"Bittersweet Revenge"

Chapter 1
Bittersweet Revenge

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Max double checks the locks before heading to bed. It seems so strange with his girl's away from home tonight. Bonnie, his beautiful wife of fourteen years and his two daughters are at a ballet in Fayetteville.

He normally wouldn't allow such a trip on a school night, but this is a special occasion. Both girls ranked top in their ballet class, and as a reward, they're allowed to participate in a stage performance of the Nutcracker.

Closing his eyes, Max imagines his two beautiful girls elegantly gliding across the stage floor. "That's my girls," he whispers, drifting off into a deep peaceful sleep.


She sits quietly under the glow of the bright moonlight, little creatures are scurrying all around her, giving the woods a sense that potential danger is lurking nearby. This is a familiar feeling since she spent most of her childhood living on the streets.

She doesn't blame her mama for her horrifying childhood. All the beatings, hunger, the vile sex acts she had to perform. No, that's all Max's fault. He's the one who refused to help them when they desperately needed it. Her poor mama tried to get Max's assistance, begging him on her old arthritic knees. Max made it perfectly clear that he wasn't going to help no matter what she said, or did.

"All of that's about to change. Because tonight I'm going to make sure you pay the ultimate price for your neglect. You're going to pay with your life."

Looking at her watch, she realizes it's been nearly an hour since Max turned off the lights. Jumping up, she brushes the soil off her clothes. "This's the moment I've been waiting for my entire life."

She excitedly maneuvers her way towards Max's house. Prying the back door open, she slides into the mudroom. So far so good. Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she creeps along the edge of the wall. She sees a small table lamp dimly lighting her way when she glances towards the balcony. Taking another deep breath, she cautiously creeps up the old wooden stairs. She's midway to the top when a loose board creaks beneath her feet. Frightened, she moves into the shadows and waits. Once she's satisfied that she didn't disturb him, she climbs the remaining steps.

I'm almost there. She gingerly continues down the long, narrow hallway. I have to be careful, she reminds herself, stepping inside his bedroom door. Taking a deep breath for courage, she carefully walks toward his bed.

She sees Max sleeping peacefully in the bright moonlight. The tranquil image angers her. All her inner turmoil boils to the surface then volcanically erupts. "How dare you sleep so peaceful, so serene, like nothing is wrong." Pulling out a knife, she brings it down hard and quick into Max's bare torso. She feels an immediate release of tension, and anxiety as the knife plunges into his flesh. 

Max is woken by pain surging through his body. Looking up, he sees a tall, thin figure standing over him, a bloody knife raised above their head. Max reaches up and pushes the intruder away.  Max spings out of bed. The covers tangle around his feet hurling him to the floor.

Jumping on top of him, the burglar thrusts her knife deep into his back. "Die bastard, die," she screams, bringing it down again.

Cringing from the pain, Max fumbles under the bed hoping to find something that'd suffice as a weapon. Feeling something cold and hard hit his fingertips, he scoops it up. In one swift motion, he lifts up his dumbells and smashes it into the offender's skull. The individual collapses beside him. Reaching for their nightstand, Max painfully pulls himself up to a standing position. The flimsy table topples over, he grabs an antique chair for support. Max sees his invader unconscious on the floor when he glances back. I have to get out of here. He's hobbling down the hallway when he hears moaning behind him. Max turns to sees the intruder moving around. Grabbing the banister for support, he works his way down the steps.

"Come on, come on, let me out, let me out," he yells, trying to unlock the front door. Throwing the barrier open, he stumbles to the back of their house.

"Go get em, boys," Max commands, opening the metal gate. The two large creatures start barking as they dash towards the front yard.

He remembers their emergency phone in the cellar, Max hobbles across their yard. I'm going to take care of you one way or another. Pulling the wooden door open, he works his way down the dark concrete steps. He feels himself weakening with every passing second. I can do this. Halfway down, his knees buckle underneath him, Max clings to the banister. Just a little further.  Max tries to take another step when his legs give out. Max's bloody body tumbles to the cold dank floor.

Realizing her victim has escaped, the intruder dashes after him. Blood is oozing down the side of her head as she runs out the front door. The crisp wind blows against her wet face as coyotes howl in the distance. Shivering, she continues to search the yard. The clouds move away from the moon, making it easier to see. That's much better. She notices a trail of blood when she glances down. You can't hide from me, Max. Smiling, she follows the liquid mass to the side of the house. She just rounded the corner when she's met by four glowing red eyes.

"Oh my God, it's the dogs," she yells, running towards the woods. Looking back, she realizes the mutts are right behind her. Frightened, she picks up speed. The invader feels the dog's sharp fangs brush against her pant leg, she screams. Grabbing a low hanging tree limb, she hoists herself up. The largest dog clamps down on her leg as it swings through the air. Using her other foot, she kicks him loose then pulls herself up to safety.

Slowly regaining consciousness, Max looks around. Why am I down here? The night's horrifying events suddenly come to mind. He then notices the pool of red liquid that surrounds him. I need to get help before I bleed to death. Max tries to stand but soon discovers that his legs are too weak to support him. Getting on his hands and knees, he sluggishly crawls across the floor. His pain intensifies with every movement. "I have to do this, for Bonnie and the girls' sake." Gritting his teeth, Max pushes himself a little further. His frail body completely gives out, Max collapses on the floor.

"Please God, please help them find me before it's too late," he cries, lying helplessly on the cold damp floor.

Jerry is busy organizing papers that are scattered across his desk. The commotion from the squad room continues all around him.

Glancing around, he sees some officers typing their reports while others are talking to victims. Never a dull moment around this place, he concludes getting back to the task at hand. Jerry has been a cop for nearly ten years, a detective for a little over six.

"I can't understand how my workstation gets so cluttered with just one case." Scooping up a handful of candy wrappers he throws them in the trash. "Well, part of it I can."

Joe, his partner laughs. He's been a detective with this department for nearly fifteen years. He was promoted to Sergeant just last year.

Jerry glances over at his partner's tidy desk. "How do you keep everything so neat?"

"Organization, Jerry, organization." He chuckles.

Jerry is finishing his housekeeping when the phone rings. "Let the fun begin."

"Yeah, fun." Joe reaches for the noisy device. "Berryville Police Department, Sergeant Bower speaking." He puts the phone on speaker.

"Joe, it's Bonnie Webb. I tried calling my husband last night and again when I woke up this morning but he's not answering our home phone, or his cell," she anxiously blurts into the phone. Being a prosecutor's wife for so long, she knows how dangerous his job can be.

"Maybe he's overslept, Mrs. Webb." Bonnie used to take care of him when he was a child.
"I know him, Joe, he never sleeps past seven."

"I'll have my partner check on him." He glances over at Jerry.

Nodding, Jerry grabs his equipment off his desk.

"Have Max call me as soon as he gets there, alright?" He looks at his partner, Jerry nods again.

"He will."


Jerry's pulls up to the Webb's Victorian home a few minutes later. Shutting off his car, Jerry glances around. He first notices their gate hanging sideways on a single hinge. He then notices a trail of reddish-brown substance in the dirt. It starts at the busted gate and continues down their drive. "What in the world happened here?" Grabbing his Glock from his holster, he dashes towards the house.

"Is anyone home? Mr. Webb are you here?" There's no answer. The detective cautiously makes his way through the large house. He sees their TV on the entertainment center, a laptop on their kitchen table. It wasn't a robbery, he concludes as he continues to make his rounds. He notices a trail of what looks to be dried blood leading up the stairs. With his gun pointed outward, he slowly follows the stain down the long narrow hall.

"Berryville PD, call out." The house remains eerily silent.

"Mr. Web, Sir?" he questions, stepping through the far bedroom door. He sees bedding crinkled up on the carpet, the end table tipped on its side, broken pictures and other small items are scattered all around it. Quickly checking the rest of their house, Jerry runs out to the porch. Where are you, Max? he asks, anxiously surveying their yard.


The sirens screeching in the distance reminds her of the intense battle she had with Max. "That encounter was more of a rush than I could've ever dreamed of." She remembers how good it felt to finally get her revenge. How she watched the blood gush out of his body as she stabed him over and over again. "I wish I could've watched him suffer to his death, the way I'd planned. I guess there's always the next one." Laughing, she walks out her door.

Chapter 2
The Children Will Hurt No More

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Chapter 1 Summary
Wanting revenge for all the pain and suffering she endured as a child, she breaks into Max Webb's home and stabs him over and over again.
Max manages to struggle to his cellar, on the brink of death.

Bonnie Webb sees several police cars parked in her driveway when she pulls up to her house. Something did happen to Max. Tearfully jumping out of her van, she runs to the lead detective.

"What's going on, Joe, where's Max, is he hurt?" she asks, anxiously glancing around.

"Don't worry, Mrs. Webb, the dogs will find him soon."

She turns towards Joe with a frightened look on her face. "Why are you using the dogs?"

"They can find him a lot quicker than we can."

"Find him faster? What are you not telling me, Joe, what?" she questions, staring him in the eyes.

Joe looks away. "Nothing, Mrs. Webb."

Bonnie grabs his arm the way she used to when he was in her daycare. "Don't you dare lie to me, Joseph Michael Bower."

"We believe he may be injured, but don't worry, we'll find him soon."

"Injured, oh my god, no, not Max," she cries, clinging on to him for support.

Seeing she's about to collapse, Joe wraps his arms around her. "Don't worry, we'll find him soon."

"I hope so," she sobs. A thought suddenly occurs to her. "Have you checked our cellar?"

"Your cellar?"

"We have emergency equipment down there."

Joe reaches for his radio. "Hey Jerry, Mrs. Webb says we need to check their cellar."

"I have to find him," Bonnie exclaims, shoving Joe out of her way.

Not wanting a hysterical woman on his hands, he quickly steps in front of her. "No, wait here, I'll go."

Joe turns to leave when Jerry's voice echoes on his radio. "He's in their cellar. He's unconscious but breathing, I'm calling an ambulance now."

"He needs me, Joe," she cries, dashing across the yard.


Bonnie and Max's oldest daughter, Rachel is anxiously sitting in the waiting room, hoping for some news on his condition.

Rachel moved into Max and Bonnie's home soon after her real mom passed. Bonnie tried to get close to her, make her feel like she's part of their family, but the young girl sabotaged her every attempt. Bonnie understood why, after all, she had to endure. She still hopes they'll be close someday.

"Webbs?" the doctor asks. Springing to their feet, the women run towards him.

"He's one lucky guy," he begins.

Bonnie breathes a huge sigh of relief.

"He sustained several wounds, but they weren't deep enough to cause any internal damages."

"So he can go home?" Bonnie questions, hopefully.

"We'd like to keep him a few days, as a precautionary measure."

"Can we see him?"

"Of course, but I must warn you, he's still groggy from the medicine."

"Come on, honey," Bonnie pulls Rachel's arm.

"No, you go, I'll see him later." Seeing a puzzled look on Bonnie's face, she continues. "You two need to be together."

"Are you sure, honey?"

"Positive, go."

"This way, Mrs. Webb." A nurse leads her down the hall.

Rachel is walking towards the exit when she bumps into a detective.

"I want to talk to your father, see if he remembers anything," Joe quickly explains.

"I doubt if he can help you right now, the doctors have him heavily sedated."

"It's important I talk to him soon, while it's still fresh in his mind. I've already spoken to your mom, briefly at the scene."

"Stepmom," she corrects.

"Right, did she take your sisters to a ballet?" He grabs a small tablet out of his pocket.

"Yeah, my sisters performed last night, as a reward for doing well in their dance class."

"Why didn't your father go?"

"Dad wanted to but something came up at work."

"Do your parents have any marital problems?"

"Are you kidding, someone would think they're newlyweds, the way they carry on."

"Have you ever seen your parents argue?"

"I've seen them disagree over something silly, but they always compromise in the end."

"Like what?" Joe glances up.

"Where they should go eat, what movie to watch. Small, trivial things like that."

"How are your parent's finances?"

"They're doing very well."

"I noticed your stepmom took a part-time job recently."

"It's not because they need the money. Bonnie says she wants to get out of the house, do something while the girls are in school."

"How's your money situation?"

"Mine is alright, I guess. I work full time at the hospital. It's enough to pay bills with a little left over each month. If I really need money, all I have to do is ask dad."

"Would your stepmom stop him?"

"Bonnie no, she'd insist he give me more. She calls the extra mad money. She says every girl needs a little mad money set aside, for a rainy day."

"Can you think of anyone who wants to hurt your father?"

"N .... no, everyone loves dad."

"Has he mentioned receiving any threats, or say anything about hang up calls?"

"No." She fidgets with her clothes.

"If I have any more questions I'll let you know."

Rachel rushes past him.

Is she acting suspicious or is it just me? "There is one more thing."

Stopping in the middle of the hall, she nervously turns around.

"Where were you between midnight and two this morning?"

"At home, in bed." Rachel tenses up.

 "Can anyone verify that?"

"My neighbors can."

"You were alone I take it?"

"Yes, why are you asking me all of these questions?" she anxiously blurts out.

"They're just routine, nothing to worry about."

"Can I go now, I have a lot to do."


Rachel races down the hall.

I need to check her alibi. Joe concludes, walking the other way.

Bonnie is tearfully holding Max's hand when Joe steps through the door.

"How is he doing, Mrs. Webb?"

"He's sleeping right now. He tried to talk to me when I first came in, but he's so weak he couldn't say more than a few words."

"I imagine it'll take some time to fully recuperate."

"Did you find anything, Joe?"

"Not yet, but we're still looking. I hate to do this to you now, but I have a few more questions I need to ask you."

"I know you're just doing your job."

"You took Jessica and Samantha to a ballet last night, right?"

"Yes, we left after school and didn't come back until this morning."

"Can you confirm your trip?"

"I have a motel and gas receipt." Grabbing her purse, she digs through it.

"Why did you stay in Fayetteville, instead of driving home?"

"Max didn't want me driving those curvy roads tired, so he booked a room for us."

"When did you talk to him last?"

"His daughter, Jessica, called as soon as we got to our room, so I'd say it was around eleven thirty. Here are the receipts." She hands him two small slips of paper.

Glancing at them, he continues, "Did you talk to him?"

"For a few minutes, I told him I'd call back after I got the girls to bed. When he didn't answer, I just assumed he fell asleep."

"Did he act strange, maybe say something abnormal?"

"He acted like his old chipper self."

"Did he mention anyone who's mad at him? Maybe someone threatening to hurt him? Someone he prosecuted recently?"


"Can you think of any enemies, maybe an old girlfriend, ex-wife?"

"I'm the only girlfriend and wife he's ever had." Noticing his inquisitive look she elaborates. "Max was extremely shy in school."

"Didn't Jennie have his child?" Joe questions, watching her body language closely.

"Their relationship was nothing more than a one night stand. He bumped into her at a party, one thing led to another and well, you know. They both regretted it the next day, never saw each other again. That's why Max was shocked when social services told him he had a daughter."

"Did he tell you this?"

"Him and all of his buddies. I believe them too," she replies defensively. A disturbing thought comes to mind.

"You don't think one of Jennie's old boyfriends tried to kill him, do you?"

"I don't know."

"The police need to be ready for one hell of a killing spree if it was."

"Why do you say that?"

"She changed boyfriends more than most people change ...."

Rachel rushes into the room. "I'm going to pick the girls up from school. Do you want me to bring them here?"

"I don't believe that's a good idea, not in his condition."

"You're probably right." Rachael agrees, looking solemnly at her dad. "What do you want me to tell the girls?"

"Tell them I had an errand to run and that I'll be home soon." 

"You can't go back to your house, it's still a crime scene."

"We don't have anywhere else to go." 

"You can stay at my apartment. It'll be crowded, but we'll make do." Rachel offers.

"Are you sure?"

"It's the least I can do after all you've done for me." 

"I guess it's settled then."

"See you soon," she says,  hugging her stepmom she walks out the door.

I guess my instinct was wrong, Joe concludes, watching their display of affection.

"I stopped when I did because Rachel gets upset everytime we bring up Jennie's name. I'll say one thing about that woman, she put those poor kids through hell."

"Rachel has a sister?"

"No, her cousin, Emma. See, Jennie was supposed to watch Emma for a few minutes but her mom never returned. So Jennie was stuck caring for both girls." Rolling her eyes she continues, " If you can call it that. Some of the horror stories Rachel's told us, I'm surprised they're not in a mental ward."

"Where is Emma now?"

"Last we heard, she's staying with her great aunt and uncle, but that's been years ago."

"Didn't Rachel stay in touch?"

"She did at first, but then Emma stopped writing, Rachel's letters were returned soon after."

"What's Emma's last name?"

"Stone, Emma Stone. I don't have the address, but Rachel might."

"I'll be sure to look into that."


She's standing on the roadside pretending to be looking at her car engine. Hearing a vehicle coming towards her, she adjusts her clothes to show more of her well-toned body. Old horny ass will stop for sure, now, she smiles glancing down the road.

"Need some help," Frank asks as he approaches her.

"I don't know what's wrong," she replies.

"Maybe I can figure out your problem." Bending down, he quickly scans the engine.

"This's what's causing your trouble." He reaches under the hood.

In one rapid movement, she slams a crowbar against the back of his skull. His head pings against the engine, then bounces backward, sending him crumpling to the ground. Standing over him, with her knife above her head she yells. "This's to make sure you never hurt anyone again." She thrusts her knife deep into his chest. Pulling it out, she stabs him again. Childhood memories start flooding back, causing rage to build inside her. The more fury that surged through her body, the deeper his wounds became. His warm blood splattered against her hot flesh, giving her erotic gratification. A climax far beyond what she's ever felt in her life. Looking towards the sky, she yells, "This's for you, mama." She stabs his body again.


Chapter 3
Killer in our Town

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Rachel is heading towards the school when her phone rings. Looking down, she sees the call is from Bonnie. Something's happened to dad. She pulls to the side of the road.

"Hello, Bonnie, is everything alright? I'm heading there now. So you don't want me to pick up the girls? I'll see you at the apartment." Smiling, she hangs up her phone. I can do what I'd planned after all.


Jerry has been trying to open his desk drawer for the last ten minutes. Damn thing is probably older than my Great Grandma. He gives it a hard tug. It opens with such force items scatter across the room.

"Just wonderful." 

"That's one way to clean house," the captain laughs.

"The damn drawer got stuck again. Are you sure there isn't another desk, I could use?" Jerry throws stuff inside the container.

"Sorry, Jerry, but all the desks are taken. Look at it this way, you and the furniture have something in common." The Captain smiles.

Jerry knows from experience that he had a wisecrack brewing, so he tries to beat him to the punch. "We're both ancient?"

"No, you're both banged up, and out of shape," he chuckles.

"You're a laugh a minute, Sir."

"This is the real reason I'm here," he says, showing Jerry a piece of paper. "Forensics found hair, tissue, and trace amounts of blood on the barbells."

"Please tell me they found a match."

"Now, that would make the case too easy, wouldn't it?"

"It'd be nice to have an easy case once in a while." He tosses the last of his stuff in the drawer.

"No such luck with this one, I'm afraid."

"Did the lab find any fingerprints on the barbells, or in the house?"

The captain glances at the paper. "Just the family's. The pools of blood are from Max too."

"No witnesses, no leads, we're at a dead end."

"Start searching his relationships, see what you can find."

"Yes, Sir."

The captain starts to walk away when another thought occurs to him. "Oh, and Jerry, look into his case files, see who he's convicted lately."

"I'll get right on that." He's typing Max's name into the computer when his phone rings.

"Police Department, Jerry speaking." Putting the phone on speaker, he continues typing.

"I believe I might have something, Jerry. Rachel's cousin Emma Stone lived at Jennie's, from the age of four until the girls were taken away. So I need you to locate Emma."

"I'll see what I can find, Boss."


Rachel is standing under her shower scouring layers of grime off her pale, thin body. A terrible aroma drifts through the air, making her stomach churn with fury. She knows all of this unpleasantness will be worth it in the end.

With everything I've accomplished today my project will be complete in no time. I can only imagine the look on their faces when they find out what I've done. Smiling, she steps onto the cold tile. Glancing down, she notices the stained clothes lying by her feet. I need to figure out how I can get rid of them where they can't be traced to me. I know, I'll put them in a trash bag and throw them in the hospital dumpster. Grabbing the soiled wardrobe by her fingertips, she heads towards the door. Hearing keys rattling in the hall, she runs back to the bathroom. Where am I going to hide these? She notices the small linen closet beside her when she anxiously looks around. That'll work for now. Placing her dirty garments in the far corner, she grabs clothes from her hamper and throws them on top. They'll never find them now. She starts to get dressed when her neighbor's door squeaks open. Guess that wasn't Bonnie after all. She glances at the closet. I'll leave the clothes be, for now.


Joe is heading towards the station when the dispatcher's voice blares across his radio. There's another murder already? He makes a quick U-turn, creating an explosion of dust. I need to roll up my window before I pull another stunt like that. Coughing, he watches a massive layer of dust fall across the car's frayed interior. Wiping the dirt from his phone, he calls the station.

"Jerry, this is Joe, I just heard about the murder on Murphy road." Joe coughs into his phone. Putting it on speaker, he grabs the bottle of water and takes a quick swig.

"Are you alright, Boss?"

"I will be, once this dust settles." Joe gulps more water.

"Dust, Sir?"

"You don't want to know."

Jerry recalls how frightened he was the last time he rode with Joe. "I probably don't." Chuckling, he continues, "I'll meet you there." Grabbing his jacket off the chair, Jerry heads towards the door.


She carefully scans her to do list. She didn't want to go to her next attack unprepared, the way she did with Max.

That senseless mistake almost turned deadly. I'm not willing to pay that high price, not yet anyhow. There are still too many perverts out roaming the streets. Deviants I swore I'd kill as a child. Making a mental list, she slides the paper into her purse.

"My fun is just getting started." Laughing, she pulls onto the highway.


The forensic team is carrying out their assigned tasks when Joe arrives on scene. Now that's what I like to see. Smiling, he walks towards his team.

"Hi, Sergeant," Kirk says. Kirk has been with the team for nearly ten years. His meticulous manner makes him one of the most sought-after technicians on the force.

"What do you have for me?" Joe asks, shaking the young officer's hand.

"The victim is Frank Walsh. The apparent cause of death is thirty-three stab wounds to his chest. Mr. Crandall said he found him lying alongside his truck."

"What's the approximate time of death?"

"Riga mortis hasn't set in, so I'd say it happened within the last three hours." He follows the sergeant through the crime scene.

Joe squats down by the blood splatter.

"We've already taken samples," he says, stepping around the pool of dark liquid surrounding the victim.

Joe notices tire marks in the dirt.

"There's fresh oil over here." Kurt points to the middle of the lot.

"Our killer must've been waiting a while. I want you to photograph, then cast the tire tracks and take a sample of oil too." Joe instructs, continuing to walk through the scene.

"We have, we photographed and cast the footprints too."

"Did you find anything else?"

"No, Sir, but we're still looking."

"So tell me about the victim?" Stopping, he turns towards Kirk.

"He's married, has three grown daughters, works second shift at Tysons." 

"Do you know who he hangs out with, his habits?"

"Patrol said they've only spotted his truck at work, home, and the bar."

"Are there any witnesses?"

"Just the poor fellow who found him." Kirk points to a shaken man standing in front of his car.

"Let's go see what he has to say."


Jerry hears the captain call his name as he heads towards the door. Turning, he sees his boss rushing towards him.

"The search on Emma Stone came back."

"Does it have anything useful?"

"According to this, she lived with her Aunt and Uncle until her kidnapping and her Uncle's murder four years ago."

"Kidnapping and murder," the detective exclaims.

"Yes, the killer stabbed her Uncle thirty-three times and then kidnapped Emma."

"Did the cops ever catch the culprit?"

"No, and Emma's body was never found."

"Are there any witnesses or leads?"

The captain glances down at the paper. "There are leads, but no witnesses."

"Where was the Aunt when this was going on?"

"According to the police report, she was visiting a sick relative in Virginia. Here, take a look for yourself." The captain hands him the file.

"How many wounds did Max have, Captain?"

"Thirty-three, I believe."

"Both victims being stabbed the same amount of times can't be a coincidence." Plopping down at his desk, he runs his fingers through his thinning hair. Something he often does when he's in deep thought. "I'm going to send a request for the entire file, see if I can find a connection."

"I'll make a few calls, try to speed up the process." The captain rushes to his office.

Jerry is scanning the report when his phone rings.

"Jerry, this is Joe, I need a little history on our new victim."

"Who is it, Boss?" He grabs a pen and paper off his cluttered desk.

"It's Frank Walsh; someone stabbed him a few hours ago, on Murphy Road. I want you to find out everything you can about him."

"Did the ME say how many times he was stabbed?"

"She counted thirty-three wounds, why?"

"Max and Emma's Uncle was stabbed thirty-three times too."

"Someone killed Emma's Uncle?"

"Four years ago and kidnapped the girl. I think there might be a connection, so I'm having the file faxed to us now."

"Keep me posted."

"I will."

Trading his cell phone for his computer, the detective gets to work.


The killer sees her next victim walking to his car when she pulls into the parking lot. That's what you call perfect timing. Smiling, she pulls in beside him.

"Hey, Lenny, whatcha doing?" she asks, walking towards him.

He suddenly recalls how their last conversation turned violent. She would've killed me if it hadn't been for my friend. "What do you want?" he stammers, nervously backing away.

"I stopped by to say hi, see what you've been up to lately."

She's going to finish me off. "I'm warning you, you better leave me alone." He backs up, running into the wall. 

She steps closer, pinning him against the barrier. "Can't go anywhere, can you?"

"N .... no." He anxiously glances around.

"How does it feel to be a helpless victim, huh? Tell me, how does this feel?" she screams, pressing her body against him.

"N .... not good."

"This is how I felt every night you snuck into my room."

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah, I bet you're sorry. My life is ruined, all because of you." Grabbing a knife out of her pocket, she holds it against his neck, blood trickles onto the blade.

"I didn't mean to hurt you," he weakly replies, tears streaming down his face.

"Well, you did." She pushes the knife in deeper. "I want you to remember this the next time you think about raping a little girl."

"I will."

"I know you will." Shoving the blade into his neck, she pulls it across. Blood spews out of his body as she cuts into his flesh. 

Chapter 4
Possible Motives

By Mistydawn

List of Characters. 
Max Webb DA, Rachel, Jessica, and Samatha's dad, Bonnie's husband.
Bonnie Webb Jessica and Samantha's mom, Rachel's stepmom
Rachel Webb Nurse at the hospital. Max and Jeanie's daughter, Jessica's and Samatha's half-sister.
Samantha Webb Max and Bonnie's six-year-old daughter
Jessica Webb Max and Bonnie's 8-year-old daughter.
Jeanie - Rachel's mom
Emma Stone Rachel's cousin.
Joe detective with the Berryville PD
Jerry Detective with the Berryville PD
Kurt forensic analyst with the Berryville PD.

Rachel is sitting on the couch in her small cozy apartment, staring out the window. Seeing a patrol car slowly pass by, she glances at her watch. It was a half an hour on the dot again. I'll wait until the coast is clear, then I'll slip out and take care of business, she concludes, staring into the cold empty darkness. I hope I can remember all the loose floorboards. What if I don't? What if I hit one by mistake? How will I explain my leaving if they catch me? I could say I'm meeting my boyfriend. Would they believe me? I probably wouldn't if I were them. Maybe I should just wait until Bonnie and the girls leave. No, I've planned this for way too long, I've gotten too far to quit now. If I get caught, I'll have to quit for good, and I don't want to do that either. Not after all the time and energy, I've invested in this project. Oh, what should I do? What should I do? Feeling someone tugging on her arm, she turns around. She sees her little sister standing beside her.

"Can you read me a bedtime story?" Samantha asks.

"What book would you like me to read?"

"We could make something up," she suggests.

"Are you sure you'll be alright sleeping on the couch?" Bonnie asks, carrying fresh linen into the front room.

"I sleep on the couch all the time anyhow."

"Why, Rachel?" Sammy questions.

"Rachel is a naughty girl. She falls asleep in front of the TV." Bonnie scolds, shaking her finger at Rachel.

"Maybe you should spank her or take away her TV privileges," the child says, excited to see someone else get into trouble for a change.

"Yeah, maybe I should." Bonnie laughs, imagining how that would go.

"I thought you had my back, Samantha Jane."

"I'm just teasing," she smiles sweetly, batting her long eyelashes at her sister.

"You better be you little monster." Rachel chases the child into the bedroom.

The girl screams as she runs for cover.

"I don't think Rachel will ever grow up." Bonnie laughs, laying linen on the couch.


Jerry is scanning through Frank Walsh's police record at his desk. Joe, his partner is still busy at the scene. Frank had a breaking and entering charge at 18, a drug possession charge at 20 and again at 22. His most recent charges are two DWI's, and a driving on a suspended. Far from a model citizen. He continues his search. According to his finances, he lives paycheck to paycheck, the way most Berryville citizens do. I hope he has life insurance to help pay for the funeral. Life insurance money, that's it. Desperate wives do make reckless decisions.

Digging a little further, he finds a $50,000 life insurance policy on him, but nothing on his wife. Thirty years is a long time to put up with his partying with the town whores. Not to mention all the other shenanigans he pulled. Guess I need to talk to Judy and their kids. He starts to get up when he sees Joe walking towards him.

"Did you find anything, Jerry?" Joe asks, plopping down at his desk.

"He had a few minor convictions as a teenager, two DWI's and a driving on a suspended recently. Financially he was a sinking ship. Here's the interesting part. The couple is deep in debt, but Judy somehow manages to pay his life insurance policy, on time, every month. In fact, she dropped her policy, but kept his up to date."

"That puts a twist on things, now doesn't it?" he says, arranging forensic reports across his desk.

"It sure does. I don't know how she put up with his crap for as long as she did."

"Isn't that the truth? Did you find out anything on Emma?"

"She was placed in Mrs. Brown's care until the aunt and uncle came for her. So I'm thinking, Mrs. Brown might've kept in touch."

"Knowing how much she loves her foster kids, I wouldn't doubt that a bit."

"Here's something fascinating Joe. Frank's former drug arrest was on May 10, 1999, with Jennie Cathay."


"Didn't Max know Jennie too?" Pulling up another tab, he types in a new search. "Here's another interesting fact. Jennie made a plea agreement with the DA, her testimony for a reduced sentence. Two days later, she's found dead in an alley."

"What's the cause of death?"

"The ME ruled it as a drug overdose."

"I remember her death now. I was a rookie back then so I didn't get to investigate, but I always thought someone was trying to keep her quiet. A lot of others did too, but no one could prove it was murder."

"Whoever killed Jennie could be getting revenge on everyone who snitched on him."

"Look up drug arrests made after May 1999, see what you can come up with. I'll talk to Frank's wife and Mrs. Brown."

"Got it, boss."

The captain races out of his office.

"Guys, there's been another killing."

"This is the third one in two days, Captain," Jerry exclaims.

"I'm not so sure it's the same killer."

"Why do you say that, Sir?"

"This one was beheaded."


The hands on the clock seem to move slowly tonight. Looking over, Rachel sees it's only been five minutes since the last time she checked. Will this night ever end? Glancing out her window, she starts thinking about what she's going to do. This gives her a sense of pure joy. The way she feels on Christmas day. Nothing is going to stop me from executing my plan this time. She sees another patrol car drive by. It's only been ten minutes since the last one. Maybe I should wait until things settle down. 

"Rachel, Rachel?" her stepmother repeats.

"Huh, what?" she asks, slowly coming out of her trance-like state.

"You were a thousand miles away."

"Oh, I'm sorry." She turns to face her.

"You've been distracted all night, are you sure you're alright?" Reaching over, she grabs a hold of her hands.

"Yeah, I'm ok, I was just thinking, you know about stuff," she explains, forcing a smile on her face. She knows how her stepmother gets if she thinks something is bothering her.

"What were you thinking about, Honey?" Bonnie quizzes, sitting next to her on the couch.

"Work stuff, mostly."

"Are you having trouble at the hospital?"

"A little. See, they hired a new girl and she's been giving me a lot of grief." Seeing the concerned look on Bonnie's face she continues, "I'm sure things will calm down once she settles in." 

"I hope so."

"It always does." She smiles, hoping to appease her. 

Picking up the newspaper Bonnie starts to read. "Oh my God, Rachel, look." Handing it to her Bonnie continues. "It says they found Frank Walsh dead this afternoon."

"Two victims in twenty-four hours?"

"I'm sure glad Joe agreed to put the extra patrol on your apartment."

"Me too." Their safety wasn't her concern. She's trying to figure out how she'll continue her plans with all the police protection.


Joe and Jerry see Sharon, their ME walking towards her car when they pull into the parking lot.

Joe removes his seatbelt as they pull into the drive. "I didn't think we'd ever get here," he complains, bolting out of the car.

"I got us here in one piece, didn't I?" Jerry maneuvers his rounded body out from behind the wheel.

"An hour later."

Jerry laughs. "It didn't take an hour."

 "It sure felt like it."

"And you say Rachel is a drama queen?" 

 "She is."

"Yeah, and I'm the queen of England." Jerry chuckles.

 "I'm driving back, whether you like it or not."

"You better find another car then, because you're not touching mine."

"You don't trust my driving, Jerr?" He smirks, remembering how Jerry hung on for dear life on their last excursion.

"My niece drives better than you and she's only four."

Laughing, Joe walks towards the ME. "Hey, Sharon."

"Hi Joe, Jerry."

"What can you tell us?"

"The victim was beheaded with a straight edged blade. According to the cut, I'd say your killer is left-handed."

"Are there any other wounds?"

"Just the fatal one across his neck. The good news is the victim didn't suffer."

"How do you figure that?"

"He bled out too quick to feel much of anything." Seeing the inquisitive look on their faces she continues, "The killer severed the carotid, one of the main arteries in the body."

"So the perp would be covered in blood."

"Head to toe I'd imagine."

"When did the death occur?"

"According to body temp, I'd say within the last two hours."

"Thanks, Sharon." Joe walks towards the group.

"Did you find anything, guys?" Joe asks.

"I found a couple of things, Sir. We found a shoe print in the dirt a few feet from the victim, and we found this." Holding up a small plastic bag he continues, "I'm going to take the fiber to the lab, see what I can find."

"Who is our victim?"

"According to his driver's license, his name Is Lenard Kanjorski, He's forty-two, lives in the apartments on Cherry Street."

"You guys don't know him personally?" Being a small town, Joe figures everyone knows everybody. An assumption that usually holds true.

The group shakes their heads.

"Jerry, I want you to contact the family, and find out everything you can on him."

"I'm on it, Sir." Jerry walks away.


Rachel slowly creeps down her dark apartment steps, trying to miss all the squeaky floorboards.
Just a few more steps and I will be home free, she reasons. Her legs feel like jelly as she continues her nerve-wracking journey down the rickety stairs. Gripping the railing, she tiptoes the rest of the way down. Everyone will be so surprised when I share my accomplishments. She smiles, stepping into the brisk night air.

Chapter 5
Eliminating Suspects

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

List of Characters. 
Max Webb DA, Rachel, Jessica, and Samatha's dad, Bonnie's husband.
Bonnie Webb Jessica and Samantha's mom, Rachel's stepmom
Rachel Webb Nurse at the hospital. Max and Jeanie's daughter, Jessica's and Samatha's half-sister.
Samantha Webb Max and Bonnie's six-year-old daughter
Jessica Webb Max and Bonnie's 8-year-old daughter.
Jeanie - Rachel's mom
Emma Stone Rachel's cousin.
Joe detective with the Berryville PD
Jerry Detective with the Berryville PD
Kurt forensic analyst with the Berryville PD.

Joe pulls up to an old rundown trailer on the outskirts of town. I can't believe it's still standing. He remembers the terrible shape it was in when he was a child. Looking around, he sees acres of unused terrain. If they sold some of this off they could get rid of that death trap, move into something a lot nicer. The stench of skunk spray knocks him over when he climbs out of the car. There's nothing like the smell of good old country air, he chuckles, walking towards the house.

Joe truly understands why Judy might do it. She's lived in a rundown, bug-infested trailer for nearly thirty years, a place that should've been condemned years ago. He knows she constantly worries about the roof caving in, or someone falling through the rotten floorboards.

Of course, Frank only increases her anxiety. He comes home in a pissed off, drunken state and takes his anger out on her. If he isn't causing havoc in the trailer, he's out drinking up their income with the town whores.

Joe sympathizes with her circumstances and knows it'll break his heart if he has to throw her in jail. Judy's been like a second mom to me and now I might have to arrest her. Joe stops in the middle of the yard. I can't do this, I just can't. Not after all she's been through, after all she's done for me. He turns towards the car. Reaching the door he pauses again. I can't let my personal feelings get in the way of my job, no matter how bad it hurts. He tearfully walks towards the house.

Judy steps out of the trailer, her arms loaded down with dog bowls. Her graying hair is a tangled mess and her clothes are mere shreds of faded fabric.

She takes better care of her animals than herself.

"Hi, Joe," she says, carefully walking down the wobbly steps.

"Here, let me help you." He takes a few bowls from the top.

"Thanks." Walking over to the picnic table she sets them down.

Joe follows behind her. "How are you holding up?"

"I'm trying to stay busy. You know, keep my mind off of things but it doesn't seem to be helping." She wipes tears from her mascara-streaked face.

"I'm sorry for your loss."

She reaches over and pats his hand. "You've always been my favorite, you know." She smiles weakly.

Why did she have to say that? Joe thinks, feeling worse than ever about what he has to do. Put your big boy pants on and just do it. His Mama would scold when he dawdled over something he didn't want to do. I know Mama. Taking a deep breath, he turns to face her. "Judy, I hate to do this to you now but I need to ask you a few questions. They're routine, so please don't be upset by them, alright?"

She looks towards the ground, tears streaming down her face. "His death has been really hard on me, Joe."

Joe feels his heart split in two. "I know it has and I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't important."

"Go ahead then." Sniffling, she dries her face with a shredded tissue.

"Does he have any enemies, someone who wants to harm him?"

"I can't think of anyone but God knows who he might've pissed off when he's out there doing his thing." She points towards town.

So far so good. "Has he received any threats?"

"Not that I'm aware of." She sniffles.

Just a few questions to go. "Did you or Frank receive any hang-up calls?"

"Yeah, but I figured it's one of his girlfriends, wanting to talk to him."

Joe gets a surprised look on his face. "So you're aware of his affair."

"Yes, but I loved him anyhow, I loved him anyhow," she sobs.

Joe wants to hold her, tell her everything will be alright the way she did him as a child but knows he has a job to do. Just a couple more questions and this nightmare will be over. "I noticed you have a life insurance policy on him, but stopped paying yours months ago."

"I dropped mine because money is a little tight," she says, wiping her face again.

"So the life insurance money would be a blessing?"

"Not really, see I dropped it to ten thousand last month. It'll take care of the funeral, but that's about all," she sniffles.

Joe nervously moves around. Just say it and get it over with, he reasons, suddenly feeling uncomfortable in his own skin."Can someone verify your whereabouts Monday afternoon between noon and two?"

"I'm a school teacher, so you can ask any of my coworkers where I was. Wait a minute, are you accusing me of killing my husband?"

"They're routine questions ...."

"How can you stand there and blame me for his death, Joe? After everything, I've done for you. Why I practically raised you from birth." She shoves him as hard as she can. "I can't believe you, Joe, I ...I just can't," she cries, storming towards the house.

"I'm sorry Judy, I really am."

She spins back around. "I admit he isn't the best husband in the world, but I loved him, Joe. I truly loved him," she yells, stomping up the steps.

"He was a lucky man to have you," Joe shouts, as the screen door slams shut behind her. He slowly walks towards the car, tears streaming down his cheeks. She'll never forgive me now, never. Wiping the tears from his face he turns back around. I'm so sorry Judy, so sorry, he sobs, Climbing into his car. How could I possibly believe such a soft-hearted person, who cares for every stray in the city be capable of such a horrendous crime? Glancing at the trailer one last time, he drives away.


She anxiously sits in the bar parking lot, waiting for her next victim. He's next on her list because not only did he hurt her as a young child, he tried to rape her a few short months ago.


It was a cold wintery night, temp in the single digits. The strong gusts of wind made it seem much colder. Looking up she sees heavy storm clouds covering most of the moon. That's why it's so spooky tonight. Wrapping her arms around herself she continues down the road. The damn car would have to die on me now. Hopefully, someone at the bar can fix it, or give me a lift home. She hears something rustling beside her. Screaming, she runs towards the bar. I don't know what that was, but it sure scared the hell out of me. Composing herself, she starts climbing the steps. Halfway up, lard ass, Bernie stumbles out the door.

"Hey pretty lady, do you want to have some fun?" he slurs, weaving back and forth in front of her. Feeling himself about to fall, he grabs the handrail for support. A putrid mix of alcohol, body odor, and dried piss drifts through the air.

"No thank you." Clamping her nose, she tries to go around his large hairy physique.

He steps in front of her. "Oh come on honey, I promise I'll be gentle," he grabs her arm.

"Leave me alone," she yells, trying to wiggle away from his grip. The horrid smell makes her nauseous as she struggles to break free.

Angered by her rejection, he grabs a hold of both arms and pulls her towards him. "Do you think you're too good for me? Huh, do you? Well, I have news for you. You're nothing but a two-bit whore just like your mother," he hisses, shoving her down the steps.

A loud whoosh of air expels from her lungs as her body bounces across the dirt.

Pulling out his hardened appendage, Bernie walks towards her.

"No, please, don't," she cries, scooting away from him.

Grabbing her hair he shoves her face into his crotch. "You know what I want." He smiles. The bar door opens, Bernie turns around.

"What are you doing?" a deep voice asks.

Humiliated, Bernie stuffs his penis in his pants, she scampers to the woods.


The blast of music brings her back to reality. There you are, you drunken bastard. Lifting up her crowbar, she takes her stance. A little further, that's it, one more step. "Hey Bernie, do you remember me?" she asks, springing out of the bushes.

Hearing a woman's voice he turns around. "Why don't you refresh my memory, sweet thing?" Smiling, he stumbles closer.

"You tried to rape me a few months ago." In one swift movement, she smashes the crowbar against his skull, he falls to the ground.

"Not mighty now, are you?" She laughs. Straddling him, she plunges the knife into his body. Blood spews on her with every thrust making the killing more gratifying. "Don't mess with little girls, because they grow up to become cold heartless bitches," she screams, stabbing him again. Grabbing a hold of his pecker she looks up at the sky. "This one's for you mamma." She slices off his manhood.


Chapter 6
Harsh Reality

By Mistydawn

Max sleeps soundly in his small hospital bed. The cold sterile room is quiet except for the small hum coming from the IV beside him. A dim light glows just above the sink, giving his nurse enough light to carry out her menial tasks.

That's what I like to see, Melinda smiles approaching his bedside. She's been a nurse for ten years, the last five in ICU. She hopes to continue her career until she retires. Doing quick checks on the machines, she walks out of the room. She no sooner steps into the hall when Max starts thrashing around.

"No, Rachel, please stop, please, you're hurting me," he begs, tossing back and forth in the bed.

Hearing his desperate pleas, Melinda runs to his side. "Mr. Webb, Mr. Webb wake up, Sir?" she says, gently shaking him.

Max sees a pretty young woman dressed in white when he opens his eyes. Terrified, he springs up in bed. "Who are you, where am I, what happened?" he blurts out, anxiously scanning the room.

"I'm Melinda, your nurse. You're at Carroll Regional Hospital. Someone stabbed you at your house. The police found you and brought you here."

He turns his head towards her, a dumbfounded look on his face, trying to grasp what she just said. His cheeks turn ghostly white. "Where are my wife and kids, are they alright?"

"Mrs. Webb and the kids are at home, Sir."

"Are they alright?" He presses, worried there's something she's not telling him.

"Yes, Sir, they're fine, the intruder didn't get them."

"Thank God for that," he says. Relieved he lies back down.

Melinda straightens the crumpled linen. "Your wife has been with you all day. She planned on spending the night, but the doctor insisted she go home, get some rest. She told me to tell you she loves you and she'll be back first thing in the morning."

That's my Bonniekins. "I bet she'll be back before daylight," Max chuckles. "Oh that hurt," he says, wrapping his arms around his middle.

"The intruder did a number on you, so I imagine you'll be sore for quite some time."

He glances towards his abdomen. Seeing it's wrapped heavily in bandages, he anxiously asks, "How bad am I hurt?"

"You have several superficial wounds, but the doctors did a marvelous job, so you should be good as new in no time." Should I tell Mr. Webb about his heart condition or let the doctor explain it to him in the morning? She decides on the latter.

"Will I be able to dance?" Max asks, an ornery smile on his face. He's known to be quite the joker.

"I don't see why not, once you're healed, of course." Within reason.

"That's good because I never could before."

"Aren't you a humorous one," she laughs. Fluffing his pillows she continues, "That must have been some nightmare for you to thrash around like that."

"I guess."

"You don't remember your dream?" She places the pillow behind his head.

"No." He knew exactly what it was but didn't want to say anything just yet. Not until he could wrap his head around the harsh reality.

"You were screaming don't hurt me, Rachel."

His face turns pale. "Oh." How am I going to explain that? I'll say it was just a meaningless nightmare, a figment of my imagination, that I've been worried about Rachel a lot lately. They'll believe me, right?

"Do you know anyone named Rachel?" she asks, checking his IV.

"A few, but I don't see any of them hurting me. I'd like to get a little more sleep if you don't mind." He turns away from her.

"Of course, if you need anything, let me know, alright."

"I will."

Turning off the overhead light, Melinda steps out of the room.

Was the intruder really Rachel? Why would she try to hurt me after all these years? I've been a good father, haven't I? I brought her into my home, gave her everything she needed. I know that doesn't erase all the hell she's been through, but I tried to make it up to her, I really did.

He remembers their long conversation explaining what Jennie had said. I thought she believed me about Jennie's lies, telling me Rachel isn't mine. Maybe she only said she did to appease me. What should I do about the current situation? As her father, I want to protect her, despite what she's done to me, but as an officer of the court, it's my duty to see that justice is done. If I do the latter she'll end up in prison, and I don't want my daughter behind bars. Not after barely surviving a horrendous childhood. What am I going to do, what am I going to do? He sobs into his pillow.

Jerry is sitting at his desk reading the history of their last victim. Pulling an all-nighter is a part of the job I hate. He glances down at a picture on his desk. I'm doing this for you guys. He carefully touches their smiling faces.

Jerry has been a cop for nearly ten years, a detective for five. He decided to switch from a military career to law enforcement after his wife and daughter were killed in a drive-by. "I want to make sure other families don't have to go through what we have." He tearfully explains when questioned about his change in careers.

Yawning, he picks up a piece of paper from his cluttered desk. Yawning again, he grabs his cup and gulps the last of the cold bitter mix. Yawning for the third time, he glances towards the picture. I have to do this for them. Rubbing his dry, tired eyes, he starts reading again.

"Why don't you call it a day, Jerr, get a fresh start in the morning," Joe suggests.

"I'll be alright in a minute, Boss." He walks to the coffee pot. "Want some?" Jerry lifts up the pot.

"I've had all I can take of that gut-wrenching shit," he says, holding his stomach.

Jerry laughs. "Suit yourself, Boss." He watches with admiration as Joe works on a report. I wouldn't be here right now if he hadn't done what he did.

Jerry went into a deep depression after his family was killed. The doctor told Joe he's going through a grieving process and that he'll eventually work through it. Joe knew he had to do something when it went on for months.


"OK, Jerry, enough is enough," Joe says, stomping towards the couch.

"Leave me alone, Joe." Jerry pulls the covers over his head.

"So you're just going to give up like some yellow-bellied coward?"

"I have nothing left to live for, Joe," Jerry sobs.

"You have me."

"That's a big comfort," he says, rolling on his side.

"I didn't want to do this but you've left me no choice." Joe jerks the cover away.

"Leave me the hell alone, Joe," Jerry hisses, reaching for a filthy sheet.

Joe snatches it away. "You have ten seconds to get off this couch."

"If I don't?" he asks, crossing his arms in protest.

"I'll dump this bucket of ice water on you." He lifts up the large container. 

Jerry glances at the pail then back at Joe."You better not."

"Eight, seven, six," he counts, a stern look on his face.

"I'll kill you if you do," Jerry warns.

"At least you'll be out of bed. Four, three, two." Joe tips the bucket.  a large drop of water splashes Jerry's face.

"Please don't, Joe, please," he begs.

"Get up and I won't."

Jerry looks at the bucket then back at Joe.

"I warned you." Joe dumps the frigid liquid on him.

Screaming, Jerry jumps off the couch. "You're a dead man now, Joe."

"You have to catch me first." Tossing the bucket aside, Joe darts down the hall.

Filling the bucket with cold tap water, Jerry runs after him. "I'm going to get you for this," he screams.

Their chase continues until both men are soaked, exhausted, and gasping for much-needed air.

"I haven't had that hard of a workout since our military days," Joe says, wringing out his shirt.

"Me either." Jerry laughs, feeling completely ridiculous.

"Now we've showered and exercised, let's eat." Joe waves his hand above the array of foods.


That man saved my life.

"What are you working on, Jerry?"

"I pulled up Vinnie's work history. According to the records, he was Mrs. Brown's maintenance man for nearly twenty years."

"I thought he was a registered sex offender?"

"He was, but somehow he got by with working close to children."

"Someone was sleeping on the job."

"That's for sure, Boss. What I don't understand is why Mrs. Brown would allow someone like him near her children." He scratches his head, something he often does when he's deep in thought. Joe teases him about it, says he's trying to jumpstart his withering brain. Realizing what he's doing, Jerry self-consciously drops his hand.

Joe snickers. "Maybe she didn't know."

"That's possible I guess. Here's something interesting, Boss, Frank Walsh is on the list too."

"Yeah, but Max isn't."


"Since we can't do anything else, why don't we call it a day, get a fresh start in the morning."

"I'm alright, Boss, honest." His eyes start watering trying not to yawn.

"I saw you dozing off a few minutes ago."

"I'm alright now." Feeling another one coming on, he turns away.


"Yes, Boss?" he mumbles through his yawn.

"As your superior, I'm ordering you to the bunks."

Jerry stomps his foot.

"Don't make me write you up."

"Yes, Boss." He trudges towards the back.

Jerry acts like such a child sometimes. Snickering, Joe walks out the door.

Chapter 7
Three Tears for Bernie

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Authors Note
Anything between ~~~ is a past memory. 
Anything between *** is the next scene.

Joe wakes up to his cell phone buzzing angrily beside him. Sleepily fumbling around the nightstand, he scoops it up.

"This better be important," he barks into his phone.

"Sergeant, it's Jerry, there's been another killing."

"What?" Springing out of bed he grabs his clothes off the floor.

"Bernie Walters was found stabbed to death at Frank's bar. I'm heading there now."

"I'm on my way." Putting down his phone, Joe gets dressed. I can't believe the killer struck so soon. Combing his fingers through his graying hair, Joe bolts out the door.


Joe arrives at Frank's bar within a few minutes. Some officers are interviewing patrons, while others secure the area.

Glancing over he sees Kirk making his initial video while the photo technician snaps still pictures of the scene. That kid may work out after all.

Looking around, Joe sees the distraught owner sitting on the bar steps. His eyes are red and swollen. He has tears streaming down his tan face.
Bernie was a good old boy, always willing to lend a helping hand, for a few beers, of course.


"Hey Bernie, I have an ice-cold six-pack sitting in my fridge with your name on it," Joe says, walking out to greet him.

"What do you want me to do?" he questions suspiciously.

"Mow my yard."

Gazing across the overgrowth, Bernie shakes his head. That shit has to be at least a foot tall. "Make it a twelve pack and you've got a deal."


He swindled me out of two twelves that day, claiming he needs one just to cool down. Snickering, Joe walks towards the owner.

"What happened, Pete?" Joe asks, taking a notebook out of his pocket.

"I'm not exactly sure. One minute Bernie is leaving and the next he's dead." He wipes the moisture from his face.

"What time did he leave?"

"He finished his last beer around midnight, ten minutes later, Greg runs in yelling he's dead. I ran out to see if there's anything I could do, but it was too late. Damn allergies are acting up again," he says, blowing his nose.

Joe smiles, he knows Pete tries to act tough, but he's a gentle soul. "Did he leave with anyone?"

"Bernie flirts all evening, but always leaves alone."

"He's married to Pam, correct?"

"They married right out of high school. Oh no, there's no way she did this. Pam faints if she sees a drop of blood."

"I remember." Joe laughs, recalling her passing out over a nosebleed.


Leaning against the wall, Greg starts thinking about Bernie. We had a lot of fun together, and a lot of heated debates. He snickers through his tears.


"Would you just listen to me for a second," Bernie says, jumping up from his seat. Throwing his beer can into the water, he grabs another. Their boat rocks from his sudden movement.

"Why don't you sit your drunken ass down, before you tip us into the lake," Greg suggests, glancing at the murky water.

"I won't sit down until you listen to what I have to say." He stomps his foot. Their boat wobbles again.

"Damn it, Bernie, you seriously need to sit down before ...."

Bernie loses his balance. His rounded body hits the side, toppling them into the water.


Saving his lard ass was worse than wrestling a pissed gator on steroids, he snickers. God, I'm going to miss him.

"Are you the one who found him?" Jerry asks, walking towards Greg.

"Yes," he looks towards the ground.

"Did you touch him or move him in any way?"

"l I tripped over him, going to my truck. It was so dark I didn't see him lying there."

"Do you remember seeing anyone in the parking lot?"

"No, but it's so dark I couldn't see far."

"Did you hear a car pull away?"


"Can you think of someone that would want to kill him?"

"Everyone loves Bernie. He's a happy go lucky, easy going kind of guy, a true pal to all of us." His lips begin to quiver as he tries to keep from crying.

"Does he have any exes ex-wife or girlfriend?"

"He married his wife years ago. As soon as they finished high school, I believe."

"Hey, detective, I found something," Kirk says, walking towards them.

"What did I tell you about transference?" Jerry questions, annoyed by his repetitive mistake.

The young lad hangs his head. "Running in and out of the crime scene can cause evidence to be lost, and bring something in that wasn't originally there."


Kirk turns around.

Jerry grabs his arm. "You might as well show me since you're already here."

"The killer used this to smash Bernie's head." He holds up a pink crowbar.

"That's Bernie's, he painted it pink so that no one will steal it," Greg says.

"Is there a reason why it'd be out?"

"He used it to fix Karen's flat earlier this evening."

"How is Karen's and Bernie's relationship?"

"She loves Bernie, in a sisterly kind of way.  Bernie is like a brother to all of us. He's a little slow on the uptake, but we love him just the same."

"Where is Karen now?"

"She's probably in the bar cleaning up, restocking, things like that."

"Thank you," Jerry heads toward the front door.

This's a charming place, Jerry thinks, inhaling the strong smell of cedar. He first notices how the lighting from the fireplace and oil lanterns give the bar a luminous glow.

He then sees the couches and chairs. Chess tables are in the far corner, instead of standard dart boards. His entire decor makes you feel like you're stepping into a friend's cabin, rather than a bar.

"You have a nice place here, Pete."


"I'm looking for Karen, is she still here?" Jerry glances around.

"She's in the storage room. Can I help you with something?"

"I heard you're looking for me?" Karen drops a large box on the bar, bottles clink together.

"Bernie fixed a flat for you tonight, correct?"

"Yes, he always does nice things for me. I just didn't ..." Tears form in Karen's red swollen eyes. "I didn't know that would be the last  ...." she sobs.

"Did he put away his tools when he finished?"

Drying her face with a ragged tissue she continues. "He said he needed a beer first." She glances over to where he normally sits, she starts crying again. Regaining her composure, she continues, "I offered to collect his tools before dark, he laughs and says the pink crowbar will be there when he leaves."

"Do you know anyone who wants to hurt him?"

"No, he is a sweetheart to all the ladies and a loyal friend to the guys. Oh, Jerry, I'm going to miss him so much, his boisterous laugh, his corny jokes, his crazy pranks." Burying her face in Pete's chest she cries harder.

Pete wraps his arms around her. "We're all going to miss him, hon."


I accomplished a lot today, Rachel proudly concludes, recalling today's events. She's drying off when she hears a light tap on the door. I have to get rid of these. Scooping up her filthy clothes, she runs to the closet and shoves them in the corner.

"Rachel, honey, are you alright?" Bonnie whispers.

Rachel anxiously turns around. I hope I locked the door. Running to the entrance she presses her body against it, then scans the room for forgotten clues.


"I'm feeling a little sick, a stomach virus, I think." She wraps her arm around her waist the way she did when she was little. How many times have I used that excuse?

"Do you want me to get you anything?"

"I'll be alright in a minute, but thanks anyhow."

"Let me know if you change your mind."

"I will." She hears her stepmother walking down the hall, and then the door closing behind her.

That was a close call. Scanning the room one last time, Rachel walks towards the couch.


Joe sees Jerry talking to the last patrons in the corner of the lot. I'm sure he's ready to hit the sack. Joe walks towards him. "Hey bud, there's nothing more we can do, so why don't we get to bed."

Throwing his arm around Joe's shoulders, Jerry snuggles against him. In a high pitched voice, he says; "I'm flattered you find me attractive." He runs his fingers down Joe' s chest. A guy hit on Joe a few months back, swearing Joe is gay. Jerry teases him every chance he gets.

Joe moves away. "You know what I mean, Jerr."

"Why don't you show me, big boy." Jerry shakes his hips side to side as he walks towards him.

"I'm warning you, Jerry, cut it out."

Jerry laughs."Goodnight, Boss." In a woman's voice, he adds. "You hunk of a man, you." He winks.

Joe walks away shaking his head.


The attacker lies quietly in her apartment, reliving the evening's events. A cool gentle wind brushes across her face as she gazes towards the sky.

This has been a wonderful night, One I'll remember forever. Her mind suddenly drifts back to when she was little.
Please god, please not tonight,
she'd beg, hunkering down in bed. She has dirty linen tucked tightly around her, trying to make herself feel safe. Hearing heavy footsteps coming down the hall, she starts shaking. Why God, why? What did I do to deserve this, what did I do so wrong? She cries.

The door squeaks open, a naked man stomps towards her.

I'll be a good girl from now on, I  promise I will. If you make him go away.  Please, God please, make him go away.

"I have a surprise for you tonight, my little angel." He rips the covers away.

She sees an assortment of scary gadgets dangling from his hands when she glances up. "No, please, not those again," she begs, remembering how he left her a battered mess before.

He secures her to the bed. "She's ready, to go."

Men storm into her room.
Glancing out her window she tearfully says, "I'm going to kill every one of those sick bastards who raped me." 

Chapter 8
The Killer Met Her Match

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Stepping into the squad room, Joe sees some officers typing reports, while others are staring at a computer screen. The third group is busily shuffling people around. There's never a dull moment in this place. He plops his stuff on his desk. Yawning, he continues to survey the assortment of desks squeezed into the small, overcrowded room. We really need a bigger space. Yawning again, he turns towards the coffee pot. If that crap can't revive me, nothing will.

"Morning Captain." He reaches for the pot.

"Morning, Detective. The forensic reports from Frank and Bernie's murders are on your desk. It looks like the signature is the same, thirty-three stab wounds to the chest."

"What about the rest of the evidence?" Joe asks, walking towards his desk.

Throwing empty sugar packs in the trash; the captain follows. "The blood and fingerprints are from the victims. They're working on the rest now."

 Joe quickly scans the report.

"I'll leave you alone so you can work your magic." The captain pats Joe on the back.

"I'm going to need a lot of that to solve this case, Captain," he says, picking up the second page. He's still reading the information when Jerry walks through the door.

"Is that the report on Frank?" he asks, shedding his coat.

"Yeah, but it doesn't give us any leads. I don't understand how someone can commit such heinous crimes and not leave a single piece of evidence behind. That's just impossible. "Joe slams his fist on the desk. Papers scatter across the floor.

"Don't worry boss, we'll figure this out."  A snarling dog runs to the front of Jerry's computer screen when he bumps the mouse. Screaming, he jumps back. Losing his footing, Jerry falls into his chair. His leg hits the lever, his seat drops to the floor. The dog retires to his original spot in the center of the page. "Damn screensaver," Jerry grumbles.

"That was better than I imagined." Joe laughs.

"I'll get even with you, Joe."

"I'm sure you will." Mocking Jerry's girly scream, Joe laughs harder.


This part of town scares her. It was where she spent most of her childhood, but even then danger lurked around every corner. Now it's a place where criminals hide from the law and the cops are too afraid of the drug cartel to do anything about it. It's a place where no one dares walk the streets at night and walks guardedly in the daylight hours.

Everyone knows this cesspool exists, but turns a blind eye to it. She figures prominent citizens would rather have criminals stay in this grungy part of town than in their lavished neighborhoods.

She steps over the heaps of trash scattered across the sidewalk; then cautiously continues on. The wind picks up giving the morning air a crisp feel. She shivers. Wrapping her arms around herself, she quickens her pace. She feels a strong hand cover her mouth as she's being pulled backward. She tries to scream but the large, firm hand muffles her every sound.

"Keep fighting me and I'll cut you right here and now," a deep voice informs her. He brings a knife up to her neck.

She stops fighting.

"That's much better," he says, dragging her towards the building.

Seeing he's distracted, she tries to break free.

"I'm not warning you again," he says, securing the weapon against her neck.

She stops moving around. Warm tears stream down her wind-chapped face as he drags her into the building. Closing the door with his foot, he hauls her to the faded mattress on the far side of the room. 

"Are you as good as you used to be, Rachel?" he asks, slamming her body on the bed.

"I'm not Rachel," she screams, trying to push him away.

He pins her arms with his knees. "Change names, did you? I guess Rachel isn't good enough for you now you're high society. I hope you're still as good in bed as you used to be," he replies, feeling her up.

"Please don't do this," she tearfully begs. Childhood memories start flooding back. Hot salty tears stream from her hazel eyes.

"Shut up and take it, whore," he yells, slapping her across the face. Rising to his knees, he pulls down his pants.

Realizing her arms are free, she reaches towards her pocket.

"What do you think you're doing?" he asks.

Lifting up her knife, she stabs him in his chest. The sudden force sends him flying onto the dusty wood floor. Straddling him, she pulls the weapon out.

"You're never going to hurt me again," she screams, plunging the knife into his chest. "And I'm not a whore," she yells, thrusting the object into his heart.

Hearing someone coming up the steps, she pulls out the knife and then takes an opposing stance. I'm ready for you now. She pictures a gang of burly men walking through the door. I can't take all of them on. Frightened, she darts through the house. Discovering the doors and windows are boarded up, she looks for a place to hide.

Joe and Jerry are sitting at their desks, trying to make sense of the recent crimes. The chaos around them is giving Joe a migraine. I wish we had our own work area, he thinks, trying to ignore the commotion. 

"I've summarized all the facts hoping that might help." Gathering up several sheets of paper, Jerry continues, "We have four stab victims. Three took place in a public area and one at home. He killed two in the morning and two in the afternoon. The first stabbing occurred in Urbanette; the next two in town, and the last one in Eureka Springs. All four are married, they're in their mid 40's, and have been in Berryville for at least 15 years. They're all in the six-foot range and have brown hair, brown eyes. Max is the DA; Frank and Bernie work at Tyson and Lenny in accounting. I know both Frank and Bernie use to beat their wives so I'm thinking the killer is trying to stop them. Maybe his dad beat his mom, possibly killed her, and her death is what sent him over the edge."

"Well, that's one theory, but according to Rachel, Max treats Bonnie like a queen. I'm not too sure about this Lenny character. Tell you what, I'll look into his and Max's relationships just in case."

"Ok, how about this theory, Boss? Since the killer targets men in their forties, he could've been abused by a man who's that age?"

"That's possible. Look up murders where domestic violence is involved and then narrow that down to only men in their forties."

"I'm on it boss." Jerry snickers.

"What?" Joe nervously looks around.

"Nothing, Boss." Jerry snickers again.


She's still searching for a hiding place when the front door squeaks open.

"Hey, Carlos are you home?" Jimmy asks, stepping in the door. He sees his friend lying motionless beside the bed. "Oh my God, no." His anguish quickly turns to rage. "I'm going to find and kill whoever did this," he yells, storming through the house.

Her entire body is trembling with fear as she slides under the bed. Please don't let them find me, oh, please don't let them find me, she begs. Hearing the doorknob turn, she takes a deep breath and holds it. Boots clump towards her as she lay frozen on the cold, dusty floor.

Rushing over, Jimmy searches the closet. "Not in here." Turning, he walks toward the door.

She starts feeling dizzy, lightheaded from the lack of oxygen. It's almost over, she thinks, trying to hold on a little longer. Dust particles tickle her nose when he walks by. Not now, she begs. Too frightened to move, she wiggles her nose, hoping to relieve the sensation. Her eyes start watering trying to keep it contained. A few more seconds, she coaxes, watching him step into the hall. The urge becomes so strong that she can't hold it back any longer.

"I know you're in here somewhere," he yells, searching the room again.

She sneezes a second time.

Jimmy checks under the bed. "There you are." Grabbing her short brown hair, he pulls her out.

Reaching up, she swipes the blade across his arm. Blood gushes from his extremity.

"You bitch," he screams, grabbing a hold of his arm.

She runs towards the hall.

"I don't think so." Running across the room, he shuts the door.

"You better let me go," she warns, swinging the weapon around.

"You don't scare me." 

"I'll kill you like I did your friend, I swear I will," she hisses, lunging towards him.

Grabbing her wrist, he tries shaking the weapon out of her hand.

Bringing up her knee, she lodges it into his groin.

"You bitch," he screams, doubling over in pain. Grabbing his head, she slams his face into her knee and then shoves him to the floor. Turning, she darts towards the door.

Grabbing a hold of her ankle, he pulls her to the floor.

Her hand flies open causing the knife to spiral across the room.

Chapter 9
Dead Ends

By Mistydawn

Commotion continues all around them as Joe and Jerry try to come up with a new lead. With no evidence and questionable motives, the case is going nowhere fast.

Joe pops the lid from his Tylenol bottle and pours a few pills into his hand. Hearing all the racket, he shakes out a couple more.

"Have a headache, Boss?"

Joe swallows his pills. "I woke up with it." He glances at his cup. "This crap probably isn't helping any."

Jerry chuckles. "And you thought army coffee was bad."

Joe glances down at the row of papers lined across his desk. We're never going to solve this thing. He rubs his aching head.

Jerry watches his distraught partner agonize over the reports. Hopefully, my idea will ease his tension. "I think I have something, Boss."

"What's that?"

"Do you remember me telling you that Frank and Max were Jeanie's lovers?"

"Yeah." Joe continues to rub his temples.

"Well, Lenny and Bernie were too. So I'm thinking our killer is getting justice for Jennie's death instead of getting revenge."

"Why would he wait 14 years to do it, Jerr?"

"Maybe he was incarcerated until now or maybe something happened that sent him over the edge."

"That's possible."

"I'm looking up recent releases and comparing them to people Jeanie knew."

"I'll talk to Bernie's wife and see if she can tell us something." He sees their Captain walking towards him when he stands up.

"Hey guys, Max is awake, and a woman wants to see you. She says she might know something that'll help us with Max's stabbing." He hands Joe her report, then waves a woman over.

Joe watches a young lady dressed in scrubs walk to his desk. She has long chestnut hair that's drawn into a bun, fastened at the nape of her neck. Her makeup is applied sparingly enhancing her natural beauty. Joe then notices her wrinkle-free uniform and her freshly polished shoes.

"Please, have a seat," Joe says, scanning her report.

Melinda fidgets with her purse as Joe continues to read. She wasn't sure if what she's doing is against HIPAA laws that healthcare professionals are strictly adhered to. This has nothing to do with his health. Besides, anyone could've heard him, she reasons, trying to relax.

"Max woke up last night screaming, please stop Rachel, don't hurt me?"

 She nervously scoots to the edge of her seat then glances towards the door. No one will know it was me. "That's what he said. When I asked him about it, he said he didn't remember."

"How did he act afterward?" Jerry questions.

She turns towards the detective. "He was panicked at first. He wanted to know who I am, where he was and what happened to him."

"What happened after you told him?" Jerry asks.

 "He went right back to sleep."

Jerry scratches his head. "Why would Rachel want to harm him, Joe?"

"Who is Rachel?" Melinda questions. She glances between the two detectives.

"Thanks for helping us." Standing up, Joe walks towards her. "Call us if you think of anything else, no matter how meager it may seem." He hands her his card as he ushers her towards the door.

She looks at Joe and then Jerry. There may be more to this Rachel thing than I thought. "I will."

Jerry waits until she's out of earshot before sharing his thought. "Maybe Rachel asked for something, and he refused to give it to her, Boss?"

Joe recalls how they seemed to have a special bond all the times he saw them together. He then remembers how heartbroken she was when she ran over a raccoon. "I just don't see her as our killer, especially not her father. Besides, she isn't strong enough to inflict thirty-three wounds, is she?"

"She might be, Boss," Jerry says.

"Keep working on your new theory, I'll talk to Max and Pam. He grabs his jacket from the back of his chair.

"Detectives, I have some information on the tire impressions," Kirk says, walking towards them.

"Whatcha got?" Joe asks, taking a report from his hand.

"I ran their pattern through Tread mate and discovered that the brand name is Integrity, manufactured by Good Year. Wal-Mart and Worley are the only two shops that sell this brand of tire in town. So I'm having my assistant call them now."

"Good work, Kirk," Joe says, patting him on the back.

"Thank you, Sir." He smiles.


The killer is lying on the cold dusty floor, her legs pinned by her attacker. Using her arms, she scoots towards the door.

"You're not going anywhere," he says, jerking her back.

She rises up on her elbow and glares into his eyes. "I'm not going out like this." With all the strength she can muster, she raises her leg and kicks him with the heel of her boot. His head flies backward; blood splatters across the room.

Scrambling to her feet, she darts into the hall. His footsteps thud behind her.

"You'll pay for this, Rachel. God help me, you will." He wipes the blood from his nose. "I'll hunt you down and kill you. I swear I will!" He screams.

The cold wind whips her face when she throws the wooden door open. Wrapping her coat around herself, she tears out of the building; into a lurid man's arms. "Let go of me," she yells, struggling to break free.

Not wanting any part of what's going on, Lou lets her go.

She sidesteps around his vile body.

"Stop that bitch, Lou," Jimmy orders. He grabs the door casing for support.

Lou sees his battered friend standing at the entrance. His once white t-shirt is shredded and covered in blood. He has slash marks on his hands and across his tatted face.

"What happened to you?" Lou gasps.

"That damn wild woman, that's what," he yells, storming back inside.


She locks her car doors then searches for her keys. They have to be here somewhere. She checks her pockets again. I must've dropped them somewhere. She looks behind her but doesn't see them lying on the road. What if I lost them at the house? She glances in that direction.

The sky darkens, as heavy rain clouds cover the late morning sun.

"I would have to be stuck in horror land in the middle of a storm." She slams her hands against the steering wheel. "Now what am I going to do?" Remembering her spare key, she runs to the back of her car. She's searching for a small container when a deep voice asks:

"Are you looking for something?"

 Worried about his intentions, she places the key between her fingers, pointy side out. "I was looking for my spare key." She looks up to see a tall, handsome man standing over her.

"Here, let me help you," he offers, squatting next to her.

"I've already found it, but thanks." Standing up, she nervously backs away.

"I'm glad because I wouldn't want to see a sweet thing like you out in this storm." He reaches towards her. She moves away.

"I'm not going to hurt you, sweetheart." He strums his finger down the side of her face.

His soft tone, gentle touch, and luring cologne intoxicate her as she gazes into his eyes. Jerad made me feel this way.

He strokes her face then moves his finger across her delicate lips. The way Jerad, her lost love used to do.

 Her heart pounds wildly, lovestruck by this mysterious man. Is he my second chance at love?

"It's always a pleasure to kiss a woman lovely as you." He leans towards her, touching her lips to his. A lightning bolt brightens the sky. He hesitantly pulls away.

"You better get home before it pours." Wrapping his arm around her, he guides her to the car.

She gazes longingly into his eyes as he opens the door.

Leaning over, he kisses her again. "I hope I'll see you again." He grins.

His beautiful smile and baby blues melt her hardened heart. 

"You take care, now," he replies.

She lustfully gazes at the alluring man as he closes the Neon's door. If only .... she dreamily drives away.


Joe sees Pam in the yard when he pulls into her drive. "Hi, Pam."

"I know you probably think it's strange for me to be working in the garden so soon after his death but I feel closer to him when I'm out here." Wiping tears from her cheek, she continues, "I miss him so much." 

"I'm sure you do."

"We've been together for over twenty years. He was my childhood sweetheart, my one, and only love."

How could anyone love someone that beats them? "I'd like to ask you a few questions about Bernie."

"I'll help you any way I can." She sniffles.

Joe takes out his pen and paper. "Does Bernie have any enemies, someone who's mad at him?"

"No, Bernie gets along with everyone."

"Did he make someone mad at work?"

"He didn't mention it to me." She blows her nose.

Joe hesitantly moves to the next question. "I hate to ask, but it's routine, so please don't get mad," he says, hoping he won't upset her, the way he did Judy.

"I watch a lot of detective shows so I know what you're going to ask." Smiling weakly, she continues, "I babysit my grandkids on Friday nights. It gives their mom and dad alone time. Besides, I love having kids in the house. It's too quiet just Bernie and ...." She cries harder.

"It might do you some good to be with your family now."

"I think you're right." She sniffles. "Joe, I'm not mad at you. I know you're only doing your job."

"Thank you for the help. Pam, please go be with your family."

"I will," she replies, walking towards her house.


Rachel rushes home to change. I want to look halfway presentable when I visit dad. Choosing a nice outfit from her closet, she runs to the shower.

A hot bath will feel terrific after everything I've been through today. Taking off her stained clothes, she hides them with the others.

I have to get rid of these soon, she thinks, surveying the growing stack.

Chapter 10
Turning Point

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Everything between the ~~~ is flashbacks Everything between ---- is happening now.

Since Judy didn't tell him anything useful, Joe decides to try Max. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to talk to all three Webbs at once. Hopefully, someone will give me something. At this point, I'll be happy with anything they tell me. Joe sees a bunch of kids playing in the park when he drives by. I need to restore peace in this community for their sake. 

A child looks up and waves. The others follow suit.

Smiling Joe waves back. They won't end up in a killer's hands as long as I can help it.  Hearing his phone ring, Joe puts in on speaker.

"What's up, Captain?"

"There's been another stabbing on Miller Road; I need you over there right away."

"Another one already, doesn't the killer ever sleep?"

"It doesn't seem like it."

"Tell Jerry I'll be there in ten." Flipping on his overheads, he speeds down the road.

 Leaning back in her recliner, the killer gazes out her large picture window. That was one heck of a meeting and one hell of a dream. She smiles, taking a small sip of the steamy coffee. She dreamt their lovemaking was soft, sensual, feeding a desire from deep within, the way it was with Jerad. If only it could be. Looking into the clear blue sky, she starts thinking about her beloved.

Jerad wined and dined me, bought me fancy things, took me to exotic places. I felt like a princess.  

"I promise not to hurt you the way the others did," he'd reassure when she grew distant. Jerad held me close when my horrid memories returned. She feels his arms wrap around her; his cologne drifting through the air. You gave me hope, courage, taught me how to love again.

She suddenly remembers that horrific night he was taken away.


She and Jerad are walking arm in arm enjoying their moonlight stroll. The scent of spring flowers whisps through the breeze, increasing the romantic feel. Hundreds of stars are shining above, adding to the magical ambiance. 

"You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Jerad," she says, gazing into his eyes.

"No darling, you're the best thing that's ever happened to me." He brushes his lips against hers. "I don't want to spend another moment without you." Reaching into his pocket, he pulls out a small box then drops to one knee. "Will you marry me?"

Her eyes tear up. "I ...."

A group of thugs runs towards them with guns in hand.

"How sweet, too bad you won't be around to hear her answer." The man pulls the trigger. Jerad crumbles to the ground.

"No," she screams, collapsing on top of him. "Please don't leave me, Jerad, please don't leave." She bawls.

Two large arms pull her away. "You're coming with us." The gunman drags her to the car.

"Let me go, let me go," she screams, trying to fight off her attacker. 

"We should get a lot of money for you," he says, tossing her in his trunk.

When he realizes he can't get any money for her, he and his buddies use her for sexual pleasures instead.

"Might as well get some use out of you," the goon says, securing her to the bed.

Please let me live, oh, please let me live. I promise to take care of all the predators if you do, she silently prays.


I took care of every last one of them bastards like I'm going to do these guys.

Taking out a piece of paper, she scans through the names. It looks like Walter is next. She smiles, thinking about what she's going to do. Unlike the others, he got off by watching the girls perform degrading acts on each other. "I have special plans for you. When I'm done, everyone will know what a twisted pervert you truly are." She laughs.


Joe pulls up to a rundown colonial on the outskirts of town. This firetrap should've been condemned years ago. He sees a dozen just like it when he looks around. The entire area should be destroyed, he concludes, climbing out of his car. 

Joe sees officers trying to control the onlookers while forensics is dodging around, trying to get inside. "You need to get this crowd back," Joe orders, pushing through the mob.

"I'm trying, but they're not listening to me." 

Joe grabs the megaphone out of his hands. "Listen up, anyone who isn't behind the yellow tape in the next five seconds will take a trip to the county jail."

The crowd moves away from the door.

Satisfied, Joe hands the equipment back. "You have to be forceful with them; show them who's in charge."

"Like this? You heard the man; move it, move it, move it!"

"That's much better." Joe smiles, patting him on the back. 

Joe sees boarded windows, dirt embedded carpet and large holes in the walls when he steps through the door. Looking up, he notices the roof is caving in. It looks worse on the inside.

Jerry walks towards him. "Hey, Boss."

"What can you tell me, Jerr?"

"Our victim is Carlos Gomez. He's forty-two, has known ties with the drug cartel and possibly the mafia. He has several drug possession charges and he's on the registry for forcible rape."

"Is the signature the same?"

"He only has twenty stab wounds and no blunt force trauma to the head. This murder seems frenzied, unplanned unlike the other," Jerry finishes, walking towards their victim.

Joe sees the body in front of the mattress; his pants and underwear are past his knees.

"The only reason why pants are down that far is when someone is dressing, getting busy, or on the commode."

"Maybe he tries to get busy, but she didn't want it so she stabs him, and flees?" Jerry points to crumpled linen at the end of the bed.

"That's possible, considering his history. Or maybe our victim's girlfriend catches him cheating pulls him off her and stabs him. His mistress grabs her stuff and runs."

"That'd explain why he doesn't have any defense wounds. Kirk, can you come here a minute, please?" 

 "Yes, detective?"

"I want this mattress and bedding analyzed for fluids."

"I'll have someone get right on it, Sir."

"See if you can get DNA off his junk, too," Joe adds.

"Yes, Sir."

Joe turns towards the door. "Have all available officers canvas the neighborhood."

"Yes, Sir." The officers race out the door.

"Who called it in?"

"It was an anonymous tip, Boss, but ...."

Jeff walks towards them. "Detectives, the 911 call came from a payphone down the road, we're taking prints now. We're also looking at surveillance cameras around the area." He's been with the department for over twenty years and is the most utilized analyst on their force.

"I found the murder weapon in the back room." Kirk holds up a bloody knife.

"It's Benchmark's 14201 conspiracy knife. It's a favorite with sportsmen because of its mono lock system."

"Mono what?" Jerry questions, scratching his head.

"Mono lock system, see how its handle serves as a lock? That makes it more durable than other knives on the market. I'll find out who sells these and let you know."

"It looks like you've got everything under control. So I'll head to the hospital."

"See you at the station, Boss."

Kirk notices keys lying in the corner when he steps into the room. How did they slip out? Scooping them up, he tosses them in his pocket.


Jimmy is sitting at Lou's kitchen table in excruciating pain. A half-empty bottle in front of him. I might need something stronger than whiskey. He tips the bottle to his mouth. 

"I really think you should go to the hospital," Lou says, scanning the severity of his wounds.

"I can't afford that shit. Besides, how am I going to explain this to the doctor?" He points to his arm, then his stomach.

"You were mugged?"

"The cops will snoop around; ask a bunch of questions."

"How did you get tangled up with her anyhow?" Lou asks. Pouring peroxide on a rag, he dabs the wounds.

"I wanted to take care of Carlos' killer, a payback for what she did. Ouch, careful there, Lou." He winces from the pain.

"How does the girl who ran into me fit into all of this?"

"She's the bitch who sliced me." He slams his fist on the table, causing him more pain. "Damn cunt," he says, through gritted teeth.

"That tiny girl did this to you?" He chuckles.

"She's tougher than she looks, Lou." He polishes off the bottle.

"Our ferocious leader is beaten up by a little girl." He laughs.

"Just fix my damn arm already, will you." He sneers. 

"Whatever you say, you savage beast you." Having a sobering thought he stops. "Don't you think you should tell the police what happened? You know, stop the chaos before it begins."

"So they can pin his death on me, the way they do everything else?"

"I see your point. You're not going to let her get away with it, are you?"

"Oh no, that bitch is going to find out real soon that she's messing with the wrong man."


She sees Walter frantically searching his garage when she pulls into the drive. She then notices cars lined up on either side of the yard. You're about to take a permanent vacation from this.  "Hey, Walter, I'm wondering if you can look at my car, see why it's overheating," she says, walking towards him.

Walter glances up. "I'm so booked up, it'll be at least a week before I can look at it." Scooping up a wrench he darts across the room.

"You just gotta help me." She grabs his arm as he races by.

"I don't gotta do nothing, lady." He pulls his extremity away.

"You don't understand, my mom is in the hospital, and I have to go see her before it's too late," she cries. Taking a tissue from her pocket, she blows her nose. "Please mister, please fix my car," she begs.

He pictures his loving mother. He then recalls her wanting him close in her final days. "It's for your mama, huh?"

"Her doctor isn't sure how much time she has left." She cries harder.

"Stop your damn blubbering and I'll take a look."

I should get an award for that performance. "Thank you so much." Picking up a crowbar, she hides it behind her.

"What did you say it's doing again?" Walter asks, scanning the engine.

In one swift movement, she slams the crowbar into the back of his skull.


Chapter 11
Hidden Secrets

By Mistydawn

I feel like I just left this place. Rachel smells the overwhelming scent of antiseptic as she darts down the hospital's sterile hallway.

Her nursing career began fresh out of high school. A decision she often regrets. The long stressful hours and the mind-boggling workload wasn't what she pictured at all.

Rachel sees Bonnie and her dad cuddled up on the bed when she steps into the room. I hope I find love like that. She quietly turns around. A nurse rushes past her when she reaches the door.

"It's time for your medicine, Mr. Webb." 

"What?" Max sleepily replies, glancing towards her.

"I have your antibiotic, Sir. It'll help keep the infection down." She hands him a glass of water followed by a small container.

"Yes, of course." Sitting up, he reaches for them.

"I believe you have a visitor." She turns towards the door.

"Hi Dad, how are you feeling?" Rachel asks.

"I'm doing a lot better now I'm out of ICU." He looks at his nurse and smiles.

"Jan will take good care of you. Won't you pal?" Rachel puts her arm around her friend.

"I'll make sure he gets our first-rate service." She winks.

"Jan was telling me that you two aren't allowed in the unit anymore?"

An ornery smile creeps across Rachel's face. "Let's just say they didn't appreciate our sense of humor." She laughs, recalling their silly prank.

"They're a bunch of old fuddy-duddies anyhow. Aren't they, Rach?"

"They have no sense of humor at all." Rachel laughs again.

"I got to get back to work. See you tomorrow, Rach?"

"I'll be here."

Opening her eyes, Bonnie turns towards the voices. "When did you get here?"

Rachel glances at her watch. "I've been here a couple of hours."

"I haven't been asleep that long, have I?"

"You've been snoring the whole time I've been here."

"I don't snore." Bonnie protests, sitting up in bed.

"You did today," Rachel says, trying to keep a straight face.

"Really?" she asks, glancing at her husband.

Max laughs. "Don't let her fool you. She just got here."

"I wasn't snoring, was I?"

"No." Max chuckles.

"You're a spoilsport, Dad."

Max chuckles again. "What's this I've been hearing about you trying to ambush your sisters with a water gun?"

"I'd never do that," Rachel says, batting her eyes.

"Yeah, I bet." Max smiles.

"Your dad is challenging us to a water fight when he gets better."

"Bring it on, old man."

"Old man, really?"

"That's what I said. You're too slow and decrepit to win against me," Rachel says.

"You're going to eat those words, little girl."

"You just go right ahead and try, gramps."

"Gramps, old man, Oh, you're going down."

"I'll be sure to move slow; give you a fighting chance." She starts running and talking in slow motion. "Can you keep up with this, Dad?"

Bonnie laughs.

"You're not one bit funny, Rachel."

"I think she is." Bonnie laughs again.

"Whose side are you on, Bonnie?" Max asks, feeling betrayed.

"I'm on the winner's side."

"That'll be me." Rachel drapes her arm around her stepmom.

"We'll just see about that."

Joe clears his throat in the doorway.

"Hi, Joe," Bonnie replies.

"What's going on in here?" Joe questions, stepping through the door.

"Max just challenged Rachel to a water gun fight."

"The old man is going to lose," she says, trying to contain a smile.

"It's more like baby girl is about to be schooled." Max smiles.

"Keep dreaming old man." Rachel laughs.

Joe snickers. "I need to ask each of you a few questions. It'll only take a minute."

"Can I go first? Today is my only day off and I have a lot of errands to run." Rachel quickly explains.

"We're not going anywhere," her father says.

"Would you care to step into the hallway?" Rachel follows Joe out of the room.

"How are your feelings towards Max?"

"He's a wonderful dad; takes real good care of us."

"Do you have any resentment towards him; for what you went through as a child?"

"How can I blame him when he didn't know about me?"

I didn't hear any anger or resentment in her voice. Her body language didn't change either. So she's either a talented actress or she's telling the truth. If she didn't hurt Max, chances are she didn't hurt the others either. I better ask a few more questions just to be sure. "Can anyone verify your whereabouts between 12:00 and 12:30 this morning?"

"Bonnie will tell you I was asleep on my couch."

Seeing she's getting nervous, he decides to push harder. "Where were you the day before yesterday, around lunchtime?"

"I was at work. Can I go now? I have a lot to do."

"Yeah, go ahead."I need to check her time card, just to be sure, he thinks, watching her rush down the hall.


Pete and his wife live in an old two-story Victorian off of highway 21. Their place has a tranquil feel to it, with its beautiful green lawn and numerous old oak trees encompassing the entire house. Jerry notices their colorful flower gardens on either side of the porch when he gets closer. They should be in the landscaping business. He continues to look around.

"Hey Jerry," Pete says, climbing off his ladder.

"Hi Pete, how are you holding up?"

"Alright, I guess. I'm doing chores around the house trying to keep my mind occupied."

"I understand that." Taking out his notepad, Jerry continues, "Last night you said that Bernie hits on the women?"

Pete chuckles. "Yeah, but it's all for fun."

"Can you think of anyone who has a grudge against him? Maybe a guy whose girl he flirted with, got a little too friendly?"

"Everyone knows he's a little slow and that he'll do anything for a laugh. So no one takes him seriously."

"Do you know if he's ever had an affair?"

"Bernie would never step out on his wife."

"Did he and Jennie ever have a romantic encounter?"

"I don't think you'd call it that. It was more like an occasional booty call, back in grade school. Then Bernie met Pam and Jeanie was history."

They started early. "Do you know Frank Walsh, Louis Gomez, or Carlo's Rodrigues?"

"They'd come in at least 3 times a week."

"Is Bernie acquainted with them?"

"They used to pal around a lot."

"What about Max?"

"He's been in my bar a couple of times, stayed long enough for a quick drink."

Jerry's phone rings. Taking it out of his pocket he looks at his caller ID. "Thanks for your help."

"Sure, no problem."

Jerry lifts the phone to his ear. "Don't tell me there's been another murder. I'll see you in a few." Hopping in his car, he speeds away.


After greeting the detectives, Jeff begins explaining what they'd found. "Walter was lying face up in the dirt when we arrived on scene. Our ME says he has thirty-three stab wounds to his upper torso and blunt force trauma to the back of his head."

"What's his time of death?"

"According to the dried blood, body temp, and amount of decomposition, I'd say he's been there since noon. The perpetrator added a few personal touches. I'm not sure if it's to humiliate him, or to send us a message." Jeff points to Walters's half-naked body. "A dress was draped over him." Jeff lifts up a small clear package. A light pink garment is inside.

Walter is wearing a blond pigtailed wig. Each side tied with large red bows. His lips are perfectly colored with bright red lipstick, and his cheekbones are accented with a light pink blush. He has tiny scribbled across his lower abdomen with an arrow pointing towards his manhood.

Tiny is right. "Since our attacker added so many details, I'd say it's a little of both. See if you can trace the wig, makeup, and dress. Be sure to check his body for prints," Joe instructs.

"Will do, Sir."

"I was told we have a witness?" 

"His neighbor, Mrs. Bennet, I'll get her for you." He walks away.

"I don't know any man who applies makeup that well, Jerry," Joe says, inspecting the body.

"Me either, Boss." They see an older woman heading towards them.

"Hopefully she can give us something."

"I hope so, Boss." Jerry glances across the yard, looking for clues.

"I heard you're a witness to the crime," Joe begins.

"I didn't see the crime, but I did see Walter's only visitor come in and leave."

Joe takes his pen and notebook out of his pocket. "Can you describe him for me, please?"

"It was a young lady. She has short brown hair and a pale complexion."

"Do you know the make of her car?"

"Yes, it's a 1990 dark blue Dodge Neon. My son has a car just like it."

"What time did you see her?"

"She came in around 11 and left about an hour later."

"Can you remember anything else?"

"A license plate number would be helpful?" Jerry adds.

"It was an Arkansas plate, but I didn't get the number."

"Can you think of anyone who'd want to hurt him? Maybe he mentioned being threatened?"

"I can't believe anyone would want to hurt that dear man." She wipes tears from her cheek.

"If you think of anything else call me, alright?" Joe hands her a card.

"I will." She tearfully turns towards her house.

"I ran the description and there are a few people who own a1990 dark blue neon." Jeff hands his tablet to Joe.

Joe quickly scans the page. "Start narrowing down this list. Jerry, I want you to find out all you can about Walter. I'll talk to Mr. Crandall and Mrs. Brown."

Chapter 12
Interpreting Clues

By Mistydawn

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

The killer rushes across town to her last errand of the day. Roy was the worst perv of all; so I think it's only fair that he suffers a lot more than the others. Pulling into the alley, she turns off her car and waits.

It's finally time to close shop, Roy thinks, happy the day is finally over. He used to love his business in the beginning until his customers started dwindling away. Since his remaining patrons seldom visit the days tend to be long and lonely. Locking the front door he heads to the fridge. I need a little pick me up before facing my wife and kids. Grabbing the six pack he heads towards the shed.

The killer is waiting just outside the back door when the metal lock clicks open. Raising the crowbar to her shoulder, she takes a large stance. I'm ready for you this time, Roy. She suddenly recalls his brawny physique and his violent reputation. I only have one shot so I better make it count. She tightens her grip on the weapon. Small beads of sweat form on her brow as she nervously shifts her weight. She grasps her weapon tighter then licks her parched lips.

The back door slowly squeaks open. She sees Roy step outside. One more step. She swings her crowbar, smacking him in the back of his head.


Jerry is sitting at his desk, trying to make sense of the crime. Why did she leave clues with Walter, but not with the rest of her victims? Maybe she's trying to tell us something specific about him, but what? Is he secretly gay, or a cross-dresser? Perhaps Walter hurt little girls in the past, or he threatened to hurt them. Maybe he's into kiddy porn? Frustrated, he slams his fist on his desk. Emma's report flies across the room.

I think I'll work on this for a while. Picking up the sheet of paper, he reads the information again.

"Whatcha working on, Jerr?" Joe asks, sitting down at his desk.

"I found two unsolved cases in Gulfport that resemble ours. Here's the information." Jerry hands him the paper.

Joe skims through it. "Isn't that where Emma use to live?"

"They occurred the same time she was there too. I checked Emma's work history, hoping I can find her that way. It only shows one place of employment, a small roadside diner in Gulfport. I asked for a description to confirm it's the same person. The owner said Emma is a 45-year-old redhead. Our Emma is twenty-two with light brown hair."

"So we have a case of identity theft on top of six murders?"

"It looks that way, Boss."

"Let's start working on the cold cases, see what we can find."


Roy is lying on the ground, drifting in and out of consciousness. His hands and feet are bound with zip ties, then secured to the shed's metal frame.

"I warned you that I'd get revenge," she yells, standing over him.

"Please don't do this. I beg you, please, stop."

"You didn't listen to us, so why should I listen to you?" She lifts the knife above her head.

"I'm sorry Rachel, I'm so sorry for everything I've ever done."

"I'm not Rachel. I'm her older, evil version, your worst nightmare. The bitch that's going to make you pay." She stabs him in the chest. She jerks her weapon out and then thrusts its blade in deeper. "I'm the one who's going to send you to where you belong." She forces her knife into his chest again.

"Please lady, please stop," he begs, gasping for air.

"You didn't listen when we begged you. No, you'd force your wrinkled pecker in deeper, making it hurt worse, or you'd tighten the ropes until our hands turned blue." She jabs her knife in again. Pulling it out, she stabs him over and over. "If we gagged on your junk, you'd thrust yourself further into our throats. If we cried, you'd slap us, yelling shut up and take it. You didn't care that you're hurting us; that you're ruining our lives forever. I bet you care now don't you, Roy? Don't you?" His head falls to the right. She grabs his hair and turns it to face her. Stooping just above him, she glares into his eyes. "I hope you rot in hell, you sick son of a bitch." She shoves his head sideways then stabs him one last time.


Jerry sees Joe staring at his computer with a perplexed look on his face. Maybe this will help.

"I've been working on our killer's profile." He picks up a piece of paper off his desk. "I figure our killer is in her mid-twenties to mid-thirties with above average intelligence. I think she watches her victims closely for months. She figures out their routine and then plans her strategy accordingly. Because her locations are scattered, I'd say she isn't a stranger to the community. Since she stabs her victims thirty-three times, I figure that number has some significance."

"That really narrows down my list," Joe says, searching his desk.

"What are you looking for, Boss?"

"I can't find my pen anywhere," he says, picking up a stack of papers.

"Here, take mine." Smiling, Jerry hands it to him.

"Where did you get a fancy pen like this?" he asks, inspecting the pricey gadget.

"I found it at a little shop off the square."

"I'd like to get me a couple of these." Joe feels a small surge run through his arm when he pushes the top. Joe tosses the shock pen across the room. "Damn you, Jerry."

"I told you I'd get even, Boss." Jerry laughs.

"Your days are numbered, Bud," he says, shaking his fist.

Jerry laughs again.


Stabbing Roy felt good. It was a retribution for all her childhood trauma, the welts and bruises he left on her young frail body. For the horrid acts, she was made to perform. A payback for all the nights she lay crying in her bed. Revenge for having to live her childhood in fear and uncertainty. She feels like each murder is giving her a little more control and hopes she'll be free from all the horror when the last perv takes his final breath. 

The killer sits quietly in her car a safe, visible distance from Roy's shop.

"It's going to be a blast watching you guys chase your tails. Since you idiots don't have an inkling about what's going on; I purposely left evidence behind. Clues telling you why I'm killing these men; exposing them for the perverts they are, and hints as to who is committing these crimes. I left evidence on Walter too, but you're so brainless you didn't figure it out."

She sees police cars pull into the alley. "Lights, camera, action." She grabs a beer from the sack and pops it open. "Got you boys hopping today don't I?" She lifts up her beer in a toast. "This is just the beginning." Taking a sip, she toasts again.

"Guess what boys? I'm the last person you'll ever suspect. That's what makes my crimes so perfect. Six perfect murders and you boys aren't even close to solving this case." Realizing her can is empty, she throws it on the floor. "Glad you bought a six pack Roy because I have a feeling this is going to be one long show." 


"Give us a rundown, Kirk," Joe instructs.

"The trash man found him lying face up in the alley twenty minutes ago. He has thirty-three stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the back of his head."

"Is there any evidence?"

"Come see for yourself." The three walk towards the body.

Roy has on a blond pigtailed wig, lipstick, and blush, just like Walter. Unlike Walter, he's wearing a pinafore over his clothes.

Joe notices something dangling from his mouth as he gets closer. "What's that?" he asks, stooping over their victim.

Jerry bends down. "It looks like his penis, Boss."

"Our ME said it was cut off premortem."

"That had to hurt." Joe grimaces.

"I can't even imagine the pain," Jerry adds, covering his crotch.

"So our perpetrator is toying with us by leaving clues behind." Joe circles the body again. "I suppose he knows Jennie?"

"He was a prime suspect in her death."

"Six damn homicides, one attempted homicide and we still don't have a lead."

"There's a partial fingerprint and a weapon from the Gulfport murders. I had the lab run a search before I left."

"You check with forensics, and I'll keep working on the list of Neons."


Rachel's time card cleared her of the murders, confirming what Joe thought. Then her name shows up on their list, leaving him guessing again. Anyone could've clocked her in, I suppose. Who would do that and why? Joe pulls up to her apartment.

Her neighbor's door creaks open as he climbs the squeaky steps.

"Can I help you?" Randy asks, stepping into the hall.

"I'm Joe with the Berryville PD. I'm here to see Miss Webb," he says as he continues up the stairs.

"She isn't home. She left around 10:00 this morning."

So you're the nosy neighbor she always complains about. "Did she say where she's going?" 

"Rachel said she had a few errands to run and that she was going to see her dad at the hospital."

His meddling might come in handy. Joe pulls a notebook out of his pocket. "Did she say when she'll be home?" 

"She has to work tonight, so she won't be home until midnight."

"Do you know what time she came in yesterday?"

"She got home the same time I did, a little after five."

"How did she act?"

"Like herself."

"Was there anything different about her appearance?"

Randy thinks for a second. "I didn't notice anything unusual."

"Did she leave anytime during the night?"

"No." Seeing Joe's look, Randy quickly explains, "There are squeaky floorboards everywhere; so I can always tell when she leaves."

"She still owns a Dodge Neon, right?"

"That heap of junk costs her more money in repairs than what it's worth."

"Thanks for the help." Joe starts thinking about what her neighbor said as he walks to his car. She either knows how to get around squeaky floorboards, or she's not our killer.


It's been a long trying day. Between tire impressions, the murder weapon, surveillance tapes, and numerous fingerprints; Kirk is more than ready to go home. He pulls keys out of his pocket as he walks to his car.

These aren't mine. Finding his set, he glances at the others again. I must've picked these up at the crime scene. He runs back inside.

Chapter 13
Discovering the Truth

By Mistydawn

Kirk ran the fingerprints from the keychain through AFIS but nothing popped in their system. So he decides to try his dad's old pal at the Chrysler dealership.

"How are you, Kirk?" Paul asks as Kirk steps through the door.

"Fine, Sir."

"That's good to hear. Are your parents doing alright?"

"Yes, Sir, they're fine."

"Good, good. What can I do for you today?"

"I'm trying to find out who lost these keys. So I'm hoping you can tell me what kind of car these came from; help narrow down my search." He hands the set over.

"They look like they're from an older Neon." He takes a closer look. "Wait, I've seen these in our repair shop just last week. Running behind the desk, Paul starts flipping through papers. "Yes, here it is, those keys belong to Rachel Webb. She's alright isn't she?"

"She's fine, just misplaced her keys is all. Do you have her address by chance?"

"Let me get it for you."


Kirk starts thinking about the evidence on his way to the station. I can't believe the sweet little Rachel that I know and love is our serial killer. What about all the killings in Gulf port? Did she do those too? Maybe they aren't connected like we originally thought. With all their similarities how could they not be? Did she kill Emma and her Uncle? What would make her start killing? Does she have psychological issues or a brain tumor? Wouldn't someone notice a change in behavior? This doesn't make sense. He runs back to the lab determined to find answers. This only leads to more confusion. Maybe Joe or Jerry can help figure it out. With new evidence in hand, Kirk runs upstairs.

 Seeing the lad search their squad room, the captain walks towards him. "Who are you looking for, Kirk?"

"The detectives, are they around?" he asks, glancing around the room.

"They're still in the field. Can I help you with something?"

"I found keys at Carlos Rodriguez's crime scene. They belong to Rachel Webb."

"Are you sure they're hers?"

"I'm positive, Sir. The tire tracks at Frank Walsh's crime scene matches ones she bought for her Neon three months ago."

"I believe you've given us enough for a warrant. Great work, Kirk." Hearing footsteps coming towards him, the captain turns around.

"But, Sir I ...." Kirk begins. 

Joe interrupts. "I figured out who our killer is, Captain. It's Rachel Webb."

"Kirk just told me."

Joe gives the lad an inquisitive look.

"The evidence just came back, but I ...."

Jeff steps up beside them. "I've searched the surveillance tape from Carlos' crime scene, and found three people leaving the house; a brown haired woman and two men. I can't get a positive ID on the lady, but the two men are Jimmy and Lou Martinez."

"I'll have an officer pick up the brothers. Joe, I want you and Jerry to visit Miss Webb."

"Yes, Sir," Joe says.

"But I..." Kirk tries again.

Jeff cuts in. "I have a few more things, Sir. We found a single fiber on all our victims. It's off a blue and white flannel shirt manufactured by Old Glory, and our perpetrator is left handed. We can tell because the stab wounds angle slightly to the right."

"You both did an excellent job. I will be sure to let your boss know how well you did."

"But I ...." Kirk says. His coworkers walk away.


I'm glad Melinda agreed to finish my shift. Holding her aching stomach, Rachel heads towards her bathroom. Someone pounds on her door. Who could that be at this hour?

She sees two officers standing in the hall when she glances through her peephole. She anxiously opens the door. "Can I help you?"

"Rachel Webb you're under arrest for murder. Turn around, place your hands on your head." Joe instructs.

"I don't understand." 

Joe turns her around and places cuffs on her wrists. "You have the right to remain silent, anything..."

"What's going on out here?" Bonnie asks, sleepily walking out of the bedroom.

"They're arresting me for murder," Rachel cries.

"I'll call Max's attorney have him meet us at the station."


The killer is surfing through channels, trying to find something to watch. Her dinner is cooling on a tray in front of her. I wonder if my work will make the evening news? It should, after everything I've done. Here it is. She turns up the volume.

"There's been a rash of murders in the Berryville area over the past few days. Thanks to the detective's hard work, her killing spree is coming to an end." A picture of two officers escorting a suspect flashes on her screen.

She springs off her couch. The tray tips over; her plate flies across the room. "You've got it all wrong! Rachel isn't the Widow Maker, I am, I am, you stupid morons." She sees a teary suspect being tossed into a squad car. "I'm not letting Rachel take the heat for this. She's been through too much already." Grabbing her keys, she runs out the door.


Joe is sitting in their interrogation room across from Rachel. Jerry is by the door waiting for his cue. The two agreed to use their bad cop, good cop routine to get her to talk.

"You're the only one who visited Walter today and now he's dead." Joe begins, glaring into her eyes.

"Walter is dead?" Placing her hands over her face, she begins to cry.

She's sure putting on one hell of a show, Joe thinks.

"Not another word, Rachel." Mr. Carlton instructs, storming into the room. "I hope you're not questioning my client without her attorney present," he says, slamming his briefcase on the table.

"I was just telling Rachel about the evidence we have against her and how she's going away for a very long time."

"I'd like to speak to my client in private, please."

Joe and Jerry step into the hall.

Jerry sees Rachel sobbing when he glances back in the room. "I just don't think she's good for this, Boss."

"How do you explain all the forensics? The car, tire tracks, keys, the bloody clothes, and the flannel shirt? It's all adding up. When the rest comes in, we'll have enough to convict without a confession."

"Wouldn't she transfer blood all over her car?"

"She could've cleaned up before she drove away."

"If she's our killer, why did she use her right hand to sign her name?"

"Maybe she's using her opposite hand to throw us, or she could be ambidextrous."

"I still can't see her as our murderer, Boss. Besides, she's crying, and most psychopaths don't show empathy for what they've done." He looks in the room again.

"Those are crocodile tears, Jerry."

"What's her motive?"

"Revenge, for the way they treated her as a child."

The interrogation door opens. "She's ready to talk." Mr. Carlton informs them, stepping back in the room.

"Let me take the lead this time, Boss."

"Go for it."

Jerry starts pacing in front of her, trying to figure out how to begin. Sliding into a chair in front of her, he looks her in the eyes. "We know how those horrible men used to treat you and that you're doing this to get revenge. I'd want revenge too, a lot of people would." He takes her hands in his. "I'm sorry this happened to you and sorrier we didn't do anything to stop it, I really am. I believe if we'd done our job, in the beginning, none of this would be happening right now."

Rachel bursts into tears.

"We let you down Rachel, we really did. That's why it's so important for us to make it right this time." Looking her in the eyes, Jerry continues. "We want to help you get justice, but you have to help us, help you." 

Rachel springs up from her chair. "OK, OK, they did terrible things to me, to all of us, but I didn't kill those men, I swear I didn't," she cries.

"They deserve to die, every last one of them for the way they treated you," Joe says.

She glares into Joe's eyes. "I'd love to beat all those sons of bitches; make them cry, the way they did me. Laugh in their faces when they beg for mercy as I hit them again, and again." She stomps back and forth across the room. "I thought of so many ways I could torture them; make them suffer to their death. Dreamed what it'd feel like to finally be free of the horror." She continues to pace the floor.

"So you tracked them down and killed them for what they did to you."

"I wanted to, I really did, but I just don't have the guts." She cries harder.


Floyd shuffles to his car after a long hectic night at work.

It seems like every machine in that place broke tonight. If that wasn't stressful enough, the supervisors decide to take turns screaming at me, because I wasn't fixing them fast enough. It wouldn't hurt the supervisors to get off their lazy asses and help once in a while. God forbid the high and mighty get their prissy hands dirty, or break a sweat. The team they have me working with don't know their asses from a hole in the ground.

"Where are you going, Floyd?" the killer questions.

"It's none of your damn business," he mouths, picking up his pace.

She jumps out of the darkness as he reaches the side of his truck. "You're going to hell," she yells, swinging the crowbar around.

Chapter 14
Running for Freedom

By Mistydawn

Joe sees the captain waiting for him when he steps out of their interrogation room.

"Rachel is still claiming she's innocent," Joe says, scratching his head, trying to figure out how that's possible.

"With a performance like that, I almost believe her."

"Me too, Captain."

"Jimmy and Lou are waiting for us. I'll take Lou, you take his brother." He points across the hall.

Joe walks in to see Jimmy pacing back and forth.

"What are you trying to pin on me this time, Detective?" he questions when Joe steps into the room.

"I want to ask you a few questions about Carlos' murder."

"I don't know nothing about no damn murder."

"Really, because we have security footage that shows you two leaving Carlos' house twenty minutes before his body was discovered." Intimidatingly walking towards him, Joe continues, "I figure you have two choices, Jimmy. You can either tell us what happened or take your chances with what we find. Since my crew already thinks you did it; I doubt they'll work too hard to prove otherwise."

"That's the way it always is. You can't figure out who did it, so you pin it on me."

"You put yourself on our radar when you started hanging with that gang."

"I ain't hanging with no damn gang. I'm way too cool for them punk ass losers."

Joe raises his brow. "Is that so?"


"I'll be sure to tell them what you said when I take you to holding. Come on, Mr. cool shit, let's go." Joe grabs his cuffs and leads Jimmy towards the door.

"Wait, wait."

Joe stops.

"Lou and I didn't kill Carlos, I swear we didn't." Nervously licking his lips he continues, "There was a girl in Carlos' house. She's the one who killed him, not us." Jimmy notices a skeptical look on Joe's face. "She tried to kill me too." He lifts up his shirt. "See."

"Why didn't you call the police?"

"I knew you'd try to pin it on me."

"I think you're making the whole thing up." Joe drags Jimmy to the door.

"Lou can tell you I didn't do it. He saw her, he knows it wasn't me."

"He saw her too?"

"She ran past him as he was coming up the stairs."

"Can you describe the girl that you two supposedly saw?" He takes a notebook out of his pocket.

"She has short brown hair, green eyes, a light complexion."

"How tall do you think she is?"

"She's around 5'5, a skinny little thing. Figure she's one of those meth heads."

"Can you pick her out of a lineup?"

"I'd know that face anywhere."

"Sit tight a minute."

"Like I have a choice." He lifts the handcuffs in the air.

"I can always take you to holding."

"No, that's ok."

I thought so. Smiling, Joe walks out the door.


"Freeze, police!" a voice yells as the killer pulls her knife out of the bloody corpse. She turns to sees a security officer standing behind her with his gun drawn.

"Drop your weapon," the officer orders.

She doesn't move.

"I said drop it, now," he repeats, cocking his gun.

He won't shoot in a crowd. She dodges amongst a group of employees heading to their cars.

Realizing what's going on, the workers scream as they scatter in different directions.

"Stop or I'll shoot," he yells, darting towards her.

I've got to get out of here. She takes off for the woods. She hears a loud splash then feels icy water seep inside her shoes. How did I end up at the creek? Glancing back she realizes he's just a few feet away. I have to do something quick. She sees a rugged hill to her left, water in front of her and to her right. There's only one way out of this. She takes a deep breath then submerges herself into the cold murky water. 


"I want you to look at each of the women closely and then tell me if you see the girl that was at Carlos' house." A side door opens. The women come out in single file, a number sign in hand.

"I always wondered what it looks like from this side," Jimmy says, glancing around the small enclosure. "I thought it'd be different somehow, bigger, a little fancier."

"I need you to concentrate on the girls, Jimmy."

He glances through the glass. "They're all hot little mamas." He smiles, thinking what he'd like to do with them.

Joe slaps the back of his head.

"What was that for?"

"You're here to pick out a murderer not a date, moron."

"OK, OK."

"I want you to look at each girl closely."

Jimmy smiles. "Believe me I am."

Joe lifts up his hand; Jimmy dodges out of the way.

"Do you want it again?"


"I suggest you straighten up then."

"Jeez, man." He studies each girl carefully for a few more minutes.

Joe impatiently glances at his watch. "Do you see her?"

"Can I see number four closer, please?"

Joe gives him a skeptical look.

"I think it's her, honest."

Leaning towards the mic, Joe presses a small red button. "Number four please step forward."

Rachel steps up to the glass.

"Yep, that's her, I'd recognize her anywhere."

Joe taps on the mirror.


"What is it now?"

"The lady I saw looked just like her only older."

"How much older?"

"Late forties I'd say."

"Are you sure?"


Joe opens the door. "Officer, take him back to the room."

"Yes, Sir."

"That's two for two," the captain says as they step out of the room.

"At least now we know that we're looking for someone who looks like Rachel only older."

"Could it be one of her relatives?"

"As far as I know, all her older relations are dead. I wonder what would happen if forensics did an age progression on Rachel's photo and then ran it through facial recognition."

"It's worth a shot, Sergeant."

Jerry walks towards them. "Captain, Sergeant, dispatch just called, said someone was murdered at Tysons."


Patrol is busy taping off the crime scene when Joe and Jerry pull up to the scene.

"Who's the first to respond?" Jerry asks.

"I was, Sir," Kirk replies.

"I found Lloyd Miller lying face up in the dirt by his truck. He was hit in the head then stabbed forty times."

"Is there any evidence, or witnesses?"

"I found fingerprints and skin tissue on the crowbar. I'm having Jeff run them now."

"Are there any witnesses?"

"One, Sir, His name is Mark Thomas. He's the one who called it in." He points to a man standing nearby.

The detectives walk towards him. "Tell me what happened tonight," Joe begins.

"I see a security guard running across the parking lot as I'm heading to my truck. He tells me to call 911 then takes off towards the woods. That's when I see Lloyd lying on the ground. I run over to check on him, but he was already dead."

"What time did this happen?"

"Around one."

"When did you last see the victim alive?"

"12:30. He storms out of the building saying he's going to get drunk."

"Does he drink a lot?"

"Not usually, but tonight was an exceptionally bad night."

"Bad how?" Joe takes a notebook out of his pocket.

"All of the machines in the building broke down on us."

"So you work alongside him?"

"I've been a part of his team for over ten years."

"Did he argue with anyone tonight?"

"He had a heated debate with one of the supervisors."

Joe looks up from his paper. Now we're getting somewhere. "What happened there?"

"The supervisor gets in Lloyd's face and starts ordering him around. I thought Lloyd was going to lose it, but he pushes the mouthy jerk and walks away."

"When did this happen?"

"It's right at midnight. Lloyd never did fix his machine. He said, let smartass fix it himself."

"Who's the Supervisor?"

"Wilson Reed, he runs line six."

"I want to talk to him, please."

"I'll get him." Mark heads towards the building.

"Joe, we found a fiber from a flannel shirt. It looks to be identical to the ones we found on the other victims. I'll be able to tell you more, once I get it to the lab."

"Ok, thanks, Kirk." Joe turns to Jerry with a puzzled look on his face.

"Why are there forty stab wounds this time? Why didn't she leave clues, like she did the last two and this attack seems frenzied not planned like her others."

"Could it be a copycat killer, Boss?"

"Then why did forensics find the same type of fiber?"

"Maybe our perpetrator went ballistic because he hurt her more than the others?"

"That's possible, I guess."

"I'll go talk to his line, while you talk to Wilson, Boss."

"You wanted to see me?" Wilson asks, watching the other detective walk away.

"I heard you had it out with Lloyd tonight." Joe begins.

"We argued about fixing my machine. The damn asshole purposely fixed all of the machines in this building, but mine."

"I bet that made you mad."

"It did, and I told him so too. The cocky son of a bitch pushes me and then flips me off as he walks away. I went straight to the office and reported him."

"Did you see him anytime after that?"

"No, it's a good thing too!"

Joe raises his eyebrows at his comment. Would Wilson sneak out and murder him, then sneak back in the building? How could he, if the officers are chasing the criminal towards the woods? He could've doubled back. Wouldn't he have a lot of blood splatter on him? Maybe he cleaned up. Did he have enough time? "Can anyone verify your whereabouts between 12:30 and 1?"

"I spent most of the night fixing my damn machine. My entire line can verify that."

Jerry steps up beside him. "I talked to his workers. They said Wilson has been on the line all night."

"Thanks, Wilson."

"We need to talk to their security, see if they can tell us anything."

Kirk walks towards them. "Detectives, Jeff just called said a hit came back on the DNA."

Joe excitedly turns towards him. "Who is it, Kirk?"

"It belongs to Jeanie McCarthy."

"Rachel's real mom, that Jeanie McCarthy?"

"That's what he said."

"How can that be when she's been dead for years?"


Chapter 15
A Break in the Case

By Mistydawn

I want to apologize to my readers. I promised this would be the last chapter, but it was so long I had to split it up. I promise the ending will be well worth the wait.
I want to thank all my devoted readers. Your help and support mean the world to me, take care.

 Joe sees Jerry working at his desk when he walks into the squad room. He then notices all the unoccupied desks that surround him. It won't stay quiet for long. Enjoying this rare moment of solitude a few seconds longer, he plops his things on his desk.

"Morning, Boss." Jerry smiles, glancing up from his screen.

Joe looks up at the clock. "You're here early, Jerr."

"I never left this place."

"Why didn't you go home last night?"

"I figured I'd stay in our bunks save me a little travel time, catch a few more z's."

"Living closer to town would save you a lot of time, a ton of expense and wear and tear on your car."

"I know it would, Boss, but that house holds so many precious memories, I just don't think I can part with it, at least not yet." He starts to recall all the fun times he and his family shared. Why did gangers have to shoot them too? It just isn't fair, it's not fair. Jerry tears up.

"Those memories will be stored up here no matter where you go." Joe taps the top of Jerry's head.

"It won't be the same, Boss."

I'm not sure I could leave our family home after such a devastating loss. "I understand, Bud, I really do." He pats Jerry on the back.

"Thanks, Joe." He wipes tears from his cheek.

"Has forensics found anything useful?"

"Just DNA from the crowbar."

"They're still claiming it's Jeanie's, correct?"

"They ran it twice to be sure, on the flip side of that, vital records have her death certificate on file."

"How can a dead woman be our murderer? That just doesn't make sense." Joe plops down at his desk.

"It would if she has a twin."

Joe springs forward. "Jeanie has a twin?"

"Her name is Sheri."

Joe tries to recall what Rachel had told him about her family history. "Sheri, Sheri, she's Emma's mom, right?"

"That's correct, Boss."

Joe scratches his head. "I thought she died too."

"Everyone assumed she was dead, but her body was never recovered."

"So Sheri comes back and kills these men for what they did to her daughter?"

"That's what I'm thinking, Boss. I have an APB out on her and her car. I've informed public transportation to be on the lookout. Kurt and his crew are calling motels in the near vicinity, and we're increasing police presence."

"Great work, Jerry."

"Thanks, Boss." Jerry smiles.


Rachel is walking down the stairwell when her neighbor's door creaks open. I was hoping he wasn't home. Maybe I can still avoid him if I hurry. Hustling across the lobby, she reaches for the door.

"I'm glad you're alright," he says, stepping in the hall.

Her hand freezes on the knob. I was so close to freedom, she thinks, glancing out at the bright morning sun. OK, I'll be polite, say a few words, and go. She slowly turns around. "Why wouldn't I be?"

"I saw the police escorting you out your door."

Not wanting everyone to know her business, she hurries up the stairs. "Oh that, it's all just one big misunderstanding." She laughs, twirling back around.

"What kind of misunderstanding?"

I should've known he wouldn't let me get away that easy. She turns to face him. "They thought I was the Berryville widow maker. Me, can you believe it?" She laughs.

"They thought you killed all those men? That's totally insane." Randy chuckles.

"Tell me about it. Then, after a brutal interrogation, they have the nerve to ask for my help."

"Someone needs to step in, help them with this case. Especially if they're desperate enough to believe that you're a killer."

"I know, right?" Rachel laughs.

"I hope you told them where to go."

"My lawyer threatened to file a lawsuit if they didn't leave me alone."

"I bet the detectives were more than happy to let you go then."

"They even held the door for me." Rachel glances at her watch. "I hate to cut this short, but I have a lot to do before work."

"Later, Rachel."

"Later, Randy." She sees Jerry standing in the doorway when she turns to leave. What does he want now?

"We need to have a little talk, Rachel."

"I have nothing left to say to you or anyone else in your damn department," she says, walking towards the entrance.

Jerry blocks the door. "You really need to hear this; it could mean a matter of life or death."

Rachel glances at the door and then her watch. What I wouldn't give to be outside about now. "I'm in a bit of a rush." She tries to sidestep around him; Jerry steps in her way.

"We believe your Aunt might be our murderer."

"My Aunt, are you being serious right now?" She searches his face for a hint of humor, but he doesn't smile. "This is some type of cruel joke, right?"

"I'm not kidding you, Rachel."

"You know as well as anyone that she's been dead for years."

"We have proof that she's alive and that she's our killer."

"Like the supposed proof you had with me? I think you and Joe need to go back to school, learn how to solve a case. Better yet, why don't you two clowns do all of us a favor and quit police work altogether."

"Tell him like it is, Rachel." The crowd cheers.

Rachel turns to see a group of neighbors gathering on the balcony. Now everyone knows my family history, thanks to these damn cops. Angrier than ever, Rachel spins around. "Either step aside or I'll report you to your captain." She pulls a phone out of her pocket. "Don't think I won't." She punches in a few numbers.

He hesitantly moves out of her way. "Please be careful, Rachel."

She storms through the door. Trying to blame my dead Aunt for these murders what are they thinking? Evidently, they're not. That's what's wrong with this damn city; a bunch of retards are running the place. I'm sure dad will get this investigation in order once he gets back to work. Hopefully, before someone else dies. She puts her key in the ignition as she nervously glances around. Maybe I should give dad a heads up about what's going on; so he can set them straight before the murderer strikes again. She starts to pull onto the street when she sees a reflection in her mirror. Frightened, Rachel spins around. "Aunt Sheri?"

"Yes honey, it's me." She leans towards the front of the car.

"I...I don't understand? I thought you were ..."


Rachel shakes her head.

Sheri smiles. "That was purposely done."

"Why would you do such a horrible thing to us, to your daughter, Emma?"

"I'll be happy to explain everything to you when we get away from the cop." She points towards the apartments.

Rachel glances towards the building and then at her Aunt. Is Jerry right? Did my Aunt kill those men like he claims? Could he be right about my safety too? No, that's ridiculous; Aunt Sheri would never hurt me. She has no reason to.

"We need to get out of here before the cop comes out."

Rachel remains frozen, trying to figure out what she should do.

Lifting a gun over the seat, Sheri pushes it against Rachel's head. "Do it now, or else." She cocks her weapon.

Rachel looks at the building one last time before pulling away.

Chapter 16
Teary Farewell

By Mistydawn

Rachel and Sheri have been traveling through the curvy roads for what seems like a lifetime. Rachel has come up with several ways to get out of this mess, but with a gun pressed against her head, she figures it's best not to attempt any heroic measures. Family or not, one screw up and she's toast. Rachel glares at her abductor through the mirror.

"Pull in here," Sheri says, pointing to an old, rundown motel on their right.

This looks like where Emma and I grew up. Remembering the high crime rate, she nervously scans her surroundings. The only thing she sees is a bunch of trash blowing across the weather-beaten roads. Everyone is probably sleeping off their drunken-stupors. She relaxes a little.

"Here is fine."

Whipping her car into a small space, she turns off the engine.

"Get out of the car nice and slow, no sudden movements, got it?"

Rachel nods as she opens her door.

Sheri grabs Rachel's arm and leads her towards the motel; a gun pressed into her back.

"This way and don't try any funny stuff either." She pushes her gun in harder.

Rachel winces from the pain. "I got it, I got it, no funny stuff."

"Good." Sheri smiles.

Rachel sees her mother and Emma sitting side by side when she walks into their room. A surge of mixed emotions paralyzes her as she tearfully watches the duo.

A part of her wants Jeanie to wrap her loving arms around her; the way she did when she was little. The other half wants to yell at her for lying and for hurting her the way she did.

What if Jerry is right about me being in danger and this is a trap? They wouldn't hurt me, would they? We're family, after all.

Rachel recalls the horrid pictures Joe showed her at the station. Should I trust them after what they did to those men? Probably not, but I want to hear what they have to say. So the best thing to do would be to figure out a way to escape. She remembers the pepper spray hidden in her jacket. She reaches into her pocket and starts feeling for the small canister. She then notices her Aunt Sheri holding a gun. Trying to protect myself with mace against a gun would be like bringing a knife to a gun fight, but it's all I got. She anxiously steps in the doorway.

"Rachel," Emma exclaims, jumping off the bed, she runs over and hugs her. "I've missed you so much." Emma hugs her again.

All of Rachel's bottled up emotions turn to rage. "If you missed me that much why didn't you come see me?" She pushes her away.

"What's wrong with you, Rachel? Aren't you glad to see us?" Emma tearfully questions.

Ignoring Emma, Rachel turns towards her mother. "Why did you lie to me, Mom? Huh, why? Do you know how many years I mourned for you? How many nights I cried myself to sleep? Well, do you? I had to see a damn shrink because of what you did to me." Rachel steps towards her Aunt. "You've got some nerve making us care for Emma knowing damn well we couldn't care for ourselves. We went days without eating, months without electricity, or water because of you. And you Emma, you had me worried sick, thinking you're in the hands of a killer. As far as I'm concerned you're dead to me; each and every one of you, dead, and I hope all of you rot in hell." Turning around, Rachel heads towards the door.

Jeanie grabs a hold of Rachel's hand.

"Leave me alone." Rachel jerks her hand away.

"Please Rachel, please let me explain." She grabs her hand again.

"I said leave me alone." Rachel pushes her mom, she falls to the floor.

Running over, Sheri slams the door closed. "I'll have you know this woman has been through hell for you."

"Hell for me, oh, that's a laugh."

Jeanie tearfully glances up from the floor. "It's ok, Sheri, let her go. It's probably for the best anyhow," she sobs, tears streaming down her cheeks.

"No, she needs to know what's going on." Grabbing Rachel's arm, Sheri spins her around. "You listen here missy, and you listen good. Your mom gave up everything she's ever known and loved just to keep you and Emma safe."

"She should've kept us safe from those perverts instead of doing her drugs."

Jeanie walks towards her. "That's one thing I'll always regret, Rachel." She glances down at the floor.

"Why did you do it, Mom, huh? Why did you fake your death?"

"Sheri and I did what we did because Carlos and his gang threatened to kill us if we didn't pay our debt. We tried to come up with the money, we really did, but I just couldn't get enough. So Sheri and I faked our deaths knowing DFS would take you someplace safe, out of Carlos' reach."

"Why didn't you tell the police what was going on?"

"And have all of Carlos' gang after us?"

"Why did you come back now, fifteen years later?"

"Carlos and his gang threatened you and Emma's life." Jeanie grabs her sister's hand before continuing, "Tired of their threats, Sheri and I decided to take care of them once and for all."

"So all the men you killed were from Carlos' gang?"

"I'm afraid so, sweetheart."

"Why did you go after dad, he was never a part of that gang?"

"We took care of him because he refused to help us."

Rachel is trying to make sense of what she's been told when another question comes to mind. "Who actually did the killings?"

"The cops are here," Emma exclaims. She runs to a loose plank in the center of the room and pulls it to the right; exposing a set of stairs beneath it. "Let's go, let's go," Emma yells, hustling down the steps.

Jeanie takes Rachel's hands in hers. "I hope someday you'll find it in your heart to forgive me for everything I've done. Just know that I love you, Rachel, now and forever, and I did it all for you."

Rachel wasn't sure what to say. So many years have passed, so much has changed. Should she believe her, forgive her for what she did, or should she just forget them, like they did her?

"I'm so sorry Rachel, I'm sorry for everything I've ever done." Jeanie sobs.

"We've got to go." Sheri grabs Jeanie's arm and pulls her down the stairs, then reaches up to close the hatch.

"Wait, you didn't answer me. Who killed those men?"

"We all did." Smiling, Sheri closes the lid.

So long mom. Rachel tearfully steps out the door. She hears Joe's voice behind her as she reaches her car.

"So you're a part of this after all."

She wipes the tears from her face as she spins around. "I'm a part of what, I don't know what you're talking about?"

"You have something to do with the murders after all, don't you, Rachel?" He steps in front of her.

"I was cleared of those last night, remember?" She reaches for her door; Joe steps in the way.

"So you're telling me it's just a coincidence that you happen to be at the same motel your Aunt is staying in?"

"I don't know where you two are getting this aunt thing from since everyone knows she's been dead for years."

"Why are you at the motel then, huh?"

Rachel crosses her arms in front of her. "If you must know, I came to see my friend Debbie in 114."

"This Debbie character, she'll say she saw you?"

"Ask her." She gestures across the parking lot.

Joe grabs the keys out of her hands and then glances around. "Hey, Kirk, make sure she doesn't go anywhere."

"Yes, Sir." He walks over to them.

She climbs into her car and grabs her phone off the dash. I need to give Debbie a heads up about what's going on. Holding the phone down at her side, Rachel sends a quick message. I hope she reads it before Joe gets there. She nervously watches as he steps inside. I hope she lies, I hope she lies, she thinks, staring intensely at her friend's door.

A few minutes later, she sees the detective walking towards her.

"I still think your story sounds fishy, Rachel."

"Am I free to go?" she asks, trying to take her keys from his hands.

Joe eyes her suspiciously as he hands them over. "For now."

Starting her car Rachel pulls away. We're all a little safer, now. She tearfully pulls out of the lot.


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