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The Chase

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A tall man in a long dark cloak leaned over the body of a brutally murdered man. He had a long scar that stretched from the tip of his right eyebrow down to the end of his jaw. He had blue eyes as cold as ice, as hard as flint. Blue eyes that inspired fear in all his enemies; it was said that with every murderer he killed his eyes got harder, colder. He was a hard man, accustomed to death but even this murder sent a chill down his spine. The moon spread a white light through the forest, illuminating the tall, dark trees like eerie giants, gazing down pitilessly on the scene. The murdered man had been slashed and stabbed to death, with lacerations to the neck, chest, and stomach. His pale face gazed with lifeless green eyes up at the starlit sky. The man in the cloak leaned against a tree trunk. This man had been another victim of a brutal serial killer terrorizing the area. The man sighed. His name was Sam Richards. He was a vigilante who was searching for the elusive serial killer Howard Eardly.
Sam had grown up an orphan; his parents had been killed in a drive by shooting in San Diego. Ever since then he had been on his own. He took one last look at the body and got up to walk away. But then it struck him. The blood had been warm, quite warm in fact and on this frigid night that seemed odd. The only explanation was that the killer was still close by. He froze. Every muscle in his body was tense, ready to spring into action. He gripped his nine millimeter, ready to take the sadistic artist of death’s life if necessary. The forest was silent, far too silent. Then there was a rush of feet and he saw a shadowy figure moving towards him out of the corner of his eye. He tried to turn and avoid it but slipped on the blood slicked grass. Then all was black as he was struck in the head.

Sam slowly opened his eyes. He became dimly aware that he was in his apartment, on his couch. His head throbbing, he tried to move his hands, but discovered they were duct taped to an open phonebook. There was a highlighted name in the phone book note attached to it. The chilling words read “Couldn’t kill you, you’re just too much fun to have around. You’re better than the cops so I thought I would let you try to catch me. Don’t try and you’re dead. You have three chances, if you can’t catch me in three tries then you die. Here is the name and address of my next victim. She dies if you don’t get here in time.”
Sam realized that he had finally met his match. This man was insane, a raging maniac. He looked at the time on the note. It said 8:53. It was 8:34. The dried blood on his head cracked as Sam furiously chewed at the bonds. In seven minutes Sam had chewed through the tape, grabbed his gun, the note, the phonebook, and his keys and was sprinting through the yard towards his car. The red Lexus flashed out of the drive way and down the quiet suburban street like a crimson bullet, shattering the tranquility of the peaceful neighborhood. He sped through traffic lights and street signs, racing time itself, trying to do the impossible, trying to save a life.
The girl’s name was Alice Ardmore; she was a popular, well known journalist and her address was 2673 Maple Street. Sam glanced at the clock, it was 8:49. He bellowed in anger. Even at the speed he was going he wouldn’t arrive at her house for about ten minutes. He sped up. His hate and anger for this cruel wretch Howard was increasing with every second. Then his phone rang; it was an unrecognizable number. He answered. “Who is this?!” he hissed in anger. “Tick tock tick tock.” said a calm, cool voice. “You’re late Sam.” “HOWARD! Don’t do this!” Sam yelled. “It’s a little too late for that Sam” said the voice. Sam glanced at the clock. It was 8:54. “You will find the clues to my next little show at the address. Remember Sam, tick tock tick tock.” “I’m going to hunt you down and kill you like a dog!” snarled Sam. “That’s what I was hoping to hear.” said Howard, and then the line went dead.
Sam pulled up to a simple brick house with a red roof. He leaped out of the car and sprinted towards the house. He dashed up the steps and into the cozy, little house that already reeked of death. Sam pulled his gun and slowly moved down the narrow hallway. After his last encounter with Howard he was ready for a surprise. He moved slowly through the house; there were splashes of blood on the freshly painted walls. It appeared that there had been a terrible struggle. The stench was overpowering now; it bore down on Sam’s senses like a thick wool blanket, stifling him. As he entered the kitchen he came upon a gruesome scene. Alice was lying on the tile floor. Her blood covered the yellow tiles. She had been butchered; her lifeless brown eyes gazed at the ceiling from her chalk white, vacant face. Sam gazed at the poor young girl who couldn’t be more than 25. She had been a young vibrant journalist and now she was nothing more than a corpse.
An open phonebook lay on her chest. The phonebook had another highlighted name along with a note pinned beneath it. The name was Frank Ashton. On the note Howard had written “Isn’t this fun? Well here is the address of my next victim. Don’t be late Sam, tick tock tick tock.” The time on the note was 9:14. Sam spat in disgust then glanced at his watch. It was 8:56. He read the chilling note one more time, glanced at the body and swore to himself that he wouldn’t let her death have been for nothing. Then, remembering that time was of the essence, he pushed the back door open, dashed through the small backyard, jumped a blue fence, and ran to his car. Frank Ashton was another locally well known public figure who delighted his audiences with clever jokes and stories. He lived at 2875 New England Road. Sam glanced at his Rolex, hardened his expression, and pushed the gas pedal to the floor.
Sam pulled up to the luxurious home at 8:48, leapt out of his car and rushed through the large yard towards Frank’s home. He sprinted through gardens full of exotic and colorful plants. As he ran he thought he heard a muffled yell coming from the large guesthouse about twenty yards to his left. He abruptly turned moved cautiously towards the brightly colored guesthouse. He opened the door and gripping his gun, stepped inside. His chest heaved as he moved towards the muffled yell coming from the back of the guesthouse. He ran towards the source of the noise and pulled off the black blanket covering it. It was a manikin with a recording on it hooked up to cleverly hidden speakers that still projected the recorded yell. As he looked closer he saw a note pinned to the manikin that said “Gotcha!” Next to it was a detonator with fifteen seconds on it and counting down. Then a blood curdling scream pierced the cool October air. As Sam sprinted out of the guesthouse he knew that it was a scream of true terror. The guesthouse exploded when Sam was about fifteen feet away from it. The blast hurled him forward and the heat singed his hair and ripped across his back. He stood up, dazed. He tried to stumble forward, but his legs wouldn’t support him. He fell again. He tried to drag himself forward but couldn’t. A heavy fatigue slowed his movements and clouded his thoughts. He felt the ground opening beneath him ready to swallow him into its black depths!

Sam lurched forward in his bed, breathing heavily. His body was coated with sweat. “Just a dream.” He sighed, the relief in his voice audible. Then he felt the hair on the back of his neck rise. “Hello Sam” said Howard in that cool, unsettlingly calm voice. “No!” yelled Sam. Then a razor sharp knife soared through the air and struck Sam directly in the chest. He slumped back on his pillows, the blood already pooling on his bed. Howard stared at the body for a few moments. Then he left, the aroma of death following him out of Sam’s apartment into the frosty October night.





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