A Sneak Preview to “Living Captive” The sequel to the “Surgeon’s son” COMING SOON!
He swam with immense difficulty against the strong water current that forcefully dragged his body back towards his distillery. He didn’t know if he was able to make it to the opposite side of the river that looked to be at least half a mile away. The sub-zero temperature of the murky water was continually threatening to send him into a terrifying unknown unconsciousness. If he stopped swimming for one moment he could easily be yanked under by the tenacious current. He sensed his body going into shock and the early stages of hyperthermia, portending to advance to the late stages where he would be left with no control on where his body would float to.
Several hours passed and he woke up on a wet muddy bank on top of a small grass verge, which he estimated was at least a hundred metres away from the river. He turned his head in every possible direction as he tried to summon up his new environment. There seemed to be no immediate threats close by, at least no signs of human or animal life yet. He waited a few moments while he forced his stiff and wounded body to sit up in order to decide what his next move would be. To his astonishment he saw several flashing lights coming from a large Police boat in the distance, he was convinced it was the Police Marine Unit assigned to search for him and his SUV. Crawling to the nearest tree for shelter and camouflage, he searched his big wet heavy jacket pockets for his wallet, remembering that there was at least five hundred pounds in it hidden away in one of the small compartments, for when an emergency ever arose where he needed quick cash. He hoped he hadn’t left it in the glove compartment of his SUV. Luckily he felt the large bulk of his wallet in the inner compartment of his jacket and let out a deep sigh of relief.
After seven painstaking days of hiding out in a number of derelict buildings nearby his distillery and the remote nearby forest patiently waiting for the Police and members of the media to clear out of his property, he returned home for food and medical supplies.
He decided it was time to move on and try his luck living somewhere else. It would only be a matter of time before the Police came back or that Amanda Redgrave had arranged for a unit to watch the property until they were able to find his dead body somewhere in the River Trent.
Emptying his electronic safe that was concealed under the large double sink in his state of the art kitchen, he took the large amount of cash he had saved for the last decade or so that came to the staggering amount of forty thousand pounds. He also located a few expensive items of jewellery he had purchased on his travels across Europe and put them gently into his rucksack taking one last look around the distillery, knowing it would be the last time he would ever step foot in it again. On his way out of the back secret hidden door he had installed in the lower part of the cellar, he stopped to admire his reflection in the full-length mirror confident of his new disguise and that he could pull it off to perfection, just as he had in the past with his other disguises, when he dressed as a rodeo cowboy and Coco the Clown.
Victor looked into the dark heavy skies that were trying to hide the full-moon crescent, estimating how long it would take him on foot to the next town. He knew each and every part of the remote eighteen mile forest he would have to walk through; confident he could rest there until early sunset. He was less than two miles away from where he had hunted Jessica Slater down and killed her with two devastating blows of his infrared crossbow and arrows. It was a night like that one where the dark skies were threatening to lighten up with the oncoming thunder-storm.
Tonight he hadn’t come equipped with all his precious hunting tools as the Police had removed most of them for forensic examination; however he had his two-man tent on his back for when he got tired on the journey. Niggling doubts ran through his mind, how would he be able to buy a new car without producing his driving licence? How would he be able to open a new bank account without his existing identification? How could he survive with his identity as a nobody? He knew full well if he just once showed his real identity documents he would be arrested and detained in custody until they could get a confession out of him, or link just one of his fingerprints to the equipment he managed to transport the dead girls in.
He began searching through his wallet for some of his old business contacts in the hope he still kept the one he needed to help him out of this mess. He knew it would cost him a lot of money, but it was a price he was willing to pay as he knew he needed a brand new identity, one that could never be traceable back to his own. The biggest question was could he trust anyone now he was a wanted man?
Throughout his time in hiding he caught more than a few glimpses of Amanda Belgrade. His biggest regret was that on the night he disposed of the dead Johnson twins on her front porch, he hadn’t hung around long enough to abduct her and subject her to the most terrifying forms of interrogation. How he longed to amputate those delicate hands of hers, preventing her from enjoying another cigarette. He wondered if she would enjoy her new surprise on her arrival back to her old country home. His deep seeded hatred of the Police was the only thing getting him through the pain and anguish of his recently deceased mother, whom he was still silently grieving. He knew he would never get to say his final goodbyes at her funeral and this bothered him a great deal, playing on his conscience day in and day out of his miserable existence while he managed to successfully avoid being captured. He knew all too well the signs of depression as his dear mother had suffered with it since his father’s death and tried to replace the negative thoughts of dying in pain with his deep knife wound in his lower abdomen with more positive ones.
He re-called a few close calls with the Police, when they were searching some of the nearby buildings in the first days of his disappearance. He would try concealing his body with his long heavy jacket that just managed to cover his head down to his toes, providing he curled up tight enough and placed several large rotten planks of wood that had fallen from the ceiling. On a few delirious painful moments he´d been tempted to call out for their help, however was grateful he didn’t now as there was new hope to his existence.
As soon as he made it to the next town in the morning, the first thing he promised himself was to buy a mobile telephone in the hope he could reach his old acquaintance.
Amanda Belgrade returned to her large country home after spending several months with her folks. She hadn’t returned since the night that the distinctive industrial packing box, which contained the dead Johnson twins, was deliberately placed on her front porch. As a surprise in her long absence Sergeant Donald and Marty had managed to have a friend of theirs install some high-tech security surveillance in the hope that it would protect their close colleagues home from any intruder, or prowler and alert her when necessary.
Amanda found herself speechless as Donald showed her how it all worked. She was in no way dumb, however she had never embraced the new digital generation as most of her colleagues had. She needed to be computer literate as it was a requirement of her job, however anything else she found herself shying away from. When analogue television had turned digital, she struggled to accept the changes and found herself reading books most nights instead of trying to work the huge flat screen TV out after facing just a blue screen and lots of navigation instructions.
She felt the cold chill of the air when looking out of her large kitchen bay windows. Recalling the last time she´d ventured on her own land was when she saw the dark stocky figure sheltering under one of her many willow trees. She remembered ignoring Marty’s orders to stay in her vehicle until he got there with back-up after discovering the distinctive wooden box placed on her dark front porch. She commemorated going in search of the intruder with her gun. She could still hear the footsteps now fleeing when she fired a shot and remembered that it wasn’t just one set of footsteps she heart, but two.
Sergeant Donald sensed his colleague’s uneasiness and asked if she would like a cup of tea?
Amanda soon snapped out of her memories and agreed.
“So tell me what was it really like staying with your folks out there in the sticks?”
Amanda chuckled and replied, “It felt good to be at one with nature again. The long walks, endless baking, and the comfort of my childhood bedroom which I’ve gotta add hasn’t changed in the last thirty years. It was like stepping back in time and sometimes I had to remind myself that I’m vastly approaching my sixtieth birthday and that I’m not eighteen anymore, much to my parents despair.”
Donald let out a small giggle, “So they didn’t end up driving you mad as you feared with their continual nagging for you to stop smoking?”
“Oh god, yeah for all of a couple of weeks, until they discovered that it was pointless. I did however make a conscious effort to cut down and they seemed quite happy with the compromise and soon stopped with their nagging. Until I went out for a date with Bill Dawson and then the nagging started up again.”
Amanda could still hear her parents nagging, “Why can’t you let us meet this extraordinary man who discovered that poor girl in the wooden box?”
Donald arched his eyebrow in a curious attempt to find out more about his close colleagues date, as Amanda had remained tight- lipped about it.
Amanda soon sensed Donald’s curiosity and mentioned that she had a further date with Bill next week.
Amanda had initially met Bill after taking a statement from him when he and his Great Dane had discovered Gracie Peterson trapped in a wooden box on Elvington industrial estate in Greater Manchester.
Donald sensed his dear friends excitement and couldn’t be happier for her as he was aware that she hadn’t been on a date since the death of her husband Terry, who had died twelve years ago while on duty as a homicide detective.
Since that tragic day Donald noticed that Amanda grew more and more cold-hearted and had a distinct dislike for most people, distrusting everyone around her, isolating herself from family members and friends.
Amanda developed a habit of keeping people at a distance as she was frightened of growing close to anybody. Terry had been her life, her childhood sweetheart, and they had been married for twenty-two years and although it wasn’t a perfect marriage, full of ups and downs, they managed to stick together through thick and thin, growing stronger together; a real force to be reckoned with.
Terry and Donald had been best friends since primary school and Donald missed his friend dearly. Donald had been the best man at Amanda’s wedding and remembered how happy both Amanda and Terry were together and it often brought a lump to the back of his throat.
Occasionally Amanda would share her memories of her husband with Donald after indulging in a few bottles of wine. Amanda would then go onto get the family photo albums out and they would laugh, howl and cry together in their grief and the huge gap Terry had left in both their lives.
Amanda noticed the puzzled expression on Donald’s face and mentioned guiltily.
“Bills been the first man I’ve dated since Terry died and in some way I feel like I’m betraying him. I never imagined that I´d meet another man who could make me laugh, the way Terry once did. I’ve been pushing every one away since his death and the day I met Bill, I decided to take a risk and accept his offer of a date. Do you think I am doing the right thing?”
Donald took a few moments to reply sipping at his hot milky tea.
“You’ve nothing to feel guilty about Amanda, it’s about time you let somebody special in your life. You of all people deserve some happiness my friend and it’s nice to see that smile of yours return, it’s been absent far too long. The last thing Terry would want is for you to be alone and miserable and don’t even question if you’re doing the right thing. I think you should’ve done this a long time ago.”
Amanda had to bite back on the tears that were threatening to flow out and quickly changed the subject to hide her emotions.
I think my next major investment in this house is to get some central heating installed. What do you think?”
Donald knew Amanda enough to know that she was trying to hide her feelings and didn’t want to push her, in fear she would break down. Donald admired her bravery returning to her country home after she discovered Dr Victor Barnes had left her a nasty surprise on her front porch.
“I think it’s the best idea I’ve heard you mention in a long while. As much as I adore the open fires, it’s also very reassuring that with the single press of a button you can have instant heating and God only knows this place needs it. It’s bloody freezing venturing out to the toilet.
Amanda chuckled and agreed. Knowing full well it was about time she modernised her old cold country home both her and Terry had inherited when his folks died. Terry had had huge plans for this house before he suddenly died and at the top of his list was to install some heating as the walls were becoming damp. Amanda knew it was time for a change and that she couldn’t put things on hold for the rest of her life as she had done for the last twelve years. The sheer thought of turning sixty in the next eight months was terrifying her and she felt her time here on earth was slowly running out.
Donald passed Amanda the business card from his son, Jack, who had his own successful heating and plumbing firm and mentioned that Jack would be more than willing to install the new central heating at cost price, saving her hundreds of pounds.
Amanda arched her eyebrows examining Jacks card while standing up to give Donald a huge hug.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you my friend. I’m gonna really miss working with you. It just won’t be the same around the station without you. Whom am I gonna confide in and express my concerns to when you retire in a few days time?”
Donald slowly broke Amanda’s embrace to wipe the tears from her eyes.
“You’ll be absolutely fine my dear. Don’t doubt it for one moment and besides I’ll never be that far away. You can join Janice and me anytime on the boat.”
Amanda nodded unable to find the words for her sudden show of affection and she found herself asking Donald what he thought about the chances of Dr Barnes body suddenly showing up after the police marine unit were called off a few days ago?
Knowing Amanda like he had for the last thirty years or so he was in no way surprised she asked such a question as both Marty and he were both aware she was suffering a deep anxiety about the presumed dead doctors unknown whereabouts. They all were to some degree and each and every day that passed there was still no sign of the doctor’s body. Donald had his own theories but he didn’t want to alarm Amanda any further, not yet, she wasn’t ready.
“I can only assume that his body will eventually be discovered on some shore line washed up somewhere between here or the North and South of England. It’s just a matter of time and just because the search has been called off due to lack of resources and funding doesn’t mean that every marine unit wont still be on the lookout, as I can assure you these guys will find him soon enough.”
Amanda looked directly into Donald’s soft large brown eyes and found some solace in his words; however she still wasn’t convinced the doctor was dead and expressed her concerns on several occasions to Donald and Marty who also couldn’t be convinced until his body was found.
Amanda remembered the national and local media camping outside Dr Barnes distillery for the first few weeks after the discovery of the doctors SUV eager to speak to the Police, forensics, and marines who were directly involved in the search for the doctor. The media were desperate for answers, as well as the public, and most importantly the parents of the murdered girls. The most important factor being that if the police could link Dr Barnes to being the notorious serial- killer who enjoyed cutting away young women’s perfectly healthy limbs and disposing of the murdered girls back to their families or in various parts of North and East England. Gracie Pearson who was the only surviving victim and had been escorted to the Doctors distillery several weeks before to see if she could remember if it was the place she had spent eight horrific weeks in captivity. Amanda remembered the brave girl trembling in fear as she confirmed their suspicions. Amanda then went on to show a recent photograph of the doctor they had found while searching the distillery and once again Gracie confirmed that this was the man who had abducted her and removed her limbs.
Donald noticed the distanced look re-appear in his friend’s eyes and asked reluctantly, “Do you want me to stay the night? Janice wouldn’t mind in the least.”
Amanda assured him as politely as she could that it wasn’t necessary and it was something she needed to on her own.
Donald wasn’t entirely convinced but decided not to push it as she had been through enough recently and he couldn’t help but admire her bravery and courage once again.
“Well at least let me build you a fire before I leave as you know it’s one of my many great hobbies.”
Amanda found herself laughing out loud, knowing how lousy Donald was at building fires.
“Go ahead, be my guest. I’ll put the kettle back on.”
Amanda looked around her kitchen wondering what she could renovate next noticing her collection of vintage cookbooks had all been turned upside down wondering if this was a practical joke from Donald and Marty. Before she had the chance to ask Donald she also noticed her favourite sunflower cookie jar had been turned upside down. Searching frantically through several drawers for any more clues of foul play she noticed that all her teaspoons were pointing in the opposite west direction she usually placed them in.
Donald entered the kitchen carrying a large box of wood from the barn outside noticing the puzzled expression on Amanda’s face.
“Hey, you ok there?”
Amanda took a few moments to break out of shocked panic and lied, “Yeah, fine just wish I’d slept better last night.”
She knew if she mentioned these small yet significant imperfections to Donald that she would sound crazy and decided to keep it to herself in the event she was just freaking out until she could find more clues to who was responsible for this. Deep down she feared the worst that this was the work of an intruder who enjoyed playing psychological warfare and she could only think of one person who would be capable of doing this. Once again the cold shivers she felt earlier soon returned at the very prospect.
Charlie Hodgson took a sudden left turn down the narrow country road. His old Ford Cortina on this occasion didn’t disappoint, yet he could hear all the crates of beer he had just purchased slide to the left side of the boot and the plastic containers that held the bottles smash together with such force he wondered if they’d broken. He took his iPhone out of his trouser pocket cursing it for ringing in the first instance after breaking his concentration and forcing him to come to a sudden halt. The last thing he needed was another fine for using his phone on the road.
The woman who was tied up and gagged in the back seat let out an almighty scream. Charlie tossed his iPhone to one side as he didn’t recognise the number and jumped out opening the back door placing both his hands around the woman’s throat. The woman’s large brown eyes bulged from her eye sockets in fear that these few moments would be her last. She could feel the hot urine running down both her legs all the way to her rope bounded ankles.
“I told you not to make a sound, not so much as a whisper. What part of my instructions didn’t you understand bitch?”
The woman shook her head from side to side as Charlie let go of her throat and mumbled something incoherent as the gag in her mouth prevented her from talking.
“It’s time again for me to introduce you to Albert. I warned you that I’d use him again if you couldn’t keep your stupid mouth shut.”
The woman froze in shock as she knew what was coming next. She could already see the electrodes illuminating neon blue and could hear the crackles of electricity powering the device up.
Charlie pressed the button on his stun gun and held it against the woman’s left leg enjoying watching the effect of the fifty thousand vaults temporary incapacitate the woman’s naked body making her jerk back and forth spasmodically. He let go for a few moments before he fired the gun again and whispered gently in to the woman’s ear, “My boy Albert here is fully charged and ready to go. Would you like some more bitch? Or are you gonna stay quiet until we get back to my place?”
The woman laid there in severe pain unable to move, it felt like a thousand heavy punches all over her body. She was incapable of speech but managed to force her head up and down signalling a yes answer, terrified the unknown punter would fire again repeatedly.
Charlie stopped and admired the woman’s obedience. Once again he heard the loud ringtone of his mobile ringing endlessly. He grabbed it off the passenger seat in a hurry worried it was a loyal paying client who needed his immediate attention, as this was often the case in his line of work. Once again he didn’t recognise the number and decided to ignore it; last thing he wanted was an unknown number bugging his phone. His number was exclusive to his clients only, nobody else had access to it and that’s the way he liked it.
Satisfied the woman wouldn’t make another sound he jumped into the driver’s seat and tapped his only foot on the accelerator pedal looking at the cock pit worried he would have to re-fuel before his last destination for the evening.
The woman inhaled a deep breath letting the air escape slowly from her gagged mouth relieved that she would be left alone for a while. It wasn’t very often she found herself in a situation with little or no control. She would always let her punters do whatever they wanted to do with her so long as it didn’t involve direct violence towards her or any of the other girls in her community she worked with, or was often forced to work with and give her paying clients a three-some or whatever wayward fetish they had. She knew this particular punter had gone too far as he not only used his heavy hand on her he also tortured her with his gun who he referred to as Albert. She knew she was in grave danger after the sex games had finished and all of a sudden he had introduced his powerful toy that would incapacitate her. She tried to remember how the freak had transported her in to the back of his smelly car and how she ended up being bounded by several ropes that were securely fastened against her ankle, wrists, and naked body. She could have sworn she only had three bottled beers at work, otherwise her routine on the pole would leave her clumsy and she would almost certainly hurt herself and disappoint her paying clients as she had done once before and been disciplined by her ruthless boss, Jimmy Booth. She suddenly recalled her boss speaking and getting in to a heated argument with the man who was now holding her captive in the back seat of his car. However the rest was a blank and she couldn’t recall anything else other than the man referring to himself as The Watcher.
♣ ♣ ♣
Victor reluctantly dialled the number on the old worn and faded business card, re-dialling it several times, feeling his temper rise as there was no response. He looked around the motels drab dark wooded furniture and let out the air in his lungs he wasn’t aware he had held on to for the last several minutes or so. He knew it was a long shot contacting his old acquaintance again; however he wasn’t prepared to give up yet as the number was obviously still active and in service. More niggling doubts surfaced in the back of his mind. Could it be that this was a sign it wasn’t a good idea?
Victor remembered the desperate man’s oath and promise after his horrific car crash. His patient had been the only survivor of the horrific head on collision with a heavy goods vehicle. The driver of the heavy goods had tested positive for being several times over the official alcohol limit. All the passengers in his patient’s automobile had died on impact, a gruesome discovery Victor was asked to disclose and inform when his patient regained conciseness. Victor would never forget his patient’s sincere show of gratitude for not amputating his savaged leg below the knee and doing all he could to save his precious limb, despite having to amputate his foot just under the ankle hub. Victor dialled the number again in the hope that this time he would pick up.
Charlie answered reluctantly after several rings and shouted impatiently, “You keep bugging my phone mother fucker and I’ll see to it that you lose all your fingers.”
Victor replied in a low tone, undisturbed by his old friend’s voice. “Is that how you repay someone for saving your savaged leg dear man?”
Charlie almost dropped the handset in complete astonishment. The last he heard Dr Barnes had drowned in a high-speed police pursuit.
“Jesus, Is that you Doc? I thought you were dead my friend!”
“Course it’s me man. I need your help. I need to meet up with you ASAP!”
Charlie knew Victor was one of the most wanted men in Britain now and tried to re-assure his friend that he hadn’t forgotten his sworn promise and handshake all those years ago.
“You know I’m a man of my word. I had a feeling one day you’d be in touch to hold me to my promise. Come to my home address later this eve. I can guarantee you we won’t be disturbed there it’s as remote as you can get from the city.”
Before Victor terminated the call he asked, “How can I be sure that you won’t call the cops? You of all people should know that I am on the top of their missing list now.”
“I guess you’ll just have to trust me old friend. I’ve no wish to hand you over to the pigs. You of all people should know how I feel about those low-lives’ and besides whatever crime you’ve committed my doors always open and always will be. You once saved my life man and I´d be honoured to return the favour.”
“I need those documents of ID you once told me about. Money isn’t an issue but time is. I need them in the next twenty-four hours or so. How are you fixed?”
Charlie took a deep breath and assured his friend he would pull out all the stops.
“Only thing I need from you Doc is a couple of passport photos. I’ll take care of the rest.”
Victor terminated the call after scribbling down the address and asking for directions. His next task was to shop for supplies in the event his friend posed a threat to any of his future plans. He wasn’t sure if he could spare Charlie’s life after he got what he wanted. Either way he would go well equipped for any possibility. Taking another glimpse in the full length mirror that was situated behind the shabby hotel door he made a mental note to change the colour of his dark thick brown eyebrows to match his newly purchased auburn wig.