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Science Fiction (General)
Action & Adventure
By Rosemarie Craig
E-Book (available as PDF files)
About the Author
“I need my money back, Hunter, or they’ll kill me. Then they’ll kill you.” Take a homeless drug addict. Put him in the room with his rich, successful friend. Add in a beautiful woman they both adore. How far will they go to protect themselves and those they love? Secret Genius is a dark story of friendship, love, betrayal and forgiveness for young adult readers.
Chapter 1 As the hand pushed down on the back of my head, forcing my face into the cold, dark water, the only real thought in my mind was Max Newman. And oxygen. I thought about oxygen too. The hand grabbed my hair in a fist and pulled me back out of the water. I gasped in a huge mouthful of air, coughing, tilting my head back to get my hair out of my eyes. All I know for certain is, that if Max Newman had looked for me when I ran away, none of this would’ve happened. I would’ve gone to Oxford. I would’ve been happy. I would not be covered in mud and my own blood, begging for my life whilst two men stood over me, demanding I pay them the twenty-four thousand pounds I owe their boss. I know that. So this was, partly at least, Max Newman’s fault. “Where’s the money? Cole won’t give up” “I don’t have it! Tell him I don’t have it!” I couldn’t breathe. “That’s not good enough! Give me the money” “Leave me alone, I don’t have anything!” He shoved my head back into the murk of the River Thames, without giving me a chance to breathe, and I fought. But I couldn’t get a grip on the muddy ground, and I ended up just flailing. I shook my head violently, trying to make him lose his grip, but he held fast. Suddenly he yanked me back into the air, and I breathed. But before I’d taken in two desperate lungfuls of cold night air, I was plunged back into the water. I breathed in the cold water, and tried to choke, but more water got inside my mouth. I twisted my head, trying not to cough, trying not to breathe. Again he wrenched my head out, lifting almost my whole body by my hair, pulling clumps away from my scalp, and threw me onto the ground. I slid in the mud and ended up lying in the river, distorting the reflection of a street lamp in the water. Spitting and coughing up the filthy water, I breathed deep, deep breaths, my brain gathering up all the oxygen it’d lost. “If you don’t give us the money now, we’ll take everything you’ve got” came the next threat. Not that I’ve got anything to bother taking. Only Dad’s old watch, and that’s worthless to anyone else. I don’t even have anywhere to live. I used to live in squats, but that was when I was young. The teenagers don’t trust me anymore, see. Twenty-seven is too old to be young. The man kicked me in the side of the face, making my nose bleed sluggishly. “Stop it. I don’t have any money…” I couldn’t think straight, couldn’t think at all… The man kicked me in the head again. I saw white spots behind my eyes, and I grunted in agony. My mouth tasted of metal and blood. The other one, the one who hadn’t, as far as I knew, even touched me yet, grabbed my wrist and pulled me up. He half dragged me away from the water, my feet squelching inside my odd shoes, and stood me against a wall. I leaned against it, panting, sweat rolling down my back. I felt sick, and the world span around me. I closed my eyes, trying to breathe steadily. Then the man slugged me in the kidneys and I doubled over, the remaining wind knocked out of me. He pulled a knife from his pocket and pressed it hard onto my neck. “You’re going to have to come up with the money somehow, or he’ll kill you” he whispered urgently. I looked up at his face from my position at his waist. He looked… almost concerned. I recognised him, dimly, through the pain and confusion. From years ago… “I don’t have any money” “Then why the hell’d you take his drugs?” “I needed them!” I moaned, the stench of old clothes, blood and sweat wafting from us both. “You have to pay him, soon. You know what he did to Jim,” he whispered. I remembered. The guy had been found in the Thames three weeks ago, a couple of miles upstream of where I’d just been pushed under. I shuddered. “How - how am I supposed to get out of it now?” I asked, practically begging. “Run” he whispered, loosening his grip on my shoulder. I broke free. My heart almost stopped, expecting him to grab me again. Expecting him to be playing with me. Expecting him to laugh and stop me. I ran, and he yelled in falsified anger. I was fast, even though I was falling over my own feet, slipping in the mud in my shoes and I couldn’t breathe. I’d always been fast.
Rosemarie Craig is a sixteen-year-old debut novelist. Along side writing short stories, poems and novels, Rosemarie is currently studying for her A-levels in English, Maths, Philosophy & Ethics and Theatre Studies. Rosemarie lives with her mother, father, brother and beloved dog in Gloucestershire, UK. www.rosemariecraig.com
I read a lot of thrillers but this one gripped me. A great read.
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