Jane Jago’s latest hard-hitting novel, serialised for you to enjoy!
The chopper settled like an ungainly bird and everyone held their breath. Then there was the most humongous explosion, followed by several smaller bangs. The boomer boys seemed to be counting.
“Three to go” one of them said, and two more explosions rent the air.
The silence stretched on, almost uncomfortably, before the last truly massive explosion uprooted several trees on the skyline.
“Clear to piss off,” the smallest boomer boy said with a happy grin. “That last bang was all the fancy cars, and the executive aeroplane. What a shame…”
The chopper left the ground again and set off hedge-hopping at a seemingly reckless speed.
“I do hope your pilot is good,” Sam said mildly.
“He is. He’s the best of the best, and he has no fancy towards spending any more of his life at Her Majesty’s pleasure. So we’re hurrying a bit. Any minute now we’ll be dropping like a stone; over the cliff edge. Then we’ll need to do about fifteen minutes right at sea level, before we turn around and radio Aberdeen for clearance to pass through en route for Glasgow. After that you can make your phone calls.”
“Thanks, mate,” Rod said.
“It’s fine. Your pal is a fucking good doctor. Andy’s shoulder is nearly as good as new, and even the boomer boy’s wrist isn’t hurting. Though he has puked in a bucket.”
“Give him some biscuits from your emergency food store and he’ll probably stop vomiting,” Sam recommended.
The boss grinned.
“Hokay. Somebody give that man a biscuit. Or three!”
There was relative quiet in the belly of the Sikorsky until the pilot’s voice came through their headphones.
“Just turning and contacting Aberdeen.”
“You can use your mobile phones now.”
Rod pulled an iPhone out of his breast pocket and made a call.
“Jim? We’ve got him. He’s OK. Been a bit mistreated, but Sam has seen to him. Now he’s asleep on my chest. When he wakes up. I’ll call you again and you can talk to him.”
He listened for a while then spoke in a hard, cold voice.
“We decided no survivors was a good number. Yeah. Speak soon.”
Sam looked at his friend for a moment, then shrugged. “You’d better call your friend Anna and give her an ETA. You could also ask her to get some clothes for the wee man, daytime stuff and some cozy jammies. He’ll feel better with a shower and a change of clothes, then we can get him into his pyjamas at bedtime. The more normal, the better. And tell her that soft, easy-to-eat food would be best for him this evening.”
“Will do. You ain’t just a pretty face. And the wee man would rest better in some comforting jammies. Plus, Anna will be crawling out of her skin. She loves the Cracksman kids like they were her own. She’ll really want to know when to expect us. I’ll call. Pilot. Do you have an ETA for Glasgow?”
“A couple hours.”
He called another number.
“Anna. We’ve got him. He’s okay. We will see you in a couple hours. Can you get him some jammies? And Sam says is a bowl of stew or casserole possible. The little man needs warm simple food. He’s had a rough time.”
He listened for a while, then smiled his nice smile.
“Will do. If you add me and Sam to your insurance we can share the driving. Yep. His name is Samuel Henderson. He’s thirty eight. Clean licence. Doctor. That do? See you…”
He ended the call and smiled at Sam.
“She’s happy. Cried.”
“She one of your girlfriends?”
“Nah. She’s the best friend of my sister-in-law. I’ve known her since I was fourteen when my bro met Pats. I like her a lot, but she don’t do it for me like that. She’s probably more your type. Too intelligent for me.”
“Well she certainly ain’t anything like Christina. As I said. I like her. And now I want a piss. Can you cuddle the wee man while I piss in a bottle?”
Sam obliged, feeling the small hands and feet, pleased to note that both felt warm now. The heavy eyelashes fluttered and Sam found William looking up at him.
“Hello little man,” he said.
“Hello doctor Sam. I’m awake now. Do you think I could talk to my mummy?”
“Yes. As soon as Rod finishes piddling in that bottle.”
“Why’s he doing that?”
“Because he needs a wee, and there is no toilet in this chopper.”
The little boy giggled, and his uncle turned around and grinned at him.
“We’ll call your mum as soon as I finish here.”
Rod rearranged his clothing and took out his phone.
“Jim. Got a bloke here wants to talk to Patsy.”
He sat down and handed the phone to William.
“Mummy. It’s me. Yes I’m better now. Doctor Sam looked after me.”
He listened for a while.
“Do you know Doctor Sam? He’s nice. I like his smiley brown face. And he is very kind.”
Again he stopped and listened, before carrying on.
“He stopped me feeling sick. And he gave me his jumper because I was cold. It’s a very nice jumper, and it smells like Daddy.”
Sam found himself with a lump in his throat. He wondered how anyone could treat such a nice little chap so badly. Turning his head, he caught Rod’s eye, to find his friend blinking back tears.
“Yeah. It gets to you don’t it?”
“It does. He’s such a nice little chap.”
William had just finished his call, and smiled sunnily at him. “Am I nice?”
“You are. But cheeky.”
The little boy handed Rod his phone then snuggled up to Sam and looked about him.
“Did all these people come to rescue me?”
“They did,” Rod confirmed.
William ducked his head, then sat up and moved Sam’s headphones aside so he could whisper something. Sam grinned and nodded.
“Listen up everybody,” he said. “Bill here wants to say thank you for coming to his rescue, but he’s feeling a bit shy. I told you wouldn’t mind me saying it for him.”
“That’s fine,” jumpsuit boss said with a grin. “You are more than welcome. Any friend of Rod’s is a friend of ours. So that makes you and Doctor Sam part of the team. I’ll send you each a jumpsuit when we get back to HQ.”
“Thank you. What’s your name?”
“I’m called William too. But mostly people call me Will.”
“Thank you Mister Will,” William said politely. “Now I’m feeling sleepy again.”
Rod took his nephew in his arms.
“You go sleep then. I’ve got you.”
As the boy drifted back into sleep, Rod bent and kissed his curly head.
“I can’t believe how evil some people can be,” he whispered.
“Me neither, but the little man is fine. If his parents agree, I’ll be keeping an eye on him for the next few months, just in case. Though I think we got to him in time on all fronts.”
Rod looked seriously at his friend.
“You thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Bad intentions.” He gestured with his forefinger across his own throat.
“Yes. Sadly. I am. But it didn’t happen.”
“No. But it gives me a cold feeling in my stomach all the same.”
Jumpsuit Will put a hand on Rod’s shoulder.
“Me too mate.’