"Skin Deep" drabbles by Neville Hunt

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #238

Despite derision in the press, DCS Twigg didn't let it get to him. He had to get Rufus to confess. It would make it all so much easier and Twigg correctly guessed that there were more murders they didn't yet know about executed by Rufus.

Rufus had been left in his cell to stew for a few hours before questioning. That was Twigg's modus operandi after he'd arrested and charged someone. He'd made sure Rufus stayed awake to lower his mental resistance - important because he was a very bright boy!

In his cell, Rufus, now holding his head, started screaming.

nevillehunt avatar

Sticky ending

Skin Deep #237

The tentacles of The Goss snaked everywhere. They quickly picked up that Rufus had been arrested concerning the Marcus mystery. The following day's front page read:


Then a subheading:
'Goss report leads police to find young genius in hiding.'

It described Rufus being held at West End Central for a number of grisly murders, possibly including Marcus's heir Tony Branthwaite, found dissected and deep frozen in Marcus's freezer. It talked about Met incompetence, ending with:

...they'd find it difficult to make charges stick in a glue factory!

It didn't reflect well on Twigg!

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #236

DCS Twigg was like the cat who'd got the cream down at the Met. There was a DNA match with Rufus in several murders, including the woman strangled in her London flat, the dismembered body parts in Marcus's freezer, other body parts found in rubbish bins in Peterborough and even the double death in east London of Rufus's father and girlfriend, although Rufus's DNA could conceivably be there from visiting his father - unlikely!

Twigg felt he had an open and shut case and accordingly issued charges for the individual murders he was certain he could prove Rufus had committed.


nevillehunt avatar

That's life!

Skin Deep #235

Mark Twigg was over the moon when he arrived at the fence from Marcus's side. His satisfaction was compounded when told that Rufus had caught himself on the brambles. That meant Twigg didn't have to worry about official protocol to obtain Rufus's DNA. It was deposited during a crime... breaking into someone's property.

If his DNA linked to any of the murders, then even if the lawyers tried to bounce all over the police regarding admissibility of Rufus's DNA as evidence, Twigg would "do whatever was necessary" to ensure the boy went down for life...

"and I mean life!"

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #234

Rufus didn't have a good opinion of the police. So far he'd outsmarted them every time. But you don't get to DCS by being stupid, and after Rufus had given Twigg the slip last time, it wasn't going to happen again.

Rufus, rucksack packed, Mac2 stowed, rations stowed in a shopping bag, stepped out of Marcus's kitchen door and scaled the back fence. He jumped down into the rear neigbour's land, breaking a garden bench as he snagged himself on some brambles.

The two PCs waiting there caught him off-guard and handcuffed him.

DNA conveniently provided on the brambles!

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #233

DCS Mark Twigg nearly choked on his toast as he read the story in The Goss.

"Gotcha, ya little bastard," he exclaimed jumping up and scaring the cat. With scarcely a word to his wife, he swept out, bound for London NW3.

Twigg sat in his car across the road from the house. He had enough to justify questioning, possibly arrest, but Rufus was clearly a 'slippery bugger' so he needed to plan how he would approach.

Clear-headed, Rufus had wondered if things would blow up after Amy's retreat.

Spotting a suspicious car, he slipped out the back door.

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #232

Amy still needed a story... but she might have unearthed a real humdinger!

It would all be conjecture, asking questions - no answers. Whetting the readers' appetites and hollering 'buy me' from the newsstands. What a discovery.

Out with Tony's human interest story - first things first.

Why was Rufus there? Where was Tony, the owner of the house? Were they lovers? Wasn't it strange that Rufus was connected with two people 'skinned alive'?

The Goss headline the next day:


Despite fleeing, Amy had briefly stopped, turned and used her phone to snap Rufus in the doorway. That's plucky!

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #231

Rufus was distracted. His headache was awful.... he had to connect to Mac2, which was getting more demanding. Seeing Amy on the doorstep when expecting a grocery delivery threw him. For a moment he couldn't process it. He was confused.

'How had she found him? What was she doing? Hadn't she done enough! Bitch!!! Shit, I must get rid of this headache, then her.'

His choice of attending to his headache first saved Amy's life.

Amy, a good judge of character, could read people well. The hate she saw in Rufus's eyes screamed 'flee!'

She ran. Rufus couldn't possibly follow.

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #230

Amy was delighted. Something to get her teeth into! It was great to be recognised by the boss as being able to develop a great story. It should be completely straightforward. She had the address.

She could look at the reason for the strained relationship between Tony's family and Marcus.... then there was the story of how he eventually contacted The Goss... and of course Tony's marriage break up and it's cause... and then some prurience surrounding what Tony was now doing in the gay and bisexual scene. Masses of potential!

She didn't expect Rufus to open Tony's door though!

nevillehunt avatar

Stimulating the circulation

Skin Deep #229

The Editor of The Goss was pleased with Amy. Her piece on Rufus was really good journalism and well written. He was delighted how she'd resisted police pressure to spills the beans about Rufus. He suspected that there might have been a bit of hanky panky involved, but couldn't care less. It didn't affect the objectivity of the story. Great journalism... Goss-style!

Desperate to keep the circulation up there, he decided the Marcus story could be stretched further. There was a human interest story about Tony and the bisexual angle was just up their street.

Amy would cover it.

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #228

Rufus wanted to see nobody. Holed up at Marcus's with food supplies being the only reason to open the door, he was in good shape for a long term siege situation.

He busied himself in Marcus's workroom, scouring the Internet to keep his brain active. He kept getting these terrible headaches though, prompting him to connect up to Mac2.

Mac2 was starting to exercise control again.

With one such headache distracting him, he was waiting for a delivery of groceries. When the doorbell rang, he automatically went to the door.

He didn't expect what he saw on the doorstep.


nevillehunt avatar

In her dreams

Skin Deep #227

In her new state of forgiveness, Beth tried to FaceTime Rufus without success. She decided to email him.

'Rufus, I'm at my mum and dad's. They've been great - haven't pressed me to name you. I'm keeping the baby which will arrive soon. I'm a bit scared :-( When things settle, maybe you can come to see me and the baby. I don't want anything from you but think baby deserves a father somewhere. Tried to FaceTime you; would be great to speak face to face. Call me sometime? Bethx'

Great! She'll be no trouble. Call her? In her dreams!

nevillehunt avatar


Skin Deep #226

Beth was quietly getting on with things back home with her parents. She was keeping the baby who would soon arrive. She didn't do much. She would rejoin the world when he or she arrived.

In the meantime, she'd been thinking a lot and keeping up with her university reading so that she could return one day.

She'd read the article about Rufus in The Goss and actually felt sorry for him. Maybe it was the maternal instinct kicking in. The story explained his violent streak, horrific though it was, and she realised she herself might have prompted his outburst.

nevillehunt avatar

A waiting game

Skin Deep #225

DCS Twigg had been caught napping. Rufus had disappeared and without authority, Twigg wasn't able to sniff round his university room for anything containing his DNA. Twigg's conviction that Rufus was a killer was just a hunch, and despite what TV detective series might suggest, in this litigious world, hunches weren't enough to disrupt due process!

He had no alternative but to wait until Rufus surfaced and then, Twigg believed, he would 'get his man'.

Meanwhile, in Vauxhall on the south side of the Thames, in the MI6 Building, a Special Intelligence Service recruiter had also been reading Amy's article.

nevillehunt avatar

Mankind hater

Skin Deep #224

The prospect of butchering Tony into freezer-friendly joints was suddenly appalling to Rufus. He simply couldn't do it, not to this or any man. Nonetheless, he realised he had to dispose of the man fairly quickly. Rufus became stressed for the first time he could remember. He needed to unstress with Mac2.

Mac2 realised there was a problem. It did take some time for the machine to deduce what might be the root cause of that problem though. Eventually, it decided on another bout of reprogramming. Gay persuasion completely removed.

Rufus was a mankind hater.

Let the butchery commence!

nevillehunt avatar

Emotionally unaware

Skin Deep #223

Mac2 hadn't worked out that Rufus's new misogyny might have the opposite effect than planned. With a penchant for men, Rufus might now be more inclined to be understanding and merciful to men, who, in the great scheme of things, might present more of a physical threat than women. It simply wouldn't do for Rufus to be attracted to any man.

But Mac2 was only a machine, a highly intelligent one, but not programmed in the emotional complexities of humankind.

Rufus thought back to Tony's naked body, complete with his terminal erection, and sighed.

Was that a sigh of regret?

nevillehunt avatar

Programming 'out'

Skin Deep #222

Mac2 needed to take control of Rufus. If his attitude and behaviour to certain women, had softened, then something needed to be done to the boy's 'internal wiring'. Mac2 deduced that Rufus found some women attractive.

Women must be taken out of the equation. At the next session, when another splitting headache forced Rufus to commune with Mac2, it would encourage an extra-long session. That would give Mac2 sufficient time to administer the programming equivalent of aversion therapy to Rufus. He would hate and mistrust all women and would no longer find any attractive.

Rufus would be rendered gay!

nevillehunt avatar

Cherchez la femme

Skin Deep #221

Whilst Rufus may have thought he had things 'sorted' to enable him to lie low at Marcus's house, Mac2 had deduced that it needed to sort out Rufus. It was concerned about recent inconsistencies in the boy's behaviour. From an objective Mac2 perspective, Rufus had made mistakes, putting the machine's existence somewhat in jeopardy.

For instance, Rufus had verged on kindness with Beth in letting her live and now he had lost touch... and there would be a baby shortly too. Also, Rufus had been sloppy with the newspaper reporter and now she had really stirred things up.

Women!..= dangerous!

nevillehunt avatar

Every little helps

Skin Deep #220

Plugging into Mac2 sorted out Rufus's headache and helped him think straight. He would 'joint' Tony, using Marcus's axe and carving knives and remove as much from the freezer as he needed to provide space for the 'joints'. Other useful frozen food would go on top, covering the body parts below. The food that wouldn't fit would go in the recycling bin.

Mac2 had made Rufus realise that if he wanted to hunker down there for some time, he didn't need to go out. Online grocery deliveries would do the trick and Tony's debit card would do the paying.


nevillehunt avatar

Body issues

Skin Deep #219

For Rufus, there was the small matter of a naked body to dispose of. He was no stranger to disposing of bodies, but this time he wanted a method that didn't involve leaving the house.

Rufus's problem was he couldn't leave Tony, who would start to decay and smell to high heaven. Marcus had a chest freezer which could conceivably house the body, but he'd have to empty it first... and he was likely to need the contents to live on for the next few weeks. But Tony could be a source of meat.

'Can't think for this bloody headache!'