The Violent Fae: The Ordshaw Vignettes by Phil Williams
Today, The BiblioSanctum is pleased to welcome back Phil Williams, author of the Sunken City books Under Orshaw and Blue Angel, in a very special tour to celebrate the release of The Violent Fae, the closing chapter of the trilogy! For this event, he is sharing 12 short stories from the city of Ordshaw, the setting for the series. These Ordshaw Vignettes are tiny insights into the UK’s worst-behaved city, each with a self-contained mystery.
You can read today’s story below. For the full collection, visit all the wonderful blogs in the tour!
About Ordshaw and The Violent Fae
The Ordshaw series are urban fantasy thrillers set in a modern UK city with more than a few terrible secrets. The Violent Fae completes a story that began with Under Ordshaw and its sequel Blue Angel – following poker player Pax Kuranes’ journey into the Ordshaw underworld. Over the space of one week, Pax unravels mysteries that warp reality and threaten the entire city.
The Violent Fae will be available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback from November 5th 2019.
And if you’d like the start the journey, you’re in luck! Under Ordshaw, the first book in the trilogy, is actually on sale on Kindle in the US and UK starting TODAY until November 1st, for only $0.99/£0.99 – a perfect opportunity to dive into the series before the third book’s release.
Now without further ado, here’s the story Phil wrote for us!
Bo Kilter had an eye for detail, that’s how he noticed the blue crystal in Doc’s box of goodies. Hidden under bagged powder and pills. “Where you get that, Doc?”
“Get what?” Doc closed the lid right fast.
“You been cooking? Didn’t think you cooked no more.”
“I don’t,” Doc insisted, moving to end their meeting in the unlit shop. Bo put a hand on the tin, with a chink from his signet ring. Doc swallowed. “It’s nothing. I’m just holding onto it for a friend.”
“Doc,” Bo said, no nonsense. Doc had been around a long time, a valuable guy, but he looked caught well and truly out. With his tatty woollen sweaters and little specs, frail as a librarian, you wouldn’t know him for cutting the best narcotics in Ordshaw. “You know the demand for good crystal, Doc. Give us a chance to compete with that Ashford lot.”
“I know, and I’ve told Jack –”
“Can’t cook, won’t cook,” Bo recalled. “Too dangerous.” He held up the bag they’d just exchanged. Boring old X. “Jack don’t mind this arrangement. But if you’re moonlighting –”
“It’s for personal use,” Doc blurted out. “Not for a dealer, not in these quantities – I would’ve told you, but –”
Bo held up a hand, grimacing at how awkward this was about to get. “Explain from the top. Make it good.”
“It’s an individual. She called me –”
Doc cleared his throat. “Yes, a woman. Not Norma, before you ask – no one I’m familiar with. She called a month after I quit cooking. Saying my product was the best, that I had to keep going. I said no, I tried –”
“Don’t matter what you tried,” Bo said. “Only what you did.”
“Well. She delivered ingredients, equipment. Very small quantities, untraceable amounts – I’ve no idea where from. You can’t –”
“Then I cooked. Next to nothing, not more than fifty grams a fortnight.”
“All on some anonymous bitch’s say so?”
“Yes,” Doc admitted. “Drop offs and pick ups without a trace. I set up cameras, tried to track the calls, but I never saw her, not even footprints in the dust. Bo, I never –”
“She scares you more than me? More than Jack?”
Doc’s terrified hesitation said yes. “She left a dead rat in my bed.”
“A dead rat?”
“The apartment was locked, windows closed, I have no idea how she got in!”
“Think I won’t do worse?” Bo snapped. “Give me that tin, you bloody coward.”
“Oh no, oh no –” Doc cringed but he was looking over Bo’s shoulder. And the room was suddenly lit from outside. Bo spun and swore. Across the lot, a flame lapped over the Land Rover from underneath, spreading by the second.
Bo shouted, “You son of a –”
“You’ll make it worse!” Doc held up the tin defensively, backing into empty shelves. Bo’s fist was up, but the truck burst with fresh fury. The shop window cracked and something grazed Bo’s forehead, debris flung from the fire. He winced, one hand going to that, the other to the revolver stuffed deep in his belt. Again, the flaming car popped, another crack in the window and Bo’s palm was hit, making him drop the pistol.
“What in hell!” he roared, diving into the shadows.
The chemist shook with terror, clutching the drugs tin like a shield. “Please, she’ll leave if we keep quiet – it’s a small job – no one needs know –”
“That’s my bloody motor!” Bo yelled, eyes on the pillar of fire. “Jack’s gonna freak!”
“She’ll kill you!” Doc cried desperately. He was more afraid of this ghost woman than of them. Must’ve seen things worse than a dead rat. Bo touched his own forehead – a warm tickle of blood. His hand was bleeding, too. Gun on the floor. Were these wounds deliberate?
“She got you,” Doc read his mind. “You just don’t know it. For the love of God, it’s a tiny baggie, let it go!”
“Now she’s done my ride –”
Bo jumped at another pop, the wall erupting next to him. An impossible angle for debris flung from the fire. He glared at the flames. Back at the pistol on the floor. Without knowing who this woman was or how she’d got the drop on him, he saw well enough she had him pinned. If he pushed any further, he wouldn’t walk away. And Doc’s fearful eyes confirmed the necessary trade-off. His life for keeping that little bag secret.
Bo had an eye for details like that.
We hope you enjoyed “The Chemist”, the vignette for today! For more Ordshaw shorts, you can check out the previous story, The Crane Driver which appeared yesterday on Brainfluff. The next story will The Neighbours, available on Paper Plane Reviews tomorrow on October 29th.
Be sure to stop by all the other stops on the tour, and for more information about The Violent Fae and the books in the Ordshaw sequence, check out the links below!
Phil Williams writes contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction and non-fiction grammar guides. His novels include the interconnected Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers, the post-apocalyptic Estalia saga and the action-packed Faergrowe series. He also runs the website English Lessons Brighton, and writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English.
Phil lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and now spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.