Authors: Mark A. Cooper
Book 3 in the
Jason Steed Adventure Series.
Mark A. Cooper
Copyright © 2013 Mark A. Cooper
All rights reserved.
I ask children to forgive me for dedicating this book to a grown-up. I have a real excuse; this grown-up is the best friend I have in the world.
Dedicated to my beautiful loving wife. Without her, none of this would be possible. Sandra, I thank you and will always love you.
Cover artwork by
On April 4, 1975, fourteen-year-old Abigail Giles left Manchester’s Town Hill High School at lunchtime. She caught a bus to Manchester’s train station and boarded a train bound for Paddington Station, London. She wore just her school uniform and had a backpack with a change of clothes and her lunch money.
Her adolescent mind was filled with rage after an argument with her parents.
I’ll show them. They’ll be sorry,
she told herself, oblivious to the dangers she faced as she ran away and headed to the bright lights of London.
Jason threw his school backpack across the polished wooden floor and slammed the front door shut behind him. The bang echoed around the large entrance hall. As his backpack smashed into the foot of the stairs, he kicked off his shoes and stomped up to his bedroom, removing his school tie and leaving a trail of clothing scattered behind himself.
His father, Raymond Steed, watched his son from his office and slowly followed Jason to his room, picking up after him. Ray knocked at his door and waited.
“What?” snapped Jason aggressively. He had stripped off his school uniform and was putting on his tracksuit.
“Can I come in?” Ray asked through the door.
“Yes” Jason sighed.
Ray entered and looked at him. He carried Jason’s school backpack, tie, and shoes.
“I hate that school. Why can’t I go to a sports school that doesn’t force you to do science and religious studies?” He groaned as he pulled on his training shoes.
“Do I have to ask again?” his father asked, raising his eyebrows. He looked into his sons sapphire blue eyes. Most of the time Jason's blond hair fell over them and hid where he was looking. Ray had given up years ago trying to get his son to have his fringe cut to a normal length. Jason always preferred having it over his eyes.
“I came bottom in History and Religious Education. And according to Mr. Griffiths I’m ‘below average’ in Math,” Jason said putting on a posh upper crust accent. “He never said anything about me coming top in German, French, and Spanish language. He'll be writing to you and has given me enough homework to last ten years. I’m gonna die of nerdism.”
Is that a word?” His father smiled affectionately.
“It is now.” Jason frowned, trying to conceal a smirk. “So I was bottom in two subjects. I’m top in three others. I hate that stupid Welsh Headmaster.”
“So where do you think you’re going?”
“It’s Tuesday, I’ve got Karate.”
“Not until this has been done,” Ray said, holding out Jason's backpack.
“Dad. You know I go karate on Tuesdays. I can’t stop that. I'd end up a nerd,” Jason whined.
“No, you will end up a ‘drop out’ if you don’t get your grades up. Don’t expect to be able to join the Marines or S.A.S if you fail all your exams.”
“Okay, I’ll start it when I get back.”
“No. You will start it now. You may have to cut out either karate from twice a week to once a week or cut out Sea Cadets or Judo. Weekends, you can’t see Catherine or Scott unless you have completed
“I always do
homework. I’m just not very good at it. We can’t all be a brain box like Scott.” Jason sat heavily on his bed in a sulk.
“I’ll let you go tonight, but when you get back I want you to do your homework. If you need help, just ask. Together we can improve your grades.”
boring. What use is it to me knowing about King Henry VIII? Do you know all the names of his six wives?” Jason asked, hoping to prove his point.
Ray paused and smiled. “Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Katherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. I can’t think of the other one or what order.”
Oh wow, my dad is a nerd
, Jason thought to himself.
“What does that prove?” Jason sighed.
“Not much, as I don’t need to know that, but it’s all part of learning and growing up.
The other wife was Anne of Cleaves.” Ray grinned.
It’s official. My Dad's a nerd.
“Okay, okay. I
do it when I get back, but it still seems pointless to me.”
Even with his father’s help, Jason continued to struggle with some aspects at school. He was exceptional in foreign languages and, although he was one of the greatest martial arts experts in the country, no grades were given for that. St. Joseph's Boys School was one of the top private schools in Great Britain and had some of the brightest pupils. His best friend Scott Turner had an IQ of 168. Only a handful of people in the country could better that. When Jason’s books were marked alongside Scott’s it didn’t help matters.
Jason picked at his food in the school Canteen. He and Scott sat together eating. He had been training harder than normal. Around Christmas he'd begun studying another form of karate, Jeet Kune Do. He already held three black belts in Karate, one was a 3
Dan, plus he held a black belt in Judo. His hero Bruce Lee created Jeet Kune Do and therefore he wanted to master it.
Last night he had been sparing with a grand master and 3
Dan black belt at Jeet Kune Do. Jason had lost concentration and was kicked in the chest. He suspected he might have cracked a rib. Breathing heavily caused a pain across his chest.
“You seem quiet today Jase, everything okay?” Scott asked, stealing one of Jason’s uneaten sausages. Scott was the same age as Jason, with brown hair and large brown eyes. The two boys were very close.
“Yeah, I got hurt at karate last night, just not feeling myself today,” Jason replied.
“I’d rather not know about you feeling yourself Jase, not while I’m eating a sausage,” Scott joked, making a rude gesture as he ate. Jason smiled at the remark and felt his chest. He would normally laugh at Scott’s jokes but wasn't feeling up to it today, despite Scott’s attempts to lift his spirits.
When school was over they walked home together, discussing music and the latest Jackson Five song.
“I got hairs now.” Scott grinned.
“What?” Jason asked.
“Well, three to be precise.” Scott smiled proudly pointing down to his nether regions.
“And you’re telling me this,
?” Jason asked annoyed. He flicked his blond bangs across his face and glared at Scott.
“Don’t be such a grumpy guts all day. So you got hurt at karate get over it. I thought we were friends and was just talking. If I can’t tell my best friend something as important as that who can I tell?” Scott snapped back and started to walk ahead.
Jason let him go a few paces and finally ran and caught up. “I don’t have any there yet, but I got two under my right arm pit growing.” Jason grinned.
“You’re blond and fair skinned, so you may be a bit slower than me. Our voices should break this year. Russell Jennings' voice has already broken,” Scott said, trying to put on a deep voice.
“Can you help me with math homework tonight? I have no idea how that algebra stuff works.”
. Mr. Thomas asked if everybody understood it. Why didn’t you say anything?” Scott frowned.
“I didn’t want to look any more stupid than I do now. I can’t see the point of X equals Y. What good is that? It’s bad enough with basic stuff.”
“Yes I’ll show you, it’s important and fun.” Scott paused thinking, of a use for Jason.
Jason fought against calling Scott a nerd. He knew he hated being called that, and now was not the time to upset him, especially if he needed Scotts help with his homework.
“Okay, lets think about you flying a plane. I mean a big jet aircraft. The actual math used in the cockpit is basic addition and subtraction for a weight and balance manifest and basic algebra with rounded numbers to figure descents in your head.”
Jason struggled to keep his thoughts to himself. “Okay you made your point. When we get to my place just show me slowly how you get the bloody numbers to equal letters. You can stay for dinner.”
The twelve-year-old boys lay on the rug in Jason’s room going over the homework. When Ray entered, both boys ignored him and continued working. Their school shoes, jackets, and ties lay in a heap on the floor. Ray smiled as he watched Scott explain algebra to Jason. He put it in a language Jason could follow so he soon grasped the concept.
“Sorry to interrupt boys. Jason, Captain Bill Giles, his brother, and sister-in-law are coming tonight to stay for a few days,” Ray said.
“What, Bill Giles from HMS Stoke?” Jason asked without turning around.
“Yes. His niece has gone missing. Her friends told them she left Manchester and jumped on the train to London.”
Jason turned around and lifted himself onto one elbow, looking up at his father. “As long as he doesn’t expect me to salute him when I’m in my Sea Cadet uniform, not in my own home. Although it will be nice to see him again.”
Two hours later Ray walked up the stairs to collect Scott and take him home. The boys were playing a new record Scott had leant Jason. It was by a group called ‘Hot Butter’ the fast instrumental electronic tune was rightly named ‘Popcorn.’
Because of the volume, they never heard him knock so Ray walked in. Both boys were stripped to the waist dancing in sequence to the tune. Stepping forward two steps and back one before shifting to the left along with the music, they danced faster as the tune increased in speed.
The sight amused Ray. Once it finished, both Scott and Jason turned to see they had an audience. Scott’s face was flushed. Ray wasn’t sure if it was embarrassment or exhaustion from dancing so fast. He gave a small applause until he noticed the dirty look he got from Jason.
Jason returned home from school in better spirits the following day. Thanks to Scott’s help he had grasped algebra and two of the afternoon subjects were foreign languages, something he enjoyed and excelled in. Jason trotted down the grand staircase in his Sea Cadet uniform and noticed a man and woman enter the front door. He continued down and adjusted his uniform. They both looked up at Jason and smiled.
“You must be Jason.” The woman smiled. She looked right through Jason as if her mind was elsewhere.
“Yeah, hi. You must be Bill Giles’s sister-in-law,” Jason said as he held out his hand. Her eyes were blood shot. Jason thought she looked as if she had been crying.
“Yes sweetheart, I’m Pauline. This is Ian.” She bent down and took off her shoes.
“Hi, Jason. It’s nice to finally meet you. You were in bed last night when we arrived and had gone to school this morning before we got up. Are you going out again?” Ian asked.
Jason looked at him. He was a younger version of his brother Bill. “Yeah I’ve got Sea Cadets tonight.” Jason Paused. Bill walked in, followed by Jason's father. Bill smiled gave a nod and saluted. Jason, out of habit, saluted back.
You Dodo. Why'd you salute back?
Jason chastised himself. It made it worse when he caught his father grinning at him. Jason gave his father a ‘
Don’t say a word look’
and shook Bill's hand.
“Jason do you want to give Cadets a miss tonight and come out to dinner with us? We could do with cheering up,” Ray asked.
“I had dinner already with Mrs. Beeton. Thanks though,” Jason replied, giving his father a welcome hug. He pulled away after picking up on his father’s stiffness as he turned down the offer. “How did it go today?” Jason asked, trying to sound interested.
“Bloody terrible. You got any Port in the house? I could do with a stiff drink before dinner. I can’t believe how incompetent the Metropolitan Police are,” Bill interrupted angrily.
“Why, what happened with them? They're normally helpful.”
Ray paced to the liquor cabinet in living room and opened a bottle of port and poured four glasses while Bill explained everything to Jason.