A Killer's Solace

Ronald Keely

© Copyright 2021 by Ronald Keely

Photo of crow sentries.

Liam propped up on one elbow in bed. He heard crows cawing and watched them fly overhead, one at a time. They were taking up positions a hundred yards from the house. They found a food source. Liam thought about native people and how they learned to hunt watching wildlife. He would love to be transported back to a Cherokee tribe, deep in the Smoky Mountains, and live with them and learn their ways for a while. The first few crows landed out of site in the trees. The last few landing high in the tree tops, still cawing. Crows always use a sentry when they investigate food sources. They work in groups. The sentryís watch for danger while others check the spoils. Other bird species donít have that sense of community. Many birds find a soulmate and stick with them for life while other species are promiscuous. It all depends on species that happen to be different colors and sizes. To think about all the different birds in differing climates spread all over the world. This excited Liam. Birds are Liamís hobby and passion. He has an old thirty-five-millimeter camera and wanders through his wooded land finding and snapping photos of birds. He watches their behaviors and listens to their different languages.

Liam has an impressive collection of bird photos. He also collects pics of people and places. He gets outside as often as possible even in the winter when the snow is knee deep and the wind bites at his skin. Spring time in Michigan is a beautiful season. All the seasons have their qualities but Liam especially likes spring. Thatís when everything that died, is reborn. The soft rains help create the lush green foliage and it looks so clean and untouched. Fat Robins ready to give birth pluck the ground for worms, their mate not far from them. Blue Jays attack seed-feeders and chase the other birds away. Hawks fly over casting a shadow over the Blue Jays and scare them away. Squirrels relentlessly try to overcome the seed-feederís slippery poles and coned-shaped barriers. At the base of the feeder, they all feed together but keep their distance from each other. Occasionally a squirrel lunges at a bird, warning itís too close.

Liam sits on the edge of his bed and starts taking his medication. Out the window itís cloudy but the sun peaks through occasionally. The app on his phone said it would be mid-sixties today and partly sunny, perfect weather for bird watching. Once the pain meds take hold he will start moving around. Liam has a battered back. Sometimes he is forced to fight and wrestle with people, especially if itís a quiet kill. He has to wrap his body around them, his hand around their mouth, while he cuts their throat. What inevitably takes place is the person drops to their back, clawing at Liam to break free. Since he canít let that happen, his back takes the brunt. Itís a beastly way to die. The eyes of someone youíre killing are so desperate and scared while they gasp for a breath. Depending on the size and strength of the person being killed, it can take one or two long minutes for the person to stop fighting and accept their fate. Typically, forty-five seconds for a struggle like that is the norm. But Liam doesnít time things, heís not morbid like that. It may not seem like it, but a minute can be a long time when youíre exserting all your energy to hold someone. It can feel like you ran a marathon afterwards, and you still need to move, fast. You have to have a plan. A way to escape quickly and unnoticed. Slip out the back and disappear.

Doctors would love to cut in to Liamís back and erect scaffolding of cages and pins to hold his disintegrating back together. He knows once they start they will have to come back every so often and touch up their work and heís not ok with that. He will let his back naturally deteriorate until he canít move his legs, or heís pissing and shitting himself, before he lets the doctors in. Liam is fifty-five and slightly overweight with a big build. He stands five ten and weighs two forty. He has dark features, eyes and hair but has more hair on his face than the top of his head these days. He just wears a hat and lets it go. When youíre older, you tend to care less how you look and focus more on how you feel, thatís Liam. He strives for comfort at all costs. From his dark blue running shoes to his sleeveless shirts and multiple hats, Liam needs to be comfortable. When he wears his gun on his belt it puts a lot of pressure on his lower back so he ordered a shoulder holster but has his doubts it will fit when it arrives because the size of his shoulders, their big, weightlifter big. Liamís job requires a gun most of the time. Sometimes a knife with at least a six-inch blade is needed, but most of the time his Springfield Armory XD40 caliber is his go to weapon. He blows through suppressors quickly because of the high caliber. Liam only needs one shot, maybe two. If heís shooting someone, they are within a few feet from him. He has to be sneaky and quiet. Liam has to work out and try to stay light on his feet. He canít be all clumsy and reckless. He has to maintain his breathing and be fluid in his motions. Itís like the Tai Chi he practices. It teaches you how to step and use arms efficiently. Smooth, fluid motions. Liam canít think about how heís going to step up and grab someone. He has to just do it naturally, like a butterfly landing on a branch in the summertime. Itís like Bukowski said, ďDonít TryĒ. It has to be automatic and fluid and the only thing on your mind is the task at hand. Liam doesnít think about it afterwards either. It just disappears and he moves on. Thatís something that canít be taught, it has to be ingrained in your psyche. Liam knows heís one of the few that can do this type of work and not feel bad about it. Heís not a soldier, but he is a warrior and has known it his whole life. With Liamís build and demeanor and his deep committal to protecting people, this had to be how he lives and thrives. His path had to be written down somewhere and he doesnít even believe in that crap. To Liam, itís straight forward. People who prey on weaker people need to die, and Liam is good at killing them.

You wouldnít know it to look at Liamís residence, but he has extremely good security in and around his house and at the perimeter of his twenty acres. Cameras and laser-beam trip wire alarms keep him safe at night when he sleeps. The dogs perk up at any little noise and heís accustomed to check out what stirred them. A room solely devoted to security cameras and listening devices is locked behind a steel door that appears to be part of the wall in the main entrance hallway. It resembles a safe room in that it canít be opened from the outside without a very special key, a key Liam made by hand. There is also a numeric code that needs to be entered in a hidden compartment before the door will open. This is the room where Liam stores all his weapons and materials for making bombs. Rifles and shotguns line the two walls and handguns and knives adorn the shelves. Forms of payment like gold coins and diamonds are stashed away in soft-close drawers. A computer sits on a metal desk with a plush desk chair in front of it. He has access to top clearance information on some bad people. This is what needs all the protection, the information. If anyone were to find this computer and break in, it would be a colossal tragedy. Everything would come to a screeching halt and he would die along with a large group of good people. It takes a lot of information to source a kill, but Liam doesnít have to worry about that very often. By the time they reach out to him, they have everything thatís needed. Itís all very hush hush cloak and dagger type stuff. For Liam, itís been a way of life for thirty years.

Liamís dogs are a great form of security as well. Three Pitbull mixes all around four years old keep him company when heís home. He runs them out back and to the creek that runs through the property where they swim and fetch sticks. On a warm sunny summer day, he can be found wading into the groin deep creek with the dogs to swim. He spends time clearing debris hindering the flow of the creek. The dogs are three of the same species with completely different attitudes and personalities among them. All needing different types of attention and loving in order to keep them from getting anxiety and stressing them out. They stress every time Liam leaves the house. He comes home to whining and shaking, and they all have to have something in their mouth. Diablo, the black Brindle, shakes his entire back half rather than just his tail and appears to be smiling. Georgia, the tan girl whines until you rub her belly and Journey, the black girl tries to play fetch presenting her toy in her teeth. Like humans, stress kills dogs quick. If you have a stressed-out animal, you can subtract seven or eight years off its life span. Nothing ravages a body like stress and worry. Liam does all he can to keep his babyís calm.

You would think a man in Liamís profession would be pretty stressed out, and most of the time, youíd be right. But that isnít the case with Liam. He is one of the most laid-back guys you could ever meet. Liam feels good about the work heís done and is certain to do in the near future. He hasnít even thought about retiring yet. He makes tons of money traveling the North and South American continents, killing bad guys for a living and then writing about his exploits in his popular blog. The last few years have all been in Mexico. The human-trafficking fuckers all seem to wind up in Mexico lately. A handful in Canada and Brazil too, but Mexico mostly. It is Liamís job to get to these bad guys and kill them. Once Liam does his job, the authorities of that country take over arresting crims and freeing the slaves from bondage. He has nothing to do with all that bureaucratic crap afterward, he doesnít stick around. Liam is a freelancer. He has no particular supervisor or manager and only takes the jobs he wants. He receives a print out of the man or woman he must kill along with all their pertinent information and literally chooses a red light or green light on his computer. Itís that simple. If he chooses to do the job, he gets half of the money directed to the account of his choosing and the other half when heís finished. If there is a rush on the order and he kills them within a certain amount of time, he gets a bonus payment. Liamís not an ex- cop or soldier. Heís never been affiliated with a government agency and never underwent any special training or anything. Heís just a man that doesnít mind killing, and heís good at it. When killing is your specialty, someoneís going to notice.

The one meeting Liam had was with a man in a trench coat and a funny pork-pie hat with a feather in the band. Liam was seated at a sandwich shop, sipping a coffee and following his next kill. The crim was across the street at a jeweler and Liam was shooting photos and thumbing through a magazine. The man with the trench coat sat across from him and asked,

ďDo you know who that man is in the jeweler?Ē he glanced over to man as he asked.

Liam shook his head and shrugged.

ďHeís an international human trafficker, but you know that donít you?Ē the man said bluntly.

ďHeís one of the worst kinds of criminal.Ē He said.

ďExploiting children for money and his libido, itís just sick what heís been able to do.Ē He said

ďWeíve been tracking him and you.Ē he sat forward.

ďHe looks suspicious.Ē said Liam smiling a fake half-smile, squaring his shoulders to the man.

Liam whipped his head up looking for people who would be watching him and the man. It made him look nervous and confused. He didnít like this predicament, it was so out in the open.

ďWe have a file on you and we know what youíve been up to.Ē he said to Liam.

ďI can offer you financial freedom and logistics, I know you struggle with money.Ē he said.

Liam shifted uncomfortably. He didnít know he was being tracked and it pissed him off. He thought heíd been so careful about being tracked, and this guy from nowhere proves him wrong. It didnít sit well.

ďLook, you donít have the resources we do Liam, thereís no way you would have known we were watching you.Ē He tried to console.

ďIf itís any consolation, we couldnít breach your home security, we tried but failed.Ē He said with a pouting face. He was an older man and had many deep wrinkles on his face.

ďOur satellite footage from above left us with nothing as well, so, kudos for that.Ē he said still pouting.

Liam didnít say anything, he didnít ask any questions, he just listened very carefully to what the man said. Even when he wanted to interject, he kept quiet. It was as if the entire street was swallowed in on this intense moment. Time slowed down and he chewed on every word the man had to say. Making sure he understood what this meant. It meant there were people that knew what heíd been doing and it made sense to them that you were on their side. They have the resources available and are not shy about spending money on national defense. They shovel money to them. Liam figured it only made sense and thought he should be compensated for this. It takes a lot of effort to catch one of these bad guys or girls, sometimes. Bumps and bruises and gouges and bullets, they all add up. Itís not a job for the meek and humble. You have to be built for it. Masculinity is not dead. There are people who know they are the hammers that keep the nails down. They know the rest of the world silently depends on them. A corporal or lieutenant in the Army studied the percentage of the military that had the balls to kill. It was four percent, thatís it. Liam doesnít really think about it, heís not morbid like that. But how many people do we want to be in this percentile? The answer is not many. If every other person had the balls for killing our population would suffer dramatically. Liam thinks there are just enough of them. Men and women who can be vicious and brutal. People who use their body as a weapon and can disappear like a ghost after the kill. People who can eat the pain and still get the job done. Good people who protect and rescue weak, victimized people. People built like Liam, a bull on parade.

They spent the next hour talking about Liamís future. The man at the jeweler had long left and the crowd at the sandwich shop dissipated. When Liam walked away from the conversation, he was incredibly relieved and excited about his new business venture. Heíd just won the lottery and could continue his life free from the anxiety that comes with being poor. Retribution was still possible, and knowing that Liam would stay cautious and alert, but he wouldnít have to worry about getting stuck somewhere foreign without the funds to get home. Everything would be easier from here on out.

Liam sits on the edge of his bed and writes on his laptop. His large coffee cup with a Punisher Skull sits on his bedside table with his cigarettes, a bottled water, his handgun and his cellphone. A small marijuana roach is snubbed out in the ashtray. He is busy writing in his blog when an alert comes on the screen. He heads for the stash room. Liam pours more coffee reading the print out. The picture shows a young man with two young girls at his sides. Chancellor Briggs, heís smiling with an arm around each girl. The girls are frowning and look disheveled and high with their glossy eyes and messed hair. Heís the son of a big wig chairman at the International Monetary Fund (I.M.F). For the past two years this leach has been dealing humans, mostly girls between the ages of twelve and sixteen. His daddyís money has kept him out of trouble until now. Now itís time to pay. Liam stared a long time at Chancellorís eyes.

Chancellor Briggs had grown up much like youíd expect someone with a silver spoon shoved up his ass at birth. Fancy schools, fancy friends and even fancier parties. The guest list included celebrities and debutantes alike. Itís the side of life most of us never witness. The incredibly wealthy do not mix with the common folks. Itís an entirely different world in comparison. This peach, Chancellor, decided he liked to get rough with the girls he entertained. When a girl told him no, it turned him on. Becoming bored with the socialites, Chancellor sought out new victims. He wanted them younger and more vulnerable. He wanted to have complete power over them. He fed on their weakness, becoming more like an animal with each girl he tortured. He would bite them. Heíd bite flesh off their bodies and chew on it, blood streaming down his maniacal face. He raped, tortured and killed girls for fun. He traded and sold girls and boys internationally. He ordered children on the internet, much like someone orders clothing or a new television. He tracked shipments and chose kids for his own entertainment. Chancellor Briggs was a disgusting; twisted waste of good oxygen and the only remedy was death.

Like every other trip, Liam had important things to do before he left. His dogs needed care while he was gone and house needed to be watched. The man in the pork-pie hat took care of that too. I didnít want to ask a neighbor or a friend to take care of things because people are naturally curious. Sooner or later someone would stumble upon something they shouldnít and it wouldnít end well. Itís not that he didnít trust people but he just didnít trust people plain and simple. He knew all to well, the nature of man. Once he was ready to go he said goodbye to the dogs and headed to his non-descript pick-up truck that appeared to be in need of repair but not yet ready for the bone yard and nothing to be proud of at the same time. He tossed his backpack in the passenger seat and chugged out the long deeply pitted driveway and out to the road toward his target. Itís game on.

My stories focus a great deal on the powers of nature and the determination of mankind trying to alter the natural flow of life. An underlying theme is the death of modern masculinity. Each character deals with societies flaws and norms a little differently but have a problem with the ďeverybody winsĒ mentality. Violence is often displayed in its truest form and there are no short cuts to the reality of ugly, violent situations. In this world, there are hammers, who see everything and everyone as nails. Some have good intentions while others have a more deviant agenda. Join them while they travel to new places, map out a strategy and try to make the world a better place.

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