Excerpt: Vengeful Payback
Below is an excerpt from Vengeful Payback, the third book in the Downfall Series. All books in this series can be read as standalones.
** This excerpt contains strong language – over 18s only **
DAN SAT UNCOMFORTABLY in the passenger seat as they sped along and glanced at Seth whose eyes were fixed on the road. He hoped this guy would be in, otherwise he knew he’d be trailing around the rest of the night until Seth had spilt some blood to get the frustration out of his system.
Whilst Seth was in a good mood and things were running smoothly at work and home he kept out of the shitty side of things, but anytime something irritated or stressed him he quickly reverted back to the Seth he’d always been. The dangerous one.
‘Here we are.’ Seth screeched to a halt outside a small semi-detached house behind a row of tatty looking shops. ‘Let’s not stay long otherwise my wheels will probably go missing!’
Leaning over, Seth double checked the address on the list. ‘Yep, this is the one. Neil Batchelor.’ He removed his handgun from under the driver’s seat and pulling a magazine from his overcoat’s inside pocket, rapidly secured the clip.
Dan eyed the pistol. ‘You’re planning on using that?’ he asked, worried.
Seth raised an eyebrow and smiled wryly. ‘Depends if this bloke makes it easy for himself.’ He could see the expression on Dan’s face and guessed he wasn’t pleased about the choice to pay calls personally, but he didn’t care. He needed the answers and wouldn’t sit here doing nothing. Whether Dan liked it or not it was important he showed his face with the strong arm side of things occasionally.
That was the only reason he’d got where he was after all and Dan would do well to remember that when he felt he’d rather take the ‘comfy seat’ approach. Although he didn’t mind sitting behind a desk and calling the shots, he didn’t want anyone to forget exactly who he was. He was Seth Wright.
Placing his handgun in his waistband, Seth got out of the car and confidently strolled up the garden path with Dan following behind. He banged loudly on the door and tapped his shoe impatiently on the stone doorstep as the hallway light came on.
The door opened and a man stood with a can of lager in his hand wearing an annoyed expression. ‘Yes?’
‘Neil Batchelor?’ Seth didn’t offer an explanation as to his presence and waited calmly with a steely glare, until the man in front of him realised who was on his doorstep.
As the penny dropped, the man’s mouth hung open and the extent of his mistake seeped into his brain. ‘Mr Wright!’ he gibbered. ‘Jesus! What are you doing here? I-I mean, what can I help you with?’ Fuck. Fuck. Fucking shit fuck. This was not good.
Trying not to smile at the man’s obvious panic, Seth casually stepped over the threshold and calmly pushed past into the hallway. ‘Mind if we come in?’ he asked belatedly.
‘Y-Yes of course. Please come in,’ the man stuttered, well aware Seth already had. Glancing out of the doorway and up and down the road, he quietly shut the door.
Dan stood behind the man as he hovered in the hallway, unsure what to do or say. He knew he’d recognised that name. Neil Batchelor. He’d definitely seen this guy before.
‘Can I get you guys a drink?’ Neil asked, nervously holding up his can. ‘Lager?’
Seth shook his head. ‘No thanks. This is only a quick visit. I was hoping you could help us with something. Can we go in here?’ he nodded towards a room off the hallway.
‘Of course,’ Neil replied and pushed the door open, ushering both men in.
Seth walked into the man’s lounge, making sure he didn’t trip over the threadbare carpet which had rolled up at the edges and gathered in ridges. He glanced at the illuminated fish tank in the corner containing a collection of brightly coloured fish, a loud water filter and a host of garish plastic plants shoved into the grit at the base of the tank. ‘Nice fish….’ he muttered.
‘Thanks,’ Neil said attempting to smile, aware there must be some point to this visit which most probably didn’t include complimenting his tropical fish. He didn’t know what it was, but suspected he wasn’t going to like it.
Dan stood silently watching the hint of a smile playing at the corner of Seth’s mouth and braced himself for the kick-off.
‘If you like fish there’s another tank in the kitchen if you’d li…’
‘I don’t actually like fish at all,’ Seth interrupted. ‘But I would like it if you’d be kind enough to tell me who sent you to ask questions at Jason Miller’s club?’
‘Jason Miller’s club?’ Neil repeated, taken off guard.
‘Yes, Jason Miller’s club – The Limelight? You went in to poke around regarding his suppliers.’ Seth paused. ‘Now I think I’m correct in surmising you aren’t a potential supplier?’ He made a point of looking slowly around the shabby room. ‘But I suspect you know who is, or at the very least, who asked you to do the digging?’
Dan frowned. That was it. That was where he knew this bloke from. When he himself had been involved in gopher work for firms like Benson’s this Neil guy used to do the same for the Millers. Like many, he’d been on the periphery, but had definitely been one of Miller’s runners. Why would he be attempting to make inroads into Miller’s club for someone else?
Seth stepped towards Neil, the tell-tale glint bright in his eyes. With the speed of lightening he reached out and gripped the man around the throat. ‘Now I suggest you tell me what you know.’
Neil’s eyes bulged as he fruitlessly attempted to prise Seth’s hand away from his windpipe. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about!’ he spluttered. ‘I haven’t been in Miller’s club for ages!’
Seth’s fist connected perfectly with the man’s nose, instantly exploding it and sending him crashing to the floor. ‘That’s not true is it? You were seen in there, now let’s see…’ He pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket and scanned down the list. ‘One day last week I think…’
Seth dropped to his haunches whilst Neil rolled around on the floor trying to stem the bleeding from his broken nose. He pinned the man down. ‘Did that jog your memory at all?’
‘I-I, er…’ Neil’s eyes darted around the room.
‘Well?’ Seth roared, lifting the man’s head from the carpet by his collar. ‘Who sent you?’ On receiving no response, he slammed Neil’s skull down hard onto the floor.
Dan stood stock still and winced hearing the sound of the man’s head smack on the deck. He’d let Seth deal with this until he got the nod. He knew better than to step in until he was explicitly asked to.
‘Ok, OK. I did go there on Tuesday,’ Neil gibbered. ‘It was only to see a few of the lads I used to work with.’
Seth sneered. ‘What do you mean used to work with? Think I’m stupid, do you?’
‘No!’ Neil panicked further. He’d heard Alan Barber’s brother had for some reason been asking around, but he couldn’t drop Alan in the shit about that. Alan was a decent guy, even if his brother wasn’t. ‘Seriously, I don’t know anything about the questions. I heard someone mention they’d been approached, but I don’t know who by. I didn’t see him. Just some young guy.’
‘And who was this young guy exactly?’
‘I really don’t know. Honestly!’ Neil bleated feeling Seth’s fingers pressing deeper around his neck. ‘You know how it works – people send people, who send people…’
‘Yeah, I know that, but I like to do things myself personally sometimes as you can see… So, I’ll ask you again – who was doing the asking?’
Dan felt it time to add what he knew. ‘This bloke actually did work for Miller so he might be telling the truth.’
Seth glanced up. ‘Did he now…’ Was this an inside job or something? Was Jason Miller setting him up? Was he the one on the take – making it look like an outside firm? ‘You work for Miller?’
‘I used to,’ Neil spat. ‘I got binned off two years ago.’
‘This guy was one of the peripheral runners Seth. I remember him,’ Dan added.
Seth nodded. Dan should know. He was one of the outsiders back in the day himself. It made sense he’d know the others on the circuit.
‘He stopped being used because his loyalty was questioned,’ Dan continued. Neil Batchelor had become far too attached to the brown stuff for anyone’s liking. This had made him non-choosy as to whom he sold his services to and that wasn’t appreciated.
Seth was bored. Getting to his feet he pulled his heavy overcoat to one side and drew out the gun from his waistband. With legs slightly apart he pointed the barrel casually in the man’s face. ‘Last chance dick head. Who are you doing the running for?’
‘No!’ Neil wailed, flailing around in a pointless attempt to outwit the gun’s barrel which trailed his every move like a magnet.
He started crying when Seth made a big show of cocking the gun. A horrible pathetic sight as he lay in a heap, his smashed nose bubbling with bloody snot. ‘It wasn’t me! I only heard a guy did some digging,’ he sobbed.
‘And what did you ‘hear’ his name was?’ Seth sneered, slipping off his overcoat. Miller told him the guy asking the questions happened on the Wednesday, not the Tuesday… Fuck it – this bloke was irritating him.
‘I don’t know!’ Neil screamed wild-eyed. ‘I swear!’
‘His name Neil? The runner’s name?’
Neil frowned, the sweat pouring from his face. ‘I-I don’t know…. I can’t think….’
Sighing, Seth suddenly fired the gun into Neil’s left kneecap and Dan tried not to jump back in surprise.
Dropping back down onto his haunches next to the writhing, screaming man, Seth shook him hard. ‘Suggest you shut your noise unless you want to attract undue attention. You don’t want any more grief on your back, do you?’ He smiled savagely, enjoying the familiar feeling of adrenaline rushing through his veins. ‘Now your concentration is fully on me – last time – tell me who this guy you heard asking questions is – his name and what he looks like?’
Neil clenched his teeth to control the urge to continue screaming as the pain from his shattered kneecap wracked through him. ‘He’s young – in his twenties with blond short hair. Tall and slim.’
‘Name?’ Seth growled and pressed the heel of his shoe down on Neil’s kneecap.
Howling, Neil began retching.
‘Concentrate, you cunt!’ Seth roared. ‘His name? The blond guy’s fucking name?’
Gasping in loud gulps of air, Neil sobbed openly. ‘I-I’m not sure. Adam? Or Aaron… Definitely began with A.’
Removing his foot, Seth smiled. ‘Thanks Neil. That will do for now. We’ll be back if we need more. In the meantime, if you think of anything you know where to find us…’
Scowling at the blood splattered over his white shirt sleeves, Seth placed his handgun back in his waistband and shrugged on his overcoat. ‘I trust you won’t feel the need to mention this to anyone?’
Watching Neil shake his head frantically as he rolled about on the carpet, Seth smiled. Nodding to Dan, they quietly left the house.
Copyright © Edie Baylis 2018
Vengeful Payback is available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited