Mystery and Crime Fiction posted December 27, 2020 Chapters:  ...15 16 -17- 18... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
The vigilante tries to cure sexual deviants.

A chapter in the book Where Are All The Children

Creative Intervention

by Mistydawn

The sun shines brightly in the clear afternoon sky. The temperatures are unseasonably high for the second day in a row. Toni and Jamal are busily canvassing the neighborhoods to no avail. 

Wiping the sweat from his brow, Jamal shakes his head and says, "Pursuing this is a waste of time."

Toni glances around the busy neighborhood. Some families are enjoying the day while others are tending to their lawn. "I'll ask one more, and then we'll go." She walks towards a tall, rounded woman yelling at her unruly kids. The lady's faded pink top and matching sweats fit tightly around her frame. Her coarse, shoulder-length hair puffing out around her head looks like it hasn't seen a brush in weeks. The poor thing is so busy with the kids she doesn't have time for herself.

"You give it back to her," the lady scolds, waggling her finger at her eldest son.

The defiant child stomps his foot in the dirt, adding to the layers of grime covering his worn clothes. "But mom."

Placing her hand on her rounded hips, she scowls at him and says, "Don't you but mom, me, young man."

He glares at his sibling. "The crybaby always gets her way." The boy tosses the ball. It bounces off the sidewalk, smacking the little girl in the face.

"That's it, Andres, go to the house."

"It's not my fault she can't catch."

"One more word out of you, and you'll be grounded for a week."

Stomping onto the porch, the child slams the door behind him.

"You just wait until your father gets home," the mother warns.

"Toni taps the lady on the shoulder. "Ma'am."

The woman spins around. "What do you want?"

"I'm detective Moore, with the Atlanta PD. I'd like to ask you a few questions if you don't mind."

"Make it quick; I ain't got all day." She glances at the remaining four in the yard.

Toni takes her notebook from her pocket. Clears her throat and begins, "Did you see anything unusual in your neighborhood a week ago today?"

"That was the day the cable was out; third time this month. It'd been down since the day before, and the company kept promising to fix it. I told them I was going to switch to Dish if they didn't get out here soon. I made a few other threats too." 

Toni chuckles to herself. I imagine you did. "Did anything unusual happen?"

They didn't show up until late evening, which I thought was a little odd since you usually don't see the company trucks out past six. I asked the tech, the man apologized and said they were having unexplained outages all across the city."

"Did anything else happen?"

"I can't remember anything."

"Thank you for your time."

The mother turns towards her kid and yells, "Didn't I tell you to get your butt in the house?"

He lifts his sneakers and says, "I had to get my shoes."

Toni shakes her head. "She makes me not want to have kids."

Jamal recalls his own family, smiles and says, "The good outweighs the bad."

She turns to find the mother chasing the child towards the house. "If you say so."

He chuckles and says, "Well, most of the time." Noticing the perplexed look on his partner's face, Jamal asks, "What are you thinking, sergeant?"

"What if someone caused the outages, knowing it'll disable the cameras?"

"That'd give them a way inside without being seen." His eyebrows arch, his head tilts to the side. He glances over at Toni and says, "You'd think our guys would've caught it by now."

"Not if the vigilante looped the footage to cover the lapse. Let's go see what the company has to say about their issues."

They're climbing into their car when Toni's phone rings. "You're on speaker, Captain," she says, placing her cell on the dash.

"The vigilante is at it again, and this one is more creative than the last."

She recalls the naked man straddling a sawhorse on his lawn. She then remembers how the vigilante has publicly humiliated the other victims. "How is that possible, captain?"

"Have Jamal check his phone."

He pulls his cell from his pocket and clicks on the message. They see a naked man strapped to a basement wall. They then notice a wire running from his privates to a small black device.

"The machine he's hooked to, sends an electrical current through his body at random times. It isn't enough to kill him, but it gives him a heck of a jolt."

"We're on our way, captain."

The two pull up to the one-story brick house a few minutes later. Turning off the car, Jamal looks over and says, "This is one victim I wish we didn't have to save."

"We can't let personal feelings get in the way of doing our job." She wasn't sure if the reminder was more for her or him. 

A disheartened look crosses his face.  He sighs and says, "Yeah, I know."

Jamal starts to climb out of the car, Toni grabs his arm to stop him. He turns to face her. "If it makes you feel any better, I was secretly hoping we wouldn't find the place, at least not so fast."

Reaching for the ignition, the detective smiles and says, "We still can claim we're lost."

Toni sees neighbors gathering around. "As tempting as it is, we better not."

Opening the front door, they step inside. "Atlanta PD, call out," the sergeant shouts.

"I'm back here." A shaken voice says.

With their guns drawn, they cautiously walk through the house.

"I'm over here," he repeats.

They turn to find a naked man strapped to a cold concrete wall in the adjacent room.

"I'm so glad you're here," he says.

Hearing voices beside her, Toni turns to find porn playing on his big screen. Looking closer, she realizes it's him with underage kids. The vigilante always makes sure we have enough to put them away yet somehow manages not to leave any evidence behind. Another thought crosses her mind. Could she be a lawyer or an ex-cop?

The victim glances down at his privates. "Please get me down from here before the thing zaps me again."

Jamal fights to corral his amusement. "It shocks you?" 

"Every time I start to get hard, it goes off."

So that's why she set the TV where she did, Toni thinks.

Looking at his appendage, the naked man says, "Please hurry. I don't know how much more of this I can take."

Toni turns towards him. "Guess you should've thought about that before you touched the girls."

"I won't look at another child if you get me down."

They hear a zap. The man's body jolts.

Toni shakes her head. "Just the thought of a little girl turns you on." Electricity surges through him again. "See."

"Please just get me down from here."

"Since you said please." She turns off the machine while Jamal shuts off the TV.


Taking out her notebook, Toni asks, "Did you see who did this to you?"

A confused expression crosses the victim's face. "Wait, aren't you going to get me down first?"

"We don't have anything to cut through the metal, but don't worry, the fireman will be here soon."

"The keys are in my pants pocket."

Toni glances around, "I don't see them?"

"Look for a pair of tan slacks."

"I'll go, sergeant."

"You might as well answer a few questions while we wait."

The man rolls his eyes. "I suppose."

"Start at the beginning and tell me what happened."

"I remember stepping into the house. The next thing I know I'm here." Wincing, the man continues. "He must've hit me in the head because it hurts like hell."

"Do you have a security camera?"

"I have one facing the front yard and a second in the back. I have an alarm too."

"You need to see this, Sergeant." Jamal calls from the other room.

"Don't go anywhere." Toni chuckles.

 Repositioning his sore arms, the man glares at her and says, "Not funny, sergeant."

"I find myself quite amusing." Chuckling, she steps out of the garage. 
Walking over to her partner, she asks, "What is it, Jamal?"

"Look." He points across the room.

Toni glances over to find two young girls in his bed.

"They're both deceased and by the looks of it, I'd say they've been that way for a while."

Toni gets closer, shakes her head and says, "They can't be no older than seven or eight."

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