The Sapphire Dreamer (The Man With A Hundred Names - Mini Series - Book One)

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Chapter Seventeen: The Bird Man

“Are you trying to be sneaky, Miss Lawson?” His voice sounded gravelly through the voice changer.

She watched him open his eyes and stare at her. She smiled as she left her wrist in his hand.

“Not at all.” She said with honesty. “I was just going to touch your mask, I would touch your cheek, but the blasted mask is in the way.”

He smiled as he let go of her wrist, then sat up on the couch. He looked at the watch on his wrist and shook his head.

“I must be going.” He said as he helped her to her feet and stood up with her.

“Okay.” She said with a frown.

He smiled as he touched her cheek. “Why, Miss Lawson, I do believe you are sad to see me go.”

She looked up at him and stared into his red eyes. How did he get them to look so red? They weren’t a cheap pair of Halloween contacts, that was for sure.

“Are you going to miss me?” He asked as he pulled her into his arms.

“Maybe.” She whispered.

He grinned as he leaned his head down and kissed her so sweetly; she was almost shocked. His kisses have always been rough, demanding, wanting. As though he had read her mind, he pulled her closer and deepened the kiss. She groaned against his mouth as he claimed her.

That was more like him.

When he pulled his head back, he was still grinning. “Remember this moment, the next time your detective kisses you.” He said as he touched her cheek, then turned and disappeared so fast, she didn’t have time to suck in a much-needed breath of air.

These two men will be the death of me. She thought as she walked to her bedroom.

She sighed as she climbed into bed and fell back to sleep.

~📰~

Luka looked at the body of the second victim of The Bird Man. The victim, George Simmons, was killed the same as the first victim, Sean Cole. Birds had somehow gotten into the man’s house and tore him to shreds. Or, at least, that’s how it’s supposed to look.

“I found something over here.” An officer said from across the room.

Luka and Abraham walked to the officer and looked down at what seemed to be a locket. Luka bent down and picked it up with his pen.

“Looks like something you would give your girlfriend.” Abraham said as he looked at the locket.

“Or your daughter.” Luka said as he read the inscription on the back.

To my beautiful daughter, on your thirteenth birthday.

“And the date is three years ago.” Abraham said as he looked at the inscription.

“Which means, we may have a missing sixteen-year-old girl on our hands.” Luka said with a shake of his head.

They turned when they heard a scream and found a woman trying to get into the house.

“That would be the Mrs.” Abraham said with a grunt.

“I’ll go talk to her.” Luka said as he took the necklace with him. “Mrs. Simmons?” He asked as he approached the woman.

“No!” The woman screamed when she saw the necklace. “That belongs to my daughter, where did you find it?!”

“Mrs. Simmons, we need to talk…”

“Ms.” She said as she stared at the necklace. “George and I divorced last year. This was his weekend with our daughter…” She said with a cry. “Where is my daughter?”

“Ms. Simmons. We should go outside…”

“George!” She screamed when she saw her ex-husband’s body.

“Officers.” Luka said with a nod for the officers to escort the woman outside.

Luka placed the necklace into an evidence bag as he walked outside to talk to the woman.

“Ma’am.” He said as he watched her try to get back inside again.

“Where’s my daughter?” She cried.

“We are trying to find her, please calm down…”

“Calm down!?” She screamed, almost spitting in his face.

“Ms. Simmons, we are trying to solve the murder of your husband and the disappearance of your daughter, please try to calm yourself.”

The woman took in a deep breath as she looked at him, tears streaming down her cheeks.

“How was he killed?” She asked as she tried to calm herself.

“We believe the Bird Man killed him.”

“What?!” She squealed. “Is that some kind of joke?”

“No, ma’am.” Luka said with a shake of his head. “It is what the tabloids call him. He killed a man the same way last month. Somehow he involves birds…”

“That’s sick.” She said as she looked back at the house.

“Yes, ma’am. And we believe he has your daughter. If we hope to get to her before he does something, we need to figure out if your husband has been in contact with anyone…”

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t talked to George, except about our daughter, in over a year.” She said as she looked at him, panic in her eyes. “Is he going to kill her?”

“I don’t know, ma’am. He’s kidnapped no one before. Just killed and left. Though, no one else was ever home when it had happened, either.”

“Oh, Lord.” She cried as she fell to her knees.

“We promise to do our best to find her.” He said as he helped her back to her feet.

“Can I have her necklace?” She asked when she noticed the necklace in the evidence bag.

“When it is no longer evidence, I will make sure you get it back.” He promised.

She nodded as she collapsed against him and cried again.

~📰~

Deep underground, The Bird Man, stood over a table filled with caged birds.

“Okay, my beauties, it’s almost time to strike again. I know it has only been two weeks, but the coppers are on our tail feathers, and we need to strike soon so that we can move on to the next city.” He said as he shook a cage, making the birds squawk.

“You’re a horrible person.” The girl in one of his larger cages on the floor said as she looked up at him.

“Ah, my prettiest bird of them all.” He said as he grinned down at her.

“I’m not a bird.” She said as she watched him approach her cage.

“Do you want a cracker?” He asked as he pulled a cracker from his pocket.

“I want out of here!” She said as she shook the bars of her cage.

“In time, sweet dove.” He said as he handed her the cracker. “We leave tomorrow, so we must strike tonight.” He said as he touched her long blond hair.

She pulled back and started eating the cracker. This man is insane. He thinks she’s a talking dove. All she has had to eat is crackers. He tried to feed her birdseed once, but she had thrown it out of the cage. Which had just made him laugh, and he’d handed her a cracker.

“Now, to find tonight’s dinner.” He said with a smile as he moved over to his computer. “Who is next on the menu?”

~📰~

Ariel looked at the piece of paper that had been slid under her door. She recognized Detective Gunnar’s handwriting.

Thought I’d let you know that we’ve figured out how The Bird Man is killing. I wanted to make sure you got first dibs on the story.

She smiled as she read the note. “Thanks, Luka.” She whispered.

Ariel gathered what she’d need, then headed for the door. She walked out and locked up behind her. She made it to the head of the forensic’s office and knocked on the woman’s door.

“Miss Lawson, hello.” Nancy Wolfe said as she opened the door.

“Miss Wolfe.” Ariel said with a nod to the woman. “I heard you figured out how The Bird Man is killing his victims.”

Nancy smiled. “You did, did you?” She said as she opened the door to let in the young reporter. She has a feeling who’d spilled the beans.

“Are you okay with giving me an interview?” Ariel asked as she entered the woman’s office.

“Actually, no.” Nancy said as she turned to her.

Ariel frowned. This will take a lot more effort to get the story, then she had thought.

“I can’t tell you what I haven’t even told the detectives yet.” Nancy said with a smile. “How about you join me?”

Ariel smiled. To get everything first hand, when the woman tells the police for the first time? Hell yeah, she will be there. A herd of elephants couldn’t keep her away.

Nancy laughed. “I take that smile to mean, yes. Give me a minute to gather my notes and paperwork, and we’ll go meet up with the detectives in the morgue.”

~📰~

Justin Marshall opened his front door and screamed when a flock of birds flew into his face. He backed away from the door as he swatted at the birds, who were pecking at his face. He fell backward onto the floor of his hall, still screaming and hitting at the birds.

“Come on.” A man said as he dragged something into the house.

“No, please don’t.” The girl cried out as they entered the house.

The birds flew off Justin’s face, and he could just barely see the man who stood over him, a young girl at his side, on a chain.

“I will have to teach you new words.” The man said as he yanked on the chain.

“I’m sorry.” The girl said as she looked down at the man lying on the floor. She remembered what this man had done to her father, and she knew what was coming next and closed her eyes.

The Bird Man pulled out a knife and smiled down at Justin.

“No, no, please don’t.” Justin said as he held his hands up towards the man with the knife.

“Dinner time.” The Bird Man said with an evil grin, then bent down and sliced the man open from the top of his stomach to his pelvis.

The man screamed as the knife easily sliced through his clothes and skin.

The birds let out a loud noise as they dived into the man’s opened stomach. The man gurgled a scream as the birds feasted on his insides.

“You’re a horrible person.” The girl said as she turned away from what was going on before her.

“You need to eat too.” The man said as he shoved her down onto her knees with the other birds.

“NO!” She screamed as she turned her head from the man on the floor, who was no longer screaming or breathing.

“Come on; you need to eat.” The man said as he watched her.

“I don’t eat people.” She cried.

“You will learn, just like they did.” He said as he nodded to the other birds, still feasting on the insides of the man.

“You’re despicable.”

“Not a gracious thing to say to your master. I will have to teach you not to talk that way.” He said as he raised his hand to hit her.

Still, on her knees, she moved away from the body and closed her eyes, then turned and held herself upright. She waited for the blow, and when nothing happened, she opened her eyes to find a tall man in a mask, standing behind her captor, his hand around the man’s wrist, keeping him from hitting her.

“Not nice to hit girls.” The man in the mask said with a growl.

His voice changer made it sound so evil; it gave the girl chills.

“How dare you interrupt my training.” The man bellowed as he tried to escape the large man.

“You need to be trained, yourself.” The man in the mask said as he pulled the man’s knife from his other hand, then looked down at the girl and nodded towards the door. “Run.”

The girl got to her feet and ran out the front door. The chain was still around her neck, but no one was holding it anymore. She ran out into the street and fell to her knees when the chain caught on something. A car swerved to miss her and stopped before it hit a parked car. The driver got out and started yelling at her; until he saw the chain around her neck. He ran to her and helped her to her feet.

“Are you okay?” He asked as he followed the chain to where it had snagged on the tire of a parked car.

“He saved me.” She cried as she fell to her knees again.

The man rushed to her. “Who did?”

She pointed to the house, then fell over.

The man caught her and carried her to his car, where he placed her in the back seat, then called 911 as he stared at the house she had apparently been running from.

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