Read Criminally Insane Online

Authors: Conrad Jones

Tags: #Fiction, #Thriller

Criminally Insane

Other Works by the Author

Criminal Revenge
The Child Taker 

Table of Contents

Criminally Insane

THAMES RIVER PRESS

An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company Limited (WPC)
Another imprint of WPC is Anthem Press (www.anthempress.com)

First published in the United Kingdom in 2012 by

THAMES RIVER PRESS
75-76 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8HA

www.thamesriverpress.com

© Conrad Jones 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher.

The moral rights of the author have been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All the characters and events described in this novel are imaginary and any similarity with real people or events is purely coincidental.

A CIP record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978-0-85728-253-8

Cover design by Laura Carless

This title is also available as an eBook.

This ebook was produced with
http://pressbooks.com
.

Prologue – The Past

Jack Howarth was waiting for his client to arrive. They were often late; it was part of the business he was in. It was a dangerous business, an evil business, but also a very lucrative one. Jack supplied people to order. Whatever his clients wanted, he could provide; men, women and children. The more specific the order was, the higher the price. Some clients were very specific, others just wanted random people. Today’s client wanted a teenage girl. He had been vague about the type of girl he wanted, so finding one whose loved ones would not report her as missing and taking her off the streets had been easy enough. Working girls went missing all the time and Jack had used that to his advantage. Tonight’s deal was not a rental agreement paid for by the hour or charged according to how much damage he would cause her, this deal was for keeps. Jack would take the money from his client and hand over the girl, job done. He had drugged her and snatched her from the backstreets of Manchester where she plied her trade. Now Jack had the unfortunate girl trussed up in the back of his campervan, covered with a quilt. Once the handover was complete, it would be the client’s job to dispose of the girl when he was finished with her. Jack climbed into the back of the camper and checked that there were no gaps in the curtains. Sometimes they moved when he was driving. It was the umpteenth time he had checked them but he couldn’t be too careful. He was always one mistake away from life in jail. The girl moaned softly and moved beneath the quilt. He pulled the edge back and looked at her face.

“I hope you slept well, darling,” Jack smiled. He touched her cheek with a gloved hand. She opened her eyes and blinked. Jack peeled the tape from her mouth and placed his index finger to his lips. “Don’t scream or I will hurt you,” he whispered.

“Where am I?” she asked. She was confused and the chloroform made her feel sick. The camper was warm and cosy and a battery lantern cast an amber glow inside. “How did I get here?”

“I took you,” Jack smiled again. “What is your name?”

“Sarah,” she croaked. Her throat was dry and her tongue felt swollen and rough. “Could I have a drink of water please?”

“I don’t see why not, as long as you behave.” Jack said sternly. His face became serious and he raised his finger to his lips again. “No noise, understand?”

“Okay,” Sarah whispered. Her senses were returning slowly. “My arms are hurting me.” Cramps were creeping from her shoulder sockets down her arms and into her hands. She tried to move them but he had tied them together tightly. Her memory of the last few hours was hazy but she recalled someone clamping strong hands over her mouth and then a nauseous smell had filled her nose. Then there was nothing. “Why have you tied me up?”

“Keep still,” Jack said. “I’ll move you onto your side.” There was a kitchen unit behind the driver’s seat and Jack took a bottle of water from the camping fridge. He twisted the top off and placed it to her lips.

Sarah lifted her head and gulped from the bottle. The water trickled from the side of her mouth and ran down her neck. “Why am I here?” she asked.

“Don’t worry about it. I have a job for you.” Jack grinned and his face looked evil in the half-light. “You like selling your body for money, don’t you?”

“No,” she croaked. A bolt of fear shot down her spine and she could feel tears welling up in her eyes. “I don’t like it. None of the girls do but I need to pay the rent. I hate what I do.”

“Whatever,” Jack said quietly. “You sell your body for sex.”

“I’m only doing it until I get on my feet.”

“Poor Sarah,” Jack whispered. “Don’t kid yourself, sweetheart. You’re a slut.”

“I wasn’t always like this.” Sarah spoke softly, trying not to aggravate to keep her captor. All the advice she had ever read told her to try to keep a potential rapist calm. She had to try to make him see her as a seventeen-year-old girl, not a piece of meat. “I ran away from home and I was desperate.”

“Blah, blah, blah,” Jack chuckled. “I’ve heard it all before, princess, but it all adds up to the same thing. You’re nothing but a little whore.”

“If you are going to rape me, I won’t tell anyone, I promise,” Sarah said bluntly. She had been on the streets for nearly two years, and rape was an occupational hazard. Some of the older girls had warned her about the psychos she would encounter on the job. They had told her not to resist if a punter turned violent. It had happened a few times. She learned that resisting only made it worse. Her number one objective was to get away from this man in one piece. It was better to let him do what he wanted and leave unharmed. “I can make you feel good. If you untie me, we can have some fun. Do what you want but please don’t hurt me.”

“Oh Sarah,” Jack smiled. “As much as I would love to indulge myself, I’m afraid you belong to another man, or you will once he pays me.”

“What do you mean?” Sarah tried to stay calm. There was something intrinsically bad about this man, very bad indeed. Cold shivers ran down her spine and her stomach contracted with fear. Sarah knew fear well. It was a fellow traveller through her life. Fear had always been her companion. She remembered the nights when her mother went to bingo and left her in the care of her stepfather. She dreaded hearing the front door closing and the sound of his footsteps coming up the stairs. When her bedroom door handle turned, a knot would appear in her stomach to the point where she could hardly breathe. She remembered the feeling of fear well, very well. She felt fear when he came to her and she felt fear when he left her lying in his sticky fluids. The fear of her mother finding his stains in her bed was almost as bad as what he did to her. Sarah knew fear and she knew guilt and self-loathing. They were constants in her world. It was the fear of him hurting her night after night that had driven her from her home onto the streets. She was frightened now, terribly frightened. “What are you going to do?”

“Sell you, darling. I’m your new manager, sort of,” Jack smiled again. He stuck the tape back over her mouth and smothered her nose with the chloroform soaked cloth. “You sell yourself for a few pounds here and there but you don’t realise how valuable you are, darling. Sleep tight, pretty Sarah.” he whispered in her ear as he held her down until the feeble struggle waned. Sarah drifted off into a dream in which she was at home after a normal night, a long shower and a bowl of tomato soup on her mind. They made her feel more human. Galaxy chocolate worked too. She loved the cookie crumble bar best. It didn’t take the sick feeling away but it was her little piece of sanity in an insane world.

Jack watched her eyes close and when the struggling stopped, he climbed back into the driver’s seat. He opened the door and stepped out into the night. It was cold as he waited, and a light drizzle began to fall. The temperature was falling day by day now as autumn turned to winter and the dark nights closed in. Jack liked the winter months because the darkness hid a multitude of his sins, not that he saw them as sins, business was business. Headlights swept the night sky and illuminated the trees on the edge of the car park. The branches were losing their leaves and there was a thick covering of dead foliage on the ground. Jack watched from the cover of the trees, waiting until he was sure that it was his client in the car. It might be a courting couple looking for some privacy for their lovemaking or it might be a random police patrol car looking for drug dealers, who frequented this isolated spot. There was a long approach road from the main arterial route to this park. It gave him plenty of time to make sure the vehicle was the one he was waiting for. He could not be too careful.

Jack had arranged the deal on the internet. His client had said that he would be driving a dark blue Nissan pickup with a lid fitted on the back. Vans and campers were better for this kind of work but a closed pickup truck would suffice. The girl could be bundled into it within seconds, and then she would no longer be Jack’s problem. The Nissan pulled in and the driver dipped the lights three times as agreed, so far, so good. Jack had to be careful. He was a hunted man. Police forces all over Europe and Africa wanted him removed from society and his trade extinguished. As the vehicle stopped, Jack walked to the passenger door and opened it. He climbed onto the running board to jump into the front seat.

“Nice night,” he sneered. His teeth were blackened and crooked. He had thought about having them fixed so that children would not be as wary of him but he hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Anyway, he quite liked the look of disgust on their faces when he smiled. Dentists wanted too many personal details before they would accept a new patient these days, and changing his identity so often also meant that he had to change his documentation constantly. Jack couldn’t stay in one place too long. If they caught him, they would lock him up for the remainder of his life. He’d had a few close shaves with the law, and he didn’t need any more. The last time the police had caught him, they had cuffed him to a hospital bed whilst his injuries were treated. Jack had had to slice off his own thumb with a scalpel to slip the handcuffs. Since then, he had been extra careful, never staying in one place for too long, constantly changing his identity. The client looked nervous, holding the steering wheel tightly. Jack blew into his hands to warm them as he spoke. The scar tissue where his thumb had once been twinged with pain when it was cold. “She’s sleeping like a baby, nice and compliant, if you know what I mean.”

“How old is she?” The client asked without looking at him or letting go of the wheel. He stared around the empty car park searching the shadows for danger. Jack could tell this was his client`s first time and he loved his discomfort.

“She told me she was at least sixteen, Your Honour,” Jack joked. “She’s as old as you want her to be. What does it matter?”

“You must have an idea,” the client said curiously. He could feel his nerve endings tingling at the thought of what he was about to do. On the way to the meeting, he had stopped the truck twice. Part of him was excited. Part of him was terrified. “I wouldn’t feel right if she was too young.”

“You’ve bought a girl to keep. How right can that be?” Jack laughed at the client’s confused morals. “What do you want, adoption papers?”

“Of course not, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m a paedophile.”

“I don’t give a fuck what you are. You asked for a teenager,” Jack shrugged. “That’s what I have. Do you want her or do you want to discuss the deeper moral issues of kidnap and rape and its effect on modern society for a while?”

“There‘s no need to be arsy, I’m nervous, that’s all.” The client’s face darkened. He was angry and embarrassed by Jack’s bluntness. He coughed and asked, “Can I see her?”

“Afraid not,” Jack whispered. “You asked for a teenage girl who would not be missed, and that is what I have. Once the payment is complete, you can look at her all you want. She’s all yours.”

“Where is she from?” He didn’t know why he wanted to know, but he did.

“What?” Jack frowned.

“I just wondered where she was from.” The client felt silly for asking the question. The seller was making him nervous. There was something creepy about him.

“She has her wallet, mobile phone and driving license in her handbag.” Jack smiled.

“Has she?” The client’s eyebrows rose in surprise.

“Of course,” Jack smiled again, “and she has her pyjamas in her overnight bag.”

“Are you taking the piss?” The client realised that what Jack was saying was ludicrous. “There’s no need to take the piss. I’m not stupid.”

“Then don’t ask stupid questions,” Jack stopped smiling and glared at him. His eyes were dark and piercing and the client broke his stare and looked away. “Let’s cut to the chase, shall we?”

“What do you mean?”

“Let me see the money.”

The client twisted in his seat and reached for a holdall. As he came closer, Jack could smell alcohol on his breath, whisky and beer. He placed the holdall between them and unzipped it. There were bundles of twenty-pound notes in the bag. The price for the girl was five grand but there was much more than that in the bag; much, much more. The client looked at Jack for a reaction, and Jack saw that there was a glaze on his eyes. His client was drunk and stoned. The man was a fool. He was driving under the influence to pick up a random kidnapped girl with a bag full of money. If the police pulled him over, he would have some explaining to do. Jack was annoyed and he wanted to get away from the client. Drunken people make mistakes and Jack had to be careful.

“You’re pissed,” Jack hissed. It was no wonder the client was asking stupid questions. “I warned you, no drink or drugs before the handover.”

“Look, if she’s good, there’s plenty more where this came from,” the client nodded and smiled. He had had to drink to calm his nerves. “I’ve had a big payoff from the army. I’ve got money and I want a regular supply.”

“From the army?” Jack asked. The sight of the bundles of notes made him stop in his tracks for a moment. His mind was ticking.

“Yes, they booted me out but I got a good payout,” the client said, trying to make a joke of it.

“Very good,” Jack leaned toward him and sneered again. He didn’t think he was going to do the deal as arranged anymore. He thought about the drugged prostitute in his camper and he looked at the bagful of banknotes again. That amount of money would last a long time, and he could keep the girl for himself for a few days until she bored him. He felt his pulse racing as he thought about hurting her. This was a great opportunity, and he was never one to miss an opportunity. His hand slipped into his pocket and closed around the handle of a carpet knife. “I think we can conclude our business without any further chitchat, don’t you?”

“Yes, that’s fine,” his client stammered. He tried a smile but it didn’t hide his nervousness.

“Shit!” Jack hissed, nodding his head towards the entrance road and pointing his spindly finger. “Police car,” he lied.

The client turned to look where he was pointing and Jack moved quickly, pushing his client’s head back against the seat. The blade flashed in the darkness and a crescent-shaped rent appeared in his client’s throat. The man twitched and thrashed his arms around, trying to stem the jet of blood, but Jack held his head tightly until the gurgling sound subsided and the thick coppery smell of blood filled the air.

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