Chasing the Wind

Overview

In 1984 terrorists planted a bomb in the Grand Hotel Brighton, England during the Conservative Party Conference. They failed to remove the government of the day -- but what if they had succeeded?

What if the event accelerated Europe into a Federated Union with a centralised government in Brussels, the Presidium, who hold the premise that security is paramount, sacrosanct?

What if they in turn birthed a regime originally meant to protect the ...

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Chasing The Wind

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Overview

In 1984 terrorists planted a bomb in the Grand Hotel Brighton, England during the Conservative Party Conference. They failed to remove the government of the day -- but what if they had succeeded?

What if the event accelerated Europe into a Federated Union with a centralised government in Brussels, the Presidium, who hold the premise that security is paramount, sacrosanct?

What if they in turn birthed a regime originally meant to protect the people, but which quickly became a tyrannical organisation -- the Federal Security Division. A force that implements draconian measures in the name of the collective State, where special internment camps spring up for subversives and those who speak out against the Union; where oppression and cold-bloodied murder are rife.

In the summer of 1994, one man is embroiled in the political nightmare, yet at the same time he is faced with the possibility of redemption from a millstone of guilt about his past -- that is, of course, if he can survive.

About the Author

From a family background steeped in law enforcement and military history, Barrie Kibble followed the tradition and served as a British soldier and police officer. During the course of his duty, he survived three near death eperiences; the last occasion was prior to leaving the Police Force, when he walked unscathed from a devastating IRA bomb. Joining the business sector, he became a marketing manager for a well-known computer firm and then a buyer for American, Swiss and British companies. he now runs his own property maintenance business and lives in East Sussex, England. His ruling passion has always been for the written word and of sharing that zealwith those who love to be gripped by a damn good story.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781553956136
  • Publisher: Trafford Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/10/2003
  • Pages: 420

Read an Excerpt

Paul Cain would blow his brains out. There was nothing complicated about it--sane or insane, people did it when they'd had enough.

Reluctant at first to leave the skin-tight warmth of his bed, he finally tossed back the duvet and stood, naked and shivering, in the chill of the sparsely furnished room.

Not even a whisky bottle could lie to him that morning. Death loomed with the same clarity as the mental pictures of last night's ferocious thunderstorm. The truth was, he'd been planning to top himself for ages, and it was pure self-deceit for him to think that it was down to another fitful night's sleep, or to another pointless day raking through the past. This was death then--a plunge into freezing waters instead of that warm, comfortable current that drifted in with old age.

Somewhere at sometime, someone told him that it was no hard thing dying if you'd lived right. That day was long gone, and no doubt the owner of the words long dead--as were all Cain's friends and lovers.

Hell, he wasn't certain of anything anymore.

He threw on a toweling robe, trudged downstairs into the kitchen of his Hampshire farmhouse, gripped the edge of the butler sink and let the ice-cold flagstones sting his bare feet.

Ignoring his warped reflection, he peered through the grimy window. The storm had left an early June day swept by persistent drizzle, and a lone vehicle crawled along the main road. Some hapless tourist lost again. What other sort of idiot came out on a day like today.

He slouched in a chair by the oak table, listened to the loud incessant tick of the wall clock, sunk the tepid leftover dregs of scotch and winced as it burned to hisgut.

Cigarette in shaky fingers, he stood, puffed at it and stared at the cupboard where he kept his old service gun. A friend that reminded him of better days--or were they? Did hell start while one was alive? Was it simply a preview to the eternal horror?

Struggling against the failing hand of reason, he walked to the cupboard and took down the weapon.

Mind transfixed by the lethal power of the Browning 9-millimeter automatic, he played it in sweaty palms, its weight bestowing a familiar sense of security.

Death was preferable to a life-crippling guilt, guilt that no one and nothing on God's rotten earth could redeem him from. Eyes shut, he took a deep breath, pushed the barrel into his mouth and eased back the hammer.

A knock at the door jerked his hand and the muzzle struck his teeth.

Shit!

He rested the gun on his tongue and tasted bitter gunmetal. Three urgent raps followed. He closed the hammer, eased the weapon out and shoved it under a tea towel.

The man on the doorstep was a stranger, but he knew the type. They were all from the same rotten womb--cloak and dagger merchants.

Water dripped from the man's pink nose as he grasped together the lapels of his sodden suit. "Good morning, I'm Major Roberts."

Cain tightened his grip on the latch. "What the hell do you people want?"

"Please forgive this intrusion, Mr. Cain."

"Name's Longthorn, has been for two years. Mr. Kite ought to update his files."

Roberts, short, stocky and balding from a life of army caps, stood with his back bent slightly, his chubby face rutted by his profession, yet his tired eyes held an unmistakable kindness. "I'm not from Kite's section. My bag's Military Intelligence ... or what might remain after this new European Order's finished with it."

"Not interested, Major. Same coven, same pot." He started to close the door.

Roberts shoved a hand against it. "I'm here of my own volition."

"Get to the point, Major. I've things to do."

"An old friend of yours asked me to come ... John Dekker."

"Grief." He rubbed the stubble on his chin. "I thought he was dead. Is he still fighting other people's wars?"

'May I come in?"

Cain swung the door open. "On second thought, we'll talk outside. I could do with some fresh air."

"Of course. Anyway, the dog needs a run."

"Dog?"

Roberts turned and stroked the wet head of the black Labrador sitting on the concrete path behind him. "This is Storm. Very apt for today." He smiled. "I'm afraid I haven't a mack. It wasn't raining when I left London."

Cain grabbed one of the wax jackets off a peg and a pair of Wellington boots from the pile on the stone floor. He handed them to him saying with a wry smile, "I keep spares for clandestine meetings."

Roberts grinned and walked in, dog at his heels. It shook off the rain, yawned and licked some rancid butter from the floor.

"I won't be a minute. Need to shove some togs on," Cain said as he bent to stroke the animal's neck. "Whisky, Major?"

"Too early for me."

"Really."

Cain returned from upstairs as Roberts pulled on the second boot. "Good fit?"

The dog sniffed at the Wellingtons and Roberts shoved him away. "A little tight, but they'll do."

Outside, pushing hard against the wind and rain, they worked their way down a steep bank into a grassy field and stopped in the middle. Both were hunched up, backs against the onslaught. Hands plunged into pockets, hoods stretched over heads like a couple of monks.

Roberts looked at him. "Awful weather. I thought a tired old winter might have--"

"I haven't seen John for a few years." Cain studied his reflection in the mud-smeared shine of his boots. "I guessed he wasn't dead. He was always too quick, too clever."

"He speaks highly of you," Roberts said. "He told me about your last operation."

"Come off it, you're not here to pass on his best wishes."

Roberts cast a furtive look about the field. "I'm asking you to trust me."

"Trust?" Cain shook his head and chuckled. "I don't even trust myself."

"If you'll just let me--"

"I'm out of it. I'm Joe Longthorn now."

"But--"

"I don't bother anybody and nobody bothers me. Sometimes I go to the pub and burgle a mind or two. That's about as covert as it gets." He stared down at a ripple on a puddle. "The Cain is dead. Long live the Longthorn."

"Look, I'm sticking my neck out here."

He glanced toward the house and tasted gunmetal. "It's your neck. You can do what the hell you like with it."

The Labrador barked and sprang to its feet, face set like granite toward a coppice at the bottom of the field.

Roberts rubbed the dog's head with a knuckle, knelt and whispered to it. It tore off. "He can smell something."

"Now, dogs you can trust," Cain said.

"The wife likes him around the house. She's not been the same since we lost our son."

Cain shoved his fists to the bottom of his pockets and tried to find a vestige of blue in the steel-grey sheet of sky. "Sorry to hear that."

"Suffering is obligatory in this life, Mr. Cain."

"Yeah, but if I'd been where I was supposed to be ... my wife wouldn't be dead."

Roberts lifted his head and set his face against the rain. "Sometimes life offers us a second chance."

"Does it?" He retreated into the uncomfortable silence and peered toward the trees where the dog thrashed about in the undergrowth.

The rain and wind stopped abruptly, and the sky split open like a ceramic tile struck by a hammer.

Roberts pulled back his hood and ran a hand through the damp remnants of hair. "I love this country despite what the new Euro-gods are doing to it, but I detest the weather, don't you?"

Cain unzipped his jacket. "I find it easier to accept the devil you know."

The dog reappeared, barked, then dashed back into the trees.

Roberts chuckled. "He's found something. That'll make his day."

Cain began to unwind as thick wedges of light burst through the broken cloud. "Yeah, they've got the easy life." He leaned his head back as the hot sun burned the chill from his face and a whiff of pungent wood smoke had him staring at the black cotton wool balls rolling over the blurred tree lined crest of the distant hill. "Major Roberts, I don't want to bury any more friends, or walk about with my eyes in the back of my head with one hand on the edge of a curtain and the other on an automatic. John'll understand."

The dog's bark changed to a shrill yelp.

"Storm!" Roberts started for the trees.

"Wait." Cain grabbed his arm. "Were you followed?"

Roberts screwed up his brow, his gaze flitting between Cain and the trees.

"Think man, that's what you're bloody trained to do!"

"My dog--"

"Screw the dog. Where's your damn gun?"

A shot rang out and spooked a host of birds into frenzied flight.

The major's head juddered. Another round tore through his chest and hurtled him backward.

Cain threw himself to the ground and lay frozen in the churned mud. The only sound was the roar of blood in his ears.

The major's body lay over a meter away, but one of his boots remained erect by Cain's head. He crawled to the corpse and searched it--no gun. He reached a trembling hand toward the major's broken face and closed the eyelids.

Not wanting to die hugging the ground like some coward, he pushed himself up.

Two figures broke from the tree line and closed on him. They were garbed in the black-green fleck uniform of the European Federal Army and black ski masks hid their faces.

The shorter of the two leveled his rifle. "Keep your hands where we can see them."

The tall one strode over to the major's body and booted it.

Cain said, "I think he's dead, don't you?"

Drawing an automatic pistol, the man pointed it at Cain, then his arm fell away to the corpse. A loud crack and the body quaked. "He is now," the man said.

With the tip of his rifle stuck under Cain's chin, the short soldier searched him with his free hand.

His colleague walked up and thrust out a fist.

Cain grabbed his side, slumped to his knees and snatched for breath. "Why ... why don't you two freaks get it over with?"

The tall man shoved him to the mud with a boot, pressing it against his face. "Finding you couldn't have been easier than if Roberts had given us a lift."

"Why the major?" Cain asked.

The killers glanced at each other and the short one said, "We have a message from our governor, Cain. Stay out of things that don't concern you."

The words were a signal for the tall man to lay into him.

Cain coiled up as the blows came fast and hard. He had taken beatings before, but this guy was scoring goals with every kick. Within seconds the agony turned to a numbing sensation, but he felt the crack to the back of his head, the pain unbearable.

Through misted eyes, he watched the figures saunter off and then the world disappeared into blackness.

Rain hammered down when he came to. He lay shivering in a marshy pool, an earthquake in his head. Every part of him hurt and he could hardly see, let alone move.

He locked his jaw and dragged himself toward the farmhouse. At first, the going was easy over the boggy ground, but the incline to his back garden was a mountain of mud.

He clawed his way up, halted near the top and pressed his face into the slime. Lungs squashed in a vise, he hung from hands stricken by an icy arthritis.

Driven by the image of the telephone in the kitchen, he pulled himself over the crest, wiped the sweat and mud from his eyes and worked his way up the concrete path.

Slumped against the front door, he fumbled in his pockets for the key. Shit. Lost it somewhere in the field.

The major's green Ford Sierra was parked at the end of the path and he crawled toward it; prayed it wasn't locked, hoped to God it had a radiophone.

He clicked up the handle and slue the driver's door open with his elbow. Arm up and over the seat, he located a telltale cable, curled his stiff fingers around it and wrenched. The receiver bounced off the seat and cracked onto the concrete. He grabbed it and wrestled his mind for Kite's emergency number. Kite would bring him in with the minimum of fuss--standard procedure.

He stabbed a knuckle at the buttons. Kite's line was dead. He tried again--nothing. He tapped out 999 and slumped forward into darkness again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2003

    Real. . . real . . . I was there!

    A thriller with real places, real people, real voices - just as if they were folks I knew for a lifetime. The details and accuracy of description made me feel that I was there. This is fine writing at its best. What a great, thrilling story. More! Bring on the sequel! Jo,

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