I’ve taken the brave decision to release an excerpt from a novel that i’m working on. There’s no horror in it as yet–the project has not progressed that far along–but i do plan on turning this darker in tone. Don’t let this excerpt fool you! I’d appreciate some feedback in the form of a comment. Thank you for taking the time to read it.
Lauz Returns to Stoke
By David Eccles
“Luxury travel, my arse!” Lauz Bracewell muttered, more to herself than to the dozing and far-too-frequently flatulent pensioner sitting beside her in the aisle seat of the London to Glasgow National Express coach. Old Fartypants had hauled her ample frame up the steps and onto the coach at Digbeth, and had immediately parked her backside next to Lauz, who had nodded, smiled and then let her gaze return to the ever-changing urban landscape as they sped onward towards the coach’s next, and Lauz’s final destination. In an hour’s time, Lauz would be free to breathe in the comparatively clean air of Stoke.
Opening her eyes, and realising that she could not focus them, the vibration from the coach’s powerful motor addling her vision as the window buzzed against the side of her head, Lauz drew away from the bee-like annoyance, rubbed her numb left cheek and squirmed in her seat, wishing she could do the same to alleviate the same sense of numbness in her buttocks. Five hours encased in a mobile greenhouse on a scorching Friday afternoon in the middle of August on one of the hottest summers on record had taken its toll, and she realised that she had succumbed to the oppressive heat and slept for a short while. Rubbing her eyes and stifling a yawn at the same time, Lauz glanced to her right, blinked rapidly a few times, unsure that what she was seeing was indeed real, and bit her bottom lip hard to prevent the huge guffaw threatening to burst free from her chest from actually doing so. Old Fartypants was wearing a wig! It had slipped, and was now more of a hairy sleep mask than a wig, and had migrated as far south as the woman’s nose.
The small Asian boy sitting in the aisle seat adjacent to Old Fartypants pointed and grinned back at Lauz, who chuckled and nodded in silent agreement. Yeah, little dude. Funny as fuck. The child’s mother’s eyes caught those of Lauz, and Lauz registered the disapproval in those brown almond-shaped orbs floating above the woman’s hijab. An utterance in Urdu emanated from behind the woman’s veil, and a small brown hand reached out, grabbed the boy’s arm and placed his hand back in his lap. Mother had spoken! A very un-PC thought was born that very second in Lauz’s mind: Fucking ninjas have no sense of humour. Or style!
It suddenly dawned on her that maybe Lauz making fun of the pensioner was not the reason for the child’s mother’s disapproving stare. Maybe she disapproved of Lauz herself. Lauz could never be considered beautiful in the classical context, yet she constantly turned heads wherever she went, and she considered it perfectly normal to gain employment owing to her remarkable resemblance to Angelina Jolie; possessing the very same full bottom lip as the Hollywood actress had opened numerous doors of opportunity for her, and at 5ft 10in, she could never be considered to be short. In four days she would be celebrating her 23rd birthday, yet even after a weekend of hard partying, copious amounts of fast food and not a wink of sleep, she could still pass muster as being no older than 20.
Nearly leaping out of her seat as her mobile phone vibrated insistently in the front right pocket of her “distressed” stonewashed denim jeans, Lauz half-stood, balanced precariously, her mp3 player and electronic book reader tightly gripped with one arm while she retrieved the BlackBerry with the other. She paused momentarily to unlock the keypad before settling back down in her seat to check her messages. She smiled to herself as she read:
Hey Lauz, you big lezzer! What time does your bus get in, then? Your Stella’s getting warm!
Her fingers working furiously, she typed her reply; a final tap sent it towards its recipient at the speed of light. Pocketing her phone once more, Lauz began to stow away in her daypack the items she had been using to keep her occupied during the journey that had begun only a few hours before, yet felt like days to her.
It had been three months since she had last enjoyed the company of her adopted and hugely extended “family” here in Stoke-on-Trent; the regulars of The Thespian’s Retreat, and the prospect of a pint or twelve of perfectly chilled lager with good friends, followed by a live gig and a visit to a kebab house made her wish that she had made the trip a lot sooner, but work commitments had gotten in the way; this was the first opportunity she had had to visit and catch up with all of her Stokie friends – and all of the gossip she must have missed out on!
Fifteen minutes later she had stepped down from the coach, waited patiently for the co-driver to hand over her luggage, and then watched as the driver pressed down on the accelerator; the diesel engine roared into life once more and the coach pulled away from the bus station, slowly disappearing around the bend in the evening heat haze.
Lauz heaved a huge sigh of relief, glad to finally feel the slight yet very welcome breeze blowing in her face and over her bare arms, and to be able to stretch her legs. She shouldered her daypack and bent to pick up her suitcase; the horizontal slits underneath the rear pockets in her jeans opening out to reveal the perfect crescents of her buttocks, topped by a pair of shocking pink ladies’ boxer shorts; a revelation which provoked a mixed response among the queues of sweating commuters, the majority of whom were women, overladen with shopping or trying to control their uncontrollable offspring; their enmity towards Lauz was almost palpable. A beauty in every sense of the word, Lauz had never borne any children; she had, however, been unfortunate enough to experience an early miscarriage when she was just 17, and so she had always retained her tight, toned, tanned athletic body, which was kept that way by spending long hours in the gym working out with friends, a few of whom were professional boxers, Muay Thai fighters, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners or grapplers. To say that Lauz knew a few people would be an understatement! Ignoring the stares and bitchy comments made from behind gritted teeth, Lauz tossed her full-length mane of pink and platinum blonde dreadlocks, moistened her lips with a brief flick of her tongue, and walked the full length of the bus station, making her way to the exit, an honour guard of male erections saluting her as she passed; the city camouflage pattern vest that she wore over a pink La Senza bra clinging to her muscly yet still very feminine torso. She bore a huge grin as she turned right and away from the station, heading towards The Thespians’ Retreat and that first frosty pint of amber liquid, fully aware that she would be the inspiration behind so much masturbation by most of the horny males she had left in her wake and a handful of the females too, no doubt. With that thought in mind, Lauz hauled her luggage another 200 yards, turned left into the cultural quarter of the city and sighed once more, relieved to be at the end of her journey. At the far end of the one-way street, on the right and within spitting distance, there stood the legendary watering hole, The Thespian’s Retreat. Lauz spat, and closed the distance.
The two nightclubs opposite The Thespian’s Retreat seemed to loom over Lauz, their dark edifices casting long finger-like shadows that seemingly reached out towards the tiny pub in a desperate attempt to squeeze the life out of it, but Lauz knew that no matter what tactics the clubs’ owners used to try and steal the pub’s trade, The Thespian’s would resist all attempts to kill it: it truly was a hardy beast; a few of its customers even more so.