The Ravening Wolves

Null & Boyd Noir #4

by Gary S. Kadet

Boston has a problem.

Children are disappearing off the street and only Null is noticing, because he relies on what he calls his “minnows” to make his meth deliveries in return for care and a future that includes college scholarships.

Meanwhile Boyd is out on loan to regional FBI offices in Chelsea, where she’s working with Special Agent and Forensic Accountant Joel Thrawn who exploits her street savvy to “make his bones” as a field agent. His first order of business?

Bust wide open The Gangsta Boyz meth ring and arrest their Shot Caller, a shadowy figure known only as Null.

Behind the disappearing children is an unholy alliance of Cardinal Cromulent of the Archdiocese of Boston and the crypto-satanic group Ordo Templi Orientis as well as “Auntie Nonie Fomites,” chief administrator of Bethlehem Youth Placement and Adoption Services, who’s profiting from children separated from their parents at the Southern Border, paid to accept them only to sell them to Cardinal Cromulent for his special program Defensores Fidei de Puero – “Defenders of the Faith of the Child.”

As Null and Boyd together with Agent Thrawn close in on the malefactors, Crime Boss Malek “The Mallet” Turbot, permanently maimed by Null in his takeover of the Boston criminal underground, has imported ace hitman Innokenty Gorets to take out Null permanently and exact his revenge.


Chapter One

“You must have confessed sometime, my son.”

“No. I mustn’t.”

“Just tell me how long it’s been.”

“I’ve never had the need.”

“But you want the Lord Jesus Christ to absolve you of sin, which is why you’re here, is it not?”

“No, Father. It’s not.”

“You’re really not here to receive the sacrament of penance and reconciliation?”

“No, Father. We’re long past that.”

“Care to enlighten us as to why you seek confession my son?”

“I’ll get to that.”

“But you have sinned my son, is this not so?”

“Yes. In the Catholic faith, I have original sin, and all the sins I willingly heaped upon that after the fact.”

“You can confess them to me now, if you like, my son.”

“I don’t care one way or the other.”

“But we’re talking about your immortal soul.”

“Are we though? Is that really true?”

“Do you believe in God—are you even a Catholic?”

“I believe in nothing. But yes. I learned the Catechism and my mother had me baptized.”

“I will hear your confession now, then, but you must first tell me your name, at least, so that I’ll know who I’m talking to.”

“If you’re the voice of God, wouldn’t you know already?”

“You must offer it.”

“Joseph Xavier.”

“Now confess.”

“I was, I suppose, a good Catholic until Eamon Cuchulain—calling himself Uncle Jimmy—moved in with us. He beat my mother, pimped out my sister and had me arrested by cop cronies at age eleven. When I got out of juvie, he set me up to be a bagman for Winter Hill, then for the Family. I became a drug addict, a gambling addict, and then a low-level decoy snitch for Boston PD’s Organized Crime Task Force, who ratted me out to the Family and their most deranged enforcer Ignazio “Cousin It” Cavilli, who tortured me for months, keeping me alive with medical care and a feeding tube while he mutilated me. He removed one of my testicles, sliced into my hamstring, applied an electric drill to my stomach—”

“There’ll be enough of that, Joseph Xavier.”

“Sorry, Father.”

“Continue, please.”

“After months of that, I lost my mind, and then some illegal therapy designed by a madman brought me back. But I wasn’t the same. I was changed. Then I became…something.”

“Became what, my son?”

“Something very different. Something…strange.”

“But none of this sounds as if it were your fault. And you’re off the drugs and the gambling, yes?”

“That’s right. They don’t matter anymore.”

“It hardly sounds like you’re guilty of very much sin there, my son. And God has blessed your life by getting you off the drugs and the gambling. Your only sin is the sin of ingratitude. And for that, you must do penance. So, you shall pray the rosary—”

“I’m not done.”

“How much more is there to confess, my son? It’s growing quite late.”

“I haven’t gotten to the murders yet.”

“You—haven’t? Murders?”

“That’s right, Father.”

“Remember, Joseph Xavier: I’m not Father Mammock in the confessional. You must realize that I speak with the voice of the Lord. You’d do well to take that to heart, as penance has yet to be fully visited upon you by God.”

“I killed them all. Every single member of the Family but one, and he’ll be spending the rest of his life in the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital Correctional Unit.”

“The sanitarium?”

“The laughing academy. Only he isn’t laughing.”

“You can’t have done all that. You can’t have gotten away with all that.”

“Why not? It’s the one thing I do. And I’m really very good at it.”

“That would make you a mass murderer. The newspapers reported the end of the Family years ago. Certainly, you’d have been apprehended by now.”

“They think I’m dead.”

“That’s not possible.”

“Yet, here I am.”

“How can you survive?”

“I’m also the Meth King of Boston and, no longer only of Boston, but of all New England. I have heavy cash reserves. And the competition is…indisposed.”

“And at the same time, they think you’re dead.”

“They know I’m dead. I’ve become an urban legend, a joke to the police. The bogeyman. A zombie. Except for one. She knows I’m alive. But wishes I were actually dead. And If I could wish for anything, I might wish that for myself, but I have no such feelings, impulses, yearnings, longings—even anxiety. They just don’t exist for me. I don’t even care in the most literal sense of the word.”

“You blaspheme, Joseph Xavier.”

“Of course, I do. Your religion is false, as all religions are false. I’m ecumenical in my blasphemy.”

“And you sell poison to children. I’d like to turn you in myself—”

“But you can’t. You believe in your medieval religion. You’re bound by the confessional not to.”

“There aren’t enough “Hail Mary’s” and “Our Fathers” in all the known world you could repeat that could begin to approach atonement for such crimes. The only thing you can do is turn yourself in, make a clean breast of it, pray the rosary, make offerings to your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for forgiveness every remaining waking day of your life. And even then, God might still renounce you.” A silence followed, broken only by the sound of the steam heat coming up and the low buzzing of something electrical like a far distant cicada.

“Would you like to pray with me now, my son?”

“I can’t think of a bigger waste of time.”

“But you’re here to make your confession, to be cleansed and forgiven.”

“No, I’m not here for any of those things.”

“But God put you here to do all of those things, and so far, to my mind, you have already done most of them.”

“It’s an interesting idea that you think God brought me here. You could actually be right about that, you know. A minuscule of a percentage point, but the fact exists.”

“I feel there’s a glimmering of hope yet within you, my son.”

“I think there’s none of that, if I’m to be honest. I find it’s best to be honest when you can help it, and I know you can’t always be, so I don’t fault you for that.”

“How could you fault me for anything? I speak with the authority of Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior.”

“I suppose I don’t fault you. Maybe I can’t fault you, actually. I’m not here to judge you, so don’t worry about that. I’m here for something else altogether.”

“It’s late, my son. I must get home. Perhaps you’d like to return and unburden yourself further at another time?”

“You and I have plenty of time together, Father Mammock. There’s no place more important where you have to be right now. Besides, we both know you’re staying even if I should leave. And I’m not going to leave. Neither of us is going to leave. For a while.”

Temper rose in Father Mammock’s throat. He had to get rid of this nutcase. He wasn’t as young as he used to be, and he felt his energy and vigor waning. And he needed it for the long night to come. He nervously, almost reflexively, popped another bluish-looking pill from his secret pocket and resigned himself to be more direct in booting this deluded derelict out the door.

“I hate to disappoint you, Joseph Xavier. But the time to leave has come upon us. Come now. Busy lives require rest,” he intoned with poor fake jollity. He slammed the panel down over the screen that allowed them to almost see each other’s face with what little light interrupted the dim shadows of the partitioned box as they spoke. He left his part of the chamber only to find Joseph Xavier Null standing in front of him, distorted by the chiaroscuro of flickering neon votive candles and the soft, golden aureole from gas jets long ago converted to hold flame-shaped low wattage lightbulbs.

“You’ll get your rest soon enough,” said Null.

Father Mammock, short, blocky and ungainly looking even in his black cassock, with close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and a nose resembling that of a drunken proboscis monkey, inflated his cheeks with suppressed rage. Who the hell was this pipsqueak wasting his time and ruining his evening? Even in his current dotage, he was certain he could take this poor twisted little man. He couldn’t help but smirk as he let his cheeks deflate.

Null stood there, stiff, slope-shouldered, without the slightest movement. Father Mammock was uncertain that he was even breathing. He nodded so that Null could see it, even with eyes shadowed under the fedora. He was a slight man, his posture slightly off, favoring his left side possibly due to a leg injury. Built as solid as a bird under the soiled topcoat, no doubt. Something was filling out his clothes, but it wasn’t him.

Maybe, like many a homeless derelict, he carried all his belongings with him, or maybe he scalped cheap, knock-off watches out from under the coat. Yes, he carried his house on his back alright, like a tortoise, making him no threat at all.

He’d flip him on his back.

“Time for you to go home, Joseph Xavier. And I mean now.

Father Mammock moved fast and grabbed Null’s right arm, putting his stubby left leg behind his to hit the knee at the anterior cruciate ligament and crumple him down to the floor.

Instead, Father Mammock hit the floor hard when he landed flat on his back.

Null stood over him, motionless and dead seeming like a statue. His right arm suddenly jutted forward as if a mechanical blade on a hinge driven by a coiled spring. Father Mammock squinted. This poor creature was helping him up. Nothing more to it than that. Smiling and chuckling and shaking his head, he delivered a powerful right cross to Null’s face, but missed and found himself dizzy, off balance and gushing blood from the jab that hit him square on the nose before he could see it.

He removed a handkerchief from the secret pocket one of the lonely, dowdy parishioners had sewn for him—Mary or Catherine or Hortense or something—what did it matter? They all led the same grim, gray, pious life that disgusted him.

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to call the police,” he threatened, muffled by the yellowed handkerchief over his nose so that he sounded somewhat comical.

“I think I should laugh, but I don’t know what’s funny anymore. You won’t call the police. We both know this.”

“I know nothing about you, Joseph Xavier.”

“Call me Null. Everybody calls me Null. When they can.”

“I’ll call you a rat bastard, now get the hell out of my fucking church!”

“It’s not really your church, Father, though, is it? It belongs to the Archdiocese of Boston. It belongs to your Pope—isn’t he a king now, by divine right? Or is he, in his greatly filigreed and regal appointment, humbly just a prince of the church?”

“You blaspheme!” Father Mammock shrieked.

“Let’s just take that for granted.”

“I’ve got nothin’ for you to rob. You’ve struck out again, Mr. Null.”

“What happened to Joseph Xavier? Where’s the voice of the Lord now that we need him?”

“God is not mocked.”

“Well, if he isn’t he should be.”

“You’ll pay—”

“Oh, Father, we’ll all pay. It’s a law much older and much more potent than anything in your Bible. I have always paid, as far as I know—just as I’m sure that you will pay. Tonight, in fact.”

“You’ll pay with your balls to the devil in hell!” Father Mammock squawked.

“That’s nice. They tell me such folktales are cute. I never know what to think, being that they’re entirely irrelevant to the contemporary currency of human experience.”

“It’ll be your doom soon enough, Null.”

“There’s a better than even chance that it won’t.” Null paused and snapped his fingers, recited in a dull sotto voce like the speech feature on a laptop computer, “You know, it occurs to me now from my days at Boston Latin—that’s right, the “mother of my soul,” or alma mater, if you like. Both equally false. But I was there. Supposedly I had a full ride to Harvard coming to me even after my time in juvenile detention, but I chose a different path. I was forced to choose. And I took it without tears. Now, the pope isn’t really a prince, is he? Far from it. But he is a bona fide King—The Holy See, which translates to the church having the seat of government, is itself actually a monarchy in which the pope is in fact the King, not so much by divine right, really, but by having been voted as such by the College of Cardinals.


“I know. It’s true. I blaspheme.”

“Get! Out!”

“Eventually, but certainly not now. No, for now, you and I are going to take a trip down to the basement. And you’ll need to be careful going down those dark steps. You could fall and easily hurt yourself. I think you’ll agree it’s best to keep you intact. For the time being.”

“There is no basement,” Father Mammock muttered with an utter lack of conviction.

“Let’s go see, anyway. Just for fun.”

“I’m not budgin’.”

Null pulled his mostly all-plastic Glock 17 with suppressor from inside his topcoat. (Only the barrel, slide and one spring of the gun were metal.) His voice was a drone barely above a whisper:

“I don’t think it should be necessary to keep putting you on the floor. And I think you’ll agree it’s a waste of time. You seem anxious. As with us all, time is always an issue. But that isn’t what makes you anxious, though, is it?”

“You talk too much.”

“Yes, I’ve been told that before. Think of it in the same way you might think of the squealing and squeaking of a bat—its sonar. The only difference is, rather than telling me where I am, it’s telling me that I am.”

"The Ravening Wolves" by Gary S. Kadet


Amazon Kindle
Google Play




? Heat Level: 0