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.
OrthoColorado Hospital, Denver Colorado
Tuesday Night, August 4, 2015
Part 2 Continued
The video started with Jeri Cruse standing next to Jason's car. It showed Jason with his back to the camera and the stomach of chief Cruse. Their heads weren't visible, but their voices were loud and clear. When chief Cruse began punching Jason his face appeared through the car window. When Jason's body hit against the car it made a loud thump.
The next scene showed chief Cruse opening the driver side door and placing an unconscious Jason in the driver seat. Cruse started the car. He shut the door and disappeared for a minute. When he returned, he was carrying a cinder block. He placed the cinder block through the open window and onto the floor. He turned the steering wheel to the right and shifted the car into drive. Then he pushed the cinder block over onto the accelerator and the engine began to race. His face disappeared from view as the car drove off the side of the road and down an embankment.
For several seconds, the view in the recording jumped around. When it stopped, it showed the air bag deploying and blocking the view. After a few more seconds, the recording showed the air bag deflating.
Cruse’s face appeared once again in the window. He was holding the knife he used on the air bag. He started pouring gasoline from a gas can over Jason. He saw the cellphone on the dash and grabbed it. The video was blank for a few seconds. The next scene was a different point of view. It was an aerial view above and slight downhill from Jason’s car. It showed Cruse next to Jason’s car with a gas can on the ground by his feet and a road flare in his hand.
“Stop right now, Jeri. The highway patrol is on the way,” said Sean's voice off screen. The camera panned to show Sean standing nearby holding up his cellphone. Next to him stood Zac with the remote control to the drone. “We’re videotaping you and sending it to the highway patrol as we speak.”
“We even have a live feed to You Tube,” said Zac. “You'll be on the ten o’clock news tonight.”
“We know you killed Littlefield,” said Sean. “We have proof. It’s over. Give it up,”
“Like hell I will,” said Cruse. “I’m not going to prison. He took his pistol and shot twice at the drone, missing both times. He turned and pointed the gun at Sean.
“Don’t do it, Jeri. It’s over. You can’t get away.” Sean held up the keys to Jeri’s car. He tossed them into the field beyond the stream bed.
Suddenly, officers Boyd and Marini came running down the embankment. Both had drawn their weapons. They were pointed at Cruse. “Stop! On the ground now!” Yelled Naomi. She ran to Jason and checked his pulse.
Cruse tried to shoot Sean but was out of bullets. He threw his pistol at Sean but missed by several feet. “I’m not going to jail.” He picked up the gas can and emptied it on himself. He even took a drink of gasoline.
“No! Don’t do it!” yelled Sean.
Cruse took the road flare and struck it. The flame ignited the fumes from his hands and quickly spread to the rest of his body. Soon he was engulfed in flames. He didn’t scream or yell out but started to stagger forward.
“Do something, Naomi,” shouted Sean as he started down the slope. “Jason’s car is covered in gas.”
Naomi stood between Cruse and Jason’s car and pointed her pistol at him. “Stop now.”
Art had his jacket off and was moving toward Cruse. Cruse took another step. Naomi fire twice into his chest. The impact of two rounds to his chest knocked him backward.
Naomi yelled to Art. “Get Jason.”
“We’ve got to get him before a spark starts the car on fire,” yelled Sean as he ran toward Jason's car. Art stopped trying to put out the flames on Cruse and started down the slope to help Sean. Jason was still unconscious.
Sean was already trying to open Jason’s driver side door. Rocks were blocking the door. Art kicked the rocks out of the way and jerked the door open.
Sean looked inside and jerked on Jason's seat belt. “His seat belt. I can’t undo it.” he yelled.
Art took a knife out of his boot and sliced through the seat belt. He looked inside. “He’s got a compound fracture of his left leg. The bone is sticking out.” He felt round Jason’s neck. “His neck isn't broken, but he's unconscious.”
Art and Sean lifted Jason out of the car. Art was stronger and more sure footed. “Let me,” he said. Sean let Art take Jason. Art carried him in his arms like a baby and climbed back up the hill.
“Keep recording!” Sean shouted at Zac. He turned to look at Naomi.
Naomi was still standing near Cruse's body. The flames were very high and extremely hot. She attempted to get closer but finally gave up. She watched as sparks began to float upward, lifted by the heat of the flames. They floated up and then drifted slowing toward Jason’s car. Then they floated down. The first spark landed on the hood and the car leaped into flames. The fire started on the hood and jumped to the roof and trunk.
“Naomi! Leave him! Get out of there!”
Naomi seemed to wake from a dream. She leaped into action and started to climb back up toward the road. The embankment was difficult to climb with all the loose rocks, but she managed to reach where Sean was standing. Sean held out his hand. Naomi took his hand and together they reached the road. Just as they did, Jason’s gas tank exploded. A highway patrolman rushed down with a fire extinguisher to help put out the flames. An ambulance was already there. The EMS medics ran over to help with Jason. They removed his clothes before taking him to the hospital.
The scene on the video changed to show Zac back at the office. “Chief Jeri Cruse committed suicide and died at the scene. Jason Franco was taken to the hospital in Torrington and then taken by helicopter to Denver. He’s expected to make a full recover. The Torrington Star-Gazette will have exclusive coverage and an exclusive interview with Mr. Franco. Be sure to check our website for details.” The picture dissolved and text appeared showing the website for the paper.
Zac face appeared back on the screen. “What do you think?”
Jason was impressed. “You did all this? Wow.”
“Yeah, we got over 75,000 hits so far on our web.”
Sean smiled. “He has the talent for news. Ready for the exclusive interview?”
Sean and Zac asked Jason several questions until a nurse stuck her head into the room. “That’s enough, guys. You’re making too much noise. Call it a night.”
“Okay,” answered Sean. “We have enough for now. Can you get the paper out, Mary?”
Zac and Mary both answered at the same time, “Of course.”
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