Long time back when I was about nine years old, I would often play cops and robbers with my friends Robert and Davies. With toy guns, we would move around. Robert would play the role of a policeman and Davies and I would play the thieves. In our make belief worlds, we would also become detectives tracking the trail of a criminal. This is what seemed to fascinate us. And when we were about thirteen, a strange man moved into our neighborhood. He was was about thirty five or more and he lived a house down our lane. Thin, tall and wiry with shifty green eyes and a pointed nose, he looked to be quite mysterious to us. Inn the house opposite his, lived Robert who would often at night train his binoculars onto him.
One day Robert had a strange story to tell us. The strange man whom he had named Mr. X had brought with him a young woman. It might have been ten at night, when he had trained his binoculars onto a room on the upperstorey and he had seen the silhoutte of a man hitting the woman. Robert had stealthily left his home and made his way to the house opposite his. When he reached the porch, he had heard a muffled scream and a popping sound. Everything was quiet after that. And Robert had run back home. His heart had been beating so very fast. He had reached his room and in the darkness he once again focused his binoculars onto the house opposite his.
At about twelve at night, he had seen Mr. X coming out with a large garbage bag and the way he carried it suggested that he was carrying something quite heavy. He had plopped open the rear of the car and placed it within the back of his car. According to Robert, he had drove away and come back at two at night.
Robert, Davies and I had been sitting together in my bedroom discussing this and all of us thought that Mr. X had probably murdered the woman Robert had talked about but of course we had no way of proving what had happened.
The evening news spoke about a young woman whose body had been found in a garbage bag at a garbage dump about forty miles away from where Robert, Davies and I lived. She had been identified as a young prostitute named Betty. I was shocked, stunned and dumbfounded. I rang my friends at once and we all met together at Davies' house.
They appeared shocked to hear what I had to tell them. Robert looked at me and then Davies before stating that he was the only witness to the murder. However we were all too shocked and scared to do anything about it.
About three weeks later, it had been about one in the morning when I felt my mobile ring. It was Robert. When I had picked up the mobile he had just said “ Come to my place at once”.
I had stealthily made my way out of my house and made my way towards Roberts house. He had been waiting outside and I saw Davies as well. “Whats up?” I has asked Robert. “There is another young woman with him today” he said. Lets draw in close to his house and try to hear whats happening. So we quietly made our way beneath a window where we saw the shadows of a man and a woman. It felt strange eavesdropping but we sat in the shadows crouching low beneath the window.
And I heard the gruff voice of Mr. X ordering the woman to lie still. The woman spoke with a nasal twang and she seemed to be asking Mr. X to touch her softly and not with hard hands. And after a while, we heard a muffled scream. It was the woman and she seemed to be in trouble. The only thing that we could do was to pelt the windows of the house with pebbles hoping that it would distract Mr. X. And we hurriedly disappeared into the dark shadows and hid behind a clump of dense bushes. The door had opened and we had seen Mr. X appear onto the porch looking left and right. A few minutes passed before he hurried into the house. It was about two minutes later that a young woman came out of the house. She looked petrified and pale and was rubbing her neck. As she walked down the road towards a taxi parked in the distance, Robert had run upto her asking her if she was alright. For a while she was too shocked to say anything before she asked him if it was he who had pelted the windows with stones. And Robert had nodded his head. “ He is a very cruel and dangerous man, stay away from him” she said to Robert. “You saved my life today. Thank You !”.
“Arent you going to report him to the police?” Robert asked her.
“Listen”, she said “ Al Torro, is a member of the Gambiani family which has very strong connections with the Mafia. I dont want to end up dead. It would be better for you, young man to keep whatever you have seen to yourself otherwise your life can be in danger.”
She hurriedly got into the taxi and left. Robert was shocked at hearing what he had. And he then told Davies and me about what he had just learnt. Our blood ran cold on hearing about who Mr. X was.
We slowly made our ways back to our respective homes. And lying in my bed that night, I could only think what would happen if El Torro learnt that we knew about his secrets.
A week later, the six o clock evening news, broke the news that another young woman had been found shot dead in her apartment. When I saw her face, I recognized her as the woman that we had seen that night making her way to the taxi.
The police were offering rewards of 5000 dollars for the person who had seen anything or heard anything that could help them identify who had murdered the two women.
However Robert, I and Davies preferred to keep our mouths shut.
Sitting in a dark and dingy room that was barely lit sat El Torro in deep thought and contemplation. As the grandson of the Godfather of the Gambiani family, El Torro was a rich yet dangerous criminal. Over the years, he had grown up into a sadistic and cruel individual. His mother had left his dad when he was very young and his father had raised him to believe that women were corrupt and not to be trusted. As he had grown up, he had taught him about the family business that was about smuggling narcotics from Mexico and Colombia into USA and then selling it to drug peddlars and pushers all across United States. In this line of business, there were no friends whatsoever. Sniches were to be killed without remorse. For the protection of the business, bribery, kidnapping, extortion and murder formed key ingredients and elements of life. He had supervised the torture and murder of informants on so many occasions that murder came easy to him. It was like sipping a glass of water. And El Torro quickly earned the nickname of
Over the years, his hate for women had changed into hiring prostitutes for sex and murdering them. He had always liked to see the pain and anguish in their eyes as he had shot them dead or used his bare hands to strangle them. Their begging him to let go was the part he craved a lot. He would often pretend that he would let them survive. And just as he would give them hope, he would quickly murder them. However he
wasnot the type who would like to have sex with a corpse or someone who would like to chop them into several pieces and keep a skull or limb as a trophy. However he did have the urge to photograph them before and after they had died. He had maintained a picture book which contained their names, pictures and details about them.
Today he was a little worried about the pelting of the windows of his house by someone. Who were they? Had they seen him strangling that girl? Of course he had had to let that one go. But he had stalked her one day in a dark alley and quickly strangled her to death. Too bad, he did not have time to photograph her.
He had rented this small house in Orange County because it was a quiet residential area. However at the moment he was concerned that someone knew his secrets. Therefore he decided to lay low.
At the Los Angeles Police Department, chief detective Sam Waterson looked worried. Over thirteen young women, all prostitutes had been found shot or strangled to death and all of them belonged to Los Angeles. No one had seen them and there were no clues to ascertain why they had been killed. It looked to be the handiwork of yet another damn serial killer.He had visited various brothels where these women had worked and trying to ascertain if they knew the person who had picked them up. However none of them had any idea. So he was back to square one.
It was Sunday when Robert, Davies and I met at Roberts house. We were nestled in his cosy bedroom. It was a cloudy night nearly seven in the evening. The front house was dark and the black Cadillac with the black tinted windows was nowhere to be seen. It had been two weeks after that night when they had pelted the windows of the house with small stones. Robert looked excited. He had a hairpin in his hand. I havent told you this but he knew how to pick locks. It wasnt a trade or skill that anyone would be proud off. However he suggested that we could sneak intot he house and look around. It looked pretty fool hardy to me but to Davies and Robert it was quite an attractive one. So we agreed to meet at around 8:30pm. We had our mobiles with us along with torches and a small disposable camera. It was then decided that I would hide in the nearby clump of bushes and alert them if Mr.X would come back. Though it was only half past eight, but the streets were deserted. It was a cool night. I had quickly hid in the bushes. Roberts had used his hairpin to good use. Soon he and Davies disappeared into the house.
Davies and Roberts had quietly slipped into the house. They flashed their torches here and there. On a bureau of chests, was placed a picture of a young man. Roberts had quickly taken two or three pictures. In the bedroom downstairs that was located on the left when you entered the house, there was a mahogany bed and placed on the chest of drawers next to it was a picture book. And it was the same picture book that El Torro had used for keeping the pictures and details of all his victims.
And Davies and Robert had been nauseated by the pictures of the women lying dead with their eyes staring wide open and faces contorted in pain and suffering. It was something that Rogers had hurriedly slipped beneath his sweater. And they had quickly stepped out of the house and locked it.
Together Davies, Robert and I made our way back to Roberts place. We were soon back in the confines of his bedroom. I was surprised on seeing the picture book and quite petrified when I saw the pictures of the dead women and their details. To us Mr. X was an extremely dangerous man; a cold blooded murderer. We all decided on going over to the Los Angeles Police Department the next evening.
Meanwhile El Toro had just come back home. Along with him were some rough looking men who worked for him. He walked into the house and asked the men to fix themselves a drink. Meanwhile he had strolled into his bedroom to hide the picture book that he had. However he was surprised that he couldnt find it. Maybe he had misplaced it. However when he couldnt find it, sweat appeared on his forhead. He became worried and concerned and turned his room upside down but it was nowhere to be found. After the men left his house, he once again searched all over the house but the picture book was nowhere to be found. He finally gave up and sat with a thud onto the leather recliner placed in the drawing room.
Sam Waterson had been pacing about his office trying to make sense of the string of murders in Los Angeles. When the phone rang, he picked up only to hear that three young boys had walked in with a picture book containing the pictures of the young prostitutes that had been murdered. Sam Waterson quickly called for them in his office. And soon there were detectives swarming all over in Sams office. They all heard what the young boys had to tell them. Robert even showed them the camera pictures that they had taken. And they said that it was “El Torro”, one of the members of the Gambiani family. Sam Waterson had let out a whistle and told the boys that they were lucky that they were still alive. They had even found a very small picture of El Torro with one of the prostitutes who had been found dead. It was enough evidence within the picture book to place El Toro behind bars for a long long time. Who knows he might even get the death penalty?
Sam Waterson stared at the boys before telling them to take a seat outside. He then stared at the detectives and the police officers and told them that secrecy was to be maintained at all costs. The information regarding the picture book and how the detectives came across it was to be kept discreet. In no manner was the identity of the three young boys to be disclosed.
That night El Torro had been reading a newspaper along with two of his henchmen when they got a rude surprise. Plain clothed detectives and policemen appeared in a convoy of five vehicles. Of course they were armed to the teeth. When the front door of the house had been knocked upon, one of the rough looking men sitting near El Torro had opened the door.
El Torro was arrested for the murder of thirteen prostitutes. The Gambiani family was in the news during three months and stories about El Torro flooded the newspapers and the News Channels. During the course of investigation, finger prints lifted from the picture book confirmed that it had been in El Torros possession. Forensic scientists also picked up a number of body hairs that matched El Torros. Finger prints lifted from the manually stangled victims also matched those of El Torro. At his trial which lasted three months, El Torro was projected as a cold and sadistic serial killer as well as a person who loved torturing his victims to death by the prosecution. And from the details in the picture book, it was clear that the defendant had murdered the women for pleasure and because he hated them.
The defense lawyer tried building a case of his client as being a man whose mother had divorced his father when he was just four years old. He had been raised up by his father to hate women and to distrust mankind. However all things said and done the jury had found him to be guilty on all counts and he was sentenced to a life behind bars without chance of parole.
Meanwhile Davies, Robert and I were visited by Chief Detective Sam Waterson seperately and presented a cheque of three thousand dollars each for our role in helping the LAPD catch a dangerous killer and we were all presented with certificates of appreciation. Our parents had been stunned on hearing what we had done. They had been angry at first but later on they had been proud of what we had done.
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