Archive for the ‘Homunculus’ Category

Hugh Paxton’s books going cheap!

December 13, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog just got a message suggesting I buy my books! Apparently they are on sale! Amazon is knocking off the dollars! What are you waiting for! Homunculus? The perfect stocking filler for anybody in a mental hospital. Overland’s quite fun if you like deranged safari stories with lots of witches and Koevoet meteorite smugglers. Jimmy and the Djinn is a favourite of mine. Crusader knights, chminney chases, murderous harps.

Fill those stockings fellows!

And have a slightly unusual Christmas while you read my stuff!

My very best

Hugh!

(Not Suitable For Children) This Reminded Me Of Homunculus

October 27, 2011

These links were recently sent to me by a friend. The Vice Guide To Liberia reminded him of my novel, Homunculus.
http://www.vbs.tv/newsroom/the-vice-guide-to-liberia-1-of-8–2

Yes, indeed! This site has been nominated for twice for a Webby. I think it’s got a very good chance of sweeping the prize.

Back to Liberia, this picture is pretty incredible.

http://i.imgur.com/ScoKn.jpg

Yes, that does appear to be a drugged up drag queen toting an AK 47.
They say truth’s stranger than fiction, in this case they’re about equally strange! Visions of hell, both.
Thank you, Mason

Homunculus – Oh Gawd two more chapters. Lots of nastiness!

July 25, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s blog is proud to give you two more chapters of Homunculus, the sequel.  In the first book things were fairly extreme. If you haven’t read it, read it!

BLOG ED LITERARY REVIEW:  These next two chapters aren’t for the sensitive.

HUGH: They wren’t written for sensitive people! Can we please just get on with the mayhem?

BLOG ED: Yes. Why not? But if any of this is to make sense blog readers need to read the first chapters.

HUGH: Of course. Can we get going!  

START:

CHAPTER THREE:  Bodywork.

 

 

 Father Jack checked his Venetian cherry wood clock. Nine PM on the dot. He strolled across to the window and drew back the red felt curtain. A druid sickle moon that looked thin and sharp enough to slice paper was poised low in the sky but cast little light.  Mist was rising on Dark Tarn and pooling in the wood. Poor visibility. Perfect. Tonight he knew was going to be the night.

 

They’d be coming. And about bloody time.

 

He sipped at his brandy balloon then reached for his brass hand bell and gave it a tinkle.   

 

What had been Mr. Livingstone shambled in. Three other people who had also seen the For Sale advertisement that Father Jack had placed in Country Life Magazine and had swallowed Jack’s bullshine about going to the Atherton Tablelands, followed the late and re-designed Mr. Livingstone into Jack’s study. 

 

As Jack had hoped and intended they’d all been casing the joint and had returned under cover of darkness, assuming that Clouds was empty, to loot the premises of all the fine antiques and paintings that Jack had so trustingly shown them on their tours of inspection. Obliging of them.

 

The chumps!

 

Three genuine buyers had shown up, too. But Jack had let them go home intact. What he’d not wanted were body parts supplied from people whose disappearance would cause a stir. What he had wanted were criminals, people who wouldn’t be telling anyone where they were going, and who wouldn’t be missed. 

 

Result? Not too shabby. The underworld had been extremely co-operative and had provided more than enough material for his initial bodywork. 

 

And all it had ended up costing him was two hundred and thirty quid for the ad. Bargain. 

 

He took another toot of the brandy and had a look at his ambush squad.

 

Livingstone had shrunk somewhat but was still taller than your average homunculus. The chest was sunken,Belsensurvivor-style.  But that had been inevitable. The sawn-off that had welcomed him on his second visit to Clouds had caused significant tissue trauma. The belly had bloated giving him a Tweedle Dum look that Jack found somewhat amusing. In keeping with theAliceillustration theme, Jack had made his mouth unusually wide. And had installed shark hooks for teeth. For reasons Jack had yet to identify, this particular unit had lost all its cranial hair during the processing period. The pubic hair by contrast continued to grow and at unnaturally rapid rates. This phenomenon had furnished Livingstone with a sort of north Pacific grass skirt look. Speed was not the unit’s strength.           

 

Livingstone, for chronological reasons, was known as Unit One (U-1). For practical reasons U-1 had a garotte permanently attached to one hand. This was to stop U-1 losing it and was also designed to augment the shark hooks in close combat scenarios.  

 

U-2 had turned up disguised as a priest feigning interest in purchasing Clouds for use as a religious retreat for school children contemplating a career in the church as their future path. Father Jack had found this ruse appealing. Then he’d hit the charlatan with a candlestick. And sent him to bed. 

 

U-2 didn’t shamble. It lurched. And sometimes its wheels fell off. Not a hundred percent of a success, U-2. But what it lacked in physical alacrity it more than compensated for in foul temper.

 

U-3 to U-5 were, by and large, standard homunculi. Brainless (in every sense of the word) obedient, orc-ugly and furnished with razors for fingernails. They could handle the nine mils he’d issued them with and spit neat jets of sulphuric acid, too. They would also explode if appropriately instructed to perform the function. Jack hadn’t really bonded with U-3 to U-5. He was fond of U-1, and U-2’s occasional tantrums offered him interesting avenues for further study into homunculer psychotic behaviour but overall U-3 to U-5 were just second hand soldiers.    

 

Time for a briefing.

 

“Listen up. I’m expecting visitors tonight. They are coming to steal my badgers. Their leader is a sexually-degenerate individual named Scarman who believes that he will be able to sell the badgers for profit to a dog fighting/badger baiting syndicate inCountyCork. The syndicate, which is entirely fictitious, has promised him one thousand pounds per head.”       

 

Jack studied his audience. U-1 was nodding. As if it was attending a College lecture. Interesting.

 

He’d have to watch that brain of U-1. Maybe remove it.

 

U-2 was clearly angry and anxious to do something violent.

 

U-3 to U-5 were dormant. Awaiting specific instructions.  

 

“Go into the woods. The fool Scarman saw an ad I placed in BBC Wildlife Magazine inviting guests for badger watching. He then received a purchase order for badgers. He’s coming.”

 

More thoughtful nodding from U-1. U-2 was hopping with impatience. Other Units just waiting for orders.

 

“Kill them all. I’ll sort them out.”

Jack, pushed by instinct, returned to the window. He heard a distant lorry engine die. They were here! Scarman’s goons. Scarman, too. He cackled wildly. “Kill them all! God will recognize his own!”  

 

The Homunculi left to obey their orders.

 

Jack cleared his drink. A thought arrived.

 

“Come back here!” he hissed.

 

The homunculi did.

 

 “Unleash a few badgonculi,” said Father Jack. “Set them loose! Let us see the baiters bit!”  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR: What Happened in the Woods.

 

 

“Weed! Weed! Slow down you bastard! I can’t see you!”

 

Scarman should have been leading. It was the roots, the mist, they made it all but bloody impossible to go straight.

 

His crew was scattered and his torch was misbehaving. Something moved to his left.

 

“Was that you? George? George?”

 

The shadow slipped away. Scarman was alone. And this whole thing was becoming bloody ridiculous.

 

He’d been offered 1,000 quid per badger off the cuff by some Mick calling himself Pitsman Doyle. Doyle was organizing an international contest to establish whether the terrier, the bulldog or the Tosa was the greatest fighting canid yet bred by man. 

 

The enterprise would have gone no further – Scarman couldn’t tell the difference between a badger and a beaver and had no idea where to find either – but then fate intervened in the form of Bertram and his well-thumbed copy of BBC Wildlife magazine. There in the Classifieds section was an ad for no less than “BadgerWatch”. Yessir. Badgers guaranteed. In quantities unrivaled.

 

An enthused phone call was made to BadgerWatch booking the fictitious Dunderson family a weekend of watching. Mr. Dunderson (Scarman) was assured that he was guaranteed sightings of up to thirty badgers, and if his luck was in, more. Mr. Dunderson was then given directions to Clouds. With the addendum that Clouds was rather remote.  Bertram was dispatched on a recce to map the site. Bertram had followed orders. Confirmed the presence of an abundance of badgers. Drawn and delivered the map. And that is why he, Scarman, was now blundering through a wood just before midnight.              

 

Totally disorientated.

Shit! This thing should have been a cake walk! And now, with his people God knew where, with Scarman God knew where, it wasn’t. Why had Scarman let Bertram run away? Why had Bertram run away? 

 

City born and bred. That was Scarman. And just now he was totally out of his depth. And he knew it. This was Bertram-land. Not designed for Scarmans. Not a…

 

“Bugger!” A branch whip back in the face.

 

…Scarman place!

 

“Weed! Gazza!” he hissed. “Where are you?”

 

“Shite!” Scarman now in stinging nettles. And they were stinging him like bastards!

 

He stepped backwards, tripped on a root, fell on his arse. Brambles!

 

“Twats!”

 

Scarman back on his feet. Then the slushy sound of water.

 

His torch-light finally revealed something informative. A bog. He was up to his ankles in stinking black mud. 

 

To his left the shadow again!  Closer. Then it ducked away and was lost in the mist. But Scarman’s torch had hit on something. Two red eyes. The glint of steel.

 

Scarman tucked himself behind tree roots. Scared now.

 

Something was hunting him.

 

“Scarman,” said a voice.

 

Weed? It could be Weed? But Weed never called Scarman by name! The runt didn’t dare.

 

Scarman waited. He forced himself to regulate his breathing

 

Nothing more. A minute passed slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

Weed was lost. Gazza was lost. But at least they were lost together. George and bastard Scarman were gone.

 

“Gazza?”

 

“Yeah, man, Weed.”

 

“There’s something in this wood.”

 

“Keep your fucking voice down. I don’t like this.”

 

The gurgle of Gazza’s hip flask.

 

“Can’t you smell something? Smells like eggs!”

 

“Shut it. I’m trying to listen.”

 

Both men heard it. A low hooning. Then a rapid chattering. No words. Just chattering. Almost like false teeth in a wind up toy. And the sulphur smell was building.

 

“It’s an owl.”

 

“That’s no owl you daft twat. Owls got beaks. That’s teeth. You bring your knife?”

 

“No man, Gazzer. I brought my hair drier. Thought it might like come in useful.”

 

There were more noises. Coming closer. Chattering. The wood was full of movement. 

 

“Here’s an idea,” said Gazza. “Howsabout we fuck off?”

 

“I’m with you on that one.”

 

Weed and Gazza ran.

 

 

 

 

Jack was at his window watching progress through his night vision binoculars. No sign yet of the badger snatchers but they were out there he knew. He’d heard their truck engine. Units one to five were all in the wood on active service. So were some badgonculi. Any minute now – contact!

 

More body parts! And he could begin in earnest!

 

 

 

 

Shirley sat in the lorry’s cab in darkness. She was parked on the access track on the edge of the wood. It had been a horrible drive over thePennines. Narrow roads; twisted and kinked as Scarman’s mind. As befuddled by fogs as his tainted soul.

 

How she loathed him.

 

And how she wanted him taken down.

 

She’d opted for undercover work. Her choice they’d said. And it had been. She was a natural they’d said. And she was. School plays, she’d always been the star. Acting was part of her. For as long as she could remember.

 

Could make more of a difference than 100 years of plodding the street, they’d said.

 

What they hadn’t said was how long she’d have to put up with it; living and working with the same diseased people. She’d built up notes fatter than the OED but still the desks said ‘wait’. Always ‘wait’. 

 

They wanted the Big One. A massive international bust guaranteed to capture the BBC and CNN’s attention for more than a sound-bite.

 

International busts made Shirley’s stomach turn. Co-ordinating with the Greeks, the Turks, the Albanians, the Germans – a logistical nightmare, a plague of delays.  And 100 years plodding the street was increasingly looking like a more productive option. 

 

Scarman’s crew were witless jerks (Bertram excepted, in Shirley’s opinion he needed immediate incarceration in Broadmoor and vigorous electroshock therapy). Crude, ugly human mongrels that was the rest of Scarman’s crew. Like most of the prison population. Losers. Sending them away to enjoy a period of time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure would be about as satisfying as wiping her arse. Clean things up on a temporary basis, flush it away. But expect another batch tomorrow.       

 

Scarman was different. Very warped and very dangerous, was Shirley’s assessment. The desks wanted to pull down similar demons in mainlandEuropewith Scarman coming a poor but crucial final link in the chain.

 

Shirley wanted him out of the population ASAP. His private army might pale in comparison to the gunmen employed by his Central European counterparts. But Scarman had sufficient charisma and wit to go to terrible places. And there was a pit of filth in his brain. 

 

Shirley lit a cigarette. The small red glow was a private vice and comfort. She tried the radio, keeping the volume low. A few deft twiddles and she got Book At Bedtime. The reader had a gentle voice, lulling. Pride and Prejudice.  A book she liked.  

 

Then the screams and shouting started. In the wood.

 

 

 

 

Daft George, still clutching his puppet, strode heavily kicking his way through ferns, entered a clearing and saw what he’d heard circling him. Units One and Four. 

 

George was not unduly surprised. He took horror movies literally, accepted them as fact. He believed in monsters.

 

This was the first time he’d actually met any but he reckoned he could take the bastards. Trolls, dragons, giant octopi – he’d give those bastards a wide berth. But goblins? Piece of piss. He’d seen Lord of the Rings (28 times) and he knew all that growling and whacking spears and boasting was nothing. Orcs were shite at fighting. Even the dwarf had killed hundreds of them – he’d seen it – and George was no dwarf. 

 

The homunculi started hissing. Green smoke belched from copper nose pipes. The eggy smell increased in strength.

 

George dropped the puppet.  He pulled his hammer out of his belt, thwacked its metal head against a tree trunk, and uttered the George war cry.

 

“Come on yer bastards! Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!”

 

The homunculi did.

 

Unit Four arrived first and George smashed his hammer down on its head.

 

The skull should have popped like a stamped egg. But it didn’t. The hammer bounced off the protective titanium cranial plate. With a clang.

 

The unit started screaming. The blind fury in its voice failed to disturb George. It slashed at George’s leg with razor blade finger nails.

 

George was wearing black leather trousers and a thick donkey jacket. The blades didn’t make much more than nicks. He loomed over the little orc bastard and gave it another go with the hammer. This time in the back of the neck. There was a sharp crack as the bones broke, a flash of light, a cloud of smoke. George kneed the goblin in the face and its head fell off.

 

Unit One paused, turned around. Seemed to think. And then it ran away.

 

“Any time! Yer bastards!” shouted George.

 

Four badgonculi entered the arena.

 

They reminded George of the Wargs in The Two Towers. Only these ones were smaller, had stripes on their noses and came with more barbed wire. 

 

The wargs had looked good when they’d first attacked the refugees inTwoTowersbut had put up a piss-poor performance when push came to shove.  George wasn’t fazed.

 

“Let’s have you, ya bastards!”

 

The badgonculi loped across the clearing.   

 

George grinned and stood his ground.   

 

 

 

 

Weed and Gazzer, totally confused by night and fog blundered in circles until they met units 3 and 5.

 

It was over fairly quickly. 

 

 

…   

 

 

Scarman heard Weed and Gazzer’s shrieking swan songs and decided two things.

 

One: Something was seriously wrong

 

Two: To bury himself in leaf mould and forest litter and wait for sunrise.

 

He scrabbled to collect his cover but there wasn’t enough.

 

“Cunts!”

 

Then his groping fingers located a hole. Yes! A hole!

 

Yeeesss!

 

He scrambled in. Slithered down. And found a chamber. Now at least the torch was behaving. He inspected his premises. Finger sized roots dangled from the roof, several bigger roots formed woody pillars and twisted columns, there was – yack! – a mangled rabbit on the earthen floor but overall the chamber, cave, burrow, whatever the fuck it was, was big enough to keep him in oxygen and elbow room.

 

Let events play out as they would up top. Here he was safe. He hoped.

 

 

 

 

George four. Badgonculi nil. The hammer had gone into overdrive. The badgonculi had gone down. George wasn’t even panting after his exertions.

 

“Nice result,” said the puppet cheerily. Its friendly face was split by a smile. 

 

“Nah. It was just small pertaters,” said George flushing with embarrassment at the praise. Life hadn’t thrown much praise his way. It made him uncomfortable but happy. “Soft as shite those goblins, me old puppet, man Longshanks,” he elaborated.

 

That he was in the company – no, more than that! He was the proud owner of a wooden puppet that could talk and move struck him as no more unusual as meeting goblins. 

 

“Now let’s go and find the owner,” said the puppet giving him a kiss.

 

“Why?”

 

“You can hit him on the head, George.”

 

“Why?”

 

 “You’ll enjoy it.”

 

“And he’s a bad magician, George,” the puppet added.

 

“Is he?”

 

“Yes. Very bad.” The puppet gave a sorrowful shake of its head. “He’s making goblins. And he wants to make more and sell them to other bad people. Foreigners, George. He wants to sell them to bad people in foreign countries.Serbia.Chechnya.Indonesia.Iraq.Afghanistan. He plans a Crusade against everybody who annoys him. And a lot of people annoy him.”

 

“Can he turn me into a froggy?”

 

“No, I don’t think so.”

 

“Coz man, puppet Longshanks, I don’t want to be a froggy.”

 

“The issue won’t arise,” said the puppet. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

George hefted his hammer and stopped worrying about it.

 

 

 

 

Father Jack saw movement. A shape – a human form – was emerging from the wood. It was huge.

And it had a hammer and, behind it, was walking what looked like a child. 

 

That wasn’t right. What had happened to his homunculi? His four badgonculi?

 

The child wasn’t right.

 

Very un-right.

 

Downright wrong!

 

It’s made of wood, he realized. Wood and leather.

 

“Shite!” said Father Jack. Quite how he did not know. But he’d fucked up. His homunculi had fucked up.

 

And someone else (who?) had developed a homunculus. And it was coming for him. And it had brought Grendel’s big brother along to help.

 

 

 

 

 

Shirley wondered what to do. While the radio maintained its charming flow of mannered words and enquiries into the character’s health and the Beltane mist shrouded her truck Shirley knew that something appalling was occurring.

 

Intervene?

 

She should. She ought to. But the night was dank with menace. The screams had been Weed and Gazzer. The shouting had been George. She recognized their voices.

The brutish bellows, and  howls had been from different, unknown throats.

 

Call the police?

 

Where would the nearest cop shop be? Miles away. Miles. How long for them to respond? Too long. Even if she could raise them. Explain where she was.

 

And she was undercover. And was under strict instructions to remain that way. And…

 

And something was just beside the truck.

 

She stilled Jane Austen. Maybe more than one something.

 

Shirley stubbed her ciggy out.

 

Silly really. Whoever or whatever it was must have heard Mr. Darcy apologizing for his ungentlemanly marriage proposal, smelled the Marlboro smoke, knew she was in the cab.

 

There was a sudden thumping at the door.

 

She snicked the lock. A hand grabbed the top of the window which was partially open. Shirley seized the handle and fought to wind the bloody thing up and close the window. The hand was joined by another. Both fought her efforts. 

 

Shirley could see their knucklebones! There was fungus on them. The fingernails! Razors!

 

A face reared up. Shirley was eye to eye with hell. Hell champed its jaws. It spat. Liquid splashed backwards from the window glass and into its eyes with revolting results. The eyes burst. 

 

But still the face was there while its skin frothed and melted, drooled and bits of the cheeks fell off. Still the hands were there. Forcing the window open.

 

The strength of the thing!

 

Shirley drenched herself in urine and worse. She screamed. 

 

She didn’t notice she was doing either, indeed had no idea what she was doing, and seconds later was standing outside the truck. Somehow she’d scrambled out of her seat, opened the door, and – Thank Christ – had closed it again. Inside the cab the roof lights were now on, Jane Austen was suddenly playing at full volume – “And your mother is in good health?” – and something from hell (or somewhere worse) was blinded and going berserk while its head dissolved. The windscreen wipers were at full move. The horn was jammed and blaring. Indicators flicked left right and centre. A gory fist tore Scarman’s Lucky Dice from the dashboard.   

 

A lucid Shirley thought arrived.

 

“I sincerely hope it doesn’t find the gears.”

 

It found the gears. And it found the ignition. And the truck back fired – a rattle of bangs – then surged forwards. The insane, screaming thing that was its driver suddenly pressed its face to the Shirley window and spat again. There was another chemical backlash. More acid in the face. A chunk of skull fell out.  Then the truck was off and away.

 

“Mr. Darcy… “

 

The lorry was gone.

 

Shirley stabilized and wondered what to do with her panties. And her trousers.

 

She couldn’t be seen like this. She was a clean person. 

 

There was the ripple of water. A stream! She followed the sound. Fresh water. Cleansing. Something vile ran past her firing a nine millimeter pistol. It ignored her completely.

 

A metallic voice brayed. “Kill them then kill them all! Praise the Lord!”

 

Shirley crouched in her stream with the cold clean hill waters making her ankles shudder and her buttocks shrink, felt the splash  and flow scouring her stains, heard an explosion.   

She had no idea what to think. 

 

 

 

 

Jack opened the casement and leaned out to check progress. The immense man was at the front door. His homunculus was helping him. The man was hitting the door with a hammer. Useless. A battering ram would be in with a chance. A hammer wouldn’t make a dent. The door was castle strong. But the homunculus was ahead of the game. It was using its twiggy finger as a pick lock.

 

“Crafty little bastard,” muttered Jack.

 

Jack was now more than concerned. He wanted the big one. His real estate fraudster homunculi were proving to be crap. Feeble. Gravely disappointing. If his next batch of homunculi were to fetch the sort of prices he hoped for and achieve Jack’s plans for the New World Order he needed muscle. Something the gorilla below possessed in Spades.

 

And he wanted the homunculus.

 

And he very much wanted to know who had made it, how it had hooked up with a King Kong look-a-like, how it had found him and why it (presumably) wanted to kill him.

 

Skip the boiling oil. He didn’t want damaged goods. Dry ice time. Extra Dry. He ran for his Cold Room praying that that devious lock picking little shit of a Pinnochio didn’t get lucky and gain access before he laid his hands on one of his Final Solutions. Handling the hammer-man in a physical confrontation was not an option that offered any chance of happy outcomes. 

 

 

 

 

The puppet got lucky with the mechanism. And then to its regret its luck ended.  George in one of his over-excited and increasingly manic hammer swings unintentionally hit its artful, probing fingers. Smash. Splinters. A jammed lock.

 

“Bombs away!” hooted Jack. Drunkenly, as was his way. He let them have it.

 

 

 

 

George looked up.

 

What was left of the puppet looked up.

 

“Yikes!” said the puppet.

 

“Yer bastard!” lowed George.

 

Both were engulfed in a cloud of Absolute Zero.

 

Simultaneously a lorry tore across Jack’s lawn.

 

“My lawn!” howled Jack.

 

Divots flew.

 

“No, no, NOO! My Kurdish sundial!” 

 

Smash.

 

Jack grabbed for his bull horn.

 

“Stop! Ach Christ, my roses! Stop!”

 

“Stop! STOP! MY ROSES!”

 

The lorry surged ever on in a storm of delicate petals, reduced a glass house to ruin, and, horn blaring, driver on fire, plunged into Black Tarn. 

 

 

 

 

In her stream, Shirley listened to the bedlam. Decided that she had gone mad. And wanted to go home.

 

 

 

 

And Scarman in his Badgonculi sett waited for dawn.

 

Two Badgonculi didn’t.

 

They came back early.

 

  THAT’S IT FOR TONIGHT

Best

hugh

Homunculus Chapter Two: Chumps and the Toy Shop

July 2, 2011

Here’s another part of Homunculus. Hugh Paxton’s blog hopes you’ll enjoy it. Things will get even more hectic in Chapter Three!

Best from Bangkok!

Hugh

CHAPTER TWO: More Chumps and The Toy Shop

Scarman (CHUMP SIX) looked out of his rent-a-cabin office window and sourly noted that Daft George (CHUMP SEVEN) was, as per usual, and absolutely no surprises, late.

It was that bloody toy shop.

Again. AGAIN!

Scarman just knew it.

Punctuality had once been the norm with George. About the only norm in his mentally deficient life.

Regular as dysentery and petty theft in a Goa Traveler’s guesthouse (Scarman’s only overseas visit had been toGoaand he’d never repeat the performance again).

Regular. That had been George.

Clockwork. Set your watch. George would amble in, on time, sit down where you told him, smile, be good (unless he was in a sulk and needed a motherly hug) and suck his lollipop. Or more usefully he’d turn up at a games arcade and make the owner, who had been negligent when it came to protecting his interests with sufficient slices of cake to appease Scarman’s hunger, swallow fistfuls of slot tokens.

Or he’d drill neat holes through a rash and boastful wannabee’s kneecaps. Whatever the mission. George had been …On Time! Always!  

Then that bloody Welshman, by name of Tom Jones – would you credit it? Tom Jones! – had opened “Hobby Horse.”

Who in their right mind would site a toy outlet in a run-down malfunctioning industrial estate right bang next to a scrap yard owned by a well known criminal? 

A toy shop! As a neighboring enterprise!  It had totally bemused Scarman. 

At first he’d thought it was some grotesquely expensive ruse by Vice or the CID( Cunts In Disguise) to establish a watch point to surveille him.  

He’d re-routed his young Albanian girl import angle. Very inconvenient. They were now coming in through Merseyside courtesy of The Hobbit Link. And that wasn’t working as planned. Frodo had informed Scarman that a lot of the younger ones were disappearing or expiring en route in the teddy bear shipment containers that some Turkish shit of a stevedore called Sauron was failing to properly drill for sufficient air supply. Very irritating. The Customs and Immigration CO2 tests on crates to detect human exhalation weren’t helping either. Scarman found the fact that the British Isles was swarming, going on overwhelmed, with foreigners, a personal insult. Millions of the bastards! Blowing up the Underground. Mosques left right and centre. And here he was struggling to just bring in a handful of nubiles from Albania!          

He’d also put his web porn studio plan on hold. That was a damn tragedy. A knife wound to the groin.

Scarman had recently discovered the wonders of torture and extreme BDSM on-line.

Unbelievable what you could access just by a quick Google for BDSM. And the Russians! The South Americans! Slovakia!  Japan! The stuff they were peddling! The stuff women would do! Or could be made to do! Unbelievable! 

Scarman, who’d privately thought he was gay ever since he’d failed to manage an erection in his first love tussle in a bus shelter, had found his increasingly grisly but incredibly easy surfing episodes liberating. And confidence building.

His total disinterest in women had vanished. He’d discovered he loved watching them. Being spanked, flogged, tied up, splashed with hot wax. Gasping. Groaning. Submitting. While dungeon lights flickered and black leather gleamed.

He’d wanted to do all this, but more, in his very own studio in his very own scrap yard. And personally supervise the operation.

But no, the toy shop had been there. He’d hung fire.    

And the irony of it? It wasn’t a ruse. Not an observation point for The Filth.

After two months of suspended scrap yard criminal activity the foul truth had hit home with a mocking grin.

Hobby Horse had turned out to be a bona fide toy shop. Tom fucking Jones had turned out to be a genuine toy shop owner. His impudent venture and its location had been encouraged by city grants to revitalize under-privileged areas.

Scarman wasn’t a man who had gone into politics. He’d ignored the social graces, had maintained the ability to keep his sneer in place when meeting a councilor who might in future be helpful. He was working class. Not an arse licker.  

Now? Backlash.

Kids from all over town were constantly being driven there to buy toys! In fancy cars. From the better suburbs. Solicitors. Judges. Politicians. Their wives. Their Grannies.  People were even coming from theGulf States! The Sultan of some place –Oman,Yemen, Saudi, Scarman was unsure but he’d seen the procession of cars – they were buying toys!     

The implications were paralyzing Scarman. And his planned www.flogitraw.com. extravaganza.

Tom Jones was not just selling toys, he was making them, running workshops to teach other people how to make toys, had just been presented with an award for community development by no less than the Mayor. His fundamentally and consistently good-natured smile had this very day been stuck in Scarman’s face over his breakfast pint by none other than The Daily Telegraph.

And The Sun!  

The man seemed capable of creating the most extraordinary toys. Toys that moved. Talked. Did all kinds of shit!  

The Telegraph story that had soured Scarman’s breakfast pint beyond consumption had reported that Sony had just offered Jones an undisclosed sum of “a large magnitude” to buy his patents. Jones had refused.

Scarman could once have just sold his scrap yard and buggered off. Bought a new piece of territory and renewed business as usual in pastures new and un-fouled. To his lasting regret this was no longer an option.

  1. He had close to twelve thousand tons of scrap on his land cunningly placed to make recovery obstinate. And hide a subterranean Meth Amphetamine lab.
  2. There were three dead, tortured Albanian girls buried beneath the cars in Plot 3 and the sea gulls would be on them after the junk was shifted and the public glare would be on them and Scarman would be answering police questions with a dry mouth and little hope. If the cars and the scrap was removed.     

So Scarman was stuck.

And Daft George was late. 

All down to a bloody toy shop!

Scarman had woes upon woes. His big woes had little woes. Upon their backs to bite em. His little woes had smaller woes. And so ad infi-bloody-nitum!  

Chief among the current woes was Black ‘Jacky’Jackson. Twenty grand he owed BJ. And the man ran a tough crew, had a vicious mind, used nail guns, and didn’t like debtors.

Cash flow. That was another of Scarman’s current woes. Combine BJ, debt and cash flow problems and life lost its glister.

Business suspension. Cash flow down to a dribble, Christ! Six months ago 20 Gs wouldn’t have been anything more than a splash of piss in a pot. Now it wasNiagara Falls. And all thanks to Tom Jones and his toy shop.

Thinking of the toy shop resurrected Scarman’s fury at George. 

The dozy bastard would spend hours in front of the window ogling the model planes, the bloody racing cars, the little moving puppets, the damn train sets…

Thirty two years old, built like a brick shithouse, and fully equipped with a brain the size of a pickled walnut. That was Daft George.

Any of Scarman’s other crewmen pulled this singularly persistent late arrival crap they’d be hanging by their ear lobes. Not George. Scarman had no option but to bend the rules in his case. Mainly because he’d yet to meet a man capable of hanging George up by the earlobes or anything else – the knucklehead was harder than Sheffield Steel, best damn enforcer Scarman knew inNewcastle. 

Behind him the kettle he’d set on the hob began to burble. A homely sound.

“Let them wait. George’ll be along just now. You know his ways,” said Shirley. “Have yourself some tea.”

Shirley. His secretary. Scarman knew she fancied him. Nice looking girl, great roll to her hips, auburn hair, good with cooking books and other twilight accountant skills necessary to deflect the twin curses of tax payment and criminal investigation but far too motherly for a twenty year old.

She needed rope suspension from the ceiling some shibari tit abuse and a bamboo strap. That would be a fine reminder that carefully selected perfume and Betty Boop eyelash flutters, meant little to a man in charge.  

Scarman became semi-erect at the thought and took the tea mug back to his station at the cabin window. From where he surveyed his crew. His pecker dwindled. It was not a sight to inspire libido.

Weed (CHUMP THREE) – a runty little knifeman – was huddled under a tarpaulin with two of the others – Bertram and Gazzer (CHUMP FOUR) – smoking a roll up and shivering.

Bertram  was perched on a shooting stick – every inch the aristocrat even in a scrap yard. Ex-SAS staff. Took a shot in the brain during the first Gulf War. Prior to that he’d had the lot. An estate inSurrey, society wife, stables; now? God alone knew what went on in the man’s head. He’d dumped everything, taken to the road, ended up here. Where he was useful. No-one could scout out a tempting little country house caper like Bertram. And nobody could rob it better. He didn’t even take much of a cut.    

So much for Bertram.

Gazzer looked like a man who had one vengeful fuck of a hangover. Nothing new there. Even at five o’clock. PM.  

Gazzer was a ten pints a night man. And that was Monday to Thursday. God watch him on the weekends.    

These were the men Scarman would take with him tonight. Gazzer. Bertram. Weed. And he’d wanted Daft George, too.

Lousy evening, thought Scarman. Cold, grey, thin mizzle carrying with it the scent of the sea. Not a fresh smell. Too much rotting seaweed to it.

Puddles of water from the previous night’s rain still pooled between the junked cars and stacks of rusting metal.

Weed pitched his butt. Gazzer spat. Took a pull at a hip flask. Bertram was beginning to look bored.

Scarman lost patience. Checked his watch. Ten past five. Darkness setting in. Time to be gone.

He opened the window.

“We’ll skip George. The daft twat’s probably buying a puppet! Gazzer! You got the cages?”

“Like you said. Twenty five.”

“And they’re strong? Remember, these bastards can bite and claw!”

“Yeah, they’re strong. Nothing’s could get outa those cages, man. Not a fucking tiger couldn’t. Not even Daft George.”

“I don’t want to even think about Daft George,” Scarman snarled. “So don’t bring the fucking topic up unless you require some castigation!”  

“What?”

“Castigation! Punishment! I’m sick and tired of waiting for George! He’s not coming!”

Then whoops and goodness me. Speak of the devil. George arrived.

Wearing a  T-shirt with some sort of distorted cartoon of a red-eyed man/monster on the front bearing the slogan “Watch Your Back!”. George was holding a puppet. It twitched.

“Is there a battery in that puppet?” asked Bertram. The man was suddenly alert.

“What?” said George. 

“You have wood in your hands that is fashioned in the shape of a humanoid puppet but I see no obvious power source for its mobility.”

“What?”

“I would dispense with that puppet.”

“No,” said Daft George. “He’s called Harry Longshanks. He’s my baby.” He cuddled the puppet. “You want to fight about it?” George added.

Bertram smiled enigmatically, wiped rain off his nose.

“I won’t fight,” he said. “It’s flight for me.”

“You’re going?” said George. “Don’t go! My baby, Longshanks,  wants you to come with us!”

“Cut the chatter,” shouted Scarman leaving his window and shoveling himself into heavy green waterproofs.

He marched into the sodden yard.

“Let’s be going. Get that fucking lorry alert and chirpy! Shirley! You’re driving.”

“Yes, love.”

Some final checks.

“Those cages seriously secure? Gazza? Stop tipping that fucking flask down your neck! Are the cages OK? Weed! The digging gear? That’s all packed? You put in the lights? The nets? We got the wire?”

Scarman stopped his pre-departure briefing.

“Bertram! What the thundering fuck do you think you are doing? Where are you going?”

“I’m going on,” said Bertram.

“On where?”

“On to new tomorrows. On to Away. New islands. Beneath new skies. You will all die to live again in different form. I sense death!”

Bertram abruptly dropped his bag and ran. Out of the scrap yard.

“Fucking Bertram,” said Scarman to nobody. “Crazy as a coot! What the hell’s got into him?”

One minute fine and dandy. Claps eyes on a puppet and goes insane. Scarpers off.  Scarman was bemused. He shook his head. No point in chasing him. The bastard had been running like the wind. And anyway Bertram was not essential on this caper. Scarman had the map Bertram had drawn up. He knew where he was going and how to get there. He just hoped there wouldn’t be mist on thePennines. Those winding Pennine roads were hard enough to drive in full sunshine. 

“Let him go and find his islands, the mad bastard. He’ll be back. George, leave the puppet. ”

“No,” said George.

“No,” said the puppet.

“Leave the puppet!” Scarman didn’t like the look of it. It was…too friendly.

“No,” said George. And the puppet.  

Gazza said “That’s ventriloquistism. I saw it at the Rainbow Club with Shirls. Didn’t we Shirls?”

Shirley nodded. It had been an abysmal show. She’d seen the man’s lips moving. Everyone at the Rainy had. Apart from Gazza who had been stoked, half blind, and had slept through the third act.

“Yeah, we saw ventriloquistism. You do it better. Nice one George.” 

“Thank you,” said the puppet.

Scarman was in a hurry. He checked the lorry. Everything ship shape. Cages good. Water supplies. Plakkie sack of dog food. Bones. Three tubs of chicken gizzards.  

He had no idea what they ate but he wanted them in good shape.

For when he sold them on.

Homunculus

June 30, 2011

 

The short film above and the longer music video below were produced as promotional materials for my horror novel Homunculus, by my brother Charles.

Interested readers may click on the image in the sidebar to get the novel from Amazon.com

 

Oh Gawd! Homunculus Two! Second Hand Soldiers for Sale!

June 29, 2011

Hello! And welcome to the start of more Homunculus nonsense and anarchy! You have taken time to visit Hugh Paxton blog and as a reward here is the first chapter of the next Homunculus novel. Over eighteens only.

HOMUNCULUS TWO: SECOND HAND SOLDIERS FOR SALE! 

PART ONE:  JACK’S BACK

CHAPTER ONE: CHUMP ONE.

The door bell chimed. Father Jack, still wearing the robes of a Catholic priest which he was not, (but it had become a habit) cracked his knuckles and suppressed a vulpine smile as he marched down the dimly illuminated hall to greet his caller.

The smell of freshly ground and recently brewed coffee was gently suffusing the air. An enticing whiff.

And a little more than that. A gas attack.

Jack, who had conducted lengthy experiments on nasal stimulation and its effects on the human brain (with a view to enhancing the tracking potential of hunter killer Homunculi) had reached the conclusion that simply smelling coffee put a person at ease and invoked feelings of warmth and a state of immediate (un-noticed) vulnerability.   

Release a few fumes in the right context and you had on your hands a nifty little trick, he’d decided. Then, after his experiments, he’d realized the coffee technique  was probably already employed by people who sold houses with rising damp to unsuspecting first time buyers.

Jack had decided to capture an Estate Agent with experience and tweeze out a few more home truths. He hadn’t got round to that yet. But in the house sales department he reckoned he wasn’t doing too badly.    

Jack slicked back his tousled red hair. It didn’t help. His hair bounced back. It re-tousled itself as it always did. He’d been born with a triple crown and no amount of oil, cream or alchemy kept it in order.

Che Sera. Whatever shall be shall be! Coffee smells. A little chocolate chunk beside the cup. A comfy chair. A crackling fire. Then a brandy or two. 

Jack suddenly noticed a blood stain on the wall.

“Bugger!” said Jack. He adjusted a light. The stain was now virtually unnoticeable. He shifted a small table. The stain was now concealed. He rearranged the freshly snipped roses on the table.    

The smile was back. He modified it slightly with the help of a leaded-glass mirror and a few grimaces and experiments. It became less of a leer.

But the leer was still there. Just below the surface.

He opened the door. 

“Mr. Livingstone I presume?”

Mr. Livingstone (Chump One) chuckled good-naturedly. A fat man, but tall, he was in his early thirties and had a pipe tucked into the top pocket of his Tweed jacket. 

“Cup of tea? Glass of brandy?” suggested Father Jack. “Come on in sir, come on in. A brisk day. Very brisk.”

“A tad nippy,” agreed Mr. Livingstone in a plummy Home Counties accent. “And I’ll take you up on that offer of a snifter. These woods of yours, a trifle damp, what?”

“It’s the tarn – Black Tarn it’s called. It gives off mists and fumes. But you should see it on a sunny day. The way it gleams and twinkles. It is a delight and seduction to the eye! And the coarse fishing is to be recommended. Pike, tench, rudd, eels in season… And there’s a carp pond behind the property.”  

“You have me hooked already,” laughed Mr. Livingstone.

That I have, you fat bastard, thought Father Jack.  

“Come on inside,” said Father Jack. “I’ve a lot to show you.” And he escorted Mr. Livingstone through the portal.

“Well,” said Livingstone half an hour later. A fire was toasting his feet, a well stuffed chair supporting his bulk. Soft cushions were behind his back. Livingstone was a man at ease. 

“Well, well, well. I’ll tell you straight and man to man I like the property, sir. I like it, damn me if I don’t. It has character, sir. Yes, I will, perhaps one more. But not too much. I’ve a bit of a drive ahead of me back toBeaconsfield.”

Jack refilled the man’s glass.

“And you say that the estate comes intact? With all furnishings? Furniture?”

“What you see is what you’ll get. On my word you may rely.”

“I like that.”

 “There may be surprises, too.”

Livingstone frowned.

“I’m not much of a fellow for surprises. Bit of a bluff sort of cove my wife says. Call a spade a spade, that’s me. I’d have to have the surveyors in before I could make a decision. I hope you understand. Don’t want dry rot or damp. Old property like this. Needs a thorough medical before changing hands, what?  Don’t want to find I’ve bought a wailing woman in the West Wing or rotting shingles on the roof.” 

Livingstone laughed.

Jack laughed, too. “Wailing women in the West Wing! Hah! That’s ripe! That’s rich!”

Jack stopped laughing and assumed a serious expression. “No ghosts here, Mr. Livingstone. And the roof is sound.”

“Of course it is. Of course it is. No hard feelings, what? Just need to set my mind at rest. Hope you understand.”

“I understand you,” said Father Jack. 

150 percent, you devious shite, thought Father Jack.

But was Livingstone too fat? Did he need that sort of bulk? The brain was working well. Very convincing. Livingstone was good. But the fatness of the man hinted at potential medical problems. The heart might be unusable and have to go. And the brain? Was it too good?

“So you’re heading out for theAntipodes?” enquired Livingstone in an off-hand fashion. For the second time.

“Indeed I am. An uncle has left me a sheep station near the Atherton Tablelands. I’ve always had an interest inAustralia, particularly the north east Tropics. And I believe that at my time of life change can be nothing but beneficial.”

“Very much so. Very much so. And you leave next week, you say?”

“Simply a recce. I wish to inspect the station, speak to the foreman, and that sort of thing.”

“Quite. And you will be leaving this property unguarded in your absence? Is that entirely wise?”

“My dear Mr. Livingstone, you may have it on my good assurance that crime in this neck of the woods has never been an issue of concern. Indeed I don’t think that I have locked door or window in the last ten years of my residence. And I don’t hold with these new fangled alarms.”

Mr. Livingstone’s expression remained doubtful.

“But a place like this, furnished with so many objects of artistic interest and value…if I do decide to purchase the property intact…I would hate to see an incidence of burglary in your absence and before we could complete the transaction to our mutual satisfaction. No matter how remote the chance might seem to you.”

“Rest assured, Mr. Livingstone. The property and all its contents are safe.”

Father Jack paused as if in thought.

“Your caution and concern might be reduced,” he said and snapped his fingers. Suddenly inspired. “I have had an idea. Why don’t I leave you the keys?”

“No,” said Mr. Livingstone in alarm. “I could not be held responsible! My dear fellow! You barely know me!” 

“Perhaps you are right,” Jack back tracked. “I wouldn’t wish to impose.”

“No, my dear sir. You keep the keys. But set my heart at ease and do lock up thoroughly.”

“I shall try to remember,” said Father Jack.

“I must be going,” said Mr. Livingstone. “But we shall be seeing each other soon.”

“I look forward to it,” said Father Jack.

Meaning it. Most sincerely.

CHAPTER TWO: The Toy Shop

To be continued!

 

Homunculus the novel: Meet the cast.

December 9, 2010

If you thought my novel Homunculus was pretty appalling (not to mention far fetched) check the following. Sent in by Steve Hollier it features one of the principle maniacs in Homunculus – General Butt Naked. You’ve read the book (hopefully) now meet the man in person. This is not for the faint hearted.

 


%d bloggers like this: