I've known Lily as long as she's known me. Sorry, I went all Two Blokes then. What I meant to say was, we pretty much started blogging at the same time.
Since we "met", we've been in constant contact, be it commenting on each others work, the odd email or taking part in her weekly Friday Prediction.
As I've got to know her over the past 2 years, I've realised what a beautiful person she is and that she is also a truly talented writer. For me, Lily is going places. You guys can make up your own mind after you read .....
The motorway lay beyond us in the near distance, cutting deep into the hills and trailing black into the night. Even without traffic you could tell it was there; the air had a different reverberation, expectant even in the silence, volumes of molecules waiting to be filled with the roar of engines.
Halfway down the lane, I struck.
I didn’t know how much it would take to knock him out so I plunged the syringe into his neck regardless. He screamed and grabbed at his throat, hands leaving the steering wheel just long enough to careen the car into a ditch. I’d planned to smack him over the head for good measure – I didn’t have to. His skinny frame shot forward so fast, when his face connected with the windscreen it knocked him out cold.
I dragged the body – not quite a corpse, thankfully – from the driver’s seat, pocketing the keys with my gloved hands. My instinct was to stamp on his skull, to grind my boot into his ugly mug but where was the satisfaction in that if he wasn’t conscious? I kicked him over onto his front instead and stripped the bastard until he lay, pock-marked and scar-ridden on the gravel verge. I set about the business of binding his wrists; the same with his knees and his ankles, making sure the plastic cable ties cut deep as I pulled them tight. I wanted him to feel the pain when he awoke, needed his skin to tear as he tried to escape. I stood back to admire my handiwork. All good so far; I’d keep the bag for the bridge.
I’m strong. He was a lightweight - I could have carried him around the bend in the road to get to the motorway crossover but I didn’t want his flesh touching mine. With no time in my carefully planned schedule to worry about it I bent down and picked the scrote up by the shackles. He was heavier than I thought. Staggering as far down the lane as I could, I dropped him to the ground as the bridge came into view. He murmured something under his breath. I couldn’t catch it but it didn’t matter; the drugs were already wearing off.
I squatted down next to him and waited. Gradually his eyes flickered open, pinpoints even in the darkness. He looked around, groggy, struggling to work out where he was. The panic that jolted him out of his stupor was a joy to behold. The vomit that spewed forth from his vile mouth, less so.
“What the fuck?” He tried to get up. He couldn’t.
Carter flinched. He hadn’t seen me. I flicked the cigarette lighter I’d taken off him earlier. The flame wavered between us; an inch from his face, an inch from mine. I whispered my daughter’s name. Vince Carter blew any chance of mercy when he grinned.
I dropped my hand to his balls, let the flame lick up between his legs and laughed at the stink of smouldering dick. Carter shrieked and flailed wildly, getting nowhere.
“Time to go, shitface,” I said, wrapping my fist in his long greasy hair. I yanked it, and pulled his twisting carcass through the pile of puke until he glistened with bile. Carter swore and spat, threatened and begged as we crossed onto Hammer Bridge.
The road below slept; an hour or so to go before early morning traffic would pester the tarmac. I looked down at it through steel railings, then checked my watch. I was ready.
Heaven protect us from the Vince Carters – or Billy Spires as the locals knew him. Or Joe Bishop, Leo Smith, Davey Loakes – all him. You might even have met him; perhaps you got off lightly. Perhaps he hurt you.
Heaven doesn’t have angels to stop the likes of Carter doing what he does. God doesn’t sit in a courtroom in a powdered wig metering out justice. God doesn’t exist. Heaven doesn’t exist. Sometimes you have to deal with the Carters yourself.
He was playing his own role last night. No point notching up a new personality in that shithole, everyone knew him for what he was. My guess is that everyone was scared of him too, even the hard fuckers he sat drinking with. Set in a clearing, five hundred yards up a dirt track in the woods – completely invisible from the road - the makeshift portacabin bar had a flavour of its own. Me, I didn’t come across it by chance. I’d followed Vince Carter there.
I’d been tracking him for nearly a year. Ever since it happened, when he destroyed everything I’ve ever loved, ever believed in. The day they arrested Carter then let him go for lack of evidence was the day I gave up on God.
He came and went over the months, always returning to base. How his mother let him into her house was beyond me. She must have known; must have.
My car is inconspicuous. Small. Navy blue. Not old; not new. He never saw it; I always hung four or more vehicles behind his and drove past where he turned off into the woods. Last month I started parking in a sheltered lay-by, waiting for him to come back from his binge session. Last week I walked up the dirt track, scared shitless at what I might find. Last night I got there before him.
For all of the trees, the space between them was too open. I couldn’t take the risk of headlights zoning in so I squatted behind a matted bramble, thick with spikes and foliage. I’d already discovered the spot a few nights earlier; they couldn’t see me but I could hear every sickening gloat and boast. Minutes after taking up position my target turned up, screeched to an unsteady halt and stumbled – already tanked – into the bar. I let Carter settle in then whilst he drank whisky with his buddies I approached the car he’d arrived in on my hands and knees. It wasn’t his; it belonged to mummy-dearest. Inevitably it was unlocked – anyone try to steal from you out here, you’d be dead in minutes. I crawled in and lay down on the back seat, covering myself with a filthy coat that reeked of piss and weed. Laughter and grunts spilled from the bar; Carter’s shrill giggles disturbed the air as he joined in with the tales of theft and executions that rang around the table.
The car door slammed. I must have fallen asleep. I almost gagged at the stench as Carter threw himself into the driver’s seat, revved up the engine and wheel-span down the track until we were out onto the open road. Never doubting the route he would take I waited until we reached Hammer Lane – his regular shortcut – and shot him the dope.
He didn’t like the mallet I held to his skull. He wasn’t too happy when I showed him the photos of his mother either, as she cried over a newspaper declaring ‘Serial rape charges dropped’, her son’s toothless grin sullying the front page. Carter couldn’t tell me how he felt because I’d gagged him with his own belt, not that I had time to listen. He could listen though. I bent down and whispered in his ear everything he’d done to his long list of helpless victims, naming them all. I’d heard it from the horse’s mouth – and so would everyone else when the cops discovered the voice-recorder I’d left in Vince’s coat pocket on the side of the lane, full to brimming with him and his cronies’ revelations.
Below us a motorbike roared east along the empty road. I’d have to get moving. I slipped the canvas bag from my jacket and rammed it over Carter’s shaking head. His muffled moans quietened as I pulled the drawstring around his throat; the toggle caught on his prominent Adam’s Apple and he choked into the bag. A bonus - I jerked it tight. My waist burned with the fibre rope I’d wrapped around myself before leaving home; I unwound it and breathed out. Clips and clasps in place I walked up to the human caterpillar that writhed blindly along the strip of road in a desperate attempt to get away. Carter’s soles bled from his exertions, and from the cable ties that bit into his ankles. I looped the rope around them and quickly fastened it.
I pulled my daughter’s killer to his feet.
“Ready to jump, Humpty?”
He heard me.
I slotted the carabiner clip from the other end of the cord onto an upright metal railing. Carter heard that too and started to hyperventilate, his scrawny chest pulsating. Finally I had no choice but to touch him; taking him in a fireman’s lift and hauling him up to sit on the cold steel. I just managed to shift out of the way as he pissed into the air, his charred cock wasted and otherwise impotent.
The walk back to Vince’s car took forever yet no time at all. With the handbrake off I was easily able to manoeuvre it back onto Hammer Lane, then I drove it back the way we’d come, the route clear in my head. There was no way I could know if anyone was still propping up the bar so as soon as I turned into the dirt track I turned off the headlights and crept toward the clearing. I pulled over just in front, leaving the car sprawled sideways – as though abandoned by the driver’s need for alcohol. My eyes had grown accustomed to the dark and I could see well enough to run through the trees to my own vehicle. Again, I left the lights off and crawled along the empty dual-carriageway towards Hammer Lane, where I backed into an overgrown farm track.
I watched Carter’s body hanging from the bridge and wondered how long it had taken for him to become a slow pendulum. So mesmerised was I by the tremors shooting through his bound limbs, I almost forgot to call the police.
I had Carter’s own phone in my hand when the morning’s first vehicles started speeding down the motorway. The light was changing but still too dull for drivers to notice the rapist suspended above their heads.
“Help! Help me,” I shrieked into the phone. I left it on, not replying to the operator but hopefully giving the cops time to pick up the geo-co-ordinates. With an eye on the main road I walked over to the railings and dropped Carter’s Nokia onto the highway where it smashed into a thousand pieces. I was halfway back to my hiding spot when I heard the drone of an articulated lorry. I couldn’t help myself and hurried back to see how close he was to death. About a foot, as it happened. The lorry’s cab just missed Vince’s head but the close contact battered his body, whipping it back and forth. Carter didn’t die but he defecated all over the minivan that followed close behind the truck, causing it to skid into the hard shoulder.
The police arrived in ten minutes, already alerted by the 999 call. They pulled Carter to safety, trying to avoid the shit caked into his hair. An ambulance drew up and soon Carter was wrapped in a foil blanket, a hot drink clasped between his untethered hands. The moment the emergency services personnel took their eyes off him I stepped out from the trees, flicked Carter’s lighter open and stood close enough for him to see my face above the flame. By the time he dropped his cup and sped up the road I slipped back into the woods, unseen.
Vince Carter took his second jump off Hammer Bridge at 5:21 a.m.
They’ll be calling it suicide now, an escape from his drinking mates who took matters into their own hands when they caught Carter spying on them. Only his mother will care.
Either way, I’m running free.
Revenge is sweet after all. And I’ve got a taste for it.
It’s a gift.
My name is God.
Back in the olden days of 2009, Lily Childs dared to submit a vicious tale of catwalk murder to Thrillers Killers ‘n’ Chillers. Already someone who appreciated the darker things in life (and death); fiction and poetry had tormented Lily’s fingers for years. Seeing Fashion Victim published on TK’n’C gave her the confidence to send out more stories to e-zines and anthologies, and these days she likes to spread herself around, with several dozen stories published online and eight in current or upcoming print anthologies.
If it hadn’t been for TK’n’C, Lily wouldn’t have made the acquaintance of now good friends Col Bury, Matt Hilton, TFFO ed David Barber, Lee Hughes, Erin Cole, Jodi MacArthur and so many other gifted crime/noir/horror writers and editors. The e-zine has nurtured a great community that has encouraged so many to pick up a pen or stab at a keyboard to create fantastic fiction.
Lily is proud to be the current Guest Editor at TK’n’C where she hangs about a lot, hopefully making sound decisions and giving useful feedback.
Her story, Carpaccio, published on TK’n’C in March 2010, was nominated for the 2011 Spinetingler ‘Best Short Story on the Web’ award. She also won The New Flesh Magazine’s Inaugural Flash Fiction War contest with possibly her most favourite story to date, Dressing Up Box. Think demons dressed in tutus of flesh...
Lily has more than one novel on the go that may one day see the light of day.
Lily is principally a writer of horror, dark fiction and verse. She is also the author of demon-fighting, trance-journeying Magenta Shaman, a terrifying urban fantasy series for Kindle.
The first episode is available to download from Amazon now. Episode two, Magenta Shaman Stones The Crow will be published soon.
Visit Lily’s blog, The Feardom, where she blathers on about art, literature and music, and posts links to where you can read her online work or buy her downloads and printed fiction. She runs a weekly flash fiction challenge The Prediction, as well as an annual showcase by female writers of dark fiction and poetry February Femmes Fatales.
Lily wrote God’s Gift especially for TFFO, following a dream her husband had. She added the particularly sick and twisted parts herself but would like to thank Mr Lily Childs for the outspilling of his imagination, and her good mate, David Barber, for the invitation to guest write.