Beaten to a Pulp! out Monday

Beaten to a Pulp! a collection of short stories by Callum McSorleyExcited to announce my first collection of short stories, Beaten to a Pulp!, will be out on Kindle on Monday!

Secret societies, drugs and murder in Victorian Glasgow, slumlord dragons in ancient Japan and marital problems vs the apocalypse… it’s an eclectic mix that travels across location, genre and time but all tied together with distinctive pulp style. If that sounds like your bag then head to Amazon and start reading.

It will begin with a free promotion running Monday until Friday so if you’re keen but skint, get in there early. Any ratings or reviews, lending to pals, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Here’s an excerpt from one of the stories, Hadrian’s Wall, a tale of whisky smuggling for any Scots still hurting from the referendum (both referendums, actually).

Hadrian’s Wall

The traffic slowed up, splitting into five queues each over a mile long. They’d reached the border. The car rolled to a stop behind a family sedan and Andy yanked the handbrake on, quickly putting his hand back on the steering wheel. He adjusted his clammy grip at ten and two. The hot, sticky afternoon had little to do with his sweaty palms.

Through open car windows came the impatient noise of boxed-in traffic and trapped children. Over it all was a constant electric buzz.

“Drones,” said Andy.

Colin scanned the clear blue sky from the passenger’s side. Even at the border the weather was better than back home. He lifted his sunglasses and squinted at what looked like a bird – a jet black slash against impossibly idyllic baby blue. Its movement was unnaturally slow and steady.

“What good do drones do them?” Colin asked. “Make sure nobody gets out to take a leak?”

Colin chuckled and Andy smiled in spite of himself. He twisted the knob of the air conditioner up to full, as if it could blow away the tension along with the dead summer air.

“Looking for heat signatures,” Andy explained. “Bodies.”

“Aren’t they cold?”

“Live bodies, you eejit; people being smuggled into the country.”

“Ease up, Andy boy, I’m just messing. I’m sure they demand a higher grade of meat for their pies. Welshman or better.” Colin flashed a broad grin that made Andy wonder if Colin really did believe they were going on a lad’s holiday. His t-shirt said “toss my caber” across the front and he was wearing flip-flops.

However, Andy knew it would be his nervousness, his own shifting unease, which would be more likely to get them caught. This made Colin’s boys-on-tour act (if it was an act) all the more irritating.

They crawled forwards an inch at a time and after half an hour the checkpoint came into view. At the head of each queue there was a toll booth and accompanying barrier. A UKBA agent in black armour and traffic-cop glasses stood at the front of each line poking their heads through windows, checking passports and registrations. Machine guns hung from their shoulders like purses.

On either side of the road a double row of chain link fence stretched off into the distance, running from coast to coast, cutting through fields and forests, six metres high and crowned with razor wire. Flashing amber jewels warned potential jumpers that it was electrified. Every mile it was broken by a watchtower which stuck up out of the ground like an upturned nail. Inside a man with a high-powered rifle waited.

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