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Authors: Victor Methos

Black Widow

BOOK: Black Widow
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BLACK WIDOW

 

 

 

A Thriller by

 

 

 

VICTOR METHOS

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blood was everywhere.

Connor Jones could smell it from the doorway of the hotel room. The forensics teams were already there and several police officers with black and gold Honolulu Police Department uniforms were standing around, waiting for the lead detective.

He stepped inside the room. Plush.
Lots of gold trim and white, clean carpets. All except the crimson shoeprints leading out from the bedroom and walking to the front door. And the small spatters over the walls and ceiling.

“Detective,” Gary
Akanu said. He stepped over a forensic tech swabbing one of the shoeprints with a Q-tip. “It’s all in the bedroom.”

“What is this shit?” he said, looking up to the blood on the ceiling.

“This is probably where they fought. But once the fight was done they dragged the guy into the bedroom and finished up in there.”

Jones followed him into the bedroom. On the bed was something that he guessed was human.

The skin had been removed almost surgically over most of his body. His penis had been severed and placed in between his teeth… and those were just the injuries that Jones could stomach before he had to look away. Though he made it seem like he was examining a pile of clothing near the closet instead of nearly gagging.

“This is just like the one at the Dale Koa last month,
ain’t it?” Akanu said.

“Not
just like
, the same.”

“Shit, two in one month.
You thinking we got a serial?”

“Not yet. Third one’s the charm.” Jones looked over the clothing. He motioned for one of the forensic techs from the Scientific Investigation Section to hand him some latex gloves. After snapping them on, he searched the clothing and found a leather wallet. “Hugh Robert Neal. Forty-seven.
Tourist from Miami. Lives on Brickell Avenue.”


Brickell?” Akanu whistled through his teeth. “My parents live in Florida. I know that place. Fucker’s loaded. Even a small shack up there runs ten mil.”

Jones exhaled loudly as he handed the wallet to a tech,
who placed it in a plastic evidence bag. “Well, it don’t mean shit now. Can’t buy yourself even a second more time.”

“Room’s rented under his name. I’ll run a search of the cameras and see
who he came in with. I’m sure we’ll get him.”

“See them dots after the shoeprints? That’s
high heels. It ain’t a
him
we’re looking for.”

Akanu
shook his head. “We lookin’ for a cooha? Shit. I ain’t never seen that before.”

Jones looked back to the mass of wet meat on the bed. “Neither have I.”

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jon Stanton rolled over the forest floor and came up with his weapon held in a kneeling stance. He fired twice, hitting the paper target both times in the chest. He jumped up and leapt over a fallen tree branch as another paper target came up. This one had a man holding a gun to a woman’s head. He fired once and hit the man between the eyes.

Dashing between the trees,
he rolled and came up into the Weaver stance. Two paper targets flipped up and he hit them both.

As he started running again, he saw someone on the ground. A man in sweats, a 9mm pellet gun—as Stanton’s was—lying by his side.

“You all right?” Stanton said.

“It’s my ankle, bra.”

Stanton checked his time. He was about to set a course record, something he’d been working toward for the better part of six months. He replaced his weapon and bent down and put the man’s arm around his shoulders.

As he helped the man through the forest, he could see other patrons of the shooting park behind him. Within a few moments they sprinted past him.
No one offering to help.

“You a cop?” Stanton asked.

“Yeah, Honolulu PD.”

Stanton pulled him in tighter to get him over a branch that was purposely left on the trail back to the front entrance. “You behind on your firearms scores?”

“How’d you know?”

“That’s what most cops are doing here.”

The man tried to put some weight on his leg and grimaced. “You a cop?”

“No. Retired.”

Stanton moved him through a thicket of trees. The finish was less than five hundred yards now and the entrance wasn’t far behind that. Stanton helped the man all the way to the nurse’s tent that was always set up just next to the administration building.

“You good?” Stanton asked.

“I’m good.” He slapped hands with Stanton. “Mahalo.”

“No worries. Probably best to tell everybody at the PD you hurt it mountain biking or something.”

He grinned. “I think a few people already saw me. Donkeys just ran past without helping.”

“You’re a rookie, right?”

“First year.”

“They’re just trying to teach you to be tough. They’ll be there for you when you need ’
em.”

Stanton walked away and wiped the sweat from his brow with his hands. He’d try again next week. But he’d been in the zone. That mystical place where time and effort melt away and nothing is left but a flawless execution. He wondered why—other than a photo and a trophy up in the administrative office—it mattered to him to have the record.

The shooting park had showers and lockers, and he undressed and listened to some of the conversations around him. The clientele was almost exclusively Honolulu PD with the occasional federal agent from a local office. They were swapping war stories.

One man with a buzz cut was telling a story about the time he pulled over a car for speeding and found a stash of fully automatic weapons in the back. When he asked the driver to step out of the car, the driver nodded, and then pulled out a .357 magnum. The officer grabbed him by the elbow and slammed his fist down into the driver’s hand, forcing him to release the weapon. The bust yielded a pound of heroin and over ten rifles.

“You shoulda seen the cooha they had with ’em,” the officer said.

Stanton grinned. It was an inverse correlation he’d noticed long ago.
The bigger the scumbag at the defendant’s table, the hotter the girlfriend crying for him in the audience.

“This fucker here’s done some shit, though.
Ain’t that right, Jon?”

“Nothing you guys haven’t done,” Stanton said, slipping on his pants.

“Bullshit. I seen you on the news, man. That shit in Utah.”

“It was nothing,” Stanton said, putting on a black V-neck shirt.

“Heard you died, man. Was in a coma and your heart stopped. You seen anythin’?”

Stanton paused. “No.” He grabbed his gym bag. “Later, guys.”

The air on the island of Oahu was tinged with a coming rainstorm but for now was warm and pleasant. Stanton walked to his car, a Jeep Wrangler he’d bought from a neighbor, and drove out onto the dirt road that led back to the H3 interstate.

He didn’t put on sunglasses and instead squinted, enjoying the heat on his face. Since the incident in Utah when he had been placed in a coma, the sunlight was something he felt he could never get enough of.

His home sat on the beach in one of the most expensive areas on the island: Hawaii Kai. He’d made a small fortune as a private investigator in San Diego after he’d left the police department. But the money had dwindled now. The cost of living in Hawaii was over 80 percent higher than the rest of the country. A gallon of milk cost him ten dollars with tax.

He hadn’t even thought about what he would do for money. He was teaching part
time in the psychology department of the University of Hawaii. He was one of nine PhDs in the psych department, but the only one from a law enforcement background. The other eight were academics that didn’t seem to want him in the department, and treated him with distrust and an odd curiosity. It was, in many ways, the same way cops treated him. He was a ghost in both worlds.

Stanton pulled to a stop in his driveway and could hear the bass thumping from inside. He got out of the jeep and walked in. His son, Mathew, now in his senior year of high school, was sitting on the couch with a CD blaring on the stereo. He didn’t notice Stanton until he turned the music off.

“Dad, when’d you get home?”

“Three hours ago. I’ve been watching you the entire time.”

“You saw me make out with that hot neighbor chick, huh?”

Stanton moved his son’s feet off the coffee table and sat next to him. “She’s outta your league.”

“Whatever.”

“Sorry, pal. She wants a doctor or a CEO. Not a pro surfer.”

“Wait ’til I get some endorsements. She’ll be all over me.”

Stanton leaned back into the couch. “Where’s Johnny?”

Mathew relaxed into the couch as well, mimicking his father, and Stanton wondered if he did it on purpose.

“Next door at Dave’s.”

“Get him back for dinner. I’m cooking.”

“Can’t we just get pizza?”

Stanton rose and went into the kitchen to wash his hands. “It’s spaghetti and meatballs. You love that.”

“Fine, I’ll grab Johnny.”

Mathew rose and left the home to find his brother. Stanton pulled out some pasta and ground beef with spices and tomato sauce. As he cooked, he thought about his finances. When he had initially budgeted for living in Hawaii, he had banked on the income of his fiancée at the time. As a chemist and engineer, she made quadruple what he did. Now he was on his own with two teenage boys.

Once, in college, a professor had told him that if you were ever short on money, just
run through in your mind what you love. Pick one of those things, and find a way to monetize it. Other than family and his church, the only thing he could think of was being a cop. He wondered if it was because he actually enjoyed it, or because he had done it for so long he didn’t know what else to do.

As he put the meat into a pan and fried it, he thought back to Kyle Vidal’s offer. The Assistant Special Agent in Charge, at the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, had offered him a job as an agent. But the Bureau wasn’t where Stanton wanted to go. He was a cop, and sometimes he just didn’t feel that federal agents were. Whenever they wanted more power, they seemed to get it if they claimed it was for “national security.” A term no one understood or could properly define. The federal government, Stanton felt, might itself be a threat.

As the meat fried, Stanton walked to the patio. On the patio table was a brochure for the Honolulu PD. It had a photo of Honolulu on the cover and inside were photos of smiling policemen helping smiling citizens.

A session was coming up at the
Ke Kula Maka’i Police Academy in one week.

Stanton had been agonizing over the new session for two months. He was in top shape and would fly through the tests. As a former homicide detective with the San Diego Police Department, he might even receive lateral hire status and gain his detective’s badge immediately after graduation from the academy.

He sat down in a chair and watched a few waves lap the shore. There was always the option of going back to San Diego, where he had a reputation for solving the cases no one else could. But the city now held darkness for him. So much had happened that the last time he’d been there, he’d had a panic attack that he mistook for a coronary. His psychiatrist at the time had recommended he leave police work entirely.

Behind him, he heard the noise of three teenage boys entering the house after an argument. Mathew, Stanton’s younger son Johnny, and his best friend Dave ran in.

“Dad,” Johnny yelled out, “can Dave stay for dinner?”

“Sure.”

He looked behind him. The three of them turned on the Xbox and flopped on the couch. Watching them play video games was one of his favorite things to do. He turned back to the Honolulu PD brochure and brought it inside but left it on the counter. Underneath the spice rack, where his boys were unlikely to see it.

BOOK: Black Widow
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