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Paint It All Red: Chapter 10


The road to perdition has ever been accompanied by lip service to an ideal.

—Albert Einstein

“You’re fucking kidding me,” I snap, glaring at Johnson as he pokes his chest out, posturing like a motherfucking gorilla about to beat the damn thing.

“You have your orders. You and the rest of your team are to return to Quantico. The director signed off on it. That’s what happens when you stray from the current case to work on a closed case from ten years ago, while people continue to die in this town. Four people in one night died, and you didn’t even bother to ask any questions. Nor did you bother to show up to where all the officers set up to canvas the surrounding woods in that area.”

Donny grips me before I can launch myself at the smug son of a bitch smirking at me.

I brush Donny off, grabbing my phone as I walk out the door, ignoring the stupid fucking deputy who has the audacity to act like he’s going to lead me to one of the SUVs.

Collins finally answers, and I immediately start snapping at him.

“You’re letting this happen? You’re letting them pull us out so they can do what? Launch a new witch hunt like the one they did ten years ago? It’s obvious they didn’t learn their lesson. You’re really going after a pro athlete with a fucking lawyer girlfriend?”

Collins heaves out a breath. “It’s out of my hands, and the girlfriend already knew about the intent to arrest before it was ever decided. Obviously they have a leak, and she’s pretty much squashed their entire case. It’s not going to be like last time.”

There’s no fucking leak. Lana or Jake knew this was coming and warned them through Diana most likely. Or in a way that didn’t give them away. Or maybe they just don’t care who knows at this point and are gambling more.

They can’t manufacture evidence this time, because Diana’s son has airtight alibies. It’d be too obvious.

“Get back,” Collins says.

“Fuck that. I’m not going anywhere.”

“You have to, Logan,” he says, exasperated. “The director has called a meeting to see about having you removed from all your duties, pending an investigation into your actions. He’s claiming your entire team is compromised and exhibiting signs of empathy with the killer. He even said you helped a woman and child leave town, despite her husband’s murder, along with two other murders in her home, before you even reported the latter two murders. I told you to be discreet when looking into the past case. You ignored me.”

“So you’re playing politics. I thought you were better than that. And the woman had no hand in those murders. Someone else acted on her behalf in self-defense. Those men were sent to silence Cheyenne Murdock.”

He grows quiet for a moment, and I turn to see the rest of my team already packing up, giving in so easily. I can’t fucking leave Lana in this town. I’ll quit and stay here on my own if they try to make me.

“I’m not playing politics, but I do have to play their game until I can see if that evidence you recovered is enough. If you don’t leave and return to us willingly, Johnson will arrest you for obstruction, and I can’t save you from anything while you’re there. It could be too late before I get there. Don’t risk it. It’s not worth it. Keep a lid on what you’ve discovered. Just come back. Don’t let them toss you in one of their cells. You know what that town is capable of.”

My eyes rake over the men here. No doubt Lana wouldn’t trust me to take care of myself if I was locked up here. Too many violent memories from the past would have her risking her life to come after me.

And that’s the only reason I won’t risk it.

“Fine,” I bite out. “But you better have this resolved by the time I return so I can come right back.”

“I’m trying, Logan. I really am. Just give me some time to—”

A loud white noise sound comes over the speakers, and my eyes flick to the television in the living room. I vaguely remember the only innocent deputy telling me the sheriff owned the television network service, and he had a special broadcasting ability.

But that’s not him broadcasting.

“Logan?” Collins prompts, but I ignore him as I walk into the living room, watching the slideshow unfold on the television. It’s just a few pictures of the town at sunset, all of them flicking around at random.

A voice comes on, speaking like the damn creepy voice from SAW.

“Citizens of Delaney Grove. It’s time to purge the town. You have until sunset to leave…to save yourself. We’re claiming this town now. For your sins, you shall repent. For your past, you shall endure the nightmares you caused. And for your eyes that you closed so willingly, now you shall see.”

The slideshow starts to make sense, and my stomach roils as I see a familiar young girl and boy on the street. Someone fucking recorded this?

A younger version of Kyle Davenport appears in front of them, and the screen cuts to Victoria on the ground, and Marcus right behind her. His screams almost make me heave as he begs them to stop, but Victoria fights. She fights with all the limited strength she has.

They hold her down.

Thirteen to two.

Their fingers dig into her arms to restrain her. All ten fingers. Which is why she cuts them off.

“Someone fucking stop this!” the sheriff barks, running out of one of the cabins. “Call Hank and tell him to pull the plug now!”

“He’s trying!” a deputy shouts back. “The sick fuck is overriding the system.”

The screen cuts away from the horrors, like whoever was filming got too tired to keep on, and the next screen is that of Robert Evans suffering a fate just as sickening.

I turn my head away as the deputies do their worst on the screen.

“Now!” the sheriff shouts. “You have to kill it now!”

He’s on the phone, but I barely notice him, because my attention turns back to the TV when the voice comes on again.

“Hear no evil.”

The black screen is blank, but several screams of agony are coming out loud and clear.

“See no evil.”

The screen lights up with both disturbing movies playing side by side on a split screen.

Then the screen fades to black again, before a cloaked silhouette comes into view. All you can see is the dark hood. The face is nothing more than a shadow as a red-gloved hand comes up. One finger extends, covering the spot where the lips would be if you could see them, making the universal ‘shush’ sign.

“Speak no evil.”

The screen goes blank again, then lights up with images of different people as they watch their TV. Screams and panic erupt. It’s like the jumbo-tron at ballgames flicking to different people, and them noticing it on a delay. Only instead of excitement, there’s pure horror when they see their faces.

It continues throughout the town, as though they have cameras in every family room of every home. People practically leap from their seats when their faces flash across the TV screen.

I remember the day when everyone said their doors were found open, but nothing but some mirrors were taken.

The mirrors are still a mystery, but it’s clear now why those doors were open. Jake planted cameras while families slept in the next room, completely unaware.

The screen continues to cycle from one home to the next, and the sheriff continues to panic more and more.

“Sundown,” the voice says again as the shadowed, hooded figure comes into view once more. “Or the monster comes for you.”

Suddenly, the shadow disappears as the figure jerks toward the screen, revealing the face… Well, the mask.

The mask is a mirror, reflecting nothing in particular, but sending a message all the same. In other words, the person you see in the reflection is the mirror.

“The monster who comes is no worse than the monsters who deserve to die. Pick a side. Pick it now.”

The screen cuts to Belker Street. The sign is in the background, but the focal point is the large amounts of blood on the asphalt. My eyes narrow on what looks like a set of wings imprinted in the blood, where Marcus was, and my mind goes back to the message written about angels on that first day.

“You let them die. Now save yourselves. While you still can.”

The screen goes blank again, and white noise fills the air. A deputy flips several channels, but every one is the exact same.

“Did you hear all that?” I ask Collins, stepping back outside as Leonard and Donny stare at a TV blankly.

“I heard. But you still have to come back. There’s nothing I can do. Just hurry back so we can clear this up, and then hopefully this will all backfire on them in time for you to get back and stop this.”

I look around at all the furious faces, including the sheriff who is having a temper tantrum, kicking feet and swearing, placing blame on blameless men who obviously didn’t help Jake hack into the station.

“Fine. I’m on my way.”

I hang up and walk over to Donny and Leonard. “We have to go if we’re going to get back before sunset.”

“Are they calling anyone in?” Donny asks as he turns to face me.

My eyes flit around. “They won’t ask for help if they’re intent on sending us away. This investigation is about to turn into a shit-storm. Johnson and Cannon are too busy hiding their crimes of the past to protect their future. Let’s go.”

Leonard doesn’t speak, but I know what he’s thinking. I just had to watch my girlfriend getting raped. It’s all I can do not to kill every-fucking-body wearing a deputy badge right now. Not to mention the sheriff.

I’ve never once thought of killing someone as a desire. I’ve never blurred that line.

That’s not the case at the moment.

I hope she fucking kills every last person with a badge who didn’t come to save her when she was left to bleed out.


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