Here’s just a snippet from A Garden of Bones. I hope you enjoy.
The room smells of sleep, although it’s already late morning and she’s still sitting in her slippers and a heavy, pink dressing gown.
Maybe they’re late risers, I don’t know. I don’t ask.
All the windows are shut, the curtains partly drawn with no sun on the front yet, leaving the room – small and darkly carpeted – feeling more like dawn.
She’s let me in moments earlier, unsmiling but not unfriendly. I tell her who I am, she nods, and opens the door a fraction wider – enough for me to squeeze inside and close it behind me.
I offer to take off my shoes but she says it doesn’t matter, so I sit in an armchair, comfortable, old and slightly faded, with a dated floral design.
She’s old too – not ancient but old enough to have seen a few comings and goings, late sixties maybe, or a little younger.
She’ll talk to me, she says, but only me. She doesn’t want bothering by any of the others, if they come.
Will you tell them that?
I say I will, knowing it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. Doesn’t work like that, at least not in their eyes.
“Your . . . husband,” I guess. She doesn’t correct me so I carry on.
“Your husband was just mentioning to me that you might have something to say. You might have something to say about the old couple who lived in the corner house.”
She says nothing at first. She stares at her slippers and occasionally, reluctantly, at me.
“Is it them in the ground?” she asks.
“I don’t know,” I reply. “I expect so. Hard to imagine who else it’s going to be. Did you know them?”
I sit forward, a grubby biro hovering over a blank page in my pad, waiting for her to speak some more. She won’t give me her name. She doesn’t want it going in the paper.
“What if it’s just for me?” I ask.
“Just so I know who you are, just so I can write your name next to these notes I’m making,
so I’ve got proof I spoke to you if anyone asks.”
“Edna,” she says, suspiciously. “Edna Dawson.”
I write her name in the top left-hand corner of my notepad, certain she’s just given me a pseudonym.
She doesn’t need to. If she doesn’t want her name in the paper then that’s up to her.
“I saw them,” she tells me, “regular as clockwork. Every day I’d see them walking past. It was always about the same time. Him always ahead by a good ten paces, little and slumped and bent over. Her, tall, broad and ungainly – walked stiff and upright. We thought she might be a man. Odd couple.”
My hand, which has been scribbling frantically, comes to an abrupt halt.
“What, like a cross-dresser?”
“I don’t think she was. I don’t want you writing that,” she tells me, wagging a finger at me.
“She was just so much bigger than him, and always walking behind, like she was a decrepit old dog on a lead.”
A bit about me . . .
This is my author bio . . .
Andy Done-Johnson was born and grew up in Derbyshire and studied at The University of Hull. After a stint as a a largely out-of-work actor and barman in London, he returned to Derbyshire where he stumbled into journalism, got married and had a son, who is now a grown-up. Aside from writing, he loves books, walking, exercise, travel, history, art and dogs. He has worked as a print and online journalist for 20 years, largely in the Midlands. In 2013 he broke the Wycherley Murders. This is his ‘version of events’.