The second thing I wanted to say is the politicians are wringing their hands in glee at this opportunity to shove their gun control down our throats, hoping the tragedy will push their agenda, well shame on them! Guns don't kill people, people with guns kill people. I fail to see how so many can fall for their rubbish, but they do. Most of the people who commit these atrocities don't have their guns legally. If we take everyone's guns, that means only the bad guys will have them, then who will protect our families? I think we should take the number of people who own guns legally and see how many of those commited violent crimes with them. I think we'll see a very small number in comparison. I'm not a gun advocate, I don't even own one, but I believe those who are law-abiding citizens have the right to do so.
I'll leave this little soapbox episode with a tidbit of thought: I saw something this weekend that read something like this: people get killed in car wrecks everyday but nobody is trying to ban cars, yet politicians have been trying to ban guns for how long now? One has to wonder why...
Chapter Ten ~
‘Justy’ sat on the bed in her suite, fuming. There was a knock at the door and she said, "Come in." She fixed a look of sadness on her face and faked a despondent pose.
"Hello senorita. I was wondering if you were hungry. I could bring you a tray if you like," Maria said sweetly.
"I wouldn't want to put you out." Was this lady for real?
"It's no bother. I'm going to grab Miss Amy a tray while I'm downstairs, she isn't feeling well."
"In that case it's a yes. I don't feel like facing them right now."
"They're all good people, miss. You just have to give them a chance." Maria gave an encouraging smile before exiting the room.
Jude was getting ready to go talk to Justy when his phone rang. "Hello?"
"Hey Jude, its Lauren, you know, your partner?"
Jude imagined his short, elf-like partner with mouse-brown hair and crystal blue eyes as he replied, "Yes, I know who you are smarty pants. What's up?" A bad feeling settled in his bones, though he couldn’t point his finger on what it was.
"There's been another murder by the glitter killer."
"Where and when did it happen?” He was elated as his partner spoke. His suspicions about Justy were unfounded. She was in her room. He went up and knocked on her door with the ornate brass knocker. She didn't answer, so he tried the knob. It was unlocked so he pushed it open. She was sitting on the bed, tears cascading down her face.
He looked at her for a moment, and then said, "There's been another murder.”
"When will it stop?”
“We’ll get him, Justy.” He walked over and gave her a small hug. "I have to go check on the crime scene but I'll be back in a little bit.” He went downstairs and out the door, the rest of the gang right behind them. They raced toward the new scene, hoping they could get in to observe.
It was snowing again and the mountains were totally obscured from the eye. The sidewalk near the crime scene was slippery, and Jude had to walk gingerly so he wouldn't fall. "I can't remember a time in recent history where we've had so much snow
"I can't, either. I don't mind the snow; I just hate the ice and the slippery roads." Jackson huffed out huge puffs of cold air as he headed up the sidewalk.
Neither man was prepared for what awaited them. As soon as Jude stepped in, the smell made him sick to his stomach. It took everything in him not to throw-up. Jackson pulled his shirt up over his nose.
"What kind of monster does this?" Jude asked in disbelief.
"I don't know, but we have to get this murderer before he or she kills again. Whoever it is is escalating and I don’t even want to try to imagine what the next scene might be like.”
There was blood everywhere and the body was just as mutilated as Justy's parents had been. It was a fresh kill, so no matter what his friends were suspicious of, Justy couldn’t have done this because she was at the mansion and had been all day.
"Does she look familiar to you?" Jackson asked as he pulled out his ID and flashed it for the man holding up an arm to deny him entry.
"No, but how could she? I would have to see a picture of her before the incident," Jude said. He walked all the way into the room wearing his crime scene booties and protective gloves. There were so many cops in the room that even with the door wide open it was stiflingly hot. He swallowed often, trying to keep the bile where it belonged. He made his way down a long hallway and stopped at a high school cheerleading picture of the victim. It was Betsy Johnson, his girlfriend in the twelfth grade. A keening noise of mourning rose in his throat and he capped it off at the last second, before it could escape. He turned around and pointed the picture out to Jackson. "It's Betsy Johnson. She was my girlfriend my senior year. I probably would've married her if she hadn't moved away to Ohio to go to college." Jude was doing everything he could not to break down. It didn't matter that he hadn't seen her in years. She had been his first love, or so he'd thought until Justy came back into his life.
He knew he had to leave the crime scene. If the killer was watching him he would be getting great satisfaction out of his discomfort. It might even egg him on to even more gruesome scenes in the future. He passed Lauren Estepp on the way out the door. "Where are you going Jude, I just got here."
"I'm gonna go out and get a breath of fresh air. I'll be back."
Lauren shook her head and walked deeper into the house. "Hey, aren't you Jude's buddy?" She walked directly over to Jackson.
"Yes I am. What's up?"
"He just went outside. He looks a little green around the gills. You might wanna go keep him company."
Jackson went outside and walked up behind Jude and laid a hand on his shoulder.
"We have to catch this monster, Jackson. He’s going to come after Justy.” Tears sparkled in his eyes and he fought to mask them.
"Whoever it is will make a mistake, and when they do, we'll be waiting right there to catch her.”
"Why did you say her? You think Justy is the killer, don’t you?” Jude asked angrily. “How could she have done this, she’s at the mansion in her room and has been all day.”
"I don’t know. Maybe she’s part of a team. That would explain both the feminine and masculine elements.”
Jude didn’t want to argue with his friend. He didn’t think Justy was part of this, but all his friends apparently did. He decided to ignore the chance to argue and said, "It amazes me what humans can do to one another. What goes on in the mind of a lunatic like that?" He jabbed a thumb toward the house.
"I don't know. They're influenced by evil, I guess. Most humans don't have that level of hate in them. Let's get back in there, mate. Chances are the killer is around somewhere close, watching and glorying in your reaction. Get your chin up and don't let them see you hurting,” Jackson said firmly.
"You're right of course,” Jude said. He stood up, pulled his grey pin-striped suit jacket down and strode purposefully back to the house of horrors before him.
She watched him with scrutiny. She knew he'd gone outside to the car and prayed to his God. It wouldn't help him. Before she was done, he'd be a notch on her kill-list too. She was saving him for last so she could relish planning his demise... He wouldn't be able to ignore her then, and that wimpy-acting girlfriend of his would be right beside him forever more.
"Did anyone out here look familiar?" Jackson asked.
"No, I looked at every face but no one popped-out at me.”
"We'll get her." Jackson reassured him.
Jude cringed inwardly at Jackson’s continued use of ‘her.’ He really did think Justy was in on this, but he couldn’t believe it. He said, "I know. I just hope it's before someone else gets killed."
They went back into the house and passed Lauren Estepp gazing out the window.
"Hey Lauren, why aren't you in there?" Jude asked as he gestured toward the crime scene.
"I was just waiting on my partner. You know how I get when it's this gory." She gave a smile.
"I'm here now, let's get through this together," Jude said.
They spent the next two hours going over every minute detail of the scene. The others had gone back to the mansion when they weren’t allowed access and Jude had been texting with them, making a profile for the killer more comprehensive than any they'd had so far.
They went home that night, half-excited, half-dejected. Although they’d gained a better profile, they hadn’t turned up any clues.
Amy was waiting on them in the living room. She wore a worried expression. "I tried to call you several times. Justy is gone. I don't know when she left, but she wasn't here for supper.”
"Where could she have gone?" Jude exclaimed.
"I don't know. Maria said she took her a tray earlier today. She told me she was sad, but seemed fine." Amy wrung her hands.
"We'll have to go out looking for her. She knew she was safe here and she also knew she was a possible target," Jude said. He strode back-and-forth across the floor, trying to think of where she might've gone. The problem was he didn't really know her. He had no idea where she would've gone.
"Did we get a list of her immediate family and friends?" Jackson asked.
"I hope she didn't go to any of those places because that's the first place the killer will look," Jude said, distraught. Something came to his mind then and he couldn't believe he hadn't noticed it until now. He couldn't believe Jackson didn't notice, or anyone else for that matter. "We've got a problem, Jack," Jude said.
"I know, your girlfriend is missing," Jackson said absentmindedly. "We're trying to figure out where she went."
"Jackson, do you know what was missing at that crime scene today?"
"No, what was missing?"
"There was no glitter. It wasn't the same killer."
"You're right. How could we have missed something so obvious? It’s the signature.”
"Didn't you guys say there were most likely partners?" Amy asked.
"Yeah, that's what we all figured at first." Jackson affirmed.
"What if Justy Sue is the killer and her partner did the murder this morning to get her off the hook?" Amy asked frantically. "Where are Scott, Otis and Amos?" She asked worriedly.
"They went out to get a gallon of ice cream. Don't worry, no woman is gonna be able to take down all those men, not even the glitter killer."
Jude tamped down his anger once more. Dear Lord, why do they think it’s her? Could it be her?
The two women met in a darkened concrete overpass that had a storage room with an unlocked door. It's where many of the homeless of Salt Lake City slept at night.
It was bone-chillingly cold and her hands were freezing. The discomfort caused her to be in an even worse mood than usual. "Where on earth have you been? I've been waiting for hours out here in this cold," She said venomously. She was only using this brainless twit until she got the one she wanted, and then she would do away with her, too.
"I had to work. You know, you should try it sometime, it would be a novel experience for you," The other woman returned just as hatefully.
"I do work. I work very hard at my job. Let's see you push papers for twelve hours a day so some fat slob can sit on his carcass all day and snap the whip at you."
"Okay, this isn't really getting us anywhere. I get it that we hate each other. I know we're just banding together for a common cause. When that cause is fulfilled we can go our separate ways." Inwardly she was telling herself that wasn't the way it was gonna go down at all. She couldn’t let her know yet because she needed her help, but when her part was done, she would be, too.
"Did you bring it?" The woman in the blue uniform asked the woman in the expensive skirt-suit.
"I did bring it." The woman in the skirt went to her car and retrieved a bag.
"Thank you." The uniformed lady grabbed it and opened it up to peruse what was inside. She cackled maniacally. "Yes, I love it."
The skirt lady turned and walked away. She got in her car and drove off without a backward glance. The vile uniformed-one had what she needed now. It was almost over after all these years...