This post contains chapter 11-15 of the novel I am writing on Facebook. As ever, feel free to leave a comment or two here or post a comment on Facebook.
Pete caught Jack off guard by his sudden attack. The force of the plank of wood hitting his head knocked Jack to the ground. As his friend and colleague, Pete, hit him for a second time, Jack tried to grab at Pete’s leg and pull his friend to the ground. Jack knew that getting Pete on the ground was the only way to win this fight. But Pete was too quick for Jack. He avoided Jack’s grasp and continued to press his advantage. Pete booted Jack in the face and stomped on his friend’s hand, which remained covered in the blood of Doreen’s boyfriend. Blood erupted from Jack’s lips, and pain exploded through his damaged hand. Jack spat out blood and tried to get up and fight Pete but he was relentless. Pete hit Jack again and again. As Pete whacked Jack across the back pain radiated through Jack’s body.
‘Why are you – ‘
Pete interrupted Jack by inflicting quick and painful blows with the piece of wood. Splinters of wood dislodged themselves from the thick plank of wood onto Jack’s head, while specks of Jack’s blood splattered across Pete’s jeans
In the blocks of flats surrounding them, curtains twitched. The residents watched the fight below, but no one dared call the police. A dog owner with earphones in her ears and a smiling Labrador walking beside her, retreated when she realised she had walked into a fight.
As the dog owner retreated and the residents of the estate turned away from their windows, Pete landed one final blow on Jack which knocked him unconscious.
‘Sorry, buddy,’ sad Pete as he carried a bloodied and unconscious Jack into the back of a van.
Pete was anxious. After knocking him out, Pete hauled Jack into the back of the van, and now, as he sat in a traffic jam, he looked in his driver’s mirror and saw his friend was stirring. Of course, Pete knew Jack would be angry, and Pete also knew that Jack wouldn’t forgive him. But I have to do it, thought Pete. I have no other choice. He hoped he’d make it to the rendezvous point in time. Pete looked at his watch. He knew he couldn’t keep them waiting. He sighed with relief when the fog of traffic dispersed. Once the road opened up, Pete put his foot down and sped along a road that took him to a small derelict industrial estate on the outskirts of town.
Pete approached a white building with a crumbling facade. The ground was littered with abandoned and rusted plant machinery. Around the various digging machines and drill bits, weeds sprouted from the cracks on the ground like untrimmed nose hair. Pete came to a halt and got out the van. An average sized man with a hard-bitten face and a wiry body exited the building. The man’s sharp features, black suit and dark sunglasses were a sharp contrast to the neglected landscape. The man headed towards Pete with a pair of cable ties in his hand.
‘Did you get him?’ the man asked.
‘Yes. Now, where’s… ‘ said Pete, his anxiety giving way to anger.
The man interrupted Pete. ‘First things first,’ the man said as he motioned for Pete to give him the keys to the van.
‘Is she…’ Pete said as he tossed the keys to the man.
‘Like I said, first things first,’ the man said as he caught the keys from Pete and opened the van doors. The man grunted as he stretched over Jack’s body and tied Jack’s hands together with the cable ties.
‘Rise and shine, sunny boy,’ the goon said as he slappedJack’s face.
The goon laughed as he glanced over at Pete.”You know you didn’t have to beat him to a pulp, right?’
‘I was told to get him here pronto.’
The goon sniggered.’Yes, you were, weren’t you.’
‘Where is she?’ Pete asked
‘Oh, she’s fine. The boss is looking after her.
The goon hit Jack again.
‘You hit like a girl,’ Jack said.
Is that so?’ asked the goon, shoving Jack forward and tossing the car keys back to Pete with his other hand. As the keys flew through the air, they caught the sunlight and gleamed. The same sunlight continued to trickle along the roof and windscreen of Pete’s van like water along its channel.
Jack wasn’t stupid. He could see that they had coerced Pete, but still he had been betrayed, and that’s not allowed, thought Jack. Jack scowled at Pete who looked away, unable to meet his friend’s gaze.
Although his hands were tied behind his back, Jack kept calm and waited for an opportunity to escape. As the goon shoved him forward again, Jack stumbled but didn’t fall to the ground.
All three of them entered the building one after the other.
As Jack looked around his surroundings, he got angrier and angrier. He saw a small girl sitting on the floor against the furthest away wall. The girl was curled up into a ball while in the middle of the room an emaciated figure, a bald man in his early thirties, was tied to a chair and stripped to the waist. The man tied to the chair was covered in bruises and cuts. A burly man in a sharp suit punched the man. The effort of pounding his victim was taking its toll. The burly man was sweating and grunting as he hit his victim like he was punching a punch bag. After a succession of swift and brutal blows, the burly man stopped punching his victim and panted from his efforts.
‘Hit him again,’ said a calm voice from the back of the room.
Although the back of the room remained covered in shadow, Jack heard the distinctive voice and knew who it was.
Jack watched as his younger brother, Graeme, continued to be beaten to a pulp in front of him. What have you got me into now? Jack thought. You useless piece of…
The sound of Graeme’s cries of pain interrupted Jack’s thoughts. Graeme’s natural instinct to defend himself was putting enormous strain on the chair which was just one of a serious of chairs which were also bolted to the floor. Graeme tried to lift his arms up to defend himself from the blows his assailant rained on him, but his arms were tied to the sides of the chair and his feet to the legs. There was nothing Graeme could do but take the beating.
Jack noticed a busted up vending machine in the corner and with the layout of the chairs and tables it seemed to imply that this part of the building used to function as a workplace canteen. Overhead the strip lighting flickered on and off, and damp patches pockmarked the white ceiling tiles. The air was musty, and the floor was a patchwork of dirty, broken and chipped tiles.
As Jack continued to watch his brother’s beating, he could also hear the distinct sound of a kettle boiling. Jack knew his ex-boss was a hard man and probably enjoyed inflicting pain on those he believed had wronged him. But it seemed odd, even to Jack, that the man he knew would sit in the darkness like this drinking tea as he watched one of his men beat someone to a pulp in front of him. He can’t be making himself a cup of tea, can he? Jack thought.
The force of the blows inflicted on Graeme put great stress on the metal frame of the chair which creaked under the strain.
‘Dad, Dad,’ cried Sam as she looked up and saw Pete. Pete rushed forward towards his daughter, but the goon in front of Pete stopped knocking the stuffing out of Jack’s brother and barred Pete’s way.
Graeme was grateful for the brief respite.
‘He did as I asked,’ said Jack’s former boss. ‘Let him pass.’
Pete rushed towards Sam and held her in his arms and tried to comfort her as she sobbed into him.
Jack stood motionless beside the goon that had tied his hands and outwardly gave little hint of the anger that was bubbling up in him.
The only real father figure Jack had in his life stepped out from the shadows and into the light. He had a kettle full of boiled water in his hand.
So what’s the villain going to do with the kettle full of boiling water?
Jack struggled with his binding and watched as his ex-boss, Jonah Burns, turned his head and smiled at him. Even in the flickering light, the shock of white hair on Jonah’s head and the large scar across his throat were clearly visible. Jonah Burns was capable of great violence. Jack knew this, knew where all the bodies were buried. Still, with his hands tied behind his back there was very little Jack could do if Jonah decided to turn on him.
Jack wondered if Jonah had decided to call him out after all these years, wondered if Jonah was willing to risk being exposed just to kill him, but when Jack walked into the building and saw his brother tied to a chair and Sam, Pete’s daughter, sitting on the floor crying, Jack knew his first thoughts were wrong. Jack looked over at his brother, Graeme. What have you got me into now, you useless piece of… Jack’s thought was interrupted.
‘How’s things, Jack?’ Jonah asked, a sharpness to his smile
Jack smiled grimly. ‘Could be better.’
‘You know your brother’s been quite a pain of late.’ Jonah’s smile evaporated as he turned away from Jack and looked at Graeme.
‘What’s he done?’ Jack asked
‘Why don’t I let you tell him,’ Jonah smiled and then without warning poured the scalding water from the kettle on the soft flesh on the underside of Graeme’s wrists and forearms.
The pain was excruciating and almost unbearable. All Graeme could do was scream in agony
‘Please stop!’ Graeme said while instinctively trying to escape from the chair. But he could not escape. All Graeme could do was bear his torture and hope it would end soon.
Pete tried to cover Sam’s ears with his hands as she buried her head in his body, but nothing could drown out Graeme’s tears, and desperate screams as Jonah continued to pour the boiling water from the kettle on his arms. Even the burly thug that had punched Graeme repeatedly at Jonah’s request felt sick as he watched his boss torture Graeme.
Jonah stopped and turned towards Sam and Pete. ‘Enough!’ shouted Jonah.