Thursday, November 5, 2015


Genre: Horror/Mystery


By Daniel Skye


            Friday, November 7th, 2008.

            Satan appears in many unassuming forms.

            Kirk Warwick got that one right.

            His words echoed through Richie Carter’s head, playing like an insipid song on a continuous loop.

            The case wasn’t closed yet. Not as far as Richie was concerned.

            There were still two major unanswered questions.

            One: Who dropped the tape in Jamie Reynolds’ bag on Halloween?

            Two: Who was the fifth man involved with that tape? Somebody was holding that camera, and Richie was going to find out who.

            Warwick had mumbled something about a cherry red convertible. And it struck a chord with Richie. Why did that vehicle sound so familiar? He’d seen one recently. But where? He couldn’t recall at the moment.

            But he exactly knew where to start in regards to the first question.

            Mackenzie Matthews worked for Fenton Meeks. She was the last one to see Fenton alive. She also had knowledge about the tape. And she was the only one left to question.

            Fenton, Mac Wilson, Kirk Warwick, Dolph Hendricks, Nico and Dominic Cirico were all out of the picture. If anyone was going to have the answers, it’d be Mackenzie.

* * *

            Richie found Mackenzie down at the Dorchester Pool Hall. She had just finished up her shift.

            “Someone told me I’d find you down here,” Richie said. “Can I buy you a drink?”

            Her eyelashes fluttered. She was used to men of all ages hitting on her, offering to buy her drinks. She knew just how to react. “Sure, why not?” she shrugged.

            She was a young woman, just over twenty-one. She had sandy blonde hair and a slim, hourglass figure. Her silver, crescent shaped glowed under the fluorescent lights. That night, she was wearing a black mini dress, fishnets, and knee high boots.

            “I know I look like a hooker,” she said and chuckled. “But it helps with tips.”

            They sat at the bar and Richie ordered a shot and a brew for himself. Mackenzie ordered a vodka and cranberry and Richie put twenty down on the bar, told the bartender to keep the change.

            “What brought you to this place?” Richie asked.

            “Had to a find a new job after what happened to Fenton,” Mackenzie told him. “Joker’s Pub is closed indefinitely. I think the bank owns the lease. I’m sure they’ll find a buyer. Maybe then I can have my old job back.”

            “I’m sorry all of this had to happen. But I really need to know how this all started. I need to know how that tape ended up in a little girl’s bag of Halloween candy. Do you have any theories on that?”

            “Are you suggesting I had something to do with it?”

            “Not at all. It sounds more like you’re suggesting it by jumping to that conclusion. I told you to be honest with me the first time around. I warned you, didn’t I? You know what’s going to happen if I tell my brother you held out on me, on him? What information do you have, Mackenzie? You worked for Fenton Meeks long enough. You must know something else.”

            “Nadia Sanborn was a sweet girl,” Mackenzie sobbed. “She didn’t deserve that. I did what I had to do to see her killers brought to justice.”

            “What the hell did you do, Mackenzie?”

            “I knew the combination to Fenton’s safe. I had it memorized. So one night, I went into his office and swiped the tape and made a copy of my own. Then I put the tape back the next day. He never suspected a thing. I didn’t put the tape in that girl’s bag. I didn’t have the nerve to do it so my boyfriend did it for me. But I put him up to it. It was all my idea. I told him it didn’t matter who got the tape as long as it ended up in somebody’s hands. I knew any sane, rational person would take it right to the police.”

            “You traumatized that poor little girl,” Richie chided. “She’s never going to be the same.”

            “I never wanted that to happen,” Mackenzie said, still sobbing. “I just wanted to help, I swear.”

            “Mackenzie, we know who killed Nadia. It was Mac Wilson, Kirk Warwick, Nico and Dominic Cirico. We know Fenton lent them the girl. And now we know where the tape came from. But we still don’t know who filmed it. If you know, now’s the time to tell me.”

            “I don’t,” she said with conviction. “I swear. People like Mac and Nico, they didn’t have many friends. I don’t know who else could’ve been there with them. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad they’re all dead. And I hope you find whoever else was involved. Nadia deserved justice.”

            “And justice is what she’s going to get,” Richie assured her.

* * *

            Saturday, November 8th, 2008.

            Richie stopped by Mitch Calloway’s office that day. Mitch was a claims manager for Vanacore Insurance and often employed Richie to sniff out phony claims. He had saved the company a fortune over the years.

            Richie was looking for work, but he had an ulterior motive. Richie had called Mitch not too long ago for information on the case. And when he inquired about David Cirico, Mitch ended their call rather abruptly.

            He was holding something back. Richie could see it the minute he walked into his office. He was nervous, fidgeting in his chair behind his desk.

            “I’m sorry, Richie,” Mitch said. “But I really have nothing for you right now. Things have been slow. I’ll call you when I have more work for you.”

            “I’m not just here about that,” Richie told him. “I want to know about David Cirico.”

            Mitch bit his upper lip. His muscles tensed. “What about him?”

            “I want to know where to find him.”

            “Do you know who David Cirico is? Who he was?”

            “I’m fully aware.”

            “Then you should know he’s not a man to fuck with.”

            “A girl named Nadia Sanborn was tortured, raped, and murdered. It was all caught on film. I have reason to believe Cirico might’ve been involved. And I won’t rest until I know the truth.”

            “David Cirico isn’t David Cirico anymore. He goes by the name David Bennett. He owns a marina out in Fairview. Our company insures his business. And we don’t ask any questions. He keeps a low profile, runs a legitimate business now. And we don’t want any trouble from him.”

            “Trust me, he won’t be giving you any trouble. Not when I’m finished with him.”

* * *

            Cherry red convertible.

            Warwick’s words made sense now.

            Richie had seen a cherry red convertible parked beside the stationary trailer when he visited Bennett’s Marina in search of Mac Wilson. Wilson had a boat docked there. It was all coming together now.

            So Richie took a drive out to Fairview that afternoon and saw the same cherry red convertible parked outside the same stationary trailer that David Cirico sold bait and tackle out of. Even if he had gone straight, even if he had left his old life behind, that didn’t change a thing. Warwick had all but confirmed his involvement with the tape.

            David Cirico was the man behind the camera.

            Richie entered the trailer and found Cirico behind the counter. He didn’t seem to remember Richie at all. But his expression changed when he saw the jar tucked under Richie’s arm.

            “You know, that girl was beautiful,” Richie said. “She had her whole life ahead of her. She could have had a real future. But you and your sons took that away from her.”

            “Do I know you?” Cirico played innocent.

            “No, but you’re sure as hell going to remember me this time around.”

            He placed the jar on the counter. The dragonfly danced around the top of the jar, circling the perforated lid. Jut the sight of it made Cirico’s blood run cold.

            “Does the name The Outsider mean anything to you?”

            “Warwick,” Cirico whispered.

            “I have to know, how the hell did your sons get hooked up with a guy like that?”

            “We were old friends. We knew each other since we were kids. He was a good man, but he made a lot of bad choices.”

            “Look who’s talking,” Richie said, rolling his eyes.

            “What do you want? Money? Name your price.”

            “I don’t want your blood money. All I ever wanted from the beginning was justice. Your sons are dead. Mac Wilson is dead. Kirk Warwick is dead. Fenton Meeks is dead. That just leaves you.”

            “So, what? You’re going to kill me?” Cirico laughed just at the thought. “You’re going to turn me in to the police? Do you have any idea what my people would do to you?”

            “I’m not going to kill you. And I’m not going to turn you in. I’m not even a cop. I’m just a lowly private detective who has seen a lot of crazy shit these past few days. But nothing compares to what waits for you inside this jar.”

            Richie unscrewed the perforated lid and the dragonfly flew out from the jar, landing on Cirico’s shoulder.

            “When you bite the devil,” Richie quoted Warwick verbatim, “The devil bites back.”

            He exited the trailer and waited until he heard the unmistakable screams. They were piercing, but brief. It was over in a matter of minutes.

            Richie hoped now that Nadia Sanborn could finally rest in peace.

            He left the marina with ambivalent emotions. He had brought Nadia’s killers to justice, but still had could not process the mystery of the dragonfly. There are certain things in this world we just weren’t meant to understand. And the dragonfly was one of them. But that didn’t stop Richie from pondering.

“Baby Blue” by Badfinger was playing on the radio and Richie turned up the volume to drown out his own thoughts. Yet the words of Warwick still echoed in the back of his mind.

            Satan appears in many unassuming forms.

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