"Skin Deep" drabbles by Neville Hunt

nevillehunt avatar

Mission 2Bs

Skin Deep #318

Rufus was now on a mission, a mission that Mac2 would not recommend! He wanted to see Beth and his baby. What he would do when he got there and how he thought he wouldn't be turned in by Beth, he didn't know. But he did know he must see them, if only to disappear again.

The headaches were frequent now - a direct ploy by Mac2 to keep some semblance of control over headstrong Rufus - a name Mac2 recommended he forget. But Rufus, answering now to Tony, was driven by his emotional side, which Mac2 could neither understand nor influence.

nevillehunt avatar

Staying dead

Skin Deep #317

Commander Bayliss at MI6 was remarkably circumspect on hearing that his people in Cyprus seemed to have 'lost' Rufus/Mark. The suggestion that he might have disabled the microchip they'd inserted in him didn't surprise Bayliss either.

"Rather thought he might!" he told a colleague. "Clever little bugger", he added, with obvious respect.

While others were getting extremely concerned and felt that MI6 should be working hard to find and 'disable' Rufus, Bayliss merely commented "No need to waste resources. He's not going to shout his mouth off, is he? I'd advise him to 'stay dead'... or else he will be!"

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #316

The Editor of The Goss decided the Rufus thing had run its course. He asked Amy to write a final piece with an appeal to leave Beth and baby in peace. It all ended with a charming finale from Amy.

'...for Beth, her beautiful baby has brought great joy to her life and a glow to Horninglow. Let's just let it glow.'

'Horninglow' thought Rufus, 'must be where she lives.'

"Where the fuck's that?" he said rather too loudly, prompting a 'harrumph' of disapproval from another library user.

He soon discovered that it was a suburb of Burton-on-Trent.

nevillehunt avatar

Calling names

Skin Deep #315

'If you're going to be notorious, then enjoy your notoriety' thought Rufus. He also wondered how to see his child in person. Challenging, but essential.

Honouring Beth's request, The Goss hadn't revealed her baby's name. Instead, they ran a competition to find the best name for the little lad, given his parentage. That seemed rather below the belt, but had generated a huge response. A huge variety of names, mostly silly, had been suggested. Damien was a popular choice, referencing The Omen, and of course, Chucky.

If Rufus had seen Beth's tears, another life would have to be taken. Amy's!

nevillehunt avatar

Baby congratulations

Skin Deep #314

The front page of The Goss the day after the birth featured a photograph of Beth with her cute little baby. Amy had contacted her offering a deal for a picture exclusive. Beth had been happy to go along with it for some timely extra cash.

She wasn't happy with the headline that accompanied the picture:


Although the story itself was kinder, Beth vowed to have no more contact with Amy and The Goss as she wiped away tears and held her lovely new baby tight.

Rufus read the story with some pride. A double achievement!

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #313

Rufus was forced to take public transport to the Central Library from the airport in Speke as he didn't have much sterling. He would need to change his Euros in town.

He spent a couple of hours catching up on UK news. He was particularly meticulous in reading every edition of The Goss since he'd left for Cyprus. It was full of stories linking Rufus to something or someone. That someone was mostly Beth and her baby, unborn initially, but then the subject of a media hullabaloo when he was born.

Pictured with Beth, he'd stolen Rufus's heart of steel!

nevillehunt avatar

Manning up

Skin Deep #312

Mac2 had deduced what Tony/Mark/Rufus was planning and it didn't conclude that this was a good thing. Mac2 detected behaviour tending towards that incomprehensible emotional area. Overnight, it tried its best to obliterate Rufus's sparse sensitive instincts without success. It did, however, instill a sense of caution in him. That was the best Mac2 could do.

Rufus woke, showered and got into his more masculine clothes to go to breakfast. Tony's effeminate clothes would end up in a skip after Rufus checked out. He was now definitely Rufus again, but soon realised that 'Rufus' was too famous to use safely.

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #311

Although very late when his flight arrived at Liverpool, the plane had been full and they were all processed through passport control quickly. 'Tony', deliberately wearing the same rather effeminate shirt as in the passport photo, was waved straight through without a hitch.

He was back... and so was Mac2. Free to go and do what he chose. It felt so good. He'd used Tony's debit card to book a room in an airport hotel. He crashed out, relieved, but suffering a bit of a headache. Mac2 was his bedmate.

In the morning it was off to Liverpool Central Library.

nevillehunt avatar

Speke and you shall find

Skin Deep #310

Soon after the 14.40 from Paphos to London Gatwick had taken off, Mark switched off communication from his microchip. The spooks would have arrived shortly before, but by that time, Mark was on his way by taxi to Larnaca International Airport for his 23.20 flight. He had plenty of time, although, as a precaution, he didn't want to hang around the airport for too long.

His final piece of 'pisstake' for the spooks was to stop by the villa, and put his music on very loud on a loop.

Tony Antoniou arrived at Liverpool John Lennon Airport shortly before 02.40BST

nevillehunt avatar

Quick steps

Skin Deep #309

In the hour the spooks took to get to Nicosia, Mark had arrived at Paphos International Airport in the far west of Cyprus.

The spooks arrived at the abandoned car, which had also been fitted with a tracking device. They then scoured the restaurants and bars in the vicinity. One went back to the car to search for any clues. Stuffed in the sidepocket was a screwed up piece of paper, the final page of Mark Toomey's itinerary from Paphos to London.

At around this point, Mark switched the communication from his microchip back on.

"He's heading for London. Bastard!"

nevillehunt avatar

Come dancing

Skin Deep #308

On Saturday, when he would leave, the flight departure time was 23.20 from Larnaca. He must print his boarding pass and draw out money for when he arrived at his destination before he went to the airport.

He'd drawn out 200 Euros earlier that week - enough for his purposes within Cyprus. He had all day, so decided he would run the spooks a merry dance, should they choose to play.

He drove to Nicosia, where he had lunch, drew out the maximum from the cashpoint and abandoned the car.

He disabled his microchip.

The spooks were soon racing to Nicosia!

nevillehunt avatar

Sunny outlook

Skin Deep #307

Three days wait, so Mark decided to chill, sitting on the balcony communing with Mac2 - headaches were still a problem. He enjoyed the sun's rays.

If one could get inside Mark's brain, as Mac2 could, one would realise that the creature that he'd become was a 'cocktail' of his own youth, his ruthlessness, his own native intelligence, Marcus's higher intelligence, Mac2's deductive powers and, rather worryingly for Mac2, an emotional quotient that was totally beyond its control!

Had Mac2 been able to substitute Marcus's 'soul' for Mark/Rufus's he would have.

Marcus's skin was his problem.

Mark's skin was beautifully bronzed!

nevillehunt avatar

Tony's treat

Skin Deep #306

To get the spooks used to the occasional loss of contact with his microchip, Mark switched it on and off a number of times each day the next few days, when the weather was good. They assumed he went out onto the balcony.

Meanwhile, he drove out, two days after his encounter with Tony, to Larnaca, where he found an internet cafe and researched flights to the UK. Paying with Tony's debit card, he booked his flight for a few days later. He hadn't used his own card as he was sure it would be closely monitored.

Lift off soon!

nevillehunt avatar

Musical differences

Skin Deep #305

Mark had a mobile number for the spooks and called the next morning, partly to find out if they'd been round and partly to reassure them he was still there if they had.

"Hi, can you give me some information about the course I'm on at uni in Nicosia? Should I be registering now?"

"No idea, mate, I'll check with London. What I do know though is that shitty music you were listening to last night will fuck up your brain!"

"It's called being young, something you wouldn't know about!" Mark teased.

"Bloody glad too!"

'So am I', thought Mark.

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #304

Grudgingly, the spooks had gone round to the villa mid-evening when they realised the chip wasn't communicating. First, they noticed the car still there which was reassuring. Then they banged on the main door but got no reply.

Going to the south side of the villa, they looked up to the balcony, saw the figure in the recliner, heard the awful loud music and one said to the other.

"I can't stand that racket. Let's fuck off back and have a few beers!"

And that was that. They didn't check any further... like speaking to him!

Sloppy, for MI6!

nevillehunt avatar

Death wishes

Skin Deep #303

The Nicosia taxi driver had a death wish. Driving like a maniac, he got Mark back to the villa in record time, well before midnight.

Mark returned with Tony's passport and some of his clothes, stuffed into a holdall he'd found in the flat. He'd stripped the trousers off Tony, but took a couple of shirts, a jacket and hat to provide some level of disguise.

He was disgusted when he'd seen that even in death, Tony had an erection. He hadn't realised that it was a natural reaction to strangulation.

'He's still up for it, dirty bugger!', he'd thought.

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #302

Without help from Mac2, Mark quickly thought it through. No time to hang around, thus a limit to what he could do about Tony's body. He had Tony's passport - pity he had to die, but he clearly had nobody special in his life anyway.

Even if he cleaned up Tony's face, he'd still have the body to dispose of. His priority was to get back to the villa quickly and hope the spooks hadn't gone round... but if they had, and discovered him gone, then the mock body in recliner was clearly a juvenile prank...

...particularly when he arrived back.

nevillehunt avatar

Identity thief

Skin Deep #301

Mark hadn't reckoned on the mess on Tony's face. Nonetheless, his first thought was to scour the small flat for Tony's passport. It didn't take long. Mark took a couple of minutes to check the passport photo to see how close a resemblance Tony had to himself. Yes, he thought he would probably pass for Tony with a bit of luck. Apparently switching photos wasn't easy these days so he would have to risk it, particularly as he would have to leave Cyprus very quickly.

His immediate problem was how to deal with Tony's messy body. But should he bother?

nevillehunt avatar

Losing it x2

Skin Deep #300

Most Cypriots don't have the plump pillows commonplace in the UK. A much harder, thinner pillow is the norm there.

'Not so good for smothering', thought Mark. 'This calls for Tony's belt!'

Mark had of course conveniently removed Tony's belt. Mark struggled to get the belt round Tony' neck and Tony, suddenly realising what was happening, pulled his hands out and started to fight back and scream out. Mark had no option than to smash Tony's face with the full force of his fist. It was messy. Tony died of course - strangulation.

"Rufus, you're losing it!" declared Mark to himself.

nevillehunt avatar

Cereal killing

Skin Deep #299

"Steady on. Go easy Tony the tiger!" Mark was playing for time and opportunity.

"How do you like it best?" Mark continued.

"Any way you want give it!"

"Let's start by getting you on your back, tiger!" Tony didn't put up any resistance to moving through and falling back on the bed. Mark swept the room with his eyes. No convenient bed ends to tie Tony to.

"Hands behind your head while I take these off" ordered Mark as he started undoing Tony's trousers. He carried on pulling Tony's trousers down... as far as his ankles.

"Now close your eyes."