CHAPTERS: 12345, 6789101112131415161718192021222324252627, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32EPILOGUE

A few hours later Judd is still playing on the xBox. He keeps telling himself that he will spend just a few more minutes playing before he gets around to working on his course but something interesting keeps happening in his game and he ends up getting pulled in further. He’s not normally one for playing single player games with an actual storyline but this one is actually really good and is gripping his attention. The phone rings.

“Shit,” Judd swears.

He pauses the game and reaches for the phone. Through the pause screen he sees a zombie coming at him, one he hadn’t noticed before and realises he will need to kill it as soon as the game restarts, otherwise it’ll be game over.

“Hello,” he says when he finally tracks down his phone. The other end of the line is hissing but otherwise silent. “Hello?”

“Obo is trying to fuck you,” a voice says.

The voice sounds distorted, unnatural. Whoever is calling probably is using some sort of voice changer. Judd frowns, pulls the phone from his ear and looks at the screen. It’s an anonymous call, no name and no number coming up.

“Who is this?” he asks when he puts the phone to his ear. “What do you want?”

“Obo is going to fuck you over,” the voice said again. “Charlie is no more, he is gone. Obo is going to take Charlie’s patch and then he is coming for you. He’s a greedy fucker and will not stop until he runs all of Farlow. You need to see Mr Big and Right Stuff as soon as you can. They have access to the customer networks that you need to keep your grip on Farlow.”

“Who is this?” Judd asks again but gets no reply, “Stop playing games.”

“This is no game,” the voice says. “I am deadly serious and you need to pay attention. Be careful of Obo, do not trust him. You need to be Charlie now.”

Then the phone clicks shut and all that Judd is left with is a blank dial tone in his ear. He slowly pulls the phone away from his head and stares at the screen. It is like a bad horror film, or some crappy thriller. Missing drug dealers and gang leaders and mysterious anonymous phone calls? Judd scoffs at the thought. Still though there’s something wrong and he knows it deep down, a gnawing ache in his gut. More is going on than just Charlie disappearing and Judd knows that he needs to be careful.

He’s lost all interest in the game now and saves it. As he does so he keeps glancing at his phone. Finally, with a grumble, he reaches for it and finds the number he is looking for. He dials and it rings for a few seconds.

“What do you want now?!” Obo snaps when he picks up. “Has one of your little lackeys gone missing too.”

“No.” Judd says. “I just got a phone call. It was warning me about you. What are you up to?”

“I ain’t up to anything man,” Obo practically snarls. “And I don’t know who’s gonna be calling you with a warning. Actually I can, I’ve got a whole list of people that hate me. But they wouldn’t warn you,”

“What’s going on Obo?” Judd snaps, “I know you’re up to something so just tell me what it is.”

“Why the fuck should I know what’s going on?!” Obo demands, “I only just heard about Charlie from you. How do I know you’re not the one trying to take over so you got Charlie out of the way?”

“If I was trying to take charge why the hell would I tell you Charlie was gone?” Judd snarls, “I’d just keep quiet and let things go on until I had no choice. Jesus Obo, I thought you were smarter than that.”

“Hey you know what?” Obo shouts, “Fuck you!”

Judd doesn’t have the chance to get a final word in, Obo has hung up already. Judd glares at his phone as though it is all its fault. Eventually he throws it to one side, bouncing on the sofa cushions. He climbs to his feet and decides to finally getting around to studying like he should have been doing for hours now. Tomorrow is going to bring new challenges and he needs to be completely focused.

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