Retaliation by Diana Lainson

EXTRACT FOR
Retaliation

(Diana Lainson)


Retaliation {Lex Talionis}

PROLOGUE

 

NORTH LONDON 2004

 

Darkness blanketed the streets. The rain and the cold wind battered cars and houses. The shabby green door of the dingy semi-detached council house swung open and a young man dressed in an old black leather jacket and black denim jeans strode out, shouting obscenities at someone inside as he left.

As he walked down the weed covered pathway, he had a spring in his step; it would seem that he’d obviously had a fix.

He adjusted his well-worn red baseball cap down to cover his face from the stinging rain and walked down the badly lit road. As he moved off in the distance, the smart black BMW car, with black tinted windows that had been following him, overtook him and pulled into the kerb and parked at the roadside. He walked past ignoring it, he was too wrapped up in his own thoughts and making a mental list of whom he could sell some of his recently acquired crack to. He felt he was coming up in the world, having that morning met some new clients.

The door of the car slowly opened and a tall slim woman stepped out dressed in black; her red hair covered with a functional PVC rain hat with the brim pulled down fashionably that matched her black raincoat. Her hands were encased in dark mauve surgical latex gloves.

The whole area was poorly lit and offered many shadowy places to move around unseen. Her face was partially hidden in the shadows. She paused and then slowly followed the young man down the gloomy street. She was now filled with a certain calmness as she followed him; her anger from that morning still remained, but was overridden by the satisfying thrill of what was about to happen. To seek revenge for herself and other women who might have suffered in the past.

Suddenly the young man became aware that someone was behind him and he quickly turned to face the person. A chilly shiver ran down his spine and he felt a wash of terror pass over him as he momentarily hesitated in his step. The tall woman pulled out a weapon from the inside of her black raincoat and pointed it at him. It glinted menacingly in the dim street lighting as the rain splashed onto it.

He looked terrified.

She aimed for his groin and pulled the trigger and the projectile smacked into him. It passed almost through him shattering his coccyx and imbedding itself into his right buttock. The impact swung him around and sent him crashing to the ground screaming in agony as he fell to the pavement in his bodily fluids. He clutched wildly at himself both hands cupping his wounded testes, the blood seeping fiercely through his dirty fingers and pouring down his grubby denim-clad legs.

She bent over the fallen man and looked down at him writhing with pain. For a few seconds she stood silent and motionless, smiling contemptuously, then as if he were a piece of dirt in the road she kicked out at him and he rolled into the gutter and then she turned and walked quickly away towards the car, alert to every shadow, every little noise and every hint of movement around her.

The tall woman now back in the black car smiled sardonically and with a great sense of accomplishment. She looked around her ensuring that no one was about that dark and rainy winter evening to witness her deeds. She pulled the plastic hat from her head and the red wig and dropped them behind the front passenger seat and shook out her shoulder length blonde hair.

Then she returned the weapon into the large black leather handbag lying open in the front foot well of the back seats and snapped it firmly shut. Her hands remained there a moment, resting them, savouring the sweetness of her revenge. Starting up the engine, she put the car into drive and drove off at a leisurely pace.

It was all over in a matter of minutes - her deed was done - another had paid the ultimate penalty.

 She slept well that night.

***

Three days later bold headlines in several of the leading tabloids read as follows: -

ANOTHER DRUG ADDICT FOUND DEAD IN A POOL OF BLOOD

The papers went on to say that he was a registered heroin addict and a known woman and child abuser living with his current girlfriend and their infant in a dilapidated part of North London on a council estate.  Both parents were unemployed.  He was the fourth male over a period of eight weeks.  So far the police had very few clues as to who the killer was and the other victims might be.  Who is the mystery killer? A vigilante? A man hater? Or perhaps an avenging Angel of women, delivering society from scum in a hard and effective style.  Is it a man or could it be a woman?  Why are the victims always dark-haired young males in their late twenties…is there a SERIAL KILLER on the loose?

Sarah Lawson picked up the Daily Mail and read the headlines of the article written about the latest victim of the mysterious Serial Killer. As she bit into her toast a paragraph in the article caught her attention:-

The murder enquiry is still under way following the discovery of yet another young man’s body, in North London two nights ago. The post-mortem revealed that the twenty-six year old had died as a result of a fatal wound to the lower part of his body. This is the fourth incident and DCI Paul Forrest, who has been leading the investigation, is now convinced that this murder is linked to the three other fatalities that have been discovered over the last two months.

He also commented that at this point in time the police have got no idea who killed these unfortunate young men. It is said that there seems to be no obvious motive for the killings; they have no witnesses and very little forensic evidence at the moment. Further investigations are taking place. Is there a Serial Killer on the loose? DCI Forrest has called in Mr David Myers to help with the case. Mr. Myers the well-known Forensic Psychiatrist and leading expert on the Psychopathology of Serial Killers was interviewed as he left his West End penthouse apartment yesterday morning. Mr Myers commented that in his opinion the murders are the product of a person under emotional siege, someone who is not necessarily cruel or even bad, but someone who has perhaps suffered in the past from mental as well as physical abuse.  This could almost be a case of - LEX TALIONIS - commonly known as the Law of Retaliation - as described in the Bible - Exodus XXI. 23 - 25.

“Yes, you’re right, Mr Myers. Retaliation. He also deserved it, just like the others,” she proclaimed aloud vehemently to the large cat sitting in his favourite Edwardian armchair, enjoying a ray of winter sunshine filtering through the patio windows of her sitting room.

“Yes...he certainly deserved it Picasso, didn’t he? Just like the first, fancy beating that poor girl up in the street like that and nearly killing the pretty baby girl. What a devil!”

She closed the newspaper, patted her knees and the big English Blue blinked several times, then looked at her lazily before jumping into her lap. She was glad she had none of those problems anymore, she didn’t need a man, she was perfectly happy on her own. Or so she kept trying to convince herself.


BOOK ONE

 

EXODUS XXI Verse 22:  If men strive, and hurt a woman with child,

so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follows:

he shall be severely punished, accordingly the woman’s husband

will lay upon him: and he shall pay as the judges determine.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

LONDON - 2004

 

Just over two months before Sarah Lawson had been driving along a narrow road in a run-down part of North London and seen a filthy, unkept dark-haired young man, in grubby white sportswear, walking along with a pretty blonde girl in fake designer clothes, pushing a beaten up old pushchair with a baby girl in it. Suddenly it seemed, for no reason at all, he had turned on the young woman, swearing loudly and then punching her in the stomach, chest and face.  In her panic to defend herself, she put both hands up to shield her face from the blows and as she let go of the buggy it ran down the incline of the pavement, into the road and in the path of an oncoming car.

The driver coming the other way had narrowly missed it. He swerved violently as he jammed on his brakes and nearly crashed into her black BMW before going on his way. The young mother had leapt into the road to save her child, followed by the dark-haired man who was still hurling abuse at her and trying to hit her again.

Sarah had stopped and watched the whole scene through her windscreen and once again it brought back dreadful memories of Julio whom she had lived with in Spain for nearly a year, and the terrible beatings and verbal abuse she had put up with from him, for no reason at all. When he had been stoned or drunk, or both, Julio's character had changed completely and he had become the Devil Incarnate, totally possessed by the poison in his mind and body. The dark haired young man shouting in the street had the same wild look about him. She pressed the switch of the electric window at her side and shouted at him, threatening him with the police.

“Fuck off you bitch,” he yelled back at her as he gave her an offensive sign with his middle finger. Then he had run after her car also hurling more abuse at her and waving his fists as she angrily drove away. She would really have liked to have run him down there and then, but that would have been too obvious.

“Oh, fuck off yourself,” she had shouted back through the window.  “Just you wait; I’ll get you for that.”  She had accelerated hard, shot around a nearby corner and stopped her car.

Her heart was thumping inside of her slight body and she could feel the adrenaline from her anger coursing through her veins. The young man had not bothered to try to follow her. She knew the girl had not heard what she had said; she’d been too far away.

Sarah waited a few minutes before getting out of her car. Then she had walked around the corner and saw the couple making their way towards her. Neither of them recognised her as she bent down and fiddled with an imaginary spot on her shoes. They passed her still bickering loudly. She’d stood up and slowly followed them at a discreet distance. After several moments they had entered a very shabby looking semi-detached house, with one window boarded up and the front gate hanging on one hinge, on a run-down Council estate, backing onto some old railway lines.

She had waited behind some bushes across the road opposite the old house for nearly half an hour. Eventually her patience was rewarded. The young man came out of the dilapidated house, and slammed the shabby green door behind him, but this time he had on a black leather jacket, over a pair of old blue denim jeans. He took out a cigarette from one of his pockets, lit it and walked off with a spring in his step.

He’s most probably had a fix, Sarah thought, and he was full of himself. He had even combed back his long greasy dark hair off his gaunt pale face into a small ponytail at the base of his neck. No doubt he couldn’t even remember that he had tried to beat the girl up. Pulling out a mobile phone from another pocket he started to key in some numbers. It was now starting to rain.

After a few moments he flagged down a battered old red Vauxhall Cavalier as it came screeching around the corner. It stopped and he exchanged a few quick words with the driver, opened the passenger door and jumped in. They drove off together in a cloud of black smoke, tyres again protesting loudly at the treatment they were receiving.

Several moments later, the young girl came out of the house with her small child in the same shabby pushchair. She looked around nervously and then slowly limped along the street in the opposite direction to where Sarah was hiding. Sarah wondered if she had been beaten up again. The bile had arisen in her throat as she re-lived her own pain and humiliation of the past. She had no need to write down the name of the street or the house number, they were firmly etched in her mind along with a mental picture of the young man; she had things to do. Very quickly she walked back to her parked car and drove off. She would be back.

***

The next afternoon when she had arrived back at her house in Richmond, from her voluntary work at the Rehabilitation Centre the first thing she did was to go upstairs to her bedroom and from its hiding place she took out the small custom-made crossbow. 

She had found it sometime ago in the attic of her Aunt’s house, when she had first moved in after arriving back from Spain. It was presumably a souvenir her Aunt had picked up from one of her holidays abroad. She did not throw it away as she thought it might come in handy one day. It was still in its box, together with six shiny eight-inch stainless steel bolts. The ideal weapon she thought. Very carefully she checked and loaded the small crossbow and made sure the safety catch was on.  As she fondled the beautifully crafted weapon, she planned her movements carefully for the rest of that day.

She had spent most of the morning at the Rehab Centre going through the records in the office and pulling out of the computer several names of young men that should be taught a lesson, she had printed them out and brought them home with her and hidden them in the attic as well.

Sarah knew what she had to do and took the mobile phone from her dressing table and made a quick call. Then placing the small crossbow with one of her wigs into her large black leather Gucci handbag, she hung it over the top of an upright chair standing in the corner of her bedroom. Then she walked into her en-suite bathroom to have a shower.

As she felt the hot water running over her lithe body, she ran her soapy hands over her firm breasts. Momentarily she conjured up a vision of Julio, when he had been nice to her and she had been in love with him. Her nipples quickly reacted to her touch and became erect.  Her right hand slowly moved down her body and lingered on her mound of Venus and then she started caressing herself and thinking about the good memories of Julio.

Suddenly she snatched her fingers away and she felt intense anger with herself for thinking about him. She stopped, horrified that the memory of him could still make her want him and she forced herself to remember the bad times when he had abused her mentally as well as physically, forcing her to have sex with him against her will.  At once the old anger came back to her.  She turned off the shower and stepped out of the compartment hastily and grabbed a large white fluffy towel from the heated towel-rail and patted herself dry. She needed the intense anger in her to do what she had to do that rainy evening.

Returning to her bedroom she swiftly dressed in a smart black two piece suit, slipped her black stocking-clad feet into a pair of low heeled black court shoes and applied a light outline of kohl pencil to her eyes and a dusting of translucent powder over her beautiful face. A little touch of pink blusher and finally a touch of lip-gloss to her lips.  She twisted her blonde hair into a soft pleat at the back and pinned it into place with a couple of tortoise-shell hairpins. Then she glanced in the mirror and smiled at herself. She was ready.  She picked up the large black handbag that contained a red wig and a black plastic rain hat, went downstairs, into the kitchen and quickly fed her cat that was brushing himself against her legs, purring loudly.

“Okay, Picasso, I will not be long my darling.” 

Sarah bent down and caressed his thick blue fur, before setting the alarm system, then locked the front door securely behind her.  She double-checked that the door was in fact secured before walking to her car. She told herself that she was getting paranoid about security and must get over her obsessive behaviour of checking everything two or three times. As she walked down the gravel path, she waved to a neighbour across the road who was commenting about the weather. Sarah nodded and smiled in agreement, not really hearing what the woman was saying, as she was so deep in thought. She got into her car and carefully backed it out of the driveway. It had started to rain heavily. 

***

When Sarah returned later that winter evening, she put the crossbow and wig away in their hiding place in the attic, showered again, tied her blonde hair back into a ponytail and changed into a pair of comfortable winceyette pyjamas with little Poo bears on them and her old dressing gown and a pair of pink Tote socks and ran downstairs.   She entered into the ultra-modern kitchen and poured herself a glass of well-chilled Chardonnay and took some chive-flavoured crisps out of one of the cupboards. Walking through slowly to her elegantly furnished lounge/dining room she put on a comedy DVD, and then sat back on the large comfortable white Italian brocade settee and relaxed.

She sighed deeply, it had been a very busy day and she felt exhilarated and powerful, yet extremely contented, she felt she was at last starting to exorcise Julio out of her system, but she had to be very careful though and make sure that her every move was thoroughly thought through, double checked and checked again, she must make no mistakes.  Picasso came over to her and nestled into her lap trying to ease the tension in her body as he started to tread her with his front paws and as he felt her relaxing he flopped down beside her and he too fell into a deep sleep.