Authors: Claude Bouchard
The Vigilante Series Prequel
A novella by
THE FIRST SIXTEEN
All rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 by Claude Bouchard
is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share
this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each
person you share it with. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance
to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are purely coincidental.
Published by Claude Bouchard
June 28, 2014, a fine Saturday morning grew dark and dreary with the news of
the passing of Jack Stevens. More than a talented musical artist, Jack was a
gentleman, a caring, compassionate soul and a bundle of positive energy who
left us far too soon.
book is dedicated to you, Jack… May you rest in peace, my friend…
November 3, 1965 - June 27, 2014
guess I should start by telling you a little about myself though I really can’t
tell you too much. You see, if I did, you might figure out who I really am,
which could be devastating to my future… or yours. However, I can and should
tell you enough so you can grasp what I am or, more specifically, what I did and
why I did it.
see, we all have different morals and visions of life and justice so chances
are you would never even consider taking the path I did. I fully understand
that and certainly don’t hold it against you because I respect your opinion and
your values. I simply hope you’ll respect mine in return, even if you don’t
agree with how I’ve dealt, and still deal, with things.
about me. I was born in Montreal in March of 1962. The actual day isn’t
important. We do want to maintain some anonymity, right? Anyhow, I do and I’m
writing this so I get to establish the rules. Moving along.
don’t remember my father much because he died when I was six but I do remember
he cared about my mom, my sister, Donna, and me. We didn’t see him much during
the week, except when it was really cold in the winter, because he worked at
the port, unloading boats or something to do with cranes and forklifts. Even
then, he’d usually find a temporary job in a warehouse somewhere, because he
had to provide for his family which mom said he always did.
was up early in the morning and was gone to work when we got up. Sometimes he’d
come back home in the afternoon and spend some time with me and Donna when she
got back from school but, usually, he’d work some overtime and would only get
back home once I was in bed. Mom often muttered about him being at the tavern
which I later learned meant he was off drinking and not always working
overtime. However, he did care for us and provide for us. Even mom said that
for years after he died, actually until she passed away herself. He just had a
weakness for alcohol, which is what killed him in the end when he drove a
forklift off the pier and into the side of a container ship.
my dad died, mom found herself a job as a cashier with a major supermarket
chain but the money wasn’t great with two growing kids and, let’s face it, she
was lonely, so she started seeing some men. They came and went, some sticking
around for a bit but, in the end, with Donna and me around, none of them stuck
it out for very long as they were looking for mom’s full attention.
went on until I was eight or so, to my sister’s thirteen, when mom started
seeing Jean. He was a machinist in some big automotive shop and he often
smelled like my dad had… alcohol. I didn’t like him from the start and neither
did Donna but mom seemed to and he was the first one who appeared to be willing
to stick around. In fact, he was willing enough that he moved into the small
house mom was renting in east-end Montreal within a couple of months. Before
long, I started getting the impression that mom wasn’t completely happy with
the situation but, as she mentioned from time to time, he did bring in a paycheque
and money was never something to turn one’s nose at.
dad had been an alcoholic, I get that now, but he had been the gentle type who
drank himself into oblivion and slept it off until it was time to get going for
the next day. Jean, as it turned out, was the type who became angry and violent
when he drank and, unfortunately, drunk was a state he got into on a regular
basis. Shortly after moving in with us, he began beating mom, first when more
intoxicated and then without even having too many belts in him. It wasn’t too
long before he began taking swipes at me for no reason besides his mood and
soon after, at Donna as well… But that wasn’t the worst of it.
problem with Donna was, she was going on fourteen by then and was starting to
look more and more like a woman instead of a girl. I had noticed it myself and
I was only nine, not to mention that she was my sister… Still, Jean had noticed
it too and it started becoming a problem. When mom wasn’t around, he’d pat Donna
on the butt sometimes or mention about how much she was turning into a little
lady. As time went by, he became more assertive, making lewd or suggestive
comments, but Donna kept to herself, never bringing anything up with mom,
probably because she thought mom would never believe her over him.
all of this, I had been a witness to much but, I was just a kid, what could I
do? I was only nine years old and he had already slapped the crap out of me
often enough by then, just for the hell of it. I wasn’t too keen on goading him
to beat on me any more than he already did. Then came the day when he got home
drunk and raped Donna. I was ten, she was fifteen…
saw it happen. I witnessed the whole thing from my secret place up in the attic
through the ventilation grate. I never told anyone about what I saw back then
but something changed in me that day… something told me I would have to correct
those wrongs. Donna never spoke about it to me, nor did mom, but I’m sure they
talked about it together because a lot of screaming went on that night and Jean
was gone when I got up the next morning. Still, his being gone just didn’t make
things right. It just wasn’t enough.
couple of quiet years went by after that. Mom stopped seeing anyone even though
some guys she worked with or met somewhere showed some interest. Donna and me
kept on going to school and were doing quite well. Some martial arts courses
became available after class and just attracted me so I started to train. It
made me feel good to work out and let out some energy, all while keeping
control inside. I asked Donna to come a few times but she wasn’t interested. In
fact, she seemed interested in less and less as time was going by.
the time she was seventeen, she didn’t seem to care about much at all. She was
doing drugs, I know because I saw her using them. She smoked pot and hash but
also took pills and snorted stuff, maybe coke but who could know for sure. I
had even found a syringe in her dresser once so she was into all kinds of crap.
When I had tried to talk to her about it once, she had just laughed then told
me not to worry, to mind my own business and to keep my damned mouth shut.
left home a couple of months before turning eighteen and, though I heard from
her a few times over the next two or three years, she eventually simply
disappeared, without a word, without a trace. That forever left me with a deep
sense of frustration and despair since Donna had been a smart, beautiful person
with so much promise but her life had been ruined because of the senseless,
selfish actions of an evil person.
went on, I grew older, finished high school and found a job as an office clerk
with a computer consulting firm downtown because I didn’t like depending on mom
for money. She didn’t earn that much with her cashier’s job to begin with and
needed everything she had to keep a roof over our heads. I had to argue with
her along the way to let me pay room and board but she finally relented and
admitted she could use the extra cash.
worked hard, did what was needed to get ahead and moved forward professionally.
Along the way, I was fortunate enough to meet the woman who would become my
partner for life. With her, I could share my frustrations and anger, just as
she could share hers with me. We had both suffered a loss due to senseless
violence so we each fully understood how the other felt. The overall problem,
we both agreed, was there seemed to be nothing we could really do about it
besides endure the pain.
time went by and we continued to console one another, often simply by drawing
strength from other’s presence in silence as compared to discussing the issues
which plagued us. I never planned what would eventually happen and I know she
certainly didn’t either since she was never involved when these events took
she was fully aware of what was going on because I told her everything and she
agreed with what I was doing because it served as a therapy as much for her as
it did for me. Once the process had started, purely by accident, as it was, we
both knew the day would come when our wounds would be sufficiently healed and
this therapy would no longer be required. That day did come, our final day of
reckoning, after which all remained was our invisible but endurable scars… We
were at peace.
I mentioned before, none of this had ever been planned. It all started by
accident though it was likely much more a question of destiny, of being at the
wrong place at the wrong time. Or, perhaps I should actually say, being at the right
place at the right time.
was two days before Christmas. A couple of years earlier, problems with her
knee had led my retired mother to require a cane to get around without having
to worry about finding herself sprawled out on the ground somewhere. When the
problem had arisen, one of her friends had given her a cane leftover from a
deceased parent, an ugly, battered aluminum thing, which she had been using
since. I never liked that cane so, for Christmas, I had a wood sculptor my wife
knew make her a worthy one, a hand-carved hickory affair, a true work of art
which I knew my mother would love.
had gone to pick up the finished piece at the sculptor’s apartment and was
heading back to where I had parked the car when I was suddenly grabbed from
behind and shoved into the alley I was just walking by. My attacker shoved me
forward, deeper into the alley, taking no chances with possible witnesses though
there was no foot traffic on the street to begin with. Starving artists don’t
generally live in the nicest neighbourhoods so residents tended to stay indoors
lost my balance and began to pitch forward which resulted in my assailant
losing his grip on the back of my coat. Rather than trying to regain my
footing, I continued with my fall, bending over and tucking my knees up into an
often practiced roll. A second or two later, I was standing again, a few feet
away from and facing the surprised thug.
your wallet,” he ordered, the blade of his knife
glinting briefly in the dim light coming from a second storey fire escape
don’t know what it was but at that moment, I knew this sorry mugger had made a
serious mistake by randomly selecting me as his would-be victim. Years of anger
and frustration with no possible escape, coupled with sustained martial arts
training fused together, giving me the pressure releasing solution I had been
seeking for the longest time without even knowing.
smiled at him and said, “You’re going to regret having run into me but only for
a short while.”
your damned wallet and that thing you’re holding,” he
snarled, referring to the plastic wrapped hickory cane.
want this?” I asked, raising the cane in the air, my left hand wrapped around
the handle, the tip pointing at him.
it to me,” he insisted, taking a half-step toward me, looking for his opening
to lunge with the blade.
my right foot forward, I grasped the cane at its centre with my right hand and
jabbed it at his face, my left arm acting like a piston and driving the tip
into his right eye. He emitted a strangled, gasping gurgle as he dropped the
knife and raised both hands to his face.
the… hell?” he muttered in pained shock, not comprehending that he had just
been very seriously injured.
shifted the cane in my left hand, I’m a Southpaw, taking a firm hold of the
shaft about six inches from the tip. As he dropped to his knees, still not
seizing what was going on, I reared back then swung forward smashing the solid,
ornately carved handle against his right temple. I heard the dull thud created
by the impact and watched in satisfaction as my assailant toppled like a rag
doll to the gritty pavement and lay motionless.
quick survey of the area confirmed the absence of any witnesses. After all, we
had remained rather quiet and, as previously mentioned, folks didn’t roam the
area in the evening just for fun. I also had my mugger to thank for leading me
into the alley. Leaning down, I picked up his knife, a very well-honed, five
inch locking blade number, and looked at it then at him.
were going to use this on me, you little shit?” I murmured, my breath steaming
in the cold night air. “Not a good idea at all.”
prodded him with my foot but he remained motionless. Perhaps he was already
dead but I had no intention of taking any chances. A kick to his abdomen
yielded absolutely no reaction, confirming I didn’t need to worry about any
retaliation for a while, which was more that I needed.
down, I glanced up and down the alley one more time but we were alone, just me
and my attacker.
sorry it had to end this way but you brought it on to yourself,” I said before
easily slicing his throat. “Have yourself a merry little Christmas.”