Still undecided on buying my books? Want more horror? How about a tale of revenge?
Monday, September 4th, 1828
“Kill the mother and her lover” the cloaked man whispers to Martin. Martin nods and takes two hairclips from his pocket he bends one then removes the rubber end on the other. Martin sets them both into the lock. Putting his ear to the door, he demands silence. The tumblers jiggle and click. It was open in seconds. Martin creeps in sneaking through the lounge; it was quiet, and that’s exactly what he wanted. The stairs lay ahead; Martin goes on all fours spreading himself so as to avoid any noisy boards. Three doors, one ahead and two either side separated by a narrow hall. Martin turns the handle carefully, entering the room he made no noise.
Miss Larson and her boyfriend were asleep. Reaching for his belt Martin unsheathes a knife, placing it against the boyfriend’s chest he plunges it deep inside whiles holding his hand over his mouth. Giving the knife a twist Martin pulls it out as slow as possible. Miss Larson stirs. Making his way around the bed, Martin keeps his eyes on her waiting for her eyes to open. They didn’t. Placing the tip of the knife against the underside of her jaw, he drives it up. Miss Larson opens her eyes, gargling, choking on the blood that was filling her mouth. Martin pushes again, harder, Miss Larson stops moving, her eyes flicker for a moment. Satisfied with his actions, Martin sneaks down the hall to check the other rooms. One was empty, a guest room maybe. The last room was Heather’s, a girl, and she is fifteen years old. Martin sneaks back down the stairs.
“All clear” Martin whispers, a tall man, thin, cloaked and carrying a small case pushes his way to the front of the group, his face scrunched up, menacing in the candle light. It was none other than Doctor Jeremiah Merton a well-known surgeon and family doctor.
“I knew I could count on you.” The doctor said.
“Yes sir” Martin replied, the group follows the doctor to the stairs.
“Doctor Merton sir… I’m not comfortable doing this” a young nurse muttered in a mouse voice lowering her head in shame.
“Then leave now, I don’t want cowards working with me today or any day.” Doctor Merton scalded then continued up the stairs. The group stand at Heather’s door waiting for the doctor to say the word. He nods, the group pour into the room as silently as they could. They surround Heather’s bed as the doctor puts a towel on the table. Placing his case on the small table at the foot of the bed he nods to signal the group. Flicking the light on, he disorientates Heather as the group pounce and hold her down. Heather screams for help and kicks towards her attackers. Martin and two other men grab her legs pinning them to the bed.
Doctor Merton fills the needle with morphine, glancing at his surgical equipment his gaunt, slender face exposes teeth in a sinister grin. Heather was screaming, pleading for it not to happen, pleading to the women and men holding her down. Their ears deaf to her calls. The needle pierced Heathers arm, and the drug took effect in seconds relaxing her. The group continues to hold her down as they wait for the morphine to take effect. Heather’s eyes begin to roll, her struggle diminishes. The group release their grip but remain in position, poised ready. A scalpel, razor sharp cuts across her lower abdomen, and blood spurts out over the doctor. The incision cuts through her uterus and Merton reaches inside. Pulling, the head comes free, the shoulders require an extra twist and pull and then the baby was free.
Merton severed the bond holding baby to mother; there was no cries. Heather was oblivious to everything; the doctor had given her a double dose to keep her subdued. Merton whisked the baby to the corner of the room placing it onto a towel on the table. Rubbing the baby and cleaning it a faint whimper comes out.
“Nurse I trust you are proficient in your stitching.”
“Get to work. I have my own to do. Boys you’re with me” the nurse cleans the incision and stitches Heather together while Merton, and the three men stepped out of the room. There was still no whimper, no scream, no cries…
Wednesday, June 5th, 1848
For the past twenty years, Heather had dreamed of how to get her revenge. Dreamed of what her child may have looked like and become have they been alive. Every day was a struggle, a struggle to keep her sanity, a struggle to want to survive. Eating wasn’t always top of her list of priorities. Heather had no idea where to find the doctor, for ten years she lived with her aunt and uncle in Bristol. They owned a farm, and Heather learnt how to use a pistol and rifle. At sixteen Heather had won the local archery tournament for three years in a row. At twenty-four Heather left home feeling ready to start a new life but deep down she wanted to find Jeremiah. The trail would run cold, a lead would become rumour, truth faded to lies, and victims kept their silence or were killed. The doctor was still continuing his filthy crimes all these years. Raping and murdering young girls, Heather wondered how many others he had gotten pregnant and murdered. He had to be stopped.
For the next ten years Heather worked on farms, in banks and shops, she saved her money when she could. The rest went towards food and rooms and travel money as she hunted for Jeremiah. Yet again the trail had gone cold, Heather found herself wandering through a forest with only the contents of her silk and leather bag, her only thought, revenge. Dripping with sweat from walking unknown miles Heather wipes the sweat from her brow and scans the forest. Up ahead was a cabin, no smoke came from the chimney, she approached with caution and hoped if anyone was inside she could take refuge. Upon closer examination it was clear there was no one living there.
The front door was hanging off its hinges; a window was smashed in, and part of the wall was broken. Inside it was a little better, a small fireplace was tucked away in the middle of the room obscured by old chairs and a broken table. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling and under the furniture. Spiders were running across some web catching some flies. The bedroom was dusty but was in no need of repair, the bed was filthy but looked useable, the kitchen was littered with leaves, mud, rodent droppings and fur. The work surface had numerous dirty plates piled up. Flies buzzed from room to room, a rotten pungent odour hung in the air. Going to the far side of the kitchen there was a door, Heather opens it, stairs lead down to a dark basement.
The odour was coming from down there. Holding her hand over her mouth Heather ventures down the creaking stairs. It was too dark to see anything, not wanting to risk injury Heather heads back to the safety of the floor above. Going back outside Heather notices a well, peering down it looked like there was plenty of water. Pulling the rope, the bucket was heavy with water. Her grip slips, trying to regain her grip the rope burns and cuts Heathers hands. She lets out a short yell and hiss as she examines her hands closer.
Wiping the blood onto her dress, Heather tries again, her arms ached, her back strains and her stomach knots as the bucket reaches the top. Tying it to the support, she pulls the bucket over and places her hands into the soothing cold water. Cupping her hands together she drinks as much as she can handle then throws a handful onto her face for a quick refreshing wash and cool from the beaming summer sun.
The cabin needed work but for now, it was home, Heather was confident she could restore it. Stuck in a tree stump was an axe, and the blade was a little dirty. With a struggle the blade released its grip on the stump; Heather begins chopping a tree for tonight’s firewood. The tree puts up resistance before succumbing to the relentless assault and falls to the leafy ground. Within a few hours, her hard work had paid off as she was rewarded with a pile of firewood. Her clothes heavy with sweat they clung to her, blisters scattered her fingers. Wiping the sweat from her brow Heather breathes a sigh of relief and takes as many logs as she could inside.
Heather tosses some logs in the fireplace, rummaging through her bag she finds some phosphorus matches, after several strikes they bite the wood shavings kindling engulfing them in flames. Going back outside the summer sun was still intense, unbuttoning her dress Heather hangs it onto a branch then continues to undress. Unclipping her hair, the long raven hair falls down to her waist wet with sweat. A locket rests inches above her cleavage, the only possession of her mother’s she has.
She lifts the half full bucket above her head and pours. The icy cold water sends pimples all over her body, the water cascades down her slim, feminine figure, trickling down her heaving breasts. Heather rubs the water over her body, avoiding the abdominal scar as much as possible. The wash was almost as refreshing as the lake on her uncle’s farm, at least this time there wasn’t a neighbour watching and masturbating she thought. Drawing up another half bucket Heather has one final cold wash, picks up her clothes then returns to the fire.
Laying on the floor naked as the fire roared close by Heather closed her eyes to listen to the birds calling all around. The flames rise rapidly taking the logs with them. Heather warms her hands and stares into the flames, her stomach churns, growls, ignoring her stomachs desperate cries for food she lays on the cold wooden floor and drifts to sleep.
The sun beams in through the partially closed curtain onto Heather’s face. She pulls the cover up over her head blocking out the light, she groans and rolls onto her side. A kick? Heather places her hand on her belly; the baby was awake. Heather grinned and wondered what her child would look like. Suddenly the door swung open crashing against the wall, doctor Merton storms in holding a scalpel. Paralysed with fear Heather lays still as the doctor climbs on top ripping her nightgown open exposing her 9-month pregnant belly. He snakes the blade over her belly. Her mouth opens, but no sound comes. The blade pierces her stomach and rips across. Heather sits bolt upright pouring with sweat, tears running down her face and breathing erratically. It was all a dream.
Thursday, June 6th
The birds were singing their melody, an early morning chorus medley sung by the various species of birds. Heather fetched a bucket of water for a morning wash then set off out of the woods trying to search for any signs. A thin dirt road wound down a hill; buildings came into view. It was a town. A road lead into the town, there was a sign a little further, Newton it said. The town was buzzing with life and a farm sat atop the far hills. A stately home, grand, imposing was on the top of the furthest hill. A horse and cart drops supplies to the bakery as children play in the street as people inspect the market stalls. Men wore top hats, white or tan trousers with waistcoats and tails; women were in long elegant dresses parading the street, a catwalk. Their subtle flush cheeks with large feathered, floral hats accentuated their delicate facial features.
The odour of fresh bread wafts through the town. Merry men stumble out of the Goats Head pub, a horse pulls a carriage past with its curtains drawn, the whip of the driver claps the air. Heather headed for J. Willis and Son general store; the doorbell jingled overhead as Heather walks in. An old man sits behind the counter his eyes closed, enlarged by his large round glasses. Heather browses the shelves for food a lantern and a few other supplies, the old man groans and opens his eyes.
“Oh hello, sorry I must have dozed off. Is there anything I can assist you with?”
“No thank you…”
“I haven’t seen you around Newton before, when did you get here?”
“Yesterday, I had a bit of a disagreement with my boyfriend, and I found myself homeless and wandering.”
“Oh you poor girl. Did you find a place to stay?” he asked as he stood with a slight wobble.
“I did, it’s a nice place so I thought I would restore it.”
“The old cabin?”
“Yeah… is there something wrong with it?”
“No nothing at all. It’s just some years ago a few people died up there.” The old man starts stacking the shelf behind him; Heather could sense he wasn’t telling the truth there was more to it.
“That’s unfortunate, but for now, it is my home, ghosts or no ghosts.”
“You could go to the Goat’s Head; they have eight rooms. It offers good food, and it’s not expensive.”
“Goat’s Head? That sounds a little odd.”
“Doesn’t it just, blame the owner. It’s a nice place to get away from things.”
“I think I’ll have a look sometime. Today I got to repair a few things. You said it has food?”
“Some of the best this old man has ever tasted. Thank the lord my wife couldn’t hear that; she’d give me a right clip round the ear.”
“Is she upstairs?”
“She died some time ago, God rest her soul” he looks up and raises his glass of rum, he takes a sip and sets it back down. “She wasn’t a great cook, but she tried, and that’s what matters. I’ll admit I did sneak over to the pub for some grub on occasions as well as a cheeky drink.”
“You have your children to remind you of her plus your memories can never fade.”
“We have a son… we had two, but we lost the other.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“Thank you, he put up a fight for a while but… he wasn’t strong enough to fight it. That was all a long time ago, me and Walter take care of the shop… he’s out somewhere probably trying to get the affections of a lady.” Heather places several items on the counter “did you find everything?”
“I think so; I’m close, so it’s no trouble returning.”
“That will be one florin please.”
“I never did get your name.”
“I’m James, James Willis, and you are?”
“Heather. Nice meeting you James, goodbye.” Just as Heather pulls the door open a tall man barges into the shop, Heather rolls her eyes as James shouts.
“Walter don’t be so rude. Apologise to the young lady.”
Walter rolls his eyes and mutters something under his breath, “I’m sorry miss.”
“I raised you better than that; I raised you to be respectable. If your mother could see you now, she would clip you round the bleedin’ ear.” James scolds.
“Good job she ain't here then isn’t it?” Walter shouts back; Heather eyes him up and down. He was a little taller than she was, his navy blue blazer had a small rip in the left side it was barely noticeable if at a distance. His white shirt had a stain on the collar, and his grey trousers were frayed at the bottom. His hair was unkempt, dangling into his face, he pushes it across making a side parting.
“So your Walter. Your father tells me you were out looking for women.”
Walter starts to blush and rubs his cheek “I was out; it was no meeting with a woman nor was it a trip to do any chasing.”
“Well, then what have you been doing for the past hour?” James starts to interrogate. “you were out with that gang again wasn’t you, wasn’t you?”
“No father I wasn’t.”
“Don’t lie. They’re no good, nothing but trash all of them.”
“Father… shut up I’m a grown man, and I will see who I want.”
“You may be a man, but you act like a god damn child. You should be here working like a man.”
“I’m here now aren’t I?”
“Yes for how long I wonder.” Heather heads out of the shop, Walter and James’s arguing could still be heard. She goes further into town she decides upon lunch at the pub but first a little exploration wouldn’t go a miss. Homes were still being constructed down the road. A few clothes stores sat opposite each other in a direct competition; a hardware store looked like it had seen better days; a barber was situated right next door with another bakery a little further down the road. The locals greeted Heather as an equal even though her dress was somewhat dirty. Smoke billowed from the top of a tower on the hill as dozens of men covered in dirt came down the long road ahead, pickaxe in hand. Children some as young as five were amongst the group. A group of prostitutes emerge from an alley and spread through the town trying to get customers.
Heading to the Goat’s Head Pub Heather spots a drawing on the Billboard, the face was familiar but the name wasn’t. It said ‘Lucas Pendleton your mayor would like to invite you all to the annual Newton dance. Taking place in the town hall June 15th 7 pm.’ Heather wasn’t interested in dancing but if Lucas was Jeremiah Merton she was going to the dance. The pub was noisy but seemed pleasant, a grand fireplace sat dark, unused, waiting to awaken. Tables sat nearby, a group of men played poker, waging money no less. Exposed beams ran overhead, sitting centre stage was the bar. The bartender had a handlebar moustache and was cleaning glasses. The head of a stag sat proudly on the wall behind the bar, and a bolt action rifle rests beneath on wall mounts.
“Hello young lady, what can I get you?”
“I’ll have gin please.” The barman pulls a glass from under the counter and pours the gin. “What’s with the deer?”
“That was shot by William Fletcher he was a hunter. He bought the pub which we are in right now, and he named it. He shot that beauty during a trip to Scotland. That’ll be a shilling please.”
“Can I get some food?”
“Yes we have a good selection, our pies are very popular.”
“Perfect I would love a pie.”
“Very good Madame, threepence please.” Heather scans the room for a free table and chair; the furniture was made from oak. The banter from the locals was merry and cheeky. It didn’t take long for the miners to come in; the group filled the pub in minutes. They spoke of the loss of their friends, the collapse of one of the tunnels and their thoughts on the possibility of riches laying in the walls. After observing the room, there was no sign of Lucas or his friends. It didn’t take long for the barman to come over with the pie. It was the size of the plate, cutting into it, chicken and vegetable spilled out. Every mouthful was a treat, Heather’s stomach growled again; this was her first meal for two days.
With the meal finished Heather returned to her home. Lighting the lantern, she ventured down into the basement. The pungent odour hung in the air, maggots were wiggling along the floor. Dried blood was splattered on the ground. The rotting carcass of a pheasant was now a meal for flies and maggots. Heather gagged and ran outside for the bucket. Half filling it with water, she kicks the carcass into the bucket and dumps it in the woods.
Filling the bucket several times Heather scrubs the floor and crushes the maggots with her shoes. The flies still whizzed around the room, landing on her face and hair. Swatting the air Heather explores the room. A cobweb covered bow rests against the wall; Heather had a lot of experience hunting with bows like this, and this was a real treat. A table growing mould holds several arrows and a revolver. Animal skins hang from the wall; this was a hunter’s lodge, could it be the one William Fletcher used? The small drawer on the table was stuck, Heather pulls and pulls, it jerked a little. Pulling once more it grinds and moves a little more. Giving it a wiggle trying to loosen it Heather pulls once more, the drawer begins to move; she pulls harder still until it opens enough to see its contents.
A box of bullets, no doubt they were for the revolver. Picking up the box of bullets, arrows, revolver and bow Heather returns upstairs with her loot. The front door was first to be repaired, the hole in the wall needed some work but for now, Heather blocks it with piles of firewood. Within a few hours, the cobwebs had gone, the dishes had been cleaned, and the cabin was looking like new. Heather went back to the store to get some food, the old stove lit and pumped out a little smoke. The Pheasant and vegetables went down with a quarter bottle of gin. Throwing the old covers off the bed Heather rests her stomach and drifts off to sleep.
Friday, June 7th
As soon as Heather woke she reaches for her mother’s locket and puts it on. Wanting to spend as much time in town as possible trying to spot Jeremiah, Heather went back to the pub for breakfast. The locals were sure to know some information about their mayor. An elderly man sat alone at a small table on the far side of the pub eating porridge with a morning beer which his beard was catching. Heather walks over; his hair was thin and balding in parts, he wore a blue shirt, crinkled, food splattered and grey trousers with frayed bottoms. He had a scar on his left cheek that ran down to his neck, his middle finger on his right hand was missing the tip. His head was down devouring the porridge, his eyes caught Heather’s feet, they raised as he machined the spoon into his mouth.
“Good morning, do you mind if I sit here?” Heather questioned, he looks back down to his meal and continues to eat. “I won’t keep you long I just need to ask a few questions about the mayor.” The spoon stops inches from his open mouth. “Please… can I just ask a few questions then I’ll leave.”
He shovels a few more spoons “Ask now before others come eavesdropping.” Heather frowns a little confused. “Sit” he demands, Heather sits and leans in closer.
“I want to know everything you know about him.”
“He’s not a good man. Too few will stand up to him. We had the Norrington’s a while back, was before my time, though. A lot of bad things have happened in Newton. This new mayor, he’s rotten to the core.”
“What is it you know?”
“We had a disagreement a while ago; he took something of mine.” He wiggles his middle finger, another spoonful of porridge goes in, a drop hit his beard and rests. “I heard he goes by another name, not one but many. His real name… probably lost, forgotten.”
“I know his name.”
Ronald leans forward “… really?”
Heather nods “Jeremiah, he used to be a surgeon where I grew up. He had a wife and kids. He took something from me also.”
“Newton is a big town, a growing town. With that mine to the north, things could be looking up for the town but with him around.” He shakes his head “with him around I smell trouble and worse.”
“Has he killed someone?”
“She was only twenty. She died in childbirth. My daughter Emily… he said there was nothing he could do to save them both. I don’t believe it; he killed them both, and he got away with it. Since he arrived six years ago, many expectant women have lost their lives or their child and sometimes both died. People here don’t see what I see.”
“He killed my baby when I was days from birth, he broke into my parent’s house and killed them then… he cut me, and I never got to see if it was a boy or girl, I never got to say hello or goodbye.”
“That’s… I’m sorry I don’t know what to say.”
“It happened twenty years ago; I was just fourteen. We got close; he was a caring man, a powerful man. I was a teenage girl drawn to him. I tried to get away, in the end; he raped me the next day. I was pregnant. Pregnant with his baby, two months later he raped me again along with three of his friends. I was alone; I couldn’t tell anyone. You’re the first person I have told in years.”
“He must be stopped, this is horrendous. My lady, I want to help you.” Ronald places his hand on Heather’s and pats it.
“I need to do this alone.”
“I have no one; my wife left me. The bitch. Run off with my brother. I may be old, but I can help.”
“Ok, you can help a little.”
“Thank you, I’m Ronald.”
“Nice to meet you, shame we couldn’t have met under different circumstances.” Heather’s suspicions were correct Jeremiah was indeed the mayor and probably still carrying out his sick work on young girls. As Heather approached the door it swung open and Walter struts in looking pleased with himself.
“Walter, yet again I find myself meeting you when I’m near a door.”
“Maybe you should start using windows.” He says sarcastically, Heather smiles, “can I get you a drink?”
“I just had one. But I guess I have time for another.”
“I didn’t get your name.”
“Well, I didn’t give it to you. I’m Heather, and I’ll have a gin.”
“Heather, that’s a pretty name.”
“Oh please spare me the pick-up lines.” The barman pours the drinks; Walter sits at the table opposite Ronald with Heather.
“It’s no line; I like your name.”
“I don’t usually just accept drinks. I have no desire to hang out with men but on this occasion, I will make an exception.”
“You bloody well should be.”
“Are you staying in town long?”
“No, I plan to get my business done then leave.”
“And what business is that?”
“It’s none of your business. You talk too much. Doesn’t your jaw hurt?”
“Sometimes, but I find a swift pint oils my jaws, so I continue.”
“Well once my drink is gone I will be too.” Ronald laughs quietly behind his hand. Heather takes a swig of half her drink. “Like I said I’m not staying.”
“Would you even consider having a drink with me again? a longer drink next time, maybe two drinks each and not rushed.”
Heather snaps “Certainly not” then takes the rest of her drink. “I thought I made myself perfectly clear,” Heather says as she stands, Walter grins and blushes.
“I like you; you’re not like the other girls around here.”
“Thank you for your honesty, but I’m not interested.”
Upon entering the open market square, stalls were almost all erected, a man was shouting something behind her, he was pulling a donkey and cart through into town.
“Goods for sale, pickled whelks, gingerbread, cough-drops, ginger beer, cocoa and peppermint water. Goods for sale, books, live birds and even bird’s nests. Goods for sale, goods for sale.” He shouts past the stalls and parks his donkey and cart at the far end of the stalls. Within a few minutes, the stalls were all prepared, the owners shout, announcing their wares it was hard to tell which stall proprietor was shouting. “Oysters, hot-eels, pea soup, fried fish, pies and puddings.” “Sheep’s trotters, gingerbread, baked potatoes.” “Cough-drops, ginger beer, cocoa and peppermint water.” “Clothes for you ladies and gents, come get your clothes.” “Books, bottles, bones and kitchen stuff, broken candles and silver spoons.” The market was once again open, Newton sprung to life, men and children walked the long road to the mine. Heather didn’t agree with child labourers, watching from the end of the market she sheds a few tears for the children.
Emerging from the alley, a man Heather recognised. He was now much older and stocky, well-dressed and with a thin curved moustache he crosses the market and heads for the bank. Following close behind, Heather trips on purpose on the step knocking him forward through the open door.
“I’m so sorry; please forgive me, good sir, my foot caught the step.”
“There is no need to forgive for such an honest mistake. The step is treacherous at the best of times.”
“Is this bank safe from robbers?”
“It is indeed; Newton has good law enforcement, last five who tried are over on Dogwood Court to the east.”
“Well that’s reassuring, I have a few notes to deposit.”
“Notes, please follow me miss. I’m Nigel Smith.” Nigel leads Heather into the bank and up the stairs into his office. “May I ask how much your depositing miss?”
“Twenty pounds today, more next week and it’s Miss Heather Denton.”
“Are you a new customer? I don’t believe I have seen you before in here or about town.”
“I am new; I just arrived a few days ago from Bristol.”
“Bristol, wow that’s a long journey. How are you finding things here in Newton?”
“It’s great, everyone is so polite, and the market is the perfect place to go to spend some shillings.”
“Shillings end up as crown’s or pounds.”
“Indeed, they do. Pardon me for asking, but… oh, it’s silly.”
“What, what is it, Miss Denton?”
“Do you by any chance Mr. Smith have a wife?”
“No, goodness me no. I’m not the marrying type.”
“Then would you mind if I asked you out to dinner?”
“You ask me out; my dear lady it is usually the man’s duty to ask the lady not the other way around. But yes, yes I would love to. Where are you staying.”
“For now, I’m at the Goat’s Head.”
“Would you like to dine tonight? There is a nice inn not too far from Newton; I can have my driver collect you at eight.”
“That would be wonderful, now back to the task at hand. Before we forget.”
“Oh, my yes, please fill out this card and I will sort everything else out for you.” Heather had found Nigel, now forty-two he had gone from a slender man into a potato with a moustache. Being one of her rapists and one of Jeremiah’s close friends she wasn’t going to let this opportunity for revenge slip away. Nigel and the other two had been pressured into raping her by Jeremiah, but that didn’t make them any less guilty. Each of them would have to pay.
Heather returns to the market to browse the dress stalls, deciding upon a burgundy dress Heather returns to her cabin in the woods to gather her thoughts. As it reached half seven, she went back to the Goat’s Head and waited outside on the bench. After a few minutes, the clip clap of hoofs on the cobbled road grew louder, the horse and carriage pull up. The curtained door swings open, Nigel pulls off his hat, jumps out and bows and holds Heather’s hand for a kiss.
“My lady you look divine this evening. The dress… I’m speechless which is not something I’m quite used to.”
“Why thank you, Mr. Smith.”
“Please.” Nigel helps Heather into the carriage then tabs the side signalling the driver. “I hope you enjoy this evening.”
“I’m sure it will be a night to remember.”
“We are going to my favourite little restaurant; it’s not too far. They do a marvellous rabbit stew; the pheasant isn’t too bad either.” Heather’s pulse continued to raise; she couldn’t believe how close she was to one of her rapists. The Lonely Swan had a welcoming staff that not only greeted Nathan with a bow as he left the carriage but moved a young couple from the table they were currently dining at. Nathan pushes his way through the crowd of people waiting for a seat holding Heather’s hand as he presses on with the maître d at the front.
“Here you go Sir and Madame,” the maître d said as he hands the menu to Nathan and Heather. “I will return shortly; can I get you any drinks?”
“I’ll have a beer.”
“Gin for me.”
“Very good, I will be back shortly” the maître d replies.
Nathan sits back proud in his chair observing the busy staff. “What do you think of this place?”
“It’s certainly not like the Goat’s Head that’s for sure. It’s classy; I never expected to see so many waiting to be seated. How is it you got seated like that?”
“I manage their account; they have been customers for a few years.”
“How long have you lived in Newton?”
“About six years… moved here with a few friends.” That was all Heather had to hear; her mind was certain he was one of Jeremiah’s friends. With the meal over, their stomachs were full and mixed with alcohol. As the carriage reaches the top of the hill overlooking Newton, Heather made her move.
“Nigel, Mr. Smith, could we stop the carriage?”
“Of course” he knocks the side of the carriage; the horse comes to a rest. “May I ask why we have stopped?”
“I saw a cabin; it was faint, but I saw it. I’d like to go see if we may.”
“It’s probably muddy out there and the cabin probably infested with critters.”
“Please Mr. Smith, it could be… romantic.”
“What’s wrong with a normal bed in a house?”
“Let the driver go; we could walk to your place.”
Nigel let out a deep sigh “I guess we could do that. I’m not overly keen on getting my clothes dirty, though.”
“I’m sure it will be fine, we just go have a look, I’m a curious girl, you won’t deny me that will you? After all, I’m new here.”
“I won’t deny it.” Nigel rolls his eyes again then leaps out and helps Heather out of the carriage. “Driver you may leave I have no further use of your services tonight.”
“Thank you, good night sir, ma’am.” As the driver set off Heather’s stomach sank her pulse raises as her mind races. Heather lead the way beckoning Nigel to follow. She wastes no time reaching the cabin and turns the handle and pushes the door open.
“It’s open, can you go in first? There could be anything in there.”
“Leave it to me” Nigel leads the way into the cabin, the lantern rests on the small table by the door. It lit the room a little; Nigel calls Heather to follow, she grasps his hand and pushes herself up to him and shakes.
“Nigel I’m scared,” Heather said with a shaky voice.
“Don’t fear my dear I will keep you safe,” Nigel replied confidently. He checks the bedroom “it… it looks lived in.”
“I mean this place was abandoned, it’s clean and appears someone may still be here.”
“They don’t appear to be here now.”
“I don’t like it.”
“Can we keep looking?”
“Thought you was scared?”
“I am, but it’s interesting. An abandoned old cabin in the woods, what’s not to like?”
“Loonies in the woods. Wolves. Bears”
“There aren’t any bears here, wolves though…” Nigel opens the basement door; Heather stands behind him.
“May as well have a look down here, you coming?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. May I have the lantern a minute?”
“I’ll be blind.”
“I just need to adjust my corset.” Nigel rolls his eyes, hands over the lantern and takes the first step. Heather springs to life, pushing Nigel, he gasps and reaches out for the walls but slips. Missing all but two steps his ankles crack the wooden steps as his face hits the solid floor breaking his nose with a satisfying crunch. Heather stands over Nigel, axe in hand.
“W-what are you doing? Heather… Heather.” Nigel starts to cry and push himself back as Heather comes forward.
“You don’t remember me at all. Well, I can’t say I’m too surprised it has been twenty years.”
“I was raped by you… Martin, Cliff and Jeremiah. Jeremiah killed my parents, well my mum and stepdad and cut… cut my baby out of me.”
Nigel’s eyes open wide with a gasp he mumbles “Heather…oh, fuck.”
“Remember me now? I have waited twenty years for this.”
Nigel waves his hands and begs “Please, no, don’t kill me, Heather, I beg you don’t.” The blade thumps through both hands knocking them across the room. Blood spurts from the stumps as Nigel yells and looks down at the stumps in disbelief. The blade comes down again splitting his shoulder wide open nearly severing his arm. Another hack and the arm falls to the ground; Nigel turns pale, yells in agony with eyes wide as the axe swings across his mouth lodging the blade in his jaws.
She kicks her foot into his shoulder and yanks the axe ripping his teeth out and dislocates his jaw. Blood floods from Nigel’s mouth, his jaw hangs low, Heather swings once more severing head from shoulders, Nigel falls to the ground his arm and legs twitch as his eyes stare back at his mutilated corpse. Heather let out a satisfied sigh, picks up Nigel’s head and grins.
Saturday, June 8th
As the sun rose over the far hill the silence was shattered by an ear-piercing scream, a scream so loud it woke Heather. The police blew their whistles as local’s scream. Heather knew what the commotion was all about; another scream pierces the air, and Heather lies on her bed smiling then falls back to sleep. When she awoke Heather put the locket on and went back to the pub; the police were now patrolling the streets, people mumble in corners, point and discuss the horror they saw. Ronald was sitting at the same table as before, Heather orders a gin and porridge then sits with him.
“I’m going to assume all the commotion was down to you. What on earth did you do?”
“Nigel took me for a meal. That saved me from cooking, so I was grateful. I simply gave him the chop. First, his head was set on a spike then his…”
“Cock and balls… I nailed them to the door at the mayor’s office.”
“I don’t know how you did it. I don’t blame you for doing it.”
“What can you tell me about Jeremiah’s two other friends?”
“Cliff is married and has a son who works down the mine. Cliff is part owner of the bank and owns the bookshop at the end of town. He’s also a compulsive gambler and a sore loser and a bit of a heavy drinker. Martin has no family; he’s the closest to Jeremiah, and he likes the company of the local prostitutes. He may be easy to get hold of. I saw Martin kill someone a few months ago, the police were there and did nothing.”
“They just let him do it?”
“Yes, it was terrible. It’s scary; they could get away with anything; they must be bribing the police.”
“They have all gotten away with enough.”
“What have you got in mind?”
“I’m not sure at the moment, ill deal with Cliff first.”
“Tomorrow there is a poker game right here at eight.”
“Perfect, I’ve got some florins to spend. Thanks, Ronald, here take this.” She slides two florins into his wrinkled hand.
“I can’t accept this.”
“You can and you will” Heather demands placing her hand on Ronald’s with a smile.