Today I’m both excited and honored to share with you all the PENULTIMATE entry in The Ordshaw Vignettes by author Phil Williams! Twelve stories, twelve blogs – let’s do this!
To celebrate the release of The Violent Fae, the closing chapter of the Ordshaw series’ The Sunken City Trilogy, Phil Williams is sharing twelve short stories from the city of Ordshaw. The Ordshaw Vignettes are tiny insights into life in the UK’s worst-behaved city, each presenting a self-contained mystery.
You can read today’s story below. For the full collection, visit all the wonderful blogs in the tour.
The Banker on Lynn’s Books
The Troubled Child on Space and Sorcery
The Concierge on Bookshine & Readbows
The Crane Driver on Brainfluff
The Chemist on The Bibiosanctum
The Neighbors on Paper Plane Reviews
The Artist on Out Of This World
The Family on Rockstarlit Book Asylum
The Composer on Jon Auerbach
The Gang on Fantasy Book Review
The Fixer on Whispers & Wonder
The Homeless on Fantasy Book Critic (AVAILABLE TOMORROW)
A huge thank you to Phil Williams for including Whispers & Wonder in this amazing tour. Make sure to not only check out all of the short stories across all the blogs listed above (excellent company, by the way), but also pick up the fantastic books his The Ordshaw series – purchase links listed below!
The Ordshaw series are urban fantasy thrillers set in a modern UK city with more than a few terrible secrets. The Violent Fae completes a story that began with Under Ordshaw and its sequel Blue Angel – following poker player Pax Kuranes’ journey into the Ordshaw underworld. Over the space of one week, Pax unravels mysteries that warp reality and threaten the entire city.
The Violent Fae will be available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback from November 5th 2019.
Whatever went through Johnny Rangage’s eye, and out the back of his head, it wasn’t a bullet. A bullet had clipped his thigh, sure. Another had got that big Jamaican in the gut, for a slow painful death. Two bullets had taken his mate in the chest, and a whole salvo had perforated Johnny’s contact. A load more had peppered the stacks of scrapped cars surrounding the scene. All obviously bullet holes, ripped through flesh and torn through metal. But whatever hit Johnny, that left a hole like a big needle.
Could’ve been a needle, too, except for how Johnny’s body fell on the dusty ground; the thing that took him twisted him half-round with the momentum of a projectile. And that was a good thing, because if someone had stuck a needle in Johnny’s head, it would mean an unexplained suspect. Standing next to the corpse, Detective Lodes rocked on his heels and decided, “Bit of luck for everyone, if you ask me.”
By all appearances, Johnny, chief enforcer for the Ashford Originals, had turned this ambush on its head in a way that got everyone killed. It would’ve been a win for Johnny, and the AO, if not for a last second twist that Lodes was rapidly forming an explanation for. He stepped over the body and addressed the constable assisting him.
“It happened fast. Our Seventh Street boys got in position before Johnny met his man – with all this junk there’s no way they sneak up after. They wait till the pair have their heads down talking, then the Yardies jump up shooting. But Johnny’s got the luck of the damn Irish and he turns around his boy – this lad takes the brunt of the attack while Rangage dives for cover, only gets nicked on the leg.
“And the Yardies, they’re scared of him – everyone’s scared of Johnny, shoot him in the back and he’ll still feed you your own gun, they think. Their shooting’s erratic – Johnny gets clear under this cloud of bullets. Then he’s got his own gun out and fires back. The big boy takes cover but his friend makes a dash – urgent to stop Johnny getting dug in. That’s a mistake. Exposed, he takes two in the chest. And Johnny crawls – see the unsettled ground here – the second guy still shooting overhead – he gets around this other car.
“Johnny comes out safe – the big guy reloading? He aims for the stomach, planning to interrogate the Yardie, and he runs up, posturing – see his bootprints – and that’s when he’s hit, himself. Something shifted. Way up there – these cars perched on each other like a damn Jenga tower. The big boy slammed into them when he took a shot. The stack shakes and the weight of, what – six cars high? That squeezes down on something. A pebble in a wheel, broken glass, shard of metal pinched between two vehicles? The pressure fires it out. Bullseye.
“This tiny projectile is thrown like a gunshot, only a fraction of the size. And it goes precisely where we want it. In the eye of slippery Johnny Rangage. Finally, a rap he can’t beat. Dumb, brilliant luck.”
Lodes nodded, hands on hips, satisfied and grinning at the serendipity. Everyone wanted Johnny brought to justice through good old-fashioned police work, but there was another kind of majesty to this, wasn’t there? A murderer no one could get the drop on, cut down by chance.
The constable frowned. Apparently not convinced. “So there was no fifth shooter?” Lodes patted her arm, sympathetically. Johnny the Snake and a handful of other scum dead, all cancelling each other out – this gift did feel too easy. But he assured her, “There’s no other suspect, Constable. Unless you want to go looking for someone with a gun the size of your thumbnail.”
For more Ordshaw shorts, you can check out yesterday’s story, The Gang on Fantasy Book Review. The next (and final!) story will be The Homeless, available on Fantasy Book Critic from November 4th.
Phil Williams is an author of contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction, including the Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers and the post-apocalyptic Estalia series. He also writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English, two of which are regular best-sellers on Kindle.