Home > Sidetracked (Mindf*ck #2)(7)

Sidetracked (Mindf*ck #2)(7)
Author: S.T. Abby

“Got it. We’ll have to wait for local PD to back us up anyway.”

I hang up, tapping my fingers impatiently on the steering wheel as I wait for Donny. Deciding I need to do something, I text Lana.

ME: You okay?

LANA: Bored to death, but fine. Playing cards with Duke and taking all his money. You okay?

Have I mentioned I really hate Duke being there alone inside the house with her? If she didn’t need a protective detail, I’d be kicking his ass for seeing her more than I get to.

ME: I’ll be fine once this guy is in cuffs.

I don’t mention the shoot-to-kill order.

LANA: Stop worrying about me. I promise I’ll be fine. You don’t know this about me, but I’m a survivor. <3

I don’t know a lot of things about her. But a past doesn’t make a person, and that’s all she’s holding back. I trust that she’ll share that when she’s ready.

Donny hops into the car, and I pocket my phone before cranking it back up and squealing out of the parking lot.

Donny handles organizing the swat team, telling them to pull back until we arrive on scene.

A loud truck passes us, blowing its horn, and Donny flips off the driver as I keep my tunnel vision, never slowing down.

We’re about twenty miles from our destination, when I slam on my brakes, my stomach roiling as I stare at the SUV off the side of the otherwise deserted road. The backend is crushed, the glass busted out.

It’s turned on its side, and Donny curses before leaping out of the passenger side, racing to Elise and Lisa who may or may not still be in there.

I dive out as well, juggling my phone free, and calling for an ambulance. Cursing my low battery, I quickly give them our location and tell them to hurry. Putting away my almost dead phone, I slide to the front, trying to see through the window.

From this angle, I can tell they were T-boned from the road connecting to this one. Elise and Lisa are both unconscious, and Elise is bleeding from her forehead. Her side took the brunt of the impact, but I can’t tell how much damage she’s sustained from here.

“Logan!” Donny yells.

I rush around, seeing Lisa’s door jammed into the ground as Donny breaks the front glass, trying to peel it back now that he has something to pry open. Using the crowbar, he pries the top down, and I toss off my jacket, wrapping it around my hands to help him peel the windshield all the way back.

Lisa is breathing heavily, and her eyes are dazed as she blinks them open. She cries out, and lifts her right arm—the one closest to her door.

My eyes widen in disbelief when I see the blood flowing from the shallow cuts.

“It was him,” she says, sucking in a pained breath. “It was him. It was him.”

Her panicked breaths quicken, and Donny tries to calm her down as I look at Elise.

“Elise!” She doesn’t answer, but she finally groans.

Relief washes through me that she’s still alive.

“He did this,” Lisa is saying, still panicking as she points to her bloody arm. “He took our guns. He thought he got all of them. He…He had a gun. He hit us…then he pointed the gun at us. We…we were still upright when he came to my side, telling us to keep our hands where he could see them.”

She cries out, trying to undo the seatbelt.

“Then…then he broke my window, and he used the glass… He used the glass to write this,” she says, sobbing as she holds her arm up again.

“He was going to kill us, but I grabbed my spare gun when he dropped my arm to retrieve his gun. I shot at him. I shot twice. I grazed him. But…That bastard. He had someone with him. A girl. He had a girl. He knew we were coming. But he carved this.”

Her sentences are all over the place, barely making any sense.

All I can see on her arm are blood smears, but she wipes it off on her shirt and holds it up again. Donny’s breath leaves as he pales. Carved in her skin is the word “KEEP.”

“He knows us,” Donny whispers as Lisa breaks down into sobs again. “He chose Lisa instead of Elise. There’s a reason he targeted your ex.”

His tone is hushed, so as not to agitate Lisa, and my body tenses at the insight. Why “KEEP?” Why that word?

“He’s bleeding,” Lisa chokes out. “I shot him enough to make him bleed. He’ll need stitches at least.”

I look around, finding a light blood trail. It’s not enough for him to die from though. Fuck!

“The truck that fucking passed us,” I say through clenched teeth. “It was him. He even blew his motherfucking horn!”

I slam my fist down on the car, and Donny goes as stiff as I do.

“I hope that shoot-to-kill order remains,” Donny growls.

“Someone tipped him off. He knew we were coming.”

“Is the girl his accomplice?”

I shake my head, hating what’s going on inside it right now. “Nothing in the profile indicates a partner. Nothing in his profile indicates a relationship with police either. No. He’s smart. Calculated, even. He had a fail-safe plan. If he was hiding in this town, there was a reason he felt safe. Look into their local PD. Find out if any of the officers who were aware of this raid has a daughter or a wife. Then go door to door. Find out if someone is missing. It wouldn’t be reported.”

His eyes widen. “You think he took a hostage?”

“Yeah. And now that his location has been burned, he no longer needs her alive.”

And we let him drive right by us. That sick, narcissistic son of a bitch honked at us, taunted us, knowing we were on our way to him. And I never even looked up.

I’m supposed to be observant of my surroundings at all time. My personal involvement in this case is fucking with my head, making me have tunnel-vision, and knocking me off my game.

He’s winning.

Chapter 7

Death and life have their determined appointments.



“Lisa is okay. She’s in a little shock, but otherwise okay,” Donny says as he hands me a cup of coffee. Our entire team is in a hospital waiting room right now.

The security detail makes me nervous, because someone from the police force sold us out.

“Only cops with no kids or family at Lana’s from now on,” I say to Donny, who nods. “We’ve only been out in public once. It’s possible he doesn’t even know she exists. It’s been her house mostly we’ve stayed at when I see her, and I’d know if I’d been followed.”

I take a sip of the coffee as he types out a text, probably relaying my request.

“Elise?” I ask him.

“She’s coming around. Her left shoulder was dislocated, and she has two breaks in her left leg where it got pinned on impact. She’s not in shock, but she is fucking pissed.”

He smirks, and I laugh under my breath. Elise will take this as personally as I am now. Then again, everyone has a personal investment now. He came after two of ours, and called me out by name. It’s our mission—our only focus—to bring him down.

Hadley is typing furiously on her laptop. She hasn’t been a techie for years, ever since she became the best in the field on forensics. But now she’s dusting off her old skills, trying to find any footage of which girl Plemmons might have had with him.

Donny and I described the truck—old Ford, beat up, jacked up, and big brush guard on the front. You couldn’t tell it’d been the tool to crash them, because it sure as hell didn’t look like it’d been in a wreck.

“Anything?” I ask Hadley.

Her eyes narrow to slits.

“Not yet. But I will find this son of a bitch.”

“He could be somewhere in the hospital. He’ll want to see this show. Or, if he has any computer skills, he may be hacked into the feed,” I tell her.

She nods. “On it. I already informed the cops of something like that when we got here,” she explains. “They’ve been canvassing the hallways and such.”

“Lisa shooting at him probably pissed him off. He hit them from the rear, sent them sliding around, and then slammed them again. It dazed them enough to give him an edge,” Leonard says as he sits down. “Then after Lisa shot him, he got in the truck, got a good run-and-go from that side road, and T-boned them, probably trying to kill them.”

“He’s a sexual sadist looking for an easy kill? Just to piss us off?” Donny asks, shaking his head.

“He wants us investing all our attention into him. He’s winding us up,” I say through clenched teeth.

“It’s working,” Leonard growls.

A woman pokes her head in. “Ms. Clifton is asking for you,” she says, looking at us all instead of being specific.

Donny, Leonard, and I stand up, and Craig comes jogging down the hall, joining us as we walk toward the room where they’re holding Elise.

Before we make it, my eyes land on a familiar brunette who is racing toward me with wide, terrified green eyes. Her entire body visibly relaxes when she sees me, and she launches herself into my arms.

I grab Lana, holding her to me, as she shakes and trembles. Detective Duke is right on her heels, panting heavily as he doubles over, resting his hands on his knees.

“Fucking marathon runner or something?” he asks between labored breaths.

Lana doesn’t speak. She just clings to me, her arms wrapped tightly around my neck.

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