Bark Jaw-Dark contemplated the pork pie he had recently fished from the depths of the jacket pocket of his un-pressed suit and placed it whole in his mouth.
“Jaw-Dark,” spluttered Bark through the pork and pastry.
“Is this a joke?” snarled Bark’s mentor, Tom Patrick, picking up the newly positioned desk tag and scrutinising it distastefully.
Bark swallowed and gulped, “Real name’s Mark… first day at school… had a cold… never been able to shake it.”
“The cold or the name?” smiled Patrick, briefly impressed with his own wit, and then continued more seriously, “You don’t get these unless you’re important… and you’re not.”
The desk tag flew through the air and plummeted into the depths of the tall blue recycling bin with a dull thud.
“And you can drop the sir. It’s Tom. In this day and age we treat you like shit but informally. It’s called progress…Got it?”
“Good lad,” growled Patrick turning to leave.
“Did you want me?”
“Ah yes…” said Patrick turning back, “the stone hugger!”
…Bark looked blank.
“Wealthy businessman… moved a stone… went back for the gun… mad as a frog…”
PC 963 Kraas drove to the nearest car park, pulled up and turned off the engine.
Bark Jaw-Dark stared straight ahead out of the front of the Black Beast and said nothing.
He was probably replaying the whole sorry saga from Ruthwell onwards in his mind and the film-scape did not make for good viewing. Finally he spoke, “It’s a conspiracy.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Kraas.
“The snow… the tides… I bet even the birds are in on it,” said Jaw-Dark, “we don’t stand a chance.”
Lands of Exile: BUT ‘N’ BEN
For once Don was right… it was all Wen’s fault. If only Ben had not insisted on going back for the gun…
Don and Wen should hand themselves in and share the fate of their co-conspirator; it would be the noble thing to do.
Does this course of action appeal to our intrepid duo?
Not on your Nelly…
As Ben languishes in the dank cells of Bakewell Gaol, Don and Wen hit the road. Their headlong dash for freedom takes them northwards, where they are beset by a host of ‘Orphan Stones’ clamouring to be led back home… But they are not alone; the mysterious Black Shade is not the only thing stalking them as they blaze their customary trail through the signs, seals and sacred sites of Old Albion…
About the authors:
The writing partnership of France and Vincent has a peculiar alchemy of humour, scholarship and vision that has given birth to several books, including the Triad of Albion and Doomsday series. But ‘n’ Ben is the first book of the Lands of Exile. The second book in the series, Beck ‘n’ Call was released in 2019.
France and Vincent share a love of lore and land; together they explore the mysteries of the ancient hills and sacred places of Britain. They may occasionally be observed in one of the many old inns they stumble upon, talking over their adventures. Or throwing tennis balls for an insatiable small dog.
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