Dearly Devoted Dexter

Dexter Morgan was moral killer, but it was very hard to be. That is why he was under a huge pressure. He tried to avoid suspicion, from Sergeant Doakes.And the main gun that he has – was to put a mask and try to make sure that he hasn’t got any relevance to this case. While not working as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, he now spends nearly all his time with his cheerful girlfriend, Rita, and her two children, sipping light beer and slowly becoming the world’s first serial couch potato. But how long can Dexter play Kick the Can instead of Slice the Slasher?

Dexter’s just added his 40th victim, a homicidal pedophile, and is eagerly looking ahead to number 41 when he becomes involved in a case through his job as a blood spatter analyst at the Miami-Dade police forensics lab. A man is found with “everything on [his] body cut off, absolutely everything”—a piece of work that makes Dexter’s own tidy killings look like child’s play. This madman, nicknamed Danco, spends weeks surgically removing his victims’ ears, lips, nose, arms, legs, etc., while keeping them alive to watch their own mutilation. Despite a certain professional admiration for Danco’s dexterity, Dexter decides to take on the case. At the conclusion of the story, Dexter learns that Dr. Danco murders his victims by making them play a word game resembling hang man. Each victim is asked to guess a word chosen for them by Danco, each wrong answer resulting in the amputation of a body part. This is simply an additional cruelty, however, as Danco usually has cut out the tongue of the victim, making it impossible for their speech to be understood. The victim is also forced to witness his own dismemberment in a mirror hung above his “operating table.”

Jeff Lindsay’s sequel is a return to its dark, macabre humor and unique protagonist.

I T IS ALWAYS A BAD IDEA TO FOLLOW A REGULAR ROUTINE, particularly if you are a homicidal pedophile who has come to the attention of Dexter the Avenger. Happily for me, no one had ever given MacGregor this vital bit of information, and so it was quite easy for me to find him leaving his office at 6:30 PM, as he did every day. He came out the back door, locked it, and climbed into his big Ford SUV; a perfect vehicle for hauling people around to look at houses, or for carrying bundled-up little boys down to the dock. He pulled out into the traffic and I followed him home to his modest concrete-block house on S. W. 80th Street.
There was quite a bit of traffic going by the house. I turned onto a small side street half a block away and parked unobtrusively where I had a good view. There was a tall, thick hedge running down the far side of MacGregor’s lot that would keep the neighbors from seeing anything that went on in his yard. I sat in my car and pretended to look at a map for about ten minutes, just long enough to scheme and be sure that he wasn’t going anywhere. When he came out of his house and began to putter around the yard, shirtless and wearing a pair of battered madras shorts, I knew how I would do it. I headed for home to get ready. In spite of the fact that I normally have a robust and healthy appetite, I always find it difficult to eat before one of my little adventures. My interior associate quivers with rising anticipation, the moon burbles louder and louder in my veins as the night slides over the city, and thoughts of food begin to seem so very ordinary. And so instead of enjoying a leisurely high-protein dinner, I paced my apartment, eager to begin but still cool enough to wait, letting Daytime Dexter melt quietly into the background and feeling the intoxicating surge of power as the Dark Passenger slowly took the wheel and checked the controls. It was always an exhilarating sensation to allow myself to be pulled into the backseat and let the Passenger drive. Shadows seem to grow sharper edges and the darkness fades into a lively gray that brings everything into much sharper focus. Small sounds become loud and distinct, my skin tingles, my breath roars in and out, and even the air comes alive with smells that were certainly not noticeable during the boring and normal day. I was never more alive than when the Dark Passenger was driving. I forced myself to sit in my easy chair and I held myself in, feeling the Need roll over me and leave behind a high tide of readiness. Each breath felt like a blast of cold air sweeping through me and pumping me up bigger and brighter until I was like an enormous invincible beacon of steel ready to slash through the now-dark city. And then my chair became a stupid little thing, a hiding place for mice, and only the night was big enough. And it was time. Out we went, into the bright night, the moonlight hammering at me and the dead-roses breath of the Miami night blowing across my skin, and in almost no time at all I was there, in the shadows cast by MacGregor’s hedge, watching and waiting and listening, just for now, to the caution that curled around my wrist and whispered patience. It seemed pathetic that he could not see something that gleamed as brightly as I did, and the thought gave me another surge of strength. I pulled on my white silk mask and I was ready to begin. Slowly, invisibly, I moved from the darkness of the hedge and placed a child’s plastic piano keyboard beneath his window, putting it under a gladiolus bush so it would not be seen immediately. It was bright red and blue, less than a foot long, and only had eight keys, but it would repeat the same four melodies endlessly until the battery died. I switched it on and stepped back into my place in the hedge. “Jingle Bells” played, and then “Old MacDonald. ” For some reason, a key phrase was missing in each song, but the little toy piped on and into “London Bridge” in the same cheerfully lunatic tone. It was enough to make anyone crazy, but it probably had an extra effect on someone like MacGregor who lived for children. At any rate, I certainly hoped so. I had quite deliberately chosen the little keyboard to lure him out, and I sincerely hoped, in fact, that he would think he had been found out–and that a toy had come from Hell to punish him. After all, why shouldn’t I enjoy what I do? It seemed to work. We were only on the third repetition of “London Bridge” when he came stumbling out of his house with a look of wide-eyed panic. He stood there for a moment, gaping around, his receding reddish hair looking like it had gone through a storm and his pale belly hanging slightly over the waist of his dingy pajama bottoms. He did not look terribly dangerous to me, but of course I was not a five-year-old boy. After a moment, in which he stood with his mouth open, and scratched himself, and looked like he was modeling for a statue of the Greek god of Stupidity, MacGregor located the source of the sound–“Jingle Bells” again by now. He stepped over and bent slightly to touch the little plastic keyboard and did not even have the time to be surprised before I had a noose of fifty-pound-test fishing line pulled tight around his throat. He straightened and thought he might struggle for a moment. I pulled tighter and he changed his mind.

“Stop fighting, ” we said in our cold and commanding Passenger voice. “You’ll live longer. ” And he heard his future in the words and thought he might change it, so I pulled hard on his leash and held it like that until his face turned dark and he dropped to his knees. Just before he passed out completely I eased the pressure. “Now do as you’re told, ” we said. He didn’t say anything; he just choked in a few large and painful breaths, so I tweaked the line a touch. “Understand?” we said, and he nodded so I let him breathe. He did not try to fight anymore as I frog-marched him into the house for his car keys and then back out into his big SUV. I climbed into the seat behind him, holding the leash in a very tight grip and allowing him only enough breath to stay alive, for now. “Start the car, ” we told him, and he paused. “What do you want?” he said in a voice that was rough with new-made gravel. ”Everything, ” we said. “Start the car. “

“I have money, ” he said. I pulled hard on his cord. “Buy me a little boy, ” we said. I held it tight for a few seconds, too tight for him to breathe and just long enough to let him know that we were in charge, we knew what he had done, and we would let him breathe only at our pleasure from now on, and when I loosened the line again he had nothing to say. He drove as we told him to, back up S. W. 80th Street to Old Cutler Road and then south. There was almost no traffic this far out, not at this time of night, and we turned into a new development that had been going up on the far side of Snapper Creek. Construction had halted due to the owner’s conviction for money laundering, and we would not be disturbed. We guided MacGregor through a half-built guard booth, around a small traffic circle, east toward the water, and to a halt beside a small trailer, the temporary office of the site, now left to teen thrill seekers and others, like me, who only wanted a little privacy. We sat for just a moment, enjoying the view–moon over the water, with pedophile in noose in the foreground, very beautiful. I got out and pulled MacGregor out after me, pulled him hard so that he fell to his knees and clawed at the line around his neck. For a moment I watched him choking and drooling in the dirt, his face turning dark again and his eyes going red. Then I pulled him to his feet and pushed him up the three wooden steps and into the trailer. By the time he had recovered enough to know what was going on, I had him tied to the top of a desk, hands and feet secured with duct tape. MacGregor tried to speak and just coughed instead. I waited; now there was plenty of time. “Please, ” he said finally, in a voice like sand on glass, “I’ll give you whatever you want. “

“Yes, you will, ” we said, and saw the sound of it cut into him, and even though he couldn’t see it through my white silk mask we smiled. I took out the photos I had taken from his boat and showed them to him. He stopped moving completely and his mouth hung open. “Where did you get those?” he said, sounding rather petulant for someone who was about to be cut into small pieces. “Tell me who took these pictures. “

“Why should I?” he said. I used a pair of tin snips and cut off the first two fingers of his left hand. He thrashed and screamed and the blood came, which always makes me angry, so I shoved a tennis ball into his mouth and cut off the first two fingers of his right hand. “No reason, ” I said, and I waited for him to slow down just a little bit. When he finally did, he rolled an eye to me and his face was filled with that understanding that comes when you have gone beyond pain into knowing that the rest of this was forever. I took the tennis ball out of his mouth. “Who took the pictures?”

He smiled. “I hope one of them was yours, ” he said, which made the next ninety minutes a lot more rewarding.

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