Wild Retribution

A powerful short story
Copyright © Norman Price 2012 All rights reserved
The characters in this story are entirely fictitious and do not relate to any person living or dead.

Published by anuscript Appraisals !!!.manuscriptu".com

Great Baddow, Essex July 25th, 2010
Brett #ohnson !as about to pour himself a coffee !hen he heard #ulie $illiams% piercing scream. Peering from his !indo! he sa! that his ne&t door neighbour !as in her front garden' clearly deeply distraught. (astily abandoning the percolator' he rushed outside to ascertain the cause of her panic and offer !hat help he could. )#ulie* $hatever%s the matter+% ),t%s Chrissie' she%s gone*% came the hysterical reply. )-teady no!' #ulie. No! ta"e a deep breath and tell me e&actly !hat you mean.% ,n a voice !arped by emotion' #ulie told him that seven.year.old Chrissie had been playing in the front garden but !as no!here to be seen !hen she !ent to call her in for her tea. )-he%s been ta"en' /rett' , "no! she has.% /rett 0uic"ly shoo" his head. ), very much doubt that' #ulie. No' she%s 1ust !andered off some!here. Children are prone to do that' as you !ell "no!.% )No* Not my Chrissie*% )All right' listen' !e%re !asting time. $ait !hile , grab my car "eys and !e%ll go find her. Ten seconds*% As good as his !ord /rett !as bac" in a trice and #ulie%s nose !as soon pressed to the side !indo! of his grey 2ord hatchbac" as he methodically toured four or five of the tree. lined roads ad1acent to theirs. $ith no 1oy. After ten long minutes there !as still no sign of Christine. )3rive me home4 , must call the police'% sobbed #ulie. )(old on a moment. Are there any of Christine%s school pals living nearby !hose homes !e could try+% )5nly 6achel 7 6achel to go there on her o!n.% ):et%s give that a try any!ay.% /rett made a ;.turn and hastily doubled bac" to outside number 89. #ulie%s urgent hammering on the front door brought no response. There !as clearly no one at home. -he ran bac" to the car. eado! Avenue' halting the car ay 7 at 89 eado! Avenue' but Chrissie !ould never attempt

)-he%s not there' /rett* ,%ve got to phone the police*< Producing a mobile from his glove bo&' /rett promptly dialled 112 and handed #ulie the phone. )=o ahead'% he said grimly. )$hich service do you re0uire+% came the operator%s instant response. )Police' 0uic"ly*% The call !as put through at once and #ulie poured out her fears to the police s!itchboard operator. After providing her name and address' she !as informed that help !as on the !ay. After another s!ift ;.turn' /rett drove #ulie home to find a police car slo!ing to a stop outside her house. > #ulie%s husband' #ohn' received the ne!s of his stepdaughter%s disappearance as he !as tidying his des" at the To!n (all prior to leaving for home. ;nused to disturbing ne!s in his 1ob as Assistant (ousing 5fficer' his face mirrored his anguish as he hurried out to his car. Chrissie meant as much to him as any child of his o!n !ould have4 he regarded her as his o!n little princess. Although he !as fully a!are that there could be numerous innocent reasons for Chrissie%s apparent vanishing act' his e&it from the staff car par" !as uncharacteristically rapid' leaving a smell of burnt rubber in the early evening air. > The s!ift but lo! "ey police response to #ulie%s an&ious call slo!ly gathered pace as the obvious li"ely e&planations for Chrissie%s disappearance !ere investigated and eliminated and concern for her !elfare inevitably increased. -ergeant #im -aunders of ?sse& Police !as responsible for organising and managing the first routine search' but this tas" !as upgraded and handed to Chief ,nspector Pete Chapman as the negative results raised the possibility of something more serious. $ith the imminent onset of dar"ness it !as he !ho ordered the involvement of three dog handler teams and a police helicopter fitted !ith heat see"ing e0uipment. /y 2800 hrs a full scale search !as under !ay. > No! at the sharp end of the search' -ergeant #im -aunders "ne! of a stream not too far from Chrissie%s home. Although the !ater !as unli"ely to be high after the recent dry spell' it could still prove ha@ardous to a seven.year.old non.s!immer' especially in the dar". Together !ith a constable and one of the dog handlers he led the !ay to the stream' illuminating the !ay !ith the beam from his po!erful torch' hoping for a result but nothing

unpleasant. After sniffing at one of Chrissie%s soc"s' obtained earlier from her !orried stepfather' the dog handler%s Alsatian began combing the ban"s of the stream. )5ver here' -arge*% came the first shout as the dog !as soon seen pa!ing at something in the !ater. -ergeant -aunders grimaced as the light from his torch loc"ed on to !hat loo"ed at first li"e part of a severed limb. Than"fully it !asn%t4 it !as the body of a long dead cat. The police helicopter' mean!hile' !as rapidly e&tending the area of search' pausing only to refuel before continuing throughout the night. All to no avail. $hen da!n bro"e over the ?sse& countryside the dedicated efforts of the large search team had still yielded no result. (ouse to house en0uiries !ould continue throughout the day. > 6ichard =ant learned of Chrissie%s disappearance from a TA local ne!s broadcast he !as !atching in (. . Prison' Chelmsford. =ant !as currently serving the seventh year of a t!elve year sentence for his part in an armed ban" robbery. A man of fe! !ords' he merely replied' <:ocal ne!s< !hen as"ed !hat he !as !atching by an over!eight fello! prisoner "no!n as Weed' so called because of his reputation for cannabis dealing. <Anything interesting' 6ich+< persisted $eed. <A local child<s gone missing4 a young girl from =reat /addo!.< <That<s 1ust do!n the road from <ere' ennit+< <Bes'< =ant confirmed 0uietly' sho!ing no inclination to elaborate. $eed shoo" his head and moved on' leaving =ant seemingly glued to the screen' listening intensely to the details of the ongoing search for the missing child. > $ith Chrissie no! missing for 29 hours' $PC #une Andre!s !as routinely chec"ing the police computer files to obtain the names and addresses of registered se& offenders "no!n to be living !ithin a 20 mile radius of the $illiams home. After an hour of dedicated concentration she had compiled and printed off a list of 28 names' all of !hom !ould no! be visited and 0uestioned by members of the search team. Although it !as still hoped that there !as a relatively innocent e&planation for Chrissie<s sudden disappearance' and that she !ould soon be found alive and !ell' accidently trapped' say' in someone<s shed or outbuilding' something !orse !as beginning to be feared. The only possible lead at this time !as that one of #ulie<s neighbours had reported seeing an unmar"ed green van in the vicinity on the afternoon in 0uestion. (opefully 0uite innocent of course' but deserving of further investigation.

> :ater on that second day' one of the listed se& offenders . =eorge =ordon $ince . !as found to be the registered o!ner of a green Peugeot van. This information !as promptly relayed to Chief ,nspector Chapman !ho acted at once. </ring him in'< he ordered' saddened by the hunch no! gna!ing at his gut. $ince lived in a rented flat on the outs"irts of Chelmsford' 1ust three miles from Chrissie<s =reat /addo! home. (e !as on the se& offenders list as a result of do!nloading a huge amount of pornographic material involving children' and had once been arrested after ma"ing an inappropriate approach to a female child in a :ondon par". $hen -ergeant -aunders and probationary $PC 3a!n #en"ins arrived at the flat shortly after noon' 3a!n<s manicured finger on the bell push brought nobody to the door. They could hear the chimes of the doorbell but it seemed they had dra!n a blan". <$hat no!' -arge+< she as"ed' disappointment clear from her tone. The sergeant glanced at his !atch. <, rec"on !e<ll have to come bac" later. (e could be a long !hile.< /ut he !asn<t a long !hile. As they e&ited the bloc" of flats' a green Peugeot van drove slo!ly past and dre! into the "erb at the first available par"ing space some fifty or so yards along the busy street. A podgy' bearded man in his late forties stepped out' s"irted the bonnet and strode bris"ly along the pavement to!ards the flats. <That<s him'< 3a!n said. <=eorge =ordon $ince+< -eeming pu@@led by the sergeant<s formal interception' $ince nodded and fro!ned. <Bes' ,<m =eorge $ince. (o! can , help you' officer+< <,<d li"e you to accompany me to Chelmsford Police -tation' sir. , believe you may be able to help us !ith one of our current en0uiries. < <Are you arresting me+< <No' sir' not if you agree to come voluntarily.< <And if , don<t+< <Then , !ill have to arrest you' sir.< <$hat<s this about+< <That !ill be e&plained to you at the station' sir.< $ince sco!led and gave an e&aggerated sigh. <-eems you leave me no choice. Can , pic" up some fags from my flat+<

<, prefer you to accompany us at once' sir. -mo"ing is not permitted in our car or at the station. ,f you are unable to thro! any light on our en0uiry you !ill not be detained at the station for long.< -ha"ing his head in annoyance' $ince finally accepted the situation and accompanied them to their car. > $hile $ince !as being 0uestioned by C.,. Chapman at the police station' he !as relieved of his "eys and a forensic team !as sent to e&amine the green Peugeot van' as !ell as the contents of his flat. Nothing of interest !as found at the flat' but a fairly ne! laptop computer !as ta"en a!ay for a detailed in.depth e&amination. The contents of the van also yielded no clues' until at the very last moment a solitary red button !as found caught in the edge of the carpet under the front passenger seat. And it !as "no!n that Chrissie !as !earing a red anora" at the time of her disappearance. Although steadfastly denying any involvement in Chrissie<s disappearance' =eorge =ordon $ince !as detained overnight' and by the afternoon of the follo!ing day it !as confirmed that Christine<s 3NA had been found on the red button. :ater that same day' !hilst still loudly proclaiming his innocence' $ince !as formally charged !ith abduction. /ut there !as still no clue as to Chrissie<s !hereabouts. > $eed smiled at a passing scre! and said to 6ichard =ant' <, see they<ve charged some fuc"ing paedophile !ith the abduction of that local "id. Bou "no!' that case you !as !atching on the bo& last night. They ain<t found the girl yet' though. =od "no!s !hat the bastard<s done to her.< =ant made no attempt to reply4 he seemed to be in a !orld of his o!n. $eed !ondered for a moment if =ant !as another fuc"ing paedophile. Perhaps he felt sorry for the pervert they<d arrested. There !ere some strange bastards in this nic"' he !as sure of that. Although he had never before considered =ant to be one of them. And no !ay !as he about to voice any doubts he no! held. (e did "no! that 6ichard =ant !asn<t a man you !anted to upset. <2ancy a game of cards' 6ich+< $hen =ant shoo" his head' still !ith no !ord' $eed decided it !as time to move on.

July 0th, 2010

?n1oying a spot of leisurely fishing at a 0uiet 3anbury la"e' off.duty 2ireman =eoff (ughes !as almost dropping off to sleep in the !arm sunshine !hen he !as summoned to full consciousness by a gentle tug on his rod. 6eeling his line in' he caught a glimpse of something red in the !ater. <3amn*< he muttered' reali@ing it !asn<t a fish on the line4 his hoo" had snagged on an item of somebody<s selfishly dumped rubbish. :anding his un!anted catch' he reali@ed it !as a small red anora". ,t !as then he remembered reading that the local child the police !ere searching for had been !earing a red anora" at the time of her disappearance. 5"ay' so it !as a long shot . there !ere plenty of "ids !earing red anora"s at one time or another . but he deemed this one !orthy of a call to the police. (e called them on his mobile and reported the find. A police diving team arrived !ithin an hour. ,t !as another 9C minutes before they located and recovered the body of a female child. 2ormal identification !ould be re0uired' of course' but the anora" had one of its red buttons missing. There could be little doubt that they had found poor little Christine $illiams. > ,t !as !ith very mi&ed feelings that Chief ,nspector Chapman later charged =eorge =ordon $ince !ith Chrissie<s brutal murder. ,t !as very satisfying to have se!n up the case against $ince so 0uic"ly' but so terribly sad that he had been unable to return Chrissie to her loving parents alive and !ell. $ith the evidence no! to hand there !as no doubt that $ince !ould be ta"en out of circulation for a very long time. And so it proved. 2our months later' after a brief trial at The 5ld /ailey' $ince !as found guilty of the abduction' se&ual assault and murder of Christine $illiams' and !as sentenced to life imprisonment' to serve a minimum of 1D years. #ulie $illiams< loud sobbing filled the courtroom as $ince !as escorted to the cells. C.,. Chapman turned to -ergeant -aunders and said' <,t<s a pity they can<t hang the bastard.< -aunders merely nodded. Chapman "ne! the sentiment !as shared. > $hen $eed ne&t encountered 6ichard =ant in the prison canteen on the follo!ing day' and felt obliged to mention the outcome of the case against $ince' he !as ta"en abac" by =ant<s almost venomous response. <?ighteen fuc"ing years* That<s too long* 2ar too long*< =ant gro!led.

$eird' very !eird' thought $eed. (e !isely opted not to voice his thoughts. /ut !hat sort of !arped response !as that for chrissa"e+ (e couldn<t help but sha"e his head as he ambled s!iftly a!ay. Nine months later 6ichard =ant !as released on parole.

Raylei!h, Essex "epte#ber 1$th, 2012
:ying in bed ne&t to his sleeping blonde partner !ith one of his hands cupping her na"ed breast' 6ichard =ant !as 0uietly contented. ,t !as a 0uiet -unday morning in 6ayleigh and his only planned tas" for the day !as to later pic" up a ne!spaper from the local ne!sagent. (e !as in no hurry to do so. -till mindful of those !asted years spent in one of (er high security prisons' this !as relative heaven. /ut !ith his bedside cloc" radio no! sho!ing a fe! minutes after ten' he reali@ed that all good things have to come to an end' and he had had his !ic"ed !ay !ith her !hen they bedded do!n shortly after midnight. 6eluctantly' he !ithdre! his hand and silently eased his muscular frame from bet!een the !arm sheets. The ne!sagent closed at noon on -undays and he !as determined to coo" a full ?nglish brea"fast for himself and his shapely guest before his tre" to the (igh -treet. ) orning' /abe'% he said some thirty minutes later !hen his guest appeared' still half. na"ed' in the "itchen door!ay' attracted no doubt by the tempting smell of grilled bacon. (e really should as" her her name. /ut he didn%t' and she had already left !hen he returned to the house !ith his papers. ,t !as papers EpluralF because he had recently ac0uired the habit of also buying a local paper on his regular -unday visits to the ne!sagents. (e had learned that =eorge $ince%s elderly mother !as terminally ill' and on this particular -unday morning his !ee"ly scan of the obituary columns in the local paper provided him !ith the information he had been !aiting for. 3oris 2lorence $ince had died peacefully at home on $ednesday of the previous !ee" and !as to be buried in 3anbury Cemetery the follo!ing $ednesday after a three o%cloc" service at -t. ar"%s Church. 6ichard !as confident that $ince !ould be granted permission to attend his mother%s funeral' accompanied by t!o or more private security officers. -o he "ne! this left him 1ust enough time to set up the operation he had been planning for 0uite some time. a1esty%s

(e !as smiling as he loaded the used brea"fast croc"ery into the dish!asher.

"epte#ber 1%th, 2012
6ichard =ant%s onday morning began !ith a phone call to $ayne Norris' a petty thief he

had befriended in Chelmsford Prison. )$ayne'% he said' !hen the connection to the lad%s mobile !as made' )it%s 6ich. ,%ve got a little 1ob for you.% )(i' 6ich' but sorry mate' ,%m going straight no!.% )No' hear me out. This is legit' but some easy money for you.% )Beah' right*% )-eriously' $ayne. All it needs is an hour or t!o of your time ne&t $ednesday. , !ant you to station yourself out of sight opposite the main gate of $orm!ood -crubs at 1.00 p.m. on $ednesday' and to simply photograph !ith your smart phone any vehicles leaving the prison bet!een one and t!o o%cloc". ,mmediately email the photos to my mobile and you !ill have earned yourself an easy hundred 0uid. $hat do you say+% )Bou%re sure that%s all+% )That is definitely all you have to do' $ayne.% )5"ay' 6ich' you%ve got yourself a photographer' but ,%m no 3avid /ailey.% )=ood man.% =ant grinned into the receiver and gave $ayne his mobile number before ending the call. (aving enlisted his one essential accomplice' =ant ne&t had to ac0uire a sa!n.off shotgun' a couple of cartridges' and see" out a car to nic". After the lessons learned from his years rubbing shoulders !ith fello! prisoners' none of these tas"s !as li"ely to pose a problem for him. And so it proved. /y late afternoon he had the gun and the cartridges' and had earmar"ed a car for the 1ob' a !hite 2.litre -"oda -uperb that he "ne! !as routinely par"ed every evening outside a house 1ust t!o streets a!ay from his home. No! his plan !as up and running. ,t !as all systems go.

"epte#ber 1&th, 2012

$aiting in the stolen -"oda in a 0uiet side lane off the road leading to -t. ac"no!ledged.

ar"%s Church'

=ant reached for his mobile !ith a gloved hand to ta"e the incoming call. )Bes+% he )#ust t!o vehicles have left bet!een the times you specified. The pics are !ith you no!.% )Cheers.% As $ayne terminated the call' =ant studied the t!o pictures relayed to his phone. 5ne !as of a small red van 7 hardly a li"ely choice of vehicle to convey an inmate to his mother%s funeral 7 !hile the other !as of a blac" Aolvo saloon !ith a driver and three passengers. Although it !as impossible to identify the occupants' =ant !as reasonably confident that $ince !ould be one of them. ,t !as an appropriate vehicle and the timing !as right. Part of the registration number !as decipherableG /ACH -I ,t !as enough. (e chec"ed his !atchG 19.0C 7 :ess than 90 minutes to !ait. > =eorge $ince !as occupying the centre rear seat of the Aolvo' sand!iched bet!een t!o hefty security guards. Nobody !as saying much. (e "ne! they despised him and he had precious little regard for them or their "ind. ,t !as the driver !ho bro"e the silence shortly after passing the side lane !here =ant !as !aiting. <:oo" at this mad bastard'< he grumbled' spotting the -"oda -uperb in his rear vie! mirror as it !as about to overta"e them at a furiously fast speed. <There<s al!ays one' isn<t there+< commented one of the security guards' solely to placate his irritated driver. <Christ*< he gasped in the ne&t split.second' horrified as the -"oda cut across their path and slammed on its bra"es. The Aolvo !agged its tail in protest as its driver 1ammed his foot hard do!n on the bra"e pedal' bringing it to a tyre.screeching stop barely a foot from the rear nearside !ing of the no! stationary -"oda s"e!ed across their path. As he uttered a string of foul.mouthed e&pletives' he sa! a stoc"ing.mas"ed guy leap from the -"oda and aim a sa!n.off shotgun in his general direction. (e instinctively duc"ed belo! the !indscreen and felt the front offside corner of the Aolvo 1er" do!n as =ant shot out the tyre. Then the shotgun !as pointing at his head. <$ind do!n your !indo!'< =ant shouted. Then to $inceG <Are you cuffed+< <No'< came the terrified reply. <6ight. Ta"e their mobiles' all three. Then out the far door . first the guard and then you. N5$*<

The guard stumbled out' follo!ed by $ince. -till brandishing the shotgun' =ant !aved the guard bac" into the Aolvo and ordered the driver to toss him his "eys. Then to $inceG <=et into my car' 5A?*< =ant 1oined $ince in the -"oda' thre! the shotgun onto the rear seat' and too" off li"e a scalded cat. The entire operation had ta"en no more than 80 seconds. Three badly sha"en but relieved men !atched it speed a!ay. > (is face drained of colour' $ince !as clasping the three hi1ac"ed mobiles !ith trembling hands as =ant reduced speed to avoid attracting unnecessary attention. After a mile or so' =ant made a left turn and halted the stolen -"oda behind a par"ed 2ord Toss those mobiles onto the bac" seat. <$hat about the gun+< $ince as"ed nervously. <$e !on<t need that anymore'< =ant told him 0uietly. 5nce under !ay in his o!n car' =ant deemed it time to ease $ince<s fears and e&plain the situation to him. <, guess you<re !ondering !ho , am'< he said. <And more to the point' !hy ,<m stic"ing my nec" out for you.< $ince nodded' still finding conversation difficult as he pluc"ed nervously at his beard. <$ho , am doesn<t matter'< =ant said' <it<s better you don<t yet "no!. /ut , can tell you that by this time tomorro! you !ill be on your !ay to -pain' via 2rance. , have admired some of the child pornography you<ve posted on the ,nternet prior to your incarceration' and , can honestly say , !as appalled at the sentence that damn 1udge metered out to you over that $illiams girl. They termed it murder' but ,<m sure manslaughter !ould have been a fairer charge.< <Beah' , got a bit carried a!ay !hen , strangled her'< $ince said' !arming a little to his rescuer. </ut my' !as it good* ,<m sure you "no! !hat , mean.< <, do' < =ant replied readily. <-o allo! me to spell out my escape plan for you. , have a 2J foot yacht moored at /urnham on Crouch' !hich is !here !e<re heading no!. 5nce safely aboard' !e<ll head out of the estuary and set course for Northern 2rance. ,<ll drop you ashore under cover of dar"ness and you !ill then be free to ma"e your o!n !ay to -pain.< <, shall need cash and a passport'< tendered $ince. <All ta"en care of'< =ant told him !ith a smile. <, don<t "no! ho! to than" you' sir.< ondeo. <(ere !e s!itch cars'< he told $ince as he removed the stoc"ing mas" and stuffed it into his poc"et.

=ant !aved a dismissive hand. <,<m 1ust sorry this means missing your mother<s funeral service' but it !as the only chance !e !ere ever li"ely to have of getting you a!ay.< <,<m not too bothered about missing the funeral. ,t<s 1ust a pity , !on<t be able to cash in on the sale of her house. /ut you can<t !in <em all' as the saying goes.< <Kuite so'< concurred =ant' spotting a police helicopter as he pulled out on to the /urnham road. (e guessed that the security guards had managed to report their plight' but the chopper cre! !ould be loo"ing for a !hite -"oda rather than a grey 2ord ondeo. /ut he !as hoping the chopper !ould be else!here !hen he !as transferring $ince to the yacht. (e needn<t have !orried. ?ight minutes later there !as no sign of any lo!.flying aircraft in the vicinity as he par"ed the dinghy he had on the foreshore. =ant shoved the dinghy half into the !ater' !aited till $ince !as aboard' then pushed it afloat and climbed in !ithout getting his soc"s !et. The 2orce 8 bree@e !as !ith him' ma"ing light !or" of the short ro! out to the moored yacht. After holding the dinghy tight alongside !hile $ince clambered a!"!ardly aboard' =ant tied the dinghy to the mooring buoy' then climbed aboard himself. -o far' so good. ?verything !as going to plan. The yacht . Caprice . !as a 2J foot grp /ermudian sloop !ith an au&iliary inboard diesel engine' bought !ith the proceeds from =ant<s earlier crime. (e !as a competent yachtsman and "ept the boat in good order. After shepherding $ince into the cabin' and safely out of sight of any prying eyes' =ant removed his gloves and began readying the boat for sea. $ith the cross.river bree@e still blo!ing directly from the north' conditions !ere ideal for leaving under sail. =ant 0uic"ly hoisted the mainsail' letting the boom s!ing free' head to !ind' before going to the bo! to release the mooring rope. 6eturning to the coc"pit as the yacht drifted free' he hauled in the mainsheet and steered Caprice clear of the other moored yachts' then unfurled the roller headsail by means of a single control line led from the coachroof to the stem.head drum. (eeling only slightly' Caprice !as soon leaving a !a"e of !hite foam astern as she gathered pace and sliced her !ay through the flotilla of small !aves. <Bou o"ay' =eorge+< =ant en0uired of $ince from the coc"pit. <Beah' good'< came the confident reply. <, have a fe! sandban"s to !atch out for' but once !e clear the estuary ,<ll lash the tiller do!n and rustle up a bre!. Bou a tea or a coffee man+< ondeo in the (igh -treet and escorted $ince to the

<Tea.< <Then tea it shall be' in about t!enty minutes.< ,n the sparse but comfortable confines of the compact cabin' $ince !as 1ust beginning to believe his luc". After the initial terror of the near collision and that cacophonous shotgun blast' he no! reali@ed he !as practically free' seemingly !ith his o!n guardian angel' a fello! paedophile !ho admired him for the stuff he had shared on the ,nternet. And no! he !as en route to a ne! life in a !armer region of ?urope' !ith the promise of a passport and cash for the 1ourney. (e smiled as he pictured in his mind the smooth' tanned flesh of the many infant girls a!aiting him in -pain. Peering through a starboard porthole' he sa! they !ere no! leaving the ?sse& coastline far behind them. <6ight' time for tea and biscuits' , rec"on'< =ant said cheerily' descending the three steps into the cabin. <,<m no seaman'< confessed $ince. <, hope ,<ll "eep the biscuits do!n.< <3on<t !orry' =eorge' the !eather<s staying "ind for us.< <, still don<t "no! your name'< chanced $ince' en0uiringly. < y mates call me 6ich.< <$ell you<re certainly a mate of mine'< $ince replied gratefully. =ant merely nodded as he crossed to the small galley' ignited a flame under a gimballed stove and unhoo"ed a couple of mugs. <-ugar+< <T!o please4 plenty of mil".< $ith his bac" to $ince' =ant prepared the mugs as he !aited for the "ettle to boil. Neither of them spo"e for a !hile as Caprice continued to ma"e good head!ay' rolling only gently as she passed the -un"en /u&ey /uoy. < ind if , smo"e+< as"ed $ince' ending the brief silence. </est not to' !hat !ith the coo"ing gas and fuel oil all around us. $e don<t !ant to burn in (ell' do !e+< <-orry'< $ince said. <3rin" that instead'< =ant said' handing him a mug of steaming tea. <Bou<ll feel better for it. $ant a digestive biscuit+< <#ust one' 6ich. Than"s.< Thirty minutes later $ince complained of feeling rather !oo@y' probably due' he thought' to the rolling movement of the boat. =ant noticed that his speech !as a little slurred and suggested he stretch out on the side berth he !as sitting on and try to sleep for a !hile. $ince nodded and got his head do!n. (e !as soon sound asleep.

=ant !ashed the mugs and returned them to their hoo"s before braving the coc"pit to chec" that Caprice !as still ta"ing good care of herself. > ,t !as still daylight !hen $ince groaned and regained consciousness. (e !asn<t sure !here he !as. (e felt cold and disorientated' and his bac" !as resting on something hard. As his brain began to !or"' he reali@ed he !as bac" in the coc"pit of the yacht' and to his horror he discovered that his !rists' arms' "nees and an"les !ere tightly !rapped in silver.grey duct tape. Bet he !as !earing a life 1ac"et. (e could hardly move. Then he reali@ed =ant !as !atching him. <$hat<s happening+< he gasped. <,<m sorry'< =ant said' <, guess you didn<t notice me drop that small !hite pill into the mug of tea , bre!ed for you. ,t !as a 6ohypnol tablet. , rec"on there<s every chance you might have heard of it. ,t<s commonly termed a date rape drug. /ut you<ll be pleased to "no! , haven<t raped you. 5r perhaps not' in vie! of your perverse se&ual preferences. /ut ,<m sure you<ll be less pleased to learn that ,<m not a paedophile and , am not your mate. ,n fact , hate the fuc"ing sight of you. As far as ,<m concerned you<re a lump of dangerous scum.< There !as terror in $ince<s eyes no!. <$hy are you doing this to me+< he cried' fighting bac" tears. <$hy have you gone to all this trouble+< he added' pleadingly. =ant remained tight.lipped as he crossed the coc"pit and !rapped his arms round $ince in a gorilla.li"e grip. $ince must have !eighed around 1H0 lbs' much of it obese fat. Bet =ant hoisted him up onto the gun!ale li"e he !eighed ne&t to nothing. <No* No*< shouted $ince' fearing he !as about to be dumped into the North -ea. <,<ll free@e to death.< <, promise you !on<t'< =ant said' grabbing his feet. (e genuinely had no intention of letting $ince succumb to the cold. Then $ince !as somersaulted bac"!ards into the icy !ater. Almost at once the auto.inflation life1ac"et he !as !earing ballooned to shape as the C52 gas in its automatically.fired cylinder performed its intended tas". (e !as turned onto his bac"' the trun" of his body inclined bac"!ards at 9CL' ensuring his mouth !as held clear of the !ater. <(elp me*< he cried. Although he !as floating safely on his bac"' he !as facing a!ay from the yacht' !hich !asn<t to =ant<s li"ing. =ybing Caprice round' =ant manoeuvred her closer to his man overboard and released the mainsheet to shed speed' almost !ithin spitting distance no! they !ere face to face.

<2or =od<s sa"e help me*< pleaded $ince' slapping helplessly at the !aves !ith his bound hands. And that !as !hen =ant !ithdre! a flare gun from one of the coc"pit loc"ers. 3espite the gentle ya!ing of the yacht the gun remained roc" steady in his grip as he braced his legs and too" careful aim. <N5*< screamed $ince' suddenly a!are of =ant<s intention' then his face !as instantly cremated in a fireball of bright red flame. 6apidly consumed by fire' the life1ac"et relin0uished its buoyancy' still visibly glo!ing under !ater as $ince<s charred s"ull accompanied it slo!ly do!n to an uncaring seabed. 6ichard =ant tac"ed Caprice and set course for the Crouch ?stuary. There !as no denying he !as a hard and sometimes brutal man' and yet there !as a tear on his chee" as he nursed the tiller. Not for the late =eorge =ordon $ince' of course. No' the tear !as for Chrissie' his daughter from #ulie<s first marriage. The !ild retribution !ould never dull his pain.

-ee full.length novels by the same author overleafG

By the sa#e author'

Share a Crooked Rickshaw is a fast-moving tale of danger, love and corruption set in the 1960s when Hong Kong was a British Crown Colony !hile trying to trace a missing colleague, Chief "nspector #ic$ %onovan is shoc$ed to learn of the merciless $illing of a friend and others during a savage armed ro&&ery 'hen there is an attempt on his own life !ere these events connected in some way( !ere the 'riad overstepping the mar$( He $new his investigation was li$ely to &e hampered &y the imminent arrival of 'yphoon #achael !hat he didn)t $now was that a far greater evil was slowly approaching the Colony 'his romantic thriller contains some erotic content

A(tion ) Ad*enture+ Known only as Chen, he had &een a thorn in the side of
*ingapore)s well-ordered administration for several months But when his name was lin$ed to a devastating raid on a *+, armoury, and then the &rutal $idnapping of a British diplomat and a -./*C0 e1pert, he was swiftly la&elled 2u&lic /nemy .o 1 His e1treme demands for the hostages) release would have invited an outright re3ection4 that is until he also sei5ed a school &us carrying nineteen children 'he outcome of this truly a&sor&ing confrontation left everyone utterly stunned