top of page


Colt in the Payback series

SETTING: COLT is driving SHAE home from the Bi-Polar Disorder Residential Treatment Centre.

SHAE: I can’t believe this is happening. It’s official. My mom has bi-polar.

HARPER: And she’s in the best place, Shae. This is good, because she’s being looked after properly, now they know what’s really up with her.

SHAE: I guess.

COLT: You’ve done the right thing. Don’t beat yourself up about this.

HARPER: D’you wanna come stay with us?

SHAE: No I’m good. Thanks though. I need some time—to think.

{SHAE’s phone pings. Then pings again}

HARPER/COLT: Don’t read that text.

SHAE: Huh?

HARPER: In joke…after that day of weird texts and stuff. Sorry…

SHAE mumbles: Actually. I wish I had listened to you.

HARPER: What is it?

SHAE: A load of photos of Drew and Sienna. Looking cosy.

TEXT: Let every eye negotiate for itself. By Will Shakespeare and カルマ


HARPER: This Symbol guy has your number too? It’s just a trick, Shae. Drew would never…

SHAE: I know. I know. Not easy to see them though. He’s having dinner with Sienna and I’m—what a day.

COLT pulls up at SHAE’s house: Let me see the photos.

SHAE: Sienna’s always invading Drew’s space. I’m not happy about it, but I know it’s not Drew egging her on. I can see it’s all her.

HARPER: Yeah. He’s all awkward and stiff in these photos. It’s just her—bitch face.

SHAE: What if she gets his claws into him though? I mean, I’m here and he’s there with her—

COLT: They were held captive on a boat together for weeks with that Michael guy, and Drew made it clear he wasn’t interested then.

HARPER: So you boys have discussed her?

COLT: Not in a detailed way. Just came up once. Reckon he’s a one-woman kinda guy anyway.

HARPER shoves COLT: Like you Colt?

COLT grins and takes HARPER’S hand: Yup. Like me.

SHAE: Well thanks guys, for the lift. Glad I didn’t have to do that alone.


{SHAE’s phone rings}

SHAE: It’s Drew. I’ll see you tomorrow.

DREW: Shae. How did it go today? You okay?

SHAE: Yep. It was fine. Colt and Harper were with me.

DREW: Were?

SHAE: They’ve got training with Milo.

DREW: You don’t sound so good.

SHAE: I’m fine. Just—it’s hard.

DREW: I bet if I were there you’d be curling your toes into the grass or the carpet or wherever you are, and hiding behind your hair.

SHAE snaps: Well I’m not.

DREW: Hey. Hey. Don’t bite my head off. This is hard enough without us fighting over nothing.

FINN and other voices in the background: Heeeellooooo Shae.

SHAE: Who’s there? Where are you?

DREW: Finn and I went for dinner with Sienna and Colbie—again. Remember I told you? They’ve come back for nightcaps—you know what Finn’s like.

SHAE: Sorry if I forgot. I’ve got a bit more on my mind than your schedule.

DREW: “ . . . “

SHAE: I’ve got to go. I’ll call tomorrow—your time.

DREW: Shae?

SHAE: Not now. I just need to be by myself.

{After she hangs up, SHAE has a shower and sits under the stream of water crying. She doesn’t hear her phone ringing and ringing for a while}

Drew in Payback

DREW: Thank god. I’ve been trying to reach you.

SHAE: I was in the shower.

DREW: For forty minutes?

SHAE: Probably. I told you I need to—

DREW: Symbol sent you some photos, right? I’ve just seen his text. A screenshot. You have to believe—

SHAE: I know you’re not cheating with Sienna. It’s not easy to see though—to know she’s with you when I know she has this big thing for you.

DREW: I’ve never once given her any reason to think I’m interested. And I never will. Remember at The Trench in Samoa? She’s not you, Shae.

SHAE: It’s just this distance between us. You’re there and I’m here—

DREW: I know it’s tough. For me, too.

SHAE: I’m just feeling sorry for myself today. Don’t worry.

DREW: And Finn’s been no support to you. He’s still mad at your mom for letting your dad beat her up. I’ve tried to talk to him.

SHAE: He needs to grow up. Nothing is ever black and white. Mom needs us more than ever now.

DREW: This is not the best timing. But I can’t leave telling you till tomorrow. But please believe I’m only doing this to protect you.

SHAE: Doing what?

DREW: I’ve cancelled my flight to LA. If I come there, Symbol could follow.

{There’s a very long silence and Shae can hear Drew is pacing again}

DREW: He’s just tried to kill your brother because I went to the cops. I can’t risk that.

SHAE: “…”

DREW: Shae? I’m sorry. I know you need me there. But I have to keep you safe.

SHAE: You know when you drive under a bridge in a big rain storm and for that short moment the drumming rain pauses for a few seconds?

DREW’s voice cracks: Yeah?

SHAE: That just happened. The world paused.

DREW: Jeez Shae. I don’t know what to say to you. But Symbol’s got your number, he’s probably murdered Brody, attempted to kill your brother…

{SHAE listens to DREW’s panicked breathing down the line}

DREW: We have to split up. He has to think you mean nothing to me. Or you could be next—

I'd love to know your thoughts about this dialogue novel format and also do you have any plotlines to suggest? This is an 'inclusive' novel ;)

Payback is published every Sunday and Thursday at 6pm New York City time, that's Monday and Friday mornings for the Aussies.

Chance to win a copy of The Harper Effect when you Subscribe
Tag Cloud
Follow Me
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
bottom of page