All the Lies (Page 16)

She nods.

“How’d they know it was a guy if the unsub was masked? And what about height and weight?” I ask her.

“The guy was dressed in full-on Michael Myers gear. Mask, hair, clothes…everything. I guess they assumed it was a guy. And no one was paying attention enough to get a height estimation. I got everything from five feet to six and a half feet. Some said it was a big guy. Some said he was skinny.”

“Balls of stone is what it takes to devise a plan as brazen as this,” Leonard says quietly.

“It fucking took you long enough!” I hear the sheriff snapping.

I look over as the canine units arrive, and he starts directing them. If they find Kyle, it’ll be a small miracle. By now, the unsub is possibly already at play.

I glance over, studying the faces of everyone standing behind the caution tape. The girlfriend looks a little bruised, but those bruises were there before the unsub came in.

It took her longer than it should have to get help. The unsub had time to drag Kyle out of this place. She most likely used the hole cut into the floor.

This was all thought out, and somehow the unsub overlooked the girlfriend? Doubtful.

Leonard follows me as I make my way toward the girl who is chewing her nails, a blanket over her shoulders as she sways from side to side.

“Ms. Blanks?” At her name, she pops her head up, looking directly into my eyes. “Do you care to come talk with us?”

She nods dully and moves under the tape, coming closer to us. She’s not in shock, despite what she saw.

“Ms. Blanks, I know the sheriff already talked to you, but if you could tell us anything you saw, it’d be greatly appreciated,” I say softly, trying to sound calm and approachable, unlike the madman who shouldn’t be directing this manhunt.

“It was dark. I just saw blood, and guts, and that crazy guy threw his saw at Kyle. It cocked him in the head. I thought he was going to get me next.”

“But that didn’t happen,” Leonard says soothingly. “What happened next?”

She nibbles her lip. “I ran out, but turned around and saw him dragging Kyle. People were stepping over him and stuff, laughing or screaming. No one knew it was real, but I did. Some people panicked when they saw Chad, because it was gross. They started to question it, but still didn’t say anything aloud. I finally got out when I saw him continuing to pull Kyle, and told the other two deputies where they were inside.”

“You didn’t see the escape hole? It wasn’t covered or anything,” I point out.

“I was too scared to focus,” she says, not meeting my eyes.

I exchange a look with Leonard. Her not telling them about the hole would lead to them coming all the way through the setup backwards, fighting against hordes of people who would slow them down. She saw the hole. She elected not to mention it, but still told what was going on to clear herself of any wrongdoings as far as the sheriff was concerned.

“Thank you for your time, Ms. Blanks,” I say as Leonard walks away with me.

“I almost think the girlfriend wanted Kyle gone,” Leonard says under his breath.

I look around, surveying all the faces that don’t seem the least bit upset.

“Someone here saw something,” I say to him, looking back at all the people whispering amongst themselves, but not saying anything to us or the sheriff’s men.

“Loyalties are shifting,” Leonard says quietly.

“What?” I ask with the same hushed tone.

He gestures around. “These people have been conditioned from speaking out for years and years, finding punishment instead of reward. Finding terror instead of pride. Now this masked crusader comes in and is calling them out on their lies, killing the corrupt ones who’ve oppressed them for this long. They’re loyalties are shifting to our killer instead of their oppressors. Before long, they’ll develop a hero worshiping complex and consider the killer to be a vigilante speaking out against injustice.”

“Our killer is doing much more than speaking out against injustice,” I say on a sigh.

He nods. “Killing was the only option for our girl. Because speaking only ever got these people killed or worse,” he states flatly before walking away.

I’m starting to question his loyalties. Out of everyone, Leonard is the last one I thought would feel too much empathy for our killer.

And we need to stop calling her our anything.

Enacting possession or ownership makes the empathy ties stronger, and he’s been referring to her as our girl or our killer all day. Knowing she’s a female fighting against rapists also demands more sympathy and empathy. It’s fucking with our heads, more so him than me.

But even I’m struggling to give a damn about finding Kyle before it’s too late. I haven’t even called Hadley out yet to run the forensics.

Deciding to force the issue, I text her, asking her to join us, and get a message back immediately that she’s on the way. I also text Lana.

ME: You okay? Hadley has to come here, so I can send someone else.

LANA: All good. No need. I have to go home, deal with something tonight, and then I’ll be back. My house was broken into and Duke called to ask me to come see if anything was taken.

The fuck?

ME: A homicide detective is calling you about a possible burglary?

LANA: The cops couldn’t reach me on my phone, because my house number was the number the security company had. Duke had my cell, and he knew I was out of town. It’ll be a quick trip. Promise. Love you. <3

I want to tell her to stay gone, but the sheriff might really do something stupid like stage a break-in and go after her. Hell, for all I know this is part of his retaliation for his son coming up missing four hours ago.

His deranged mind believes I’m somehow involved. What if this is all a trap?

ME: Stay. Don’t go. I have a bad feeling.

LANA: Already on the road. Stow your bad feeling. Duke will be there, and I’ll deal with all the insurance stuff. Don’t focus on me. Worry about your case.

“Everything okay?” Leonard asks me.

“No. Lana is too fucking stubborn,” I groan, putting my phone away. I’ll call Duke later.

“Just curious, how much do you know about Lana?”

I arch an eyebrow. “Why do you ask?”

He shrugs. “No reason.” His face changes as he looks at something in the dirt, and he kneels.

“Were there any cars parked over here tonight?” he asks.

“We taped this side up, not allowing cars to pass.”

His eyes dart up to the path between the trees. It’s big enough for a small car, but…

“The blood trail led into the woods,” Elise says, interrupting my thought. “All of it was blood from the two victims he killed, but that’s what happens when you saw a guy to pieces and stab another.”

“Kyle Perkins didn’t go into the woods. There’d be drag marks,” I say, finally getting my head on right.

“The killer went into the woods, but not Kyle,” Elise says, confused. “How?”

Leonard pales as he and I look at each other.

“Because our unsub has a partner.”

Chapter 12

Clever tyrants are never punished.



“You sure you’ll be able to sit in on this?” I ask Jake as I walk in, pulling my sweatshirt off.

“Waited too long, and I’m pissed off enough to handle the gore tonight, Lana. Just looking at him makes me want to kill him. I’ll be fine.”

“It’ll be the worst,” I remind him.

He rolls his shoulders back. “I’ll let you know if I need a break. But I doubt I will for this one.” His jaw tics, and I nod, looking idly at the selection of shiny knives that are just waiting to turn red.

“What vehicle did you drive?” Jake asks me randomly.

“The Lexus you parked at Lindy’s old house.”

“No one saw you?”

I shake my head to answer his question.

“Logan?” he asks.

“I’ll tell him I took the bus until I could call a cab.”

My eyes lift to his. “Why the third degree?”

He purses his lips. “They know you have a partner now. It’s just a matter of time before they unravel the whole thing, Lana.”

He holds up his phone as the cameras catch them all heading into the thick of the woods. Dogs are going crazy, but they won’t find anything. Everything was tossed into the water after I saturated the clothing and mask in bleach.

“We knew we couldn’t afford the time to leave behind fresh drag marks. It was inevitable they’d learn of a partnership,” I say casually, moving toward the viewing window.

Kyle is banging against the one-way glass that serves as a mirror from his perspective. In fact, the entire box he’s screaming inside is full of this glass, other than the ceiling, which is actually a mirror. The walls are bulletproof, practically impossible to break, despite his frantic punching and kicking.

His hand is a bloody mess from trying to punch through it, and I smirk. Maybe I know he hates small spaces and planned this beautiful killing spot two years ago. Maybe I built this underground tomb full of mirrors just for him.

Just for his death.

Jake already stripped him of his clothing, leaving him completely naked and vulnerable. The sight of Kyle’s naked body makes my stomach roil.