Konan laid it all out for Kathy. Her vehicle was running so there was no chance they could be overheard. As they talked Kathy listened to every detail. She never interrupted him. Suddenly, Konan had an epiphany.
“Holy Jesus,” he muttered softly. Kathy looked at him and waited for her friend to answer. Konan stared out the window and shook his head.
“What is it, Konan?”
“I have a note that would prove that Mayor Smith ordered Tomas to set up a pedophile to take the fall for a crime he didn’t commit. Then, he ordered me, twice, to set up someone else for the killings. What better way to cover your tracks than to have the cops do the dirty work?”
Kathy nodded her head in agreement but said, “yeah, but both of you are still alive. Granted, you were attacked last night but you’re still alive.”
“True. However, Earl told me in jail that The Brotherhood was hired to make sure I did not survive the night. Mayor Smith’s name was mentioned but no one has any proof of it.”
Kathy shook her head in disgust. Konan rubbed his face and yawned. It had been a long day and he wanted to shower and fall into a coma.
“Are you okay, Konan?”
“Yeah, just tired. Do you mind dropping me off near downtown? I need to find someplace to lay my head for the evening.”
Kathy patted his knee and smiled. Not for the first time did Konan think that she was beautiful. “You’re going home with me. You need a shower and a good night’s rest. You will get both at my place.” Konan started to say something, but Kathy put her hand up like she was silencing a child. “I’m not hearing it tonight, Konan. If you don’t like it, we can make other arrangements tomorrow.”
Konan leaned back against the plush leather seats and closed his eyes. Kathy’s phone kept him from sleeping, but it was nice to just rest without seeing Lilly reaching for his hand. Kathy pulled into her driveway and pressed the button to open her garage door. She pulled in, and they both got out.
The garage door closed, and Kathy led him into her home. She pulled off her blue blazer and tossed it over a chair. “Come on in, Konan. Make yourself at home. The television is in the den, the remote is on top of the entertainment center. I’m going to change out of this monkey suit.”
Konan found the remote and turned on the television. He turned it to the local news, and found himself featured prominently into the day’s headlines. Mayor Smith stood at a lectern and held a press conference. He pointed to a petite Asian woman who had her hand up.
“Go ahead,” he said. She smiled and began her question.
“Is it true sir, that you had the suspect of a triple homicide within your grasp, and Judge Smith allowed him to go free on a bail of 50,000 dollars?”
“At this point, we can only speculate. Regardless, of what this suspect may have done, he still has rights that are provided to him via the Constitution.”
“What if he kills again,” she pressed. Mayor Smith chuckled and forced a smile. “There is no need to worry, sweetheart. The fine officers of Fredericksburg have him under constant surveillance. He is going nowhere but jail.”
Konan heard a noise behind him. It was Kathy. She had changed into Hello Kitty pajamas, a white t-shirt and stood watching the news.
“Mayor Smith is a clown, but I find it hard to believe he is a serial murderer.” Kathy walked around the sofa and leaned back against the arm. She placed her bare feet on Konan’s lap.
“Yeah, well, what do serial murderers look like?” Kathy wrinkled up her nose at his response. She wiggled her toes.
“Rub my feet, and I’ll tell you.” Konan gripped one of her feet and began to make small circles on the bottom of her foot.
“In my experience, they are ugly inside and out. There are no attractive features to them. They are trying to fill some void in their soul, but nothing comes close to filling the ever-growing chasm.”
“They lack attractive features. That’s your big giveaway? What, don’t they possess the ability to rub a woman’s feet?” Kathy winked at him and sighed contentedly. She wiggled her other foot. “Don’t forget I have two feet.” Konan laughed.
“Yeah, and you have two hands.” Kathy grinned. Konan turned his attention back to the press conference. “She was killed to get you back in the game.” Kathy watched Konan. ‘What’s going on in that mind of his?”
“Do you think Smith is the murderer?” Konan looked at her and shook his head.
“I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to not believe that. His secretary tried to kill me last night. Earl told me in jail today that Smith had hired The Brotherhood to end me tonight. Of course, there is no evidence of them being ordered to kill me.”
“Okay. That doesn’t answer my question.”
“Do I think he has the capacity to be a serial murderer? Sure, we all have that capacity. However, I think there is something else going on. The attack last night tells me I am getting close.”
“Who else could it be?”
Konan shrugged; his tired mind would not let him generate any more ideas. He needed to rest. Kathy took him by the hand and led him to the bathroom. “Everything you need is here,” she motioned to the cabinet. “I laid out some shorts and a clean t-shirt. They should fit you.”
“Thanks, Kathy.” Konan undressed and climbed in the shower. The hot water rushed over his body relaxing the tense muscles in his back. He sighed heavily, exhausted from what seemed like the longest day on record.
He stepped out and dried off. Konan changed into the shorts and t-shirt. He sat down on the couch and fell sound asleep. Kathy watched him sleep for several moments. She leaned over and kissed his forehead and whispered, “good night sweet prince.” She turned off the lights and made her way to her room.
The early morning rays filtered in through the cracked blinds. Konan woke to the smell of bacon cooking and coffee brewing. He stretched and stood to his feet. Konan shuffled into the kitchen. Kathy sat at the table; a case file opened up before her. She smiled and came around the table to hug him.
“Morning, sleepy head. How did you rest?”
“I feel as if I hibernated the whole winter.”
“You certainly snored like it. Several times last night I thought you might have died, but then you caught your breath and went back to snoring.”
Konan sighed. “Well, that’s unattractive.” Kathy laughed and wrinkled up her nose. Konan liked that she did that.
“I can think of things much less attractive.”
“Oh? Such as?”
“Cheating, murdering your spouse, deadbeat fathers, the list could span infinity in both directions.”
“Well, those are certainly traits not to be emulated.”
“Right? Would you like some breakfast,” Kathy asked. Konan’s stomach grumbled at the mention of food.
“Well, you know where the fridge is. Help yourself to whatever is in there. I have a court appearance at 10. Are you going to be alright staying here?”
“Sure. Do I need to let the cops know where I am?”
“No. I will check in and see if there are any new developments. I don’t think Mayor Smith and his friends need to know where you are at the moment. Besides, my neck is on the line now to.”
“Yeah,” Konan said softly. “Sorry about that, Kathy. I would not want you to be hurt because you’re associated with me.”
Kathy smirked. “Let them come. I’ll send them home packing.” Konan smiled at her bravado but could pick up the tremble of fear in her voice. Another of his friends could be murdered, and he was helpless to stop it.
Kathy leaned forward and kissed Konan on the cheek. Her grey eyes shined with passion, and Konan found himself smitten. “Don’t worry about me, Konan. I’m a big girl, besides I am armed.” She winked at him and patted her purse.
“Be safe, Kathy.”
“I will.” He watched as she walked out to the garage and got in her car. Konan appreciated the movement of the female form. She noticed him staring and blew him a kiss. A smile tugged at his lips.
He walked back inside and locked the door. Konan stretched back out on the couch and closed his eyes. He felt secure in the knowledge that no one knew where he was. A few hours later he woke when he sensed a presence in the house with him. Konan cracked his eyes open and was surprised to see Wiggins sitting in the chair across from him.
“Hello, Konan.” Konan sat up on the side of the couch, Wiggins sidearm followed his movement.
“Don’t be stupid, bud. I would hate to kill you before I am ready to.” The asthmatic wheeze was gone. Konan said nothing, he just waited.
“Aren’t you going to say anything? Why am I doing this? Am I the ‘bad guy?”
Konan said nothing. Wiggins’s mouth formed a hard line, his eyes narrowed. He looked like a venomous snake that was about to strike. “Say something, Konan or so help me God, I will end your ability to reproduce.”
“Why the act?”
“I so wanted to see the great investigative mind in motion, but you’ve grown dull. I thought for a moment that Lilly would be enough to bring you back, but you turned her down. I knew it would take something drastic to bring you back to the game.”
“So, you killed her. To bring me back into your sick fantasy.” Wiggins chuckled like a hyena. He shook his finger at Konan in a scolding manner.
“Now, now. No trying to get in my head. I am prepared for that, aren’t I sweetie?” Judith pushed Kathy and Ashley into the room and winked at Wiggins.
“That’s right, babe. Konan is hopelessly outmatched.” Wiggins and Judith laughed. Konan stared at Judith and tried to piece together what was happening.
“I thought Smith was behind the killings, what is going on here?” Kathy and Ashley were both bound and gagged. Tears wet their cheeks. Wiggins sighed.
“Was he always this dense,” Wiggins asked Judith. “Smith was a distraction, Konan. Just like Pops. Just like Ashley.”
Judith smiled and nodded her head. “Yeah, the great hunter of killers could never see the forest for the trees.”
“Konan, I wanted to test myself against the best. YOU were the best, but you have this inflated sense of right and wrong. You fight every battle. It’s frustrating. You could not let Tia Mathers slip information to the media, so you punched her out.”
Judith walked up and slapped Konan across the face, Wiggins smiled. “I had just killed my first victim. It was, messy. However, I was blown away when you were assigned to my case. But before we could start the game, you went and got fired.”
“So, you waited all these years to start a new game.”
“Do not interrupt me, Konan. Do not try to leap ahead. You want the story, sit there with your mouth closed and listen.” Judith giggled; Konan wanted to punch her.
Wiggins walked into the dining room and brought back a chair. He shoved it close to Konan and sat down. His sidearm was aimed at Konan’s torso the whole time.
“I came up with a plan, you see. I went to the Academy and got a badge. I studied various investigative techniques and memorized your cases. I didn’t want to be like you, I wanted to absorb your essence.”
Konan snorted and started laughing. Wiggins and Judith looked at him. The looks on their faces triggered more laughter.
“Look at you two idiots. A serial killer that needs an audience, and a whack-a-do doctor of soft science. You two miscreants deserve each other. Are you the father of her child, Wiggins? How bad did it sting when she named it after me?”
Wiggins screamed and punched Konan in the face with his sidearm. Konan laughed through the blood and broken bone. Judith balled up her fist and punched him repeatedly in the face. Konan continued to laugh.
“Instinct told me it was a cop. Should I ask how’s your wife and my kid?””
“You should have listened to your instinct, if you had I wouldn’t have had to kill Lilly.” Konan cut his eyes to Wiggin’s face and grinned.
“For that, I am going to merc you. This ain’t even about justice. This is good ole fashioned revenge.”
“Yeah, Lilly said something about that when I cut her open. She went on and on about how Thermopolis Konan would avenge her. You didn’t just disappoint me Konan, you disappointed her.”
“So, how did you get mixed up with Dr. Re-Re here?” Judith scowled at Konan and punched him in the mouth. Wiggins laughed.
“You rejected her. She wanted revenge. She was going to be one of my victims, but she asked me to teach her how to kill. So, I took a chance on her. She has never disappointed me. As a matter of fact, she is going to kill you, and I am going to spend some time with these two wonderful women in your life.”
Konan flexed his hands. Judith watched him. Konan grinned at her. “Did Wiggins tell you what I did to the last broad he sent to kill me?” Judith backed up and looked at Wiggins.
“It ain’t no thing, baby. You’ve got this.”
“No, you don’t. The other broad showed up at my house last night and had the element of surprise. I killed her, after I beat her to the point of death, and then tossed her dead body in the waterway. You’re not going to be any different.”
Judith began to pace back and forth muttering to herself. She smacked herself in the head. Wiggins had his attention on Ashley and Kathy. Judith glared at Konan. Konan smiled back.
“I’m gonna cut you and take your worthless heart,” Judith shouted. She rushed Konan, the blade extended. Wiggins turned to watch the show. Konan watched as Judith bum-rushed him. She plunged the blade toward Konan’s sternum. At the last moment he leaned out of the way, and she flew over the couch.
She landed with a thud and the sound of bone breaking filled the house. Wiggins ran around the sofa and looked at Judith’s lifeless body.
“Baby? Come on, baby. Answer me!” Wiggins shook Judith’s body, but the broken neck kept her from responding. Wiggins roared with rage. In his rush to check on Judith, he had put the sidearm down. Konan picked it up and checked the magazine. It was full.
Wiggins turned to Konan; fury shined in his eyes. Konan smiled at him and pointed the sidearm at him.
“You killed her,” Wiggins snarled. Konan snorted.
“Nah, man. She committed suicide. Did you not see her fly over the couch?”
“I am going to destroy you, Konan. There is nothing you can do to stop it besides kill me. You don’t have the guts to kill an unarmed man.” Konan smiled.
“You know, Wiggins, you would be right normally. However, these are extenuating circumstances. “
“How so? Enlighten me, Konan!”
“You killed my friend.”
Konan shot Wiggins through the throat. Wiggins crashed to the floor gasping for air. Konan walked into the kitchen and pulled out a knife. He freed Kathy and Ashley.
“Get out and call the cops. I need to finish this.”
Konan walked over to where Wiggins fell. A black bag sat next to where Wiggins had been when Konan woke up. The bag held a hammer and rusty nails, along with his fleshing knife. Konan pulled out the hammer.
He leaned over Wiggins and showed him the hammer. Wiggins eyes grew large at the sight of it.
“This is for Lilly.”
Konan lifted the hammer and brought it down on Wiggin’s left ankle. The bone snapped in half, and Konan smiled. In the distance sirens sounded, but Konan continued to swing the hammer.
Janko and Tomas rushed in and pulled Konan off of the lifeless body of Wiggins. Ashley and Kathy stared at the scene in front of them. Konan was shoved into the back of a patrol car while the scene was secured.
Janko rushed out of the house and puked his guts up on Kathy’s manicured lawn. Tomas looked visibly shaken. A patrol officer drove Konan downtown and escorted him to Room #1.
Six months later:
A lone figure sat on a boulder watching the sun rise above the city. The brisk air hinted at an early snow. He shoved his hands deeper into his hoodie. Behind him is the past filled with broken bones and broken bodies. Ahead of him, only the Lord knew what the future would hold. In this moment though, it was enough to know that those he punished for the death of his friend would never hurt anyone ever again.