The Angel of San Diego

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Chapter 38 - Jake's Revenge

Robin slept all afternoon. Malissa stayed by his side the whole day. Nancy sat knitting in a corner. Malissa took a nap around two O’clock and they dream shared. The painkillers produced surreal settings for their adventures, but neither of them cared as long as they were together. The bright blue sun was actually quite beautiful against the yellow sky. It gave a pleasant light to the pink sea and purple sands. Robin and Malissa were on an island somewhere in the Pacific Ocean. The golden haired monkeys in charge of the hotel were quite friendly and were always at hand to refill their pineapple freezes.

“What are these things made of?” Malissa asked.

“They’re mostly rum and pineapple slices. They put them together in a blender with ice cubes and stuff, and it comes out like a Slurpee.”

“We should try this when we’re awake, Robin.”

“The taste would be the same, but where would we get fuchsia colored pineapples?”

“We could always close our eyes and imagine the coloring.”

“Yeah, but what about the monkeys…? Somehow, it wouldn’t seem the same without the monkeys.”

“True, they do add an ambiance, she agreed, and their English is so proper. They couldn’t be from Britain, could they?”

“From one of the British colonies, I think. I don’t believe they have indigenous primates in England.”

“I wish we could take one home with us.”

“How about Freddy? He seems to have taken a shine to you, my lady.”

“Oh Robin, you’re more than enough monkey for me.”

“Gee, thanks.”

They were still asleep when the Lieutenant came by at five O’clock.

“How’s he doing?” he asked Nancy in a loud whisper.

“Fine, Hawk, Did you get Jason?”

“Not yet. The clerk at the hotel knew him right away though. He’s been a frequent customer for over three years.”

“That’s around the time line of the first victim, isn’t it?”

“Yes. Jimmy supplied us with a picture of himself and the clerk recognized him right off. Who wouldn’t? I have trouble forgetting it when I go to sleep at night.”

“I know what you mean,” Nancy shuddered.

Robin and Malissa had awakened and were listening to the whispered conversation. “The clerk probably has nightmares about him too,” Robin said out loud.

“How are you feeling?” Lt. Hawk asked, stepping over to the bedside.

“A lot better… What’s the word?”

“Well, our suspect uses his real name when he checks in. Jason Cartier. He’s always a gentleman, keeps his appearance up, and his room tidy. We found the restaurant where he usually eats. Same results: The waitresses say he’s a nice guy, dresses well, and is a good tipper. He’s a real Saint.”

“Except when he becomes Mr. Hyde… Has anyone had dealings with him?”

“No. They only know Jason. That could give us a break. Unless Jason knows about the kidnappings or is involved in some way, there’s no reason for him not to go back to the hotel. We might get lucky and catch him tonight.”

Malissa sighed, “What a relief.”

Robin shook his head. “I realize that schizophrenia is a real thing, but it sure is confusing talking about this guy as though he were two totally separate people.”

“Think how I feel,” Lt. Hawk said. “Anyway, I’ve got people watching the hotel inside and out. If he comes back, we’ll get him.”

“Thank God,” Nancy said.

Hawk continued: “Robin, I gave your list to missing persons. They all check out. You solved forty-two missing child cases in the span of ten minutes. We were able to convince a Judge to order two exhumations because of the way we discovered little Jennifer Conroy. They found the girls right where you said they’d be, so the Judge gave orders for the remaining forty.”

“It’s little consolation, I know, but it gives the families a chance to know what happened to their children and helps to heal the wounds some.”

Robin thought of his own children taken at such a young age. “You never get over the loss, Hawk, but somehow, it helps you cope so you can go on living,”

Lt. Hawk knew Robin was speaking from experience. He waited a few seconds before saying, “Yes, and because there are so many of them he may have slipped up somewhere and we can find enough evidence to tie him to these crimes. I’ve also got people watching the funeral home in case he decides to show up there as Jake. We’re going to get him, Robin. Bet on it.”

“Thanks for keeping me informed, Hawk. I appreciate it.”

“You’ve been the most helpful part of this investigation, son. You were in on the beginning and you deserve to be in on the end even if you are confined to a hospital bed.”

“Thanks.”

“I have to go now. I want to be there when we catch this guy. I’ll drop back by later. You rest easy, Robin. With luck this will all be over by tomorrow night.”

Lt. Hawk left. Nancy, Malissa, and Robin talked until nine O’clock when the nurse came in to give Robin a pain shot. Five minutes later, he was asleep. Nancy went home to her bed while Malissa watched Robin. She dozed off and they began to dream share again.

At midnight, the door opened and a tall skinny scarecrow of a man entered the room. He was wearing a long black overcoat that hung below his knees. In his right hand he carried a bloodstained stiletto. A gas mask covered his face. He removed it and crept towards the sleeping couple.

“You know my love,” Robin began, “if I were one of those guys with a jealous streak I would be a little upset by the amount of attention you give your Freddie.”

“I’m just being nice, Robin.”

“A little too nice if you ask me.”

“Why, Robin, I think you are jealous.”

“No, I’m not. I just don’t want Freddie to make a monkey out of me, my sweet…”

She didn’t answer.

“Malissa?”

Robin looked around, but she was gone. Her pineapple freeze was sitting in the cup holder on the beach chair, but she was nowhere to be seen.

The scarecrow stood over Malissa’s limp body holding the chloroform soaked cloth over her nose and mouth. Once he was sure she was knocked out he tied her up with duct tape. He finished his work by stuffing her mouth with a handkerchief and duct taping it closed. He took her cell phone from her purse and dropped it into the hazardous waste receptacle. Then the scarecrow sat down to wait. He began cleaning his nails with the razor sharp stiletto.

Robin, still drugged, slept through it. He was having a bad dream. Malissa had disappeared and he sensed she was in danger, but he couldn’t find her. His gifts refused to help him and every guess he made was a false one. He fought the stupor of the painkiller until he slowly awakened. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he saw the scarecrow man.

“Good evening,” it said.

“Jimmy?” Robin asked.

“No, guess again,” said a silky slithery voice.

“Jake!”

“Correct. I thought we should meet. You see, I have come to admire you, Robin,” his voice was thick with a Transylvanian accent. “Your gifts have upset my routine, so I wanted to meet the man who managed to do that.”

“I guess I should be flattered. Where’s Malissa?”

“She is fine… for now. A little chloroform and she is sleeping ever so nicely. You are a lucky man to have such a beautiful creature love you, but I am not here to compliment your good fortune in matters of the heart.”

“Then why are you here?” If I can just keep him talking maybe someone will show up to help us.

Jake went back to picking the nail on his index finger with the stiletto.

“I thought we should have a private chat.” He looked at Robin. “Just you…” he said casually, flipping his hand over to point the knife at Robin and then, just as casually, he pointed it at himself saying, “…and me.” Jake went back to cleaning his nails with the knife.

Robin felt relieved for the moment. “You won’t hurt her, will you? I mean – it’s really me that you want.”

“Do not worry about her, Robin. You are the main course. She is just…” he paused dramatically, made an open gesture with his hands and forearms, the knife pointing outward in his right hand, “…dessert.” He smiled wickedly and went back to his nails.

“You can stop pressing the call button,” he calmly told his nails. “No one will come.” With his left hand he reached down and picked up the gas mask he had been wearing when he came in. He turned to Robin with a triumphant smirk on his face.

The nurse’s call button was always placed under the covers near Robin’s right hand in case he needed assistance. Robin had grabbed it as soon as he realized what was happening but he stopped pressing it when he saw the gas mask and understood the implication. Robin finally managed to shake off the last vestiges of the painkiller’s foggy sleep and looked his adversary over. There was a great deal of resemblance to Jimmy there. More than just twins. Robin felt something familiar about this character.

Jake pointed the stiletto at Robin nonchalantly and said, “My brother tells me you have successfully convinced a judge to order the exhumations of all my little playmates.”

“Brother? What do you mean? What brother? How would he know about that?”

“As the funeral director who legally buried all those people, he was informed by the police of the exhumation orders.”

“Yes. Jimmy would have to know, but why would he tell you? How did you find out?”

“Do you really think he is unaware of all of this? Do you? Hah! I know everything he knows and I assure you, Robin, he knows everything I know.”

Of course! Jimmy doesn’t have a brother! He is just one of the multiple personalities of… he paused in his thoughts …of whom? Who is the real person and who are the other personas?

“Something wrong, Robin? You seem a bit confused.”

“I was just wondering what you are doing here.”

“It is as I told you. I wanted to meet the Angel; the one with the gifts that brought my little world down around me. A temporary setback, I assure you, but a setback nonetheless. It will take a little time to replace my little playroom, but Ce la vie – as they say.”

“So you know about the other two? Jimmy and Jason I mean.”

“Yes. I found out about them while we were in the sanitarium together.”

“All three of you were there?”

“Certainly, of course Jimmy did not join us until years later. You see it was he who made it possible for us to be released.”

“Where is this place?”

“It is actually a private home in Asilomar. Very few people know about it.”

“So it doesn’t look like a hospital because it’s really a private residence.”

“Exactly, Dr. Tanner likes it that way. It is very secluded and peaceful.”

“Why was Jason there?” I’ve got to keep him talking. The longer he talks the better chance we have.

“Jason! That holier than thou pip-squeak.” He spat, “He is the one who put us in that sanitarium in the first place. He knew about my little ‘experiments’ with the neighborhood animals and he told! If I had known about him then I would have killed him!”

“How…? You are the same person, are you not?”

The scarecrow leapt to his feet and came over to the bed. He put his knife near Robin’s throat and his face close to Robin’s. Robin could feel Jake’s hot breath on his cheek.

“How dare you say that? We are not the same!” he hissed.

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