Dear friends, if you like a good chuckle, dim-witted heroes, and larger-than-life villains, then you'll love this fascinating series. On Wednesdays and Sundays, I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ stories. You can check in regularly and read them for free, or wait to buy the entire story when published.
#2: Enchanter on the Roof ® James Field. Part 46
In the last post: Bert offered a hand of friendship. He clamped Dick Charmer's mitt and squeezed…
At first, the bones in Dick Charmer’s hand ground together in a tangle of knots.
“If you scream,” said Bert, squeezing ever harder, “you’ll bring the police running. We don’t want that, do we?”
Then the bones cracked and twisted out of joint and air exploded from Dick Charmer’s lungs in a squeal of agony. “Oops!” said Bert, “Sometimes I forget my strength. Still, it’ll stop you pick-pocketing young ladies for a while, won’t it?”
Dick Charmer staggered to his feet, careful to hold his mutilated hand away from his body, out of harm's way. His chin trembled and tears streaked his cheeks.
“If you ever come back,” said Bert. “I’ll break the other one too. Understand?”
Keeping his eyes averted, Dick Charmer answered with a slight nod. He grabbed his small suitcase in his left hand and darted away into the woods.
Bert followed the departing man until lost from view. He shook his head and glared up at the sky. It was over. The troublemaker had scattered like a cat with pepper on its tail and wouldn't come round again. Life could return to normal and Olive would turn her affection back to him. “Sorry, Chums,” he said to his Alsatians. “No fresh meat today. Let’s get home, quietly, I don’t want anyone to notice us.”
Before Bert came from the cover of trees, he checked to see if the coast was clear. A horse and cart rattled along the pebble road, but the driver stared into his smartphone, thumbs twiddling across the screen. After it had passed, Bert darted to his house, hid the pouch of stolen jewels in one of the Alsatian’s kennel, and returned to the place where his handcuffs still dangled to a scaffolding pole.
In the distance, he caught the wail of police sirens. He froze, and his forehead creased with worry. They were coming for him and he didn't know what to do.
To be continued…
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A River in Darkness: One Man's Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To save the jobs of those in the Japanese government who helped him escape, Masaji Ishikawa wrote: “…obviously I wasn’t going to start talking to the press.” Instead, he wrote this mammoth best-selling book? Sorry, but I don’t believe this man’s autobiography can be true. If it is, then he is likely responsible for the sacking of those government officials who helped his return to Japan, and worse, expose his family to torture or execution in North Korea.
It may well be that he moved to North Korea in 1960, aged thirteen, where he lived until his escape in 1996. However, I rather believe his memoir is an over dramatised collection of exaggerated incidents he picked up from others. In which case, good for him.
I hope this is the case; otherwise, he puts himself in a poor light. From his book, he already comes across as egoistic, beating up anyone who upsets him and often leaving his family to starve while he runs off to find work to feed himself.
North Korea is undoubtedly not an agreeable place to live, but propaganda and false news flourish. The story in this book is captivating and mind-bogglingly tragic, hence four stars. I just don’t accept Mr Ishikawa’s life was as awful, or maybe I don’t want to believe, as he relates.
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