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A new stand-alone dark romance from bestselling author Jessica Gadziala
I’m a bad guy.
** Triggers for this book can be found on my website under the “triggers” tab on the main navigation bar. Once at the “triggers” page, select “stand alones.” **
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The body was half-melted in the tub. The lye was doing its job beautifully. It was heated to over three-hundred degrees. In case you were wondering, in case you have a douchebag who beats you or know of a pedophile who isn’t ‘reformed,’ you have to heat the lye to dissolve a human body. Three hundred degrees and two or three hours, and you will have a tub full of post-human fluid the consistency of mineral oil. Then you can just pour it down the drain like nothing happened, using a catch to get any possible bone shadows, crush those up, dissolve them again, then drain that as well.
If you have the time and want to make sure there is no chance of anything ever leftover, sulfuric acid does the job in about two days, but can cause third-degree burns, and the fumes are enough to send you running from the room.
After that, you just need some running water and a couple bottles of bleach. Then it was like that person never existed.
I obviously have a lot of experience with removing bodies. This is mostly due to the fact that I take a lot of lives. I do this killing without shame, without regret, and with a clear mother fucking conscience.
Some bastards don’t deserve to walk the earth.
I make sure their footprints aren’t lasting.
“What can I say, Harold,” I started, flipping open his wallet as I leaned against the sink vanity. “Actually, can I call you Harry? I think we’re intimately acquainted enough to use nicknames, wouldn’t you say?” We had spent some time together before the messy dying and melting part happened.
I always gave them a chance to fess up, to take the easy route and go to jail. But as I took the photos out of the wallet, explicit sexual images of small boys, and tossed them in the tub with him, I knew the reason he didn’t want to go that route. The twenty some-odd years he would do if the feds started digging like I had been digging, wouldn’t be easy time. He’d spend a lot of that time with a dick up his ass for raping little boys. A fitting end, I believe. Eye for an eye and all that. So that was why he got the chance to choose that option.
So that was when the killing started.
The killing was fast. It was the clean-up that took the longest.
I didn’t just have to get rid of his body. I had to go on and wipe all that nasty shit he plastered all over the dark web. That was no easy feat either. But it was just part of the job.
For my troubles, the five grand he had in his Bitcoin wallet would be transferred, washed, and put into my own.
Most jobs left me out of money, not gaining any. And while I did shit because it was right, because the system failed the population, because sickos like Harold could walk free, I was still human. I had to eat. I had black hoodies to buy. I had lye and bleach to stock up on. Normal shit.
So Harold’s contribution to the cause, albeit unwilling and unwitting, was going to do some good.
“At least something came out of your sorry ass existence.”
There was a telltale, all-too-familiar vibrating at my hip. Not a cellphone, of course. It was old tech, most thought the stuff of museums, but in case you were curious, yes, they do still manufacture pagers. And I had one. They were reliable due to low traffic, anonymous thanks to the code you had to reach me with, and easy to smash if you needed to clean shop and delete traces of it.
The 8.0 was the code for who was calling.
The 422 was the reason why.
Yes, if you were interested, there were 500 codes you could possibly call me with. And I remembered each and every one of them off-hand.
Let’s just say I got a lot of pages a day from one of over two-hundred contacts across the country. After a while, that shit becomes as ingrained as the mother fucking alphabet. There was no forgetting it.
A 442 was pretty pressing, but that being said, I was a careful SOB, and I never made calls from my bunker. That just wasn’t worth the risk.
I only had another twenty or so before I could pull the drain and get to work on the bleach. I could be heading into town in a bit to call back and, likely, get the lead on what would be my next case.
An hour and a half later, Harold Grains was officially no longer even a speck of human; his dark web presence was gone, replaced with a warning page from me, like I always did; my clothes were embers in a firepit, and I was five grand richer as I stopped into She’s Bean Around for my usual fix.