Blood Money (chapter thirty seven and Epilogue.)
Dressed only in a pair of denim shorts, Schofield cast his fishing line out once more into the river. He swallowed a mouthful of beer and squinted against the brilliant sun, admiring the farmhouse that he could now call his home.
Pauline of course was correct; her brother did crave attention, especially that of the fairer sex. In time, he had decided to venture into the nearby village and no doubt socialise with the unassuming locals.
A glimmering reflection caught his eyes and he focused on the vehicle that was speeding towards his home. Schofield abandoned his fishing rod and substituted it for his shotgun. Crouching down, he took refuge in the shadow of a tall oak tree.
He recognised the blue BMW, but why hadn’t Pauline rang his cell phone? Their arrangement was that if she decided to visit him, she would first of all call him.
Schofield watched suspiciously, as the BMW parked in front of the farmhouse, beside his Range Rover. Pauline and little David abandoned the vehicle, but did not approach the farmhouse. He heard his sister shout.
“Deano! Deano! Where are you, Deano?”
Deano? Pauline resented that his friends had tarnished his name, and often used to correct them. “His name is Dean and not Deano,” she would stress. That fact, and her reluctance to approach the farmhouse alarmed him.
Schofield lowered his semi-naked body to the ground and crawled swiftly through the long grass. He could now hear David crying, his protesting ignored by his mother. Schofield focused on the BMW and swore that he detected movement in the rear seats of the vehicle. He estimated that he was out of effective range of his shotgun and regretted his decision not to purchase an automatic rifle.
He crept forward, stealthily and military like, his body now saturated with perspiration.
“Surprise, surprise,” came the voice from behind.
Schofield felt the cold steel of the pistol against the nape of his neck.
“Don’t do anything stupid, Schofield.” The accent was definitely Irish. “Let go of the shooter.”
He did as he was told and turned onto his back, recognising the face of the Irishman who he had met at Miami Airport.
“On your feet... Didn’t I warn you what would happen if our paths ever crossed again? You should have taken my advice, Dean; you’re out of your league.”
O’Hara had witnessed the incident and stepped from the vehicle, dark patches of perspiration visible on his white, silk shirt. “At last we meet. Lovely day to die don’t you think?”
“I’m sorry, Dean,” cried Pauline. “They threatened to kill David. I didn‘t have...”
“It’s okay, sis. The IRA was never particular about the choosing of their victims, no matter what age or sex. Isn‘t that right, O‘Hara?”
Keenan lunged forward and cuffed Schofield across the head with the butt of his pistol. He growled. “I’m a soldier and I don’t make war against children. In every war there are unavoidable, innocent casualties.”
Schofield massaged the bloody wound on his scalp. “What about young David there? Is he to be an unavoidable, innocent casualty of war?”
“Shut up!” ordered O’Hara, who was now brandishing a pistol. “I doubt that you have a bank account, and so I assume that my money is concealed somewhere on your property. Just point me in the right direction and we’ll be on our way.”
Schofield focused on the mound of earth not two metres from the feet of O’Hara. Beneath the mound, lay the body of Jan De Vries. “Why don’t I believe you?” quizzed Schofield.
O’Hara wiped his brow with his handkerchief. “Oh, how silly of me. Did I forget to mention that I was going to kill you after you returned my money? You do realise of course that to uphold my reputation, I must resort to such drastic measures?”
“What about my sister and her son?”
O’Hara bared his immaculately capped teeth and his eyes sparkled. “Tell me where the money is and they’re free to go on their way.”
Schofield hesitated. “It’s in the well.”
O’Hara looked towards the old well. “Okay, show us.”
Still rubbing his wound, Schofield walked slowly towards the well. He gripped the handle and proceeded to turn it. The large metal container rose slowly to the surface. Schofield released the handle.
O’Hara grinned. “Are you fucking with me? If you are, then I’ll throw the brat into the well!”
“Relax, O’Hara,” groaned Schofield. “Your money is sealed in waterproof wrapping.”
O’Hara peered into the large bucket. “Then show me, man.”
The private investigator looked towards his sister and then at his nephew. He groped inside the bucket and produced a bulky package. He handed it to O’Hara.
“There’s no way this package contains a quantity of cash that will save your sister and her bastard’s lives.”
“Count it, O’Hara,” insisted Schofield. “You’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
The suspicious Irishman passed the package over to Keenan. “Count it, Terry.”
Keenan knelt on the ground and ripped open the package with a knife.
Schofield saw his opportunity. He reached into the bucket and gripped the pistol, letting off two shots, before O’Hara could react. The first round hit the older man in the shoulder, and the second exploding in the stomach of Keenan.
Everything to Schofield seemed to happen in slow motion. So much screaming. The bleating of the sheep and the chirping of the hovering birds, contaminated by the loud shots and the odour of gunpowder. So much screaming; so much horror.
O’Hara managed to return fire and Schofield felt his bare chest explode. He fell back and once more heard the loud screams of Pauline and David. He groped for his pistol, but he was weak, helpless to stem the flow of blood from his chest.
O’Hara staggered towards Schofield, blood streaming from his shoulder wound. “Fool! You fucking Brit fool!” He aimed his weapon at the head of Schofield and squeezed the trigger. Schofield died immediately.
O’Hara circled the well and regarded Keenan, who was fighting for breath; his prone torso a lake of crimson.
“Fuck, Terry. It doesn’t look good does it?”
Pauline and David wept loudly and hysterically.
“Shut up!” commanded O’Hara, who was now fondling the package of banknotes. “You know, there must be a couple of hundred grand in here. No doubt, he’ll have the rest stashed away close by.”
O’Hara grimaced and stared at Pauline. “I don’t suppose you’re medically trained?”
Pauline shook her head and fixed her sad eyes on her dead brother.
“Then, I no longer have any use for either of you.” He raised his pistol and pointed it towards Pauline.
“But you gave your word,” she pleaded, attempting to shield her son.
“Another unavoidable, innocent casualty of war,” scoffed the Irishman.
He took aim, heard the gunshot and felt the searing pain in his chest.. He fell back onto the grass and stared manically at the spiral of smoke rising from the gun of Keenan. Blood ran down the mouth of O’Hara, as he croaked, “ Why?”
“N...No children,” gasped Keenan. “No children.” He closed his eyes and died momentarily before his employer.
Pauline cradled her child and wept uncontrollably. Together, they sat amongst the corpses until sundown, totally in shock and unable to take in the horror they had witnessed.
Pauline waited until David was asleep before rising. Wearing gloves, she collected together the package of banknotes and flung them into the well. She picked up her son and carried him to her car. It was a long drive home.
Manaf had reached the age of eighteen and was much revered by his people, due to his accomplishment. The village of Lambada Lhok, which had been so tragically ravaged by the tsunamis had been restored to its original condition.
There would always be a void in the village, due to the loss of 3,600 lives, but Manaf and his people could learn from the catastrophe and ensure that such an occurrence would prove not so tragic in the future.
In the heart of the village stood a series of memorials, to ensure that the names of the dead villagers lived on. A taller, more prominent marble monument took centre place. The monument was a tribute to the benefactor of the village; an unknown saviour to many. He went by the name of Dean Schofield.
The irony was that although Morris O’Hara’s money did indeed bring death and destruction, a small part of it brought prosperity and hope to a small village in Indonesia.