Wasted lives a detective.., p.1
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       Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel, p.1
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           Mark Bredenbeck
Wasted Lives, a Detective Mike Bridger novel


  Wasted Lives

  A Detective Mike Bridger Novel

  By Mark Bredenbeck

  ∞

  Copyright 2014 by Mark Bredenbeck

  Book design by Mark Bredenbeck

  “This book is a work of fiction. Names, Characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, governments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.”

  “All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the author is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.”

  For my father.

  In order to grow and become a man, every boy needs a positive male role model in his life…

  ‘He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster’

  ~Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886~

  ∞

  Prologue

  He could hear the dog's ragged breathing a short distance behind, he could almost feel its hot breath on his heels. His own breath was coming in short rasps, the oxygen fighting for space in his tar filled lungs, his body rebelling against years of smoking in one malicious moment.

  Turning right into the darkness of a service alley he nearly stumbled, tripping over his own feet, the alcohol coursing through his bloodstream along with another shot of adrenalin.

  He was not far from home but he was running out of time. The dog had sensed its opportunity and had increased its pace, the scattering of paws on the rough surface got louder, touching every fear receptacle in his brain.

  He knew there was a tall fence here somewhere he desperately needed the escape.

  A muffled silence invaded his head, his vision blurred. He sensed the dogs’ presence getting closer. There was no noise, the sound of paws on tarmac disappeared as if the dog was suddenly floating.  Turning his head, he saw a vision of hell as a flash of sharp white came out of the darkness in line with his throat. The dog had found its target.

  He panicked and kicked out at the last minute, his foot colliding with the meaty part of its chest just below its vicious head. He heard the air go out of its lungs through its mouth, so close he could smell the fetid stench of its sour breath. It deflated onto the ground below him, an angry growl gurgling in its throat.

  The dog was scrabbling on the wet surface trying to regain its footing, giving him precious seconds. Pulling the knife from his belt, he thrust it downwards, putting all his force into the movement. There was a small sucking sound as the sharp blade entered its skull through the eye socket. The blade lodged itself in the bone and stuck fast, the dog shook violently but then became still, light disappearing from its good eye. He did not even hear a whimper as the brave life started fading. Pulling the knife from its destruction, he felt only sadness.

  The sight of this life ending was the same as he had seen less than ten minutes ago, that life too had ended on the end of the same knife.

  A life traded over a difference of colours, a rival patch of allegiance. A fight over a woman possessed by another but lusted after by him. He had lusted and she had lured by using that lust. She took him from the bar with promises of heaven and he had seen glimpses of it as well, with gentle hands and welcoming wetness. He had been well on the way before the man had shown up. He could not remember the anger although he knew there had been some.

  She had tried to calm things between them, she had done her best, but she was the alchemist that had put them together, his foe and him. Her boyfriend’s death was the outcome of her unfaithful desire. He would have left it, normally, but for the different ‘Patch’ on each of their backs. It was not as if he had not been in that position before.

  A gang's strength came in its ability to subdue the rest of the pretenders. When he saw the man’s allegiance displayed openly on his back, he could not let it lie, not now that this man had found him using his treasure so openly. He could not show any weakness.

  He was surprised how easy it had been. He had moved fast, taking the man by surprise. This patched foe had just stood there and taken it, no great struggle, no fanfare, no begging for mercy. Once the knife had entered his sternum, punctured his lungs and pierced his heart the man had fallen to his knees, a look of surprised indignation on his face. The dying patch, his life cheating him so cruelly, and then his death had found him because of nothing but a difference of affiliation. He had tried to say something with his last breath, his words struggling with the lack of air, but then his lights had gone out in front of him, taking something from his soul he could not explain. It was the eyes he remembered most, they had been vacant and lost, a bit like his own. Had he seen an acceptance in them before he had passed? It certainly looked like he had found a certain sort of peace.

  He looked down in the dim light at the dog quietly panting, the dog knew it was dying, he knew the patch was already dead… his knew his own run was over.

  He thought of the woman. The hands that had been so gentle shortly before had turned on him, words of hatred spewing from within in an angry torrent. He remembered her naked breasts flapping about as she had clawed and kicked at his bare skin, tears and snot staining her once pretty face.

  He touched at the drying scratches on his cheek.

  She had been so sultry, sensuous even, he was a fool to himself, and he had wanted it all. It was something he could not control.

  Looking around at the darkened alleyway, the brave animal bleeding out below his feet, he knew it was his weakness to blame. The darkness that surrounded him echoed his life.

  The sound of heavy boots bouncing off the walls of the alleyway suddenly presented another danger; this one was more urgent. The Policeman in those boots had been quick off the mark; he had hardly left the woman's house when he heard him release the dog. He must have been in the neighbourhood when she had called for help. Now his dog was dead and the Policeman would be here to witness it very soon. He looked around at the fence behind him, home was so close but his body was too tired to run anymore.

  He looked at the bloodied knife in his hand, then back towards the approaching Policeman, a shadow growing larger. He thought about his infant son, safe at home in the innocent arms of his mother, no knowledge of the world he inhabited. He thought of the star he had placed above his cot, telling him quietly that it was there to guide and to protect him.

  Do not live my life, he thought sadly, you are daddy's little Star.

  He held the bloodied knife to his chest, sat back against the wire of the fence behind him, and waited.

 
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