Rusholme Ruffians

Full Stop looks at the student, the machete hanging awkwardly by his side.

‘What’s your name?’

The student turns around to look at Full Stop. His bandana is pulled up over his face and his eyes look back at the student with something approaching softness. The student takes another look at the machete before answering.


At this, Full Stop begins to walk over towards him. He is hesitant, a little unsure about what he is doing. He’s not used to speaking to the victims. He takes the seat next to Stephen and sits looking at him for a minute or so, taking in all the information he can from what he sees, checking the student against the picture he has kept in his head: the neat cropped hair, the blue T-shirt with a logo splashed across the front, the dark blue jeans and Adidas trainers. Carbon copy. Except for the blood. The blood makes this picture different.

‘I like your trainers.’ As he says the words Full Stop feels like an idiot. He’s bad at this – talking. It’s always been the same. When he was a kid he never spoke. Not a word until he was six. The doctors said there was nothing physically wrong but still no sounds passed his lips.

Stephen begins to finger a medallion tied around his neck by black cord. Full Stop watches a while, the small silver medallion too dull to really shine. Remembering, he reaches across slowly and pulls Stephen’s hands back to the arms of the chair. ‘Just keep them still.’

He sits down again, the machete across his lap, and tries to take in the room. The furniture in the house is the usual second-hand tat. The floor is crunchy and the whole room far too bright beneath the naked bulb that hangs from the middle of the ceiling. Full Stop looks away, the temporary scars of light still burnt across his field of vision. He begins to play with the Velcro strap of his golf glove.

Stephen looks around the room himself. He is feeling almost calm now. There’s something about the boy. A kindness.

‘What’s he looking for upstairs?’

‘Jewellery, cameras. iPods. One of the banks was giving them away with student accounts this year.’

Future has had him do this part of the job tonight because he’s the only one around. Usually he wouldn’t even enter the room, just guard the door, watching. Full Stop is more than happy with his role in the background. He doesn’t need this, but he knows that Stephen is far safer dealing with him than Future.

He stands and walks away from the chair, taking out a piece of paper and a pen and dropping them on the coffee table. ‘Right, that piece of paper there, you need to put the Pin for that card you’ve just given us. And stick your mobile on the table too.’

Stephen leans up from the chair and puts his phone on the table. Full Stop puts the handset in the pocket of his jacket while Stephen writes down his Pin.

As he does, Full Stop begins to tap the side of his leg with the machete.

‘Now that’s the right Pin, isn’t it? ‘Cos if it isn’t he’ll come back and kill you. You get me?’ Stephen nods and puts the pen down.

Full Stop takes the paper and puts it in his pocket with the handset.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5



7 Responses to “Rusholme Ruffians”

  1. October 22, 2008 at 2:53 pm, emma roy- williams said:

    i liked this story it gave quite a vivid image of what it must have felt like to be in that situation without using too much language. and with it being set in rusholme it was easy to imagine the setting ie quite a miserable student house.

  2. October 22, 2008 at 6:13 pm, SPorter said:

    Full of surprises. Really like the names of the characters too.

  3. October 23, 2008 at 1:14 pm, smith3000 said:

    Very impressive. You got the details right, and the language and, I’d imagine, the mindsets of the protagonists too. I really liked the ‘sting’ in the tail too ..

  4. October 29, 2008 at 6:03 pm, Rachel said:

    Love the description. Very crazy, youthful and studified just like Rusholme is if you happen to be on the bus at night for whateever reason. Good story.

  5. December 12, 2008 at 5:05 pm, Martha Jones said:

    I agree fully with the other comments, just the way Rusholme is. I love the surprise ending.

  6. June 01, 2009 at 9:16 am, Matthew David Scott said:

    Hey, thanks all. Appreciate it.


  7. February 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm, Sally said:

    A well-written story with a surprise ending. I was a student and lived in student accommodation near “Curry Mile”; you’ve captured the visual and psychological atmosphere of the place. The spare style gives an eerie feeling to the story and draws the mental portrait of the “ruffians”, well done.


Leave a Reply




Via email: