Excerpt: The Threshing Circle by Neil Grimmet

threshingThe Threshing Circle
By: Neil Grimmet
Publisher: Grimpen Publications
Published: Feb. 19, 2014
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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A young couple arrive on the Greek island of Crete and begin prying into the execution of a beautiful English woman during the German occupation sixty years before. They enter a labyrinth of forbidden love, betrayals, murder, greed and vendettas, old and new.

Then they disappear.

A feisty Scottish woman and an irascible, Zorba-like Greek form a reluctant allegiance in a desperate attempt to find and rescue them. They both have very different motives for their involvement. Their search will take them to hidden rituals, ceremonies, remote gatherings, famous monasteries and villages abandoned after decades of vendettas. To the remote island of Gavdos and finally back to a place that, “Even God does not know exists”.

They will encounter characters good and evil; some modern and pragmatic, others ancient and magical.
All the time they are being stalked by the sons of man who seeks to complete the crimes of his father and sate his own greed and insane desire for vengeance. These men are more animal than human and have been raised in the remote mountains for the sole purpose of carrying out the brutal will of their father.

The mystery of the real, hidden Crete runs deep, and THE THRESHING CIRCLE explores some of the myths and romance while not shying away from its often violent nature.
By the end choices will have to be made. If such actions are really possible on an island where many Cretans still believe that: “The Cycle of Blood”, can never stop flowing.

Excerpt

Marianna didn’t resist the men as they tore her clothes off. She felt no shame as she stood naked, balanced on the stool with the coarse fibres of the rope already cutting into her neck. She stared proudly and defiantly at the villagers and saw Kapetanios Rossos struggling to break free and the looks of horror on the faces of the women and children. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ she called out in her best mix of English and Greek. ‘My husband will avenge this. Save my child is all I ask of you.’

A huge cry of pain answered her and echoed into the mountains as Meissher jackbooted the stool over and Marianna

Link lit a cigarette and watched until the kicking death dance became a tremble, and finally stilled. He waited as his men began to drive the villagers into their homes before moving to Hofner. ‘Tell Meissher to clear up then follow us.’

‘What about the child?’ Hofner, a father of three, asked,

gesturing to the house where Athena was still wailing.

Oberleutnant Link had his orders and knew what his part in this bargain was, but he didn’t kill children for traitors and cowards no matter what they’d given in return. ‘Leave it for Meissher, he’ll enjoy taking his frustration out on it.

Anyway, if he hasn’t the stomach it won’t matter. These scum hate all foreigners. The child is a Frank to them; they’ll loot the house before we’re out of sight, and either smother it or let it starve.’

Hofner made his own decision after Oberleutnant Link left. He dimmed the light on the writing table, closed the broken door to the house on Athena and made sure his sadistic

Lieutenant was kept amused with some of the young village girls until he tired of his sport and wanted to leave. Hofner felt good, and if he ended up on the Eastern Front with Meissher for forgetting to remind him of Link’s orders then so be it. But there was no way he wanted to see that beautiful child follow her mother to the grave.

Later, after the last of the Germans disappeared into the fading darkness and Athena cried as her mother grew cold, shadowy figures began to move. One of them, silver-haired, tall and dressed in a flowing black robe, slipped stealthily into the house. She looked around and began gathering up what she could take, then moved towards the screaming child. Her long, thin hands closed around the baby and quickly silenced its cries.

author
neil

Neil Grimmett has had over eighty five short stories published. In the UK by among others: London Magazine, Stand, Panurge, Iron, Ambit, Postscripts Magazine, Pretext etc. Australia, Quadrant, South Africa, New Contrast. Plus stories in the leading journals of Singapore, India, France, Canada, and the USA, where he has appeared in Fiction, The Yale Review, DoubleTake, The southern Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Descant, The Southern Review, West Branch and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He has appeared online in Blackbird, Plum Ruby Review, Tatlin\’s Tower, Web Del Sol, In Posse Review, m.a.g., Word Riot, Blue Moon Review, 3AM, Gangway, Eclectica, The Cortland Review, Segue, The Dublin Quarterly , Ducts, Sugar Mule, Mysterical E, Thuglit and over thirty others. His stories have also appeared in the anthologies: ENGLAND CALLING, BOOK OF VOICES and Italy’s ISBN’s Top International Stories. He has made the storySouth Million Writers Notable Short Story list for the last three years. In addition, he has won the Write On poetry award, 7 Oppenheim John Downes Awards, 5 major British Arts Council Awards, a Royal Society of Authors award and was just awarded a major grant from the Royal Literary Fund. He has been signed over the last ten years by twelve of the leading literary agents in both the UK and USA. His current agent is Jon Elek at United Agents who is just going out with his 2nd literary thriller, THE HOARD.

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