Tony had driven past the girls three times already, before finally circling back. One was still completely engrossed in her mobile phone, fingers moving rapidly over the item itself. Her friend, a much taller girl in tight white jeans, appeared disinterested in the activities of the other girl. Instead she leant against an adjacent telegraph pole in a rather provocative, although relaxed manner, seemingly enjoying the image she created, without realising she was being watched.
Her taut young body and slim buttocks evoked his memories of youthful passion and innocence. Then she began to slow stroke her long dark hair, running her fingers through it, before casually flicking it to one side. For Tony, the realisation that neither had still not noticed him, made it even more exciting for what lay ahead. One of them would soon know him, completely.
Giving a false name and address and paying cash for a car at auction, provided the means for his intentions to be delivered. Tony always chose carefully. Mass produced vehicles, one of thousands on the road, nondescript and dust covered. The clever application of mud to parts of the number plates, made it almost impossible to decipher on CCTV, whilst not attracting the attention of the police.
It had been several months since Henry had come back into his life. Tony could usually tell when a visit was impending. There’d be a dull throbbing headache for a few days, followed by extreme sensitivity to light. His use of his specialist medication would be disrupted, followed by a period of sleeplessness, because Henry would only arrive in the silent hours of the night. He needed to be ready.
It would begin with a gentle whispering. The voices in his ear, friendly at first, would then became dominant, strident and challenging. Henry was his closest friend, his ultimate confidante, hero, and regrettably, at times, his controller. Tony sometimes hated him, yet knew the visits by Henry would always be exhilarating, even confrontational. The challenges would involve danger and excitement leaving him physically, mentally and sexually exhausted for days on end.
Remorse for what occurred was not an option, until Henry left. Then there would be a period of reflection and stillness, followed by a growing determination, that it would be the last time such behaviour occurred, and Henry would be resisted. Regrettably, once again, in the past few days, Tony had felt quite vulnerable.
Henry had persuaded him to try a daylight cruise, rather than the usual night-time foray, which had become too easy. The last girl was so naïve. Despite a public awareness campaign, and his growing reputation, he’d simply pulled up at the isolated darkened bus stop. He’d told the girl in the shelter, that he was meeting a new girl friend nearby, but was late, completely lost, panicking and needed directions. Whether it was the driving rain, or she was simply attracted by his good looks, she’d offered to show him where he had to get to. The trap was sprung.
Henry was particularly challenging about the option for daytime experiences, but it had taken many hours of persuasion over several sleepless nights, to get Tony into a particular frame of mind, malleable, willing and capable of responding to a new challenge. Throughout this time, Tony knew Henry was already monitoring his behaviour.
The gentle urging had already begun. The latest car was prepared in all respects. He’d carefully removed all interior identification, taking off familiar badges and manufacturer logos. The internal door handles and window winders had also been removed.
It was hot in the car. So hot, that his extremely muscular body, carefully dressed in loose fitting, easily removable clothing, was already soaked in sweat. Tony chose not to wear any deodorant, so he would be completely anonymous to the person who would ultimately receive Henry’s favours. He was also wearing thin latex gloves, which would confuse any DNA investigation and cover his tattooed hands and fingers, with their oil stained grimy nails bitten down to the quick.
His job as a mechanic in a car scrap yard was the final part of the jigsaw. It provided an easy means of resolution. Tony would simply drive to work early, then load his latest car and it’s content into the crusher. Before activating the destruct button, he’d use his mobile phone to record the vehicle and the event. Ironically, as he was early at work, he could even claim overtime.
Record keeping was minimal, and he’d gradually assembled a secret area within the scrap yard complex, which he’d occasionally visit and receive a vicarious pleasure. There was a row of metal cubic squares, all disgorged from the mouth of the crusher. All were consistently produced, clearly subject to the rigorous quality control of the scrap yard, and with the added bonus, that each contained a different recipient of a visit from Henry.
There were so many now, that Tony smiled as he remembered his father’s favourite Joe Brown song in the early 70’s – ‘I’m Hennery the Eighth I am, Hennery the eighth I am, I am.’ Tony could even remember saying to himself ‘It won’t be long Dad till we get to eight.’ When he looked at the collection, he knew he was nearly there. Seven metal cubes, were visible at the last count.
Despite these responses, over several years, he still felt raw, and never fully understood why his father, whom he adored, had committed suicide when he was a teenager, and his mother had suddenly walked out. The pain was as vivid, as the tears in the eyes of his older sister Jane, when they stood at the lonely, windswept double grave.
Her tears still haunted him, because physically and emotionally, she subsequently also left him. The emotional turmoil, which resulted, had really hurt, and re-opened barely healed wounds. Unlike his sister however, this time his tears fell deep inside, nourishing a deep terrible anger, aggravated after he found out that Jane had subsequently made awful accusations about her own father, as well as his behaviour towards other young females.
The voice brought him back to the immediacy as he watched the two girls.
‘Tony, I hope you’re not hesitating?’ hissed Henry, his voice becoming shrill and demanding. ‘Which one are you going for Tony? Which one? Come on. The short one or the one in white. They both look a bit like Jane, especially the one with the long hair. They’re starting to split up. Hurry. It’s time. It’s Henry’s time, precious time, it’s special – remember? Tony! You owe me.’
Tony looked down at the adjacent passenger seat. Everything was ready. The masking tape, carefully prepared in sections of various lengths, rested on the dark blue ski mask, next to the knife and hood. Perfect for a night-time excursion, but dangerous for a mid afternoon snatch. This was going to be a different challenge.
He’d carefully researched the impact of mask disorientation on victims of violence. With a hood over their faces, most victims became submissive in a matter of minutes. This needed careful handling as it had potential conflict with Henry’s desire to always be in total control, and utterly feared by the unwilling recipients of his favours.
Henry needed to see their fear, sense it in their eyes, watch their pathetic body movements and hear their desperate cries. Uncontrollable body functions were a bonus. There was no such thing as a victim, as far as he was concerned. It was justified and retribution. There was inevitably going to be a row after this outing.
‘Tony. For Christ’s sake. Which one? Which one?’ shouted Henry, and then ‘Come on, I’ve had enough. I’m taking over. It’s my show now.’
Tony felt the pressure in his temples increasing. His eyes were becoming increasingly sensitive to the light. He pulled the sunglasses, with their mirrored images, down from his forehead, and settled them gently on the bridge of his nose. Adjusting them carefully, he checked the rear view mirror one more time and then said ‘Over to you Henry.’
‘It’s white, it’s white, the target is white.’ said Henry excitedly, as the two girls separated, with the taller one, moving down the hill, before turning left, and walking alone along a dirt path adjacent to the main road. Henry reached back and released the special lock fitted to the boot of the car, inserted his favourite tape into the stereo system, turned up the volume, and felt a massive surge of adrenaline and sexual arousal.
It was several moments before the handbrake was released, and the car rolled quietly down the steep incline. The pulsating and sinister soundtrack from the Jaw’s movie permeated the vehicle’s interior. The sound increased in resonance as the car approached and drew alongside the Lady in White, soon to be the Lady in Red.
The face of the young girl contorted in fear and she appeared incapable of movement as the door suddenly swung open. ‘Hello Jane, my sweet lady.’ he said quietly his face covered by the ski mask, before stepping out of the car, with the hood in his hand. ‘My name is Henry, and I want you to put this on.’
‘Have a nice day Henry.’ said Tony, his headache already beginning to diminish.
‘Oh I will, I will. Thank you Tony. Today, I’m Henry VIII.’