Chapter Eighteen: Rival Reporters
“So see here. This is where the birds feasted on his insides after the man had cut him open.” Nancy said as she showed them the claw and beak marks on the man’s liver.
Luka walked into the room and smiled at Ariel. “Miss Lawson, I didn’t know you would be here for this.” He said as he approached them.
“Sure, you didn’t.” Nancy said with a laugh.
“You’re late.” Davis said when he looked at Luka.
Luka looked at his watch. “By five minutes. I got caught in traffic.”
Davis shook his head, then nodded for Nancy to continue.
Luka reached into his pocket when he felt his phone vibrate, he looked at the caller ID and froze. He didn’t recognize the number. Luka took a breath, then answered, his blood cold in his veins.
“You’re too slow, Detective Gunnar. Once again, I have beaten you in solving your case. Are you getting slow in your old age?”
Luka felt his blood turn to ice, and the room started to spin.
“Sapphire Dreamer.” He whispered into the phone.
Nancy stopped talking as everyone turned to stare at Luka.
“Excellent, detective. The man you are looking for, “The Bird Man” which is a stupid name by the way. His name is Jonah King, and his latest victim is Justin Marshall. You will find them both at Mr. Marshall’s address. Oh, and that girl, she’s safe too. I also saved her ass. She will be outside with some man, who almost ran her over in the street. You will receive a 911 call in five, four, three, two…”
“911 call, sir, some guy says he found a girl in the street with a chain around her neck.” An officer said as he came into the morgue.
“Catch you later, Detective Dog Shit.” The Sapphire Dreamer said before the phone went dead.
“That’s our missing girl.” Luka said as he looked at his captain.
“The Sapphire Dreamer told you as much?” Abraham asked as he looked at his partner.
Luka nodded as they headed out the door. He told them about the phone call as they headed for their cars.
Ariel caught up with them and wrote what she could hear Luka say.
Luka turned to her. “You’re not coming with.”
She looked up at him. “Of course, I am. You can’t stop me…” She stopped talking when he came within inches of her face.
“You’ve been hospitalized too many times, Ariel.”
“I know. I will stay out of danger, I promise. But I think the girl would feel safer if a woman was there that wasn’t a police officer, don’t’ you?” She asked as she batted her eyes at him.
He groaned as he turned from her. “Fine, but you better stay with the ambulance until I say otherwise.”
She grinned. “I promise.” She said as she crossed her heart.
Luka stared at the two bodies and shook his head. The Sapphire Dreamer had done to Jonah King, what the man had done to his victims. Guess The Sapphire Dreamer found it poetic justice to be eaten by his own birds. But where were the birds?
“Sir, you will want to see this.” An officer said as he pointed at the door to the basement.
Luka looked at the door and noticed the dream catcher pinned to it. He looked at the body of Jonah King and found no dream catcher. Luka pulled out his gun, then opened the door and started down the stairs to the basement. He paused on the last step when he saw the cages full of dead birds.
“He killed the birds.” Abraham said as he walked past his partner and stepped down onto the floor of the basement.
“How evil.” The officer behind Luka said as he shook his head.
“Here’s a note.” Abraham said as he pulled a piece of computer paper from a cage. “It’s addressed to you.” He said as he held it out to Luka.
Luka moved down off the step and took the paper from his partner.
Dear Detective Dog Shit,
I know you all must think me evil for killing the birds. But I’m sure you had discovered that he was feeding his victims to the birds. That’s not something you can train out of an animal. I fed them some poison; they should be dead before you get to the house. Don’t forget to tell Ariel everything.
The Sapphire Dreamer
“What is up with him calling you, Detective Dog Shit?” Abraham asked as he read the note.
“I don’t know. Maybe because I’m so close to catching him.” Luka said with a shrug.
“I don’t know; maybe it’s because you’re both going for the same girl.” Abraham said with a laugh. “He called Miss Lawson by her first name, in both notes.”
Luka looked at his partner. “So, what if he had?”
“The way he’s talking about her, he has feelings for her. And I have seen how you look at her; your face becomes so bright, I need sunglasses.” Abraham said with a laugh as his partner grunted.
“She wouldn’t be attracted to a killer like him, would she?” Luka asked as he looked down at the note again.
“I don’t know; he has saved her life a few times.”
“So have I…”
“Luka, Abraham, get up here.” Davis called from the top of the stairs.
Abraham looked at his partner, then shook his head. “Coming, Captain.”
Luka shook his head and followed his partner up the stairs. “We will need to clean up down there, sir.” Luka said as they walked through the basement door.
“What the hell is she doing here?” The captain demanded as he pointed to a woman who stood above the bodies taking pictures.
“Crap, Ariel is going to be pissed.” Luka said with a grunt.
“Why is she taking pictures of my crime scene?!” Davis demanded.
“I don’t know, sir. I’ll take care of it.” Abraham said, then walked over to the woman and took her by the arm. With a jolt of agitation, he led her out the front door.
“Are you okay, captain?” Luka asked as he looked at the man.
“She’s not allowed around my crime scenes. She’s too much trouble.” Davis said with an angry growl.
“I know, sir, I didn’t even know she was back in town.” Luka said as he watched his partner argue with the woman just outside the front door.
“If I see her again, I’m having her arrested.” Davis said as he turned from the front door and walked over to one of his officers.
Luka studied the woman who was on the porch. She was taking Ariel’s story, and he didn’t like that; if there was only a way to get that damn film from her and ruin it.
Ariel stood back and watched mother and daughter reunited after two weeks. She turned when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
“You can take pictures now.” Luka said with a smile.
She smiled up at him. “Thanks.”
“Fair warning.” He said as they headed for the house. “Laura Landry is back in town, and she’s already taken a bunch of pictures…”
“Damn, bitch.” Ariel grumbled.
Luka looked down at her, then laughed. “I promised you the story; no one is talking to her.” He said as they walked through the front door.
Ariel pulled out her camera and started taking pictures of the scene. She tried not to take too many photos of the bodies; people don’t like that much gore.
“Oh, look, it’s mini-me.”
Ariel turned to stare at the beautiful Laura Landry.
Laura stared at her scarred face. “Or maybe not an identical mini-me. But look at you, so confident that this story is yours.”
“Because it is.” Luka said as he glared at Laura.
“I was here first, sweetie.” Laura said as she smiled at Luka.
“Actually, I was here first.” Ariel said with her nose in the air. “I got my statement from the mother, and the girl who was treated like a bird for two weeks.”
Luka smiled at Ariel and how confident she was. He knew there was a reason he liked her.
“Well, I’ll get their statements later, I have enough pictures here to fill a book.” Laura said once she overcame her shock.
“They won’t be talking to you.” Luka said with a smirk. “They have already gone to the hospital, and I will tell the guards, no visits from the likes of you.”
“Well, we will just see about that.” Laura said as she turned and left the house.
“I swear; if I weren’t an officer of the law, I would…”
Ariel laughed. “I thought you, and she was an item once.”
He stared at her. “Are you kidding me? I always saw right through her.”
“But I thought one of you dated her, that’s how she got the information that…”
“That was me.” Abraham said as he walked up to them. “One of the lowest points of my career.”
“You didn’t know she was a conniving bitch.” Luka said as he laid his hand on his partner’s shoulder.
“I should have.” Abraham said with a shake of his head. “You did.”
“I wasn’t blinded by the love bug.” Luka said with a laugh.
“Let’s get this wrapped up, people!” Davis hollered from across the house.
“Right.” Abraham said with a nod, then moved to talk to the captain.
Luka looked at Ariel. “Get what you need, then I’ll walk you to your car.”
“Okay.” She said, then turned and took a few more pictures and wrote a few notes in her notepad.
When she finished, she let Luka walk her to her car. They stood beside her car for a moment in silence. Then he sighed as he touched her cheek.
“You want to go out sometime?”
She stared at him. “Like a date?”
“You can call it that.” He said with a nod as he smiled at her.
“What took you so long to ask?” She asked as she studied his face.
“Well, let’s see. You keep getting yourself put into the hospital, then I had this case to solve, oh, and you got yourself kidnapped…”
She laughed as she reached out and touched his arm. “I would love to go out with you.”
He grinned as he pulled her into his arms. “This Saturday night. I’ll pick you up at six.”
She smiled at him with a nod. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
He leaned down and kissed her lips lightly at first, then pulled her closer and deepened the kiss. When he pulled back, she was out of breath and dizzy.
“I’ll see you Saturday then, Miss Lawson.”
“See you Saturday, detective.” She whispered as he walked away.
Damn, what is she going to do if The Sapphire Dreamer finds out about this date?
Deal with it. Ariel told herself as she got into her car and drove away.