Richard Pierce


Day 277

I’m going to keep this brief today.

I got back my histology results on the polyps they took out last week – all benign. A huge relief, I have to admit. I feel very fortunate and blessed. I will have another colonoscopy in three years’ time, they told me. Just to make sure nothing has grown back. And I’ve promised not to start worrying about that now.

I’m reading a book about aging that’s changing my view, and that, even before today’s all clear, has been changing my often negative attitude to getting older. I now most people think I’m about 10 years younger than I am, but my brain’s not been telling me that, nor accepting that. I’d dug myself into a hole where I was thinking the only way was down, whereas, actually, the only way from here is up. Today has now reinforced that idea. I’m going to work harder on being positive, even when stresses which are not mine throw themselves into my path. In the end, we’re all responsible for our own actions. Summed up by this Carl Jung quote in the first chapter of this book – Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate. This realisation, now, makes me slightly regretful that I skived out of doing an essay comparing Jung and Freud in my final year at university 40 years ago!

I’ll leave it there.



The cuffs spring out of the chair, but they don’t clamp around Valentine’s wrists. He laughs. ‘The wrong genes, my dear. They only work on people like you.’ He’s up and out of the chair and running at her.

Aggie pulls the trigger, and the bullet passes through his knee. And still he keeps coming.

‘The wrong bullets,’ he roars and laughs again, cackles this time, like the cackle Aggie heard when he was killing the girl. ‘You’re not very clever, are you?’

Aggie fires again, into his other knee, and the bullet passes straight through it. She leaps out of the way of the mad shape of him rushing at her.

‘You’ll have to do better than that,’ he says, his voice dangerously quiet again now. ‘You have to understand, you have to appreciate, recognise what it is you’re dealing with.’ He’s dancing towards her now, copying each of her feints with a feint of his own, always moving in the same direction as her. ‘There’s no way out, you know.’

Aggie dives under his outstretched arms, back towards the door where they came in, back towards the stairs to the tunnel. Her strides are huge by now, and her speed bewildering to most people. She hears him laughing, yet again, picking up speed, the sound of his soles on the floor louder and louder. She lowers her right shoulder to increase her momentum, and stops dead.

Valentine crashes into her, her left shoulder, low enough to connect with his nose, to inflict maximum damage, her sudden stop combined with his speed, and he goes to ground with a satisfying thud.

Without waiting for him to recover, she jumps onto him, straddles his chest with her thighs, trapping his arms with the huge muscular bulk of them, leans down to him, her face an inch away from his. ‘You don’t know me.’ Her hands around his throat, she finds the pressure point she used on Lily, squeezes as hard as she can without the risk of killing him, doesn’t have to wait more than a second before he loses consciousness. ‘Too fast, Sir,’ she says. ‘Too fast. A foolish strategy.’ She runs her hands through every pocket of his clothes, through his jacket, his trousers. There’s nothing for her to find, and it puzzles her. She looks again, and this time explores the lining of those clothes, and again finds nothing. She sits back, still on top of him, scratches her head. Why wouldn’t he have anything with him? Not even a phone, not even a weapon? She slaps his face. No response. Perhaps it’s too soon. She pulls up one of his eyelids. He gazes at her blankly, unseeingly. She shakes her head, jumps off him, puts her head on his chest. He’s still breathing. She pulls out her torch, holds his eye open again, shines the light into it. As she moves the light around, she sees it, the maze of tiny wires in his eye, the golden sheen of electronics.

One of his arms catapults up towards her, the hand at the end of it now clamped around her throat. ‘Too fast, Agata, too fast.’

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  1. Simone S

    5th October 2022 at 11:46

    I feel relieved as well, Richard.

    1. Richard Pierce

      5th October 2022 at 12:41

      Thanks very much, my friend.

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