Chapter Eleven: Discoveries
Ariel sat in her backyard and stared up at the stars.
What a night. She thought with a sigh.
“You shouldn’t be out here, alone.”
Ariel froze, then turned to the voice. She found the masked man standing just inside her yard, as though he had jumped her fence. But how had he done it without her hearing him?
“I have this.” She said as she pulled out her mace.
He laughed as he approached her. And as always, his laughter sounded demonic, with the voice disguiser.
“What are you doing here?” She asked as she watched him approach her.
“I promised you an interview.” He said as he stood five feet from her chair.
“That was if I did as you said and got out of there.” She said as she watched him.
“It wasn’t your fault; you didn’t know the maniac was after your cousin’s friend.” He said as he continued to approach her.
“True.” She said as she eyed him.
“You know, I’ve never been so afraid for someone’s safety as I was tonight.” He whispered as he bent over and leaned in close enough. She could smell his woodsy scent.
“Oh?” Ariel asked, letting out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding.
He smiled at her.
“Your mask.” She said as her eyes wandered over his covered face.
“What about it?” He asked as he watched her.
“I can see your mouth. You had had it covered when you saved me from The Artist.”
“Maybe I wanted my lips free.” He said as he moved in closer.
She swallowed past the lump in her throat. “Free?” She asked with a squeak.
“Maybe I wanted them free to do this.” He said, then leaned forward and kissed her.
She let out a shocked breath when his lips touched hers. She closed her eyes with a sigh as she wrapped her arms around his neck. He groaned as he pulled her up off the chair to deepen the kiss. She moaned against his mouth as he held her in his arms.
Alarms went off in her mind.
What are you doing? He’s a wanted killer!
But at the moment, she didn’t care. She didn’t even care that the man wore a mask and she has never seen his face. His lips felt too good on hers.
Dreamer pulled his head up and stared down at her. Kissing her hadn’t been in his plans when he’d come here, but she had looked so cute sitting there in the moonlight. He cleared his throat as he let her go and backed away, then reached out and caught her when she swayed.
“I’m ready for the interview.” He said as he watched her.
“Right.” She said breathlessly.
Ariel turned from him, then walked into her house and went straight to her desk for her pad and pencil.
What was going on in her life? That was the second man to kiss her.
One was a detective, who as far as she knows, was on the right side of the law.
And the other, a killer. But was he also on the right side of the law?
It was all too confusing.
She shook her head and blocked her mind from the steamy kiss she had shared with the masked man.
“So, where do we start?” She asked as she rejoined the masked man in her backyard.
He smiled as she sat back in her seat. He had taken the chair on the other side of the small patio table.
“This is your show, Miss Lawson.” He said as his red eyes watched her.
“Okay, how about we start with, how did you know to warn me?”
He laughed softly. “I have my informants. They knew what the detectives had discovered, and I knew where the boy would be.”
He shook his head. “I can’t give you all of my secrets, Miss Lawson.”
“Okay, fair.” She said with a nod. “Off the record. Why did you warn me?”
He stared at her for a moment. “I would think the kiss would have told you why.”
She swallowed around the lump in her throat.
“On the record. I hadn’t known you would be there; until I saw you in the stands. And I knew somehow you would get involved and get yourself hurt again. Especially when you figured out who the man was, and that he had killed your cousin.” He said as he watched her.
She shook her head as she wrote in her pad. She looked up at him when she stopped writing.
“Would you have allowed him to kill the boy if I hadn’t been there?”
He watched her face, then sighed. “What do you think me as, Miss Lawson? A monster? I planned to protect the boy, but he hadn’t come out of the exit with the others. He had gone with you and your cousin. It had taken me that long to find where you were.” He said as he watched her.
“So, if not for me, you would have been there faster?” She asked, her eyes opened wide.
He sighed. “Don’t blame yourself. You did a splendid job of protecting the boys. I think you would have gotten away, even if I hadn’t shown up.” He said with a smile.
“Don’t patronize me.” She said with a frown.
He got up from the chair and leaned across the table until his face was within inches of hers.
She stared at him in shock.
“I am not patronizing you, Ariel. You are a courageous woman. You have been through so much, yet you have let none of it keep you down. I think you could have gotten yourself and the boys to your car and probably ran the psycho over…”
She burst into laughter, then covered her mouth with her hand.
He smiled at her as he sat back down in his seat.
“Okay. So how did you figure out where we were?” She asked as she started writing on her pad again.
“I was walking around the building when I heard you yelling at your cousin.” He said as he watched her.
“Great.” She said with a smile.
If Skyler hadn’t run at the crazy man, The Sapphire Dreamer might have never found them.
“Do you have all you need?” He asked as he watched her face.
“I think this will do.” She said with a nod. “Everything else I have from my own experience tonight.”
He nodded as he got to his feet. “I hope to see you again, Ariel. Hopefully not with a psycho trying to kill you.” He said with a smile.
She nodded as she got to her feet. “That would be nice.”
He nodded, then disappeared into the night.
She looked around her backyard with a sigh; he was so mysterious. She looked down at her pad. She has a lot of writing to do if she will get this in by morning’s print.
I won’t say this was the scariest night of my life. But it was close. I came face to face with another psycho killer. But what scared me the most was the fact that I had two adolescent boys with me, depending on me to keep them safe. It wasn’t easy, especially when my cousin, Skyler Lawson, charged at the man.
But luck was on our side, not to mention a few guardian angels. The man we had come up against was The Alphabet Killer. For those who don’t remember my report on him three years ago, when he had murdered my cousin.
He was killing people by the alphabet, four every year, around the same time of the year, and all within a week’s deadline. Last night was almost X. Lawrence Xavier, being the only X in town, he was the target. And since he is my cousin’s best friend, the three of us were heading to my car, to join the rest of the team, to celebrate the winning game, when a psycho interrupted us.
Lucky for us, one of our guardian angels showed up just in time, and we could escape. I know most of you think of him as a killer, himself. And maybe he is, but he has never killed an innocent person. I have interviewed him twice, and he isn’t the monster people have played him out to be. Unless you’re a monster yourself, then watch out, because there is no escaping his clutches.
The Sapphire Dreamer told me about his trademark dream catcher. It is to capture the souls of those he has killed. To keep them in their own sort of hell, so they can never harm another soul, again. I, for one, am thankful for The Sapphire Dreamer.
Last night he was my hero, even if he’s not the hero of the city.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were taken from us by The Alphabet Killer.
Max Adiel, Brody Bennett, Nicholas Colton, Jaime Donaldson, Landon Enzo, Kian Foster, Caleb Grieves, Joey Higgans, Emma Ingleson, Randall Judson, Jayson Kenedy, Tina Lawson, Benson Marley, Willie Newman, Quinton Olsen, Brodie Peterson, Kaysen Queens, Alonzo Ramiro, Hank Scottsdale, Britney Trandell, Bowen Upton, Marcel Valentino, and Saul West.
I hope you have some closure now that their killer is dead. And maybe in your prayers tonight, you will thank the man in the black mask. May God bless everyone who has lost someone special to someone horrible.
Ariel Lawson, Investigative Reporter
Luka laid down the paper and shook his head. Leave it to Ariel to paint The Sapphire Dreamer as a hero.
“Luka!” Davis hollered from his office.
Luka sighed as he got to his feet and headed to the captain’s office. He found the man pacing the floor of his office. “Sir?”
“Sit.” Davis said with an annoyed growl.
Luka sat in a chair in front of the captain’s desk.
“Not there, the couch.” Davis grumbled.
Luka nodded and moved to the couch.
Davis stared at his detective. “Do you know who I just got off the phone with?”
“The mayor.” Davis said with annoyance. “He wants to know why the local reporter knows more about The Sapphire Dreamer, then we do.”
“Because she’s good at her job?” Luka said as he shrugged his shoulders.
“I won’t deny that.” Davis said as he stopped pacing. “But how is she getting these interviews with the man, you’re trying to capture?”
“Not sure, sir. I think he just shows up at her house. I didn’t know she was getting the interviews; I thought she was making things up.” Luka said as he watched his captain sit in one of the overstuffed chairs beside the couch.
“She’s making things difficult for us.” Davis said as he shook his head.
“Yes, sir. But what would you have me do? I can’t tell her to quit her job…”
“No, of course not. You have gotten close to Miss Lawson, haven’t you? Maybe you can persuade her to stop talking about The Sapphire Dreamer, as though he is some kind of hero.”
“To her, he is, sir. He has saved her several times now.” Luka said as he watched his captain’s pale face.
“Yes, but she doesn’t have to report it.”
“True.” Luka said with a nod. “I guess I can see what I can do.”
“Good.” Davis said with a sigh of relief. “Now, where are we at with the human trafficking case?”
“We believe a man named Brayden Riley is in charge, and we’re getting close to finding him.”
“Good. Keep on it. That’s all we need, another monster on our streets.” Davis said as he stood.
“Right.” Luka said with a nod as he got to his feet.
“Try to keep your reporter friend out of this one.” Davis said as he sat behind his desk.
Luka laughed. He had this feeling that that was easier said than done.