Authors: Marnie Perry
"THE DEVIL TO PAY”
M. A. Perry
Copyright 2010. By M. A. Perry. Published at Smashwords.
“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
After years of drudgery and unpaid servitude to her demanding and abusive mother, shy, reserved ADELA FARADAY is finally free. She has won a great deal of money on the lottery and with her mother now dead embarks on the trip of a lifetime, touring the southern states of America.
On her third day in
Alabama she meets JONAS LANDO, a disdainful, rude and embittered hermit, haunted by the death of his wife. She is wary but intrigued by him, especially when he comes to her rescue when she is lost in the woods.
On her fourth day she herself rescues a young girl on the run from the rich and powerful but sadistic Dashiel Glissando. After several frights and near misses Adela finally manages to get the girl out of the country and thinking that is the end of her adventures continues with her tour not knowing that the enraged Glissando has discovered her part in the girl’s escape. He enlists the help of a hitman, STERLING HENNESSEY, with instructions to extract any information about Desdemona’s---Glissando calls all his employees by names of character’s in Shakespeare’s plays---whereabouts then kill her. Hennessey tracks her to her next port of call, Mississippi, and there befriends her hoping to illicit information the easy way before he does what he's been paid to do.
But Hennessey, the world weary, dispassionate, cold hearted killer is not prepared for the feelings she engenders in him. Feelings of respect, protectiveness, and affection.
But he’s torn between the five million dollars Glissando has promised him, a personal oath he himself has made and his affection for Adela.
Then something happens that causes him to act quickly and he kidnaps Adela, but she escapes and seeks refuge in the home of Jonas Lando. But it’s not long before Glissando’s men come calling and Adela has to decide who to trust, the troubled and tormented Jonas Lando. Sterling Hennessey, the man who taught her what it was like to be a woman yet is a ruthless, cold blooded killer. Or Ellis Leyton the detective, undecided whether she is Hennessey’s accomplice or his victim.
An abused, desperate runaway. A naïve but stout hearted tourist. A ruthless, determined killer. An embittered, jaded ex cop. All cross paths in this story of trust and betrayal, truth and deceit, revenge and love.
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA. JULY, 17
She could hear them coming, closer, closer. They were right behind her. She could hear the barks and growls of the dogs and the shouts and curses of the men. Hurry, hurry or die.
The scorching July sun beat mercilessly down causing sweat to run into her eyes blinding her. Almost there. Only a twelve foot fence stood between her and the road. Between subjugation and freedom. Between life and death. A 200,000 volt electrified fence. But she could do this. She
to do this.
She’d noticed the gap in the fence on one of her rare excursions into the woods surrounding the house. Or rather a fox had shown it to her. The animal had looked at her suspiciously before dashing off into the trees. Or so she had thought. But to her amazement it had appeared again on the other side of the fence. How had it gotten there without being fried to a crisp?
The fox continued to stare at her in an odd way, no longer suspicious but almost encouraging, daring her even, to follow him.
She glanced over her shoulder at the two guards and saw that they were watching her. As nonchalantly as she could she walked towards the fence. The fox immediately took off across the field. She bent down as if to look at the flowers that grew around the perimeter of the fence. She picked one and smelled it but her eyes were on the wire meshing.
At first she couldn’t see how the fox had gotten out, but as her eyes travelled down the fence she saw the earth around it had been disturbed. Something had dug a hole; how they had done it without being electrocuted she didn't know. It was a small hole, not big enough for a human to get through, not even a slim young girl. But if it were made larger.
one of her guards called, ‘times up.’
She rose reluctantly and they followed her back to the house.
She thought of little else but the hole and the fox, how he had looked tauntingly at her. She prayed for another opportunity to study the hole more closely.
That opportunity did not come for another month.
took up all her time. He wanted her to entertain his business associates. Serve them drinks. Smile at their vulgar jokes. Be nice to them. Be subservient. Be seen but not heard.
Eventually he told her that as she’d been so good and obedient she could have a treat, a walk in the grounds. She fought to hide her elation, but then she had fought to hide her feelings all her life, so it was not too difficult. Of course she’d had to reward him in bed that night.
The next day she had strolled as though aimlessly, while all the time making for the gap in the fence. She once more stooped to pick the flowers and once more sniffed at them.
Her guards had become bored and leaned against a tree smoking and talking filthily about the female servants. She did not waste the opportunity and with her back to them, started to dig, very carefully so as not to touch the fence.
Her hands of course would be filthy but she’d think of some excuse or other, she had become an expert liar in the last twelve years.
She dug until the hole was twice as big as when she started, it was then that one of her guards yelled over, ‘hey, whatcha doin' there?’
She stood up unhurriedly and began to wander as unconcernedly as she could towards them saying, ‘just picking some flowers for my room.’ She held up the flowers she had pulled out of the ground. The man who had yelled said disparagingly, ‘flowers? Fuck flowers. Look at your hands you stupid bitch.’
She looked down as though surprised. ‘Oh, I didn’t notice.’
The man walked threateningly towards her but stopped dead when
she said innocently, ‘I thought Dashiel might like them, they smell nice, see.’ She thrust the flowers at him.
He recoiled as though she was pointing a knife at his heart. He looked at her
with suspicion and dislike, ‘it’s time to go, get moving.’ And mumbling, ‘fucking flowers,’ followed her out of the woods and across the lawn. Silently she thanked God for making these men so stupid.
It had been another two weeks before she had another chance to work on the hole,
and another month after that before she could put her plan into effect. Six weeks of trying to hide her excitement and anticipation and fear.
But now that chance was here and when her two guards had stopped to light their cigarettes and were again distracted…this time by the pretty new maid who was washing windows at the front of the house…she seized her chance.
Luck had been with her thus far but now she hesitated. Fear replaced the excitement, despair replaced the hope. She looked at the fence and thought about her life here, if that’s what you could call this existence. She thought about
and the things he did, the things he would do if she were to be caught now.
Stay and be punished. Go and maybe die. Or take that first step to freedom. It was now or never.
Sweat oozing from every pour, heart racing, she took a deep breath, dropped to the ground and crawled on her stomach through the hole she and her friend the fox had made. She was half way through when terror gripped her. Just one hair of her head had to touch the fence to fry her like a shrimp on a grill. The yelling and barking was closer now. They were here. It was all the incentive she needed. She pushed aside the fear and doubt gritted her teeth, grabbed handfuls of grass in her fists and pulled until she was on the other side of the fence.
But now they were close. She could hear dogs baying and men yelling.
Dogs and men all out for blood.
Breathing hard, heart pounding, she ran, like the wind.
, TENNESSE. JULY 17
He looked around the room, at the barred windows, the locked and bolted door, the cameras. They never learned these people. They thought they were being so clever, so careful, so safe, when in fact they were being the exact opposite. These men of power and wealth who hid behind high walls and electrified fences and big men with even bigger guns, were so easy to read. So easy to find. So easy to kill. For a man such as his target this was almost
It had taken just ten minutes to get through the electrified fence, (give me a break). Another ten to traverse the grounds and avoid the big men with even bigger guns, (oh,
.) And fifteen to locate and corner his target, (oh, come
shed just once for variation, for originality, and that just once one of these bastards would give him something to get his teeth into. Something to challenge him. Something to bring back the excitement. Oh well, maybe next time.
He looked out the window at the moonless black night, then again at the man on the bed. He was alone, poor thing. Still, he wouldn’t be alone much longer, in five seconds he would be in hell surrounded by others like him. His own evil kind.
He smiled to himself as he imagined them comparing notes and all with the same name on their lips. The name of the man who had penetrated their impenetrable fortress and taken their lives. And that name would be his.
He put the barrel of the gun against the man’s temple, pulled back the hammer and squeezed the trigger.
Alban, Alabama. 17
Less than one hundred miles away Adela Faraday was standing on a pavement which positively shimmered in the July sun asking herself, "How did people do this? How did they stand this overpowering and oppressive heat?" How she longed for a little good old English rain right now.
Although she tried to appear cool and unruffled as she entered the café, the sweat pouring down her burning cheeks betrayed her. She had been staying in the small town of Alban for three days but had never been in this place before and felt a little awkward and shy. Not that she wasn’t always awkward and shy, but knowing she looked like a lobster, a lobster in boiling water at that, tripled her discomfort. Stumbling into a chair and almost toppling it didn’t help either. Still, at least her face couldn’t get any redder.
There were only a handful of people inside the café, but Adela still felt a wave of embarrassment as she threaded her way around the tables to the rear thinking it would be cooler still there
She contemplated sitting with her back to everyone but decided that would appear rude, so slipping her backpack from her shoulders she hung it over the back of the chair keeping her head bent hoping the straw hat she wore would conceal her embarrassment. She was aware that good manners dictate she remove her hat, but knew her hair would be plastered to her head and had a vision of cascades of sweat pouring down her face like a waterfall if she took it off.
Her eyes not yet accustomed to the gloom she almost missed the seat as she sat. Or maybe she was going blind, her eyeballs having being broiled inside their sockets, despite her expensive sunglasses.
She looked up to see the handful of people watching her with mild curiosity, which turned to amusement mixed with sympathy.
It had been a bad idea to wear jeans because now they were stuck to her legs which felt as though they were on fire. She was grateful however for the white T-shirt she was wearing, having almost gone for navy blue which would definitely have shown up the perspiration stains. One good idea out of a montage of bad ones, way to go, Adela. She desperately wanted to slip her shoes from her aching, swollen feet but didn’t want to give the other customers something else to smile about.
What on God’s good green earth had possessed her, she must be mad, certifiable.
Okay, the holiday had been a good idea, she had needed to get away that much was clear. And yes, the destination had been an excellent choice, and the cabin, isolated as it was, had turned out to be a good decision too. No, it was none of these things she was complaining about, it was her timing that was all out of kilter. Who but an idiot would take their dream holiday to the southern states of America in their summer time with temperatures soaring in the 100’s…in the shade. Oh yes, very smart, Adela.