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Second Chance Slaughter

7

Chapter 7- Sheriff Davis

22

 

 

Manju had a death wish, and Avery had just fulfilled it. The deed was done, but it left an unsettling residue.

 

As an assassin, Avery had been trained to sever his emotions from his work, but this first kill in this modern world was different. It gnawed at something deep inside him, touching a nerve that made him confront a part of himself he wasn’t prepared to face.

 

But dwelling on it wouldn’t change anything.

 

Avery shook off the thought, his mind sharpening back to the task at hand. He needed to return to that location. Once the Cleaner caught wind of what had happened to their pawn, they’d inevitably come to investigate. And that would be Avery’s window—his chance to gather more intel on this whole mess.

 

For a moment, he considered paying a visit to Theodore. The idea was tempting, but he dismissed it almost immediately.

 

Theodore had seen through his disguise, and unlike Manju, Theodore was a chameleon in society. Tangling with him now would only complicate things further. Avery didn’t need that kind of heat, especially with so many eyes already watching.

 

So, he settled on the next best thing: staying in the shadows and observing. He’d watch how these so-called cleaners reacted to the demise of their ally. How they moved, how they handled the situation—every detail could be a clue.

 

While he waited, Avery had to plan his next move. He couldn’t just sit idly by and hope for the best.

 

The folder he’d snatched from Manju’s hideout was a goldmine of information. It held secrets that could turn the tide. Sending it to the local sheriff’s office anonymously seemed like the best play.

 

It would stir the pot without implicating him directly, keeping his hands clean while still pushing the game forward.

 

 

“Damn it,” Emily Davis muttered under her breath.

 

Being stuck in Willowbrook felt like a punishment worse than her demotion. Every day, she regretted that one fatal mistake—the slip-up that had cost her everything.

 

If only she’d gathered the right evidence, nailed the perpetrator, and delivered the case with a neat little bow. Instead, she’d been banished to this backwater province.

 

Emily kicked a pebble down the cracked sidewalk, watching it skitter away into the shadows.

 

Willowbrook. The name itself sounded like something out of a sleepy, forgotten storybook. Yet, beneath its quaint exterior, there was a place that kept her awake at night: Third Street.

 

Rumor had it that the area was a hotbed for all things illegal—drugs, smuggling, maybe even something worse. But you couldn’t just stroll in and bust the place wide open. She knew that all too well.

 

She had tried once, leading a team to sweep through Third Street with the fire in her eyes. But the local law enforcement had blocked her, citing jurisdictional nonsense and bureaucratic red tape.

 

It had been humiliating, standing there, fists clenched, as her authority was undermined in front of everyone.

 

"Dammit, dammit, dammit!” Emily Davis grumbled, yanking a hair tie from her pocket. She swept her shoulder-length hair back into a ponytail as she kicked open the door to her tiny office. “How am I supposed to get reassigned to the city when all the cases here are barely crimes?” she muttered to herself.

 

Neighborhood squabbles, DUIs, and the occasional missing pet—none of it was the kind of high-stakes drama that would get her noticed by her superiors. The sheer pettiness of it all drove her nuts.

 

She dropped into her swivel chair with a huff, the frustration rolling off her in waves.

 

Rubbing her temples, she felt the beginnings of a headache pulsing behind her eyes.

 

"Twig!” she called out, her voice echoed through the small station.

 

A moment later, Deputy Randall Jenkins shuffled into view.

 

At 5'6" and impossibly skinny, he looked like a strong breeze could knock him over. The nickname "Twig" had stuck, and Emily wasn’t even sure if he remembered his real name anymore.

 

“Here, Sheriff,” Twig said, his thin frame practically vibrating with eagerness.

 

Emily squinted at him, feeling her headache throb in time with his cheerful energy.

 

“Any news?” she asked, hoping against hope that something—anything—interesting had happened overnight. She needed a break from the endless monotony.

 

“None, Sheriff. Everything is as peaceful as ever!” Twig’s face lit up with pride, clearly pleased with their town’s unblemished record of tranquility.

 

Emily sighed deeply, her frustration mounting.

 

“Of course it is,” she muttered under her breath. She gave Twig a look that could wither flowers. “Get out,” she ordered, waving him away.

 

Twig blinked, his smile faltering slightly. “Right away, Sheriff,” he said, backing out of the room quickly.

 

Deputy Jenkins was halfway out the door when he stopped in his tracks, a sudden thought lighting up his face. “Oh! Sheriff, I almost forgot. There’s a package for you on your desk.”

 

Emily blinked, then turned her gaze to her cluttered desk. Amidst the chaos of paperwork and coffee stains, a neatly placed folder stood out like a beacon. How had she missed that? She reached for it, curiosity piqued.

 

The folder was slim but heavy. Flipping it open, Emily found herself staring at a series of papers detailing profiles of various individuals—all connected to Third Street.

 

She couldn’t help but sigh. Who on earth had sent this? Is it an anonymous tip? And more importantly, why hadn't they included any solid evidence to go with it?

 

As she sifted through the profiles, she noticed five of them bore a distinct mark—a red star scrawled in the corner.

 

One name in particular made her heart skip a beat: Jimmy Malone, also known as “The Shark.”

 

Emily’s eyes widened as she recognized the face. Malone was the same slippery criminal she’d been hot on the trail. She had been so close to uncovering his illicit dealings when the higher-ups pulled the plug on her investigation.

 

Emily frowned.

 

“Why are these five marked as ‘assigned’?” she muttered to herself, chewing on her lower lip. She couldn’t make sense of it, and the more she stared at the papers, the more questions bubbled up. Frustrated, she slapped the folder shut and shouted, “Twig!”

 

In seconds, Deputy Jenkins appeared at her door, practically bouncing on his toes. “Yes, Sheriff?”

 

“We’re heading out. Now,” Emily declared, grabbing her jacket from the back of her chair.

 

“Where to, Sheriff?” Twig asked.

 

“To Third Street,” Emily said.

 

“But the law enforcement—” Twig began, his expression turning nervous.

 

“Ah, shut up,” Emily cut him off, already striding towards the door. “This is my town, and no one tells me where I can or can’t go.”

 

Twig hesitated for a moment, then snapped to attention. “Yes, Sheriff,” he replied.

 

 

Midnight had come and gone, yet the lights in the County Sheriff’s Office burned brightly.

 

Tonight was different from the past uneventful evenings in Willowbrook. The dimly lit office buzzed with activity as shadows flickered against the walls, two figures hunched over a cluttered desk, sorting through piles of papers and files.

 

Sheriff Emily Davis rubbed her eyes, fatigue tugging at her, but the adrenaline of a breakthrough kept her going.

 

Deputy Jenkins—Twig—looked equally determined, his thin frame lost in the oversized office chair. They had spent hours poring over the profiles from the mysterious folder, and the pieces of the puzzle were starting to fall into place.

 

Of the five marked profiles, only one person had been found: Billy Johnson, a beggar from Third Street. The other four were missing, their names standing out starkly on the list:

  • Tony Romano, 36 – a notorious pimp
  • Red Jones, 42 – a dealer of all things illegal
  • Jimmy Malone, 38 – the drug dealer known as “The Shark”
  • Jill Miller, 32 – a local prostitute

“This can’t be a coincidence,” Emily muttered under her breath, tapping her fingers on the table in a rapid rhythm. She straightened up and called out, “Twig!”

 

“Yes, Sheriff!” Deputy Jenkins jumped to his feet, nearly spilling the stack of papers he was holding.

 

“Have you found what I asked for?” Emily’s eyes were sharp.

 

“Yes, Sheriff,” Twig replied, setting the papers down with a careful precision. “I looked into the records. We didn’t get many complaints from Third Street back then. But…” He hesitated, flipping through the documents until he found the right one. “There are three reports of missing persons from over ten years ago.”

 

Emily leaned forward, her interest piqued. “Similar cases from a decade ago? What do we know about them?”

 

Twig laid out the reports on the table, his brow furrowed in concentration.

 

“It’s hard to say for sure. Given it’s Third Street, people disappearing isn’t unusual. They might be hiding to dodge their illegal dealings or fleeing from loan sharks.”

 

Emily scanned the reports, “But the timing is too perfect. These disappearances…” she trailed off, her mind racing.

 

 

A crowd had gathered outside Manju’s hideout, buzzing with morbid curiosity.

 

Word had spread quickly: Manju was dead. One of his men had made the grim discovery just a short while ago.

 

Normally, no one dared enter Manju’s office without permission—it was a surefire way to get on his bad side. But when Manju hadn’t shown his face for an entire day, one of his men had reluctantly decided to check on him. By the time they found his lifeless body, it was already midnight.

 

Among the throng, Avery blended in seamlessly. He moved through the crowd like a shadow, his senses on high alert.

 

He wasn’t just here to gawk; he was here to gather intel. Every detail mattered. He was scanning for anything—anyone—that might give him a lead on the cleaner.

 

The people around him whispered in hushed tones, speculating on who could have taken out the notorious Manju. As Manju’s men carried his body to a waiting vehicle, their faces stony and grim, it was clear they had no intention of calling the police. In this part of town, deaths and murders were just another day’s occurrence. Involving the authorities would only bring more trouble to their already chaotic world.

 

Avery’s attention was drawn to a figure on the periphery of the crowd—a man who stood out like a sore thumb. Unlike the others, who wore the weary, hardened look of the streets, this man was oddly out of place. He wasn’t trying to blend in; in fact, he seemed to be deliberately announcing his presence. His gaze was steady, and he carried himself with an air of authority.

 

The stranger approached Manju’s men, raising a hand to stop them. They obeyed without question, laying Manju’s body on the ground and pulling back the bloodstained cloth that covered him. The man examined the scene with a detached calm, his eyes lingering on the ballpoint pen lodged in Manju’s neck. After a moment, he nodded to himself and covered the corpse again.

 

Standing up, the man scanned the crowd, his eyes cold. When his gaze fell on Avery, there was a brief, tense moment. Avery didn’t flinch. He maintained his cover, staying as inconspicuous as possible despite the piercing scrutiny. The stranger’s eyes lingered on him for a heartbeat longer before moving on.

 

As the man turned and walked away, Avery knew he couldn’t let this lead slip away. Keeping his distance, he slipped into the shadows and followed.

 

The night was far from over, and whatever game was afoot, Avery intended to stay one step ahead.

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