I was tired, sore, in need of a long hot shower, and a change of clothes. I desperately needed to get rid of the stink of shit and blood. Instead, despondently, I headed back down the stairs to get the gun out of the Land Rover.
Yeah. Same old story. It was a Monday. Mid morning. My wife had supposedly left for an exhibition and conference in Brussels. But there was a BMW M5 in the yard. I had stopped into the house on the way back from an early morning call. I had just put down a beautiful bay stallion, which didn't sit well to begin with, but finding my darling wife in the throws of passion with that arrogant bastard of an employer of hers just added to the mood. I opened the gun safe behind the seat, loaded the weapon, and returned to the house.
Janet and I had been married for five years. We had met at University. Students were given a place in the Halls of Residence for the first year but had to find their own accommodation for subsequent years. They are called Halls but were more of a mini village, with three or four students sharing a house. Whilst the individual houses were same-sex, the village was mixed. It quickly became party central, with the grassy area becoming an impromptu barbeque area. That is where I met Janet. I was studying veterinary science obviously. She was doing Business with French. We hit it off and went out together occasionally over the first year. But neither of us was ready to commit to each other. We didn't really see each other over the second year, except for bumping into each other in the students union or some of the other bars and clubs. Her third year was a placement in Belgium, and it was only when she returned for her finals that we actually got together, and started going steady.
The relationship only lasted a year. Janet passed her finals and started looking for a job. I had another year to do, and quite frankly I did not need any distractions. I eventually graduated with first class honours, and specialities in large and exotic animals. I was offered a number of positions, and chose a practice on the periphery of town that provided services to farms, and studs as well as what we now call "companion animals": pets, to normal people. Anyway, we ran into each other at a three day event. She was running some sort of corporate event, and I was a guest of one of the owners who had a couple of horses in the competition.
We arranged a date and things, developed from there. Janet was working for an international contracting company as an assistant to the regional sales director. Part of her duties was customer service. She organised promotional events for clients and potential clients. The job also involved some European travel. After about a year I proposed and she accepted. We were both twenty seven.
Life together had been pretty damn good up to this point. She was making good money, and I had established a good reputation particularly with horses and zoo animals. We had bought a small run down farmhouse, with a couple of outbuildings, and were doing it up with plans for an extension for when the kids arrived. The house was set in its own ground, surrounded by hedge and trees. It had been a farm but the fields had been sold off to local farmers. The actual property had a very old agricultural caveat on the deeds, so you had to work in agriculture to live in it. The house didn't have enough ground to constitute a farm any more, and it had lain unsold for quite a while. The lawyers decided that veterinary work was sufficiently agricultural. So we got a real bargain, a rural property with development potential at a price we couldn't have expected but for my job. Our income allowed us to travel as well. I had some Spanish from school and, in addition to fluent French; Janet had picked up some German and Italian. So we toured a lot of Europe.
It had never occurred to me that Janet might be engaged in extra marital activities. I had some pretty wealthy lady clients whose husbands thought the horses were enough to keep their wives occupied, but I had been propositioned often enough to know that some married women were not as faithful to their vows as they might be. Nevertheless I was not about to ruin the reputation of the practice that Henry, my partner had invited me to join.
I climbed the stairs quietly, although the music from the bedroom covered my entrance. Pushing open the door, I fired once, hitting her lover in the arse. As he yelled and jumped clear of my cheating bitch, I broke the gun, reloaded, and shot her too. Her lover recovered his composure and tried to charge at me, obviously intent at beating the fuck out of me. His exertions only accelerated the inevitable. He started to tremble and fell to the floor. Janet looked at the dart in her side and her eyes changed from shock, to fear, and finally dazed incomprehension as the tranquilliser took effect. I wasn't stupid enough to use the same gun I used for putting down fallen beasts. I had used the dart gun for putting zoo animals to sleep so I could treat them.
As they lay there I went to the garage and got the roll of duck tape, returning to the bedroom to bind their wrists and ankles. I was about to stuff their underwear into their mouths, but decided against it. Instead I just taped them shut. Then I carried them both downstairs and into the byre. Still naked. The byre was an old stone building with thick walls, so it was stone cold no matter what the weather. It hadn't been cleaned out since it was last used for animals, and there were rings set into the wall to tie the beasts to when milking or whatever. I tied them to two of them. Then I had an idea. My mother had looked after my elderly grandmother until she died. When Mum died, I had cleared her house and stashed a lot of the stuff in one or the sheds. I still hadn't disposed of it. There were a lot of the old surgical supplies the old woman had needed. Amongst these were some incontinence pants. I got two pairs and releasing the restraints round my captive's legs, I put these on both of them. I taped their legs again, returned to the house and went through Julian's pockets. Then I used his keys and checked his car.
So, when they came to, they were sitting in dried out animal dung, with their wrists tied to two of those rings, more or less naked, and freezing cold. I was showered, dressed in clean clothes, sitting in a comfortable chair with a steaming cup of coffee and a nice warm pullover, my shotgun across my lap, my day's work done.
I ripped the tape from Janet's face.
"Just what the hell do you think you are playing at?" She was trying bravado, but her mouth was dry, and her eyes told a different story. I held the coffee to her mouth and she gulped at it. Too quickly. It burned all the way down.
"You bastard!" she gasped, eventually.
"So tell me about it."
"About what?" she blustered.
"How long has this been going on?"
"How long has what been going on?"
I grabbed her by the hair and re-applied the tape.
"I'll leave you to think about things for a while. When I come back you had better be ready to tell me the truth."
I had picked up a couple of really spicy curries on the way home. Releasing only one hand for each of them I set the food and some water beside them, then gave them each a plastic spoon. Then I ripped the tape off their faces. They both grabbed the water and drained the cups. I took them and filled them from the outside tap. I listened outside the door but couldn't make out their whispered conversation. Not that it mattered. Their future was pretty much sealed. As a result, so was mine.
"I suppose I understand the looks I was getting from Willem and Jan at the last company do."
"Took you long enough," sneered Julian. I turned the muzzles towards him.
"You really think I'm scared of that? You haven't the balls to shoot!" He was wrong. Now, rock salt will barely penetrate the skin, normally. But if you are close enough, it will. I was close enough, and put both barrels into his calf. He squealed. It reminded me of "Deliverance", but I was not going to be fucking him in the arse. Well, I might, but I decided if I was going to I would use the double barrel. I reloaded.
"Dominic, I love you. I had to do it to keep my job. Julian was blackmailing me..."
"You fucking lying bitch!" screamed Julian between gasps of pain. "You've been screwing half the management to get where you are!" Then to me, "You better get me an ambulance. Get me one now and I'll say nothing to the police."
Yeah, right, I thought. I put the next two cartridges into his other calf, and reloaded.
"You fucking cunt! I'll see you in jail for that!" The next two went into his thigh. He squealed again but decided to say nothing. I taped his mouth.
"So who all were you going to screw in Brussels, then?"
"It was an exhibition, it was work!"
"So what was with the flight tickets to Barcelona?"
"I didn't know he was taking me there!"
"The clothes you packed say different. Look, obviously you've been lying to me for God knows how long. And you haven't the respect to tell me the truth now, so you are going to pay for it. Seems to me you aren't expected back in the office this week, and you aren't expected in Brussels either, so I have all week to decide what to do with you, and nobody is going to report you missing." I taped her mouth again.
They looked at one another and I could see that they finally realised I had them in the palm of my hand. Just to reinforce that impression, I took the hose and soaked them. I hadn't expected it but the water soaked dung in which they were sitting started to give off a strong smell of urine and dung. I left them to contemplate the shortness of their future.
I sat down with a cup of tea to decide how I was going to proceed. I had rather burned my bridges by shooting Julian in the legs. The temptation to kill the pair was strong. I was going to wind up in jail anyway, for using the gun and the false imprisonment, but I wasn't about to spend anymore time slammed up than necessary. In fact, I was going to avoid it as long as possible. There are plenty of missing people who their families were looking for and couldn't find.
Taking my video camera and gun, I went back to the byre. The lovebirds were shivering like fury. Looking in their eyes, fear had set in. I set up the camera and took the tape off Julian's mouth. Janet's eyes were pleading now. I ignored her.
"My arms, untie my arms please?" he begged. "I need the toilet. Please?"
"Well Julian, you've been fucking my wife, and you expect me to be nice? I think you'll need to give me something if you want any consideration from me, don't you?"
"Anything!" His hopes were raised. He saw a way out. "Take the car, or the boat, I'll sign them over to you. Just tell me what you want, I'll give you anything."
I'd forgotten about his boat, it was a rather nice cabin cruiser. An idea was forming.
"Half the management, you said." I still wanted to mess with their minds but I wanted to find out who else Janet had been screwing. If I was off the grid I might get a chance at them too.
"You said she was screwing half the management. I want names."
"I can't I'll lose my job."
"So you want to take their share of punishment? I have all week to persuade you. You aren't due back till Saturday; no-one is going to miss you till then." I poked his leg wound. He winced. "Names!"
"The toilet, I need the toilet."
"You have incontinence pants on. You'll get the toilet if and when I'm satisfied."
"What about Janet, she'll need it too?"
"Ooh! Gallantry. I'll make it clear shall I? She's the one who betrayed me. You are collateral damage. I really don't give a fuck about you. You know where messing with me got you. So far you have all your limbs. You can still walk away from this, but if you go to the police things will get worse for you. I might go to prison, but I'll get out." I sounded a damn sight more sanguine about it than I felt.
"Please, the cramps are killing me."
I taped his mouth again. "I'll let you think about it for a while more," and made to leave.
I did however untie their arms from the rings; they offered no resistance as I tied them behind their backs and laid them flat.
Going back into the house I started collecting thing for my departure. Julian's offer of his boat gave me the germ of an idea. My parents had been on holiday in Ireland when I was born. Mum had gone into premature labour and it was touch and go whether I would survive, so they had registered my birth in Ireland. I had been re-registered when they brought me home, but I still had my Irish birth certificate. I gathered my personal documents, some clothes, and the Euros Janet and Julian had drawn for their trip to Spain. I threw in my stamp collection. Tomorrow I would go to the bank and get the special collection from the safety deposit box. The house was mortgaged to the hilt. We had put all our savings into the property and it was heavily mortgaged. We needed both incomes to finance it. The idea had been that we stretch ourselves while we were young, and pay rises and house price rises would take care of the future. Janet knew about the stamps, but thought it a childish hobby and put no value on it. I knew differently.
I slept fitfully and phoned in sick to the surgery next morning. The lovers had clearly not slept anywhere near as well as I had. There was a different odour in the byre. Clearly the curry had finally done its work. I tied one of each of their hands to the rings and allowed them to eat a breakfast of Bran flakes and wholemeal bread. I had added some laxative to the spread and to the tea. I was determined that they would sit in their own filth. Making it pass through their gut rapidly would mean that the stomach acids would not be properly neutralised. They were going to have the worlds worst case of nappy rash. I just had to make sure it didn't turn into septicaemia. Judging by the squirming they were doing, the skin on their nether regions was stinging already.
Janet tried to talk to me. "Please James, let me go to the bathroom. I need to clean myself. I'm stinging."
"As far as I'm concerned, my darling wife, you can sit in your shit and your cheating cunt can rot away. What you are getting is trench foot of the arse. Its technical name is immersion injury. The troops in the Falklands got it because they couldn't dry their feet. If it goes on too long your skin will rot away and the only way to fix it is to cut it away. Julian will lose his dick and balls, and you'll wind up having your cheating cunt cut out. You'll be pissing and shitting in plastic pouches for the rest of your lives," my smile held no warmth. The shock on their faces showed I was getting into their heads. "If you tell me what I want, soon enough, you might not have to rely on memory for your sex life." I wasn't entirely sure whether I was lying.
I separated them this time. I put the ear defenders I use for shooting, on Janet, and taped them in place. Then I set up the camera.
"OK Julian, where are the keys for the boat?" His face glowed with hope.
"On my key ring! The keys for my flat are there too. There's a safe in the wardrobe with ten grand in it. The key is on the ring too! Take the lot, just let me get cleaned up and I'll be out of your life, I won't go to the police, honestly!" Don't you just love it when an arrogant bastard starts begging? But I filed the information for future reference.
"Where is the boat?"
"The marina. Berth A20. Right at the end of the jetty."
"OK, I'll have a little think about it. While I'm thinking, you are going to tell me and my little electronic friend here," I pointed to the camera, "all about my cheating wife, who she's been screwing and when and where. You are also going to tell me who you've been boasting to about her. And just so you know, she'll be doing the same shortly, so don't miss out anything."
He started his confession. I was a little surprised to find it had been only going on for about a year. I was also surprised to find it had been going on that long. I had braced myself to find she had been unfaithful for the entire duration of her time with the company but hoped it was a recent thing.
"It started at the Dusseldorf Expo last year. On the last night the management went out to dinner and the guys were all going to a lap dancing club. I was going to get Janet and Belegardis, from the Brussels office, a taxi back to the hotel, but they said they wanted to see what the whole lap dancing thing was about. They got a little drunk and Wim bought them a lap dance. They seemed embarrassed at first but got into it, then Janet said she could do better. It went downhill from there. She and Bel tried to dance but the management wouldn't have it. They got a bit more drunk and we headed back to the hotel. Wim had a suite and Janet and Bel decided they would give us a dance because they had got us nearly thrown out of the club. I mean, come on, what would you do James? They are both hot. There's no way any of us were going to turn down a dance." He looked at me like a naughty puppy that knew it had done wrong. It was so pathetic I nearly laughed.
"Well, you know how it goes..."
"No, actually. How does a wife start to cheat on her husband?" Any sympathy evaporated.
"Well they started stripping and they got a bit competitive, Janet, unzipped Jan's trousers, and fished his cock out. Then she rubbed herself on him. She still had her knickers on. But Bel got Wim's out and sort of moved the crotch of her pants to the side, and rubbed her fanny on him. Janet dropped her pants and started fucking Jan. It wound up the six of us screwed the two of them. After that we got together every time there was an exhibition. A girl from the French branch and German office joined in six months ago." At least he had the decency to look ashamed.
"Well, me obviously, Jan Witters and Wim Van der Cruyssen, from the Brussels office, Otto Visser from Dortmund, and Christophe Delmas, from the Strasbourg branch."
"You said six."
Julian wouldn't meet my eyes "Brian Urquart," he mumbled.
"That fuck." Urquart was the UK manager of their company. He was an arrogant, thieving, dishonest, bastard. He was also worth a fortune. When his wife found out he was playing away she divorced him, but he used his money and contacts to leave the poor girl virtually destitute. He had seen to it that she was refused legal aid and the solicitor she could afford was outgunned. I should have realised as soon as Julian said the whole thing started at an Expo. That bastard never missed a freebie.
"Who were the women?"
"Well Belgardis Lieshouten, Amelie Faugeron, and Birgit Theune. They are all married too."
I got him to run through as much as he could remember and recorded it all. It made me sick. Although the company executives had used the women, according to him they had instigated events and were more than willing participants. Once he was finished I had no stomach to listen to Janet's version. Nevertheless I needed her version. I was vacillating between wreaking more vengeance on the two of them, and releasing them, taking my chances that they would not go to the police.
I took the camera in to Janet.
"Now. I want the truth out of you. I have heard what Julian had to say, what happens to you both depends on what you tell me."
Her tale was pretty much the same as Julian's. Except she missed out the occasions she was fucking Julian and Brian fucking Urquart when she was at home. "It was just a bit of fun. Those things can be so boring. I just wanted something to do at night. It wasn't as if I was hurting you. You weren't missing out since I wasn't at home anyway?" she pleaded.
"You really don't know much about the male of the species, do you? Those bastards were looking down their nose at the fucking sucker whose wife was giving it away to anyone who wanted while I was keeping faith with a lying cheating slut!" Rage was growing again. They were really going to suffer for this. I had lost reason and was not thinking of consequences. But then I suppose she hadn't been either. "You better have enjoyed it 'cause your sex life is goin' to be memories from now on, honey"
I dragged her back into Julian. Fury was burning in my gut.
"Please James, please, let us get these things off and get cleaned up, my arse is raw. Let us get cleaned. We won't say anything to the police?" begged Julian.
"I'm thirsty," pleaded Janet, "can I have some water?"
"Just let us stand up and move about a bit, for God's sake! My muscles are aching."
Now I knew enough psychology to know they needed to have some hope, and to see me as a potential benefactor if I was going to control them. I slit the tape on their legs but left their wrists bound. They needed help to get to their feet and both screamed as the blood flow returned. Gently they flexed and bent to release the agony of their cramps, and both tried to remove the plastic pants that were retaining the little chemical factory that was slowly digesting their flesh.
"Ah-ah-aah!" I warned.
"For God's sake, James. If I get an infection I'll — we'll never be able to have children," said Janet.
"I will be able to. Probably just as well that you don't. I don't think your cheating genes should be passed on, darling." Her attempt to kick me would have been pathetic, if it hadn't been so comical. She could barely move and when she swung her leg she lost balance, tumbling to the floor, unable to use her hands to save herself. For her trouble, all she got was a mouthful of dung. Julian tried to make for the door, but a gentle push was all that was needed to send him horizontal too.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. You really shouldn't have done that. I said as I dragged them back to their bonds.". "I was nice to you and let you stretch and you got all violent with me. You said you wouldn't tell the police and yet you try to escape. I wonder where you thought you were going to go? Hmm? Seems I still can't trust you, you haven't learnt you lesson, sure you haven't?" I reapplied their gags, and just for badness, I turned the hose on them again
Leaving both of them sobbing, I went back to the house and formulated a plan. I had three or four days before they might be missed and a couple more before any alarm bells would ring. Hell, given that their activities seemed little short of public knowledge people might think they had run off together. Although I couldn't really take that chance.
I looked at what I had gathered together. There was enough to give me a start. I could go to Ireland, use my birth certificate to establish a new identity, and disappear.
I figured the best way to fade from view was to use cash and public transport as much as possible. I would have to avoid stations and ports as much as possible; Britain is the CCTV camera centre of the world. I fired up Julian's laptop and plotted a bus route to Holyhead. I figured it was the busier of the terminals and took me into Dublin. I could disappear into a bigger crowd and Dublin would have routes to more of Ireland than Rosslare. I decided to start moving right away to allow the trail to go cold. I needed to make sure they wouldn't die before they would be found.
The rule of three says you can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. I returned to the byre with water, and allowed them to drink. I had laced it with a sedative and once they were out I set up a couple of intravenous giving sets with saline drips, connecting all the bags of fluid into the drip control I reckoned five litres should get them through the next few days and leave the incontinence pants soaked. To prevent infection I dosed the drips with antibiotics. Ok it was animal antibiotic, but I'm a vet, I just worked it out by body mass. I was tempted to wait till they came round from the sedative and have another little gloat, but I was pretty deep in the shit so I resisted. Just before I left I had another idea and added some sedative to the drips. It would keep them disorientated for a while longer. I removed the tape from their mouths so they wouldn't choke.
Having checked their bonds, I locked the place up, and, loading my gear into his car, headed over to Julian's. If you look sufficiently confident no-one notices you. I simply walked up to his door, making sure he didn't have an alarm system, and used his key to enter. I found the safe, took the money and left. I resisted the temptation to search for anything linked to my wife's betrayal. After all, I had his laptop and the video recording.
I drove to a piece of derelict ground in a less than salubrious part of town that was used as a free car park. I left the keys on the tray of the centre console and the door obviously improperly closed. Taking my rucksack and grip I simply walked away. By the time I got to Ireland the car would be stripped and the parts on their way to Saudi or the Balkans. Being right hand drive, British prestige motors tend to be stripped for parts rather than sold complete. It is also easier to smuggle them out that way.
Then I went to the marina and again, brazenly, walked along the jetty, got onto the boat, fired up the engine and cast-off. I sailed round the coast a little until I found a little cove. I took the boat in and unloaded my rucksack. The grip, containing my passport, part of my stamp collection and about £5000 I left onboard along with a couple of empty whisky bottles. Then I plotted a course for Spain, pointed her south, and sent her on her way. She would sail till she ran out of fuel. I had no idea how far that would be.
Hitching the pack onto my back, I headed inland to the bus, and using the planned route I made my way to Holyhead. There I bought a foot passenger return to Dublin.