**warning mild sexual content.
IN BRIGHTON WITH THE BOY
They arrived, happy and high on sugary snacks, in Brighton within an hour and twenty minutes. It took a further ten to find somewhere to park. Sarah paid for the room with cash at the desk and the smartly dressed receptionist smiled at her.
“Do you need help with bags?” She asked.
“No.” Replied Sarah, “We’ll bring them ourselves later, thank you.”
Simon ran ahead excited, jumping upstairs to see if he could see the pier from the room. On the journey down the Doc had told him about the arcade entertainment. Unable to remember if he’d been here as a child; he felt sure once he saw the pier, it would jog his mind.
“Thank you. Here is your key, please leave it at the desk when you leave. I do hope you and your son enjoy your stay at The Queensbury”. Said the friendly receptionist. Sarah took the room card, grateful that the remark was too late for Simon to hear.
Sarah followed him up and they entered the room together. Awkwardness surrounded them as they noted a double bed and a day bed. Sarah explained to Simon that he’d wait with her until his father called to say it was okay to go home.
Simon shrugged, threw his bag on the day bed, slumped down on the immaculately dressed double bed and tried his phone again. He still had nothing.
“Do you have a charger please Dr K.”
“Call me Sarah. You could ask at the desk? Did your father give you any money for this trip hun? I can give you some cash to go over to the pier if you’ve spent it already?” Her words, struck a nerve but she pretended not to notice and continued,
“I’ve got a bit of work to catch up on that I should have finished this afternoon, instead of playing Ground Rush with you! The arcade, the one on the pier, has some decent games…?”
In response, Simon got up and rubbed his arm. The vaccine shot was hurting.
“How long will it hurt for?” He asked her, holding out his hand.
“Should feel better within a day, maybe within the hour.” She said, handing him the money.
“May as well enjoy myself,” he mumbled taking the £20 note from her and going out the door. Laughing, she shouted after him,
“Do your coat up.”
Silence descended on the room. It was too much. It surrounded her and made her feel like screaming. Kicking off her shoes, she stretched her toes against the carpet, needing to ground herself in the moment, in the here and now.
She threw sharp, short punches up into the air in fast repetition and jumped up to slam the ceiling, using the wall. She paced from one side of the hotel room to the other letting the gravity of her situation sink in.
She’d kidnapped a minor and had done so exceptionally easily.
Sarah was more than a little ‘in awe’ at how well things were going. It was true she’d had a small twinge of regret as they’d walked into the hotel foyer and again when they’d entered the room. She was using innocent children, and although physically they were not going to get hurt by her it was still wrong.
She was happy though. Simon was easy to get along with and easy to hang out with. She picked up her burner phone, it was time to message Kevin Hargreaves.
“Why? Who wants to know?” Kevin replied.
“wat r u? da feds??? where’s yer boi?” She responded.
“Which boy?” Came the response.
Sarah stopped, phone in hand, feeling her blood pressure rise. Did he not care where his son was? He appeared unconcerned, more interested in who she was rather than his boy. She almost threw the phone across the room in disgust. Instead, she placed the mobile down on the bed and went to the bathroom.
In the mirror Sarah looked herself in the eyes. Her skin had reddened, and her breathing had become rapid. She splashed her face with cold water, drying herself with the soft white fluffy towel hung near the sink. It was important she held it together. Again she looked into the mirror but this time she stared into her own pupils.
Sarah reminded herself this guy was a coke head. He was involved with all sorts of criminal people. To him, she could be any one of countless numerous people he had fucked over.
‘Stay calm’, she repeated to herself over and over until ready she again splashed her face with more cold water.
She looked at the flushed woman in the reflection and used her damp hands to smooth her hair and skirt before returning to the hotel bed. Picking up the phone she saw a missed call and a message from Kevin. Smiling she read the message,
“Stop dicking around and just tell me what you want.”
Her hand shook as her fingers tried to connect with the right letters. Her fingers suddenly too large to fit the buttons on the small, unfamiliar phone. She wanted this message to hit home and make him worried.
“my m8 Charlie n yr boi r gettin close. we r gonna 2 party l8rz.” Sarah texted.
“WTF!!!!! Why do I care who you party with?” Kevin responded.
“What the fuck are you on?” Kevin asked in his next message.
Then Kevin called. The ringing seemed extraordinarily loud and echoed around the room. She lowered the volume and answered, saying nothing.
She listened, holding the phone away from her ear as he shouted and sweared at her. She breathed heavily, her words a grunting whisper down the phone,
“Behave yourself. Your boy is such a good looking lad. Real wholesome. He’s popular.”
She changed her voice up, mimmicking a rough, elderly lady’s,
“Yeah, Simon. Just like that. That’s lovely, keep going.”
And then left the phone on the bed, letting him Kevin shout to himself. Smiling broadly, she turned on the hotel tv. Kevin seemed suitably rattled and hung up the phone.
Sarah messaged him again,
“hush yerself. ya boi will call u afta, don’t b jumpy, u redy 4 da gals?”
Sarah then took the phone apart. She’d let his imagination do the rest. During her long conversations with Tomas, she’d learnt that drugs being illegal were part of the reason users were paranoid. He said that years of looking over their shoulder’s for the police, or if they were parents, the social services, would make anyone paranoid.
With cocaine at the property; Sarah thought he would be running around the house, like a blue-arsed fly, trying to clear it of anything suspicious before calling the authorities. She would go, get herself a coffee and see what Simon was up to before messaging his father again.
The hotel was comfortable. Longingly Sarah looked at the hotel bed. It was a good bed. She entertained the thought of crawling between the clean white, fresh sheets and sleeping. Imagining herself waking up in another time, in a place where none of this had been necessary. Instead, she sat on the bed, staring out onto Brighton pier.
The sun was starting to set, it’s orange glow on the horizon gave the evening warmth. She was still anxious, she felt cold sweat dribble down between her shoulders and her heart racing. The contact with Kevin was making her throat constrict. A form of panic, although she was in control, it barely felt like it. Her chest felt tight, like her blood was stuck around her heart, squeezing it and skin felt cold and clammy.
Sarah had no Diazepam or pharmaceutical drugs to help.
Wanting to be back in control, she gently put her hand down between her legs and finding her soft moist vulva started stroking herself. She felt warmth return to her limbs as she gained ownership back over her body, her vagina and feelings, calming herself down. She wasn’t able to bring herself to orgasm but it had been enough to gradually bring her blood pressure down and for her heart to resume a normal rate. She readied herself to go down to get Simon.
She bounced out of the hotel towards the pier. It was thrilling being in control. Sarah pictured Kevin Hargreaves worried, knowing he was waiting for some contact, desperate even excited her.
She enjoyed her walk along the seafront; the freshness, the strength in her anonymity, imagining him desperately trying to work out who it was that was menacing him. It was a position she liked being in but one she couldn’t have imagined. She’d purposefully planned to manipulate another person and it felt alien but so damn exciting.
Sarah knew his schedule. Tori had tea at Molly’s last week, so this week was the Hargreaves’ time to host. Simon had confirmed it earlier too. Molly would be at his house having tea. It would be a few hours before Kevin would be thinking of returning her as Molly’s parents usually took the opportunity to eat out together, a kind of date night.
Kevin had a huge coke habit, and he was not a careful user. He’d probably supplied his barely legal girlfriend, and she knew first-hand how he liked to take advantage. She hoped his mind would be painting a picture and he alone knew how an horrific a scene that would be.
Sarah assumed that Kevin’s world was hung together on other people. That he was able to rely on them doing ‘the right thing’ and that ‘the right thing’ was usually what he wanted, when he wanted it. She assumed that he was used to manipulating but how would he feel about being manipulated? Sarah had her observations on how people behave and her anger, would she be right? Would he do as she wanted? Would his paranoid mind do the work for her?
Her victim was struggling. Kevin Hargreaves was a man used to being in control, but he thought he was dealing with another man. One who had the same fallibles as him, at the very least, similar habits. Someone, perhaps, with as much to lose. She was sure Kevin would not go to the police, he’d follow her instructions, his paranoia would make him wait.
Kevin Hargreaves didn’t know who he was dealing with or what power they had. The person who may or may not have his son could be officially powerful or just plain dangerous scum, and they could also be on either side of the law.
If he were to call the police, he’d risk being on their radar when all they may want was a favour. Yeah, it could almost be relied on that Kevin would be sitting tight for now. It was time for him to feel anxious and scared.
copyright sam j harris 2022
all characters and interactions are fictional
This is chapter ten of Revenge is Best Served Cold. Book 1 of The Snap Trilogy.