TORTURED JUSTICE


Read the first chapter of Tortured Justice.






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PROLOGUE


The head of the group watched the other women arguing amongst themselves, frustrated that her well-thought-out plan appeared to be doomed from the outset. What is wrong with you lot? I’ve spent months hatching this plan! Months!
She clapped, calling for everyone’s attention in the Griffin Hotel’s conference room. She had booked the room at short notice because some of the women had complained they didn’t have the time to drive out to the group’s usual meeting place. Felicity had been cute when making the booking and used a fake name to avoid leaving a paper trail. “Keep the noise down to minimum, girls, as agreed. Right, have we decided?” Silence greeted her, and by the looks on the other members’ faces it wasn’t difficult to tell that in the past hour they had accomplished exactly nothing. She puffed out her cheeks as she sighed. “Okay, maybe we should just call the whole bloody thing off?”
“No! We can’t do that.” Julie stepped forward, towards Felicity. “I’ll volunteer to go first, if you like.”
Felicity acknowledged the woman’s bravery with a smile. “That’s settled then. The next question is: when should we carry out the deed? We need to be discreet, girls. The last thing we want to do is draw attention to ourselves. Not yet, not at this early stage. Any suggestions, Julie? You know him. We’re at a disadvantage in that respect, we have no idea about his routine.”     
“Well, tonight would be an ideal opportunity. He usually goes to the pub on a Friday night around nine. Is that too soon to organise something?”
Felicity looked at the watch on her slender wrist and swept back a wisp of long blonde hair as she contemplated. “Well, it’s seven o’clock now. I set up the other venue earlier just in case we came to a decision today to forge ahead with the plan. Let’s take a vote on it, shall we? All those in favour of grabbing our first victim tonight, say I.”
The I’s were slow in coming much to Felicity’s frustration. But eventually, after a few stragglers finally agreed, the plan was approved by the rest of the group. Her heart pounded; was that through fear or because of the excitement building within?
“Okay, let’s get this plan sorted into some semblance of order. Julie, you say…” she paused and waited for her second-in-command to fill in the man’s name.
“Don.”
“Right, Don. Ah yes, I remember him well.” Not personally, but she thought she had a fair idea of the pain and anguish the man had put her friend through over the years. It was time to rectify all those wrongs. And tonight we’re going to hand that punishment out, all of us. That’s what this group was about, righting the wrongs the men in each of the women’s lives, had put them through over the years. “What pub?”
“The Horse and Cart.”
“Okay, I need two more volunteers to accompany Julie and me this evening. The rest of you will go back to the other venue and wait for us.”
The women chatted amongst themselves before Mags and Elaine raised their hands.
“Excellent. I have the weapons ready in the car.”
“Weapons? No one said anything about using weapons,” Elaine mumbled, fear lingering in her pale grey eyes.
Felicity folded her arms and tapped her foot. “How else do you expect us to overpower these men, Elaine? I’m all ears, hon?”
The woman gulped. “I suppose I hadn’t really thought about that side of things.”
Felicity raised her hand and pointed a finger at the crowd. “If anyone wants to back out, you need to speak up now. After tonight it will be too late to change things.”
The other nine women shook their heads. Felicity couldn’t help wondering how many of the women would regret agreeing to go ahead with the plan after the night was out. She thought the older women in the group would be the first to revolt after they captured Don.
For the next half an hour they wrote out the details of the attack in full and thirty minutes after that the group split up. Six of the ladies jumped into two cars and headed back to the cottage, while Julie, Mags, and Elaine joined their leader in the car and drove to the Horse and Cart, where they awaited their prey.
   Julie pointed at a silver Mondeo which cruised to a halt at the rear of the car park. Fortunately, the car park was pretty quiet for this time of night, especially on a Friday due to the local football team holding their annual awards dinner at the community centre down the road. Don left his vehicle and walked towards the car the ladies were hiding in close to the entrance of the pub.
“Get ready, girls. Julie, you get out of the car first and strike up a conversation with him. Can you do that?”
Julie shrugged and her mouth twisted. “Oh my! I’m not sure.”
“It’s too late to have second thoughts now,” Mags snarled in the back seat. “Get a grip, woman and get out there.”
“Thank you, Mags, less of the anger.”
“Sorry. Come on, Julie. We have one shot at this,” Mags stated, offering her friend a smile.
Julie let out an exasperated breath and hooked her hand around the door handle. “Wish me luck.”
“Good luck,” the three girls responded. Felicity reached down beside her and pulled out the cricket bat. It was the only weapon she could lay her hands on at her home; everything else was at the cottage. She squinted as she watched Julie take slow, hesitant steps towards the man who’d made her life hell throughout their ten-year marriage. Don’s pace never faltered as he neared his ex-wife but his face contorted with rage. “Get ready, girls, I’m not liking the way he’s greeting her.”
Julie tried to stand in her ex’s path but he brushed her slight frame aside. The car doors opened at the same time and the three occupants formed a line in front of the shocked man. His eyes drifted down to the bat Felicity was tapping in the palm of her hand.
“What’s going on here? Get out of my way?” He spun around and shouted at Julie. “Are you behind this?”
Julie stormed forward and slapped her ex hard around the face. “Yes, meet my friends. They’d like a little chat with you.”
Before he had the chance to respond, Felicity swiped the bat, aiming at his head. The man tottered unsteadily in place. Another blow with the bat forced him down on the ground. The girls launched, attacking him with their weapons. A high-heeled shoe stabbed him in the upper leg. Another blunt instrument in the shape of a stunted iron bar came crashing down on his forearm. Everyone in the group heard the bone snap and Don cried out in pain.
“Stop! I’ll get you for this, Julie, if it’s the last thing I do.” He cried out again, his injured arm clutched the top of his other arm as the pain increased on his face. He gasped for breath and whimpered, “Help me, the pain… I need to go to the hosp…” his voice trailed off as the women continued to beat him.
A few seconds later, Julie called a halt to the attack. “Stop. That’s enough. We want him alive, don’t we? What’s the pleasure in killing him now, we need him to really suffer.”
The four women looked around them, then stared down at the man writhing in agony on the tarmac at their feet.
“We didn’t hit him that much. What’s wrong with him?” Mags asked bewildered.
Julie gasped and her hand flew up to cover her mouth.
Felicity took a step toward her, confused by her friend’s reaction. “What? What is it, Julie?”
“Damn, I forgot.”
“Forgot what?” Felicity demanded.
“He has a bad heart.”
“Crap, now you tell me?” Felicity paced the immediate area as she thought and clicked her fingers when she came up with a solution. “Okay, let’s get him in the car.”
“Why?” Julie asked.
“We’ll drop him off near the hospital.”      
The four women each grabbed a limb and bundled the groaning man into the back of the car. Felicity jumped in the driver’s seat and revved the engine while the others strapped on their seatbelts. “Ready? Keep an eye on him, he might be pulling a fast one.”
“I doubt that, his lips are turning blue. Hurry!” Julie replied, unmistakable panic in her voice.
Felicity put her foot down, the car sped out of the car park and headed towards the hospital. The only sound in the car was the increasing moans of their victim. The vehicle came to an abrupt halt in the street just around the corner from the hospital entrance. “Okay, let’s get him out.”
Julie gasped again. “My God, you can’t leave him here. We have to take him to A&E. If he dies what will happen to us then?”
“Stop panicking, Julie, he’s not going to die.” Felicity got out of the car and opened the back door. Mags jumped out and together they heaved the victim from the vehicle. He fell to the ground amidst more grunts and groans. “Get back in, Mags.”
Felicity sped away from the scene at seventy miles an hour, taking a cursory glimpse in the rear-view mirror at the pain-riddled man they’d left lying on the ground, uncertain if he’d just taken his final breath or not. 


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