Part Seven: Commitment
At this moment, Mary held the commanding position. She had the initiative, with her only real obstacle being her inability to reliably track me or my actions. I had to use that to my advantage, and to get anywhere I had to use it to seize the initiative from her. As I expected her to assume that I’d come for her directly, I knew that I could knock her off-balance by coming at her indirectly. That revelation led to an obvious solution: I ratted her out.
I took all of the information that I possessed and collected it into a complete and conclusive report that—through a proxy—I got into the hands of the authorities. I knew that I could rely on those in power to act quite negatively to the idea that they’re dealing with a murderous madwoman that they cannot control, so when I heard that a public inquiry into “allegations” of Mary’s connections to my dear friend’s assault and the “alleged” perpetrators began then I knew I’d gotten what I wanted.
Through proxies and other means, I kept my eyes and ears on her from a distance. I laughed as she fumed over one witness after another testifying as to her previous actions at the provider, in various schools, at association functions or wherever they encountered her explain—under oath—how she used and discarded people to get what she wanted. I enjoyed her frustration as one record after another got put before an assembly of “peers” to add weight to the accusations made by the witnesses. I danced a merry jig when this assembly demanded access to Mary’s records for her wealth and searches of her home, office and a few other key places.
It was at this time that I realized another of Mary’s flaws, which was that she did not fully understand the tools that she used every day of her life. You see, reader, at this time we had an array of marvelous tools and yet most of us had no idea as to what they were actually capable of doing. In part this is because those that made the tools, and those that sold those tools to us, lied about it. But, really, most of us were too stupid or lazy to bother figuring this out for ourselves.
Mary made no effort to master her tools. This attitude was commonplace amongst her family, and of her class of people in general, so I was not surprised. She had no idea that the device she used to communicate with others had the ability to record her conversations without her knowledge, or track her movements without her knowing either. I did, and I had the means to turn on the hidden switches that let the authorities do this to people. Of course I did just that, and that I saw or heard I passed on to the authorities. This created a feedback loop of frustration for her, as she kept ranting at her husband about how the authorities found out about things she wanted hidden- including her use of the privileges of marriage to conceal the fact that her husband was in on the plot to take over the region’s health care system through using the bank he worked at to ensure the election of allies into positions of power in the government.
Once I passed that information to the authorities, her husband took their children and fled from the area. They went to a far, far away place where the authorities had no power—officially—to demand the return of Mary’s family. (At the time, that was a place called “Morocco”.) Mary did not flee with also to avoid undue suspicion, and to finalize preparations for transferring all of their wealth elsewhere to protect it from seizure by the authorities. She also realized, at last, that I had to be responsible for all of this misfortune somehow. Since, again, I could not be found she decided to target my dear friend; with her husband’s aid, she placed a king’s ransom of a bounty upon my friend’s head.
I knew that this would happen. She fell into the trap that I devised, and now came the time to close it. I heard her send out the word to all of her contacts in the criminal community, starting with the biker gangs and the street gangs, but that would soon spread to others not affiliated with her- those are the most dangerous sort, as they are either utterly incompetent or seasoned professionals and thus (in their own ways) very difficult to deal with. I passed that along to the authorities, who now had a clear and present charge to make against her. Unfortunately, she moved faster than they did and escaped from an arrest at her home by fleeing before they arrived and disappeared from their notice.
Not, however, from mine. I really got her mad this time, and she still had her device on her, so I knew where she would go next and that was to the hospice to personally kill my friend. I still remember the moment when, having gotten there first, I confronted her. She and some gang members from crews who owed her infiltrated into the hospice and made their way to her room. I already moved my friend to the Panic Room in the basement, where she could direct me remotely if necessary, and put up a doll in place of my friend.
She stabbed the doll, and once she realized that she’d been duped she ordered her boys to fan out and find her. Once alone, I stepped out of my hiding spot under the bed and quietly stood up.
“You went to a lot of trouble to find me.” I said, “You could’ve just posted a notice.”
This freaked Mary out, so she turned around and pointed her gun at me. I wasn’t worried, for I already had a gun of my own out and pointed at her.
“You should’ve killed me when you had the chance.” I said, “Now? Now I fulfill my promise- something you can’t ever do.”
She backed away towards the door, still open. I fixed my gaze at her and carefully aimed my gun to hit right between her eyes. Just as I fired, she ducked behind the wall, and then I heard her scramble down the hall. I did not rush to pursue her, but I did follow.
You see, I learned a lot before the Azure Flames hit. One of those lessons was that before you beat a living foe in the flesh, you had to beat them in the mind- and that meant breaking their will to resist. Fear—and yes, terror—are key means of breaking that will. This is what it means to be a stalker. It was not enough to simply shoot Mary. I had to break her first, and to do that I had to stalk her. Once she ran, the game was afoot and a long-desired victory was now within sight.