Sometimes, I want to board a spacecraft and travel through a wormhole. Life on Planet Earth is great at times. Other days, it seems to be a circus in the sub-levels of hell.
I scratch my beard. “Why did I even run the numbers? You can’t trust data anymore. With the constant evolution of technology, data is as susceptible to corruption as anything.”
Still, numbers only paint one part of an incomplete picture. I wouldn’t even be running these numbers if my family wasn’t impacted by the violence. The stats cause my blood to boil. I stand to my feet, and walk through my living room.
“How can someone claim to love you, and then break bones, crack your skull open, or even kill you?”
No one is immune to violence at the hands of their partner. Women are generally the victims, although men are also victimized by domestic violence. Of course, none of this knowledge makes me feel any better. “Who cares about the numbers when you’re daughter is in the hospital with a small chance of survival?”
My daughter Emilia has been married for nine months. As a parent, I always told my daughter to protect herself. “You can’t leave yourself open. Until they prove they can be trusted, don’t trust them.” My last words to my daughter was, “I don’t like him.”
Now she lies dying and he is nowhere to be found.
I shut off my laptop and close the lid. My cedar desk holds my tv, game console and laptop. Hidden in the large drawer is my .357 revolver and Blackhawk holster. I pull the pistol out and open it.
Normally, I keep the revolver loaded with rat shot for the poisonous snakes which are found in abundance around my neck of the woods. I remove the rat shot and load full metal jacketed hollow points into the cylinder.
My phone rings and I am hesitant to answer it. I look at the screen, it’s the hospital.
“Mr. Freeman? This is Doctor Shannon, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
I know, deep down in my heart, I know what is coming next. “I should not have to bury my children.”
“Go ahead, Doctor Shannon.”
“Emilia passed away at 1300.”
My heart hits the floor. Tears fill my eyes and a cold rage fills my heart. Anger chokes off the words in my throat and I sit on my grandmother’s love seat.
“Mr. Freeman, are you still there?”
“Yes, I’m here. When can I pick up my daughter’s body?”
“You’re daughter has been moved to the morgue.”
After receiving the news, I called the funeral home and made arrangements for my daughter’s service. The voice of my drill sergeants run through my mind. “You never act when you have a reason. Be the hunter, wait for the right moment.”
It’s a cloudy day as I stand alone at Emilia’s graveside. The clouds hide the sun, and, I struggle with my emotions as the preacher reads the familiar passages of Scripture. After a few words, I bury my daughter. “Emilia, I promise to catch the piece of garbage that killed you. He will rue the day his mother birthed him.” The pile of dirt slowly disappears as I throw dirt on my daughter’s coffin.
Two men make their way toward my position. I watch them approach, my brothers from basic training give a small wave as they draw near.
“Brother, I’m sorry for your loss.” Raymond Paine slaps me on the shoulder. Paine is my best friend and the best tracker I know. He is a good ole boy from Tennessee. As usual, Thor McGinty is at his side. Thor is an ex-Pathfinder, and the best long distance marksman I know.
“What can we do to help?”
“Find him. Don’t do anything until this cools down. Just keep tabs on him.”
“Will do. One of us will make contact in person with you to keep you updated.”
“I appreciate it, brothers.”
Six months pass very slowly. Emilia’s temporary husband didn’t bother to skip town. He moved two blocks from their former residence and the only change to his appearance was the addition of glasses. Paine and McGinty give me my final update.
“His routine is simple. He goes to work, then he comes home. He never leaves after arriving home. We will grab him at midnight and take him to the shop. Then it is all on you.”
At 0030, a black van pulls up to the abandoned Sierra Foods warehouse. Emilia’s murderer is dragged into the warehouse and thrown at my feet. No words are spoken, my friends leave by the same door they entered.
“Why am I here?”
I step from the shadows, my black tool bag in hand.
“Oh dear, God. I didn’t mean to kill her. I didn’t mean it, she pressed my buttons. Please have mercy….please…”
A lone desk sits in the middle of the room. I lay out the blacksmith hammer and the doctor’s report.
“Did you know, when you punched my daughter in her stomach, you killed your child? Did you know she was pregnant?”
“I will take that as a no.” I lift the hammer and smash it into his ribs. The collision produces a satisfying crunch. “Let me tell you what is going to happen. I am going to break every bone in your body with this hammer. I am going to beat them into dust. Because, that is what you did to my daughter and grandchild.”
His sobs fill the air as I lift the hammer. “Justice is sometimes found in the unlikeliest places.”