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Second Chance Slaughter

17

Chapter 17: Observe

4

 

Deputy Sheriff Jenkins was breathless as he approached the Sheriff’s office. Sheriff Davis, still in her swivel chair, had been on the verge of dozing off when Jenkins’s urgent shout jolted her awake.

 

“Sheriff!” he called.

 

Sheriff Davis blinked, disoriented. For a moment, she was caught between the remnants of her dream and the reality before her.

 

She rubbed her eyes and straightened in her chair, trying to shake off the lingering haze of sleep. “What?” she snapped.

 

Jenkins hurried over, fumbling with a folder in his hands. “We received another package,” he gasped, thrusting the folder towards her. “Look, it’s just like the ones we got before.”

 

Sheriff Davis frowned as she took the folder, flipping it open to reveal a single sheet of paper marked with the word “Assigned” in bold letters.

 

“This is getting suspicious,” she mutteredt. “What if the person sending these is involved in the disappearances? Did you check for a sender?”

 

Jenkins shook his head, still catching his breath. “No, Sheriff. It was just left at the front desk.”

 

Sheriff Davis sighed, leaning back in her chair. “Maybe we should talk to the main department about installing a CCTV. We need to catch whoever is dropping these off.”

 

She quickly skimmed through the profile attached to the folder, her eyes narrowing as she read the details:

 

Donovan O'Malley- 64 years old- Illegally working as a dentist- Creekside

 

Jenkins asked hesitantly, “Should we arrest Donovan, Sheriff?”

 

Davis glanced up at him, an eyebrow raised. “Why would we arrest him?”

 

Jenkins shuffled awkwardly, clearly trying to find the right words.

 

“We could watch his movements better if we had him in custody. And if he’s illegally practicing as a dentist, we have a valid reason to bring him in, don’t we?”

 

Sheriff Davis leaned back, contemplating. Her fingers tapped rhythmically on the desk, a sure sign she was deep in thought.

 

“And then what?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “Let go of the only lead we have? This could be our chance to catch whoever is behind these disappearances. If we play our cards right, we could solve this and maybe get some recognition from the main department.” She leaned forward, fixing Jenkins with a sharp gaze. “Are you trying to rob me of that opportunity?”

 

Jenkins winced at her tone. “No, Sheriff. I just thought...”

 

 

“Girls, I'll be leaving now. Take care of the place while I'm gone,” said Rose, though most of her coworkers knew her by her alias, Violet.

 

In the world of The Hidden Pearl, anonymity was a shield. Using their real names was a rare occurrence. For women like Rose Thompson, keeping personal and professional lives separate was not just a choice but a necessity.

 

Rose had been part of The Hidden Pearl’s clandestine world for four years.

 

Initially, she had joined as a waitress, serving drinks and clearing tables in the dimly lit establishment. But the allure of quick money had eventually pulled her across a line she once thought she’d never cross.

 

Selling her body had become her reality.

 

The transition was gradual but irreversible. Once she stepped into that role, there was no turning back. Over the years, she had become a favorite among the club's elite clientele, her calendar filled with appointments with powerful men.

 

Currently, she was entangled with the mayor of Willowbrook, who had been captivated by her during a bachelor party. She had appeared from a giant gift box, performing a sultry dance that left the attendees, especially the mayor, spellbound.

 

As she prepared to leave, the other women in the club, her fellow workers, gathered around her with requests.

 

“Violet, don’t forget to bring me that new pair of shoes,” one of them called out, waving a magazine page with a circled item.

 

“And the perfume I wanted—the big bottle,” another chimed in, her eyes gleaming with anticipation.

 

Violet—Rose—smiled indulgently, nodding at each request. To her, these demands were minor. After all, she would be spending the mayor’s money, which, in truth, came from the taxes of Willowbrook’s citizens.

 

“Are you sure that’s all?” Violet teased, her tone light, as if challenging them to ask for more.

 

“That’s all for now,” one of them replied with a playful grin.

 

As the door closed behind Violet, the laughter and chatter of The Hidden Pearl faded. Avery watched from a distance. She was the perfect pawn in his plan against the Siren Song.

 

Violet’s involvement with the mayor made her an ideal target. With her as his escort, the mayor would make sure that she will be under constant surveillance, her every move closely guarded. The Siren Song, would find it nearly impossible to get close to her.

 

For Avery, this was a win. He needed time to observe and strategize, to keep an eye on Lacuna and the actions of Sheriff Davis.

 

Avery wanted to make sure that Sheriff Davis is ambitious enough. That she will prioritize the larger, more complex cases over the smaller, more immediate ones like those involving illegal trade. He hoped that ambition would drive her to take on the bigger fish, giving him the space he needed to maneuver.

 

 

After watching Violet’s car pull away from the brothel, Avery swung onto his bike and pedaled in the opposite direction. He had a new destination: Creekside. His plan was simple—observe the area, ensure Donovan's safety, and keep Lacuna in his sights.

 

Intervention would come only if absolutely necessary.

 

As Avery rode through the city, the wind rushed past him. The rhythmic hum of the bike’s tires on the pavement was almost meditative. After a few minutes, he arrived at an old, vacant house, its windows boarded up and its paint peeling. He stashed his bike in the overgrown backyard, ensuring it was well-hidden before continuing on foot.

 

He navigated the streets with the skill of a seasoned scout. When he was in view of others, he moved with the casual gait of an ordinary passerby. But when the streets were empty, he slipped into the shadows, his steps quick and silent.

 

Finally, Avery reached his vantage point—a discreet spot with a clear line of sight to the area where he expected the encounter. Lacuna was already there, leaning casually against a lamp post, pretending to check his phone but scanning the area with subtle, darting glances.

 

Lacuna had been tailing Donovan for the past two days, familiarizing himself with his target’s patterns. He knew that Donovan would soon pass through this area on his usual route.

 

This interaction was crucial. It had to seem natural, incidental. Any hint of premeditation could tip off Donovan.

 

Lacuna spotted Donovan coming from a distance. He straightened up, putting his phone in his ear although he wasn’t talking to anyone in particular. He began walking toward Donovan, his demeanor casual. He pretended to be engrossed in a conversation. As they drew closer, Lacuna feigned a lack of awareness of his surroundings.

 

Their paths crossed with a calculated inevitability. Lacuna deliberately bumped into Donovan, the impact causing him to stumble back dramatically, clutching his cheek as if he had been struck.

 

“Ouch!” Lacuna yelped, grimacing in exaggerated pain. He held his cheek, wincing as though he’d just been punched.

 

“Oh no, I’m so sorry!” Donovan exclaimed, genuinely startled by the collision. He reached out instinctively, concern etched across his face. “Are you okay?”

 

Lacuna continued to squirm on the ground, clutching his cheek as if in agonizing pain. He maintained the act, ignoring Donovan’s concerned questions. For a few moments, he remained squatted, his expression a mask of discomfort.

 

Donovan hovered over him, his face etched with genuine worry, trying to offer comfort.

 

After a while, Lacuna let out a deep breath, acting as though the pain was finally subsiding. He gently opened and closed his mouth, still cradling his jaw. “Sorry about that,” he murmured, wincing slightly. “I’ve had this awful dental pain since yesterday. Tried to see my dentist, but she’s on vacation. I guess I’ll have to wait until next week unless it gets worse.”

 

Donovan’s eyes lit up with a mixture of sympathy and opportunity.

 

“Oh, what a coincidence! I’m a dentist myself. I’d be happy to take a look at it for you. No charge for the checkup, of course. Though, if you need any procedures, I might have to charge a bit.”

 

Lacuna’s expression shifted from pain to surprise, though the amusement in his eyes was barely concealed. “Are you really a dentist? What luck!” He chuckled, making a show of disbelief. “It’s almost like I was meant to bump into you.”

 

“Perhaps you were,” Donovan replied, laughing warmly. “Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways.”

 

To anyone watching from a distance, the two men might have looked like old friends catching up after a long absence. Their conversation flowed with an ease that belied the sinister undercurrents running beneath it. On the surface, it was just a dentist offering help to a stranger. In reality, it was a dance of deception—Donovan, an unlicensed practitioner looking to make a quick buck, and Lacuna, a predator planning his next move.

 

Not too far away, Sheriff Davis and Deputy Sheriff Jenkins watched the exchange. They were dressed in casual clothes to blend in, avoiding any actions that might alert their target. Jenkins snapped a few photos with a small camera, capturing the seemingly innocuous encounter.

 

“Nothing suspicious so far,” Jenkins muttered, lowering the camera. He glanced at Davis, who was also observing through binoculars.

 

Sheriff Davis nodded, her eyes narrowing slightly as she watched Donovan and Lacuna. “It’s just an innocent conversation,” she agreed.

 

Unaware of the scrutiny, Donovan continued to chat with Lacuna, oblivious to the danger standing before him. “If you want, I can give you my address. You can drop by whenever it’s convenient,” Donovan offered, pulling out a notepad and pen.

 

Lacuna smiled, the corners of his mouth curling into a predatory grin as he took the offered paper. “That sounds perfect. I’ll definitely take you up on that.”

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