Codename Wolfhound opening

Reading time: 5 minutes

This is the opening chapter of my novel Codename Wolfhound:

Darjeeling, India – March 1968

Jack Davenport lay there for some time, it was bitterly cold. The burning of hate within him kept the light of life alive inside. It was all clear in his head, that damn English man, how had he got the upper hand? They had fought with Kung Fu on telegraph hill in Darjeeling. He liked it there, just the place to kill a limey amongst the prayer flags. It had failed. The Limey was alive and now Jack wondered if he was. Hate burned in his soul; such it had always been since he was a kid. His body was cut and bleeding. Way way up above was the hill on which they had fought. Then Jack had lost his footing, bad work. The drop to the bottom of the valley had been a long and painful one.

Through the night he had lain there, the hate his tinder spark. Just enough to sustain him through the bitter long cold darkness. The night had turned into a long and cold day. He felt the life going from him at last as the day started to end. Above was the red sunset, narrowly he perceived it as the life force died with the sun. Even the grip of hate could not hold it anymore. Just as the spark was about to extinguish a tired mule forced on by a man came into the rough path where Jack lay. The man saw the corpse. He was a good man: when there was no profit. Jack's pockets revealed nothing, and he consoled himself with taking the ebbing human back to his house.  Rewards would come when this cut and bleeding rich man was well.

Jack Davenport was tough, it would take more than some cold to finish him. He had been bought up in a rough area in New York. Life had made him hard as iron. The same forge that had made is body made his soul and that was hard: ruthless, indeed near insane. Luck had been on his side; the mule driver had saved him. Was he grateful? Was he hell. sucker.

The man nursed him in his own bed in a small wooden house on the edge of Darjeeling. The guy’s wife sat with Jack, his nurse, another sucker. They gave him the best of their food and bought medicine they could not afford for his cuts. The cuts were deep and severe, his clothes had been torn to shreds, the skin ripped deep on every part of body and face. Bernhart Smith the limey had clearly wanted him to suffer, Jack was no fool, the guy thought he had handed out a punishment for Jack's fondness for slicing up his victims. Add another sucker to the list. Jack's iron soul cared little, all he wanted was to carry on hating and indulging, the state of the body was not important.

Pretty soon Jack was fine. Cuts where no worry to him, once the body had warmed he was good for action. The man and his wife had left his possessions by the bed. There was nothing much. The knife had been dropped during his fall but the gun was there. He checked it over, all was fine, the silencer still in place. There were only four bullets in the magazine. The wife sat by in a small chair knitting. Sunlight stretched across the floor in the mid cool day. As he looked at the gun she smiled at him, a sort of 'we leave your things for you, we are good, give us money' look. He levelled the gun and pumped two rounds into her. The woman sprawled back in the chair, blood dripping from the holes in her forehead and down the wall behind her. Flat nosed bullets always blew the brains out the back he mused with satisfaction, a good substitute for the lack of his knife. It was good to see some blood again.

He no longer wanted to be here. Time was wasting. Looking around the small house he found something like clothes to wear. There was food to have, though it tasted like shit, he thought. This was a hard man but he had got used to fine things with ill-gotten gains. He guessed the old man would be back in the evening, that would be the time when this would be finished. Stood to reason, the time would be about the time the man had found him. Deciding to wait, he sat by the little wooden table. Better shut the man's mouth first.

There were only a few hours to wait. Jack sat impassively, meditating on his hate and plans from here. As the rays of the sun faded the little wooden door opened. A small man came in and smiled. Jack spied the mule tethered in the yard behind. As the door shut the man's brains dripped down it. Good, thought Jack. Now it was time to move.

He stood, pocketing the gun. Finding a small bag he stuffed in the last of their food. Forcing the door open, as it had to move the dead Samaritan, he avoided getting blood on his native garb. Outside he suddenly realised that his body was still frail, but he forced it on. Darjeeling was a mystery in this part of the town. He knew the club, the hotel, the restaurants but not this squalid hole. Ignoring the mule he walked down the path towards the town.