Chapter Twelve ~
She watched as the police car carrying Justy passed by and then walked down the sidewalk toward it. Her blond wig was tight and scratchy and she fiddled with it as she moved forward. The police car pulled to a smooth stop just up the street and waited for her to catch-up.
She walked up to the car, opened the back door and with one fluid movement, pulled out her gun. She shot the woman in the back seat first, and then the two cops up front. All three had looks of amazed disbelief etched into their features for posterity. How stupid could people really be? Didn't they know what serial killer meant? She cackled loudly as she discarded the wig and the black leather gloves she'd worn. She felt a surge of adrenalin flow through her body. They wouldn't find any prints on the gloves, either. She was wearing surgical gloves under the top ones for extra safety. She wiped down her gun as she walked in the shadows of the houses lining the street. She unscrewed the silencer, slid the gun smoothly in its holster and pulled her police-issue jacket over it.
When she reached the police cruiser she placed the silencer up underneath it in a hiding spot made for just such an occasion and climbed in. Someone came over the radio shouting about the shooting. She reached into the middle of the seat and pulled out her bubble. She half-stood up and placed it on the roof of her cruiser and turned on the siren as she pulled away from the curb.
Jude and the gang were sitting in the kitchen trying to figure out who else could possibly hate Jude when they heard the sirens. There were a lot of them so they all got up to take a look outside. When they saw the lights they ran out into the cold, bitter night. They looked down the hill onto the street below. There were cops galore milling about down there like it was a sale at Dunkin Donuts.
"Let's go down and see what's going on,” Jude said.
"I'm in, but I gotta go get my coat. It's cold out here tonight," Jackson said.
Five minutes later the whole crew was on its way down the hill to see what was going on. Otis let them out down the street and then turned the car around to find a spot to park.
Jude jumped out first. What he saw almost made him throw-up. Justy Sue Sanders lay half in, half out the back of the police cruiser with a bullet between her eyes. "What happened here?" Jude yelled at the first person he saw. It was just a uniform who looked at him in confusion. He didn't know. Jude raced away from the scene and wretched in the grass by the street. Justy was dead! A sorrow like he'd never known overtook his emotions. He tried his best not to cry. How could she be dead? He'd just talked to her a few minutes ago...
Jackson, Amos, Scott and Amy ran up to the scene just then.
Amy asked, "What happened? Does anybody know yet?"
Otis made his way to the scene after parking the car. He'd spotted a glass poised in their direction and chased the suspect for a couple of minutes but he'd gotten away clean. "I just chased someone who had eyes on the crime scene but he got away. I would say it's a professional."
"I'll tell the lead on the case. This is what we've got so far: Apparently the police cruiser pulled up to the curb right here. It wasn't under duress. It sat and waited until someone walking down the street reached it. The person opened the back door, shot the lady, and then the two cops up front. She took off a blond wig and a pair of gloves and threw them down on the seat next to the female victim." Scott related.
"How does anyone know all that?" Jackson asked skeptically.
"It was all due to dear old Mr. Prescott. He's the neighborhood pain. He was watching the car through a pair of binoculars," Scott said.
"What else aren't you telling us?" Jack asked.
"He recorded the whole thing. He’s got it all on video. The uniforms are collecting it right now so we can get a look at it.”
"So why is it you're allowed into their investigation without being called?" Amy asked.
"I made a call to the chief of police. He was more than happy to share the investigation as long as he gets all the credit if we come up with something." Scott’s grin was humorless. "I don't really care who gets the credit as long as we catch her, whoever she is."
"Who is it we want to catch?" Lauren Estepp asked as she walked up and joined the team.
"The woman who hates me so much that she killed the woman who hated me." Jude answered as he walked up to them. He had a handkerchief in his hand and he used it to wipe his eyes. "Now she wants to kill me," He said as he pushed the handkerchief into his jacket pocket.
"Do you have any idea who it might be?" Lauren asked.
"Nope, I don’t have a clue. I thought everyone liked me."
"Well obviously you were wrong about that, chum." Lauren Estepp said with a pop of her lips as she sashayed toward the other police officers.
"You know, that woman gives me the creeps," Amy said.
"What do you mean?" Jude asked. First they’d accused Justy, and now they wanted to accuse Lauren?
"I don't know exactly. Every time she comes around I just get this feeling like something bad is gonna happen," She tried to explain.
"She's my partner, Amy. I would trust her with my life," Jude said staunchly. He pulled his shoulders back stubbornly.
The chasm between Jude and his friends is deepening. Soon I can make my move and it will be done.
The team was back at the mansion discussing what the next plan of action would be. Jude hadn’t said a word for fifteen minutes, and then suddenly he spoke, "There wasn't any glitter at this scene, either. I'm beginning to believe the killer used it to throw us off track," Jude hypothesized. He was doing his best to remain professional, at least in front of his friends, but it wasn’t easy when all he wanted to do was break down and cry.
"I agree accept for one thing; I think the serial killer we're after is most likely intimately connected to the original glitter killer," Jackson added.
"Why do you say that?" Jude asked.
"The familiarity with which the killer uses the glitter, but refuses to do it exactly as the original killer did tells us that like the original killer, she is stubborn and desires recognition for her own work. She doesn't want to ride on the coattails of the notoriety of the original killer."
"But what does that have to do with anything? I'm confused where you're going with this," Jude said. He was having a really hard time coming to grips with the fact he'd fallen, and hard, for a monster such as Justy. Added to that, someone had killed her because he liked her and now they wanted him dead. He didn't even have time to mourn her loss because he had to fight for his life.
"Are you okay? Jude!" Amy rushed over and gave his arm a shake. "We were talking but you didn't answer. Are you sure you're okay?"
Jude shook himself and tried to get it together. They needed his brain fully functioning right now. "Yes, I'm fine. What did you say?"
"I said the new killer was very closely modeled after the old one. They're probably father and daughter." Amy backed away and sat down in a chair.
"We're going to have to find the original glitter killer in order to catch the new one," Jackson said in his usual go-get-em attitude.
"That sounds like the next logical step to me," Otis agreed as he came back from the bathroom and took the empty spot at the table.
"Yeah, but that's easier said than done. The police weren't able to catch the original killer because he never left any real leads," Scott chimed in.
"That makes it more challenging, but not impossible," Amos said. "I don't know much about all this kind of stuff yet but I'm learning pretty quickly that when you guys get something in your heads you can usually pull it off. I say we go for it."
"It's going to be dangerous, especially if the original killer is aware of his daughter's actions. Or if the daughter is aware we're going after the father," Jackson said.
"I just thought of something," Jude said. He hopped out of his chair in excitement, forgetting for a moment Justy was dead. "We can use them against each other. You know, stroke one's ego to make him/her angry at the other. Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll have such a desire to out each other we'll catch them both."
"I don't know Jude. That sounds like wishful thinking," Jackson said. "It's all we've got though, so that's what we'll go with."
"It sounds logical to me. If they're both full of themselves and have a desire to be the best at what they do we could start a rivalry between them they'll be powerless to ignore. The best way to trap an egomaniac is through his/her ego," Amy said.
A knock at the back door caused all the people in the kitchen to jump half out their seats. Jackson got up and opened the door.
"Mr. Jackson, the chief asked me to bring you this copy of the video from the neighbor's camera," The young uniformed officer said politely. He handed it to Jackson and left.
Jackson shut the door and said, "It's show time. Let's go to the living room."
They all filed in, ready to plop down on the soft, dark brown furniture. The kids were supposed to be in bed, but Angie was sitting on the sofa, remote in hand, staring at Bugs Bunny on the TV set.
They stopped short and Amy rushed forward. "Angie, why aren't you in bed? It's way past your bed time."
"I couldn't sleep," She said in little-girl exasperation.
Amy scooped her up and carried her up the steps to her room.
Amy dropped Angie on the bed and asked, "What's wrong honey?"
"I couldn't sleep after that woman came through my window. She told me not to tell anyone I saw her here or it would cause bad things to happen to my baby brother and sister."
“Jackson, Jude!” Amy yelled.
The men bounded up the steps in record time.
“What is it?” Jude asked. The worried look on Amy’s face told him something was terribly wrong.
Amy said, “Someone was in Angie’s room!”
"Are you okay Angie?" Jackson asked, pulling the little girl up in his arms.
Jude raced over and turned on the overhead light, and then gasped in horror. The room shimmered with red and gold glitter.
"I'm fine daddy. The lady came in my window and told me to be quiet when I started to scream. She told me if I told anyone she was in my room she would hurt Benji and Teenie so I just went downstairs and turned on the cartoons."
"Did she hurt you?" Jude asked. He sent an apologetic look in Jackson's direction. He was worried too...
"No, she gave me this note to give to you, Uncle Jude." She scrounged around in the pocket of her housecoat and pulled out a piece of pink stationary sprinkled with red-and-gold glitter and reached it over to Jude.
He took it from her tiny little hand and opened it up. It read, 'Come to me, or Angie won't be. Come to me, or Teenie won't be. Come to me, or Benji won't be. Come to me, or Amy won't see the beautiful face of her tiny baby.' In smaller letters underneath, it read, 'You better figure out who I am before I get to them. I already proved to you I can. Now you have to prove to me you can stop me!'