The Cactus Killer – Chapter 15

The weekend, we’re almost there.  Good news, The Wrath of Pan is in editing and I should have it back in two weeks.  That’s a cause for celebration, so let’s all go out and grab a beer tonight!  Feel free to comment with your brew of choice and we will virtually party together!

The_Cactus_Killer

Chapter 15

 It had been two days since I resigned from the office of sheriff. Dad had taken over and my oldest brother Bernard, took over as the detective. I had gone to Argent’s office that afternoon after Talia had been murdered.

“Why are you doing this Victor?” He looked at the badge lying on his desk.

“Mayor, I do not plan on bringing this guy in peacefully. There will be blood on my hands after this is over and I am not going to taint the position. Maybe down the road I will regret my choice, but today, I regret not being there with Talia to put a bullet in this bastard’s head.”

Talia’s family was against a big funeral, so it was a very small and private affair. In fact, Billy and I were the only ones there who weren’t directly related to her. I almost got the feeling that the family blamed the department for their loss. No one said it outright, but the chilly reception was all that was needed to convey the message.

Liz continued to stay at my house, saying there was no reason to move to another safe house. Billy also came over each day. He had given my dad a copy of all the abandoned factories and hospitals within a three hour radius. He also gave me a copy.

“She was my friend, Vic. I know we both don’t like excessive force, but right now, I want nothing more than to see this guy’s lifeless body in the autopsy room.”

I promised him that I would not give up until I ended this. I was sitting out back on my deck and reading each condemned building notice. It was a cool evening and the sun had just set, so I wasn’t surprised when Reno popped out and sat down too.

“Find anything good yet?”

“There is an abandoned hospital outside an old reservation on the state line. I was thinking of taking a trip down there.”

“What are you waiting for then? Tonight seems like a good night to cut loose.”

He was right, no better time than the present to get a move on things. “You think Liz and Phil will be up for it?”

“Oh, I think they can be easily persuaded.” He headed back on in. I put the address into my phone and went back in as well.

“We are going to check this place out tonight I suspect?”

Liz was sitting at the kitchen table when I entered. “Yeah, I think it is time to stop sulking and get back on the case you hired me for.”

“I agree we should go, but you cannot be reckless. I know your friend’s death is hard, but she would not want you to get yourself killed either.”

“I don’t plan on dying tonight. I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t finish this.”

“Good, then let us get ready. I hope, for once, we can take the fight to them instead of the other way around.”

She was right; we were waiting for them to mess up and always on the ropes with their moves. Warren Tucker was a dangerous man and we had given him enough time. He had shown no regard for life, including other humans. There may not be anything at this hospital, but we couldn’t go in casually, we had to be prepared for everything.

When we were all prepared as well as we could be, we loaded up into the cars. Reno and Phil had a pretty sweet Tahoe which also doubled as an armory. All sorts of guns and blades were laying in the trunk and backseat.

“Take your pick Vic, we have plenty.”

“Thanks Reno, but my gun and my blade will do. I’m going to dance with the girls that brought me you know.”

He laughed at me while him and Phil made sure everything was loaded and ready at a moment’s notice. Liz picked up a Desert Eagle that was almost as big as her. She must have seen the look of amusement on my face.

“It is not polite to judge a lady by her gun.” She turned to her guys, “Let us get a move on. I do not want to keep anyone waiting.”

Everyone nodded and soon we were headed down the highway. We followed the road to El Paso, but got off at the exit before the state line. Another fifteen minutes later and we were the only vehicles for miles. We continued through the old reservation and once we exited out on the other side, we saw the hospital looming in the distance. It was obvious at first sight it hadn’t seen patients in awhile. The road itself turned to dirt and boards and broken windows dotted the whole building.

When we pulled into what was left of the EMT entrance, you could see the doors had been broken down. When I got out of the car, I took in my environment and caught the familiar smell that had been haunting me this entire time.

“They were here, it has faded pretty well, but the smell still lingers.”

“That sucks, I was hoping for some action.”

I rubbed my face, I wanted to bust some people up too. However, it was worth taking a look around. I was about to suggest that when my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered anyway.

“You are certainly full of surprises, sheriff. I am so glad I found a new sanctuary before you came knocking here.”

It was a man’s voice, deep and a bit off, that is the best way I can describe it. “Rev. Tucker I reckon?”

“Yes, yes it is Victor Inglewood. I called to extend my courtesy to you.”

“Maybe if you told me where you were at, I could come on over and give you some of my courtesy too.”

He laughed at me. This guy knew how to get my blood pumping. “I don’t think it works that way, but I appreciate the offer. No, my new sanctuary offers more features fitting for someone doing God’s work. You and your kind are blights to this earth. When I am ready, I will allow you to come here and marvel in its majesty.”

“I don’t think the big guy upstairs considers what you do His work. That being said, this needs to end, Tucker.”

“For once, we both agree on something. Did you know in your presence is one of the oldest daemons by our records?”

“What the hell does this have to do with the price of apples?”

“Do not interrupt me. Your friend, Elizabeth Swansea has had many different aliases over the years, but I think her most famous was ‘Bloody Lizzy’ or better known in history, Elizabeth Bathory. You might not know the story, but she used to slaughter the villagers below her castle in order to quench her hunger.”

I didn’t know what to say, I looked over at Liz and I knew she had heard everything as well. Her face was full of shame.

“So you see sheriff, daemons cannot be allowed to live. That unfortunately includes you. Werewolves are just as big of a blight as the vampires. Please know that you will all die this evening. May God have mercy on your souls.”

He hung up on me. Reno and Phil didn’t make eye contact with me, but I didn’t need to talk to them. “Is what he said true?”

Liz finally looked up, her eyes bloodshot from the tears coming out of them. “Yes, he did not lie to you.”

“What about all that crap you don’t go hunting humans for fun? Was that just a story to keep the dumb local sheriff on your good side?”

“No that was not a story, Vic.” She was really starting to cry now. “I promise you everything that has happened is who I really am. Times were different back then and I did much I regret. Please Vic…” She reached out to touch my shoulder but I jerked away.

“No.” I shot her a look and I immediately regretted how harsh I came off. Now was not the time to let emotions win out; I still had a job to do. “The three of you stay here; I will go in by myself.”

“Vic, you cannot! He is planning on…”

“I said I am going in by myself. If anyone follows, I will shoot you.”

They all looked at me. Phil and Reno were getting ready to protest when Liz put her hand up to silence them. The hurt look in her eyes pierced me good, but I turned around and went in. I felt betrayed; she should have been the one to tell me about her past, not hear it from the lunatic Tucker. And then he had the audacity to lump me in with them. If he wanted me to be a monster, I would give him one.

I stormed in and not completely paying attention to anything. My temper had gotten the best of me and when I started to calm down, it was too late. I completely ignored the scent that was getting stronger and stronger until it was right on top of me. The inhuman roar came and followed up by the giant swing of a green hand connecting to the side of my head. I went crashing through the wall and landed in what looked like the emergency room lobby.

My left eye was swelling up fast, so I didn’t even see the second attack. I took a kick to the side and landed on the old lobby desk. The rotten wood gave out under my weight and I crashed into the floor. I coughed and blood was coming up, this was not good. I was having a hard time keep myself awake when the monster came up to finish the job. I was so stupid to go in by myself and this was my punishment. Big, green, and ugly was lifting his fist to finish the job when he stopped. His head slid right off his body and as he fell over I saw Liz standing there with my grandfather’s tanto.

I tried to talk, “Li…”

More blood was coming up, I couldn’t move either.

“Do not talk, Vic. Reno has called your father and help is on the way. You are in bad shape.”

In barely a whisper, “I’m so sorry…” 

-Jeremy

You can find all my work, including “The Cactus Killer,” @ www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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