Dallas sat in his car, drumming the fingers of his left hand against the steering wheel. With music quietly playing through his speakers, he kept most of his attention focused on Spencer Fabray. The pedophile had left his house twenty minutes before, and Dallas had been following from a distance ever since.
Unfortunate that he isn’t doing anything interesting, Ed said.
Can we screw the rules just this once and kill him in the pet store?
Ed groaned. God, you never let me have any fun, Tex. When I was in charge of it all, I killed whoever I wanted WHENever I wanted.
Dallas sighed, dropping his elbow to the window. “When you were in charge of it all, you got caught and sent to the electric chair.”
That seems unfair.
“Life isn’t fair. I imagine the afterlife isn’t, either,” Dallas said. He tilted his head to the side, resting his temple on his fist. “Your previous methods in life got you caught. They got you found guilty and sentenced to the chair. I’m not going to let you do the same thing to me. You were a killer through and through. I’m not. I have more left to do here than kill people.”
Mm. Like solving little homicides?
“Yes, among other things.”
I still don’t understand how you don’t see the stupidity of your homicide cop angle of life.
“Consider the idea that I don’t care if you see it as stupid or not. I made sure I didn’t join the department that covers the area we display the bodies in for a reason. My brain does comprehend the danger that could lead to.”
Are you sure it does? Because when you became a cop and put your prints in the system, you could’ve fooled me.
“That’s why we don’t leave my prints behind, genius.”
Ed chuckled. That’s technically a fair point. An irritating one, but a fair one.
“Irritating because if you had thought of it, you wouldn’t have gotten caught?”
Hey, listen here, you little shit.
Dallas laughed. “Is this where you give me the speech about DNA and fingerprints and forensics? How they were oh so different ‘back in your day’?”
Yes! Because they were!
“Of course they were, dumbass. But you’re still the one who left every single ounce of evidence behind that you possibly could. Even without the knowledge they could catch me with my DNA, I’d like to think I’d have the self-control not to spit at a damn crime scene.”
Fair. I wasn’t a self-control type of man.
“I’ve been dealing with you my whole life. Believe me, I’m aware.”
Ed laughed in that deeper, darker register of his that always shook Dallas to his very soul. Or whatever the hell was left of it. If you would stop trying to fight the fact that you and I are one in the same, you wouldn’t see me as some out-of-control murderer. You would see me as your partner in crime, you partner in FUN and excitement. Wouldn’t you like to enjoy this life all the time, Tex? No more hating yourself for just… being you?
“I don’t hate myself for being me. I hate the part of me that I allow you to control.”
Ed snorted. Oh, Tex. Whatever helps you sleep at night, dear.
Dallas rolled his eyes. He lifted his head as Spencer walked out of the pet store, a small bag in his hand. “Did you see anything about a pet when you looked him up?”
No, but I know he has family. If he had a pet before prison, they probably took care of it for him and gave it back when he walked free.
“Probably,” Dallas agreed, his voice quiet.
Ed groaned. Jesus Christ, does that mean you’re not going to kill this guy because he has a fucking pet?
“Oh, we’re gonna kill him. No one touches a kid and gets away with it.”
A dark chuckle echoed in Dallas’s head. Good.
Once Spencer drove out of the parking lot, Dallas started his car and followed him out, making sure to keep enough distance so Spencer wouldn’t know he was being followed.
Though his ‘errands’ that day were far closer to being Ed’s errands than his, he didn’t mind. Spencer Fabray was a danger to society, a danger to the children of the country. Dallas had absolutely no problem with stalking Spencer. He had no problem with the knowledge that, after he was certain it was safe, he’d kill Spencer and display him from The Hanging Tree.
It wasn’t often that Dallas felt no disgust at the idea of killing another man, but Dallas knew of non-murderers who believed people like Spencer should be killed and hung in the streets. Who was he to deny them that?
Dallas followed Spencer to the mall and parked four spots away and one row over. With a sigh, he pulled the key from the ignition. “All right, Ed. It’s your turn.”
Dallas rolled his eyes. “Only follow Spencer. Keep your eyes off anyone who isn’t proven to be a criminal.”
Yeah, yeah, I’ll follow the rules. Let me at him before I can’t find him.
Drawing in a breath, Dallas closed his eyes. “Good luck.”
Ed opened his eyes, tilting his head to the side until his neck popped. He slid out of the car, closing the door behind him. As he headed toward the store, he locked the doors and pocketed the key fob.
Inside the mall, he found Spencer rather easily. The man had headed straight toward the other end of the mall, toward the food court. It didn’t take long to catch up to him. Spencer wasn’t nearly as sneaky as he most likely believed himself to be. When he walked past the man, Ed made sure Spencer bumped into him, a good excuse to touch his skin without drawing attention to his fingers brushing the back of the man’s hand. Ed didn’t care if the man’s feelings were hurt at being touched by a man, but he sure as hell didn’t want to get into a fight.
Not while Dallas’s shoulder injury made for a weak ass right hook.
“Oh, God, sorry, man,” Spencer said. “Didn’t even see you there.”
Ed flashed that Dallas half-smile. He knew he didn’t pull it off with nearly as much charm as the man himself, but that was fine. Even half of Dallas’s usual charm was enough to skate by on. The man had done a marvelous job disguising the serial killer living in his head.
Slashing a hand through the air, Ed shook his head. “No worries. I’m a little clumsy myself these days.”
Spencer nodded toward the sling. “I can tell.”
Ed chuckled. “Yeah. Most can. Take it easy.”
“You too, man.”
Ed turned away from Spencer and walked past the food court, the smile falling from his face as soon as he no longer needed it for the charming facade. He had only learned the benefit of charm during his time with Dallas. When he had still been alive, he had never charmed any of his victims to their doom. He had simply taken them. But to follow Dallas’s rules, charm was, on occasion, a necessity.
As promised, Ed would unfortunately continue to follow the rules.
Ed tucked his good hand into the pocket of his jacket to avoid touching anyone else and headed into the clothing store at the end of the mall. He had no plans to buy anything, but it would be far less suspicious than simply turning around and walking straight back the way he had come.
Spencer owned a turtle. For Ed, that was unbelievably unimportant, but dear old Dallas tended to want to know every last detail about a person. That was Ed’s job. Of course, Dallas assumed Ed gathered that information by stalking their criminal of choice for days or weeks, but that assumption was entirely incorrect. Over the years, Ed had simply worked to hone the psychic abilities Dallas hadn’t used, the very same that Ed had purposely blocked him out of. So long as Dallas didn’t know what he really was, Ed could stay.
He planned to make his stay last for as long as it possibly could, ideally until the day Dallas died.
Tex? You listening in?
Ed waited a moment before shaking his head. It didn’t surprise him that Dallas didn’t respond. He wasn’t sure what Dallas did when Ed took over, but it wasn’t often that he responded. Ed figured it was one more way for Dallas to pretend he wasn’t also a serial killer.
That was all right. Ed was perfectly comfortable killing time for a few good hours while he let Dallas’s psychic shit do all the hard work.
Dallas opened his eyes, turning his head to look around. Driver’s side of the car. Parking lot. “Where’d you leave me?”
Relax. You’re a ten-minute drive from home.
After a moment, Dallas nodded. Fortunately, Ed was right. The street sign about half a block up confirmed that much. He started the car and shifted into drive. “What’d you find out?”
Nothing particularly interesting, as if THAT’S a surprise. He owns a turtle named Betsy, stole it from one of his victims.
Dallas’s fingers tightened around the steering wheel as he drove out of the parking lot. “Do you know which victim?”
Yes. I jotted her name and current address down in your little notebook. It’s tucked into your visor.
Mmhmm. He’s got his eyes on a high schooler who works the register in one of the clothing stores in the mall. Likes her dark skin and long legs.
Dallas cleared his throat, right hand balling into a fist. “I thought he only liked white girls.”
White girls got him caught. He’d like to change it up this time.
“We’re going to fucking hang him before he can.”
Ed chuckled. We sure as hell are. When?
“Did you find out anything that would indicate the best time for it?”
No, but I know he’s planning on nabbing her Tuesday night on her way home from work.
“Tuesday,” Dallas echoed. “We can’t do it today, not with Bo at the house.”
Xavier will go back to his ‘week time’ schedule Monday night. Gaming and lights out by ten. I assume your new best friend will line up with Xavier’s schedule quite well.
“Why’s that? Because you think they’re both freaks?”
Oh, please. If you don’t easily fit into society, it’s usually because you’re a monster or a freak. I was a monster. They’re freaks. Get over yourself. And YES, of course because they’re freaks, dumbass. You saw the way Bo flocked to Xavier at the house. He didn’t ask you for permission to continue the tour with Xavier. He didn’t look like you needed to save him. He just WENT with it. To Bo, your brother is the NORMAL of people like him. If Xavier goes to bed at ten, I have a feeling your little babysitter will do the same thing without second thought or hesitation.
“He… might,” Dallas agreed, his voice quiet. “We’ll plan for Monday night, then. Worst case scenario, we grab the bastard on Tuesday.”
We should wait until he grabs her.
It’d be more fun. You could even get a taste of your savior complex.
“I don’t have a savior complex. I have a morality complex that prevents you from murdering innocent people.”
If that’s what you’d like to call it. Dallas scoffed, biting his tongue on any further responses. Ed would always be an insufferable bastard, but Dallas still had the choice to respond or not. That was almost a sense of control, and when it came to Ed, Dallas needed all the self-control he could manage.
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