Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/571476-Payback
by RC3056
Rated: 18+ · Article · Action/Adventure · #571476
If you do a crime, you pay the price. First story, comments welcome. Thanks.
It was Friday morning and Stacey Townsend was having a great week. At 25 years old, she was in the first semester of her new teaching job at Adams High School in central Connecticut.

It was the beginning of September and a slight autumn chill was in the air, but it invigorated her as it came in through the half-opened car window.

As she drove through the Friday morning traffic towards school, her car seemed a little sluggish, but she didn't think much of it. Besides, her mind was on other things.

She knew she had a full day ahead of her, with one test to administer and some oral reports to listen to in her three classes that day. But she loved it. Working with high school kids was what she always wanted to do. These kids were young and full of energy, and the things they learned in high school would prepare them for college and life beyond that. She had finally made it; she had her dream job.

Of course, there was a cost and it was mostly her personal life that suffered. She hadn't had a serious relationship, or for that matter, she hadn't a boyfriend since her sophomore year of college. It had been so long ago, and sometimes she wondered if she’d ever find anyone again.

She had been pretty wild her first year in college. She was young and foolish and making up for lost time after a strict, but loving childhood. There were parties every night her freshman year, with lots of booze and recreational drugs to go around. She drank, but stayed away from the drugs… well, except for a couple joints now and then. Guys were constantly hitting on her and since she had been so quiet and shy in high school, she was enjoying the attention and took some of them up on their invitations.

She knew she was attractive, but never considered herself beautiful. At five-foot, four-inches tall, a lot of the guys towered over her. She was slim, athletic, and even when she wore her favorite, loose fitting clothes, guys could tell she had a great figure and a lot of them kept trying to get her into bed as soon as she came onto the campus.

She awoke in a haze one morning after a particularly long night of partying, and found the sun shining through the window blinding her. She was naked and alone in a strange bed, and her head was pounding from too many drinks. She could not remember much and it took a while to realize where she was and what had happened. Slowly the memory of the night before came rushing back to her and she recoiled in disgust with herself. She decided that morning that if she wanted to amount to anything after college, she would have to make a lifestyle change.

"Time to grow up Stacey,” she thought to herself as she rubbed her eyes and tried to clear the cobwebs from her head. She climbed out of the bed, got dressed and headed back to her dorm. A shower and coffee was all she could think about at that moment.


The rest of that school year she concentrated on her school work, and while she did not become a hermit, she definitely curtailed her social calendar.

Near the end of that year, however, she met David, and she fell for him hard. They did everything together and completely enjoyed each others company, whether it was a movie, a museum, a concert, or just a quiet dinner in her dorm room or his apartment. In a very short time, they fell in love with one another and became inseparable.

Then, three months into her sophomore year, tragedy struck. David's dad was injured in an accident and David decided to go home and visit him. But on the flight home, the plane crashed killing everyone on board. David was dead, and Stacey’s world came to an abrupt halt. Everything seemed to come crashing down on her at once, and she went into a deep depression and no one, not her family, not her friends, not even David's family, seemed to be able to get her to snap out of it.

One day a few months later she realized that she had to move on with her life; that's what David would have wanted her to do. So she rededicated herself to her studies and the teaching career she wanted. She became a bookworm. She turned down dates. She rarely went out at all except to classes, the library, or to eat. She was determined to become a good teacher.

She graduated with honors three years later, then went on and got her master’s degree in education. Within a few months of her graduation, she landed a job at Adams High School. It was in a small town in central Connecticut, with wonderful people and a sense of "community." A town not much different than the one in Pennsylvania where she grew up, and she really liked it there. She had found herself a new home.


With all of the thoughts of her past filling her head, the drive to work that morning went by quickly. Before she knew it she had arrived at school, and drove into the parking lot, parked her car, gathered her briefcase and began the walk towards school and the first of her three classes that day. She had four classes in total to teach that first semester, and they all had gotten off to a good start.

She quickly became known as a smart teacher and one who was fair, open to discussion and who made learning fun. However, she also made sure that the kids knew she was tough and not someone who could be pushed around, but because of her size and her “first year status,” she would have to prove herself more than once that semester.

Her first class of the day started off good. One by one, her students began to give the reports they had prepared. But then Derek Sherwood, one of the stars of the football team, and one of the constant troublemakers in the school, started disrupting the class by making wisecracks to his friend sitting next to him.

"Derek, did you have something to say?" she asked him after he interrupted a student giving their report yet again. "If you do, please tell all of us."

"Ah, not really. I was just having some fun," Derek said. "No problem."

"Yes, it is," Stacey said. "If you disrupt class, you disrupt all of the students, and that's a problem. Don't you agree?"

"Well, yes, Miss Townsend," he responded. "But..."

"No buts, Mr. Sherwood," she said, cutting him off. "I, and the rest of your classmates, would appreciate it if you would not disrupt the class. So, please, unless you have something constructive to say in this class, please keep it to yourself. Otherwise I will have to send you down to Mr. Christopher's office and I don’t like doing that to a student. And, if I’m not mistaken, he said that if you were sent to his office one more time this month, you would not be able to play in the next game, and you don’t want that I’m sure.”

"No, I don't Miss Townsend. I apologize," Derek said, as he stared at Stacey with hate in his eyes. Around the room, his fellow classmates giggled.

"Great, thank you," Stacey said. Now let's all get back to work. Please continue with your report April."

Stacey sat back and listened to her student begin her report again. She was proud of herself for being able to handle a tough situation in what she thought was a diplomatic way -- firm, yet not embarrassing to her student. But, she was wrong.

"You little bitch," Derek thought to himself as he continued to stare at his teacher as she sat back down at the front of the classroom. "You think you're so high and mighty up there. One of these days we'll find out just how tough you really are."


Before she knew it, the bell was ringing to signal the end of the class.

“See you all next time and we’ll finish the reports, “Stacey told her class.

With that, class ended and everyone headed out of the room. Stacey packed up her things and prepared to head to her next class when she heard a commotion outside the room. She dashed out of the classroom and saw a group of students down the hall. She headed toward the group and saw Derek punching another student while his football buddy, Jimmy Marks held him.

"So you think it was funny the way Miss Townsend talked to me, do you Billy boy?" Derek asked as he punched the kid one more time.

Billy Daniels slumped over, gasping for air as Jimmy propped him up for another hit.

"Stop it, stop it this instant," Stacey said as she charged into the group.

"Mind your own business," Derek said glaring at Stacey.

"This is a school Derek, I am a teacher, and this IS my business," she said angrily. "Now let go of him and back away."

Jimmy let go of Billy, who fell to the floor still gasping for air. Derek just stared at Stacey with more anger in his eyes than she had ever seen in her entire life.

By now, other teachers started coming onto the scene, and the ruckus was broken up. "So much for a peaceful day at school," she thought to herself.

Derek and Jimmy were sent to Principal Christopher's office. Stacey followed, and once she got there, recounted what had happened. Derek and Jimmy pleaded their case as well, but Mr. Christopher had finally had enough of Derek's antics.

"Mr. Sherwood, you have been warned many times before," he said sternly. "In fact, I told you the last time you were sent to my office a few days ago, that you would not be allowed to play in the next football game the next time you were sent here. Because of the seriousness of what you have done today, not only will you not be able to play in this weekend's football, game, but you are suspended from school for two weeks, effective immediately"

"NO!," Derek shouted. "You can't do that."

"Yes, I can, Mr. Sherwood," Christopher said. "And I just did. Now, get your things and leave school immediately. I'll be calling your parents to talk to them about your behavior as well. If you don't straighten up this time, you'll have to go to school somewhere else. As for you Mr. Marks, I'm sorry to see you following Mr. Sherwood's behavior and I'm going to give you the same punishment. You better use the next two weeks to think about what you have done and decide if you want to be your own man or just a follower. Now both of you, get out of here – now!."

With that, a shocked Derek and Jimmy turned to leave. As Derek passed Stacey on his way out the door, he looked straight into her eyes with a cold stare that made the hair on her arms stand up, and whispered so only she could hear him, "you’ll pay for this bitch!"

Stacey shivered, but tossed it off as just an angry teenager saying something in the heat of the moment.

Derek on the other hand, didn't just blow it off. He started plotting right then and there of a way to get even with his teacher.


It had been a long day at school Stacey thought to herself as she was driving home at 7 p.m. After the fight, she still had two more classes, then she had to grade the test from one class, and record the grades from the oral reports that were given in her other two. Then after work, her car wouldn't start and she had to wait for the auto service to send someone to get it started. It turned out she needed a new battery, which, with labor, cost over $100, and pretty much drained the remainder of her savings until the next paycheck.

"Great way to start the weekend," she said to herself while the mechanic finished his work.

Of course the mechanic had been a typical "male," and tried to sneak looks at her from under the hood of her car while he was there. She did look nice that day. Her red hair was tied in a pony tail, and under her jacket, she wore a loose-fitting blouse and long skirt that, as usual, hid her figure. She kept herself in shape though, working out two to three times a week, and no matter what she wore, men definitely seemed attracted to her. The mechanic sure seemed to like what he saw, as he kept checking her out the entire time he worked on her car.

Finally he completed the work and she was on her way. One stop at the supermarket, and then it was home to a nice warm bath, some dinner and some sleep, Stacey thought to herself.

As she drove, her thoughts turned to David as they often did. David, her one true love and the only real boyfriend she had ever had in her life. They had been so in love with each other and his death had devastated her. Since then, she had been so lonely, and she still didn’t feel ready to start dating again.

She remembered their last time together at his apartment. His roommate had gone away for the weekend and they had cozied up in front of the fireplace and ate dinner while talking about their future together. Finally, after the tension had built up for a few hours, they fell into each others arms and kissed. Their passion grew as the warmth from the fire enveloped them, and within minutes, they both gave into their desires for each other and …

Honk! Honk!!! Stacey snapped out of her daydream and back to reality. She had been stopped at a red light and it had turned green and the driver behind her was honking impatiently, trying to get her to start moving. She hit the accelerator and drove on down the street.

That had been such a wonderful night she remembered as she drove along. But it was so long ago. I loved him so much, but I guess it is time to start getting on with my personal life. He would have wanted it that way, at least that’s what everyone has been telling me. “One of these days, I guess I will,” she said to herself as she reached her home.

She turned into the driveway, reached up to the sunvisor and pushed the button on the switch to open the garage door, then pulled into the garage and parked the car. She got out of her car, picked up the shopping bags from the backseat and then headed into the house, pushing the garage door button on the wall switch as she passed by it. The garage door motor rumbled into action, then began to close as she went into the house.

She entered the kitchen and flipped the switch to turn on the light. Reaching the island in the middle of the kitchen, she put down her keys, purse and the shopping bags on the counter top. Then she took off her jacket and laid that on the counter and began to unpack the groceries.

She took the milk out of the bag and put it into the refrigerator. She went back to the counter to remove some more groceries from the bags, when a movement caught her attention. A movement that scared her to the depths of her soul. She quickly looked over and saw someone pop up from behind the other side of the kitchen island.

"Hi Miss Townsend," Derek said with a voice so cold it made her skin crawl.

Startled and frozen in place, Stacey tried to think quick – what should she do, what should she say?

"What are you doing here in my house," was the first thing she could think to say, and she said it with as much of an authoritative voice as she could muster behind the fear that she was feeling.

"I thought I'd stop by and pay you a visit," he said as he stared at his teacher standing in front of him, the lust showing in his eyes "You thought it was so funny when you got me and Jimmy suspended, didn't you? Well, I thought I'd stop by and show you just how funny it was. And maybe we can have some fun while we're at it. How 'bout it Miss Townsend, wanna have some fun?"

"Wha..what do you mean?" she asked, knowing full well what he was talking about. As strong as she always appeared in school, right now Stacey just felt like a frightened little girl. She knew she was in trouble. Derek was on the football team and over six feet tall. Next to her he seemed like a giant. If he wanted, he could do anything he wanted to her, and she trembled because she knew there was probably nothing she could do about it.

"Ah, come on Miss Townsend, you know what I mean," he said as he let his eyes travel over her body. "You have a great body, and I've been dying to see what you have under those pretty clothes you always wear at school. And since I have all this free time on my hands with the suspension, I figured now was as good a time as ever to come and find out."

"Come on Derek, think about what you are saying," she reasoned, as she continued to try and figure a way out of the situation. "You’ll go to jail. You'll throw your entire life away if you go through with what you are saying."

"Not if you don't tell anyone afterwards, and you wouldn't tell, now would you, Miss Townsend,” he snarled at her.

Stacey quickly realized that reasoning wasn't going to work on the angry teenager. She figured she had only one chance of escape and that was to make a run for it. The doorway to the living room was only a few steps away. From there, if she could just make it to the front door, she had a chance. But, she had to get a head start.

"Derek, let's talk about this please," she pleaded, stalling for some time, as she slowly moved her hand towards one of the grocery bags on the counter. "Maybe I can talk to Mr. Christopher and get you back into school and back onto the football team sooner. What about that?"

"Don't patronize me, please. You don't think for a minute I'm going to believe that now do you?," he asked as he began to come around the island towards her, his anger beginning to rise.

She knew she'd have to be fast, and with a quickness brought on by adrenaline and a strength she never knew she had, she pulled an orange out of the bag and threw it with all of her might towards the startled teenager.

Derek was totally caught off guard and the orange hit him square in the face, knocking him off balance. Stacey took advantage of the situation, turned and ran straight toward the door. Just as she was about to go through it, a huge object blocked her path, and before she could stop, she smashed right into it.

"Going somewhere Miss Townsend," Jimmy said as he grabbed the surprised woman, spun her around and held her tight against his six-foot, four inch body with her arms pinned behind her back.

By now, Stacey began to cry. She couldn't believe that Jimmy was there, too, and she fought and struggled against him trying desperately to escape. "Please Jimmy, let me go," she pleaded between sobs. "Don't hurt me. Please don't let Derek hurt me."

"We ain't going to hurt you Miss Townsend,” said Jimmy with a laugh. “We're just gonna have some fun," right Der?"

"Yeah, we're gonna have some fun, that's for sure," Derek said as he walked up to the trapped teacher, rubbing his face where the orange had hit him. "That was a pretty good idea, throwing that orange. I didn't think you had it in you. Not bad, not bad at all."

Then, with a movement so quick that neither Stacey or Jimmy saw it coming, Derek punched her hard in the stomach, knocking the air out of her and causing her to double over in pain. Jimmy just let her go and she crumpled to the floor at their feet, holding her stomach in pain, and trying desperately to catch her breath.

"Now you're not going to try anything like that again are you Miss Townsend," Derek asked.

Stacey couldn't breathe, let alone answer. She instantly felt pain as Derek grabbed her by the hair and lifted her into a standing position. As Jimmy grabbed her from behind once again, Derek twisted her hair around his hand and tilted her head back, forcing her to look directly into his eyes. What she saw in those eyes scared her to death.

"I said, you're not going to try anything else are you," Derek asked again as he pulled her head back farther, causing her to moan in agony and stop struggling.

Between the pain of her hair being pulled and still trying to catch her breadth, all she could do was nod her head no.

"Good," he said. "Now, are you ready to have some fun with me and Jimmy. Sorry, I did forget to mention that Jimmy was here, didn't I. Must have slipped my mind. Well, we figured you'd caused us a lot of trouble so we both wanted to come and see you. You ready for some fun Miss Townsend, or can we call you Stace since we are going to get to know each other so much better?"

"P-please d-d-don't do this," Stacey whimpered through her tears as she began to struggle once again in an attempt to gain her freedom.

Derek tugged on her hair again causing her to gasp in pain, then took the opportunity to kiss her hard. All Stacey could do was struggle and squirm harder, but she could not break free. She felt like she was being suffocated; she couldn’t breathe.

In the meantime, Derek ran his hands under her blouse, across her firm, flat stomach, then up and down her body. Stacey began to get dizzy from all that was happening, her senses seemed to be overloading. She felt close to losing consciousness.

As quick as he had started, Derek stopped kissing her. He pulled her head back by the hair and angrily asked her again -- "You ready for some fun Stace?"

She knew there was nothing she could do and felt herself surrender to the situation. Silently, in defeat, with tears falling down her face, she nodded her head yes.

"Fantastic," he said. "Now that we have that all taken care of, let's all go get started. Jimmy, why don't you escort our new friend Stace to her bedroom."

Through her tears she saw Derek nod at Jimmy, who turned her around to face him and then lifted her up and over his right shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

"No, nooo, pl-please don't do this to me," she pleaded through her tears. "Pleeeassse, don't do this..."

But by then, the boys weren't listening. Slowly they headed out of the kitchen and down the hallway. Stacey never felt so scared in all her life. She cried harder and harder as they slowly walked down the hall towards her bedroom and the terrible fate she knew awaited her.


In the fourth floor room at Memorial Regency Hospital, Stacey Townsend slowly, quietly, began to regain consciousness. As her eyes began to open, the first thing her senses told her was that she was in some discomfort. Her body hurt, her face hurt, and she knew she wasn’t at home. She tried to remember what had happened and tried to figure out where she was.

"Ohhhh," she whimpered softly as the memories of what had happened started to come back to her. The two angry teenagers, the way they hit her, and then the rest of it. It all came flooding back to her and she began to cry.

Within a few moments a nurse was standing by her bed trying to comfort her and giving her some medication to help her rest. "Easy, easy, now," the nurse was saying. "You're safe now, everything is going to be alright."

"How long have I been here? How did I get here," Stacey asked between sobs.

"You're uncle found you when he stopped by to visit you on Saturday and called an ambulance," she said. "He was really upset and concerned about you. We could all tell that he loves you a lot. It's Sunday morning now. Do you remember what happened?"

"Yes, I do," Stacey sighed. "Is my uncle here now?"

"No, not right now, but he said he'd be back this afternoon. I'm sure he'll be here soon," the nurse said. “Along with that other man. Quiet fellow that other one.”

“That must be Joey,” Stacey said, a smile forming on her face at the thought. “He’s a friend of mine and works with my Uncle. It’ll be good to see them.”

The drugs the nurse had given her began to take effect and she slowly began to fall back to sleep.


The elevator door opened on the hospital's fourth floor around 1:00 p.m. Two men stepped out and began walking down the hall. The first one, an elderly gentleman in his late 50's, was impeccably dressed in an Italian suit underneath a dark dress coat. He walked with an air of confidence around him, but some concern showed in his expression.

To his right was a younger man, solidly built, around 30-years old, also smartly dressed, and wearing a long, black coat. He also had a look of confidence and a stare that seemed to be looking at nothing, yet seeing everything at the same time.

Both men made their way quickly down the hall, and as they rounded the corner a nurse approached them.

"Stacey is doing much better" she said as she walked with them down the hall. “As I mentioned when I called you, she woke up a little while ago and was asking for you."

"Thank you. That is good news," he said as they reached the door to Stacey’s room. "May we go see her now?"

"Yes, please go right in," she responded. "She says she remembers what happened, but she does need her rest. We just gave her some medication to help her sleep, so please don't stay too long right now. She needs to get her strength back."

"Thank you," was all he said.

Together, the two men walked into the room. The younger man stayed back near the wall, while the older man approached the bed.

"Stacey," he whispered. "It Uncle Nick. Are you awake? Can you hear me?"

Stacey heard the familiar voice and slowly opened her eyes. "Uncle Nick," she cried. "It is so nice to see you." She tried to move to give her uncle a hug, but he beat her to it, reaching down and hugging her as hard as he could without hurting her.

"How are you feeling?" he asked.

"I've felt better," she said truthfully and with as much of a smile as she could muster with the bruises on her face.

"The nurse said you remember what happened to you. Do you know who did this to you?," he asked.

"Yes, I do," she responded. "But I just want to forget about it. They hurt me so much. They even said they'd come back and kill me if I ever reported them to the police. They scared me when they said that. I really believe they would."

"Well, you let me worry about that Stace," he said. "You just take your time and tell me what you remember.”

Slowly, but surely, Stacey told her uncle the entire story about Derek and Jimmy. How they had caused trouble in school, how they were suspended, how Derek had promised to get even and, with the help of Jimmy, how they showed up at her house and beat and assaulted her.

“I don’t think I’ll ever forget the last words Derek said to me,“ she said. "Payback's a bitch, ain't it Stacey."

As he listened to his niece's ordeal, the elderly man got angrier and angrier, but he did not let it show. He knew that the police had to be notified and these two boys taken off the streets before they did this to someone else.

"Well, we need to call the police Stace and let them deal with this," he said. "We can't have those boys out there and potentially doing this to someone else."

"Yes, I know,” she whimpered. “The nurse said that two officers stopped by here already, but, Uncle Nick, I'm afraid because of what Derek said, so I didn’t talk to them.”

"Don't you worry Stace, I promise they'll never bother you again," he said as he rocked her in his arms, comforting her.

While all of this was going on, the younger man just stood by the wall and listened. He winced when he first saw all of the bruises and welts on her face and arms. “How could anyone do this to someone,” he wondered. He just could not believe anyone could do something so brutal to a young woman like this.

He had known Stacey for what seemed like forever. They had played together as children when his parents visited hers, and they were still good friends, but had lost touch with each other the last couple years “How had time gone by so fast,” he thought to himself. Now here she was and it hurt him deeply to see her in such pain.

"Hi Joey," she said quietly while her uncle held her. She had been so focused on talking and looking at her uncle, and he had been so quiet standing against the wall, she hadn't even noticed him until now.

"Hi yourself," he said with a slight smile. “Joey,” he thought to himself. She was the only one he still allowed to call him that. "Don't you worry Stace, the police will see that those two kids get what’s coming to them in a court of law. They won't do this to you, or anyone else, ever again."

"I'm still not sure Joey, but if you and Uncle Nick think telling the police is the right thing to do, then I'll do it," she said.

"Yes, Stace, it’s the right thing to do," her uncle said. "Joseph," the old man turned to look at him, “would you please go call the police."

“Yes sir, right away,” he replied. “You take care of yourself Stace and don’t worry about those boys. They won’t bother you again. You just rest and get better.”

“Thanks Joey,” she said, smiling at him as he moved to leave the room.

The young man left the room and slowly walked down the hall to the nurses station and asked to use the phone. He dialed the number to police headquarters and asked them to please send someone to the hospital to talk to Stacey so she could make a formal statement. The police said they'd send someone right over.

He thanked the nurses and headed for the elevator. He pushed the down button and after a short wait, the elevator doors opened. As he got onto the elevator, he began to reminisce about the sweet young women he had grown up with. Three years apart in age, they had played together as children and she would always beat him at every game they would play. In time, he slowly realized that he had fallen in love with her, but he felt he could never tell her. She was so beautiful, so intelligent, he figured she'd never want to go out with him. Then she met David, and that changed everything. She fell in love, then he got killed and after that, she just didn’t want to date anyone. So he admired her from afar and they went their separate ways.

The elevator doors opened in the lobby and he stepped out and headed for the hospital exit. As he walked out the door, a single tear rolled down his left cheek as he thought of the young woman he grew up with now lying upstairs on the hospital bed brutalized so badly. “How could anyone hurt a woman like that? They had to be sick animals. There is absolutely no reason for it,” he thought to himself. With a steely determination for what he would do next, he got into his car, started it up, then drove it out of the hospital parking lot and into the afternoon traffic.


It was early Sunday evening and getting close to dark. Derek and Jimmy were in great spirits. It had been almost a full day since their "party" with their teacher and they were still thrilled and excited about how great it had gone. The story had been all over the news, but the police had never come by to talk to them, so they figured they'd won. Miss Townsend was too scared to talk and they'd gotten away with it.

They didn't get to play in the football game on Saturday though, so that was a “bummer,” but the “fun” they had with their teacher had made up for it. They even thought about picking someone else and doing it all over again. It was such a power trip and it was so easy they thought. Pick an unsuspecting girl, one who had done something to really tick them off, maybe one of those stuck up cheerleaders who wouldn’t go out with them. They could have their fun, threaten them and get away with it. It was the perfect hobby they had agreed, and laughed as they came up with their grand plan.

"What do you think Jimmy," Derek said as they got into his car to head over to their local hangout to get something to eat.

"Yeah, great idea Der," he replied. "How about that blonde cheerleader, Debbie. Or better yet, how about that brunette bimbo, Cheryl, she’s such a snob."

Both boys giggled at the prospect as Derek pulled the car out of the driveway and drove down the street.

A few minutes later, Derek turned down a side street, which was a shortcut he knew about to get to their hangout. As they drove down that street, a black sedan came out of a side alley ahead of them and stopped, blocking their way.

"What the...," Derek said, jamming his breaks and stopping his car about 25 feet away from the car.

Both Derek and Jimmy simultaneously jumped out of the car and moved to stand in front of it, all the while angrily staring at the driver’s side door of the black sedan.

"Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing you moron," they yelled toward the car blocking their path. They still couldn’t see the driver because of the dark tint on the car windows.

Slowly the door of the sedan opened and out stepped a man holding a gun in his left hand. He was in his mid-30's, dressed in a suit with a long, black coat that fanned out behind him like a cape as he took several steps towards the two teenagers. Both boys now stood silent and frozen in their tracks when they saw the gun in his hand.

The man in black stopped walking, and with his right hand, slowly turned a silencer onto the barrel of the gun. When it was in place, he pointed it at the boys. His long, dark hair blew lightly in the breeze. His icy stare drilled right into Derek's eyes.

"Derek Sherwood and Jimmy Marks," the man asked in a cold, monotone voice.

"Ye..ye..yes," Derek and Jimmy both stammered at the same time. They were scared out of their wits. They knew this wasn't good.

"I have a message for you boys," he continued.

"Wha..what," Derek asked. He had never been so frightened in his life.

With no expression showing on his face, the man in black simply said -- "Payback's a bitch, ain't it."

He could see that the boys immediately understood the meaning of the words he had spoken by the stunned expression on their faces, but before they could react, he fired off two shots. They never had a chance.


He could already hear the police sirens as he was putting his cellphone back into his coat pocket. He smiled to himself as he looked back over his shoulder at the two boys handcuffed to the bumper of their car. Derek was starting to regain consciousness. He had already started to pass out before the two bullets whizzed by the boys and into their car's windshield. The bigger boy, Jimmy, had dropped to his knees and begged for mercy. He gave up without any kind of fight. Really tough kids, he chuckled to himself as he cuffed both of them and called the police.

"You two guys messed with the wrong woman," the man in black said over his shoulder to the two of them. He got back into his car and started to drive away. He reached into his pocket for his cellphone again, and dialed. A voice came on the line.

"Hello," the voice said.

"Tell Mr. Salvatore, it’s all taken care of," he said.

"Will do," the female voice said. "Where are you headed?

"I'm not sure yet," he replied. "I was thinking of taking a couple days off, maybe heading to the seashore. We'll see."

"Sounds nice, enjoy yourself," she said. "We'll see you when you get back."

Joseph “Joe” Tucker put the cellphone back into his pocket and continued driving through the city. His thoughts turned to Stacey, who was still lying in the hospital. She was his friend and the woman he was in love with.

He had landed a job working with Nicholas Salvatore's investigation and security company right after he did his stint in the Navy. He had worked in special forces in the Navy, and had gained a solid reputation for getting "the job" done. When he left the Navy, he was approached by Salvatore about working for his firm. He knew he would never like a desk job, and he figured by working investigations and doing some security work, he would at least get to see a "little action," so he accepted the position. It was a little boring at times, but most of the time he found it challenging, sometimes dangerous, but most important, it kept him active.

However, sometimes, like after he left the hospital room that afternoon, his old Navy special forces training took over, and he just needed to take care of things himself. Especially when the "criminals" hurt someone special to him like Stacey. He certainly didn't want her, or anyone else, to fall victim to those two boys again, and neither did his boss, Stacey’s Uncle Nick as she called him. So when he asked him to go and call the police, he did as he requested, but he also decided to just go out and "handle it" himself.

"You're safe now Stace," he thought to himself. With a smile on his face, he drove up the onramp to the interstate and pointed his car towards the seashore and the relaxing weekend ahead of him.

The End

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