Hannah Meredith has always had a good eye and she’s a veteran bargain hunter, but she isn’t prepared, when she buys the box marked “Stuff” at a mysterious auction, for her world to suddenly unravel into a series of increasingly bizarre and terrifying events.
Soon on the run from a sinister cabal of vengeful corporate villains and their homicidal henchmen, Hannah must foil an evil plan to bring the world to the brink of global economic collapse, all the while keeping one step ahead of her pursuers.
A fast-moving thriller with a sci-fi twist, the plot stretches from chases through grimy backstreets of Victorian London back to the present day, where sudden violence shatters the tranquility of the English countryside.
Following Hannah and her unlikely allies in their frantic attempt to stay alive and save the world from disaster, The Wrong Stuff is exciting and original, with more than a touch of black humour.
Available soon on Kindle and via Barnes & Noble
Extract from chapter one: Part one – A new acquisition.
Ever since her husband had died five years before, leaving her a considerable but not exorbitant inheritance, Hannah Meredith had loved going to blind auctions, just the thought of digging through the piles of assorted junk and miscellany made her heart race. There was something almost magical about buying a mysterious, sealed box for a few quid and then tearing it open to see if there were unrecognised treasures inside.
It wasn’t usually the case of course, mostly you just found third-rate silverware or cracked and faded crockery, old electrical components and obscure mechanical spare parts or, if you were really lucky, maybe some half-decent antique jewellery or a not-totally-dreadful painting.
She was never going to make a living from her lucky-dip bidding, but Hannah wasn’t giving up hope just yet. The Big Score might be the very next lot that went under the hammer, then how bad would she feel?
No, she felt perfectly justified in spending a hundred pounds or so every couple of months, it was hardly an extravagance after all, and she sold most of the items she had no use for online and at the garage sales she held twice a year, to make way for new purchases.
The latest Aladdin’s cave of dubious delights was an auction that had only recently opened in the upstairs room of a pub in a nearby village. She had already been to three others this month, (usually her limit) so she initially resisted the temptation, but the closer the time came to the sale, the greater the feeling grew that she would be missing out on something special.
By the time auction day arrived, there was no question of her not going, so convinced was she that her fortune awaited her, under the taped-down flaps of some anonymous cardboard box.
Hannah arrived early at the pub; a quaint, low-ceilinged place with a roaring fire in the hearth and walls covered in hunting paraphernalia and old black and white photographs of country life in days gone by. She bought herself a drink and wandered around the two small bars, inspecting the memorabilia of a community that had probably not changed all that much in two hundred years.
After a while she noticed people beginning to arrive and head for the stairs in the back corner of the pub, so she drifted over that way until she could hear muted conversations in the room on the floor above…
“…some interesting items…”
“…going to raise serious money with those…”
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen one as fine as this…”
Hannah casually strolled over to the bar, finished her drink and placed the empty glass on the oak counter, then turned and followed two more new arrivals up the stairs.
The atmosphere in the large open room was a strange mix of restrained excitement and almost spiritual reverence; voices barely raised above a whisper, small groups of people gathered in tight circles around the half a dozen tables that were the room’s only furniture.
Nobody even registered Hannah’s existence, let alone approached or spoke to her, so she made for the largest, least crowded table in the centre of the room, which seemed to attract only the merest glance from most of the punters as they drifted around, eyeing the sale items and whispering to each other.
“Oh, this is more like it,” Hannah thought as she saw the battered selection of boxes on the table, with things like Bureau, Misc and Basement written on them in marker pen, “there might be some surprises in those.”
Then she saw the box she immediately, shockingly knew with absolute certainty she was going to buy.
It was a medium sized box, the cardboard visibly older than most of the other boxes Hannah could see, but otherwise not remarkable in any way.
About the Author
I live in Devon with my wife and daughter and have been writing short stories on my blog for the last couple of years. I use writing prompts from other bloggers to inspire me and, in November of 2015, I began a story based on the single word, “Stuff”.
After reaching the end of the initial post I thought the story was worth continuing, so I decided to use each subsequent prompt to write a new chapter, until to my surprise I had written the book you now hold in your hand.
It may be an unconventional method of composition, but it seems to suit my writing style and I hope you enjoy reading my “accidental novel” as much as I did writing it.
Guy Thair, 15/10/16