True wisdom comes to each of us
when we realize how little we
understand about life, ourselves,
and the world around us.
when we realize how little we
understand about life, ourselves,
and the world around us.
“No matter how sick these psychos are, never let them pull you down to their level.”
This was one of the many instructions Alex’s captain gave him when he became a police officer for the Arcadia Police Department. Alex made a personal oath to follow this instruction, and he followed it faithfully throughout his seven-year career as a police officer. But he felt the criminal he had dragged into the basement of the abandoned house he was now in was forcing him to break that oath.
The stench of mildew in the abandoned house’s cold, dark basement filled Alex’s nose as he stood there holding his nine-millimeter pistol. He knew he couldn’t justify what he was about do to. He knew the guilt he would experience afterwards would eat away at his soul. He knew many people he loved, particularly his detective partners, would accuse him of taking the law into his own hands. But the pain and horror twelve dead women suffered at the hands of the rat that sat in front of him tormented his mind.
The rat’s name was Jerry Landers. Jerry sat in front of Alex with his wrists taped behind the back of the chair, his thighs taped to the seat of the chair, and his legs taped to the chair’s front legs. To hide his identity, Alex dressed himself in all black, including black gloves and a black ski mask that only exposed his eyes and mouth. Behind him, to his right, he had placed a camera on a three-legged pedestal to record every second of Jerry’s interrogation, confession, and eventual execution. Two days ago, he had covered the basement windows with two layers of black duct tape. And to illuminate the basement he had strategically placed flashlights in different locations around it. Not a soul could hear or see anything going on down there.
Alex, and the detectives working with him, had been searching for Jerry for eleven months. As the detectives desperately used all of their skills and resources to hunt Jerry down, Jerry constantly evaded them because he never stayed in one place for a long time.
Jerry would stalk his female victims for days and observe their daily patterns. When he finally abducted them, he would torture, rape, and murder them, usually by stabbing or strangulation. All of his victims were mothers, sisters, or daughters of families who were absolutely devastated by their grisly deaths.
The pressure on Alex and his fellow detectives to apprehend Jerry was tremendous, and with every murder Alex’s rage and desperation grew more and more intense. Alex became so obsessed with finding Jerry that he even searched for him alone outside of his work hours. It was during one of his off work investigations that he was able to find Jerry in the suburbs of Arcadia.
Alex knew that once he turned Jerry in he would get the death penalty. The evidence that linked Jerry to his murders was overwhelming. But Alex’s rage and disgust with Jerry was so great that he felt Jerry didn’t deserve the humane execution the system would give him. He felt he deserved to be brutalized just like the women he killed. So Alex found an abandoned house in Arcadia’s suburbs and when Jerry was walking alone on the suburbs’ streets at night Alex snuck up to him from behind and knocked him out by slapping a cloth dowsed with chloroform over his nose and mouth.
He now stood there, ready to give Jerry the severe punishment he thought he had earned.
“Uuuuuuuhhhhhh,” Jerry moaned as he came out of his coma.
Alex stood there quietly, waiting for him to recover.
Jerry blinked his eyes and shook his head to wear off the last bit of chloroform Alex had knocked him out with. When he lifted his head and saw Alex standing in front of him, he jerked and his eyes widened in terror.
“Well, well, the rat finally wakes up”, Alex said in a slightly low voice to hide his identity on camera.
Jerry realized what was going on and frantically struggled to free himself from the duct tape, screaming, grunting, and cursing as he did so.
“Get me out of here!” Jerry screamed.
“There’s no use struggling. You’re not getting out of here alive.”
Jerry stopped struggling and hissed, “What is this? Who are you?”
“Where am I?”
“Where you are is irrelevant. I’ve been looking for you for a long time, Jerry. But I’ve finally caught you. I’m going to pay you back for all the women you’ve killed!”
Jerry started to shiver and his heartrate increased.
“What are you? A cop?”
Jerry quickly developed a lie to hide his identity, “The cops have nothing to do with me.”
Alex shifted the focus from him to Jerry.
“You’re an animal, Jerry. You satisfy your thirst for sex and blood by luring women into your car with your good looks and you take them to abandoned homes, dark alleys, and public restrooms to have your way with them before you butcher them.”
Tiny droplets of sweat started to form on Jerry’s bald forehead. He couldn’t believe this “Nobody” knew so much about him. But he still tried to play innocent.
“In don’t know what you’re talking about. You’ve got the wrong man.”
“Oh, yeah?” Alex said.
Alex turned around and walked back to his black case on the floor that contained all of the utensils he had carefully gathered to carry out the execution. There was duct tape, three knives, a small bottle of chloroform, strips of cloth for the chloroform, bullets, and another nine-millimeter pistol. But there was also a stack of twelve gruesome, postmortem photos of all the women Jerry had murdered. He pulled them all out, walked back over to Jerry, and started flashing each photo in front of his face.
“Look at your work, sicko! Melanie Peterson, Anna Richards, Jessica Taylor, Latasha Jenkins, Danielle Lawrence, Aria Ford, Juanita Hendricks, Natalie Palmer, Hailey Brown, Jerica Sanders, Ashley Briggs, and Maria Anderson. You ripped the life out of all these women and left your DNA evidence at every crime scene.”
Alex looked in Jerry’s eyes for some sign of sympathy. All he saw was indifference.
“I’ve never seen those women in my life,” Jerry said.
Alex’s heartrate increased.
“Cut the crap, Jerry!” Alex said as he threw the photos in Jerry’s face.
“Don’t you dare pretend you don’t know these women!”
Jerry’s psychotic rage started to show. He gave Alex one of the most frightening glares he ever saw.
“I will get a confession from you. You will confess your crimes to this camera before I finally give you the death you deserve!” Alex said.
“I’m going to kill you!” Jerry growled.
Alex ignored him and lifted his pistol.
Jerry spewed out profanity.
“Have it your way,” Alex said.
Alex shot him in his right foot.
“AAAAAAHHHHHH,” Jerry screamed and writhed in agony.
Jerry spewed out more profanity.
Alex shot him in his left foot.
“AAAAAAHHHHHH,” Jerry screamed again.
Alex ran up to Jerry, grabbed him by the neck, and forced the barrel of his pistol deep into his brow.
“I’m going to order you one last time. CONFESS!”
“Look at you!” Jerry managed to get out as he looked up at Alex.
“You enjoy this, don’t you? You think you’re better than me? Stop lying to yourself, you’re just as sick as I am!”
Alex initially ignored Jerry, thinking that a lowlife like him had no right to criticize anyone. But when he let his words sink down into his soul, he realized he might be right and slowly lowered his pistol. He gradually backed away from him and started to pace back and forth for as long as five minutes, thinking about what Jerry said to him. His captain’s wise instructions came back to his mind and he was immediately filled with guilt and remorse. Alex thought:
What am I doing? I know I don’t have the right to do this. But those women. The pain I saw in their eyes is tearing me apart. Their families are aching to see this man dead. This man deserves Hell for what he’s done.
But he looked back at Jerry, who was moaning in misery as blood poured from the wounds in his feet, and he thought:
But this is wrong
He thought about what he should do for several more minutes. Then he finally made his decision.
He walked over to his case and when he knelt down he took out a piece of cloth. He poured chloroform on it and when he stood up and walked over to Jerry, Jerry looked at him with a confused expression on his face. But Alex said,
“You will pay for what you’ve done. But I’ll let the courts decide what to do with you.”
And with that he slapped the cloth over Jerry’s nose and mouth and knocked him out again. He bound Jerry’s wounded feet in more cloth and cut the duct tape that held Jerry to the chair. He then hoisted Jerry onto his right shoulder and walked up the basement steps to the kitchen. When he walked through the kitchen, he opened the back door, and walked out into the cold autumn night. He then dropped Jerry into his trunk and slammed it shut.
After he gathered his case and his camera, he drove Jerry to the nearest hospital where he called his partners who rushed there to see the man they had been hunting for almost a year. When they asked how he found and apprehended him, he bravely told them everything he did to him. They were all shocked when he told them his story. But he was shocked when they said they wouldn’t tell anyone what he did.
Jerry was executed by lethal injection five months later.
My name is Jacob Stubbs. I have a bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, and I am a writer an an artist.