The Widow Maker…The beginning of Part XI…unedited…

Heather Elena McAndrews hated to check her mail. In her whirlwind life, she found it burdensome to spend 10-15 seconds to riffle through what amounted to advertisements for ‘hot sales’, used car dealer ‘must buys’, and credit card offers.

When she was on the hunt for a new story, Ms. Heather had no time to look at advertisements. Heather, one of the last fearless journalists in a dying sewer of oath-breaking, corrupt, agenda-shoving ‘media darlings,’ refused to bow to those who screamed for tolerance and compassion, while wielding none against the people who dared to disagree with their opinions and narrative.

So, much to her surprise, when she stopped to check her mail, she took out two CDs with a yellow sticker that read: Watch me.

Heather’s bosses tried to constrain her enthusiasm for the underdogs, her love for stories where good triumphed over evil, and especially where justice was doled out in uneven heaps upon those who’d abused the system. Heather was a thorn in the flesh of those who wanted everyone to embrace the virtues they themselves eschewed.

At her small apartment at the end of the parking lot, Heather stepped from her 1990 Buick Lesabre Coupe. She glanced around and made sure no one was watching her. Satisfied no one was interested in her, or the packages she’d picked up from the mailbox, Heather made her way into her apartment.

An uneasy feeling caused her stomach to flutter. As if she’d brought evil home with her. Heather ignored it, and after checking her home to make sure she was alone, she sat in her blue recliner with her DB Power portable DVD Player and headphones.

The discs had numbers on the yellow sticky, so Heather popped in the first video and the device started the automatic playback of the disc. Heather’s eyes grew large, and she covered her mouth at what she witnessed.

Oh my God. Have I got a story to tell now?

I’d finished with Tate by late afternoon, and I dropped him off outside of Wilkins home. Wilkins, a divorced father of three, left his two younger children in the care of his sixteen-year-old daughter, Melissa, during the summer months.

Melissa, the pink-haired, black lip sticked, black leather spandex wearing, goth creature from a parallel universe watched 8-year-old Toby and 6-year-old Annie play in the front yard from the large window. She’d frowned when the black Charger drove past the house and stopped further down the street.

Her frown deepened when she saw Tate disembark from the passenger seat, wobbling as he tried to maneuver from the street onto the sidewalk. Melissa freaked out and called the police when the detective tried to pull himself up on their fence, his legs cut to shreds and his eyes milky white.

Wilkins and a host of other officers answered Melissa’s call. Everyone talked over everyone else, and Wilkins took his daughter by the shoulder and pushed her into a corner.

“What did you see, Melissa?”

“You mean besides Tate with no eyes, and no tongue trying to get in the fence? He was in the passenger seat of the Charger you guys’ drive.”

Wilkins pulled out his phone and dialed the forensic department. A lazy-voiced male answered the phone, and said, “Forensics, what’s your pleasure?”

“This is Lieutenant Wilkins, get me a location on Detective Tate’s vehicle, TIME NOW!”

The sloth-like human dropped his Mega Mountain Dew and popcorn and immediately began searching for the GPS transponder. It took two minutes.

“Um, Lieutenant. It’s close to your house. The fire department has responded to it.”

“It’s on fire?”

“Yeah, it’s at the Shady Grove Community Park. A couple of teens called it in.”

“Send me an address. Hurry up, don’t make me wait.”

Wilkins could feel his anger boiling within him. He would find the person who had the audacity to inflict this type of pain on his friends, as if he were some sort of avenging angel sent by God to cleanse the world of their iniquity.

Tate was loaded up in the back of the ambulance on a gurney and rushed to the hospital. Wilkins comforted his children and wiped away their tears.

“It’s okay, guys. I’m going to find them and bring them in. They won’t hurt you.”

He had no way of knowing, but he was right. I had no intention of hurting his children, any more than I had any intention of killing them. They would suffer, and for the rest of their lives they would remember what I’d told Tate and Smith when I dropped them out.

It didn’t have to be this way.

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