Book #1 of the Vigilante series
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Claude Bouchard Books
Montreal . . . the long, hot summer of 1996. . .
. . . and in the dark of night, moving like a shadowy wraith, a vigilante prowls the city's streets.
The targets of his bloody rampage: the worst of the worst.
Murderers. Gangbangers. Rapists.
Six months. Sixteen murders. The harried police are still without a clue . . .
. . . until the day they receive an email from the assassin himself.
Lieutenant Dave McCall, head of Montreal's Special Homicide Task Force, needs help to crack the secrets of the killer's taunting message. He calls on an expert--Chris Barry, who runs a security firm specializing in computer communications.
Together, McCall and Barry launch a grim quest to track down a man who preys on predators--an urgent quest to bring this remorseless killer to justice.
But whose justice will prevail: theirs--or the vigilante's?
The old man was drunk again. That usually meant trouble.
The ten year old boy silently backed his wiry, four foot four inch frame away into the recesses of the attic, his secret place, as he called it. There, he would be safe as long as he remained quiet because the bastard turned violent when he got drunk.
The youngster worried about his fifteen year old sister though, who had arrived ten minutes before their stepfather had. He had heard then seen her through the ventilation grill set in the ceiling of her room as she came in and tossed her worn packsack onto the bed. However, she didn’t know he was there as nobody knew about his secret place. They never used the attic.
He had watched as she had examined her face in the dresser mirror and ruffled her wavy, shoulder-length, dirty-blond hair before sticking her tongue out at her reflection. Though he’d never told her, he thought that she was getting prettier every day but she was never happy with how she looked or with the worn, no-name clothing she had to wear.
“Where the fuck is everybody?” the old man hollered angrily as he plodded heavily up the stairs.
The boy could hear the stupid drunk bounce off one wall, then the other as he stumbled upwards. Laying flat on his stomach, the youth quietly started inching back towards the ventilation grill, being careful not to snag his baggy jeans on the rough, wooden floor. Doors could be heard slamming open and closed in the upstairs hallway. He reached the grill and peered down through it at his older sister, wishing that there was some way he could magically beam her up to him, like they did in Star Trek.
She was seated on the bed with knees gripped under her chin, huddled in the corner and trembling with intense fear as she stared at the door. She visibly stiffened as the footsteps approached, causing a nauseous wave to wash over her brother as he secretly but helplessly watched on. The footsteps stopped on the other side of the door and silent seconds went by, serving only to increase each sibling’s private terror.
‘Please go away. Leave her alone!’ the boy pleaded in his mind, biting his knuckles to keep from screaming.
At that moment, door crashed open, causing his sister to jump with fright.
“Howya doin, girly?” their stepfather snarled with a leering smile. “Didn’t ya hear me callin?”
“I, I was studying,” she stammered in a thin voice. “I didn’t hear you. I’m sorry.”
From the safety of his hideout, the boy could now see the stocky, forty-something year old slob with his greasy, greying hair, dirty blue jeans and bulging belly under his tight t-shirt. His unsteady stance made it clear that he had gone drinking after his shift at the machine shop if he had gone to work at all.
“Where’s your mama, sweetie?” he slurred, approaching her.
“She’s-she’s out, I guess,” the girl replied, trying to sound confident but not succeeding. “But she should be back real soon.”
The old man smiled again, more of a sneer, as he wavered slightly.
“And that little shit brother of yours?” demanded her stepfather. “Where’s he at?”
“I-I don’t know,” she mumbled. “No one was home when I got here.”
“So it’s just you and me, huh, kiddo?” he mused, scratching his stubble thoughtfully as his cold bleary eyes wandered over the forms of her body beneath her thin, yellow sundress.
“I’m sure Mom will be back real soon,” she repeated tearfully as she shrunk into the corner, shivering with terror.
The old man grinned at her for a few seconds, then stepped back and pushed the door shut.
As he returned, he started unbuttoning his jeans and retorted, “Well, girly, real soon is just not soon enough for me today. You’re just gonna have to fill your mama’s shoes.”
The boy rolled away from the grill, not wanting to see what was taking place. His sister shrieked and several slaps were heard amidst a muttered “Quiet, little lady.” Covering his ears, the youngster cowered in the darkness and silently wept with frustration. But, what could he do? He was only ten.
After a minute or two, the boy heard the bedroom door below swing open and slam shut and everything grew quiet. With tears in his eyes, he crawled forward and once again peered down through the grill.
Their stepfather was gone but his sister was still there, lying on the bed, whimpering and shaking uncontrollably. Her dress was ripped and he could see her exposed breasts, scratched and bruised. Her left eye, just above the cheekbone, was already starting to swell from when the pig had hit her and the sheets were spattered with blood.
He began to soundlessly weep once more as he vowed that he would get even when he was older.