His gaze fell upon his reflection in the red pick-up truck’s rearview mirror. Sweat beaded on his dark brow. A pair of bright verdant eyes flickered with each hesitant blink; shifting from the outside world back to the confines of the driver’s seat. Silvered hair with sparse strands of black peppered the man’s scalp. His clean-shaven face was wrinkled with the creases of age and told of a long line of police experience, a veteran—married to no one. . .but the force, and was seeking justice.
He closed his eyes and prepared himself for what was about to unfold. As he opened them, he saw the last of the few on the list wander into the supermarket.
Well, here we go. . .
He wagered a glance at the discarded Middleton Police badge: Roland Johnson. The name was hardly visible anymore, scuffed, scratched, battered, and broken. He grunted as he leaned over to open the glove box. and retrieve his Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum revolver from its resting grounds. He inconspicuously glanced around to make sure no one was watching—save for the possibility of the security cameras, but that didn’t matter. He stepped outside and closed the driver’s door behind him.
There’s no turning back now. You gotta hold it together Roland. It’s just better this way.
He took in a few heavy breaths and adjusted his long sandy brown overcoat. Underneath, his black attire laid hidden (save for his black dress shoes and slacks that peeked out with each step) and the secrets of a plan that no one knew—except for the one piece of paper that was left behind to a friend. He was a good friend and hell of a good cop.
They’ll never understand. . .but I sure hope you do, Dana.
His face was beginning to show the strain of his plan. His sweat became tainted with an uneasiness. It befouled the once good man and began to soak and elaborate the coaxed mask. He fixed his holster under his coat and continued with his stride of redemption and retribution.
He wrinkled his brow under the bright golden eye that loomed up high above. A swift gust of wind of the summer day cut into him, ruffling the short hair of the man. He couldn’t help but glance up at the sky: absolute azure, not a cloud in the sky. It was the last bit of bliss he could afford.
Inside, footsteps paraded about—marching to and from the marketplace. Roland’s eyes watched everyone as he made his way in, with his hands deep in his pockets.
“Hello, sir. Good afternoon.” A quaint voice peeped from the short cotton-tipped elderly woman, as she greeted customers that wandered in, and said goodbye as they left. Her gray eyes hinted with a smile, but under the stress of the wrinkles and the knowledge of how hard the economy was—he didn’t know if it was true or just another piss poor excuse to make a buck. Either way, he gave a nod to the elder, and flashed a brief smile, while hurrying past. She wasn’t his intention, none of the other people were.
The marketplace had sprawled since the last time he’d seen it. The produce had more than doubled, with rows upon rows of fresh fruits and vegetables that formed makeshift barricades.
Just like cattle. Herding all of us. . .
The produce adjoined the deli and bakery, while the back end of the bakery met with the meat and frozen foods departments. The place seemed to measure for hundreds of yards. His eyes lazily drifted off towards the general merchandise side of the store. He shook his head to disregard the notion, and to maintain focus on his objective. His eyes continued to scan around, searching for the few that he had told to meet at the designated location. A group of familiar people all shuffled about the produce section. Some making eye contact with one another, while some were uncertain of the meaning behind this escapade, looking about as to who summoned them all.
There were six in all—save for the unannounced guest of honor. Roland’s eyes recounted each one, his mind pulling the folder for each person.
Charles Deveau, 46, White male, 6′ 4”, 330 lbs. A child predator. Thus far, he has attacked 32 children; both male and female. He has a connection with the police—I have a hunch on who. The pattern as of late has been irregular. He has been on a 4-day hiatus, due to suspicious activity. Detective’s Conway and Deupree have been tracking. It’s too long to wait. He’ll strike again soon. I know it.
Huey Porter, 52, White male, 5′ 9”, 140 lbs. Terminal Lung Cancer. Carries an oxygen tank. Commits small time acts to try and be killed via cop suicide. He has taken out a $500,000 life insurance policy, with the children as beneficiaries. He’s tried everything. I feel for the guy. I’ve been a friend of his for 30 years. I can only help this way.
Terra Lhangley, 36, White female, 5′ 4”, 120 lbs. Chronic nymphomaniac; spreading HIV and AIDS to partners, and never tells them. To date, she has infected over 230 individuals and their partners. Of which, most have taken their lives, committed acts of violence, or further spread the disease.
Michael Stevens, 45, Black male, 6′ 4”, 171 lbs. Michael has an obsession of stealing. He’s stolen almost everything: electronics, cars, etc. He’s also stolen the homes of his victims. A class A fraudster, he’s gone up—rather down—to steal the lives of those in his path. He’s claimed 19 lives; rerouting all monetary gain, and removed any and all links to any of the victims.
Benjamin Clarence, 79, White male, 5′ 6”, 139 lbs. aka “Bennie the Nipple Ripper”. Preys on females that wander alone at night, or in desolate areas. Has a fetish for removing the nipples of his sexually assaulted victims. Sometimes changes from clean removal with a knife or blade to a cheese grater. Has confessed to. . .taking delight in consuming the left overs. It could be months for him to on trial. Ben has posted bail and was garnished a favor from the same connection as Deveau.
Tiffany Kruger, 29, Black female, 5′ 3” , 113 lbs. Murdered her family, and is reaping all the benefits. All plausible evidence she had attempted to destroy. Detectives Conway and Deupree have some remainder of evidence. I have what is leftover in my safe. Was placed on bail, and has since been posted. I’m not letting her get away that easy.
Anita Dalton (formerly Timothy Diego), 36, Hispanic female, 5′ 0”, 104 lbs. Transgender; Tim is accused of butchering his family, selling the body parts to black market buyers. With these proceeds, he has funded his gender change operation. Also preys on unsuspecting men on dates, prostitution, and has a fetish with removing the penis and testicles. He. . .she needs to be stopped—permanently.
He opened his eyes. They were all here. They had all showed up, just as he had planned. He could see them starting to intermingle with one another now. He knew he had to act fast. Now.
I don’t want any of them to escape.
Roland’s right hand slid into his inner coat pocket and removed a dull pewter cigarette case. He pulled out the last cigarette and brought it up to his dry lips. His left hand searched another pocket and found a silvered zippo. He brought it up in a swift fluid motion, lighting the hairs of the cigarette. He inhaled deeply and closed his eyes—savoring the moment. He foretold of how the events were going to unfold. His moment of foresight was interrupted by a supermarket employee.
The deep voice stirred him. “Sir, you can’t smoke in here! Please, extinguish it, or go outside.”
Roland frowned, his eyes still closed.
He sighed. “I am going to say this once—go call the police. Tell them. . .six people have been murdered here.” Roland slowly opened his eyes and gazed up at the ceiling of the supermarket—observing it’s rather dull almond fixtures, pipes, and lines that sprawled everywhere.
The male employee began to get hysterical. “Wha—what do you mean? Murder? What murder?”
“It’s alright. . .stay calm. . .just go call the police.” Roland’s gaze drifted down, scanning over all the people. “It’s for the greater good.”
The employee scurried off in haste, leaving Roland to smirk a bit.
He started to walk towards the group on his list. They all looked at him, locking eyes, one by one. Some eyes were in such a demonic twist, while others dealt in bloodshed, while the last. . .was sad, in pain. . .pitiful.
“Who the hell are you?” Tiffany remarked the question pressing—drilling.
Roland smiled, “Just the man. . .who posted your bail.”
“Really now? I don’t suppose you posted mine too?” Anita cocked her hip, her lips cracked to a grin.
“Why, yes. In fact, I posted everyone’s.” Roland began to pace, his hands behind him. “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I’ve gathered you all here for an important undertaking. You’re all in grave danger. . .and we need to remedy that situation. So, it’s very important that we decide. . .” he stopped with his back to them all, “which one of you. . .will be the first to die.”
All of their expressions changed to such mixed annotations: anger, horror, absolute shock, except for Huey.
“Roland, please. . .” Huey whispered among the group.
“Huey, yours shall be merciful. No matter whether you are first, or the last.” Roland assured.
“Roland?! You’re that stalking, no good, piece of shit detective! Ho ho, oh no! No! Nuh uh, there ain’t no fucking way! I will not be dying to some has-been, who’s been intent on making MY LIFE a living hell!” Charles rebuked, and started to storm towards Roland.
Roland turned around, and in an amazing display, withdrew his gun of righteousness; his coat unfurled, and twirled, much like the dramatic display of an old Western shootout. It was long past that now, Roland had already decided the order. The people around in the market hadn’t even caught on to the public execution in progress. Maybe it was better that they saw what happened to criminals in public. . .
A thunderous roar rang out within the store, and to that end, Charles laid crumpled and discarded on the glossy almond tile, next to the display of onions. Horror and shock remained on his face. Just like those whom he assaulted. Blood poured from the back of his skull onto the tile. Roland aimed at the next one—Terra. The shots started to become quicker, more precise, and more humane. . .perhaps too humane. One by one they began to fall: Terra, Tiffany. . .they even tried to run! He fired upon their wicked heads, sending their evil souls to Hell. Anita jumped over a display of assorted peppers attempting to spare a moment. People rushed for the exit, the march of a thousand terrified souls.
“Hiding won’t save you. Nothing can.” He slowly walked behind the display, crouching. “Give the devil my regards.” Anita’s eyes widened, her instinct forced her erect to try and run. It was too late. Her body dropped and slid across the tile, colliding into the base of a meat display. He turned his arm towards the oncoming shadow. “Eager, aren’t we?” He shot a round through Benjamin’s skull, dropping him.
Michael had tried to run, but saw it was inevitable. The mighty hawk’s gaze fell upon him now. He clung to Huey, hiding behind the decrepit old man.
“Y—you wouldn’t shoot your friend would you?!” He cried behind the smiling frail man.
“You’re pathetic. . .hiding behind a dying man.” Roland slowly approached the remaining two. “My friend. . .I am sorry it couldn’t have ended another way.”
Huey’s smile grew. “It is better this way. Everything’s in place. I just ask I be the last.”
“You’re fucking crazy man, fucking crazy! You’d kill your own friend?! What the hell is wrong with you?!” Michael shrieked.
Roland nodded, “So be it.” With a quick draw, and sheer precision, he fired at Michael’s head. He collapsed behind Huey, clinging to his oxygen tank.
He approached Huey. “Thank you. . .Roland.” The two shook hands, then hugged. Best friends until the end.
Huey knelt before Roland, while Roland had closed his eyes. “Goodbye. . .old friend.”
His finger was hesitant at first. Then. . .a gunshot, followed by the warm caress of blood that splattered against him. He opened his eyes slowly to see Huey sprawled in a bloody mess with that bright smile still on his face.
Outside, squad cars had surrounded the building. Red, white, and blue patriotically waltzed in the parking lot. The armed men and women of the law all drew their weapons towards the doors. Two familiar men stood out there with distraught looks on their faces. Roland knew them well.
Dana. . . Walter. . .
Dana and Walter were veterans like him, while the pair were up and comers for the Homicide division. Dana—thin, with a square broad face, dark hair, and pale blue eyes. While Walter was slightly overweight, with graying hair, green eyes, and green tinted glasses. . .a god amongst foodies.
He smiled to himself, at least he was in good company now. He loaded the last two bullets into the revolver, just as he had planned it. He began his walk of remembrance, glancing down at the bodies. . .of his friend. . .and the evil he had slayed. Roland emptied his coat pocket and placed a piece of paper on Terra’s body, “CONTAGIOUS, BIOHAZARD” in massive letters.
“Roland Johnson! Come out with your hands up!” A copper he hadn’t known announced on the P.A.
He grunted as he walked to the doors. He scanned the army through the doors. . .searching. . .waiting. . .
Ah, there he is.
Sargent Ted Matthers, 52, White male, 6′ 0”, 158 lbs. Accomplice to Charles, and Benjamin. Suspected of having helped rid evidence related to said case and several others. I’ve found incriminating evidence that supports this, as well as a recording that places him and Charles at several locations of attacks. Also deals in sex trafficking. I have a ledger where he sold his daughters, Alice and Stacy. This one needs to be put down.
“Roland! Come out! You are surrounded!”
He disregarded the taunts, waiting to see if Ted made a move. Sure enough, he saw him strap on a bulletproof vest, and start making his way towards the door.
The other officers lowered their guns, watching as the lone cop wandered in alone.
Roland stood with his back to Ted. Visualizing him in his mind: what he thought, what he was going to do.
“I see you’ve been busy. That’s a shame really. . .waste of a good cop.” Ted muttered as he scanned the scene. It was a massacre, and he knew he stood no chance.
Still fit for as old as he was: large build. He had given up on his balding—shaving his blond head entirely. Ice cold blue eyes stared back at him, with a numb expression on his face. The man was an incomprehensible piece of evil. Roland never knew why. . .nor did he care to know now. All he knew was he was about to put an end to it.
“I don’t need your patronization, Ted. You know what this is about.” Roland snapped back.
Ted grinned. “I suppose so. How about this? You give me the ledger, and we’ll work the rest out.”
Roland shook his head. “I know how you operate. It’s not going to end like that.”
Ted cocked his head. “Oh? How is it then?”
“Like this. . .” Roland drew his gun, turned, and fired.
Ted had already had his gun aimed, and was able to get one shot off. The bullet of righteous fury bored its way into the skull of Sgt. Ted Matthers. While Ted’s shot missed Roland—due to his step and turn technique. Ted dropped to the floor, blood splattering against the market’s doors.
The army of royal blue outside raised their arms and began to unleash hell.
“Hold your fire! Hold your goddamn fire, I said!” Detective Dana Deupree yelled.
“For crying out loud! HOLD YOUR GODDAMN FIRE!” Detective Walter Conway bellowed.
It was of no use. Bullets flew and whizzed by Roland.
Horrible aim. . .the lot of them, Roland thought.
The glass in the front shattered, while bullets ricocheted off the metal of the ceiling and doors. A few finally found their way into Roland’s legs and torso. He fell to his knees, still holding on to his hammer of righteousness. He peered out into the eyes of Dana, and Walter. Both shook their heads, and flailed their arms, mouthing the word “no.” They attempted to vainly run into the hail of gunfire.
Roland closed his eyes, while the concert of deafening thunder rolled on. Life. . .began to pass him by. . .everything that was a memory started to replay one final time. He remembered the day’s sun that hung up high. . .of Huey. All the good times, and all the fun he had working with the only three people he could have regarded as true friends. Of his love. . .lost. . .and of the injustice that was done to him. Retribution was at its end.
As the gunfire stopped, Dana and Walter encroached on the threshold of the supermarket. Outside, one last gunshot echoed. Roland slumped over lifelessly to the ground. The ‘too late’ duo approached their fallen friend, their hands running over their faces, through their hair—shaking their heads in disbelief.
“Goddamn it, Roland!” Dana shouted, while Walter sighed aloud.
The blue blob began to descend upon the supermarket, the 20-some guns still aimed at the freshly slain detective, while white uniforms began to intervene and begin their process of elimination.
* * *
Elsewhere in Middleton, a Postal Service Agent approached Dana’s home, with a manila envelope addressed to him, from Roland, in their hands. The word “URGENT” in bold, was stamped on both the front and back. The postal worker then trotted off the steps after completing their task, oblivious of the day’s transpired events.