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Second Chance Slaughter

14

Chapter 14: Lullaby

 

 

“You told me before that you owed me one. Is this how you repay the people who’ve done good deeds for you?” William’s voice trembled.

 

William’s eyes were wide with a mix of fear and confusion. The predator in front of him—the person he once knew as Avery—seemed so familiar, yet so frighteningly different.

 

“Me?” Avery’s tone was cold, detached.

 

“You told me you needed to join this organization because you were searching for someone,” William continued “You said you’d do anything to become a member of the Night Gallery.”

 

Avery’s eyes narrowed.

 

“Who am I looking for?”

 

William's voice wavered as he explained, “You said... the person who killed your mom was a member of the Night Gallery. You wanted revenge. I thought... I thought it was an interesting story, so I introduced you to the Cleaner. I don’t understand why you’re doing this to me now.”

 

Avery’s mind spun. He had seen in this body’s memory that his mom died in a car accident. But now, this revelation was unraveling a deeper, darker narrative he hadn’t known existed. Could it be that the original owner of this body—was on a quest for vengeance?

 

He sighed. The normal life he had been striving for seemed to drift further away with each revelation. The peaceful, everyday existence he dreamed of was slipping from his grasp, replaced by a complex web of secrets.

 

“Who was the person I was looking for?” Avery demanded.

 

“How should I know?” William shot back. “You were the one investigating your mom's death!”

 

Avery clenched his fists, frustration bubbling within him. He was seeking answers, but all he found were more questions.

 

This journey was becoming more convoluted with every step. He took a deep breath, trying to calm the storm inside him, and stood up from his chair.

 

William noticed the shift in Avery’s demeanor, a flicker of something dark and unyielding in his eyes. Sensing an opportunity, he spoke, trying to mask his fear with arrogance.

 

“If we’re done here, you should release me. I’ll overlook what you did earlier.” He glanced at his mangled finger. Fighting Avery head-on was out of the question. William’s power lay in trickery, in luring his victims into a false sense of security.

 

“Let go?” Avery’s voice was a chilling echo, as if the words themselves carried a weight that could crush mountains.

 

“Hmm?” William’s bravado wavered.

 

“Do you recall the thirteen-year-old boy you killed last Cycle?” Avery’s smile was a brittle mask, barely concealing the storm of fury brewing beneath.

 

William’s eyes lit up with a twisted pride.

 

“Oh, that one! Didn’t think you’d be interested.” He leaned back, as if savoring a fond memory. “That little devil. I told him I’d pay him to help with some work at my house. His family was dirt poor, so he didn’t hesitate to agree. I drugged his juice, and when he fell asleep, I...” His voice trailed off as he noticed the glint of metal in Avery’s hand. Before he could react, a knife plunged into his leg.

 

“You don’t deserve to breathe the same air as I do,” Avery hissed.

 

William gasped, eyes wide with pain and disbelief, as Avery slowly pulled the knife out. The blade, long and cruel, had pierced clean through. He screamed, a raw, primal sound that echoed through the house.

 

“Try to stay alive for as long as you can,” Avery said. “Your screams will serve as a lullaby to the souls of your victims.”

 

William’s cries reverberated off the walls, growing weaker with each passing moment. The sound was a macabre symphony, a requiem for the innocent lives he had destroyed.

 

As the final screams faded into a haunting silence, the oppressive aura of the house seemed to lift, replaced by a fragile sense of peace.

 

Avery stood amidst the eerie quiet, contemplating the release of the tortured souls that had been trapped here. He wanted to honor their memory, to light a candle for them. But lacking one, he pulled out a cigarette, lighting it with a flick of his wrist.

 

He took a long drag, exhaling a plume of smoke that spiraled into the air, like spirits finally finding their way to freedom. The cigarette, stained with William’s blood, turned Avery’s stomach. He frowned in disgust, flicking it away and crushing it under his boot, as if obliterating even the slightest trace of William’s existence.

 

He stood there for a moment, his mind drifting back to the revelations William had unveiled.

 

“This is getting more complicated,” Avery muttered to himself.

 

Avery pulled out his phone and dialed Slick’s number.

 

“Slick, did you send the location details to Sheriff Davis?” he asked.

 

“Yeah, Boss. She and Deputy Jenkins should be there in about 20 minutes. You need to get out of there,” Slick’s voice crackled through the line.

 

“Understood. I just have one last thing to do,” Avery replied.

 

He ended the call and made his way outside, where he found a heavy sledgehammer leaning against the shed. Gripping it firmly, he returned to the kitchen, his footsteps echoing ominously in the quiet house. With a deep breath, he raised the hammer and brought it crashing down onto the wooden floor.

 

Thud.

 

The impact reverberated through the room. He struck again and again, each blow splintering the floorboards until the dirt beneath was exposed. Amid the debris, a piece of cloth peeked out from the disturbed earth.

 

Avery’s heart tightened. William hadn’t even bothered to bury his victim properly. The smell of decay, faint but unmistakable, hung in the air.

 

Avery knelt and pulled at the cloth, revealing a shallow grave. The sight made his stomach churn. William had treated his victims like garbage, barely concealed beneath a thin layer of soil. Avery’s brow furrowed in anger and sorrow.

 

How many more monsters like William were out there, hiding behind the organization's protection, free to prey on the innocent?

 

He wasn’t a paragon of virtue himself. Avery had killed many in his past, but in his mind, his targets had always deserved their fate. They were the worst of the worst, scum that polluted society.

 

As he looked at the pitiful corpse before him, curled up with hands still bound, a profound sadness washed over him. This child, this innocent, had never stood a chance.

 

Gently, Avery reached down and untied the small hands, his touch soft and respectful. It was a simple act, but in that moment, it felt like a way to restore a fragment of dignity to the young life that had been cruelly snuffed out.

 

He stood up, looking around the dimly lit kitchen one last time, before stepping back into the night.

 

The Next Morning...

“Boss! I’ve installed the voice-changing app on your phone,” Twitch exclaimed, barely able to contain his excitement. “Give it a try! I’ve tweaked it so you’ll sound exactly like the previous owner of that phone.”

 

Avery nodded. “Good job, Twitch.”

 

The warehouse had seen some upgrades lately. Gone were the days of uncomfortable crates and rickety chairs. Now, they had a plush sofa and a decent TV set. The ragtag group even had an unlimited supply of coffee, a luxury that was as good as gold in their line of work.

 

Avery settled into the sofa, eyes glued to the television. The morning news played in the background, but he was waiting for something specific. And then it happened.

 

Breaking News

 

The screen flashed red, and a stern-faced anchor appeared, speaking with a grave tone.

 

“A suspected serial killer was found dead in his own home last night, the victim of an unknown assailant. Police discovered fake badges, a pistol, Valium, and other items believed to have been used by William Hansen to subdue and torture his victims. They also found an unconscious college student in Hansen’s bathroom and the mutilated body of William Hansen in the kitchen. Authorities suspect that the remains of at least thirty unidentified victims are buried in the crawl space beneath his home.”

 

The scene cut to a live interview with Sheriff Davis

 

 

“Don’t you think my face has a great profile on TV? I think I look pretty good in this shot!” Sheriff Davis admired her reflection on the screen, striking a pose that mirrored her recent television interview.

 

Her grin was wide and infectious, brimming with the satisfaction of being at the center of a high-profile case.

 

For the first time in a long while, she felt like she was the star of the show. Even though, in reality, she’d just arrived on the scene after everything had already unfolded, she couldn’t help but bask in the moment. She let out a carefree laugh, the sound echoing through the small office.

 

Deputy Jenkins, who was standing nearby, watched her with a mixture of amusement and relief. It wasn’t often that Sheriff Davis was in such a buoyant mood. He couldn't remember the last time she seemed this pleased with herself.

 

“Maybe I’ll be reassigned to the city soon,” she mused. “Twig, you’d better get ready to take over my duties. I’ve got a feeling I won’t be here much longer.”

 

“Yes, Sheriff!” Jenkins replied with a playful salute. Just then, Jenkins remembered something. “Oh, Sheriff! I almost forgot. There’s another package for you.”

 

He hurried out of the room and returned moments later with a folder in hand. Davis raised an eyebrow, curiosity piqued.

 

“Who sent this?” she asked, taking the folder from Jenkins.

 

“I have no idea, Sheriff. It was already on my desk when I got in this morning,” Jenkins shrugged.

 

Davis slowly opened the folder, her eyes scanning the contents. Inside, she found a series of profiles, each marked with a bold red “ASSIGNED” stamp.

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