Long Road To Ruin

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

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9. Help

Jasper’s fingers shook as he punched in the number on his phone and waited. He could hear the person on the other end pick up as he nervously started to tap his fingers on the dashboard. “Kevin, it’s Jasper. I wouldn’t be calling if it wasn’t important, but I don’t know where else to turn. I don’t know if you’ve heard about the bastard here that’s killing girls outside of the local bar, but we caught him the other day, and another girl got killed while he was in lockup. Well, Justine’s missing now and I have a feeling the second accomplice took her, and I can’t do this alone." 

**

 


Skeet jumped as his phone vibrated from the inside of his suit pocket. He took it out quickly and stared at the name that was flashing back at him. He blinked a few times and then flipped it open. He listened intently as the voice on the other end sounded panicked, with good reason.

"Jesus, Jasper, take a breath. I've heard a few things about the murders, nothing surprises me anymore. I'll do what I can to help," he said rubbing his forehead in near frustration. “But I’ve got to warn you, since I don’t work in your area; I don’t really know what kind of fuck you’re dealing with. You said he’s killed girls in front of a local bar, huh? Have you figured out why that specific bar yet? Are you driving? Pull over and tell me about the case.”

Jasper sighed, pulled the car over and cut the engine. He sat still for a few minutes just staring out the windshield; the bar that the girls were killed near was right in his eyesight, and suddenly, he couldn’t breathe. He looked down into his lap at his trembling hand and held the phone tighter. Flashes of Steve’s body on the interrogation room floor barreled through his mind and he squeezed his eyes shut. He knew that when he spoke, his voice would be more rattled than before.

“There have been three murders in only two weeks – Maddie Chase was the first victim. She was stabbed in the throat and died at the hospital later that same night. Vivian Harris was the second, and he fucking butchered the shit out of her, made her neck out to look like one of those goddamned pez dispensers. The latest victim, she entered Steve Miller’s bar after being attacked and I was there so I took her to the hospital. Unfortunately, that’s where her attacker was also, because she beat him with a lead pipe to get away. After arresting him three days ago, Chief Bailey called and said there had been another murder. Emma was killed shortly after we took William Hastings into custody, and now we’re fucked because there’s someone else out there hunting these girls, and now Justine is gone, just like before.”

He rested his elbow on the edge of his driver’s side door. He bit the inside of his cheek as he listened to the horrible details of the murders that Jasper had to deal with. "Jesus Christ." He said calmly. "A killer with a partner is never good. It's obvious that he will kill anyone who knows anything about it," he added not making anyone’s nerves any better.

“This is not what I thought would happen,” Jasper said weakly as he got out of his car and headed towards the bar. “Steve Miller and Emma Dobbs were a couple, and when she died he took it pretty hard. He was at the station yesterday when he received the news, and when I went to question him, I found-” He stopped and took a deep breath. “He was on the floor of the interrogation room, dead. He committed suicide, Skeet, and I could have stopped it if I had gotten there sooner.” He reached the bar now and touched the handle, when something happened. He took a step back and let out a shaky sob. “I saw something. No, nothing walked near me. I meant I saw something in my head when I touched the door to the bar. I know that sounds crazy. Yeah, you’re right, maybe I do need sleep.”

Skeet sighed. The worst part about being a cop is knowing that you could have stopped someone’s death. "Don't blame yourself, ever. You need sleep and don't worry we'll figure it all out when I get there. I'm closer than you think" he said and looked at Nick who glared at him from the backseat of the squad car. “I have to make a stop in Chicago,” he said calmly.

* * *

Jasper’s fingers closed around the knob as he pulled the door open. Nothing happened this time, and he was relieved about that as he stepped into the bar. It seemed very ghost-like as he walked through it, toward the bartender, where someone else, not Steve, stood. He had a pair of deep set gray eyes and he was a little taller than Steve had been. His eyes widened when he saw Jasper walking to him.

“Hey, Jasper,” he said weakly. “Long day?”

“Yeah, Dan, it’s been a long day.” The detective sat down and put his hands together. “How is the bar holding up since-?”

Dan Hatchet was one of Steve Miller’s best friends, so this came as a surprise to him when Jasper asked that question. He was a cop, after all. Didn’t he know the meaning of the word mourning? Dan gritted his teeth and finished washing the shot glass he had in his hand, turned around, and threw it in the drain.

“How do you think its holding up, Jasper? Steve’s…” his voice caught and he put his hands on the bar, glaring at the other man. “I’m so tired,” he said softly, his stiff posture relaxing. “Since it happened, there have been less people coming, see. Everyone around here loved Steve, and now he’s gone.” He lifted his head, his eyes glassy. “What happened?”

“Were you aware that he and the latest victim were seeing each other?” Jasper winced.

“Steve and Emma? She was cute, but no, I didn’t know that. What’s it got to do with anything?”

“Well,” said Jasper, “when Steve found out that she was murdered, he was at the station. I went to go talk to him and that’s when I found him…like that.”

Dan had been listening quite intently as the door to the street opened and someone stepped inside. They locked eyes with Jasper and smiled grimly.

“Who’s that?” Dan asked.

“Oh, that?” Jasper smirked. “That’s Detective Skeeter.”

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