Chapter Five: Footprint
Luka paused in the entry hall with his partner. They were too late.
“Looks like The Sapphire Dreamer beat us here.” Davis said as he looked at his detectives.
“What happened here?” Abraham asked as he joined their captain beside the bodies.
“From what I can see, Damian Braxton killed Dominic Silas and his dog, then The Sapphire Dreamer showed up and took care of Damian.” Davis said with a shake of his head as he looked at his two best detectives. “What took you two so long to get here?”
“I got lost.” Abraham said with a frown. “My GPS screwed up again.”
“I had to backtrack and find where it had taken him.” Luka said as he examined the bodies.
“Did you say Damian killed the man’s dog?” Abraham asked as he walked up to the bodies.
“Yeah, out back on the porch. Nasty too.” Davis said as he shook his head in disgust.
“You would think the court would have learned its lesson by now, with letting freaks go.” Abraham said with a grunt.
“Yeah, you would think.” Luka mumbled.
“Sorry.” Abraham said as he looked at his partner.
“No worries.” Luka said as he headed out onto the back porch.
“I don’t think this will change anything.” Davis said with a shake of his head.
“I agree.” Abraham said, low enough, his partner couldn’t hear him. “I don’t condone what The Sapphire Dreamer is doing, but he’s taking out the trash, so to speak.”
“That’s not how we’re supposed to think.” Davis said as he looked at Abe.
“No, I know. But think about it… They have released every man who fell through the system, back into the public to kill again. And the man in the black mask has taken them all out. I know Luka doesn’t agree with how he’s doing it, but I think he’s happy we have this man out there, taking care of what the courts let free…”
“I know. But as officers of the law, we should never condone this kind of…”
“Captain; come look at this.” Luka called from the backyard.
Davis looked at Abraham, then stepped into the backyard. They found Luka by the fence, looking at something in the soft dirt, close to the fence.
“A footprint.” Abraham said with a smile.
“The Sapphire Dreamer has never left a fingerprint, let alone a footprint. He’s getting sloppy.” Davis said as he looked at the soil.
“Maybe he was in a hurry.” Abraham said as he bent to look at the print.
“You had gotten here just after the murders.” Luka said with a nod.
“He must have still been inside when we’d pulled up, sirens blaring.” Davis said with a shake of his head. “From now on, no sirens, we will catch this bastard.”
“I’ll get a tech to get a mold from this.” Luka said as he headed over to the techs, who were sweeping for fingerprints on the porch.
“I don’t know, what do you think, boss?” Abraham asked as he stood.
“I think our “hero” is getting sloppy.” Davis said as he headed for the house.
“Yeah, sure, sloppy.” Abraham said with a nod.
Ariel looked up as the door to her hospital room opened. She smiled when she saw the handsome detective.
“Detective Gunnar, to what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Miss Lawson.” Luka said with a nod.
“I just came to see how you’re doing.” He said as he approached the bed.
“Much better, thank you. I should be well enough to leave tomorrow. Then once the swelling is down, the doctors want me back in to see about some plastic surgery. But my insurance refuses to pay for it. Go figure, huh? Guess they consider it a beauty thing, and not a life or death situation.”
“That’s horrible.” Luka said with a nod.
“So, what can I do for you?” Ariel asked as she observed the man. He seemed to have something on his mind.
“Honestly, I’m not sure.” Luka said with a laugh.
He had found himself outside the hospital, not sure what he was doing there.
“Well, it’s good to see you, anyway.” She said with a smile.
“Yeah.” He said with a nod.
“I hear you caught another killer last night. One of the courts had found innocent.” She said as she watched his face.
He looked at her. How did she know that? It wasn’t public knowledge yet.
She laughed at the look on his face. “Investigative reporter, remember?” She said as she pointed to herself.
He nodded, he remembered.
She eyed him for a moment, then shook her head. “Even in the hospital, I have my informers.”
“What have you heard?” He asked as he watched her.
“Nothing much. Just that The Sapphire Dreamer got to him first, and the killer killed the victim’s dog.” She said with a shrug.
“I hope I can count on you to keep that under wraps until we make it public.” He said as he watched her. He hoped she hadn’t spoken to her boss about it yet.
“I will if you give me an exclusive interview.” She said with a grin.
He laughed softly. “Deal. When you get out of here, I’ll meet with you for an interview.”
“Good.” She said with her now crooked smile. “I’ll hold you to that.”
Luka walked into his apartment and heard a noise against the window in the living room. He hurried to the window and opened it. He found a twig against his window and tossed it to the ground.
“I think you’re trying to fool us.” He said as he sat on the ledge. “The footprint was a risky business.” He said as he shook his head, then looked out the window into the darkness and sighed. “I hope you don’t give the reporter an interview; she’s getting too close.”
Luka sighed as he closed the window, then went to the kitchen for a beer. He has no clue whether the man heard him, but ever since he had killed William Nash, he has talked into the night, hoping the masked man could hear him.
One of these days, The Sapphire Dreamer will get caught, but until that day, the man has a lot of work to do. He took a swig of his beer as he headed to the couch to watch the news and make sure Miss Lawson kept her word. He sighed with annoyance.
Now he will have to give her a damn interview.
Luka stared at the body on the path in the local park. There was a poorly made dream catcher lying on the ground beside the body, with a fake Sapphire, horribly tied to the middle of the web.
“This isn’t his work.” Luka said with a shake of his head.
“What makes you say that?” Davis asked as he joined Luka.
“Look at that dream catcher, it is awful…”
“Maybe he got in a hurry.” Abraham said as he examined the body.
“The Sapphire isn’t real.” Luka pointed out.
“How do you know that?” Davis asked as he looked at the dream catcher.
“Because it’s my birthstone, I know real from fake.” Luka said with annoyance for the fake stone.
“Does it matter?” Davis asked as he picked up the dreamcatcher and placed it into an evidence bag, to go with the others.
“Besides, I have never heard of this man doing anything wrong.” Luka said as he looked at the man’s ID.
Who the hell was Ivan Maddox, that someone would frame The Sapphire Dreamer for his murder?
“Are you saying another killer framed our killer?” Davis asked as he looked at Luka.
“I think so.” Luka said with a nod.
“Well, until you prove that, this one goes on his record.” Davis said as he headed to the car with the dream catcher.
“Why are you so protective of the man’s reputation?” Abraham asked as he stood from the body and looked at his partner.
“Because this man isn’t his MO. And that means someone is out there killing under his name…”
“Making it harder for us to find the actual killer.” Abraham said with a nod.
Luka nodded. “He’s using The Sapphire Dreamer as a cover-up. He will get away with more murders if we keep pinning them on Dreamer.”
“You may be right.” Davis said as he came up behind Luka. “But we have to do our job.”
“In the meantime, the fake Dreamer is off killing, while we chase after the genuine one.” Luka said with a shake of his head.
“As long as you catch the proper one, while you’re finding the fake one…”
“You know I want to find him as much as you do.” Luka said as he looked at his captain.
“I don’t know; sometimes I think you praise him for killing your sister’s killer.” Davis said as he looked at Luka.
“I am glad that evil bastard is no longer anywhere he can hurt someone else, but that doesn’t mean I want another killer out there, doing what he had done to my sister.” Luka said with a soft growl.
“Take the rest of the day off.” Davis said as he headed back to his car.
Luka stared at his captain. The day off, really?
“I think you should take that time to get you some sleep. You look like shit.” Abraham said as he looked at his partner.
Luka grunted. His partner was right; he hasn’t been sleeping well. But why was their captain giving him the day off?
“Don’t question it; just take it. I’ll do all the paperwork.” Abraham said as he shook his head.
“But why would he give me the day off?” Luka asked as he looked at his partner.
Abraham stared at him. “Dude, do you not realize what today is? We thought that was why you were acting like this and looked like hell had frozen over.”
Confused, Luka looked at his phone, then froze. He has been so occupied with what has been going on since his interview with Miss Lawson, that he hasn’t paid much attention to the date.
“Go home.” Abraham said as he watched his partner. “Call your parents. I’m sure they would be happy to hear from you.”
Luka nodded, then turned to head to his car. Today had slipped his mind. The day has been etched in his mind for the past six years. How could he have forgotten?
Six years ago today, William Nash had brutally murdered his kid sister. He sighed as he climbed into his car and drove to the graveyard; in a daze.
When he found her grave, he cleared the weeds and wiped off the simple stone that held her name.
Darcey Irene Gunnar
Beloved Daughter and Sister
“I’m sorry I forgot what day today is.” He said as he looked at the stone with his sister’s name engraved into it. “There has been so much going on. The man who had killed the man that murdered you; has killed so many and saved so many others. But we have to hunt him down like a rabid dog.” He said with a sigh as he stood.
“Anyway, I agreed to give an interview with an investigative reporter, and I’m not sure I want to go through with it…” He stopped and smiled at his sister’s name. “I know what you would say, ‘Luka, you promised, you can’t back out now.’ Okay, little sister, I’ll do the interview.”
Luka backed away from the grave with a heavy sigh. “I love you, Darcey.”