Naive Retribution, страница 1
Some survived the inferno, others may never extinguish the repercussions
H A Dawson
©2013 H A Dawson
(Honor Amelia Dawson)
Stoats and Swan Publishing
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This is a work of fiction. Any characters, names, organisations, places, events or situations are either imaginary or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
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Novels by H A Dawson
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Luke Adams Series
Book 1: Girl On A Train
Book 2: One Big Lie
Book 3: Silent Screams
Book 4: Naive Retribution
“At times, our strengths propel us so far forward we can no longer endure our weaknesses and perish from them.”
Friends past and present whose forbearance is eternally etched into my wordcraft
Naive Retribution - Story Brief
Jade's experiences amounted to nothing when a new torment crashed into her comfortable life. Someone knew her intimately, but she hadn't any clues to this person's identity. It seemed impossible for a stranger to gather such extensive knowledge of her life history, it was the threat of a stalker that reinforced her anxieties.
Jade's past has been turbulent, she suffers from a form of amnesia, she wishes her memory would unlock and solve all the issues that have accumulated through the years. She's petrified of every situation she can not control, and now her existence is in the "path of a stampeding herd of elephants"
Jade had attended school with Luke Adams, now she seeks his help, Imogen Morrison proves herself to be indispensable in a case that puts pressure on everyone connected with Jade. People may resort to extreme measures to gain attention even "torture" no one could have predicted the impact. Jade embraces her tragic past and receives joy from her pain!
"The more you contrive to conceal, the greater the possibility it will be revealed"
Table of Contents
H A Dawson - Catalogue
H A Dawson - Catalogue
H A Dawson
Jade scurried away from the central supermarket aisle, and fighting an instinct to flee, stared at the tinned soup section, feigning interest in the striking text and luring imagery. Wondering how to escape unseen with a trolley of products, she edged along the aisle, weaving past a cluster of people and squeezing her trolley though a tight gap. In her haste, she bumped into another customer. He wobbled into the shelves and the tins clattered to the floor. To her gratitude, he was amiable, and within seconds, they had cleared away the scattered products.
After a swift glimpse left and right, Jade dashed past the checkouts and turned into the canned fish aisle. She took a moment to peruse what was on offer and then placed a multi-pack of tuna and a tin of salmon into her trolley next to her large handbag. Her next stop was for pasta.
A thought dawned; her handbag was open. She peered over her shoulder, looking for anyone suspicious, and fastened the clasp and continued with her purchases. William, her long-term partner had often told her she should keep it closed, and his castigation was an irritating cry inside her head. In her defence, she told herself there was nothing in there worth stealing, bar her wallet, which was always in a separate zipped section and not easily accessible. The rest was replaceable; tights, hankies, a notebook, and a wodge of mail she intended to recycle. It was hardly enticing.
‘Jade, I thought it was you.’
It was Kath, her sister. She spun around, her heart sinking.
‘Long time no see,’ she continued. ‘I didn’t know this was your usual shopping haunt.’
‘No it’s not. I’m . . . I’m meeting someone shortly.’
‘Pity. I thought you might fancy a drink.’
Jade hesitated and caught sight of a persistent and almost forlorn look in her gaze. It was the third time in succession that Jade had rejected Kath's plea to meet, and her guilt rose. Perhaps it was better to get it over with. ‘I could manage a quick one, but it will have to be at the tennis club.’
‘Great. Have you finished your shopping?’
Jade selected a bag of pasta, nodded, and followed Kath to a checkout. When an awkward silence filled the air, she announced there was something else she had intended to purchase and hurried away. After taking a swift tour of the supermarket, she joined a queue at the other end and glimpsed towards Kath. Her sister was not looking and remained absorbed in her task in hand.
They had not had a relationship for years, not since the rest of their family had died in a fire, and she did not want to start now! Kath had played a part, but since Jade had lost her memories she only knew of the spoken facts. It was terrible being involved in the events preceding the fire, as well as the tragedy itself and remembering nothing. Had she played a part? Was that why she had forgotten? A chill rippled across her body.
Her jarring arm knocked over a carton of juice that rested on the conveyor belt. She stared at it, stock-still, contemplating their imminent meeting with a sense of foreboding. Jade didn’t think Kath was the enemy, yet she was a representation of all Jade feared. What if she found out something she did not want to hear? What if her nightmares restarted? She had forgotten what had happened on that fateful night for a very particular reason.
‘Would you like some help?’ The checkout assistant asked.
The conveyor belt was empty and the goods were still in her trolley. Shaki
It would be better if she slipped away and avoided Kath altogether. But she had promised to collect William from the tennis club. There was no one else who could drive him home and it was unfair expecting him to walk after an exhausting singles match. No, that wouldn’t do. She would have to ring him and tell him she was waiting for him a couple of streets away. He was sure to oblige.
Heading towards the exit, with her head a melee of confusing thoughts, she scanned for her sister. She wasn’t in view and her gratification surged. She hurried onwards, pushing past a dawdling couple, and headed through the rotating doors. Her head was low, her actions deliberate.
Kath was waiting at the other side
‘Right,’ Kath said, ‘where are you parked? I’ll follow you.’
Jade pointed. This time, there wasn’t going to be a chance to escape.
Upon their arrival, Kath disappeared to the washroom whilst Jade purchased the drinks. It was quiet within the clubhouse with only two elderly men with coffees seated in a corner. Had it not been for her meeting with her sister, she would have found the atmosphere familiar and relaxing, a good place to remove herself from her troubles.
Now was not the time to think about it. Forcing aside her burdensome anxieties, she turned her thoughts to her task in hand, and turned away from the bar and searched for a seat. At the far end of the room were doors leading to the changing rooms, washrooms, and the courts, and in between were two distinct seating areas. Nearest to her were tables and chairs for clientele wishing to eat or drink in a more formal atmosphere, and just beyond were sofas and low tables for those requiring a more casual setting. Jade chose to sit at a table a little distance from the bar and waited for Kath’s return.
A string of doubts cluttered her mind. Why had she agreed to the meeting? It was a ridiculous thing to do. They may be sisters, but they had nothing in common. Maybe she should leave; she could send her a text message or leave an apology with the bartender. Now was her chance.
She pulled her phone from her bag and stood up, ready to slip away. But then, Kath’s forlorn expression presented itself in her mind, and overwhelmed by a sense of cowardice she dropped back into her seat. Kath wasn’t going to give up; Jade would have to see this through. Weighed down by nervousness, she rubbed her hands and arms, and glanced to the tennis court door, hoping for William’s swift return.
The door to the washroom swung open. Jade jerked, wrapped her arms across her middle, and forced a cheery demeanour. Not giving Kath a chance to talk about the past, she dived straight in and filled the silence with mindless babble. Every few seconds, she looked to the clock. Recognising it as a nervous twitch, she forced still her head.
‘How’s Kelsey,’ Kath asked.
Her daughter was a subject she could enthuse over. ‘She’s moved to Spain . . . gone to a tennis academy. She loves it and doesn’t seem to miss us at all. She’s very talented, and was telling me only last night how much it’s improved her game.’
‘How old is she now?’
‘She’s twelve. I worry about her. It’s very young for her to be away from home but it is only a few weeks at her time and it was her decision. I speak to her every day.’
Kath was impassive and silent. It was difficult to tell whether her sister approved or not, and she could feel a defensive response bubble in her throat. Fearing she may be forced to listen to something she’d rather not hear, she changed the subject and asked her sister about her twin daughters, Chloe and Lily. Kath spoke about them for several minutes.
‘They’re little rascals and are such hard work. Chloe is the worst. She’s far more confident than Lily and winds her up. They’re only three. I can’t imagine how they’re going to be in ten years time. I’ll have a few grey hairs for sure.’
‘He’s great,’ Kath said, ‘he’s very good with them. A natural. They love climbing on his back for rides. He plays with them all the time. I don’t know where he finds the energy. You should come across sometimes . . . see for yourself.’
‘I never imagined being a mother could be this good.’
‘I’m glad you’re happy.’
Kath’s eyes narrowed. Jade detected a bitter undertone in her voice and wanted to take it back, but she could not bring herself to say anything to settle the uncomfortable atmosphere and stared at her mug, her mouth clamped.
‘You should be happy for me. Isn’t that how sisters are meant to be?’
‘I am happy for you.’
Kath raised her eyebrows.
‘I’m sorry that you believe otherwise,’ Jade said weakly.
‘If I can forgive and forget, then I’m sure you can.’
Jade clenched her jaw and stared. Kath’s gaze was cold and intense and it forced a curious sense of nervousness. Dreading she was going to be told something relating to that fateful day, she rubbed her arms, fiddled with her phone, and crossed and uncrossed her legs.
‘Can’t you meet me halfway,’ Kath continued, ‘I am trying to make an effort.’
‘I’m doing what I can.’
‘I have something else going on. It’s not you. It’s just . . . it’s not good timing.’
Dismayed, Kath leaned over, pulled out a tissue from her bag and blow her nose. It was evident from her stern expression that she didn’t believe her, and Jade sensed it was going to be difficult to prove otherwise.
‘It’s true. I . . . I . . .’
Kath’s stare was intimidating. Unable to look her in the eye, Jade searched for a distraction and rotated the mug between her fingers. An explanation would not form in her head. She looked to her sister, seeking compassion or understanding, but saw neither. Giving up, and unable to will herself to speak freely, she looked to her lap.
‘I don’t like being pushed away,’ Kath said. ‘I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth the effort. I know we never got on as kids, but-’
‘I am trying.’
‘I don’t get that impression. It’s about time we let the past be.’
She reached to her necklace. It was an impossible request. ‘I’d love to be able to do that, but-’
‘You can’t forgive me?’
‘No . . . that’s not it. I do.’
Kath waited for a moment. ‘Is that all you have to say?’
Jade placed her the back of her hand to her mouth and turned away, hiding herself from Kath’s stony glare. How could Jade say what was in her heart, when she didn’t know what that was? Maybe she should just tell her about her memory loss.
Her mobile phone sounded, an incoming message. Startled, Jade jolted and stared at the little screen resting on the table.
‘Aren’t you going to get that?’ Kath asked.
Jade looked to her wide-eyed, then tentatively reached for her phone. Her hand was shaking, moisture forming on her red-hot skin.
It was from her stalker.
An explanation was out of the question. Jade leapt from her seat, grabbed her bag, and passed Kath one last anguished glance.
The tennis court viewing area was empty. Jade placed her handbag onto the floor, sat down on the nearest hard-backed chair, and stared at the door as it swung shut, hoping that she would not be followed. There were no sound of voices or footsteps coming from the clubhouse, nor could she hear the sound of the balls being hit on the court. Her trepidation heightened.
There were times when she didn’t like the solitude and preferred being in company, or at least near someone whom she could trust. However, since she didn’t know the identity of her stalker, including the person’s gender, everyone was viewed with suspicion. Even so, she still had a vision of the person in her mind. The person was a middle-aged man, starved of sex, and with an angular face and a balding head. He had a creepy, lecherous gaze, broken teeth and stinky breath. It was easy to hate someon
Drawn into a growing sense of terror, she gazed at her phone and reopened the latest text. ‘Tuna is my favourite too,’ it said. Her pulse quickened. He was everywhere, hiding in the shadows, walking boldly towards her, and maybe even speaking to her, yet for some reason he remained invisible. Why had she never spotted him? He could not be that difficult to pick out from a crowd, and it wasn’t as though she was dim-witted.
She placed her quivering hand to her pounding heart, urging it to slow, and took a steady controlled breath. Her face scrunched. It was too difficult to regulate, and it was too hard fighting something she had no knowledge of. She should be well practised given her memory loss, but this was different. Her stalker would not let her forget him, and shared details of her daily movements. Over the last few weeks he had asked her if she had a nice meal out, he had told her to take more care when she carelessly dropped her shopping bag, scattering the contents, and he had told her he liked her purple sweater the best.
Recoiling, she crossed her legs and tightened her arms across her body, and tried to focus on the tennis. On the nearest court, a group of sixty-something women played doubles. It looked as though they were playing in slow motion, as the women barely moved before hitting the ball. If it was out of reach, it was a winning shot. Nonetheless, from the screeches and howls that were just about audible, she knew they were enjoying themselves. It was an entirely different game to the one William played on the next court, which was based entirely on power and swift movement. It was easy to see where Kelsey got her talent.