The WidowMaker…new writing, unedited…

Detective Tomas drove me back to the precinct from the morgue. He stood next to the back of the black Charger and waited for me. I smiled and thanked him for driving me to verify it was my daughter.

Solemnly, he extended his hand to me and said, “I’m very sorry for your loss. I can’t even begin to fathom what today must have been like for you.”


“Thank you, Detective Tomas. Janine deserves justice, and I hope you find those responsible and bring them to justice.”


That was six years ago, and no one ever got charged in the rape and murder of my daughter. Rumors persisted that the cops, specifically Wilkins, Tate, and Smith, had done the deed and the police precinct had covered it up.

Rule #1 when it comes to revenge says, “Dig two graves.” In the six years since I identified my daughter, Wilkins, Tate, and Smith had continued, business as usual, with Wilkins getting promoted to Lieutenant. Tate and Smith now served as detectives.


As usual, they corrupted everything they touched or ‘investigated.’ I watched Smith from across the street. In an alley, he shoved a woman against the wall and demanded ‘a favor.’ She tried to squirm free, but he shoved his forearm against her throat. She gagged and relented.

He shoved her down the alleyway, behind a dumpster, and minutes later came back into view. She glared at him, and Smith threw a fiver into a pile of trash and hollered, “Next time I won’t be so nice!”


Smith climbed into the vehicle and sped off. I watched him turn the curb, and I wrote down date and time. I watched him for a month. His routine stayed the same, the only difference was the girls he demanded favors from.

Over the course of the month, I discovered his residence and his other ‘stops.’ After exchanging favors, he’d stop in another alley and clean up. This alley was dark and outside of a rowdy nightclub called “Sleazy Betty’s.” For all his misdeeds, Smith was punctual.


I prepared the syringe and waited for him in the shadows. He got out and stretched, then walked over to the wall and unzipped. Like a shadow, I slipped behind him, clamped my left hand over his mouth and shoved the syringe into his neck.

The effects were almost immediate. Smith slumped to the ground, and I helped him up. I led him to the car and shoved him into the back seat. He mumbled about dragons, and various other non-existent things until I pulled off into the remote warehouse district.

Abandoned long ago, no corporations kept an active building lease here. An abandoned train depot wasn’t far from here, but the homeless had a habit of hanging out there.


“Come on, Smith. I want to show you something.”


“Okay,” he slurred.


I led him off toward a darkened corner and took my keys out. Smith leaned against the wall while I unlocked the door. I pushed it open and helped Smith inside. The interior was dimly lit, and I led Smith to an office in the back. A metal chair was in the middle of the floor, and I helped him to it.

His head lolled back, and he began to watch the flickering of the light bulb. While he was preoccupied with whatever images his brain was manufacturing, I tied him up.


“What’s this?”


“That’s to make sure you don’t run away,” I said, smiling as I pulled a chair over to where he sat.


“Why would I run away?”


“That’s what we’re going to find out.”


He watched me, and I noticed an awareness creep into his eyes. His stringy, greasy hair fell into his eyes. Everything about Smith set my teeth to grinding. He was a thug with a badge, an entitled punk.

“I’m an officer of the law, untie me now!”

I smiled at him and shook my head no. “You have no power here, Smith. I ask the questions and you answer them. If you tell me the truth, I might let you live.”


“I’m not telling you anything, and when I get loose from here, I will kill you. Then, I’m gonna pee on your corpse!”


“You’ve already killed me, Smith.”


He looked at me, and I could tell he was trying to place me. He could try all night; he would not recognize me-no one would. I had grown my beard out and spent the last year loitering about the streets of Fredericksburg doing reconnaissance.

ATM owned several buildings here, and we’d outfitted this one for the sole purpose of questioning those responsible. We’d lined the walls with sound dampening vinyl and covered it with soundproofing foam. No one would hear the screams, should such drastic measures need to be taken to force compliance.


“Who are you?”


“I’m nobody. My daughter Janine, she was somebody. Did you, Wilkins, and Tate rape my daughter? Hmm? Did you kill her?”


“Why, are you planning on killing a cop?” He sucked on his teeth and glared at me. “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’ll bring on your head if you do?”


I laughed and shook my head. “Are you nuts, Smith? I’m not going to kill you, not right away anyway. No man, I am going to hurt you.”


His eyes grew large as I untied his alligator hide shoes. “What are you doing?”

He tried to squirm in his seat, but I had bound his legs. “I’m gonna kill you,” he shouted, but he grew quiet when I produced a blacksmith hammer from the desk that sat in the corner of the room.

I walked back to him, grinned at him, and wagged my right index finger at him. I sat down across from him and grinned.


“Smith, did you know there are 26 bones in the human foot?”


“Look man,” he said, his voice quivering with fright. “We can work out a deal, okay. Just chill out, man.”


I put the hammer down and said, “Okay, Smith. What kind of deal are you talking about?”

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