John Randall was a ruthless man. Men and women alike despised his arrogance and the way he dealt with people. He was mean and cruel and anyone who stood in his way was crushed underfoot like they were insects.
He treated everyone the same, no matter who they were or how powerful they were. He could be nice, but only if he thought it would get him what he wanted.
John sat now at his desk, feet up and a fat cigar burning away in his mouth, sending a smoky haze swirling around his head. Laid out in front of him was a map of a small village called Rosebrook. John had bought land surrounding the village and before he could start development plans and put them into action, he had to crush Rosebrook and its inhabitants into the ground.
At the beginning, he had thought to himself, ‘How hard can it be?’
Now he found himself wanting to bulldoze the villagers down whilst they were still inside their pathetic little homes. They had all refused to sell their homes and even when he had offered them a new home to live in they still didn’t budge. He had grown desperate and employed people to vandalise their homes, terrorize them but still they remained.
‘Christ, it’s only 50 people,’ he shouted, slamming his fist onto the large oak desk he sat at, ‘What does it take to get rid of them?’
John swung his feet off the desk and picked up a large brown envelope, turning it slowly in his hands. He thought about what opening this package would mean. It would most certainly mean prison for the rest of his life if he carried this plan out and would mean death for him if he grassed up the people who would carry out this for him, not that he had ever seen them. They had just suggested that they would help him out for a substantial amount of money. They had sent him all the details and told him they would contact him again in a month’s time to discuss the matter further. He knew then that this would be his only way of getting the rest of the land.
Sitting back in his chair, he put the envelope back on the table. Laying back in the chair and putting his feet back on the table, his face bulled into a smile of the purest evil that only the devil himself would use.
John received the phone call he was expecting in the early hours of the morning two weeks later. They told him the account that the money would go into and that they would sort his problem out for him as soon as the money was accessible. He had no doubt that they would carry this out for him and not double cross him. The line went suddenly dead. John replaced the receiver, lay down in bed as slept so soundly that it would seem all the weight of the world had suddenly been lifted from his shoulders.
It was three days later that John saw the news bulletin of the sudden death of the people and animals of Rosebrook. He sat on the sofa, TV remote in his hand switching channels erratically. Finally he found another news channel that said all the occupants of the village had died from what was believed to be a fault with the water supply. Samples had been taken and had shown that poison had somehow found its way into the supply. The alarm was raised when a relative had gone to visit his grandmother and found two people dead in the street. He had run to his grandmother’s house and had found her dead in her favourite chair with the TV blaring away as though she had merely fallen asleep. Everyone in the village had been dead at least two days. John switched off the TV and sat back on the sofa. All he had to do now was wait until all the investigations had been dealt with and then move in and acquire the land.
‘Simple’, he muttered, extremely pleased with himself.
John watched the TV frequently, following the investigation closely. Large amount of weed killer had been found in the water supply and the water company could not explain how it got there. It looked as though the water company would be held responsible for the deaths and he was in the clear.
It was three months before John signed the papers acquiring Rosebrook. The water company had paid out thousands to the relatives of the victims and had taken full responsibility for the poisonings. John decided he would drive down to the village at the weekend, just to make sure that everything was going ok with the construction. He wanted everything to go smoothly and that nothing would now become an obstacle. But for now he would just be content with getting all his paperwork up to date.
First thing Saturday morning, John arrived in Rosebrook. The place was as quiet as a graveyard. This made him smirk self righteously. The smirk turned into a wide grin and then became hearty laughter as he thought of the opportunity he now had to create whatever he wanted and just to sit back while the money came rolling in. He got out of the car and began to walk up the street. Suddenly, he thought he saw someone coming out of a house. John rubbed his eyes and when he looked again, whoever it was had gone. He walked around several of the properties and made sure there were no squatters or tramps. He began to walk towards the church. It’s a magnificent building, he thought to himself, such a shame to tear it down. John wasn’t religious but he wanted to see inside. He turned the door handle and the door creaked open eerily. As he walked through the door he noticed how dark it was. Suddenly, without warning, he was grabbed and pulled in to the church. He heard the door slam behind him and a heavy bolt drawn across. John was pushed forward from behind and he lost his footing, sprawling awkwardly on to his knees. He pulled himself up and dusted himself down, letting his eyes adjust to the gloom. He thought he saw movement and tried to convince himself it was just shadows, even though he knew that there was someone or something else in the church lurking within the shadows. Someone had grabbed him and pushed him.
Suddenly, a loud and powerful voice boomed from within and bounced off the walls of the tiny church.
‘So Mr Randall’, the voice said, ‘You have finally got what you wanted’.
‘Who are you?’ John asked peering into the gloom.
‘We are the people who once lived a happy and fulfilling life. That was until you wanted us out’.
This can’t be happening, he thought.
‘This is happening’, the voice spoke, as though he could read Randall’s mind, ‘We are now your judge and jury’.
‘You tried everything to get rid of us, but even we underestimated how low you would stoop, how far you would actually go’.
Silence hung heavily in the church. John didn’t know what to say. His mind was racing. Maybe it’s a trick, he thought, just to get him to confess. Well they could wait forever because he would not drop himself in it.
‘Nothing to say, Mr Randall,’ the voice shouted, ‘well perhaps you ought to meet us all in the flesh, so to speak’.
Then, without warning the whole church lit up and John screwed his eyes up tight to protect them. After a while he began to open them and what he saw next made his stomach churn violently and sent him running to the door. He pulled on it, but found it locked. Falling to his knees, he begged forgiveness, but his prayers went unanswered.
He heard the shuffled movements from behind him, getting closer and closer. John turned to look over his shoulder and saw bloated purple and green faced people surrounding him. The skin hung from them as though they had been peeled and the ends not taken off properly but just left to drop off on its own accord.
‘Come join us Mr Randall’, the voices began to chant.
On Monday morning, workmen found John Randall collapsed against the door of the church. The autopsy concluded he had died from a massive heart attack and the coroner said that judging by the contorted look on his face he had died in extreme pain
He got more than he bargained for in Rosebrook