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Excerpt for Hell Hath No Fury: The Wicked Will Perish ( 2 ) by , available in its entirety at Smashwords









THE WICKED WILL

PERISH 2

HELL HATH NO FURY


By

Anthony Vincent Bruno ©1999









THE WICKED WILL PERISH 2 – HELL HATH NO FURY

Thriller by Anthony Vincent Bruno

©1999 & 2011 by Anthony Vincent Bruno



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without written permission, except for brief quotations to books and critical reviews. This story is a work of fiction. Characters and events are a product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.



A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.

GLOSSARY


AK-47 – Kalashnikov gas-operated, 7.62 × 39mm assault rifle

APC - Armoured Personnel Carrier

AQT - al Qaeda Taleban

Bootneck - Royal Marine Commando

Browning 9mm – Hi power single action semi-automatic handgun

Casevac - Casualty Evacuation

COBRA – Cabinet Office briefing room A. UK crisis committee

CFT - Combat Fitness Test

Claymore - Portable anti-personnel mine

CO - Commanding Officer

C019 - Metropolitan Police Specialist Firearm Unit

Det cord - Detonating cord

FOB - Forward Operating Base

Flash bang - Stun grenade

GCHQ - Government Communications HQ

Gimpy or GPMG - General Purpose Machine Gun

GPS - Global Positioning System

HK MP5 - Heckler and Koch counter-terrorist sub machine gun

Icom - Intelligence communication

IED - Improvised explosive device

IR - Infrared

Klick - Kilometre

L109A1 - Fragmentation Grenade with a fuse delay of 3.4 seconds

L96A1 - Long range sniper rifle

LZ - Landing zone

MI5 – Secret Service, UK domestic counter-intelligence service

MI6 – Secret Intelligence Service, UK foreign intelligence service

MoD - Ministry of Defence

NOK - Next of Kin

Op - Observation post

PE - Plastic explosive

PIRA - Provisional IRA

RPG - Rocket propelled grenade

ROE - Rules of Engagement

RTU - Returned or Return to Unit

Remington 870 - Pump-action shotgun

Rupert - Officer

SOCO - Scene of crime officer

SOP - Standard operating procedure

Sig Sauer P226 - Handgun used by SAS and other military units.

Stinger - Shoulder-fired Surface-To Air missile (SAM)

TAB - Tactical Advance to Battle, a long march.

Tubes - Mortars

UAV - Unmanned aerial vehicle such as a Predator Drone 


BOOKS BY ANTHONY VINCENT BRUNO


THE WICKED WILL PERISH 1 – SAS: BODY COUNT

THE WICKED WILL PERISH 2 – HELL HATH NO FURY

THE WICKED WILL PERISH 3 – THE ASSASSIN

THE WICKED WILL PERISH 4 – NO PRISONERS

THE WICKED WILL PERISH 5 – SAS BELLATOR

----------

And then some ONE

And then some TWO

----------

COURAGE


HOLDING ON


THE PSYCHIC KILLER


SEX, LIES AND THE BOMB


NEVER AGAIN


Anthony Vincent Bruno on Twitter


CONTENTS

PROLOGUE


In the months leading up to the new Millennium, a series of seemingly accidental deaths had struck the city of London where the masses had grown weary of seeing criminals and their lawyers manipulate the justice system to their own ends. As the death toll increased, DI Jim ‘Duke’ Brannigan, a former military policeman with a knack for solving unworkable cases, began to suspect that the deaths were not only linked, but meticulously planned. If something did not fit, his gut instinct would never let it drop. He was a loner since the death of his wife who had been duped by the notorious Jamaican drug dealer, Teddy Karabayro. Brannigan’s serial-killing intuition had been accurate. A trio of former SAS Special Forces soldiers had taken the law into their own hands, frustrated by an inept British Judiciary and the government itself for their indifferent attitude towards demobbed servicemen. Joseph Cassidy, a former SAS sergeant and his two closest friends had fought beside each other in The Falklands, Ireland and Iraqi but had grown tired of smiling miscreants walking free whilst the poorer sections of UK society suffered. The handsome, jovial Jamie Richardson and the psychotic Danny Thornley merely followed their former sergeant’s lead, totally in awe of his ferocious yet calm, intelligent demeanour. The trio were mentored and supplied by a secretive group of influential men, all of whom had lost loved ones to acts of unpunished criminality. The mentors, contacted by Joseph alone, were always referred to by the tea they favoured; Ceylon - Joseph’s old Colonel, Darjeeling - a NCIS Scotland Yard mole and Assam, a retired Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Force. Joseph had his own form of self-therapy; working as a part time Samaritan telephone counsellor where he listened to heart rending tales of victimisation. He grew familiar with a few callers, one of whom was Mary Austin; the mother of a missing child, abducted and murdered by a paedophile ring operating in Greater London. Unbeknown to anyone except its members, the gang included Brannigan’s immediate station superior officer, DCI Andrews. The extremely cautious group abducted and abused their victims before dumping them into The English Channel using a Cessna light aircraft. Brannigan kept to himself, spending his spare time at home watching westerns most nights with a take-out and his cherished red wine. This changed when he was assigned to partner DI Teresa Mannion who he had previously been at odds with. As they worked on the suspected military vigilantism, Jim began to realise that he had found true love for the second time at the age of 39. She responded in kind, levitating the nightmares of his wife’s untimely demise and his own near death experience in Ireland years before. The alcohol had always soothed his waking hours but these dreadful memories coupled with his last military police posting in Iraqi where he witnessed the Basra Road carnage had endured for far too long. Joseph and his comrades had suffered differently in the Iraq campaign of 1991. They had been captured and subjected to brutal personal punishment by a Baghdad Secret police chief - Taribh Madani, a sadist who had been presumed dead but who now worked as a mechanic in London under an assumed name. The trio had returned to civilian life, disillusioned and jobless with nothing to show for their service. The crusade to rid Britain of its untouchables became their life. The paedophile ring, a notorious London gang family, fraudulent lawyers, a decadent sect leader and Teddy Karabayro himself were targeted in brutal fashion. Most were accidental but a few deaths were deliberately made to look like amateurish overzealous by exasperated citizens. When the trio castrate and hang two paedophiles in the schoolyard they had preyed upon, a new Chief Superintendent, Peter Bradley was appointed to take over the case. His apparent misgivings at Jim and Teresa’s efforts are softened when they spot Jamie Richardson in traffic, leading to a chase with armed police through the streets of London which resulted in the soldier’s death. As the net tightened, the vengeful Danny Thornley acted alone in an attempt to kill Duke Brannigan but ended up shooting Teresa, leaving her on the brink of death. As Jim sat at her bedside, Joseph left the hospital where he had been diagnosed with cancer and headed off to confront Taribh Madani whose alias has been uncovered by his mentors. Although slowly dying and wishing to continue the crusade until his final, momentous act of defiance, he could not resist the urge to kill the Iraqi who had caused so much suffering. They finally met in a West London garage but were interrupted by Iraqi assassins who had been trailing Madani. As Teresa’s dejected surgeon left the operating theatre, news of an explosion in a garage near The BBC Television Centre reached the hospital where Duke Brannigan waited and plotted his personal revenge.



CHAPTER ONE

Jim Brannigan had been waiting outside the operating theatre for over an hour before newly appointed Chief Superintendent Peter Bradley finally arrived. Teresa's chances had improved to fifty-fifty; he could now breathe without the thought of standing over another shining coffin.

Bradley wanted to know why he had not contacted him personally.

‘I resigned Bradley, so just stay out of my face.’

‘Don’t be so bloody stupid and do not speak to me like that.’

‘Not a lot you can do about it,’ answered Brannigan walking to a water dispenser.

A nurse approached the senior police officer and discreetly handed him Jim’s warrant card which she had found on the waiting room’s floor. ‘Thank you,’ he whispered in return.

‘Why didn’t you call me the instant Teresa was hit, Brannigan?’

'Priorities, my priority was Teresa and staying by her side. Is that reason enough for you?'

'My priorities are the wellbeing of my officers and catching these gung-ho bastards who have shot one of my officers. It's one thing for these SAS lunatics popping dealers and pervs, but now all this . . .' Jim let him drone on; his thoughts were with Teresa who was proving to be a tough cookie.

Two armed police officers arrived and stationed themselves nearby.

'Now Mr Duke . . . what do we do with you?'

Jim sighed, the new boy had picked the wrong moment.

'The name's Brannigan, pal! Jim Brannigan. From now on, I will take care of these bastards. They are not going to get away with this. I’m going to do it their way?’

‘Don’t talk daft man, you have your career to think of.’

‘Your hearing isn’t great, I’ve resigned from the service.’

‘Rubbish! You are a copper through and through Brannigan, it’s in your DNA.’

‘Not after this . . . not after today.’ Jim swallowed a mouthful of water, wishing it were something a whole lot stronger. ‘We cannot allow thugs to shoot women in the back as they helpless on the floor. I have had it with the nice guy routine.’

‘You heard about the shootings on Scrubs Lane?’

Jim looked up. ‘Shootings? I heard something about a gas explosion near the BBC?’

‘Yes, same thing. Scene of crime are down there now. Early indications show a number of bodies with gunshot wounds. A bullet must have hit a gas supply and the whole place lit up.’

‘What?’

‘A garage on the industrial estate blew up but the fire spread to nearby units which contained chemicals and a printing firm. Most were empty but a passer-by was killed by one of the secondary explosions.’

‘Any mention of our SAS connection?’

‘Not yet, the bodies in the garage are beyond recognition but SOCO are wary. A friend of yours said it looked military?’

‘SOCO’s Ted Nugent is down there?’

‘Maybe . . . I thought you had resigned?’

There was a brief silence before Jim finally spoke. ‘Maybe I spoke in haste. The job is all I know and . . . I just need to catch these bastards.’

‘Wise up then DI Brannigan,’ replied Bradley handing him his warrant card. ‘I’ll decide when you are out, not you!’

‘What?’

‘Something is seriously wrong here. I’ve never known anything like this in all my years on the job . . . it’s just unbelievable. You wouldn’t see this stuff in a bad movie. It stinks!’

'What do you mean by that?'

'Look at the facts man . . . we have a bunch of fanatical serial killers on the loose, a dead paedophile who investigated himself . . . with your help.' Jim looked at him with contempt. 'Then there's this Karabayro character that’s gone missing, the very man who you threatened in public and now there's DI Mannion getting hit three times while you remain unscratched beside her. Do you want me to go on?'

Jim was immediately on him, holding Bradley against the wall by his lapels. He could smell Bradley's uniform. The man always smelled as if he just came out of a laundry. Jim detected no fear; he knew the smell of fear so well from past experiences in the military police. Bradley cleared his throat in his Gregory Peck fashion and met Jim's stare.

‘Take your hands off me!’

Jim held on. 'What are you insinuating . . . Ferret?'

The two firearms officers were in a quandary at what to do.

Bradley frowned. 'Go on, just you try it . . . if I didn't have to ensure your safety I'd out you right now. All's not right here detective and I'm gonna get to the bottom of it!’ He casually released himself from Brannigan's grasp, 'you're going to a safe house this afternoon! You're off the case!'

Bradley composed himself as Jim began to realise that through his worry for Teresa he had failed to reason events out in his usual manner. Nevertheless, he decided there and then to confront the issue.

'I'm staying here at the hospital and there's nothing you can do about it!'

Bradley straightened his uniform. 'I gather from the circumstances that DI Mannion spent the night at your house?' Jim stayed silent, 'from the state of her undress on your kitchen floor . . . it's safe to presume that you . . . ' Jim was about to lose his temper again. Bradley raised his eyebrows, 'put your hands on me again detective and you'll be arrested.' I am your commanding officer now . . . so I'll ask any damn questions I like . . . understood? An officer has been shot . . . what do you think I'm gonna do man?'

Two more firearms officers entered the corridor, introducing themselves as Jim's close protection. The chief pondered his next move.

'I've heard that you once held a grievance with DI Mannion over Theodore Karabayro’s light sentence? Before you say anything . . . just think of the overall picture. One minute you can't abide the woman, the next she's shot up in your kitchen.' They looked at each other; Bradley folded his arms. 'Go with these officers and take a day or two to let things settle . . . she will be guarded at all times. Whoever this gunman is . . . he's not getting near her. Okay?'

Jim was unrepentant. 'I feel like I should be here!'

'Detective Brannigan . . .' he paused, 'if you've got feelings or whatever for Teresa, so be it. But the best thing for her is to have you away from the hospital, just in case this madman tries again. Think about it man!'

Jim sighed as a browbeaten surgeon exited the operating theatre and removed his mask.

'She's pulling through . . . the stomach wound was a lot worse than we initially thought but she's fighting . . . and it's well she did.'

Bradley noticed the emotive wave of relief that swept through Jim's taut frame. The uniformed Superintendent introduced himself to the medic as Teresa's commanding officer, pointing out her two protection officers.

Jim sat with his head in his hands while Bradley walked off to speak to the exhausted medic at the nurse's station.

Twenty minutes later Jim was feeling like a gate crasher as he introduced himself to Teresa's grief stricken mother and younger sister. He felt like putting his arms around the women but decided it would be inappropriate. He explained Teresa's presence at his house as vaguely and respectfully as he could.

Bradley returned with a discreet word. 'I noticed from your reaction to the surgeon’s words that there is something between you and Teresa, so I'll not say too much more. It can wait for another day. Meanwhile, get yourself off with these officers and keep your mobile charged.'

'If I don't?'

'I'll have you removed.'

‘One thing Bradley?’

‘Chief Inspector Bradley!’

Jim ignored the retort, ‘will you keep me informed about the explosion . . . if there is a connection?’

His superior nodded his head before walking back to the nurse’s station to make a call.

Ferrety little prick, thought Jim before moving away. He gave his mobile number to an intensive care nurse and then to Mrs Mannion with an offer of anything he could do to help. He left without another word, accompanied by his perplexed protection team.






CHAPTER TWO

‘Did you shoot that female copper?’

Danny Thornley spun around to see his one remaining friend peering from the darkened room out onto the street.

‘Fuck me Sarge, you could have given me a heart attack!’

He had arrived home at Cross Street, unaware of Joseph’s eventful night, presuming he had already gone to bed.

Joseph sat down in his armchair and switched on the overhead lamp. ‘It’s all over the news Danny! The police are combing London for a man who shot a woman in the back. Tell me now that it was not you?’

‘What’s with the hooded top and jeans . . . you been out Joe?’ Danny responded in an attempt to divert the oncoming fury.

‘I’ll get to that later.’ He took one look at his friend’s slightly scalded face and knew instantly that he had lost the plot.

Danny flopped onto the couch. ‘Those cops killed Jamie Sarge . . . I’m just sorry I didn’t get them both.’

Joseph strolled to the kitchen and came back with a six-pack of beers. He divided the booze, all the time staring at his long time comrade in arms. Danny matched him sip for sip, unnerved. The minutes passed as Danny avoided his friend’s gaze in total silence.

Suddenly, Joseph threw a beer bottle which caught him on the chest. ‘You fucking moron! Is that what we do now . . . shoot women cops?’ Joseph leapt to his feet and stood over his friend. ‘Is that what our crusade has come to?’

Danny rubbed his chest and gasped for breath, more in fear than the impact of the bottle. ‘I just couldn’t let them think they could get away with killing Jamie . . . that’s not gratitude. We’re doing their job and they kill our mate!’

Joseph crouched down and stared into the eyes of a man who he knew to be unhinged. ‘You listen to me now, okay?’ Danny nodded. ‘Listen to me carefully because I’ll not repeat myself. Never act independently of me again . . . understand? Not while I’m alive and running the show!’

Danny Thornley felt that familiar tingle of fear whenever he saw this mood. ‘Okay!’

Joseph sat back in his armchair. ‘Now tell me everything that happened today.’

Danny explained as briefly and succinctly as he could recall whilst suddenly noticing the oil stains on Joseph’s jeans and trainers. As he finished his recollection of the day’s events, he went to the fridge for more beer.

‘Anyway, the cops have got other problems from what I heard on the mini-cab radio. Some huge explosion near the BBC shithole, a reporter said it was gangland related.’

‘I killed Taribh Madani tonight.’

The beer bottle slipped from Thornley’s hand, ‘come again?’

‘Whilst you were shooting a woman copper, I was settling a score in a Shepherd’s Bush grease pit where our contacts had located him under an alias.’

‘Don’t head-fuck me Joe!’

‘I’m not, that animal is finally dead.’

‘I’m lost here.’ Danny’s face was contorted in a mixture of rage and bemusement. ‘You’re telling me that Madani was alive until today and you took him out by himself . . . without me? Is that what you are telling me?’

Joseph walked to the window when he heard the arrival of a car outside on the quietened street. ‘Yes, Madani and four other ragheads, including that piece of shit brother of his.’

‘How?’

‘Plugged the brother when I there, then things got out of hand but Madani ended his days in a pit of fire -’

‘No . . . I mean how could you kill that animal without me present. Is this a wind-up for what I did to that cop?’

‘Wanker! It’s no wind-up, I’m lucky to be alive. I slotted the brother and was about to do Madani when three of Saddam’s pals came looking for him.’

Danny dug his fingernails into his scalp, knowing that he had missed out on an obsession that had consumed him since the war’s end. ‘How could you do this to me Joe after the way he treated us out there . . . you know what I would have done to him if I knew he was alive! In Shepherd’s Bush . . . London! Fucking hell, I’m going to lose it here.’

Joseph felt a slight sting of guilt creep into his stomach but remained stolid. He would not tell Danny the whole story, he could not. ‘You have yourself to blame and you just better get fucking get used to it.’

Danny grabbed his coat from the sofa and was about to leave when Joseph spoke. ‘Where are you going?’

‘Out . . . if I stay here, I’ll lose it! Something bad might happen and I don’t want that.’

Joseph was at the door before him. ‘What do you mean by that . . . something bad might happen?’

‘Stand aside Sarge, I’m going out for a drink . . . alone.’

‘Sit the fuck back down Thornley or I guarantee you something bad in the next few seconds.’

Danny threw his jacket to the floor and sat down as Joseph returned from the kitchen with a litre of blue-label vodka.

‘Let me look at your face wanker.’

‘I wouldn’t do what you did to Madani without you present and you know it Joe . . . you fucking know it. You fucking know it!’

For a brief moment as Thornley unscrewed the vodka cap, Joseph thought he caught a glimpse of a tear in the corner of his friend’s eye.

‘I had no choice Danny. You left me a note saying Jamie was dead and you were off to kill Brannigan. I got the intel on that Iraqi animal and got curious but as I neared the garage, I knew I would kill him if I got the opportunity there and then.’ Danny’s scalded face was a mixture of bewilderment and deep regret as he listened whilst all the time thinking back to the degradation and pain of his Baghdad confinement. ‘When I came face to face with him, I had to see him dead, even if it killed me.’

‘What?’ Danny came back to the present, ‘what do you mean?’

Joseph crouched in front of his friend. ‘I’ll explain later, let me check out your burns.’

He tilted his head back and took a closer look. Normally it would need hospital treatment but they both knew that it was out of the question.

Joseph cursed his colleague. 'Fuck's sake Danny . . . shooting a copper . . . a female!’

‘Fuck her!’ grimaced Thornley, taking a swig from the bottle as Joseph went upstairs to the bathroom.

‘You've endangered the entire operation . . . look at your face and your hand. I don't fucking believe you,' bellowed Joseph looking through a first aid box. 'Stupid . . . just fucking stupid.'

Thornley scowled, he knew he acted contrary to the rules the team had laid down from the beginning. He nervously watched Joseph's movements.

'I did it for Jamie, Sarge . . . that bastard Brannigan killed him. We took out Karabayro and he repaid us by murdering one of our own.' Joseph remained silent. 'I'm glad the bitch got hit . . . you know they were together? She was feeling him up when I gave it to her . . . I don't know how he didn't take a hit -'

Joseph exploded. 'Shut up . . . shooting a female cop is gonna have every old bill in town after us. You fucking moron!' He coughed then swept the first aid box off the sofa with his forearm, sending it crashing to the floor. 'I'm telling you now Danny . . . don't go near Brannigan again . . . or you'll answer to me.'

Another brief moment of fear swept over Thornley who took off his shirt to inspect his burns. The boiling fat had taken some skin from his right cheek and seeped down his neck. His right hand had also been hit but he had brushed it off on his jacket.

Joseph started to regroup. 'Did anyone see you leave the scene or follow you here?'

'No way Sarge.'

'Let’s get you sorted and then get back to business, we're running late.’

‘I need to know the Madani details. You said three or four men and that you were lucky. Will the cops know it was you?’

‘No, it will look like an internal Iraqi fuck up. I left an untraceable weapon at the scene. It was a fucking fireball!’

‘He’s definitely dead?’

‘Burnt to a crisp. I’ll fill you in on the details when we’re on the road.’

Danny tried to imagine the unimaginable but soon his thoughts drifted to his fallen comrade. 'What about Jamie?'

An inevitable sadness came over Joseph. 'You know the score as well as he did, we'll send some flowers to his funeral and our discreet condolences to his father and sister.'

Thornley bowed his head, knowing that it was the only option. Since they began killing they all knew that they had to live secret lives, unable to discuss each other with anyone else, family members or otherwise. When the police eventually talked to Jamie's people and asked about his friends and former colleagues, they would be none the wiser. Ever since the early days of soldiering, all three had kept their family and friends separate. Joseph and Danny had no close friends or family whereas their deceased comrade had a father in an old people’s home and a sister married to a Surrey farmer. She knew the score from his Hereford days and never once asked him for his address though he had given her the Tottenham phone number and told her to leave a message on the machine if ever something happened to their father. It was a sad affair but necessary. Many SAS kept their affairs secret long after they left the regiment.

Joseph walked over to the upturned first aid box. 'We have to get you sorted out first . . . I'll get to the 24 shop and see if they have any Sudocream.’

'Thanks Joey . . . I'm -'

‘A stupid bastard!'


Joseph stopped at a coin box to relay the news to his former commanding officer in Dulwich. He was impressed to learn that Madani’s death and the subsequent gas explosions would not be related to the cause. Ceylon was more interested to know the exact nature of Thornley's knowledge about him and the other tea-drinkers. 'Minimal . . . don't worry sir . . . he could not and would not implicate you or anyone else if he ever got nabbed.' Joseph went on to explain that although Danny was a bit of a psychopath, he was a loyal one, who would never volunteer information. They both agreed that a trip up north for a week would be the ideal way to let the situation cool down. Joseph added that they would be stopping off on the coast for a day or two to tie up some loose ends. Ceylon did not ask why, just wished them luck.

Joseph got back to the house and treated Thornley's burns and after insulating the lining of a crash helmet they set off for St Mary's Hoo on the coast. He knew that a description of him from the hospital staff would be circulated and that Danny would have to keep his helmet on whenever the situation allowed so their options were limited. They were no longer certain about their anonymity, with the police sure to distribute their descriptions to the media. Cross Street, Islington had been their home for a long time but it might have to be sacrificed because they were not sure whether a postman or some busybody could place them there. Just in case it was discovered, Joseph took some essentials and loaded them with Thornley's bike into the van. They fitted new registration plates and drove through a congested, rainy London unsure if they would ever see their home again. Despite the alcohol consumed, both men felt capable of driving without any degree of risk. Thornley donned a heavy polo neck, Jamie's Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses. The darkened windscreen afforded some anonymity but Joseph was beginning to expect the unexpected; as in the days of soldiering for Queen and country.

‘Go on, you promised to tell me what happened with Madani?’

‘You’ll have to wait wanker, let’s get moving!’

‘Just tell me that he died in agony?’

‘He did.’

As they made their way to the coast, Joseph reflected on the surreal events in the garage that resulted in Madani being burned alive and the killing of a man who had saved his life. He felt ashamed at having to take the life of the Iraqi spook who had intervened on his behalf but nothing could be allowed to divert him from his final act of defiance. There could be no loose ends.


By the time they got to the M2 motorway Joseph had relaxed slightly, remarking that Danny looked like something out of "Captain fucking Scarlett". Joseph took over the Mercedes once they had passed the bird sanctuary while Danny got in the back and added some cream to his blistered face that was finally beginning to cool. They had stopped at a service station on the A2 where Joseph bought some food and the morning papers. The Sun had a hazy picture of the two ghostly figures hanging in the playground with the headline - 'PERVERTS JUST DESERTS!' while the Daily Mail devoted ten pages to the story with various examples of American vigilantism detailed throughout. The Daily Bit’s front page featured the large E-fit of Jamie with a caption underneath that read - 'One of the heroes who took a stand!'

'Hey Sarge . . . we're fucking heroes. Sharp move, hanging those paedo bastards up like that!' Joseph drove on with Danny's words ringing in his ears. He knew the worm tin was well and truly opened and that things would never be the same again. It was right to show a public deterrent to all the scumbags out there but it had been costly. The Gregory and Karabayro gangster snatches would have been enough to arouse the public but the cute Swedish kid had fallen into the wrong sort of hands and she could not have been allowed to go into their house in Lewisham. Child abusers! God, how I hate those people. He was about to finish the job. He drove up to a small ledge about a mile from the airfield on the St Mary Hoo shoreline. The paedophiles had confessed to disposing of their victims from an aircraft but Joseph had instructed them to lie about the exact method on the video tape that he sent to the reporter and police. He did not want the police to close off the route before he had a chance to exact Mary Austin's final revenge. Both Andrews and Whyte had been made to indicate on camera that a boat had been used, off the opposite coast. Jamie had reconnoitred the airfield before returning at night with Andrew's charged-up mobile phone, placing it inside the back pocket of the pilot’s seat. After castration and on the brink of death, Andrews had become uncooperative, refusing to divulge his cellular pin number. He gave it after Danny applied a cigarette lighter to his eyelids.


Joseph and Danny sat on the hilltop taking it in turns to watch the Cessna aircraft with the markings and number that torture had provided. It was not a busy airfield, largely used for leisure by the well to do's from the Chatham and Rochester areas, though there was a resident gliders club who once a month gathered for a closer glimpse of heaven.

No one went near the small plane all day long and neither man enjoyed their observation detail. Joseph had repeated the story of Madani’s death, omitting the fact that he had killed the man who had helped him survive. As far as Danny knew, Joseph had shot Madani’s brother, killed three of Saddam’s henchmen who had turned up wanting Madani for themselves before tossing their war time tormentor into a fiery pit along with a few gas cylinders which blew the garage apart. The reality was quite different, something for him to reflect on when alone. The rain was now quite heavy and they suspected that the remaining perverts would not be showing up. By seven o'clock, Joseph was feeling tired so he took his rest as Danny kept watch from under a canvas sheet while finishing off their prawn and mayonnaise sandwiches. The burns were now beginning to itch; he felt uncomfortable but was not for complaining. Joseph lay on his side in his sleeping bag in the back of the van. Where was Brannigan now, he wondered. If he was involved with the paedophile copper then it was a shame, considering what happened to his wife. Joseph felt remorse at Jamie's death and would like to have given Jim a horrendous beating for it, even though it was accidental. He would not tolerate Danny having another go at him. His cohort had already escalated the situation out of all proportion and it could not be allowed to happen again, especially after the news item Joseph had seen on the television that morning. Channel Five had been running a story about Jamie's death and the possibility of ex-special forces involvement in the vigilantism when they showed a clip of a young looking Jim Brannigan from his army days wearing the red cap of a military policeman. Joseph had looked at the screen; now certain their paths had crossed before. He had thought it the night they spied on Brannigan at his house, but now he was positive.

Joseph looked out at the black clouds rolling in from the sea and decided that he would get a message to the ex-redcap before he succumbed to the cancer that was creeping through him. He was sure Brannigan would have questions, so many questions; most of all about the black man Karabayro . . . questions . . . questions.


Thirty-two miles from the coastal spot where Danny and Joseph were to spend their rainy night, lay Theodore 'Teddy' Karabayro, camouflaged beneath Epping Forests willowy canopy. It had been six days since he was taken to the remote spot with Gregory, over one hundred hours since Jamie had shattered his spinal cord with the bat that was supposed to have killed him. Jamie was now on a slab in a Paddington hospital having been identified by his tearful sister, but Teddy was still alive. He had hoped for death to visit him many times since he ate his first beetle, but now he was praying for someone to come down that gorge and discover him. He had eaten numerous insects of differing kinds since the first little chap crawled across his eyelid to disturb him from his slumber. That had been John, next it was a caterpillar called Paul then a furry little fella named Ringo, all the way to a succulent Diana this morning. One of her Supremes was expected shortly. The stench of Gregory’s corpse had been overwhelming for the first few days but now it was part of his woodland home, though he sensed the dead gangster’s maggots were beginning to take an interest in his own dead limbs. 'Ya welcome to me legs bouys . . . dey no good to Teddy now.' He gazed up at the sparse foliage thinking of the paralysed actor who had played Superman and of his attempts to walk again. Whenever he got an inkling of hope he would rebuke the maggots in a calm voice and ask them if they thought Superman should have been a ‘black brotha.’ He stuck out his leathery tongue for its bath as the raindrops fell through the covering branches, his mind wandering to The Nags Head and onto the cold shelf where he would sip his cooled Heineken. He had never once thought of rain as survival, but now it was a luxury, though not too much, just in case his sunken pit might flood. It had not rained at all Saturday and his mouth had started to crack and bleed. The heavens opened up just as he began to dreamily walk along a Kingston beach with his mother. He gulped on nature’s spring offering until a slimy slug dropped in for tea. He had been crunchy and moist, though his two insectus larva brothers were to prove shy. Sunday morning arrived with a downpour and for just a second he thought he could hear a faint voice in the distance. Five miles away a scoutmaster and his troupe were doing their Sunday thing. Teddy had given up shouting, his voice box seemed to crack and choke whenever he did anything but swallow from the music world menu. He had shouted all that first day on finding himself in the netherworld but decided to save the remainder of his larynx to attract any movement he heard uncommon to his new home. He missed his silk sheets, but most of all he missed his limbs. He hummed a song to himself as he felt one of The Supremes crawl into his earlobe. 'Ya gat da wrong entrance gal . . . ya want da stage door!’


Jim had gone to a safe house in Ealing where he spent the rest of the day waiting for news of Teresa. His armed protection unit chatted to him about his days in the army and who they thought was going to win the Premiership. He would occasionally go to his room and say a short prayer for the woman he now knew he loved beyond reason. He lay on his small single bed looking around at his new home. A bed, table, lamp stand and a few Agatha Christie books. He could hardly take in the events of the past month; he despised Andrew's betrayal but wondered increasingly as to where the sneering Karabayro could be.

The next day Bradley phoned to say he was coming to see him sometime in the evening. He arrived at seven and asked for time alone with Jim. The armed protectors took a walk outside for some air and Bradley brought him up to speed with the hunt for the gunman.

'His name is Thornley. The photo you neglected to show anybody from the shopping mall identifies him as Daniel Thornley . . . a whole hamper short of a picnic. The SAS kicked him out after Desert Storm . . . a psychopath, true to the word. You were right about the Gulf debriefings. The three of them were detected while directing Stealth bombers onto one of Baghdad's presidential palaces . . . all hush-hush, no Bravo Two Zero gung-ho shit in the desert. These guys were right in the lion’s den where they inflicted heavy Iraqi casualties before running out of ammunition and finally forced to surrender. These boys are bad news Jim. They have been using aliases since demob so we don't have a fix but we've got another E-fit of Richardson's friend from the Royal Free hospital.'

Bradley handed him the sketch of Joseph. 'All they are saying at the moment is that he was being treated for cancer . . . no details yet. We have people in Hereford right now speaking to the SAS. It seems Thornley and the lad that died palled around with this Sergeant Cassidy, Joseph Cassidy . . . a right tough bastard if there ever was one. Do you remember him from the Gulf debriefings?'

Jim was in deep thought but could not place the name or the man from the E-fit.

'No sir, I just remembered the shooter because of that haggard looking face, I knew he was looking at me that day in the mall. They must have been trailing Karabayro, watching his movements, waiting to pounce on him.'

'Seems that way . . . anyway, this Sergeant's details are being sent down to us and we'll see if it matches the E-fit. All three of these guys were known to have been inseparable so my money is on the cancer patient being Joseph Cassidy and not the name he gave, Joseph Anderson.' Bradley opened the large envelope he was carrying and pushed a video cassette into the recorder. The two men sat and stared at the screen watching for the second time the tape that showed Andrews confessing under torture. Bradley asked if any of the shadowy interrogators could be the man that shot Teresa. Jim could not be sure. He felt no pity for his former superior as the screen showed him head bowed and beaten, reminding him of the RAF hostages and human shields who had been shamelessly paraded on Iraqi television during the Gulf war. The interrogation tape gave no clues but the next tape came as a surprise to Jim. Bradley fast forwarded Chalvet's 'fly on the wall' documentary, which although unedited, included subtitles. Chalvet had returned to France and had sent a copy, addressed to an assistant commissioner at the Yard. Bradley pressed play which showed a scene in Linley's office where Jim had warned the old Chief Superintendent that there was something afoot. Jim did not know whether to read it or listen to it. He certainly remembered it, had he done it deliberately?

'As I said, don't waste your time with these unfounded theories, use your talents to find the real culprit.'

'Sir, there's a shooter out there breaking the commandments and I've . . .'

'Shooter? Asked Chalvet inquisitively.

Bradley looked at Jim. 'You we're up against it on all fronts Brannigan!'

Jim jerked as both his and his new superior’s mobile phones rang simultaneously.

Teresa had had a relapse and was being given the last rights.

Five minutes later, they were speeding along the A 40, sirens blazing. Teresa's sister had called Jim and the police guard had contacted Bradley to tell him that one of their own was dying. Jim cursed every obstruction on the way to the hospital and raced straight into the operating theatre on arrival. When he got there the surgeons who were battling to save Teresa gave him a look of mortification and carried on. Jim looked at his love's bloated face being fed oxygen through a mask. He leant a little closer and spoke to her lifeless body.

Don't leave me, please . . .' he couldn't think of what to say. 'Just hang on. I'm getting the house done up for you . . . nice new carpets.' Tears welled in his eyes and he stepped back as Bradley came in to gently ease him outside. The surgeon breathed a sigh of relief.

'Thank God for that . . . she's coming back.’

Outside, Bradley bought a coffee for Jim and sat thoughtfully beside him. They remained silent until the perspiring medic exited the theatre's swing doors.

'There were a few complications but she's pulling through.’

Jim asked to see her but was politely refused. The relieved surgeon breathed heavily before slinking off to wash up. Jim and his boss remained seated until Bradley stood up to clear his throat.

'You can stay here with your guard until she's completely in the clear but, least you forget. You are still off the case . . . I don't want you tearing around afterwards looking for the triggerman. Clear?

'Yeah . . . okay.'

'Right . . . I'm going back to the station, I'll let you know straightaway if we locate the shooter or confirm Cassidy as the cancer patient. Brannigan?’

Jim looked up.

‘She’s a fighter, that one!’

Jim nodded before drifting back to his homely thoughts.



CHAPTER THREE

While senior Scotland Yard detectives, accompanied by two intelligence officers of the NCIS, chatted with the commanding officer of the Special Air Service, two of their former members were on a hilltop on the south east coast watching an airfield that had suddenly burst into life. Joseph and Danny, unaware that the police had their names, were looking through their binoculars at a group of flying enthusiasts approaching the Cessna 421 eight-seater aircraft. They swore when the aviators passed by on their way to several smaller craft. Another false alarm. Joseph was worried that the battery on DCI Andrews mobile would be flat before they had the opportunity to phone it. Another couple of hours passed and the small planes that had ventured out were starting to return.

At six o’clock, a man appeared from nowhere and tied a black ribbon around a rubbish bin near the entrance to the field. They watched as he lit a cigarette and kicked his heels. After a while, he retreated to a car parked at the back of the empty lookout tower. He stayed there for five minutes before returning to the rubbish bin and removing the ribbon.

Joseph and Danny had now been on ob-detail for over thirty hours when the man suddenly returned and replaced the ribbon around the bin. Two minutes later a Citroen drove past, followed by an Alfa Romeo that turned down the dirt road leading onto the quietened airfield. It slowed down slightly and made straight for the Cessna, marked by Jamie.

Joseph smiled at Danny. ‘Showtime!'.

They watched as all four doors of the car opened and four men alighted and made for the small aircraft. One of them seemed to be struggling, a prisoner of the other three. The anxious ribbon man appeared and proceeded to get into the pilot’s seat. One of the three men, the foreign looking chap from Euston Plaza punched the prisoner who fell to the ground. Joseph zoomed in on the stricken captive and realised that it was Mr Gordon Briggs, recent guest of Her Majesty, now a tenant of Camden council.

Danny crept nearer to Joseph. 'It's working Joey . . . nice one!' The tanned looking man picked Briggs up and all three men carried him handcuffed into the plane. A short time later, the Cessna roared up the runway and lifted into the gathering gloom.

Joseph and Danny prepared themselves as the light plane gathered height and speed, soaring out over the English Channel. Danny watched it with his powerful army issue field glasses while Joseph dialled Andrew’s mobile number.

The former RAF pilot was startled by the unexpected Big Ben ringing of the mobile behind his seat. The other three men looked at each other to see whose phone was ringing. Shanam, a diplomat living in Chelsea reached into the seat pocket and asked whose phone it was. Nobody claimed ownership so he pressed the answer button.

Joseph, watching through his field glasses, enquired. 'Could I speak to DCI Andrews please?' Shanam held up the phone so all the confused passengers could hear. The pilot looked around recognising Andrew’s distinctive blue cased mobile.

'Give it to me,' demanded the flyer. 'Hello . . . who is speaking please?'

'My name is Joseph . . . what was yours?'

Was? 'Bob Andrews isn't here at the moment . . . can I help?'

'Where is Bob . . . do you know?'

Their captive risk and former member Gordon Briggs, was beginning to come around and tried to get up from between his two guardians.

'I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to say . . . not without knowing who you are . . . old man.'

Danny, who was listening in commented, 'old man . . . the posh wanker!'

The pilot heard the remark and became even more suspicious, ‘unless you tell me who you are I shall be hanging up?'

'Joseph . . . I told you. And I wouldn't hang up if I were you.'

'And why would that be, Joseph?'

'Because if you do, you won’t know where the bomb is . . . will you?' All four men reacted in panic, Briggs tried to rise again. 'I see Mr Briggs is anxious to go somewhere.'

There was a silence inside the aircraft, the pilot tried to calm everybody.

'I take it you can see us Joseph . . . from the coast maybe?' he looked around and saw no other aircraft. ‘With binoculars maybe . . . do you know where Bob Andrews is? Do you know what happened to him, I suspect you do?' The other men looked frantically under their seats and in the seat pockets for the implement of their doom.

'Oh, I know where your pervert friend is alright . . .' there was a short pause before Joseph added. 'You'll be joining him shortly.'

All the men began to panic. Shanam tentatively opened the door of the craft and looked down. They were now three miles out, the abyss beneath them howled up in anger. Without the courage to jump, he turned on the dishevelled Briggs who he and his companions had planned to drown, blaming him for the discovery and deaths of Andrews and Whyte.

Joseph had beaten Andrews until he had implicated Briggs in his taped confession. The Standard had insinuated that Briggs had gone to ground after informing on the DCI.

The pilot was trying to keep Joseph talking while the others looked for the bomb.

'There is no need for you to kill us you know . . . jail would be much worse for people like us.'

Joseph had had enough. He took out the remote-controlled detonator from his pocket and armed it. The short silence panicked the ex-RAF man and he tried again to resolve his plight.

'How do we know that you're telling the truth Joseph . . . there might not be a bomb aboard?'

Joseph and Thornley stood up on the cliff's edge for a better view.

'Shut up . . . you paedophiles disgust me. I've a message for you.'

'Oh . . . who from?' he enquired phlegmatically.

'A childless housewife in North London, the mother of Neville Austin!'

'And what would that be Joseph?' he asked cockily.

The two pounds of Semtex detonated, causing the fuel tank to rupture. Bodies sprayed with highly inflammable aircraft fuel combusted in the furnace heat as their comfortable surroundings were ripped apart in mid-air. The flailing wind whipped the four flaming carcasses as they blazed like comets to the salty depths.

The two former SAS soldiers saw a bright flash and then the aircraft became a scorched, scattered jigsaw. It was beautiful to watch, Jamie had taped the odourless, Czech made explosive into the Cessna roof's lining while delivering Andrew's mobile.

Joseph walked to the van, his spirit uplifted, his promise to Mary Austin fulfilled. Danny hung around the cliff's edge looking at the debris fall into the sea.

Joseph started the Mercedes and shouted at him to get in. The North West awaited; a different adversary, but one more cunning and infinitely more dangerous. By tomorrow evening, Joseph would be drinking and singing Irish ballads in the same public house as Seamus Callaghan.


Jim sat at Teresa's bedside in the guarded intensive care suite of the quietened hospital. There were a couple of night nurses still on duty who periodically looked in on their recovering patient. Jim looked at the clip board attached to the end of her bed for any clues, but there were none. She was slouched up on two pillows, her face puffed out, tubes emitting from her nose to the bedside drip.

You're gonna make it darling . . . just hold on. The tired surgeon had been delighted to announce before leaving for home that Miss Mannion had come through the operation with total success. She would come around soon and should make a full recovery. Jim sat in his chair with tears of relief trickling out of the corners of his eyes. Tears of joy, tears of pity that dropped to the bed sheet covering his love's bruised, violated body. The nurses assured him that the swelling would start to go down in a few days. He held her hand and whispered that he loved her madly and wanted to marry her. If only she could see him, he thought, unshaven and bewildered. Would she still want me? Perhaps she will blame me for this? She had taken the bullets while he was only feet away. There had been nothing he could do. Was he a coward? He wept bitterly, whispering over and again that he was sorry.

'You will be if that carpet is not ready,' she mumbled, her eyelids flickering. Jim shivered with relief. His woman was back. He stood over her and kissed her softly, his eyes engulfed in tears.

'Marry me Teresa . . . God knows I love you!'

'Yes Jim, I will . . . I love so . . .' she fell asleep, mumbling incoherently.

Jim stayed the whole night, catching some sleep between chatting to Teresa's relieved mother and sister who had booked into a nearby guest house. He phoned the station and spoke to PC Freddy Chalmers who was on night desk duty. The excited constable then shouted out that she was all right which was received with a cheer by nearby officers. He left a message for Bradley to say that he was going to stay overnight at the hospital.

The chief had been in touch earlier in the day to say that the Yard men were returning from Hereford and that the E-fit of Joseph Anderson was indeed Joseph Cassidy, a former Sergeant in the Special Air Service. A nation-wide search was in progress for him and his cohort whose description stated that he had suffered burns to his face. A major crime map was presently being carried out to look into all suspicious deaths and suicides, accidental or not. Jim admitted to himself that whatever his personal feelings were of the Ferret, he moved things along, got results. Jim smiled wearily at the changing of the guard. These armed protection officers had to have the most unpleasant job in the world. They could sit around for weeks on end and then be expected to have their finger on their trigger at a second's notice. No thanks! A new rota of nurses came on shift and asked Jim if he wanted some breakfast. He asked for a cup of tea and a slice of toast. For a moment he nearly pre-empted togetherness by asking the sleeping Teresa if she would like a cup. He looked at her slumbering peacefully trying to imagine the terror she had gone through on his kitchen floor. He stroked her sleeping cheek thinking of the first book in the Bible, God created woman while man slept. That seemed about right, he mused, while wishing that it was him who lay in the bed with three holes punctured in his body. Hate filled up within him as he pictured craggy faced Thornley firing through the window. He recoiled in disgust, remembering the thuds which the bullets had made on impact. Had they died in the Shepherds Bush blast or were they still out there, waiting to kill again? Jim knew of some of the trigger-happy antics of the SAS but he had great respect for the elite regiment from his days in the army and he considered these two to be unworthy of the privileged 'Who Dares Wins' motto. He had an uneasy feeling that they were still alive, unable to believe that they would have been caught in a blast in a confined situation like a garage on an industrial estate. Thornley was vermin. You're going to make a mistake craggy face and I'm going be there waiting for you.


Joseph Cassidy and Daniel Thornley were now the most wanted men in Britain. They were front page news in every newspaper in the country. Some published old army photos of Jamie, Danny and Joseph adding that police would like them to help with their enquiries. Joseph's photograph looked nothing like him anymore, his appearance since the army had changed drastically even before his sickness took its grip. Even the detailed E-fit, based on the way he looked in hospital was outdated. He had shaved his head on the trip north and was now wearing slightly tinted spectacles. He was now dressing like a true Bohemian, a new age respectable hippy, complete with a hooded fleece. Some newspaper editors proclaimed them as heroes, others, that they were misguided, only the Daily Guardian labelled them murderers.




CHAPTER FOUR

Seamus Callaghan sat at the bar of Murphy’s Parlour, a public house in the centre of Preston owned by a middle aged Irish couple and frequented by many Republican sympathisers. He knew that the British authorities were watching his every move, so in order to slip away discreetly he arranged to stay for a late drink after the pub was closed. The paranoid landlord shut everybody out who was not known to him since his schooldays, especially a young London couple who proclaimed a sudden appreciation of Gaelic music.

The MI6 team regrouped and watched the pub from the front, rear, sides and even the roof. They would still be there when the doors reopened in the morning. Right after closing time Seamus went down to the cellar and from there, crawled through the tunnel that led to the sewage system. He met up with the active service unit he was due to lead into action and discussed the impending campaign to terrorise the ever-busy Blackpool resort. The first night he had managed to creep away from his government shadows and return undetected through the sewage system to the pub. The second night he was back in the pub drinking at the same bar as Joseph Cassidy.


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