Vengeance, p.1

Vengeance, page 1



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  By P.A.Ross

  Kindle Edition

  May 2012

  Copyright © P.A.Ross 2012

  Table of Contents


















  I waited in the last lesson of the term, double maths, watching the clock on the wall above the door for the last ten minutes. The seconds were ticking by, and the class was waiting for Mr May to stop talking about revising over the half term. He was obviously padding out the time until the bell rang. His briefcase already packed and his brown blazer on, ready to go. He kept glancing over to the clock, adjusting his glasses and pushing his sweep over hair back across the top of his head. It was painful. No one listened. Everyone was mentally ticking off the time left, bit by painful bit, looking forward to the bell that would signal our freedom for one whole week.

  I had spent the last couple of days planning out my freedom, and the agenda started straight after school by meeting Giles at the front gate. I had been friends with Giles since primary school and we shared many of the same interests. Both loved sci-fi films, locking ourselves away around each other’s houses watching entirely trilogies in one sitting. We watched Star Wars episodes 1-3 one day, and episodes 4-6 the next day. We watched the Alien and the Matrix trilogies, all in one day each. We would munch through bags of salt and vinegar crisps while checking out the film trailers on line for the forth coming blockbusters. During the dark evenings we would blast and attack each other through online games, not wanting to go out, as the local area got rough. I had permission to go straight to Giles’s house after school, and get picked up at midnight by my Dad on his way home from work. Dad worked for the government in research, and his experiments meant he needed to work in the evenings. I never saw him that much, but it came in handy at times.

  Finally the clock was getting closer to the bell ringing. I checked the bottom of my bag for the two computer games I had brought in. Yes, they were still there. I’d been careful all day to ensure they stayed at the bottom of my bag and not revealed to anyone during the day’s classes, else they may have disappeared.

  Brrrrrrring. Finally the bell rang. I shoved my books into the bag. I jumped up grabbing my coat and swinging it through my arms and zipping it up tight. I swung the rucksack onto my back and went to the door pushing to get out as soon as possible. Everyone was eager to leave. The classes across the school emptied into the corridors like cockroaches escaping the light, including the teachers fighting past the students. The student’s excited laughter and chatter buzzed in the corridors. As everyone shuffled forward, I glimpsed pictures of school projects on the walls. This year’s maths project on the uses of trigonometry in building houses and biology projects on the reproduction cycle of frogs. The “Code of Honour” poster got pulled down in the scrum and stuck back up again. It had been there for years and now looked tatty. I couldn’t remember seeing anyone reading it. It was suppose to be rules on respecting each other and showing consideration, but I doubted if the teachers had even read it.

  In front, as I shuffled forwards, two girls from my class, Julie and Matilda, were discussing their trip to the out of town Snow dome, and if they would ski or snow board today. I thought about my forthcoming gaming session and wished the crowds would get a move on. I knew Giles’s class was closer to the front gates and he would be waiting, so I tried to gain precious time by forcing through the stream of other students.

  I finally flooded out, with a mass of other students, through the two large open front glass doors into the small courtyard at the front of the school. The school was a big grey concrete monstrosity, and it had no style or redeeming features. It was purely functional, and created a dull and depressing atmosphere that rubbed off on the students and teachers. School is supposed to be a place of learning and enlightenment, my school was a study in survival.

  The snows of the last week were determined lumps at the sides of the road and corners of the courtyard. Students quickly met with waiting friends. Making their last adjustments to their clothes by pulling up their coats and wrapping up in gloves, hats, and scarves. To the side of the courtyard a road snaked from school front gates to the car park, and bikes racks at the back of the building. Some students ran across the snaking road to a grassy bank and towards the lumps of snow created by the caretaker from clearing the road. Snowballs flew, and ran students through the gates, as their opponents chased with lumps of melting snow, pelting them on the back as they ran, and misfiring into parked cars and other students who yelled in annoyance. The school grey metal gates swung opened into the school, ending our imprisonment for the day. The name of the school, “St Teresa’s”, was attached to the gate in red metal letters. Students had scratched their names and faces into the letters over the years and it had never been re-painted. There was one big gate connecting to the main road and to the side a smaller gate for pedestrians.

  Those on bikes pedalled quickly through the main gates trying to warm up and get home before the night descended. Mr May in his Silver Volvo estate drove through from the teacher’s car park around the back. He nudged through groups crossing the road and pushed along cyclists. He pulled away onto the main road outside school ignoring a gang that stood just outside on the pavement, and some poor victim they had encircled. He must have looked straight through to check the traffic was clear, but never hesitated and pulled away quickly. Parent’s cars were parked along the road outside and students climbed inside and were whisked off home or on holidays, and again the other students and parents ignored the gang. It was if the gang’s hooded tops made them invisible. I walked about half way through the courtyard and stood to the side as other cars and bikes came from around the back of the building. Streaming around me other students quickly wrapped up and walked on in groups of friends.

  I scanned about for Giles, eager to warm up and get to his house and start on the gaming session. Giles was nowhere to be seen. I guessed he might have been delayed and I looked back across the court yard toward the front doors. Still no sight of him. I spun around again to look about the front gates. I had avoided looking at the gang not wanting to get involved, but as I glanced around I recognised the Matrix sticker on the top of the victim’s ruck sack. It was Giles’s ruck sack. I looked closer, in the hope I was wrong, but my head dropped on sight of Giles being pushed from side to side between laughing gang members. The main culprit was Patrick O’Keefe from our year and his older brothers, Liam and Kieran, and the rest of the gang were made up from a number of other notorious kids from outside school. They were part of well known gang in the area, and at the core of them was the O’Keefe family, a broken Britain criminal family from the local rough estate. The gang were dressed in hooded tops, dirty ripped jeans or tracksuit bottoms and trainers, only Patrick and his friend Dave were still at school and in their uniforms. Patrick pushed Giles who spun around, he looked scared, his face was pale and his brown eyes were stretched wide hoping to see anyone who could help. His head darted about looking at the gang and to the outside of the circle for salvation. Kieran pulled Giles’s hat off his head and stuck it in his own pocket. Liam then grabbed Giles’s head and messed up his light brown hair with his hand.

  The O’Keefe gang had been the bane of our lives at school. Patrick, the youngest of the O’Keefe brothers, had been in the same class as Giles and I from primary school,
and we were now in our last year at school preparing for our final exams. I remembered my first incident with Patrick, he stole my Yoda pencil sharpener, but I fought him for it and won it back. The next day, he and his elder brothers, beat me up and took it back again. Patrick, with the backup of his older brothers and their gang they had bullied us from our first year at school. We had learnt over the years to avoid him and their gang. We skipped sport lessons by feigning injury or forgetting our kit as they used the football and rugby pitches as an excuse to hurt us legally. I had received many late tackles or thrown the ball as herd of sturdy kids came thundering at me. During break times we would hide away in the playground, and joined the chess club to find protection inside the school during the lunch period. I had become quite adept at chess and enjoyed it as a consequence. We were labelled geeks, or nerds, or losers due to our interest in chess and lack of interest in sports. We were also in the top streams in the year and predicated to do well at the forthcoming exams, just another reason for them to hate and bully us.

  I remembered this morning’s registration when Giles and I were plotting our gaming session. Patrick had over heard us from the desk behind and started asking us what games we were going to play. We remained silent as he tried to harass us for information. Not wanting to give anything away as my games were in my rucksack. We knew what would happen if he found out. We waited it out till first bell then dashed out before he could get hold of us. I thought it obviously annoyed him or he realised our silence meant there was something worth hiding.

  I looked around the courtyard hoping someone else would come to his rescue. I knew I wouldn’t stand a chance against even one of the gang members. Giles and I were the same height, and both of us were below the average height in school, and neither us were particularly strong. There were eight of them circling Giles, mostly made up of older lads who had already left school in the last few years. Being older they were all taller than us and broader as well, plus they were also used to fighting as part of the gang.

  I still I couldn’t see any teachers, and nobody else wanted to get involved. Giles looked outside the gang for help, but his search was in vain until he spotted me. His eyes and face relaxed in relief as a look of recognition crossed his face. I reluctantly walked over with heavy muscles and stomach burning in fear of what would happen to us both. I guessed we were both going to get a beating and I would lose my computer games I had got for my birthday back in the summer. The gang noticed Giles’s sudden change of emotions and looked where he was staring. Liam spotted me and peeled off the side of the circle and blocked my path, with his hands on top of my shoulders.

  “Look away,” Liam said, and shoved me backwards.

  I staggered bumping into other students. I looked around again for help, hoping someone may have noticed, but the hooded tops were invisible to everyone else. I dropped my eyes to the floor and walked off. I felt terrible I didn’t even try to make my way through. I knew it was pointless. I accepted the command quickly, but even so I felt guilty having not even tried, and even guiltier in relief I wasn’t going to get beaten up. I knew what would have happened if I did otherwise. Not worth both of us getting beaten up and losing our stuff, I justified to myself. I thought Giles had nothing worth stealing, and they would probably let him go in a few minutes once they searched his bag. Maybe a few punches in the stomach, but that would be it. I continued to try and rationalise the decision. I thought it would be for the best a tactical decision, a retreat, however I should get help in cases I was wrong.

  I walked around the corner quickly and called his mum. No answer. I re-dialled several times, and I thought I don’t know why people bother having mobile phones they never seem to answer them.

  I waited and waited for Giles to come, ready for the worst, expecting to see him hobbling around the corner any moment, looking a bit dirty and bruised, but okay. Ten minutes passed as I waited nervously. The thinning crowds of the students leaving school eyed me suspiciously. I tried calling Giles’s mum again and again, but still no answer. I needed to get help this was taking too long, maybe I was wrong, maybe something much worse had happened. My imagination started constructing worse scenarios, as only recently a neighbouring gang had killed a boy in a bullying incident gone too far. His body had been found on a disused railing embankment, his skull caved in by a lump of concrete. The gang involved lived ten miles from here and the O’Keefes had made remarks about it to the kids at school, goading them, telling students they would be next. Probably an attempt to scare us, but they liked notoriety and had for once been out done by another gang. Giles and I were on edge ever since worried that such incidents could easily spiral out of control, and that it had put ideas into the O’Keefe’s minds. Remembering that incident, I couldn’t help but picture Giles instead of the murdered boy. Lying face up covered in blood with top of his head brutally smashed off. I realised I didn’t have any significant foresights into the workings of the O’Keefe’s. I thought if I did have any brilliant insights I could have avoided them more often, they were unpredictable, maybe murder was on their minds.

  I was worried about Giles and getting cold. I didn’t want to be standing around doing nothing, but waiting in fear of what I might find. I knew there was a route around the alley ways into the back end of school. It would take me about ten minutes and it had to be better than waiting and worrying, so I quickly ran with the rucksack bouncing and the games digging into my back, a cruel reminder of what I was hiding and what had triggered the incident. I ran slipping and skidding on the ice, but managing to stay on my feet by bouncing off fences and walls along the sides of the paths and alley ways. I threaded my way through the last of the student stragglers, breath freezing before me and body heating up from the exertion, and they gawked at me in wonder why someone would be running back to school on the last day of term.

  Finally my phone rang, Giles’s mum, Linda.

  “Who is this?” she asked.

  “It’s Jonathan. I am Giles’s friend,” I said slowing to a brisk walk in order to talk.

  “What’s the matter Jonathan is everything okay,” she responded with a concerned voice.

  “It’s Giles, a local gang have grabbed hold of him at the front gates, there was nothing I could do,” I said trying to excuse myself from any blame.

  “Okay, get a teacher. I will be there as soon as possible.”

  I arrived at the back gate just as Mr Johnson was closing up. Mr Johnson was the caretaker, and ex marine. He had come out to the front gates only a few weeks ago when they were hanging around waiting for a victim, and had stared them down even though out numbered. I thought the gang wouldn’t try anything if he came out. We could still rescue Giles.

  “We’re shutting,” he stated pushing the gate to a close, and started wrapping the chain around it and the post.

  “I need help Mr Johnson, the O’Keefe gang have my friend,” I said, as I hung on to the gate trying to get my breath back. It was the longest I could ever remember running.

  “Where?”, he said and frowned.

  “The front gate.”

  He un-wound the chain and gestured me through, and then wound it back again and padlocked it.

  “Okay let’s go, try and keep up.”

  He ran off through the school, keys jangling on his belt, and I tried my best to keep up, but I was already tried from running around the back of the school. We flew through the empty school playgrounds and buildings, and out through the car park along the road running by the side of the courtyard to the front gates. Mr Johnson was already at the front gates looking for Giles when I came around the corner into the front courtyard. I put in another burst and ran up to the gates with heavy legs and sore back from the ruck sack. Just then Linda’s small blue Nissan Micra car skidded to a halt a few yards away, and she jumped out.

  “Where is he,” she shouted, her face compressed in anguish.

  “I don’t know. I guess they have gone.”

  “I know some of their hang outs,
Mr Johnson said as he looked around the roads, while shielding his eyes from the lowering sun.

  She waved us over, and we jumped into the car and spun off down the road. I sat in the back dumping my ruck sack on the child seat next to me. Sweat poured off my forehead from the exercise and in car heating, but I was glad of the rest as doubted I could run anymore.

  We dived down all the back roads and crisscrossed the main routes away from the school. Mr Johnson directed us and scouted around looking for a sign of the gang. Linda’s head was turning left and right frantically looking for a sign of her son. Other students were walking and cycling back in groups and by themselves, but no gang or Giles. We continued skidding around the corners with the pine tree air freshener swinging and spinning about off the mirror inside. I was starting to feel sick in the back of her car from the sharp turns and frantically looking from side to side out of the windows. We headed further into the estate and into the gang territory. We saw fewer students from my school as the houses got smaller and more broken down, and the main blocks of flats up ahead loomed closer into sight. We finally found him, after half an hour, walking along the pavement in the estate with the gang circling him and forcing him along.

  “There they are,” I shouted pointing over Linda’s shoulder to the gang. Glad it was nearly over as I wanted to be sick.

  She looked over at them, judging the situation, and drove on further down the road. I jerked forwards as the brakes went on sharply. Luckily I had remembered my seat belt as it prevented me from crashing into the passenger seat in front. The car reversed quickly and crunched into first gear. The wheels spun, as the tyres screeched spiralling smoke up into the air, and we drove back towards the gang. I swallowed back my sick. They noticed the car, but such sights weren’t uncommon in this estate so the gang paid little attention. We swerved off the road bounced up the pavement straight at the gang. Linda slammed on the brakes, but the car un-expectantly just kept going.

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