Andy Kitz was following the feed on his laptop sitting in the passenger seat of Massey’s car. None of the three men talked to each other, and Massey made quick calls to his partner to receive updates.
Heat was still flaming inside Joaquin’s body turning his gut to molten lava. Heat boiled inside of him in Andy’s apartment after that news feed had started. His palms had been so warm he left sweat stains on his jeans as he tried to rub the heat off. He had slumped back down in his chair while Massey had paced around talking on the phone before they all left the tiny apartment. That had been the second time today that Joaquin had sat in a chair in another situation he didn’t have control over nor could channel his anger toward. He had grabbed at the side of the chair to steady himself and hoped he wouldn’t break it. He didn’t relish another telling off by Massey for making another mess. But it had been difficult to stand still and even though his body had been restless his eyes had stayed glued to Andy’s computer screen.
An anxious reporter had popped up on the screen and gestured at the yellow police tape that was now closing off a crime scene at a local park. The title of the feed had read 17 mysteriously dead at a local park, then soon after they had left the apartment, Andy had informed them that it had changed to 37 year old man arrested at the scene of the crime.
By the time they arrived, the media had chosen their winning title, one that focused on the scarier news, the only news that truly mattered: Massacre at Madison Park: Superpowered man suspected in the deaths of seven children. The saying was alive and well in Seattle: If it bleeds, it leads.
All new headlines had to take Massacre at Madison Park into account. Each outlet fell into step, and there was no longer a chance to report on anything else. Once again, the media had made the sensational headline stick, and no one could even thing about anything other than the massacre. With the absence of new findings, the news outlets took to quoting each other and attempting to one-up one another with more and more grisly photos of the scene. Their insistence that the content they would be showing was not appropriate for all viewers was a sham. They vied for more pairs of eyes on their breaking news; more clicks on their websites, and would do whatever they needed to do to secure their place at the top of the heap of vultures. They were no longer interested in reporting the facts, merely more and more sensationalism.
Each new headline reinforced the fear that Seattle denizens suddenly felt: A 37-year old man, identified as Miles Jensen had disappeared from his workplace without a word to anyone and had allegedly strolled down to Madison Park located a few block away. Mr. Jensen was in possession of inhuman abilities, to which he confessed, but that information up to this point had been unknown to anyone else. One of the reporters on the scene had overheard the unsubstantiated rumor in a conversation between two uniformed officers and had reported it as fact.
The man already labeled as The Madison Butcher by some online news websites had approached the playground upon which at the time a total of seven children had been playing while their politically correct family unit supervisors had sat watching and chatting, unaware of the pending terror. A terror that had only recently been revealed by one Jacob Globe, champion to all non-supers in his valiant attempt to blow the whistle on the government supers programs; or so the press portrayed the former military man.
Miles Jensen, The Madison Butcher, had then demonstrated his abilities which stated by him were connected to the power of freezing objects and had rendered the entirety of the playground irreversibly to their frozen deaths. Despite his insistence that he tried every day to control his runaway super powers, the press eviscerated him delving into any dirt that could find. A ticket for leaving his garbage can out too late after pickup? Obviously, that was the precursor to mass murder.
The man had stated to police that he had no memory of the event as it unfolded, nor did he remember how or why he had left his place of employment. Those that lived near him or even had the slightest inkling of a relationship to him were quickly interviewed. The diatribe wasn’t refreshing or even anything new. Seeking their fifteen minutes of fame, his neighbors revealed in solemn voices that Miles Jensen was well liked by the close-knit community, and albeit a strange man, he never bothered anyone. But, they said, there was that one time that he did listen to heavy metal music too loud, and the police had to intervene. Typical. In fact, one of them said, I think he liked to collect comic books. Another insisted that he had an unhealthy obsession with horror movies. Didn’t he go to one of those conventions dressed up as a character from that television show? As if. If only we’d seen the warning signs, they wailed, maybe we could’ve done something!
Joaquin listened silently as Andy read out loud the ongoing political commentary and the oft-repeated summary of the attack. He imagined himself pinning this Miles Jensen guy down on the ground and punching him till his head turned into a messy pulp of blood, skull, and hair. He frowned, narrowed his eyes and shook his head. A hero wouldn’t do that, would he? A hero would capture the man before he could act and then turn him in. But where was the justice in that? Joaquin thought, grinding his teeth in quiet rage. The guy would sit comfy in a jail cell and appeal after appeal would delay the death he so righteously deserved. Even if he did receive the death penalty, which was doubtful, because some past governor had issued an order to stop all executions, Miles Jensen wouldn’t be executed, and he would avoid what he actually deserved. Joaquin furrowed his eyebrows. No one needed heroes to save the murderers. They needed a vigilante to punish them appropriately. An idea slowly crept into Joaquin’s head, and he smiled at the prospect, the heat of anger subsuming into the cold realization on what he now knew that he must do.
Next: The Vigilante Case