Three more explosions rocked New Orleans. Not one victim was lucky enough to escape. Nor was Michael’s team fast enough to save anyone. Torkelsen was evidently enraged by his failure.
No doubt, he had revisited the other scenes and found something that had added fuel to that rage. Either that, or he had merely stepped up his attacks. Either way, Michael knew they were running out of time. Sooner or later, the madman would begin attacking the officers who’d helped bring him down. The women who’d testified against him. The male officers who’d arrested him. The Commissioner. The Chief.
Hell. Even the judge over the case was not safe. or those who’d served on both the Grand Jury or the criminal court jury. Michael knew, from the files, that Torkelsen had served some time.
Worse, he was beginning to learn what sort of nightmare they were now dealing with. The military had finally released Torkelsen’s file to them. So had the CIA and NSA. The FBI, it seemed, also had a file on him that resumed from just after his dishonorable discharge to after he had joined the force. Time the Commissioner had not been allowed proper information to assess him with.
Seemed the madman was trained in more than just explosives. Hell. He was a one-man terrorist organization. He needed no help. He knew every terror method in the world. Every method of killing.
The only thing he was not good at, from all the files, was hand-to-hand. He was a genius with any weapon, except his own two hands. He knew stealth. How to break into a house or business without detection. How to disarm any security alarm. And how to blow up anything.
He had gone into arms dealing and smuggling right out of the service. Someone had given him his first assignment, then ended up disappearing shortly after he had proven successful. He had easily usurped control of the whole business in no time. With smuggling came contraband and many other illegal activities. And he had found that he needed a way to hide his activities.
So he had joined the New Orleans police. There, he laid low for a while. Until he got himself into trouble with sexual harassment and assault. And prison time.
Michael put his head in his hands. Dear God! The government had released a monster! And now he had to bring that monster down. He only hoped he could somehow outwit Torkelsen.
Sam Harvey put his key into the lock on his door. Turning the knob, he never knew what hit him. Everything exploded into billions of shimmering pieces around him and he was lifted twenty feet in the air and thrown a hundred feet from his property. What hadn’t been severely burned had been shredded by shrapnel. But Sam didn’t feel it. The concussion from the blast had already killed him.
The windows had been blown out of the houses nearest to the blast, and the houses themselves had caught fire. Devastation had been nearly complete. Yet, none of the houses where Sam had lived were occupied. Some had even been condemned. Drug labs. Abandoned and neglected residences that had stood empty since Katrina. Only drug dealers, the street dealers, ever used them. And that had been infrequent.
Now, nobody would use them. No one was there to watch them burn to the ground. No one was there to hear the wail of the sirens as firetrucks and police vehicles arrived. Or when utilities shut off all service to that area.
Michael was the first to arrive. He was the one who discovered Sam’s body. The old man had been harmless. As far as Michael knew, he’d had no connection to Torkelsen.
Was Torkelsen beginning to just pick people at random? Or had there been a reason? He took out his cell phone and dialed the police records office. “Yes. Darby? I need you to look up something. Yes. Look up any file concerning anyone with the last name of Harvey. Yes. We just found old Sam Harvey. Yes. Amazingly, he is still in one piece, but very much dead. Thank you.”
He hit the end button on his phone and put it back in its case. This was getting to be as bad as the case concerning his Jane Doe. The only difference was that he actually knew that Torkelsen was behind these explosions. He didn’t know, yet, who was behind the disappearances and murders of those men.
What had him frustrated was that they were unable to stop Torkelsen. Even though they knew who he was, they couldn’t catch him. He was always just one step ahead of them. It was almost as if he was mocking them.
Justin appeared at his side. “Mark my words, mon ami. He gon’ make a mistake soon. Den, if’n he ain’t dead, he will git nabbed.”
Michael looked over at his friend. “I sure hope you’re right, Justin. We can’t last long if he doesn’t. Either he will run out of people, or we’ll run out of city.”
Justin smiled. “Of course I be right, Cajuns’re never wrong ’bout dere gut feelin’s. We al’ays catch our man. Or woman.”
Michale chuckled. “And you’re never humble either, are you?”
Justin shook his head. “Non. Nevah.” he burst out laughing.
Reilly came over to where the two detectives stood. “As far as we can tell, the knob was the trigger device. Apparently, the house was full of gas and the explosive used as the catalyst is an unknown at the present.”
Michael was still looking at Sam’s body. “At least until the M.E. can dig the shrapnel out of poor Sam.” He looked up at the trees. “Check the surrounding trees for shrapnel.”
Reilly and Justin, both, headed for the nearest tree to them. Justin knew that he would be looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. So did Reilly. They were joined by Danforth and Michael.
“Remember,” Michael was saying, “look for anything metallic and glistening. Nothing rusty or looks like it has been there for a while.”