Authors: Bill Carson
John Kane stirred from restless and uncomfortable sleep, kicked the stifling quilt to one side and reluctantly took a squint at the digital alarm clock which read 3.30 am. He turned on his side and lightly stroked the empty pillow next to him.
There’s no point in trying to sleep, I’ll not rest, not on this wretched day,
he thought, as he flicked the light switch on and unhooked his robe from the wardrobe door. He begrudgingly draped the bath robe around his shoulders, and unbolted the bedroom door and went downstairs to make a brew.
This was going to be a real bastard of a day
, he thought, and shook his head and slumped in the chair by the kitchen table. He stared at the small photographs of his first wife Sarah, who was tragically murdered, and Lynda, the only other women he’d ever loved. Lynda’s suicide had understandably affected John in a most profound and terrible manner, and had come at a critical point in his life. Just when everything was working out for him, it was cruelly and needlessly snatched away. Now there was going to be no happy ending and no growing old with the one that he loved, and so it would be revenge once more that he turned to. This was the only thing that was driving him.
His world was in tatters and someone was going to pay. And this time around he was thinking a little differently. The targets were no longer going to be the scumbags lurking on the street corners and the low life drug dealers that inhabited the dark alleyways and vice ridden dens of our communities, as in his mind they were small and insignificant nonentities whom no one really cared about. They were just the end result of a social system of neglect; lost and soulless beings, themselves victims, by-products of a downtrodden society that had been allowed to fester, created by the ‘head in the sand’ politics of successive governments. In John’s mind, the real culprits and the real problems and causes of this country’s social demise all resided within the insular world of the upper echelons of our society, our so-called peers, the people who stalked the corridors of power. They were the ones to blame for the steady moral decline of this nation, and how he hated them for what they were about to make him do.
At ten thirty that morning John stepped out of the shiny black limousine and stoically waited next to the tail gate of the hearse that had glided to a halt outside the crematorium chapel; he glanced through the side window and stared in at Lynda’s wretched little coffin inside. He stood firm and choked back the lump in his throat, and watched as the coffin was carried in total silence through the particularly uninviting façade of the chapel. He’d asked for the ceremony to be a simple affair, a no-frills cremation.
There were no funeral-goers to speak of except for a couple of old women who were sat at the back, and to him it was like they were at the cinema, waiting for the main feature to begin. He was sure they’d brought their sandwiches, morbid old bats
. It won’t be long for you two
, thought John, as he squinted over his shoulder at them. The only other persons present were a young fresh-faced reporter from the local rag, the vicar and the pallbearers. What a way to go, alone and terrified, so terrified that the only way out was to hang herself in a stinking cell in a stinking rotten prison.
My God, how that poor woman must have suffered, and worst of all is the fact that it didn’t have to end this way
, thought John, as he watched the coffin slowly roll into position in front of the small black velvet curtain which had just silently opened.
“Goodbye my love,” he softly whispered, and as the pine box gently and inexorably slid toward the furnace, a solitary tear rolled down his cheek. The curtain closed and Lynda’s mortal remains were no more.
An hour later an unsympathetic icy gust lashed John’s perturbed features as he waited in the grounds of the crematorium to collect Lynda’s ashes. He watched as another hearse rolled to a halt at the entrance.
It’s like a bloody production line, more like end of the line though
, he thought, as he watched the repeated process.
Once he had Lyn’s ashes, he decided to take them back to the little cottage by the sea, back to her beautiful little home, the home she so dearly once loved and where she was safe and rightfully belonged.
The drive back was a blur, and once John had closed the front door on the world outside he just sat in the living room, brooding while cradling the small urn. He was finding it difficult to comprehend that the dust inside the container was once a warm, loving, beautiful and sensual woman. The miserable atmosphere was almost palpable, and John’s despondency plummeted and seemed to permeate the very fabric of the building.
He reached over and pressed the button on the digital radio and Classic FM was playing Prokofiev’s ‘
’. As the sun dipped below the horizon the room gradually darkened, and as the sombre powerful chords marched around him he slipped into a terrible disposition. The murderous feelings that were once locked away began to return.
Next morning he woke early. All things considered he’d slept rather well, and was feeling in relatively good spirits as he prepared his customary black coffee and two slices of brown toast. It was the monumental scale of the undertaking that lay before him that was keeping his mind so focused. There was so much to do, measures and counter measures, plots, plans, schemes and notions of a daring and outrageous nature whirling around inside his head. Since Lynda’s demise, he hadn’t been just idly sitting around moping and feeling sorry for himself; he’d actually kept himself extremely busy. In fact, the day after being informed of Lynda’s death, he’d made arrangements to withdraw all the monies from their joint account. It was a substantial sum and it took a little under a week for the bank to agree to have the one hundred and fifty thousand pounds in cash ready for him, which he collected in person in a huge suitcase, much to the amazement and displeasure of the bank manager.
The next thing on the agenda was the fact that John Kane would have to simply disappear. He picked up the pen and wrote the words ‘Phase 1’ at the top of a small pocket notebook.
Thanks to Lynda’s son Terry, it wasn’t going to be that difficult for him to obtain another identity as Lynda had kept everything relating to her son in the vain hope that he may return again one day. Even though he’d left her at the mercy of those brutal gangsters, she’d still found it within her heart to forgive the boy.
John hated him for what he had done, and knew full well that he had no such love for his mother. He had promised himself that one day he’d track him down and tell him the whole story before making him disappear. Lynda kept all of his documents in a small drawer in the bedside cabinet. John pulled the drawer out and emptied the entire contents onto the bed and eventually found what he was looking for.
In his haste to flee the country with the large amount of money he’d borrowed from the gangster Tony Costa, Terry had left a mass of helpful info behind which would now come in very handy, and so John Kane would now simply become Terry Jackson. With the type of occupations that he would be seeking out, and with the time period involved, he was sure that his new ID would hold up to mediocre scrutiny.
Who really checks this stuff out properly anyway,
he was thinking, as he examined Terry’s birth certificate
. I never used to
, as he thought back to his days as an office manager.
Altering the date on Terry’s birth certificate would be the most difficult part, but by carefully scanning the birth certificate into the computer, and by using some Photoshop software, he was able to erase a part of Terry’s date of birth and then seamlessly replace it with his own one. Fortunately he only had to change the two digits of the year of Terry’s birth. It now read 1960 and it looked absolutely perfect.
When he was happy with his counterfeiting, which had taken most of the night, he printed off a number of proofs to test for colour and clarity, and when he was satisfied that it was right he used an old sheet of plain paper that he’d been saving. The paper had exactly the right feel, discoloration and size. He carefully sliced the blank page out of an old hardback book printed in the 1960s, ironically entitled
which he’d specifically acquired two weeks ago from the second-hand book shop in town. He held the forged certificate up to the ceiling light and waved it around under the bulb to dry the ink, and he was extremely pleased with the end result.
, he said to himself, as he switched out the light.
First thing in the morning, John went to see the estate agent that he’d phoned the day before. Nigel was the manager of the quaint Victorian cottage that had been converted into a superb little estate agents. John wanted to put Dolphin Cottage up for a quick sale on a first come, first served basis, and then grab the cash and disappear.
The estate agent was a young fresh-faced lad, and John had taken a dislike to him as soon as he heard the tone and manner of his voice on the phone. He now disliked him even more so in the flesh. There was nothing really wrong with him, except that he was too eager to please, and insincerity had always got right up John’s nose. That type of behaviour always lends itself to a certain amount of irksomeness to exude from a person. It wasn’t really his fault, it was just that nowadays John simply disliked and distrusted virtually everyone he met.
“Ah, good morning, Mr Kane isn’t it?” Nigel said with his best spray-on smile. He thrust out a soft clammy hand toward John, which he unenthusiastically shook.
“Yeah, morning,” John said half-heartedly, as he pulled out a chair and sat at the small table.
“Now, Dolphin Cottage, you said on the phone, wasn’t it? Yes, I know the property well and I’m sure it won’t take long to sell such a delightful little place. May I ask as to why you’re putting it on the market, Mr Kane?”
“You can ask,” John said, and just stared the poor guy down.
“Oh OK, we’ll put the property up on our website as soon as possible, but I’ll need to take a few photos. Would tomorrow be OK for you?” he said, in a slightly nervous tone.
John produced a USB stick and placed it onto the table.
“All on there,” he said, as he nudged the small silver device toward him with his index finger.
“Oh, right, I’ll take a look and see if they are suitable for the web site,” Nigel said, slotting the stick into the side of his laptop. He had a quick scan through. “Yes, these will do just fine, did you take them? They’re very good, you have a good eye. I’ll cut and paste them in right away and I’ll be in touch very soon. By the way, you’ll be pleased to know that I already have a young couple in mind,” he added in a furtive quiet manner, like it was some massive secret.
As he looked up from the screen, John was at the door.
“Good, contact me on my mobile and don’t forget, cash only,” John said, as he closed the door.
John wanted to simply get away from the place as quickly as possible. There was clearly no further need of it; the cottage was only bought for Lynda and she was gone. John went back to the cottage and picked up the urn containing her ashes, and walked the route that he and Lynda used to frequently stroll along.
This particular path offered the most fabulous coastal views, and as he reached the edge of the cliff top, a shaft of brilliant sunlight suddenly pierced the thick overcast sky and momentarily coated the edges of the gloomy rain clouds with slivers of glowing gold. He turned the small urn upside down and shook out the precious contents, and a gust of high wind suddenly whisked the dust heavenward.
Until now he’d put up a good fight, but the pent-up emotion unexpectedly gushed out of him. As he watched the last traces of the fine dust particles disappear from the urn, he fell to his knees as if in prayer and began to weep.
It was all just simply too much for any man to bear. When the tears subsided he sat cross-legged on the damp grass and gazed forlornly out to sea, and began to think about why and how this turbulent journey had occurred. Suddenly the slide show of appalling murders he’d committed at Costa’s night club kicked in, one after the other and in glorious colour. He thought he’d locked all of that stuff away, but here it all was back again, and the sick twisted video began to play its horror show as vividly as ever, complete with blood and guts and agonised expressions and the sounds of suffering.
All that misery and pain in order to achieve a new life with the woman that he’d fallen in love with, and now it all seemed like it had been for absolutely nothing in the end. John was now ready to move on, but before he could do so he was honour-bound to embark on one final ‘all or nothing’ job.
The more he thought about his first wife’s murder, and Lynda’s death by her own hand, the more enraged he was becoming. He suddenly jumped to his feet and every muscle in his taut, fit body suddenly stiffened with rage as he viciously punched his fist into the air and cried out, “I will bring their whole evil establishment down upon their shameful heads!”