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The Limit: Chapter 31

...Towards the end, when they were tiring and the hurt had built into one continuous ache, he sank into a no-man's-land where time had no meaning. The pain kindled mixed-up memories of long ago...

The Dysons’ hired thugs make sure that Maudie experiences the extremes of pain.

To read earlier chapters of Peter Lacey’s tough crime novel set in England’s premier seaside resort please click on The Limit in the menu on this page.

They started with a plastic bag.

It was very effective. With his hands tied behind his back, he could do nothing but suffer and tell himself they had not been given permission to kill him.

The gloves he still wore prompted them to use the bag. They said it would cure him of his kinky desire for rubberwear.

On the first two occasions they placed it over his head, he remained conscious. Even though he knew they would remove it before he suffocated, he could not help but panic. His chest heaved and he sucked desperately and open mouthed against the plastic. They found it amusing. The third time he passed out.

They subsequently used the bag as light relief from beating him. He consoled himself with the thought that while they were suffocating him, they were not damaging him physically.

The two men were systematic and enjoyed their work. But they were amateurs, little boys let loose with a toy. They stripped him of his shirt and used their fists, feet, the baseball bat and a leather cosh. But they never knew how far they could really go in inflicting permanent damage that would not show.

Maudie moaned and cried out at the blows and kicks to make them believe they were more effective than they were. They did not use knives, mark his face or break any limbs. Even so, he suspected they had eventually cracked a rib. At least they didn't pull his fingernails.

Towards the end, when they were tiring and the hurt had built into one continuous ache, he sank into a no-man's-land where time had no meaning. The pain kindled mixed-up memories of long ago.

It became a beating that he was inflicting, one of the many from the past, down the Mile End Road. Then it changed, to a racecourse fight. He was outnumbered and in serious danger until Frankie came. Who was with Frankie? Small, flash dresser and a bloody handful with a razor. Dapper Dan, that was it. But this wasn't Dan or Frankie. Where the hell were they? Where was Ronnie? Jesus, it hurt.

They roused him with a bucket of cold water. He was lying face down on the concrete, his hands and feet untied. It was immaterial. Every breath was painful and immediate retaliation was out of the question.

Hands lifted him and propped him against the wall once more. His head was tilted back and a drink poured down his throat. It burned pleasantly. Whisky?

"Here, grandad. You've been a sport. Have a drink on us."

The bottle was placed in his arms and the two men went away, through the internal door.

Steven Dyson had kept his promise. He hurt severely.

Cradling the whisky bottle, he flexed the fingers of one hand. They worked. He manoeuvred the bottle and tried the other
hand. That worked, too.

Slowly, so as not to drop it, he lifted the bottle to his mouth with both hands and drank. Maybe it would ease the pain.
He could hear them laughing through the open door and the sound of a tap running. The dimensions of the warehouse came back into focus.

Why had they given him the whisky?

He peeled off the surgical gloves before taking another drink. He poured more over his shoulders and chest, using it like after shave, wiping it up his arms. He poured it over the crutch of his trousers and down the inside of one thigh.

The bottle was now less than half full. He cradled it in his arms, as they had placed it, and closed his eyes.


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