The so called "Angel of Death" has been killing lots of criminals in Strickfield, but how did she start and who can possibly catch her?!
Catalyst by Rob Fields
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Drake Kazmierczak had been on the road for a few hours. He had packed up and left his job as a detective at the Erie City Police Department. He was on his way to Strickfield to take an opening for a detective within their police department. Although Drake’s uncle, Jeffrey, was the chief of police, he didn’t actually take the job to be closer to his uncle – and Drake was very close to Uncle Jeffrey. No, he had a pretty good idea that a certain Angel of Death was currently residing in Strickfield; his months of research had told him that it was a good eighty-seven percent certainty. Drake tightened his grip on the steering wheel as he wondered how many guilty people the Angel of Death had taken. He knew it was many hundreds! It angered Drake every time the Angel of Death made the news. However, it never really got to him until the day he picked up a copy of the North Ridgeway Press and read about how the Angel of Death had claimed Annie Judge. Drake had known that Annie Judge was not a perfect woman by any stretch, but Annie was the love of his life. The two of them had shared so much in the many years that they were together. He came to know that Annie was carefree and uninhibited, qualities that he loved about her. However, when Drake had accepted his badge, he had accepted the law. It was this, along with what he had discovered about Annie’s darker tastes that would permanently drive a wedge between the two of them. And then he recalled the events that he had read about in the newspaper . . .
Four Years Ago
Raigen Devereux walked into North Ridgeway High School. She walked into first period and took her usual seat. “Hey, Raige, you gonna show us your tits after we win the game tonight?” Jagger Nelson called out to her. Raigen turned to see the sneers of Jagger and the other football players. She responded by raising her middle finger. “You can’t even catch a football, Jagger. What makes you think you can handle my tits?” The other girls in the class cheered for this witty cheerleader. Just then, Raigen turned and gave her full attention to Annie Judge as she entered the classroom. She had been teaching many of the A.P. math subjects for the last several years. She almost always wore the same outfits: a blouse, a long skirt or pants, and loafers. Her face was a perfect oval with long blond hair and blue eyes. She always wore blush and matching lipstick. It was easy to see why guys appreciated her, even at thirty-six years old. Raigen came to know that she made damn good money, not referring to just her teacher’s salary. Raigen knew that Annie had a second life as a self-employed prostitute and drug pusher. But she didn’t go to other cities to sell her body. No, she sold her body to students at North Ridgeway High School, ones who could afford to pay her prices for fucking them, or students she desired to prey upon – legal age or not. Raigen came to know this information for two reasons. One, Miss Judge lived two blocks down the street from Raigen. Two, a month ago, Raigen saw a police car parked in Annie’s driveway, flashers on. Raigen couldn’t listen to the conversation, but her mother was a detective on the police force and was there that night. Raigen’s mother usually told her about what was going on in the privacy of their home, because she knew her daughter always kept her mouth shut. Raigen learned about the anonymous tip about the drug activity that was taking place at Annie Judge’s house. Nothing was found, however, in spite of the search warrant. It seemed that Annie Judge was always steps ahead of the police. Two weeks later, Raigen was out walking and had seen a police car at Annie Judge’s house again. Again, Raigen’s mother was on the scene. Raigen would later learn that Michelle Bailey, at fellow student at her high school, had recently gone missing. After Raigen’s mother had questioned several students, a few of them said Miss Judge__ was the last one to talk to her. In fact, the two of them seemed to be really close by the end of the last school year. It was then Raigen’s mother had told her that Michelle’s parents had filed a missing person’s report that Annie Judge would become Raigen’s top priority. Raigen’s mother had told her about the last night that Michelle Bailey was seen. It was at Skate World where Raigen’s mother had been told Michelle was picked up by a woman matching Annie Judge’s description, in a green Ford Fusion. Raigen knew that Miss Judge had such a car. Since Raigen had access to her mother’s computer, she was able to look into Annie Judge’s record, but she found no priors. Raigen knew that the police couldn’t keep detail on Miss Judge, because who was to say that she might not file a harassment lawsuit against them. No, Raigen would have to take matters into her own hands. This was a job for the Angel of Death!
The next afternoon, Annie Judge opened her front door to a nice surprise. “Raigen Devereux? What brings you to my home?” Raigen faked a smile and held up a printout. “This is my school schedule. You’re going to be my math teacher again – Calculus. I wanted to ask you some questions about the class, but I obviously came at a bad time.” Annie wore a white bikini that left very little to the imagination. She didn’t have a pool out back but looked a little wet from both sweat and suntan lotion. Raigen wore a blue tank-top with thin shoulder straps, white short shorts with a leather belt, and sandals. Raigen expected Annie to just politely dismiss her, but she stepped aside and motioned for her to come in. After closing the door, she turned to Raigen. “What can I help you with?” Raigen reached into her purse and came up with a second printout and a calculator. “It says here that you’re requiring a mathematical calculator. Are you sure this calculator won’t be okay for Calculus?” As Annie took her calculator, Raigen noticed that she was checking her out – especially her endowed upper body. Then she pointed to the sheet. “These are graphing calculators. Yours is a scientific calculator. In Calculus, you’re required to present graphs to show your work.” “Okay, I’ll go to Office Depot and buy one.” As Annie handed Raigen back her calculator, she took hold of her left hand and held it. She finished by folding Raigen’s fingers over the calculator, caressing them as she did. “You’re a very bright student, Raigen.” She gestured to the kitchen. “Can I offer you something to drink?” “Sure,” Raigen replied. “Ice water, please.” Annie led Raigen to the kitchen, which had many top-of-the-line appliances. “I was about have some iced tea,” she said. “Well, I’d hate to impose . . .” “It’s not imposing if I’m offering.” “Okay.” Annie pulled two glasses out of her cupboard. She opened the refrigerator and bent down to retrieve the iced tea, making sure Raigen saw her almost-naked rear. She stood up straight and closed the refrigerator. Annie poured the tea and handed Raigen a glass. Raigen waited until Annie drank first, which she did. Raigen tasted the sweetened black tea with a hint of lemon. Annie motioned for Raigen to come into the living room. They sat down on the couch. Raigen drank her tea. “You have a really nice house, Miss Judge. You also have a very nice tan.” Annie stood up. “I want show you something.” Raigen put her glass down, got up, and followed Annie into the hallway. When they stopped, Annie gestured to an open doorway. Raigen looked inside to see a tanning bed. “I can tan all I want, and it pays for itself.” Annie took Raigen’s hand. “Come on.” Raigen was given a tour of the house. The more she saw, the more she knew that there was no way Annie could afford everything on her teacher’s salary alone. Raigen’s mother made better money as a detective, but even she didn’t have these luxuries. Still holding Raigen’s hand, Annie led her to the bedroom at the end of the hall. Thanks to Raigen’s highly photographic memory, she now knew every room and the objects in them. As Raigen examined the bedroom, Annie gently turned her against the wall and kissed her. Raigen’s plan to investigate Annie hadn’t included this! She would have to indulge Annie as much as possible until she could determine her connection to Michelle Bailey’s disappearance. As they kissed, Raigen let Annie undress her. Annie truly admired Raigen’s naked form, especially her upper body. “I imagine only a select few have seen these.” Raigen acted giddy. “Wow, Miss Judge, I never knew you liked girls.” She bit on her lower lip a little. “What now?” Annie eased Raigen onto the bed and then removed her own bikini. Raigen realized that Annie truly meant to have sex with her and knew she could not let that happen. Annie came onto the bed with her. Raigen let Annie kiss her again as she fondled her large breasts. Suddenly, something was beeping. Annie immediately stopped kissing Raigen and got off her. “You stay right here.” Annie went to her purse that was sitting on the dresser and removed her smartphone. Raigen saw her type in her password. Now she was texting someone. When she was finished, she locked her phone and put it down. She slithered back onto the bed, got on top of Raigen, and began kissing her again. As Annie was about to touch Raigen’s sex, she quickly turned away. “Raigen, what’s wrong?” Raigen acted afraid. “I’ve never been with a woman before.” Annie turned Raigen onto her back again. “You kiss just fine.” “I do like that. But . . . I don’t think I’m ready to go all the way yet.” Just then, the doorbell rang. Annie groaned. “Jesus Christ!” She got off the bed. “I’m expecting a delivery.” Annie went and put on a robe and flip-flops. She pointed at Raigen as she was walking out. “Don’t you move.” Annie left the bedroom but didn’t take her smartphone. Raigen got off the bed and snatched it. After entering Annie’s password, she went into the text messages. Jagger Nelson’s number was here, the jock who had commented on Raigen’s breasts earlier that morning. Actually, Annie was just texting with him. Jagger said he had taken care of their little problem and that it was buried away. Then Raigen saw the names of other North Ridgeway High students. But only one got Raigen’s undivided attention. Michelle Bailey! Raigen read through that conversation and knew that she had hit gold! The exchange was about how Michelle had evidence and would expose everything, unless Annie agreed to honor their bargain. Annie told Michelle to come over. Raigen saw that Michelle and Annie had had plenty of other exchanges. The last one was just around the time that Detective Devereux had said that the Baileys reported Michelle not coming home on that first night. When Raigen heard Annie finishing up with the delivery man, she quickly wiped her fingerprints from the smartphone and replaced it exactly the way it was before. She quickly drew back the covers and got into bed. Annie entered the room and smiled. “Well, look at you.” “Is everything okay?” Raigen asked innocently. “Fine . . . Just fine.” Annie’s smartphone went off again. She spun around and snatched it up. After reading the text, she was annoyed. “Raigen, honey, I need to take off for a little bit. You can stay in bed until I get back.” Raigen feigned a yawn. “I guess I’ll keep it warm for us.” She turned and faked falling asleep. She heard Annie moving into her walk-in closet and getting dressed. Before she left the room, she lowered herself and kissed Raigen’s cheek. Raigen waited until Annie was gone before she got out of bed to investigate. Annie had taken both her purse and her smartphone. Raigen got dressed and found her own purse. She pulled out a pair of plastic gloves and put them on to begin her investigation. After coming up with nothing, Raigen remembered that Annie was smart enough to outmaneuver the police. Then she remembered there was one door near the hallway Annie hadn’t shown her. She went to it and saw that it was locked – with a deadbolt. Raigen dug her lock-picking tools out of her purse and returned to the door. It took her under a minute to pick the deadbolt. She turned on the light and went down into the basement, taking a chance on the possibility of cameras. Raigen looked around and saw it was an ordinary live-in basement. She didn’t detect any cameras. She examined the laundry room in a far corner, and then the pantry. Nothing special. She looked around the main room. Just a couple of couches and an HDTV with a nice surround sound setup. It struck Raigen odd that there were no movies on any of the shelves, just math books. What had the police missed when they searched this house? Then Raigen understood . . . Nothing had been disturbed in most of the rooms, nor down in the basement. Raigen was sure that Annie let the police go through every room in the house. But they didn’t look hard enough! Raigen took a math book off the closest shelf and opened it. Nothing! She opened a second one. Still nothing! She opened a third . . . Paydirt! Inside the hollowed-out opening were little Zip-Lock baggies of pure pharmaceutical grade ecstasy. She closed the book and put it back, along with the other two. She opened another book to find more little drug baggies – mollies. When she closed the book, she saw that the two drug books were geometry books. She opened another geometry book to find amphetamines. She put the book back. But what was the connection to Michelle Bailey? Raigen did more investigating. And then she found a Scooby-Doo clue along the wall in between the two corner rooms, a dusty footprint – half of one. Raigen put her hands on the sides of the full-length picture and pulled. The right side gave way. She opened the picture to reveal a room that was right out of Fifty Shades of Grey. She entered and saw the many sexual aids, the king-sized bed, and the physical medium that lined almost every shelf. On the spines of the discs were names – including Michelle Bailey. She took the case and opened it to reveal the disc inside. She took the disc and put the case away. Then Raigen discovered the backpack in the corner and looked inside to find a couple of schoolbooks, which belonged to Michelle Bailey. Next to the backpack was Michelle’s purse containing critical evidence: her wallet with her student ID . . . and her smartphone! Raigen knew that Miss Judge would be back at any time. She would have to get home and examine her acquisitions – stat! She returned everything as it was left and went back upstairs. After relocking the deadbolt, she left Annie a note saying that something came up and would make it up to her later. Raigen made it home and went to her bedroom. She turned on her TV and disc player. She put the disc inside and played it to see a homemade porno of Annie, Jagger Nelson, and Michelle Bailey. Raigen knew that Michelle Bailey didn’t even have her driver’s license yet. And these two were both having full-blown sex with this young girl. Raigen turned Michelle’s smartphone on, quickly hacked the login screen, and went right to the text messages app. Again, some interesting names – just like on Annie’s smartphone. Miss Judge and Jagger Nelson were both contacts. The conversations she read were quite intense. At one point, she was really into their sex that was on the disc. As she read more, Michelle mentioned that she was pregnant. Raigen looked at the thread with Miss Judge. Michelle asked for more of her special stuff. Some of the words here were misspelled badly; Raigen determined that Michelle had become a drug addict. She got her confirmation when one of the text bubbles asked what Annie had shot her up with. Suddenly, Raigen heard screaming and looked back to the screen to see a different video of Jagger just abusing Michelle as Annie edged him on. She fast-forwarded the video and kept her eyes open for anything unusual. Ultimately, Michelle hadn’t been killed in any of the videos, but she had been sexually abused time and again. At the ends of the latter scenes, Jagger had injected Michelle with what was probably pure heroin. Raigen now knew that Annie preyed on her students – underage or not. When a student would likely need help in one or more of her math classes, Annie would offer to tutor the student herself at her own house, which was not against school rules. The study sessions probably started off innocently enough. Then she would make her move on the student, much like she did with Raigen. The students that succumbed to her charms would eventually end up on those discs down in that secret room. In the case of Michelle Bailey, she was an easy lure into Annie’s web. She found herself sharing in drugs, then sex not long after. Michelle became hooked on heroin and needed Annie to keep providing it. The price was her body, which both Annie and Jagger had abused time and again. Michelle became pregnant as a result of Jagger. Michelle attempted to blackmail either one or both of them, but she would discover that she was in way over her head. Raigen needed confirmation and knew exactly how to get it!
Raigen was sitting on Annie’s steps to her side garage entrance when she pulled in. The garage door came down as soon as the car stopped. Annie got out of the car. “How did you end up in my garage, Raigen?” Raigen pointed to the back doorway. “Unlocked.” Annie unlocked the side door and opened it. When they were in, Annie closed the door and put her purse down. She snatched Raigen into her arms and gave her a long, lustful kiss. When it was finished, Raigen stepped back to catch her breath. “You left me before, you naughty girl,” Annie purred. Raigen pecked her lips. “Do you have any more of that iced tea? I’d like some before we fuck.” Annie laughed a little and walked to the refrigerator to get the pitcher of iced tea. She filled two glasses and handed Raigen one. “I can’t stop thinking about you, Miss Judge,” Raigen said, in a lustful tone. “I’ll teach you so much, honey.” Annie drank her tea. Raigen took a little bit of iced tea into her mouth. When Annie had finished hers, Raigen spit the tea in her mouth back into the glass and put it down. “Aren’t you going to . . . to drink your . . .” Annie slumped to the floor and was sleeping peacefully.
Annie stirred. “Wha . . . wha . . . What the fuck?!” She began to struggle. “Now is that any language for a school teacher, Miss Judge? Or should I simply call you Annie?” Annie stopped struggling. “Raigen?! What are you doing? I can’t see anything! Untie me!” Raigen turned on the lights. “What the fuck? This is – !” “That’s right, Annie. I found your little playroom. Nice thing about it: no windows – and soundproof.” Annie was bound to the bed with bungee cords. Raigen held up a soda can. “Oh, I hope you don’t mind since I drugged the iced tea.” After Raigen finished the soda, she slithered onto the bed and looked down into Annie’s face. “That’s quite a collection of homemade porn – with many underage students.” She raised a hand to her ear. “You hear that? That’s you and Stephanie Drabick out there on your TV.” She put her hand down. “Stephanie was a straight-A student. Eventually, she went wrong. The day she was expelled, she was coked out of her gourd.” Annie struggled to free herself again. “Your mother put you up to this! You knew she was over here – snooping around!” Raigen held up a copy of the local newspaper. “According to the Press, Michelle Bailey was reported missing. In other words, public knowledge. Mama doesn’t even know I’m here.” I leaned in. “Or what I’m about to do.” Annie stopped struggling and yelled, “Untie me, you little shit!” Raigen gave her an evil look, which made Annie gasp. “I’m hardly little. In fact, you’re about to satisfy my bloodlust.” She slithered back off the bed. “You’ve ruined many innocent students in our high school. Seeing all those discs, you’ve been doing it for years. And for what? To satisfy your insatiable appetite for sex?” Raigen moved to her table and picked up some photos. “I’ve been quite busy today, learning about what happened to Michelle Bailey.” Raigen turned the first photograph around and showed it to Annie, then another. “She was burned alive and buried in a forest outside North Ridgeway. You orchestrated the whole thing.” Annie was horrified. “How did you find out . . . ?” “Where Michelle was buried? I didn’t know. That’s why I needed help.” Raigen raised her eyelid. “Since you enjoy having threesomes in your movies, how about we have a threesome? Oh, I have to change the disc. Be right back!” Raigen left the room and returned a few minutes later, with Jagger Nelson secured to a wheelchair. He was just in his boxer shorts. Annie gasped in horror. “What did you do to Jagger?!” “Oh, you mean the cuts across his chest?” Raigen answered. “I tortured him until he told me everything. Jagger was your pawn in exchange for sex, drugs, and good grades. Guess that explains why he can’t play football for shit. Oh, and that disc you’re hearing now is the one with you, Jagger, and Michelle.” I raised my finger. “I know Jagger got Michelle pregnant.” Annie fired back, “She tried to blackmail me for money because she was pregnant!” “And you orchestrated her death; Jagger’s too drugged out and stupid to make plans like that.” I clasped my hands together. “Your days of being a sexual predator are over, Annie!” Annie gave Raigen a mocking look. “Oh, you going to call Mommy about Jagger and me? Go ahead! I’ll tell Mommy how sexy her little baby girl looks in her birthday suit. I’ll tell Mommy how nice and meaty your big, round tits felt in my hands. I’ll tell Mommy that you slept with your math teacher!” “Weren’t you listening, Annie? Mama will never know about tonight.” Raigen turned to her table and lit a candle. She picked up a spoon and a heroin packet. After mixing up the heroin, she prepared a syringe. “Okay, Jagger, let’s see how many of these it will take before you overdose. Jagger Nelson . . . let the punishment fit the crime!” Jagger struggled as Raigen attempted to tie a giant rubber band to his arm. She elbowed him in the face, dazing him. When Raigen finished preparing his arm, she administered the injection. Jagger was high in no time. Raigen turned to Annie. “What you’re getting will be much worse.” Annie yelled and protested as Raigen prepared a second heroin syringe. As soon as it was ready, she administered it to Jagger. “There you go.” Jagger’s head slumped back; he would never move again. Raigen turned and picked up a gasoline can. She opened it and soaked Annie with the gasoline. “Don’t do this, Raigen! Please! I am begging you!” Raigen pointed outside. “You hear that? That’s one of the scenes where Michelle begged you and Jagger to stop as you both sexually abused her again and again. Neither of you gave a fuck.” Raigen dropped the empty gas can. “Then Jagger doped her up. Here’s a mathematics question for you. What is the probability that one of your students might be a serial killer?” Annie finally opened her eyes after shaking the gas away from them. Then she looked at Raigen. “You are not a serial killer! You’re much too young!” Raigen took a ball gag from her table and secured it to her mouth. “I’m nineteen, Annie. I’ve been killing people since I was eight. It all started when a third-grade bully kept picking on smaller children on the playground at my elementary school. One day, he went too far and fatally stabbed another kid with a pocketknife. He needed to be punished. Getting a knife from the school kitchen was easy enough. Stabbing him once in the stomach during lunch period got the job done. No one even looked my way.” Raigen picked up a box of matches. She took one out and lit it. “Annie Judge . . . let the punishment fit the crime!” Annie gasped when she saw Raigen’s evil face. “Oh, God! It’s you?! You’re the Angel of Death?!” Her speech was muffled, but Raigen understood her completely. Raigen tossed the match at Annie. Her body was engulfed by fire almost immediately. Her screams were still muffled. Raigen stepped out of the room and watched her thrash wildly as she burned. Soon she stopped moving forever. Raigen got undressed and threw her clothes into the fire. Raigen picked up a fire extinguisher and put the fire out. She didn’t want the evidence to burn up when the police would find the bodies. Raigen had been wearing plastic gloves when performing the murders. She had all of the books containing the drugs neatly stacked on the couches. The discs and the pictures would also be found. Raigen used Annie’s lavish shower and cleaned herself good. From there, she dressed in her cheerleading outfit. She gathered her usual evidence of her being at the scene and took it with her. She would make her anonymous phone call to the North Ridgeway Police Department in a few days. In the meantime, she would dispose of her evidence and then be at North Ridgeway High School in time to cheerlead for the home football game.
Drake groaned as he realized he was now entering the village of Strickfield. He was still grief-stricken at what had happened to Annie Judge. Why, Annie? Where did you go wrong? Why couldn’t we have been happy? Then he focused on the Angel of Death. You had no right! NO RIGHT!! I know you’re here – in Strickfield! One way or another . . . I WILL FIND YOU AND PUT YOU AWAY!! That’s a fucking PROMISE!! Drake finally pulled in at the Strickfield Police Department and got out. He went inside to find his uncle waiting for him. “Drake . . . I was wondering when you’d finally roll in.” Drake smiled. “Uncle Jeffrey! Yeah, I just got here.” The two of them shared a brief hug. Then Jeffrey took Drake to his office and told him to have a seat. “You settled here in Strickfield yet?” Jeffrey asked. “I will. My apartment’s ready,” Drake confirmed. “I just have to get used to living here. My apartment’s near Strickfield University.” Jeffrey nodded. “You going to be okay with taking this job?” “You bet I am!” Drake declared. “I’m going to find the Angel of Death – and expose him!” Jeffrey sighed. “Drake . . . just one word of advice regarding the Angel of Death. Nobody, I mean nobody, talks about the Angel of Death here. We just don’t. Plain and simple. Now don’t go sticking your nose where it don’t belong. I offered you my open detective position because of your outstanding record when you worked in Erie City. You’re one of the two best detectives I know. Don’t make me regret bringing you on here.” Drake was irate. “Uncle Jeffrey, don’t you understand? The Angel of Death is a murderer! He’s literally taking the law into his own hands when he kills all these people.” Uncle Jeffrey shook his head. “Not people, Drake . . . criminals! Ones that the courts won’t touch. The Angel of Death is doing what we who are sworn to uphold the law can’t do.” Before Drake could further protest, Jeffrey raised his hand. “I don’t want to discuss the Angel of Death any further. Like I said, we simply do not talk about the Angel of Death here. That means you don’t either.” Just then, there was a knocking at the door. Chief Kazmierczak motioned for the girl to come in. “You sent for me, Chief?” the girl asked. “Drake, I would like you to meet Raige Devereux. She’s our college intern that I was telling you about. She’s also the other best detective that I know. Damn sharp mind on this one, much like you. She’s helped us solve all our toughest cases.” Then he looked her way, “Raige, this is my nephew, Detective Drake Kazmierczak. I’m going to stick you with him and let him shadow you from now on. I think the two of you will work very well together.” Drake barely heard a word of what Uncle Jeffrey had said to him. Once he had gazed upon this very beautiful angel, he was glad that he had come to Strickfield after all.
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