Ultimate justice, p.1
Ultimate Justice, page 1
Other Books by M A Comley
Note to the Reader
M A Comley
OTHER BOOKS BY
M A COMLEY
Torn Apart (coming in June 2013)
It’s A Dog’s Life
A Time For Change
A Time To Heal
A Twist in The Tale
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If you fancy something a little saucy why not pick up one of the short erotic stories I have written under the name of Tiffany Towers http://tiffanytowers1.blogspot.fr/
This book is dedicated to my rock, Jean and Nic my renovating buddy.
The swell of the sea had doubled in size in the last thirty minutes.
“Skipper, it’s no good. We won’t make it,” Taylor shouted above the thunder and the howling wind that surrounded them.
The captain threw back his right arm, which connected hard with Taylor’s face. Taylor staggered unsteadily on his feet and landed heavily against the door to the tiny bridge. “Get away from me, you imbecile. I give the orders around here, not you. You hear me?”
Taylor righted himself and surged forward, determined to make the captain change his mind. It would be foolish for them to try to enter the port in a storm like this. He watched out the starboard porthole at the waves continually bombarding the deck, and knew they wouldn’t have long before the sea welcomed them with open arms and sucked the life out of them. Thoughts of his wife, Sonia, and his three adorable children entered his mind and stayed there, as if mocking him for undertaking this perilous voyage, despite the huge risk involved. Unexpectedly, his family’s beautiful smiles and the shocking thought that he’d never see any of them again spurred him into action.
He scanned the wheelhouse for a possible weapon. He saw a metal bar in the corner and pounced on it. “Skipper, stand away from the helm.”
Captain Smythe, a man built like a heavy weight boxer, snarled at Taylor before his gaze drifted to the bar he was holding. “Think you can take me on, sonny? Fancy a bit of mutiny, do ya?”
“Our lives are in danger, Skipper. Surely you can see that?” Taylor watched as madness seemed to settle in his aggressor’s eyes.
“I see no such thing. It’s a storm, and a tiny one at that. I’ve been at sea longer than you’ve been out of nappies, lad. Now, let me bring this old girl and her cargo in. Have a day off from your foolishness for a change. Leave this job for a real man to handle.”
The captain’s undermining of him incensed Taylor. He gritted his teeth and his knuckles turned white around the bar he was holding. Smythe turned his attention back to fighting the helm. “You fucking idiot.” Taylor ran at him, screaming like a banshee with the bar high above his head. “I’ll be damned if I’ll stand by and let you kill us all.”
Smythe cried out in pain as the bar crashed against his skull, but he didn’t go down as Taylor had expected. “Ya bastard. Think you can take me on, do ya? You’re the fucking idiot around here if you think that.” Smythe’s iron-like hands connected with first the right and then the left side of Taylor’s face, leaving him dazed. The bar crashed to the floor, and stunned, Taylor held his head in his hands. He’d never been hit so hard by a man before, and he’d been in several fights over his thirty-odd years on Earth.
The boat swayed violently as both men stood their ground, eyeing each other with caution and contempt, but at the same time unaware of the screams coming from the hold below.
The captain beckoned to Taylor. “Come on, then, if you think you’re hard enough. Give me what you’ve got, you nancy boy, with your snooty redheaded wife and your two point four children.”
The captain’s intentional goading worked, and Taylor charged him with all his might. The captain’s chest puffed out and his fists clenched into tight balls. Taylor was clobbered around both ears before he got within a foot of Smythe, but he kept up his charge, despite being almost knocked senseless. Taylor bowed his head low and charged into the captain’s portly stomach. Smythe only laughed at his inept attempt to bring him down.
Taylor, his blood boiling with anger, stooped to the floor and retrieved the bar. He swung it like a golf club at the captain’s lower leg. With the boat being tossed in the high waves, the captain lost his balance and hollered as he went down. His head hit the side of the binnacle supporting the helm, and blood erupted from a wound above his right eye. Taylor tried to stop the wheel from spinning out of control, catching his hand several times in the spokes in the process. “Fuck!” he cried out as a bone snapped in his little finger.
The captain, who was lying on the floor, laughed.
Taylor glared at him, then turned his attention back to the helm, and, watching it intently, he waited for the opportune moment to come his way. Finally, he grabbed one of the spokes firmly with both hands while he anchored himself behind the wheel, his feet spread wide apart. Feeling calmer now that he appeared to have the vessel under control, he guided the ship out to sea and away from the port they had been heading towards.
“Turn this ship around. If you don’t, we’ll go under for sure,” the captain insisted.
“Shut your mouth. If I’d left things for you to sort out, we would have been smashed to pieces on the rocks by now.”
“It takes decades of experienced sailing to become a captain. You’ve got neither the balls nor the stamina, sonny, to bring this ship home safely.”
“We’ll see about that, old man.” Taylor focused fully on the task at hand and chose to ignore anything else the captain had to say. In the distance, he could hear the ghostly screams of their cargo riding on the howling wind. He gulped down the frustration building within him and steered the vessel through the tumultuous waves. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the captain struggle to his feet. But there was little Taylor could do about the captain’s impending attack. His back took the force of the captain’s strike. He gasped for breath as the air was driven from his lungs. Excruciating pain shot through his body.
“Take that, you bastard. I’m taking control of my ship. My ship, you hear me?” The captain ran to the wheel.
Taylor’s hand went in search of what was causing the pain in his back, and his heart sank when he discovered the six-inch blade embedded there. He crumpled to his knees as the blood started to drain from his body. The beautiful faces of his young family flashed before his eyes once again. He asked only one thing: “Why?”
The captain took his eye off the sea for a split second to gla
Smythe did nothing to prevent his exit for, despite his hulking frame, the water dragged the captain through the doorway after Taylor. They both choked on the salt water as the mighty energy of the unforgiving, raging sea pulled their heads under the surface. Taylor watched his captain resurface three or four times, his body smashing against the taffrail a few times before being washed overboard and out to sea. Taylor finally succumbed to the sea’s beckoning call.
It wasn’t long before the ship, in her last death throes, finally sank.
The sea sighed with satisfaction at the devastation it had caused, yet no one was there to hear it. Even the ship’s valuable cargo had been silenced.
“Why, you little monkey, bite the hand that feeds you, would you?” Lorne picked up the bundle of black and white fluff and kissed the eight-week-old pup on the tip of his nose.
“He’ll soon learn that you don’t take crap from men,” Tony laughed before he took a sip of his coffee.
“Hey, you cheeky sod, who asked you for your opinion? Aren’t they just adorable?” Lorne placed the male pup back in the zoned-off area in the kitchen with his six siblings and then fluttered her eyelashes innocently at her husband.
Tony replied with two simple words: “Yes. No.”
“What do you mean, ‘no?’”
Tony laughed and shook his head. “I was pre-empting your next question,” he told her. Then he put on a whiny voice and continued, “Couldn’t we make room in the house for just one more dog? Henry’s lonely.”
Lorne rose from the floor, picked the tea towel up off the counter, and aimed it at his head. “Dear husband of mine, has anyone ever told you that you can be cuttingly mean at times?”
Tony reached out and pulled her onto his lap, kissing her hard on the lips. The kiss took her breath away for a second or two. He murmured against her lips, “Umm…yes—you. But I tend to ignore what you say half the time.”
A cough from the doorway interrupted their romantic moment. Lorne’s father, Sam Collins, looked embarrassed as he walked over to the kettle and switched it on. “Don’t mind me, you two.”
Lorne shot off Tony’s lap and went to hug her father. “Sorry, Dad. I didn’t know you were up. Did you sleep all right?”
Her father pecked her on the cheek. “Not really, love. I was awake for three or four hours during the night, as usual.”
Lorne had been worried about her father’s insomnia for months now. Since he’d been hospitalised with meningitis, his sleep had been dramatically affected. In turn, this had hampered his ability to lend a hand around the rescue centre. It was like a domino effect in that this also hindered Lorne’s new private investigation business. But there was a light at the end of that particularly dark tunnel, as the school holidays were just around the corner. Which meant that Charlie, Lorne’s teenage daughter, would be eager to help out more around the kennels, tending to the numerous strays Lorne was trying—without much luck—to rehome. Due to the recession hitting the UK, their occupancy numbers had risen to an all-time high of thirty. Ever the softie where dogs were concerned, Lorne found it exceedingly difficult to turn away animals in need, hence the little family of pups invading her family’s private space. The only member of the family who didn’t seem to mind the pups being there was their Border collie, Henry. The devoted collie kept a constant watch over the tiny pups as if they were his own flesh and blood.
Concerned, Lorne hooked her arm through her father’s. “Why don’t you go back to bed, Dad? We can handle things around here this morning.”
Unhooking his arm, her father smiled. “I’ll be fine. When you get to my age—closer to the grave—you need less sleep, anyway.”
“Dad, what a dreadful thing to say.” Lorne glanced over at Tony, hoping he would back her up and reprimand her father, but he didn’t. As usual, he stayed out of their father–daughter discussions. Just as her father remained silent during those times when Lorne and Tony’s marital bliss wasn’t so blissful. Not that they argued much—any arguments Lorne and Tony had were miniscule compared to the ones she’d had with Charlie’s father, Tom.
“I’m only being honest, love. It’s something you’re going to have to get used to. I’ll be joining your mum soon enough.” Tears misted Lorne’s eyes, and her father hugged her. “You, daft mare. Don’t go getting all maudlin on me. Hey, where’s my breakfast? I fancy scrambled eggs on toast this morning. Have you two eaten?”
Lorne knew that was her cue to back off. Her father was an expert at changing conversations midway through when the subject matter got too tough to handle.
“We had some toast earlier. You sit down and I’ll do it for you, Dad.” His expression reprimanded her without him having to open his mouth. She held up her hands in submission. “Okay, I’ll get the eggs out of the pantry for you. I collected them this morning from the hens. I was wondering whether we should put a small table out the front with an honesty box—what do you think?”
“Sure, if you want the front of the house pelted with eggs,” Tony muttered as he picked up the morning paper.
“You’re such a misanthropist, Mr. Former MI6 Agent.”
“Umm…rightly so, if you’ve read any of the papers lately. I wouldn’t trust the youth of today to pick their noses right, let alone do anything else correctly.”
“Yuck, Tony! You know what? You sound like an old man. Wait a minute—are you including Charlie in that sweeping generalisation?”
Tony winced as if he’d received a sucker punch to his gut from an invisible man. “Damn, I forgot about Charlie.”
Lorne’s father was beating his eggs with a fork. “It would take some doing to forget about that one.”
“Wow! You two are unbelievable. She’ll be helping out more around here during the summer break. I hope you’ll both try to at least give her a chance.”
“I’m joking. Anyway, I’m sure Tony didn’t mean to tar her with the same brush as the other hoodlums around today. What was it my old granddad used to say, now? Oh yes: ‘there are always exceptions to the rule.’ After what that girl has been through over the years, she’s had to grow up faster than any other kid her age. She’s mature beyond her years, which will stand her in good stead in the future.”
Lorne nodded, but deep down in her gut, the old pangs of guilt started up. Charlie’s childhood had been stripped from her at the hands of a man who had been Lorne’s nemesis for years. She shuddered at the thought of what the Unicorn had done to Charlie almost four years ago.
“Stop that,” Tony ordered, breaking through her dark reverie.
“What?” she pretended she didn’t have a clue what her husband was talking about.
He raised a questioning eyebrow. “You know. I can tell when your thoughts turn to that lunatic and your guilt resurfaces. Stop it now. Tell her, Sam.”
Her father put his breakfast on hold as the conversation became more serious. “Tony’s right, love. You can’t keep punishing yourself for what happened to Charlie. Take a leaf out of her book. She’s accepted it and moved on.”
Lorne spread her arms out and slapped her hands on her thighs. “I know you’re both right, but it doesn’t alter the fact that I still blame myself for involving my family in that case.”
Sam gathered his daughter in his arms and cushioned her head against his chest. “You didn’t. Baldwin involved Charlie, not you.”
“I know, Dad. I try not to think of it, but sometimes—just sometimes—it catches me out.”
Sam pushed her away from him and tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear, like he used to do when she was a child. “It’s bound to, love. Events of
Tony snorted. “Any chance I can turn the clock back four years to before that day?”
Lorne flew out of her father’s arms and clipped Tony around the head. “You cheeky sod. I’ll get my own back, just you wait and see.”
Tony held his hand out horizontally in front of him. “Look, steady as a rock. You don’t scare me, Mrs. Former Detective Inspector.”
“Huh, we’ll see,” Lorne retorted. She let the idle threat linger between them for a while before she spoke again. “I hope the weather is better than yesterday’s. That storm caused havoc to the roads across the country. There were flashfloods in several areas, apparently.”
Tony picked up his paper again. “How typically British of you, Lorne, to change the subject to the weather like that.”
“A trick I picked up from you, I believe, dear hubby.”
Her father settled himself into the chair next to Lorne and started eating his breakfast. Lorne watched, grateful that his appetite hadn’t been affected by his illness like his sleep had. After swallowing a mouthful of bacon, he said, “That was one of the worst storms we’d had in years. I still laugh when I think of weatherman Bill Giles ending up with egg on his face when he totally ignored a viewer’s comment about a hurricane brewing back in ’86. If I recall rightly, Seven Oaks almost had to change its name to ‘One Oak’ after it got battered by a storm.”
“Yes. The UK didn’t cope well with the conditions around that time. The railways came to a virtual standstill and most of the small country roads became impassable, if I remember rightly,” Tony said, looking thoughtful before he continued, “Thankfully, I was oversees at the time, on holiday with my parents in Crete.”
“Lucky you! The farthest we went when we were kids was to Butlins at Minehead.” Lorne sniggered.
“It took a lot to run that old house of ours. Your mother always liked to have nice new furniture every five years or so, something had to give. I’m afraid Minehead was all we could afford back then, love. Mind you, I reckon that nowadays it’s just as cheap to go abroad as to spend a week at a holiday camp in the UK,” her father replied. A sad little smile had settled on his face when he’d mentioned Lorne’s mother. It had been a struggle for him to get over her death from breast cancer. He hadn’t really shown signs of wanting to go on with his own life until Lorne and Tony had bought the rescue centre and asked him to live with them. It was as though they’d given him a new purpose in life.
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