A Mercy Strained | Verso.ink

A Mercy Strained

Leniency not spoken here

By Bill Joyce

Reading time
View count

The Hideout

Chapter 1 - Judge and Jury

I checked my surroundings carefully. It is second nature and gives me a calm sense of control. With the full 360-degree surveillance completed, I tensed my calf muscles beginning another round of exercises. I had been in hiding for eighteen hours, and as usual on this type of mission, hourly isometric exercises were vital for staying prepared. In a few minutes, the target would emerge from his garage, carrying his newspaper and whistling some made-up tune.

The Target

He stood five feet ten inches tall and had a paunch belly from too much beer. His hair grew gray and long, a sign that his life had been lived too long in my estimation. He had been sent to juvenile detention in his youth for statutory rape, and he had been apprehended twice in his adult life but never again convicted.

I looked down at the four pictures my research had uncovered. Four sweet young girls destroyed by a monster, a monster whistling tunes only known within the confines of his demented skull.

He had a family with two daughters, but that didn’t weigh into my decision, except to keep them from harm. One was just beginning to blossom and knowing this type of reprobate, she would become fair game.

The black stone he had received six days ago sat on the desk in his study. It had the Roman numeral VI on its cut and polished surface. He had forgotten about the funny gift taped to his steering wheel when he had come out of the bar. Chances were no one would consider it important, as long as Detective Christian from Texas did not receive the incident report.


The light rain moistened the driveway making it a little slippery. The garage door’s electric motor engaged and it slid up on its tracks. He whistled but seemed perturbed by the drizzle. Holding his newspaper over his head, he walked out to the car and fumbled one handed with the lock.

I was 1500 feet away and the wind would have no effect. Sighting, I took the first shot. His scream startled the neighborhood as he reached for a crotch that no longer existed. I had used a hollow-point round that tore through his flesh. The second solid brass projectile was much more merciful. It entered his temple and ended the tormented sound of his screams forever. His body slumped over in a crumpled mess of blood, gore, and brain matter.

Calmly picking up my brass and weapon, I began my exit. I broke the gun down and placed it in a foam-filled suitcase that fit right behind the truck toolbox, its hidden panel well defended by my mastery of metalwork. I slowly folded the tarp, making sure none of my evidence slipped off, and stored it at the bottom of the toolbox. One final check of the hideout and I considered it cleared. It was time to move on to the next phase of the escape.

I took off the military coveralls I had purposefully dyed to match the surroundings of the hideout. The boots and the formfitting gloves were also removed and bagged. These would be deposited in a furnace across town, but for now, they were stuffed in with the gun case.

On the passenger seat of the truck was a stylish pink summer dress. I loved the way it made me look, and after using face cream and paper towels to remove the camouflage from my face, I donned the dress. Letting my hair down and shaking it into place, I took out a compact and painted on my next mask, that of a young lady driving to work on a drizzly day.

Traffic clogged the neighborhood as the egresses were guarded by the flashing lights of police vehicles. I drove by the entrance observing the arm waves of the cop directing traffic. I had no reason to look into the neighborhood and ask questions. Smiling at the officer as he waved me through, I cleared the impediment, headed south for a few miles, and then changed direction toward the furnace to finish my cleanup.

The Posse

I will admit the stone was an issue, but something deep inside of me wanted these monsters to know that doom was upon them. The problem with being a sniper was that it was not up close and personal. Of the forty-two kills so far, thirty-four had shown major signs of worry, and most had been found with the stone in their pocket at their time of death.

So far, the stone had stumped rather than helped law enforcement. Two major city detectives came up with the theory that the stone was an access token to one of the many deviant underground networks. Show your stone and get inside the deviant den. This caused a nationwide hunt for a criminal network, leaving me to my solitary stalk.

The stones were the only physical evidence my detective from Texas had, but this had not stopped his inquiry. He knew something was out of place and these killings were not random. He had the uncanny ability to put small snippets of information together and come up with a solid theory. He was a good detective, and as far as I could observe, a good man.

Unlike the wonderful detective movies I loved to watch on a rainy day, this criminal was not caught up in her fatal flaw. Everything I did was planned and properly executed. I had a great deal of work to accomplish, and getting caught was not part of the plan. Since my picture had first appeared on a milk carton, I had been in training for my life’s work—to rid the world of 100 rapists.

Other entries by Bill Joyce

Login or register to vote
Photo of Bill Joyce

About Bill Joyce

Bill is a writer of prose, a poet in his own mind, and self-proclaimed master of words. Long-windedness is due the personal enjoyment of his inside jokes, most of which fall on deaf ears. He calls himself an Author.

Connect with Bill