I had planned to enjoy my two months off. Sure, I don’t get paid for the last month, but I had enough in my savings account to cover that. I had no idea where Diablo had gone, but for now, it was no longer my problem. Gun said he would drop by from time to time to give me updates and see if I had any insights. By all accounts, I was on a much-needed sabbatical, and I had no problem taking it.
I was annoyed when something hard tapped my forehead at 4 a.m. this morning. My head was still deep inside its sleeping fog. I attempted to force my mind to consciousness and struggled to open my blurry eyes. The light from my nightstand temporarily blinded me. Something was pointing in front of me. I rubbed my eyes and saw the barrel of a forty-five caliber pistol facing me. A man with a Spanish accent spoke, “You may sit up slowly, señor.”
I pushed myself up on my elbows and leaned against my headboard. I was glad it had been a cold night, or my invader would have gotten to see more of me than he probably cared to. My eyes began to adjust, and I found myself staring into the hollow dark eyes of a killer. The nightstand reflected off his olive colored cheeks and shone upon his short black hair. The blackness of his eyes seemed to suck in any light and reflect nothing out. “Diablo, I assume?” I asked.
“I never cared for that name. My friends call me Alejandro.”
“Why are you in my house, Diablo?” I asked while my right hand slid under the pillow beside me.
“Please, señor. I have already removed that gun while you were sleeping. There is no need for violence. We are amigos, you and I.” Diablo crossed his right leg over his left and got comfortable. I was concerned this was going to be a long morning.
“Okay, amigo, Alejandro, why did you break into my house and why are you pointing a pistol at my head.”
Alejandro dropped the gun down and gave an embarrassed smile. It was like he forgot he was even doing it. That brought a chill down my spine. The smile disappeared from his face, and his dead eyes looked directly into mine. “Okay, detective, let us get down to business. I know you think I killed Kathy, her uncle, her entire family. I am here to tell you I did not.”
The mention of the murders brought my courage back and awoke the anger I had worked to set aside for a time. “Why should I believe anything a slave trading, flesh peddling scum who breaks into my house tells me?”
To my surprise, he did not get angry. His head dropped down. He looked ashamed at his well-deserved title. I had to admit if he was acting he was putting on a terrific performance. Diablo slowly shook his head and raised it. When he looked back into my eyes and spoke, it felt like he was trying to work his way into my very soul.
“Detective, Brown. You are correct. I am all those things. But what is it you say? It is bad for business. This man, Caleb, he was to help me transport my friends to their jobs.” I gripped my bedsheets in my fists when Diablo called his slaves friends. I knew there was no way I could outfight the gun in his hand. Alejandro continued, “I had no idea Caleb was holding his niece inside his home. I heard her cry out one day, and Caleb claimed it was a hippy girl coming down from a drug high.”
I hated what I was hearing. Alejandro, Diablo, was making perfect sense. He continued. “Caleb disappeared and never met us at our rendezvous near the border on our last shipment. I heard later he and the girl were dead in two different towns. As for the poor parents. Why would I ever want to attack them? How could they possibly be a real threat to my trade?”
I was tired, angry, and just hated Alejandro, the devil. “Why did you wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me these things. You would have been more convincing slipping me a note than breaking into my home and holding a gun on me.”
The smile that formed on his face shot fear through my gut. It was a knowing smile somebody shows another right before they are going to shoot them. Right before they plan on ending their existence. “As I said, Detective, we are amigos you and I. We want the same thing. We want this murderer caught. You, so justice can be done, and me so I can return to business as usual.”
His proposal was as much a threat as appeasement. I glared into his eyes and spoke clearly and closely, so he could get a whiff of my early morning breath. “If you think I will permit the peddling of human flesh in my district, you are crazy.”
Diablo lifted his gun and placed it on this lap. He grimaced at the breeze from my tired mouth and then spoke. “Senor, I would not think of applying my trade to your district. However, I am unable to do anything until this murderer is found. I could have easily killed you tonight if I was the man you wanted. I may offer people a way out of their villages, but I don’t kill little girls who are raped by their uncles.”
He had me, and I knew it. Looking back at the morning, I believe Diablo always knew the conversation would end where it did. I told him to get out of my house, and he quietly complied. He never asked for even a handshake. He knew all along I would see things his way, and I hated him for it.
I am supposed to be suspended, and off of this case. However, it appears the criminal investigation has returned to me. So, I am writing down everything that happens. Should anything happen to me, whoever finds this, follow the evidence wherever it will lead you. Should I get in trouble for continuing my investigation, please note, my journal testifies to the fact that I have been pulled in, involuntarily.
It is now 7 a.m. I have already given Gun his wake-up call. I plan to brief him on my journal, and we will see where the evidence takes us.