It wasn’t much of a fight but it was enough. Jack threw himself at the mad dog killer, but his inebriated Bambi on ice moves were little match for the gym honed Jeremy. It was enough for Jenny to escape though. She ran screaming out of the basement, a naked banshee howling into the Brighton streets.
Jeremy easily gut punched the drunken wannabe hero and sent him sprawling to the plastic sheet. In his flailing spin Jack managed to rip some polythene away from the wall, to reveal a kitchen behind it. Above the sink hung a framed print of Dogs Playing Poker. In the crimson tint of the basement the hounds cackled like hellish minions peering down at Jack.
Jeremy stood over him. “One gets away, one gets to stay” he said. “That’s not a bad batting average.”
“It’d be a GCSE fail,” said Jack,
Jeremy smirked. “You’re not scared yet. No matter, we have time. I like to devote all the time in the world to each subject, they deserve that.” He squatted on his haunches over Jack, swinging his hammer from side to side as he spoke.
“You see, there are so many sad, lonely people in this modern world, so many individual voices desperate for attention. A world of social media, millions of pathetic needy brats screaming to be heard, but so many of them doomed to be ignored. But in their final hours I give them what they want, I give them all the attention in the world, undivided, until they are.” He paused. “You think that’s funny?”
Jack realised he was smiling. “Ironic maybe,” he said. “Maybe we have a similar view of the world after all.”
Jeremy chuckled. “Then you can see I’m not the crazy one here.”
“You’re wearing Jill’s dog on your head,” said Jack.
Jeremy shrugged. “Oh, yeah. Maybe that is a bit of a giveaway. Never mind I…”
Jack leapt forward, not straight at Jeremy but pushed past him. He knew he couldn’t take him in a fair fight, he needed a weapon to swing the odds. He found it on the kitchen sideboard, a Le Creuset grill pan, heavy as hell. He swung it wildly as Jeremy was raising his hammer and caught him on the jaw, sending a flotilla of teeth scattering through the dank air and smashing the bone clear of it’s hinge. Brutus flew off the back of Jeremy’s crown as Jack swung again with the solid iron skillet, splitting the creep’s eye socket open.
Jeremy smacked back down to the plastic, and Jack was on him, long simmering rage finally exploding through his fists. He slammed down into his mouth, his nose, punching his eyes back into his head, sending up plumes of blood that showered them both.
Rage at a world he despised, people he didn’t understand, rage at smug killers uncaught, rage for a girl he had not saved. Again and again he slammed his fists down into the once smug skull until there was nothing but a gurning bloody pulp, and he eventually lurched away against the sink, wide eyed and breathless with shock at his own violence.
Jill stepped over Jeremy’s spurting wreckage, her bare feet unmarked by the grue. “I think the frying pan got him,” she said.
Jack snorted, then began to rock with laughter, long pent emotion unleashing. By the time the police entered the basement the laughter had turned to sobs.