Authors: Robert Boren
“How long ago?” Trish asked. “The husband, I mean.”
“Over ten years,” Malcolm said. “She’s still guilty of a lot of bad stuff, and that works in our favor.”
“Why?” the Sheriff asked.
“Because she knows we’ve got proof of her involvement. We have those VHS tapes down in the dungeon,” Malcolm said. “When I mentioned them, she got real nervous.”
“What are you hoping to get out of this deal, other than early warning?” Terry asked.
“I’m hoping she gets a good clue on their location,” Malcolm said. “If she does, then George, Heidi, and I will go nab them before they can come back here.”
“How long are we going to withhold the dungeon from the authorities?” the Sheriff asked.
“If it were up to me, I’d keep it to ourselves until after Howard and Scotty are killed or captured,” George said.
“I agree with George on that,” Malcolm said. “Of course they’ll eventually want to investigate down there, but there’s no need to rush it.”
“What if somebody is sitting in jail for the murders?” Mary asked. “That’s why we all agreed to notify the authorities when it was safe for us to do so.”
“There were never any convictions for the crimes,” Malcolm said. “I’ve checked that out thoroughly. Nobody is rotting in jail due to these murders.”
“Aren’t the families going to want the property of the victims?” Trish asked.
“That bothers me,” Heidi said. “Remember the jewelry and other stuff?”
“Let’s see, how can I say this without sounding mercenary?” Malcolm asked. “You guys have title to this place, right?”
“I’d say it’s somewhat questionable now that we know Scotty is still alive,” Kurt said.
“He hasn’t paid taxes for a long time,” the Sheriff said. “The local government was within their rights to dispose of the property.”
“Scotty won’t survive unless he drops this place and disappears into the woodwork,” Jake said.
Heidi looked over at him. “Honestly, even if he attempts to disappear into the woodwork, he won’t survive.”
“We won’t hunt him down that way, honey,” George said.
“Yes you will, but I’m okay with it,” she said. “I’m just trying to be honest.”
Malcolm chuckled. “Anyway, if I were you guys, I’d play this one carefully. You have a good property down there, which will draw crowds. That could make this RV Park very profitable, even being away from Interstate.”
Jake laughed. “So what you’re saying is we ought to turn the dungeon into a museum? Charge admission?”
“Exactly,” Malcolm said, grinning. “Why not?”
“Kinda sick, but I like it,” Kurt said. Mary looked at him and shook her head.
“What about those victims?” she asked. “What about their stuff?”
“You should give up anything a relative can prove belonged to their loved ones,” Malcolm said. “And make sure there’s plenty of publicity about it. You can’t buy that kind of advertising.”
Jane shot Frank a look, and he stood.
“Okay, we can discuss it later,” he said. “We need to discuss how we can protect ourselves. I agree with the general that attacks will diminish as the country stabilizes, but we can’t relax yet. We’re still in the thick of things.”
“Frank’s right,” the Sheriff said. “A group of enemy fighters could still sneak in here and kill us all. The nerve gas they had scares me. We need to watch the back end of the park.”
“Nerve gas?” Terry asked.
“Yeah, there were nerve gas mortar rounds out there,” the General said.
“Where are they now?” Jake asked.
“We put them in the front building,” the Sheriff said.
“How come they didn’t use those last night?” Trish asked.
“Remember the wind, honey? Up on the roof of that barn?” Terry asked. “It was blowing in from behind the park. Unless they could have lit them up behind the park, it would have hit them instead of us.”
“Couldn’t they have shot them past us?” Trish asked. “To the back of the park? Let the wind carry it to us?”
“No,” General Hogan said. “Not with those Chinese mortars they were using. If they were right up close to the front of the park, no problem, but they were too far out. And by the way, those shells are Chinese too, like the mortars. Somebody in the Chinese government gave them to the enemy. I’ve already notified the Pentagon.”
“Well, if we get attacked again from the front of the park, we can use it against them,” George said. “Assuming the wind is helping us out.”
“It almost always blows this way,” Jake said. “Great for me. I open the windows on the far side of my trailer and it blows out the heat right away.”
“Okay, let’s focus, people,” Frank said. “We need suggestions. How do we keep watch for more attacks?”
“What about putting an army detail nearby?” Mary asked.
“They’re still spread too thin,” General Hogan said.
“Until we come up with a better solution, we should post sentries,” Jerry said.
“Who else uses the roads leading here?” Jake asked. “I’ve never seen anybody on them until last night. Maybe we can set up mines.”
“Not a bad idea, I suppose,” General Hogan said. “We’d have to be prepared to accept the consequences if an innocent gets blown up though.”
“It’s too big of a risk,” Jerry said. “But how about a non-lethal booby trap?”
“What do you mean?” Jake asked.
“A set of alarms,” Jerry said
“Now you’re talking,” Frank said. “I’m about ready to release the last update on the apps, which will put the long range detail app into general use. Afterwards, I’ll have plenty of free time. Perhaps you, Jake, and I can come up with an early warning system which doesn’t rely on human eyeballs.”
“I’ll start thinking about it now,” Jake said. “A few ideas come to mind right off the top of my head.”
“Until we get it in place, let’s set up a sentry schedule,” the Sheriff said.
“That’s essential,” General Hogan said. “I’ll help with the setup, and my boys and I will take part, of course.”
“Great. So we have a plan. Let’s work it, folks,” Frank said.
Malcolm got George’s attention. He walked over with Heidi.
“Time to focus on Nighthawk?” Heidi asked.
“I think we have things to work on,” Malcolm said. “There’s been action. Our old friend Agent Keith has been busy on an investigation.”
“That jerk weed is still in the FBI?” George asked.
“Yeah,” Malcolm said. “Remember the biker massacre?”
“You’re still thinking Howard and Scott had something to do with it?” George asked.
“Geez,” Heidi said. “I read about that. It was a bloody mess.”
a bloody mess,” Malcolm said. “If we were unaware, we would be ripe for an attack like that here.”
“I have a little more faith in our group,” George said. “But go on.”
“I got a message from Ted last night while I was on the stakeout with Kurt. They’ve been watching Agent Keith ever since our earlier problems with him.”
“Wait, is he the guy who caused problems for us during the Sailor Boy thing?” Heidi asked.
“Yeah,” Malcolm said.
“He’s still working for the FBI? Seriously?” she asked.
“Federal employees,” George said, shaking his head. “Hard to get rid of them.”
“He was the first FBI agent on the scene of the biker massacre,” Malcolm said. “He got a firsthand look at everything, but he hasn’t been forthcoming about it. Not one bit. The incident proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Scott is still alive. Keith hasn’t reported it.”
“Why?” George asked.
“We aren’t sure,” Malcolm said. “Ted thinks he might want to goad us into an attack, so he has another chance to take us down.”
“Ted going to rectify the situation?” George asked.
“Not publically, but the FBI brass is well aware of what’s happening. It
complicate matters for us though.”
“How can he tell Scotty was involved in this thing?” Heidi asked. “The news reports didn’t say anything about him.”
“The farmhouse belonged to Scotty’s cousin,” Malcolm said. “The bikers were her friends, from up north. Her boyfriend was a member. And by the way, this wasn’t a
“Weekend warriors?” George asked.
“Yeah,” Malcolm said.
“What do you mean?” Heidi asked.
“There’s two kinds of biker gangs out there,” George said. “The ones who are into organized crime, and the ones who are just recreational. You don’t want to tangle with the organized crime types. They’re always armed. The recreational types may get into a barroom brawl every once in a while, but they usually have day jobs. They aren’t criminals, and they’re rarely armed.”
“So these bikers weren’t even armed?”
“Yeah, Heidi,” Malcolm said. “They weren’t even armed. Scotty and Howard tried to set up a scene where one biker killed a deputy out by the road, but the local sheriff figured it out before Agent Keith even got there.”
“Interesting,” George said. “You think he planned this whole thing out?”
“Yes and no,” Malcolm said. “Here’s the most interesting part. Jason Beckler’s family is from the area, and we know that Red Dagger used to hang around there too. Guess what they found in the basement of the farmhouse?”
“What?” Heidi asked.
“I’m betting another dungeon,” George said.
“Yep,” Malcolm said. “Luckily the local sheriff found it before Agent Keith locked things down.”
“Why didn’t that hit the news reports?” Heidi asked.
“The FBI sat on it,” Malcolm said.
“So what do we do now?” Heidi asked.
“Research,” Malcolm said.
“What kind of research?” she asked.
“We know Scotty is into history. He’s continued using markings from the old days even though it’s dangerous for him. He preserved the dungeon here even though it’s risky for him. He knows it’s dangerous for him to come back here, but he’s willing to return to protect this stuff. I think he was planning on locking down the dungeon at the farmhouse, too. Once the real FBI investigators got into the place, they found documentation just like we have here. Movies and other mementoes.”
“Really?” Heidi asked, eyes wide, fascinated.
“Yeah, they found things related to Red Dagger, Chet, and several Becklers, including Jason as a young man.”
“Holy shit,” George said.
“This tells me his hideout in Ohio probably has historical significance. We need to take a real hard look at serial killer history there.”
“I’m good at that kind of research,” Heidi said.
“Yes, you are,” George said.
“I’ll get right on it,” she said. “Anything about their recent exploits?”
“I need to get back on it, now that things appear to be settling down a little,” Malcolm said. “We know about the college girls they’ve used and left with markings, and the two women they snatched from the Walmart parking lot who they didn’t use.”
“Didn’t use?” Heidi asked.
“Didn’t sexually assault,” Malcolm said.
“There are two college girls who disappeared along their route before the massacre, but haven’t shown up yet,” Malcolm said. “It’s been too long for them. I doubt he still has them, so they’ll turn up soon. There was also another coed who disappeared afterwards. She might still be with them, although authorities think her disappearance isn’t related. She had a reason to take off.”
“What?” Heidi asked.
“She set up the rape of one of her sorority sisters,” Malcolm said.
“Wonderful,” Heidi said, shaking her head.
Malcolm’s phone rang. “It’s Ted,” he said, putting the phone to his ear. He wandered off, talking.
“You okay?” George asked.
“Don’t worry about me,” she said, smiling at him. “I find this fascinating. I just don’t want us to get into trouble.”
Malcolm walked back over, a grim look on his face. “Speak of the devil.”
“Uh oh,” George said.
“They found one of the two coeds from before the massacre,” he said. “Her name was Kayla.”
“Where?” Heidi asked.
“About two miles away from the farmhouse.”
“She a normal victim?” George asked.
“No, she wasn’t,” Malcolm said. “Looks like she died while putting up a fight. The bullet nicked her hand before hitting her in the chest.”
“But the markings were there?” Heidi asked.
“Yep,” Malcolm said. “They think she was dead for a while before she got dumped.
And get this.
They think Scotty and Howard killed her in a motor home.”
“How can they tell?” Heidi asked.
“She had Luan fibers on her clothes. Looks like they got there when she was dragged out the door,” Malcolm said.
“What’s Luan?” George asked.
“I know,” Heidi said. “My dad always called it garbage. It’s a soft, cheap type of wood used in lower end RVs.”
“Hey, didn’t an eyewitness see a Class C RV near the scene of one of the abductions?” George asked.
“Yeah, as a matter of fact, but it wasn’t a reliable of a witness,” Malcolm said.
George saw Kurt over by the door of the clubhouse and motioned to him.
He walked over. “What’s up?”
“Did Howard have an RV?”
“Yeah, he did. I saw it when we were over there, parked in the back. A nice Class C. Couple years old.”
Heidi, Jane, and Jasmine were sitting
in the clubhouse, working on their laptops. Jane and Jasmine were following enemy movements. Heidi was doing research on serial killer activity in Ohio.
Trish walked in with her laptop. “Mind if I set up in here?”
“Of course not,” Jane said. “Good place to hang out while the boys are busy.”
“You want to work on the enemy, or the serial killers?” Heidi asked.
“I’m interested in the killers,” she said. “I heard you’re working on history.”
“Yeah,” Heidi said. “Lots of stuff to crunch through, and I’m only looking at the unsolved ones. I got some passwords from George, so we can get into FBI files and other places that most people can’t.”
“Cool,” Trish said. “Found anything out so far?”
“Yeah,” Heidi said. “The most interesting character I’ve found is the Cleveland Torso Murderer.”
“What’s so interesting about him?” Trish asked.
“He was prolific, and he lasted a long time. Some experts have suggested that he wasn’t a solo killer. Oh, and he had an alternate name, which isn’t used much today.
The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.