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Book One of the Siren Calls Trilogy


Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2012 Tom Barry

The moral right of the author has been asserted. This book is a work of fiction and all characters and events are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All rights reserved. This book is available in paperback from all good bookstores. ISBN 978 1780883 106

Chapter One

Grasping hands tore at Isobel’s clothing and scraped her skin as she forced her way forward. She swung round to face the seething pack, the speed of her movement causing her handbag — too oversized, too glittering for these dusty lanes — to sweep with her in a defensive arc.

“Go away, allez, allez!” she shouted, trying to sound authoritative as the street urchins began to melt away.

Free from the pressing bodies, she wove deeper and deeper into the labyrinth of endless, identical alleyways, slipping between the sacks and the stalls with a serpentine ease that masked her increasing panic. She felt as if every eye were upon her, eyes shrouded by swathes of headgear or set within sun-dried faces, all disapproving, some accusing. Every turn revealed idle and cocky gangs of youths who straddled their cycles, observing her distress with knowing smirks.

Isobel looked for an opening, any way out that might lead her back to the square and return her to some kind of safety and normality. But every likely exit from this terrible maze was blocked with the knee-high beggars who had followed the scent of her like sharks, ever since she had taken pity on a tiny girl who, with swimming eyes, had pleaded for a dirham. But as they closed in to encircle her, there were no more pleas, only orders.

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