sc_ban.gif (7151 bytes)

grn_bt.jpg (687 bytes) Confronting Scarecrow

Ryan had Adam follow him to Woodbine. He gave Adam access to the house and showed him how to activate and deactivate the security system. Ryan also mentioned he might not want to eat any of the food in the kitchen and should call out for a pizza instead if hr got hungry.

Ryan assured Adam that he and the others would be back later tonight.

Back at the newsroom, Mike Wagner had reappeared and was being drilled hard by Perri and Ron.

Mike's alibi? He was at his parents house in Reisterstown visiting his brother a short twenty or so miles away. It came on the noon news that Pizza-To-Go had blown up and that a man, presumably Stewart Boswell, the owner had been killed. Mike freaked and returned to the college to see what else had happened, as he could not contact anybody.

"Why didn't you leave a phone number where you could be reached?" Perri asked.

"Because my parents have an unlisted number and don't like having it given out!"

Ryan asked. "Did you ask him about the buzzing sound?"

"No." Perri said.

Ryan turned to Mike. "Mike, the last message you left us, we heard a buzzing sound in the background. Do you know what that was?"

Mike thought about it. "Yeah, I was playing a video game on my computer. Blackjack to be specific. When I bust, the computer makes this obnoxious buzzing sound. The name of the program is Harvey's Blackjack. Why?" Mike looked around in a frenzy. "I can't believe you think that I kidnapped Jarrod and tortured him, much less be the killer. This is insane?"

Jarrod didn't look well. "Guys, I'm gonna go get some air if you don't mind."

"Of course not." Alan said sympathetically. Jarrod turned to leave the room.

"I didn't do it Jarrod!" Mike pleaded. "I swear. Your my friend, my brother." Jarrod looked back doubtfully and left. "What the hell is the matter with you guys?" Mike exclaimed. "It's not me!"

Perri turned to Ron. "Take him down to the City Police station. I want the Feds to talk to him."

"What?" Mike yelped. "I'm not the killer damn you!"

Perri got in Mike's face. "Let's see what the Feds have to say."

Ron cuffed Mike and escorted him out of the room. Mike protested the whole time swearing he was innocent.

Perri addressed Ryan. "Alan told me about Adam's story. Sick. I can't believe Miller was involved in that."

"I can't believe my father was such a hate monger." Ryan said harshly. "It blows my whole image of him."

"I can truly say I understand." Perri offered.

"So what's the story with Mike?" Ryan asked.

"I found Detective Perri here when I arrived with Jarrod." Alan explained. "I told the story and then Mike showed up out of no where asking about Stewart. I called Ron as Ian here started to question Mike. Then you showed up."

"I guess he had an alibi then." Ryan assumed.

"It's shaky." Perri said.

Ryan sat down in the chair in front of the computer and stared at the password screen. "If you let the Feds talk to Mike, he's going to expose us in out investigation. You know that don't you?"

"It was an empty threat." Perri confessed. "I'm just trying to shake him up. There's no way I would really let the Feds talk to him. Ron knows it too."

"You think he's it?" Ryan asked.

"I don't know." Perri replied. "We'll soon see. Anyway, I've got some news for you about the explosion. You'll never guess who showed up at the scene of the crime."

Ryan looked at Alan and then shrugged his shoulders. "I give."

"Linda Webb." Perri said. "She was looking for Stewart. I played twenty questions with her. Apparently, Stewart had contacted her not to long ago and came up with the idea about blowing the business up for the insurance money. It probably would have worked if you and Jarrod hadn't have showed up. Your actually lucky to be alive. According to Linda, Stewart broke the gas line and waited for Linda to make a call in to the business. She said that Stewart had rigged the phone line coming in to spark when a call was made, thus the trigger for the explosion. Stewart was trying to save your lives it seems."

"Why would Stewart need the extra money?" Alan asked.

"Apparently he was trying to leave the country, according to Linda. He was afraid the killer was going to kill him next. Only he named the killer by name. John Myers."

"Well, we know it's not him." Ryan mused. Perri scoffed his feet and started for the door.

"Alan also mentioned your plan to expose the killer using Adam as bait." He said. "That's very risky you know."

"We're going to let the word leak Adam is somewhere else, so maybe the killer will go there."

"I know." Perri said. "When you have the place in mind, let me know before you go public with it. I can't bring other officers in on this one. It's just going to be us and Ron there to catch the guy. After we get him, we'll bring in the police. I don't think I could get approval for this operation for extra men. Not if you guys want to be there. Plus the police would stick Adam somewhere else and we'd probably never see him again. So we'll do it this way."

Ryan thought about what Perri had said. "Do you think we can do it with just us?"

"Yeah, if the killer shows up, I'll wound him so he becomes immobile. I'll have to take some heat on it later, but it'll be worth it."

"Okay Detective."



"Call me Ian, enough of this Detective shit!" Perri said with a half grin.

"Okay Ian."

"I'm going over to the City police station to talk to Mike some more." Perri said. "I'll call when I have something."

Perri left leaving Ryan and Alan alone.

"Is Adam okay?" Alan asked.


"Yeah, he'll be fine. I showed him how to work the alarm." Ryan explained. "I said we'd spend the night there until we figured out where to hide him."

"Are you going to be okay with that?" Alan asked. "Being in your dad's house?"

"Yeah, I'm not even thinking about it right now." Ryan sighed looking down at the

seat Mike had been sitting in. A wallet was underneath. "Alan, Mike dropped his wallet underneath that chair there."

Alan looked down and picked it up. "What a goof. He's going to need this down at the police station." Alan opened it up and stared at the driver's license.

And stared.

And stared some more.

After Ryan had though that Alan had been staring to long without saying something, he spoke up. "Alan, what is it?"

Alan's arm fell to his side as he started to cry. Really hard. Ryan jumped up out of the seat and went to him, putting an arm around him.

"Alan, c'mon, it's going to be okay. What is it?" Ryan asked softly.

Through the sobs, Alan managed to speak. "Ryan, it's over."

Alan handed the wallet to Ryan, who opened it up and read the drivers license.

"Sweet Jesus." Ryan whispered.



Ryan and Alan walked out of the newsroom into the main hall of the student activities building.

"Remember Ryan, not a soul!" Alan reiterated. "We don't tell Perri, we don't tell Ron, we don't even tell Jarrod and Adam. And we especially don't tell Mike."

"I don't see why we can't at least tell Perri." Ryan said.

"This guy has known our every move since day one." Alan explained. "And now we know why. If he EVEN gets wind of the fact that we know who he is, he'll run. Perri, for all the good intention's he has, could conceivably fuck it up if he knew. He is still to hot headed over Miller’s death. We'll go on with the plan as we discussed it. It could all be over before tomorrow morning."

"Jesus Alan. I'm not even comprehending this is happening."

"Just go on with everything like you don't even know." Alan said. "One little fuck up, and it's blown."

"Okay." Ryan said.

"Now, did you leave Jarrod the note in case we can't catch up with him?"

"Yeah, I wrote that we were taking Adam to the new location up at my dad's ranch in Pennsylvania and that were going to tell everyone he's at my dad's house in Woodbine. Meanwhile, he should just chill in the dorm room until I call him to let him know I'm coming to pick him up."

"Okay, good." Alan said. "Maybe we'll run into him outside. We can't waste time looking for Jarrod if we're going to get Adam to the new location and set this thing up by nightfall. Now lets go tell Perri where the locations are."

Ryan and Alan drove to the city police station where Ron and Mike were in the process of releasing Mike. Ryan had wanted to burst out 'why' in question. But his facade he had to wear prevented him from doing that.

Mike was pissed.

"I believe you all are acting this way dammit!" Mike announced. "I'm really hurt."

"Give it a rest Mike!" Ron snapped.

"I thought you guys were my friends." Mike spat.

"We are Mike." Ryan assured. "Do you need a ride back to the college?"

"Fuck you, I'll walk. It's not that far."

"Suit yourself." Ryan said turning away from him.

"You owe me a favor Thomas!" Mike snapped. "Remember when I did those pictures for you of Tiffany, when I should have not printed them?"

Ryan glared at Mike hard. "The world has moved on since then Mike." Ryan said containing a temper that wanted to come out and play.

"You could have at least taken up for me!" Mike said hurt.

"I'm sorry Mike, what was I supposed to think under the circumstances." Ryan said, clenching his fists.

Mike shook his head with frustration. "I'm outta here!"

"Mike." Ryan called out. "If you want to talk later, I'll be at my dad's house in Woodbine watching Adam."

Mike turned around just before he disappeared out the door and smiled cunningly. "I don't think so." He snarled and disappeared.

Ryan looked back around at Ron and Perri. "Okay guys here's the plan..." Ryan said as he closed the door. Ryan discussed the locations they were going to use to fool the killer in regards to Adam's whereabouts and the set up whereabouts.

Afterwards, Ryan and Alan drove to Woodbine to pick Adam up. He had been waiting nervously at the house, watching out the window like a scared child during a thunderstorm.

"Where have you guys been?" He asked. "I was starting to get nervous."

"You don't have a thing to worry about Adam." Alan said with the first genuine smile he had given since his wife's death. "We have everything under control."

Adam didn't look like a believer. He allowed them to take him to his new location for safekeeping.



It was close to three thirty when Ryan had gotten back to the college after dropping Adam off at his safe house. He had forgotten to call Jarrod at the dorm, so he decided to stop by instead.

On his way there, Ryan was stopped by Todd, who looked like hell warmed over.

"Ryan, I need to talk to you." Todd asked, almost pleaded.

"Yeah Todd, what’s up." Ryan asked sympathetically. "You want to sit down?"

Todd nodded. The two men walked over to the quad where a public bench was available.

"The word is you and some others are working on a story to expose the serial killer, right?"

"Something like that."

"I saw him Ryan."

"I remember you saying that before you took off in a frenzy Todd. What was up with that?"

"He saw me too. But he ran the other way." Todd explained. "I came back to the college and hid in Alumni Hall."

Ryan shifted his eyebrow to look at Todd like he knew something. "Getting along with your ghosts these days Todd?"

Todd laughed. "Ghosts." He repeated. "I tried to have a seance there last week. It was a bust. But I’m still convinced that there is some kind of spirit there though."

"I might be inclined to believe you these days." Ryan offered.

"What you? I didn’t think you believed in ghosts."

"I don’t. Call it a tortured spirit."

"Still doing your story?"

"More or less. What happened after the killer saw you. Do you know who he is?"

"No, I didn’t get that good of a look at him." Todd replied. "It was a guy though. I’m afraid he is going to come after me because I found his hiding place."

"Yeah Todd, what were you doing down there anyway?" Ryan asked.

"I had a flat tire and had to pull over." Todd explained. "I couldn’t find a lug wrench in my trunk, so I went to see if there was anybody down by the warehouses working. I didn’t realized they were abandoned. When I stepped inside, I saw the whole thing. The killer saw me and took off out another door. I ran back to my car. That’s when you saw me, but I was scared. I wanted to go somewhere safe."

"And now your here."

"I don’t know where else to go. I don’t want to die because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"I wouldn’t worry Todd. This whole thing might be over soon enough."

"Why do you say that?"

"Gut feeling."

Todd studied Ryan and determined that he was not telling the whole story. "Bullshit Ryan, you know something."

"Don’t ask Todd."

"Maybe I can help!"

"There’s nothing you can do" Ryan said.

"Are you sure?" Todd asked again.

"Todd, just go have a beer or something tonight. Do whatever you do with your friends, Deborah, and what’s his name..."


"Whomever. Come morning, everything should be back to normal." Ryan paused knowing that nothing would ever be the same really. "More or less normal."

"You’re sure I’ll be okay? Did you see the room yourself?"

"Yes, I did. The police have too. They have the whole area sealed off." Ryan said.

Todd seemed surprised. "The police know about the warehouse?"

"Yeah, it’s all under control. Just go home Todd. You have nothing to worry about."

Todd looked at Ryan suspiciously and stood up. "If you say so Ryan."

Ryan watched Todd walk away. He was acting weird.

But then again, that was Todd for you.

Ryan brushed it off and continued for his dorm to find Jarrod.

Jarrod was playing a game on his laptop which he carried around with him faithfully. Ryan looked at him in wonder.

"I don't get it bro." Ryan said after walking into the room. "How can you sit there and play games on that thing all day."

"It's an acquired taste." Jarrod replied. "I thought you were going to call?"

"The phone up at the ranch is disconnected for some reason." Ryan explained.

"Did you get Adam up there okay?"

"Yeah, he's safe." Ryan assured. "You haven't heard from Mike have you?"

Jarrod looked up at Ryan for a second. "No, why?"

"The police let him go. They don't have enough on him to hold him." Ryan said.

Jarrod stopped typing on his computer and sighed. "That sucks." He said.

Ryan pondered about breaking his silence about what he knew to Jarrod. He decided a little bit couldn't hurt, after all, Jarrod had been a victim of the whole assorted affair. "Jarrod, I think Mike might have actually done it." He said. Jarrod looked at him without expression.

"Yeah, me too."

"Do you really?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah, I think so."

"Hmmm." Ryan looked around the room. He really didn't know what for. "When Mike left the station, I told him he could call me at my dad's house in Woodbine, as that was were we are allegedly watching Adam."

"And that's where your gonna be really." Jarrod inquired.

"Yeah, its a brilliant plan even if I do say so myself." Ryan boasted. "It'll bring the killer right to us."

"You are a genius Ryan." Jarrod smirked.

"C'mon, let's go."

"I'm not going with you to confront the killer, are you crazy?" Jarrod asked. "I've met him once already. Once was enough."

"I'm sorry bro, it slipped my mind." Ryan apologized. "Do you want to wait with Adam at the ranch in Pennsylvania?"

Jarrod stopped to think about it for a sec. "Me, alone with Adam Jones for a whole night? Sorry, I think I'll pass."

"Your just gonna stay here?" Ryan asked surprised.

"No, I'm gonna go over to the computer lab and hang out with Derek for a while." Jarrod said.

Derek Garvin was a friend of Jarrod's from the computer scene. They liked to discuss computer viruses and who could access a grid matrix faster.

Ryan would have considered it a completely boring evening.

"So you won't be alone then." Ryan asked with concern.

"No, I'll be with Derek until you get back with results, one way or another."

"Okay, I'm outta here then." Ryan said. "I'll call when I know something."

"I'll be waiting." Jarrod said. Ryan turned to leave. "Ryan?"

Ryan turned around. Jarrod was staring at him with concern. "Good luck." He said.

Ryan smiled same grin Mike gave him at the police station earlier that day. "It's a done deal bro."

Ryan left to go meet the group.



It was six o'clock and Ron had not shown up yet. Perri was starting to get concerned.

"I don't know where the hell he could be!" Perri snapped out loud to the room. Ryan looked over at Alan who winked at him.

"Maybe he got tied up in traffic." Ryan suggested.

"In a police cruiser?" Perri asked sarcastically.

Alan asked. "Are you okay Ian?"

"I'm shaky. I don't know why. I've done this kind of work all my life and I've never reacted this way." Perri looked out the window into the approaching night. The sun had faded to shaded of orange and purple. It was a truly gorgeous evening.

The lights in the house were all turned out with the exception of the one in the bedroom. The killer was supposed to think Adam was alone.

Adam was actually somewhere else, and the killer about to fall into a trap.

Ryan lit up a cigarette and dragged heavily. Perri looked back at him. Ryan expected to hear some kind of lecture again from the ever changing spokesperson for non-smokers.

"Ryan?" Perri asked.


"You got any of them cigarette's left?"

"Yeah." Ryan replied tossing him the pack, with matches.

Perri lit a cigarette and choked on it. "Uh, this is the worst cigarette I have ever had."

"I didn't know you were a smoker Ian?" Alan asked.

"I used to be a long time ago." Perri admitted. "All of a sudden, I felt like I needed one." Perri took another drag and held it in successfully this time. "Where the hell is Ron?"

Ryan glanced back at Alan who was shaking his head.

"What college did you attend Ian?" Ryan asked making conversation.

"I went to Towson State." He said. "It's a good college. I studied criminal justice in hopes of obtaining a job with the Maryland State Police. As you can see, I was successful. However, detective work was always my forte. That's how I got hooked up with Miller. He was the only partner I've ever had."

"You worked well together then." Alan noted.

"Yeah, remember that shooting in the Charles Street neighborhood a few years back?"

"Yeah." Ryan said.

"We solved that. It was drug related." Perri chuckled. "I know this sounds a bit racist, but most problems in that area of town usually are. We also were key player in the bombing of the van in Reisterstown last year."

"Impressive." Alan said. "They never really did say what happened with that."

"You don't want to know."

"Try me." Ryan said.

"Some punk kid was pissed off at his parents. He left with his friends to go to the mall after rigging his parents van to blow. He called them saying he needed a ride home. They got into the van, started it and boom. End of story. The kid played innocent right up till the end. He would have been the beneficiary of over three million dollars on his twenty first birthday. Only two more years to go. To bad he won't be out of jail until he's much older"

"How did you catch him?" Ryan asked.

Perri dragged on the cigarette. "Well, we knew it was a bombing. There was all kind of evidence of that among the wreckage. There was no real motive that we could discover. It was sheer luck actually. I had gone to talk to the kid with Miller. He had been staying at his aunt's house. He gave us the same line of crap that he had been feeding us since day one. Except that every time he told it, he changed something. First it was the location of the phone booth he called from. It was the one by the movie theater, then it was the one by the hardware store. Then the times changed. First he left his house at three, then it was two.

"What gave him away was the detonator pin he had hanging off his key chain. C-4 had been used in the bombing, and the kid had a C-4 detonator pin on him."

Alan looked at Perri with disbelief. "Where did a teenage kid get C-4?"

"Shocking, isn't it?" Perri asked. "He actually got it from his brother, who is a very resourceful individual we'll say. Anyway, after I asked him about the pin, he got nervous. He disappeared after that. We found him at his brothers house. It was all over then."

"Yeah, I guess so." Ryan mused. Perri took a final drag from the cigarette and put it out in the ashtray Ryan provided for him.

Perri looked back out the window. Most of the light was gone now and they were standing in darkness. "Something's happened to Ron." He said with worry. "He really should have been here by now."

"Something could have come up." Alan said stepping in so Ryan wouldn't have to keep making up excuses that didn't work. "There could have been an emergency at the station."

"Maybe." Perri said. "He would have called though."

"He might not have been able to." Ryan said.

"Maybe." Perri repeated. "I don't like this." He looked at Ryan. "Do you have a gun in this house Ryan?"

"Yes, I believe my dad keeps one in the master bedroom. I think he has a .38 and a shotgun."

"I want you to get them." Perri instructed. "And make sure they're loaded."

"Are you serious?" Ryan asked.

"I was hoping to have Ron here. That would have been two armed officers. Now it's just me responsible for your safety. I want you to be armed, just in case. You have the right to defend yourselves if things get out of hand" Perri explained. Ryan looked at Alan for approval again. He nodded.

Ryan retrieved the guns, fully loaded. Alan held the shotgun stationary in one hand while Ryan kept the pistol tucked in his pants. They had only planned on using them if a gun was pointed in their direction.

The waiting continued.

"What if he doesn't show?" Ryan asked.

"I think he will." Perri said. "We practically handed Adam to him on a silver platter."

"I should call Adam." Ryan suggested. "Just in case."

"Good idea." Perri said.

Ryan made the call. Adam answered.

"Did you catch him?" Adam asked with hopefulness.

"Not yet, he hasn't shown." Ryan said disgusted. "I was just calling to see how your doing ."

"Your full of shit." Adam snapped. "You're just calling to make sure I'm still alive. Yes, I'm here. Everything's been quiet."

"Good, just checking."

"Uh-huh." Adam said with sarcasm. Off in the distance, a motorcycle zoomed by.

"Well, if everything's all right, I'm going to go." Ryan said not really wanting to hold a conversation with this sarcastic fuck.

"Call me when it's all over."

"I will." Ryan said and hung up the phone. "He's alive."

"Good." Perri said looking out the window again. It was now pitch dark in the room. The light from the bedroom threw little illumination into the room they were convened in. "Does anybody know what time it is?"

"I don't know." Ryan said. "I can't see my watch."

"Guess then."

"I guess it's close to seven."

Alan spoke up. "He might not come till late."

Nobody answered. They stood in silence listening to the muffles sound of the crickets outside. Perri stared harder out the window, squinting his eyes to see.

"Wait a minute." He whispered. "I think somebody's out there."

Ryan felt his heart rate jump. He could actually hear it in the silence of the room. Perri raised his pistol to his face.

Faintly, Ryan could hear the crunching of footsteps stepping on dead leaves left over from last autumn. They were getting closer to the house. Perri held his hand out keeping Ryan and Alan at bay. The footsteps stopped. Perri pulled himself back out of view of the window. A shadow passed across it as the footsteps continued. The perpetrator circled the house as the three of them stood frozen in the room.

Someone stepped up onto the wooden porch in front of the front door. Perri backed off to one side aiming his gun in the direction of the door. Ryan stood in the middle of the room as they had planned. Alan held steady, finger on the light switch, ready for Perri's cue.

The doorknob rattled and turned slowly. So slowly, one would not think it was being turned at all. The door started to open at a snail's pace. It opened far enough for somebody to slip inside.

The killer began to slip through the door.

Ryan felt sweat trickle down his face as his heart pounded out of his chest. He wanted so bad to reach for his gun to protect himself.

When the killer was completely in the house and out of the way of the door, Perri gave his cue.


The light cut through the darkness blinding all in the room. Ryan squinted his eyes to see if the killer was carrying a gun. There was no gun in his hands as he was throwing his hands up to his face to shield his eyes.

Perri kicked the door shut and jumped in the way. "FREEZE ASSHOLE!" He shouted at the top of his voice.

The man standing in the middle of the room Ryan recognized as the orderly from the hospital, only his hair was shorter. The killer threw his hands up in the air and stared at Ryan with complete shock.

Ryan felt the adrenaline flowing as he stepped towards the killer, whose gaze never left Ryan's face.

He had been caught and he knew it.

"You fucked up you son of a bitch!" Ryan hissed. "You got sloppy, and now your ass is mine." Ryan took the wallet left in the newsroom and threw it at the killer. It bounced off his chest and fell to the floor. "Recognize that? Fuck!"

"Who is it?" Perri demanded. The killer glared at Ryan as he reached for the wig on his head. Ryan pulled the wig off exposing his true hair.

The group was staring in utter disbelief at the killer. They knew who he was.


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