The deal?" Caro faltered. "What deal?" But even as she said it, she knew she was fooling no one. Eddie did deals, of course, hundreds of deals, with his snake-sweet manner and his hidden bank accounts and who knew what else. But she didn't think Philé was asking about those.

No, they meant the apartment, the police, and ultimately Ryan and the Big Betrayal: the deal that Caro had buried far back in her head and drank her weight in vodka to try and erase.

Caro tried to muster her thoughts, to find enough clarity to plan her response. It was so very long ago. She was in her twenties then, and everything had still seemed possible. Even after she'd discovered her first husband was a bore and a disappointment. Even after the humiliating court proceedings where she'd lost custody because of the alcohol, even after he had disappeared into the countryside with her baby. Even after Eddie got married, she had hoped.

But then she had surprised him one day in the act of smacking Eva into unconsciousness, and the old feelings had disintegrated in an instant. She had walked out, then, but she had not forgotten. Her brain was bright then, bright with fire, and she had gone to work and not stopped until she had every shred of the information that would ruin him.

"Caro." The voice was insistent. "We know about the package. We know about the apartment." The apartment she'd used as an office, never letting Ryan or anyone else suspect the address. And the package, of course. The package she'd delivered to the police, as neatly wrapped as it left Eddie.

She glanced up. Philé rested in the chair, her lovely face almost expressionless. "Look, if you know, then why do you need to talk to me?"

"Because Ryan — Ryan didn't know, did he?"

Caro, mute, shook her head.

"And he still doesn't know?"

Caro said nothing.

"You let him think he did it, didn't you." There was a note of triumph in the woman's voice. "Let him think his phone call wrecked his best friend's life. And he still thinks he did it. Look at you." Caro could hear the sneer. "What a lovely way to treat the man you love. You do still love Ryan, don't you, Caro?" Without waiting for an answer, Philé got up and walked across the room. She opened the blackout curtains, letting the late summer sun blare into the room. Caro tried to turn to look at her, but found she couldn't face the light.

"Ryan's in Los Angeles, trying to find Eddie." A dry laugh. "To apologize. Can you believe that? Amazing. But he doesn't know his wife was the one who made all the trouble, all those years back. And he doesn't know his wife still knows what even Eddie doesn't."

She walked around again until she was facing Caro, the blazing sunlight on her face. Caro saw that she was smiling.

"But I know what you know.

"You know where the money is."

Friday, 13 July 2007

Hang in there... it's coming

Sorry for the long delay, but I finally have a clue about what my new job will be and have finished with the conference I was in charge of that had me sleepless this week, so you should have a new chapter sometime tomorrow. Stay tuned to learn more about Caro and the kidnapping!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Right then

I wondered what would happen if I stopped nagging for a week.

Not much.

So - do we even want to carry on with this?

If we do, do we want to carry on in the same free form vein?

Or do we want to work out the plot line first before writing anything else?

And shall we slow it down a bit? A chapter a week seems reasonable to me.