Friday 24 April 2020

BLOG TOUR ~ Two Kinds of Blood by Jane Ryan

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop for the Blog Tour for Two Kinds of Blood by Jane Ryan where I have an extract from her latest novel. I was thrilled to be asked by Paula from Poolbeg Books who organised this to boost the spotlight on Jane's new release seeing as the difficult situation we're facing with the Coronavirus to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else has taken part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this review so without further ado, here it is:

Chapter 6

The tartan blanket was stiff with black dirt, but filth never bothered Seán Flannery. It was one more type of disguise. He was sitting in the doorway of a ‘to let’ restaurant in Monkstown’s crescent, a once-busy grocer’s shop decades back. The cold October wind blew grit and the bitter tang of road tar into his face. The low winter sun had turned the roadworkers into a dayglo chain gang. Seán had watched their confused progression for two days, noting the local worthies were not pleased, holding their sharp noses a fraction higher as they walked by, too busy muttering about ‘slipshod builders’ and ‘corrupt councillors’ to drop a coin in Seán’s tatty paper cup. It suited him. The village was sleepy and quiet from the diverted traffic. A fear had gnawed at him since the abandoned Fuentes shipment and something like injustice at the stones on the DOCB for stealing his drugs and some Garda buffoon on television talking about teamwork and striking a blow at the heart of organised crime. It rankled. And they’d trashed the Farm. Gardaí had respect for nothing, tearing down a man’s legacy. He rammed an ancient deerstalker hat further down his head, the fleece matted with grease from someone else’s hair. He’d filched it from a charity shop as he walked through Blackrock. The invisible hobo. Insulated from the cold in an ancient parka, he watched the men working from his vantage point, lost in the beat of the steel rollers moving over the black-glitter glue of bitumen. The roadworkers folded in more gravel and rolled again, as though working toffee, the rhythm of their travails a meditation. It took Seán away, his eyes half-shut and a layer of white flocculent sleep all but descending on him. He put his hand into his boxers. Right under the jock cup was a concealed pocket. He touched the teeth of his house key, their jagged edges soothing him. Lorraine came to him. Not the shredded woman in the warehouse, too destroyed to recoil from the punches, but Lorraine as she lay frozen, the ice fogging and reshaping her into a serene Madonna. It was a peaceful scene until Seán remembered the baby girl he’d orphaned. She punctured his self-awareness, leaving it as pocked as the road surface. He should have killed the child – instead he left her to a motherless fate. Proof, if it was needed, that he was formed from original sin. It made sense of his cruelty and inability to feel remorse . . . but he had felt remorse about Lorraine’s child. He struck his head, wanting to smack down the unassailable questions mid-air. He shifted his thoughts away from that, to another girl walking around the backroom of his mind, so ripe at the age of nine. The soft downy skin on her arms and her dreams pulsing below the transparent skin of her eyelids. His desire was malevolent, dark as tar seeping into his pores, suffocating him. He blamed original sin. The nuns in the Home said not even Jesus could wash away his sin. Despite that, Jesus would try to love him. Without end. A millstone of forgiveness around his neck to wander through life with. Seán hadn’t believed the nuns’ fantastic stories of women turned to salt and oracle boys whose dreams came true – but original sin was different. St Augustine, who Seán knew about from his time in the boys’ home named after him, declared that original sin was passed down through the generations when people had sexual intercourse and conceived a child. If the offspring was of an unwed mother, even baptism couldn’t wash away the sin. Seán was doused in it. A Nissan van screeched to a halt. Seán’s head whipped up while his legs thrashed out of the tangled rug. Four men from the road gang ran towards him. Another man tarring the road looked at the melee, the quick movements of the men drawing his eye. Seán’s fingers scratched the pavement, struggling for purchase. The roadworker looked away from his terror. Those other men were unstoppable. Big, ugly conscripts with anabolic bodies. Fear bit into Seán and numbed his feet, turning them towards one another in his unlaced boots – he jerked his knees upwards to release his feet from them. A hand reached him. Grabbed the parka. Seán shrugged it off and ran. Past an empty pub in his bare feet, heading for the boiling tar of the new road surface. Four hands hiked him up before he reached it. His legs chopped the air, his left arm brought back to an unnatural angle and close to snapping. ‘Youuuu!’ Seán called out to the roadworker who had caught his eye, but the man shrugged and continued breastfeeding his shovel. This was not his fight.

‘We have you now, Seán,’ said one of the attackers. ‘There’s a good man and don’t make a scene. Or I’ll break your arm.’

‘Do youse scum know who you’re dealing with?’

‘We do, Seán – but maybe you not – Big Man,’ said another, the air of pack leader about him, despite his pinched features.

He had a cheerful, chilling tone of voice and a Slavic accent. He mangled his English into horror show bites and was soaked in Eau de Psycho. Here for the impersonal violence. Seán swallowed his pain and terror. His chances of surviving would collapse with a broken arm. Two of the men hog-tied him with plastic cable-ties and slung him into the back of the white van with a single yellow stripe, head first. The deerstalker took most of the impact, but there was a crunch and a warm line along his eyebrow. The abduction had taken less than two minutes. It happened so fast a bystander wouldn’t have realised what they were looking at. The van looked commonplace yet official. Fear and panic played on Seán so the van doors appeared to close in slow motion, peeling him back to the boy with his face pushed into ammonia-smelling black trousers.

No comments :

Post a Comment