TO KILL OR BE KILLED
By Alan Fenton
“A wealthy hedge fund trader with the world at his feet, making money is more important for James Winston than anything else in life – including family and friends. His philosophy is basic and uncompromising. “Life is about survival. We eat to stay alive. If a man is hungry, he’ll do what he has to do. Whatever it takes.”
And James does what he has to do with great success. Money he has aplenty. The ultimate power in his company is within his grasp. But then, suddenly, things start to go badly wrong in both his family and business life. Unable to cope with failure, he starts to drink heavily, loses the will to live, and tries to commit suicide.
Finding himself in a primitive world where men hunt for food in packs, his only friend is the aging Seth who once led the most powerful pack in the wild. In order to survive, James joins the same pack, kills their leader and takes his place.
Emerging from his coma James convinces his friends, his family and himself, that he is a changed man. Does he find redemption? Or will the temptations of worldly success prove too great?”
Never did like herbs, though he had a sneaking admiration for Rosemary. For one thing, it was one of the few plants that could survive almost indefinitely without water. Most of the other herbs had wilted and died during the months of drought earlier in the year. Not Rosemary. Rosemary was tough, a survivor. He plucked a stem, crushing the long needle leaves between finger and thumb, releasing the pungent scent that would be on his hands long after he was dead. Rosemary for remembrance. Wasn’t that what they said?
It started to rain, a slow, relentless drizzle, the kind of rain that would probably still be falling till the end of time. In the twilight a blackbird sang. He walked back to the sitting room and closed the doors.
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit.
For some reason that song was playing in his head.
One thing was certain; there would be no redemption for him, no recall from the bottomless pit.
He has made a mess of his life. He is not going to make a mess of his death. That will be an orderly affair. Sitting on the sofa, he extracts fifty sleeping pill capsules from their polystyrene pods, and lays them on the marble-topped table in five precisely parallel lines, ten pills in each line. Next, at equal intervals along the table, he positions five of his best crystal glasses. Opening the last bottle of Lochintyre, he pours its contents into the five glasses, adjusting the levels until he is satisfied that in every glass there is precisely the same amount of whisky.
Next he writes the note. Short and sweet. Take care of the boys. Take care of yourself. Sorry it didn’t work out. Really sorry. Should he sign it? Joke. Not funny. What else is there to say? Nothing. And everything. Where to leave it? Upstairs on the bed? The sitting room mantelpiece? The front door mat? In the fridge?
In the end he leaves it on the kitchen table.
Preparations complete, he lies back on the sofa, and closes his eyes. Will they miss him, he wonders. Any of them? Kate? Ben? Gareth? The Wimp? Probably. For a time. But they’ll get over it. They’ll get over it soon enough.
Best move on, or he might lose the will. Sitting up, he swallows the ten pills in the top line, each with a sip from the first glass of whisky. He had thought it might be hard to do, but it isn’t hard at all. This world is not for him, he doesn’t belong.
Nothing much happening yet. He swallows the ten pills in the second line, easing them down with a sip of Lochintyre. Lying back, he begins to feel strange. Head fuzzy, and something a bit odd in the stomach. He sits up again almost immediately. No sense in passing out before the job is done. Another ten pills go down with the third glass of Lochintyre. His hands are moving slower now, and he’s having trouble picking up the pills. Two glasses and twenty pills to go, he tells himself, more to test his thought processes than to confirm what he already knows.
Bloated fingers scrabble for pills in fourth row. Difficult pick up. One, two, three, four pills… trouble finding mouth… gulps them down… hand shaking… glass heavy… slips… smashes to pieces on marble… what a mess… broken glass… broken life… falls back on sofa… room blurring… eyes closing…
Last thing he hears is the blackbird’s song… fainter now… fainter still…
At last! A super-absorbing and hugely entertaining book which is actually about something – and something important too! I loved it! A brilliant story! Moving and thought-provoking! By far my best read of the year! Whatever you do, don’t miss it!
Kill or be Killed is the best book I have read in a very long time. It did two things for me. It challenged me. And it entertained me. l just couldn’t put it down.