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Mary Had A Little Lamb: Chapter Nine
I really am conflicted.
I’m enjoying this story and the writing process involved, but it is such a horrendous topic. It just seems like I shouldn’t be so excited about writing the next chapter, you know?
I was watching a documentary last night about human trafficking. The year is 2017 and during this calendar year millions of people, mostly young girls and teens, will be abducted and sold like cattle. Just writing that seems unbelievable, but the fact that human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business makes it all so very real . . . and disturbing!
We live in a beautiful world where sick and twisted things occur, and I guess that’s always been the motivation for my stories. We can’t hide our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn’t happen. Evil does exist, and my revulsion of it, and fascination with it, fuel my stories.
So let’s begin!
The Summer Waned
September may well be the most beautiful month in Olympia. The skies are generally clear, the temps hover in the seventy-degree area, and the nights are crisp. Colors change, slowly at first but then brilliant in their explosion, and the citizens are frantic to squeeze one more barbecue, one more picnic, and one more camping trip into their schedules.
There had been no further murdering of young children. Three weeks had passed without brutality. Mothers were squeezing their children’s hands a little less tightly and watching with a little less scrutiny. The politicians, who saw their tourist dollars drop drastically during the Summer of Houdini, were convinced that the perp had either moved on or had been arrested for some other crime, and they breathed an economic sigh of relief. The mayor, in his weekly message to his constituents, had praised the police force and surmised that Houdini had moved on. The Police Chief determined that there were other priorities, most notably increased gang activity, and refused to sign off on one moment of overtime on the Houdini case.
Dawn and I knew it was all bullshit! Houdini was alive and well, and he and his five friends were hiding in plain sight for all to see.
We just couldn’t prove it.
We had managed to talk a couple other detectives into helping us with surveillance during our off-hours, so every evening four of the six suspects were watched by Olympia’s finest, but even that proactive activity was growing old without something solid to keep the detectives interested. They all had families, and doing a stakeout night after night, for no pay, and with no solid evidence to motivate well, it grows old real fast.
There’s something about seeing a violated young child that will change your life forever.
I’ve seen dead bodies almost since my first day on the force. I’ve seen gut-shots, sliced throats, and charred bodies after arson. I’ve seen drug mules gutted, their intestines stuffed in their mouths, and I once saw a stoolie’s heart nailed to his forehead, his entire body nailed upside-down on a crucifix. I may never get totally accustomed to man’s inhumanity towards man, but at least I don’t have nightmares any longer, and I don’t go home most nights wondering what it would feel like to eat a nine-millimeter slug.
But these young kids, their deaths, the way Houdini was almost amusing himself with his sick game, well, let’s just say the kids wouldn’t leave me alone, their faces visiting me while I stood in a grocery checkout line, their wounds screaming at me while idling at a stoplight, their imagined screams awakening me each night, and Dawn was right there with me, screaming at night, next to me, seeing the world through vacant eyes, going through the motions all the while her hands, in her mind, tightened on Bitron’s throat.
We had nothing. We knew it, Bitron knew it, and his friends knew it. They were all untouchable unless they screwed up. The only silver lining on that September 15th evening, as Dawn and I sat one block from Bitron’s home, was that the killings had stopped.
Bitron and his friends were having one of their weekly meetings, which meant those cops volunteering to help us were nearby to, five total counting Dawn and I, all within a block of the meeting, all watching Briton’s home as the sun set and twilight altered the landscape.
Seven-thirty . . . eight . . . eight-thirty . . .nine . . . nine-forty-three . . .
And then our radios came alive.
A body had been found, the body of a young child, stabbed once, through the heart, with such force that her body was pinned to the front door of a home six blocks from where Dawn and I sat, a home at 1727 Fir St. Northeast.
The home where Dawn and I lived together.
I told our surveillance helpers to sit tight on Bitron’s home while Dawn and I headed to the crime scene. As we approached my home the sky turned flashing red, cops and first-aid responders beating us there, the Chief, wearing a bowling shirt, stood on the curb, shouting orders into his handheld radio. He saw us pull up, motioned for us to join him. We did.
“She was discovered by two neighbors walking their dog at nine-ten. A call was then placed to 911 at nine-thirteen. Two patrol cops arrived here at nine-twenty, looked at the scene, figured it for Houdini, shut down the area and called it in. Where were you two?”
“Sitting on Bitron and his friends,” I told him, then I walked away from him, down the familiar sidewalk, past the rhododendron, past the azalea, past the bed of dying petunias, Dawn close behind, up the two steps to the porch, my eyes never straying from the front door.
Black hair, or so it appeared in the darkness, cascading over her shoulders, her thin shoulders, thin arms, covered by the nightgown, a Jack n Jill nightgown, fetching a pale of water, falling down, breaking his crown, a streak of red, blood drying, staining the material, trailing downwards from the knife, big handle, hunting knife most likely, perhaps a combat, bare legs reaching for ground they would never touch again. Her eyes were open, seeing nothing, green in color, hazel perhaps, hard to tell with the flashing lights, accusatory lights, those eyes blaming me, staring at my inadequacies, asking me why she would never experience middle school, or a date, marriage or motherhood, a career, the prom, Disneyland, all gone and all my fault.
I felt Dawn’s hand on my arm.
“Let’s let the science nerds handle the scene, Bill. We need to go talk to Bitron and his friends.”
“What if we’ve been wrong, Dawn? What if it’s not Bitron?” If it is Bitron, he pulled this off while five of Olympia’s finest were watching him, and if that’s the case then we’re screwed. We might as well shake hands with him and tell him he wins, so let’s hope to God it isn’t Bitron, okay?”
“We still have to go talk to him, Bill. Come on. Let’s get it over with.”
The child’s eyes followed me back to my car. My pulse was racing. Blackness spread over me, darkness unlike anything I had ever known. I was cold, so damned cold. I knew, without a doubt, I’d be seeing those eyes until I took my final breath.
Thanks, as Always, for Joining Me
I’ll see you next week, hopefully. There is one, perhaps two, more chapters remaining, and after that we’ll just have to wait until Part Two of the book is written and published.
Thanks so much for spending time with me.
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)