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
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
"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
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
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
"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.
"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
"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."
"Call me Ian, enough of this Detective shit!"
Perri said with a half grin.
"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
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
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."
"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 Millers death.
We'll go on with the plan as we discussed it. It could all be over before tomorrow
"Jesus Alan. I'm not even comprehending this is
"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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"Yeah Todd, whats 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 Im still convinced that
there is some kind of spirit there though."
"I might be inclined to believe you these days."
"What you? I didnt think you believed in
"I dont. 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 didnt get that good of a look at
him." Todd replied. "It was a guy though. Im 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 couldnt find a lug wrench in my trunk, so I went to see if there
was anybody down by the warehouses working. I didnt 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. Thats when you saw me, but I was scared. I wanted to go
"And now your here."
"I dont know where else to go. I dont want
to die because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"I wouldnt worry Todd. This whole thing might be
over soon enough."
"Why do you say that?"
Todd studied Ryan and determined that he was not telling
the whole story. "Bullshit Ryan, you know something."
"Dont ask Todd."
"Maybe I can help!"
"Theres 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 whats 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."
"Youre sure Ill be okay? Did you see the
"Yes, I did. The police have too. They have the whole
area sealed off." Ryan said.
Todd seemed surprised. "The police know about the
"Yeah, its 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 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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
"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
"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
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
The group was staring in utter disbelief at the killer.
They knew who he was.