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.
Recovery Unit, OrthoColorado Orthopedic Hospital
Thursday, 6, 2015
Part 2 Cont.
“So you're not under arrest or anything?” asked Jason.
“Nope. I gave the FBI my statement already. At first the FBI didn't like the fact that I used Art's service weapon to kill Naomi. Art backed me. I'm free to leave.”
“Damn, Sean. How'd this happen to me. I just wanted to write a story.” Jason shook his head.
“You're a hero, man.”
“I didn't want to be a hero. I never asked to be one.”
“That's how it goes with heroes.” Sean stood up.
“Are you leaving me?”
“No. I can't. I'm under strict orders from Tina not to let you out of my sight until she arrives. She's packing a gun by the way. So do as she says. I do.”
Jason laughed. After a little chit-chat, Jason brought up something that was bothering him since he regain consciousness. “Sean, you shot Naomi with a single shot in the head. Is that right?”
“Yeah. Lucky shot.”
“I don't think so. You have killed people before, haven't you?”
Sean bowed his head. After a moment he raised his head and looked Jason in the eyes. “You know already that I was in Nam. I was with the 101st Airborne Division in the north part of South Vietnam at a place called Fire Base Ripcord. Ever heard of it?”
Jason shook his head.
“Well, you can Google it. People wrote books about it. It was bad. VC sappers got inside the wire. We were fighting hand to hand and close quarters combat. Yeah, I shot a few VC with my 45. I don't like to talk about it. I lost a few friends that night.”
An hour later Agent Jane returned. “Jason should be lucid enough now. I know he doesn't remember much, but I need his statement.”
Sean stood up. “Okay Jason, I leave you in the capable hands of FBI Agent Wickham. She'll keep you safe. I'll be back.” Sean left the room.
Agent Jane sat down in the chair vacated by Sean. “What a day, huh? I'll bet you have more questions than I do.”
Jason just nodded his head.
Jane took Jason's statement, such that it was. “Okay, that's all I need for now. You ask your questions.”
Jason thought for a moment. Just tell me the big picture. What was going on?”
Jane smiled. “Naomi Marini was a psychopath. She was a serial rapist who raped a dozen or so women. Jeri Cruse was also a psychopath. He liked to beat up women. He wanted to knock them out with one punch. The two of them met on the TPD and became partners.”
Jason nodded in agreement. “That much I guessed, but why did they kill Paulo and try to kill me?”
“I'm not sure, but I have a theory based on what we know so far. I don't believe they planned to kill Angelina. Marini wanted to rape her like the others, but something happened. Either she came to and saw their faces or she recognized Cruse before he knocked her out.”
“So they raped her and then drug her into the kitchen, found a knife and killed her. Who actually killed her?”
“We may never know for sure. No prints were found on the murder weapon,” answered Jane.
“Then they framed Paulo.”
“Again, I don't think that was planned. After they killed Angelina, they found her cellphone and saw the pictures of Paulo. They knew they would bring him in for questioning. After officer Boyd took Paulo and Mrs. McAdams to the station, Naomi planted the evidence incriminating Paulo.”
“That makes sense, but why kill Paulo?”
“We found indications that Cruse wanted to stop. He wanted to commit suicide. They decided to stage the suicide to make Naomi look like a hero. That would make her a hero and not a suspect. Cruse would claim he was the rapist and acted alone.”
“But that didn't happen,” said Jason
“Negative. Again, something happened–it didn't go as planned. I guess Naomi didn't show up in time to be the hero. That's why they decided to try again by killing you.”
“I saw on the video Marini shot Cruse. Was that the plan to make her a hero?”
“Affirmative. Think about it. All Cruse had to do was toss that road flare onto your car, but he didn't. You were just a means to an end.”
“But Cruse screwed up and said 'we'.”
“Affirmative. He implicated Marini. Now she wanted revenge on you.”
“A female serial rapist–that's rare, isn't it?”
“Affirmative, but it happens. The clues were there, we just didn't pay attention. Everyone. Up and down the line, was looking for a male perp. Maybe that's how they managed to remain undetected so long. If you don't have any more questions, I'll let you rest. I heard your girlfriend, Tina, is on the way. I met her. Seems really nice and worried about you.”
Jason smiled. “I have no more questions. Would you find Mr. Tyler and officer Boyd? I'd like to talk with them now.”
A few minutes after Jane left, Sean and Art arrived and pulled up chairs. “How you doing?” asked Art.
“I've been better. How about you?”
“Truthfully, I'm a mess,” answered Art. “but I'll survive.”
“I can't thank you and Sean enough for saving my life – twice.”
Art shrugged his shoulders. “I was doing my job. Sean is the real hero... and you. You exposed a serial rapist and a murder.”
“That's what I wanted to talk to you about,” said Jason. “For a while, we thought it was you.”
“Yeah, I mean, who knew?”
“Well, we... Sean and I, need to tell you we saw your videos from Montana. We know how you were abused and made to perform. I thought you should know.”
Oh, God.” Art sat still for a couple of minutes. “It was bound to come out sooner or later. I was messed up. I became addicted to sex. When Naomi brought me to Torrington, I started to see a psychiatrist in Cheyenne. She helped me. When I joined the Army, I relapsed. Once I got out, I started seeing the psychiatrist again. I was making good progress.”
“You should see her ASAP,” said Sean.
“I already called her.”
“If you want,” said Sean. “we'll continue to keep your secret. No one needs to know.”
“I'd appreciate that–at least for the time being.”
“We also know that Naomi killed your parents,” said Sean.
“Okay. That goes along with my abuse. Is that why my sister became a rapist?”
“Art, Naomi was a psychopath long before the Montana incident. Killing her mother was just the beginning. It had nothing to do with you. She probably planned to kill her as soon as she located her. It's not your fault.”
“I know. I feel bad though. I know Naomi raped all those women and killed Angelina, but she was a good sister to me.”
“Maybe you should go home now,” suggested Sean. “I could ride along and we could talk. I'm a good listener.”
“That sounds great, but I can't. I'm the NOK for Naomi so I have to ID her body. Then I have to make arrangements to ship her back to Torrington. She always said she wanted to be buried next to her father.”
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