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Druids Ring: Criminal Justice by Destiny
It was a clear moonless night over Dartmoor as the ghostly radiance of the aurora borealis lit up the landscape. As the Land Rover bumped over the moor, Frank Bull swore to himself. It wasn't supposed to be this way, he thought, if they had followed his plan then they would be free and clear, maybe five minutes on Crimewatch, but nothing else. It was all different in the old days, you robbed the bank, took the money and no-one got hurt except the insurance companies, and they were villains than he was. Yes, he told himself, there were none of these 'have-a-go-heros', and if you met an off duty copper then you exchanged threats and left. Frank thought about himself, at 62yrs old he wanted to retire. This was supposed to be his last job, the one that set him up for life. After the way that Scouser beat-up that copper he would be doing life, and as for what he did to the wife... Frank had seriously considered giving up to the law there and then. The man was an animal!
"Why do we have to come all the way out here?" Frank ground his teeth as the Scouser whined in the back of the Defender, and purposely aimed at a rut.
"Because," he explained, "out here the coppers wont find us, and the search can die away."
Inwardly he knew he was lying, after what the Scouser had done to the copper they would hunt them to the ends of the earth.
"What's that stuff in the sky?" It was the Scouser again.
"The Northern Lights." One of the other men answered. Frank hated them as well, they had seemed to enjoy what had happened in the bank. If any of the old bunch had been there they would have been disgusted.
"I thought we were going west."
"Do any of us look like Mulder or Scully." Frank retorted.
They bumped over a few more ruts before one of the lads saw the distant lights of the pub and wanted to stop. Frank was against stopping but knew he had to give them some rope or they would explode. He parked the Land Rover outside the bar, just off the dirt track that pretended to be a road. Druids Ring; the sign read.
They all piled into the bar and the men sat round an empty table. Frank stood at the bar, he didn't want to have to sit with the gang and would be glad to get rid of them.
When the fat barman approached him to find out his order he found himself drawn into conversation.
"So just passing through?" Hobb, as the barman was called, asked. "You look as if you don't like your friends."
"Don't like them, don't like their sort." Frank replied. "They're just part of my retirement plan."
Frank started as he saw the Scouser try to grab hold of the barmaid.
Then Hobb motioned to the barmaid to leave the room.
"Don't worry," he said, "Mary can look after herself."
"I do worry, that Scouser's an animal. In the old days he would've gone for a midnight swim in the Thames. There's villains and then there's villains."
"So you're retiring?" Hobb asked. "Thinking of spending it any where in particular?"
"Not really." Frank kept his eye on the Scouser as the barmaid returned with the meal for the gang. True to form the Scouser made another grab for her, then laughed as she pulled away distressed. As soon as they divided up the cash, Frank decided, he was going to call the police with the Scouser's location. Hobb looked as though he was thinking of something. Apparently he reached a decision.
"You could stay round here. There's a farm going, the last owner's gone to the Old Ones."
"You mean he died?" Frank asked.
It was at that point the Scouser fell off of his chair and landed coughing on the floor. The rest of the gang did the same, Frank felt Hobb's hand on his arm. What, he wondered, had he got himself into? For a moment he considered resisting, for all of his years he was still a strong man. Then he saw Hobb's arm flex slightly, under the landlords fat there were large muscles. The locals began to drag the unconscious men to the cellar.
"Don't worry about them." Hobb told him. "They wont be missed."
"I'm not worried about them. Whatever you're about to do, it'll be less than they deserve. I'm worried about me." Frank said as Hobb led him to the cellar door.
In the cellar Frank saw that the gang members had been piled in the middle of a small stone ring. All except for the Scouser, who was lying against the wall. One of the younger locals stood at the top of the stairs holding a pitchfork. The rest had changed into some plain white robes. Frank noticed that the robe Hobb wore was the only one decorated. The robed locals began a chant in some language that Frank couldn't identify and a circle of light rose from the ring and enveloped the gang. Before his eyes they changed into sleeping sheep and were dragged out of the ring.
Then the Scouser was taken to the ring and chained to the floor. Frank watched as Hobb struck him across the face to wake him up. The Scouser spluttered and came to, immediately he pulled on the chains and started screaming insults and threats against the robed men. Frank let out a sigh at his behaviour, the Scouser really was thick. If someone had you in chains, the last thing you did was say you were going to knife them.
"Silence." Hobb commanded.
Frank was amazed to see the Scouser shut up. His eyes widened as he saw that the Scouser was still trying to speak but couldn't form words. Hobb spoke again.
"We don't want your sorts in these parts. Not even as a beast, the Old Ones would never forgive me. But I don't like the idea of lettin' you continue your ways in the outside world. I think that I've got a solution. Since you seemed so determined to get your hands on women's bodies, you're going to get your own."
Frank watched as the group began the chant again, this time the change seemed to be incredibly slow. The Scouser's body began to change, his chest swelled as a pair of female breasts formed and his facial features changed from a square male face into an attractive feminine set. Then the Scouser's whole body began to shrink and the face changed again, he was growing younger. The change finally stopped with the Scouser looking no more than fourteen. The newly changed girl looked down at her new form and open her mouth to speak, then passed out.
She was then pulled from the ring and taken upstairs. Frank heard a door slam, then he felt Hobb's hand on his shoulder. He guessed it must be his turn now.
"You're a hard man," Hobb began, "but at least you're an honourable one. I'm about to offer you a hard choice. We've a farm going without an owner and I don't think any of the hands are ready to run a place of their own. I'm going to offer it to you, it'll be a second chance. There'll be a price though, you'll be part of the land, never to leave. Will you take it?" Frank didn't even have to think.
"A second chance, hell yes. Of course I'll take it."
"Then step into the Ring."
Frank heard the chant begin again and felt the light envelop him. He felt his chest begin to tighten and watched as a pair of breasts pushed out his shirt. He held up one of his arms and watched it become slimmer, more graceful looking. Frank felt his bodyshape change and his legs lengthen. A strange feeling came over his groin, his testicles retreated into his crotch and his penis shrank to be replaced by a vagina. It was the strangest sensation Frank had ever felt.
The light faded and Frank brushed a strand of hair away from his face then paused, his hair had never been that long. A new name seemed to come to the front of his mind, Meg, and Meg realised she could never think of herself as a 'he' again.
"Would you like to see yourself?" Hobb asked.
Meg turned to see a mirror set into the stone wall behind her, she could've sworn it wasn't there earlier. She was astounded by what she saw. In the mirror she saw a younger woman about 35yrs old with shoulder length dark hair. She had attractive, but strong features and a shapely body. Meg ran her hands over her new body, convincing herself it was real. Then she turned to Hobb, there was one thing she had to know.
"That Scouser what will you do with her?" She was surprised by the sound of her new voice, instead of her usual cockney accent she had a light west country lilt.
"Don't you worry about her. When she comes to, she'll be next to a car full of money. Mind you, Druids Ring will be gone. I imagine that she could've some trouble explaining that to the police."
Outside the Northern lights faded from the skies, and the inn of Druids Ring faded with them. Leaving only a young girl sobbing at her new form and the closing wail of a police siren.
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