Chapter Nine: Interview with a Detective
“How do you take your coffee?” Ariel asked as she tried to get her mind off his kisses.
Her mouth wouldn’t stop smiling, no matter how hard she tried.
“Cream, two sugars.” He said as he joined her in the kitchen.
She nodded and got the cream from the fridge, then set the sugar and cream on the island. She swallowed as she tried to catch her breath when she noticed him leaning against the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room. He just stood there, watching her, like she was something worth watching.
She shook her head as she prepared their coffee.
“So.” He said as he followed her to the dining room table. “What do you want to know?”
“For one, how had he slipped from you guys, so easily, after he had killed that D maniac?”
“This is off the record.” He said as he sat across from her.
She looked at him and saw the seriousness on his face. The reporter in her wants to print everything, but the woman in her wants him to trust her. She set the notepad aside with a nod.
“We figure he had heard the sirens and ran out the back door. The captain says no more sirens; we will catch him next time.” He said as he watched her.
She frowned. “I see.”
“Remember, off the record.” He said as he watched her.
She nodded. “I understand. I won’t print it. I know how important it is.” Even if she doesn’t agree with it.
“What else did you want to ask?” He asked as he took a sip of his coffee.
“Well, this wasn’t one of my original questions. But, why do you guys pin murders on The Sapphire Dreamer, that he has nothing to do with?”
He stared at her. How was she so sure about that?
“Like what?” He asked as he watched her.
“Just a minute.” She said as she held up a finger and stood from the table.
She walked over to her desk and pulled out a thick envelope, then carried it back to the table.
“This is all stuff I gathered from local papers.” She said as he eyed her. “Nothing illegal here.” She assured him.
She opened the folder and pulled out a bunch of clippings until she found what she was looking for.
“Like these.” She said as she spread the three papers across the table. “Eric Hunter, Jordan Legend, and Abel Clayton. All hung off their balcony. Not The Sapphire Dreamer’s MO, and yet they blamed him for their deaths.” She said as she watched him.
“You’ve done your research.” He said as he picked up one of the articles.
“Yeah, well, I wrote the articles.” She said as she watched him.
“So, you did.” He said with a nod.
“Luka.” She said as she watched his face.
He looked up at her. That was the first time she has called him by his first name.
“Why does he get the blame for kills he had nothing to do with? And when he proves he didn’t kill them, he still doesn’t get his name cleared…”
“He’s a killer, Ariel. Don’t romanticize him.”
She sucked in a shocked breath as she pulled back from him.
He sighed. “Look, I know he has saved your life more than once…”
“Yours too.” She whispered.
“Yes.” He said with a nod. “But he’s killing to do it, Ariel. You can’t condone that…”
“I may not condone the killing, but I can agree with his reasoning…”
“Really?” He asked as he watched her.
“He’s killing wicked people.” She said as she watched him watch her.
“Which makes him a wicked person.” He said with a nod.
“No.” She breathed.
“Brilliant questions you have here, Miss Lawson. And I wish I could answer them.”
“Are you saying our interview is over?” She asked as she watched him stand.
“I can’t answer what I don’t understand myself.” He said as he got to his feet.
“I see.” She said as she gathered the clippings. “So, he finds the actual killer for you all, and no one has the guts to stand up and say, The Sapphire Dreamer didn’t kill those men, let’s take it off his record…”
She stopped talking when he pulled her out of her chair and into his arms. She stared up into his handsome face in shock. What was he doing?
“I have wondered this myself.” He said as he looked into her eyes. “This is off the record, Miss Lawson. But I agree with you on most of your points. The man shouldn’t be blamed for kills he has had nothing to do with. But he has so many he has taken care of, that they all run together.”
She stared up at him. She wished he hadn’t said off the record. He is probably the only cop in town who agrees with her.
“Now, if you will excuse me. I need to get home and get some sleep. We have a lot going on tomorrow.”
“Like?” She asked.
“Like catching this Sapphire Dreamer, you seem to be so fond of.” He said as he looked into her eyes.
She frowned. “Right.” She said, then pulled away from him.
“Don’t forget that I’m a detective, Ariel. It’s my job to catch the bad guys.”
“I know.” She said as she turned to the table and gathered up the clippings. “With what little you have told me, on the record, I have little to report.” She said with a frown.
“Okay, put this on the record.” He said as he watched her.
She paused, then picked up her notepad and pencil, ready to write everything he said.
“We promise the community we will put an end to The Sapphire Dreamer and his killings. And bring justice to those who deserve it.”
She looked up at him with a huff. “Thanks, detective.” She grumbled as she placed her notepad back on the table.
He shook his head. “I will see you around, Ariel.” He said as he headed for the front door. “Lock your door.” He said, then he vanished.
She grunted as she went to the door and locked it. She turned to her house with a sigh. Okay, she has some writing to do. She doesn’t have much to use from the detective. Thankfully, The Sapphire Dreamer had come to her first.
I have spoken to The Sapphire Dreamer and the detectives chasing him. The Sapphire Dreamer wants what they want. For the city to be free of crime, and all the “bad guys” locked away. But when the system finds the guilty men innocent, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.
This reporter has seen firsthand what happens when a guilty man is set free, and I have the scars to prove it. If not for The Sapphire Dreamer, I would be dead twice over. But doesn’t mean I condone his actions; I understand them.
Detective Gunnar of the East Side Precinct; says that they promise to capture this man in a mask and bring justice to the system, and the men who disobey the law and make us safe again. But isn’t that what The Sapphire Dreamer has been doing?
Ariel Lawson, Investigative Reporter
Luka stared at the board. Three recent deaths in the past week. Bowen Upton, Marcel Valentino, and Saul West.
What was going on in his city? Even with Ariel’s article, with the promise of the police and The Sapphire Dreamer, taking care of the “bad guys” of the city, it didn’t seem to slow down the murders.
“I think there will be a fourth.” Abraham said as he joined his partner at the board.
“I agree.” Luka said with a nod. “It’s the same MO as the four deaths last year around this time.”
“So, how do we figure out who’s next?” Abraham asked as he leaned against a table.
“Compare them to the ones from last year?” Luka suggested with a shrug.
“That’s brilliant.” Abraham said as he got to his feet and pulled out his phone.
Luka watched his partner talk on the phone for a few minutes, then he hung up and gave him a brilliant smile.
“We should have an answer within the hour.” Abraham said as he looked at his watch.
Luka took that time to go over everything they have on the case so far. Three murders in less than a week, that’s big news, even for here.
“We found something.” A tech said as he entered the room with a laptop in his arms.
“What do you have?” Abraham asked as he stood from the table and looked at the tech.
“There have been deaths like these, going back six years.” The tech said as he set the laptop on the table.
“Six years?” Abraham asked, shocked. “And no one has reported them?”
“They have.” The tech said as he tapped on a few keys. “But the killings stopped after one week, every time. Four each week.”
“What in the world?” Abraham asked as he looked at the screen.
“And that’s not what’s the shock here.” The tech said as he pulled up a page with the list of the names. “The first year, look at their names.”
“Max Adiel, Brody Bennett, Nicholas Colton, and Jaime Donaldson.” Abraham read out loud.
“Oh, my God.” Luka said as he read further down.
“What?” Abraham asked as he looked at him.
“Look.” Luka said as he picked up the paper with the new names on it and held it up against the computer screen.
“Well, I’ll be a chicken’s mama.” Abraham said as he reread the names. “Wait, isn’t that…”
“Ariel.” Luka said in a whisper.
“Her cousin, actually.” The tech said as he brought up the picture of Tina Lawson. “When I saw the last name, I checked it out.”
“No wonder she’s, Team Sapphire Dreamer. No one has caught the man who had murdered her cousin.” Abraham said as he shook his head.
“I also looked into this case more.” The tech said as he pressed a few buttons on his computer. “They called him, The Alphabet Killer.”
“Sounds like a breakfast cereal.” Abraham mumbled.
“Sounds like something off a TV show.” Luka said as he studied the names. “He started with A, and in six years, he has gotten to W.”
“Four a year, why only four a year, and in one week?” Abraham asked as he sat in a chair.
“We need to find his next target.” Luka said as he leaned over the tech’s shoulder.
“X is next, that will be a hard one for him to find. Probably only one in the entire city.” The tech said as he started typing on the keyboard. “And there he is.”
“Lawrence Xavier.” Luka said as he read the name out loud.
“Uh, guys, you will not like this.” The tech said as he pulled up a picture of Lawrence.
“He’s just a kid.” Abraham said with a shocked breath.
The tech nodded. “He’s sixteen.”
“Why couldn’t it have been his father?” Luka asked with a growl. He hated it when it was a kid.
“From what this says, Lawrence lives with his aunt and uncle. His parents had died in a car accident two years ago.” The tech said as he read the report.
“Great.” Abraham said as he shook his head.
“This means we have to be faster than the killer.” Luka said as he looked at his partner.
“You better hurry.” The tech said as he looked at the date. “Today is the last day of his killing week. If he goes after the kid, it will be tonight.”
“Find out where he will be tonight, at five.” Luka said as he headed for the door.
“Why five?” The tech asked as he turned to look at the detective.
“Because all the others he killed between five and seven pm.”