A collection of horror, mystery, and science fiction tales, with contributions from fellow writers, James Darko and Dexter Lynch. If you wish to contribute, I'd be happy to showcase your writing. Just send me a message. The stories are free to read and always will be. Some are better than others (I'm speaking only for myself), but I can't give all my best ideas away for free, ha ha. Feel free to share any stories, but please be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Frost had come clean about his family history. About the son that he had never
spoken of. The son he had disowned.
Frost. The kid with a head full of bad wiring. Wiring that could never be
repaired. No amount of therapy could’ve brought that boy back to normalcy. Not
after drowning cats in the lake and hanging wounded animals by their legs from
trees and hurling knives at them.
couldn’t lock his own son away. He never would’ve been able to live with
himself. So he cut him loose at eighteen and prayed that Declan could hang on
to some semblance of sanity.
Reynolds’ email service provider confirmed Declan’s involvement from the series
of private online conversations he had with Shannon, including one in which
they arranged a meeting to smoke pot in the basement of the school. That placed
all three of them in that basement the day that Shannon and Molly Henderson
were murdered there.
emails had been deleted by Shannon and it took the service provider a few days
to recover the lost messages, but once the police had them and Declan’s email
address, they were on their way.
final email to Shannon included a set of numbers at the very end that appeared
to be a code of some kind, one that the geniuses of Carter City PD had yet to
crack. Turning the numbers into letters didn’t give them anything to go. There
were too many digits for the number to be an address or phone number. It wasn’t
a social security number, a bank account number, or a serial number either.
Declan’s email address was linked to several other online accounts, most
notably a knockoff eBay site that had his home address on file. 868 Whitman
Boulevard, one block over from the Bellmore Café.
are no houses in Whitman Boulevard,” Archer pointed out on the ride over.
an apartment. It’s a real estate office. He must rent out the upstairs
estate office? Ugh, don’t tell it’s one of Nino Vanzetti’s offices. I can’t
stand those smug bus bench advertisements and those jowls of his.”
afraid it’s one of his. But he probably won’t be there. He owns three of them
in Carter City alone.”
as Declan Frost is there, I don’t care who else joins the party. I just want to
nail this bastard and get Valerie back in one piece.”
* * *
Frost had allegedly been using the alias Green Ghost, but the name the papers
gave him was Copycat.
first murders mirrored the heinous crimes committed by Wes’s brother, Aaron.
His second victim, Ellen Frost, his own sister, was an homage to the Vulture, a
killer that had crossed paths with Archer not too long ago.
he was taking a page out of the Gravedigger’s book. He kidnapped Val Reed and
at that very moment, probably had her buried alive in a makeshift coffin,
struggling for air. Wes had to find her before it was too late. Before she ran
out of oxygen.
was ticking as they pulled up along the curb and barged into the real estate
apartment upstairs,” Wes said to a secretary whose desk was closest to the
front door. “Who rents it?”
man named Declan. But I don’t believe he’s in. May I take a message from you?”
you could give us the spare key for upstairs,” Archer said, flashing his badge.
second later, the key was in his hand. The secretary asked no questions as they
walked around to the back outside and ascended the grated metal staircase to
the second floor.
knocked once, shouted past the door and gave Declan one chance to surrender.
When they heard no movement on the other side, they drew their guns to be safe
and Archer used the key to open the door.
across the walls with thick red paint were pentagrams and skulls and the name
GREEN GHOST scribbled on every wall. The foyer led down a narrow hall with a
kitchen to the right, small living room to the left. And a bedroom and bathroom
at the end of the hall.
kitchen, living room, and bathroom were clear, but the bedroom door was closed,
three,” Wes said. “One…two…three!”
kicked the door and Dale moved in first, his gun raised. The chair tipped and
Declan Frost’s feet dangled in the air, the noose taut around his neck.
no you don’t,” Wes said, removing the serrated knife from its sheath tucked
away in his boot. Some cops carry a backup gun, he carries a backup knife. Some
people call it crazy, Wes calls it old fashioned.
used the knife to cut him down and his body fell to the floor with a heavy
thump. Dale pulled the noose from his neck and Declan coughed, sighed.
try,” Dale said, pulling Declan to his feet and pinning his wrists behind his
the girl?” Archer asked. “Where’s Val Reed?”
inside a box with a limited supply of oxygen. By my calculation, she’s got an
the fuck is she?” Wes said, holding the edge of the knife to his throat.
ahead, kill me if you want,” Declan said. “The Green Ghost has promised me
immortality in this life or the next.”
said the Green Ghost has promised me immortality–”
not the Green Ghost?” Archer asked, perplexed, his brows arched at a quizzical
wish,” Declan sighed. “I’m just one of his followers. The Green Ghost has many
followers, and they all know who you are.”
the girl?” Wes asked again, pushing the knife a little deeper.
you find me?”
emails you sent to Shannon Reynolds led us straight to your address.”
you read the last email I sent her. You saw the numbers.”
so? What about the numbers?”
GPS coordinates. Good luck to you.”
wriggled free from Dale’s grip and ran for the door. Archer tried to cut him
off, but was met with a fist to the jaw. Wes toppled back and he moved for the
bedroom door again. Just before he could cross the threshold, Dale stopped him
in his tracks with a roundhouse kick to the back of the head.
wondering when you were going to bust out that Tae Kwon Do shit,” Archer said,
picking himself back up.
“I don’t like
having to resort to that,” Dale sighed.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure a
roundhouse kick is against standard procedure. But I won’t say anything if you
won’t say anything.”
Dale smiled. Then it was right back to business. “You got GPS on your phone?”
go. I’ll handle this schmuck. You go find Val.”
* * *
felt like he was slowly awakening from a coma. The nightmare was almost over.
All he had to do was find Valerie before it was too late. The clock was ticking.
The sand was trickling down the hourglass.
tock. Tick, tock.
punched the numbers into his phone and the coordinates led him to the old
Chemical Bank on Skid Row. The bank had been closed since 1996, but Archer understood
Frost was hitting close to home by sending Wes down this route. This was the
spot where Wes caught Aaron red-handed. Where he discovered his brother was the
coldblooded killer the police had been hunting for two years.
drove around back to the abandoned parking lot. He grabbed a shovel from the
back of his Jeep and ran towards the square of green past the lot. According to
his phone, this was the spot.
saw where the ground had been dug up and the dirt had been filled back in. He
dug the shovel into the ground, tossed some dirt over his shoulder, and
repeated the process.
in the cold of January his body leaked sweat as he refused to pause once. He
just kept on digging until he heard the head of the shovel scrape the top of
Help me!” Val screamed from inside the coffin.
tight, Val! I’m coming!” He used the head of the shovel to bust the lock. He
tore the lid off the coffin and Val Reed gasped for air. He helped her out of
the shallow grave and she breathed a sigh of relief.
knew you’d find me,” she said, still regaining her composure. Her voice was
quivering slightly, but the worst was over. She was safe now in Wes’s arms.
God you’re all right,” Archer said. “I’m never going to let this happen again.”
because if I get kidnapped a third time and used as bait, I’m leaving you,” she
said with a weak smile. She was still shaken up, but her sense of humor was
love you too,” she said, gripping him tightly. “Now please get me home. I need
a shower after being locked in that box for two hours.”
* * *
January 17th, 2014.
Seth Cambridge was dead.
The mafia hit-man
known only as the Mechanic was dead.
AKA Declan Frost was going to be serving consecutive life sentences in CC
something didn’t sit right with Wes and Dale. The gangs being targeted by the
Mechanic. The fires started by Seth Cambridge. The murders committed by Declan Frost.
The Green Ghost. They were in fact connected, but there were still pieces to
the puzzle missing.
day, sitting at their desks, they weren’t expecting company. But when Officer
Foley wandered over and said, “You’ve got a visitor, Judy Blackwell,” it peaked
sent her over. She was a short woman in her forties with horn-rimmed glasses,
her brown hair tied in a bun.
Miss Blackwell,” Wes said.
gentlemen,” she returned the greeting. “Herb and I were in the process of a
divorce. That’s why I haven’t changed my last name yet. But I thought you guys
should know something. Something that might answer some questions about his
death. Herb was a stubborn man, difficult, but he was my husband. I loved him
and he deserved better than what he got. I want to help you find the man who
was really responsible.”
are you referring to?” Dale asked.
have it on good authority your husband was murdered by a man named Seth
Cambridge,” Wes said. “The same man who burnt your husband’s apartment complex
to the ground.”
Cambridge might’ve killed him,” Judy said. “But I believe it was Nino Vanzetti
who gave him the order.”
makes you say that?” Dale asked.
months before my husband was murdered, Nino approached him, looking to buy him
out. He wanted the property so he could bulldoze it and put in a strip mall to
rent out the individual stores. My husband refused, and he paid the price.”
going to need more than that,” Wes said. “And that’s coming from someone who
hates Nino Vanzetti.”
been rumored for years to have ties to organized crime,” Judy said. “His
business is often used as a front for illegal activity or laundered cash. And
what about the other properties that burned? The restaurant? The house in the
West Side? The department store? Imagine the profit Vanzetti could make if he
bought and sold these properties, or built on them?”
might be onto something here,” Dale said. “A prison pal of Seth’s did mention
something about a real estate scam Cambridge was working. This could be it. And
if he really has ties to organized crime, he could’ve arranged for the Mechanic
to target the local gangs.”
not enough,” Wes said. “We need a confession. Call Nino in and we’ll see what
he has to say.”
* * *
didn’t have to lean on Vanzetti hard to get him to confess. He gleefully
confessed to his involvement.
hired the Mechanic to target the local gangs and drug dealers in Skid Row and
the downtown areas in an effort to clean up the streets that surrounded the
property he was hoping to acquire. He had made it a point to tell the Mechanic
to waste Archer’s friend, Toad.
paid Seth Cambridge to torch those buildings and murder Jason Briggs and Herb
Blackwell. Judy Blackwell just happened to be overlooked as Vanzetti assumed
she knew nothing.
found Declan Frost with help from a friend and funded his little sadistic operation
after seeing his potential.
even went as far as to track down the Gravedigger in Florida and give him an
open invitation to Carter City.
Gravedigger. Declan Frost. Seth Cambridge. Cultus Satanas. The Mechanic. He
confessed to his involvement in everything, his jowls ballooning and jiggling
over his white shirt collar. And not once did Vanzetti break his smile.
was all Wes had to ask.
see you suffer every step of the way,” Vanzetti said. “To put you through the
mill. To make you jump through hoops. To punish you for your sins.”
the name Martin Vanacore ring a bell to you?”
remembered the name. He had arrested Vanacore for orchestrating the murder of
my half-brother,” Vanzetti explained. “And because of you he’s behind bars.”
you’re soon to join him,” Wes pointed out.
was all worth it,” Vanzetti smiled. “Every last second of it.”
the end, Vanzetti was pleased they had caught him. It gave him the chance to
gloat. He didn’t care about the money or the property or spending the rest of
his life in prison. He did it all to see Archer in misery.
couldn’t have done it alone,” Vanzetti added. “Not without the Green Ghost.”
it,” Archer said. “Who is he?”
know,” Nino grinned. “You’ve known all along. He’s family. He’s your brother.”
* * *
night, Wes Archer took the last ride to Carter City Maximum he’d ever take. He
was walked to his brother’s cell in solitary and told the guard to wait outside
brother,” Aaron said from his cot, not bothering to glance up from the paper he
was reading. “What brings you here?”
game’s over,” Wes informed him. “Nino Vanzetti is behind bars. He’s going away
for a very long time. So is Declan Frost.”
far from over,” Aaron said. “The Green Ghost has many followers. All loyal and
dedicated to their cause. All hung up on the fallacy of immortality. Promise
these lost souls something impossible, make them believe in the impossible, and
you’ve truly got them under your spell.”
met your followers,” Wes said. “Cultus Satanas. They’re weak.”
all of them,” Aaron said. “So you met Declan Frost, my protégé. I taught that
kid everything he knows. Showed him the ropes when we shared a cell years ago.
I also introduced Cambridge to Vanzetti. Once Vanzetti told me what he had in
store for you, I couldn’t resist. I just had to help.”
you locked me up in this hellhole and I’ll never forgive you or forget you,”
Aaron assured him. “Even locked away in here, I can still make your life a
living hell. And by the way, Declan was not my only protégé.”
can’t wait to meet the next one,” Archer said, banging on the cell door for the
guard to let him out.
the games begin,” Aaron cackled.
March 4th, 2014.
morning, Lieutenant,” Dale said to Wes Archer that day in his office.
the crap,” Archer muttered, sipping his coffee. “I hate it when you call me
that. Have a seat.”
took a seat and Wes shouted, “You can come in now.”
door opened and in walked a tall, lean man with reddish brown hair and piercing
your name, son?” Wes asked.
Chase, sir,” the man said.
been working vice the past six years, is that right?”
how’d you like a promotion to homicide? My buddy Dale here needs a partner and
I think you’re right for the job.”
a heart attack.”
in,” Chase said.
Lieutenant Archer said. “Now please excuse us for a minute.” Chase left the
room and Dale turned back to Wes after watching him walk out.
me on this one,” Wes said.
unfortunately have to since you’re my boss now. Hey, did you hear the news? The
Gravedigger’s book is getting picked up. It’ll be out by the summertime.”
wait for the movie,” Wes quipped.
what’s next for Lieutenant Wes Archer?”
been thinking a lot about marriage lately,” Wes said, showing Dale the ring he
was prepared to give Valerie Reed that evening. “Think she’ll say yes?”
Archer had passed his piss test, all thanks to his partner.
Craven had supplied him with clean urine so Captain Frost wouldn’t have an
excuse to take away his badge.
was fuming after the loss of his only daughter and he wanted revenge any way he
could get it.
if Dale was going to link these cases together and solve them, he’d need all
the help he could get. And Archer was as good as they come, when he was sober.
the parking lot, Archer chain smoked cigarettes and drank coffee to try and
wake himself up. His eyes were still bloodshot from the night before and even
though he’d slept like a baby, he still felt drained of his energy. The
unfortunate side effects of heroin.
Craven exited the department and joined him in the lot, bringing him a fresh
cup of coffee. “How much heroin did you shoot up this time?”
much,” Archer muttered, sipping his coffee. “My tolerance was way lower than I
you know what they say about the word assume, and you’re living proof of that.”
have to crash at your place for the next two days.”
place?” Dale said, sounding unnerved by the proposed arrangement. “Why my
I’m going to experience minor withdrawals,” Archer explained. “And I can’t be
on my own, and definitely not at my place. I’ll feel compelled to do more to
make myself feel better.”
help me,” Dale sighed.
* * *
death toll was up to twenty.
was Betty and Louis Darsky.
Hernandez and Hector Cardona of the Elm Street Boys, a gang that resides in
downtown Carter City.
Briggs and Herb Blackwell.
Henderson and Shannon Reynolds.
Archer’s snitch and main drug supplier.
that had perished in the fire in the East Side apartment complex and the
explosion in downtown Carter.
last but certainly not least, Ellen Frost.
Craven was under the impression that all these murders were connected,
intertwined. He just needed to connect the dots and prove his theory.
the Darsky’s were shot pointblank range in their bed before their house was
torched. Jason Briggs had been strangled before the apartment complex on the
East Side was torched.
Blackwell, the landlord, was also found strangled in home, killed hours after
the blaze had been extinguished. Maybe it was unrelated. Or maybe somebody didn’t
want Herb Blackwell squealing like a pig. Maybe Blackwell knew something that
someone else didn’t want to be made public record.
there was Vernon Keene of the ESB. Not too long after Keene came forward to say
that his sister lived in that apartment complex and offered the services of the
ESB, the ESB suddenly became targets of the mysterious hit-man known as the
wasn’t buying it, but then again, he was as stubborn as they come. He didn’t
believe in coincidence. He believed in evidence, hard facts, solid proof. And
Dale was offering him none. Just theories and conjecture.
something I failed to mention last night,” Dale told him when they were back at
Archer had made himself at home on the couch and Dale had supplied with a
pillow and blanket, and a bucket, in case he needed to spew.
keep me in suspense,” Archer said. “Spit it out.”
we found Ellen Frost’s body in that dumbwaiter shaft, she didn’t have a
pentagram carved into her chest. There was no 666 written in blood. Her eyes had
been extracted, carved from the sockets with what Pete Drayton believes to be a
scalpel. Sound familiar?”
Vulture,” Archer mumbled.
Looks like our Green Ghost really is a true copycat killer.”
who he’s going to emulate next.”
you stay here and think about it. Work that shit out of your system fast. I
need your help on this one.”
are you going?” Archer asked.
find Seth Cambridge.”
* * *
Craven took a stroll down to Elm Street to meet with an unlikely source. Damien
Delgado, the leader of the ESB.
was holed up in the backroom of some pool hall along with Santino Martinez and
walked right in, ignoring the unsavory bar patrons and dismissing the two
bikers who grilled him as he walked to the back. He noticed there was a
payphone towards the back, which was an odd sight to him considering how
archaic and obsolete payphones had become after the rise of cellular devices.
unsettling sight was the mountain of a man in a black trench coat who was
speaking on that phone. Even though he was talking right into the receiver, he
seemed to have his eyes locked on Dale.
approached the door and knocked four times as Delgado had instructed him to do
over the phone. Keene unlocked the door and waved him inside. “I need you to
put the word on the street for me. I’m looking for someone named Seth
it done,” Delgado nodded from behind the desk where he was seated.
I’m here, tell me if you’ve ever heard of the Green Ghost before?”
junkies around here and the Satanists on Skid Row all mutter about him, or her.
I say her because it could be anyone. They say the Green Ghost is a legend, a
savior, that they’re immortal. It’s probably bullshit if you ask me.”
probably right,” Craven said. “But while you’re spreading the word about Seth
Cambridge, would you mind asking around about it? These people, they’ll talk to
you, not me. I need your help on this one. Before more innocent people have to die.”
what happened to Vernon’s sister, after what happened to those poor, innocent
girls, we’d be happy to help in any way.”
by the way, the guy outside in the trench coat, is he a friend of yours? He was
eyeballing me pretty hard.”
coat?” Damien muttered, his mouth hanging open. “Was it black?”
think so. Why?”
Augusto Hernandez’s mom said a man in a black trench coat came to their door
the night Augusto was shot and killed on his porch.”
on cue, three silenced rounds were fired through the door. Two bullets missed
Delgado by mere inches. Santino Martinez, who was facing the door, caught a
stray bullet to the temple and his body crumpled to the floor.
had drawn his pistol and had his back pressed against the wall to avoid the
next barrage of bullets that he anticipated. Delgado had taken cover and Keene
was pressed up against the wall beside Dale.
got a gun?” Dale whispered to Keene.
you have to use it, I’ll look the other way if you know what I mean.”
removed his Colt .45 from his waistband and cocked the hammer with his thumb.
heard a ruckus emanating beyond the door as the bar patrons scattered and
employer doesn’t want you dead, Dale,” the Mechanic said from the other side of
the door. “He has other plans for you and your partner. I’m just here for the
rest of those lowlifes. Step aside and let me down my job.”
shit and die,” Dale retorted.
it your way,” the Mechanic said with delight, squeezing off several more shots,
reducing the doorframe to splinters. Delgado could see through to the other
side from where he was hiding behind the desk. He drew his gun, quietly, made
sure it was loaded.
he fired one shot through the door from his hiding spot, striking the Mechanic
in the chest, taking him off his feet.
down,” Delgado said, sliding out from behind the desk. Dale kicked the
splintered door from its hinges and the three of them stepped out. The
Mechanic’s eyes were fixed, staring up at the ceiling fixtures, his body
shot,” Dale said, giving Delgado a pat on the back. “I’m going to have to call
this one. You should probably get out of here.”
three of them were momentarily distracted by Dale’s radio that was hooked to
his belt. “Fire in progress on 873
Whitman Boulevard. Repeat, fire in progress on 873 Whitman Boulevard. Possible
451 in process. Repeat, possible 451 in progress.”
Dale said. “That’s the Bellmore Café.”
alive!” Keene exclaimed.
saw the Mechanic sit up and he raised his pistol. The bullet entered the
Mechanic’s skull and a splash of blood followed. There was no exit wound. The
bullet remained embedded in the Mechanic’s skull, a parting gift from Dale
of a bitch was wearing a vest,” Keene pointed out, lifting the Mechanic’s
usually come prepared,” Dale said. “I’m just wondering why he was targeting you
forget Toad,” Delgado said. “He’s not affiliated with us. Maybe he was
targeting all the gangs and dealers in the downtown area.”
starting to hate that word, maybe.
You guys get out of here. I’ll sort this mess out with the boys.”
* * *
sort it out he did. The boys were impressed. It’s not every day you bag a
Mechanic was a legend in the organized crime community. He was the best of the
best. The finest hit-man money could buy. And now he was no more. But Dale had
yet to figure out his role in all of this. But he certainly remembered what the
Mechanic had told him. How his employer had other plans for him and Wes Archer.
the time Dale arrived at the Bellmore Café, the fire department had
extinguished the blaze and little remained of the structure. Arson was already
on the scene and witnesses said the fire was started by an explosion in the
kitchen caused by a sudden gas leak. The chef didn’t even smell it until he
went to start the pilot light with a match. And then…KABOOM.
wonder if Archer will still think this is all coincidence,” Dale muttered. This
sealed it for him. The Mechanic, Firebug AKA Seth Cambridge, the Green Ghost,
they were all interconnected. The pieces were starting to fall into place.
As Dale dug his cell out
to give Wes a ring, he heard his radio again. “Officers in pursuit of 451 suspect. Suspect was last seen heading
south on Tremont Avenue, heading towards Skid Row, wearing a black baseball
cap, a gray hooded sweatshirt, and blue jeans.”
not getting away on my watch,” Dale said. He ran to his car, got in, and made a
quick U-turn, then started speeding towards Skid Row.
found the suspect in question on Beech Street. Dale hit the switch for the
lights on his dashboard, but as soon as Cambridge saw them out of the corner of
his eyes, he started running faster.
few blocks up, Cambridge darted down a nearby alley and headed straight towards
the meat packing plant, the same factory Wes had visited the night before. Only
this time, Cultus Satanas was nowhere to be found. The factory was empty,
cleared out. All that remained was a can of gasoline that seemed to be waiting
just for Cambridge. It might as well have been gift wrapped.
his pistol drawn, walked the alley and approached the door. He peered in and
made sure the sides were clear. Then he entered slowly as the smell of gasoline
assaulted his nostrils.
arrived just as Seth Cambridge was lighting the match. “The Green Ghost has
promised me immortality in this life or the next,” Cambridge said. “And it
shall be mine. To prove my loyalty, I will sacrifice this life and await the
next.” His body was relaxed, his mind seemingly in a calm, serene state as the
match burned down to his fingertips, igniting his body.
had doused himself in gasoline and set himself ablaze. There was nothing Dale
could use to extinguish the fire, no time to summon the fire department. All he
could do was stare in horror at this human fireball.
single shot echoed through the factory. Seth’s flaming body collapsed and Dale
turned back to the door where he saw Archer standing, .44 Magnum in hand.
did him a favor,” Archer said. “Besides, the guy had it coming. Vernon Keene
can rest easy now.”
that was a rapid recovery,” Dale said, astonished.
Archer said. “It’s a big help with withdrawals. I called Ray and he still had
some left over. I’m back in business.”
just in time,” Dale said. “After I did all of the work.”
forgetting about the Green Ghost.”
just get back to the office.”
got a better idea,” Dale said. “Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? I
think you owe someone a call.”
right,” Archer said. “Call me if you need any help.”
ruin this for me,” Dale said. “Working cases without you is like being on
extended vacation. It’s not Hawaii, but it’ll do.”
* * *
was going to call Valerie Reed. But he did her one better. He showed up at the
offices of the Daily Buzz with a box
of chocolates and a bouquet of twelve roses. He dropped to his knees in front
of all her coworkers and her editor and begged for forgiveness.
accepted the flowers and chocolate, whispered for him to get off his knees and
not to embarrass her or himself any further. They went into an empty room so
they could have some privacy.
it was there that Wes confessed about his latest relapse. He had promised Val,
swore he wouldn’t do heroin so long as they were together. He continued to
grovel and plead for forgiveness when she smiled and said, “Well, since we were
technically broken up when you did it, I guess it doesn’t count. Now let’s talk
about dinner. Or are you in the mood for dessert?” she asked, unbuttoning the
top of her blouse.
* * *
Officer Foley called over to Dale, who was sitting at his desk looking at old
files, trying to figure out their copycat killers’ next move. “We found this in
the basement of the restaurant before it got blown to pieces. A strand of hair.
Not Ellen’s, and not belonging to any of the employees. But the DNA matches
Ellen’s. It’s not her hair, but it’s Frost DNA.”
are you saying?” Dale asked, raising one eyebrow in quizzical fashion.
saying either Captain Frost offed his own daughter, or it was one of his family
* * *
signs were up all around town. Vanzetti Real Estate. The ads were on bus
benches and billboards and people were handing fliers out all around the city.
Every one of them with Nino Vanzetti’s smug, jowly face. A face that Archer
loved to hate.
Nino Vanzetti was the last thing on Archer’s mind. It was eight o’clock and he
had a nine-thirty dinner reservation to make. Everything was all set and Val
was to meet him there at the restaurant after she went home and got ready.
Archer got back to his place to freshen up and change his clothes, he noticed
the bedroom window was open. And he was certain he’d locked it. Out came the
.44 Magnum and he did a full sweep of his apartment.
didn’t find anyone. But he did find a photo tagged to the refrigerator door. A
photo of Terri Hart with a message that accompanied it, sprawled underneath the
photo along the door in what Archer could only assume was Val Reed’s blood.
message was simple: You want her, come
and get her.
frantically tried to reach Valerie Reed several times, but her phone went
straight to voicemail each time. This wasn’t déjà vu. It was a nightmare.
no luck, he tried Dale, who answered after the first ring.
I have news for you,” Dale said.
do I,” Archer said.
go first,” Dale insisted.
out who our killer’s going to emulate next…The Gravedigger. And Dale, I think
that sicko has Val with him.”