Book Jacket

 

rank 182
word count 56718
date submitted 18.09.2011
date updated 16.04.2013
genres: Fiction, Romance, Comedy, Crime
classification: universal
incomplete

Eggs-Cell Files

Warrick Mayes

Scott, an accountant, encounters mystery, romance and adventure when confronted by a chicken working in his new office.

 

Scott Holland is an accountant starting a new job in a new location.

His suspicions are aroused when he is asked to look at the work of a colleague, an unusual colleague, a chicken! Are his suspicions due to the fact that he got off to a poor start with this colleague or do they have solid foundations? After initially upsetting some of the other employees, he attracts the attention of Debbie, an HR administrator, who starts to show a keen interest in him.

Scott's investigations lead to strange and disturbing events, including an attack on his long-term girlfriend and his life is turned upside down. Amongst all this, he starts to return Debbie's affections despite being unsure if he can trust her. He also has to examine his own prejudices towards the chicken and towards people from different class backgrounds, and give everyone a chance to prove themselves.

In an attempt to uncover the truth, he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. Can he find the people behind the attack on his girlfriend, and figure out who he can trust?

 
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tags

crime, humour, mystery, prejudice, romance, science

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Chapters

14

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Chapter Fourteen.

Crossing the line.

 

It took the group about another twenty minutes to reach a field surrounded by tall trees.  They paused while Dave checked up and down the road.

“Right.”  He said.  “Follow me.” And he disappeared between the trees.

The rest of the group followed him through the gap, to find they were hidden from all sides.  The field was an odd shape with a small copse of trees near its narrowest point.  There were houses and gardens nearby, but there was no one around.  The sun was starting to set, and they were losing the light.

Dave spoke quietly but firmly.

“OK everyone, we need to change into our dark clothes while we can still see what we’re doing.  Hide your bags over there by the trees, you girls can hide behind them to change.  C’mon, let’s get going!”

Changing into their dark clothes was not easy, trying to keep their stuff clean, putting their ordinary clothes in their bags as they were getting the other clothes out.  Scott remembered the biscuits and put one of the stockings over his head, lifting it off his face for the time being.  He put the other stocking in his pocket, just in case.

The girls came back from behind the trees, and Dave motioned them to gather round.  He told Scott to take the stocking off.

“Don’t put your masks on yet, we don’t want to frighten anyone before we get to the laboratory!  We have about half a mile to go.  Scott, you can share those biscuits round, and keep warm, we have to wait ‘til it’s a bit darker yet.”

Some of the group sat on the grass, but got up again pretty quickly when they realised that the dew had started to fall, and the ground was now quite wet.  They ate various biscuits and nuts, and Debbie came over and wrapped an arm around Scott’s waist.

She was looking very attractive, the tight fitting black clothes she was wearing showed off her amazing figure.  Standing in the presence of that odd group of people Scott started to feel very happy that he had such a beautiful woman pressing herself against him.  The fact that she wanted to be that close to him, and that she was quite happy for other people to see it, made him feel very special.  He raised his own arm and slipped it around her waist.  She looked up into his eyes, and he returned the look, smiling.  She gave him a bigger squeeze, turning and putting both her arms around him, resting her head on his chest for a second time that day.  He embraced her fully, wrapping her in his arms and protecting her from the cold.

A’right, let’s keep our minds on the job!”  Dave warned them in a load whisper.

“When do we get going?”  Scott asked, Debbie still wrapped in his arms.

“Five more minutes.”

The others were looking nervous too, eager to get going, to meet whatever challenge lay ahead.

“We ‘ave to time our move.”  Dave continued.  “In a little while the fuzz will be responding to a series of break-ins down the road.  That’s our opportunity to get into the lab and free all the animals.”

The five minutes seemed to pass unbelievably fast.  Standing around, just waiting for the time to pass, it should have seemed like hours.  With Debbie nestled in his arms, worrying about her and what was about to happen, thinking about the diversion taking place elsewhere, he was surprised when Dave called them to order, and they were led back out onto the road.

“Debbie, you’re with me.” Dave gave out his instructions.  “We’re going to move in pairs, keeping just in sight of the pair in front.  When we get there we’ll re-group.”

They avoided the lit areas, keeping away from the street lights and houses.  They walked with about 50 yards between each couple, the smell of a late summer barbeque wafting in their direction from one of the houses.  One or two cars passed, but paid them no attention. 

Their walk to the lane beside the laboratory passed off without incident.  Dave led them through a gap in the hedge big enough for them all to crawl through, and called them all to order yet again.

“OK, we’re about to start, so listen up.  The outer fence ain’t alarmed, but as soon as we get within ten feet of the building, they’ll know something’s up, because of the motion sensors.  Me, Debbie and Scott are going for the main building, we’re looking for anything that proves they’re doing illegal experiments.  The rest of you split up and take the outer buildings, that’s where most of the lab animals are.  Once we’re through the outer fence, we have about 15 minutes before the security firm can get people here, the police should be tied up already, no way they can be here in less than 20 minutes.  We only have to worry about the two guards on site and any technicians that might be hanging around.”  He handed out cans of pepper spray to each person.  “Use this if they try and stop us.  It works better than a swift kick in the balls!”

Dave slipped a balaclava over his head and they all followed suit by covering their faces.  Dave’s mates made swift work of the fence with some wire cutters.  Everything remained calm and quiet as they slipped through.  A few steps more and the night was suddenly pushed back beyond the hedge as everything was lit up by bright lights mounted on the sides of the buildings.  Surprisingly there were no alarms, but lights were coming on, in each of the three buildings.  They all ran to the pathway.  Dave, Debbie and Scott headed straight for the main building, the others split up and headed towards the other blocks.

Dave, Scott and Debbie stopped at the door, which had a pass-key entry system.  To the others amazement, Dave produced a plastic card from his pocket and held it to the sensor, there was a brief click and Dave pulled the door, which yielded to reveal a small hallway with stairs off to one side.  They slipped in and the door closed behind them.

“Where did you get that from?”  Debbie asked, but Dave just tapped the side of his nose with his finger, and stuffed the card key back into his pocket.

They had been nervous enough outside, but now they were closed in, their escape route sealed behind them.  Scott checked the door, no way of opening it apart from with the card key.  He looked at Debbie, who looked back, both sharing the same thought.

“The fire alarm works if the card doesn’t”  Dave obviously sensed their concern.

Apart from the stairs, the only other features were three doors, the one they had come through, one straight ahead and one off to the side.  The one to the side was anonymous, a simple lever handle and a key-hole.  It was unmarked and Dave ignored this one and headed towards the one remaining door, straight ahead.

This door was wider than the other, had a self-closing mechanism, and a small window set at eye level.  There was light coming through the window, but no sign of danger.  They opened the door and went quietly through.  The space inside was far more than a room, it was closer to a warehouse, but clean, well lit and sub-divided at ground level.  Cupboards lined walls, numerous work stations were covered with equipment and walk-ways were defined by different coloured flooring.  The partitions rose to about 7 foot high leaving an open airy upper half to the whole area.  Glass windows looked down from the second storey on the two longer sides, but the windows were dark and un-lit.

They moved forward, Dave waved towards the partitioned areas, “You’ll probably find what you’re looking for in one of these rooms.”

“What are you looking for?”  Scott had to ask.

“I’m off to plant a few bugs,” was the unexpected reply, “In the computers.”  And he held up what looked like three flash memory sticks.  “Just got to decide which computers look the best candidates.”

“What’s up there?”  Scott asked, pointing to the dark windows.

“Offices mainly.”

Dave left it at that, and headed deeper into the laboratory.

“See what you can find.”  Scott instructed Debbie.  She went off towards one of the rooms, and Scott headed for another.  He wondered if the offices upstairs might provide more information, but Dave seemed to know a lot more about this place so he looked where Dave had suggested.

The first room had filing cabinets on three walls and an empty desk beside the door.  He started looking through one cabinet, each drawer contained many sheets of paper, and each sheet was covered with columns of figures.  He didn’t understand the data, the terms used, the numbers, it was all gibberish to his accounting brain.  He was beginning to wonder if this was going to be of any benefit.  If he couldn’t understand it, how was it going to help?  The other drawers were much the same, so he removed one of the sheets, folded it and stuffed it into one of his pockets.

Debbie and he both emerged from their rooms at the same time.  She had obviously not found any more than he, but was holding a set of slides in a container.  Holding up the container, she shrugged, her expression said she had no idea what she was holding.  They each opened another door, he stood and looked into his next room, but Debbie seemed to have given up.  She took one look into the room and moved onto the next, pushed open the door and moved on again.

Scott’s room seemed much like the previous one, so he watched while Debbie went down the row of cubicles, pushing open the doors. She pushed against the last door, but this one did not open.  She tried again, uncertain if she’d turned the handle properly, but the door held firm.  Once again, she tried the door, putting her weight on the handle and her shoulder against the door.  A strangled help caused her to jump back.

“Was that you?”  Scott asked, starting towards her, but immediately he’d asked he knew the answer.  She looked frightened, and she was shaking her head.  He reached her and put a reassuring arm around her shoulders, and turned to the locked door.  Somehow he knew that this was what they had come here for, this room was hiding a secret, and they were just a few inches from discovering what it was.

He tried the handle himself, he didn’t doubt that it was locked, but it was an automatic action.  There was more noise from within, shuffling and muffled voices.  There were people but who were they?  Had they locked themselves inside to protect themselves and their secrets, or had the door been locked from the outside?

The door felt stronger than it looked, it was solid wood with a sturdy frame, not what you’d expect from a partitioned office.  “Dave,“ he called, “there’s someone in here.”

“Well, let’s see who it is.”  Dave had picked up a stool and was bringing it over.  He placed it beside the door.  “Unless you’d like to?”  He offered.

Scott hesitated, which was enough to make up Dave’s mind.  He climbed up on the stool and looked over the top of the partition.  Scott wished he’d been more positive, but he was concerned about what he might find.

Dave was looking down into the room.  “Help us!” came the shout from inside, and was followed by more shouting, pleas for help and warnings of danger.

“Who’s in there?”  Debbie asked.

“’’Bout six people.”  Said Dave, “but we’ll need the wire cutters.  We’ll getcha out.”  He reassured the people below.  He jumped down from the stool.  “Be back in a minute.” He said, and started for the door.

Scott climbed up, eager to see who was there.  Debbie came close too, her hand to her mouth, staring up at the top of the partition.  Scott looked over the top.  Separating them from the people below was a wire mesh, similar to a fence, but laid horizontally from wall to wall.  There were six people, each with their hands clasped in front, bound with plastic cable ties.  They were huddled in the middle of the room, mattresses were laying on the floor against three of the walls.  Their clothes looked dishevelled and dirty, faces showing fear and relief, looked up at their rescuer.

Scott looked from face to face, there were three men and three women, but his attention was drawn to one woman in particular.  The other five had originally been dressed quite smartly, pressed trousers, smart shirts and blouses, but this one woman was wearing jeans and an old sweat-shirt.  There was also something familiar about her face.  She was young and pretty, but her hair was tousled.  She had no make-up, but he was still able to recognise her, it all seemed to fit into place. He was looking at the real Francoise!

“Scott, It’s Francoise!”  Debbie exclaimed as she grabbed his leg.

“Yes, I know, but...”  His voice trailed off as he realised she was not talking about the woman in the room.  She was staring towards the other end of the laboratory, where a chicken had appeared.  “...Oh! I see.”

The chicken started walking towards them, clucking slowly and aggressively.  Debbie moved back behind the stool.  “It’s only a chicken.” He said reassuringly, jumping down to protect her, but remembering the terrible wounds that Toni had suffered.  It continued coming straight at him.

As it approached, he realised it was not the same chicken that had pretended to be Francoise, it was slightly larger, somehow more muscular and aggressive.  Within about five feet, it suddenly sprang up, wings flapping, aiming for his face.  He ducked, shielding his eyes with his arm.  The chicken flew past, landing a few feet away.  Debbie had screamed as the bird attacked, so Scott glanced behind him to make sure she was alright, and then prepared to face the chicken again.

It leapt, once more aiming for his face, claws open, wings flapping, difficult to fend off, but instead of just shielding his face, this time he also swung his arm to bat it away.  He made some contact, but not enough to deter it.  Once more they faced each-other.  This time it was slower to attack, giving him time to plan his move.

When it sprang, he was ready for it, ducking under its path and watching it all the way, so that when it landed he was in perfect position.  He dived forwards, and as it hit the ground, he grabbed both feet with one hand.  For a couple of seconds it screeched and pecked and flapped as it tried to free itself, but Scott managed to get to his feet.

Triumphantly he held it up.  It went quiet, wings open, feathers ruffled, its head back and its beak open, staring at him angrily while it hung upside down from his hand.  It was very light, surprisingly so, but it was no longer a danger to anyone.  Its heart was beating very quickly, its neck pulsing as it hung angry and defeated.

“Ha!” Scott exclaimed, victorious, turning to Debbie as he held up his prize.  But just then the lab was filled with fluttering, scraping and a shout from behind them.  Chickens appeared from all round the room, flying up from different hiding places and landing on the top of the partitions, the work stations and the filing cabinets.  Dave had returned just at the right time, and was shouting to them to hurry.

“C’mon!  The guards are here.”  He was planning to make a quick departure, holding the end door open for their exit, but he stood in amazement at the sight of the birds all round the laboratory.  “Bloody hell, what ‘ave you done?”

A guard also appeared from the opposite end of the lab, radio in one hand and a baton in the other.  “Stand still and release the hen.”

“Stay back or the hen gets it!”  Scott responded, holding up the chicken in one hand while grabbing its neck with the other.  He felt stupid, and didn’t think he’d actually be able to throttle the bird, but it was the best he could come up with.  “Go with Dave.”  He instructed Debbie, and started backing towards the door where Dave was standing.

There was another great flurry of activity from the birds perched around the lab.  They all attacked together, flapping and screeching as they came.  Debbie started to run, chickens clawing at her back and her hair, the stocking covering her head had swiftly been ripped open.  As the first one reached Scott he swung the one he was holding and knocked away the attacker.  Unfortunately the bird he was holding was not very effective as a club.  Flapping its wings and trying to escape it was like trying to swat a fly with a paper fan.

The birds were now all over him, pecking and clawing as he tried to move to the door.  He was able to pull them off easily enough, but they kept coming back.  Dave had joined the affray and was clouting any he could reach with the wire cutters, having a great deal more success than Debbie or Scott.  Scott then found the best way to deal with them was to grab their legs, pull them off but keep hold of them.  He had about seven birds swinging in his hands before Dave shouted.

“OK, Let the fox in!” 

Suddenly the trio were free of the pests, as they flew up for safety.  Debbie, who had curled up into a ball on the floor, now uncovered her face to look around her.  Scott threw his handful of hens back towards the middle of the room and started to help Debbie up.  It would only be a matter of seconds before they realised they had been suckered.  But, by this time, the guard was approaching very quickly.

Dave stepped forward and planted an expert kick on a dazed hen that was recovering from an earlier blow from his wire cutters.  The bird flew up in the face of the guard, catching him off balance, giving the trio time to get out through the door.  He held the pass-key to the sensor, and the outer door also yielded as they piled through.

Dave quickly brought them up-to-date.  “Four guards turned up in a van at the front, the others have gone, but we don’t have much time.  This way!”  And he started heading back towards the hole in the fence.

“Quickly.” Scott said to Debbie, and guided her in front of him as they left the doorway, but the door swung open and caught his trailing leg as he started to run.  He went down in a heap as the guard gave him a hefty blow on his upper arm with his baton, and stepping over the sprawling Scott, swiftly caught Debbie too.  Scott got up in time to see Debbie being clubbed by the guard, he had her by the hair, clubbing her legs to force her down.

“Stop!” Scott pulled the pepper spray from his pocket, marching towards the guard with the spray held out in front, pointed at the guard.  Debbie fell free and the two men squared up to each-other, the guard holding his baton like a sword.  They cautiously circled each-other, Scott staying out of baton range, and the guard wary of the can in Scott’s hand.

Eventually he had turned the guard sufficiently to reach Debbie, trying to help her up with one hand while keeping the spray held out towards the guard.  Debbie still struggled to get up.  “Leave me.” She said.  “I don’t think I can walk.”

Ignoring Debbie’s plea, Scott released her hand and took another step towards the guard, who swung out with his baton, to keep him at bay.  “Leave us, stay back, and we’ll just go.”

“Sorry, can’t.” The guard replied.  “They’ll be watching.  It’s either you or me”.

“That’s easy!”  Dave appeared from out of the darkness, delivering a neat jet of pepper spray into the face of the guard, who went down, dropping his baton and rubbing his face, coughing and spluttering.  “Right, you two, let’s go.”  And, he disappeared back through the fence.

Scott managed to help Debbie up, and they hobbled off  She was really struggling, so once through the gap he helped her onto his back, and carried her, piggy-back style down the lane.

“So much for giving ourselves up.”  Debbie teased him.

“Well, if he’d asked nicely.”

Dave shouted from the opposite direction.  “Not that way, we’ve got to go through the airfield.  We’ll be seen if we go up that way.”  So Scott turned back, and headed in the direction of the airfield, struggling under the weight of his passenger.  It had seemed easy enough for the first hundred yards, but it was rapidly becoming very difficult, his legs starting to burn with the effort.  They reached a gate where Dave was waiting.  Scott took a breather while Dave helped Debbie over.  They were now well away from the lights of the laboratory, with no sign of the guards they were beginning to feel safer.

Once over the gate Scott picked Debbie up again, and they made reasonable progress for another two hundred yards or so.

“My turn.”  Dave could tell Scott was struggling.  They made it round the airfield by sharing the work and without being seen, and were able to reach the main road via a small lane on the other side of the airfield.

Scott had no idea where they were in relation to their original route, but fortunately, Dave knew where to go.  They needed to get to the lanes that would take them back to the copse and their hidden bags.  Carrying Debbie all that way was going to be difficult, so she said she’d try and walk.  It would be slow going, but easier in the long run.

They crossed the road and found a lane in no time at all.  Scott was supporting Debbie, who had an arm round his shoulder, he had an arm round her waist, and so they proceeded at a slow but steady ‘three-legged’ pace.  The lane was very narrow and quiet, but also offered no cover on either side of the road, just open fields.  They soon recognised the lane they had followed earlier in the day, and were starting to gain in confidence.

Car headlights approached, but with no cover and Debbie moving so slowly they decided to act as normally as possible, stood by the side of the road, and let the car pass.

They were lucky, it was a couple returning home from an evening out, and paid them no particular attention.

Shortly before they reached their field another car passed them by, travelling in the opposite direction. They were yards from the gap in the hedge, so waited until the car was far enough away that it could not possibly see them.  Then they moved forward as quickly as possible, Dave went through first followed by Debbie, and Scott brought up the rear.  As he was going through he heard another car approaching, and its lights lit up the road before he disappeared.  They must have missed it when the previous car passed, confused the car noise and the lights as being that of the other car disappearing rather than the new car approaching.

Dave was helping Debbie across the field when Scott caught up with them

“There was another car, it may have seen me.” Scott said in a loud whisper.

“Yeah, heard it pass, hopefully nothing to worry about.”

They found their things and started to change back into their normal clothes.  The others had obviously got away too, their bags were gone.  Debbie was managing to move unaided, but Scott held her as she crossed the field, because of the uneven and unpredictable surface.

Dave went through the gap first, and out onto the road, and Scott released Debbie so that she could follow. Evenin officer.”  They heard Dave say.  “What’s up?”

They froze.

Scott held Debbie back, she turned to look at him and he signalled to stay quiet.

“Come on you two, join your friend.”  They heard another voice.

“What other two?” Replied Dave. 

“Don’t give me that, we’ve been watching you for the last five minutes.  Hurry up, we’ve not got all night.”

They decided to give themselves up.  Making a run for it across the field, did not seem like a good prospect with Debbie moving so slowlyUniformed officers awaited them on the other side of the trees.

 

Chapters

14

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Shiloh Yazdani wrote 92 days ago

This was so funny. It seems not many have taken the idea of making a chicken the main part of a story about humans. It was written well and enjoyable. It doesn't make sense and that's the funny thing about it!
Shiloh
"Courage Through Faith"

Elizabeth Kathleen wrote 93 days ago

How funny! A book with a chicken as the member of an office work staff is truly something I never would've thought of and neither would many others, but I think that's why it's so funny! What I've read is truly enjoyable and I give you a sky of stars!
God bless!!!
Elizabeth Kathleen
"If Children are Cheaper by the Dozen, Can I Get a Discount on Six?"
"The Sticks and Stones"

UPerkins wrote 351 days ago

Interesting story. I wondered how I would like the chicken thing but it seems to work for this story. I am only about half way through but look forward to completing whats here. While the story is intriguing, there are areas regarding accounting and said details that I had to force myself to read... but that is just me. Not my cup of tea.

YvonneMarjot wrote 362 days ago

After four chapters I don't have a clue what's going on. This is a good thing, by the way! I love Francois - I don't understand why your main character is so down on her. He is clearly low in the pecking order. In chapter 3 I nearly lost the will to live when you started going on about bought and nominal ledgers, but fortunately I held myself together long enough to get to chapter 4. I'll be back for more - just as soon as I've fortified myself.

Yvonne.

Matthew Hole wrote 374 days ago

I have read two chapters so far, and the verdict is: excellent. Written in a very sprightly style, with no waste of words. Dialogue is made to work hard to convey character and plot. I appreciate the lack of "he/she said".
The premise is (or at least seems, so far. I'm not sure what the author has up his sleeve - and that's a compliment) simple. It is not over-worked but is paced very well. I am wondering myself, like Scott, what the heck is going on. I like the fact that Francoise's lack of words still leaves us in the dark.
The only things I'm less enamoured with are the endings of each chapter. Chapter 1's ending seemed a bit limp as I read it. Could he not trip over the chicken, or something equally dramatic? The last sentence of Chapter 2 is too much of a forced cliff hanger for my tastes. It seems like it's just been plonked in. Can't think of an alternative off the top of my head, but it needs something more humorous, or just to stop at "One more lie wouldn't hurt". I am intending to read more and am of a mind to back it.
Hope that's a help.
Matthew

Angelika Rust wrote 378 days ago

Hilarious. I've so far read the first four chapters and will be back for more. This has very much of a Tom Holt book, but less forced, less intentional. It reads like a true story. Admit it, Warrick, you really did work next to a chicken for some time, didn't you?
Maybe some people will find it a bit too technical, though. I don't, but I used to work in HR with close ties to the finance department myself. Others with less office background might get deterred.
In chapter 4 I stumbled upon a few things:
after cornering Geoff: "Nice try!" He said. "Keep digging!" - You might consider replacing He with Geoff.
where you describe the scruffy man in the bar: I think you mean his shirt, not his short
where Scott says goodbye to Debbie in the car: it should be compliment, not complement
"He didn't want Toni to be worried, and as long he as could control the situation,..." - there's a word order problem here
That's all from me. Love it and will back it. High stars.
cheers
Angelika
Ratpaths

Software wrote 380 days ago

This is the second book I have read by Warrick Mayes. Eggs-Cell Files certainly continues along the path of excellence that I found in Sleeping With God. In particular, I liked the way humour has been mixed into the crime-romance foundation. Arguably, that's very much like real life in that most situations contains a mix of the amusing as well as the serious. Highly starred and WL'ed. Bookshelf contender when complete.

Clive Radford
Doghouse Blues

Michelle Richardson wrote 389 days ago

Hi Warrick, this book sounds hilarious, and I immediately warmed to Scott. The arrival at his new job was superbly done, with the introduction of his interesting co-worker! Great pacing, great writing and I will return to read some more. Popped on my WL for a later read and high stars from me.

Michelle- 43 Primrose Avenue

Rundy Purdy wrote 392 days ago

Warrick,

I read the first chapter of this story. You have very nice pacing and control of the story. Excellent job eliciting reader curiosity at Scott's new work environment (where not all is as it seems). I especially enjoyed the sudden chicken introduction.

My2Cents wrote 394 days ago

Very clever and well written; I enjoyed this very much. Francoise is such a good character. Well done!
Ken Spears

April Delphinium wrote 403 days ago

This is really funny, and makes me want to keep reading. Great work! I like it that you get right into the plot and don't waste the reader's time with too much up-front back story. The British speak is a bit unusual for me (you would want to edit for an American audience), but I think it will really do well.

LCF Quartet wrote 424 days ago

Hi Warrick,
Only after having read four chapters, I can easily say that your book possesses all the essential elements required for a good read. Everything worked for me. Great characterization, believable dialogue and unpretentious style. What more could I ask for?
Loved it. 6 stars and in my WL for further feedback as I read on,
Best wishes,
Lucette-Ten Deep Footprints

bruce k riley wrote 445 days ago

hi, finished up to chap 7, nice easy read, story pulls you in and it flows, would like to read more just to find out if toni's ok!

Seringapatam wrote 447 days ago

Wow, where did this come from. A great tale and so well told. Loved the characters (all of them) and liked the concept of this book. Funny story that flows well a good use of the characters when you need them to raise the game. A cracking pace that suits the book and an overall good read. I like this.
Regards, Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Sean

Annemarie Johnson wrote 449 days ago

A great read, very funny and an interesting concept. I like the idea of Scott, as an ordinary everyman who is our eyes and ears introducing us to the mad world where a chicken accountant is perfectly normal. I also love the humour - I enjoyed the apology to Scott that Francoise's english was not natural of course - not because she's a chicken but because she's French!
The only suggestion I would make is there are times when we are given a long description of Scott's thought processes and this could be livened up by dialogue. One obvious example springs to mind after Toni's death when Scott thinks through his to-do list and ruminates on them. Its very long and difficult to keep the momentum. I was just thinking that perhaps something could be done to break this up when Debbie rings and after some pleasantries you say that he tells her the to-do list. Might it not have worked well for Debbie to ring at the start of the chapter and the long rumination be dealt with as dialogue so it becomes snappier and punchier? Just my own thoughts
Good luck with both books anyway - I wanted to repay the favour of your comments on The Angels Guide but I have to admit the subject of this one appealed to me far more than the other.
Annemarie

puddleduck1 wrote 485 days ago

All i can say about this is brilliant. I hadn't expected it to go the way it did but what an ending. I think Scott could have had a bit more feeling for Toni while the investigation was going on as he seemed to take to debbie far too soon and that was a bit disappointing considering they hadn't even buried her yet. I found the plot was
Spent the whole morning at work reading and finally finished.
wonderfully developed, always keeping the reader wanting more, wanting to know what was going on with Fracoise. Who would have guessed the story was going to take this course which really was suoerbly done. I suppose i should have guessed but i allowed your story to drive me rather than trying to solve the puzzle myself. It was a pity Toni had to die to protect the chickens secret but was glad Francoise and some of the hens survived the ugly end to carry on their cause. I reckon you could make another book to follow up on this one. Perhaps a world where the chickens finally get the recognition they deserve. Let me know if you ever publish this as i would love to buy it.

puddleduck1 wrote 486 days ago

I have just finished chapter five and am intrigued to know what is going on. The chicken (Francoise) seems to be doing something underhanded but as yet, I have no idea what - if she is at all. I find the stpory sp far highly amusing and intriguing at the same time and want to know what is going on here. I have already taken a liking to Francoise although I don't know what she is up to. Brilliant writing that keeps your readers hooked. I get a bit lost here and there with all the accountant talk but it all adds to the story and keeps it flowing. Hope Debbie isn't out to complicate Scotts relationship with Toni as that would be a bummer, but we shall see. At this point, it is hard to see who is doing what to whom and who isn't paying. Will review again in another few chapters.

puddleduck1 wrote 490 days ago

This story has started out very busy and I like that. Constantly moving and keeping me wanting more all the time. I have only read the first two chapters so far but I love the idea of the chicken already and am eager to find out just what is going on here. Great interaction between the characters and imagery is wonderful. i will continue to read and let you know after a few more chapter how i see things but so far, this is great!

AlexandraMahanaim wrote 507 days ago

A lot going on in your story: friends of Debbie that try to overthrow the government, chicken that was definitely developed to think on the human level and the whole chicken reaction that went on in the office.
I also like your idea of getting the exaggerated idea of racial and gender acceptance that has to happen in the office. I myself kind of agree that office needs to be as smooth in accepting all since I was president's favorite in one places of work and was constantly subject of conversation by people who were jealous. It hurts.

I hope you could take a look at one of my books and thank you so much for sharing your story,
Alexandra Mahanaim
Return to Eternity; Shoshanna, The Battle: Encountering Supernatural and Captivity

patio wrote 508 days ago

I read chapter one and two thus far. I like it. Lustful Scott is in lustful love with Francoise aka the chicken. One thing amazed me is the emphasis on the toilet. People don`t normal speak about the toilet. But it is painted as a palace so there`s no stinky bits

I must read on to see how things develop but high stars thus far

patio wrote 508 days ago

I read chapter one and two thus far. I like it. Lustful Scott is in lustful love with Francoise aka the chicken. One thing amazed me is the emphasis on the toilet. People don`t normal speak about the toilet. But it is painted as a palace so there`s no stinky bits

I must read on to see how things develop but high stars thus far

Peter B wrote 522 days ago

A hundred and one things you can do with a creative mind...102 if you use a chicken! Light hearted and border line zany, your obvious sense of humor and imagination shine through. And I like happy endings too. Nice job, Peter B. "The Bible I Thought I Knew"

Bea Sinclair wrote 526 days ago

Original, clever, funny and nicely written. We are introduced to Scott and embroiled into his adventure by the end of chapter one. I have awarded high stars and placed "Egg-Cell files" on my watch list.
Yours Bea

Ellen Michelle wrote 724 days ago

Nice book, Well written, Nice pitch.
Would defo recommend to a friend.
Rated 4 stars.
EllenMichelle :)
'A Model's Summer'

Grace_Gallagher wrote 724 days ago

Nicely bonkers and funny, with enough intrigue to make me want to read more. I agree with Georgia that maybe the lead up to introducing the chicken is a bit over-played (mentioned several times before it happened). I also think that the opening chapter could be tightened up to be a bit snappier. The second sentence is a little clunky. I think this sort of humour would come over better with tighter narrative.

I hope this helps. It's an interesting idea and worth reading.


cheers

GG x

Lacydeane wrote 726 days ago

First of all your pitch is perfectly written. It was an informative lead-in. This work is very well written and extremely entertaining. Very creative and easy to read. You have a very unique voice--great word choice and sentence structure. I am impressed. I Love your imagination and sense of humor. Great job and highest stars. Lacy

ELAdams wrote 730 days ago

Wow, I like this- it's certainly an interesting idea, and it works! I like the humour and the bizarreness of the situation Scott finds himself in. I think it would be better if you didn't mention the chicken beforehand, though, as it would be funnier if the reader thought everything was normal up until the point when Scott nearly falls over the chicken! But of course, this is just one opinion.

Thank you for your comments on 'The Puppet Spell', and good luck with this- it's certainly original!
Emma

patio wrote 730 days ago

Your pitch got me reading. still reading but great story thus far

georgia_summers wrote 740 days ago

Hi!

First off, I was really intrigued by your pitch. I mean, how /does/ that happen? But in saying that, I also felt that you were trying too hard with a lot of your jokes and as a result they fell flat. You also alluded to them before they happened, which then meant that the reader was expecting them. I know writing a first chapter is difficult, but I feel that you need to come up with a better hook, or else you'll lose readers who didn't see the funny side of it.

Hope this helps!
Georgia

Annette Russell wrote 741 days ago

Hi Warrick,
I've broken off in mid-read half way through Chapter 4. I thought I'd best write down some comments before I forget what I was going to say.
I'm really enjoying your book and very much share in Scott's amazement and discomfort at the situation he finds himself in. You include some very good details of the accounting world, especially in Chapter 3 (details such as, "He then dumped the sales ledger and bought ledger transactions . . .") which makes Scott's world seem very real to me, and his situation, therefore, all the more bizarre. I thought you handled the conversation between Debbie and Scott in Chapter 3 particularly well, and like the way Scott puts Francoise on the spot, trying to get her to say something. I also like the way your last sentence of each chapter (so far, at least) is a bit of a cliff-hanger into the next chapter. It really prompts me to read on. You've also paced the introduction of mystery and (possible?) romance very well.
Two things to look out for when you edit your story: the opening chapters are always the hardest to write, as you try to introduce the reader to the world of your novel, and you've tended to over-explain things a bit in the first two chapters. For example, I so share Scott's surprise at seeing a chicken in the building, that there is no need to explain that the chicken is out of place here (beginning of chapter 2). Also, there are occasional slips in punctuation during direct speech (for example, in Chapter 4, you write: "No." He confessed.) I noticed a few slips prior to that, but as I'm just reading chapter 4, this one springs immediately to mind.
And now I'll shut up and continue reading. I really am curious to see what will happen next . . .
Best wishes,
Annette

jenniferkillby wrote 744 days ago

Hello

Interesting story. The subtle jokes were interesting and the chapters kept me going. I don't know if you were trying to make the reader aware of how clean and nice the offices were for a reason, but I would go back and see how it can be more potent with less words. Other than that, I enjoyed the read.

Thanks for sharing
Jennifer Killby - The Legend of the Travelers: Willow's Journey

Edward B Davies wrote 749 days ago

Hi Warrick Your imagination is bizarre enough to even suit me. I particularly like the way in which you finish your Chapters with a teaser to lead the reader into the next Chapter and I like the half-hidden joke with no explanation 'I like it all ways'. And putting in bits of French without heavy handed explanations works for me. Edward.

Juno 66 wrote 750 days ago

Hey Warrick, just had a read of the first few chapters. A really interesting premise and you wear it well, as they say. I agree with some other comments that you could probably go through with a fine tooth comb and weed out anything extraneous or repetitive. For example, you maybe don't need quite so much about how fine the office building is. Otherwise - great stuff and I will be interested to watch your progress! Juno

Kate LaRue wrote 754 days ago

Warrick, I read the first two chapters of this book. The chicken is very funny, I enjoyed Scott's attempt to apologize and his musings as to how a conversation between he and the chicken would go. This isn't really my type of read, but it was entertaining. I think you could do with going through and cutting out any extraneous details that aren't significant to the plot, i.e. that Scott had met the one woman at an interview, etc. Also some of the descriptions of Scott's coworkers could be shortened, maybe focus on one or two features that can define that character so that the flow of the story doesn't get bogged down with character descriptions that the reader will probably forget and that aren't significant to the story. I remember one description of the office building in chapter one that was a little repetitive, about how the exterior of the building masked the normalcy inside or something to that effect, and then you used a similar analogy in the very next paragraph. So, just keep an eye out for that kind of thing. Like I said, a very entertaining read.

Eden Ashley wrote 756 days ago

I've never laughed so hard reading a book on this site. And within in the first two chapters! Your comedic setup and timing is great. The way Scott reacts to everything is perfectly realistic. I really liked this--your writing your approach. Jokes aside, you've found a unique and entertaining way to tackle some heavy social issues.

Eden
The Siren's Heart

Eden Ashley wrote 756 days ago

I've never laughed so hard reading a book on this site. And within in the first two chapters! Your comedic setup and timing is great. The way Scott reacts to everything is perfectly realistic. I really liked this--your writing your approach. Jokes aside, you've found a unique and entertaining way to tackle some heavy social issues.

Eden
The Siren's Heart

Maisie burrell wrote 758 days ago

Hi Warrick,

I'm returning your read from some time ago.

Pitch is interesting, I like the idea.

I read C1 and C2. I think you are over-explaining things as it reads at the moment. Some examples of this:
- The first two paragraphs of C1 - do we need this info now or is it something we can learn as we get to know Scott?
- Is it relevant that he had met Donna previously at an interview?
- The opening para of C2 - I don't think it is necessary to explain this to the reader.

I found the physical descriptions of everyone we meet was rather distracting, and I felt too many characters were introduced in the first couple of chapters - by the time Grace reappeared I had forgotten who she was.

I think you have a great idea and the potential to make this a humorous and thought-provoking read, but at the moment it doesn't grab me.

Just my opinion. I hope it is helpful but if it isn't then just ignore it.

Best Wishes,
Maisie


PolythenePram wrote 758 days ago

HI Warrick,
This is so different! But in a good way - working in HR myself, I could relate to so many of the conversations taking place! I love the madness, the absurd, the quirkness of it. The writing is very fluid too and very easy to read, which is great for a novel like this. Will certainly be reading more.
Eve

Cara Gold wrote 759 days ago

Warrick,
This is an absolute delight to read! Not just funny, but hilarious!
Your work is polished and I was caught from the moment I began. Admittedly, this is not the typical thing I would pick up off the shelf, but it has worked for me so far nonetheless :)
A few stylistic things I’d recommend; in the line ‘Everyone seemed perfectly pleasant…’ I’d put another comma after ‘is’ to put added emphasis on ‘except the chicken’.
Actually that’s about it for the moment, I got a bit lost in your story, it is so light-hearted and easy to read that I find myself forgetting about everything else in my desire to see how things will unfold…
Let me know if you want some more detailed nitty gritty feedback on any chapters. As for tonight, I’m going to relax and enjoy this smartly crafted piece :)
All the best
Cara

Cara Gold wrote 759 days ago

Warrick,
This is an absolute delight to read! Not just funny, but hilarious!
Your work is polished and I was caught from the moment I began. Admittedly, this is not the typical thing I would pick up off the shelf, but it has worked for me so far nonetheless :)
A few stylistic things I’d recommend; in the line ‘Everyone seemed perfectly pleasant…’ I’d put another comma after ‘is’ to put added emphasis on ‘except the chicken’.
Actually that’s about it for the moment, I got a bit lost in your story, it is so light-hearted and easy to read that I find myself forgetting about everything else in my desire to see how things will unfold…
Let me know if you want some more detailed nitty gritty feedback on any chapters. As for tonight, I’m going to relax and enjoy this smartly crafted piece :)
All the best
Cara

Gail Pallotta wrote 759 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Gail Pallotta wrote 759 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Gail Pallotta wrote 759 days ago

I've read the first two chapters. This is hilarious. You've done a great job writing a humorous spoof. I'm giving it a high ranking and putting it on my watch list. I hope you'll read a bit more of Stopped Cold when you get a chance.

Meryl wrote 759 days ago

Warrick,
I gotta tell you, first I was mystified by the whole scenario, then amused. I didn't think I was going to like it, but as I read further into it, I was drawn in. It really isn't my type of book, but it's well done. You've clearly put a lot of thought into it. You probably have a clever sense of humor, and I bet your daughter loves the story.
Good work and keep it up. I'll definitely read more.
Meryl

Anna Salole wrote 762 days ago

Educated poultry... could only come from France hahaha and oh boy are we arrogant too! Had I been Scott, I would have put Françoise on a plate at chapter 2. I have only read to chapter 4, and would like to read further before I put your book on my shelf... but what I can say so far is: this is WEIRD!!!! In a darn good way :-D Made me laugh out loud. Love it!

satrap wrote 763 days ago

Dear Warrick,
I get to the point by saying I simply like the way you write.

Shahryar Cohanzad

HGridley wrote 764 days ago

This is a hoot! How did you come up with a guy having to work with a chicken???? I'll certainly be coming back for more...
As you can see, I've finally gotten over to do my promised read, and have really enjoyed it. You're off to a great start, and just need a bit of polishing. Today I've read chapters one and two. The first chapter didn't need much improvement, but there were a lot of grammatical problems in the second. I've marked them below, and in some instances mentioned what might be implied by certain sentences... :) If it's overwhelming to you, please tell me, and I'll just do general comments on the next chapter.
You described the women well, but the poor guys are faceless names, without even a job description. Tell us more here!
I know I'll be thinking about that funny chicken all evening...

Chapter One:
“he thought it best to show willing”: “show himself willing” is more clear
“It’s a lovely outlook”: end with comma, not period. “he said” must be in the same sentence with at least part of what was said.
“really honks”: add missing period.
“Donna, came to greet him”: instead of putting a dash here, I’d simply start a new sentence.
“showed him to his desk”: put a comma after “desk”.
“checked his tie in the mirror…”: this sentence becomes unwieldy. Either reword it completely or chop it into two: “He checked his tie and ran a hand through his tousled mousey hair. His blue-grey eyes…”
Chapter Two:
“small chicken going into the ladies toilet”: add apostrophe: “ladies’ toilet”.
“picked on Jill”: In America, “picked on” is equal to “annoyed”. Omit the “on”.
“there was no attempt to deny that she was nearing sixty”: You have a run-on sentence here; a period after sixty will fix it.
“Jill did not answer…”: another awkward sentence. Try saying, “Jill, taken aback, did not answer immediately; her hand went to her mouth.” You don’t have to say twice that someone else answered.
“accountants who work here, you obviously…”: run-on. Again, change out the comma with a period.
“looked quizzically at Jill, who’s..”: It should be “whose”
“question this last comment…”: “his” instead of “this”
“she isn’t a person she’s a chicken…”: run-on again. Period after person.
“Hi, I’m Debbie.”: End with a comma, lowercase S. This should be just one sentence.
“The occasional p.a.”: Abbreviations generally are put in uppercase: P.A.
“When he was offered this job he..”: was needs a past tense after he. Say either “he had” or “he’d”.
“sales guy left the Kitchen”: kitchen should be lowercase.
“No, I’m fine thanks”: Add comma after “fine”
“happy about things”: put the comma inside the quotes.
“I’ll be OK”: Add comma after OK
“Certain members of the staff”: put comma inside quotes
“policy here at Gladwell”: Add period after Gladwell to define her words from his thoughts.
“she relaxed slightly”: Replace the comma after “slightly” with a semicolon.
“break the ice”: Period inside quotes
“beginning to dawn on him”: another run-on. You can fix this one by replacing the comma with the word “that” after “him”.
“have no problem with it,”: again, a run-on. Use a semicolon instead of comma after “it”.
“he looked at her screen, there”: more run-on: you could put a semicolon here, but I think a period would be best.
“’No thanks’ He”: Careful here—to say no thanks without a comma in between is to be ungrateful! Add commas after no and thanks, and make “he” lowercase: “No, thanks,” he replied.
“strong and dark”: add comma after “dark”
“enjoy your fruit tea”: add comma after “tea”
Who is Geoff? Introduce him!
“carry on tomorrow”: Punctuation inside quotes!
“checked his watch”: I’m sure the watch is not itself four-thirty, but the time is… period after watch!
Who is Brian? Why is he the one to give permission to go?
“FT”: The first time you use initials, you should spell them out.

Yes, I know that's a lot! Even so, it's a great story. :)
~Hannah

rikasworld wrote 766 days ago

I really liked this. I can certainly see the Pratchett Gaimon influence. I've added it to my watchlist to read more as I found it really easy to read and engaging. Can't think of any criticisms. Too true you don't want to be seen going into the ladies'[ toilet during your probationary period and never use the ch word.

EFLanders wrote 767 days ago

I've enjoyed reading this, interesting, humorous & also thought provoking. In terms of typos I spotted a 'does' instead of 'do', but was too engrossed in the story & now I can't find it. It's in the first or second chapter. Sorry! It just goes to show what a good read it is!

Di Alcantara wrote 768 days ago

Hi Warrick,

First, thank you for your helpful comments on The Beautiful Stalker.

I thought this book was fun and engaging. I only planned on reading the first two chapters, but ended up reading two more. I liked the idea of the chicken. I thought it was hilarious many times. It's easy to follow, great descriptions throughout, natural dialogue.

Scott is charming. He will surely appeal to many female readers like myself.

There are a few missing punctuations, like in chap 2 "Francoise"
Other than that, I found no errors. I enjoyed this so much and I will definitely come back for more. Especially when i want to laugh. Brilliant writing. Five stars from me.

All the best,
Di