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A THOUGHT struck him. Should he take the bus to Bryn Tawel, ask for Red at the hospital? He shook himself; no point panicking. Not yet. Not before he'd tried everywhere else first.

The Co-op was open. He peeked through the window. A figure was walking towards the cashier, wire basket piled with cans of beer. It was Matthew Price. Their eyes met. Matt shot him a half-arsed smile; less a smile than a smirk. Rage hurled Scrapper into the shop. He grabbed Matt, shoved him backwards.

'Attacking women now, are you?' He slammed Matt against a shelf. Cartons of breakfast cereal, powdered desserts and instant mash crashed onto the floor.

Then Iwan was there, pulling him away. The checkout girls huddled in a corner, hands raised to shocked mouths.

Iwan turned to Matt. 'Bunch of blokes went for Mary Power. Know anything about that?' Matt shook his head. His bleach-blond hair had grown out, half an inch of black roots matching the bags beneath his eyes.

'We can't believe a word this lying toe-rag says,' Scrapper burst out.

'You seen our Helen today?' 'No,' Matt said.

Iwan shoved Scrapper towards the door. 'We'd best keep looking.' Scrapper was still fired up to give Matt a smack. But he knew Iwan was right; the thugs in the van were out there somewhere.

They had to find Red, and fast.

The rain had stopped. Across the road, Johnny Scrag was loading his van with trays of unsold meat.

'She went by about an hour ago,' Johnny said. 'You tried Siggy's? I'm sure I heard a woman's voice by' Scrapper rushed to the hairdresser's, burst in, the doorbell clanging protest. Siggy was bending over a customer, his back turned to the street. He snapped upright.

'Have you seen?' Scrapper broke off, thrown by the sight that greeted him.

Siggy looked him up and down, stepped aside with a flourish.

'And here he is, your gorgeous husband.' Helen sat in the slouchy leather swivel chair, waist-length curls sheared into a glossy, chin-length bob.

Until Our Blood Is Dry by Kit >Habianic is published by Parthian at PS9.99


Until Our Blood Is Dry by Kit Habianic

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 1, 2014
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