The screams of Tara A. Nikita echoed off the walls of the abandoned workshop that housed her. “No one can hear you,” a masked figure said to her. “You’re all alone here. Well, except for me of course.”
“Who are you? Why do this to me?” Tara sobbed, frantically trying to get out of the zip ties that secured her wrists behind her back.
“Because you’re not a nice person, Tara. People like you should not get to live amongst the nice people. Someone should punish you.”
Tara’s tormentor had tied her to a metal table leg, and she watched as the figure came over with a four-pound hammer and a pail of nails. “Oh no,” Tara screamed. “Please, whatever I’ve done to you, I’m sorry.”
The figure dismissed her apology with a wave of their right hand. “Don’t worry about it, Tara. It’s fine.” Tara looked around the area, there wasn’t a light on, save for the one above her head.
“What are you looking for, Tara?”
“Hope,” she stammered. “Why do this to me?”
“I told you why. You’re not nice. Your family takes and takes from the little people. We’re subjected to the law, but it doesn’t apply to your family. Things must change.”
“Don’t kill me,” Tara sobbed, as hot tears rolled down her cheeks. The masked figure wiped her tears away with the black gloved thumb of their left hand, and said, “Okay, Tara.”
The masked figure dragged a metal chair over to where they had tied Tara, and they sat down with a grunt. The assailant had zip tied her legs as well. Tara was trussed up like a Thanksgiving turkey.
“Okay Tara, take a deep breath,” her captor said. Tara’s breath quaked as she tried to take a deep breath. She felt the nail touch the center of her knee, and she closed her eyes. The song of the hammer banging against the nail joined Tara’s screams, as the nail tore through bone and cartilage.
Tara’s breath exploded from her lungs in a loud gasp; her sobs painted with tenors of pain. The masked figure patted her shoulder and whispered, “You did good. Let’s do the other one.”
The hammer and nail sang again, as the nail pierced through the bone and sinew. Tara fainted. “Tara, wake up.” The assailant tapped the young woman on the head, but Tara didn’t respond. The assailant slapped Tara across the face, but again nothing happened.
Frustrated, the figure removed their mask and walked to their vehicle and popped the trunk. The woman pulled out a wooden baseball bat and walked back to Tara.
Tara stirred and lifted her eyes, her vision foggy from the pain. “You? Why?”
“You know why,” her assailant snarled, as she swung the bat and it collided with Tara’s head. Blood splattered into the face of the woman, and she giggled. She swung again and again, as gales of laughter erupted from her.
The red splatter of blood covered the head of the bat, and the woman dropped it to the ground. Exhausted, she bent over at the waist. Her breaths came in ragged gasps, as she greedily sucked fresh air into her lungs.
“Now, we’re even.”
The woman licked her lips and turned off the camera that had recorded the entire session with Tara. After cleaning up, the woman stopped by a payphone and dropped a quarter into the slot. She dialed 911 and left the phone off the hook.
Then, she drove into the shadows of early morning. Her stomach growled. Killing Tara had stirred up a hunger, and the killer thought of pancakes as she drove across the bridge that led into Fredericksburg.
Thunder rumbled outside of Thermopolis Konan’s trailer. He groaned, rolled over, and pulled the pillow over his head. A drop of rain fell from the ceiling and splashed on his hand. What now? He pulled the pillow to the right side and peeked out from under it.
“I told you the roof was leaking,” Lilly Thompson said, as she rolled over to face her husband. “Do you believe me now?”
Konan rolled his eyes and sat on the side of the bed. It’s always something. His thoughts were interrupted by the sudden buzzing of he and his wife’s phones. “I’ve got it,” Lilly said, as she picked up her phone and swiped right.
“Hello, this is Lieutenant Thompson. All right, we’re on our way.”
“Where’s the body?” Konan asked as he slid on his Red Wing Irish Setters. He’d dressed in Wrangler jeans, a green Carhartt tee, and heavy boots, while Lilly answered the call.
“The body was found at Forked River Academy.”
Konan frowned and said, “Isn’t that the old, dilapidated campus on the other side of town?”
“Yeah, it’s been shut down for years. Apparently, the town keeps power ran to the maintenance shop on site, God only knows for whatever reason, and that’s where the body was found.”
“You’re going out there?” Konan asked Lilly, as she pulled a light blue coat over her crème-colored blouse that covered her Sig Sauer P365 sidearm. Lilly wore black slacks and brown Rockport boots to complete her outfit. She gave her husband a warm smile and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Of course,” she murmured, as she bit his neck lightly. “I’ve gotta make sure you treat your new partner right.”
“I don’t like it,” Konan snapped. “I shouldn’t need to break in a new partner; you just had to go get promoted, didn’t you?”
Lilly touched Konan’s face softly, and he let out a sigh. “I didn’t mean it,” he muttered, hoping his tone was apologetic. “You deserve the recognition and raise. Besides, I get to come home to you at the end of the day.” Lilly smiled and kissed him lightly on the lips.
“You’d best get out there, detective. I need you to find me a killer, so I can steal your glory and make it my own.”
Konan chuckled and pulled Lilly close. He held her and breathed in her scent. Lilly’s promotion had nothing to do with her work, but rather was a necessity given that they’d married on the third of January. That’s not to say Lilly Thompson was an incompetent detective. She and Konan had closed several high-profile cases together, and many considered them the best the 117th had to offer. Still, their run had come to an end, and now a new chapter was set to begin.
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