2: The return

STORY SO FAR: When Jill leaves Jack he goes on a bender and wakes up bruised, burnt and battered. Meanwhile, Jill’s corpse is discovered on Brighton seafront…

He couldn’t remember what happened. That left the nagging doubt it was something bad, real bad, and his mind was blocking it to salve his fragile ego. He remembered arguing with some hipsters in the juice bar, being thrown out, takeaway spilt down his shirt, anger rising into a thirst for alcohol, an instant fix to stop him thinking. Thinking about Jill.

He looked at his hands. This wasn’t any regular hangover. The skin was peeling off his fingertips, his body erasing incriminating prints. He was covered with bruises and cuts. He had been burnt, seared flesh. His ribs stung with fresh cracks. Not any regular hangover, not even by Jack’s hardcore standards. And a big black hole in his head where any clue would lie.

Okay, backtrack. Jill had stormed out. She was right, she was too good for him, too young and full of life, he was only bringing her down. That pent up rage that had simmered away and alienated him from life and her had eventually puked out of him in the juice bar.

“You wanna know what I see when I look at you? A dollop of pure delusional narcissistic turd pie.”

Red mist fogging his words. “You can smile all you want you smug git, but I know who you really are. You don’t give a monkey’s fart for this, you’re only fund raising in a desperate bid to convince yourself you’re not a greedy, selfish pile of crap.”

How do you convince a delusional man child to see the light? “You’re doing this to make yourself feel better, in the vain hope people won’t see the real you if you hide behind a cause.”

It was the modern world, one Jack was increasingly out of step with. “You’re just worried what other people think, but being scared of looking bad isn’t the same as being good. Hey, mebbe I’ll get some more likes if I blow a gorilla for charity…”

Ad nauseous. The worst thing was he believed it. Once healthy cynicism had soured in him to disdain, hardened by the growing realisation of his own insignificance in the world. Yep, he was just as bad as everyone else, in some ways worse. He was too lazy to even try to do anything about it.

“Feeling sorry for yourself already? That didn’t take long.”

Jack started up, and she was standing before him. Barefoot, white dress down to her knees, pale skin glowing. Jill was always too beautiful for him, but now she irradiated his sore eyes.

“You’re back? Look I…” He didn’t even question how she had got in without him hearing the door open.

She smiled down at him. “Not in the way you think Jack. I need you to do something for me.”

“I know I’ve messed up, but y’know kiddo, I’ll do anything…”

She cut him off. “I need you to find the man who killed me, and stop him before he kills again”



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