Word count…

  
Word after word after word after word etc… You get the point I’m sure. I have become obsessed with word count since I have started writing. Each page becoming not only part of my story but a mile in my marathon to make up the minimum of 60,000 words. I am reminded of this figure daily as I strive to hit this target with every chapter I complete.

What does interest me is chapter length. Personally I prefer short chapters but plenty of them. Maybe this is because I’m not someone who can sit there for hours on end reading. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when I have read for only 15-20 minutes but managed to plough through 2 chapters.

I thought it would be interesting to ask the question to you. To my followers who are the ones that really count on this journey. What lay out do you prefer? 30-40 short chapters or 10-15 long ones? I look forward to hearing from you. 

As always thank you to my most recent followers for sharing this journey with me and to those who have been with me from the beginning. You all have my greatest of respect.

Yours in anticipation…

Mark

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Thank you…

  
I wanted to firstly say a big THANK YOU to everyone for your feedback on ‘Reunited’. It was all extremely positive with some constructive criticism thrown in which I welcome more than anything. Hey, we can always improve on something right? 

My train journeys to work have been boring this week with no story to put together but I’ll be back with another one real soon. I enjoyed the ‘not knowing’ approach throughout. I had no idea week on week where Laura’s story was heading. Nor did I have a chance to edit the story along the way. It was a real challenge!
The past week has been an eventful one on the writing front and Saturday night I will always remember having taken part in a Q&A session with none other than Mark Edwards. A fantastic author offering some great advice.
So I’m now onto chapter 14 and have passed the halfway point. I am still enjoying every second of my story and I feel I’ve really got to know my characters personally. The middle part is the hard part but next comes the ending which I’m really looking forward to.
Now a very personal thank you to all my family and friends who have put up with my constant ‘book talk’ since this journey started. Your support and understanding of this new found love means so much. 

I’ll be back with another update soon and watch this space for another short story from yours truly.
Speak soon
Your author, 

Mark

Reunited – Chapter Seven

  
The officer looked at Ivan in surprise. 

“Do you know this girl Laura?”

“Please you must do something. She is not who you think she is. She will kill him”. The officer could see that Ivan meant every word. His mood dramatically changing in an instant. He motioned to his colleague to move to the back seat.

“Hang on, slow down. What do you mean?”.

“This girl Laura. She will kill him”.

“Ivan, please. Calm down and tell me what you know”.

“I have only met her once before. In the restaurant last night was the second time. I knew her brother Dan through one of my friends” said Ivan.

“Okay. Go on”.

“Dan was a soldier. As far as I know he used to teach in martial arts. Some time ago he was posted to the USA to assist in teaching new recruits the art of unarmed combat. He was a big deal amongst our group of friends. A hero”.

“Where are we going with this Ivan? You’re not making sense” replied the officer. His impatience growing by the second.

“One thing I do know is that after Laura’s first ordeal with this man, Dan promised her that he would teach her everything he knew in case she ever met him again. I am aware that she has been waiting for or even looking for this opportunity. This is no abduction Sir, this has been set up”.

“Do you know where this Dan is?” asked the officer.

“Yes” Ivan replied. “He is dead and has been for months”.

“Great! This gets even better. Why didn’t we do a background check on Laura for crying out loud”. 

“Why would we Sir? Until now we hadn’t any reason to suspect she may be involved” replied his colleague from the back seat of the car.

“Please tell me you won’t let her kill him” pleaded Ivan.

He continued to pace up and down the lounge stamping his authority on what he thought was his situation to control. Laura shifted along the sofa as he turned his back on her for the first time. An action that she took note of. He was becoming too comfortable and his concentration was slipping. Dan had said that this may happen. Chloe had brought him here and that she was grateful of. Now she just had to finish the job. Part of her sympathised with his story but it was not enough to spare him from what he was owed. It would end here and now, she thought.

“Now this time we have a problem Laura. The police are outside and as far as I am concerned I am a dead man walking. It’s time to put these years of misery behind us. The three of us will go quietly. Together”. Laura looked at Chloe knowing that whatever happened now, they were in this together. 

“Kneel down beside Chloe”. Laura didn’t move an inch.

“Now!” he said. She fell from the sofa onto the floor and knelt perfectly still beside her friend. He bent down to retrieve what Laura knew would be a weapon. “Anything but a gun. Please” she thought to herself. From his bag he pulled a small knife and Laura’s mind went blank. She needed Dan now more than ever. She could see his face before her. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Chloe’s fearful eyes burning through her. She made her move grabbing his right leg from behind whilst bringing her left leg around in a sweeping motion taking his left leg clean out. He fell to the floor dropping his knife in front of him. Laura climbed to her feet and mounted him sliding her right arm underneath his chin cutting off all hope of an escape. Chloe looked on with her muffled screams continuing to grow in volume.

“All these years I’ve been waiting for this moment and I don’t even know your name” said Laura. He said nothing.

“Your name!” shouted Laura. He could hardly breathe her grip was so tight. Dan had taught her where the pressure should be applied.

“Im… Imran” he said. 

“Why us Imran?” said Laura.

“Why you? Why any of you?” he replied.

“There was more?” she asked.

“A lot more Laura. You’re not as special as you think”.

“Well I’m afraid Imran that there will be no more. Goodnight”. Laura reached for the mask and placed it over his face before looking to the sky and ending her nightmare. It was over in a flash. She let go of him and he fell to the floor motionless. 

Laura turned and removed the tape from Chloe’s mouth before untying her arms. They embraced each other in tears. Neither of them moved for five minutes. 

“Laura what the hell are we going to do now?” asked Chloe.

“He fell down the stairs whilst chasing me okay? Come on I need a hand”. Laura removed the mask from his face and they pulled the body to the bottom of the stairs. With her ankle now a swollen mess, she took Chloe’s hand.

“It’s over Chloe. He’s gone. I have so much to thank you and Dan for. I couldn’t have done it without you both”. She looked up and smiled. 

“Come on”. They walked towards the door hand in hand and as it opened, light filled the hallway with what felt like a heavenly beam of light. “I love you too bro”.

Reunited – Chapter Six

  
Chloe looked at Laura in desperation with tears still rolling down her cheeks. 

“What do you want from us?” asked Laura again. “Who are you?”.

“I am that same man that you met all them years ago. I knew I would never forget your face and I haven’t had to forget Chloe’s as I’ve been keeping an eye on her for the past 2 years”. Chloe tried to scream but the tape over her mouth silenced her.

“I don’t understand. You held me for 24 hours without laying a finger on me. And now Chloe. Why?” asked Laura. She had longed for this opportunity to question him ever since her ordeal and never thought she would get the chance to do so.

“Well ever since that night 7 years ago when you and Chloe joined me on the ride into town for your birthday, I haven’t looked back”. He began to walk slowly around the room, circling Chloe whilst not averting his gaze away from Laura. “Those few minutes were not enough. I needed more. Time goes so quickly in our world Laura. The 24 hours I spent with you were perfect. How could I resist having the same with Chloe? I must admit, I do feel a bit greedy having both of you with me this time”.

“Hang on. What do you mean ‘ride into town’?” Laura asked.

‘Well you didn’t think it was just coincidence that we managed to meet twice tonight do you?” he said.

“Twice?” she replied.

“Does this help?” He slowly lifted the mask that had hidden his face for so long.

“I knew i recognised that voice. How could you?” Laura asked. Before her stood the man that had only hours earlier been laughing and singing with them on the way to the restaurant.

“I even came to dinner with you and sat only a few tables away unnoticed. When I saw you speaking with the waiter it was the perfect opportunity to somehow hide my actions. I knew my text would immediately put him in the picture but now you know my true identity it makes me feel even closer to you. And to you”. He stroked Chloe’s hair making her turn in disgust.

“All I wanted to do was spend more time with you both that’s all. My wife and I were robbed of time when she was taken from me almost 8 years ago”. Laura looked at Chloe trying to offer some gesture of comfort but failed to find one.

Police now surrounded the house and it had turned into ‘operation unknown’ with them having no idea who the abductor was.
“Sir we have a man on him now. He has been described as approximately 6 feet, dark short hair with a moustache. Possibly of Middle Eastern decent”.

“Get Ivan here now. We need to know how he has got caught up in all this” replied the officer. A car left the scene in pursuit of Ivan.

Fifteen minutes later he was back and a confused looking Ivan climbed from car to car shuffling across the back seat nervously.

“Ivan I take it?” asked the officer.

“That’s right yes. What is happening here?” he asked.

“Two girls have been taken hostage inside this house and until now, we believed you to be our man Ivan. Can you tell me what may have made us think that?”

“I honestly have no idea”. The officer showed him a relatively blurry still image that they had managed to capture. 

“Any idea who this man is?” he asked.

“No. I remember him coming into the restaurant though just after the birthday girls came in. He sat at a table on his own and just had coffee. I left the restaurant shortly after that”.

“And why did you leave the restaurant so early?” the officer asked.

“Oh er, I was not feeling well. I had a bad stomach”. The officer turned to his colleague with a look of disbelief on his face.

“And do you know these two girls?”

The officer passed Ivan a photo of Chloe.

“I recognise her from last night but I do not know her. Who is the the other girl?” he asked. The officer passed him the photo of Laura.

“Oh please Jesus no”.