Mystery and Crime Fiction posted January 13, 2014 Chapters:  ...27 28 -29- 30... 

This work has reached the exceptional level

A chapter in the book Fatal Beauty


by Mastery

Branoff comes out to Lisecki's house.
Like a boxer in his corner between rounds, I wasn't thinking about the earlier rounds and the punches missed. I was only thinking about answering the next bell and landing the knockout blow as I waited for Branoff to answer the phone.

The last time I'd seen my ex-partner we were outside of McGuire's Bar, where he chewed my ass and left me standing there like an orphaned dog.

Lisecki blew out his breath in exasperation. My Glock was still pressed against his forehead.

I turned and looked behind me. Rings and hooks were bolted into the walls on either side of the torture bed. A strong metal frame for suspension held chains and a sling or swing and the seat hooks onto brackets on the bed headboard at different heights.

I pulled Lisecki up on his feet and dragged him over to the wall of pictures. Still covering him with my gun, I looked for a picture of Chelsea Rohrman. Pacing myself, I took my time while my phone continued to buzz.

In police work, I had seen many kinds of photos, some taken in booking rooms, others at crime scenes, some in morgues. But the kind you are never prepared for are the pictures of either the victims or the ambivalent smirk of the perpetrators.

Some of the women in the pictures would most likely be difficult to identify, even by their own mothers. But, it didn't take long before I recognized Chelsea, despite the pleading eyes and bruised cheeks. I ripped it from the wall and elbowed the professor under his chin.

"Owwww!" He screamed and whined like a baby as he whipped back against the wall.

"You sick bastard," I heard myself growl.

In her school pictures, Chelsea looked like a girl that had been loved and who believed the world was a good place where the joy of young womanhood waited for her with each sunrise. I would make sure her mother didn't see the picture I held in my hand.

People wonder why cops booze it up, take pills, become sex addicts or eventually eat their guns. Even among the most tarnished of police officers, unless they are sociopaths themselves, there are moments when they witness human evil for which no one is prepared. It causes them to wonder if some individuals in our midst are possessed by Satan himself. That's what we want to believe because the alternative conclusion would rob us forever of our faith in our fellow human beings.

Branoff answered his phone and I came out of my dark reverie, realizing I was still on the phone, waiting.

"Hello, Hawk. How you doing?"

"Hey, Kris, where ya' at right now?"

"I was walking out the door. Lucky you caught me, I wanted to get out of here over an hour ago, but everybody had to stay for a meeting with the Captain. Why? What's up?"

"Well, I've got your serial killer. He's located at the business end of my Glock, as we speak. I suggest you bring the lab guys and come out to Professor Lewis Lisecki's house, right away. It's in Rolling Meadows--easy to find. Look for his Mercedes and my Crown Vic in front of the garage."

There was a long silent gap.

"Kris?" I heard a whoosh of breath on his end.

"Jesus! What the fuck are you doing, Cleve? I specifically told you to keep your distance from Lisecki. Remember? If you're in his house, this is all fucked up. You've got no warrant." He said it like I was some kind of squatter or other nuisance who had previously been warned to move on and never come back.

"What the hell, Kris. Did I spit in your soup or something? I'm in his house, alright, but before you climb on the cross you might consider this: I didn't need a warrant. The good professor let me in through the front door. I'm a guest. I'm not the law, Kris, but you are. I suggest you wake up a judge and get that warrant for probable cause. There's enough shit here to make sure Lisecki gets the needle."

I shifted my weight from foot to foot like a boxer in his corner waiting to answer the bell.

There was another long pause and I heard Branoff sigh before he said, "Alright, but this better be damned good, Hawkins. You're in a shit load of trouble, my friend. But, I'm on the way . . . see you in about twenty or sooner."

"Right." I closed my phone and checked my watch, then shoved Lisecki toward a set of wooden stairs on the opposite end of the room.

"Let's go up those stairs, asshole." I don't know how I had missed it, but what I had mistaken for a bookcase, was actually a revolving door. One good shove and we were in his den. I turned and played it back and forth with my free hand.

"Pretty clever setup, Lisecki. You must have thought you were real smart when I missed this earlier, huh?"

I shoved him ahead of me and picked up his .38 that still lay on the floor by the desk. Checking it out, I found all the chambers other than the one under the hammer were loaded and it appeared unfired. I dropped it in my coat pocket and shoved him down into his swivel chair, then, I sat on the edge of the desk, my gun still aimed at him.

"Joan Vidross had your number, didn't she, you weasel?"

He shrugged and replied, "She's not smart. That one has more money on her tits than I have on this house." He leaned forward. "I remember when the bitch got a pumpkin up her dress, and I knew the name of the Romeo who put it there."

He became smug all of a sudden, as if he didn't have a care in the world and continued, "I made him pay for the abortion and then some. That cunt didn't have a clue about how to handle it."

I quickly grabbed his face with one hand and squeezed as hard as I could. His nose was buried between his cheeks. "Just a footnote for you, professor. If you ever refer to a woman like that in my presence again, using that particular word, I'm going to forget you've got rights and use this gun to smash out all of your teeth."

Lisecki shuddered and slumped back in the chair.

"As it is you're damned lucky, Professor."

He glared at me and said, "What do you mean?"

"Well, I was considering doing you the way the mob boys do when they discover scum in their midst."

"You wouldn't dare kill me."

"Well, far be it for me to be graphic, but you know how they usually do it?" I moved my Glock from place to place. "One behind the head, one in the ear, and three under the chin. But I wouldn't have to do all that. The boys don't either. You see, they just have the asshole drop his drawers, give him a dull knife, and make him cut off his own dick at gunpoint."


I checked my watch every so often and finally, nearly a half-hour later, I heard a car pull up outside.

Edging over to the front windows, I saw Branoff looking out his open window as he parked his blue Blazer. I expected the lab van would be right behind him, and probably a few blue and whites.

He strolled in without ringing the bell. He'd gotten a haircut since I'd last seen him and wore his gray hair in a crew cut. He wasn't wearing a tie and his white shirt lapels lay flat so that his chest hair stuck out like a tangle of wire. Branoff always carried an aura about him, a sense of confidence and knowledge, like a guy who knows he's two moves ahead of everybody else.

My pulse was spiking, my adrenaline pumping, but those internals were all under control as I waited and Branoff stopped just inside the door to the den.

"Cleve." He stood as still as a statue and stared at us.

"Glad you could come out tonight, Kris. Look what I've got here." I shook Lisecki by the back of his neck.

Lisecki suddenly squirmed around. "Oh, thank God you're here," he wailed. "This Neanderthal has attacked me and searched my home. Kill him! I'll give you more . . .anything you want. Kill him now!"

I couldn't believe what Lisecki said, and I watched Branoff as he strolled into the room and came within a few feet. He looked at Lisecki uncertainly, a pocket of air in one cheek and sighed as he shook his head dismissively. Everything suddenly happened in double time. Lisecki stood up, shoving my gun sideways.

At the same time, Branoff yanked his Glock out of his shoulder holster, shoved me aside, and shot Lisecki, once in the forehead and once in the chest.

Unlike in the movies, a bullet doesn't blow a man backwards several feet. A man drops where you shot him; makes him crap and piss his pants, plunges him to the floor without a word. Lisecki's body jerked as he fell into his swivel chair. It tried to spin around in a circle until it caught on the desk.

Before I could get it together, Branoff stepped back and aimed his gun at me.

"What in the hell are you . . .?"

"Lay your gun on the desk, Hawk. Do it real slow n' easy."


Characters: Cleve Hawkins . . . Detective (Ex cop)
Deckle . . .A homeless friend.
Maureen . . .Cleve's ex-girlfriend
Kris Branoff . . . Detective active with Chicago Police.
Florence Rhorman . . .Mother of Missing girl.
Bart . . . A serial killer
Lewis Lisecki . . . A serial killer
Joan Vidross...ex-girlfriend of Lisecki's
Clyde Nowack...Joan's live-in boyfriend

Thanks again to Dean Kuch for the Artwork
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2018. Mastery All rights reserved.
Mastery has granted, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.