Retribution

What a man can do to take revenge for the loss of his family.

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1. Retribution

“No.” shouted detective Chris Miles as he woke up from the nightmares that he was having after the incident that took place on 5th September 2013. All this started exactly a year before.

Chris was detective at the Police Department of Sun City. Detective Chris was 6 feet tall and in his late thirties. He was married to Natasha and had a daughter of five. He ascended ranks quite early in his career, being hardworking and dedicated. His hard work and dedication has done good towards the betterment of the city where the crime rates have gone down to a negligible point. The only dreadful thing in his life near about perfect life was Jack.

Jack’s stories goes back to the year 2012 when he had returned from an unknown war. Jack was in his thirties when he returned from the war with a terrible scar on his face from the centre of his forehead to down to his right cheek barely leaving his eye undamaged. His face was not something that was good to look at. Jack Roberts was discharged from his post in the army for his ruthless and violent behaviour. He always used to say, when he was in the army, that killing an enemy is one of the best pleasures of the world. He found a certain intense fun when he killed someone. He loved the feeling of adrenaline pumping through his veins, watching people die as life came out of their bodies. He said that he tried finding the mystery of death.

So when Jack came back after four years serving in the army he was a total stranger to his seven year old daughter, Sadie. Sadie won’t come near him let alone the talking. People, who have served in war, seen hard times, lived a part of their lives away from home often find difficulties trying to get along with their families. That is what happened to Jack.

“Jack, you ought to find a new job, with the little money that I get from teaching is not enough to get along with. You need to stop spending all the money on your drinks.” Said Jack’s wife, Nora.

“Okay, now go and do your chores woman and let me play with Sadie.” Said Jack irritated “come to daddy sweetie.”

Sadie didn’t like Jack at all. He was always drunk and loud. She didn’t spend her early years with him so Sadie was having a hard time getting along with him. She always wanted her mother to be around when Jack was near. His scarred face frightened her so much that she won’t even go near Jack. One day when Jack held Sadie in his arms, she started crying. Nora came and tried taking Sadie away and asked Jack to give her up but Nora wouldn’t let go. Sadie was crying and Nora was struggling to take Sadie off her father’s arms. Just then Jack hit Nora with his elbow and blood came oozing from the corner of her lower lip.

“Oh! No what have I done. No, no, no, this should not have happened.” Jack said putting Sadie down.

“Get out of my house. I’ve had enough.” Shouted Nora “Get the hell outta here and if you ever tried to come back I’m certain I’m going to call the police.”

On 5th September 2012 it was raining heavily. There was heavy banging at the door almost near midnight. Three days later Jack had returned drunk, he was shouting at Nora to open the door. Nora came down from her bedroom rushing and held the door tight. She asked Jack to leave and go away.

“Go away Jack or I will have to call the police.” Said Nora.

“I will go Nora just let me see Sadie once. I won’t even disturb her. Please Nora.”

“No Jack, just go away for gods sakes.” Her voice was breaking as if she was crying but it was firm at the same time.

Jack then resolved to force and tried to break into the house. Nora was terrified and didn’t know what else to do other than calling the police on her husband. It was a tough decision but she had no other choice. That night Chris, having completed his shift, was returning home when he responded to the call from Sun City Police Department control room.

“This is detective Chris Miles answering to the call of assault on 5th Avenue, Lake road.”

“Be advised, the criminal maybe armed.” When Chris reached the place of crime he saw that a man was already in the house and the door was wide open. He parked his car on the other side of the road and reached for his gun in the glove box and ran towards the house.

Jack was trying to be polite, he asked Nora to let him go and see Sadie but Nora was determined that she won’t let him see Sadie. Jack had no option but to opt for force. He broke the bottle of beer he was holding banging it against the side table and pointed the sharp glass towards her. There was alcohol all over the floor. The glass had done a deep cut in his hand. He was bleeding profusely. Chris came running in.

“Sir put that weapon down.” Said Chris pointing his gun at Jack, standing behind him.

“Thank heavens you’re here officer” said Nora “please take this man away.” Nora was heavily shaken and was crying.

Just then there was a loud lightning that woke Sadie up and she started crying. “Don’t cry baby, daddy is here.” Shouted Jack.

“Ma’am, try and calm yourself, SCPD is here for your help.” Said Chris slowly moving towards Jack “Sir?” he said.

Jack asked him to remain silent and sniffed something. “Sir, you are asked to come with me with your hands behind your head.” Said Chris.

“Can’t you people smell there’s gas leaking in here.” Said Jack, a bit terrified he seemed. “We need to get Sadie out of here now. Go! Go! G…” just then he was tackled by Chris from behind. The piece of glass bottle that he was holding slipped from his hand. Chris handcuffed Jack and dragged him out of the house. It was still raining outside.

“Nora get Sadie out of there. NOW.” Shouted Jack but Nora ignored him.

Jack was on the other side of the road, struggling to free himself near the police car. Nora lead out a sigh of relief and reached out for a cigarette on the side table. She told Sadie that she was coming to her; she just wanted to make sure that they took Jack away. She put a cigarette in her mouth and heard Jack shouting at her, she could only make out that she would be damned. She lit the smoke and ‘BOOM’ there was a blast. Chris and Jack saw it from across the street.

“Nooo...” Shouted Jack “Sadie was in there. I told them to get out of there. I told you to get them out but you didn’t listened. What have you done officer? You killed my family.”

Chris was stunned for a few moments but then quickly regained his consciousness and reached for radio in his car and asked for emergency services. He saw Jack crying, covering his face down on his knees, down on the street soaked with rain. He would shout Sadie’s name every now and then. That was the last time the world saw Nora or Sadie. Chris tried to enter the house but it was an impossible task. Just then the whole place was filled with a horrifying laughter, enough to send chills down your spine. Chris saw Jack was laughing. His face was still covered with his hand, when he removed his hand his mouth was covered red with blood, slowly being washed away by rain.

“You know officer I told her that one of those cigarettes would eventually kill her one day.” And then he started laughing maniacally. The fire brigade had arrived but then it was impossible for anyone to have survived that inferno. Chris was busy giving statements about the incident but then suddenly realised that Jack was nowhere around. He asked around but nobody saw him leaving the place.

Six months later there started a killing spree in Sun City. The victims were given heavy dosage of nitrous oxide along with a few chemical compounds infused. The victims would laugh to their death and when they died their eyes would bulge out and there was a hint of a smile on their faces. This caused frenzy all around the town. The media were calling these murders ‘The Killing Joke.’ The police were unable to do anything. They were unable to find a pattern in these murders. The victims were generally mother and the child but then there were men involved in it too. On the scene of the first murder Chris found a note. It said “You were not able to save them just like you weren’t able save mine.” Chris now knew for sure that Jack was the murderer. What he doubted was true. After all he let his family die or at least that is what Jack thought. The other crime scenes had similar notes saying “You failed us again Detective.” There had been twenty-two murders by now, five men, seven women and ten children. There was a city wide terror. The crime rates that went down came back with a much more horrifying swiftness this time.

On 21st August 2013 there was a crime-in-progress reported in the southern part of the city. Chris rushed to the crime scene along with the police force where he saw a lady and her daughter laughing and a man rushing out of the back door. He ordered his fellow officers to take the family out and call for an ambulance while he started chasing the criminal. Jack ran through the streets across the road and then turned into an alley. Chris followed shouting at him to stop. The alley was dark. The only light coming was from the few floors above. When Chris reached he saw Jack standing there still, as if he was waiting for him.

“Hello detective, remember me?” asked Jack. Chris Nodded. “Very well then you would even remember that you killed my family that night.”

“Listen jack, I know you are upset but killing won’t help you but we can. You can surrender now and I will see to it that you get medical attention and try that you don’t get a death sentence but Jack only if you surrender now.” Said Chris “Killing these innocents won’t bring your family back to life but if you stop this nuisance now it might spare yours.”

“You don’t get it detective, do you? Those people weren’t innocent. They were the ones because of whom my family turned their backs on me. The lady I tried killing just now; she was Sadie’s teacher at school. So one day she hit Sadie so hard, that her imprints were on her face all day, just because she was a few minutes late to school and who gets all the blame? ME.” Shouted Jack. “And that shop owner at the 63rd Street, he refused to give me a job at his shop because he thought that my face would frighten the customers. It was because of them my family hated me. You see detective Revenge is like an ice-cream. It is cold and it is sweet. And boy Sadie loved ice-cream. Oh! Sadie where have you gone? Oh! Sadie.” Jack said frowning and it seemed as if he was sobbing but then his cries turned into laughter and he tossed a canister at Chris. Chris ducked the canister and it popped. There was smoke all over the place. Chris covered his face with a handkerchief and ran towards a corner. A few moments later when the smoke cleared, Jack was gone but there was a note on the ground. Chris picked it up and read it. It said “Dear detective, now I think it’s time that you shared my agony and get to know what it is to lose a family. On the 1st death anniversary of my family be ready for a blast. With love Jack.”

On 5th September Chris asked the precinct to provide security at his house. There were three armed guards at his doors all the time. He had been looking for Jack for two weeks now but all the trails went cold. He went after all the possible leads in the city and searched all the abandoned warehouses and homes hoping to find Jack but there was no sign of Jack. Chris hoped that Jack would forget this day leave him in peace. Chris received a phone call at 11:00 P.M. while he was still at the precinct trying to locate Jack.

“Hello.” Said Chris as he answered the phone.

“Hello Detective.” It was from Jack. “Meet me at The Augustine Plaza, at 11:45 P.M. and please don’t be late and one more thing, do us both favours do not bring anyone with you. No one or your family dies.”

Chris hung up the phone he was furious as well as terrified. He tried contacting the offices that were at his door steps but he was unable to contact them or Natasha. Chris knew that going home and checking on his family was a failed cause because that would take him at least one hour and fifteen minutes to reach home whereas the plaza was only a forty minutes’ drive away. He decided to go to the plaza. He sat in his car and rushed towards the plaza. It was a race against time. He left the office at 11:10 P.M. he knew that he had to rush in order to ensure his family’s safety. He reached the plaza by 11:42 P.M. taking out his gun and a flashlight from the glove box he moved swiftly towards the doors. Now the plaza, was a three storey building whose construction was stopped mid-way because political disputes. It was now an abandoned building. Chris had the building checked twice in the past week and now he wished he should have done it later. As he moved towards the entrance he saw splashes of blood on the walls. Chris was now more attentive than ever. He was moving slowly now scanning the place around him carefully. He saw arrow marks pointing towards the staircase. Those arrows were painted with blood. He feared that the blood might be his wife’s or his daughter’s. He followed the arrows and reached the rooftops. He saw Jack sitting down on the floor with his legs crossed with a mobile phone in his hands. He was playing a song on it and singing along it “if the day would only come that you might just appear, even though you would soon be gone, if only I could see you…”

“Jack?” Said Chris, out loud.

“Oh! Chris, there you are. Wait. You are two and a half minutes late but then who cares?” said Jack laughing out loud. “Wait” he said bringing out a remote control and he pressed a button. The sky was lit up with fireworks. “Welcome Chris” said Jack out loud “You see I have always had a ‘flair’ for dramatics. Tell me Jack, did you miss me?”

“With every bullet so far.” Retorted Chris.

“Whoa! A cop with a humour. I love it.” Said Jack laughing.

“Where is my family, Jack? Where are they?” asked Chris.

“Straight to business, eh? No greeting, no ‘hello’ or anything?”

“Where are they you sick bastard, tell me.” Roared Chris out loud.

“Don’t you worry Chris, they are at home. Your daughter would probably be asleep by now.”

“But you said that they were here?” said Chris astonished.

“No, I didn’t. Did I?” said Jack calmly.

“But how? I tried contacting them but I couldn’t.”

“So you decided that I have them. That is so dumb you DOOFUS.” Shouted Jack and then quickly maintained his calm “All I had to do was to walk by your home and place an electromagnetic jammer near your house, disabling any kind of communication whatsoever. I wouldn’t even think of going to a place that is secured by armed police, with a criminal intent in my mind.”

“Then whose blood was it that I saw coming up?”

“That. That was Mr Smith, the watchman. He was not letting me into the building so I pushed my knife into him.” Jack said laughing. “Tell me something Detective, do you know why do I use a knife? You see guns are too fast. They don’t allow you to live in the moment and life is all about living the moment. It is in that last moment people show who they actually are. So you can say that I knew those people better than anyone ever did.”

“End this madness now Jack. People have died.” Said Chris.

“That’s what people DO.” Shouted Jack, furiously. Chris pointed his gun at him.

“Why have you called me here Jack?” Asked Chris.

“Well I have a little surprise planned for you which you shall get by midnight. Not much time left for that. My family died a year ago Chris because of you. If only you had let me go in I would have saved them. From that day Chris with every breath that I took, I made sure that I will make you suffer my fate.”

“Jack listen to me I know that you hold me responsible for the death of your family. I should have believed you that day. I consider myself to be equally responsible for the death of your family. I can feel the pain you are in. It was my fault. But you don’t have to do this. You need not kill anyone else.” Said Chris. It seemed as if it worked. Jack seemed soothed, but then something triggered his anger.

“You make a mistake and I’m the one who pays. How the heck is that fair? Do you know what it is to lose a family? The amount of pain that one feels is unbearable. But how would you know what it is to lose a family? You have not lost one. Yet. How would you know my pain? Once you have lost your family, you remember all the joyous moments you had together, and there is a smile on your face, but the next moment you realise that you cannot have those moments again, ever. Those people are never returning to your life. It’s hard to believe that there is no one that you can look up on to for help. There is no one having your back. All you ever want since then is to have your family back. It was that immense amount of pain that led me here Chris, and now you say that I should stop. Just like that. That I should not avenge my family. You want me to forgive people. That’s pathetic.” Said Jack. There was a certain kind of assurance in his voice that cleared any doubt that, this man would kill anyone who dared come in his way. He was a psychopath and a murderer. You don’t make truce with psychopaths or murderers. You either kill them or they kill you. But the way they will kill you is what makes them artistic. They would either kill you directly or give you reasons enough to kill yourself, or if you have those instincts of a primal man, man who would do anything for his survival, then you are sure to kill them. That is how; you would become psychopath and a murderer.

“Spare me your education, Jack” said Chris firmly “surrender now.”

“Ah! Don’t spoil the moment now. Here, come here. Come on, I don’t bite.” Said Jack as he moved towards the edge of the roof. Chris followed him cautiously. Jack put his hand around Chris’s shoulder and pointed towards the east side of the plaza. “Tell me Detective do you see that house right there? The one that has a red light blinking on it. See its right there.”

Chris knew that it was his house. Just then the clock at the city hall rang, letting everyone know that the day was over and a new day awaited them but there was another loud sound that night. A sound, so loud that it covered the loud ding-dong of the clock, the sound of an explosion. Chris saw his house blowing apart at a distance and there was nothing he could do. He took a few steps back and fell on the floor with a loud thud. He was numb in shock. A few moments later Chris was brought out of his own confinement by Jack’s laughter. Jack stood there the whole time laughing, saying revenge was mine, at last.

“You sick, son of a bastard. You killed my family. I will kill you. I will kill YOU.” Shouted Chris with ferocity as he ran towards him but he tumbled and accidentally pushed Jack off the roof. All Chris could hear was laughter and then a thud. There was silence all around. Chris got up and called for an ambulance as he got down. He sat in his car and hastened towards his home. When Chris reached there he saw that the Fire Department was already there trying to control that searing inferno. The ambulance and police waited outside. He asked the fire department about survivors but there were none. In fact there was no sign of anyone being inside the house at the time of explosion. The police officers, who were assigned the work of security, were nowhere to be found. The neighbours claimed that the officers left quite early that day in the evening. Three days later their bodies were found near the river bank.

Six months later. Jack was still in coma since that day. The police department decided to honour Chris with the ‘Medal of Honour and Bravery’. The nurse, attending to Jack, was sitting beside him watching the TV mounted on the wall. They were covering live footage of Chris receiving the medal of honour for arresting the infamous serial killer and revealing his identity.

“And now let’s call upon stage, the brave officer who arrested the serial killer, give a round of applause for Detective Chris Miles.” Announced the anchor on TV.

“Detective” Mumbled Jack slowly as he opened his eyes.

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