Outside the pub, the wind was icy; he zipped up his jacket and headed off, keeping to the lighted areas. No point in inviting trouble.
His meandering circuit followed a tourist trail past trendy bars and night clubs, but he didn’t stop to partake or gawp; eventually returning to a small, unlit car park behind the ring road. Not mainstream, but conveniently close to several hostelries he frequented. His Civic was parked in a far corner, next to a ticket machine. The car park was half-full; Xmas shopping had kept the punters away. He walked briskly to his car. A limousine, a black Mercedes with new number plates, was parked alongside.
Nice, he thought. He bent down to look inside. There was nobody in the front seat. The back window slid open; a black glove appeared, then a face he didn’t recognise.
Marty stepped back. Into what could have been a gun barrel digging into his back. He had no time to think, turn, or say anything before a gigantic electric shock shot through his body...
He came round in the back seat of the Merc. A driver in chauffeur’s uniform was cruising along the motorway. He took in his predicament; it didn’t look healthy. The Face he didn’t recognise was sitting alongside. He was holding a stun gun. New - by the look of it.
‘Useful little toy, don’t you think Mr. Hemming? Leaves no mark, you see. Mind you, I wouldn’t advise continued use.’ The Face pressed the barrel against Marty’s leg; triggered it. Marty convulsed; his body unable to retaliate.
When he surfaced again, the Face was smiling. Benignly. Marty tried to move his leg. The muscles ached as though he’d been given a dead leg in triplicate. The Face watched him; seemed amused.
‘A million volts, Mr. Hemming ... I hope your heart can stand the shock.’
Marty struggled to speak. ‘Who...? What...? Where...?’
The Face held up a finger. ‘Hush, Mr. Hemming. Keep still and behave ... or else. We’re just taking a little ride ... somewhere nice and quiet, and then we’re going to have a little talk.’
Jee ... sus.
The “somewhere nice and quiet” was off the motorway, Dursley exit, then down one of the many unlit country lanes; snow clad branches of overhanging trees adding a ghostly feel. The Merc purred to a halt in a lay-by; enough room for any vehicles to pass by comfortably. Not that he’d seen any. Not the night for venturing out into the wilderness. The driver turned off the headlights - and the ‘little’ talk began...
The stun gun had been used to emphasise the bottom line. Several times.
‘What did I say, Mr. Hemming?’
Marty gasped. ‘Don’t mess with the Creek brothers.’
The stun gun twitched. ‘And?’
‘And I won’t get hurt.’
‘It’s called mutilation, Mr. Hemming. Disfigurement for life.’
Marty shuddered. ‘I hear you.’
The stun gun was pressed against his cheek.
‘But you haven’t been hearing, have you, Mr. Hemming?’ The Face pressed the trigger.
Marty screamed. And again.
The Face moved up close and whispered in his ear. ‘Keep your nose out of the Creeks’ business interests ... or a nasty little accident will be arranged. Nasty little accident with a blow torch.’
That was before the piece of sharpened glass. Just so he knew they were serious. Stun gun: then the back of his left heel. The cutting edge started to sever the Achilles tendon.
The Face left him stranded there - clutching the glass.