Foul Justice by Mel Comley
Trisha Dobbs cowered in the corner. She wrapped her trembling arms around her two small children and kept her gaze on the three men ransacking her immaculate home. “Don’t hurt us anymore, please!”
The man snarled and ordered, “Get the rope and tie them up.”
Trisha gasped, and he turned to look at her, his eyes narrowed. She quickly averted her eyes, not wishing to annoy the man further. She’d already lashed out at him while trying to protect her son and daughter when the three brutes had forced their way into the house. He had a gash above his right eye where her flailing fist had connected, and she had a gash across her cheek where he’d retaliated without hesitation. She’d sensed, then, that she and her children were in for a rough ride and that the man was used to getting his way with women, one way or another.
“Mummy, I want to go toilet,” little Rebecca said as tears welled in her bright blue eyes. Trisha comforted the child and kissed her forehead reassuringly.
“Sssh, hon, try and hold on. Go through your alphabet to take your mind off it, like I told you. A is for apple, B is for—”
“Shut the fuck up, bitch,” the man snapped, his voice filled with venom.
“I… I’m sorry—” Trisha stopped when the man rushed at her and ripped her daughter from her grasp.
“No! I’m sorry. Please don’t hurt my baby.” Trisha sobbed and clung tightly to her two-year-old son, Jacob.
The man picked up Rebecca and roughly dropped her on the large white leather sofa opposite her mother. Trisha soon saw the trickle of yellow liquid drip down the sofa onto the rug below. Sensing danger, she placed a finger to her lips to warn her daughter to keep quiet. Rebecca covered her mouth as her shoulders trembled, and tears cascaded down her flushed cheeks. Too far from her mother’s reach, the four year old was petrified.
The man in charge towered over Trisha, his body blocking the light from the crystal chandelier overhead. “What time will he be home?”
With the man intimidating her, Trisha found it impossible to think properly. She glanced up at the lion head–shaped gold wall clock hanging above the fireplace. “Dave should be home at any minute,” she told him in a quivering voice.
The men had come at eight o’clock, and it was now half past ten. Trisha’s husband always arrived home around eleven on match days when he played at home. He generally declined going for a drink with the rest of the team after work. He was the type who preferred to keep out of the limelight, and he hated the notoriety connected with his job. Given the option, he would choose to be home with his family, unlike most of his teammates, who appeared to revel in fighting off the paparazzi at London’s elite nightclubs.
One of the men tied her arms behind her back before moving on to little Jacob. Her heart went out to her baby, and wanting to protect him, she pleaded, “Stop! He’s only a child. What harm can he do? Please don’t tie him up.”
Appearing uncertain, the man looked over his shoulder at his boss, who glared and nodded for him to continue.
Jacob cried out in pain as the man roughly wrapped the rope around his fragile wrists.
“It’s okay, sweetie. Show Mummy how brave you can be.” Trisha tried to reassure him, hoping to prolong the charade that they were all playing a bizarre game.
Soon both children were sobbing uncontrollably, and Trisha, numb with helplessness, felt as though she’d been stabbed numerous times in the chest. My God, what can I do to get out of this?
“Go upstairs and start on the bedroom. Tear it to pieces if you have to,” the man in charge ordered.
Trisha tried hard not to give anything away with her facial expressions under the man’s intensive stare. She felt confident the gang wouldn’t find the safe tucked under the floorboards in the master bedroom, but considering the mess they’d made of her beautiful home since their arrival, anything was possible.
The man in charge took a step toward her. “If you don’t tell me where the jewellery is, I’m gonna start hurting the kids.”
Knowing she couldn’t delay the inevitable any longer, she sighed. “In the back bedroom.”
“In the wardrobe. On the shelf, there’s a box.”
He leaned close and ran his thumb from one side of his throat to the other. “If you’re tricking me…” Jacob was sitting beside her, and the man yanked the boy’s head back. “He gets it, you hear me?”
“Yes, I understand. My jewellery is in that room. I don’t have much. You think we’re rich, but we’re not. This house is mortgaged to the hilt. All our furniture is on Hire Purchase. Dave doesn’t make the kind of wages reported in the papers, I swear,” she told him between sobs. Stay strong for the kids’ sakes.
“You think I’ve got ‘fucking idiot’ tattooed on my forehead, bitch? What do you take me for?”
“I’m sorry. It’s the truth. You have to believe me.”
“Oh, do I now? You blondes are all the same—thick as shit! You think you can wrap us men around your fingers, don’t ya?”
Trisha remained silent.
The man went into the hallway and shouted up the stairs, “The spare room at the back, in the wardrobe, on the shelf. Let me know when you find something.”
Trisha squeezed her eyes shut and tried to visualise what jewellery she had put in the specific box. Her heart sank when she remembered she’d placed nothing spectacular there. All her best jewellery, Christmas and birthday presents that Dave had bought her, were safely tucked away under the floorboards. She hoped and prayed the children wouldn’t give her away, for all their sakes.
“Something wrong?” The man was in her face again, his eyes glinting with pure evil.
She wanted to be her usual sarcastic self, but the present time wasn’t appropriate. “No. Just hoping Dave returns home soon.”
“So am I,” he said, before releasing a full belly laugh.
A few minutes later, the other two men returned to the living room and handed the box to the man in charge. He threw the glass of brandy he’d poured himself across the room and marched towards her. “Is this it?”
She gulped. “Yes, I told you, we’re not wealthy. I—”
“That’s bullshit, lady, and we both fuckin’ know it. Where is it? This is your final chance or the kid gets it.”
Words stuck in her throat as the three intruders eyed her with contempt. Suddenly, the man in charge reached out and yanked Jacob to his feet. The man pulled out a knife and placed it against her terrified son’s neck. Trisha watched in horror as the blade sank into her child’s skin, and droplets of blood trailed down onto his white T-shirt, followed by his terrified tears.
“Please! I’ll tell you. Don’t hurt my baby.”
“In the main bedroom—you have to move the bed—there’s a small safe in the floorboards under the rug.”
He nodded for his men to go back upstairs and check. Seconds later, he received a shout that they’d located it, and seconds after that, little Jacob lay in a heap on the shag carpet, his throat slit from ear to ear.