Monday, January 2, 2017


Genre: Horror/Mystery

Note to readers: This story is a sequel of sorts to my previous miniseries, DRAGONFLY. You can read DRAGONFLY by accessing the 2015 archives on the right-hand side of the page. Or you can simply enjoy PERDITION as a standalone story.

By Daniel Skye


            “Now I never said I was going to kill anyone. I mean, I have killed lots of people. And I mean lots and lots of people. But I never said I was going to kill anybody. I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t brag about it. I didn't announce it to the world like the rest of these psychopaths. I didn't leave a calling card behind. I just went out and did it. Saying and doing are two very different things, don’t you think?”

           The man, terrified and dripping with sweat and fear, nodded his head in agreement. He was bound to a chair and at the mercy of this tall, dark, mysterious stranger who was towering over him.

             Zack Garton had switched from his trademark 9mm Luger to a more modern firearm, the SIG Sauer P226. The gun was water resistant, held up to thirteen rounds, and the caliber was still 9mm. Garton had even given it a name. Fran.

            But Garton wasn’t planning on using Fran that evening. His instructions were far more sinister than that.

           “How kind of you to agree with me. But you wouldn’t happen to be agreeing with me just because I have this can of gasoline, would you?”

            The man shook his head no. He was frantic, his eyes darting around wildly, searching for some beacon of hope. Someone or something that could save him. But that were all alone in that dark, cold, abandoned factory.

            “Thank you for your honesty. How courteous of you. That’s one of the many things people lack nowadays. Honesty. People can be so rude and deceitful. They have no manners, no dignity, no respect. And unfortunately for you, my latest employer falls into that category. He’s a bit extreme. If it was up to me, I’d put a bullet in your noggin and make it quick. But the boss insists on sending a message.”

            Garton lifted the can, turning it upside down. Gasoline rained down on this man as he writhed in his chair, begging and pleading with Garton to spare his life. But this wasn’t Garton’s first dance. He’d heard it all before. All the cries, the pleas, the promises of money in exchange for their freedom. It meant nothing to him. His word was his bond. If he agreed to a job, he saw it through to the end. Kirk Warwick being the only exception.

            He emptied the red can and tossed it aside. “It’s a shame,” Garton said before lighting the match. “I didn’t bring any marshmallows.”

            He didn’t flinch. He didn’t look away. He just watched the flames consume this man, body and soul. Staring into the fire, the words of Kirk Warwick echoed through his mind. Fire is the devil yearning to be unleashed. He hides like a coward in the smoke. Satan appears in many unassuming forms. He must be contained. He must never, ever be unleashed.

            After his experience with Warwick and the dragonfly, he actually contemplated retirement. But he was too greedy to walk away. As a professional hitman, Garton had made a killing in the killing business. And his avarice far exceeded his love and admiration for the dregs of humanity.

           His phone rang, breaking him from his trance. His phone was a burner, one of those prepaid jobs you buy and eventually toss so nobody can trace you. The call was from one of his contacts, and they only called him when a job was available.

            “Garton here,” he said, answering his phone. “Who? Never heard of her. But if she can cover my rate, I’d be happy to help a damsel in distress.”

* * *

            Tuesday, December 18, 2012.

            Richie Carter was pushing forty. And not much had changed about him. He still cursed like nobody else could hear him talking. He still chain-smoked his brains out. He still drove around in an ’87 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The only visible difference was his hair, which had thinned out a bit over the years.

On the plus side, he hadn’t put on too much weight. He was still in fighting shape. And he attributed this fact to his newfound sobriety. Richie hadn’t touched a drink in roughly four years. But sobriety wasn’t enough to save him from what was about to come.

Richie’s office was still located on Prince Street. He’d been there all day and was about to close up. He’d just turned off all the lights when his phone rang. He stumbled around in the dark, banging his knee against the side of his desk as he reached out for the phone.

“Son of a bitch,” he shouted, clutching his knee with one hand and finding his phone with the other. He picked it up and said, “Richie Carter, private detective. How can I help you?”

“Hey, broski,” said an all too familiar voice. It was Richie’s brother, Anthony. His brother was a homicide detective with the Dorchester PD, and he still talked to Richie like he was a stoned teenager. “How’s the private dick business?”

“Slow as usual,” Richie informed his brother. “In hindsight, I probably should’ve gone to college and stayed out of trouble.”

“Well, if you’re looking for extra work, I might have something for you. There’s something you really need to see. Think of it as a trip down memory lane. Got a pen handy? I’ll give you the address.”

* * *

            242 Sycamore Avenue was twelve blocks from Richie’s office. And his ’87 Oldsmobile–primer gray in color–shook and vibrated the whole way there.

            The Dorchester Police had the scene taped off. They wouldn’t let Richie through the front door until Anthony vouched for him. “It’s cool, guys. He’s with me. Richie’s my brother.”

            Richie followed Anthony inside, who instructed him not to touch anything and to watch his step. There was signs of a struggle everywhere he looked. Flipped chairs and overturned tables, broken lamps and mirrors, shards of glass embedded in the carpet. He followed the trail of destruction to the living room. And the second he saw it, he knew why Anthony had summoned him.

            Satan appears in many unassuming forms. It was written on the wall in blood that had dried to a thick red crust.

            “Is this why you called me here?”

            “That and I was hoping that your, ahem, connections, might have some useful information about the victim.”

            “Where’s the body?”

            “They already removed it. Took it out of here in pieces. Something ripped this guy to shreds. And I mean literally ripped him to shreds. It was like someone stuffed him into a wood chipper.”

            “And what do you want me to find out?”

            “They found drugs in the upstairs. Cocaine. Heroin. Along with several unregistered weapons. I want you to find out who this guy really was, who his enemies were. Somebody really had to hate this sucker to do something like that to him. I need the help, and I know you need the money. So let’s help each other out.”

            “Just give me his name and I’ll get back to you with what I find.”

            On his way out, Richie stopped to admire the poster that was spread out on the wall in the foyer. It was one of those 3D art posters that were popular in 90’s. He unfocused his eyes, as if he was trying to see beyond the poster. And soon, the hidden image revealed itself.

            It was a harmless dragonfly. But to Richie, the image was a symbol of death. And it meant his work had only just begun.


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