Todd had some good qualities. He was resourceful, had more than an average ability to observe and was much more intelligent than anyone could imagine. Put to a productive use, he could have been anything, but he could only be described as a sociopath.
Todd's parents were good people, worked hard and did what they could to raise him to be a productive member of society. In their mind, they were doing a good job, but they were unaware of the thoughts of their son.
At the end of grade school, Todd had his first encounter with a bully. The student was new, big and willing to punish for his enjoyment. He caught Todd one morning in front of school and shook him down for money. Todd although completely without fear, pretended so and gave the money to the bully. They bully walked away feeling smug; Todd started planning retaliation.
Todd watched his prey for months. He analyzed every move he made, discovered patterns and eventually made his move.
It was a typical day of class. The children were hustling up the stairs to class and Todd was ready. The bully, unaware and following the crowd as usual, was soon sent down the stairs by an "innocent" trip by Todd. The result was broken limbs and a concussion. Todd, still planning more, waited for the bully to return. He didn't have long to wait.
Within days, Todd saw his opportunity. The bully, slower than anyone, due to his casts and crutches, was slowly making his way to the side door. Todd was waiting. With nobody watching, he quickly moved behind the bully and placed the knife he kept in his sock against the neck of the bully. With a few short words and a prick of the blade, he made the bully fully aware he was completely helpless, a future target and would spend a long time in fear. He quickly relinquished what money he had. Todd promised more visits, which only increased the fear of the bully.
Over the rest of the class year, Todd played with the bully. He'd give him days, or weeks unmolested, but he would eventually find the time, and place, to get some more money. The bully, even with efforts to change his path or schedule, realized he was helpless. Todd was his master and he was a pawn to Todd's whims. His bones were healed, but his mind would never be the same.
Although he could have been better, Todd was an average student and eventually graduated from high school. He entertained the thought of college for only a short time, before he decided to go to work. He'd have time for that in the future, but for now, he'd see what life would offer and his thoughts were of all the prey he watched every day.
As a security guard, Todd was in the perfect position to acquire the things he wanted. Somebody would leave something, or allow Todd to notice something of value they thought could be locked away. He would find the opportunity and take what he wanted, even if he had to pick locks, which was a skill he learned during his youth. Lockers in school were his favorite target. Affluent children were his usual targets. They'd have money, or expensive items he could sell. It wasn't hard to find a fence for the goods and even as a very young man, his fence was sufficiently aware of the dangers of crossing Todd. He made the error only once of attempting to cheat Todd out of his money. His leg bore the scar of the cut he described as falling while working at home.
In his early late teens, and still living at home, Todd decided it was time to move on. His parents, completely unaware of the monster they raised, offered to help with college, which was their way of prodding Todd to move out if he wasn't going to be more productive. Todd took the hint and started planning.
Todd started jogging. It wasn't for his health, which was excellent. Jogging offered him unencumbered access to the miles of neighborhoods, which he categorized and placed in his thoughts. Working shift as a guard was a benefit that allowed observation of people in all hours of the day. He knew when they came, or went and he knew what people had. Their open garages, or types of cars gave Todd all the information he needed for lucrative burglaries, which gave him money for leaving.
One morning, after realizing he wasn't making the progress he wanted, Todd started formulating a new plan. He need more money and a vehicle to leave, which turned his thoughts to new endeavors. To get the big money, he needed to go beyond the petty crimes and go for something larger. His plans bore fruition by accident. As a predator, he was soon stalking his prey.
While in the grocery store one Saturday, Todd noticed an elderly woman bought her groceries with a hundred dollar bill. This raised his interest, especially since the woman carelessly allowed him to see her wallet had lots of cash and he knew where she lived. He also noticed she had credit cards, which were the same as cash. He started planning, which included more frequent jogs in her neighborhood.
Todd soon found out the woman went to the grocery store every Saturday. She would shop, drive to the garage and open the door with her remote in the car. After she pulled in, she would close the door behind, which he knew would obstruct any observation of what went on in the garage.
Todd spent time examining the house and realized the woman was alone. She might come and go, or some friends would stop by, but she was definitely alone. Todd started his plan.
It was a miserable Saturday. Light rain was interspersed with heavy showers, which only added more misery to the early fall day. Todd, putting on his rain gear, left early in the morning - before it was light - and hid by the side of the house of his prey. Like clockwork, the garage door opened at 8:00 am and the woman left for her trip to the grocery store. Todd, knowing it was time, soon gained access to the house through a side door. If there were any neighbors around, he determined they were indoors, assuming nobody would be out in this weather and complacent. They'd be sleeping in, or watching television. Nobody would be alert and out watching the neighborhood.
Todd made a quick pass through the house. Looking in all the usual places, he found little and only a few hundred in hidden cash. It would work for now, but it was time to prepare for the return of his victim. He went to the garage, found a place to hide behind a cabinet and waited, with the heavy pipe wrench he found hanging in a closet. She must have lost her husband and his tools remained.
Todd was alerted when he heard the car in the driveway. Within seconds, the door opened and the new sedan pulled into the garage. Patiently waiting, Todd waited for the woman to leave the car, open the trunk and reach for the first bag of groceries. Moving swiftly, he hit her on the back of the head with the wrench. Prepared for another strike, he was surprised when she immediately slumped to the floor. He quickly dragged her into the house and started looking through her purse.
The purse was a bonanza of prizes. Not only was there a new bank envelope with a thousand in cash, there were three credit cards, which he knew could be used wherever there was no demand for identification. It was time to go, so he waited for a heavier shower, started the car, opened the garage door and pulled out on the drive. Before he pulled to the street, he closed the garage door. As far as any observer could see, the woman was going on another errand. The heavy rain prevented anyone from determining who was driving the car.
Todd headed toward the beach. When he was a child; his father brought them every summer and he knew the path by heart. He would hide until dark. After that, he would make a strong push toward the west to the nearest large city, where he would abandon the car. After that, he knew he could survive. He had enough money; the rest was easy.
At first, Todd was a little confused when he reached the beach. The stores were all closed and the heavy rain obscured the landmarks he remembered. Eventually, he found an access road to the beach and pulled to a spot where he felt was obscured from traffic and observation.
Realizing he was hungry, Todd went to the trunk to see what there was to eat. There was little unprocessed food, except for some apples and crackers, but he was glad to find a bottle of peach brandy. He'd never had any, but he decided to sip on it while waiting for nightfall.
As Todd ate, and drank, he thought about his future. He had no real plan, but he had the resource he was born with. There were always more to take advantage of and he knew the larger city would increase his source of victims.
The brandy soon made Todd drowsy. Deciding to take a nap, he leaned the seat back and soon fell asleep.
A heavy clap of thunder awoke Todd. Looking from the window, he realized the light had faded and night would soon fall. It was time to go. Starting the car, he started to pull toward the road he'd taken when he arrived.
Pulling ahead, he realized the surf was much closer than when he arrived. Waves had washed almost to the dunes and the path had areas where the water had washed deep gouges in the beach.
Not sure of what to do, Todd accelerated through the low areas. The sedan bounced and the wheels spun as he passed to the other side. Thinking he was fine, he let off the accelerator, which caused the car to bog down into the sand. His progress soon slowed, which caused him to push the accelerator to the floor. The car stopped and the wheels spun in the sand.
Irritated and not knowing what to do, Todd reached to open the door and survey his predicament. The door was locked, so he found the button and unlocked the door. Opening the door, he stepped out into the fading light and started walking around the car.
The tires were mired in soft sand. Todd, analyzing the situation knew his plan required the car, so he had to free it and leave. Maybe he could push it. His effort was fruitless. He had to come up with another plan. Night was falling rapidly and the drops of rain signaled a heavy shower was on the way.
He looked for something to place under the wheels. His father had become stuck years ago and he used some driftwood to place under the tires for traction. Todd started hunting for driftwood; well aware the light was now very dim and night would soon fall.
Gathering what he found, Todd used a board he found to start digging under the tires. It was slow work and and it occupied his thoughts. He was unaware of the approaching tide, which was inching up the beach.
Working frantically, he was surprised when he found his knee was wet. A wave had washed water to within inches and dampened the sand. Turning toward the surf, he was completely off guard when a larger wave washed up the beach and surrounded the car.
A quick flash and almost immediate thunder made Todd realize a storm was arriving. A heavy gust of wind brought immediate heavy rain. He had to make another plan; this one wasn't working and he had little time to grab what he had and leave.
Before he could react, a huge wave came ashore in the darkness. The wave smashed against the car and Todd's head was slammed against the side of the car. Dazed, he was unaware of the wave that followed. It pushed the water deeper and the car started to float. Todd was oblivious of the next few seconds, but they sealed his fate. Since he had left the car in gear, the wheels were now free to turn, which they did. His jacket, which he had opened to work on freeing the car, was caught and the free end was pulled under the tire. As the wave retreated, the car settled back onto the sand and he found his head was pulled toward the car. Before he could attempt to pull away, another wave hit, floated the car and a section of his jacket washed under a frame bolt. As the car settled, the bolt tore through the jacket and firmly trapped Todd in an awkward position. The high winds, now at full strength, brought a series of waves that pounded Todd against he side of the car. Almost unconscious, he fought to survive. The following waves soon removed that possibility as he faded to oblivion. The open car door allowed the car to fill and settle deeper in the sand.
"So, what do you have?"
The young deputy looked toward his supervisor and explained: "I found this car about an hour ago; right after it started getting light."
"Did you find anything?"
"I didn't want to do anything until you arrived. They told us at the academy to treat all occurrences as a crime scene and don't disturb anything unless there's a life in danger."
"That's good advice, unless you got me out of bed because some dumbass left their car in the surf."
The deputy, unsure of how to react, carefully examined the face of his supervisor. She had twenty five years experience and he didn't quite know if he'd made a mistake, or not.
"Did you run the plates?"
"I could only see the front plate from here. The car belongs to a Mrs. Comstock and it's not reported stolen. We haven't been able to reach her."
"Let's go look."
The two walked toward the car, which was buried up to the frame. The open door had allowed the floorboards of the car to fill with sand and water. A partially empty bottle of peach brandy floated on the passenger side.
The supervisor turned toward the deputy on the passenger side of the car. Before she could say anything, he turned, bent over and started retching. Walking to the other side, she soon found what caused his reaction.
Underneath the wheel was what was left of a person. From what she could tell, she figured it was a man, although it was hard to tell from the face. The crabs had been busy during the night; the soft tissue, including the eyes, was gone and only tattered flesh remained.
"After you're finished, you need to call dispatch and tell them what we've found."
The young detective only nodded and continued retching. She just shook her head and walked back to her car. She had hours of work and she knew her Sunday was now ruined. Taking the cup of coffee from he console, she took a sip and stared toward the horizon. She thought of scenes from the past and quickly pushed the thoughts away.
Whispering her mantra: "What's done is done." she concentrated on what she needed to do. She'd have the rest of her life to think about the nightmares she'd found.