She’s Coming For You – Chapter 8

Pat Walker had a single seat for her journey to Valladolid from Burgos. She placed her bag on the rack and glanced through the window at the police presence on the platform. According to the posters, a tourist had been attacked two days ago near this station. There was no description of the attacker, but Walker had taken no chances and changed her style, even though the hat didn’t suit her and the sunglasses looked out of place on someone so pale. She had work to do before things became serious.

On time, the train pulled out of Burgos – Rosa de Lima station. The carriage was full of families with small children, who were sleeping or playing with toy cars, racing them on the seats, windows, and tables. Walker pulled out her book and started to read. The assassin in the book was preparing well and seemed to have thought of everything. Walker hoped she had.

This was not her normal territory, her normal terrain, and she was nervous for this reason alone. Too many things were out of her control, almost all of them the people around her, the innocents she hoped wouldn’t be in the way when the time came. Too many things, too many people, way too many people. She had no means of truly defending herself, should the need arise. Walker wasn’t used to that; she didn’t even have a phone to call in a friendly drone to help. She smiled, as she was enjoying the nervousness this engendered. Deep inside, she knew she would do a good thing, a very good thing, for those who couldn’t defend themselves against bullets, for those who couldn’t understand others who kill just for pleasure and not for need… a gentle tap on the shoulder brought her back to the train carriage from her thoughts.

“Excuse me,” said a voice, a voice speaking English as a second or perhaps even a third language.

“Yes,” replied Walker, “can I help you?” She looked into the eyes of a young Spanish man wearing a bright orange shirt and blue corduroy trousers. Walker could speak other languages too, but few of them would be useful in this country, on this continent. Most of them were dialects of one language.

“Yes, senora, I am sorry to bother you, I think you were thinking about your book, it must be interesting.”

“Oh, it is,” said Walker, “it is, but I am a writer myself and I was savouring the prose and the writer’s ability to transport me, the reader, to a particular time and place.”

“What type of books do you write?”

“I am writing a book about travelling on the wonderful Spanish railways,” said Walker. “I am so impressed by them, especially as they were built during a time when the economy wasn’t doing so very well.”

A child started to cry just behind Walker’s seat. The young Spanish man glanced behind him and then turned back to Walker.

“Could I trouble you?” he said. “My child has lost his Ferdinand Alonso Le Mans toy under your seat, could you please look for it?”

“Of course,” said Walker, “there was me babbling on about railways and your boy has lost his toy, which is far more important, hold on a moment.”

Walker put her book down, placing the bookmark carefully at the right page, and then got down on her hands and knees to look under her seat. She saw the grey car wedged between the seat and the wall of the compartment. She took out her Swiss Army knife, selected the corkscrew, and deftly hooked the car’s open window with the curved metal point.

“There you are, I hope I didn’t scratch the bodywork,” said Walker leaping to her feet from a kneeling position and handing the car back to its grateful owner.

“Thank you,” said the young man. “Where did you learn to do that with so much control, that was remarkable.”

“Oh, that,” said Walker cursing herself for showing off her suppleness in such a public place. “I trained as a gymnast, specialising in floor exercises, so that sort of thing still comes as second nature, even though it was many years ago.”

“I understand,” said the man. “Thank you, I will let you read your book.”

Walker smiled and sat down. On your next exhibition of physical prowess in public, she said to herself looking at her reflection in the window, get up more slowly and use one leg at a time. I hope no one was watching you perform your tricks, especially as you were wearing a hat and shades inside a train carriage! You are supposed to be undercover. Time to recycle the shades and hat, plus the blue-and-white striped top. Buy some others.

Hunting the hunters

 If you would like to read about trophy hunters getting their comeuppance, this is the book for you. This is a fast-paced thriller about animal lovers striking back.

The inspiration came because a number of things about trophy hunting strike me as evil. 

The fact that there are people out there who want to kill beautiful animals. 
 
The fact that these people gain pleasure from killing a sentient being from a cowardly distance.
 
The fact that they display the results of their hunting for the world to see.
 
It’s time someone did something.
 
As an author, I have the inspiration to make sure someone does.
 

Alex Peters had loved animals her whole life. When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

The book is called “She’s Coming For You”. It is available for $0.99 today.

An example chapter will follow shortly on this blog. 

Let the hunt begin here

#ShesComingForYou

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 7

The tall man with three day’s growth of beard leaned against the black flag on the wall and listened to his friend talking on a satellite phone. Rapid bursts of Arabic were being exchanged as the evening sunshine came through the blinds and cast a shadow over the paintings on the wall. There was a time limit on the call, for security reasons.

As he watched and listened, the tall man received a text from his man on the ground in northern Spain. This follower was in place to catch the train from Valladolid to Leon in 3 days’ time, and then he would wait to follow the people, their target, to the ultimate and final destination – Santiago de Compostela – the end of their journey, the end of their pilgrimage. The tall man stubbed out his cigarette in a metal ashtray and smiled as the conversation ended.

“How are things in the Mediterranean?” he asked.

“They are on their way, there are no problems, and they are keeping away from the prying eyes of the western powers, looking for immigrants on board vessels. The Spanish navy in the Mediterranean is further north, making sure that no one upsets the tourists in The Balearics.”

“Good, good, let’s wish our fellow jihadis all speed on their journey to help us in our quest.”

“Do we know which cars we will take?”

“I have identified one car we need; we just have to make sure the owner doesn’t miss it while we’re gone.”

“She will be pre-occupied with other things, won’t she?” The man stood up and leered at his taller friend.

“Don’t get too comfortable with their western ways,” the friend replied. “The caliphate won’t approve of such behaviour.”

“They teach us to do anything for the cause,” was the reply. “When we have succeeded, we will be forgiven in heaven.”

Hunting the hunters

 If you would like to read about trophy hunters getting their comeuppance, this is the book for you. This is a fast-paced thriller about animal lovers striking back.

The inspiration came because a number of things about trophy hunting strike me as evil. 

The fact that there are people out there who want to kill beautiful animals. 
 
The fact that these people gain pleasure from killing a sentient being from a cowardly distance.
 
The fact that they display the results of their hunting for the world to see.
 
It’s time someone did something.
 
As an author, I have the inspiration to make sure someone does.
 

Alex Peters had loved animals her whole life. When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

The book is called “She’s Coming For You”. It is available for $0.99 today.

An example chapter will follow shortly on this blog. 

Let the hunt begin here

#ShesComingForYou

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 6

Susan Del Piero, a staffer dealing with medical questions at the American Embassy on Calle de Serrano in Madrid, took the call at 9:20 am, Spanish time. She jotted down the details of the five-minute conversation on her I-Pad, and when the hospital had rung off she went to see her boss, Claudia Reyes.

“Claudia, do you have a moment?” Susan adjusted her glasses as she spoke, a nervous tick she was trying to stop, but it kept resurfacing in times of potential stress.

“Sure,” said Claudia, smiling at Susan, “is there a problem?” Claudia was thirty-five, and now she was in Spain she enjoyed wearing stylish clothing that brought out the dark hues of her Mexican heritage from the south of Texas.

“I think there might be,” replied Susan, slipping into the black leather chair opposite Claudia. “I received a phone call from a hospital in Burgos. The Spanish inspector on the train coming from Pamplona found an American citizen unconscious in a washroom on the train. His name is James Adam, from Vermont, and he has serious head injuries on account of someone smashing his face repeatedly against the rim of the toilet. Mr Adam has not regained consciousness.”

“Is this a terrorist attack in any way?” asked Claudia. 

“It is at least a hate crime,” replied Susan. “Mr Adam was travelling around Spain, minding his business, and he gets knocked into the middle of next week. He had been volunteering as a translator in Barcelona.”

“We are always trying to help people and this is what we get by way of gratitude,” snorted Claudia. “It’s terrible – we should let these countries sort themselves out and not be kind to them in any way.”

“Mr Adam spoke to no one on the train from what other passengers told us, but he had a big Stars and Stripes on his backpack, so there’s no doubting his place of origin.”

“Yes, some of our citizens could do with toning it down and not ramming their nationalistic agenda down other people’s throats, but they shouldn’t end up unconscious in the bathroom of a train.”

“Should I head up to Burgos and wait for him to regain consciousness?” asked Susan.

“Not yet, if you can get the Closed-Circuit TV footage from Burgos station for the people who got off the train there. Once he regains consciousness, it would be good to have some descriptions of potential suspects. I think the attacker got off the train there rather than risk being associated with the crime by staying put. Sounds like we have someone with anger issues.”

“Thank you, Claudia. I’ll write up the notes from the phone call and from our conversation and put them in the system. I’ll request the footage of the station platforms and forecourt from RENFE and see if we can find the attacker. He won’t get far.”

Hunting the hunters

 If you would like to read about trophy hunters getting their comeuppance, this is the book for you. This is a fast-paced thriller about animal lovers striking back.

The inspiration came because a number of things about trophy hunting strike me as evil. 

The fact that there are people out there who want to kill beautiful animals. 
 
The fact that these people gain pleasure from killing a sentient being from a cowardly distance.
 
The fact that they display the results of their hunting for the world to see.
 
It’s time someone did something.
 
As an author, I have the inspiration to make sure someone does.
 

Alex Peters had loved animals her whole life. When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

The book is available for $0.99 today.

An example chapter will follow shortly on this blog. 

Let the hunt begin here

#ShesComingForYou

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 5

The train from Pamplona arrived at the station called Rosa de Lima on the edge of the city of Burgos. Buses to the centre of the city run roughly every thirty minutes – there was an electronic schedule to the right just before I exited the station – and the best destination to alight is Plaza de Espana, which is not the nicest part of the old town, but things soon improved as I headed towards the cathedral.

Top of most people’s list of priorities is the cathedral. It was certainly the first place the people I was following went to. The western front is spectacular and you can see the twin spires from most of the old town. A long period of cleaning now means the cathedral shimmers in the sunshine and the carvings are all delicate and finely done.

The cathedral was busy, but the edifice is so vast that the numbers soon dropped off as I moved further into the depths of the cloisters. The central dome exhibits Moorish influences and is supported by four piers that fan out into buttresses that reminded me of the Plateresque style similar to silver filigree. There’s a multitude of carvings to admire.

In the cathedral’s floor, right under the dome, is a slab of pink-veined marble, the last resting place of El Cid and his wife Jimena. El Cid is the national hero of Spain and his story is worth knowing. Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a Castilian knight in 11th century Spain. The Moors called him El Cid, which meant the Lord (probably from the Arabic Al-Sayyid), while the Christians referred to him as El Campeador, meaning ‘champion’ or ‘outstanding warrior’.

On the north wall of the cathedral is the remarkable Golden Staircase or Escalera Dorada by Diego de Siloe, the son of Gil de Siloe, the greatest Spanish sculptor of the 15th century. Diego’s sculptural style is a mixture of Italian Renaissance, Gothic, and Mudéjar, called Plateresque. Influenced by both Michelangelo and Donatello – he studied in Florence as a young man – Diego animated his figures and create forceful compositions. He sculpted the Escalera Dorada between 1519 and 1523, and it combines both his sculptural and architectural gifts in a work of painted and gilded magnificence.

The main entrance to the old town and the cathedral precinct is via the Arco de Santa Maria, a south-eastern facing arch that used to be part of the city walls. The arch has exquisitely carved statues of King Carlos V and famous people from Burgos, including El Cid. These carvings were made between 1534 and1536 to appease Carlos, who was upset that Burgos had taken part in a noblemen’s revolt against their monarch.

From the arch, I headed over the Puente de Santa Maria and turned right. Following the signs, it was a twenty-minute walk to the Monasterio de las Huelgas, a Cistercian house remarkable for its Mudejar craftsmanship. This monastery dates from 1187 and was built as the future mausoleum of Alfonso VIII and his queen, Eleanor. The main church contains the tombs of sixteen Castilian monarchs, including Alfonso and Eleanor. Napoleon’s troops ransacked the church, carrying away its treasures, but they left the tombs intact – hopefully as a mark of respect – and when the tombs were opened, many regal jewels and costumes were found. These now form the core of the exhibition in the museum.

Back in the old town I headed up the hill, past the western front of the cathedral, and walked past the churches of San Nicolas and San Esteban, plus the city’s newest arts centre, the Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, that houses art installations and contemporary art exhibitions. At the top of the hill is the Castillo that survived a siege by the Duke of Wellington before being destroyed by the French in 1813. The interior and exterior walls have been reconstructed, and it’s worth looking around the castle to see the various views over the city and the surrounding countryside. The views from the mirador, about one hundred and fifty yards down from the entrance to the castle, are even better. 

Hunting the hunters

 If you would like to read about trophy hunters getting their comeuppance, this is the book for you. This is a fast-paced thriller about animal lovers striking back.

The inspiration came because a number of things about trophy hunting strike me as evil. 

The fact that there are people out there who want to kill beautiful animals. 
 
The fact that these people gain pleasure from killing a sentient being from a cowardly distance.
 
The fact that they display the results of their hunting for the world to see.
 
It’s time someone did something.
 
As an author, I have the inspiration to make sure someone does.
 

Alex Peters had loved animals her whole life. When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

The book is called “She’s Coming For You”. It is available for $0.99 today.

An example chapter will follow shortly on this blog. 

Let the hunt begin here

#ShesComingForYou

She’s Coming For You – Chapter 4

        Pat Walker sat in her seat and watched the world go by. Fields the colour of lightly toasted bread, haystacks, power lines, low scrubland and villages on hillsides were all becoming more of a blur as the train picked up speed, leaving the traffic on the road in its wake. Tractors came and went and limestone ridges and high, bare hills replaced the fields. It looked hot out there, though the heat wouldn’t bother her. It said ‘preferente’ on the glass door and she smiled; she wasn’t used to travelling in this kind of luxury. The only noise came from the door sliding open to let people through.

At the next two stops there was a rush of people to the exits, but only so they could have a quick cigarette before the train left. After Vitoria, Walker had a quick evaluation of her fellow passengers beneath the luggage racks full of bags. A woman with bulging eyes read El Pais, an overweight man with a pale complexion and dressed in beige clothes was hungrily circling words in a puzzle book, and a ginger haired youth wearing a Barcelona shirt ate his ham and cheese sandwich while reading Don Quixote by Cervantes. Walker wondered whether the human inside the Barca shirt ever heard the squealing of the pigs as they died to provide him with his lunch.

The older couples at the back of the compartment were whispering and pointing out of the window, without an apparent care in the world. A phalanx of family and friends would meet them at their destination, the Spanish way of caring for people and for connecting with their nearest and dearest. The forecasts are that in 2025, the Spanish will be the healthiest people in the world because of this social connectedness.

Walker began to read her book as she nibbled her lunch of prepared vegetables and fruit. She smiled at how the plot of the book was developing in a way that real life never did and continued to read until jolted from her reverie by a smack on the back of her head from a black rucksack. The owner of the rucksack continued down the train before coming to a stop in the next compartment.

She resisted the urge to remonstrate with the offender as she didn’t wish to start a scene. That scene would happen soon enough. She put her book down and watched the person who had placed the rucksack on the rack. When he moved, Walker would move, and she vowed to teach him a lesson in manners in her own inimitable, quiet style – after all, he should have apologised, shouldn’t he? Everything would have been fine if he had, but he hadn’t, had he? It would serve him right.

Walker bided her time until the train was ten minutes from Burgos, when the rucksack owner headed for one of the large toilets at the end of the carriage. Walker followed at a careful distance, noting how sleepy most of her fellow passengers were.

She reached the toilet door just as it was closing.

Hunting the hunters

 If you would like to read about trophy hunters getting their comeuppance, this is the book for you. This is a fast-paced thriller about animal lovers striking back.

The inspiration came because a number of things about trophy hunting strike me as evil. 

The fact that there are people out there who want to kill beautiful animals. 
 
The fact that these people gain pleasure from killing a sentient being from a cowardly distance.
 
The fact that they display the results of their hunting for the world to see.
 
It’s time someone did something.
 
As an author, I have the inspiration to make sure someone does.
 

Alex Peters had loved animals her whole life. When her friends expressed their sadness that no one was hunting the hunters of animals, she decided to rectify the situation. She was the ideal candidate. In her normal job, as a soldier behind enemy lines, she’d killed animal abusers when given the chance and the animals were given some respite from their ordeals.

Now she was not undercover. She was on holiday, travelling on the trains in Spain and Portugal.

There were no colleagues to back her up. She would have to take risks.

She doesn’t keep a diary of the deaths, but does like to write about the history of the places she has visited. This makes her seem like a normal human being – even when she isn’t.

The book is called “She’s Coming For You”. It is available for $0.99 today.

An example chapter will follow shortly on this blog. 

Let the hunt begin here

#ShesComingForYou