The Plague Doctor

A Vanstone Novel

by

C P Sennett

 © 2013

All characters and events here and in this book are fictitious and any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.

Published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing.

Copyright © 2013 C P Sennett

ISBN 978-1-909133-05-1

 

 

Chapter 1

It Only Rains On The Unrighteous

The door closed shut behind him and Laurie stepped out into the howling rain. “So much for the English weather” he said to himself as he quickly pulled his coat over his head.

He checked his pockets making sure he had his iPhone, wallet and the all-important bus pass.

He walked out of his house, past the double yellow lines and up the hill towards the bus stop. His latent outrage at the price of the bus pass infuriated him more as he walked past his beloved heap of a car, parked down a side street opposite him still with its broken exhaust showing.

He’d barely made it 50 feet from his house and he was already soaked through. Laurie was constantly wiping the water from his forehead so he could see.

Laurie’s mood lifted a little when he was actually on the bus, out of the torrential rain. He was looking into the window and trying to sort out his hair. His iPhone had his favourite song of the moment on, Use Me, by a group called Hinder.

After sorting out his hair in the reflection from the glass he looked around and began people watching, seeing who else was on the bus and trying to decide if he was the wettest person on board. He was a strong contender as most had brought an umbrella with them, another failure on his part he thought!

The lucky winner in this competition was actually a woman with a ton of red hair. She had a sort of hippy chick look but was in her thirties, all bangled up with a host of old looking festival bracelets and various bits of leather wrapped around her wrists. The poor woman was soaked through and looked like she was wearing a giant burgundy coloured sheep dog on her head, it was quite a sight.

Laurie smiled at the thought but quickly looked away as the woman, now preening herself, turned around and looked at him.

As the bus gently made its way in the rain, crawling along its route, hampered by people driving excessively slowly in the bad weather Laurie’s frustration grew.

“Come on,” he said aloud, forgetting himself and attracting equally irate looks from his fellow passengers.

He passed the pub, which served everyone in the world, regardless of your age and then along Woodstone Road. As they neared another set of red lights the bus slowed down in anticipation of an imminent change to green.

Laurie got his iPhone out, checking the time to see if he would need to text his boss to say he was going to be late. He had a message from his lodger Alex.

“Al” as he was called by everyone who knew him, was a nice guy and the typical student type from semi wealthy parents. By all accounts his father was a bit of an alpha male, who sent Al away to get life experience and to learn to stand on his own two feet.

Quite why Al ended up here in Green Valley Falls, he never knew as it was hardly a happening place or even nice one to live in.

Al moved out of his first house as he didn’t get on with the girl who he shared with and lucky for Laurie he walked past his house on the way back from the local pub.

Laurie typed in his keylock number and read the text.

I’m away today till after the weekend mate, just so you know, have a good un bro!

Laurie really hated how Alex used the term bro in his texts. He sent back a quick reply.

Ok, have fun.

Slowly the bus trundled on and he quietly let his mind drift to the sounds of Gary Moore’s magical guitar as the play list slipped into Still Got the Blues and his journey plodded on.

Laurie thanked the driver for the ride as he got off the bus, still with just enough time if he jogged to get to work without being late. He tried his best to block out the downpour and pressed play on his iPhone, having pre-selected a suitably upbeat song guaranteed to motivate him to run the rest of the way. The Prodigy’s Firestarter seemed just right for this; a song bursting with urgency.

As the music kicked in he took a deep breath, felt the rain howling down around him and when the first drum beat started he was off, racing down the road and onto the industrial estate.

He slowed down to a brisk walking pace, near the end of the song as he entered the company car park. Walking the remaining few steps to catch his breath, Laurie could see Tom and Big Frank standing outside, under cover and smoking away. The two of them looked like some comedy double act, he thought, one massive and the other more normal sized, both huddled under an outcrop of the building desperate to get their fix.

You been swimming lad?” said Big Frank, in his northern accent. Frank was a huge man at over six feet seven and easily over 20 stone.

Tom nodded to Laurie as he walked past and Laurie smiled, nodding back as he ducked under the partially open roller shutter doors clearing his wet hair from his eyes.

As he walked in he was hit in the face by a towel and the sound of his boss Shane. “Look lively Laurie, we’ve a hell of a day ahead. A forty footer is due in at 9.30 from China and it’s all hand ball. Your coffee is on the side.” he said, pointing towards the plastic cup of machine coffee which never tasted anything like it should.

He finished by adding, “Look alive!” He then walked away into the main warehouse.

“Bollocks,” muttered Laurie, waiting for Shane to move out of sight as he threw his towel on the floor in defeat.

He took off his jacket and took a sip of his steaming hot pseudo-coffee as he went to the counter to see what other work they had booked in for the day.

As he did Pat walked in, the sharply dressed but short marketing consultant got his attention. “Hi Laurie” said Pat, “You going to the pub this Friday?”

Laurie shrugged “Not sure yet, I’ll see.”

“It’s Emily’s leaving do, so a lot of us from upstairs are going to be there, also it would be good for you to come along and say goodbye.”

“I’ll see” replied Laurie.

“We need as many of us youngsters there as possible, also a good chance to mingle” said Pat smiling.

Laurie waved his acknowledgement but was distracted by the thought of Liz in sales. If he knew she was going then it would be worth going. For Laurie she was the catch of the company, dark tumbling curly hair, just enough make-up to frame her face and the skirt suits rounded off her look perfectly.

Laurie’s daydreaming was quickly interrupted by a loud crash and someone shouting “SHIT!” from across the warehouse, which brought him quickly back to reality. Laurie looked at what Shane had checked in to see if there was anything people had been chasing from yesterday. As usual there were several emails that had been sent out to the sales team to tell them what stock was in. They would then release the orders and he would print off the delivery notes and away it would go via their couriers who collected the outgoing deliveries at the end of the day.

Still drinking his coffee he checked the emails to see if anything was specifically for him. Nothing urgent just a few follow ups, nothing priority one, he thought.

From out of the glass fronted window he saw a lorry coming into view with a big container on the back. This lorry had a lot of Chinese writing on it and his heart sank, this was for him…

To view the next free sample, chapter 2 click here.

Copyright © 2013 C P Sennett

Published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing