WARNING WARNING WARNING WARNING
Before you read any further - I have been told that this is a particularly twisted and macabe story so reader beware.
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Cracking The Case
Charlotte covers her eyes as the sun starts to shine through the kitchen window. It is mid morning and she is usually not awake at this hour but it took longer than she expected getting the cameras, tarps and shed set up.
It has been three months since she first reported the break-ins to the police and they still have not caught the thief or found her belongings. Since that time she has had four more break-ins; she quit reporting them to the police after about three of them. It did no use to report them, the police did not consider them ‘break-ins’ since it was technically stuff stolen out of her carport, shed and car. They will not even send an officer out to take pictures or dust for finger prints. “It’s a waste of man power” they say. “I bet if my last name was Trump or if I lived in some rich hoity toity neighborhood they would have been here before I even finished the phone call.” She mumbles to no one as she closes the curtain in the kitchen.
Charlotte has spent several days thinking over different ideas on how to catch the thief before she finally settles on the one that she believes is the right thing to do. Now, sitting at the breakfast bar, drinking a glass of wine, she once again goes over the plan. With this plan she is going to crack the case, she is going to find out who is robbing her and make sure it will never happen again. “It will be like taking candy from a baby.” She tells herself with a smile.
When she is done with her glass of zinfandel she once more checks the computer connections to the cameras and re-checks that all the doors are locked. Even though the rest of the world is getting ready for lunch it is time for her to go to bed, all too soon the sun will set and the thief will come in the cover of darkness to see what he could pilfer from her. This time she would be ready.
Charlotte falls asleep almost instantly; she is tired from hauling camera equipment around and climbing up on top of the carport to set up the tarp so it will unroll with the pull of a rope. Moving the needed equipment around was harder than moving a mattress up two flights of stairs but she managed it all on her own, she had to do it on her own, no one else could know or they might tell the thief what she was planning and all her hard work would be for nothing.
As she sleeps Charlotte wonders how she will feel when she cracks the case. Will she be proud of herself? Will she stand triumphant as the thief begs her for forgiveness? She does not know but the one thing she does know for sure is that she will put an end to this thievery once and for all because her daddy had taught her all about setting traps and cracking cases and he is the best there ever was. Thinking about her daddy helps her to sleep more soundly until the alarm starts buzzing, signaling for her to get up and start the first watch. It is 7 pm.
The first night brings nothing, as does the second and third. Charlotte is getting anxious and every sound makes her jump. By the fourth night Charlotte has convinced herself that she must have done something wrong, maybe she did not hide the cameras good enough and the thief saw them or maybe the neighbors told him to be careful, or maybe even the neighbors are the thieves!
About two blocks to the west of Charlotte’s house a man is having a slightly heated discussion with his wife.
“Please Harold, do it for my mother, you know how upset she will be if she wakes up and finds out that her cat got out of the house, there will be no end to the hysterics.”
“Cats love going outside Maude, it’s probably hunting some mouse or getting into some ones trash cans.” The man retorts as he slips his arms into the sleeves of his jacket.
“Not my mother’s cat, Harold, you know he has never been outside in his life, he is probably scared. You have to find him before he gets hurt out there.” His wife pleads.
Sighing deeply, Harold knows that he has no choice in the matter, he has to go find the dumb cat or his wife and her mother will never let him live it down. Grabbing an umbrella in case it starts to rain, Harold sets off in search of his mother-in-laws pet. “At least heat up some water so I can make some hot chocolate when I get back, it’s really cold out here.” He tells his wife before shutting the door. It is 9 PM.
At 10 PM the cameras pick up movement in Charlottes carport.
Charlotte watches as the shadowy form approaches her car before she gets up and grabs her gun. She has to be very careful not to make any noise so she won’t spook him. Walking towards the door she slowly puts the dart in the gun and slides the strap over her shoulder, just like her daddy had taught her. The window is open just enough to slip the barrel of the gun through and take aim. She has to be careful; the gun can only hold one tranquilizer dart at a time so if she misses this shot she probably will not get another chance.
She pretends her daddy is standing right next to her giving her instructions. Breathe slow, concentrate, take aim, hold your breath, now shoot!
It is over in a matter of seconds, her aim is dead on and the thief falls unconscious before he even figures out what is happening. Now she has to move quickly, she opens the front door and pulls the rope that is attached to the tarp, it unrolls smoothly to the ground, covering her carport from any prying eyes. She is doing it! She is actually going to crack the case! A sense of pride starts to well in her chest as she walks over to the unconscious man. She strikes him firmly with the butt of her tranquilizer gun to make sure he is out. She checks to make sure he is still breathing. His breaths are shallow and uniform. He is out cold.
She lays down her gun and pulls a scalpel out from her apron then quickly sets about cutting the man’s vocal chords; there will be no screaming tonight, or any other night for that matter. When she is done cutting she wraps his neck with towels to soak up the blood, just like her daddy had taught her.
When she is sure that she has taken all the proper precautions Charlotte begins pulling the second tarp, the one that he has fallen on, towards the shed. He is heavier than she expected and she has to stop a few times to catch her breath but she eventually gets him there.
“Soon, it will be time for you to realize that you messed with the wrong person my friend.” She whispers to the man as she begins securing his legs and arms down to the floor with barbed razor wire.
After she has him secured it is not long until he starts to regain consciousness and is trying to speak to her; tears are running down his cheeks from the pain. Charlotte speaks to him in a quiet voice, much the same way a father would speak to his daughter when teaching her of important things. “I have cut your vocal chords so that you cannot yell for help…I hate yelling, it makes me all kinds of upset.”
The man looks at her with terror in his eyes.
As she is speaking Charlotte begins moving parts of the floor boards to reveal a hidden compartment, dust is billowing through the air making it obvious that these boards have not been moved in a very long time. She has to reach in all the way to her shoulder in order to grasp what is hidden there. Making small grunting noises as she pulls, Charlotte slowly brings what looks to be a very large suitcase out of the hole and places it on the ground near the man. Opening it reveals a treasure trove of tools, scalpels and knives, all designed to help someone feel inclined to relieve their guilty conscious of their misdeeds.
The man’s eyes widen as he looks upon the assortment of torturous devices.
Charlotte looks at the man on the floor and smiles. “Do you see this case? It was my daddy’s. He gave it to me the day he left and said that one day I would be able to crack it open all on my own. Of course, I didn’t believe him at first but I always secretly hoped and now here I am, cracking the case all on my own just like my daddy said I would!”
Taking a large scalpel from the case Charlotte begins to explain what she is doing as she starts to cut into her captives flesh. “Don’t worry, my daddy taught me never to waste any of the meat, I know exactly how to cut and filet so that every part gets used.” The man’s eyes close tightly as he tries to scream and struggle to no avail, the pain of each precision cut from the scalpel overwhelms his senses and The Razor sharp wire that is holding his arms and legs down bite into his skin and slash his tendons making a bloody mess that soon starts to resemble premium grade A ground hamburger.
Standing up after a full six hours of butchering her prey as he lay on the floor of the shed, Charlotte decides that she simply must get a table for the next time she does this, just in case there is more than one thief raiding her property, heck, for all she knows everyone of her neighbors are thieves. One thing is for sure, everybody has something to be repentant for, whether they want to admit it or not, at least, that is what her daddy used to tell her every night when he tucked her into bed. “Charlotte” he would say “Never trust anyone in this world, the ones who are supposed to protect you end up leaving you to the wolves and the ones you think are your friends are really just people waiting to see what they can take from you when you are not looking. Everyone has something they have done wrong and it is up to the good people of this world, like us, to make them see how their bad behaviors hurt people. Now go to sleep my sweet child and dream of a world that one day is clean of evil deeds and evil people.”
As Charlotte reminisces about the good days gone by with her father she begins to gather the cubed meat into a waiting bucket, when she is done she slaps the man’s face hard enough to bring him around just slightly and only for a moment before he passes out from the agony. “I bet you feel badly that you kept robbing me now, huh?” She looks down at the man, his legs are nothing more than skeletal remains no longer attached to his body, she had to cauterize the stumps to keep him from bleeding out because she wanted him alive until she was finished so he could spend every minute regretting his crimes against her. “Don’t you worry now I am going to make myself a nice stew out of this leg meat, I will put it in a slow cooker so it will be nice and tender then crawl into bed for some sleep while it cooks but I will be back after dinner to finish up so don’t go anywhere.” Charlotte giggles at her little joke then grabs the bucket of meat and heads for the house, locking the shed behind her.
After Charlotte has prepared all the vegetables and seasonings she tosses everything into the slow cooker and sets the timer to start cooking her meal later in the afternoon while she is catching up on her sleep.
That night, Charlotte is awakened by a loud knock on the front door. The smell of stew, which has cooked all day in the slow cooker has enveloped the house and makes her tummy start to grumble as she walks towards the door to greet her unexpected visitor. A woman is standing before her, tears stain her cheeks and her hair is a tangled mess from being up the night before and all day today searching for her husband.
“Have you seen this man?” The woman asks as she holds up a picture of an older gentleman. “He is my husband, he went out last night looking for our cat and he never came home.”
Charlotte takes the picture that the woman is handing her and looks it over diligently. “Nope, I am sorry; I have never seen him before.” She replies to the woman standing before her. All the while she is thinking to herself - what a good cover story this woman has for her accomplice.
Tearfully, the woman hands charlotte a piece of paper with her phone number and the number of the police on it. “Please, if you see him tell him to come home, his family is terribly worried.”
“O, you poor dear, this must be awful for you. Please, let me help you. I have some stew in the kitchen that is just getting done cooking, I made it early this morning in the slow cooker and the meat is very fresh, let me give you some so you do not have to worry about cooking for your family while you look for your husband, it’s the least I can do.”
The woman is very grateful to have such caring neighbors as she accepts the generous offer of dinner for her family. “Thank you so much for being so kind to us.” The woman says. “It’s nice to know that there are such thoughtful and selfless people in the world.”
Charlotte waves goodbye to the woman as she leaves with her fresh batch of stew. “Take care and good luck let me know when you find him so I can stop worrying. I will be preying for you…”