It’s probably best to add a little warning that there’s some violent content and strong language.
“Who… who are you?” Cartright asks, now displaying an initial sense of fear. Particularily as Mitchell has yanked his arms so far behind him, the limbs are in danger of being snapped.
“Guns? I thought you were just going to beat me up. That’s what usually happens. I thought you were them kid’s dads or something.”
“Shut the fuck up! You talk too much.” The gloved fist I slam into Cartright’s mouth takes him by surprise. He jerks his head back as blood drizzles from a lacerated lip. “The only talking we want you to do is to answer some questions.” I return the Browning to my holster. I warn him that just because I’ve put my gun away it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to kill him.
“Is Rosie okay?” Perspiration beads his forehead, dripping from his hair into his eyes. He blinks it back swiftly.
“We ask the fuckin’ questions.” Mitchell binds rope around Cartright’s hands, tightly interlacing the hemp to the back of the chair. While he does, Cartright emits an agonising ‘ouch’ of pain.
“Now, you fuckin’ perverted bastard, you’re going to tell us who that little girl is on the tape. The poor kid. You fuckin’ set fire to her. She tried to scream, but you gagged her, you bastard.” The blow Mitchell delivers resounds like a thundercrack as it connects against Cartright’s jaw, causing the tears to spring into his eyes. His pleas for mercy go unheeded when another blow almost sends him reeling from his chair. Mitchell is a powerfully built guy. “I asked who was she?”
Our faces remain concealed. Cartright attempts to penetrate the masks, while his eyes are narrowed as if with recognition.
“You heard him, bastard!” My anger is a formidable living, breathing force.
“Why should I tell you? You’re going to kill me anyway ain’t you?” The words issue almost like a challenge, an open defiance. It’s as if he’s sure of himself, even when Mitchell, pulling the weapon from his jacket,unceremoniously whips him across the jaw. He wraps a muscular arm about Cartright’s windpipe, practically shutting off his breath.
“That depends on you, you bastard. You want to live? Then talk. That little girl. You still haven’t told us who she was. What did you do to her afterward? And her family, how do you think they feel? I bet it didn’t occur to you to think what they might be going through.”
Cartright’s nose is bleeding profusely. Blood continues to ooze from a split lip, seeping between a couple of shattered teeth. He spits out the blood, narrowly missing our boots. He regards Mitchell and I with an open defiance once more.
“She’s fuckin’ dead ain’t she? We fuckin ‘ buried her. Go on, fuckin’ shoot me if that’s what you’ve come for. He wanted us to do it. We didn’t want to burn the kid. It was his idea…” He ceases his talk immediately, as if he’s said too much.
“Who wanted you to do it? Who is behind all this? Because I don’t think for a minute, that you’d have the brains. Not that what you did needs brains.” I listen to the impassioned anger present in my voice. It would be so effortless to simply plug the bastard where he sits, bound and helpless to the chair.
Cartright hesitates. I bring my face up close to his. Martin Cartright’s bloodied lips remain firmly closed.
“I… I don’t know his name. He ordered us to abduct the kids, film ’em.”
“So was it his idea, whoever he is, to set fire to that wee girl after you’d finished with her? She was hooded. Still alive…” I allow my words to trail. All this sickens me to the stomach. I never imagined how evil people can be even while I was in prison.
“You okay?” Mitchell enquires, concern in his voice.
I barely glance his way. My attention is centred on my attempt to discover more information from this monster. His bloodied lips negotiate a grotesque twisted line. He hisses, “if you kill me you’ll know nothing.”
“You only have to move your head, Cartright, and my pal will snap your neck. You said ‘us’. Is Louis Platt the other guy in the film?”
Aware of his hesitation, I repeat my question angrily.
“The fuckin’ home movie. Is that how you want to die, Cartright?” I mock contemptuously.
“What?” Perspiration breaks out along his brow again. There’s an unmistakeable stench of urine pervading the room.
“You filthy bastard! Come on, we ain’t got all night.” Mitchell hisses impatiently. “Now tell us about Louis, where he lives, and about the bastard whose pulling your strings. We know it used to be Lamond, but he’s brown bread. So who is it?” Mitchell wraps a gloved hand around a handful of Cartright’s hair and yanks it hard.
“Okay, okay, I… I’ll tell you. And if I do you’ll let me go?”
Let him go? To inform the guy whose pulling his strings? Our orders are to obtain answers from Martin Cartright. It’s the way Sir George Treveleyan works and this underground agency of his. Discover as much information we can from the mark, then terminate his life. Like I said it’s shit.I t’s no wonder that I drink, as I find no other outlet from this heinous occupation.
“So, Mr Cartright, who are you working for?” I adopt a more conciliatory tone, conscious of Mitchell’s eyes narrowed my way in the slits of his mask, warily. “Your pal Louis, you think he’s going to care? Or the guy you’re working for? They aren’t going to shed any tears at your demise are they? You want to take this rap alone? We kill you, and your pal Louis and the boss man whose behind all this are probably laughing. They’ll think you gave your life away to keep them in the clear. Ray Lamond’s dead. We know you worked for him. So whose taken over?”
“He’ll kill me if I talk.”
“And we’ll fuckin’ kill you if you don’t.”
“He’s like you. I mean he talks the way you do,” Cartright stammers. I observe there ‘s more urine leaking through his tracksuit pants.
“Filthy bastard, you fuckin’ stink. You’ve fuckin’ peed yourself again, ” hisses Mitchell.
I bring my face up close to Cartright’s. “So your pal Louis. His surname, is it Platt?”
“Yeah, his name’s Platt. Louis Platt.”
“Where does he live?” I insist.
“In Camden. He lives in Camden.”
“And the boss man. Tell us about him.”
Cartright is practically crying now, as evidenced by the drizzle of wetness that stains his cheeks. Tears intermingle with perspiration. As he’s bound to the chair, he’s compelled to allow both of them to fall unchecked. “I… I don’t know his name, but he’s a paddy. That’s all I know. A voice on the end of the phone and a package in the mail when he wants a job.”
“A paddy? You mean he’s Irish, this boss?” I cup a forefinger beneath his chin. “He talks like me?”
“Yeah, but harder,” his words are allowed to trail because Mitchell has wrapped both hands about Cartright’s head, as if it’s his intention to twist it right off. A singular twist in the correct place is capable of splintering the bones in the neck, enough to render him paralysed for the rest of his life, or to kill him.
Look out for the second part of chapter two this Thursday!