Steel bumpers came within inches of one another as Los Angeles traffic came to a standstill. Inching along the highway every couple of minutes irritated Roger, as it did to everyone in the vehicles around him. Having lived in LA for a year, he had still not gotten used to wasting hours of his day sitting in traffic, and on a Sunday afternoon no less.
Looking out the passenger side window, his view of the towers in the downtown area was less obscured by smog than usual due to the morning rain. With the windows down in an attempt to enjoy the fresh air, he had to smell the dark exhaust that emanated from the tail pipe of a semi-truck in front of him.
Roger had just left Carter Elementary School where he had prepared the lesson for Monday’s computer skills class. In his years as a substitute teacher, he had made a habit of preparing the classroom to his liking the day before. As a teacher, he was always very thorough, but his priority wasn’t really sharing valuable knowledge with the children. He became a teacher to constantly be surrounded by young girls, and no job was more perfect for that reason.
Aside from how irritating the children could be, he looked forward to seeing the few adorable and friendly girls in class. He made sure to pay special attention to those students, taking advantage of every chance to place his hands on their shoulders while pretending to be their best friend.
He decided to prioritize dropping in on his internet acquaintance, Thomas, before going home to indulge in child pornography. Roger had met him online in one of the many message boards catering to pedophiles and the like. They exchanged obscene media for a few weeks before Thomas trusted him enough to ask for advice. The advice—which Roger willingly gave him—was guidance on kidnapping children.
They came to an agreement that Roger would receive copies of all the media Thomas planned to produce, and that Roger could participate at any time. He decided it was a perfect opportunity as Thomas had been very specific about his plans to never release the children he would snatch, so there was no concern of a child talking to authorities. That meant they would both have unlimited access to children, able to completely realize their sick fantasies.
Roger had not actually kidnapped a child before, but had learned how to effectively get away with such a crime over the years. He rather enjoyed the manipulation and coercion method, considering his technique much safer than blatantly kidnapping a child. It was much more difficult to hide a human being indefinitely, then eventually having to dispose of their body when necessary.
The thrill of the hunt excited and aroused Roger more. While the means to the end was sexual gratification with a child, he considered the foreplay being when he courted a lonely, single woman and earned the trust of her child. When the time was right, and he could no longer restrain his urges any longer, he would pounce. His victim would know how dire the consequences were if she were to tell any living soul, so the child would keep his dirty secret, never admitting why she was ashamed of herself and afraid of men for the rest of her life.
Months had passed since Roger’s last relationship and his appetite for young flesh had not been satiated in just over a year. There was no way to hide how excited he was about his new venture with Thomas, deciding to witness the progress first hand after fantasizing about it for twenty minutes while parked in the middle of the highway.
After fifteen further minutes of stop and go traffic, Roger was able to exit the freeway and make his way toward Thomas’s home. As he turned the corner onto Thomas’s street, he spotted several police cars, an ambulance, and a local news crew that surrounded the house. His heart skipped a beat as he learned that Thomas had been discovered. Without hesitation, he turned down the next street to avoid passing the crime scene.
Roger felt no fear or paranoia. He knew that his tracks were covered. Any time he dealt in child pornography or communicated with fellow enthusiasts, his digital footprint was well hidden. He had been taught how to cover his tracks by colleagues in the darkest recesses of the internet. At most, investigators may find communications he had with Thomas, but nothing more.
Disappointment set in quickly. He was especially disappointed with Thomas who had ruined a good thing. He had so many aspirations about the arrangement the two had made, yet, knew deep down that it wouldn’t work out. Thomas was an amateur who was still honing his craft and who clearly took too many risks. Roger blamed himself for taking a chance on Thomas, but praised his own intellect for masterminding such a risk-averse role in the experiment.
Once home, Roger turned on the news to discover Thomas’s fate. He wondered how Thomas could even get caught? Thomas had kidnapped the girl just as he had suggested. Maybe the basement wasn’t soundproofed properly? Could the girl have escaped somehow? Could someone have seen or heard the girl?
Regardless of how he got caught, one thing was for sure; Thomas made a mistake. The plan was solid, so the amateur must have made a detrimental mistake. Roger needed to know in order to advise others not to make the same mistake.
A cork screw penetrated the cork of a Pinot Grigio bottle as Roger twisted the handle. Being a dry cork, it crumbled into pieces when attempting to pull it out. Tiny bits of cork fell into the wine as a result. He hadn’t noticed because his eyes were glued to the television.
Social worker Ethan Harper was being interviewed. He claimed to have followed a man home that had tried to lure his five-year-old daughter away from the mall. Using his credentials, the man invited him inside the home where he stumbled upon two kidnapping victims. Ethan said that he had fatally wounded the man in self-defense.
Roger chugged his first glass of wine, then immediately poured another. He was shocked at the turn of events as their plan had not played out like he imagined. He also found it strange that a social worker was willing to take such a large risk, rather than waiting for the police to arrive once he followed Thomas home. Ethan’s story sounded more like a personal vendetta.
Once the news cut to commercials, Roger opened his laptop and placed it on the coffee table in front of the couch. His body fell relaxed as he sat down with wine glass in hand. A blinking message on the taskbar caught his eye. It was a message from Saint Nicholas.
Saint Nicholas was the moniker used by the most secretive child pornographer alive, and the most respected by his peers. He was a legend among pedophiles and even a myth to those that had never interacted with him. Roger had chatted with him on many occasions, sharing all his own dark secrets and accomplishments, while learning nothing about Nicholas.
Roger rarely filmed or photographed any of his own conquests as it was an unnecessary risk. He had only done so with two children, and been very careful to sanitize the filming location of any indentifying features. He traded the images and videos only when desperately wanting exclusive material from others.
Nicholas on the other hand, had a plethora of personal media. The man provided probably one fifth of the child porn currently circulating around the internet. Nicholas would often brag about being in the perfect position to provide endless content for the pedophilia community.
Saint Nicholas gave his condolences to Roger in the message. He claimed to be disappointed in the capture of a promising and motivated mutual friend. He then suggested that Roger visit the hospital to confirm Thomas’s condition. He noted that if Roger had told Thomas any personal information, the only way to avoid arrest was to insure Thomas was a corpse.
Did Thomas speak with Nicholas? Roger was surprised that Nicholas knew he was connected to Thomas. He had not personally told Nicholas about their endeavor. As strange as it seemed, he was still honored that Nicholas had personally contacted him.
Police were not providing any information to the public, so the abductor and his victims had not yet been identified. Roger had not divulged any personal information to Thomas, so he was confident that his identity would be safe. Roger convinced himself that there was absolutely no way he could be connected to the crime.
After taking a sip of wine, Roger opened a folder of pictures on his computer. He enlarged a picture of himself standing with Kathy and her mother in a park, followed by a picture of Kathy and her mother on the beach wearing bikinis. While staring at the picture, a memory of how horny and tempted he had felt watching them jump through the waves began to arouse him.
Roger began to make himself more comfortable by unbuttoning and unzipping his pants. His obsession with the adorable young girl only grew, knowing that he had come so close to taking her innocence, but was unfortunately unable to make his fantasy a reality. He had not known failure when pursuing a child to violate, so it enraged him to be prevented from doing so. He decided the best way to channel his rage was through masturbation.
Focusing on Kathy’s nubile body in the picture, Roger reached down to touch himself, but was interrupted by a new message alert that popped up on his computer screen, obscuring the photo of Kathy. Irritated, he opened the message since frustration erased any desire to pleasure himself.
To his fortune, it was a message from Hannah. “Are you in the mood? I could use the money. Bills to pay and all,” it read.
Roger’s whole body warmed up with excitement. “You could not have contacted me at a more appropriate time. Just tell me when?” he quickly typed.
A message came back asking, “How about on your lunch hour tomorrow?”
“Sounds great. Count me in,” he typed.
“She’ll be ready for you.”
Hannah didn’t often sell her daughter unless she was really hurting for cash. Hannah typically surrounded herself with several men, all willing to provide their hard-earned money for her services as a lecherous girlfriend. When she couldn’t find a man, she knew Roger would be waiting for her to contact him, and he’d pay good money to take advantage of her daughter.
Just as he did with his activities online, he was careful to cover his tracks when dealing with Hannah. He would only pay her with cash, communicate with her strictly through online chat, and had her believe his name was Sam. He was convincing when selling his fake identity due to years of experience doing so.
The anticipation was nearly unbearable, but it also put him back in the mood. He was relieved to know that the dry spell was about to end. The previous fifteen months had been one of the longest droughts that Roger had experienced.
Staring at Kathy’s picture again, he gulped the last few sips left in his wine glass, then rose from the couch to grab a bottle of lotion and a towel.