Charlie Four Kilo – Chapter 2
Published by iink Media in 2020
Copyright © Rich Jones
The author asserts the moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior consent of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
ISBN-10 : 1800315414
ISBN-13 : 978-1800315419
“In every generation men are born who, in their heart of hearts and the blood of their bloods, are warriors; but, when there are no more wars to fight, what must these men do, these men?”
1. ROAD TRIP
2. A WALK IN THE WOODS
3. OUT OF THE FRYING PAN
4. INTO THE FIRE
5. FULL OF SHIT
7. REBUILDING THE BUSINESS 1
8. DARK TIMES ON THE HORIZON
9. THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT
10. DARK TIMES
11. THE BOY
12. THE NEW FIRM
13. NOT EASY MONEY
14. MAN DOWN
Chapter 2 – A Walk In The Woods
The van stops, bringing Murray back to the harsh reality of his situation. The engine is switched off, and he hears two doors open and close quietly. He can hear the sound of keys, then the sound of doors being locked or unlocked. He can pick up on bits of conversation but again to faint to get anything from it, he is still none the wiser. This situation is so surreal he’s definitely past caring, he’s all cried out and his pride left the building once he’d pissed his pants.
Finally, bringing a sense of relief. The van doors open.
He hears a strong, not loud, but recognisable voice “don’t fucking move”. Move?! Is he kidding? Murray can’t move even if he wanted to. The voice he recognises belongs to someone he knows only as ‘the Russian’. He’s not Russian, he is from that part of the world but nevertheless, he is known as the Russian. Murray feels the van drop slightly as the Russian must be getting in and he can just pick up the flicker of lights, once again he says “don’t move”. Murray can sense that the Russian is close, very close and a bright light briefly shines through the sack and into his eyes; next thing he realises is he’s being grabbed by the head and dragged along the van floor. He drops out of the van and onto the deck. The adrenaline is pumping so much that any pain is non-existent. He hears the Russian jump out of the van and again say, “don’t fucking move”. The Russian leans right up in Murray’s ear, again a bright light pierces his eyes, and whispers, “I’m going to cut your feet loose, don’t try running”. On that Murray feels something move between his ankles and snip the cable ties no sooner than that is done he hears the Russian say whilst chuckling, “fuck me, he’s pissed himself”. Murray straightens his legs and feels the blood rushing back into them. Mind you he’s still laying on the floor so he’s far from comfortable.
He can’t hear the other person but he’s sure someone else is there. “Stand-up, we’re going for a walk”, says the Russian. Apart from the odd flash of light from what must be torches, it’s still pitch black. Murray feels a tug from the rope that’s around his neck, he’s now being led like a fucking dog. He quickly stumbles and falls over but whoever has control of his lead just pulls it again. Murray awkwardly gets up and tries to walk; he’s only just getting the feeling back in his legs and his left arm is now coming back to life. No one is talking, so Murray tries to use this time to figure out what the fuck is going on. There’s no light, so it must still be night, but what night, Friday, Saturday, Sunday he really doesn’t know. He’s beginning to warm up; it’s only late autumn so it’s not freezing by any standards. The ground underfoot feels fairly soft, but not grassy, more like mud and it’s really uneven. He can’t smell anything due to the state of the sack that’s over his head and his nose is still blocked from the coke.
Murray is having a feeling of serenity, although he knows he’s in trouble he’s not really thinking about what might be about to happen, he’s living in the moment, which is all he can do. He’s thinking about where he might be, he can’t hear any sounds apart from the faint footsteps of whoever is escorting him on this expedition. They don’t appear to be communicating; all he gets is the odd flash of light from their torches. This nightmare is all he can think about and his night in the pub on Friday seems to be a distant memory, although it may have only been the previous evening. He stumbles again only to be sharply dragged back to his feet.
Murray feels his lead tighten once again, only this time the Russian calmly says, “wait here”. Have they arrived at their destination? He hasn’t got the foggiest how long they’ve been walking for, they can’t have covered that much ground as it was slow progress. This time the light shines directly in his face and he feels who he can only presume is the Russian grab the sack that’s over his head, first he loosens the rope that has been secured around Murray’s neck and then slowly removes the sack.
Murray’s night vision is all over the place. It’s still dark but with the constant flashing of torches in his face he still can’t see particularly well. What he can see is two people, one who he knows is the Russian, he can’t yet see his face but it’s the man’s stature that gives him away. He’s tall, around six-four maybe six-five and solid, but then again for someone in his line of work he would be. The other guy, and he’s assuming it is a man, is very hard to gauge as he is saying and doing very little; the fact that the torches are attached to their heads like miners or cavers lights is slightly disconcerting, they must be keeping their hands free for something.
The silent man is standing about ten feet in front of Murray and the Russian is to his rear left, this is troubling because his hands are still tied behind his back and he is feeling extremely vulnerable. It’s still dark but regardless of the flashing lights his eyes are slowly adjusting, he can now make out that the quiet guy is dressed in dark clothes but it appears he is wearing a hood or balaclava. Murray is feeling indifferent about this as he could be masking his face for any number of reasons. The Russian is also in dark clothes but he doesn’t have his face covered, not that there’s much point as his voice and build give him away anyway, besides he’s the kind of character you don’t forget, ever.
The Russian moves in front of Murray and delivers a statement. “Right, I’m going to give you some instructions. I suggest you follow them, do understand me?” Murray acknowledges this with a simple nod, not that he has many choices, because this gag seems to be going nowhere. The Russian calmly says, “if you take a look down at your feet you’ll see we’ve taken some time to mark out a rectangle on the ground” Murray looks down and can just make out the shape in front of him on the floor, it’s partially revealed by the torch light but even without the torch’s he can now make out basic shapes and images in the dark. The Russian now tells him, “I’m going to cut your hands loose, don’t try anything stupid”. Murray feels a sudden snip as the Russian cuts the cable tie around his wrists, this is a huge relief, one he feels less vulnerable and secondly he can rub his face which has been in tatters for hours.
The Russian walks a few feet away returning with a spade, he throws the spade on the ground at Murray’s feet. “Dig” he commands. Murray looks at him in utter fear and a semi-state of confusion. “Fucking dig” he says again this time slightly elevating his voice. Murray is feeling submissive but he doesn’t want to be digging his own grave. He continues to gawp at the Russian and the other guy flicking between the two of them wondering what the hell is happening to him. The Russian backs up and stands next to the other person. Murray can see now, enough to see the details on the other guys’ clothes and that he’s wearing a balaclava and dark gloves. The jury has almost finished deliberating, and this isn’t looking good.
Once again the Russian barks “start fucking digging”, as he delivers this demand the silent guy reaches his right hand into the left breast of his jacket and removes a semi-automatic pistol. This is seriously fucking Murray’s head up; he’s now picturing the jury heading back into the courtroom with the foreman waving a piece of paper in his hand. Whilst Murray is looking at the Russian in disbelief the quiet guy takes a silencer out of his other pocket and calmly attaches it to the barrel of the semi. Murray now hears the jury state “you’re fucked”. The Russian now sounding quite impatient says in a slow yet direct manner “dig the fucking hole”. No sooner than this order has been issued the gunman snaps his body into position and squeezes a round off, it hits the ground directly between Murray’s feet. In Murray’s head time has just stopped, as the round impacts Murray looks up at the gunman who is looking directly at him there is a slight wisp of smoke exiting the barrel. The gunman casually turns his head and looks at the Russian, who doesn’t move, he just remains fixed looking at Murray ready to deliver another order. The gunman’s position only changes when he bends down to pick up the empty case that was ejected from the breach, however, the gun is always trained on Murray, apart from this one movement his position remains the same, legs shoulder-width apart with both hands on the gun, he looks back at Murray and raises the weapon, only this time aiming at his head.
Murray picks up the spade and starts frantically digging, he’s going so fast there’s mud going fucking everywhere, most of it back in the hole it came from. The Russian says, “stop fucking about and do it properly”, this falls on deaf ears as Murray continues to dig as if his life depended on it, and for all he knows it does. After a few moments Murray calms down and not because he wants to it’s because he’s out of breath. He collapses into the partially dug hole, dropping the spade in the process. He’s on all fours desperately trying to get air through his nose, difficult though as it’s still fucked from the coke.
The Russian walks forward, grabs Murray by the arms and lifts him to his feet, in the same way, you’d lift a young child who’s just fallen over. Murray is standing on the edge of the partially dug hole. The Russian leans towards Murray, gets right up in his face, he’s close, uncomfortably close and whispers to him, “do you want to live?” Murray sobbing uncontrollably, nods yes. “Then do as I fucking say”, whispers the Russian. On that the Russian slowly returns to his position next to the gunman who still has the gun pointing at Murray’s head. They look at each other again as Murray starts digging.
He doesn’t know how deep to dig so he thinks the best thing is to follow the template that has been laid before him and dig down a layer at a time. Whilst digging what he feels might be his own grave, he can’t get over the sound of the gun as it was fired at him, he’s never heard a gun fired before, especially one that has been suppressed. He thought it would be a lot quieter but it wasn’t, he’s trying to figure out why it seemed so loud. Was it a mixture of shock and fear that made it seem louder or was it just that he’s seen too many movies that gave him the impression that a silencer would be silent? Either way, it’s a sound he’ll never forget.
The sun isn’t up yet but it’s getting light and he can see they’re in a dense wood, it’s an evergreen woods so there are no leaves on the deck, just loads of fine needles. The daunting thing is the gunman hasn’t fucking moved, on the odd occasion he looks at the Russian but that’s it. Who is he? The hole is getting deeper now and he definitely feels if he was to lie down it would be deep enough to cover his body. Why is he thinking these thoughts? They make no sense, if he is to be killed then why would he want to make it easier for them; he’s beginning to feel stupid as well as worried.
The Russian walks up to Murray and says ”stop digging”. Murray doesn’t know whether to feel relieved or not, relieved that he can have a rest, but shitting himself because of what might come next. “Put the spade down and get in the hole,” says the Russian. Strangely Murray complies, he doesn’t want to but he’s remembering what the Russian had told him earlier about living and doing what he says. Murray is now standing in the hole which is up to his knees, he looks at the Russian waiting for his instructions. The Russian then says, “kneel down and put your hands on your head”. Murray does so while looking up at the Russian and at the gunman who has now adjusted his position and is holding the gun with just his right hand; still pointing it at his head.
The Russians demeanour changes, aggressively he says, “so you think you’re a gangster, you want to play like a fucking gangster, this is what gangsters do.” The Russian repeats his previous statement; Murray is just looking at them in utter fear, tears pouring, snot everywhere. He’s feeling wrote off to the point that he will agree to anything in order to survive. The Russian continues, “we took you on based on the recommendation that you would be a good customer, are you with me so far?” Murray just continues to sob staring at the Russian, the Russian repeats “are you with me? If so nod your fucking head.” Murray nods his head. “Good, now we’re getting somewhere”, says the Russian in a slightly calmer voice. He continues gradually elevating his voice as he speaks “since we took you on you’ve been consistently late with the money, you are blatant as fuck when talking on the phone, and whilst we’re on the topic of phones when you want something you don’t stop fucking ringing, when we need our money you never answer the fucking phone, you turn up to meet our people with a car full of fucking idiots in tow and to put the nail in the fucking coffin. We’ve been hearing rumours that your telling every prick out there who you’re getting your coke from, is this true?” Murray reservedly nods; to this the gunman looks across at the Russian and without warning puts another round down this time hitting the ground centimetres from Murray’s knees.
There’s that sound again, as it seems to reverberate around in his head he sees the gunman stoop down and retrieve yet another empty case which he deposits into his jacket pocket. Murray is thinking at this rate he won’t have any left for doing the deed, that’s almost funny. The Russian now delivers yet another direct statement “ok, here’s what’s going to happen, you are going to round up all of the money you owe us, once you’ve paid your bill, you can fuck off back to that useless prick that sent you to us.” Murray now feeling a sensation of relief almost euphoric, he nods agreeing with the demands. “You have one week, if you are a day late we’ll be back here, if you tell anyone about this you’ll be back here along with your fucking sister do you understand me?” says the Russian in what seemed like a closing statement. Murray again nods in compliance, whilst wiping the tears and snot away from his face.
The Russian looks at the gunman, who nods and lowers the gun so it’s held down by his side, the Russian then goes on to say, “right, here’s how it’s going to work”. He casually walks over and picks up the spade and looks at Murray who is still in a state of semi euphoria. “We are going to fuck off now, and when I say ‘we’, I don’t mean you”. Being Murray is even still alive, he doesn’t really care about being abandoned, he just continues to listen to the next set of instructions. “The time now is just after six, you will wait here until seven, I know you have a watch on so don’t even bother trying to play fucking games with us,” says the Russian. “Once your watch hits seven, walk in the same direction that we leave, don’t bother trying to catch up just take your time, after a while you’ll hit a track turn left and walk until you see a road, as you approach the road you’ll see a wooden post either side of the track, behind the post on the left you’ll see a large flat rock, under that rock is your phone sealed in a plastic bag, that’s your ticket home”. The Russian continues, “do not fuck us about, you have one week from today, we want all the money by five o’clock Friday evening.” The gunman replaces the gun back into his jacket, He looks at the Russian and they both casually walk off, into the woods towards what Murray hopes is his way out of this mess.
Murray slumps to the deck and removes the gag, stretching his mouth and spitting out all the crap that accumulated in his mouth. He’s covered in mud, piss, snot and tears but he’s never felt happier. The prayers he said in the back of the van were answered, the only problem is he’s gonna have to break his end of the deal for now because the bit about him being a good boy will have to wait until he’s paid his bill. He sits on the edge of the hole just contemplating his next move; whatever it might be he’s going to have to pull out all the stops because he usually pisses all the money he has up against the wall playing the big man. Every word that was said is ringing around in his head and spends the next hour trying to process what has just happened. Actually, there is no processing this ordeal because it’s far from over. Once he gets his phone, arranges a lift and starts speaking to his mates then and only then might he have an idea of what to do.
Seven on the dot and Murray starts walking, fortunately, the sun is up and he can see pretty clearly, he can just about make out footprints on the floor from his kidnappers, he decides the best option would be to follow these. He eventually hits the track which he turns left onto, the footprints disappear but he’s sure he’s going the right way as he can hear the sound of the odd car go by in the distance. As he heads down the track the sound of the traffic gets louder. He turns a slight bend and see’s the road and as luck would have it the two wooden posts, he quickens his pace and can’t help breaking into a bit of a run.
Slightly out of breath he walks up to the post on the left, he sees the rock and as described he finds his phone sealed in a bag under the rock. Written on a piece of paper is what looks like a postcode, he takes his phone out of the bag and switches it on, hoping that there’s enough charge left to make a call. Fortunately, the battery is almost full, but there is nothing in the way of a signal. He opts to take a walk down the road just to see if he can pick up a random signal, the fact that he’s covered in mud and piss doesn’t really occur to him as this is a normal state for him on a Saturday morning. He manages to get one bar of signal, this is barely enough so he holds his position and calls his pal Will. The phone rings continuously, there is no voicemail it just keeps ringing, it had dawned on Murray that it’s early on a Saturday morning and everyone, bar his mum, would still be in bed, or worse still, not even got to bed yet. He pictures them all plotted up at someone’s house nursing a warm beer and reluctantly trying to sniff coke up a blocked nose.
Murray decides to continue walking along the road, he doesn’t know if he’s going in the right direction, he just keeps moving and trying a selection of different numbers he has in his phone. The thought does enter his mind to call his mum, but he quickly dismisses this as a bad idea. Eventually Will answers the phone and Murray starts screaming down the phone at him, “where the fuck have you been, I’ve been trying to get hold of you for fucking ages. I need you to come and get me. I haven’t got a fucking clue where I am so I’m texting you a postcode, I’ll be on that road text me when you leave”. Will enquires what’s going on and Murray simply replies “I’ll tell you when I see you”.