SYNOPSIS: Jason Franco is an aspiring novelist stuck in a dead-end job working for a newspaper in a small town where nothing exciting happens until someone rapes and murders a young woman only eighteen years old. All evidence points to the woman's boyfriend who confesses to the crime. Jason is assigned to write a follow-up story for the paper and soon suspects that the local police are covering up for one of their own. Jason enlists the help from a high school classmate who works at the state crime and the two soon fall in love. Jason and his girlfriend, Tina, follow the leads, and Jason finds himself a target for the rapist turned murderer. An attempt on Jason's life puts him in the hospital as the alleged rapist commits suicide. An unexpected turn of events put Jason back in the cross hairs of a different killer.
Later that afternoon, Jason received a text message. The message said that the sender had a tip about Angelina’s murder but wanted to meet in private and remain anonymous. The sender asked Jason to meet him at a park in Lingle in one hour and to come alone. Jason immediately told Sean.
“Zac, get on your computer and check this address,” said Sean. “Make sure it’s legit.” He turned to Jason. “This looks like a set up; like the way Paulo was set up.”
“But what if it’s not?” asked Jason.
Zac came back. “The address is legit. It’s a community park on the main drag. Should be safe in daylight.”
“It could still be a setup,” said Sean. “The killer could ambush you.”
“But what if it’s not?” asked Jason. “This might be the witness we need. After what happened, I don’t blame him for wanting to be anonymous.”
“Take my gun.”
“No. I don’t know how to use it. I’d shoot my foot. I’m going. Now wish me luck. Better to be early.”
After Jason left, Sean said, “I don’t like this.”
Jason arrived at the park. A few kids were tossing around a football. A couple of people were walking dogs. There was no lone stranger. Jason had no idea what this guy looked like. He waited around for an hour before deciding to head back to the office.
Jason drove out of Lingle, heading back toward Torrington. A few miles down the road he saw a white car in his rear view mirror. It had a siren going and lights inside the front grill were flashing. Jason dialed Sean again and told him that he thought Cruse was following him.
“Get back here right away,” Sean told Jason. “Don’t stop for anything. Don’t take any chances. It sounds like a set up. Be careful.”
“Where should I go? To the police station?”
“No. No. No. We don’t know who all is involved. Go to the sheriff’s office. I’ll call ahead. Keep your cell on. Put it in the dash bracket and start recording.”
Jason put his cell phone in the dash board bracket and turned it on as Zac had instructed him. He turned off the volume. The white car chasing Jason pulled up alongside. Jason recognized Chief Cruse.
“It’s Chief Cruse. I’m going to pull off the road to see what he wants.” Jason slowed down and pulled over. He left his cellphone on. Chief Cruse pulled in behind Jason’s car.
Sean started pacing. “Something’s not right. I don’t like this at all. Mary, call Natalie. Ask her who wrote the press release on Paulo’s accident. I'm calling the Wyoming DA.”
“Will he take your call?” asked Zac.
“Yeah. He told me to call him before I published anything. He'll answer.”
Sean withdrew into his office to talk to the DA in private. After a few minutes he came out. “Just as I thought. The DA says that Cruse never sent him the list of names from Register Cliff. Mary, what did Nat say?”
Mary had just hung up. “She said Jeri insisted on writing it himself.”
“Shit! Fuck! Cruse is the rapist!” Sean took Zac’s cell. “Jason. Stay in your car. Drive off. Drive to the sheriff’s office.” Sean's warning was too late. Zac pointed to his monitor. Jason was standing outside his car. The angle did not show Cruse, but it did show Jason’s back. The audio picked up both men talking. Sean jumped up. “Let’s go. We have to help Jason.” Sean ran out of the room with Zac on his heels. Over his shoulder, Sean shouted to Mary. “Call the sheriff and highway patrol. Tell them to hurry.” Mary ran into her father's office and grabbed his car keys. When Sean reappeared in the entrance, Mary tossed his car keys to him. Sean caught them, turned and ran out.
As they got into Sean’s car, Zac held his cellphone so both could see. In the web cam, they could see Jeri talking to Jason. Jason’s car window was open, so they could also hear.
“Why did you pull me over, Chief?” asked Jason.
“Sean called and asked me to check on you. He was worried about this meeting you had in Lingle.”
“Whoever called me was a no show.” Jason thought for a minute. “But Sean didn’t call you. You’re lying.”
Cruse smiled. “Ah, Sherlock. You got me.”
“Holy shit. You’re The Register Cliff Rapist.”
Cruse didn’t answer. He hit Jason with a right cross. The punch caught Jason by surprise. His fist landed on the side of Jason’s nose. Blood flew off Jason’s face and onto the hood of his car. For a minute Jason held onto the car as everything spun around in his head. Blood started flowing down the front of his shirt. He bend over and placed his hands on his knees. He was hoping this would keep him from falling over but also let the blood fall on the ground.
“No, no,” said Jeri. “Hold your head back.” He lifted Jason by his shoulders and leaned his head back. “Just let the blood run down your throat.” He pinched Jason’s nose with his thumb and first finger. “You need to apply pressure to stop the bleeding.”
“I know, but your nose is broken. This is the only way to stop the bleeding. Now put your thumb and finger where mine are.” Jason pinched his nose while Cruse removed his hand. “It should stop in a minute.” Jeri wiped his hand on Jason’s shirt.
Jason kept his head back. “You killed Angie Littlefield.”
“Yeah. You figured it out. I wanted a piece of her ass for a couple of years. I broke my number one rule to never rape anyone in town. Big mistake. But we didn't plan on killing her.”
A tractor trailer drove by, kicking up dust.
“Then you killed Paulo. Why? He was no threat to you.”
“He pissed me off. I thought I had committed the perfect crime, but Paulo didn’t go down the way he should’ve.”
“Now you’re going to kill me?”
“Yeah. You messed things up for me.”
“You’ll never get away with it. No one will believe two similar accidents.”
“I know. After I kill you I’m leaving town. If I drive straight through, I should make Canada sometime tomorrow night.”
Jason started to say something but before he could, Cruse hit him with another right cross. This one caught Jeri on the cheekbone. He heard the bone pop. His head jerked to his right. Immediately, Jeri followed that with a left hook to his jaw. Jason blacked out.
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