Chapter Ten: Death by Alphabet
Ariel stood and cheered when her cousin made another basket.
“Go, Skyler!” She hollered with excitement.
She sat back on the bench and waved when her cousin turned and waved at her.
Ariel felt a hand on her arm, and in one swift movement, she was off the bench and in powerful arms, then set onto her feet. She looked up into the very red eyes of The Sapphire Dreamer.
“What the hell?” She asked as she stared up at him.
“You need to get out of here.” He said as he watched her intently.
“Mind telling me what for?” She asked as she watched him look around to make sure no one had spotted him.
“You can’t be here.” He said as he moved in closer to her.
She stared up at him as she backed away from him. “I can be where ever I want to be.”
He shook his head. “I don’t mean it that way. I mean, something will happen…” He stopped talking as he paused within inches of her.
“What will happen?” She asked as she stared up at him.
Her breathing had become shallower, the closer he had gotten to her.
“I can’t tell you.” He said as he watched her.
“Then, I’m not leaving.” She breathed.
“Ariel.” He said with a stern voice that vibrated through the voice disguiser.
“I’m here with my cousin. I can’t leave him behind or make him leave in the middle of the game.” She said as she turned her head when she heard a cheer.
She was missing her cousin’s game, but who cares, she’s under the bleachers with The Sapphire Dreamer. She has never been under the bleachers with a boy before, let alone a man.
“Fine.” He conceded. “As soon as the game is over, get the hell out of here.” He said as his red eyes watched her.
She nodded. “Okay. Can I get an interview later?”
He sighed. “If it will get you out of here, I will give you an interview later tonight, when it’s over.”
She smiled. “Deal.”
Ariel sucked in a shocked breath when the masked man effortlessly lifted her by the hips and set her back in her seat, on the bleachers, then disappeared. She turned back to the game when she heard cheers. Her cousin had made another basket.
Ariel had a hard time concentrating on her cousin and the basketball game after The Sapphire Dreamer had left her. She kept thinking about how tall he is and how strong he is. And how much she had wanted him to kiss her. She shook her head. What was up with her? Ever since Detective Gunnar had kissed her, that was all she could think about.
Or was it not any kisses, just Luka’s. And apparently The Sapphire Dreamer’s. She grunted as she stood up and cheered when her cousin made the winning basket.
The game was over, and now she must get her cousin and get out of here. She wanted that interview with the masked man, and she knows she’ll only get it if she does what he had asked her to do.
“Come on, Skyler.” Ariel said as she joined her cousin on the floor.
“Ah Ariel, can’t I stay with the team?”
“We’ll meet up with them at the pizza parlor. Let’s go.” She said as she took hold of his arm.
“Can Lawrence come with us?” He asked as he pulled on his arm.
She sighed as she turned to him. “All right, tell him to hurry it along. We need to get out of here before traffic has us stuck.”
May not be a full lie there. Traffic was horrible after a basketball game.
“Did you see how many baskets Skyler made tonight?” Lawrence asked with a grin when he joined them.
Ariel smiled at her cousin’s best friend. She liked the kid; he was smart and sweet. Skyler and Lawrence had bonded when Lawrence had moved here to live with his aunt and uncle after his parents had died. And he had been what Skyler had needed to help deal with his sister’s death.
“Which pizza joint did they agree on?” She asked the boys as they walked into the car lot, where she had parked her car.
It wasn’t a place for standard parking, but her parents have donated tons of money to the school throughout the years, and she writes excellent reviews on the school in the papers. So she and her family get faculty parking.
“Give up the boy, and you can be on your way.” Someone said from behind them.
They turned to find a man standing in the exit’s doorway, watching them. Or actually, he was watching Lawrence.
“Get behind me, boys.” She whispered as she pulled out her mace.
“I will allow you to leave if you just hand over the boy.” The man said as he came into the underground parking area and let the door close behind him.
“Not going to happen.” Ariel said as she held the mace up in front of her.
The man laughed. “Do you think I’m afraid of a little mace?” He asked as he pulled out a knife.
“Ariel, lets run.” Skyler whispered.
“Yeah, come on.” Lawrence said as he turned around.
“You’re not going anywhere, Xavier. I’m not searching for another X; I’m almost out of time.”
Another X? She stared at the man. Another X!?
“It’s you.” She whispered. “You killed my cousin.”
“What?!” Skyler squealed.
“Which letter?” The man asked as he looked at her.
“L.” She retorted.
“Ah, yes. Tina Lawson. She was one of my favorites, didn’t beg for her life, like the others. Just begged me to let her brother go.” He looked at the other boy with Ariel. “You must be Skyler. You know, it was you who I had gone after. Imagine my surprise when I had found your sister there instead. But an L is an L.”
“You bastard!” Ariel growled.
“You killed my sister?!” Skyler hollered.
Ariel didn’t move fast enough to grab Skyler before he took off after the man who had killed Tina. The man swiped his knife out at Skyler, keeping the kid from getting too close to him.
“I don’t need you.” The man said. “I’m on X.”
“What does he mean?” Lawrence asked from behind Ariel.
“They call him The Alphabet Killer. He’s been killing people by the Alphabet, and I guess he’s on X.”
“That’s nuts.” Lawrence said as he stared at his best friend and the killer.
“Skyler, get back here!” Ariel ordered her cousin.
Skyler grunted in protest but listened to his cousin and returned to her side and blocked the maniac from his best friend. He’s not losing Lawrence too.
“I thought I told you to get out of here as soon as the game was over.” A booming voice said from behind them.
Ariel turned around to find the masked man standing not ten feet from them. Oh, thank God he’s here.
“We were headed to my car.” She said as she watched him survey what was going on.
“With the target.” He said as he looked at Lawrence.
“You wouldn’t tell me anything. How was I to know? He’s my cousin’s best friend.” She said, not knowing why she felt she needed to explain herself to him.
The man in the mask nodded as he looked past her to where The Alphabet Killer stood.
“Get to your car.” He ordered.
“Do leave Xavier behind.” The man said, not the least bit worried that the infamous Sapphire Dreamer was there. After all, with the name Alphabet Killer, who was scarier?
“Take both boys and get out of here.” The man in the mask said as he nodded towards the cars.
Ariel nodded as she took hold of both boy’s arms and headed for her car. She looked at him as they passed him.
“Be careful.” She whispered.
He turned and smiled at her. “Why Miss Lawson, I didn’t know you cared.”
She sputtered, and he laughed.
She nodded, then turned and ran with the boys to her car.
“You let my X go.” Wesley Hendrix said with annoyance.
“Your alphabet game is over.” The man in the mask said with a low growl. As always, the sound was demonic.
“Not without my X Y and Z. So close to being finished.” Wesley said with a grin.
“I don’t think you understand.” The man in the mask said as he moved so fast, Wesley squealed when he stood in front of him. “You’re finished.”
The man in the mask grabbed the knife from The Alphabet Killer’s hand, then flipped it once in his hand and brought it down into the side of the man’s neck. Blood sprayed as it sliced through the artery.
“Poetic, don’t you think? You came across the Lawsons, and now you will die just as you had killed Tina.” The man in the mask said with a growl, then pushed the man away from him and watched him slide to the floor, against the door.
Wesley tried to stop the bleeding, but the knife had cut too deep, slicing clear through the artery. In moments, his lights dimmed, and he stared blankly up at the masked man.
The masked man tossed the knife onto the psycho’s lap. A pounding noise came from the other side of the door, as someone tried to push it open.
The man in the mask looked at the window, and Detective Princeton looked back at him.
“It’s him; it’s The Sapphire Dreamer!” Abraham yelled from the other side of the door.
The masked man quickly pulled the dream catcher from his pocket and tossed it on the lap of the latest piece of trash, then turned and ran. He spotted Ariel squatting behind a car and looked at her as she stood and watched him run.
“Detectives are here.” He said with a wave, then vanished.
Ariel stared after The Sapphire Dreamer as he disappeared through the parking lot. She shook her head and looked towards where someone was still banging on the door, trying to get in.
“Ariel!” Luka hollered as he ran up to her.
“Where did you come from?” She asked as he pulled her into his arms.
“Abraham had gone one way, and I’d gone the other. I came in from the vehicle entrance. When we found out you were here for your cousin’s basketball game, we got here as fast as we could.” He said as he backed away. “Are you okay?”
She nodded. “The Sapphire Dreamer saved us. He went that way; did you see him?” She asked as she pointed the way the masked man had disappeared.
“No. I guess the man had gotten out before I got in.”
“Or he had jumped.” She said as she looked up at him.
“Are the boys okay?” He asked as he looked around her.
She nodded. “Both are in my car.”
He turned when he heard the pounding. “I’ll go help my partner; then we’ll want your statements.”
She nodded and watched him run away to help his partner, then turned and walked to her car.
“Come on, boys, the detectives will want to talk to us.” She said as she opened the back door to her car.
“This has been the coolest night ever.” Lawrence said with a grin.
“Yeah, sure. Your aunt and uncle will never let me near you again.” She said as she shook her head.
“Are you kidding me? You’re my hero. That guy was after me, not you. If I hadn’t been with you, he would have gotten me before The Sapphire Dreamer had shown up.” Lawrence said with a grin. “When they find that out, they will want you around me all the time.”
Ariel laughed. No one has ever called her a hero before.
“I didn’t know you know The Sapphire Dreamer.” Skyler said as he looked at his cousin.
Ariel sighed with a shrug. “He has saved my life a few times. And he gave me an interview once.”
“Oh yeah, that article. So, The Sapphire Dreamer had talked to you?”
“Of course.” She said as she wrapped her arm around her cousin’s head and bent him forward like she had when she was younger. “What, did you think I had made it all up?”
He laughed as he tried to free himself from her. “Kind of.” He admitted.
She laughed as she let him go.
Luka and Abraham took their statements, then let them go home. Ariel took Lawrence straight home and told his aunt and uncle what had happened. It didn’t help her case when the boys helped tell the story and embellished it a lot.
When the boys were in the den playing games, she told them what had happened. They thanked her and hugged her. Shocked, she hugged them back.
An hour later, she took her cousin home and had to give her aunt and uncle the same story. They cried as they held their son, then pulled her into their arms and held her close.
With the death of Tina’s killer, they finally have closure.