Emma was sitting on hot golden sand trying to rub oil onto her back before the June sun turned her into the archetypal English tourist. Lobster red. As it was her first day she still had her complete bikini on despite numerous topless females in the vicinity. Anyway, with her contours she would probably rapidly attract an ever expanding male audience. It wasn't exactly a holiday even though it had taken a lot of planning. Maybe she would chill out for a few days though, once she had everything else sorted out, even though it could be a little risky. After a moment of pensive thought she came to her senses. Keep to the plan as the whole of the Iberian peninsula was bathed in sunshine anyway. After driving the best part of a thousand kilometres she was glad to be stretched out in the open air. If she had been a conventional holidaymaker she would have flown from the UK, two and a half hours. However it would have been insane to attempt to get through

airport security so she had taken the ferry from Plymouth to Santander, eighteen hours, and driven the length of the country. Luckily she hadn't hit Madrid in the rush hour. It was confusing enough as it was, with the often all but useless Spanish road signs. There was a tendency to tell you once and assume everyone knew where to go anyway. The fact that she was sitting on a beach on the Mijas Costa west of Malaga had a lot to do with a nine year old girl called Poppy. As she glanced at her watch she smiled then once again gave the impression of struggling with sun tan oil.
"Are you having trouble?" questioned a passing figure a few minutes later.
Emma glanced up, there was a young man shielding her from the invisible harmful rays. Maybe early twenties, rather tight swimsuit and a reasonable amount of solar bronzing. Clearly he had been darkening his skin beneath a cloudless sky for a some time, what could have been a serious regime designed to impress. That or mere vanity. Clarity of speech and facial features suggested he was English. "Somewhat. I'm not double jointed. Only I didn't expect the sun to be this fierce so early," she replied almost curtly.
"Would you like me to rub some cream onto your back?"
"Without wanting to offend you, yes. As long as that is all you do."
"I understand, I could be married."
"You could be anything," she said in a rather monotonous way.
"I'm Lucas," he said, taking the sun block from her and pouring some onto his hands.
"Emma," she snapped rather sharply. It sounded as though she wanted to be alone, despite the problem with the sun protection. Still, beggars as they say. After a couple of minutes she spoke again. "It only needs to be smeared on, not massaged in."
"Sorry. I was getting carried away. Would you like a drink? There is a bar just above the beach."
Emma shook her head slowly, scarcely amused by the typical chat up line. No doubt the man already had a scenario in his head. "No thank you. I've only just arrived and only accept drinks directly from a barman. There are perverts around that slip date rape drugs to small children so they can seriously abuse them."
Lucas went a little quiet, he even appeared a tad flushed despite the increased density of melanin. Understandable perhaps, hearing how depraved some men could be. Unless... But to any passing stranger that was uncalled for to say the least. Moving to one side he flicked out his towel and settled down. "How long are you here for?"
"It depends," she said casually. "A week maybe. After all I never know who I might meet." Briefly she made eye contact. "You?"
Lucas smiled at the possible innuendo. "A month or so I expect. I'm having a break between jobs."
Emma flattened out on her towel and turned her face away. It was obvious that she just wanted to sunbathe. Not that her intentions were likely to affect his behaviour in any way. The young man sat quietly, spending most of the time looking at her body. An understandable reaction, in many ways Emma expected it. Beauty rarely goes unnoticed, even though excessive attention tends to become boring in an extreme. There was a little olive in her skin as though she had Mediterranean ancestry but her hair was a rich brown, copious and curly. A lot of the local girls Lucas had smiled at had jet black rather straight locks. It was a shame she didn't turn onto her back because her breasts warranted serious scrutiny. Twice Emma rose and went for a brief swim completely aware that his eyes followed every move she made. Despite being the Mediterranean the water was something of a shock to the system. Especially after roasting in the sun. Each time, on her return she lay back down on her stomach. That prevented accidental eye contact and the need for even casual speech. Not to mention keeping her chest hidden. By one o clock it was getting too hot to remain in the open.
"Lunch?" asked Lucas as Emma began to pack up.
"Is that a question or an offer?"
"I'll treat you if you like. What do you fancy?"
"This is Spain. Fish or paella."
"There is a good chiringuito a couple of miles away that does fantastic fish."
"A what?"
"Beach front restaurant."
"It's too hot to walk far."
"I have a hire car," he replied quickly.
"Lunch. Nothing else and if I have a drink you don't even breathe on the glass."
"You sound as though you have had a bad experience."
"Too many to count," she sighed.
Clearly Lucas had been exploring, rather that park with the masses and walk along the promenade he had found the back way in. The slip road from the dual carriageway didn't even suggest beach access. There was a small car park at the end of a tree lined road, excuse for a road. Adjacent to the well worn steps leading down to the sand was a wooden walkway wrapping around a rather weathered timber building. Next to the door was cage containing two mainly green cockateels, which started whistling the moment Emma approached them. The tune was easily recognisable, La Cucharacha. Nice melody, shame about the translation. Who in their right mind sings about cockroaches?
Inside the room was L shaped, one side was almost completely glazed and looked out over the sea. When the young bearded waiter approached he spoke in English. Clearly there were enough holiday apartments and hotels around to warrant learning an additional language, maybe two. Emma had a plate of barbequed sardines and a couple of long cool glasses of sangria. Throughout the meal Lucas seemed to be mesmerised by her breasts. Emma wasn't ashamed of her body, it proved very useful in her line of work. To avoid appearing interested Emma studied her surroundings, the variety of drinks behind the bar, even the waiter. If she wanted to be truthful, the guy who had brought the food from the kitchen had a lot more going for him than Lucas. Only Emma wasn't looking for anything, casual or long term. As she drained the last of her drink her companion spoke, his voice sounded tense, eager.
"Spain shuts down now for at least two hours. Siesta. Can I drop you at your hotel?"
"No thanks. I'll need to sit in the shade somewhere until I remember where it is."
"If you want to crash out I have a place overlooking the shore."
Emma looked him up and down carefully. Clean shaven, not bad looking but it was hard to judge anything by external appearances. "Well you haven't pounced on me yet." No that wasn't his style as she knew all too well. In fact she knew one hell of a lot more about him that he realised. Even to the point of having someone watch him for a week so she knew just where and when to expect his arrival on the beach.
As they headed back towards the main road Emma studied the route. Just in case she needed to navigate her way back in order to find her own car. It wasn't difficult, there were plenty of distinctive way points. A stand of tall pine trees, a massive, almost scarlet Bougainvillea bush and a strange, almost prehistoric looking tree in front of a castellated yellow house on a distinct junction. They walked into the small apartment after maybe fifteen minutes. Lucas tossed his towel into a corner and walked across the room to close the blinds.
"There's only one bed," sighed Emma. Not that it was a surprise.
"We can talk for a while if you are nervous."
"I need to use the bathroom," she said, dropping the heavy beach bag off her shoulder and casually rummaging inside as she walked. After the customary sounds she emerged apparently drying her hands in a small towel. Lucas was naked on the bed displaying an erection. "You don't waste any time do you."
"Come on, we both know you came up here for sex."
"Actually I came up here because of Poppy. I dare say you remember her."
All colour drained from his face. Understandable as the name was intimately bound to usually rewarding memories. Only Emma was a stranger that should have been oblivious to any of his previous actions. Oblivious to the fact that he had snatched a child in full view of the public, drugged and raped her at least once, shielded only by dense vegetation surrounding a group of trees. Briefly he saw the girl's round face staring up at him, eyes begging to understand, tears streaming down her cheeks as he rested on his hands and pumped against her frail body. The recollection tended to bring a smile to his face. Just not then.
There was a sound like a bull breaking wind and tiny fragments of towel sprayed into the air. A bullet ripped into Lucas's stomach bouncing him up the bed slightly and he screamed loudly. "The apartments either side are empty, I already knew that," laughed the woman. "Now I'm going to sit and watch you die. What was that about talking?" Unwrapping her Glock she placed it on the coffee table and stripped naked to tease him. As she sat on his legs and prodded rather limp anatomy she smiled. "This doesn't seem much good for anything now. Is something distracting you?"
"What the fuck have I ever done to you?" he managed, almost sobbing.
"Destroyed a child's youth," she spat back fiercely. "It doesn't matter who she was. You may have escaped conventional law, asshole. Nobody can escape from my form of justice. An especially made 9mm jacketed hollow point with a home made drug cocktail in the tip. I imagine your stomach is already a little numb. Paralysis will spread out gradually as the dose is quite weak, not enough volume. If I had put it into your lungs the massive blood flow would have killed you far too quickly. As it is the chemicals will diffuse slowly. Mobility decreases systematically. Eventually none of your muscles will work. Firing from the waist is always something of a gamble. If I hit a major blood vessel or ruptured the liver you would be dead in five or ten minutes. Hopefully it will take about an hour. If you are still alive then I will just slice off your genitals and leave you bleeding out. What do want to talk about?"
"Bitch!" he spat, struggling onto one elbow and running his hand across his stomach to assess the injury. Emma's weight across his thighs was preventing him moving much. Then there was the physical shock to consider, it felt as though he had been hit with a red hot sledgehammer. The initial burning pain had faded, fear of imminent death was causing more stress than imagining what physical trauma had been done.
"If I had used a standard round it could have been a through and through, popped out at the back without doing a lot of damage. The intestines are slippery enough to be pushed aside by a handgun bullet occasionally. Only there wouldn't be much point in that. I needed a makeshift silencer otherwise I would have aimed. I imagine you've seen someone being kneecapped in a film. Using a soft nosed flat headed bullet the bone virtually explodes. Am I making you feel ill?"
"You'll never get away with this," he offered rather feebly.
"Why not, I have numerous times before. There is no evidence to place me within five hundred miles. I'm booked into a hotel on the north coast."
"What proof have you that I have ever broken the law."
"Your face you prick. Above all you cannot lie to yourself and guilt is written in latent neon. Anyway you have something of a reputation."
"Two cases, both unproven."
"So. I have numerous contacts, Poppy identified you from a photograph some days after the event to confirm her ability to remember. The poor child is too young to understand the concept of an identity parade. Only it was obvious that it could never go to court. Juries are so stupid they can't see how easily a defence counsel can tear a witness apart until they seem unsure of the facts rather than traumatised." Emma punched him in the stomach and he didn't scream. "The digitalis mix is kicking in nicely." It would have been rewarding to flay him a little, only that may have sprayed blood around and even drawn attention to his plight. It is amazing just how far continual high pitched screaming can travel. As it was if she decided to make a serious amputation she could shower before dressing. "Would you like to confess to all your crimes?"
"Fuck off." Lucas's tongue was feeling a little woolly so the words sounded a little odd.
Emma slid off and pulled her bag close to the bed. Lucas couldn't see what she removed, only that she plugged it into the bedside socket. "I want to make sure there is no doubt as to why you died."
Lucas was having trouble thinking clearly. Nothing obvious sprang to mind and he wasn't going to sign a confession. At that moment his hands felt so numb it was unlikely that he could hold a pen. As the object in Emma's hand registered he screamed, rather feebly. "No, you bitch. No."
Emma branded a single word on his groin. A six inch hand made metal iron burned ‘rapist' deep into his flesh. There was no pain, by then most of his nervous system had shut down, but the stench was overpowering and the smoke distressing. When she repeated the technique over his sternum he squealed and struggled. Logical, because when the chest was totally paralysed the heart would stop. It wasn't necessary to perform surgery, the glazed expression as she unplugged the branding iron suggested he would be dead in minutes. Leaning over his head she gave him a word to linger until his last breath hissed from his lungs. "Poppy."