Harsh Consequences

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Chapter 25

Shortly after arriving in Torquay to begin enjoying his long awaited freedom, Fitzy began working on locating the three remaining men who killed Mitch’s father.

Even though Mitch refused to sanction any form of revenge on these three men, Fitzy took it on himself to seek his own form of summary justice, on Mitch’s behalf.

Just like he did when he took it upon himself when those four African inmates attacked Mitch in the prison toilets. Just like he did when he took upon himself when an inmate tried to stick Mitch with a shiv while standing in the meal queue. And just like he did when he took it upon himself when three inmates threatened to attack them in the yard.

It was innate to Fitzy’s nature and it was in his training. He only knew one way. In his mind, the response was simple; these men had to be made pay, regardless of whether Mitch approved, or not.

Fitzy’s hunt for his three targets, or Mitch’s ‘ankles’, unintentionally began on his second day of freedom. Alison showed Fitzy the articles she kept from the Geelong newspapers. They were all there; an article relating to Mitch’s shooting of the offenders, his remand to Port Philip Prison and the subsequent arrest and later dismissal of the murder charges for the three men who fled from the scene.

The article reporting on the arrests and murder charges of the three African men interested Fitzy the most. Thanks to the journalist, the article provided Fitzy with the names of the three men charged, their home street and their suburbs.

He now would be looking for Makur Daw, 22 and Allir Daw 24 of Hepburn Court, Corio, in Geelong’s northern suburbs and Madibo Fung, 24 of Wallace Court Werribee.

A visit to each of the men’s Facebook pages provided Fitzy with a face to go with the names. All he needed now was their house numbers in each street.

With very little effort Fitzy had identified his targets. The next step was to conduct some basic reconnaissance of the streets and vicinity. He wasn’t comfortable doing it driving Mitch’s Bimmer because offenders like the ones he sought hunted luxury vehicles to steal.

Later that same night, while enjoying Alison’s mouth-watering lamb roast for dinner, Fitzy discussed switching cars.

‘I am so grateful for you guys allowing me to drive Mitch’s new car while I stay here. I’ve never driven a Bimmer before,’ Fitzy said. ‘It’s really quite an experience.’

Alison knifed through the tender lamb as she said, ‘it is not a problem Jack. The car would only be sitting in the garage.’

‘If I can be honest…’ Fitzy began, ‘It worries the hell out me driving Mitch’s new car. Every time I’m in it I worry about having an accident…’

‘Don’t be silly. Anyway, the car’s fully insured.’

‘I hope you don’t think I’m ungrateful…’ Fitzy said, ‘But I was wondering if you would like to swap cars…you drive the Bimmer and I’ll drive your little chariot.’

Alison regarded Mitch as she sipped from her glass of red. ‘It worries you that much…?’ She said as a question, while replacing her glass.

Fitzy nodded. ‘It does. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I love driving it…it’s just that, well…I don’t want to be the one who stacks it on him…’

‘I haven’t actually driven the BMW yet…’ Alison said. ‘But, if it worries you that much…I’ll drive it and you can use mine…’

Fitzy carved off a large piece of meat. ‘I would really appreciate that,’ he said then fed the lamb into his mouth.

Fitzy’s little ruse was complete. Alison would now drive Mitch’s Bimmer and he would drive her little, less conspicuous white Hyundai i30.

Dark sunglasses masked Mitch’s pain as his saddened eyes moved between the coffin, suitably adorned with an oversized bouquet of flowers, and the large screen projecting a smiling head shot of his mother.

Sitting beside Alison in the front row of the chapel, Mitch tightly held her hand. She was his security in his time of grief. Alison’s other held a scrunched up tissue.

Mitch’s brother and sister, along with their respective partners, each made the journey from interstate and were seated beside Mitch and Alison. One constant was the mournful expression worn by each from their feelings of loss and sadness.

Fortunately for Mitch, Prison Management offered little resistance when he submitted his request for leave to attend his mother’s funeral in Geelong. The approval was prompt; no questions asked.

The approval meant that Mitch would taste freedom for the first time in a little over ten weeks. He would have the opportunity to grieve with his family and friends. He would say his goodbyes to his mother, then he would be whisked away back to the harsh reality of his incarceration.

As soon as Mitch’s application for special leave to attend his mother’s funeral was approved, Alison delivered a suit and accessories to Mitch at Port Philip Prison.

On the morning of the funeral a prison van transported Mitch to the Geelong police station, along with the prisoners attending Geelong court.

Shortly before 11am -- the scheduled funeral commencement time -- a male Constable from the Geelong police station removed Mitch from the Police station cells and escorted him to the funeral Chapel.

Policy usually dictated that prisoners sat in the rear row of the Chapel, beside the escorting officer. However on this occasion, Mitch’s young police escort showed some compassion for Mitch. He allowed Mitch to sit with his family in the front row.

Shortly after they arrived at the chapel Alison met them outside. She asked the cop if she could hand Mitch some sunglasses. The cop consented after a quick examination of the sunglasses.

The chapel overflowed into the outdoor portico area. Hundreds of mourners were forced to stand outside and listen to the service broadcast over loud speakers. The Cop escort stood in the aisle at the back of the chapel, beside the exit door, in a position where he could observe Mitch.

Mitch was deeply saddened by the untimely passing of his mother. Tears rolled down his cheeks for most of the service. But when the slide show commenced displaying photographs of his mother in happier times, accompanied by Bette Midler’s, Wind beneath My Wings, Mitch broke down and sobbed.

His was a melting pot of emotions. He was saddened with grief over losing his mother. But he was also distraught over the circumstances with which she lost her life. It didn’t have to happen. It shouldn’t have happened.

These troubled thoughts had plagued him since he learned of his mother’s passing. These same thoughts fuelled his anger and hatred towards those responsible.

The Mitch of old, the one before being exposed to life in prison, would never consider violent retaliations on people who wronged him and his family. Truth was, he never had cause to.

He hated those men for what they did, yet he never harboured feelings of revenge after his father was killed. Nor did they surface when he was put in hospital from a violent assault. And these feelings were not present after any of the attacks on him in prison, one of which involved a shiv.

His breaking point was the senseless and violent murder of his loving mother, an innocent and harmless victim who posed no threat to anyone. She was not even at home the night Mitch shot the two home invaders.

Such was their disregard for life, these men chose to sacrifice his mother’s life for no reason other than to exact some form of hate-filled revenge on Mitch.

It was this violent retribution that pushed the normally unassuming Mitch over the edge. This vengeance killing of his mother changed Mitch. He now sought, if not demanded his revenge. He wanted those responsible to pay the ultimate price, that was, the same price they made his mother pay. It was now an eye-for-an-eye.

Until this occurred, Mitch would never be at peace with himself over what happened to his mother. Everything in his living nightmare traced back to the night his father was killed, all because he unknowingly led the attackers to his parent’s front door.

Following the emotional service, the cop drove Mitch to the cemetery for the interment. He allowed Mitch to stand with his family at the grave site, while the cop stood well back, observing.

Mitch was overcome with grief and possibly guilt, when the coffin slowly began its descent, accompanied by the sombre sound of Eric Clapton’s Tears in Heaven. His glazed stare remained fixed on the coffin until it descended from view.

He was the first to select a long stem white rose from the basket offered by the female funeral attendant. He stepped forward and dropped the rose onto his mother’s coffin. Mitch stared down at his mother’s final resting place. He blew his mother a kiss.

‘I love you, Mum. I’m so sorry,’ he mumbled under his breath, before breaking down and sobbing.

Mitch stepped back and wiped his eyes as his family members followed his lead. Each one in turn selected a rose then dropped it onto the coffin.

The lowering of the coffin somewhat symbolically signified Mitch’s time on the outside had come to an end. His brief respite from prison was over. The cop beckoned to Mitch it was time to go.

Unfortunately his special leave pass did not extend to him attending his mother’s post-funeral wake, to be held for family and friends at the rooms of a nearby lawn bowling club.

The cop patiently waited for Mitch to say his good-byes to his family and friends through handshakes, hugs and kisses.

When Mitch shook Fitzy’s hand, Fitzy quietly said, ‘I’ve found the ankles…’ He punctuated his comment with a single nod.

Mitch returned the single nod. The cop closely monitored all his physical interactions, so he kept his reactions minimal.

He intentionally left Alison to last. His extended hug and his loving kiss shared with her was saying goodbye before he was taken away, back to prison.

‘My committal hearing is a little over a week away…hopefully, so too is my freedom,’ Mitch whispered into Alison’s ear.

‘Let’s hope so,’ she said. ‘I just want you home.’

Mitch removed his sunglasses and held them up to his police escort. He gestured to Alison. When the cop nodded his approval, Mitch handed his sunglasses to Alison then he made his way over to the cop.

Upon his return to the police vehicle, the cop said, ‘I’m going to have to search you, Mitch, before you get into the car.’

Mitch extended his arms to the side. ‘I understand.’

Following a brief pat down, the cop gestured to the back seat of the police vehicle. ‘You’re all good. Jump in, mate,’ he said.

For a fleeting moment Mitch was free; free from the confines of the towering razor wire lined walls, free from the drab prison greens and free from the psychological torment of being an innocent man held in prison.

Mitch sat like a disciplined child banished to wait in the car as he glanced out from the back seat of the police sedan at his family and friends making their way from the grave site to his mother’s wake.

His roaming eyes found Alison standing alone, a short distance away. She stared back at him. He could see the pain in her saddened eyes. It tore at his heart to see her like that. She wanted him to stay. He wanted to stay.

Mitch waved to Alison. She lifted her hand to Mitch in a motionless wave. Her other hand cupped her mouth, sobbing as the police car slowly moved away.

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