Well, I didn’t want to leave you all in such dramatic suspense, so for the time being, I concluded this episode in the life of Nancy the Criminologist. Enjoy.
Nancy (Part 2) a short story, by Sha’Tara
Ian seldom questioned his sister. He’d always admired her and there was a special bond between them. He got up, dressed as fast as he could, “borrowed” the family car which he was entitled to, and drove to the indicated intersection. When he arrived, Nancy signalled him from a doorway and he pulled the car up. “What’s up, sis?”
“Got the bastard that did Jenny. He’s inside here. I told you he was a copper. Got his ID. Help me put him in the back seat.”
Together they dragged and carried the still unconscious would-be assailant to the car and shoved him in the back seat.
“What do we do now, sis?”
“We don’t do anything. You walk on home Ian, let me deal with this my own way.”
“You know I never question your motives, Nan, but have you thought this through?”
“No, yes, I’m not sure, that’s the whole point. I need to be alone with the creep to get my head on straight. I can’t have anyone else around to screw with my reasoning, OK? I promise you this, that the car will be back at the house before 6:00 AM.”
“It’s not the car, Nan…”
“Aw, fuck! Go home, Ian.”
He walked away, dejected that she didn’t trust him to stand by her. What he didn’t understand was that she did trust him, too much. He was too loyal and that was dangerous. What she had to do, she had to do entirely on her own. The consequences would be hers alone.
She started the car and headed down Heather street. Ian had stopped to watch her go. He saw her turn and knew she was headed for Belsing’s woods and the swamp below the old quarry. Fearing he worst, he decided to follow her. It would be a fair run but Ian, like his sister, was very much an athlete and had run a few marathons. Six kilometres didn’t mean anything to him. He began running. And enjoying it.
As she drove up to the woods, Nancy was thinking about the situation. She knew she had her sister’s rapist in her power. She knew she could do anything she wanted with him; to him. The problem was, there were so many ways to deal with the situation. She wanted to kill him. She thought about that, then filed the idea for the time being. She wanted to castrate him. She thought about that too, and liked it very much. A woman gets her vengeance where there is no justice. She looked back at the inert form in the back and heard the man groan, then whimper.
“You nice and comfy back there?” Needling him with sarcasm. “Don’t worry, I’ll be letting you out soon. We’re almost there.” She adjusted the rear-view mirror to look at him. His eyes were open now and he stared back at her without saying a word. His nose was still bleeding and he was a mess. “Good!” she thought. And loudly, “Payback time, Rayburn.” She’d gotten his last name from his ID. “I’m going to help you remember the good times you had with my sister.”
“Aw, shit, fuck…” she heard him say, and smiled. “Right you are, Rayburn, you have no idea how right you are.”
The car bounced over the old roadway and she pulled up at the end, near a twisted rusty metal gate that indicated the entrance to “the swamp” as the locals called it; a stinking mess of polluted waters from illegal dumping of herbicides and pesticides, and whatever offal the refuse disposal wouldn’t accept. She opened the door and smelled it. Perfect, she thought, and took a deep breath.
It was high enough here that there was no fog. A half moon threw a pale light on the dismal surroundings. A night bird called, probably an owl. Omen of death. She liked it. She opened the back door and using the switch blade she’d taken from her assailant, cut his ankle restraints. “Get out of the car.” She ordered, “and don’t force me to help you do it.”
With his wrists securely trussed up his back there was nothing “Rayburn” could do but obey. He wriggled himself out of the car and slowly stood, reaching a half head taller than the girl.
“This is a great place for our little tête-à-tête don’t you think, Rayburn? It’s private here, so quiet too. This is where you intended to bring me, isn’t it? Well, you did, but unfortunately for you, it won’t be quite as much fun as you’d anticipated. Say something!” She poked him in the stomach with her forefinger. “I want to hear you brag now…” She kept goading him.
“God I’m hurting. My wrist, my hands, something’s broken. My dose is broken too. I need a doctor…”
“Of course you do, Rayburn. Just like my sister needed a doctor after you were done with her.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know you, or your sister. You’ve got the wrong guy, whatever you’re talking about. I was investigating a burglary…”
“Oh please, give me a little bit of credit will you? Pitiful denials only make me more angry and what you have to remember right now is, you don’t want to make me any angrier. I’m on the edge here, Rayburn, and this is looking more and more like your last night on this world. So, how about a simple confession? While you’re at it, how about implicating some of your buddies who covered your crimes – and it is crimes – Rayburn? You raped and beat my sister unconscious four months ago in this place. Tell the truth, Rayburn. I’m the avenging angel here and from my point of view, things are going south for you unless you learn to tell the truth, quickly.”
Pivoting suddenly, Nancy flicked open the switchblade in the copper’s face, indicating more pain to come. “I need to hear the truth, Rayburn. You know the line: “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God?” You were never charged for raping and torturing my sister, so you never had to perjure yourself on the stand. However, if you perjure yourself here, you will not live past this night. I’ll give you exactly five minutes to think about that. Would you like to know how you will be dispatched?”
She slipped the knife to his groin and slit his pants open. “I’m going to administer a cure for rape, Rayburn. Just so you know. It won’t save your life, but it will give you a taste of what it would be like to go through the rest of your life without any balls. Like that?” He yelped as she pulled out his genitalia, pulling the tip of the blade through his pubic hair.
““Never again, never, ever, again…” she said sotto voce. “Let’s see how many brain cells you have working in your favour tonight. You didn’t leave them all at the pub did you? Move over to that rock over there and sit against it – now!”
He did as he was told, his brain twisting with thoughts on how to extricate himself from a situation he’d never been in. He’d always been the predator, never the prey. He sat down against the stone. Helpless. He’d never thought he’d ever be in this situation.
“Did you notice how much like a tombstone this rock looks? It’s perfect for our encounter, don’t you think? Now I’m going to cuff your ankles again, so you don’t get the wrong ideas. Men like you always get the wrong ideas and that would mean a sudden termination. I’m in no hurry, why should you be?” She strapped his ankles together once more then moved the knife to his penis and pricked it. He gasped and let out a loud… “Nooo!” She laughed in his face.
“OK, thinking time is over. It’s now confession time. I’m hoping I’ve convinced you that I mean business. I’m as focussed on this as you were on raping my sister, then me. Let’s call it an exchange of determination: you can relate?”
She walked to the car and pulled out her handbag. Attending lectures meant having a recorder. She turned it on and slipped it into her coat pocket then returned to the sitting man now in serious agony from his swollen, broken wrist and nose, plus in mortal fear for his life. It finally dawned on him that this was for real: he was literally staring death in the face. This was the avenger he’d dreamed about from time to time after his depradations. Twice he’d been caught, twice saved by his fellows destroying evidence and twice posted to a different place. This time, it wasn’t happening. This wasn’t going to be about evidence because there was no more need for evidence.
“Ok, Rayburn, I’m going to ask some straight-forward questions and you’re going to answer each one. Each time you lie, I’m going to do something to you that won’t be pleasant. Those are the rules, and it’s now my game. Let’s begin.
“Did you rape and beat unconscious, one Jenny Lowry in the night of August 17th of this year?”
“Did you also rape and beat to death a young school girl in Kane county and consequently were transferred after you friends destroyed evidence that would have closed the case against you?”
“How did you…”
“Shut up, unless you’re answering my question.” The knife flashed in the moonlight and he cringed.
“Yes, I did.”
“And two years before, did you also rape and almost killed a store clerk, one Lucy Miller, and were once more saved from prosecution by the police destroying evidence against you, and were you not then transferred as a result?”
Nancy once again flashed the deadly switchblade in the moonlight. It gave an evil glow. He looked at it and despite his agonizing discomfort, shivered as if death was literally creeping up his spine.
“Yes, that is also true.”
It was at that moment that Ian came on the scene, panting but intent on preventing his sister from murdering the rapist.
“Nan, don’t do it!”
“Jee-sus! Ian for Chrissakes!” She straightened up.
“D’you think I’m a total idiot? Don’t you realize I set this up? The police here aren’t all completely corrupt, you know. Some of them wanted to catch Jenny’s rapist as much as I did. You know sergeant Blakes? I told him about my suspicions, that the rapist was a copper. So he told me he’d keep an eye out; that he had his own suspicions as to who it could be. I needed a confession, Ian. I got what I wanted. I’ve got a recording, and now you’re my witness. We’re going to take this scum to police headquarters and we’re going to follow through until there isn’t a chance he’ll slip through the bars again.”
“Confession obtained under extreme duress, Nan. Won’t hold you know.”
“It’s not all, Ian. I’ve been investigating this for some time. I have other witnesses who can identify this copper. And there’s a particular lawyer who’s very keen on getting a conviction on this creep.
“Investigating? What do you mean?”
“My degree, Ian? Criminology? This is, shall we say, my practicum.”
“What about his buddies, the ones who destroyed forensic evidence? You didn’t get a confession on that.”
“Thanks to you for barging in, Ian, you idiot!” She turned to him and gave him a bear hug. “Love you, love you, brother. But don’t worry, those points are going to come out during questioning – at the station. He’s the type that won’t go down alone if he can drag others with him. There’s more to this case than rape and murder. There’s drugs; there’s money laundering; there’s cover-up; there’s several corrupt hands washing each other.”
“Nan, answer me this: if you’d become convinced there was no chance, no chance at all, that you and Jen would see justice done, what would you have done with him?”
She pivoted, facing the swamp, and said slowly, clearly, “There’s always room for one more piece of offal in there.”