Murder on the Mound Extract (in editing mode)

Walking along the busy street, Jake noticed that there was something flitting about again. He wondered if Iain could see it. He seemed not to. Then again he was looking at his phone, probably texting some girl. They strolled down to the statue and went into the big department store – a crazy mixed up building which he used to get lost in a lot when he was a small kid with his mum. There was always interesting stuff in there for mums and other people in the family. Something flitted past again. This time Iain noticed.

“What was that?! “ he stood startled. “It was bigger than a fly – it was enormous. Where did it go?” Iain looked round about himself.

“Don’t know”, said Jake. “But I’ve already seen it twice today. Looks kinda small and round. Moves fast. I think its got wings, but couldn’t say.”  

They chose their presents – a box of Turkish delight for Jake’s mum, and Belgian chocolates for Iain’s. They both nodded in approval at each other’s ideas. Time was moving fast, it was getting close to home time. The boys decided to go over to the mound and check out the film company.

Dusk had arrived, the sun had long since gone, and the sky was grey and blue. A large, full moon, which had been in the sky all day, looked bigger now above the monument on Prince’s Street. Jake had an idea.

“Let’s go up the monument. We got time, and we can see the film crew from there with our phones, if we want to zoom in that is.” Iain thought this was a great idea. They paid and shot up the four levels of winding staircase to the top. There was no one around, it was nearly closing time, as the attendant pointed out. He asked them not to hang about and he would be locking up at five promptly. It was now four o’clock, they had plenty of time they thought.

At the top of the monument they could see for quite a distance. It was a clear night, the smoke over the railway station had gone. The birds were all chattering away and roosting in the ledges of the buildings, most of them were starlings. At the mound they could see a small film crew, maybe no more than fifteen people standing about, drinking coffee and chatting. Jake noticed the flying object again. He grabbed Iain, and pointed in front of them. “There”, he whispered. “It looks like a really small bird”. Iain saw it too, it was tiny, round and fast. It darted about, sometimes landing on the monument, sometimes flying through the air, at a huge speed, like a little fighter plane.

“It can’t be a humming bird” said Jake”It would freeze here, it must be a native species, and so tiny, I’ve never noticed them before. Wonder if they’ve always been around, and what they are doing just darting about everywhere?”

Iain shrugged his shoulders. The bird they were watching landed in front of them on the rail. Iain got out his phone and took a photo. “Right we can check that out when we get back home.” The small bird looked at Jake and Iain for a split second, then bombed off down into the park, out of sight. They turned their attention to the film crew, both lads watching what was going on through their phone cameras. Nothing too interesting was going on, but they had taken a few film and photo shots. More for investigation when they got home.

Time was rolling on, they decided to go down on to the street and  wait for the bus home. It was dark now, but still busy. The city never stopped being busy it seems. Both the boys were tired and ready for some dinner. Jake and Iain got off the number twenty- six bus, nodding at the driver in a thank you kind-of-way, and went off to their own homes.

“Speak to you tonight” said Iain. Jake nodded.







One more black coffee

Play in background while reading:

Mirko sat, staring through the trees, willing for the answer to come to him from the leaves in the wind. Nothing made sense, nobody was saying what was really on their mind. He sighed. He breathed in deeply and held his breath til his body shook. Still nothing came to him.

One more coffee, he thought to himself, that will work. A butterfly made a delicate flighty dance towards him as he was about to get up. He changed his mind and stayed where he was to watch it. It was a beautiful yellow with beige and black spots, not too small or too large -just right.

Mirko stretched out his arm and the butterfly obliged. He mixed a sugar cube into his small glass of water and poured a drop in to the saucer of his Turkish coffee cup. The butterfly walked down Mirko’s arm and perched on the end of his finger which sat in the sugary water. A delicate proboscis reached out trustingly. Once it had finished it, the butterfly made its way back up Mirko’s arm and settled on his shoulder. It made him smile.

He got up and stepped in to his compact kitchenette and reached for the coffee pot. There was enough left for one more. He poured the dark rich treacle in to his small cup and slipped in a sugar cube, stirring gently with a small silver spoon. Mirko looked at his shoulder, the butterfly had gone. He shrugged.

The phone rang in the flat. Maybe that was her. Perhaps she had an answer. He stepped in to his living room and answered the call. He listened to the words, quietly spoken, serious and without hope. It was over, she said. It was as he suspected, another man. He put the phone down and went back to the balcony , collecting his cigarettes on the way.

As he sat  down on his chair in the corner, he noticed something in his coffee. At first he thought the butterfly had fallen in. But no. Instead it had left an imprint of its image on the surface of the dark coffee, a kind of thank you, a note of friendship. Mirko nodded to himself, appreciating the symbol, the gesture, and wondering how it was that animals could be so thoughtful and appreciative, and humans not. He sighed and took a sip, staring back out across the trees.