By Karen Singer
Chapter 37 Part 2 of 2
Janice sat outside enjoying the crisp morning sunlight… with no sight of clouds for a change. The view of the mountains was even better than the last cabin. But then this place as located much further up into the hills. She breathed in the wonderful air. She breathed in the beautiful scenery. And she breathed in a sense of calming peace. The mountains often did that to her. It was why she liked them so much… why she liked hiking so much as well. Did Roger experience anything like it when he went fishing? Most likely, he did. Hiking would be a much better pastime for him though. It was better exercise… and he wouldn’t be killing harmless little fish!
She spent the morning out on the porch enjoying the air, reading the book she had found, refreshing her coffee as well as Halifax’s coffee, and just simply killing time. She was killing time because she didn’t want to get into Halifax’s brain too soon. She enjoyed her time on the deck enough that she continually imagined spending an equally pleasant time on the new deck Roger was going to build for her. Of course, the scenery there wouldn’t be anything at all like it was here.
At lunchtime, she went in and made sandwiches for herself and her guest. Never once speaking to him, and never once inviting him to speak with her. She treated him simply as someone… or something that was there, and that was the end of it. And after lunch, she took the time to thoroughly wash what few dishes she had used again.
All while Halifax silently watched her.
When she was done with the dishes, she wiped her hands dry on the dishtowel, picked up her remote control, and headed for Halifax to do business again.
Halifax saw her pick up the remote control and head for him. His panicked brain wanted to run and hide, but his body remained firmly glued to the chair. He was terrified. He was already trying to anticipate her first command to stand up. So when the command came for him to raise his right arm instead, he was far, far too late in making it happen. And the pain he received for his slowness, kick started the entire process into high gear. He was lost again before he knew it.
It may not have been the fastest time Janice had ever seen anyone succumb to her will, but it was definitely up there. But still, she was methodical and patient. Thorough! Leaving no stone untouched, no instruction left out. She had to be thorough and cautious… the stakes were too high for anything else. Especially now!
It was a while before she felt certain he was ready… a while after she had been certain that he was ready… more than ready. His brain was so lost in hers he probably couldn’t tell anymore where his left off and hers took over. Her will was totally and completely his will… on a level he had never imagined. The training did that kind of damage to his mind – every time.
She left him to sit in his chair, totally in her control, totally empty minded. While he sat there like that, she retrieved the new camera she had bought and set it up on the tripod. She carefully aimed it, and finally turned it on. The camera caught him clearly, sitting naked in his chair, from just under his knees to just above his head. The angle gave her a clear view of his face at all times. It was as good as she was going to get it. She picked up her notebook and stood in front of him again – well out of view of the camera.
“Mr. Halifax,” she started. “Your will is my will. My will is your will. What I want, is what you want. What I will, is what you will do.” There was no reaction from him, but then she didn’t expect any.
“Mr. Halifax,” she said again. “I want you to answer all my questions truthfully and completely. And because I want you to answer that way, you want to answer truthfully and completely as well. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Halifax said immediately. The word hadn’t been mumbled in any way. It came out forcefully… agreeably… as if it was what he wanted to do of his own accord.
“Very good, Mr. Halifax.” She took a deep breath. “Mr. Halifax… tell me about Leila Rivers.” She watched as his eyes seemed to move and gaze off into the distance.
“Beautiful woman. Sexy as hell. Great in bed. Really great in bed! Funny. Fun to be with. Smart. Too smart!” The last part was added with a bit of trouble in his voice.
Janice picked up on the change of tone, but didn’t ask directly about it. Instead she asked. “Mr. Halifax, did you kill Leila Rivers?”
“No,” Halifax replied immediately.
Janice was somewhat shocked. She had the wrong man! She had raped and destroyed the mind of an innocent man! But still, he was only a dumb man. Feeling only a bit perturbed over it, she moved on to some of the contingency questions she had written in her notebook.
“You didn’t kill her,” she started, “but do you have any idea who did?”
She wasn’t expecting much of an answer, so she was totally surprised when he quickly popped out a name. “Jacob Vesper.”
She blinked. “Jacob Vesper killed Leila Rivers?”
“Yes,” the reply came immediately. “Jacob Vesper.”
“And how do you know this?”
“Because I paid him to do it.”
She was no longer surprised. In fact she now felt much more like she was firmly on her feet again. “And how much did you pay him, Mr. Halifax?”
“Twenty-five grand before he did it, then twenty-five after. I told him I would give him an additional twenty five grand six-months after if the cops were sure I had nothing to do with it. Then there will be an additional payment at the one year point. One hundred grand in all.”
Janice quickly realized how cautious he had been in the transaction. It was a smart move. She quickly thought up another question to ask. “And where did you find this Jacob Vesper?”
“I’ve used him before for other things,” Halifax easily replied.
“What kind of other things?”
Halifax actually shrugged, his eyes though were still focused somewhere off in the distance. “Strong arm stuff. Making sure deals went through when it looked like someone might give me trouble. Stuff like that.”
“But no other murders.”
Janice nodded. The evidence on the video recording right now was enough to probably put him away for life. “And how do you contact Mr. Vesper?” she asked.
Halifax smiled. “I eat at Tolentino’s Italian Restaurant.”
“He works there?” she asked.
He shook his head. “No, he just likes to eat there.”
Janice rolled her eyes. “You don’t have a phone number or an address for him?”
He shook his head. “No. I just go out for dinner, and more often than not, he’s usually there.”
Janice figured that the information they had on the real killer would now be enough for someone to find the guy. She could only imagine what Susan would probably do to him when she caught up with him. Although, after thinking about it, she decided that she didn’t want to imagine what Susan would do to him.
She moved on to another line of questioning. “Mr. Halifax, why did you have Leila Rivers killed?”
“Because she found Victoria.”
That was not an answer she was expecting. “And who is Victoria?”
Halifax smiled broadly now… even as his eyes still continued to gaze off into the distance. “The first whore I ever had sex with.” He chuckled a bit. “The first woman I ever had sex with.”
Now Janice was confused. “You had her killed because she found the first woman you made love to?”
He shook his head. “No, not that Victoria.”
Huh? Janice was somewhat dumbfounded. “What Victoria then?”
“My retirement account. I named it Victoria after my first sexual conquest.”
Suddenly things started to become much more clear. “Mr. Halifax, tell me about your retirement account. Tell me about that Victoria.”
“My account… for my old age… or whenever I decide to retire. Nobody else knows about it. Nobody! My secret. And it will stay my secret. I’ve been skimming off funds since the beginning. Since I was almost a young kid. It all goes into an offshore account. My private account.”
“And how much is in that account now?” Janice asked.
His smile broadened. “Sixteen point five million dollars… as of yesterday afternoon.”
Sixteen point five million dollars! Janice nearly had a fit! And it was all in a secret offshore retirement account that only he knew about! She had to take a deep breath to compose herself – before she continued with him. “Mr. Halifax… so you had her killed because she discovered your secret account?”
“Yes,” the answer was very plain, and direct, and simple. And loaded with nothing but the truth.
But his answer brought up one final question. “Mr. Halifax, you were engaged to marry Leila Rivers. Wouldn’t you have wanted her to know about that account?”
He shook his head. “Definitely not! Yeah, maybe we’d get married, but maybe not. And if we did marry, I’m sure that in a year or two I’d divorce the girl and send her packing. I don’t want my style cramped like that for too long!”
Janice suddenly felt nothing but disgust for the beast in front of her. She had enough… for now. And she was sure that the information she had for Susan would be more than enough. She also realized she had another problem to worry about with Susan.
“Mr. Halifax. Lay down on the floor now and go to sleep. You will sleep soundly. You will not wake again until I call your name. Sleep now, Mr. Halifax. Go to sleep.”
She watched as he immediately laid down on the plastic covered floor… and fell sound asleep. She walked over and turned off the video camera. Then she went into the kitchen to pour herself a much needed cup of coffee. She needed to think. She needed to think hard! Thirty minutes later, she carried yet another cup of coffee, her cell phone, and a burner phone out to the deck to sit again. But this time, she had no interest in the view before her.
“Janice?” Susan Wu’s anxious voice came over the cheap burner phone. “What’s happening?”
“I’ve got what you want,” Janice replied somewhat dully.
“So… did he kill her?”
Janice didn’t answer right away. “I need to know something from you first,” Janice replied.
“Did he kill her or not?” Susan insisted.
“Not until you answer my question.”
If Susan had been there with Janice just then, she probably would have nearly killed her. “What?” she asked angrily.
“When we met in Chattanooga, you said that any money I can get out of him would be mine. That you had no interest in that at all. Is that still true? Do you still intend on letting me have it?”
Susan was very surprised. “Yes, of course. That was our agreement. Why?”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll take you at your word. You and your father have always been nothing but honest and trustworthy… to me anyway. So I’ll take you at your word.”
“Janice, what’s going on? Of course we’ll honor our agreement. Our honor is very sacred to us!”
“That’s what I thought,” Janice replied. “But I had to make sure.”
“So what did you get out of Halifax? Did he kill her or not?”
“Yes and no,” Janice said. “He paid someone else to do it. I’ve got the whole thing recorded on video.”
“Can I get a copy?” Susan asked.
“You can have the whole camera if you want,” Janice replied.
“Does the camera record on disk or on a memory chip?”
“The salesman showed me some kind of a small square card of some kind that he said held all the memory.”
“I don’t need the camera, just that SD card. But I need it – intact!” Susan told her.
“No problem. After some of the stuff I just heard, I’d just as soon have the whole video off my hands as soon as possible.”
“I’ll send a messenger to wherever you are immediately!”
“No, don’t bother. I’m probably going to cut this visit short and leave here tonight. Besides, I don’t think I could accurately describe how to get here anyway. Can he reach my house by sometime tomorrow instead?”
“I’ve got someone on standby down there. He can probably be wherever you are in a matter of hours… including wherever you are right now if you like.”
“No, it would be better if he came to my house sometime tomorrow. Sometime in the afternoon would be best since I’ll be at church in the morning. Perhaps around two o’clock? Just my daughter and I should be home then.”
“Two o’clock,” Susan confirmed. “I’ll make sure he’s there then.” She paused. “And Janice, thanks!”
But Janice’s mind was still preoccupied with something else. “Susan,” Janice said before hanging up, “you’re going to hear some interesting things in that video. I’m counting on you honoring our agreement.”
Susan paused for a moment before replying. “Understood. And yes, we always honor our agreements.”
Janice took the time to finish her coffee before going back into the house where she immediately put the video camera into the bedroom where it would be out of sight. Then she went back to the living room where Halifax was still sleeping.
“Mr. Halifax!” she called to wake him up. His body moved immediately as his eyes opened and he looked up at her. “Sit in the chair, Mr. Halifax,” she ordered. His reaction was nearly instant. And as soon as he was settled in the chair, even though he was still in a trance, she said the magic words, “Sleep and obey, Mr. Halifax. Sleep and obey.”
Once again she made sure he was well hypnotized. Only then did she drag another kitchen chair over so she could sit in front of him.
“Mr. Halifax,” she began, “Your little vacation this week is being cut short. The beautiful woman you were to spend it with wasn’t feeling so well this week. You will remember that and you will feel somewhat disappointed about it.
“Next week, you are to book another cabin rental. You will only need to book it from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning. One night only. Again, you want to book someplace secluded. Choose someplace other than here. You want to see someplace new. And like last week, you will forward the information to me at that same email address. You are very much looking forward to going there next weekend. You almost can’t wait. So you should do your best to be at that cabin as soon as the rental contract allows. And when you come next week, Mr. Halifax, I expect you to bring another fifteen hundred dollars with you – top pay for any fun and expenses you and your beautiful woman will have next week.”
She stared at him for a few moments, considering what she wanted to do next. She needed a way to punish him… a way to destroy him completely. She had several ideas in mind for it, but she hadn’t settled on any of them yet. She decided to go with just a little bit of the easiest for now. “Mr. Halifax, do you like dogs?” she asked.
“Not really,” he replied.
“Why is that?”
“Not all dogs bite,” she replied. “Most do not. Most are wonderful family pets.” She smiled despite herself. “Mr. Halifax, next week, you will find that you are very interested in dogs. You don’t want one yourself, you only want to see how they behave. You are going to find yourself spending more and more time researching how dogs behave.”
She stopped to consider what she wanted to say next. “As always, Mr. Halifax, what happened here this weekend is something you can never talk about, just as you can never tell anyone about me. Over top of your memories of what really happened, you will mostly remember that you were here with a beautiful woman, but you had to cut your weekend short because she wasn’t feeling well. You are very disappointed about that, but you are looking forward to seeing her next week instead.”
She was done with him… for now. Next week, no doubt she would have a ton of stuff to hit him with, but this was all she would handle this week. She had already put his mind through the conditioning process twice this week, and she dared not do any more.
She walked up to him and removed the collar from his neck. “Get dressed, Mr. Halifax. It’s time for you to go home. And before you leave, I believe you should have a little bit of money for me?”