(Published by Crooked Cat Publishing on 20 May 2014)
Vigilante justice is good justice!
NO ROOM FOR SELF-WORTH
It was bitterly cold – a bloody night to remember, Janice Beaverstock thought as she ran across the cobbles of upmarket Spitbank Mews. The only sound was the clacking of her strapless high-heels. Steaming wisps of breath feathered the air. Heart hammering, she glanced over her shoulder, and her stomach churned with fear and anger.
The bastard stood at his upstairs window, the bedroom light a yellow frame for his large bulky silhouette. Then, with a contemptuous shrug of big shoulders, he turned away and drew the curtains, cutting off the light though not the images, not the pain.
She leaned against the brick wall of a townhouse and pulled the torn blouse over her cut breasts. Tears streaming, she moved on and walked unsteadily round the corner, thankfully out of sight of the swine’s flat.
Even though every pace was agony, Janice ran. Sticky blood seeped through her tight green skirt, where her buttocks had been brutally lashed with his whip.
His words throbbed in her head, wouldn’t go away: “When you sit down, you’ll remember me. The pain will remind you.”
Get help, she thought. Witnesses, the Samaritans – anybody! But she had no proof, nothing. She was a known prostitute. Who’d believe her word against his? Besides, he could blackmail her, make things worse for Jamie.
Swallow your pride, Janice told herself and laughed, though not with mirth. Pride? What the hell was that, anyway? It sure as hell didn’t put food in your belly or clothes on your back. She’d learned long ago, if you wanted the good things in life, selling your body was one way to make it happen. Some of the things her customers asked of her left no room for self-worth, let alone pride. Only the money mattered. Jamie didn’t like it but he understood. Jamie had pride, the stupid fool. And that had landed him in the clink.
She slowed to a slightly less painful walk. She knew that the scars would heal. In time.
Moving away from the window, a satisfied smile played on her persecutor’s thick lips.
The room now plunged in darkness, he pointed the remote control and the portable television screen on top of the MFI bedside drawers flickered into life.
After a moment, the hidden video camera revealed his bedroom. He was in his Y-fronts and vest, Janice was only wearing her black frilly panties. The sound was not good but he heard his mumbled, “Is it okay if I do it with you tied up?”
She shrugged, slipping out of her panties, and said, “Whatever turns you on, love.”
Licking his thick lips, he crouched entranced by the images on the television. He watched himself tie Janice face-down to the bed. The thrill of expectancy ran through him all over again and he was aroused.
Then he watched himself on the screen as he slowly removed the leather whip from the top bedside drawer.
He stabbed the freeze button.
The look of abject horror on her face was exquisite! Oh, yes, indeed. Exquisite!
LIKE SOME CANCEROUS MAGGOT
An old age pensioner, 80, was robbed and badly beaten in her ground floor warden-controlled flat. Mrs. Dorothy Monk was declared dead on arrival at the Queen Alexandra Hospital.
– The Alverbank Chronicle
About twenty mourners, mostly dressed in black, clustered around the newly-dug grave at the rear of the graveyard. His ecclesiastical robes flapped in the wind as the minister stood at the head of the yawning black oblong hole in the ground. A few women held onto their black-veiled hats. The Knight family huddled together around the coffin that rested on wooden slats, clasping their coats against the cold insistent wind, attempting to retain body heat. It seemed as if in that same action they were also trying to contain swelling anger and hate.
The Norman church and graveyard overlooked the beautiful wide Alver estuary. White wings of seagulls flashed in the bruised blue winter sky and, as if in reflection, white sails, boosted by a chill wind from Siberia, scudded across the harbour waters. The cries of the birds were shrill, giving voice to the ache that seemed to hover here. Cypress boughs snaked, offering shade to a few final resting places. Several yew trees – almost the essential complement of churchyards – were of advanced age; symbols not of the end of life but of its continuance in the resurrection to come. Many of the gravestones were weather-beaten and illegible, or cracked with the incursions of ivy and bindweed, while a handful of others seemed relatively new. There were several headstones with military insignia chiselled into their marble surfaces.
Cold wind brushed Paul Knight’s cheek and made him blink. The tears he’d held back until now finally started their downward course. Self-consciously, he wiped them away with a large-boned hand and looked around, but nobody was paying him any attention.
Family and friends were all intent on the vicar and his words. Not that Paul was ashamed of crying for Gran, but he felt that as a police constable of four years’ seniority he should set a good example. “An old head on young shoulders,” Gran always said. And, at twenty-two, he was the eldest. After all, he had attended some scenes of crime where no amount of tears would wash away the horror.
That was it, he supposed: the horror of Gran’s sudden death.
Some bugger had broken into her neat little flat and panicked when she discovered him pocketing her few valuables. The cowardly bastard knocked her to the floor and beat her over the head with an heirloom candlestick. He escaped while she crawled to her alarm button. Gran died in the ambulance.
Judging by Gran’s latest cash withdrawal entry in her TSB passbook, the bastard got away with about ten quid – and a couple of silver picture frames and her jewels. He’d left fingerprints and a sole imprint in the soil outside her kitchen window, the distinctive marks of a Nike Air Max running shoe. There was no description of the assailant to work on and the stolen items had not turned up at any of the usual outlets, either the fence in Alverbank High Street or the various local car boot sales.
Paul remembered Gran’s tearful joy when all those years ago he gave her a brooch he’d bought with his paper-round money. He must have been about ten or eleven. It was only base metal, with coloured glass masquerading as her birthday stones, amethysts. But to hear her reminisce about it, the gift could have been the crown jewels. She’d worn the brooch often.
The thief was not discerning; he’d taken the fake brooch as well as the real jewellery, probably to finance a drug habit.
A good guess, drugs: the dabs had tallied with the Lloyds Chemist break-in last month. But as the druggie had no criminal record, there was no way to trace him.
When Paul revealed these facts to the family, they’d been both appalled and disillusioned.
Gran had moved to Sunnydale House at the family’s insistence, because they thought she’d be safe there. Christ, nobody was safe these days!
Gulls shrieked, as if echoing his anguish…
When justice fails, a vigilante steps forward
In the broken Britain of today, faith in the police is faltering. Justice and fairness are flouted. Victims are not seen as hurt people but simply as statistics.
Paul’s family is but one example of those victims of unpunished criminals. In the English south coast town of Alverbank, many others are damaged and grieving. It cannot go on. There has to be a response, some way of fighting back.
A vigilante soon emerges and delivers rough justice, breaking the bones and cracking the heads of those guilty individuals who cause pain without remorse.
Who is the vigilante? He – or she – is called the Black Knight. The police warn against taking ‘the law into your own hands’.
But the press laud the vigilante’s efforts and respond: ‘What law?’
Will the Black Knight eventually cross the line and kill?
Paul and his family seem involved and they are going to suffer…
Kindle version available from Amazon UK here
Kindle version available from Amazon COM here
Kindle version available from Amazon COM here