“You don’t seem like you’re in a good mood. How’s the interrogation going so far?” Ken asked me the day after I went to see Jack. Since I was a suspect in the Jackson Wolfe case, I was temporarily suspended. The stealing of a surgical knife and sleeping with the enemy was enough to put me on the officials shit list. I poured milk into the bowl of cornflakes and added some freshly cut strawberries.
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you’re mocking me.” I settled down on the table in my PJ’s. Ken had just walked out of the steaming bathroom, shirtless. He had something that looked like claw marks across his shoulder blade. “How did you get that?”
“Someone brought a feral cat in the clinic a few days back.” Ken said, brushing it off like that was nothing. He was prone to getting abused by non-cooperative animals, the kind that looked cute as a button until they barred their teeth and clawed your face.
“They have no reason to suspect you. You’ve told them the truth.”
“Which is not good enough to prove me innocent.”
“Aaron told me Jack is co-operative throughout the thing, which is kind of suspicious. He didn’t try to attack anyone, didn’t even give them the usual death glares. What’s up with him?”
I knew why. “I think he’s giving up, Ken. He’s had enough.”
Ken shook his head. “That’s too theatrical. Do you think Jackson, the one who is so famous for killing over a dozen people is just going to give up because he is tired of interrogation?” He gave a laugh. “You’re thinking wrong, sister.”
“Oh, so you have it all figured out?” I asked, folding my arms over my chest. “Let me listen to your theory Amateur Detective Ken Frazer.”
“I think Jack has an accomplice.” And then he quickly clarified. “Not you, but someone else.”
Ken appeared to be lost in thought for a moment. “Someone among the asylum staff of course. The ones who appear to not be very close to him, but probably are.”
He paused. I said. “Go on. I’m listening.”
“Think about it, when Mad-Dave was killed Jack was in a straight-jacket, confined to a high security room. Next Nurse Roxy turns up dead, Jack could have personally killed her and left the body for people to find, almost mocking the FBI and the police. That or someone killed her upon his orders.”
I hadn’t given Ken the credit, but he was smart.
“Anyone you suspect?” I asked.
“Paul.” He said point-blank.
“Paul pretends to hate Jack’s guts but him and Jack seem like they have been cut out from the same cloth. They could be faking the hate thing going on between them.”
The theories could be true or complete horse-crap, but I wasn’t going to mention the horse crap part to my baby brother. He seemed very excited in playing detective and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.
“That could be the case, or Jack is really innocent and someone is framing him. And me. Doing the killing job and making it look like he did it.”
Ken raked a hand through his hair frustratingly. I could tell he was angry. “What bullshit did he feed you when you were together?”
“He was honest.”
“You fucked him, didn’t you?”
It was my turn to stare hard. “I never made it my business to ask you who you sleep with or not, and I would appreciate if you could do the same.”
“Oh, I’m going to make it my business if my sister sleeps with a criminal.” Ken said.
“That’s enough.” I pointed at the breakfast table. “I prepared your lunch box. Don’t forget to take it.”
His golden blonde hair flopping over his face in curls. He looked like a grown up baby. “If he knocked you up, I swear, I will kill him.”
“The baby or Jack?”
“Maybe both.” He said without hesitation.
“Take your lunch and get the hell out of here.” He probably saw that I was going to explode and thought better than to argue with me.
I spent the afternoon discussing the case again with James. He gave me his valuable insight and I told him what Ken had told me. James said he had the same idea in his mind, but the case was complicated. Whoever the killer was, he wasn’t leaving any traces of evidence behind which made things even more difficult. While the officials blamed Jack, they still did not have valid proof. It was based off speculation made from the previous murders which resembled a similar pattern.
That evening after our brief meeting, I told James to drop me off in a small supermarket where I needed to pick some groceries. My apartment wasn’t that far, so I decided to walk after I bought my stuff.
WoodVille was a small town so most shops closed by nine p.m. It was already eight forty when I started walking down the street. A dog barked at a distance.
I heard the sound of faint footsteps and a presence behind me so I stopped and turned.
There was no one, but a car at the distance. And I couldn’t be wrong, it was the same car I’d seen the other day.
Was it following me?
I kept walking, my eyes trailing towards the car but I realized it wasn’t moving. It was just parked.
I resumed the walk and I could still hear the sound of someone behind me, a presence. I pulled my jacket closer as if that could shield me from whatever was following. Sensing I was in trouble, I stopped again.
“Who is it?” I called out at no one.
“Stop playing games with me! I’ve had enough!” I yelled, unable to keep the frustration out of my voice. “I’m not afraid of you.”
In reality I was shaking. Jack had warned me before that I could be the killer’s next target for reasons that if I was hurt, threatened even, Jack would throw his weapons.
“Always stay vigilant, Riley and be very careful.” I heard Jack’s voice.
I had a gun in my handbag that Jack had given me just in case I needed to protect myself. He’d taught me how to shoot.
“If it comes down to it, pick up the gun and don’t hesitate to shoot. Remember, one second of hesitation, Cotton-Candy and you’re dead.”
A horn blared loud, dragging me out of my thoughts. I turned to find James in his BMW, the window rolled down. “I realized its not safe for you to be walking home alone so I waited outside and followed you. Hop in and you’re welcome.”
I guessed the terror and the fear was pretty apparent on my face. I threw one look behind me before I climbed into the car.
“I change my mind.” I told James.
“Changed your mind about?”
“I don’t want to cause you trouble, James. You can either drop me home and I’ll drive my car to the asylum or you can take me there.”
“Asylum? It’s almost nine, Riley. Why do you wanna go now?”
“I have to talk to Jack.”
“Can I trust you to get me in the room without anyone knowing?” I asked Bobby, the nurse on the floor who was assigned to Jack to bring the food, keep his room in order, stuff like that.
I was a little glad Jack was assigned to a male nurse. I didn’t want to imagine a female nurse watching him getting undressed or trying to be flirty.
Okay, maybe the flirty part wouldn’t happen because the nurses wouldn’t approach Jack without a ten-foot long pole. He scared the living daylights out of them.
Bobby eyed me suspiciously. “Depends on how much money we are talking.”
Also, Bobby was money hungry. A little bribe always did the trick. He had magic fingers that worked anywhere to retrieve keys and have rooms unlocked. Ironic, they had assigned Bobby as Jack’s nurse of all people.
“How about fifty.” I was trying my luck.
He sighed. “Or, how about you go down to the desk, and ask Tory if she could allow you to visit him for a few minutes.”
Clearly he was being a smartass.
“Visiting hours close by eight pm. It’s way past visiting hours right now and you already know they wouldn’t let me talk to him alone. Please Bob...” I’d used his nickname on purpose. “Would hundred dollars work for you?”
“My middle name isn’t ‘Stupid’. If I’m caught doing this, I’ll be an added suspect along with you. probably fired. No risk is worth hundred dollars, not where Jackson Wolfe is concerned.”
“Two hundred. That’s a concession I can make.”
“That’s a lot for just a few minutes.” I said. “One-fifty, or I’ll find another way.”
Bob analyzed me for a moment. “Two-hundred. You and I both know how hard it will be for you to see him without a little help which you ain’t getting in this asylum from anyone else.”
I knew he was right. “Fine! Get the keys.”
I waited until Bob brought the keys to the room. My heart thudded as the elevator rode to the floor where they kept the criminally insane. There was tight security outside Jack’s room. I wasn’t even surprised to see the numerous locks set on that particular door. He’d been transferred to one of the high security rooms.
Bob told me to stay hidden, while he talked to the security guard. A few seconds later, the guard walked into the opposite direction. Bob signaled me to come.
“Keep your distance as far away from him as possible.” Bob warned. “He may be in chains, but I still don’t trust him.”
My stomach felt knotted when Bob opened the door. “Hey Jack, look whose here to see you, buddy.”
Bob legit cooed like Jack was four. “Don’t be a bad little boy, alright. Bobby’s just gonna be outside incase the lady harasses you.”
I threw Bob a look who grinned and winked at me. He was doing it on purpose, to piss Jack off. Bob gave Jack one nasty look and walked out of the room, leaving the door ajar.
I focused my attention towards Jack who was seated, more like chained to a chair with a mask trapped to his mouth for obvious reasons. I detected a different aura from him altogether. Something had changed between the last time I’d seen him and now. His dark eyes watched me intently. Every fiber in my body screamed at me to turn and leave. I didn’t like seeing him like this. He looked away, obviously avoiding eye contact.
I closed the door and approached him. Almost reflexively brushed his hair away from his face. His forehead now had a small cut. I ran my fingers down his gruff jawline. He stared at me motionlessly. He probably didn’t see it coming as I leaned in and pressed my lips to his firmly and kissed him. He remained stoic at first before he kissed me back but the passion was missing, the fire was nonexistent.
He ended the kiss abruptly, saying. “You made a mistake by coming here.”
I was staring straight into his eyes. Something was not right.
“I should say the same thing to you.” I said. “Why did you get yourself caught, Jack? What’s going on?”
“You tell me, Riley. What’s going on between you and Dr. Bennet?”
I gave him an accusatory look. “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means what I said.”
“It’s not like you to talk in riddles!” I said. “And don’t change the subject.”
He remained silent. “What did you tell Agent Flint?”
“That I did not kill Roxy. The officials think I’m onto something, they think you and I conspired this entire debacle and I came back in one piece just because I’m your lover which sounds fucking ridiculous.” I hardly swore but during the last few weeks I wasn’t even the same woman anymore. Everything had changed since Jackson.
“Which is why I’m here.” He said in a stern voice. “I’m going to get to the bottom of this and find out who is doing it.”
I had to leave, I started making my way towards the door. “Good luck with that because there’s nothing you can do while being confined to a room with the security guards outside your door. If nothing else, Bob will be too happy to kill you in your sleep for fifty dollars. And guess what, no ones going to care.”
“But I know you will, baby.” Jack chuckled, “And Riley...”
I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to face him. “Yeah?”
He asked. “Can I ask you something?”
“Will you kill for me?”
I locked my door and all my windows as soon as I got home and dialed one number. It rang and rang and continued to ring until I was directed to voice mail.
This is Dr. Mark Bowen, leave a message.
Those eyes had been a dead giveaway and the fact that he’d called me baby.
I kept the voicemail short and filled in the details and stressed that this was very urgent. I hadn’t expected to get a call back so fast but I received a call from an unknown number exactly thirty minutes later.
“I told you not to call me!” The familiar voice said on the other end of the phone.
“Jack?” I asked.
“Of course, who else were you expecting?”
“You’re not answering the phone from the WoodVille asylum, are you?”
“What’s going on, Riley?” Jack asked, his tone more serious than I’d ever heard him.
“There’s a man in the asylum that the authorities have brought in and confined. He has your face. Everyone believes it’s you, I was fooled for a minute until I took a closer look into his eyes. It’s definitely a shade lighter than yours. Please tell me I’m not losing my mind...”
I could hear the growing silence on the other end. “Say something, Jack.”
This revelation had disturbed him far beyond than any news ever could. I could feel the tension through the phone. “It’s not possible.” he said almost in a whisper.
“What’s not possible?”
“My...my twin brother Ezra.” Jack stuttered.
And Jackson never stuttered.
“You have a brother? What’s he doing here?”
It was as if Jack hadn’t heard me. “You don’t understand, Riley!” He said impatiently. “It can’t be him!”
“Because Ezra Wolfe is dead.”
A.N: Hey guys! If you're enjoying the book so far, please hit the likes below, and leave your reviews but kindly no spoilers please. Thank you so much in advance! <3