Chapter no 29‌ – The Hunter

Hunting Adeline

I cock my head to the side, staring at the running man with bewilderment.

“Why does he run like that?” I ask, genuinely concerned if Rick likes to peg himself with foreign objects. Maybe one got stuck because Jesus fucking Christ, who runs like that?

“That… that’s a good question,” Jay answers through my earpiece, sounding just as bemused as I am. He’s watching through the drone hovering over the awkwardly running dude.

We’ve been tracking Rick Boreman since he fled from Francesca’s house. He wasn’t hard to find despite his best efforts to stay hidden. I’m sure it hurt his shriveled little soul to have millions of dollars and not be able to fuck off to a tropical island with strippers and blow. Guess the dude hasn’t fried his brain with drugs so badly that he’s not aware of the massive target on his back.

One of two people responsible for abducting my girl, and that’s just not something I will take lightly.

I sigh, point my gun and shoot, the bullet hitting him in the back of the knee and sending him to the concrete with a sharp yelp.

“Fucking cocksucker!” he shouts, his voice breaking like a twelve-year-old boy. He even sounded like a kid who just learned to curse and does it every other word because he’s trying to be cool.

“You really want to call me a cocksucker when that’s what you’ve been doing the past four years just to get by?” I retort, arching a brow as I approach him.

We’re in a dank alleyway, with trash littered on either side, spilling over from the dumpsters. Or maybe there’s a family of raccoons in there tossing out the undesirable rot. Makes me wonder if they’d keep Rick’s body after he’s dead.

The pavement is wet and cold, and a whirring, orange bulb hangs at the mouth of the alleyway, offering enough light to bless me with a pock-

marked face and greasy hair tucked under a beanie.

“Fuck you,” he spits, his trembling hands holding his bloody knee. Or what’s left of it. He’s rocking back and forth, moaning through the agony as he glowers up at me with hatred.

Even Addie has more oomph in her glares than that, and she’s never truly hated me. Not like Rickety Dick here is about to.

I crouch down and sweep my gaze across his form, dissecting him like bones out of fossilized shit. The summer camp counselors made us do that one year, and all I could feel was utter disgust. Feels about the same as I stare down at the sad excuse of a man.

At the time, I couldn’t fathom what the fuck the point of that exercise was. Now, I suppose it was useful because Rick here is no different. A pile of shit with bones lodged somewhere inside, and unlike the first time, I’ll enjoy pulling each one out of him.

One by one.

“That’s not the part you should be ashamed of. It’s whose cocks you’re sucking. Xavier Delano ring a bell?”

He snarls, looking away and refusing to answer.

Max gave him three million dollars for kidnapping Addie. More than half of it is already gone.

Aside from his drug addiction, Rick also has a gambling problem. Horses, specifically. And he’s really fucking bad at it, too. Any money he makes, he sinks into the wrong horse’s ass and comes out with shit in the end. To make up for his habit, he’s tended to some wealthy men over the years. Xavier being one of them.

“Do you know who I am?”

He sputters out what’s supposed to be a laugh but sounds like a wet cough.

“Am I supposed to?” he snips.

“Aimin’ for the heart today, my guy,” I respond, grinning.

He snarls. “Let me guess—Z. No wonder you hide your face; you’re fucking ugly.”

“Don’t make me cry, Rick. I’m having too much fun,” I deadpan.

“This is about that stupid fucking diamond, isn’t it? Did ya kill Max already, because I hope to see him in Hell so I can kick his ass for getting

me involved in that shit.” He laughs again, similar to a hyena. “That fucking bi—”

A rush of fury hits me in the chest, and I snap out my hand and grab him by the jowls, squeezing until he squeals like the fucking pig he is.

“Finish that sentence, and I’ll rip out your tongue with my bare hands and make you choke on it. And I wouldn’t call my girl stupid when you’re the one lying on trash with a bullet in your knee,” I bite out.

He seethes but locks away all the insults he had ready to spew. I’d say he was getting smarter if he wasn’t trying to slyly sneak his hand toward the knife in his back pocket. The handle is sticking completely out. Some think that my left eye is blind because of the discoloration and the scar slashing through it, but even if I was, a grandma with bifocals could see what he’s up to.

Patiently, I wait for him to think he has a chance. He wraps his fingers around the handle and then rips it out of his pocket and slashes it towards my face. I catch his wrist and snap it before he can blink, the knife dropping from his grip.

He screams, eyes widening with shock as he stares at his limp, useless hand. I squeeze his face tighter, his fighting renewed.

“Really, dude? A fucking kitchen knife?” I ask, picking up the pathetic weapon. It’s what Addie used to carry around when she was attempting to hate me, and I laughed every time I saw it clutched in her tiny fist.

Addie has the power to cut me. This bozo doesn’t stand a fucking chance.

He groans and thrashes in my grip, shaking his head roughly in an effort to dislodge my hand from his face.

“Let me fucking go!”

“Well, shit, since you asked so nicely, I guess I will,” I say, releasing him. His eyes widen once more in surprise, and then he’s scrambling up. Or at least trying to. He instantly drops back down, but he’s not deterred. Desperation is more potent than a bullet wound to the knee.

If the government could bottle that particular emotion, they could create an army of superhumans. It’s the driving force that creates extraordinary abilities.

Lifting a car off your dying child trapped beneath the tire. Running with a broken leg. Or rather, running with a kneecap shot out.

I lift my gun and fire off another bullet to his other knee, sending him crashing back down to the ground. Let’s see if he can run with both blown out. He might even make it on Guinness World Records. Person to run the longest with no knees.

He cries out again, repeatedly tries to get up, and fails every time. I tip my head back and laugh my ass off. Shame, I would’ve liked to see Rick’s picture in one of their books.

“Sorry, dude, I couldn’t help myself. I really wanted to shoot you again.”

Expletives burst past his yellow, chipped teeth while he rolls across the ground, shouting at the top of his lungs.

“Would you shut the fuck up? Someone could hear you, and then I’ll get in trouble,” I reprimand, smiling wider when another string of colorful words spills from his mouth.

Truthfully, we’re in a shitty part of town. He can’t legally leave the country, considering the government suspended his passport due to unpaid child support, and he doesn’t have enough money anymore to buy a fake one. So, he was trying to hide in the boonies a few hours out from Seattle, but that is currently backfiring. There are probably several people who heard him scream, but no one is going to help him.

Not when they’ve got their own criminal activities taking place and their noses or veins clogged with whatever drug they could find. Pretty sure a dead guy is lying on the side of the street up the road, and several people stepped over him and kept it moving.

It’s a very mind your own fucking business type of neighborhood. Perfect place to commit homicide. Weather’s nice, too.

“Z, are you playing with your food again?” Jay pitches in with exasperation.

“What gave it away?” I ask, standing up and walking over to where Rick lies on the ground.

He’s attempting to crawl away, dragging himself little by little with his arms. Desperation is running out, and resignation is setting in.

“You’re going to burn in fucking Hell with me,” the sad little man spits, saliva shooting from his mouth. “Just you fucking wait.”

I sigh wistfully, rolling up each of my sleeves. “I sure hope so, Rick.

That way I can torture you there, too.”

I kick the side of his stomach until he rolls onto his back, what’s left of his kneecaps bleeding profusely.

He’s limp, now praying for death instead of trying to escape it. Even if he did survive, what kind of life would he have with no fucking knees? The dude is short as it is, he can’t afford to lose any more inches.

Crouching again, I tip up his chin and press the sharp edge of the knife to his throat. He doesn’t fight, only seethes at the Grim Reaper from beneath his blade.

“Any last words?”

“I—” I slice his neck, cutting off more than just his response.

“I don’t actually care,” I say, his eyes widening in surprise and mouth parting as he begins to choke on his blood.

“Ugh, can you mute your earpiece? I can hear him gurgling from here,” Jay groans in my ear. I roll my eyes and ignore him, continuing to saw at his throat.

The knife is duller than a grandma’s sex life, and getting through muscle and bone takes much longer than I’d like.

Eventually, I remove his head from his body, my arm aching from the effort. His blood covers me like oil, and I feel like I just walked off the Carrie movie set.

After tossing his head on top of his chest, I wipe my hands on my jeans then fish into my hoodie pocket and pull out a cigarette. Rolling the tension out of my neck, I light the stick and inhale deeply. Tobacco fills my lungs, instantly calming me.

I inhale death in order to erase the urge to create it.

“Rio booked a flight to Greece,” Jay informs me. He’s been jumping all over the country since Addie escaped, and just like Rick, what’s in his bank account isn’t enough to manufacture a new alias which means he’s easily traceable. And if I can find him, so can Claire.

He’s on borrowed time regardless of who gets to him first. Personally, I’d like to be the one to stick my knife through his throat, but a particular little mouse is keeping me from doing so.

She hasn’t said it aloud, but she doesn’t want Rio dead. What pisses me off more is that I can’t entirely blame her. She formed a trauma bond with him, and as much as that irritates the hell out of me, I’m also glad she had someone kinda-sorta looking out for her in that house.

Doesn’t negate the fact that she was there because of him. He may have helped her escape and cleaned up her wounds, but he still helped destroy her first. Just because you take the time to pick up the pieces after shattering a dish doesn’t mean that it’s not your fucking fault that it broke.

So, therefore, he should die.

Exhaling a thick plume of smoke, I take out a small container of lighter fluid from my pocket next.

“Continue to keep an eye out for other intelligence tracking him, especially from Claire. Send out one of my mercenaries to trail him, too. I’m sure he has a massive hit out on him, and they will need to be taken care of,” I order Jay. “Only I will be the one to put a bullet in his brain.”

“Roger,” he murmurs, and the sound of keys clicking arises, causing my eye to twitch in irritation. So. Fucking. Obnoxious.

“Have fun on your… adventure.”

I grunt, the earpiece clicking to indicate the call ended. Then, I uncap the lighter fluid and drench Rick’s body and severed head in it.

Taking one more deep pull first, I flick the cigarette onto his corpse, stepping back as it bursts into flames.

“The ride to Hell is going to be a tough one, Rickety Dick. Have fun on

your adventure.”

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