The closer they drew to the Rec the more worried Tommy became. He still didn't believe Victoria, but the bluff was getting more realistic by the step. He might have run had it not been for Paul and Dave hauling him along; one on each arm, and he might have cried for help had he not feared that Victoria might tell whoever came to his assistance what he had done in Fiona's garden. He was feeling well and truly trapped and although he didn't believe Victoria's threat there remained the possibility that they were going to do something unpleasant to him.
To make himself feel a little better, he decided to go on the offensive "Just 'cos you gave the money to Jack doesn't mean it's his game. I was the one you were supposed to give it to."
Victoria didn't slow her pace at all "I was talking to all three of you Tommy, and I've handed over the money. What you boys decide to do with it is between you three, I'm not getting involved in your squabbles."
"But I was the one you were supposed to give it to; I was supposed to buy the game. It's mine" said Tommy.
"Tommy, I did what I promised. You sort it out with Dan and Jack. I'm not interested" said Victoria as she passed through the gates of the Rec.
As Victoria had suspected, the Rec. was busy with children playing. Some swarmed the playground equipment; others ran about the open space: playing football, chasing each other around, sitting and talking, making daisy chains and gossiping.
Victoria ignored all this activity and kept walking at speed, swapping the occasional greeting and smile. Tommy fell silent, unwilling to draw any attention to himself at all. He tried to look like he was with the gang, not being taken by them, for fear this would attract interest. The last thing he wanted was for Victoria to start telling people what she had told him, even if it was a bluff. That would be embarrassing enough.
There were three other people in the group with doubts too. Dan and Jack had suffered their punishment already so they knew what Victoria was capable of, but to do this in public where any one of dozens of children might see was an order of magnitude worse. Neither of them really knew for sure whether Victoria was going to carry out her threat or whether this was just to get Tommy to agree to return to Victoria's house to take his punishment as they had taken theirs.
Angela was the third. She had seen enough of the gang's activities now to know that Victoria might carry out her threat. Last night's game had been a revelation to her, and one which still excited and scared her. Today's activities with Lucy and then with the boys had told her that Victoria was a girl not to be messed with, who was capable of anything. Lucy had been stripped and beaten in a public place and she had been a girl. The boys had been dealt with similarly, but in the relative privacy of Victoria's house. Angela wasn't sure what Victoria intended for Tommy, but she didn't really think that Victoria would be afraid to carry out her threat.
The rest of the gang were in no doubts at all. They knew Victoria intended to do as she had threatened. This didn't guarantee that it would happen. It was still possible for Tommy to do or say something which would change Victoria's mind, but this was unlikely. More likely was him doing or saying something to make his situation worse.
As they made their way up the path in the more secluded area towards the back of the Rec. Victoria suddenly wondered whether anyone had released Declan. This struck her as something of a mistake - she should have checked on this yesterday. It was only a small risk, but a risk nonetheless; that Declan could have spent all night tied up naked out there and still be there when they reached the clearing. She was greatly relieved to see the clearing empty.
Victoria stopped in the middle of the clearing and the rest of the gang formed an informal circle around her with Tommy in the middle next to Victoria. Paul and Dave retreated to the edge of the circle, but they, like Ben and Alison, watched him closely for any signs of an escape attempt. Jack and Dan joined the circle as well, growing more curious and more excited as they drew closer to finding out what Victoria really had in mind.
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Mr Double's Palisade
A MrDouble Production:
Changes last made on: Wednesday, June 13, 2018