Author: Netta Newbound
Genre: Psychological Thriller
When next door neighbour, Lydia, gives birth to her second healthy baby boy, James and Geri pray their friend can finally be happy and at peace. But, little do they know Lydia’s troubles are far from over.
Meanwhile, Geri is researching several historic, unsolved murders for James' new book. She discovers one of the prime suspects now resides in Spring Pines Retirement Village, the scene of not one, but two recent killings.
Although the police reject the theory, Geri is convinced the cold case they’re researching is linked to the recent murders. But how? Will she regret delving so deeply into the past?
“Am I too late?” she asked. “I only want an apple.”
“Do you see the sign? Kitchen’s closed,” Dalton barked.
The woman stepped backwards. A look of total shock played out in the deep wrinkles of her face, and her already watery eyes welled some more.
“Don’t look at me like that, you old witch. I do have a life, you know, unlike you lot sitting around here waiting to die.”
Another old codger, who had been sitting towards the back of the dining room, suddenly jumped to his feet and rushed towards them. “How dare you speak to her like that!” he cried, shaking his fist towards Dalton menacingly.
“And you can shut up, and all. What are you going to do with that? Beat me senseless?” Dalton boomed out a laugh as he turned off the light and exited the side door to where his dilapidated truck was parked. Climbing in, he turned the key and headed out the main gates of the Spring Pines Retirement Village.
Relieved to shake off his day’s work, he headed to his local pub to play on the fruit machines, something he did every night—or on the nights he could afford to, that is.
The White Hart had been his local since leaving school. He didn’t like change and was perfectly happy to go about his daily routine until the day he popped his clogs. He didn’t like working at the retirement village—it did his head in. But the feeble-minded old people more than made up for it with their gullible attitudes and more money than they could possibly spend before they carked it.
He had a few favourites that he’d groomed over the past few months. Befriending the needy bastards had been a doddle—offering to pick up a bit of shopping worked every time and would always culminate in the offer of a cup of tea, leaving him to have a good mooch about their bungalow.
No matter how many times they were told to put their money into a bank or building society, they never seemed to listen, and he would always find a stash of notes either under the mattress, in a large old teapot in the kitchen, or in a shoebox in the wardrobe. They wouldn’t have a clue how much they had and, better still, they would add to it every week. So long as he wasn’t greedy, and didn’t take the lot, they were none the wiser. It was easy pickings to top up his wages with.
Pushing his last pound coin into the slot, he prayed for a win. It was much earlier than he usually left for home, but he’d have no choice if he didn’t win any money. And that would also mean no dinner as he hadn’t a scrap of food in the house.
When the last of the credits spun away, he slammed the heel of his hand on the play button and kicked the front of the machine. “Fucking rip-off piece of shit!”
“That’ll be all for tonight, Dalton, buddy.” Wayne, the hefty barman, lifted the hatch and shuffled his paunch through it. “Come on—or you’ll give me no choice but to bar you. Again.”
Dalton shrugged Wayne’s hand from his arm. “Get your stinking paws off! I’m going. But you wanna get someone out to look at that fucking machine. It’s rigged.”
“You don’t complain when you clear it out though, do you, Dalton?” Wayne grabbed his arm again and shoved him towards the swinging door.
“Alright. Take it easy. I’m going.” Dalton scowled at the much larger man, and then at the pub full of people who had all stopped what they were doing to focus on him. “What the fuck are you lot looking at?” He slammed through the door and out into the chilly night air.
As he approached his vehicle, he dropped his keys in the gutter and, after picking them up, he was startled by a man standing beside him.
“What the fuck do you want?”
The man didn’t say a word. He just stepped forward and punched Dalton on his chin.
Dalton laughed, and then began choking. The punch hadn’t been hard, and yet something was seriously wrong. He lifted his hands to his chin and gasped when he saw the amount of blood covering his fingers. He looked back up at the man before falling forwards to his knees and sprawling in slow motion to the gutter.
The last thing he saw was the man’s brown leather shoes as he walked away.
Originally from Manchester, England, Netta has travelled extensively and has lived and worked in a variety of exciting places. She now lives in New Zealand with her husband. They have three grown up children and four grandchildren.