The ground smelled of decay. It was a cool, rainy afternoon, and once all the wetness mingled with dirt, with used condoms and pieces of stale bread, the smell in the small back alley became pretty close to the emotions rotting in Tooth’s gut. He came well prepared. There were no cameras around here nor on the way Luci was supposed to lead Harlow along. It would be a clean job. Dirty, but clean. Tooth had the syringe ready, the dose inside just low enough not to kill the bastard. Harlow wouldn’t get a quick death. He would pay for all the things he did to Luci and other defenseless kids. Even thinking about it made Tooth’s head pulsate with anger.
And there they were. Luci walking along with an older man. The fucking Harlow guy actually had a hand on Luci’s shoulder. The predator couldn’t look plainer. Khaki pants, glasses, a tidy haircut, and a dark woolen coat.
Even knowing he was safe with Tooth around, Luci seemed stiff, and his face was tensed into a mask of a fake smile. Tooth wanted this to be over for his boy, to use his trusted medical bag on the bastard rapist and take away all of Luci’s pain. He’d even gotten new restraints for today, just so remains of Luci’s sweat wouldn’t touch Harlow’s skin.
“Yeah, let’s just go here, I can blow you there,” Tooth heard Luci say, and his stomach turned.
“Aren’t you eager. You must have really missed my dick,” said the human scum.
Tooth waited, listening to the rustle of leaves, to two pairs of feet: one known so well, one alien and sharp, aggressive. The prey was luring the predator into the trap of Tooth’s funnel, and once caught, Harlow would never see the light of day again.
Tooth moved behind a thick tree to let them pass without Harlow noticing him. The bastard had to have the serious hots for Luci if he agreed to this excursion. Not that Tooth couldn’t understand that, the boy was beyond pretty. What Tooth couldn’t stomach was that Harlow had thought so back when Luci was eleven. After Luci confined in him, Tooth couldn’t sleep, his thoughts a dark whirlpool of hate.
He saw the mismatched couple pass and turn into the alleyway that would be the entrance to Harlow’s tomb, and followed them without a second thought.
“Is that your car?” was the last thing Harlow said before Tooth stuffed the needle into his neck and unloaded the syringe. There was no reason to catch the dirtbag as he slumped to the ground with his face ending up in a pile of wet leaves. Only then could Tooth breathe again. He raised his eyes to look at Luci.
The boy flinched back and took a deep breath, then another, and another. He couldn’t stop with the heavy breathing, but his eyes met Tooth’s over Harlow.
Tooth bit his lip, and his stomach convulsed. “Did he... do something?”
“No, it’s just… I hate him so much,” Luci uttered with a scowl and looked down at the limp body.
Tooth snorted in relief. “You wanna kick him?”
Luci stilled, but then, his heavy combat boot landed in the middle of Harlow’s stomach. “Fuck you,” he hissed with his fists clenched.
Tooth smiled and delivered a kick to Harlow’s ass. “Bet he’d like that.”
“Well, he’s not gonna fucking get it.” Luci kicked the piece of garbage again. “He’s never gonna touch me again. He can fuck off with his fucking fingers, and his fucking filthy mouth, his fucking camera.” Luci’s chest was heaving and he underlined each part of his sentence with a kick.
“You can piss on him if you want. I know I will,” said Tooth, quickly joining Luci and taking his shivering body into his arms. He was careful not to graze Luci’s skin with the needle as he held him.
“No, I don’t want my dick anywhere near him. Fuck him. Fucking fucker.” Luci turned around in Tooth’s embrace and wrapped his arms around Tooth’s midsection with his face hidden.
Tooth squeezed him tightly and kissed the soft hair on top of his head. “All right babe, whatever you think is best,” he whispered, already looking at the scum at their feet.
“I think I should go. It’s not safe to be here with him,” Luci whispered, but gripped the back of Tooth’s cut.
Luci was always thinking of others first. Tooth smiled at him. “Stay safe, all right? Call Milk to pick you up from that cafe in half an hour or so.”
“I will.” He gave Tooth a quick kiss and walked off, rubbing his eyes without a glance back at the monster on the ground.
The rest of the job went fairly well. After depositing the body in the trunk of the car, all neatly wrapped in plastic with only the face sticking out, Tooth set out on the drive across state lines. He made sure Luci was okay while still in town, then switched off his phone and only stopped twice—once to take a piss, and once to get some food at a drive-thru. As strange as it was, he didn’t feel particularly excited. He’d much rather be at home with Luci, watching a movie or having sex. Just enjoying their time together. Harlow wasn’t really worth his time. Human trash, that’s all this man was.
Tooth went deep into the forest, watched the sun set over the trees, and stopped when he couldn’t go farther. He’d never felt more confident about someone deserving to die than today. The piece of shit was still out of it when Tooth got him out of the trunk and flung him over his shoulder, to take farther into the woods. It would be a long night, and he didn’t want any witnesses.
The one thing poking at his brain like a nosy old neighbor complaining of the noise was an odd sense of déjà vu he got every time he looked at Harlow. He couldn’t pinpoint it to any specific time, it was just that his eyes, his mouth seemed strikingly familiar. Unable to solve this problem for now, Tooth marched on with the heavy weight on his shoulders until he was certain no one would hear Harlow scream. He chose a good spot and restrained the bastard between four relatively young trees. He dragged over two large stones and placed one on each side of Harlow’s head, fairly certain they would keep it in place. He got so bored when Harlow wouldn’t wake up that he even started digging the hole to use after he was done. And then he waited, letting his eyes adjust to the darkness and thankful it was a full moon.
When time came for Harlow to wake up, he was getting annoyed with waiting, so he slapped his captive a few times, until he came to. The vermin looked up at Tooth, his eyes wide open in a second. The man’s scream was stifled by a gag and only rippled in the silence around them, without carrying farther away.
Tooth sighed, playing with his knife. “Shut up. No one’s gonna hear you anyway.”
Harlow stilled, breathing frantically through his nose, tears already forming in his eyes.
Tooth slowly got to his feet and picked up the plastic apron he wanted to wear during the procedure. “What’s your name?”
The man whimpered and shook his head as much as the stones allowed him. Tears spilled down his temples, shining in the moonlight. Just looking at it made Tooth sick to his stomach. This pathetic waste of a human being was the source of Luci’s nightmares? He wasn’t even a challenge to Tooth. He had expected more resistance, more character. Slowly, he pulled on his thick rubber gloves and kneeled next to Harlow, pulling out the gag. “What’s your name?”
“Harlow. George Harlow.” He spoke so fast it sounded like he was stumbling over his own words. “You must have gotten the wrong person, I’m just a teacher!”
“Pleased to meet you,” said Tooth as adrenaline suddenly flooded his veins. “I’m Tooth of the Coffin Nails Motorcycle Club. I’m Lucifer’s boyfriend.”
Even in the darkness, Tooth could see the blood drain from the man’s face. “C-c-c-coffin Nails?” he struggled to whisper. “I-I… let’s make a deal, I know we can sort it out somehow.” His teeth clattered and Tooth found the sound inviting.
“Yeah? How can we sort out that you wanted to fuck my boy?” rasped Tooth. He took a roll of dental tools out of his bag and unfolded it over Harlow’s chest, making sure they jingled.
“Oh God, oh God.” Harlow was already wheezing, and Tooth delighted in each of his nervous breaths. “I didn’t know he had someone, he didn’t tell me, he invited me out himself. But you’re from the Nails, I’m sure you guys could use some extra business, right? I know someone with a lot of money, and he’s looking for a business partner to enlarge his operation.”
“Oh, yeah? Who’s that?” asked Tooth, deciding to play with the guy’s fears for a while. He made sure Harlow saw the large dental extractor in his hand.
Harlow’s pupil’s were so wide they made the whole iris look black. His chest jerked up and down with the hitched breaths he was barely catching. “Because I was meaning to quit as their partner anyway. You could take over, I’d just disappear. You could tell Luci I’m dead, he’d never see me again,” he babbled in panic.
Tooth’s hand itched when Harlow used Luci’s nickname, but he just shrugged and started moving the heavy tool up Harlow’s neck. He couldn’t wait to use it. “Who?”
“Rick Harris, and he has more associates as well, I’m sure you could work something out if I mediate. If you let me go, I could annul the whole contract on Lucifer. They’d believe me. Only me.” Harlow cried again, his words turning into a sob. “Only me.”
Cogs unblocked in Tooth’s brain. Frankie Harris. The sister of Rick the Vanilla Lounge bouncer. Rick Harris. Despite the cold shudders trailing down his back, Tooth hoped the darkness would hide any emotions that could surface on his face.
“What kind of business is that?”
“It’s organs. They want his heart and liver. He matches the profile of two of our clients. I could stop that, I could feign something in his papers, say I overlooked it, and they wouldn’t even bother with him anymore. I could do that.” Harlow licked the sweat off his upper lip.
Tooth had never even noticed when the guy lost his glasses. Tooth stared at Harlow, at the mouth full of teeth that didn’t belong there. His whole body became a pulsing heart, fighting for air. “Luci’s....”
“Yes, I know, I know, it’s horrendous, right? I could make some calls, meet the contractor. I’d do this for you and disappear.”
Tooth could barely hear him through the drumming of his own pulse, and the influx of sounds and voices that came with images running through his head at a crazy pace. Luci on a metal table. Completely pale and still beautiful as an angel. With a gaping hole in the middle of his chest. Then Luci’s face darkened, getting a bit fuller, with dark dreadlocks spilled all around it.
Tooth finally remembered where he’d seen Harlow. The guy had hooked up with Tracy a few times. He had been much younger, more innocent looking, without a trace of gray in his hair. But it was him. It was him. Nausea rose in Tooth’s throat, and without a thought, he clenched the extractor on the lower half of Harlow’s nose and twisted.
A scream pierced the night with so much agony that birds fled from surrounding trees. “No! No! Please, no!” the man cried with blood trickling down into his mouth.
“Give me names!” growled Tooth, watching the bloodied mess under him with a pleasure he didn’t quite expect.
“I told you! Rick Harris! He’s my only contact!” Harlow yelled in utter terror.
“You sure?” whispered Tooth, gently tapping the extractor against Harlow’s lips. He was breathing hard, and his body was aroused in all but an erection.
“Yes! That’s all I know, I only gave Rick information. He passed it onto someone who actually dealt with clients. I was going about my own business most of the time. I never meant to hurt Luci. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
Lack of intention wasn’t what Luci’s confession suggested.
Tooth smashed the tool against Harlow’s lips, and felt teeth give. This move was all that kept him from vomiting all over that sorry excuse of a man. “Liar. I know what you did!”
“I didn’t, I didn’t!” Harlow cried through bloodied broken teeth, with his eyes clenched tightly shut. He must have been hitting that panic level when he’d say anything. He was also back to writhing in the restraints and pulling on them like a madman. “He’s just lied to manipulate you because he doesn’t like me.” The last word was merely a cough as Harlow choked on some of his own blood.
“You raped him, you fucking pervert. And I know that because I’m the Coffin Nails interrogator! Tell me the truth or I’ll cut into your bone!” Tooth rasped, already seeking the proper instrument, blindly fumbling through the bag. The clatter of steel was music to his ears.
“No, please don’t. I was inappropriate, I know.” Harlow’s words were a mix of pleas and cries. “But he was such a dirty little boy. You’d understand if you saw him back then. It’s not how it looks.”
“No, he wasn’t.” Tooth let out a low growl, his whole body trembling with the need to punch, tear, kick, bludgeon. He would never forget the lost look Luci had on his face when he told him about what Harlow did. The scum deserved to die. “You want me to cut off your ears now?”
“I told you everything…” Harlow sobbed. “Your club would appreciate the business I could bring through my contacts.” His face was already a pathetic mess, and Tooth couldn’t wait to make it worse. For every single time this motherfucker took an eleven-year-old boy from a broken home into the school basement to abuse him. But there was one more thing Harlow was guilty of.
“Years ago, there was a prostitute you were hooking up with. He went by Tracy,” said Tooth as coldly as he could, even though his whole body was steaming up.
“I… Maybe… I don’t remember well. Why?”
Tooth could see the desperation in Harlow’s eyes, the need to grasp onto something, to find a way to be useful. Tooth swallowed, equally desperate not to waste this chance. He felt as if he were balancing on the edge of a knife. “He was found with his kidney cut out. But the organ wasn’t taken. Tell me what you know,” insisted Tooth, holding on to Harlow’s jaw.
Harlow’s gaze was the epitome of ‘crazy eyes’. “It was early days for Rick and his partner… they found out the boy had HIV, he was of no use to them. I had nothing to do with it, nothing. Now please help me help you.” Another sob left his smashed lips. “I can take Luci out of danger.”
Anger exploded in Tooth’s head. He forced open Harlow’s bloodied jaw and closed the extractor on a tooth that still sat solid. It broke underneath the pressure, evicting another sharp cry out of Harlow’s mouth. “Tell me all that you know!”
“What else do you want?” It was a sad excuse for speech, quiet, stuttering, specked with moans. but Tooth was already proficient with extracting his information this way.
“I saw you with him. Tell me exactly what happened to Tracy. I want it all, you shithead!”
“He was a hooker, he got abducted, they were sloppy and only realized the HIV when they found some meds on him.”
“And you recruited him,” hissed Tooth. He pulled out one of the loosened teeth as he pronounced the last syllable.
“I found him, but I didn’t… I… don’t know, I don’t remember. Please let me go. Luci is in danger. We both care for him, right?” The whining was getting incohesive.
“Will you be telling me the truth if I took care of your dick?” asked Tooth, showing Harlow the bloodied extractor. He wasted no time and unzipped the man’s pants.
Harlow screamed at the top of his lungs. “No! Please, no! What kind of monster are you?”
Tooth snorted as he pulled down Harlows pants to expose his sorry, shriveled dick. “It’s funny you’re the one saying that.”
“Oh, God… I told them about Tracy, that he was a good target. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! I’m a different man now. It was a mistake!”
Tooth shook his head as his body slowly cooled down. His mind was getting back on track as he pulled the bag closer. Both Tracy and Luci deserved so much better than what this piece of trash had for them. It was payday.
He could only hope Tracy could hear Harlow scream.
Tooth grinned at the fucker so hard his jaw hurt. “Scream, scream all the way to heaven.”