BUTCHER CITY. A Sneak Preview of Jennifer Lee Thomson’s new DI Duncan Waddell Novel

22 September 2022

Chapter 1

His head felt like a whoopee cushion somebody with a huge, fat arse had sat on. And what the hell was that smell? Had someone taken a giant dump and left it to rot in the pan?

Warily, he opened his eyes. Which wasn’t easy because they were gunged up with sleep. His head was sore enough without letting light in, but he had to see where he was.

Gradually his surroundings came into focus. He was lying on a mattress on a stone floor, in a room with bare brick walls, and strip lighting. In the far corner, there was a barber’s chair. Located nearby was the source of the stench, a plastic bucket. He didn’t need to inspect it to know it was full of shit.

Was it his shit? Not remembering how he got here made anything possible.

Only shit smells like shit, his old man used to say (before he suffocated on his own vomit after a two-day bender).

His legs were numb. As much as the marching band in his head made him want to remain lying down, he needed to get the blood flowing in his legs or he’d end up with cramp.

He managed to sit up. Gave the tops of his legs a wee rub to try and get the circulation going. That’s when he clocked the chains around his ankles. He followed the chain to a bolt embedded in the wall. When he pulled with both hands there was no give at all.

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Where the hell was he? And more to the point, who the fuck was he? He couldn’t even remember his name. Had he been hit over the head? That’d explain the pain and the dizziness.

What was the last thing he remembered? Knowing that would be a start.

Think. Think. Think.

He’d a quick flash of someone grabbing some guy’s shoulder bag with a laptop inside. Dozy clown had been too busy sipping his fancy coffee to notice it’d been snatched.

How the hell would he know that? He must have taken it. But how could he remember stealing that bag and not even know his freaking name? Was he concussed or drugged?

He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with a thin denim jacket on top. Rummaging through the pockets, he found a few bookies’ receipts and one for petrol, so he must have a motor somewhere. That was one more thing he knew about himself than he’d known a minute ago.

In the back pocket of the jeans, his hand closed around a plastic card. A gym membership card in the name Dennis Kincaid. Maybe that was who he was?

Think. Think. Think.

Someone had put him in this cellar and chained him up. And that person could be coming back any minute, in through that door with the keypad that he couldn’t get to because these bloody chains stopped him from moving any further.

He was scouring the floor, frantically searching for something to defend himself when the door beeped and then clicked.

Fists balled, he hauled himself to his feet, bracing himself for what was coming. Despite the dizziness, he managed to stay upright. A guy in a Freddy Krueger mask came in through the door. He almost laughed. Had to be a wind-up.

“Is this a joke?” His words were a rasp.

The guy advanced towards him. There was a flash and his whole body convulsed. The bastard had Tasered him.

As he writhed about on the floor, the guy spoke. “Listen carefully. Do what I say and I’ll let you leave. Try to fight me and you’re dead. Deviate in any way from my instructions and you’re dead.”

He listened as the stranger made his offer.

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