Home > Sidetracked (Mindf*ck #2)(11)

Sidetracked (Mindf*ck #2)(11)
Author: S.T. Abby

He nods slowly. “Makes sense. Most people don’t trust the government in general right now. If she’s big on privacy and civil rights, it’d make sense. Does she even have wifi? Because I can’t seem to find that either.”

“I don’t exactly take the time to sync up to wifi when I’m there, so I have no clue.”

“Well, anyway, I can’t find her. I had Sarah from white collar crimes helping me out. She said the girl knew how to keep from being found. She saw this a lot when she worked sex crimes. Women who were abused repeatedly dropped off grid and became isolated and private. I doubt that’s the case with your girl, since she seems comfortable in her own skin and unafraid, but I did find a lot of similarities in her privacy extremes to what Sarah was telling me. It’s always the first conclusion she draws.”

My stomach plummets. Nothing about her has labeled her as a victim, but I think back to when I first met her. She was more detached, readily defensive, but didn’t flinch away from my touch.

No. No. My head is too crowded right now, and I’m not thinking clearly. She’s not running from anyone. If anything, she’s too brave, not understanding the severity of her situation.

“Anyone who’d ever been physically assaulted in that way wouldn’t be turning away cops, when she knows she’s a potential victim for a sexual sadist. I want her in protective custody. The protective detail is no longer good enough. They’ll take it seriously if you back me.”

“Already tried that,” he says, grim again. “The director said you couldn’t control your girlfriend using FBI resources. He doesn’t see a threat to her that can’t be handled with extra patrol. He doesn’t see him going after her at all, since he wasn’t even aware that you were involved with someone.”

“As though he’s the most observant person in the world,” I growl.

“We focus on what we have for now,” Craig says. “They’re increasing patrol, but there’s very little they can do if she’s banned them from her property. But due to what just happened with the swat commander, we’re strapped as far as extra hands go. No one with any living family members will be allowed to know what’s happening before it actually happens. That’s a lot of background checks, and then locating him on top of that—”

“I get it. The director wants all our attention focused on the now instead of the possible future. It’s as smart as it is stupid. But I’m worried I’m biased.”

He claps my shoulder. “I may be biased too, but only because you’re one of the few who knows I’m prettier than you.”

I huff out a small laugh, and he grins before heading off. I need to focus. Hopefully Lana left to find a very secure hotel, and removed her phone battery because I suggested he might be skilled with a computer.

“How did this guy know the swat commander’s name or his daughter’s?” I ask aloud to no one in particular.

“Because he does have computer skills,” Craig says immediately, as though it just dawned on him too.

“We need to get our heads cleared and start thinking like we would with any other case,” I tell the room as I turn around. “Right now, he’s in our heads, rushing our thought processes, and turning our emotions against us, me especially.”

“Turning us on each other too,” Donny says as he steps out, eyeing me. “The commander officially hates the very thing he’s always stood for. Plemmons may have a genius IQ that never got detected. There’s a reason he suddenly craved the attention. A man who’s never had something may be content in going on without it.”

“But a man who’s had a taste of something he didn’t know he wanted, will work harder to taste more,” Elise says, shocking us all as she hobbles into the room on crutches, looking battered and beaten, one arm in a sling.

“Damn it,” Craig hisses, going to grab the emergency wheelchair from the corner.

“You try to put me in that thing, and you’ll be wearing it when I’m done with you,” she snarls, stopping him cold.

Her eyes turn to me.

“I want to find this son of a bitch. He’s messed up somewhere. He’s too comfortable with this city. Too comfortable with this entire situation. He didn’t show an ounce of panic until Lisa shot him. Even then he seemed more annoyed than panicked. And if we can’t find anything on his past, it’s because he found a way to erase himself.”

“Let’s get to work then,” I tell her as she hobbles to her desk. “I get first dibbs on shooting the bastard when that time comes,” she adds under her breath, causing my lips to twitch.

As much as I fucking hate it, I have to stop concentrating on Lana. There’s a slim chance Erica Norris will survive this, but I owe it to her to give all my effort to that slim chance.

Chapter 10

Only the wisest and stupidest of men never change.



Kenneth Ferguson weighs more than I expected. These details are usually sorted way ahead of time. This guy is an obese beast, and rolling him to the water’s edge proves difficult, especially since I’ve had to walk in the dirt and will now need to cover my tracks.

At least he lives near the water though—bright side.

Monsters can come in many forms.

A pretty girl who loves the color red, for example—the color her victims bleed when they are begging to be spared.

They can also look like balding, fat slobs who hang out in their briefs and wife-beater tanks. Yeah. Talk about stereotypes. I’ve seen more ass crack than I care to remember.

I wade out into the water, dragging the dead body with me under the cloak of darkness. I can remember a time that I was afraid of the dark. Now even the snakes fear me.

He confessed. His sins were wrung out, and he confessed it all.

Okay, I might have needed him to get to the nitty gritty that had me swallowing back my own vomit, so I tortured him. Just a little. He broke quickly.

He deserved so much more death. He deserved to die for days. But I can’t do that right now. It’s risky to be doing this at all.

I swim under the cold water, washing all the blood off me, ignoring the way my tired muscles protest the chill. Pushing that beast uphill was a struggle. Not to mention those effin’ stairs.

When I emerge, I watch him waver on top of the water. It holds him up with too much ease, despite his size.

The more body fat, the easier they float.

As soon as the current grabs him, I head back, picking up the hoe near the water’s edge, and start digging up my tracks with it. I take my route in reverse as I hold the small but bright flashlight in my mouth to see.

It’s two in the morning, but I had to wait until now to dump his body. The bastard has neighbors within earshot, so torturing him was a pain in the ass. Fortunately, he had a basement.

Hence the damn stairs I was referring to.

I also had to hose said basement down with bleach and water to get rid of the blood. Counter forensic measures were needed for once.

Killing is so much easier when it’s on my list. Less cleanup.

I want them found when they’re on the list.

Kenneth has too much trace evidence that has to be destroyed, so the large body of salt water will do the trick. Not to mention all the little critters in the sea will get a nibble before or if he’s found.

The pictures I found in his nightstand told the story before he could. Seventy small children were in those pictures, mostly naked. Polaroids are a terrible creation, and pedophiles love their pictures.

There was one picture out of all of those that I took. I’m not sure why I took it. But it was Hadley at age eleven. He labeled them. Marked their ages too.

For some reason I know she won’t enjoy her coworkers seeing her face on their board if his body is ever found and those pictures are discovered. She’s strong and prideful, and most likely felt like it really was in her head all this time.

They convinced her she was crazy. Her own mother convinced her she was making it up. Paid a professional to aide in this, simply because the woman couldn’t come to grip with the possibility she was married to a pervert who was molesting her daughter.

Hadley ran away.

She ran because she thought she was dirty and wrong.

So many good people in this world, and it took a monster to end the suffering of so many innocent children.

I have no reason to feel indebted to a girl who wants to take me down, but there’s something forcing me to feel as though we’re kindred. I’d have gone crazy or killed myself without Jake.

She never had a Jake.

Maybe Logan is the closest thing to Jake she has, which is why she came after someone she thought was playing him.

I’d kill a bitch for Jake.

Hadley doesn’t deserve to be broken, so she’ll never see that picture.

I change out of my clothes on the gravel driveway, carefully watching anything that falls off me. My hair is bound tightly to my head and covered with a plastic wrap under a beanie.

My clothes are nothing special—generic brand things bought at any local store. I’m careful to buy all things that are found everywhere, so as to have nothing special isolating me.

The nail falls from my pocket, and I lean over, picking it up. I’m not sure why I’m taking a nail from his house. He’s not on the list. Maybe it’s a habit. Or maybe I really have adopted the serial method of trophy collecting.

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