Authors: Garry Charles
Tags: #death, #revenge, #urban, #graffitti
Garry Charles at Smashwords
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Thank you for your support.
I would like to thank Jamie McFarlane for allowing me to use a
photo of his body for the cover and also Dan Rooke (Rookstar
Tattoo) for adorning that body with some amazing
Rookstar Tattoo can be found at 225a Hamilton Drive, Acomb,
York or call in for an appointment at 01904 331 372
Please note that this story first appeared in the online
publication LSD Magazine.
had only ever seen beauty like it once before in his life. The
first time she'd been flesh and blood. A face on the street. A
whiff of perfume on a passing breeze. None of the others could
match what she'd had…
Yes, she'd been
perfection for the briefest of times and Jeff had never thought he
would see her again. But now here she was, staring back at him from
the brick fascia of the warehouse.
right, boss?” Mark asked.
fine.” Jeff had to rip his gaze away from the spray-painted face of
the goddess that towered from the floor to roof of the
like you’ve seen a fucking ghost,” Mark joked.
don’t talk stupid,” Jeff replied, already walking away.
I give the guys the go ahead?” Mark yelled after him.
to be here early in the morning,” Jeff shouted without looking
back. “I want this place levelled before the evening.”
walking, wanting to put distance between himself, Mark and the
graffiti adorned wall. His breathing was coming hard and fast by
the time he reached his car, sweat soaking his shirt so that it
clung to his torso uncomfortably.
Jeff fell into
the driver’s seat and leaned back, pushing his head against the
seat as he attempted to get his breathing under control.
It couldn’t be
It had to be a
himself slump forward, bracing his forehead against the steering
wheel, a wave of nausea rolling up from his gut to his throat.
No one else
Jeff had been
so careful, everything planned to ensure total secrecy. Not even
Jeff’s wife, Ruth, had suspected what he was doing. She was content
with their life, happy in the ignorant belief that all was
Don’t lose it
the key into the ignition and turned it, the engine purring quietly
under the hood. He took another three deep breathes, turned on the
air conditioning and pushed the gear stick into first.
morning it would be gone and he’d never see her image again. Of
that he was sure. The wrecking crew would make sure of that. All
Jeff had to do was forget about her just like he had before. She
was gone and she wasn’t coming back.
sure but it may have been guilt that made him suggest a meal out
that night. He rung Ruth on his way home and told her to get ready,
her choice of restaurant. It had been months since they'd ventured
out anywhere and her excitement had been more than evident in her
voice as she’d told Jeff that she loved him.
started out well with them making love before leaving, a tender
moment that left Ruth with a satisfied smile and made Jeff almost
believe that everything was fine between them.
Ruth had chosen
the Italian restaurant they'd visited when they’d first met. It was
under new management but the interior was just as Jeff remembered
it and, if possible, the food was better. They ate and they drank,
talking about work and memories. The usual, pedestrian
conversations of a long term married couple.
walked back to the tube arm in arm, Ruth’s happiness radiating from
her face and threatening to infect Jeff. With everything going on
in his life he’d forgotten what it felt like to be relaxed, to let
go and just be himself. The last time he’d opened up and shown his
true self had been with
platform was empty of other travellers and they waited in silence
for the next train to pull in, its arrival signalled by a wave of
warm, stale air that made Jeff cringe. The tube always made him
feel trapped and unclean, as if the air was tainted by those who
had exhaled it before him, the aroma of their insides filling his
nose with each breath. It disgusted him.
As the train
pulled in alongside the platform, slowing to a gradual stop Jeff
froze, his lungs seeming to contract as the hairs on the back of
his neck were played with by invisible fingers of static.
form was laid out before him, the full length of the carriage taken
up by her image. The warehouse had teased him with only her face
but now she was visible in all her beauty. Jeff took it all in,
every curve and peak just as he remembered. The artist had rendered
her with loving care, using the paint sparingly to recreate her as
no photo ever could.
What do you
through the sliding doors, his eyes lingering on hers for as long
as possible. As soon as he was on the train he slumped into the
nearest seat and held his head in his hands.
are you alright?” Ruth asked, concerned. “Is it the chest pains
Jeff sighed. “Just a migraine… should have laid off the red
his eyes closed, knowing the memories of that night wanted to be
relived and doing his best to fight against them. He could feel the
blood hammering at his temples, his heart beating with excitement
at the thought of the special time he'd spent with her.
A work of
My best work
Jeff had never
known her name. Names didn’t concern him. All he wanted was to
bathe in the beauty of the female form and she'd been ideal.
It had been
raining and the offer of a lift from the guy with the friendly
smile had been too good to refuse, after all it was only a five
minute drive. As she’d climbed in the car Jeff had carefully taken
in the sight of her lower thigh, just visible below the hem of the
red skirt. In that one brief glance he'd absorbed everything she
had to offer.
the kind that tie around the ankle. Sheer stockings though probably
tights, but he could fantasise. Red skirt that hugged her slender
hips. Leather jacket open at the front to reveal the low cut black
top that showcased the rise and fall of her well tanned
And then he’d
come to her face, a pretty young thing framed with flowing blonde
hair, full pink lips and the most stunning eyes Jeff had ever seen.
They were a steel grey in colour with flecks of what he could only
describe as sunburst, a vibrant orange that danced with life.
after that always played out in a blur, the memory distorted by the
adrenaline that surged through Jeff’s system. He could never quite
remember when he’d seen the first signs of fear on her face. It was
definitely after he’d driven straight passed the end of the street
she lived on.
Then came the
crying… the begging and pleading to stop the car. Jeff had just
glanced at her and smiled and said, “I want to know you inside
she'd screamed, but not for long. Her initial fight had quickly
drained away to weakened kicking and that had then faded to nothing
more than a faint twitching. Before Jeff had really got to know her
she'd become still and silent.
And oh so
looked at their best once Jeff had got to know them inside out. The
pureness left once the skin was peeled back was something that Jeff
couldn’t deny. The way they felt under his caress, the slickness of
exposed muscle and tendon giving him a sexual thrill unequalled by
anything he'd ever experienced.
the source of the painted images over breakfast the next morning.
In life other people must have known her and it made perfect sense
that someone may have seen the beauty she held and decided to use
it in their art. It was no different to how Jeff had used her,
albeit in a different medium.
But it was only
one of many options. Another of which brought a knot of fear into
Jeff’s stomach. What if the paintings were being done for his
benefit? What if someone knew about the special time he'd spent
with her? What if they planned on making Jeff’s secret public,
pressuring him into making a slip.
do… not at all.
He had to know
faster than he usually did, impatient whenever he hit traffic and
glancing at his watch every other minute. If the wrecking crew were
as punctual as usual then he didn’t have much time if he was to see
what he needed to see. Once done, they could level the old
warehouse and destroy the pictorial evidence it held.
around on the passenger seat and found the mobile phone, depressing
the speed dial and lifting the phone to his ear whilst steering the
car with his free hand. He listened to the electronic ring sound
over and over.
fucking phone, Mark.
up Jeff threw the phone into the rear foot well and returned all
his frustration onto reaching his destination.
Upon arrival at
the site Jeff drove passed the billboard announcing the urban
renewal without feeling the usual pride in his latest project. He
had other, more important things on his mind. With the engine still
running he could already hear the sound of heavy machinery on the
far side of the warehouse and his heart sank into his gut.
Jeff jumped out
of the car, leaving the engine running and the door wide open and
took off on foot around the edge of the warehouse.
Mark saw Jeff
first and ran to meet him, a huge smile on his face. “You come to
see the start of something great,” he said, the smile slipping as
Jeff’s expression became clear.
ever answer your fucking calls?” Jeff yelled in Mark’s
when it rings,” Mark answered aggressively, shrugging away from
Jeff. “What’s your fucking problem?”
the question and stormed away from Mark, heading straight for the
front of the warehouse and sighed with relief.
Jeff looked up
once again at the painted face and frowned.
It was still
her face, but she'd changed overnight. The smile was gone, replaced
with a mouth shaped to form a silent scream. The front top teeth
were missing and a trickle of red paint ran over her bottom lip.
The eyes no longer held the same innocent beauty Jeff remembered so
well. The left one was hidden behind a swollen eye lid, the flesh
tone recreated with purples and blacks. The right eye stared out
over the world blindly, the upper half flooded by ruptured blood
This can’t be
Jeff could have
been looking at a photograph, each and every wound clearer than
memory could have ever served. This was the way she'd looked as
Jeff had shovelled soil over her face, filling in the unmarked
grave that no relative would ever visit.
All Jeff needed
was a name and he searched the area of wall around the face,
knowing it would be there. It had to be. They always tagged their
work, but Jeff couldn’t find it.
If not around
the picture then within it.
Jeff let his
gaze move slowly over her face, tracing every spray painted line,
looking deeply into every area of shaded colour. It was a puzzle
meant for Jeff only and he would solve it. He worked his way down,
from the top of her head to her chin and then began the journey
back yet still he found no name… no tag… nothing to go on.
turned away from the building and marched away, not looking back as
the wrecking ball began its swing, but taking satisfaction of the
sound as it crumbled bricks and mortar. He marched straight passed
Mark and headed back to the car, he had to get away and release the
tension. Maybe find someone new to spend some special time