Torkelsen had found Sam rather easy. There had been no real challenge. Sam had been an old man, but his daughters weren’t so old. Or so dottering.
Hell. Three of them had been the reason he had ended up in prison. They had testified against him in the assault case. Now, they would pay. One by one, he would find them in this city and he would kill them.
But right now, he was rigging Saul Harding’s home. Good ol’ Saul. Always there until you needed an alibi. Then he waffled before a jury. After this, it was Stanwyk. Then Franklyn. And Jones.
He wanted to savor the hunt for the Harvey girls. And the other women who had pointed fingers. Damn sluts. Always willing until they needed something. Then they started litigation. And internal investigations.
He continued to rationalize and justify as he set the timer. He had to finish this job before focusing on the others. He cursed himself for being so slow. He should have had this done an hour ago. And he would have if he hadn’t have messed up that last leader.
Saul knew something was amiss when he saw the utility truck sitting in front of his house. He wasn’t expecting company, least of all a utility worker. Whoever it was had broken into his home. Who knew what the man was doing now.
He turned into the front walk three houses away. Walking to the front door, he knocked. A young woman answered. He showed her his badge.
“Can I come in?” He inquired. “It is an emergency and I need to use your phone. I dare not stand out here in plain sight.”
“Sure,” came the reply. She opened her door and he entered.
He looked at her. “Where’s your phone?”
He nodded. “Thank you.” He dialed his wife’s cell first. She was still at work. She answered. “Honey, I can’t explain right now, but do not come home tonight. No, I am not cheating on you. Just trust me and do not come home. I won’t be there either. No, just trust me. I fear for our lives.”
He hung up after she promised to pick up the kids and head for her mother’s. Not usually amicable with the idea, he was relieved this time. But he had made her promise not to pick up any clothes from the house and hoped that his strange request was enough to set off the alarm in her head.
He dialed Detective Michael Sherman’s desk. He began shakily when Michael picked up. “I-I think it’s started, Mike. Yes. A utility truck. Unmarked. Unrequested. Yes. No, I didn’t go to check it out. I am not going anywhere near that house and I hope my wife listens and does as I asked her to. Sometimes, she can be so stubborn. Especially when she thinks I might be hiding something.”
He squirmed a bit as he listened to what Michael had to say. “Yes, I will have the neighbors abandon the whole block. You’re right. No telling what he has up his sleeve.”
He watched until the utility truck vanished down the street far enough where he could not be seen leaving his hiding place. He emerged, going from house to house evacuating the whole block. And, true to form, as he got back to the driveway of his own home, his wife drove up. She got out of the SUV.
“What the hell are you doing here?” He demanded. “I begged you to go to your mother’s.”
She stared at him angrily. “And where are you going to go? Your girlfriend’s?”
He glared back at her. “I don’t have a girlfriend. Hell. I am trying to save your fucking life and all you want to do is stand here and accuse me.”
She was still on the fight. “How do you know you are trying to save my life?”
He struggled to keep his cool. “Did you call in utilities to do any work?”
She stopped short and got pale. “No. You?”
He shook his head. “No. When I rounded the corner, I saw a utilities truck pulled up in our drive. I knew I hadn’t called for any work to be done, and had locked the door. Since there wasn’t any workman outside, I knew he had to be inside. So I slipped into the house at the end of the block and called you to get you to go where it was safe. I was coming to meet you as soon as the police were through with me. Now get going. Before something happens.”
She looked sheepishly over at him. “I’m scared, baby.”
He hugged her and urged her gently back to the SUV. “I know. Me too.”
She got back in and drove away. He hoped he would get to see her after this. Hell. He hoped that he would survive it.
Michael had Reilly rush Saul into hiding. He would join the others who waited to testify against Torkelsen. Knowing the new targets, Michael had pulled several fresh cadets from the academy to help round up and hide the targets. All would be whisked away and hidden from the killer’s view. Michael knew that Torkelsen would blow a gasket when he found out that most of the women he was going after were now dead.
Two of Sam’s three daughters had died during Katrina. The third had moved and then committed suicide. Most of the others had fallen into deep depressions and then done the same thing. Only about three were still alive, but nowhere in the state. And he doubted that Torkelsen would take his war outside Louisiana. Just didn’t sound like the mad genius.
The loss of his female targets could possibly push him to start picking innocent targets. Michael knew this. And that was something the police didn’t need. But, then, they didn’t need this little war either. Men with vendettas were vile creatures.
Now, though, he waited for Brownell and his crew. And the new dummy robot that would open the door and take the brunt of the explosion. God, but he was getting sick of explosions! When would it ever end?