Long Road To Ruin

He kills them all without remorse, but very much with reason.

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13. Damage

A gasp escaped Sam’s lips as he pressed both of his hands into the floor, breathing heavily, his eyes falling shut beneath his sweat coated brown hair. He let out a low growl as the blood dripped down his arm, leaving tiny spots on the ground. He bit his lip and lifted his head, and saw his friends staring back at him helplessly.

Friends. He almost laughed at the term.

Something flooded over him and he connected eyes with Jasper. A silent plea. A plea that would be ignored, because to Jasper, Sam was nothing. He had done horrible things, and now that he was in danger of losing his life, he wanted their help. The help of the cops he tricked for months, all because of her.

Justine was standing next to Jasper, her head on his shoulder, face away from Sam. He watched her body tremble and he realized instantly that she was crying. He had made her suffer, made her almost beg for her life, and now she was safe. The tears were for relief. He didn’t want to kill her, he had told her that. He would never harm her.

But she could never believe that again. Not after this.

“Wouldn’t it be ironic if you were the one to kill me?” Sam asked, laughing weakly. He coughed and tried to stand. He looked at Justine with what he assumed was a pathetic expression as he staggered forward. “Isn’t anyone going to help me?”

Silence filled the room.

“Jasper,” Sam muttered, reaching a hand out. “Please.”

“You don’t deserve anything from me,” Jasper hissed. He smiled then, grimly, as Sam collapsed once more. “I think it’s safe to leave.” He said, addressing the others. He tightened his hold on Justine.

“We can’t,” she squeaked. “We can’t just leave him here.”

“We can’t take him with us or I might kill him,” said Jasper quietly. “Come on, Justine.” He held her close as they started to leave the building, but she turned back around, and gasped.

* * *

Nick tried the door again. He wanted to get out of this fucking car and get to Skeet. He winced as he heard two more shots fired and ran a hand through his hair anxiously. He swore a few times before drawing back across the seat and slamming his shoe into the window. It cracked and Nick was able to get the rest of the glass away before pulling himself out. He stood next to the car and looked up at the warehouse. He had seen this building before in a paper on Skeet’s desk in the police station.

“Hey kid!” someone shouted suddenly. Nick jumped and turned around, eyeing the man who was heading toward him. “Is that Detective Delaney’s car?” he pointed.

“Yes,” Nick said. “Who are you?” he asked suspiciously.

“My name is Dan Hatchet. I’m a friend of Jasper’s. Dan Miller, don’t know if you know him or not, was my best friend. He lost his girlfriend to the bastard who’s been killing these girls and-”

A third shot rang out and someone screamed from inside.

“That was Justine,” said Dan worriedly. “Kid, do you have a gun?”

“It’s Nick, and no, I don’t have a gun. Detective Skeeter didn’t think to leave me one.”

A look of frustration crossed Dan’s face at his words and he reached behind and withdrew a shotgun. He held it out to Nick and grinned. “Don’t ever say the people of this town were never generous to you.”

Nick stared at the gun and said, “What will you use?”

Dan held up a pocketknife. “I know it’s not much,” he said. “But if it’ll help us safe them…” he trailed off.

“Then we’d better hurry,” Nick said.

They edged around the police car and crossed the grass quietly to the entrance to the warehouse. With luck they’d open it and the psycho would be right there, ready to blow their goddamned brains out. Nick found that scenario particularly amusing as Dan opened the door gently.

Inside was a long hallway that split into two sections. As Nick stepped forward, the gun pointed out in front of him, he vaguely wandered now if Skeet was dead. Had the killer gotten them all with those three shots? Shaking his head, Nick pushed the thought from his mind; Skeet was stronger than that.

“Where do we go from here?” Dan asked.

“This is your town, Mr. Hatchet,” said Nick. “Don’t you know every inch of it?”

Dan chuckled softly as he played with the pocketknife. “I wish I did, Nick, believe me. This is the part of town that no one but the fisherman come too, and now, apparently the murderers.”

“Skeet was in a real hurry to get here,” Nick said earnestly.

“According to Jasper, he and Mr. Skeeter go way back. When Justine was kidnapped the first time, Jasper needed outside help and he called in the one cop from Edison City that he knew.”

“Justine? You mean that girl? She was kidnapped before?” Nick said as he stopped walking and turned around.

Dan looked at him and nodded. “When she was just a secretary for the force. Jasper and her had gotten off on the wrong foot, but when she was taken, Jasper’s actions changed. He stopped acting like a pompous asshole and more like a cop. Even though she was only at that stage in her life, he knew she was part of the team, and things changed after that.”

Nick was silent.

“When Jasper brought her back, Justine was badly broken, mentally and physically. Deep stab wounds on her skin that barely healed and a mind full of the images from that night. They haunted her for months before she decided to get some help. If I remember correctly, she talked a lot about Jasper in her sessions with the therapist. He had saved her life, of course, and she owed him a lot. But what neither of them had expected was to fall in love after the tragedy.”

“Trauma fucks you up real good,” commented Nick grimly.

“That is does,” said Dan. “Jasper nearly lost his life that night but she saved him. She’s a hell of a woman. It’s no wonder Detective Hale is so smitten with her.”

“Detective Hale?” Nick said.

“He works with jasper, but because of Justine, they have sort of a rivalry going on.”

“Christ,” Nick said as he turned back around.

“Yeah, I know. It’s a pity. They could have been amazing partners the two of them.”

“No, I was-” Nick stared but was cut off by a loud noise.

“I knew you would cause some problems, Dan,” said a voice. Samuel stepped out from the shadowed corridor and tilted his head. “It’s such a shame because I really did like you.”

Dan’s hand clamped around Nick’s shoulder as he pulled him back. “Who-?”

“Jesus, Sam, what the fuck?” Dan muttered. He had taken one look at the bloody cop and felt sick. They were trapped. “What’s going on?”

Sam only smiled and pulled the trigger.

Dan collapsed.

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