Nonfiction 5

Man in the shadows: a short novel and six stories by Peter Corris

By Peter Corris

Gareth Greenaway was once now not all he appeared, yet Cliff Hardy was once used to that. What he used to be no longer used to used to be the shadowy global Greenaway used to be to steer him into - neurosurgeons, psychological sufferers, AIDS victims, all fascinated with their very own goals and delusions. Peter Corris's different books contain "The January Zone", "The Greenwich Apartments", "The Empty seashore" and "Deal Me Out".

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Yeah, but there’s one in the chamber. ’ His eyes widened. ‘God. ’ I squatted down in front of him and tapped the barrel of the gun on his knee. ’ ‘The safety’s on now. ’ I helped him up and he hobbled to a chair. I pulled out the comfortable-looking chair from behind the desk and sat opposite him about a metre away. He rubbed his knee with his right hand; that hurt his forearm so he stopped rubbing. ‘You really worked me over,’ he said. I bent my head and moved it stiffly. ‘Know what? I took a first class rabbit killer from one of the hospital guards.

Tell me about this place. I thought they were under strict supervision. Aren’t there… visitors, or something? ’ He snorted. ‘The visitors are senile hacks. They should be in there, not… the patients… us. You’ll see. The place? It’s like a concentration camp. Fences, out of bounds areas. Cells… ‘ ‘Cells? ’ ‘How? ’ ‘I know a way in. ’ I was worried, very worried. For the rest of the drive I watched Greenway closely. He appeared to take no interest in the surroundings, spoke briefly to give me directions, and otherwise seemed to be asleep with his eyes open.

He popped the cans and handed me one. ’ I took a sip and told him in as few words as I could manage. I felt I needed to watch and listen to him a bit more before deciding what to do. He nodded, apparently respectfully. ‘Pretty good. I thought you might be that good. ’ ‘Shit, you’ve got a nerve. Okay, cut the charm. ’ ‘I haven’t met him, it’s all been done by telephone. He wanted photographs of that set of inmates at the hospital. The ones who exercise at that time. It seemed like a two man job to me, so I…’ I waved the beer can.

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