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barnburner
05-08-2012, 09:51 AM
The painting is of 'The Knight" stalking his prey, just before making his attack.

Chapter 12



A loud and unrelenting pounding on his door woke Chet from what had almost been a deep sleep. The clock said it was one twenty a.m. That had to be a lie. He and Brianna had worked until after eleven p.m., then went to get something to eat. By the time he got back to his apartment, checked his messages, and got a shower, it was one a.m. As his head began to clear, Chet began to appreciate the fact that he had enjoyed at the most, a long and restful sleep of twenty minutes.
For at least thirty seconds, he gave serious consideration to putting a few rounds through the door and killing whoever the idiot was that kept pounding on it. As he neared the door, he could hear Brianna's voice yelling for him to answer the door. Sure enough, when he opened the door, Brianna was standing there glaring at him.
"Does it always take that long for you to answer the door?"
He motioned for her to come in, and answered in less than a cordial tone. "Yes, it does, when I've only been asleep for thirty seconds. Now what is your problem?"
"Do you always answer the door wearing no pants?" she asked.
Chet grimaced and said, "Lady, if you've never seen a man in his undershorts before, it's time you got a life. Now, for the last time, before I go back to bed, why in the hell are you here?"
Brianna stared at him like he was a new breed of idiot that had just been released into the wild. "Well, it sure wasn't to partake of your sweet personality. Believe it or not, we have another murder. The Knight has struck again. I thought you might want to go along, but if you are too tired, I'll handle it myself."
Chet rubbed his face vigorously in an effort to shake off his fatigue , ran his fingers through his hair, then pointed at the coffee pot. "The makings and the water are already in there. Hit the 'on' button, and start the coffee brewing while I get dressed. Then, please sit down and don't say another word until I've had a taste of coffee."
After he was dressed and took his second sip of coffee, Chet inquired. "What's the story?"
"All I know is, the agent in charge on the night shift, called me and said that the Knight had killed someone. The sooner we get over there, the sooner we will know the story."
After taking one last big gulp of coffee and putting the cup into the sink, he said, 'Well, then what's taking you so long to get moving? Come on, we've got a murder to solve. Hand me my communicator will you?"
She picked it up and with it wrapped in her fingers, took a few seconds deciding whether she was going to hand it to him, or, use it to club him to death. Finally, she released the breath she had been holding, and gave him the communicator. "There, are you ready now?"
"I was born ready. I'm just waiting on you."
As she went out the door, Chet heard her muttering a few obscenities. He had an idea that at least some of them might be directed at him.


When they arrived at the crime scene, Chet was pleased to find that the ranking officer there, was Ben South. They had worked together years ago, and Ben had always been a good solid cop. After they exchanged brief greetings, Chet pointed to the crime scene. "So, what's the story Ben?"
Ben South pointed at the body of the girl laying at the edge of a brush line. "Looks to be the work of 'The Knight'. It appears he followed her through the park, waited until she went into an area where nobody was around, then went after her. Girl's name is Lela Baker. Her parents should be getting here in a few minutes. Say, there is one thing different in this killing. Take a look at this. Maybe you can figure it out."
Beside the body of the girl who lay face down, one word had been freshly carved into the closest tree trunk. That word was - NO. South looked at Chet. "Any ideas as to what 'NO' means?"
Shaking his head to signify that he didn't, Chet said, "Let me take a look at her." When he turned her over and got a look at her face, a chill ran down his spine.
"Brianna caught the look on his face. "What is it Chet?
He held up his hands to signify that he needed to be left alone for a minute. While they waited, he let his mind work back thru the events of the last couple of days. Finally, it clicked. "When I was interviewing Officer Riley's wife and daughter, I looked around at all the pictures in their living room. This girl, is Misty Riley's best friend. At a distance, or in a dark environment, you would have trouble telling the two of them apart. They have the same hair color and style, and they are both built about the same. I don't think this is a coincidence. Question is, did he kill Lela as some sort of pre-attack on Misty, or, did he kill her before he realized that she wasn't Misty?"
Chet told Ben to send his report to him before sending copies to anybody else. Then he took a few pictures. Then, he grabbed Brianna by the arm. "Come on, let's go. That is, unless you want to stick around and save officer South from having to deal with the grieving parents."
"No thanks. This is one time I'm not arguing. Where are we going?" She thought for a second, and said, "Never mind, it doesn't make any difference. As long as it's out of here."
A ten minute walk took them to the Riley residence. After they managed to wake up Alice Riley, she opened the door and invited them inside. "Mrs. Riley, we need to talk to Misty. Would you wake her please,? Chet asked.
"I'm already up," came the sound of Misty's voice as she emerged from the hallway. "What's going on?"
Chet pulled up the pictures from the crime scene on his communicator, and handed it to Misty. "Do you recognize the girl?"
She stared in disbelief at the picture in front of her, then she dropped to the floor, as her legs became weak. "No. No. No." she kept repeating. After a couple of minutes of silence, she looked at Chet. "Was it 'The Knight'?"
"We believe so," he answered. "What we are trying to figure out, is whether he did it to punish you, or, did he mistake Lela for you?"
Misty managed to get to her feet, and walked to her room. In less than a minute, she returned carrying an identical blouse and skirt to the ones Lela had worn prior to her attack. "Lela and I bought identical sets of these. Hers turned out to be the wrong size, and she had to wait for a replacement set to be shipped from earth on the next scheduled supply shuttle. I've worn my set several times over the last month, so it's likely that if he has been following me, that he saw me in them."
She laid the clothes down on the couch arm, then said. "Lela's clothes came in today, and she wore them as she walked over here to show me how she looked in them. He probably spotted her wearing them as she walked thru the park on her way home. At night, he probably just assumed that she was me. Then, she collapsed and broke into an uncontrollable fit of crying. Broken by several sessions of sobbing, she managed to finally say. "My best friend died in my place. It's all my fault!"
Brianna put her arm around Misty. "What you are feeling is understandable, but not justified. You cannot take responsibility for the actions of a homicidal maniac. We have an entire security force working day and night, and we are powerless to predict what he's going to do, or where he will strike. Only one person is responsible for the deaths of your father and Lela. That is the killer himself." She put her fingers under Misty's chin and turned her face. "I want you to know this. The day we get him, you will be the first person we call. That's my promise to you."
By the time they left the Riley's house, daylight was beginning to show. As she looked back toward the park where Lela had been killed, Brianna said. "Well, Mr Garner, what's it going to be? Are we going to have breakfast, or are we going to bed?"
Chet mulled her question over for a minute, then responded. "Bri, I really appreciate the offer, but if you don't mind, I'll take a rain check on going to bed with you. I really need some breakfast this morning."
Had he not anticipated her reaction, the punch she threw would have landed flush on his chin.
"Not in this lifetime, nor in the next three," she answered. "Now, do you want to fight, or have breakfast.?"
He winked and smiled. "The way you threw that right hand, I'm afraid you might win the fight, so let's find somewhere to eat."

coops
05-08-2012, 09:47 PM
Another exciting chapter Barnburner, well done:)

Alexandra
05-08-2012, 10:59 PM
You've done it again Mike....kept folks on the edge of their seat! Great artwork too.:cool:

Caesar
05-09-2012, 12:55 AM
Most disquieting (and dark) image and a quite interesting chapter.
The killer "apparently" making a mistake (no night chess around) and a female investigator behaving in a pretty bad and uncivilized way for a lady, with brutal violence :eek: which would not be fair considering that a gentleman would never beat back a lady (although I realize Chet seems anything but a gentleman) ...:DLOL
Anyway going on this way they'll discover soon the killer(s) because he (she) would be the only ones surviving in the colony. Ah, ah ;)

pat1940
05-09-2012, 01:59 AM
Great story dear Barney, very mysterious, but all your stories are very interesting:):):):):):)

gxhpainter2
05-09-2012, 02:24 AM
BB.... an excellent chapter and illustration... I am always excited to see a new chapter posted...great humor here" As his head began to clear, Chet began to appreciate the fact that he had enjoyed at the most, a long and restful sleep of twenty minutes."

barnburner
05-09-2012, 04:32 AM
Katie - Thank you so much. I appreciate that very much. :) :)

Sandy - Very much appreciated. Thanks a lot. :) :)

Caesar - Not to worry, babies are being born in the colony at a faster clip (Chet wants you to know that he is not responsible) than people are dying, so the population will continue. Thanks a lot! :):)

Pat - So glad you liked it. I really appreciate your support. :) :)

Gary - Thanks much. Truly glad you are enjoying the story. :) :)

justjean
05-09-2012, 06:19 AM
Another enjoyable tale, Mike. I'll be looking forward to the next insalment :)

barnburner
05-09-2012, 06:49 AM
Another enjoyable tale, Mike. I'll be looking forward to the next insalment :)

Thanks so much Jean. I always appreciate your kind support. :) :)

screenpainter
05-23-2012, 05:52 PM
I am afraid I have fallen behind on the story, but it's a good read and love the pics.

barnburner
05-23-2012, 11:36 PM
I'm very glad that you are enjoying it. Many thanks! :) :)