White is the coldest colour: A dark psychological suspense thriller

BOOK: White is the coldest colour: A dark psychological suspense thriller
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




White is the Coldest Colour


John Nicholl


Published in 2015 by FeedARead.com Publishing

Copyright © John Nicholl

The author or authors assert their moral right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the author or authors of this work.

All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the copyright holder, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library.



Note from the author.

White is the coldest colour is entirely fictional, but draws on my experiences as a child protection social worker, manager and trainer. During my career I was faced with case after case that left me incredulous as to the harm sexual predators chose to inflict on their victims. The book reflects that reality.

The story is set in 1992, a more naive time when many found it extremely difficult to believe that a significant number of adults posed a serious risk to children.

The book includes content that some readers may find upsetting from the start.

It is dedicated to survivors everywhere.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 1

Thursday 9, January 1992

he video featured two middle aged men wearing nothing but black leather bondage-hoods, who were eagerly assaulting an eight-year old boy with shoulder length russet-brown hair parted in the middle. Their blows gradually increased in severity until their victim slumped unconscious and bleeding. He hung there, suspended by twisted arms, with his head dangling towards a white tiled floor stained with intermingling bodily fluids.

As the film came to an eventual blood-spattered conclusion, fifty-eight year old Dr Galbraith wiped himself with a paper-hankie taken from a box kept next to the desktop computer, discarded the soiled tissue in a waste paper basket to the right of his desk, switched off the television, and ejected the tape from the VCR.

He returned to his seat, balanced his gold-metal rimmed reading glasses on the bridge of his nose, opened the olive-green cardboard file on the desktop in front of him, and began perusing the contents… The cellar provided an excellent production studio, both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It wasn't quite perfect, of course, the family kitchen didn't provide the ideal access point. And forcing the Welsh oak dresser aside on each and every occasion was an unfortunate necessity. But, nonetheless, its development was something to be proud of. And only utilising professional assistance on a strictly cash basis from like minded contacts made absolute sense. Security was everything.

Lining the walls with eight-inches of highly efficient soundproofing foam was truly inspired. Even the most piercing and prolonged screams couldn't be heard in the rest of the house, or anywhere else for that matter. It was entirely practical, as was the stainless-steel medical trolley. Where else would he keep the various tools of his trade?

He actively controlled his breathing and closed his eyes for a second or two, before opening them slowly and refocussing on his notes… And what of his plaything? How did the process begin? It was important to pin down the specific details; important to identify the precise moment in time. Ah, yes, he first saw the little bastard at Ty Gwyn children’s home, and decided immediately that he provided suitable project material if the opportunity arose. And of course, fate smiled on him.

Dr Galbraith turned the page… He was driving the Daimler in the direction of Caerystwyth, and despite the poor visibility he spotted the little bastard walking, head bowed, in the opposite direction. That was worthy of a symbolic pat on the back if anything was.

Whether or not to abduct the little bastard wasn't an easy decision to make. He knew it was risky. Maybe he became complacent and gambled with his freedom? And what if he’d been caught? It just didn't bear thinking about.

The doctor bit his lower lip hard, and resisted the impulse to shriek as the pressure in his head escalated exponentially: pounding, booming, compression and sound that made him twist and blink and squirm and pant for breath… The long game would have been a much safer option. Why the hell did he deviate from such a well established and successful protocol?

He repeatedly clenched and relaxed his fists… At the end of the day, the opportunity to make fantasy reality was just too good to ignore. That was reasonable, wasn't it? His actions weren't entirely irresponsible. He'd entertained numerous guests over the years without even a hint of police attention. All right, he hadn't abducted a child before, that was a first, but he’d taken a minute or two to weigh up the pros and cons in his mind before acting. The country road was predictably quiet, he hadn't seen another car for at least ten-minutes or more, and even in the unlikely event that one had come along at an inopportune moment, what would the driver have seen in those few brief seconds anyway? It’s not as if the little bastard struggled.

The little bastard recognised him as soon as he braked, reversed, and wound down the window with an electric buzz. He appeared impressed by the car. Why wouldn't he be? And the appalling weather certainly helped. The little bastard took little persuasion to jump into the front passenger seat despite his usual diffidence. Yes, he complained somewhat, and started asking infuriating questions once he realised they weren't traveling in the direction of the children's home. But, he was still a powerful man. It wasn't difficult to knock the little bastard senseless.

Dr Galbraith laughed, head back, throat taught, Adam’s apple protruding… What a glorious moment! He’d felt omnipotent, as if he could get away with anything. And who knows, maybe he could have? There was no room for doubt that day. No invasive, incomprehensible cacophony inside his skull to make his life a fucking misery.

Transferring the little bastard to the car boot was an excellent idea. Utilising the Persian rug to facilitate his journey from boot to cellar was a stroke of genius. And Cynthia didn't suspect a damn thing. Not that she’d have dared ask any unwelcome questions anyway.

Carrying the little bastard down the twelve cold grey concrete steps proved easy enough. Throwing him to the tiled floor was virtually effortless. It only took one punch to re-render him semiconscious, before administering the short acting psychoactive drug. And it worked quickly. But then it always did.

Good old Sherwood only took about twenty-minutes to arrive. All he had to do was make the call, say they had a guest waiting, and he came immediately. The fool must have driven at break-neck speed. What the hell was the man thinking?

Sherwood paused momentarily when he saw the dark blood pooled around the little bastards head. Why did the man entertain such regrettable doubts? If only he’d learnt to embrace his true-nature, things may have worked out differently?

Dr Galbraith frowned… And he had to do much of the work himself. He had to pull the little bastard up by the hair, and slap him in the face, again and again and again, until he eventually regained consciousness, and supported his own weight. He had to push the little bastard hard against the cellar wall and hold him there by the throat. He had to order Sherwood to secure the little bastard’s wrists in the black steel manacles above his head. He had to force the feeding tube up one of the little bastard’s nostrils, down his throat and into his stomach. Coming to think of it, he addressed the majority of necessary tasks without significant assistance. He could almost certainly manage the entire process unaided if required.

What the hell was he thinking? A man of his elevated status and superior intellect shouldn't be burdened with manual labour. That was the role of the Sherwood’s of this world: the followers, rather than life’s innovative visionaries.

But, was he doing Sherwood’s memory a disservice. The man wasn't totally useless. He stripped the little bastard off and hosed him down with the high pressure washer; he held his head still like an attentive staff nurse, he fetched the high calorie intravenous fluid and attached it to the drip stand, and he made the coffee afterwards. Now, that was something Sherwood was good at. Maybe at some point in the not too distant future he should consider a suitably pliant replacement? It was certainly worth considering.

Dr Galbraith broke into a smile that lit up his face… Sherwood was so disappointed when told that producing the first video would have to wait for another day. The man never did understand the need to maintain meticulous records despite his social-science background. It was another of the simpleton’s insurmountable failings.

His smile evaporated as quickly as it appeared… It was something of a shock when the little bastard’s heart stopped after just ten-days. But at least the process was immortalised on film for future reference.

Sherwood hadn't taken it well, of course. It seemed guilt could be a terrible burden for those who indulged such pointless emotions. What was it he said at the time? He thought they'd gone too far. He thought they'd crossed a line. And maybe he was right? What use was a dead child?

Dissecting the body proved a surprisingly demanding process. But, at least the surgical skills learnt in medical school had finally been put to good use. And keeping Sherwood on side was an onerous task. All the fool had to do was hold the little bastard’s head and limbs still. How hard could it be? Was it really necessary to throw up constantly and howl like a hungry baby?

The floor was soiled to such an extent that it was difficult to tell the original colour of the tiles. And the stench! At least Sherwood cleaned up fairly effectively after a great deal of animated cajoling: will you stop throwing up, man; use the damn bleach, unblock the drain, you’ve missed some. Come on, Richard, you’ve missed some! It may well have been easier to clean up and bag the damn body himself.

And then came the grim aftermath. Fantasy-offending-remorse-fantasy-offending-remorse, a depressingly predictable pattern. But this time was different. Sherwood tried to minimise his responsibility. He spouted some mindless crap about loving children too much. The man was a child care expert; he was a relatively intelligent man, he’d read the relevant text books, he understood the theory from an academic perspective. He must have known that was utter shit. Surely not even Sherwood could be that deluded?

And even after all that he tried to help the man despite the obvious inconvenience. He showed him the four videos, which at the end of the day spoke for themselves. In reality they weren't so very different. It was blatantly obvious, but for some inexplicable reason it needed saying. What more could he conceivably have done? He’d even shared that he too experienced occasional nagging doubts in the early days of his offending, all those years ago. All right, it may have been more to do with a fear of arrest than a crisis of conscience, but for a time, in the early days of their relationship, he had hoped that Cynthia may change him. Perhaps if he’d chosen an emotionally stronger woman she’d have steered him along a different path? Maybe if Cynthia had spawned boys rather that her two nauseating female brats? Perhaps then he’d have understood what it was other parents felt for their offspring? But, no, no, the bitch couldn't even get that right.

It beggared belief. How could an apparently intelligent woman be so consistently stupid? And Sherwood wasn't much better. If a respected doctor such as himself could abandon any semblance of a conscience, learn to fully embrace his true-nature, and view life and death from a purely Darwinian perspective, why the hell couldn't Sherwood do likewise? That was the one thing which may have saved him. Was there really a need for that endless self indulgent soul searching? What was it Sherwood said on the subject? That the burden of guilt was overwhelming. That there was no escaping the dark world he’d played his part in creating. What the hell was that about?

BOOK: White is the coldest colour: A dark psychological suspense thriller
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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