This, Then, Is the End of This Series
I’m ready to stop with this portion of the book. We’ll put a bow on this series of short stories, and set it aside until I’m ready to write the book. Sometime this summer, I’ll pick up where this leaves off and write Part Two of this book, and I’m looking forward to it.
Thanks to all of you who have followed along. This “ending” won’t be satisfactory for any of you, but it’s necessary to get me to the next part of the book, so my apologies in advance.
Let’s do it!
By the time we arrived at Bitron’s house, the identity of the latest victim was known. Her name was Angel Hernandez, she was six years old, and her parents had frantically reported her missing four hours earlier.
Now they knew where their baby girl had gone.
Dawn parked at the curb in front of Bitron’s house. Across the street the park was empty. A middle-aged couple walked hand-in-hand down the block. I could smell a barbecue nearby, and the sounds of Creedence Clearwater singing “Black Moon Rising” provided background music from a home next door. I saw those things, heard those things, but they barely registered, so dark was my rage.
“How do we play it?” Dawn asked me as we got out of the car.
“I’m done playing,” I said as I looked at his house. The lights were on, three cars in the driveway, two at the curb, all of the players congregated. I could smell lavender as I approached the home. I remember that distinctly, the sweet smell, so at odds with the purpose of our visit.
Bitron answered five seconds after my first knock.
My fist crushed his nose two seconds after the door opened, his smile turning crimson red as blood splattered, his body flailing backwards, me following, another blow to his left eye and he was down and I was straddling him, raining blows, barely aware of Dawn screaming, blows, more blows, I might have said something, no idea, no thought, just the satisfaction of his bones breaking under my blows.
Out of Control
Dawn’s hands on me, saying something, me pushing her away, then stronger hands, more hands, pulling me away from Bitron, his crumpled body on the entryway floor, his face pulp, outside finally, the air refreshing, again the smell of lavender, and handcuffs.
I realized, finally, that I was in the back of a patrol car, my hands cuffed behind me, Dawn outside talking to a uniform, three other detectives nearby, looking at me sadly, shaking their heads, time slowing finally, and with it the realization that I just shit on the whole case.
Dawn opened the door.
“We’re going downtown, Bill. The Chief will meet us there. Bitron is headed to the hospital and no doubt his lawyer is writing up his lawsuit as we speak. It’s hard to believe, but you managed to make Bitron a victim. Come on, you ride with me.”
Downtown, City Hall
“You’re suspended, O’Dowd, without pay pending investigation.”
The Chief was not happy. I figured nothing I could say would make things better so I didn’t respond.
“What in the holy hell were you thinking, O’Dowd?” He was screaming now. No, not happy at all.
“I was thinking someone needed to scramble that scum’s eggs. I was thinking someone needed to permanently turn out his lights so no other little girl would have to be violated. Beyond that, Chief, I wasn’t thinking too much of anything. I was too busy making sure my punches connected.”
I didn’t think it was possible for a human face to turn so crimson.
“YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY, ASSHOLE? You just gave this Bitron guy a free pass. Even if he is guilty, and may I remind you we have no proof of that at all, you just made him the poor victim, and made it practically impossible for us to approach him without getting slapped with a harassment lawsuit.”
The Chief looked at Dawn, started to say something, stopped and looked down at his desk. He shook his head, ran his fingers through his graying hair, finally looked back up at me.
“Jesus, Bill, you lost it. There isn’t a damned thing I can do for you. Get in touch with the union rep and get yourself a union lawyer. I want your gun and badge now. Dawn?” He turned to my partner. “Get him out of here, and make damned sure he doesn’t even drive near Bitron’s neighborhood.
The drive home was a quiet one. The lab guys were still working the crime scene on the front porch, the body removed but an outline of Angel on the door, so Dawn and I went around back, entered through the kitchen door. She went to the bathroom, came back with a wet washcloth, some bandages, and some hydrogen peroxide, told me to sit down, and washed the cuts on my knuckles. She didn’t speak, just concentrated on the task, her forehead scrunching as she went about the job. There were tears in her eyes as she did so.
Ten minutes passed. Fifteen.
“Are you mad at me?” I finally asked her.
She wrapped my right hand in gauze and taped it off. A tear slid down her cheek. I went to reach for it but she told me not to touch her.
“No, Bill, not mad. Frustrated as holy hell, but not mad. I’m as convinced as you are that Bitron and his friends are guilty, but you damned near made it impossible to touch them with your stunt tonight. What in the hell? How are we supposed to nail those bastards now that they’re untouchable?”
I kissed her forehead and got up, grabbed a couple beers out of the fridge, put one down in front of her, and then started putting together a garden salad. Tomatoes, lettuce, onions, carrots, all fresh, sliced and diced them, some hard-boiled eggs chopped up, tossed them, added my special dressing, and joined her back at the table with two plates. My knuckles hurt like a sonofabitch, but I figured whining about them would be a waste of time.
I took a bite of the salad. Damned good! Washed it down with a strong pull of the brew. Not the greatest culinary combination, but the beer went down smooth and the salad didn’t care. I looked at Dawn. She looked at me. The grandfather clock in the living room ticked.
“There’s a way we can nail them, Dawn, but I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
“After what you pulled tonight, asshole, I guess I’m ready for just about anything. Tell me!”
A Permanent Solution
I slid back from the table, leaned back in my chair, and finished off the beer. Got up and retrieved another one. Dawn waited. The clock kept ticking. Outside I could hear the tech guys finishing up.
“Did you ever work with Lyle Peterson?” I asked her.
She shook her head.
“No, no I didn’t. He was homicide while I was still working the gang unit. Actually, I think it’s his job I got when he retired what, a year ago, maybe a little more than a year, shortly after his wife was murdered, right?”
“Yep, that’s right. Messy shit, that was. His wife was murdered by a serial killer, some guy who had a hard-on for Lyle’s surrogate son, a guy named Eli Baker. The guy, Jeremy something, vowed to kill everyone this Eli Baker loved, make him suffer the losses, and Lyle’s wife was caught up in all of it and killed. Anyway, Lyle retired and now he runs a private investigation firm here in Olympia.”
“And you want to what, hire Lyle Peterson to find evidence on Bitron?”
“Well what, then? Get to the damned point, Bill, or I swear to God I’ll shoot you myself.”
“Lyle works with Eli Baker and Baker’s wife, Liz. She was also a cop here in Olympia. I’ve heard they also added a guy named Striker to the firm, a real piece of work, Striker, literally a killing machine for the government, a mercenary who is barely restrained on the best of days.
“Anyway, Lyle and his group, they have a reputation, nothing ever proven, mind you, that they handle impossible cases, handle them in a permanent fashion. No one has ever nailed them with evidence, but in certain circles it is assumed that they are their own justice system, working in the shadows. I was thinking of calling Lyle, telling him about our dilemma.”
“Let me get this straight, Bill. You want to hire a group of vigilantes, hire them to take Bitron and his group off the board permanently? Is that what I’m hearing? Because, if it is, I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear you. This conversation never happened.”
I finished my second beer.
“Did you see her body, Dawn? Did you see the damage that knife did to her when he pinned her to our front door? I’m guessing it broke two of her ribs on the way in, pierced her heart, quite possibly nicked her spine on the way out. Did you see the ligature marks on her frail neck? Did you see the goddamned streak of blood on her nightgown? The crusted blood on her face where he struck her? She was six-years old, Dawn, and Bitron and his group used her as a pawn in their sick game, and you tell me this conversation never happened? Tell that to Angel and the other little girls they’ve killed, Dawn! I’m sick and tired of this shit and I want Bitron scrubbed off the face of the earth, and if we can’t touch them then I know who can.
“I don’t want to hire them. I just thought I’d have a beer with Lyle and mention our problem. That’s all! What happens after that, well, I can hardly be blamed for that, can I?”
She finished her own beer, went and got another one, for her and me, set them down on the table, looked at me long and hard. The tears returned and her face went soft. She took a deep breath, shuddered when she let it out, peeled the label off the bottle and looked at me.
“I’m in. Call Peterson! What’s the harm in having a beer with an ex-cop, right?”
THANK YOU SO MUCH
It is an ugly topic and I thank you for following along. Thanks for the great suggestions some of you made. I’ll consider them and incorporate them into the book if I can. I greatly appreciate all of you.
How did the killers actually commit seemingly impossible murders? If you want to know bad enough you’ll buy the book when it comes out. LOL
And if you ever want to read more about Eli Baker, Lyle Peterson, Liz Myers, and the man named Striker, you can find them in my “Shadow” series of novels, the first of which is “Shadows Kill.”
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)