Copyright ©2015 by Christopher Leonidas. All rights reserved. Shakespir Edition
© 2015 Christopher Leonidas. All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.
Editor: C. A. Morgan.
Cover Design: SelfPubBookCovers.com/michelleleedesigns
Published by Christopher Leonidas.
ISBN: 978-1-4685-0201-5 (e)
Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author, and the author hereby claims any responsibility for them.
Sample of The Heart Of Blood
About the Author
At age nine, I asked my older sister about the meaning of mafioso, and she explained its meaning and context. Since that time, I have wanted to be a mafioso. I did not trust my family for the reason I was not treated fairly. I did not have equal opportunity. But, the fact that I asked her does not mean I trusted her. Plus, she did not know my heart at the moment, even though I was her little brother. I hated all of my family to the core, so much so that I wanted to leave our house at age ten.
I did not talk to anyone for two years. After all, who can read the silence of the heart if it is not your own heart? The point is, you can’t trust your blood relatives, not only them, but others too. The fact that I did not trust mine is not a reflection of convincing you to not trust yours, but my actual point is to make you aware of what drives me to write a mystery story with those attributes, while I manage to entertain you to an extent.
This mystery story is stirring and suspenseful, but its core focuses on whether someone can trust his/her family. As human beings, we are inclined to trust our family more than anyone. We share almost the same feelings with our blood relatives, but we never know their hearts. Some of us have been betrayed by our mother, our father, our sister, our brother, our son, and so on.
Blood dripped from every wall of the bungalow. There were three bodies, all bled dry. The sight was so horrific that even the toughest police officers started to feel sick. One of them had already vomited and left the scene.
“Detective, these children were murdered with the same weapon. Just like the previous ones, they were brought here and left to bleed. The stab wounds are the same,” said the forensics officer.
Detective Lawman Octa nodded his head and stood there silently, staring at the dead bodies. He had solved many cases and had even earned recognition for some of them, but this was the first time he had been assigned to such a gruesome case. This was the fifth murder of the week. All the victims were children—twelve children in six days.
The murders started six days ago, on the first day of 2000. The first two victims, a small boy and a little girl, were stabbed repeatedly and hung from a tree in a national park in Florida. The only indisputable fact was that the murders had taken place at the crime scene itself with a knife that was still missing. The only other clue Detective Octa found was a teapot, half-filled with the victims’ blood. How this teapot fit in, he wasn’t sure.
None of the dead children had yet been identified, nor had they been reported missing. Perhaps each was from a different country as there was no pattern to their race or ethnicity, which is unusually mixed. Someone might have brought them to Miami, Florida for the purpose of murdering them. Or, maybe they were abandoned children. Ten days later, another murder was reported.
Detective Octa was extremely passionate about his work. He missed meals and sleep was often only an afterthought. He had no family like to speak of as he spent every minute trying to solve this case. He lost count of the days that rolled by, and hit a dead end every day. His supervisors were beginning to panic and amped up the pressure on him, so they could report progress in the case to the curious press.
Three weeks later, when Octa was going through the case files, his boss, Scarlet Albany, called him into her office. With coffee-colored skin and gray eyes, Scarlett wore her hair loose, its length touched her lower back.
“The case has been transferred to the FBI,” his boss said. “It has become much more than we can handle.”
“I just need more time,” Octa said. “I can handle it, Ma’am, don’t give away the case.”
“No, Detective, you know very well where this is heading. You were at the crime scenes. You saw with your own eyes how ghastly they were. More time will only result in more dead bodies. Let those bodies be on them and not on us. I have been instructed to keep our numbers in check. I will follow my orders and so will you. Do not go near those files again, Detective! If you disobey my orders, the consequences will be harsh,” Octa’s boss warned. He could be stubborn and rule-bending in these cases, she thought.
Octa nodded reluctantly and left the office.
Octa had never given up on an unsolved case. He went back to his office, pulled out his phone, and messed with his stocks. Octa had stock portfolios, and he messed with them at lunch and on breaks.
After he checked the markets on his phone, he picked up the files and headed home. Later that night, when he sat down with the case files, his mind drifted to another unsolved case—a more personal one. He was twenty-three years old at the time, and was returning home to give his father the good news that he had passed the test and had become a policeman.
Instead of finding his father in the drawing room, however, he found his mother’s body in the kitchen, murdered. His father was nowhere to be found, and after ten years, was still missing. Since then, he had never learned what happened that day. A murder and a dead-cold trail all in a day. There was no evidence, no letters, and no hint of anything wrong, and his world changed forever. In his spare time, he still searched for his father.
As Octa’s car merged onto the freeway heading home, his phone rang, repeatedly. He looked at it multiple times before he decided to answer. It was his wife, Lucinda.
“Octa, I’ve been calling to check on you,” she said.
“I was away from my phone,” he answered. She did not utter another word to him. There was a silence between them. It was always this way, her checking up, him busy, and the awkward silences that grew more frequent between them.
“Is your mother going to make it from the kidney cancer?”
“She’s having surgery at the North Carolina Surgery Center. I should be home next week.”
“Don’t worry. Everything will be okay,” he said, attempting a bit of comfort. Lucinda coughed and said she would see him later. They hung up.
When Octa made it home, he sat in the living room looking at the files. He’d been dreaming of Christina and it startled him awake. Octa and Lucinda had lost their only daughter Christina six months ago.
Christina had been gunned down in a restroom at her high school. The supervisors at the North Miami Senior High School closed the school for three days. The suspect was gunned down in a fire fight with police officers. No one knew his motive. Their daughter’s mouth had been bound with an electric cord, and her head was blown off from behind. There had been no evidence of sexual assault. Since then, they had not dared to talk about their loss. They only shared their love and pain through their daughter’s dog: Maisey. Lucinda never left Maisey behind. She even traveled with her.
Just then, Octa heard a sound in the next room. “Bob, is that you?” he said. Bob Arkansas is Octa’s partner. Bob was an ambitious man who had been diagnosed with PTSD, lives in Octa’s house. Bob had been to Iraq, when he was in the Marine Corps, and had lost his battle buddies from an Intrusion Detection System (IDS). He hit his head on a slab of cement during the blast as hadn’t been the same since.
Octa didn’t hear Bob’s voice back. He got up to check the noise out. As soon as he walked into his home office, someone rushed him and started punching him.
Octa pulled free himself of the man’s hold and landed a solid punch on the intruder’s chest…Octa went for his gun, but before he could draw, something hard hit his head. His strength vanished and he fainted.
Octa came to his senses a few minutes later. Still feeling weak, he looked around in his house. All of his valuables had been stolen. He also found the case files in his trash can, shredded to pieces. Still in a lot of pain, he lay on the floor, feeling helpless.
My boss is going to blow a few fuses when she finds out, Octa thought. Feeling disturbed, out of sorts, and his head still pounded, he went to visit the house he grew up in. On his way, he thought about his mother’s murder. His eyes filled with sparkles again when he remembered the teapot that had been found on his mother’s tomb. This seems very unlikely, that he would just remember this odd fact now, sometimes after he has discovered the blood-filled teapot at the crime scene of the murdered children. When he reached the house, he felt a bit dizzy. To his surprise, the front door was unlocked.
As soon as Octa entered, he saw a teapot placed on the floor. He stopped to investigate. When he lifted the lid, he saw that the teapot was filled with blood.
He moved past the teapot. “I’ve been waiting for you,” a voice said. “Come into the kitchen.”
Octa, anxious and angered, moved toward the kitchen with his gun in hand. When he saw the suspect in the kitchen, he stood still at the doorway, shocked.
“I’ve always wondered if a father and son can hunt each other,” the suspect said as he brandished his knife.
Octa slightly lowered his firearm. “Father,” he said. His father was short and thin, to the point of gauntness. His neck was bony and veins popped up on his skin. His hair was grayish white and long. His eyes had yellow tints.
Octa appeared to be well built, at 175 pounds, 73 inches tall. He had the eyes of his father.
Octa was filled with a hollow depression. He must not have expected his father to welcome him heartlessly. He went back in full defense mode, suspecting the old man of doing the murders.
“Why are you ready to attack me, after I spent a decade searching for you?” said Octa.
“Do I look like I’m here to answer your pathetic question?”
“You must be the one killing those children, too.”
“What if I were? Would that make a difference?”
“I guess not.”
Octa’s father took a few steps forward. “Do not move,” Octa said. “Drop your weapon.” His father kept on walking toward him. “Don’t you push me to shoot.”
Octa’s father threw the knife at him, and it hit Octa in the stomach. Holding his injury, Octa heard a noise behind him. Something hit him on the head.
When he woke up in the hospital the next day, the last thing Octa remembered was the sound of a gunshot.
Waking up in the hospital is not something everyone does regularly. But for Octa, the only thing unusual was not remembering the last scene at his family’s house the previous day.
He kept on going back to hearing the sound of a handgun’s blast. He reached for the back of his head and discovered it was slightly swollen. The back of my head hurts, he thought. My abdomen hurts too. The knife was somehow deflected and caused little injury. He had a slicing flesh wound.
Bob walked in and said, “How are you feeling?”
Octa took a breath and replied, “Don’t worry about it. Just tell me what happened.”
“You passed out and the suspect was shot, and managed to get away by…” he said. “Do you remember anything about the suspect?”
“No, all I heard was a gunshot. I was half dead.”
Someone must have hit me in the head, he thought. Is my dad’s working with someone in the department? Octa got up and pulled the IV out of his arm.
“You need to rest,” Bob said. A nurse walked in and made the same suggestion, only more forcefully. Octa, however, went to the bathroom, changed into his clothes, checked the markets on his phone, and walked out without addressing or responding to anyone.
“Octa, what are you doing?” Chief Detective Albany asked, when she walked into the hospital.
“Please, no more lyrics,” Octa said, “I need my car key.” Whenever Octa got injured while on an investigation, Albany usually confiscated his car key, because when a case was standing wide open like this one, no injury was ever going to stop him. Even his wife knows he cares more about a case than his health.
“You’re not going to drive like that,” she said.
“Give me your freaking badge, Detective Octa,” she said. He still proceeded out.
His boss accompanied him out onto the street.
She patted his back and walked away. As he stood on the sidewalk, a taxi stopped in front of him.
He jumped in the car and gave the address of his childhood home. He was heading back to the same house where his mother had been murdered and from which his father had disappeared. His phone rang. Lucinda was calling him.
“Yes, bunny,” he said.
“Are you doing okay, love?” she asked. Bob had already informed her about Octa’s injuries.
“Yes, bunny, I’m doing awesome. It’s just a small thing.”
“Lucinda, I think you should stay a little bit longer in North Carolina until everything is settled down here.”
“I’ll not stay here for another week.”
“We should move to another house, then.”
“Hell no!” she screamed. “This won’t happen. Also, I know your body is injured. You always lie about your health. Let me guess . . . you left the damn hospital, too.”
“Well . . .”
“Well, what?” she said.
“I love you. Let’s talk about it when you come back to Miami.”
She hung up. Octa did not have the chance to make a kissing sound into the phone.
Once the taxi dropped him off, he looked around the house. The back door had fresh mud smears on the cement. There was an imprint of a boot. The tip faced away from the door. He took pictures. He stepped in easily, hands in his pocket. He walked toward the kitchen where he had faced his father. He stood by the door to recall the scenes before he went unconscious. He remembered a noise coming up behind him before he got hit in the head. Then he recalled the knife and his father’s heartless attempt to kill him. Octa started blinking. He held his head and kneeled, trying to remember the whole scene.
He walked into the kitchen, looking toward the window. He saw where the bullet had passed through one of the kitchen’s windows and hit his father. There was blood on the floor. Must have been from his father. He was shot. After he put in a call to his office to check on the status of the evidences found at the crime scene, while he was unconscious, Bob informed him that the blood matched his father’s DNA, and no man with such description was reported in any hospital in the past two days.
“If he was shot through the window once he rushed toward me, then someone hit me in the back of the head shortly after to take him somewhere safe. The police officers found me lying on the ground and thought I passed out because of my physical wounds.”
Now, how did they disappear from the scene? he wondered. I think I’m over exaggerating, he thought. There must be a secret place here. If the neighbors heard a shotgun blast, police officers would probably have been here in less than two seconds, scanning the whole house for any deadly suspects. However, there should have been a path taking my father and his helper down somewhere or out in less than thirty seconds. There’re blood traces, and some have been wiped by someone.
He stood transfixed. It was a childhood memory that stopped him, taking him way back to other scenes. “I told you not to go in this room,” his father had screamed at him.
“The shelf,” Octa mumbled, coming back to the present. This was the same room from which my father disappeared and where my mother died. There was a chair right in the middle with bloody ropes. The blood did not match my mother’s. The police officers said that he might have been kidnapped; the blood on the chair and on the ropes matched his blood type. If my father was kidnapped, then he was forced to do things against his will. Whoever hits me wants him to do that. Forced to kill your own family might have been to satisfy a grudge that someone had.
Walking toward the shelf, he pushed it away from him on both sides, but it didn’t move. There were a few books on the shelf. It was dusty. I remembered seeing my father pulling this shelf, but he always stopped whenever I walk in, he thought. Is there something behind this shelf? He then pulled it toward himself from the right side. It moved.
Behind the shelf was a room about the size of a walk-in closet. He put on his gloves. He entered in, flicked on a switch light and pulled the shelf partway closed behind him. On the back side of the shelf, a small piece of cardboard had been stapled to the wood. Carefully, he pulled the cardboard back and discovered a peephole that gave a surprisingly good view of the outer room. He looked down. There was blood on the floor. He assumed it was that of his father. He had had to pull really hard on the shelf. “My father was not that big when I saw him,” he said. If he was injured, he would not have been capable of pulling the shelf toward him so easily and closing it back. Maybe whoever was there with him, was about my size. He walked toward the end of the closet room. He stood motionless with his right index finger on his lips.
“This room seems familiar,” he said. “I still can remember that cinnamon smell.”
My dad once blindfolded me and threw me in when I touched his handgun, he thought. I was five years old.
His father never took him into the room without first blindfolding him. He did not let him know what room it was. Octa never knew the direction that his father took him to the room. Now, he knelt on the floor and started looking for any unusual patterns on the carpet. The room had a first aid kit and canned foods that dated back to his youth. The carpet was sealed to the floor too. Rising to his feet, he sighed.
So the room was a secret room that his father had probably used to store groceries and medical tools. But, he must have used it to hide himself when Octa was attacked by him. He was still in the house after the police officers came in. This was the reason he was nowhere to be found in the neighborhood. There were some visible blood trails leading to that place.
Octa then stepped out from the room, leaving the light on. He pushed the shelf back and closed the room’s blinds. He looked straight ahead, focusing on the shelf. No light, he thought. Smart man. He opened the blinds, walked back to the closet, and turned the light off.
He tried to copy the prints on the switch and handle and bagged them. He went back outside, and beginning with the house to the right, interviewed people in the neighborhood. He inquired about any unusual characters or activities they may have noticed in the past few days, weeks or months. He found nothing.
As he was walking away from a porch, an old lady in her late 70s stopped him and spoke her name, “Hi, my name is Hawoman Parish.”
She had suddenly appeared from the sidewalk. Octa was about half a mile away from his childhood house.
“I just want to know more personal information about my father.”
“You look like your mother,” she said, when he turned his face toward her.
“Do I know you?”
“No, likely you don’t remember, but I know you,” she said.
“What can you tell about my family?”
The old lady invited him in. There were two brown couches and a TV. The couches were torn. The walls were cracked. The wooden floor creaked under every footstep as he followed her further inside and saw pictures of her and his mother. Though her hair was gray and her hands wrinkled, she walked slowly but without trembling.
“I know you, you’re my mother’s friend.”
“Yes,” she said, leading him into the kitchen.
She poured some coffee in a cup, handed it to him and motioned for him to take a seat in the living room. For a minute, he walked around the room looking at the pictures. They both took a seat. They were sitting down on different set of couches facing each other.
Her face could have been taken for that of a 50-year-old’s. She looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Your dad changed ten years after marrying your mother.” Octa recalled the history of his father’s service as a police officer. After his first partner had died in the line of duty, his father had developed PTSD. It was about ten years into the marriage that all this happened.
“Do you remember the names of his partners?” he asked. “No, I don’t,” she said.
“Should I call you Ms–?”
“Ms. Parish, please.”
The look on her face was depressing. She took a long pause before speaking again.
“Did my mother ever tell you anything about fights?” he asked.
“No, your mother portrayed the marriage as heaven,” she said. “They were a lovely couple. I’m not sure what could have happened to your father’s mind if he really did kill her. I have seen you at your family home. What are you looking for?”
“I just want to know more personal information about my father.”
“You should contact your mother’s sister if she’s still alive.”
“My mother had a sister?” he responded, his eyes opening as wide as those of a wolf. “What’s her name?” he asked, suddenly curious.
Ms. Parish rose to her feet, finished her cup of coffee, looked straight at Octa, and said, “You need to leave now.”
Octa’s eyes quickly scanned the room, and looked outside for any unusual things.
Without interruption, he found his way out as he thanked the lady for the information she had provided to him. He walked back to his old home.
He reentered his parents’ house and went into their master bedroom. He was looking for any leftover things from the day his mother was murdered. He pulled open drawer after drawer, went from door to door, and threw books and other objects on the floor. Nothing was of great value. He sighed. He was tired, and stretched and yawned.
Looking down desperately, his eyes stopped moving and stared down at half of a picture sticking out of a book. He bent down and removed the photograph. It was of his mother, clearly showing her blue eyes, darkish hair, and white skin, his father, with brownish yellow eyes, dark hair, and light brown skin, and another lady, who had the same traits as his mother, except that this woman’s eyes were green. There was a note on the back: From Chelsea Cracker to Molly Cracker. Love. Your sister.
Chelsea Cracker must be the sister, he thought. How can I never have heard about you or even met you in my childhood? Having a picture made things easier for him. Regaining his senses, he called a friend from human resources and asked for any addresses that matched her name or any recent information on her. Then, just as he was putting the picture in his pocket and leaving the bedroom, he stopped. A noise inside the house had grabbed his attention. It sounded like someone had stumbled. Maybe it was in the living room.
He slowly made his way to the living room, though he could not walk that fast. From around the edge of the doorway, he saw someone take something from the bookshelf in the living room and put it in their back pocket. He couldn’t see what it was. The person’s face was masked, his hands were covered with gloves and he wore long, gray sweatpants and long sleeves, Octa thought it was a man. The person’s biceps and triceps were bulging whenever there was a movement.
“Freeze,” he said. He raised his weapon toward the man.
The intruder was kneeling before, came up from the floor, quickly grabbed the handle of a bag, rushed toward the window, and ducked down. Octa shot but he missed the intruder with all three shots. Why would Octa shoot at the perpetrator while he had no gun? Perhaps, the man was just someone who was looking for something valuable to pawn. I just wanted to scare him with some bullets, but somehow he sensed I would never shoot him, he thought. That bag he took is full of albums and family letters.
Octa attempted to sprint toward the window, but his injuries prevented him from running. Though he saw the runner’s back, he was too late. The intruder jumped in a car and sped away.
What’s so great about this house, anyway? he thought. The case was wrapped ten years ago, and the clue I’m looking for is the reason my father resurfaced. The house could no longer be of any use to him since everything concerned with the case had been wrapped up. He exited, jumped in the taxi that picked him up from the hospital to his childhood house and made his way to the office.
“Where have you been, Octa?” Chief Detective Albany asked.
“Don’t worry about me,” he said.
As he was making his way to his office, his boss said, “You need rest.”
“I’m fine,” he said.
“Suit yourself,” she said, as she walked away. She did not say anything about the files that were missing on the children’s cases, which made Octa think she must have not known about them. Damn, I have a lot to pay for taking those files in the first place, he thought. Now they’ve been shredded. Should I report them missing? Better than telling her I took them home. A few minutes later, Albany called him to her office. When he entered, she handed him his badge.
“I know you took the evidence of the child murders,” she screamed at him for taking those files home and someone shredded them.
“Are there any evidence left?”
Octa remained speechless.
“Don’t tell me you lost them.”
“They were stolen from me,” he answered.
“Huh, Octa, this is the last time I’m covering for you. I know you took them, because the teapot links to your family incident. You already know the FBI has control of the child murder cases.”
“Indeed, I do.”
“Just walk out of my office, please,” she said while pointing her right index finger toward the door. “Sometimes, you get on my nerves.”
He walked out of her office.
It was seven in the evening, and as Octa walked the length of the police ward room with a cup of coffee in hand, he requested updates on the investigations that his squad was working on and reviewed plans to solve the cases. He started a preschedule to decide who would be on duty over the weekend. They had over 66 murder cases opened. Still, many detectives were at the office on off hours to work on as many cases as they could.
“Did you ever know that the detective who investigated your mother’s case was assassinated three days after he was assigned to the case?” asked John Intel, the oldest of the department’s detectives, when he walked in Octa’s office. His hair was grayish-white and short. Octa made a quick motion with his hand for Intel to close the door, which he did, and then sat down in the chair near Octa’s desk. He took a chair and sat facing the other men in the room.
“No,” he answered. “What do you know about the case?”
“That it’s dangerous. In fact, all the detectives who investigated or had anything to do with that case; they’re all dead. Accidental death, car crushed, reckless driving, and no survivors.”
“One thing I noticed,” Intel continued, “is that the first detective died three days after being assigned to the case, then a new detective was assigned to replace the first detective. The second died after six days, the next one after nine days and this went on and on. The investigation stopped after twenty detectives had lost their lives. If the three days rule applies to you, ten years after your mother was killed, then you have sixty-three days to solve the case.”
Octa flipped the picture he had found across the desk to Intel. “Do you remember a Chelsea Cracker during the investigation?”
“Yes, this is your aunt. She died from cancer two years after your mother was murdered.”
“What do you think happen to my father? Was he a suspect?”
“According to the evidence found at the scene, your father was kidnapped and beaten on a chair. No one believed he was alive, because of the amount of blood that was found for him.”
“Was my father a corrupt man?”
“He was as clean as your mother. That incident might be a personal issue.”
“Someone didn’t want the case to be solved,” Intel said. “Since then, no one has wanted the case,” he said. “All of the evidence on your mother has been lost.” The silence deepened in the room.
“However, someone in this office destroyed the evidence, maybe to avoid some further damage or they were close to getting caught. There was a big fire in the evidence room and, according to the firefighters, the fire came from an evidence box, which we identified as one of your mother’s evidence boxes. It was a grenade. Someone put a grenade in it. Everyone who went to the room was a suspect, but no one was ever found guilty or of having had anything to do with it. However, we finally concluded that the perpetrator climbed between the ceilings all the way from the electrical room. A hole was found in the basement floor, so it had to have been someone from the outside.”
The phone rang and Octa answered it.
“Yes,” Octa said.
“I’ve got to go to a fire at 125th Street and 2nd Avenue,” Bob said. “Octa, I think you might want to come, because it is around where you grew up.”
Octa rose to his feet, gulped down his coffee and tossed the cup in the trash as he left the office. “Catch you later, Intel. Something in the old neighborhood.”
They both jumped in the same car and Bob, who was driving, had his sirens on as they sped along the streets. Not long before they arrived, Octa realized they were returning to the house he grew up in.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “Why is the house burning?”
They pulled to a stop as close as possible with firetrucks blocking the street.
“Sir, sir,” shouted an officer approaching the car. “A description was given. A male, with long, dark-gray hair, long coat. The man entered the house with multiple other men. About three to six. They were seen coming out with nothing in hand. The house burned once they left. They drove away in a red SUV.”
“Was anyone hurt or killed?” Octa asked.
“Here, no. But by coincidence, we have an ambulance a couple miles away that’s taking an old lady to the morgue.”
“What’s her name?”
The officer pulled a notepad from his pocket. “Hawoman Parish was the name found on her mail and confirmed by the neighbors. A robbery by the looks of it and killed, very probably, from fighting with the robber. Her head was smacked against the cement.”
After taking the address from the officer, Bob drove Octa to her house.
The men entered the house, which had been ravaged and many household items had been thrown to the floor, although nothing of great value seemed to have been taken. They assumed it because her big-screen TV was still there, and maybe some other expensive items. She was a victim.
Octa sighed as he looked around the room. “After many years of peace, now she’s been attacked and killed. I think I’m the cause of this… She probably told me too much. Or, my father fears that I might find him.”
“Detective Octa, there was a chair in the living room that was on its side and a rope was found one foot away from it,” the officer said.
She was tied , Octa thought. They needed something from her. I think she refused to give in. Then, the perpetrator decided to let her go, then kill her in the street.
What else you have? Octa asked.
“Somehow, she ended out in the street,” the officer added.
They wanted to make people think it was a robbery that went bad, but it is the opposite, he thought. I’m dealing with my father’s skill here. I might be wrong. I hope I’m not suspecting the wrong man.
“Thanks for the information.”
Before the ambulance left, Octa jumped in and examined her arms, which showed bruises that would be indicative of rope pressure. He went out and walked toward the police officers on the scene. Showing his badge, he said, “Do you have any more information?”
The officer said, “She had visitors about half an hour ago, and the car appeared to be red. They then left. The lights went off. That was it. But waking up in the morning and looking through the windows, the witness saw her lying in the street.”
“Were any unfamiliar characters reported?”
“The only unusual thing was a male who had long hair.”
“If anything unusual comes up while you’re investigating, contact me at this number. Do you have a business card, officer?”
“Yes,” the officer said, as he reached inside his coat to hand one to Octa.
Then, Bob walked to him and said “I’ve to go back to the office. Chief Detective Albany wants to talk to me about something.”
“Do you know what it is about?”
“So, I’m gonna have to drop you.”
“No, I’ve someone picking me up.”
Octa made his way to his car and parked it five hundred feet away from the house. He did not leave the scene. She dies not too long after I spoke to her, he thought. When the crime scene was secured and no one was left, Octa noticed Officer Outlaw Brinking, who was walking toward the old lady’s house. He must have left his car somewhere else.
Officer Brinking is always on every scene, since I stepped in to investigate these child murders, Octa thought.
Octa stepped out of the car and made his way through the back door. No lights were shining inside. He did not hear any footsteps within. There was someone behind him. It was Officer Brinking. Octa must have entered the house before him.
“I should have known I’d find you here, Octa,” he said.
“I didn’t expect you, but I am not surprised,” Octa said.
Octa turned around and Officer Brinking turned on the light.
“I wonder what your family wants from you,” he said and pointed his 9 millimeter at Octa.
“What do you know about my family?”
“I wasn’t paid to tell you anything, but I should kill you even though they want you alive, since you might be worthless.”
He shot Octa in his left shoulder, which Octa clutched. Blood started trickling down Octa’s arm, and he pressed his left hand over his wounded shoulder.
As Brinking lowered his weapon, Octa kicked him in the groin, picked up a pan off the floor and struck him on the head.
“Tell me about my father.”
“I’ll never tell you.”
“Awesome.” Octa hit him harder until he lost consciousness.
Octa dragged Brinking out and put him in the trunk. Octa’s face was glistening with sweat. He held his left shoulder. Blood continued to spurt between his fingers, despite his efforts. He then drove to a hospital to take care of his wound. He had to make a police report. The doctor who took care of him was an old friend of his. After he put on a sling for Octa, he did not bother to get a report from him.
Octa left the hospital, drove home, pointed a gun at Officer Brinking and made him walk until they got to the basement. It was about ten in the evening. He turned on the light and descended the stairs.
“So what’re you gonna do with me?” Officer Brinking asked.
“I’m going to kill you,” he said.
“You’re no better than me, Octa.”
“Is that so? It seems that I have a lot of people coming after me.”
“So what?” Brinking said, when Octa stood in front of him. Octa kicked him in the face.
The chair tipped over and fell on its back. Brinking’s arms, tied behind the chair, were trapped. He managed to tilt from side to side, then he rolled onto his right side. Octa walked toward him.
“You won’t get anything out of me.”
“I don’t need anything from you.”
Octa took the handcuffs off and cut the rope.
“Help yourself out.”
Officer Brinking stood up, and something went crack in his right ankle. Trying to remain calm, he ground his teeth. He couldn’t walk on his right ankle without sharp pain. Seeing a knife on the floor, he grabbed it and headed in the direction of the stairs. Reaching the middle of the stairs, the lights went on and off, repeatedly, three or four times. He opened the door. It was dark in the kitchen. Feeling for a switch on the wall, he found none and took baby steps. He didn’t want to trip and fall as getting back up was too difficult.
When he found the switch, he turned on the lights. This time he didn’t have to worry about the light. Making a left, he saw the front door. He attempted to limp quickly toward it. Just as he reached out for the doorknob, Octa grabbed him by the neck and slammed his head against the wall.
Octa then pulled him in his direction with such force that Officer Brinking lost his balance and fell on his back. I should turn off and on the lights to play with his mind, Octa thought. I have to scare him so he can plead for death to come quick.
Officer Brinking rolled to his knees, his ankle screaming in pain, and looked for him. “I’ll cut you open,” he shouted and pressed his back against the wall. With his good leg, he pushed himself back up to standing. He lost sight of Octa when he moved to the kitchen.
“Where are you, coward?” he shouted as he stood in the kitchen facing the sink.
The light in the room went off.
Brinking screamed when the baseball bat slammed into his hand holding the knife. The knife clattered to the floor and suddenly Octa’s hand gripped the back of his neck and shoved him forward. His belly hit countertop and he doubled over.
Octa grabbed his uninjured hand and shoved it down the open drain. His foot and hand throbbing in agony, Brinking didn’t think fast enough to fight Octa and he screamed again when the garbage disposal roared to life in the darkness, the vibration pulsing through counter, tickling his gut.
He barely registered that bits of his fingers were ground away by the whirling blades and turned to bite Octa on the shoulder. Octa pushed his arm deeper into the drain. Brinking groaned and gave in. He doesn’t know who he’s dealing with, Octa thought. He’s about to know my dark side.
Octa released Brinking and quickly left the room. Brinking pressed his bleeding hand to his chest. The light was suddenly on. He looked at his bat-broken hand, and the bleeding mess of the other and horror crept more solidly into his eyes as tears flowed down his sweating face… There was a towel and a bottle of whiskey on the table. Damn, what am I thinking? flashed through Brinking’s mind. He poured the alcohol on his hand, and fell to the floor. He took the towel and wrapped it around the stub of his hand, which was missing its fingers. The bones hung, dangling small shreds of flesh. Octa shoved the broken hand down the disposal.
“You win,” he cried out.
“Hmm,” he heard someone sigh. It was Octa.
He walked out of the kitchen, turning all the lights on. As the maimed officer tried to step out, Octa came behind him and hit him in the head.
When Officer Brinking regained consciousness, he was in a cemetery with his hands tied behind him, lying on his right side. Opening his eyes, he saw a tomb mausoleum in front of him with the words Octa Family. He closed his eyes and opened them. Still there. He did it again. It was still there. “It is real,” he murmured.
Octa grabbed him by the back of the collar, and said, “Let’s go.”
“No, no, I’ll tell you everything you want to know.”
“Nah, I’m just gonna kill you.”
Octa was not himself. The tomb had no doors on the four sides. There was only a set of stairs that went to the roof. He accompanied officer Brinking up the stairs, listening to him plead for his life.
Octa sat Brinking on the surface of a small square. The tomb was ten feet tall, and each side approximately ten feet. Octa pulled hard on the cemented square cover.
Octa had to use his legs to budge the cover. After removing the cemented cover, Brinking said “You are just a sadist.”
“I’ve a police meeting tonight at 11:30. I don’t think we have time to discuss that subject.”
Octa pushed him into the tomb after he untied Brinking’s arms. It seemed that there was something soft under him. Something that gave off such a powerful stench he had to cover his mouth.
“Octa, I hate you,” he said. “They’ll find you and have you arrested.”
“Who? They? The best way to hide a dead body is in your own graveyard or tomb.” He dragged the piece of cement covering the Octa tomb. No noise could be heard coming from the room once the doorway was covered.
Once home, Octa took a shower. His shoulders were in pain, and the slicing flesh wound burned in his abdomen. His wounds were still bad, and he had not taken care of them.
The bell rang. He looked through the window and saw one of the police officers from work. He went down without his towel on. Before he opened the door, he took a flower from the vase next to the door and placed it between his lips. He stripped another one and placed the leaves on the floor. He opened the door, and said, “Yes, my darling.” The police officer looked startled.
Octa let the flower fall on the floor. “Oh my God, I’m sorry,” he said. “I thought it was my wife.”
“I’m sorry for coming at the wrong time,” the other man said. “I’ll come back tomorrow.” He turned around when Octa stepped back inside to hide his nakedness.
“Tell me what you have to tell me.”
“The cause of the fire at your childhood house was a grenade taped to a bomb of gas. This is similar to the action taken to destroy the evidence about your mother’s murder.”
“Really? Thanks. I’ll take a look into it tomorrow.”
“Octa, enjoy your night.”
Octa closed and locked the door. He started cleaning his house. He poured bleach in the sink. He bagged anything that was broken. When he finished cleaning, he took everything to his car.
“There, can’t let Bob be suspicious of anything. I need to go on a walk. I have started not to cope with my mind. I need to figure out why my father is after me. Why did he not kill me? He can kill me at any time, unless there is something he wants from me that I have no idea about. He must be trying to break me down first. I need to find out the truth.”
After Octa finished cleaning the house, he got in his car and drove to Oleta River State Park to relax.
That night, Octa stood at the river park, watching the bushes and the birds. He then walked on the bike trails as he stared at the bright moon. As he veered into the corner of the street, he met a man face to face, who was holding a knife. He said, “I just gonna get a mini portion.” His skin was dark, and he had broad shoulders.
The man ran toward Octa.
Blocking the knife with his forearm, Octa received a defensive wound.
Octa managed to take the knife from his attacker, and elbowed him twice in the face. Three men appeared from nowhere. Octa ran. In rapid succession, several gunshots echoed in the street. They ran after him as they continued shooting at him. He made a sharp right turn, jumped in his car and sped off.
He made it safely to II Gabbiano restaurant.
Panting, he got out of the car, then he stood against it to calm down. He got there at 11:05 p.m. for his appointment. He walked in, and the waitress highlighted his name on the list and directed him to the restroom.
He cleaned his wounds and wrapped them with a piece of cloth from the back of his undershirt. Then, he entered the last of the small toilet stalls to urinate. It was the handicap stall and was not locked. Just as he unzipped his pants, several men walked in talking in low voices. He held on to his urine. He recognized one of the voices. It was the security guard for the evidence room.
As he stood motionless, he overheard a startling conversation between the security guard and two other characters. “Don’t worry,” the guard said. “As soon as I hire a hit man to kill Octa, everything will be fine.”
“Lower your voice,” one of the other men said. “Someone might be listening.” Then, one of the men bent down to scan beneath all three toilet stalls. He stood up when he realized all was good to go. They washed their hands, and walked out.
As soon as he heard the door closing, Octa, who had been kneeling on the boarder of the toilet, stepped down. He finished urinating, washed his hands, and, disturbed by the smell of cigarettes in the restroom, looked around for it. He found one in the trash can. It had an eagle sign at the end of it. He bagged it and put it in the inside coat pocket. The security guard never smokes this kind of cigarettes, he thought. It belonged to one of the unknown characters.
The restaurant had large, mullioned windows and the curtains were long and embroidered. The tables were dark brown. There were roses on each table, some were real and some were fake. The lounge contained an embellished couch, rectangular coffee tables, and shiny silver trays. The floor was made of flagstone tile.
As he stared across the dining room pretending to wait for the hostess, from a distance, he saw the security guard shaking the hand of two, old characters and then the two men left the restaurant. He quickly walked out to see their faces clearly. Presenting their backs to the building, they entered a waiting limousine. He ran toward the vehicle, saying, “Sir! Sir, you dropped your wallet.”
The limousine stopped. The man inside rolled the window down. “Damn, who is this?” Octa murmured. He didn’t recognize the face, but he knew he was a security as he took the wallet and handed it to the passenger next to him.
“This is not mine,” the man said as the security took the wallet from him to hand it back to Octa.
Octa couldn’t see his face. It was so dark inside.
“I apologize. I thought it was yours.”
He saw the security take a cigarette out of his pocket to smoke, giving him a weird look. The cigarette had a 999 symbol on the filter which is 666 upside down.
Octa went back in and took a seat at the table with the rest of the crew waiting on the department boss, Scarlet Albany. He drank two cups of red wine and tasted a bread as an appetizer. Then, he pushed his chair away from the table and said, “I’m leaving.” The security guard said, “You can’t leave. This meeting was set up for the several police officers. Scarlet will be mad.”
Octa said, “At least I will not be mad.”
He stepped out onto the sidewalk, waiting on the parking valet to bring him his car. He had received a phone call from his boss telling him that she would not be able to make it, and he must inform the others. They can rot in there, he thought.
1:00 AM – Someone came up behind him in a sudden motion, and said, “Do not turn around.” The man was very close to Octa’s back. He pushed the muzzled of a gun into Octa’s spine.
“When you go home tonight, use the windows to access your house,” he said.
“Why should I believe you?” Octa said.
“You don’t have to,” he said. “You better not turn around to see my face or follow me. Don’t put me in danger. The three-days rule does not apply to you or family members, so you should just let it go. Don’t focus on the teapot at the crime scenes. It is a distraction for every detective who took the case.”
“I have a question,” Octa said.
“No, you don’t have one,” the man replied.
Then, Octa’s car was there. He felt the man withdraw from behind him and resisted the urge to turn and catch a glimpse of him. He jumped in and drove home, but he parked across the street and down a way from his house.
Octa took out his binoculars. He saw a small light flickering in the house. Then, the light went off. He got out of his car. He pulled his gun and checked the chamber. He wanted to go in fully armed. He went in a half circle around the house. There was a tree close to the bathroom window on the second story. He climbed the tree knowing that he always left the window half open.
He went through it. The door was open. “Someone has used my bathroom,” he said. There was a smell in the room, like a three-week-old, dead body rotting under the sun. This decaying body smell came from the perpetrators in his house. They must have never taken a shower. He took off his shoes. He stepped into the hallway that took him to his bedroom. The door was wide open, but no one was inside.
“They must be downstairs,” he said. He heard two different voices coming from the first story.
“When is he coming in?”
“He should be here soon.”
“What makes you so sure?”
“I had a phone call confirmation.”
Octa realized that everything in his bedroom had been ransacked. Maybe they want to fake my death as a burglary that went bad, he thought. Just like the old woman…
As Octa approached the stairs, something rolled down the stairs. It was a vase he had accidentally kicked. Someone must have placed it there.
“What was that?” Octa heard coming from below. “You go look . . .”
Octa hid in the corner of the stairs. All the lights downstairs came on. He moved his position to the small closet. All the curtains were down, so that any scenes would stay in the house. A man headed along the hallway with his gun in hand, stepped in the bedroom, and looked for the switch.
Octa came from behind the open door, pointed the weapon at the intruder’s skull, and said, “Give me your firearm.” He took it from him.
“How many others downstairs?”
“Why are you trying to kill me?”
“We were told to.”
“I don’t know.”
Octa shot him in the right knee. He screamed. “Someone in your family wants you to suffer.”
“Is it my father?”
“Your father is a victim of a criminal organization.”
“What’s the name? How do you know this information?”
“No one knows its name. Maybe my partner can help you.”
Octa moved toward the stairs to meet the other intruder, who had heard the gunshot, ran toward the stairs, and froze when he saw the gun pointed at him from above.
He dropped his gun.
Octa pointed the gun in his direction, paused for a moment, then shot him in the right shoulder.
“Is there something you want to tell me before you die?”
“Please, don’t do it,” he said. “I got an anonymous phone call ordering us to kill you.”
Octa heard glass breaking in his bedroom. Running back inside the room, he saw the other man escaping by jumping out the window and falling on his head. Octa saw the other man running and jumping in his car. The man with the blown-apart knee crawled to the car. The driver stepped out to get him. When Octa made his way down, he found no one. I have to do a little cleaning again, he thought. I need to move Lucinda out of this house for her safety, but she’s stubborn about it.
Lucinda called him and asked him to come and get her at the airport. Before he hung up, he let her know he put up Christina’s pictures on the walls, but she ordered him to take them down again. Octa had previously attempted to place their daughter’s pictures around the house, but she wouldn’t allow it. She also attempted to talk her into moving to another house, and she still turned him down.
It took four days for Bob to reach his boiling point. He was ready to have it out with Octa, but the man wasn’t even talking to him. Walking into Octa’s room one morning as he was getting ready, Bob exclaimed with frustration, “I want revenge!”
Octa didn’t react as he combed his hair. He was used to his partner’s frustrations. “Bob, I’ll kill you,” he said, looking straight into Bob’s eyes through the mirror. Ignoring Bob, who opened his mouth to speak, Octa made his way out of the room and down the stairs, hands in his pockets.
Bob was furious. He quickly followed Octa and stood at the top of the stairs, watching Octa silently goad him as he went down with his hands shoved into his pockets. He wanted to push him down so that every bone in Octa’s body would break. Deep in thought, he didn’t even notice Lucinda come out of the room.
“Good morning,” Lucinda greeted him, slightly surprised to find him standing outside her bedroom. Bob had been giving Octa and Lucinda the silent treatment for a few days now, and didn’t even bother to greet them back each morning, but it was still a habit.
“Whassup?” Bob murmured absent-mindedly as he turned to look at her. He noticed she had lines around her eyes and forehead. His cop instincts never failed to make him notice everything different about someone, even when he didn’t want to.
Pursing her lips at his reply, Lucinda walked to the bathroom and slammed the door shut behind her. I can’t believe how shameless he is. Just standing there as if he’s king of the house, eating everything out of the fridge and not even contributing anything, Lucinda thought angrily as she locked the door.
Bob had registered the anger on Lucinda’s face. He knew she thought of him as just a freeloader, who was just there to eat their food and lounge around the house. Conveniently, they forget that I pay them one fifty a month just so I can live with them, Bob fumed. Maybe I should just poison her so she doesn’t keep complaining to Octa that I don’t do anything to help them. Shaking his head at the thought, Bob stalked off to his room.
Soon freshened up, Lucinda made her way downstairs to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Rummaging around the cupboards for a bowl, she heard the sound of a door closing and turned as Octa walked into the kitchen.
“Good morning, sunny moon!” he said and made his way to his wife and gave her a kiss.
“Good morning. Where did you just come from?” she asked, kissing him back.
“Had to get some stuff out of the car,” Octa said as he sat down on a chair.
Lucinda nodded and turned back to her rummaging. Octa gazed at her as she found the bowl and rather firmly cracked a few eggs against its sides. He knew she had something on her mind. A few minutes later, she slammed the bowl of eggs she was whisking down on the counter and turned to Octa, who was waiting expectantly.
“We need to tell him to leave the house,” she said, keeping her voice low.
Octa’s smile disappeared. He knew this was coming.
“You heard him last time. You know his history. He even once hurt his former roommate for snitching on him.” Her gaze flickered toward the kitchen door, as if, perhaps, Bob might walk in at any moment. She knew Bob had once stolen a bag of cocaine from a drug dealer during an arrest.
Octa took a deep breath. “You don’t have to worry, love. I talked to him yesterday and told him that he has until next Monday to find a new place. After that, he won’t be our problem.”
Lucinda visibly relaxed. “I’m glad you finally talked to him.”
Octa nodded. “Bob is complex. He doesn’t really mean any harm, but the man sometimes forgets that his actions can have far bigger effects than he intends. In his mind, what he’s doing is right, so he becomes convinced.”
Lucinda picked up the bowl. “I know Bob’s your partner, but don’t justify his actions. I just want him out of the house and besides,” she frowned as she picked up a whisk, “he lied all this time that he was getting a house. He was supposed to be here for two weeks and it’s been three months now.”
Octa sighed. “I know. I had a feeling that he hadn’t been searching for a home. I even found one of his letters in the mailbox.”
Lucinda huffed and whisked the eggs.
Smiling slightly, Octa stood up and wandered off to the living room to watch TV. With breakfast ready, Lucinda joined him, balancing her tray on her knees. Enjoying her fried egg, sausages and toasted, wheat bread, she didn’t even notice when Bob entered the living room until he announced a bit too loudly, “I’m about to cook one of the best Asian dishes you guys have never tasted, so prepare to be amazed,” and bounded off to the kitchen. Octa and Lucinda looked at each other warily.
He frowned as he pulled a pan out of the cupboard. Had it not been for her, he would still be living with his partner without a problem. Octa was fine with Bob, but Lucinda was the one who was getting irritated by his mere presence. She had to be dealt with.
Preparing his dish of sardines with potatoes, Bob pulled out a tiny pouch from his jeans’ pocket, feeling the contents inside with his fingers. Quickly ladling out some of the food for himself and Octa first, Bob opened the pouch, and sprinkled what looked like a white powder into the pot.
Bob smiled grimly. Untraceable, effective and perfect for a quick way out, he’d seen enough victims to know what happened once the poison had been consumed.
Stowing away the pouch, Bob washed his hands and balancing the three plates in his arms, made his way to the living room where Octa and Lucinda were still watching TV, their faces passive.
“Dig in,” Bob said, mock cheerfully, and sat the plates so Lucinda’s was in right in front of her. Lucinda reluctantly took her eyes off the TV and looked at the dish. It seemed harmless enough, but she wasn’t going to risk it.
“You know I don’t eat anything besides my cultural food chain,” she said, eyeing her plate dubiously. Bob gritted his teeth. “You’ll like it once you taste it. You too, Octa. Try yours.”
“I really appreciate you cooking, Bob, but I’m full for the day,” said Octa, flashing a small smile at Bob, who was silently fuming.
“Well, why not save it for tomorrow?” Bob pushed, watching his plan fail.
Octa didn’t take his eyes off the TV. “Thanks, bud, but I don’t think I’ll be eating it. It smells good, but my stomach can only take so much. But it looked like a good effort though, from the looks of it.”
Bob was furious. So much work and nothing gained.
“Fine.” Picking up the plates, Bob stomped out of the room and threw the dishes in the sink before going up to his room with his own food. Lucinda kissed Octa on the lips, feeling safe with him beside her.
A little while later, the house was quiet. Lucinda had gone to the post office for something and Bob was holed up in his room. Making his way up the stairs to the bathroom, Octa felt slightly uneasy at the eerie stillness of the place.
After he was done, Octa had just finished washing his hands and drying them when he heard a sound. The bathroom door had been open, but he quickly moved forward to close it to just a crack. Looking through the slit, Octa felt his blood run cold. Bob walked past the bathroom, his gun in his right hand and his eyes alert as if he was searching for something, or someone.
Octa stepped out cautiously as Bob disappeared on the stairs to the living room. He stayed quiet as he observed Bob going in a circle, then back and forth in the hallway, whispering “Where is he?”
Octa felt more shocked than angry. He knew Bob wasn’t always the most rational of people, but this? Was Bob looking for him, because he wanted to kill him? The gun wasn’t just for show. The piece was ready to fire.
Octa looked down at his watch. It was only two in the afternoon; Lucinda had been gone for a while so she’d be back any minute. His brain started to boil as he pictured unsuspecting Lucinda coming face-to-face with Bob’s gun. His brain going haywire, Octa felt rage. I welcomed Bob into my home, and despite Lucinda’s complaints, I’ve kept him here for almost three months and this is the thanks I get? Could Bob really do this? Turning, Octa hurried to his room, devising a plan.
Meanwhile, Bob, who had been searching for Octa everywhere in the house, finally came up from the basement, feeling slightly defeated. Where the hell is he? He considered just calling off his plan, when he heard a noise – a door slamming. Slowly approaching the stairs, Bob tiptoed up, his senses alert for any movement or sound.
He heard water running in the bathroom. Entering slowly, Bob went up to the shower curtain and flapped it open. There was no one there, just a bathtub with almost enough water to run down the sides. Suddenly, another door slammed and Bob startled. The sound had come from Octa’s room.
Coming out, Bob quickly shoved his gun in the back of his pants and approached the door.
“Octa?” Bob called out. “You okay?” There was no sound from the inside. Grasping the doorknob, Bob opened the door. This door was opened before when I was looking for Octa all over the house, he thought. The room was empty, but the big fan in the master bedroom was on. Damn fan. It was just the wind. Bob grumbled, but then he realized something. This means Octa’s not home.
Just then, he heard the front door open, and walking up to the banister, saw Lucinda stepping in, her head down and eyes on her mail. Lucinda kicked the door shut as she flipped through the letters. Hearing a metallic click, she looked up and felt her scream die mid-throat. It was Bob, and he was pointing a gun at her. Frozen, she stared down the barrel of the gun and back at Bob, her face going white.
Bob smiled frostily, “Well, you can’t act like you didn’t de…” his words died when he felt something cold under his throat.
Octa had crept up behind Bob and was holding a knife to his partner’s throat. Lucinda backed against the front door as she took the scene in.
“Lower your weapon, Bob.” Octa said, his voice calm and in control. Slowly, Bob lowered his gun, glaring hatefully at Lucinda. Suddenly, Octa whipped his hand out for the gun and grabbed it from him. Withdrawing the knife from Bob’s throat, Octa threw it down and pulled Bob by his collar toward the bathroom.
Lucinda snapped back to reality and started yelling for Octa. “Octa, what are you doing? Octa, stop!”
Octa paid her no heed as he pushed Bob to the bathroom where the bathtub was full of water. Kicking him behind the knees, Octa grabbed Bob’s head and forced his head into the water.
Bob struggled and tried to shove Octa away, but the man forced his head down even further into the water. Lucinda reached the bathroom and stared at the scene, horrified.
“Octa, please! Don’t do this, please, stop,” she pleaded from the doorway.
Releasing Bob, Octa stood up as Bob gasped and struggled to breathe. Going to the door, Octa pushed Lucinda out, slammed the door shut and locked it. As she hammered at the closed door with her fists, calling out his name, Octa went back to Bob and grabbing his head, pushed him into the water again.
Bob tried elbowing Octa in the jaw, ribs, anywhere, but Octa tightened his grip on him, keeping him firmly beneath the water. Bob fought, but it was useless. Twenty seconds passed and his lungs were screaming for air.
Octa pulled Bob’s head out of the water. “Please…” Bob gasped, his chest hurting as he took a quick breath, “Octa… please… I’m sorry…” but it was no use. Octa plunged his head back in the water. Bubbles boiled up, when he finally screamed, his lungs filling with water.
Lucinda was still beating on the door, but Octa was determined to make this lesson one that Bob wasn’t going to forget.
Blood was spattered everywhere as she lay there. Maisey’s right leg was twisted underneath her, and her neck was cut in several places. Lucinda, watching from as close as she could, brushed away a tear that barely touched her cheek. She gazed at Maisey sadly as Octa loaded their dog’s corpse into the back of the van to take her away.
Their dog’s untimely demise didn’t faze the couple much. Dogs don’t seem so precious to people once they’ve seen humans brutally murdered. As Octa got into the van, a Mustang sped up to the house and parked right in front of his van. Octa got out and walked heatedly toward the car as his brother, Juan, stepped out and loudly greeted him.
“Long time, brother,” Juan said.
“Aren’t you always a surprise? I see you’re in shape . . . quit drinking, did you?”
A phone rang, and it was Octa’s. He answered it. The phone call came from a detective, Hell Cappucci, who was investigating the disappearance of Bob. The detective let Octa know that he would contact him just in case any more questions need to be answered.
After the phone call, Octa observed Juan from head to toe. He didn’t quite resemble the man he once knew as his little brother. His face had become rugged, and he had a lot more scars than he used to. His eyes gave away the fact that he still battled with substance abuse, but he still had that familiar boyish smile.
Juan had not been in the house when their mother was murdered. He was kicked out at an early age for vagabondage. Juan had a tendency to run away from home, so his parents kicked him out. He was sent to the Arthur G. Dozier School for boys in Marianna, Florida at age seventeen, and later on, he escaped from the school. For several years, no one heard from him, not until he resurfaced when Octa attended a volunteer meeting to help poor people. Since then, they had stayed in contact, but lost in touch eventually. Juan used to sell drugs and steal from others.
Would he want revenge against the family for kicking him out? After everything Octa had gone through in the past few days, he started doubting Juan. Five days had elapsed since Octa had waterboarded Bob. He is afraid that Juan is a killer and wonders if he might try to kill his family too. If Juan wanted revenge from the family, that would have happened long ago. After all, who is left? Only Octa, it seems. What would give him real, serious reason for doubting Juan, who, right now, just seems like a punk sort of drug dealer—the dime a dozen type.
“Me? Quit? Have you completely forgotten me?” Juan came closer and wrapped his arms around his big brother. “I’ve missed you . . . and Pa,” he said after a pause.
“I’ve missed you too. Come inside, you little brat. Let’s talk about what in God’s name you’ve gotten yourself into this time.”
Octa put his right arm around Juan’s shoulder, as they walked toward the front door, when Lucinda called, “Love! Maisey’s still in the van!”
“Well, look who it is! Almost didn’t see you there, Lucinda. I hope my brother is keeping you happy,” Juan said in a weirdly flirtatious manner. He eyed Lucinda as he gave her a mysterious smile.
Lucinda looked at Octa and then at Juan, “Hello Juan, it’s nice to see you after so long.”
“I need to take care of this real quick,” said Octa as he broke away from Juan.
Octa hurried toward the van and called out to Juan that he should make himself comfortable inside till he came back. Lucinda escorted Juan through the door and told him how their dog had been killed last night by someone in the neighborhood who had threatened the dog for trespassing and for attacking him on several occasions. Lucinda could never believe such a thing. Maisey was a docile and caring animal. She wouldn’t hurt a fly.
Juan carefully listened as he noticed the attractive, still young-looking woman in front of him and responded with “tsk tsk” now and then as Lucinda told him how their little dog had died. I hate dogs, he mused to himself. I would kill every last one of those motherfuckers, and thought about the incident that happened to him in his childhood. A snarling, barking German Shepherd dog had run up to him and chomped onto his upper, right thigh, leaving several puncture wounds.
He was shaken out of his thoughts when Lucinda asked whether he would like something to drink. As she made her way into the kitchen to fix him a scotch on the rocks, as Juan had requested, he scanned the living room.
Every inch and corner were a lot better than the kind of places where Juan had spent his last six years. He got up and looked at the comfortable furniture and the dark carpeting. He decided that when he left this place, he would be taking some of the goodies with him, with his brother’s consent or without. My brother would understand, and he always knows, he thought to himself, smiling.
Lucinda came back into the room surprised to see a standard 9-mm caliber pistol lying flat on the sofa where Juan had been sitting. She stood there shocked and frightened and saw Juan come hurrying toward her, with a menacingly devious smile on his face.
Leonidas Christopher, born December 27, 1992, hails from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is an active US Marine. He lives his life practicing the adage that life should not be about how it is but about how we can make it. He spent his childhood aloof from his family, spent his time wandering around dangerous and poor zones learning, as he did, about life. He met strangers who later became his friends, and he discovered that they too had their own secrets buried within. As he grew up, his own tragedies were added to the awful memories and stories of his friends. Using these, he hopes now to make a difference for the better in other people’s lives.
Visit his website at www.christopherleonidas.com
Octa’s father disappears at the time his mother was found murdered in the living room of their house. The only clue on the scene was a teapot. Years later, while investigating over six child murders that have taken place in less than a week, a teapot is found at each crime scene. Puzzled by what he finds, Octa starts digging through his family history. While working on this case, he meets his father, who is ready to kill him. Meeting his father after ten years only brings more turmoil and dreadful events into his life.