Inspector Dan Geoghegan watched impassively as the two prisoners alighted from the van. Their wrists were handcuffed to each other, and their faces bore the brutality of the interrogation they had been through sixteen hours before. They had stopped in the middle of nowhere – a ribbon of road stretching through a wild forest of massive trees, clumpy bamboo and prickly shrubs. The isolation was magnified by a red setting sun where the highway ran into the horizon.
Geoghegan gestured with his chin for them to get on with their business.
“This is the only stop for the next 300 miles,” he warned as he lit a cigarette. “Swine like you will be happy to piss your pants, but I have a sensitive nose.”
The prisoners, two young men with perpetual sneers despite the bruises, turned around and spread their feet to urinate in the bushes.
Geoghegan regarded them as he smoked. Two rapists. Two murderers. They had stalked a girl on her way home from work, cornered her in a dark spot, raped her and then butchered her. Their reason? A girl had no business being out so late! Now, they were in judicial custody, awaiting trial and were on their way to the prison.
What trial? It would take years before a conviction.
The men, having finished their ablutions, turned, sneering at the cop as if challenging him to shove them back into the van. Geoghegan sucked at his cigarette and wondered what their faces might look like if they had a single bone of remorse in their bodies. He couldn’t form an image – their faces were mocking even from behind the curtain of smoke. They were a breed of men from Hell – predators entitled to a fair trial because the law of the land applied to both men and the two-legged variety of beasts! Geoghegan recalled the remains of the young girl. She had been viciously mauled and murdered because of their black ideology that likely never existed at any time!
“I’m thinking,” he told them. “The forest is just as bad as any prison cell – 250 square miles of desolation and danger. With the night coming on, you have as good a chance here as you would have at the place you’re going. Now,” continued the laconic Inspector. “The law will take its time before it gets you, but those chaps in there? They have a weird sense of honour and no respect for rapists. Two hours, that’s all. Two hours, and you’ll find yourselves in the dispensary, getting your butt-holes working again.”
For an instant, two pairs of eyes blinked. Then realisation dawned! It was the forest versus a prison cell, the wilderness versus brutality, the unknown versus bestiality. With a yell, they spun around and took off into the undergrowth.
Dan Geoghegan smiled and coolly palmed his handgun.
Two rounds echoed in the blackening wilderness; then, there was silence.
Justice was served.
© Cindy Pereira