noisy visitors, families, were
closer to the water's edge to allow their children to play in the gentle
surf. Overall what could possibly be described as a light splattering
of supine humans intent on relaxation. Obviously there were a few people
walking around, some were no doubt predators scanning the tourists for
a possible mark, others just content to entertain their eyes, maybe a
few were simply exercising. The majority were northern European, pale
skinned and likely to burn. The odd seriously dark skinned figures were
what could be described as Moorish, rather mobile Moroccans struggling
to sell cheap sunglasses, fake watches and pirate DVDs. Then there was
the odd female of dubious race offering a simple massage, maybe something
more energetic if you were prepared to wander away from the beach. Desmond
Morris would have been in his element, people watching, just so long as
he wasn't arrested for voyeurism. I'm not quite sure just how many people
are familiar with that name, everyone has heard of Freud, not nearly so
many are even aware of the book 'The Naked Ape'. The Mediterranean is
an attractive lure for everyone from sun worshippers to lager louts and
unfortunately a wide assortment of more than dubious characters in between.
There is something about the place that attracts the dregs of British
society, holiday makers aside a brief scan of the ex-pat community would
frighten the socks of an axe murderer, let alone a pleasant couple thinking
of retiring to sunnier climes. Still, we were talking beach, the soft
hiss of the surf on sloping sand even if the air seemed rather still.
Maybe all the seagulls had been shot by the starving Spanish peasants.
Starving? There were a couple of locals jabbering vigorously above her
than would have caused an electronic weighing machine to have a seizure.
It wasn't exactly a holiday even though it had taken a lot of planning.
Surrounded by so many tourists maybe she would chill out for a few days,
once she had everything else sorted out, even though it could be a little
risky. No doubt the subconscious notion, sunbathing in a foreign land
was trying to influence her, addle her mind. After a moment of pensive
cerebration she came to her senses. Keep to the plan as the whole of the
Iberian peninsula was bathed in sunshine anyway. Having driven the best
part of a thousand kilometres she was glad to be stretched out in the
open air. Only falling asleep in the sun too soon wasn't part of her itinerary,
there would be plenty of time to unwind later. If she had been a conventional
holidaymaker she would have flown from the UK, a mere two and a half hours
in cattle class. However it would have been insane to attempt to get through
airport security so she had taken the ferry from Plymouth to Santander,
eighteen somewhat tedious hours, especially as across the Bay of Biscay
the sea was inexplicably more than a little uneven, an unwanted heavy
Atlantic swell driven by strong winds far across the horizon and fanned
by local conditions. That is maritime talk for conditions likely to make
any passengers unaccustomed to the rough and scurry of a force six blow
go green around the gills and decorate the deck. There is something about
that part of the Atlantic that attracts closely packed isobars, the numerous
circles on the weather charts that dictate the unwanted characteristics
of the British summer. At least on a crossing of that duration she had
a cabin, a place to unwind after running up and down the decks as the
ferry pitched sluggishly into a deep trough then heaved lethargically
out of the sea. Luckily her brain was treating the experience as entertainment
so she didn't spend the entire trip on her knees in the bathroom speaking
to god on the great white phone. Actually the toilet was stainless steel.
It hadn't taken long to sort out a hire car then get to the hotel and
settle in, she even slipped in a decent siesta before getting moving once
again. Only to complete her marathon she had driven the length of the
country in one almost gruelling stint, broken only by a rewarding long
nap in a decent layby between the capital and Toledo. Just as well the
rental vehicle had decent reclining seats and air conditioning. Luckily
she hadn't hit Madrid in the rush hour, but it had wound her up a little,
tensioned the muscles in her back and neck. Driving on the wrong side
of the road was confusing enough without having to cope with hundreds
of cars on an eight lane carriageway, then there were the seemingly all
but useless Spanish road signs. There was a tendency to tell you once
before you reached a junction and assume everyone knew where to go anyway.
That was in addition to the confusion when noticing your exit is across
six carriageways and a concrete barrier. Mild panic would ensue until
logic cut in, there was a slip road on your section too. Still, a little
suffering, mild hardship came with the territory, and she was within a
stone's throw of the Mediterranean. If she could be bothered to look around
for something suitable and get to her feet to launch it into the sky.
The fact that she was sitting on a beach on the Mijas Costa west of Malaga
had a lot to do with a nine year old girl called Poppy. As she glanced
at her watch she smiled then once again gave the impression of struggling
with sun tan oil.
"Are you having trouble?" questioned a passing figure a few
Emma glanced up, there was a young man shielding her from the invisible
slightly harmful rays. Maybe early twenties, rather tight swimsuit and
a reasonable amount of solar bronzing. Clearly he had been darkening his
skin beneath a cloudless azure sky for a couple of weeks, which could
have been a serious regime designed to impress. That or mere vanity. Clarity
of speech and facial features suggested he was English, not that it was
a surprise. "Somewhat. I'm not double jointed. Only I didn't expect
the sun to be this fierce so early," she replied almost curtly.
"Would you like me to rub some lotion onto your back?" There
was almost a warble of desperation in his voice, it was unlikely he would
be satisfied with such brief physical contact. No doubt a portion of his
brain was performing cartwheels, at least spinning images to create the
illusion of frantic movement as it wasn't often such rewarding opportunities
became available. Not having a body to gag over or the personality and
appeal of someone like George Clooney had seriously limited his range
of encounters. After all scoring with a local bike or a twenty year old
who had come on holiday to have sex with an endless stream of Spanish
waiters and any male with the ability to remove his trousers was not going
to improve his social circle. Still, there were always the fifty year
old long term married Brits who came in search of variety, some of those
were probably gullible enough to believe any lie he could concoct and
pay for an improvement in his lifestyle, if only for a few weeks.
"Without wanting to offend you, yes. As long as that is all you do."
"I understand, I could be married." No, too young, too self
important, too eager. Still, if he was merely after weeks of one night
stands and meaningless conquests he should have gone somewhere totally
lacking in class. A resort where there were only two priorities to life,
intermingled alcohol and frequent unremembered sex, and not in any particular
order, which is what I was hinting at mere seconds ago. Do they still
run Club 16-32 holidays? Maybe that is being a little to frank, an unsubstantiated
biassed opinion. Apart from the fact that the ranks of the frantic immoral
youth, the insane revellers that degrade the world's opinion of English
tourists were likely to be asleep or too drunk to stand unaided until
well into the afternoon he looked as though he had moved on. Though from
his facial expression it may have been to even more depraved antics, just
not in a public arena.
"You could be anything," she said in a rather monotonous way,
trying to remain a little aloof.
"I'm Lucas," he said, taking the sun block from her and squeezing
some onto his hands.
"Emma," she snapped rather sharply. It sounded as though she
wanted to be alone, despite the problem with the sun protection. Still,
beggars as they say. After a couple of minutes she spoke again. "It
only needs to be smeared on, not massaged in."
"Sorry. I was getting carried away. Would you like a drink? There
is a bar just above the beach." No point in wasting time, getting
a feel for things early on may just mean a rewarding end to the day.
Emma shook her head slowly, scarcely amused by the typical chat up line.
No doubt the man already had a scenario in his head, alcohol would only
be an initial lubricant. "No thank you. I've only just arrived and
never accept drinks unless they come directly from a barman. There are
perverts around that slip date rape drugs to small children so they can
seriously abuse them."
Lucas went a little quiet, he even appeared a tad flushed despite the
slightly increased density of melanin. Understandable perhaps, hearing
how depraved some men could be. Unless... But to any passing stranger
that was uncalled for to say the least. Moving to one side he dropped
the yellow and brown bottle onto the sand by Emma's sizeable bag then
flicked out his towel and settled down. "How long are you here for?"
"It depends," she said casually. "A week maybe, after all
I never know who I might meet." Briefly she made eye contact. "You?"
Lucas smiled at the possible innuendo. "A month or so I expect. I'm
having a break between jobs."
Emma flattened out on her towel and turned her face away. It was obvious
that she just wanted to sunbathe. Not that her intentions were likely
to affect his behaviour in any way. The young man sat quietly, spending
most of the time looking at her body, occasionally leaning back onto his
elbows or briefly rotating onto his stomach. An understandable reaction,
in many ways Emma expected it. Beauty rarely goes unnoticed, even though
excessive attention tends to become boring in the extreme, occasionally
even offensive. There was a little olive in her skin as though she had
Mediterranean ancestry but her hair was a rich brown, copious and curly.
A lot of the local girls Lucas had smiled at or attempted to chat up had
jet black rather straight locks. It was a shame she didn't turn onto her
back because even after a casual glance it was obvious that her breasts
warranted serious scrutiny, apart from the fact that little more than
seconds were likely to raise his blood pressure and cause a serious tightening
in what little fabric was covering the necessary area of his body. Content
she was on track, unlikely to sear the top layer of skin cells or lose
sight of her goal Emma relaxed, occasionally closing her eyes and slipping
away from reality as sleep snatched minutes from the morning. Understandable
after having changed coastlines so swiftly. Twice Emma rose and went for
a brief swim completely aware that his eyes followed every move she made.
Despite being the Mediterranean the water was something of a shock to
the system, something to do with cold Atlantic water flooding in through
the Straight of Gibralter I believe. Especially after roasting in the
sun. Each time, on her return she lay back down on her stomach. That prevented
accidental eye contact and the need for even casual speech. Not to mention
keeping her chest hidden. By one o clock it was getting too hot to remain
in the open. Scanning the beach from the horizontal Emma had flicked her
eyes from the cool blue of the sea to the uneven expanse of cratered dry
sand and decided that the smart sector of the population had realised
it was time for a little shade. If that included food and a siesta it
would make even more sense.
"Lunch?" asked Lucas as Emma began to pack up.
"Is that a question or an offer?" asked Emma rather warily.
"I'll treat you if you like. What do you fancy?"
"This is Spain. Fish or paella."
"There is a good chiringuito a couple of miles away that does fantastic
fish dishes." The words fell from his mouth as though they were well
rehearsed, perhaps they were.
"A what?" Emma replied, feigning ignorance. As she had been
well briefed she knew enough about the area to have not only a simple
map in her head but a few words of Spanish.
"Beach front restaurant." Lucas replied with a gentle sigh,
almost as though he had judged her response from the tone of her voice.
"It's too hot to walk far."
"I have a hire car," he replied quickly.
"Lunch. Nothing else and if I have a drink you don't even breathe
on the glass."
"You sound as though you have had a bad experience."
"Too many to count," she sighed.
Clearly Lucas had been exploring, rather that park with the masses and
walk along the promenade he had found the back way in. The slip road from
the dual carriageway didn't even suggest beach access. There was a small
car park at the end of a tree lined road, excuse for a road, frequent
potholes courtesy of Lunar Landscapes R us. There were five other cars
in the space, a barely level gravel area surrounded by unrendered concrete
block walls buttressed by wind blown sand. Adjacent to the well worn steps
leading down to the beach was a wooden walkway wrapped around a rather
weathered timber building. Next to the door was cage containing two mainly
green cockateels, which started whistling the moment Emma approached them.
The tune was easily recognisable, La Cucharacha. Nice melody, shame about
the translation. Who in their right mind sings about cockroaches?
Inside the portion of the room set aside for eating was L shaped, one
side was almost completely glazed and looked out over the sea. The furniture
was white plastic, the flimsy tables decorated with paper coverings held
in place with shiny metal clips, on the whole rather cheap and tacky.
It took seconds to make a serious assessment, there were only four other
people dining. In Emma's mind if the food was that good the place should
have been half full. That meant he was after a quiet meal, probably close
enough to his accommodation to get horizontal within minutes of paying
the bill. When the young bearded waiter approached he spoke in English.
Clearly there were enough holiday apartments and hotels around to warrant
learning an additional language, maybe two. After brief deliberation Emma
had a plate of barbequed sardines which she ate with her fingers and a
couple of long cool glasses of sangria. Throughout the meal Lucas seemed
to be mesmerised by her breasts. The way she had frequently sucked traces
of Olive oil and crumbs from her fingers should have had him gagging to
touch her, only she wasn't quite sure that he either noticed, he did seem
to have tunnel vision after all, or realised that the movements were intentionally
rather sensual. It was a game she enjoyed playing. Emma wasn't ashamed
of her body, it proved very useful in her line of work. To avoid appearing
interested in him Emma studied her surroundings, almost as though she
was naive, unaware that sliding a digit slowly from her lips had a less
than subtle double entendre. Still it was unlikely he would be eager to
leave her alone for more than a moment despite her apparent interest in
the variety of alcoholic beverages behind the bar, even the waiter. If
she wanted to be truthful, the guy who had brought the food from the kitchen
had a lot more going for him than Lucas. Without sounding crass his designer
stubble was perfectly trimmed and he had a casual air of confidence that
only a woman would notice. Judging from visual areas of skin he spent
a lot of time barely clothed, and from the way his shirt was partially
open his visible chest hinted at a serious exercise regime. Clearly it
wasn't only the women who were eager to climb the social ladder by way
of the horizontal. Only Emma wasn't looking for anything, casual or long
term. As she drained the last of her drink and visibly relaxed her companion
spoke, his voice sounded tense, eager.
"Spain shuts down now for at least two hours. Siesta. Can I drop
you at your hotel?"
"No thanks. I'll need to sit in the shade somewhere until I remember
where it is. The sun and the food seem to have removed my ability to think
"If you want to crash out until you get your head together I have
a place overlooking the shore."
Emma looked him up and down carefully almost as though she was reassessing
him, judging suitability for an afternoon of light frolics. Clean shaven,
not bad looking but it was hard to judge anything by external appearances.
"Well you haven't pounced on me yet." No that wasn't his style
as she knew all too well. In fact she knew one hell of a lot more about
him that he realised. Even to the point of having someone watch him for
over a week so she had his likely movements down to a tee, had a reasonable
idea just where and when to expect his arrival on the beach. Plan the
work then work the plan. Clearly the relaxed response was taken as a yes.
Lucas was almost stumbling as they made their way back to the car, overeager
and reluctant to look away from sensuous curves for more than five seconds.
Graciously opening the car door for her enabled him to get even closer,
Emma heard him breathe in deeply, almost in rapture. No doubt he imagined
his casual actions had worked in his favour, the ability not to make a
fool of himself with less than subtle innuendo had won a way into Emma's
underwear. As they headed off towards the main road, bumping over numerous
craters and ruts Emma prepared to study the route. It wasn't a problem,
simply a case of tacking the additional tarmac stretch on to what she
had already memorised. It was mainly in case she needed additional markers
when she had to navigate her way back in order to find her own car. It
didn't prove difficult, there were plenty of distinctive way points. A
long deep stand of tall pine trees, a massive, virtually scarlet Bougainvillea
bush that was smothering thirty feet of boundary wall and a strange, almost
prehistoric looking tree in front of a castellated yellow house on a distinct
junction. The initial section would be easy, all downhill. If things became
confusing all she had to do was refer to her original map. They walked
into the small apartment after maybe eight or ten minutes. Lucas tossed
his towel into a corner and walked across the room to close the blinds.
"There's only one bed," sighed Emma. Not that it was a surprise.
"We can talk for a while if you are nervous." Lucas sounded
confident, the door had sealed them away from the outside world, he could
take his time. Seduction or a serious physical assault, either way he
was going to enjoy the rest of the day, hopefully even the week.
"I need to use the bathroom," she said, slipping the heavy beach
bag off her shoulder and casually rummaging inside its loose folds as
she walked. After the customary sounds she emerged apparently drying her
hands in a small towel. Lucas was naked on the bed displaying an erection.
"You don't waste any time do you."
"Come on, we both know you came up here for sex," he said rather
"Actually I came up here because of Poppy. I dare say you remember
All colour drained from his face. Understandable as the name was intimately
bound to usually rewarding memories. Only Emma was a stranger who should
have been oblivious to any of his previous actions. Oblivious to the fact
that he had snatched a child in full view of the public, drugged and raped
her at least once, shielded only by copious dense vegetation surrounding
a large group of trees. Briefly he saw the girl's round face staring up
at him, eyes begging to understand, tears streaming down her cheeks as
he rested on his hands and pumped against her frail body. The recollection
tended to bring a smile to his face. Just not then.
It wasn't necessary to allow her victim time to either analyse his predicament
or compose his thoughts. There was a sound like a bull breaking wind and
tiny fragments of towel sprayed into the air. A bullet ripped into Lucas's
stomach bouncing him up the bed slightly and he screamed loudly. "The
apartments either side are empty, I already knew that," laughed the
woman. "Now I'm going to sit and watch you die. What was that about
talking?" Unwrapping her weapon, a dark semi automatic Glock 17 she
placed it well out of reach on the cheap pine coffee table and stripped
naked to tease him. As she sat on his legs and prodded rather limp anatomy
she smiled. "This doesn't seem much good for anything now. Is something
"What the fuck have I ever done to you?" he managed, almost
sobbing. It isn't that often than someone from the calm flow of English
life gets to experience a gunshot wound, Lucas seemed to be having trouble
coming to terms with his new reality.
"Destroyed a child's youth," she spat back fiercely. "Anyone
would take offence to that. It doesn't matter who she was. You may have
escaped conventional treatment by the law by targeting a naive minor,
asshole. Nobody can escape from my form of justice. An especially adapted
9mm jacketed hollow point with a home made drug cocktail in the tip. I
imagine your stomach is already a little numb. Paralysis will spread out
gradually as the dose is quite weak, not enough volume. If I had put it
into your lungs the massive blood flow would have killed you far too quickly.
As it is the chemicals will diffuse slowly. Mobility decreases systematically.
Eventually none of your muscles will work. Firing from the waist is always
something of a gamble. If I hit a major blood vessel or ruptured the liver
you would be dead in five or ten minutes. Hopefully it will take about
an hour. If you are still alive then I will just slice off your genitals
and leave you bleeding out. What do want to talk about?"
"Bitch!" he spat, struggling onto one elbow and running his
hand across his stomach in an attempt to assess the injury. It didn't
help at all, there was a puncture wound that stung like shit with blood
pooling around it, only he hadn't the courage to probe beneath the surface.
Even the thought of an open gateway to his internal organs made him want
to retch. Emma's weight across his thighs was preventing him moving much.
Then there was the physical shock to consider, it felt as though he had
been hit with a red hot sledgehammer, that had removed any desire to attempt
some form of retaliation. The initial burning pain had faded, fear of
imminent death was causing more stress than imagining what actual physical
trauma had been done.
Emma was grinning profusely. "If I had used a standard round it could
have been a simple through and through, popped out at the back without
doing a lot of damage. The intestines are slippery enough to be pushed
aside by a handgun bullet occasionally. Only there wouldn't be much point
in that. I needed a makeshift silencer otherwise I would have aimed. I
imagine you've seen someone being kneecapped in a film. Using a soft nosed
flat headed bullet the bone virtually explodes. Am I making you feel ill?"
"You'll never get away with this," he offered rather feebly
as his eyes flashed around the room searching for some means of escape,
"Why not, I have numerous times before. There is no evidence to place
me within five hundred miles. I'm booked into a hotel on the North coast."
"What proof have you that I have ever broken the law?" Not that
she seemed concerned over any legal or even moral issues.
"Your face you prick. Above all you cannot lie to yourself and guilt
is written in latent neon. Anyway you have something of a reputation."
"Two cases, both unproven," he snapped as if his nemesis actually
cared or the situation would improve because of a couple of words.
"So. I have numerous contacts, Poppy identified you from a photograph
some days after the event to confirm her ability to remember events before
the drug took hold of her mind. The poor child is too young to understand
the concept of an identity parade and events after initially meeting you
were increasingly unclear. Not that there is any doubt you were the one
who raped her, even if she couldn't recall that part of the assault. Thankfully.
Only it was obvious that it could never go to court. Juries are so stupid
they can't see how easily a defence counsel can tear a witness apart until
they seem unsure of the facts rather than traumatised by what no doubt
seems like a barbaric interrogation." Emma punched him in the stomach
and he didn't scream. "The digitalis mix is kicking in nicely."
It would have been rewarding to flay him a little, only that may have
sprayed blood around too much making movement awkward and even drawn attention
to his plight. It is amazing just how far continual high pitched screaming
can travel. As it was if she decided to make a serious amputation she
could shower before dressing. "Would you like to confess to all your
"Fuck off." Lucas's tongue was feeling a little woolly so the
words sounded a little odd.
Emma slid off and pulled her bag close to the bed. Lucas couldn't see
what she removed, only that she plugged it into the bedside socket. "I
want to make sure there is no doubt as to why you died."
Lucas was having trouble thinking clearly. Nothing obvious sprang to mind
and he wasn't going to sign a confession. At that moment his hands felt
so numb it was unlikely that he could hold a pen. Watching his nemesis
wander casually around the room while the poison spread through his body
was torture in itself. As each minute passed his senses dulled, gradually
he became less and less aware of his surroundings. To be fair if they
were always sending out signals your brain would become confused, we sequentially
switch off unimportant information. The problem was that movement reawakens
nerves, Lucas was feeling strange as however much he fidgeted he was no
longer aware of the bed beneath him. If fear was causing sweat to form
on his forehead he wasn't conscious of any sensation, especially any beads
of moisture cascading down his face though every time Emma came close
he swallowed nervously. Logic was trying to suggest that he should try
to get up, even make a lunge for the handgun but there appeared to be
a total lack of communication with his limbs. It was hard enough lifting
an arm from the mattress, his legs seemed to be encased in lead. By the
time she reached out to the bedside cabinet he hadn't been able to make
sense of her threat. When the object in Emma's hand registered he screamed,
rather feebly. "No, you bitch. No."
Emma branded a single word on his groin. A six inch hand made metal iron
burned rapist' deep into his flesh. There was no pain, by then most
of his nervous system had shut down, but the stench was overpowering and
the smoke distressing. When she repeated the technique over his sternum
he squealed and struggled. Logical, because when the chest was totally
paralysed the heart would stop. Clearly the poison was continually being
pumped around the body by the heart, only it was necessary for it to permeate
into the cardiac muscle itself to complete its task, it wasn't ever going
to be like flicking a switch. It wasn't necessary to perform surgery,
the glazed expression as she unplugged the branding iron suggested he
would be dead in minutes. Leaning over his head she gave him a word to
linger in his thoughts until his last breath hissed from his lungs. "Poppy."
After the final movement of air had ceased, squeezed feebly from between
slack lips she placed the small damaged towel on his body and rolled him
a little, moving his back off the mattress. There was an unusual lump
just below the ribs, obvious under the circumstances and not difficult
to remove. Not wanting to leave any incriminating evidence Emma sliced
the skin with a surgical scalpel she had bought in a craft shop back home
and prised out the bullet. It was a little awkward because it had flattened
out so much the initial cut needed enlarging. It was a little surprising
but rewarding that it hadn't gone straight through and ended up deep in
the mattress, no doubt the peculiar modifications had caused it to bloom
immediately and slow down rapidly. It would have felt more than a little
weird ripping material apart in search of the projectile. As he had been
lying down the angle of entry was rather steep, causing the lead to burrow
upwards. It may also have hit the base of a rib close to the spine and
been deflected slightly so that once through the bony enclosure it was
tumbling back down through the dermis, incapable of reaching escape velocity
through what was in effect a rather elastic barrier. Once it was free
and confident there wasn't so much as a single fingerprint or stray hair
she left the room, briefly wondering whether the place was cleaned every
morning or that the stench of decay would eventually draw attention to
the rapist's demise.