The Jade Camel #15

Previously

Joey, flush with his wad of winnings, tucked into the Philharmonic’s lunch-time special, a steaming bowl of meaty scouse*, congratulating himself on his escape.

He’d only just started on his second glass of stout, when he remembered he was due to sign on; he gulped the smooth liquid down, just as the original antique clock hanging above the bar was beginning to strike two: he was already late.

Gary, the counter supervisor, hadn’t been amused, so much so that Joey had found himself staring back at him across a sticky Formica table in Interview Room One; Joey looked down at his bitten fingernails, ‘sorry, I must’ve left me card at home’ he muttered.

To Joey’s surprise, Gary slid his UB40 across the table, ‘listen Joey, I brought you in here for a warning, but it’s not about being late,’ Gary’s grip on the table edge tightened, ‘it’s about the jade camel, trust me, mate, you’re better off without it.’

Joey held up his hands, ‘if that’s all, I’ll be going.’

Gary, rapidly losing control, flew round the table and grabbed Joey by the lapels, ‘I mean it, mate, it’s like it’s cursed; bad people are coming after you for it.’

next episode


*I’ve an idea one of my characters will be sharing their recipe for this iconic Liverpool delicacy sometime soon

Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: ORIGIN, BEGIN, START
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: CONTROL

Many more #SixSentenceStories here – why not bring your own?

Three Things Challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #14

Previously

Aurora’s carmine lips formed a determined line, as she received Patterson’s latest up-date; she favoured him with an ice-blue stare: ’and when might I expect the camel’s return?’

The suave, silver-haired man spoke smoothly: ‘a plan is being put into place.’

On the south-side of the city, in the DHSS Office on High Park Street, Gary glared across a yellowing Formica table-top at his subordinate Reg, a short, squat individual whom he’d never taken to, waiting for his response.

‘It was just a favour, like, for a mate; Joey Moran’s got something of his and me mate wants it back,’ Reg shrugged, ‘said it was valuable – even showed me a picture of it – I dunno what’s so special about a little curled-up camel statue, it looked more like a turd to me.’

‘Your mate has Mr Moran’s UB40 but he doesn’t know his address, so you took it upon yourself to look it up in the office records?’ As Gary spoke, dread rose from the pit of his stomach – a curled up camel – his fingers gripped the edge of the table-top, purple veins standing out on the backs of his hands – surely not that same evil little statue?

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: YELLOW, PURPLE, BLUE
Denise Farley of Girlie On The Edge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: TERM

More #SixSentenceStories here!

Three Things Challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #13

Previously

As Joey stepped over the threshold, the music he’d heard from outside the building stopped abruptly; light filtered from the lofty windows, illuminating the dust-motes that danced in the large space before him, empty apart from a long wooden counter running along one wall with a dozen mis-matched chairs arranged at intervals along it.

Joey looked around, at the far side of the room was an imposing entrance door, topped with a fancy fanlight; Joey jogged over and drew aside the heavy steel bolts before twisting the night-latch; the door swung open easily. After pulling the door closed and hearing the latch click home, Joey sprinted up the three stone steps to street level. Suddenly the music started up again; Joey looked around, puzzled for a moment, before hurrying off up the narrow side street.

Emerging onto busy Bold Street, Joey ducked inside the nearest shop, its interior thick with cigarette smoke and lined with TV screens; the little camel statue in his pocket vibrated, pursuers forgotten, Joey approached the counter, ‘2.30 at Aintree, two quid on Oracle to win.’

Meanwhile, in the flat below Joey’s, Ceridwen turned over the Five of Swords: the tarot card predicting a cheap victory.

next chapter


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: ARRANGE, PREDICT, ORACLE
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: TREE

Join the #SixSentenceStory readathon here

Three things challenge and Six Sentence Story logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #12

Previously

Patterson finished the careful adjustment to his starched shirt cuffs, lining them up half an inch beyond the end of his jacket sleeves, before running his gaze over the group of short and stocky individuals standing before him; a slight furrow grazed his forehead, ‘there are five of you now and still he eluded you?’

Louis shuffled forward as if to offer an apology, feigning a sad expression, ‘the lad might’ve got away, but we’ll find him,’ he looked up, holding something out to Patterson with a triumphant grin, ‘look, he dropped this!’

Patterson held the grubby piece of cardboard between his thumb and forefinger, a look of distaste on his face as he examined it, ‘his Unemployment Benefit Card, there’s no address, how is it supposed to help?

Jimmy stepped forward, ‘allow me to introduce the newest member of our team,’ he indicated a fresh-faced young man, ‘this is Ron’s baby brother, Sam,’ Ron nodded, pushing his sibling forward, Jimmy continued, ‘he doesn’t say much either, but he has special skills.’

Patterson inclined an eyebrow.

‘Sam also has a job at the DHSS*,’ Shacker added; ‘don’t worry, Mr Patterson, you can count on us to catch up with Joey.’

next episode


*Department of Health and Social Security, responsible at the time (among other things) for the administration of Unemployment Benefits. The card which Joey dropped is a UB40**, the card you had to take when you went to ‘sign on’ at the ‘dole office’. It has the claimant’s National Insurance number from which Sam will be able to trace Joey’s address.

**From where UK band, UB40, took their name. The title of their song ‘One in Ten’ refers to the number 9.6, being the percentage of the local workforce claiming unemployment benefit in the West Midlands in the summer of 1981 when the song was released – the figure was double that in Liverpool by 1985.

Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: UPHOLD, SAD, APOLOGY
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: BOARD

More #SixSentenceStories here

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #11

Previously

Joey returned the man’s gaze; it wasn’t that he was afraid, but something about the unwavering stare and the uncompromising stance of the cigar-smoking man made him slightly wary, framed as he was by the double-leaf doorway in an otherwise blank-faced building, like the gate-keeper to a secret world.

Glancing back into the alleyway, Joey saw that the five strange little men were now huddled together; although he couldn’t make out what they were muttering, by the way they were wildly gesticulating it was apparent that they were arguing amongst themselves. He wondered if he could somehow slip past them, it was either that or face the strangely intimidating man on the other side of the wall; Joey made his decision and eased himself down into the yard below.

Whilst Joey had been concentrating on his descent, the doors to the blank-faced building had closed; Joey jogged across the empty yard, the only sign that someone had been standing in the doorway was the still-smouldering cigar butt on the ground. Beyond the peeling wood, the strum of a rhythm guitar and the boom of a steady blues beat echoed inside the building.

Drawn to the music, Joey gripped the door-handle.

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: TIMID, WARY, AFRAID
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: RHYTHM

More #SixSentenceStories here!

Three things challenge and six sentence stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #10

Previously

Joey shot across the road and hurtled down the narrow alleyway that divided the terrace of tall buildings ahead of him, the northerly aspect of the dank thoroughfare rarely allowed the sun’s rays to penetrate, and his feet slid on the slippery cobbles.

Hearing a shrill whistle behind him, Joey skidded around a corner into an even narrower passage and then another, losing himself in the maze of Victorian dereliction. Behind him, pounding feet were closing in, their speed more than a match for Joey’s; he swung around the edge of another building only to find himself faced by a huge, crumbling brick wall. He turned to face his pursuers – five unusually short, squat individuals crowded in, filling the width of the alleyway.

Joey spun round and launched himself at the wall, fingers and toes desperately scrabbling for purchase in the missing mortar between the bricks; finally, with a heroic effort, he hauled himself to the top and straddled the wall.

Joey peered down into the yard on the other side, where a bearded man leaned on the edge of an open doorway, smoking an unpretending cigar; the man stared back up at him and slowly raised an eyebrow.

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: HEROIC, PRETEND, ASPECT
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: MATCH

Read more #SixSentenceStories here!

Three things challenge and six sentence stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #9

Previously

Ceridwen was clutching her tarot deck so tightly that the edges of the cards dug into her flesh; the air around her reverberated with disharmony as she silently contemplated the brace of cards she’d just dealt – the Tower and the Two of Cups (reversed) – she chewed her lip, her first card reading had spoken of exuberant adventure, but now the cards showed something darker in Joey’s future.

Joey, meanwhile, was teetering on the edge of a roof, in peril of falling, just as the Tower card so dramatically depicted; Patterson was closing in. A movement behind his shoulder caught Joey’s attention: a tawny-coated cat sprung from the overhanging roof and disappeared, greeted by the clank of metal as it landed not far below. The jade camel vibrated in Joey’s pocket and without hesitation, he dodged past Patterson and leapt after the cat.

Joey crashed onto the roof of a low outrigger; only momentarily winded, he let himself down to the ground, ran across the yard and climbed over the back wall, to disappear down the nearest alleyway.

Aurora’s salmon-coloured cheeks turned a vibrant shade of crimson, as her blood boiled; she directed her dismay at Patterson: ‘FIND HIM!’

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: OILED, SALMON, FLESH
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: HARMONY

See what other ‘Sixarians’ have written

Three things challenge and Six Sentence Stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #8

Previously

Bemused, Joey sat on an expensive couch opposite Aurora in the grandest room he had ever encountered, sipping from a fragile cup of sugary tea, while Aurora issued instructions as if she were reeling off ingredients for a complex recipe; her suave companion nodded as he wrote in a small leather-bound notebook with an elegant silver pen.

Aurora paused, studying Joey for a moment; she set her cup down on an onyx and gold side-table, motioning Joey to do the same, ‘Come, Joey, I have something to show you.’

Joey followed her into the red-carpeted hallway through which they’d entered; Aurora glided up one wide staircase, then another, finally leading him out onto a roof terrace where she stood facing him, her steely gaze flicking to his pocket and back to his face. She advanced a step, holding out her hand: ‘I will be your passport to success if you give me that.’

Patterson appeared in the doorway and Aurora took another step towards Joey; the jade camel started to vibrate in his pocket; he retreated, his heart going into overdrive, racing away like his thoughts.

Joey looked over the edge of the building; it was a long way down.

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: PASSPORT, SUGAR, DRIVER
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: INGREDIENT

More awesome #SixSentenceStories here!

three things challenge and six sentence stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel #7

Previously

Joey shook the woman’s hand awkwardly, regarding the smartly-dressed pair standing in front of him with a growing sense of unease; he wanted to turn away, but the man’s steady blue-grey gaze forced his feet to remain rooted to the spot. The woman smiled a thin-lipped smile, ‘we are looking for a new assistant, perhaps you might be interested?’ the woman’s smile broadened, although without a trace of warmth, while the grey-suited man moved in, taking Joey by the elbow, ‘Patterson will help you to the car.’

With a swish of her floor-length fur coat, the woman strode off, Patterson propelling a bemused Joey behind her, while the flunky, engaged to handle their luggage, followed in their wake, clutching a collection of leather and canvas bags.

Twenty minutes later, a midnight-blue Silver Shadow, with Patterson at the wheel, glided to a graceful halt outside a grand, several-storied red-brick building; Patterson got out, adjusting his immaculately-tailored jacket, before pacing around to the pavement side of the car and opening the front and rear passenger doors.

The woman stepped out, gesturing for Joey to join her. ‘I am Aurora,’ she threw out her arms in an expansive gesture, ‘welcome to my empire!’

next episode


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: GROWING, FEET, PANS
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: CANVAS

Read more #SixSentenceStories here!

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which has mysteriously disappeared🐪

The Jade Camel (out-take)

Ceridwen regarded her visitor, there was something familiar about her, although she was sure they’d never met.

Cullen jumped up beside Cynthia and started grooming his silver-grey fur; Cynthia’s face lit up, ‘what a beautiful cat, a perfect pedigree, like my own handsome cat, Asmar,’ she smiled at Ceridwen, ‘I feel I already know you, being another of Ms Hall’s characters – we were talking about you when she came around to invite us to her book launch* this Friday,’ Cynthia caught Ceridwen’s puzzled expression, ‘ah, but you would know her by her pen name, Holly Atkins, I suppose.’

A flicker of recognition passed over Ceridwen’s face and Cynthia pressed on, ‘I came to warn you about the potential danger you’re in from the Jade Camel – that little statue that Joey found the other day – you must have felt its aura.’

‘I did sense something, but when Joey went out earlier whatever it was left with him.’

‘Just be careful, I don’t know what Ms Hall has planned for the little series you’re in, but that camel means trouble,’ Cynthia stood up, suddenly feeling rather faint. It was time to get back to the familiar surroundings of her own book.

~~~~~

*The author is indebted to Spira for the promo video


Written in response to two challenges:

Di of Pensitivity 101’s Wednesday’s Three Things Challenge: POTENTIAL, PEDIGREE, GROOMING
Denise Farley of GirlieOnTheEdge’s Sunday’s Six Sentence Story Word Prompt: BOOK

Loads more great Sixes here!

Three things Challenge and Six Sentence Stories logos

Photo credit: illustration from a book somewhere on my bookshelves which I STILL cannot locate 😉