Hag Fold. Paul Finch

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Название Hag Fold
Автор произведения Paul Finch
Жанр Ужасы и Мистика
Издательство Ужасы и Мистика
Год выпуска 0
isbn 9780008173760

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      Hag Fold

      Paul Finch

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      Published by Avon

       An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

      1 London Bridge Street

      London SE1 9GF


      This ebook edition published by HarperCollins Publishers 2016

      First published in paperback and hardback in One Monster Is Not Enough by Gray Friar Press, 2012

      Copyright © Paul Finch 2016

      Cover design © Debbie Clement 2016

      Paul Finch asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

      A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

      This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

      All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

      Ebook Edition © January 2016 ISBN: 9780008173760

      Version: 2015-12-18



       Title Page

       Hag Fold

       About the Author

       By the Same Author

       About the Publisher

       On September 12 th 1978, the body of a 19-year-old waitress was found wrapped in a carpet and dumped in a railway underpass near to the council playing fields on Hag Fold Avenue, north Manchester. The girl had been raped and beaten, but death had resulted from a single blow to the throat, delivered with such force that it had completely crushed her windpipe.

       Every day he heard the children playing on the other side of the wall. Timmy was only very young, himself; so young that he wasn’t even allowed out of his own backyard, but at least he was able to listen – to their giggles and their squeals, to the pitter-patter of their feet as they charged up and down.

       Timmy would sit for hours, picking at the moss between the flagstones, wondering who they were, wondering how many of them were over there. It sounded like a lot. To Timmy, who, apart from his mother, only ever saw the coal-man and the rent-man, this seemed incredible. The children’s house never gave him any clues. It was a mirror image of his own: semi-detached, but tall and narrow and built from sooty brick. The curtains in its windows looked slightly shabbier than the ones in Timmy’s, while its paintwork was cracked and flaking. On one occasion he approached his mother about it, asking who the children were and if he could perhaps go round and play with them.

       His mother had simply stared at him, the eyes like marbles in her thin, hard face.

       “You will do no such thing,” she said. “Isn’t it bad enough that we have to live in a neighbourhood like this without you getting involved with the likes of them! Christ Almighty, that’s the last thing we want!”


      Once you’ve crossed that essential Rubicon and taken your first life, it’s easy to do it again. All that matters is the planning and logistics.

      The first time I killed, it was three or four at once: Argentine soldiers. Raw recruits, I dare say; muddy, terrified, underfed, but still armed with a GPMG and blazing at us from their dug-out as we assaulted their lines at Goose Green in May 1982. May is late autumn in the South Atlantic, so it was pitch-black and driving with bitter rain. I remember pinpointing them by their tracer, which cut across the battlefront in vivid streaks.

      It was pandemonium that dawn. Clouds of orange flame ballooned on the horizon; the ground was churned to quagmires; SAM missiles flocked by overhead, screaming like devils. In such a battery of sound and pyrotechnics, the Argie machine-gunners didn’t notice me ’til it was too late. I launched a grenade into the middle of them. They didn’t even notice that. It flashed and roared and minced at least two of them outright. A third staggered out, a ragged, smouldering, inhuman shape; an overhead flare showed him all blood and tatters, clutching the stump of a severed arm. I levelled my SLR and punched him full of holes. The next one came out screaming hysterically, shooting in all directions. A bad time for my clip to run dry. I dived into the mud as he came towards me. He’d totally lost it, and didn’t spot me as I tripped him and jumped onto him from behind. He was shrieking, frothing at the mouth, struggling wildly. I think he thought I was a comrade, pulling him down to protect him. Ironically, that made him fight all the harder, made him determined not to surrender. Not that I’d have accepted it. You see, combat regiments are all about killing. They pick you to serve in them because they know you will kill. They teach you to kill. They encourage you to kill. You become a fully-trained professional killer. That is your job. And until you actually do it – and enjoy it into the bargain – you aren’t part of the club.

      So I killed him. Knifed him. Ten or twelve times before he finally lay still.


       On November 28 th 1979, the remains of a 26-year-old prostitute and heroin addict were discovered in a burned-out garage on NCB wasteland in the Hag Fold district of Manchester. She had died from asphyxiation, having been garrotted with her own bra, but only after violent rape and prolonged torture with a cigarette lighter.

       The first time Timmy saw them was from the top of the coal bunker, but it didn’t give him a great view. Far better was to sneak into the entry between the two houses and peep on the children through the planks in their back gate.

       By this time he’d found out who they were, or rather what they were.

       Orphans. Or kids who might as well be orphans. The Social Services owned that house, and all the children living there were ‘in care’. They’d either been neglected by their real parents, abused in some way or just kicked out. The first time he heard about this, Timmy felt a unique thrill of horror. His own home life, strictly regimented by the awesome figure of his mother, often left him desperately miserable, but, frequent though the strappings were, not to mention the nights without tea or TV, he could never imagine reaching the situation where