The Ninth Victim – Excerpt 11

Valjean decided that now was the time for shock tactics, The girls that you describe are just like the girl that was beaten and raped by Pierre Dubois, but of course you know that all too well…. don’t you Pierre?’

The shock tactics worked too well, de Peysac looked like he was about to have a heart attack, he tried to get up out of his chair then collapsed back into it clutching his chest. Valjean went to the drinks cabinet and poured him a large brandy, de Peysac took a sip of the brandy then downed the remainder, to Valjean’s relief a little colour returned to his face and he seemed to stabilise.

‘I do apologise, that was a little cruel, I will leave if you wish me too,’ offered Valjean. ‘Please stay!’ requested de Peysac, ‘I feel that I at least owe you an explanation.’As you wish!’ said Valjean, as he returned to his seat, and sat waiting expectantly.

‘I knew that sooner or later my sins would return to haunt me, I just wasn’t expecting it to be today. You said that you were an investigative journalist, you had obviously done your research before coming here, I would have done the same.’

‘I certainly did not intend to shock you in that way, my aim was just to catch you off guard, and for that once again I apologise,’ Stated Valjean in all sincerity.

‘Sit back, and I will relate the tale of two men, both me, both different, neither having anything in common with the other. Pierre Dubois I would like to bury and forget,’ he stated with vehemence. I identify with Marcel de Peysac, that is the real me, or are you one of these people that believes a leopard can never change its spots?’

‘I came here today with an open mind, I will listen to your story and attempt not to pre – judge you, after all you paid for the crime that you admit too!’

‘Pierre Dubois was a poorly educated adolescent, he sought to be popular and was easily led, often by people who liked to use him as the butt of their jokes. They mistreated him, but he couldn’t see it, he thought they were his friends.’

‘One night he was in the local bar, a little the worse for drink when a young girl came in whom he knew vaguely. He made a rather clumsy pass at her, she shunned him and left the bar. Of course, his so-called friends admonished him, for letting a little slip of a girl make a fool of him.’

‘Like a fool he staggered after her and caught up with her at the edge of the forest, he attempted to kiss her, she scratched his face and kicked him in the shins. Inflamed by the alcohol he had consumed and the taunts of his friends, he lost his temper, punched her in the face then dragged her semi-conscious into the forest and had his way with her. And there is not a day go’s by when he dos not regret that incident.’

Valjean much to his surprise, believed every word, de Peysac was an author, not an actor, his rhetoric was so faultless that Valjean was convinced of his innocence.

(C) Damian Grange 2020

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