“We have to call the police.”
The muscle in Fox’s jaw clenched. It took everything he had not to yell at his sister-in-law. “I don’t trust them.”
“He’s right,” Jerry added. “Countless black female cops have gone missing and they never once made it public. Confiding in them won’t help Dawn.”
Fox moved away from the computer screen. As soon as he did, Jerry and Dara closed in. After finding the website listed on the dvd, he’d spent hours watching the footage and hoping for a glimpse of his wife. A few times, he thought he recognized her form as she moved through a wooded area. He couldn’t be sure and the uncertainty cut into his soul.
“We have to do something,” Dara said.
“I’m going out there.”
“Where?” Dara asked. “You don’t know where this is! It could be anywhere. You can’t possibly find her.”
“Don’t underestimate me.”
Jerry moved between them. “Dara has a point.”
“I know a couple of hackers. They can pinpoint the location of this webcam. That will lead me to my wife,” Fox spoke slowly to keep from shouting.
“And then what?” his sister-in-law asked.
“Then I get her back.” He ran his hand through his hair. The inactivity was getting to him. “Look, I know you’re playing devil’s advocate for a reason, but it’s not really working for me. I know what I have to do.”
“You can’t do it alone,” Jerry said.
“And you can’t leave Dara.”
“No,” Jerry agreed, “but I can get you help.”
“Do it. As long as it’s not a cop,” Fox said.
“You know me better than that.”
While Jerry called his contact, someone knocked at Fox’s door.
“What are you doing here?” he asked when he found Scully on his doorstep.
“I’m gonna ignore that,” she said as she stepped inside.
“This isn’t a good time—“
“I found a connection between the abducted women,” she said. “They all had the same trainer at the police academy.”
“Who? Yates? That sonuvabitch!” Fox remembered Dawn’s stories about her academy days. Davis had worked over time to give her a hard time. He wouldn’t put this past the twisted bastard. “I’ll kill him.”
“Yates and Harris,” Scully clarified.
“Wait a minute,” Dara said, joining them in the middle of the living room. “Harris is a woman. I remember Dawn mentioning her a few times. Are you sure that both had contact with the abducted women?”
“I’ve double checked everything.”
“Have you told anyone?” Jerry asked as he slid his cell phone into his pocket. “Who else knows?”
“Maybe the police do,” Scully said.
Fox grunted. “Yeah, right. Whatever you do, don’t tell anyone.”
“What are you gonna do?”
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “Seriously, you don’t want to know. Thanks for digging. I appreciate it.”
“So that’s it?” Scully asked. “You’re pushing me out the door.”
Fox nodded. “Yeah. It’s for the best.”
- - -
His eyes cut to the weapon she had aimed at his heart. “You don’t need that.”
“You killed Justus.”
“You made me believe you and our son were dead,” he replied. “Justus was a part of that.”
“You didn’t have to kill him.”
Since he realized that Keesha was alive and well, Jason longed for this moment. The chance to see her again and let her know he wanted a life with her. The coldness in her eyes warned him that he was too late. He should have left the organization a long time ago. He clearly made the wrong choice.
“He would have warned you that I was coming.”
“I knew that already. Justus’s death was senseless, but it has given me the strength to do what I must to protect my child.”
“NO!” The single word rattled the windows.
“He’s mine. When you look in his eyes, you see me.”
She shook her head. “I see a beautiful little boy who has a conscience. I don’t see a selfish, cold blooded killer. I see Mary Mae. I see Lila. I don’t see you. Ever.”
“You still love me.”
When she didn’t respond, he thought he’d gotten through to her. He escaped only to have a real family with her and Jacob. Killing Justus was just a means to an ends. Once she understood how much he loved her—
Her arm lifted. The gun now was pointed straight for his head. The vacant look in her eyes told him that there really was no going back.
As if in slow motion, her index finger squeezed the trigger. A flash of light and a high-pitched whistle didn’t stop her words from reaching him.
“I stopped loving you today.”
Then, everything went away. Forever.
- - -
“Run, girl, run!”
Dawn’s heart pounded from the effort of doing just that. She squinted in the darkness, but with clouds covering the moon and the stars, her vision was limited. From the sounds of labored breathing and the smell of fear permeating the air, she knew that other abductees were out there with her. She didn’t know the number of them, but there was comfort in not being alone.
Now, if only she had a weapon.
- - -
Morning came far too soon. Dara didn’t get a second of rest and now, she had only a few minutes to get ready for court. Jerry hovered around her like a wolf protecting his pack. His presence gave her a small dose of comfort. She couldn’t stop thinking about Dawn and wondering if they made the right choice in not alerting the authorities.
“I can’t do this today,” she muttered under her breath as they entered the courtroom.
“You have to. Your defendants are counting on you.”
“Have you heard from Fox or your friend?”
Jerry pulled out her chair and she sat. He claimed the seat beside her. “Not yet. No news is good news.”
“Fox may get them all killed.”
“Give him more credit than that.”
“It’s easy for you to say. She isn’t your sister.”
“Doesn’t mean I don’t care,” he said quietly. “We’ve lost enough people this week. He’ll get her back.”