A Man Alone

A Man Alone by David Siddall Read Free Book Online

Book: A Man Alone by David Siddall Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Siddall
changed. You’re not the man I fell in love with.”
    Doyle speared her with his gaze. “That’s just it, Josie. I’m exactly the same man.” He turned away. “Maybe you just didn’t look hard enough.”
    She opened her mouth but before she could say any more, Doyle swept past.
    “I’m going to bed,” he said, then paused at the foot of the stairs. “And I suggest you do the same.”
    N EXT MORNING DOYLE WAS woken by hammering and loud voices coming from the room below. Throwing on a T-shirt and jeans, he wandered down the stairs, nodding to the two workmen fitting a new window in the living room before going into the kitchen. Josie sat at the table reading some glossy magazine and didn’t look up. More trouble, thought Doyle. He put a hand on the teapot, found it was still warm and poured himself a mug of tea. No use trying to push her. After five years he knew how stubborn she could be. When she was ready, Josie would say what she had to say.
    But she didn’t. She just sat there, drawing on a cigarette, idly turning the pages of her magazine, and saying nothing. Eventually, after what seemed an age, she lifted her eyes to Doyle, pushed her chair away from the table, and went to the drawer where the knives were kept. She pulled out the .38 and tossed it on the table. It thudded on the veneer top. Doyle looked. The barrel pointed toward him like an accusing finger. Glancing into the living room, Doyle picked up the revolver, shoved it into his waistband, and pulled his shirt over the top. Josie sat back down, staring at him. He waited, then waited some more. Still, she wouldn’t speak. Doyle swallowed. He could face down men in a street bar tussle or a man with a loaded gun, but a pissed off Josie MacDonald was a different prospect.
    “So,” he said at last, reasoning he may as well get it over with, “do you always go through my pockets?”
    She slammed the table. “A gun. You’ve brought a gun into my house.”
    Doyle raised a finger and shushed her. Making sure the workmen were out of earshot, he said, “It’s necessary.”
    “Necessary? D’you have the slightest idea what you’re getting in to? And what about me and April?” She shook her head. “Who the hell do you think you are?”
    Doyle’s frustration spilled over and he balled his fists. “I’m just a bloke trying to do what’s right, Josie. That’s all. A bloke who likes a beer, who wants to come home to a family, and eat roast beef on Sundays.” He looked at her and his eyes were hard as flint. “But I won’t have a bastard like Barry Wood telling me what I can and can’t do. I’ve known men like him all my life. Men who think they’re king of the streets because they’ve cracked a few heads and got some hard cases on board.” Doyle poked a finger in his chest. “Not me, not after Ireland, not after,” he hesitated. “Not after what I’ve seen and done.”
    “But guns John? Where will it end?”
    Doyle tipped his head toward the living room window. Hearing the row the workmen had made a discreet exit and were waiting in the van to sign off the job. “In case you haven’t noticed,” he said, “the use of guns has already begun.”
    Josie looked at Doyle like she was seeing him for the first time. For a little while she was silent. Then she sighed quietly. “You’ve never talked about it,” she said. “Ireland, I mean. What happened?”
    He ran a hand across his scalp. “I was just a kid but I should have known better. I was a soldier, and I guess I was looking for adventure, a few thrills.” A harsh laugh escaped. “I got that all right.” He looked Josie in the eye. “I got involved with people I shouldn’t have. And when they were finished, when they’d used me up, they spat me out like a piece of filth. They gave me up Josie, gave me up and hoped I’d be ‘disappeared’ like others before. I ran Josie. I ran until I came here and could run no more.”
    Josie put a hand to her mouth. “You never

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