Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Genre: Horror/Mystery

By Daniel Skye


            Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

            Zack Garton was not able to shake his meeting with Lucille Ferr. That long, flowing jet-black hair, that scarlet red dress, the sheer black stockings and stiletto heels that she wore for the aesthetic effect. She was a fine looking woman, no doubt about it. The kind of woman who could get Garton in trouble if he wasn’t too careful.

But there was something oddly familiar about her. Something Garton couldn’t quite place his finger on. Had he done business with her in the past? Had one of his associates mentioned her by name?

Garton wasn’t going to let his curiosity get the better of him, though. He’d gone down that road once before and it was a long, dark, unforgiving road. It was an experience he’d spent over four years trying to forget.

            As he cruised the streets of Dorchester, Garton felt a lingering presence. He could still smell Lucille’s perfume. It was a pleasant, inoffensive scent that made it seem like she was right there in the car with him.

            She certainly was something, Garton thought. But she’s also a client. Don’t get involved with clients. It never works out.

            It was getting dark. Garton parked his car on a deserted street and checked his SIG Sauer P226, made sure it was loaded. Then he waited for nightfall.

* * *

“Hit him harder, Lance!” one of the men shouted.

And Lance was more than happy to oblige as he slugged Richie Carter right in the jaw. He hit him so hard, he practically skinned his own knuckles in the process. Richie chortled and spat a thick glob of blood that dribbled down his chin.

“Holy shit,” Richie exclaimed. “I’m actually getting beaten up by a guy named Lance? I didn’t think this day could get any worse, but somehow, it just did.”

Lance struck him again, the blow momentarily blurring Richie’s vision.

            Richie was in a chair, hands tied behind his back, unable to defend himself. He could feel and floor vibrating beneath his feet and judging by the noise below, he could tell they were in a room above a bar or a club. The room itself was bare and the windows were soaped up to prevent anyone from seeing out, or in.

“Is that all you got?” Richie muttered, on the verge of a severe concussion. Lance raised his fist again, ready to strike.

“Wait,” a voice said, deep and commanding. “Don’t knock him out. First I want to know why he’s so curious about me.”

Lance stepped back as the man approached Richie. He crouched down to face him. Richie studied his face, memorizing his features. He had light skin, dark brown eyes, a shaved head, high cheekbones, a rough chin, and a faint scar above his left eye.

“You know who I am?”

“I’m not a genius, but I’m going to assume you’re the dude everyone keeps referring to as Cobra.”

“Street names,” he chuckled. “Nowadays, you got to be a living legend for people to respect and fear you. The name keeps everybody in line. I didn’t even come up with it. It was given to me. My real name is Reggie Muldoon.”

“You’re not what I was expecting.”

“What do you mean?”

“With a name like Reggie Muldoon, I assumed you’d be black.”

“Why would you assume I’d be black? You just heard the name Reggie and that I was a drug dealer and you assumed I was black? That’s a pretty racist assumption.”

“I stand corrected, all right? Let’s leave it at that.”

“Whatever. So now you know my real name. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Moe “The Mouth” gave you up right away. Even a snitch like that knows not to cross us. So now you know about me, and I know about you, Richie Carter.”

“If you know so much about me, then you’ll know my brother is with the Dorchester Police Department. I’m a private detective, working a case for him. All I wanted to do was ask you a few questions.”

“So go ahead. Ask.”

“Did you know Allen Painter?”

“Yeah I know the motherfucker. He bought a few unregistered pieces from one of my men. Then he used the guns to knock over one of my stash houses. I heard somebody got to him before we could.”

“You didn’t kill Allen?”

“Nope. But I can’t say I’m sorry he’s dead. Not like it really matters whether I did or didn’t kill him. We can’t let you go. Your brother may be a cop, but his ass can’t save you save you today.”

Reggie Muldoon had two men guarding the door. But they were not prepared for the likes of Zack Garton. And the loud music emanating from downstairs was enough to drown out the shots from his SIG Sauer.

All it took was one kick from Garton and the door was reduced to splinters. He entered, fired one shot, and Richie felt warm blood splatter across his face. Lance dropped to the floor, a gaping wound in the back of his head about the size of a golf ball.

            “Who the fu–” Reggie never had a chance to finish his sentence. Three more shots were fired, and the room was cleared.

            “Hey, partner,” Garton said. “Long time, no see.”

            “Oh, fuck me.”

            “I’ll pass. So what’d you do to piss these guys off?”

            “Long story. What’d they do to piss you off?”

            “This is business, not personal. I sure as hell didn’t do this to save you. You being here just happens to be a coincidence. I’m only sparing your life because your brother is a cop and because you and I have history. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a blind witness. You didn’t see a thing.”

            “It was you who killed Allen Painter, wasn’t it?”

            Garton actually had to stop and think about it for a second. “Nope. Never met him. I would remember.”

            “Zack, tell me the truth.”

            “I’m telling you the truth. I’d love to take credit, but I’ve never even heard of the guy. Sorry to disappoint you.”

            “So why does your employer want Reggie Muldoon dead?”

            “You know me. I don’t ask any questions if I don’t have to.”

            Garton cut him loose and Richie rubbed his sore limbs. “Let’s do this again in another four years,” he added.

            “Hold on a second,” Richie called out. Garton stopped and turned around.


            “There’s something you should know about Allen Painter. He was mutilated. Someone left a message on his wall in the poor bastard’s blood. Satan appears in many unassuming forms. Sound familiar?”

            “You think Painter knew Kirk Warwick?”

            “It’s possible. But we both know Warwick didn’t kill him. Warwick is dead. So if you didn’t kill Painter and Reggie Muldoon didn’t kill Painter, then who did?”

            “Beats me. That’s your job to find out, detective. My job is to scratch off every name on my list. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have business to attend to. Feel free to tag along for old time’s sake. Otherwise, I’ll say hello to Kip Stern for you.”

            “One day, all of this is going to catch up to you. You can’t keep this up forever.”

            “This is real life, Richie. And in real life, the bad guys can win.”

* * *

            “Anthony, it’s me. Reggie Muldoon is dead. Zack Garton is back in town. But he didn’t kill Allen Painter. He told me and I believe him. But he’s connected to this somehow. I can sense it. He wiped out Reggie and his crew. He’s going after somebody named Kip Stern next. I need you to find out everything you can about Stern.”

            Anthony told him he’d run the name through the system, see if anything turned up. He got back in less than five minutes.

            “Kip Stern lives on the outskirts of Dorchester. 55 Palmetto Avenue. It didn’t take long to find him in the system. You should see this sickos file. He’s registered as a level one sex offender. He did a year at Oswald for exposing himself to an eight-year-old. He’s been accused of rape several times, but the charges never stuck. I can have the boys out there in ten minutes.”

            “No, this isn’t about Garton, or Stern. There’s something bigger to all of this. Something we’re not seeing here. We wait it out. And if what you’re saying about Stern is true, he has it coming to him. And if he survives and Garton doesn’t, your problem is solved.”

            “Are you suggesting I just forget everything you told me and sit this one out?”

            “That’s precisely what I’m suggesting. Anthony, this is all connected to Warwick and the Cirico family somehow. I just haven’t put all the pieces together yet. Give me time.”

            “And just let Garton roam free through my city in the meantime?”

            “You know him. You know he has principles, as twisted as they may be. He’s not looking to harm any innocent civilians. This is business to him.”

            “And what is this to you, Richie? Business? Or personal?”

            “Personal,” Richie answered vehemently. “Definitely personal.”

* * *

            Kip Stern dimmed the lights, lit a few candles, put some classical music on, and then he slipped into a warm bath and closed his eyes. He had a premonition that evening. Saw his own death flash before his eyes.

            There was no denying it. Stern was a rotten man who’d done rotten things in his life. And he knew someone would eventually take it upon themselves to punch his ticket. And Stern, tired of a life of sin and depravity, was content with this fact. He was ready to meet his maker.

            He heard his executioner’s footsteps approaching, but he never opened his eyes to see his face. “Looks like I have you at a bit of a disadvantage,” Garton chuckled. “I’ve never shot a guy in a bathtub before. One time, I caught a guy on the toilet. But I let him finish up before I plugged him. It didn’t seem right to shoot a man on the toilet.”

            “I knew you’d come,” the man said, refusing to open his eyes. They were squeezed tightly shut, so tight his eyes felt like they would bleed from the pressure. “I’ve had visions my whole life. Not just of this moment. I’ve witnessed many moments in time without ever experiencing them in person.”

            “So, what are you supposed to be, some kind of psychic?”

            “I wouldn’t put a label on it. I guess you could call it an extra sense. I was born with it. I never could figure out how or why. But it doesn’t really matter now, does it?”

            “No, it doesn’t make a lick of difference.”

            “Very well,” Stern sighed. “My only hope is that when I die, I go to Heaven.”

            “Buddy, where you’re going, they don’t even say the word Heaven. In fact, they have a special rung in hell reserved for perverts like you. I’ve read all about you, Kip Stern. I know what you are. You slipped through those charges like an eel. But we both know you’re guilty. How many girls have you actually raped?”

            “I never harmed a woman in my life,” he said.

            “This is your last chance to confess. If you confess here and now, at least you can die with a clean conscience.”

            Stern sighed again. He finally opened his eyes and saw the tall, imposing figure that loomed overhead. “Six women. No, wait. It was seven. Only one of the girls was underage. Unless you count the time I pulled my pecker out on that little girl. But that was an isolated incident, I swear. I had been drinking and I just went to take a piss. I didn’t know there was a block party going on around the corner. The girl must’ve got separated from her parents and wandered off on her own. Next thing you know, she bumps into me pissing against the side of a brick wall and runs back screaming to her parents. It was the one time I was actually innocent and I paid the price for it.”

            “Heartbreaking story,” Garton muttered, removing the SIG Sauer from its holster. “But I think I’ve heard to about enough.”

* * *

            Richie Carter picked a lock and snuck in through the backdoor. But he knew it was already too late. Garton was gone, and he left no trail behind, unless you count the bullet that was embedded in Kip Stern’s skull.

            Richie found his limp body in the upstairs bathtub. The water had turned crimson red. A sign of things to come.

            Something ugly and terrible was about to happen. Something far worse than the death of Kip Stern. Richie could sense it in the air. He could feel it in his bones.

            “Freeze!” a voice commanded.

            Richie, sighed, exasperated. “I really need a drink.”


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