Chapter 1 - The Hunt
“I think she fills that dress rather nicely!”
Ralph confided to his friend and confidante standing beside him as, with
studied anonymity, they blended with the now thinning crowds.
Charles took a long cool drink straight from
his bottle of premium lager and surveyed the scene. For a suburban bar the
place had been really humming. As it was a Friday, many of the early evening
drinkers had been here since 5:30pm when they had escaped from their tedious
and boring jobs in the small local call centre, provincial estate agents and
solicitors’ offices which provided much needed employment to the young and
largely uneducated in the area
As it was now approaching 6:45pm, Bar
Suburbia was in that peculiar interregnum as those customers, largely the
office staff that had kept the tills ringing all through the early shift, were
now wending their way home while the evening revellers had not yet made their
appearance before heading into town for some serious clubbing and high-energy
This was Charles and Ralph’s favourite time
for hunting their admittedly unusual quarry and this bar, although they had
never frequented it before, was their favourite sort of hunting ground.
Bar Suburbia was typical of a provincial and
suburban hostelry that was trying to inject some referred glamour into the sad
and futile lives of its customers. Loosely based on the set of ‘Friends’,
large sofas and low coffee tables were casually scattered about with all the
abandon that the space planning software at corporate head office’s IT
department would allow. That is, none whatsoever. Customer density was
paramount as rates and costs for the establishment were dictated by the square
footage, marketing and retail planners needed to squeeze the maximum usage out
of all the available space. As usual the Head Office staff had slightly
overdone the required customer density (commerciality always wins) but to the
provincial customers this little piece of urban chic was where they could
pretend that they truly were on a film set and that vicariously a small piece
of Hollywood glamour would imbibe their repetitive lives.
To Charles and Ralph, used to the bars and
clubs of London, New York and Rio to name but three of the world stages they
played on, Bar Suburbia was mean, pinched and plastic. And they loved it. Not for the fake mahogany furniture, the
imitation modern prints and cheap false brass fittings that seemed to be
ubiquitous. No, they had a fixed and clear objective and long experience had shown
them that this was exactly the environment where they would be successful in
their unorthodox and highly unusual venture.
Like all Big Game hunters they had scouted
the territory before the day’s events and just after the doors had opened at
five o’clock they had discreetly entered. Ordering two bottles of drinks they
settled themselves in a dimly lit alcove that nevertheless gave an unrestricted
view of the main bar area, whilst allowing the two men to remain unobtrusive.
In the sun-bleached plains of the Serengeti,
lions (the top predator in that particular ecosystem) take up vantage points
near watering holes when seeking game. The ironic analogy was not lost on
either of these two rather well heeled human carnivores. They surveyed the
two-legged herbivores as they came down into the bar to drink and quench their
thirst after a long hard day. Watching sharply, they looked for the tell-tale
signs that their next victim would inadvertently signal. Stretching the
Serengeti analogy of big cats, hunting lions would be looking for a slight listlessness,
an almost imperceptible limp or an overconfident juvenile, whereas in this
suburban jungle their human equivalents were looking for the individual who had
let their guard down a little too indiscreetly, was a little too tipsy or that
had let themselves get separated from the rest of their particular herd of
friends and colleagues. Here, though, the analogy broke down, for whereas a
lion will take the easiest prey, often an ill or weak and undernourished
individual, these particular human carnivores were after only the fittest and
the finest looking specimens. But the end result would be the same: once chosen
there would be no mistake.
They preferred suburban bars on the outskirts
of provincial cities. It was near but not too near a regional airport, serviced
by good quality roads and, at that time of the evening, the streets were
relatively free of traffic and police. The prevalence of CCTV was significantly
lower than in the centre of towns and cities and not only had their route to
this particular hostelry been chosen to leave no video evidence, even their
rather anonymous vehicle had been driven in a circuitous journey evading the
city centre, keeping to a well reconnaissanced route. With a full gas tank and
an extra gallon securely and safely stowed on board there was no chance that
this particular vehicle was going to show up on the unblinking eye of a
forecourt CCTV, nor would there be any tell-tale credit card slips for petrol.
Like all good hunters they were covering their tracks well. Charles had
remarked to Ralph that it was very similar to approaching prey downwind so as
to give the unsuspecting creatures no clues to the arrival of the hunters that
would soon take one or two of their number.
Charles looked at the girl that Ralph had
indicated, no sudden movement however, just the studied casualness of a man in
total control of his environment and his self; he surveyed her attributes for
the role they had in mind.
The cheap chain store dress was of a simple
cut, unlined, it seemed to pull and crease against her fulsome tits and
buttocks that gave the garment a peculiarly sexy tightness that he found
simultaneously attractive and somehow sad. The lower orders were so poor that
they couldn’t even afford well-made clothes. But underneath that dress there
was no mistaking a fine athletic body, fit, strong and, no doubt with the
appropriate training and discipline, very welcoming.
The muscle definition of her arms and legs
was fine and seemed to quiver with pent up energy for she was in fine physical
condition and, as her voluptuousness was all contained on a rather petite
frame, she was just what they were looking for.
He noted with some initial concern the high heels that she was wearing,
more to give her a few extra inches than to accentuate her already ample tits
and ass but fortunately he was able to satisfy himself that the tell-tale thick
calves that inveterate wearers of high heels develop had not had time to create
an unnatural and unseemly bulge at the back of her legs. Their brief was very
precise from their very demanding customer.
She had glossy, naturally blonde hair, which
fanned out across her athletically broad shoulders and not a little way down
her back. She had an instinctive way of intermittently flicking it with the
slightest shimmer of her head, sending it cascading and shining across her
slender neck which was nicely highlighted by a faux silver choker and her bare
back as it caught the subdued lighting of the bar. The hair, flowing over her
strong but feminine shoulder line, naturally created a rectangular block of her
fine golden threads across her back and neck. It gave only tantalising glimpses
of her lightly tanned and flawless skin beneath. At the front, after streaming
over her delicate clavicles, the hair seemed to caress the fulsome breasts that
formed a generous cleavage at her sternum. The dress was decorously cut, this
was after all office attire but nevertheless she was well aware of her youthful
charms and in the never-ending battle that was office politics she used her
curvaceous figure to maximum advantage. She rightly felt that her generous and
perfectly formed tits were one of her best features and she was therefore not
coy about putting the goods on display, even if they were for show only, in her
endeavour to curry favour with the more senior predominantly male members of
He took a closer look at her face; it had a
sculptural beauty and symmetry, with excellent bone structure and beautifully
fair skin. Mostly without imperfection, a tiny ‘s’ shaped scar on her high and
handsome forehead only seemed to add to her appeal.
‘Only Allah is perfect,’ Charles found
himself thinking almost absentmindedly. He was gratified that the colour of her
eyebrows seemed to match that of her hair; either she was a natural blonde or
she paid attention to details. He liked that in a woman.
Earlier on in the evening, when the early
revellers had been in full voice, he’d noted that her teeth were evenly spaced
and regular; the results of good genes or a good orthodontist, he felt. They
had been clearly visible when her fulsome lips parted in laughter and delight
at some whimsical remark from one or other of her work colleagues. He paid
attention to a woman’s lips for, through experience, he had discovered that
they were a damned good indicator of her body lips and that, although until
this evening these hidden intimacies had been for the delight and pleasure of a
select number of lovers, they would be far more on display in just a few short
“On the Serengeti,” he thought, “she’d be a
gazelle,” for despite her drinking a little too much for so early in the
evening she moved with grace and flair.
It seemed she was now momentarily alone and
was getting to the bottom of her final lager for the evening. She’d waved her friends
off with a laugh and a shout that was just a little too loud for Ralph’s taste,
calling after them; ‘I’m going to finish this drink and my cigarette’. Her last
ironic words to her friends followed the laughing group of girls out into the
street as they made a frantic dash to the bus that would take them back to
their starter homes or their parents’ semis for forty-eight hours of respite
before embarking once more on their monotonous and tedious little jobs.
‘Take care this weekend and don’t get up to something
that I wouldn’t do!’ she shouted to no one in particular and, although she
didn’t realise it at the time, that parameter was going to give her friends an
awful lot of scope as the next 48 hours unravelled!
With that unconscious communication that
successful hunters develop as the bond of trust and friendship cements their
relationship, Ralph and Charles both started to make their move across the bar
towards their unsuspecting target. They had a minute, maybe two to execute this
manoeuvre and that was more than ample for them. They didn’t say a word or
betray so much as a sideways look.
Icy cool and calm on the outside, Charles
could feel his adrenaline kick in, triggering the ‘flight or fight’ response in
his body and instinctively he could see a little sharper, hear a little more
clearly and his reactions were that bit tighter as he and his colleague moved
in for the kill. He loved this buzz, the anticipation and the execution of an
arduously rehearsed and oft repeated manoeuvre.
To him it was a ballet, a symphony of orchestrated manoeuvres that was
both beautiful and deadly.
He discreetly palmed the syringe, letting it
slip from inside of his Marks and Spencer suit cuff. They were dressed as
natives - no designer labels here - and he was particularly proud of the shiny
bottom he had had one of his staff give to the pants. It was that attention to
detail that had made them so successful and the Illuminati’s choice for exactly
this type of operation.
There was no needle on the syringe; they didn’t
need to risk giving her the slight start elicited by even an expertly applied
injection. The small unobtrusive phial contained Rohypnol, more commonly known
in the tabloid press as ‘the date rape drug’. Readily available over the
Internet, Charles and Ralph both thought this was an excellent chemical and a
real boon to their particular trade. Odourless, tasteless and completely
transparent, within two minutes after it had been absorbed into the victim’s
bloodstream it would begin to close down the higher brain activities, whilst
leaving other brain functions largely untouched. This would have not one but
two extremely useful effects.
One, the target to all intents and purposes
would begin to appear drunk, but not too inebriated to make a scene and draw
attention to herself and two, it would make her very amenable to
auto-suggestions as her powers of critical reasoning quickly faltered and then
failed. Rohypnol was Charles and Ralph’s method of choice for securing a
target; clean efficient effective.
Ralph brushed against her, nothing obvious or
gauche, you understand, but enough for her to turn and see a rather plain
nondescript man and then hear him offer his mumbling apologies for being so
rude, before disappearing into the gents’ toilets. And no one noticed the
slight trickle of clear liquid snake across the inside of her glass, the one
Charles had administered as her attention was momentarily distracted. The only
tell-tale sign was a series of small break in the tidemarks of lager froth that
had clung to the glass’s surface. The dose hadn’t even disturbed the surface of
the amber liquid as it gently mixed with the swirling of her hands.
Charles was the more handsome of the two and
he now swung into his role of engaging the target in some inconsequential small
talk until she had taken the drink and it had accomplished its insensate task
of the Trojan horse by getting the Rohypnol past her defences and into her
After a few moments though she’d decided that
she really didn’t have time for this ‘Johnny come lately’ and with a definitive
toss of her wrist she downed the remnants of her drink
‘You’re mine!’ he thought ‘Mine!’ He allowed
himself a small conceited smile of success, observing her delicate throat
slightly contract as she swallowed hard. She seemed surprised that Charles
continued making polite conversation with her, as most failed suitors took the
hint that frankly she wasn’t interested, but as the Rohypnol quickly took
effect she distantly heard him breathe into her ear in a frankly intimate way
‘Night, night Dorothy! Say goodbye to
Kansas!’ She’d heard that phrase somewhere previously she was sure, but before
she could even begin to formulate the question as it were, the chemical cosh
had taken effect.
‘That was the moment,’ Charles always felt,
‘that they really disappeared’; Not in a physical sense obviously, but as a
person, an entity with her intricate and attendant web of connections of
friendships, colleagues and family. Gone. Finished. No goodbyes, no rehearsals.
She was there and now she wasn’t.
It has been said that life is what happens to
you when you are busy making plans, but in her case this was an understatement.
No weekend, no career, no mortgage but not no nothing. The old pattern ceased
abruptly and her life changed then. That moment. An unexpected fork in the
road, as her life changed fractally, careering down a new Mandelbrot route. A
helter-skelter of uncertainty where the only thing for sure was that she was no
longer in control. A sudden metamorphosis. As the stick of her life was swept
into a new current in a single qualitative twist, frightening eddies,
unforeseen vortices and unforgiving rapids were unknowingly unfolding. She just
didn’t know it yet.
Although aware of being in the Bar Suburbia
she began to feel isolated and all very confused and when this handsome man,
Charles (she did seem to dimly remember his name) had suggested that they go
outside for a breath of fresh air she thought for some inexplicable reason that
that was a very good idea.
Charles had kept talking so that the other
customers in the bar would see nothing out of the ordinary as he gently guided
the unresisting young woman out of the bar in an unobtrusive way that would
happen in different circumstances ten thousand times that evening all over the
countless towns and cities of England. Perfectly normal, perfectly reasonable.
Outside, light rain was beginning to settle
on the slightly greasy pavement and caused the streetlights to develop a slight
amber halo around each bright yellow sodium tube. He guided her towards an
alley, determined not to rush this moment.
‘Many a slip twixt cup and lip’ was a maxim
from his grandmother that had served him well and he had no intention of
breaking it now. They resembled a young couple about to sample a lovers’
aperitif prior to the main course in a bed-sit or rented flat nearby as he
guided into the secluded alley not more than fifteen metres from Bar Suburbia’s
welcoming entrance of neon lights and chattering voices and laughter. Out of
sight (and out of mind) she collapsed quietly and quickly when he held a small
handkerchief dosed in chloroform to her mouth and nose and she folded gently
into his waiting arms. Almost simultaneously with an economy of effort that
belied his expertise he forced the handkerchief into her mouth where it would
act as a temporary yet very effective gag. Charles and Ralph always
over-engineered everything; it was one of the factors that made them so
While this small tableau was developing Ralph
had not sat idly by, for almost as Charles began to take her weight as she
lapsed into unconsciousness, the dark blue Ford Maverick with false plates and
its lights off drove into the opposite entrance of the alley that Charles and
the girl had entered.
Quickly killing the engine and applying the
handbrake, Ralph opened the rear doors from the inside and helped Charles
manhandle the nine stones of very desirable human flesh into the back of the
specially adapted vehicle. The banging shut of the doors had a ring of finality
about them, if only she had been conscious to hear them.
The adaptations within the outwardly looking
very ordinary Ford Maverick were designed to facilitate the clandestine passage
of unwilling human cargo. In addition the ability to deep clean the passenger
compartment of any signs that any particular individual had occupied it was
paramount and, with the advent of DNA analysis, that meant very deep cleaning
indeed. A solitary hair, a broken nail or even a single spot of blood is all
that it takes to establish unequivocally the erstwhile presence of a person.
Forensic science has, in recent years, advanced in leaps and bounds and now
using such limited material the authorities can tease out the suspect DNA found
at the scene. This is then matched by the forensics and pathologists to the
missing person’s DNA. This will have been previously identified from say some
hair off a brush or even something as unseemly as dried saliva or other bodily
fluids from a pillow slip or bottom sheet from their bed. With such sophisticated
technology the ability to remove all evidence had to be absolute, watertight
and foolproof. There was no margin for error. Consequently all passenger seats
bar the two up front and all carpets had been removed from the vehicle in
preparation. This made the compartment so much easier to steam clean after the
delivery had been made.
At the same time there was little value in
delivering damaged goods and therefore the hollowed out passenger cell
contained what looked like a simple wooden box approximately the size of a
desk. Although made out of wood, there was nothing ramshackle about its
construction. It was made of timber so that they could be burnt after usage and
its hinged lid had a series of air holes drilled into the top. Inserted into
each air hole, a small plastic baffler allowed air in but prevented sound from
coming out. The box was lined with bubble wrap not only to help protect the
stock being transported, but also helped seal the container from any
unfortunate seepage of the occupants body fluids. Finally inside the box,
polystyrene chippings insulated and protected the occupant. These chippings
also burnt with a very hot flame after successful delivery, ensuring that any telltale
evidence would be consumed and destroyed.
Ralph took a small Swiss army knife from his
pocket; the only thing that he carried that could be remotely described as a
weapon and, with two workmanlike swipes of the blade, had cut the shoulder
straps of the unconscious girl’s chain store dress. The fabric simply peeled
from her skin and, as Charles lightly shifted his purchase on the girl, Ralph
expertly removed the garment entirely. The bra was removed deftly with one hand
slipping the catch as it nestled between her shoulder blades and her breasts
made a rather lively entrance - almost leaping out of the restraining garment -
for the men to enjoy. Charles snapped, ‘Come on, Ralph, be a fucking
professional, for Christ’s sake!’ as Ralph licked one of her liberated nipples
with his tongue. Ralph looked a little sheepish. ‘I know, I know, but they’re
fucking perfect. I just had to sample them.’