9:37 AM; CLINSTONE SPECIALTY HOSPITAL, ROOM 101
Bo looked back at his husband, a faint smile tugging at one corner of his mouth. Jensen had fallen asleep again, the twins curled up at either side of him. Kayla and Amber sat in two of the chairs in the room, Kayla quietly reading, Amber quietly gaming.
Bo stepped out into the hall, closing the door behind him. “Anything on McCullough?” he asked.
Jacob shook his head, crossing his arms over his chest. “Not yet, but the guy’s name and picture are all over the news and billboards. It’s everywhere. We’ll find him,” he assured.
“I’ll send out Jamal’s people if I have to.”
“I know. I’ll let you know if it comes to that. You worry about your family for now,” Jacob said. Bo nodded, leaning back against the door. “How’re you holding up?”
“I’m managing.” Bo let out a breath. “Watching his temperature and blood pressure drop in the ambulance? Just seeing how pale he was? I was terrified. It’s been a long time since I worried about losing him, but that…”
“Was scary. I know, brother.” Lightly, Jacob punched Bo’s shoulder. “You were there for me when Allie was in the hospital. I’m here for you on this.”
“I know,” Bo said quietly. “I’m just lucky he put pressure on his damn thigh. Otherwise… otherwise, he would’ve been gone in under five minutes. He probably wouldn’t have even been able to call it in.”
“Yeah, but he’s smart. He knew that,” Jacob said softly. “Like I said, Blondie, your hubby’s a damn good fighter. He’s fine.”
“And we’re gonna catch and prosecute the hell outta the fucker that shot him,” Jacob said.
“We better,” Bo whispered.
“Sullivan already promised Allie that the case is hers. Says it’s more justice for Jensen if a close friend works it,” Jacob said.
“Good. Alice will get him put to death.”
“That’s the hope,” the lieutenant agreed. “Look, I gotta head home for a bit. Call me when you want me to take the kids back, okay?”
“All right, Jake. Thanks for watching them yesterday.”
“My pleasure, brother.” Jacob pulled Bo into a hug, clapping him on the back. “Take care of yourself.”
“Doing my best. Love you.”
“Love you, too, Blondie.”
10:02 AM; CLINSTONE, SPENCER FARM, MACHINE SHED
Stanley’s eyes shot open. He tried pushing himself to his feet, but he couldn’t. Through the slits of light shining in from the other end of the building, he was faintly aware of the objects around him.
A lawn mower, an air compressor, tool boxes. A vehicle of some kind sat at the other end of the building, still shadowed in too much darkness for Stanley to determine what it was.
He heard footsteps to his left.
He turned toward the sound suddenly, squeezing his eyes shut as a light flicked on in his face. He turned away from it, opening his eyes once more. He slowly turned back toward the nearly blinding light. A shadowy figure sat behind it, and the light kept him from making out any features of the person.
“Hi, Stanley,” the figure said.
“Who the fuck are you?” Stanley asked.
The figure chuckled, shoulders moving ever so slightly. “I don’t think that matters. Hell, I’m not even certain yet.” The figure shifted. “You were going to kill that couple, weren’t you? You were aiming to kill the cop, too, right?”
“Cop shoulda minded his own damn business.”
“A cop’s business is the illegal crimes you’re involved in. Stopping that is, well, their job. Besides, the news makes it seem like you weren’t in any sort of trouble until your dumb ass shot at an officer of the law.”
Stanley scoffed. “News isn’t right about everything.”
“Mm.” The figure leaned to the side and flipped open the lid of a toolbox.
Stanley listened to the figure rustle through the metal tools in the toolbox. “What’re you doing?” he asked.
“I was going to call in an anonymous tip so the cops could find you. I even have a burner phone, can’t be traced back to me.” The figure sat up straight again. “But, see, I don’t like you. I… don’t like you at all.”
“So what’s your plan? You can’t leave me out here forever,” Stanley said. Wherever the hell here really is.
“Oh, of course not. I wouldn’t leave you here,” the figure said. For the first time, light glinted off of the tool in the figure’s hands. A wrench. “I am going to give that cop justice. The families you preyed on? They’ll get their justice.”
Stanley leaned back instinctively as the figure rose from the seat. Stanley’s chair fell to the floor. “You can just call the cops!”
“I don’t like that idea quite as much.” The figure grabbed the chair and pulled it back to all fours. “You might be proven innocent… somehow. Even if you do go to prison, it’s not good enough. Wasting taxpayer dollars on a disgusting excuse for a human being like you? Oh, no. Certainly not good enough.” The figure rested the heavy wrench on Stanley’s shoulder. “But this? This is a much better idea.”
“God, please, no!” Stanley exclaimed. “I’ll plead guilty. No trial needed. Less tax dollars wasted.”
“Again, not good enough.” The figure grunted as they swung the wrench down onto Stanley’s shoulder.
The Blackout Killer shrieked in pain.
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