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Second Chance Slaughter


Chapter 12: The Clown




Avery took a deep breath, mentally cataloging the killers under his watch. There were four of them in total, including himself:


Enigma - That was him.


Lacuna - A twisted trophy hunter who took the hearts of his victims.


The Shadow Stalker - A sadistic clown who preyed on young men.


Siren Song - A predator who targeted women working in strip clubs.


Out of all of them, the Shadow Stalker was the first on Avery’s hit list. The clown's grotesque acts against young men couldn’t be overlooked. Avery couldn’t let him roam free, not after the things he had done. The Shadow Stalker needed to be taken out like the trash he was. Avery would make sure this clown met a fitting end, one that mirrored the fear and pain he had inflicted on others.


But dealing with the others, Lacuna and Siren Song, required a different approach. He couldn’t just eliminate them outright without risking exposure to the organization. Pitting them against each other could end in disaster, drawing unwanted attention.


No, he had to be smarter.


Lacuna was the easiest to plan for. Avery could tip off Sheriff Davis and Deputy Jenkins about Lacuna’s gruesome trophy collection. It wouldn’t be hard to plant some evidence pointing to his stash of stolen hearts. With the right nudge, Davis and Jenkins could bring Lacuna down without ever suspecting Avery’s involvement.


But Siren Song was trickier. How could he handle someone so slippery and dangerous? Siren Song’s targets were women working in strip clubs, a demographic that made them difficult to track and protect. Avery had to think outside the box.


What if he set Siren Song on a wild goose chase?


He could assign a target so elusive that Siren Song would never find them. By the time the deadline approached and the target remained out of reach, Siren Song would have no choice but to face the consequences from the organization.


Avery could manipulate the timing to perfection, ensuring the target “appeared” just as it was too late. Siren Song would miss the mark and face punishment.


Thanks to the information Avery had strategically leaked to Sheriff Davis, she was already sniffing around for clues. All he needed to do was drop another breadcrumb: a file containing details of Lacuna’s past targets.


Lacuna, with his habit of taking hearts as trophies, would inevitably leave behind evidence. Avery knew that this trail would lead Davis straight to Lacuna’s lair. It was like handing her a map dotted with bloody footprints.


With the Siren Song, his six lackeys could come in handy. Scattered across the suburbs, he could gather just enough intel to throw Siren Song off track.



Avery’s eyes narrowed as he watched the plump man at the center of the party. Covered in heavy makeup, he looked like a caricature of a clown.


But Avery knew the true horror beneath that painted smile. This was William Hansen, known in the Night Gallery as The Shadow Stalker. He is a predator who preyed on unsuspecting boys.


Just the sight of him made Avery’s blood boil. But he has to control it. His personal emotion should not be involved when conducting his work; otherwise things can get messy.


William's act as a jovial clown at children’s parties was nothing more than a sinister ruse. He used his harmless, bumbling persona to gain the trust of his young victims.


With a promise of magic tricks and fun, he would lure them to his home. Once there, the illusion of safety shattered, replaced by the grim reality of handcuffs and terror.


The thought of his vile hands on those innocent kids made Avery’s teeth clench in fury.


Despite being incarcerated once for his heinous crimes, William had managed to slither his way out of prison.


Officials claimed he was a “model prisoner,” but his profile painted a darker truth: the prison system couldn’t suppress his murderous urges. His release wasn’t a matter of good behavior but a calculated decision by the organization.


They saw an opportunity in William's insatiable bloodlust and struck a deal.


The Night Gallery offered him a twisted bargain—membership in their ranks of Artists, a chance to indulge his urges, and a steady income from their sinister operations. For William, it was a no-brainer. He jumped at the chance to continue his sickening acts with the organization’s backing.


“Disgusting,” Avery muttered under his breath.


Avery stood at a distance, carefully hidden from view but with a perfect line of sight to William Hansen. The Shadow Stalker, dressed in his garish clown outfit, entertained the children with exaggerated gestures and a painted smile that concealed his sinister intentions.


Avery watched, his trained eyes never leaving his target. Hansen, with his limited awareness, had no idea he was being monitored by a skilled assassin.


To the unsuspecting crowd, Hansen appeared as the ideal neighbor—the kind of friendly face you might trust with your children while you’re away.


As the sun began to dip below the horizon, the party’s energy started to wane. Children, now tired from hours of play, were being gathered by their parents, and the vibrant chatter slowly dwindled.


Avery observed the shift.


Finally, Avery saw Hansen pack up his tricks and balloons, waving goodbye to the few remaining families. He watched as Hansen walked to his car, a beat-up vehicle that seemed oddly fitting for someone leading such a double life.


The engine roared to life, and Hansen drove off, leaving the remnants of the party behind.


Avery moved silently, slipping into his own bicycle a safe distance away. He had no intention of confronting Hansen in broad daylight. No, he would wait until nightfall, when the shadows deepened, and Hansen felt most secure in his twisted element.



Avery observed from his hidden vantage point, blending seamlessly into the shadows of the night. Darkness had fallen, and the neighborhood was quiet, save for the distant hum of traffic and the occasional rustle of leaves.


He was a silent specter, his presence undetectable as he fixed his gaze on William Hansen’s car.


For a while, Hansen’s car had been stationary, idling near a bus stop. Avery’s keen senses were on high alert.


Something was off. William wasn’t making any move. He seemed to be waiting for something—or someone.


After what felt like an eternity, a bus pulled up to the stop. The doors hissed open, and a young man, around nineteen, stepped off. Hansen’s car sprang to life as if on cue, the headlights illuminating the newcomer in a ghostly light. Avery’s pulse quickened.


Focusing intently, Avery strained his ears to catch snippets of their conversation. His eyes tracked their lip movements, honing in on every syllable to decipher their exchange.


“Hey, Don. Need a ride home? I can take you,” Hansen offered.


“No, thanks. It’s just a few blocks away,” the young man, Don, replied with a polite but firm shake of his head.


Avery’s brow furrowed. It was clear from their interaction that the two knew each other, likely from past encounters. Hansen's offer seemed friendly, almost too friendly. But there was something else—something Avery noticed that set off alarms in his mind.


Hansen was sweating, his brow glistening under the streetlights.


Odd, Avery thought.


Hansen had been sitting in his air-conditioned car for quite some time. There was no reason for him to be sweating unless he was nervous or hiding something.


Avery's sharp eyes didn’t miss a thing. From his concealed vantage point, he watched William Hansen’s nervous fidgeting and his sweaty brow. Something was off.


Hansen, who usually projected a disturbing calm, now appeared jittery and agitated. Could he be on the verge of one of his “episodes”?


The organization had strict rules: their killers, dubbed Artists, were allowed to fulfill their morbid urges within their assigned cycles. If they stepped out of line, indulging beyond their limits, the punishment was severe.


Avery’s mind raced. If he could catch Hansen breaking the rules, taking him out wouldn’t just be justified—it would be necessary, and free from the organization’s wrath.


"C'mon, Don. It’ll be a comfortable ride. You must be exhausted after school," Hansen coaxed, his voice sugary sweet but his eyes darting around like a cornered rat.


Don hesitated, clutching the strap of his backpack tightly. He looked tired, the weight of his school day evident in his posture. After a moment’s deliberation, he nodded and climbed into the car.


Avery’s heart sank. He’d hoped the young man would refuse.


The car started moving, and Avery kept his distance, trailing them on his bike. He was a shadow, silent and unnoticeable, maintaining just enough space to stay out of sight but close enough to intervene if things went south.


"We'll make a quick stop at my place first," William said. "I have something for your mom. It won’t take long."


"Sure," Don replied, puzzled but compliant.


As they drove, William tried to maintain a casual conversation. "How's school going? Are you still into those video games?"


Don nodded absently. Meanwhile, Avery pedaled quietly behind, his senses honed and alert. The night was his ally, cloaking his presence as he followed the car through the dimly lit streets.


William Hansen’s car rolled to a stop in front of his shabby little house. He stepped out, glancing around with a veneer of normalcy that masked his sinister intentions. "Come on in, Don. I’ve got some snacks inside. It might take a bit to get everything ready."


Don, thinking it rude to refuse such hospitality, nodded and followed Hansen into the house. The door shut behind them, the click echoing ominously.


Little did they know, Avery was close behind, a silent shadow tracking their every move.


Avery slipped around the side of the house, positioning himself near a small, grimy window at the back. He closed his eyes, tuning his senses to the faint sounds within. Through the muted walls, he could make out their voices and the shuffle of their movements. Don's voice was relaxed, coming from the living room, while Hansen's was muffled, drifting from what sounded like a bedroom.


"Help yourself to some pizza and soda," William called out from the other room. "Just pop the pizza in the microwave for a bit."


Don, his stomach growling after a long day, didn't hesitate.


He found the pizza box on the counter—it wasn’t fresh, but it wasn’t too old either. He placed a slice on a plate and set it in the microwave, then poured himself a glass of soda.


Outside, Avery remained still. He listened intently, the faint whir of the microwave and Don's movements sharp in his ears. Every muscle in Avery's body was coiled, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice.




The microwave signaled the end of its cycle, and Don pulled out the warmed pizza. Avery's heart pounded as he heard Hansen’s footsteps growing closer.


“Hey, Don,” Hansen said, his voice dripping with a faux cheeriness that made Avery's skin crawl. “While you’re eating, how about I show you a magic trick? Just put on these handcuffs, and I'll show you something amazing.”

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