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"One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. ​​​​​​Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real.​​​"


—Klaus Kinski, Actor

     God had surely forsaken him. How else could he justify the pure evil that held him captive. Everett Deggler was committed to God. He passionately dedicated his entire life to serving and pleasing his Lord. Everett converted souls and spread the Gospel. He had instilled in both of his sons to fear and worship God, even if at times he had to physically beat those principles into them. Deggler made the necessary sacrifices. Whatever was required of him to gain God's favor and protection he did so without question. In the fall of 1981, the city of San Francisco was on edge with the murders that had played out in the news for the past month. Everett heard about the 11 victims but never doubted for a moment that God was always watching over him.


     Everett's hands were tightly bound behind his back and his eyes blinded by the cloth that had been securely placed during his abduction. As he was roughly led from the van that he had been thrown in earlier, he was aware of the cool trickle of urine that ran down the front of his thigh. Fear and absence of sight made him stumble and fall even under the firm guidance of strong hands. He tried to pray, but every new sound brought a greater distraction and sense of fear and dread.


It took some time, but the two men found the perfect spot to kill Everett. It was an abandoned church on the outskirts of San Francisco, in the Sonoma suburbs. Small and in the middle of nowhere, it offered them the type of privacy needed for the things that were planned. The men were brothers, the younger one named Abraham and the other Noah. Abraham at 23 years old, was tall, extremely muscular and the leader of the two. He had not involved Noah in the 11 prior murders, but he wanted him here now as a spectator and not a participant. Unlike Abraham, Noah didn't have the stomach to inflict pain, but observing it was a different matter. Besides, he had many reasons of his own for wanting to be present.


     Everett was still blindfolded as one of the men forced a large plastic capsule in his mouth and made him swallow. He was then attached to an old pulley device. Slowly he was lowered into a vat of boiling water. He was pulled out just as his skin blistered and he started asphyxiating from the steam, which was scalding and constricting his lungs. He was only in the water for a few seconds, but the pain was searing and excruciating. Everett wasn't sure if he had passed out or not, but suddenly he felt the presence of one of the men just in front of him pouring ammonia on his raw skin. As Everett screamed out he felt the man's hand loosen his blindfold. It took a moment for him to gather his bearings and vision. The blurred image of two men standing before him finally became clear. It was the recognition of the men that terrified him even more than what he had already endured. Everett was desperately trying to make sense of the sight of his sons standing before him when Abraham stepped closer and smiled as he whispered, "Hello Father."


     New Yorkers were enjoying the warmest fall that they had seen in several years. The weather of 2011 would be remembered for a few things, namely its schizophrenic last two months of summer. The blistering heat of August and the unseasonably cool September. October was supposed to have been much colder than it actually was, but it was two weeks before Halloween and many people still weren't even wearing sweaters. Unlike the hot days of August, when the streets of Manhattan were thick with the stench of garbage and car fumes, the air now was light and clean. New Yorkers were still cordial and not yet introverted by the winter months. Even at night the streets were more populated than usual for this time of the year with people taking full advantage of the surprisingly warm weather.


     Northeasterners knew better than most, the brutal potential of winter. They made it a point then to squeeze what they could out of agreeable autumns. Even though most of them didn't want to mention it, they all knew deep down that the winter storms would soon be upon them. 42nd Street was gone. It no longer existed. At least not to the silver-haired man who slowly cruised the Times Square district. He remembered the real 42nd Street. Pre-Disney. The 42nd Street of the 70s, 80s and early 90s. The peep shows and prostitutes and the ever willing hand-job from a stranger in the darkened X-rated theaters. It was easier then. Everything was so much more accessible when the urges came and he decided to give in to them. These days though, it required a little more effort. He only fed his indulgences once or twice a month, but still he was constantly aware of the effort. When he needed the release, he drove to the city from Staten Island. He needed to be far away from his own community. He could never risk compromising his good name and reputation. No one that knew him could possibly understand the pressures of his job. He understood more than anyone that the value of his work far outweighed any minor indiscretion that he occasionally allowed himself.


     He got off on so many different things. For him it wasn't just about a sexual release. It was just as much about the cruising, the spotting, the danger and fear. The buildup and foreplay was equally important and pleasurable. He got off most on the sense of abandonment. The letting go and submitting to his most primal urges. Ninety-nine percent of the time he was who people expected him to be. Who he was supposed to be. But once or twice a month, he allowed himself to be whoever and whatever he needed to be. He had rationalized this over 30 years ago as a small price to pay after his first encounter with a prostitute.


     He had been in the city a few hours now and had lost track of time. The availability of good hookers in the surrounding areas of Times Square had become more and more sporadic with slimmer pickings. Still he usually started his hunt there, more so because of the overall energy and nostalgia. One of his new favorite cruising spots was in the lower 30s on the East Side. The warm weather had allowed the streetwalkers the luxury of wearing a wide range of scandalously revealing outfits. They paraded up and down the street in lace, fishnets and thongs. Some flashed their breasts at passing cars while others negotiated with prospective clients. The man sat in his car at the end of the block for over an hour watching all of the activity. For the last 20 minutes, he found himself staring at a raven-haired Latina in six-inch heels. She wore a sheer mesh outfit which impressively showcased her curvy ass and large breasts. She wasn't by any stretch of the imagination the prettiest or sexiest of the bunch, but she had an edge and sass that turned him on. He had enough experience with hookers to know that certain personality traits were more important to him than physical attributes. When he was in this mood he needed a woman who was aggressive and strong and who could take the power from him that he was more than ready to relinquish.


     She didn't speak much. One of her talents was reading the various men she had sex with. She was very clear as to why they came to her. Some needed permission or validation to be who they really were. Others, like the silver-haired man she was with now, knew exactly who they were and came to her to indulge and celebrate that acknowledgement. He paid and tipped her in advance. He gave her double what they had negotiated. He did so because he wanted them both to be clear on the rules of engagement. In the hour or so that they would be together, he needed to own her. He was paying as much for her mind and imagination as he was for her time and body. He needed the closest thing to truth that she had to offer. He paid her well because tonight he didn't want to be hindered by any limits. His or hers.


      By the time he left the hotel on 38th Street it was almost 4:30 in the morning. The hooker was better than he had anticipated. She brought him to the places he wanted and needed to go. More than once. He had planned on leaving no later than 3 to make sure he was back in time for work. Unfortunately he wouldn't have time to get back for a shower and clean clothes even though he still had the smell of the prostitute and the pissy scent of the hotel room on him. Fortunately he had brought the necessary change of clothing he needed and left them in his trunk. Nothing could ever interfere with his work, especially not his own weaknesses. He stopped at a gas station on the way back to Staten Island and brought the clothes into the men's room with him. He gave himself a whore's bath in the tiny porcelain sink, changed his clothes and emerged from the bathroom in his black suit and white priest's collar.


     Father Montrelle hurried back toward his car determined to be on time for 6 a.m. Mass. He was in such a rush that he never noticed that the same van that had been following him all night was parked not too far from his car. As he looked up he saw the silhouette of a large man standing 30 feet away. The man's hands were at shoulder height and he was holding a large object that the priest couldn't quite make out what it was. Father Montrelle heard a short whooshing sound just before something hit his leg. He let out a yell as he felt the pain and noticed the blood and a long wooden arrow protruding from his right thigh. Before the priest went down, the large man reloaded his crossbow and put a second arrow in Montrelle's left thigh. The pain sent Father Montrelle into immediate shock. He fought as best he could to stay conscious. As he fell to the ground he made very little sound and movement. A look of confusion and fear washed over the priest's face at the recognition of his tormentor. The large man quickly moved toward Montrelle, picked him up and placed him in a nearby cargo van. The vehicle sped off just as the station attendant came out to investigate the noise.


     From the time he was a small boy, Montrelle had a fascination with sunrises. Even as a child they represented new beginnings and possibilities to him. Just before the door of the van was closed, Father Montrelle saw the first hint of the day's sunrise. As the van pulled off, the priest laid helpless and terrified, certain that this would be his last.

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