Majorca Flats 606

track to camel' hump Mt Macedon

 

The path to the Camel’s Hump was about a metre wide, grey gravel covered with detritus from the forest.  Already the sun was high enough that its golden light would catch him every so often in the eyes as he ran east.  He slowed down.  No point in rushing.  The Killer wouldn’t escape now.  There was no easy way off the Hump except back the way he’d come.  The forests were very thick and dense here, where the rainfall was high. Often it might be sunny in the lowlands but the peaks would be shrouded in cloud and the forest would be dripping in a Scotch mist.  The regrowth after the Ash Wednesday fires hadn’t been thinned, and passage through this part of the forest was difficult.  In other places some of the original forest had survived the bushfires, and there the way through the trees was easier.   And the whole north face of the Camel’s Hump was precipitous cliffs and badlands where lava pipes rose in vertical columns out of the mountain.

 

Colin didn’t want to be attacked while he was temporarily blinded by the sun.  Reinforcements were on the way—he didn’t need to fling himself into an ambush.   He slowed down to give himself more time to look ahead.  He heard sirens in the distance, and approaching rapidly, the staccato whack-whack-whack of the police chopper.  Behind him he could hear the thudding footsteps of Jeff Sorrenti, who’d obviously had the briefest of discussions with Cody and Luigi.

 

The path switched back to head west.  At least the sun is out of my eyes, he thought.  He was getting puffed.  It was a steepish ascent.  I’m not as young as I used to be, he reflected as he panted up the slope. Or as fit.  I must start jogging again.  I’ve let it slip.

 

The pathway was levelling off.  They had reached the summit. He could see the Killer, running through the forest towards the edge of the cliff face.  Suddenly he realised what the Killer was going to do.

 

He couldn’t shout to him, because he had no breath left.  All he could do was pant out, “Don’t do it!”  He doubted that the other man even heard him. The Killer scrambled up the last heap of boulders before the cliff edge.  He turned to look back at Colin.  Colin stopped, and again said, “Don’t do it.  Come down.  Be sensible.”

 

The Killer’s face was completely blank, as if there was no mind or intelligence left in him, a mask over whatever he was thinking.  Still he didn’t move.

 

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Majorca Flats 605

 

“UNGHHHH!”

 

Cody put his head down and snarled and growled as he ran towards the Killer.  The Killer moved the aim of his gun away from Colin towards Cody.   Time seemed to slow, become as liquid as and as thick as honey.  The Killer fired.  Colin couldn’t shoot—Cody was in the way.  The bullet from the Killer’s gun hit Cody.  Colin saw how Cody’s body jerked to one side.  Had the Killer hit him in his shoulder, or somewhere more lethal?

 

Cody kept going.  He hit the Killer head on in his chest.  He was still yelling like a berserker.  The Killer was shoved back.  His gun hand flew up into the air.  Luigi had run to help Cody.  Luigi grabbed the Killer’s gun arm and pulled it back.  Cody had stopped his roar.  Now it was silent except for grunts and panting.  Cody was pummelling the Killer with his fists, and Luigi continued to grip the Killer’s gun arm.  The gun dropped to the ground.  The Killer tried to bend over to reach it. Letting go of the Killer’s arm, Luigi kicked the gun away, underneath the Corolla.  The Killer twisted away from Cody, took one desperate look at Colin, and turned and ran, up the pathway to the Camel’s Hump.

 

“Stop!” shouted Colin.  The Killer ignored him.  Colin knew he couldn’t shoot a fleeing man.  There was no immediate risk to life.  It was unjustifiable.  It would be little better than murder to shoot a fleeing suspect in the back.  He thumbed on the radio and announced that the Killer had escaped, and that one of the victims was injured.

 

“We might need the chopper to airlift him out.  Get them here ASAP!  I’m going after the suspect.”

 

He went over to Cody and Luigi.  Cody had fallen to the ground.  He was bleeding profusely from a wound under his shoulder bone.  To Colin’s untutored eye it looked as if the bullet might have broken the shoulder blade.  But it had missed the heart and the lungs and the guts, thank God.  Cody’s eyes were shocky and vague.  Luigi was kneeling on the ground next to Cody, holding his hand, tears pouring down his face.

 

“You OK?” Colin asked.

 

Cody looked at him unseeing, Luigi just shook his head in despair.

 

“The police helicopter is close.  They’ll fly you through to the hospital.  You’ll be OK.”

 

“Go and catch him,” said Luigi, suddenly, his face fierce.  “We’ll be all right.  Just get him.”

 

Behind him, Colin heard a car arrive.  He turned.  It was the Woodend police car.

 

“Tell him what’s happened,” he said, gesturing to the other police car, and turned to run after the Killer.

 

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Majorca Flats 604

 

0.4 calibre M & P Smith & Wesson

Victoria Police Smith and Wesson Semi-automatic

The road wound through native forest then crested a rise, with the verges on either side of the road clear of trees.  From the rise you could see down to the Camel’s Hump car park/campsite, which was where Cody had been taken before.  Just before he got to the rise, Colin slowed the car, and he crested the rise doing perhaps 30 k’s per hour.  The little brick-red Toyota was there, and the driver’s door was just opening.  Colin floored the accelerator and the big car surged down the road.  Within at most ten seconds he was swinging right, off the tarmac onto the gravel parking area.  There were no other cars there, he was glad to see.  He drove right up to the Toyota and skidded to a halt on the driver’s side.  In another few seconds he was out of the car, and had drawn his pistol.  He steadied his aim by resting his right hand with the pistol on the roof of the car.

 

The Killer was standing at the front of the car, with his gun covering the other two men.  Luigi was closer to him, Cody a few feet further away.

 

“Drop the gun!” ordered Colin, aiming his own weapon at the Killer.

 

He saw the Killer hesitate, and then start to lift his gun, preparing to fire.

 

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My Writing

Source

I’ve been writing a lot over the last couple of weeks, although I haven’t yet achieved my target of 1000 words a day, which equals 3 novels a year of  roughly 120,000 words each.  Although I have high hopes of reaching that target soon, as I settle down to retirement.  Even what I have written does mean that I have been able to post a new Majorca Flats episode almost every day.  It’s gratifying to see my readers returning.  You’ve been very patient.  Thank you.

I’ve almost reached the end of Majorca Flats.  Perhaps another 20 episodes, and then we will have the climax that I’ve been planning since quite early on.  Not that there aren’t several strands to the story–my characters insisted–but this was an important thread.  A gay serial killer, driven to his crimes by internalised homophobia and rape as a boy, entering, and never really leaving the lives of my people.  I wanted to write a story where even those who suffered most from life have hope and find someone to love.  And I wanted it to be convincing.  Happy-ever-after stories need to have the angst and sorrow and suffering but they also need to have convincing pathways out of these situations.  I don’t know whether I’ve done that.  I suspect I will change a lot when I rewrite it.

It will be very strange finishing the tale of these friends and their families in and around a late 19th century Melbourne Victorian Terrace.  When I write, the characters in my novel become my friends, my acquaintances.  I know them.  They tell me in no uncertain terms, no, I’d never do that, or are you crazy? or c’mon, give me a break!  So I shall miss them.

I might go back to do a second volume, but not yet.  I have so many other stories, some requiring rewriting and some requiring just writing–the first draft isn’t even done!  I think I will start with ElvenSword.  That was the first novel I wrote, and they say you should write your first novel and then throw it away, because it’s with your first novel that you learn the basics of your craft.  I didn’t throw it away and perhaps I should have.  Anyway, it needs intensive rewriting, more than any other of my novels.

Here is a list of my novels, some completed, some unfinished, and some needing rewriting:

  • ElvenSword 
  • DemonThrong 
  • AngelFire 
  • I Get No Kick From Champagne
  • Footy
  • Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart
  • Majorca Flats
  • The Music Of Love
  • Dragon’s Gift

Nine altogether.  I had no idea I’d written so much, even without counting the short stories.

As I redo each chapter of ElvenSword and DemonThrong, and as I finish AngelFire, I will post the new or rewritten chapter here.  I’ll let y’all know here on this blog, and on my website, and on my groups when I do post a new chapter.

One thing I’ve worried about is whether I have too much sex in my stories.  To be honest, sex scenes are hard to write, at least for me. The pathway between being turned on and finding it silly or risible or just dull is narrow.  However,  sex is a central part of our lives.  Not writing about it is to accept the religious narrative that it is somehow wrong or dirty, and it most emphatically is not.  It’s OK to write about murder (Dorothy Sayers or Agatha Christie or Ngaio Marsh, for example) but not about sex.  Yet we all have sex, often (well I hope we all do!) but none of us has murdered any one.  Sex and sexual attraction is a central part of our lives.

I knew that my sex scenes, especially the gay ones or threesomes would consign my books to one small shelf in the bookshop, even the virtual one, but I felt it would go against my principles not to write them.  Yet recently I read C S Pacat’s trilogy–Captive Prince, Prince Rising, King’s Gambit–which received rave reviews and were satisfying reads.  The sex in this trilogy is explicit and gay, and she’s been published by Penguin, no less.  She’s also a Melbourne writer like me.  So I’ve decided that my sex scenes will be fine.  Things have changed a lot since I began writing, fourteen or fifteen years ago.  The little niche I inhabited hasn’t quite expanded to a cavern.  But it’s surely bigger than it was.  Even so, I shall probably write less explicit sex scenes in future if only because they take much longer than anything else.

Anyway: there you are.  I’m writing, and I will be writing more.  Thank you all for being so patient over the last five years.

 

Majorca Flats 603

red toyota corolla

 

It was still very early.  In the east, the sun was barely over the horizon.  There was no traffic, here on this country road.  He could hear the distant hoot of a V-Line train, the whisper of the breeze through the giant mountain ash eucalypts on the northern slopes of the ranges, the tick of the car’s engine as it cooled.  He heard an engine toiling up the hill from the south and parted the branches to read the number.  The vehicle drew closer.  As it came over the rise before the turnoff to the road to the Mt Macedon Cross, it slowed, with its left indicator on.  It was a diesel truck, not a car.  On its side was the legend de Franco & Sons, Food Purveyors to the Hospitality IndustryIt’s going to the café at The Cross, Colin thought.  As it ground off, down the side road to The Cross, Colin heard another engine changing down to a lower gear just a little way off.  This is it, thought Colin, suddenly.  His mouth dried and his stomach churned.  He wasn’t sure how he knew, but he was absolutely certain.  A little brick red Toyota Corolla appeared round the bend and started to slow down to take the turning to the left.  Colin couldn’t see into the car, yet, nor could he make out the number plate.  The car drove closer.  WTN 311.  And inside, driving was Luigi and in the back, looking out of the window, was Cody.

 

Right.

 

He ran back from his hiding place behind the thick native bushes to his car, and wrenched the door open.  He entered the number into the computer and sent the query.  Signal was weak here.  It might take a while before the answer downloaded.  He thumbed his radio on. He could hear the other police car just over the rise to the north, but there was no time to waste.

 

“The car’s here.  A red Toyota Corolla WTN311,” he said.  “Going in pursuit.  Let the chopper know.”

 

He started the car’s engine, and pulled off the gravel onto the tarmac and with squealing tyres, turned left onto Mt Macedon Road and then onto the road leading to The Cross and the campsite.

 

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