The Nefarious Plan
by P.S.Gifford
forum: The Nefarious Plan
speculative fiction for the internet generation.

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The Nefarious Plan


        "Seven-and-a-half years in that god forsaken dump," Eric Bell murmured into the bitter Chicago morning air as he took one final glance back at the grey-walled prison.

        Breathing in deeply, he pulled his old pea coat tighter about his frame. When he had arrived there that coat had been a snug fit, yet now it hung loosely on his now diminished and weathered physique.

        Seven damn years, he considered for a second time as he shuffled purposefully down the deserted morning street to the bus stop.

        As he made his way he played over the iniquitous circumstances of his incarceration repetitively in his mind, and how as a free man, he could finally seek his overdue retribution. That odium had sustained his motivation to survive the ordeal, and maintain his resolve to keep in strong physical and mental condition. Next time the outcome was going to be different.

        Eric Bell had, once upon a time, had everything; a solid, respectable job at the bank with promising prospects, a modest apartment situated in the most fashionable part of town, and his most important prize of all… a fiancée. Sally Higgins was all he had ever desired, and yet so very much more. They had loved each other at that very initial awkward fleeting gaze, at the back of his college accounting class, and their love had continued to flourish every wonderful day thereafter, until that most flawless of days when he had finally proposed… and she had without hesitation accepted.

        As he waited at the bus stop, with an aloof impassive expression chiseled on his premature aged face, he smirked sadistically on the inside. Revenge was finally going to be his and he was going to savor every nefarious moment. Avenging his beloved Sally had become his only reason to continue breathing.

        When the bus eventually pulled up, the driver cast him a knowing cold glance as he boarded, obviously used to just-released prisoners taking his route. Eric solemnly headed towards the back of the vehicle. As he stumbled along, the morning commuters avoided his stare, afraid to make eye contact with him. He winced at them as he sat.

        My God, what have I become to instill this fear? He considered. Have I now become such a monster myself with my festering hatred?

        Regaining his focus, he continued to contemplate over that one day that would haunt him forever, allowing its miserable memory to motivate him on his mission. For him, life was worthless without Sally.

* * *

        Eric and Sally had been out celebrating their engagement, drinking and exuberantly enjoying themselves in their favorite local pub—Murphy's. They were young, they were immeasurably in love and they were blissfully happy.

        As they drank and giggled, Eric barely paid attention to Paul and Liam Mitchell, consuming their numerous pints of Guinness and ogling his betrothed. Scrutinizing the generous curves under her clinging pink cashmere sweater, how her thigh teasingly exposed itself as she crossed her exquisite nubile legs, not perceiving that each time she tantalizing licked her painted red lips, a primeval passion was stirring deep within the brothers' alcohol-sodden minds.

        As it had been a beautiful, summer Chicago evening, they had decided to walk home, still relishing each others company, as was often their habit. As they meandered and chitchatted along the familiar downtown streets back to Sally's home, they were completely oblivious to the fact that they were being stalked.

        Upon arriving at her doorstep, Eric kissed Sally softly on her lips and then allowed himself one more intoxicating breath of her fragrant hair, before he began his walk on home alone. Just as he let go of her embrace, still locked in her eyes, the door swung open and Sally's mother, Faye, coughed politely to get their attention. They chuckled again, and with Faye peering on approvingly they then finally said goodnight.

        As Eric walked he began to whistle, he was beyond happy; life at that moment was utterly flawless. He casually observed that the Mitchell brothers were standing in the street, smoking cigarettes, and appearing to be anxious, but thought nothing particular of it. He knew that they were in all probability up to no good. They more often than not were, and had been ever since their school days together. He cringed for a moment as he recalled how they use to pick on him.

        Once a bully, always a bully, he thought as he continued his stroll back to his apartment.

        Late the following morning, the phone rang. It was a Saturday, and Eric yawned lethargically as he answered it; so very sure that it was his Sally. Yet, he was wrong. It was Faye and he realized at that instant that something horrific had occurred, by the cold quivering timbre of her tone.

        "Something dreadful happened last night," she confirmed as if she had to force the words out.

        There was an uncomfortable pause for a few moments, and then she continued on slowly.

        "My very worst nightmares have been realized."

        Eric suddenly felt his world collapse about him, and his body began to tremble.

        Then the phone went silent, as if more words were too arduous a task. Eric immediately told her he was coming over and flung out of his bed, threw on an old pair of jeans and a shirt and drove frantically to Faye's house. As he pulled up, he noticed that two police cars and an ambulance were portentously parked outside, and several neighbors were standing outside their homes whispering to each other and pointing. Eric raced into the house and discovered Faye in the living room, trembling and weeping, talking to a young police officer.

        "Is this Eric, her fiancé?" she asked Faye, who solemnly nodded in response.

        "Come with me," the officer said, as she led Eric into the kitchen.

        "I have terrible news. There is no other way to tell you I am afraid… Sally is… dead. Faye discovered her this morning. She had been bound by her ankles and arms, and she had been," she paused for a moment, as if deciding whether or not to continue, "sexually assaulted. I know it is extremely difficult, but I need to ask you a few questions about last night."

        As he gave her a detailed account, he wished that it was he who was dead.

        His grief-stricken mind screamed in agony, who and why would anybody do this? It was at that very moment, with the police officer looking on inquisitively, that he suddenly remembered the Mitchell brothers. He remembered seeing them in the pub. He remembered that he had kept catching them staring at Sally, but most of all he remembered seeing them just after he left Sally's house. It was at this precise anguished moment that he understood it was them who had done it.

        The police, however, despite a barrage of circumstantial evidence, were unable to uncover any solid clues or facts to substantiate Eric's theory. The district attorney allowed it to go to trial nonetheless, and for two long weeks Faye and Eric sat silently in the courtroom, watching the brothers stand in the dock and lie and listening to their attorney manipulate. Finally, with much public disapproval, they were acquitted of all charges.

        Eric's life quickly spiraled recklessly out of control after that day. He began drinking increasingly more, in a futile attempt to ease his insufferable pain. Yet, his hatred only persisted, to inflame further until he could not stand it any longer. As a result of his disturbed state of mind he lost his job a month later, his boss sympathetic, but steadfast in his decision.

        Two long, miserable months passed and Eric was spending the last of his final paycheck at Murphy's pub when he saw them, the Mitchell brothers. They were drinking, playing darts and acting as arrogantly as they always had. Eric's pent-up anger suddenly spawned into insanity and something snapped deep at the core of his reasoning. He suddenly smashed his empty beer bottle violently against the bar top and lunged at the youngest brother, Liam, with the jagged glass, screaming maniacally as he went. Overtaken by rage, he thrashed his weapon against Liam's neck, and he was rewarded by the sight of warm gushing blood. Eric experienced a strange euphoric sensation of satisfaction. But then he felt a hard thump on the back of his head as the older brother, Paul, slammed a bar stool over it.

        Eric awoke to discover that he was handcuffed in the back of an ambulance, and a police officer was standing over him.

        "You were lucky, buddy," the cop informed him. "That fellow you attacked is going to live."

        And that is how Eric had come to be sentenced to prison.

        For nearly eight years he had sat silently in his grey-walled eight-foot-by-six-foot cell and considered his plan. As he ate, showered and exercised each day, he had continued to manipulate the increasingly brutal details in his twisted yet coldly conniving mind of how to instill the perfect revenge.


        Just then the bus pulled into the downtown depot.

        Murphy's pub was just half a block from the stop and despite being nine in the morning, it was open and half full. As he entered to have his first Guinness in seven years, he studied the room, it had not changed since the very last time he had been there all those years previous. Eric had decided that before he fulfilled his plan, that he should go and visit with Faye. She had always been so tender and accepting to him, and she surely was the only other person who could identify with his torment. He felt that he must tell her of his intended revenge, and let her know that the Mitchell brothers were about to be dealt with, once and for all. He finished his pint and nodded goodbye to the bartender, who had eyed him suspiciously the whole time he had been in there.

        Once more, he walked the several blocks to Faye's house, that walk he had made so many times before. He paused as he reached the driveway. This house had been so very beautiful once, perhaps the finest on the entire street. The garden had been abundantly alive with a mass of brightly colored flowers and always so impeccably maintained. Yet, now it was obviously badly neglected and was nothing more than an overgrown mess. The house itself, once so neatly manicured, was also starting to show distinct signs of ill repair. Paint was beginning to chip, siding was missing in various places, and the windows were covered in thick grime.

        He made his way slowly up the paved entranceway, beginning to wonder if seeing Faye was really such a rational idea after all. It was entirely possible that she might even call the police, and tell them all he was about to share with her, yet he somehow felt compelled. As he stood outside the door, on the very spot he had last seen and touched Sally, he paused for a few moments, closing his eyes tightly shut and reliving the joyful memory. Then finally he rang the bell. There was no response, not even any sounds of movement from within. He tried again and stepped back down the entranceway getting ready to leave.

        All at once he heard the door being unbolted from the inside and it gradually opened, creaking ominously as it went. Eric was taken aback by the figure that stood in front of him. Surely she must have been Sally's grandmother, and not the elegant Faye who always took so much pride in her appearance? Her shoulders were stooped, and her face dirty and wrinkled. Gray, sunken, vacuous eyes stared down at him, and then blinked as a slight sign of recognition flickered deep within them. She said no words, but nodded and beckoned Eric inside. He walked up the steps and entered the house which held for him so many warm glorious memories. The air smelled stale and of a fetid stench that he could not recognize. He allowed his eyes to slowly examine the front room, in an attempt to uncover the cause of the revolting odor, it was precisely the same furniture as he remembered, only now it was covered with thick layers of dust, which made it somehow appear haunting, almost as if the house itself had somehow died. He fixed his gaze upon the sofa, where he and Sally had used to sit, hold hands and giggle at the simple delight of each other's company. Once more the unbearable ache of intense abhorrence towards the Mitchell brothers began to fashion itself in his gut. He fully understood that only one course of action would diminish his anguish—the Mitchell's death.

        Faye perhaps noticed the strained expression on Eric's face, or even somehow sensing precisely what he was feeling and considering, suddenly gazed straight at him and spoke.

        "There is something that I desperately need to show you."

        Her voice was weak and strained, yet strangely somehow calm.

        Faye walked from the sitting room and through to the back room, and then on into the adjoining kitchen. As Eric watched on, she proceeded to lift up a door which was set in the middle of the floor. It was funny though, he had been in that kitchen a hundred times or more before and he had never noticed it before. But he assumed that it must lead down to a cellar.

        "Follow me," she whispered as she turned on a soft overhead light and began to make herself down the old stairs.

        Bewildered and yet oddly intrigued, Eric dutifully followed. As he made his way down the staircase the stench made Eric want to vomit, yet he somehow forced himself together. He was baffled as to why he was being brought here. Moments later they were standing at the bottom of the stairs on the cold concrete floor and Eric understood the source of the putrid odor.

        Chained on the ground, were the Mitchell brothers, or at least what was left of them.

        Faye suddenly smiled.

        "You see, they have been down here for over seven years," she said as Eric tried to comprehend the complete horror of the demented scene in front of him. "It was rather a simple affair, luring them here. I merely told them that I had found out who had really killed Sally and wanted to show them the evidence. Putting rat poison in the Guinness I served them upon their arrival was also far easier than I had planned. The strange thing is no-one even missed them. The only hard part of the task was dragging them down the damn stairs and shackling them to the ground. I think I did a fairly decent job considering I am just a little old lady, don't you?"

        She gave a macabre giggle and then continued.

        "The first thing I realized was that I had to stop the buggers from screaming, so before they awoke I decided to chop out their tongues. It was rather easy, actually, and I have to admit quite enjoyable. I used that thing over there." She pointed to a rusty pair of garden shears.

        Eric studied the brothers closely. Paul looked up at him with terror in his only remaining eye. It appeared that both of his arms had been clumsily removed, and half of his right leg was also gone. By his side lay a bloodied hack saw, and several large buckets of what he presumed was the primary source of the revolting stink: rotting flesh.

        Liam still had both of his eyes. His flesh, however, on his arms and legs was just a festering mess of putrid puss. Next to him was an electric carving knife, a hand drill, an oversized pair of pliers and a variety of odd-looking bottles of chemicals, one of which he could read as being sulfuric acid.

        Faye continued in a distinctly matter of fact tone of voice.

        "You see, I realized that death was far too good for those goddamned sons of a bitch. So each and every day, for at least twelve hours, I am to be found down here, torturing them. Over the years I have come up with all sorts of bizarre and different ways of accomplishing it, I am rather proud of myself. It is interesting, once you begin looking into it; there are so many excruciating ways to inflict immense pain on the human body. Although they can no longer scream, I can gauge the degree of agony I am inflicting by the level of torment in their eyes. The only hard part is keeping them alive; death, you understand, would be far too good for these bastards. I often have to force food and water into their bodies with a funnel, and I have even had to nurse them back from the brink of death a few times, before I could get them back on to their regimen of torture. I suspect I will have at least two years left before their bodies finally quit, if I am lucky."

        As Eric continued to examine, with growing satisfaction, the Mitchell brothers writhing in agony, the ache in his stomach, which had been there for all those years, finally dissipated. Then Faye handed him a red-hot branding iron that had been sitting over a gas flame, and as he held it in his trembling hand, he gradually made his way towards the prisoners, with them grimacing at him, horrified and totally at his mercy. He found himself actually chuckling as he watched their eyes get wider as he approached. They still tried to scream reflexively, but the only sound produced was an odd, almost comical, gurgling noise. Yes, he at long last understood there was indeed justice in this world.


The end.



copyright 2006 P.S.Gifford.

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