Chapter  6 Zoë

It should have been a day of celebration — but it didn’t turn out that way.

It started well. Her parents wished her ‘happy birthday’ and her mother served her a rare treat of an egg for breakfast. She’d known she would still have to work in the fields on her birthday but at least her mother and father had promised a special meal that evening to celebrate her 21st.

Danny had managed to catch a hare which, with a turnip and a few potatoes and Brussel’s Sprouts lifted from the fields was cooking over an open fire behind the caravan.

But the smell of the pot had been picked up by a feral gang, themselves desperately hungry.

They were dirty and unshaven and their hair was matted and greasy.

The leader wore an old army greatcoat and a maroon beret though his appearance and demeanour didn’t suggest he’d been in the parachute regiment as the beret implied. He had a machete hanging from a broad leather belt around his waist.

A second held an axe in his hand and wore an old Barbour jacket that had seen much better days. Three of his front teeth were missing and, instead of a beret, he wore a woollen hat.

The third stood more than six feet tall; a mop of red hair and a leather waistcoat over a dark green pullover and fingerless woollen gloves adding to his menacing appearance.

As Danny took in the first three, a second group came round the end of the caravan. One, looking like a Hell’s Angel wore a dirty, blood stained, bandana and a black leather motorcycling jacket with faded badges and the remains of patterns formed from metal studs. The fringe along the back shoulder had many of the tassels missing. He had an evil grin as he stared at the bubbling stew on the fire.  

“Well, what have we got here?” the leader asked. “I think we’re about to be invited to dinner, lads.”

Danny realised that the family was in serious danger. He glanced across at Pat and Zoë and tried to indicate that they should get inside the caravan.

“We don’t have much but you are welcome to share,” he offered trying to placate the intruders; knowing full well that it wouldn’t work. “It’s my daughter’s twenty first birthday.” As he said it, he instantly regretted having drawn attention to Zoë.

“Is that right old man? Twenty-one and never been kissed I’ll bet? Is that right love? Or are you a right little raver?”

Zoë, Pat and Danny huddled together and tried to move towards the caravan, abandoning the celebratory meal, but found the door blocked by the red headed thug.

“Now don’t rush off. We want to get to know you better after our dinner,” the leader said with a sneer as he reached into the pot and stabbed a piece of hare with his knife.

“Very nice,” he remarked as grease dribbled down his chin to be wiped away on his sleeve. “Help yourselves lads.”

Zoë, Pat and Danny were forced to watch as the gang demolished their meal and they worried about what would happen afterwards. In these lawless times, rumours were rife about the activities of these gangs.

The leader threw down his plate and wiped this mouth with his sleeve and approached the family, staring at Zoë.   

“Now missy. I know what you need for your birthday, a real man. Isn’t that right?”

Zoë tried not to look at his face but she couldn’t tear her gaze away from his cold dark, staring eyes. She finally looked at her mother and father hoping that they could save her from this evil creature; but she knew that there wasn’t any hope.

She and Martin hadn’t made love, something she now regretted. Instead of giving herself to someone she loved, she was going to lose her virginity to a thug.

Danny pulled his daughter behind him to try to protect her but two other members of the gang grabbed hold of him. The leader grabbed Zoë’s arm and pulled her to him.

Zoë tried to resist, squirming this way and that in an attempt to break free but it was no use. As he tore her blouse exposing her breasts, she screamed “Martin. Help me!”.

“Oh very nice darling,” the leader smirked. He lifted her skirt and ripped off her panties before forcing her to the ground and holding her there with one hand as he released his penis with the other. In spite of Zoë’s efforts, writhing and trying to kick out at him, she was no match for her assailant.

Another of the gang raped Pat while Danny was forced to watch by the two who were restraining him. They were egging on the others with crude remarks about what they’d do when it was their turn.  

Danny’s anger and frustration eventually gave him the strength to break free and he lunged at the attackers. His frenzied attack left one of the gang unconscious but, as he turned to confront another, a third hit him on the back of the head with a branch. He fell forward onto the fire, his skull broken.

The fight had distracted the thug that had been raping Zoë, allowing her to break free and run to her father and pull him out of the flames and smother his smouldering jacket; but the blow had proved fatal.

Zoë and Pat stared at the aftermath as the gang of youths ran off laughing. Her mother collapsed in tears of hysteria which Zoë couldn’t calm.

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