Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sample Sunday - One Of Us

One of Us is my debut crime novel, published by infinityplus. An excerpt here, for Sample Sunday. 

Anna's a former medical student who had to flee her own country when the police there murdered her brother and imprisoned her father.  Anna has been trying to get fake papers so she can stay in the UK, but she doesn't have the money. She's offered a deal - she is needed right now for her medical skills, and if she agrees to do the work, she will be provided with a legitimate identity. Her work turns out not to be a one off, and she is trapped into doing more in return for the papers she desperately needs. As she does, she starts to realise what kind of people she is working for.


The next time was easy. Easy for me, not so easy for the big man with a dislocated arm.

"Fell off a horse," he said, and grinned. Then he tried to look down my t-shirt as I bent over.

"I am going to put your arm back into place," I told him.

"You can do what you like with me, love, I'm all yours. Does it hurt much then? Don't mind a bit of pain, know what I mean. What about you, love?" He laughed like a pig snorts, and sat with his fat legs wide open so I had to lean against them with mine to get close to him.

"No, it does not hurt," I said to him, and to his friends who were watching. "I did this once for a little girl. She had fallen off her bicycle. She was very brave, and I did it and she did not make a single sound. After I was finished, I gave her a lollipop for being so good. Do you think you can be as tough as a little girl?"

I put his shoulder back where it should be.

"No lollipop for you," I said.

The next time they sent me to see a girl who thought she had a venereal disease. She was small and blonde, and she did not stop drumming her fingers for a moment, even when I was examining her. Her cheek bore the mark of a fading bruise, but there was not anything that I could do for that. She told me that her name was Maja, and that she was from Slovenia.

"How did you end up here?" I asked.

The man sitting reading a newspaper and pretending not to watch my examination coughed. Maja glanced at him, and did not say anything more, she just drummed away on the bed frame, like she was tapping out a distress signal in morse code.

When I was finished I told her that she did not have a venereal disease that I could see, she had a very bad case of thrush, and what she should do about it. But I also told her that this did not mean that she did not have any diseases that I could not see.

"Have you been to a clinic?" I asked her.

She shook her head. "Not allowed. This is why I see you."

I shook my head. This was madness. "Tell Corgan," I told the man. "Tell him she needs to see a proper doctor. She can go to a clinic, it will be anonymous, she won't get reported to anyone if you need to keep this all so secret. Tell him."

He laughed. "I'm not going to tell Corgan anything. I'd wash your hands now love, if I were you."

"Why?" I said to him. "I haven't touched you."

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