For the record, the name Justice wasn’t a predisposition from birth.
During my late teens and early twenties, I heard “You were certainly misnamed, weren’t you?” more times than I should probably admit.
I was a badass, immortal demigod. What the hell was I supposed to do with my time?
Apparently, I was supposed to live up to my name. At least, somewhat. Vigilante justice still counts as justice, right?
The cool part about bringing justice to humans was that I got to do a whole lot of ass-kicking as part of the plan. Taking out bad guys was how I stayed so chill.
It wasn’t like I had anyone to talk to about my problems. Someone to blow off steam with. I had no friends, no family, and I worked alone. And to be honest, I liked it that way.
Having people in my life meant I had to care about someone other than myself, and my past experience taught me that caring was a surefire way to emotional pain. Best to avoid it at all costs.
Today’s brand of justice involved this creepazoid who was into human trafficking. Yeah, life sucked for those young women he had locked inside that barn across the way, but honestly, I wasn’t focused on them, their welfare.
I was focused on ending his life. And if that made me an asshole, well, look at it this way: my killing him would save them.
Win, win, right?
I’d tracked my quarry to the middle of nowhere in Texas, which could mean I was practically anywhere in this great big state. More specifically, we were somewhere between San Antonio and Houston. This thug probably thought he was safe from the authorities.
Except I wasn’t an authority. Not that kind, anyway.
The area I’d tracked him to was a good twenty miles off the interstate and then down a barely there two-track, surrounded by three-foot tall weeds and a ten-foot fence with razor wire twisted along the top. It was an old, abandoned stockyard, which, based on the fencing and the video cameras hidden under eaves and attached to light poles, I guessed the current occupant had repurposed and used frequently enough to justify the cost of all this security.
I wasn’t sure how long he’d been a human trafficker. Online details, even on the dark web, were sketchy at best. Hell, I couldn’t even figure out how he found buyers for the women he kidnapped and sold into slavery, which was too bad because I wouldn’t have minded offing those motherfuckers too.
The list of women who had disappeared from various places in Texas, never to be heard from again, was far too long to all be attributed to one guy.
Or so I thought—until I saw this setup.
Tonight was going to be the end of an era.
It had been a bitch getting here undetected, which was another check in my nemesis’s favor. All that Texas flatland. No trees, no buildings, no towns. If someone were to put this place on a map, they should seriously consider calling it Nowhere, and not as a joke.
Rotting, wooden pens where they once separated the cattle to auction them off surrounded a small, two-story building with a wide covered deck all around it. Grass as tall as me sprouted up around it, practically camouflaging the place.
That building in the middle was where buyers used to stand and observe the various pens, so they could select which cows or steer they wanted to purchase. On the far side of this maze was a second, larger building that looked like a barn, but after researching online, I learned it used to be a boardinghouse for the ranch hands, or whatever people who worked the stockyards were called.
This was where Ignacio the Human Trafficker was keeping his “merchandise.”
The building was also currently on fire, which was problematic. Yes, for whomever was inside, but also for me, because I had my doubts that Ignacio was still in there, given the flames licking at the roof. But I wasn’t a hundred percent certain, since I hadn’t noticed anyone leaving this area in the last half hour.
It was possible he set the blaze deliberately and had bailed long before I’d arrived, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense if his merchandise was still inside, and I was certain they were. I could feel it. I know that sounded weird, but a lot of things about me were weird.