The Ties that Bind

Two sisters, bound by the traumas of a childhood of institutions, foster-homes, and living on the streets. Bound by more than blood.

The younger woman, the wiser and more stable woman, sets her sights on a life of normal. Pella plans to buy a house somewhere, a home that’s always there for them. The hard work of nightschool, the hardscrabble of working three or four casual jobs to pay for school and save for a deposit, the hard life of trying to keep her older, scatterbrained, sister on the straight path, all come to an end one late Friday afternoon.

The day Deni stole it from her boss. Not just a buck or two, not even a few thousand. What she stole was something he spent years tracking down so he could steal it and own it and use its power to get to the top of the shit-pile of the crims who rule the world. She thinks he shouldn’t have boasted. If he hadn’t been so confident and vain, she might not have considered taking his little thing. But he turned his back, didn’t he?

The crime-boss sends his thugs to get it back. And to make sure Deni understands his intent, he sends a text message. Not an idle threat, not from the man who kneecapped the mother and brother of his favourite dancer when she wanted to move on with her life. This threat isn’t about damage, it’s about ripping out gizzards and letting the crayfish feast on what’s left. He’s not subtle. And his representatives are at the house. Front and back, guarding the car, watching the back laneway.

There’s no way out, but Pella and Deni aren’t from a normal background. They have a hide. It’s in the roofspace, a claustrophobic box hidden within the darkness. All they have to do is wait until they go.

The house is searched, the intruder mentioning where the others search. They have to wait, still, silent, hungry and thirsty, and listening to the toilet flush.

At the darkest part of the night, when the lout downstairs is snoring louder than the car alarms in the street, they remove a few tiles, slip along the rooftops, sneak along the laneway, and steal a car.

No money, nowhere to go, and a crap vehicle. Drive and think.

But they’re followed. The phone. If Pella knows how to trace an active phone, the thugs would, too. Lose the phone. Lose the tail. Get out of town for a while.

It’s the worst choice they’ll ever make.

The blurb for the current WIP:
Two young women need to stay out of sight for a while, and take up the offer of work on a station — cooking, cleaning, the usual, and a bonus — any help on the nearby paleontology dig is extra pay.
But the mud-map directions to Bent-bone road lead them beyond the world they know, and the skeletons on the side of the road are only the first sign of things to come.

Photo by Alejandro Quintanar on

It’s not about bugs, not really. Monsters behind, below, above. How can they fight their way out of this situation? The crime boss wants them dead so he can have his talisman, the station boss wants them as food for his other tenant, and the ghosts that follow Pella want something she doesn’t understand.

And everything’s subject to change in the editing stages.

Due for completion: 2020.

13 thoughts on “The Ties that Bind

    • Unfortunately, I already have a couple of endings lined up. The story always changes during the process, and if there’s a definite ending, it restricts how it can play out. I don’t mind having an idea, but in the end, the writer has final choice.
      Or the characters. Actually, it’s usually the characters saying, “I wouldn’t do that; I’d do this!”


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