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Second Chance Slaughter

13

Chapter 13: Smile

19

 

Gurgling sounds filled the room, echoing like a sinister lullaby.

 

William Hansen yanked Don’s head out of the water, giving him a fleeting moment to gasp for air. Don’s lungs burned, his breath coming in desperate, ragged gulps. He tried to fight back, but his hands were cruelly cuffed, rendering him powerless against his tormentor.

 

Low, mocking laughter reverberated around the dimly lit bathroom.

 

“What's the matter, Don? Don’t you enjoy my little trick?” William’s voice dripped with malevolence as he leaned in closer.

 

“Why...why are you doing this?” Don managed to choke out.

 

William’s eyes gleamed with twisted delight. “I’m doing this to cleanse you. After spending time at your precious university, I’ve seen how much fun you had. Enjoying yourself with your little girlfriends, weren’t you?”

 

“What are you talking ab—”

 

Before Don could finish his plea, William shoved his head back into the water, cutting off his words with a splash. The icy water closed over Don’s face, and he struggled against the suffocating darkness, his mind screaming for air.

 

William repeated the sadistic ritual, pulling Don’s head out just before he could pass out, only to plunge him back under. Each time, Don came up sputtering, his eyes wild with terror.

 

William’s precision showed he had perfected this method of torture, maintaining the delicate balance between consciousness and unconsciousness, toying with his victim like a cat with a mouse.

 

Outside the house, Avery waited in the shadows, his eyes shut tight as he focused on the sounds within.

 

Patience, he reminded himself. In his line of work, the fewer eyewitnesses, the better. He had no intention of giving William, the so-called “Shadow Stalker,” a swift end. This man deserved to suffer, to feel every ounce of fear and pain he had inflicted on others. Avery wanted him to beg for death—a mercy that wouldn’t come easily. Besides, Avery needed information from him before he could deliver any final justice. To make that happen, he also need Don to be unconscious.

 

Avery’s fists clenched at his sides, nails digging into his palms.

 

The urge to storm in and end William’s twisted game was almost unbearable. But he held back, reminding himself of the videos William had posted on the Night Gallery. They had shown a man who took perverse pleasure in prolonging his victims’ agony. Avery was confident that William wouldn’t kill Don right away. He still had time.

 

The minutes dragged on, each second marked by the sickening sounds of Don’s struggle.

 

Avery’s heart pounded in his chest as he listened intently.

 

Then, the sounds changed. Don’s frantic thrashing slowed, and Avery’s pulse quickened. Did he wait too long? Just as panic began to rise, he heard the faint, shallow breaths of Don’s unconscious form being dragged out of the water.

 

 

William left Don’s unconscious body sprawled on the cold, wet tiles of the bathroom floor. His breath was ragged with excitement as he made his way to his bedroom. His mind was already racing ahead, thinking about the twisted pleasure he would soon inflict.

 

He opened his closet and pulled out a box, lifting the lid to reveal his most bizarre possession—a sexy maid costume, complete with lacy frills and a pair of ridiculous bunny ears.

 

The sight of the costume seemed almost laughable. But to William, it was a key part of his ritual. He struggled to fit his large, bulky frame into the skimpy outfit, the fabric straining and stretching against his body.

 

Anyone watching would have found it impossible to take him seriously, looking more like a grotesque circus act than a fearsome predator.

 

Unbeknownst to William, Avery was already in the room, concealed in the shadows. The absurdity of the scene before him—William, a plump figure squeezed into the tight maid outfit, complete with floppy bunny ears—would have churned the stomachs of most. But Avery maintained his composure, his eyes narrowing as he watched William with a predator’s patience.

 

Avery’s thoughts were cold and calculated. He could end this now, but he wanted to see just how far William would go in his delusion, wanted him to revel in his own absurdity before realizing the nightmare standing right behind him.

 

William hummed a jaunty tune, whistling intermittently as if he had all the time in the world. His confidence was palpable; he believed Don was utterly helpless, trapped in the bathroom with no chance of escape.

 

William turned towards the door, adjusting the bunny ears on his head with a flourish, ready to continue his sick game. But as he reached for the doorknob, he froze. Avery stepped out of the shadows.

 

“Hello, Shadow Stalker,” Avery greeted. “Having fun, are we?”

 

William froze, his initial shock quickly morphing into a wary curiosity. He hadn’t expected company, especially from someone affiliated with the Night Gallery. But as he took a closer look at Avery, recognition flickered in his eyes, and he allowed himself to relax slightly.

 

“It’s you, Enigma,” William said. “What brings you here?”

 

Avery raised an eyebrow, a bit taken aback that William could recognize him so easily. “How did you know who I am?”

 

“What do you mean, how do I know? We’ve met before, don’t you remember? I’m the one who introduced you to the Night Gallery. You were practically begging to join, acting like your life depended on it.”

 

“Me?” he echoed, disbelief coloring his voice. He couldn’t recall any such encounter.

 

William shrugged, clearly unimpressed. “I don’t see anyone else here. Now, what do you want? I’m busy,” he snapped, his impatience bubbling to the surface. To him, Avery’s presence was nothing more than an annoying interruption.

 

Avery’s expression hardened. He wasn’t here to indulge William’s arrogance. With a swift, fluid motion, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of thin, sturdy strings. The cords moved with a life of their own, winding around William’s body in a tight, constricting embrace. The excess fat squeezed out between the bindings like dough under pressure.

 

“What the hell are you doing?” William screamed.

 

Avery chuckled softly, the sound devoid of humor. This was probably how William’s victims had screamed, their desperate cries falling on deaf ears. Avery’s gaze swept around the room.

 

William’s house was isolated, perfectly situated to avoid unwanted attention. No neighbors nearby to hear the commotion, and no one likely to come running to his aid. It was the same scenario William had undoubtedly orchestrated countless times before.

 

“Hey, you sissy pig,” Avery taunted. He had read in William’s profile that the term “sissy” drove him into a frenzy, clouding his judgment. Avery wanted him disoriented, off balance. He needed to keep control of the situation. “We have a lot to talk about.”

 

With a strength that belied his lean frame, Avery dragged William out of the room like a dog on a leash, the bloated body scraping against the floor. The harsh sound of his skin against the wood was almost drowned out by William’s panicked breaths. Avery pulled him into the kitchen, then hoisted him up and forcibly planted him on a chair. William’s flesh jiggled like dough with the motion, his bunny ears flopping absurdly.

 

Avery’s voice, calm and unnervingly soft, sliced through the tension. “I’d like to play,” he said, his tone so composed that it sent shivers down William’s spine. The former predator now felt like prey, small and insignificant under Avery’s cold gaze. He had always enjoyed playing the tormentor, but faced with Avery, he felt powerless, like he could be devoured at any moment.

 

Avery turned away, reached for a knife from the kitchen counter, and then pulled another chair to sit directly in front of William. As he did, beads of sweat began to trickle down William’s face.

 

“Why are you doing this? Did I do something to get on your bad side?” William stammered, his voice trembling as his sweat soaked the ridiculous maid outfit.

 

“I’m sure your past victims asked you the same question,” he replied. He twirled the knife in his hand, feeling its weight, then slashed it through the air, stopping just short of William’s forehead and slicing a few strands of hair. “It seems you’ve been playing outside the bounds of the organization’s rules. You know they don’t tolerate rogue actions, right?”

 

William’s face contorted with fear. “What does it matter to you? You’re just an Artist like me, not a Cleaner,” he protested, trying to find some footing in the conversation.

 

“Cleaner or not, it’s my job to clean up vile pigs like you,” Avery said.

 

“This is against the organization’s rules,” William insisted.

 

Avery sighed, exasperation clear in his voice. “What are you gonna do about it? How bold of you to invoke the rules, considering you’ve been breaking them yourself.” He leaned forward, his eyes boring into William’s. “Anyway, I’m going to show you a trick. You like tricks, don’t you? Here’s how it works: if you don’t answer my questions correctly, you lose a finger.”

 

William’s eyes widened in terror. He nodded rapidly, understanding that his life now hinged on his compliance.

 

“First question,” Avery began, leaning back slightly. “How did we meet?”

 

“What?” William blurted out, caught off guard by the unexpected question. Before he could process it, Avery’s knife flashed through the air. William watched in horror as one of his fingers flew from his hand, landing with a dull thud on the kitchen floor. He screamed in pain and horror.

 

“Ta-da,” Avery said dryly. “One of your fingers is gone. Remember, I’m the one asking the questions here. You just need to answer.”

 

“Please,” William whimpered, tears streaming down his face. “I’ll answer anything. Just don’t cut off any more fingers.”

 

“You liked showing tricks, right? Think of this as your turn. And remember, no clown should be crying. Smile,” he added, mocking the sadistic pleasure William had taken in tormenting his victims. “Now, let’s try again, shall we?”

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