The liar was there, he knew it, he felt it. The murderer, the sick monster who had raped and tortured eight girls. He walked along the line of men, pausing to stare each of them in the eye for a brief moment. They were uncomfortable with him, terrified even, that’s what he wanted. He stopped in front of another and froze, he could see it all, hear it all, every scream and terrified word. He grabbed the man by his throat. “You, it was you. I can see and smell the blood on your hands.” He squeezed a little tighter. “You have no emotion, no guilt, no regrets. You must think you’re a real monster.” The police ushered everyone else off, ordering them back into the dormitory.
“Are you sure Leviticus?” The police chief asked. He looked at the officer out of the corner of his eye and the chief took an involuntary step back.
“Rape and torture, girls, young girls mutilated. How old was the oldest, seventeen? This pervert, I can see it. He was planning on going out tonight and I don’t need any powers to see that. People like him can’t stop. Quia dignus est ut putrescat in Inferno.” He shoved the young man toward the police. “He’s proud of his work which means he took trophies. I’m sure if you search his room long and hard you might find something and don’t worry, he’ll be blabbing soon. He wants to tell you.”
He never liked dealing with those types. Every time he was close to someone like that man he had to resist the urge to snap their necks, especially when there were children involved. Most of the time he could shut out his emotions, but when children were the victims it brought a dark rage bubbling to the surface. “How did you know he was a college student?” His head snapped up and he turned his eyes to the young woman standing to his right.
“How did you know he was a college student?”
“It was easy to deduce once you looked at where the murders were committed. Serial killers like to stay close to home.”
“Clever, at least he’ll be locked up and maybe given to those other animals in prison. They hate people like him, he won’t last a week in gen pop.” She smiled and turned away from him.
“Wait, who are you exactly?”
She stopped and looked over her shoulder, that almost mischievous smile still on her face. “They call me the executioner, I kill the ones you can’t catch. You can just call me Pandora though, Nikolai. Nice touch with the Latin, quia dignus est ut putrescat in Inferno. He deserves to rot in Hell. If you ask me, Hell is much too good for him. Good night Nikolai.” She walked away and he just watched her until the darkness swallowed her up.
Pandora was glad to have talked to him this time. She had watched him pick out perpetrators many times with amazing accuracy. He hadn’t been consulted on a single case where he put the wrong man in jail and he didn’t even seem to need the evidence to pick the right person. Pandora wasn’t impressed easily but this man had honestly wowed her since the first time she saw him in action. It wasn’t that she was shy that made her not speak to him before this, infact she was the furthest thing from shy. Tonight she just felt compelled to when she couldn’t wrap her mind around him knowing this man was a college student.
Now that the ice was broken she planned on asking him more about what he does. He had sparked her interest and she was determined to learn everything about him. Nikolai pulled up to his house and went inside to take a long shower before grabbing a beer and relaxing infront of the Tv until he could get that monster out of his head. He had grown accustom to the pain he saw others cause but it would never be easy to see their crimes, especially when he had to witness the suffering of children.
The next morning Pandora was woke by her cell going off. She opened her eyes, groaning as she grabbed it and answered it. “Rise and shine beautiful, we have work to do.” Hardy said.
“It’s three in the morning.” She said as she rubbed her eyes.
“That’s why I got you a coffee with five shots and a red bull if you’re still tired after that.”
“I think you’re trying to give me a heart attack. I’ll be there in a bit.”
“Alright, see you soon.”
Pandora hung up her phone and got out of bed, heading into the bathroom. She flipped on the light then turned on the water and got undressed. The water helped wake her and she yawned as she washed and rinsed. She got out, quickly drying and dressing. She knew if she didn’t get over to her and Hardy’s office in the next thirty minutes he would be calling to make sure she was awake. She grabbed her shoulder holster and slipped into it then checked her gun before slipping it in place and pulling on her jacket. She put her phone in her back pocket, grabbed her keys and headed out. She smiled when her motorcycle rumbled to life then pulled out of her driveway.
Nikolai jerked awake still sitting on the couch. He checked his watch, seeing it was almost four. The moment he started to stand his phone rang. He pulled it out of his back pocket and answered. “Yeah?”
“We need you to go to the Executioner’s office. You are going to be working with her this time. I have already sent the file to her partner.”
“Who am I looking for?”
“A man suspected of traveling across the country and murdering as he goes. All of his victims have been killed execution style.”
“If you already know who it is just arrest him.”
“We don’t have proof, only that he has been in every state that these murders happened in. I need you to read him and make sure he hasn’t just been there by coincidence. I can’t have Pandora execute a man just because he happened to be around. So, you two find him, you read him and she puts a bullet between his eyes if he’s the one.”
“Give me the address to her office.”
With address fresh in his mind Nikolai drove to Pandoras office. He was glad to atleast semi know the woman he was working with. This was weird enough but would be weirder if he hadn’t spoken to her atall previously. Upon entering her office Nikolai saw Pandora leaning against the desk drinking her coffee. “Funny right? I talk to you yesterday and now we’re working together. I’m already up to speed, are you?”
“Almost, let me look over the files” Hardy got up from the desk and motioned for Nikolai to sit. Wordlessly he walked over and took the chair to begin going over everything. In the time it took Nikolai to finish Pandora finished her coffee and threw the cup away “I’m ready if you two are”
“we were ready long before you got here but a man of your talent is worth the wait. I look forward to seeing more of your skill” Nikolai was surprised Pandora wasn’t staring at his blind eye or asking questions like most did about it. She was just looking at him, the whole of his face, never concentrating for a second just on the blind eye.
“The last killings were in Nevada and by this file, and he’s now here in California. He’s been hitting big cities. Your boss put a note in there saying he had eyes on this Harold Stirling guy and he was last spotted going into San Francisco.” Hardy said as he grabbed his gun out of his desk drawer and slipped it into the holster on his hip.
“Then we’ll start there.”
They left the office, Hardy making sure all the lights were off and the door was locked. Pandora pushed her bike around back, Nikolai following her to make sure no one messed with her. “You know I can take care of myself right?”
“Of course.” He answered, studying her for a few minutes.
She smiled and turned around. “Are you trying to search out my sins Nikolai?”
“I prefer Leviticus.”
“And I prefer Nikolai, save Leviticus for those that fear you.” She reached out and grabbed the bullet around his neck. “This bullet’s been fired. Where did you get it?”
“From the inside of my head.”
“You should really learn how to duck.” She teased and let go of the bullet. “Don’t worry though, you’re not the only one.” She lifted up her shirt, showing him her stomach and the knife scar there then dropped her shirt and moved aside her jacket and shirt sleeve to show him her shoulder. “I have some battle scars of my own. People like us will always get wounded because we’re a little stupid when it comes to danger.” She winked and then started back to the front of the building with him right behind her. They climbed into Hardy’s car, her insisting on riding in the back since she was shorter.
Pandora wasn’t concerned about Nikolai reading her since she didn’t hide her sins. If anybody asked her for a list she would give it freely. She had made peace with all her past mistakes because she knew she was only human and she had always tried to be a good person though she had failed in life at times. Nobody was sinless and she found it a shame some people try to pretend that they are. If he had a single question she would answer without hesitation since she still had some of her own. Pandora would start asking away now but she was keeping watch out of her window for their target.
Nothing said he couldn’t go where he pleased so if he passed their car for whatever reason she didn’t want to be distracted by conversation that could wait for another time. Hardy was doing the same and Nikolai wasn’t big on conversations so the car was without any other sound besides what cars produce when they pass your car.
“This city is so big, why is it so big?” Hardy said.
“I don’t know what you expected, you’ve been here many times.” Pandora replied. “How about you Nikolai, have you spent a lot of time in the city or are you more of a country boy?”
“I go I can live anywhere.”
“Hardy and I both live in the city, but living out in the country wouldn’t be so bad.”
“Speak for yourself Pan, I think it’d be too quiet for me.” Hardy chimed in. “I enjoy the craziness of the city.”
“That’s because you’re crazy.” Hardy laughed and Pandora hugged him from the back seat.
“You two seem pretty close.” Nikolai said.
“Well we grew up together, we’re kind of like siblings. There are no secrets or lies between us, we’ve been protecting each other since we were little. Hardy sews me up if I get wounded.”
“Not all the time I don’t. I made her go to the hospital for that bullet wound since it wasn’t a through and through. She bitched me out the whole time.”
Pandora laughed and tussled his hair. “Do you have any siblings Nikolai?”
“No, it’s just me. I was part of an experiment my mother either wasn’t permitted to have more children or wasn’t able too. I was GE-17 Nikolai Charles.”
“GE?” Hardy asked.
“German experiment number 17.”
“What happened to the other sixteen?”
“They died or were sent out into the world to do god knows what, one of them gave me this.” He pointed at the bullet scar. “And this.” He pointed at his eye. “I should have died.”
“Why did he shoot you?”
“She shot me because she was ordered to because I refused to bow down to the men and women who experimented on my mother and continued to experiment on me like I was some kind of lab rat. They said I was a failure because I couldn’t be conditioned.” Nikolai looked back out the window. “Whoa stop.” Hardy slammed on the breaks and Nikolai was out of the car in an instant, Pandora close behind and Hardy following them in the car. Harold Stirling saw them coming and ran, a lot faster than they thought he would be.
Nikolais full attention was on Harold as he ran. He didn’t know if this was really the man responsible for all the murders but if he was Nikolai didn’t want him loose any longer than he absolutely needed to be. Pandora was running only just behind Nikolai while Hardy was just behind her. Nikolai was impressing her yet again with another skill. Harold, not familiar with this town got himself back into a dead ally.
Nikolai could already see the mans guilt, had honestly known it from the time he ran. An innocent man wouldn’t be running. He wouldn’t have known why anybody would be looking for him so would have no reason to run. Nikolai looked menacing as he approached the man with Pandora and Harold close at his sides. He was seeing everything this monster had done and it made him sick.
Harold pulled out a gun and aimed it at them. “Don’t think I won’t blow your brains out.” He said angrily and both Nikolai and Pandora stopped. “Get out of my way.”
“I don’t think so.” Nikolai said.
“Get out of my way or I will shoot, I’m not joking.” Nikolai took another step and Harold squeezed the trigger. The bullet barely missed Nikolai.
“Pan?” They turned to see Hardy standing behind them, having gotten out of the car to help them. He lifted his hand, showing it was covered in blood from the hole in his abdomen. Pandora’s heart leaped in her chest and she ran to Hardy as he hit the ground.
“You son of a bitch.” Nikolai said and Harold pointed the gun at Pandora.
“Back off or I’ll paint the alley with her brains.” Nikolai clenched his fists and stepped aside. “Good boy. Everyone was right about you Leviticus, you’re terrifying. Fear makes people do stupid things so just stay right there and don’t move until I’m gone. Don’t even call an ambulance or I’ll empty my clip into your friends.”
Nikolai was pissed but he didn’t want Pandora hurt. He felt an unfamiliar feeling of fear rise in him for her. He even felt angry for her that her friend was laying there shot. Harold ran by them, a sickening and triumphant smile on his face. Just as he ordered they waited until he was gone to call for help. “it’s going to be ok Hardy” Pandora said with tears pouring down her face. “stop that. I’ve never seen you cry and I dont want to now” Hardy answered. “If you die I will kick your ass. In the afterlife too, I’ll just beat the shit out of you”
“Please, I’m not going to die”
‘he shouldnt be talking” Nikolai interjected. Pandora nodded and just held her friend until the ambulance came. She loaded in with him while Nikolai went for their car. Pandora was expecting him to come to the hospital but Nikolai wasn’t planning on loseing that bastard. This time he’d find the ass and not have people to worry about with him. He had his own gun and wouldn’t hesitate to use it.
Pandora held Hardy’s hand as they were taken to the hospital. He was whisked away as soon as they made it there and she was asked to fill out some paperwork. She wiped at the tears blurring her vision and quickly filled everything out. She gave the papers to the receptionist and told them to call her as soon as Hardy was out of surgery. She had to catch up with Nikolai and bring Harold to justice. She hailed a taxi and gave the driver directions. She kept her eyes open for both Nikolai and Harold.
Nikolai moved quickly down the sidewalk, tracking the monster who had executed so many innocents and had fired a round into Hardy who had done nothing more than tried to help his friend. He didn’t like seeing Pandora cry or covered in Hardy’s blood as she put pressure on his wound. The sound of screams caught his attention and he sprinted down the street, turning a corner and finding a woman holding her baby and crying. “What happened?” She just stared at him in wide eyed fear. “Tell me what happened.”
“He took my car, he said he’d kill my son if I tried anything.”
“What kind of car?”
“A black Toyota Highlander. He went that way.” She pointed down the street.
“How much gas?”
“A quarter of a tank.”
Nikolai pulled out his phone and called his boss. “Listen I need you to get me eyes on a black Toyota Highlander heading north west. Harold Stirling shot Hardy and stole a vehicle.”
When he hung up he offered “let me call you two a cab”
“thank you” In the time it took Nikolai to hail a cab and for the mother to get in it Pandora found him. “where’s Hardys car?” she asked as she got out of her own cab and the woman got in one. Pandora paid the driver as Nikolai answered ‘I guess I didn’t think to take it”
“I hope it isn’t stolen. The keys are in it”
“Lets go back to it. Harold has stolen a Toyota Higlander, I have my boss sending an alert for it but we can get Hardys car and try to track him ourselves. They climbed in the cab Pandora had only just gotten out of and told him where their car was waiting. To their surprise it was actually still there. If she didn’t have so much adrenaline pumping Pandora may have cried again being back where Hardy was shot but she said nothing and got in the car, letting Nikolai drive.
Nikolai’s phone rang and he pulled out of his pocket. “Tell me you know where he is.”
“He ditched the car on the north side and now he’s on foot. My boy is keeping his eyes on him so if I were you I’d head on over to Lincoln Avenue and try to catch him.”
“We’re on our way, make sure your boy does not engage Harold Stirling in any way.”
He hung up and Pandora asked. “Where am I going?”
“North side, Lincoln Avenue.”
“I can’t believe that piece of shit shot Hardy. He’s going to pay worse than anyone I have executed before.”
“How was he when you left?”
Pandora teared up. “I don’t know, he was in surgery.” Her voice cracked and she reached up, wiping at the tears that streamed down her face. “I don’t know what I’ll do if he dies.”
“You love him very much don’t you?”
“Of course I do, we take care of each other. That monster should have shot me.”
He reached over and took her hand. “He’ll make it, you just have to keep believing that.”
“I guess if anyone knows about bullet wounds and surviving it would be you. You took a bullet to the brain and you’re still walking around, looking all grim, scaring the pants off of people.” He cracked a smile and it was immediately contagious. “Thank you.” She said softly.
“You’re the Executioner, you’re strong and can get through anything. Focus on nailing this son of a bitch and getting justice for Hardy and all of those other victims.”
Pandora sniffled and wiped at her face again with a nod. Nikolai kept her hand, only needing one to drive with anyway. It was odd yet felt good and comforting to him. He wasn’t used to having contact with a woman. He spent all his time working or watching TV alone. Coming in contact with women meant feelings could happen and since he was sterile he didn’t want to fall in love only to have her change her mind because he couldn’t produce children. In this moment his mind wasn’t on making sure he never attached to a woman so he just enjoyed having contact while he searched for the bastard he couldn’t wait to see pay for what he had done.
Pandoras grip tightened without her realizing as she concentrated on the road ahead. Just as Nikolai had told her to she pushed worry for Hardy to the side so her full concentration could be on this job. Worrying wouldn’t mend him and distraction could make her miss the mark. This man was getting what he deserved even if she had to chase him to the ends of the earth to hand out retribution.
“There’s the van.” Nikolai said as they neared the end of the road. “My boss has a man watching him.” He pulled out his phone and called his boss. “We’re on Lincoln, where is he now?”
“Three blocks down and to the right. He’s scoping out a house.”
Nikolai hung up. “Three more blocks then turn right.”
Pandora slowed down as she came to the turn and pulled over, switching off the headlights. “We’ll walk from here so he doesn’t hear us coming.”
They got out and they both pulled out their guns, switching the safety off. They could see a car parked across the street and the driver gave them a short wave then pointed at a house across from him. Nikolai waved back and they headed for the house indicated. “You go around back, I’ll take the front door.” Nikolai said under his breath.
“Just don’t get yourself shot.” She started to go around the house then turned back. “Again I mean.”
His lips tried to pull themselves into a smile, but he forced down his amusement. They could smile and laugh later when Harold Stirling was dead and Hardy was in the clear. Nikolai got in a crouching position in front of the window and peeked in. The lights were on in the living room, but he didn’t see anyone. He moved to the door and tried the knob. It gave so he slowly pushed the door open. Pandora did the same with the back door, moving silently inside. She met Nikolai in the dining room and they went upstairs. There were three bedrooms. One belonged to a teenage girl, one belonged to one or two adults, and the third was an office.
“Where are they?” Pandora whispered.
They headed back downstairs where the sound of whimpering. Nikolai held up his hand to keep her quiet. “Did you hear that?” There was another whimper. “Basement.”
They walked soundlessly around the bottom floor of the house until they discovered the basement door. It was already slightly open so all Pandora had to do was push it just a bit further to be able to fit through. Nikolai wanted to go first but speaking would ruin any chance they had at surprising this bastard. She wasn’t a woman who needed protecting anyway. This is what she did for a living and he knew it would probably be taken as an insult if he tried to shelter her. He would however protect her if it came down to her needing it and he didn’t care how she’d take it. They couldn’t tell what Harold was doing but whatever it was had the family terrified.
“I wonder who I should kill first.” Harold said as he paced back and forth in front of the family. Their arms were duct taped behind them and a piece had been put over each of their mouths. “I know how about I let you choose Mr. Husband. Will it be your beautiful wife or your sweet baby girl?” The man made muffled pleas. “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, did you say your daughter?” The man shook his head and Harold smiled. “Your daughter it is then.” He pointed his gun at the teenagers head.
“Stop right there you sadistic piece of shit.” Pandora said as she came off the last step.
Harold looked over his shoulder at her. “Didn’t you and your little boyfriend learn your lesson?”
“Step away from them Harold and face the consequences of your actions.” She ordered.
“I will blow this little bitches brains out.” He pulled the girl up by her hair and turned so she was in front of him and his gun was to her temple. “I wonder how mommy and daddy will feel being covered in the contents of her pretty little head.”
“You will let her go.” Nikolai said, his eyes full of rage. “I can see everything you have done, all the blood you have spilled. Men, women, and even children. You sick bastard, you vile disgusting creature. You are nothing but a worm, not even worthy of breathing. You terrorize these families, make their last moments a living hell. Yet you are nothing, a nobody, a scared little boy.”
“Shut up.” Harold snapped.
“You’re a coward, a frightened, squealing little coward. I’m surprised you’re not pissing your pants.”
“I said shut up.” Harold’s finger pulled away from the trigger for a split second and Pandora took the shot, putting a bullet in his left shoulder. He fell back, letting go of the girl. Pandora walked over and kicked his gun away then planted a foot in his chest.
“This is for Hardy.” She shot him in the head then spit on him. “Piece of shit.”
Nikolai went over and started freeing the family form their bonds. Through sobs they thanked the both of them before Pandora called the department to let them know Harold was taken care of and to let them know what had happened to this poor family that had been caught in the middle of all this. Nikolai wasn’t very good with comfort so felt awkward until Pandora hungup and started talking to the family in their kitchen.
He was surprised at how well a woman called executioner was able to be sweet and calming for the terrified family. It was rare to meet a person in this line of work that could see all the blood and violence yet still keep their hearts intact and be able to soothe others. The police arrived and pandora gave them the peoples statements, feeling they had been through enough without repeating what happened again for the officers.
Once the body had been taken away and Nikolai’s boss had been contacted to let him know Harold was dead they left, Pandora exhausted from the hunt. “This one was much more stressful than the others. Hardy’s never been hurt before.”
“Maybe you should make him stay at your office.”
“Like that’ll happen. He’d follow me around even if he had two broken legs and had to use a wheel chair.” She sighed.
“Yeah, I’m tired and hungry and every muscle in my body hurts from being so tense.”
“Why don’t we get something to eat then?”
“I need to get back to the hospital.
“How about we go back to the hospital then I go and get us something to eat. You can trust me with Hardy’s car.”
“Intelligent, sweet, tell me you’re single and you’ll have the trifecta.”
“You don’t want to date me Pandora.”
“How do you know what I want? I can make up my own mind you know.” She replied. “I like you Nikolai, you’re a good person and I don’t need a gift like yours to see it.”
He sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t know how to be in a relationship.”
“Then I’ll teach you.”
“I’m not the best looking guy in the world.”
“I can’t give you children, I’m completely sterile.”
She shrugged. “No accidental pregnancies and we can always adopt or use a donor.”
“We don’t even really know each other.”
She stopped at a red light. “How about this. We’ll stay just friends for one year and after that we’ll see where we stand. One year and then we tell each other how we feel.”
“One year? I can do that.”
“Shake on it.”
They shook, Nikolai still not sure she should be with him but she had a year of being around him to decide and he got atleast a year of friendship with a seemingly amazing woman. They went to the hospital where Nikolai walked Pandora to Hardys room so he could ask Hardy if he wanted any real food. Hardy was excited to get real food since he knew how bad hospital food was. With their orders Nikolai left with the keys to the car to pick somthing up for them. While they waited Pandora told Hardy what happened and even about their deal which he laughed at. “whats so funny”
“you even considering dating.”
“I’m still woman”
“I owe you a smack when you aren’t in the hospital”
“aw, look, your girlfriend side is already coming out. How considerate”
“Hardy’ he laughed again then they moved off the subject. Nikolai didn’t take very long to return with their food. They sat and ate with Hardy but he was exhausted from the surgery and drugs pumping through him so they headed out as soon as he was resting again. “where do you want me to take you?”
“Home, I’ll give you directions as we drive”
“alright” Pandora drove Nikolai to his home and she hugged him by, honestly surprising him with it. She made sure he had her number and address “Call me whenever you want to hangout. Heck, maybe we can work together more”
“I’d like that”
“Good, I’ll see you later”
“see you” he said then watched as she drove away. He actually smiled before heading inside. He was looking forward to learning more about Pandora and seeing how things would develop. The part of him he felt was selfish right now was actually hoping things would go well between them and she would want to be with him in a years time.
~ The End ~
~ Nikolai was originally created by Zeus Asylum