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Second Chance Slaughter


Chapter 19: Who Cares


"Are you sure this is Ezra Creed?" Sheriff Davis asked Emily Peabody once more.


Emily, looking thoroughly confused, nodded hesitantly.


"Yes? Why?" she asked, her brow furrowing. “Did this person...” Realization dawned on her face, her eyes widening in shock.


"We’re not sure yet, but he remains on our list of suspects,” Sheriff Davis replied. “We’ll update you as soon as we finalize the investigation." he stood up, eager to leave the house after the discovery. "In the meantime, be sure to contact us if this Ezra Creed reaches out to you."


"I will," Emily promised.


As Sheriff Davis and Deputy Jenkins exited the house, they heard the distinct click of a locking mechanism behind them. The two officers headed to their vehicle.


"How long do you think it will take before the search warrant is released?" Sheriff Davis asked, sliding into the driver's seat.


Jenkins sighed, running a hand through his hair. "All we have right now are circumstantial evidence. We can’t exactly tell them we’re acting on anonymous tips. That won’t hold up in court. So, it might take a couple of days."


"Damn it, we don’t have that kind of time," Davis muttered.


"But Sheriff," Jenkins interjected, "shouldn't we be protecting Donovan O'Malley? He’s the target of this Ezra Creed or whoever he is."


"What we should be doing is gathering enough evidence to put this lunatic behind bars," Sheriff Davis snapped, her frustration boiling over. "If that means Donatello gets caught in the crossfire, then so be it. One less illegal trader on the streets."


"It’s Donovan, Sheriff," Jenkins corrected gently.


"Who cares," she huffed, dismissing his correction.



Unbeknownst to them, Avery was watching Donovan night and day. He had no interest in observing Lacuna; he had no plans to kill him. He needed Lacuna alive and interrogated by Sheriff Davis, hoping Lacuna might divulge the existence of the Night Gallery.


However, Avery might have misjudged the insurmountable ambition of Sheriff Davis. She was more focused on pursuing the suspect than protecting the target. Donovan was out in the open, and if the killer was even a fraction as skilled as Avery, Donovan could easily be taken out.


Lacuna loved toying with his targets. In the past couple of days, there had been two interactions between him and Donovan. The first interaction was a day after the “accidental” bump. Lacuna, posing as Mr. Arwen, had been invited to Donovan’s office to have his teeth checked.


“Hmm, Mr. Arwen, your teeth seem to be in perfect condition. Do tell me when you feel any pain,” Donovan said, puzzled.


He tapped on each of Lacuna’s molars, observing closely. Lacuna winced, but the reaction seemed slightly delayed. Donovan brushed it aside, noting a possible cause of pain.


“Is it that bad?” Lacuna asked, feigning concern.


“I can't say for certain, but I’ll need an X-ray to get a better perspective on what's causing your discomfort,” Donovan answered.


“Don't you have an X-ray machine here?” Lacuna teased, knowing full well that Donovan was operating illegally. The dismal state of Donovan’s equipment was evident the moment Lacuna entered the so-called dental office.


“Unfortunately, no. You’ll have to get that service elsewhere. Mine is... under repair,” Donovan made an excuse, trying to maintain his composure.


“I see,” Lacuna replied, a hint of amusement in his voice.


Their next encounter happened at a café. Lacuna had learned that this was Donovan’s favorite spot and knew his usual visit times. Lacuna made sure to arrive a few minutes early to avoid suspicion.


Donovan was surprised to see Arwen in line, ordering the same favorite coffee. They ended up sharing a table and talked for hours. For Lacuna, the thrill of engaging with his victim before finally killing and harvesting their heart was exhilarating.


Donovan sipped his coffee, unaware of the danger sitting across from him. Lacuna listened intently, his eyes gleaming with a mix of amusement and predatory focus.


“So, how’s your dental practice going?” Lacuna asked casually.


Donovan shrugged. “It’s been tough, honestly. Keeping everything running smoothly isn’t easy, especially with limited resources.”


Lacuna nodded sympathetically, though his thoughts were far from sympathetic. “I can imagine. But you’re doing great work, helping people.”


Donovan chuckled. “Thanks..”


Tonight felt like any other night. Avery had spent the past few days watching Donovan from the shadows, waiting for Lacuna to make his move. In his past life, Avery's prowess allowed him to observe targets for days without sleep, always waking at the slightest sign of danger. But now, as Avery, the fatigue was starting to wear on him. His eyes felt heavy, his focus waning. He was struggling to stay sharp.


Just as he was about to call it a night, he saw Donovan bolt out of his apartment, a dental carry bag in hand. He hurriedly got into his car, talking animatedly on the phone. From the snippets Avery could hear, he pieced together the situation.


“I’m going, but the charge for a dental emergency is thrice the original price,” Donovan shouted into the phone, pausing to listen. “I get it, Mr. Lucian, I’m on my way. Just make sure you cover the transportation fee too.”


Avery’s eyes narrowed. An emergency dental service call at this hour?


Donovan wasn’t equipped to handle real emergencies, and most of his clients lived nearby. The mention of "Lucian" sent alarm bells ringing.


Lacuna often used that name alongside others when setting up his victims. The modus operandi was all too familiar: days of surveillance followed by an urgent appointment promising a hefty sum of cash.


Avery’s instincts told him Lacuna was finally making his move. Tonight would be the night when everything came to a head.


He planned to follow them but knew he needed Sheriff Davis to intervene. But where was she?

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