Joshua stood in the midst of the rubble and gently moved piles of carnage with the tip of his plastic encased boots. The entire area was covered with the worst odor known to man. Even after two days the lingering smell of fried flesh, and burning wood permeated the mask covering his nose and mouth. Now that the pieces of remaining flesh were decaying, the smell was even worse. The gagging odor turned his stomach and made him vow to stay away from barbecued meat forever.
What a mess, the full visual impact of the site worse in the daylight. Forensics was having a hard time sorting one body from the next while the news system was having a field day tearing apart the wall and façade of normalcy the dead men had built around their lives. Once the secret of the men’s activities had been leaked, all hell had broken loose. Knowing no one in Shiningbal’s community would have dared to open their mouths and inform the media, he had wasted many hours sleep wondering who the informer could be. And even more, what was to happen next. Though he agreed with everything that had been written or spoken about the six men, he hated the affect it was having on his town and worse on what it was doing to his family and the families of the six men. The little town was filled to capacity with gawkers, protesters, and news-whores.
The knowledge a ring of pedophiles inhabited and had been killed so close to a small city was the biggest revelation in centuries to hit the media market and yet not to the natives of Shiningbal. The fact each man’s occupation was so diverse and viable to the smoothing running of sections of the community had turned the city upside down. People were unforgiving. Society found it hard to have sympathy for the mothers of the abused children. They were blamed and attacked for their ignorance. The social networks spread the sordid details of the abuse so quickly and so far in the stratosphere, the innocence of the mother’s involvement hadn’t had a chance to be voiced before they were accused, publicly stripped of their defenses and their raw emotions were exposed.
Trust in the governmental authorities had been shaken to its roots. Because Penny worked in the child protective system and the major pedophile happened to have been her brother-in-law, the confidence parents once had in the system to scrutinize records and its ability to protect the children had disintegrated. Parents were running scared. All of the giddy with vanity mothers who had granted Bertrand the liberties with their children now worried whether they had done the right things. Because of the pediatrician’s part in the coven, children were being taken to neighboring cities to be checked for possible signs of sexual abuse. Everyone was rightfully running amuck. Trust in the city was questioned from the electricians to delivery people to everyone employed within the police force and DA’s office. No one trusted anyone.
Once the media became involved in the case no one was safe from its scrutiny. Files were pulled out and the former DA’s prosecution record of pedophiles and sexual molesters was laid out to the public. Shiningbal’s legal system was a joke.
Judge Maradoo had let the entire local ‘home grown’ crop of child molesters plea-bargain their way out of a prison sentence for years. Most were given probation without having to pay any fines or participate in any form of community service after being charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. It was as if all of the children were caught in a big incestual ring of sex and torture. Hell forget about paying restitution to any injured parties it was as if the fool saw sexual child abuse as a ‘boy will be boys’ way of life and it didn’t mean anything.
Joshua looked up at the obvious flash of a camera and into the expectant faces of the news media there was nothing new he could share with them. The explosion looked like an accident. Shaking his head at the uselessness of him being there, Joshua walked to where his truck was parked. Removing the covering from his boots, he tossed the plastic and the gloves in the bed of the truck. Without a backward glance he climbed in the cab and drove away.
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