NO RANSOM NECESSARY is an MG adventure complete in 42,000 words.
With his mother already dead in mysterious circumstances, eleven year-old Jonathon Jacob Ashton’s life is endangered when his father disappears. Certain one of the Trustees of his original Will must have be involved in this hostile take-over, before he dies, Charles Ashton signs his company solely to Jon, and appoints his son’s bodyguard, Nerysa Na-gah Nuwuvi, as his guardian. From that point, it's just a matter of staying alive long enough to find out who was responsible and to make sure they pay - and not in any currency that would be accepted in a bank.
NO RANSOM NECESSARY
WHY RUN WHEN YOU CAN RIDE?
“Jon? What’s up?” asked Toby. In his red, black and mud coloured kit, he looked unreasonably happy. He ran on the spot, hands up, head forward and he pretended to kick. “We don’t have all day, Jon.”
“Right. I’ll get a jog on,” I said, “just knock it over.”
“You take your time,” Toby said. He grinned. “Get it right, again. It’s not like anyone is going to be blame us, if you miss.”
It was the final rugby match of the season. The touchline was packed with Tudors. These days, that only happened at Tudor School. Dressed in their Founders’ Day costumes of doublets and capes, it looked like every Tudorian for the last four hundred years had come to support the team. They were doing a great job of putting me off my game. First, they’d been shouting and dancing. Then they began chanting my name: Ashton, Ashton.
Earlier, I'd made the mistake of looking across at them. The supporters were doing a zombie-style shuffle, clawing at their scarves and creeping forward. They were chanting: Ashton! Ashton!
It sounded more like a threat than encouragement.
No problem. With a quick count, I worked out that at least two hundred people I could see were relying on me. I only had to kick to convert the try.
That was the truth, they expected me to win. It wasn’t just because the fly-half was kicking. It was because I was kicking – Charlie Ashton’s son.
First, I had to breathe: I figured I should start with the easy stuff. I rolled my shoulder to loosen them and swung my arms. The pain in my back eased up. The one near my heart was harder to make go away but that was just the sad thing.
It was time to shoot. I paced back, careful to control the arc. When I was standing in the sweet spot, the patch of grass containing the exact spot to being my run from, I held up my hands and linked my fingers into one tight fist. I eyed the shot, carefully.
Along the line of my arms, I saw my Head Teacher, Mr Miller, hurrying down from the main school building. There was another man, shorter than the headmaster, jogging behind him.
He looked familiar, just not familiar enough. Dad must have sent him.
I couldn't wait for them to get to the pitch. There were only five minutes left on the clock. Five minutes were better than none. I kept my breathing steady. Kept control. I tried to block out the distractions so I could reach the place where kicking the ball between two posts and over the bar felt easy.
Leaning into my heel, I rocked and prepared to run.
Concentration complete, I found the quiet. I eyed the line that was invisible to everyone else. The seam on the ball was the most important thing in my universe.
Considering how little time was left, this kick would win it for us. As long as it kept on the line and the ball didn’t wobble out of orbit.
That was when the crowd went silent.