The only sound in this whole clubhouse is the clinking of my boots on the hardwood floors, pacing back and forth in front of the bar. The guys that live here have all left earlier today to visit with their families – thank God for that. They would have all been up in my face about what just happened.
I’ve taken lives before, but not while they were restrained. I’ve killed in self-defense, and I’ve killed out of retaliation. I’ve never killed a kid, though. What have I done? I groan into my hands then kick my head back. This is a fucking mess.
The car I’ve been waiting for pulls up, and within seconds the man barges through the doors. “What happened?” he asks with authority; his brown eyes are wide in suspense.
I don’t say anything; I just motion with my hand for him to tail behind me to the back of the bar; he follows me down the stairs beneath the floorboards. “Nice hideout you’ve got here,” he notes under his breath. I roll my eyes.
Once we’re at the cellar door, I walk in. This all feels like a bad dream.
“What the hell?” Cobra mutters; he speeds into the room to get a better look at the slumped body. I haven’t even cut the restraints off the kid yet.
Cobra lifts the head by pulling on the kid’s thick black hair. Isaac’s growing pale face makes the blood look much brighter. “Who is this?” he asks. “What the fuck did you do?” his voice rises, looking over the body.
“Isaac. He’s Marcus’s son and your daughter’s rapist.” It comes out as though what I did was justified.
The man turns to look at me. “Are you sure?” Above his dark eyes, those brows furrow as he shifts his sights at the kid then back to me.
I nod my head staring at the corpse. “Why is he bleeding all over?” Cobra demands releasing the locks of hair, so the head falls back down.
“I was trying to get information from him about where Marcus is and how he knows Declan. I’ve seen both of them in the same house.” I shrug. Torture. It’s what I’ve always done to pull information out of men. Fear and pain – just what my grandpa taught me. It’s amazing what those two emotions can do to a person...
“What house?” he scrutinizes.
I answer, “Declan’s.”
He takes a step towards me. “How do you know this?”
I tell him the truth. “My men and I had scouted the place out for about a week before we went in and got him this past Thursday.”
“That wasn’t your job!” he stresses with his hand over his face.
“Well, you weren’t getting any leads, so I took it in my own hands!” I shout. Dropping my voice, I speak again, looking him in the eye, “I was only trying to help...to get this all over with...” I wave my hand in the air as if to swipe away any remaining issues that linger between us.
Cobra steps back from the boy to look him over. “What did you find out?”
I don’t even think; I just tell him, “That the guy we’re after -his name isn’t Marcus. Marcus... is the name of the business.”
His head tilts at me. “What?” Good, he’s as flabbergasted as I am.
I point at Isaac. “That’s what he said. We are either with them, or we die. The whole town is wrapped around their finger...They do so much more than drugs and sex trafficking.” It all comes out monotone as I follow the trickles of blood flowing out of Isaac’s head to the floor in the pool by his feet.
Cobra rubs the back of his neck and takes a seat in the chair I sat in when questioning Isaac. “I didn’t see that coming,” he admits, taking a deep breath.
I just stand there.
Cobra runs his hands through his hair. “Did you get a name?”
“No,” I tell him with no emotion.
“So why did you kill him?” he asks in my peripheral vision looking at me.
My hands find their place in my pockets; I shrug a shoulder. “He was saying things about Elena that I didn’t care for...I lost it,” I confess, still staring at the lifeless mass in front of me.
Cobra sighs as he stands from the chair then kneels in front of the kid. He takes out a knife from his pocket and starts cutting the ties around the boy’s ankles. “Well, don’t just stand there, help me untie him.”
A little taken back, I take out my buck-knife to help cut Isaac loose. As I cut the zip tie from the developing blue hands, I decide to ask the question. “You’re not going to arrest me?”
“No. I should, but I’m not going to. I’m hoping this mistake of yours will be helpful in the long run in getting Marcus...er...whatever his name is,” he replies.
“What if it doesn’t?” I counter, folding the knife, and placing it in my pocket.
Cobra grunts as he pulls the knife through the rope around the boy’s chest. “Then you just fucked everything up.” At least he’s honest.
“You know, when you said that you had a place in mind to bury the body, I didn’t think you’d choose his own backyard,” my accomplice criticizes.
Out here, in the back of the mansion, the deep dark forest is very dense, especially at this time of night. “No one would think to look in their own property for a missing person,” I tell him, stabbing the earth with my shovel while the crickets carry a tune around us.
With a snort of agreement, we continue digging the hole for Isaac. “Did you take Elena to the church I told you about?” I ask Cobra as I turn my body to dump a pile of dirt to the side. “It was the only place I could think of where she’d be safe.”
“Yeah, I did. She was very confused about the sudden change of plans, but I told her half the truth,” he chuckles to himself.
“What did you tell her?” I ask, stabbing the earth once more.
“That there’s a bad man out there, that I’m paranoid, and don’t want her to be home by herself. That I had to take care of a... dead end at the office for a colleague,” he chuckles a little louder.
I roll my eyes. “Nice to see you have your sense of humor about all of this,” I point out. I may be detached at times, but I’m not completely unremorseful.
His shovel stops. “Everyone is someone’s kid, mother, father, grandparent, or crazy ass relative of some sort. With the life that this boy led, he had to have known that it was coming to an end sooner rather than later,” he says flatly, pushing the shovel in deeper with the heel of his boot.
I stop shoveling and set my sights on Cobra. With a slight rise in my voice, I penetrate the ground with the shovel hard enough that it stands on its own. “But in cold blood?”
He walks up to me with his shovel in one hand. His face is hard. “I know you feel bad about this now. I did too, granted I was younger than you with my first kill in cold blood. I’ll never forget it. You’ve got to move past this.” With a pointed finger in my chest, he adds more. “He provoked you, and you lost it; shit happens. Learn from it and move on.” Lowering his finger, he turns to walk back to his spot.
“How can you be so cold about this?” I ask, a little amazed.
“After you have killed as many as I have, then you’ll know your answer.” He starts shoveling again.
“How many have you killed like this?” I pry, grabbing my shovel to dig some more.
“Too many to remember,” he shares as dirt flies over his shoulder.