Gritty Crime Thriller: Riker’s Calling – 2nd Half of 2nd Part

Book cover for the crime thriller Riker's Calling, silhouette of main character in front of Los Angeles at night.

Book cover for the crime thriller Riker's Calling, silhouette of main character in front of Los Angeles at night.

By

Rico Lamoureux

 

All Rights Reserved.

 

FUNNY HOW RIKER would do a quick visual scan of any area he’d walk into, as if he could really identify his nemesis, whether it be from two feet or twenty yards. It had become part of his natural tendencies to always be on alert for the unknown. A characteristic no doubt instilled as a result of Heslehurst’s actions. In a way he saw Riker as a little brother, four years his elder and helping shape him into the urban warrior he now was today. Sure those Special Ops guys had given him the physical training, but it was he, the brilliant Heslehurst who had guided the kid to real world experience. Tough love had brought them both this far, and as he watched Riker and the old guy lock up for the weekend, as he pushed his scoop of ice cream further down into the cone with a hard lick Heslehurst looked to Max.

A stubborn one he was, even insisting on carrying his own box of files to his car despite his younger partner being empty-handed. Time was definitely taking its toll on the ol’ school detective, who’d be spending his two days off hovering over file after file with his little magnifying glass, searching for any missed clues, hidden secrets, obvious answers. All while Riker would be hitting the streets of L.A., assessing, interviewing, trying to anticipate Heslehurst’s next move. Little did either know that they themselves had already put into motion the next life to be taken by sending their secretary away for a week.

 

Granddaughter of Max and college student of UCLA, the two believed to have her best interest at heart by sending her away for Spring Break. Away from the deadly game the duo had been drawn back into. But instead of being in Baja downing shots and getting laid Cassie was just a few parking spaces away, unconscious in Heslehurst’s trunk and soon to be the next CNN headline.

 

He waited until eleven at night, when all but one of the businesses would be locked up, the parking lot becoming full of rowdy young people looking to get loud as they headed for the night club at the end of the strip mall. Talking to Cassie through the back seat Heslehurst went over what he expected of her.
“When I bring down this back seat I’m going to untie you, ungag you and you’re going to do exactly what I say. Try anything- try screaming, try fighting- anything, and you’re dead. Got it?”

 

Shaky and scared, she affirmed. “Mmm-hmm…”

 
Wearing a pair of latex gloves and a hair net under his cap Heslehurst pulled down the seat and they made eye contact. He took the last swallow from his orange juice bottle and held it up for her to look at.

 

“See this? It can act as a silencer.”

 
With his other hand he held up a gun and proceeded to slide the open container over its barrel.

 

“I guarantee you my finger can squeeze the trigger faster than anything you can do, and no one will hear. Don’t believe me? Gamble with your life and find out.”

 
Her eyes were wide, full of intimidation.

 

“Did Riker ever tell you how he became the hunchback of L.A.? If so, then you know a hot piece of metal ripping through your flesh is something you’ll never forget. But I promise it’ll just be the beginning.”
With the flick of a thumb he produced a Spyderco. A small whimper escaped Cassie’s throat before she could stifle it.

 

“Good, now that we understand each other let’s make this as simple as possible. You’re going to unlock the office, we’ll step inside, you’ll lock it back, then go to the back wall and punch in the alarm code. Once I get what I’ve come for I’ll leave you be, along with the message you are to give your gramps and Riker, got it?

 
“Mmm-hmm.”

 

He helped bring her upright and freed her from the restraints, then took her hand into his. “We’re going to step out of the car together, hand-in-hand. To any onlookers, we’re a couple. Try anything, you’re a dead body.”
She shook her head yes.

 

Inside, Heslehurst stood Cassie by Max’s desk, keeping his gun on her while looking through drawers.

 
“Were you here when they opened the box of cigars?”

 

“Mmm-hmm.”

 
“Enough with the hmmm-hmmms! What’d they say?”

 

“They- They really didn’t say that much, but I could tell something was the matter. That’s when they sent me away.”

 

“Why didn’t you go to Baja on your own, like last year?”

 

“I’m saving.”

 
“For?”

 
“My future.”

 

A little irritated, Heslehurst flicked open his Spyderco and brought it up to her chest.

 
“More specifically, a boob job, right?

 

“That’s right, I know all about you moonlighting as a stripper. Once you had a taste of flaunting them down in Baja last year you were like, ‘What the hell? I could get paid for this!’ Right? But of course you couldn’t bear to tell gramps, which is why you’re still working here too.

 

“Alright, let’s see ‘em.”

 
“Y-y-you mean…?”

 

“Of course your tits! What? Now you’re gonna be shy?! Take off the top.”

 
With shaky hands Cassie complied, first removing her blouse, then her bra.

 

“That’s new. Didn’t have it last year, huh? Where’d you get it done?”

 

He was referring to the honeysuckle vines tattooed across her breasts, flowers encircling her nipples.

 
“Cenobites Cove.”

 

Heslehurst brought the blade of his Spyderco up and began to trace the design with it. “You know, when I was your age I was never into tattoos, but I’ve grown to appreciate them. I’ve been thinking about getting one of my own. Did it hurt?”

 
“It’s not easy, but… tolerable.”

 

“Did Riker ever tell you about little Jaime?”

 
“Who?”

 

“I didn’t think so. He wouldn’t risk such a secret, on account of believing I know nothing about it. But yeah, Jaime’s such an amazing little girl. She could have easily did this, and it probably would have turned out better.”

 
The razor sharpness of the blade was now gently gliding over Cassie’s right nipple. “Of course Riker’s ignorance of me knowing anything about her whereabouts has to remain.”

 

And with that last statement Heslehurst flipped the knife around to where the blade was now sticking out from the bottom of his closed fist.

 
With no warning he shot it up to Cassie’s throat, slashing it open so fast she didn’t even have time to bring up her hands in defense.

 

Heslehurst had stepped to the side with the slash, bringing him out enough to where he was at the precise distance to swing his arm back and embed the blade into the C6 section of Cassie’s spine, instantly severing all control she had over her body.

 

The two moves had taken him less than two seconds to execute, perfected in the privacy of his own home for the past nine years on life-sized dummies, having done it so many times that he knew he could do it blindfolded.

 
Being mindful of every move he made Heslehurst then lifted Cassie’s limp body and placed it in Max’s chair. She’d be dead in less than an hour, and since it was Friday night her body would have plenty of time over the next two days to fill the office up with rot, giving his two adversaries another opportunity to light up a stogie.

 

“By the way, Cassie. Your tits were perfect just the way they were.”

~

 

ROYCE RIGGS

In a daring move The Spyderco Killer has struck behind enemy lines, committing his latest murder in the very office of Riker & Scofield Investigations. While it’s no secret that there’s a history between P.I. Jeremy Riker and this serial-killer-at-large, what is somewhat puzzling is the fact that it strikes at the heart of Riker’s partner more so than it does the young investigator. His partner, his mentor, retired LAPD detective Max Scofield, who suffered a serious stroke upon discovering the victim to be his own granddaughter. Scofield now lies in I.C.U. at the very hospital where this all may have begun. Begun how, you might ask? Well, if you look at the case as close as we have, and obviously as close as Riker, his partner and authorities have you’ll begin to see a pattern. Nine years ago, on the very heels of Riker receiving news that his application to the police academy had been denied The Spyderco Killer made his first move. What ties these two together? That’s the $64,000 question no one as of yet has been able to answer. Although we don’t have access to all the facts of the case, based on public record we at The Riggs Report believe it actually goes back to when Riker was a young police explorer.
At the time his story of being shot while on a ride along captured the attention of the whole country, especially when the brave
young man had decided that the incident had only made him stronger and more determined to later become a police officer. How inspiring it was to see that despite forever being changed by the deformation of his back the young blood had made it his mission to continue on towards his goal. Could this fascinating story have been the seed to what we have now? Perhaps some psychotic was watching, listening to the news reports. Moved. Inspired. An obsession growing within him to be a part of it all. Far-fetched? Or a theory that may very likely turn out to be true? A question only time will ultimately reveal. Join us tomorrow for an exclusive interview with one of the past characters in this mystery. David Lehman. On the very day of being released from prison he’ll be sitting across from me in that very chair. Only here, on your world news leader, CNN!

~

 

WITH HIS FREQUENT TRIPS OUT TO CALABASAS in preparation for taking care of primary target number four Heslehurst had grown somewhat fond of the upscale community. From its nice homes to its clean streets, he could see himself living out here despite the fifty minute commute into L.A. it would entail.

 

The sun would be rising over the hills in about an hour, Dr. Chandler scheduled to rise along with it to get ready for his early round of golf. By the time Heslehurst situated himself in the corner of the garage behind the clubs he still had about forty minutes before the doctor’s estimated time of heading out for the course. Minutes he used to go over the whole plan for the umpteenth time, as which was always the case during his moments of down time.

 

These past few days must have been driving Riker crazy, unable to really use his gift of intuition since instinct was no substitute for actual prediction. Nine years of thorough construction was just too solid of a foundation to be penetrated in only nine days, which is one of the reasons why Heslehurst had forced himself to develop such lengthy discipline. He envisioned, as he often did, the history books of the future dissecting his genius. From Criminology to Journalism, Psychology to Philosophy, his work would change the game in so many fields of the human condition.

 

The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee was heading his way, giving him only a few seconds to figure out how to deal with it. Does he let it fall with the doctor, in turn creating a mess that could very well end up capturing his footprint, or does he trust that his muscle memory will not fail him, being able to pull off the kill while he simultaneously attempts to take control of the coffee cup? The brew did smell awfully good…

~

 

ROYCE RIGGS

Another day, yet another victim in The Spyderco Killer case. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Vincent Chandler was found dead early this morning in his Calabasas home. Once described by private investigator Jeremy Riker as quote, ‘my hero,’ the veteran Shriner’s doctor had repaired the then young police explorer’s collapsed spine after serious damage had been done to it following a bank robbery gone wrong. As with the three previous victims, Riker has been unavailable for comment. No doubt all who have ever been associated with the young P.I. must really be watching their backs nowadays. After the break, our exclusive interview with background actor David Lehman.

 

LINE PRODUCER

And… we’re clear.

 

A makeup artist wastes no time in retouching Royce Riggs as crew members go into an organized scramble, David Lehman being seated across from the host and clipped with a lapel microphone.

 

DAVID LEHMAN

It’s an honor to be on your show, Mr. Riggs.
The producer said I could plug my acting-

 

ROYCE RIGGS
Don’t worry, we will get it in.

 

LINE PRODUCER
And we’re back in Five… Four… Three… Two…

 

ROYCE RIGGS

Welcome back to The Riggs Report,
I’m Royce Riggs, and joining me now, fresh off his nine year stint in
Folsom State Prison, David Lehman. David, thank you for being here.

 

DAVID LEHMAN

Thanks for having me, Royce.

 

ROYCE RIGGS

Nine years of your life in prison blues and surrounded by bars and cement. How does it feel to be free?

 

DAVID LEHMAN

Surreal. This morning I woke in a cell for the three thousandth two hundredth and eighty-ninth time, and now I’m sitting here on CNN underneath production lights. A setting I’ve always dreamed of being in, but not under such conditions, you know?

 

ROYCE RIGGS

I can imagine.
Earlier this week, as you were
preparing yourself for release,
did you hear of the return of your
ol’ friend, who is now being
referred to as The Spyderco Killer?

 

DAVID LEHMAN

He’s never been a friend, Royce, I’ve never even met him. He’s some psycho who used me. Who used my passion for acting to further his
own sick gain. But yes, to answer your question, I did hear about the murders.

 

ROYCE RIGGS

Are you afraid you could be one of his next victims?

 

DAVID LEHMAN

Anything but. As far as I’m concerned he’s a coward. Slashing somebody’s neck is like a sucker punch, and stabbing them in the back?
That has pussy written all over it.
He’s responsible for taking away nine years of my life. Who knows what I could have accomplished in that amount of time.

 

ROYCE RIGGS

A star on the walk of fame?
An Oscar?

 

DAVID LEHMAN

Hey, you never know.

 

ROYCE RIGGS

If he’s watching now, what would you say to

The Spyderco Killer?

 

DAVID LEHMAN

You’re a coward, and nothin’ more! With the exception of that campus cop, who I’m sure you had to drug to handle, all of your victims have been women and an old man. You may have sent me to prison for nine years, but I survived it. Something you never could have done. They would have chewed you up and spit you out, while using you like the bitch you are!

 

ROYCE RIGGS

Prison yard poetry if I ever did hear it. What’s next for you, David?
Still have Hollywood dreams?

 

DAVID LEHMAN

Before I was sent away, acting was all I ever knew. You can’t do anything in this town without an agent, and once word spread that I’d be on your show, a few reached out to me. So I’d like to thank you, Royce Riggs. You’re my silver lining.

 

ROYCE RIGGS

And I’ll be the first in line at the box office once your first movie hits the screens.
(to camera)
David Lehman. From background actor,
to prison inmate, to all the potential in the world. That’s all the time we have for tonight. We’ll be back on Monday, and if this past week is any indication, we’ll have quite more to report.
On behalf of all of us at The Riggs Report, have a great weekend, and stay tuned in to the world’s news leader, CNN.

~

 

WHILE THE OTHERS WERE NOTHING MORE THAN NECESSARY this one would be personal. Heslehurst adjusted his wig and porn stash as he made his way up the first six flights of grimy stairs of The Cecil Hotel. He had spotted Lehman up on the fire escape, legs dangling as he sat out above the filth of downtown L.A. spending his Saturday night studying a script for a Monday morning audition.

 
For someone who supposedly had all the potential in the world Lehman’s surroundings reflected anything but, Heslehurst having to side-step shit, cum, vomit and who knew what else on his way up.

 
Making sure the sixth floor hallway was clear- of human beings that is, not the disgust left behind by them- he made his way to the open window at the end, Lehman’s back now in front of him. Waiting for opportunity, he used loud commotions from down below- someone yelling, a horn blaring, a bottle shattering- to mask his light foot falls as he stepped out onto the fire escape. This would be the first time he went for the spine first. Readying himself, he tightly gripped the Spyderco.

 

“Don’t move!”

 
Lehman froze in fear…

 
As did Heslehurst.

 
“Drop the knife and slowly turn around.”

 
It was Riker, at his back.

 
Does he have a gun? A Spyderco?

 

“Lookin’ for a date?”

 
A black woman was now approaching Riker’s back.

 
“Huh, white boy? Want your dick sucked?”

 
“No,” he replied. “Please leave.”

 
All three men were still as statues.

 

“Come on now, don’t be shy.” She ran her hand down his curved spine. “I think it’s sexy, big ol’ back like that!”

 
“I need you to get out of here now.”

 

She tried to come around to his side but Riker positioned himself to stop her. She did, however, catch sight of the two out on the fire escape.

 

“Ah, you’re a faggot.”

 
“What’s goin’ on out here?!” a voice yelled out from behind the whore.

 
“Was tryin’ to offer this white boy a date, but he want his dick suck by them two outside, not me.”

 

“This is my bitch, my floor, my building,” the pimp boasted. “Whatever you gay white boys gonna do, gonna cost ya.”

 
“This is police business,” Riker said. “I need you both to leave the hallway, now.”

 
“He’s lying,” Heslehurst shouted, allowing his tone and speech pattern to fall back to how it used to be back on the rural mountain top where he had grown up on.

 

“He’s not a cop. Go ahead, ask him for I.D.”

 
“Well, white boy, where is it? Where’s your badge?”

 

The pimp was now closing the distance, Riker doing his best to keep him at bay.

 

“This man’s a known killer. I need you to call the police, please.”

 
“With suga’ on top?” the whore teased. “If you a cop, why ain’t you got a gu-?”

 
Riker brought the barrel of his nine millimeter up to her face while keeping his eyes on Heslehurst’s back.

 

“Both of you get the fuck out of here now!”

 
“Motha’ fucka,” the pimp spat out, “you can’t shoot all of us!

 
“Cop or no cop, you cap us, your ass is grass. We unarmed.”

 

His voice was getting dangerously close, Heslehurst betting that Riker would have no choice but to deal with the pimp and therefore making the decision to go for Lehman.

 
It was a wise choice, for by the time he had yanked the actor up and positioned himself behind him to use as a shield Riker was slamming the base of his gun against the pimps head.

 

Lehman must have known the moments of scuffle were deadly moments he couldn’t afford to lose, pleading for his life as Heslehurst held a blade to his throat.

 
“Please! I didn’t mean what I said! I-”

 
Surprising them all, the hallway suddenly filled with speeding bullets, two of the pimp’s henchman charging ahead, guns blazing.

 
Holding both the pimp and the whore as a barrier between him and the flying bullets Riker returned fire, feeling the two bodies absorb the impact of multiple shots. Heslehurst felt the body he stood behind go limp as well, Lehman having taken a bullet to the head.

 

Again acting in the moment of opportunity Heslehurst went ahead and sliced Lehman’s throat and mouth. Not because he needed to, just because it was revenge for the shit he had talked.

 
Guns were still popping, and he wasted no time in climbing down the awkward steps of the fire escape, pulling Lehman’s body up over the small space to act as both shield and obstacle between him and Riker.

 
Halfway down the floors of the fire escape the gunfire stopped, Heslehurst not daring to look up as he flew down the rest. Once his feet hit solid ground he fled into the night, thanking his lucky stars while at the same time hoping some of that stardust had found its way to Riker too.

 

After all, he still had a lot of game time planned for the two of them.

~

 

@RoyceRiggs BREAKING NEWS! Spyderco Killer & P.I. Riker have near showdown at L.A. hotel! Turn on @CNN!

 
@RoyceRiggs Last night actor David Lehman killed at scene! Riker survives with gunshot wound to arm, no sign of Spyderco Killer.

 
@RoyceRiggs Stay tuned to @CNN for BREAKING NEWS! Full details on Monday‟s show, @TheRiggsReport.

~

 

HESLEHURST HAD WITNESSED THE SHIFT CHANGE THROUGH HIS SCOPE before heading out to The Cecil Hotel. One uniform stationed out front, the other out back, protecting their own around-the-clock as Max attempted to recover from inside his home. Now only half the man he used to be, even Heslehurst had been surprised by the outcome of Cassie’s sacrifice to the game, thinking at very best Max would suffer from something mild, mild being the key word. A mild heart attack or mild stroke. But to have been stricken in such a way that it caused paralysis of the ol’ man’s entire left side of his body?! A perfectly poetic symbol of The Spyderco Killer’s work.

 
From the way they appeared and the ease in which they moved Heslehurst was ninety percent sure the two cops weren’t wearing vests, which would allow him the up close and personal kill, as opposed to taking them out from a block away with his rifle. Something he wouldn’t have felt completely confident in doing, even with the hundreds of hours of practice time out on the range.

 

As always Heslehurst went through the scenario in his head one more time, then looked in his rear view mirror at his own reflection. Just as with Cassie and mother and daughter Williams he’d be himself, no porn look. He put his car into drive, stepped on the gas and proceeded to take the short drive down to Max’s house.

 
The neighbors were still asleep on this early Sunday morning, the cop seated on the front porch standing to his feet in tired stiffness as Heslehurst walked up the path with two oversized non-threatening boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, one staked atop another, both concealing his gloved hand which held a Spyderco.

 

The look of recognition across the cop’s face immediately eased the situation “Good morning,” Heslehurst greeted. “Thought you boys could use some breakfast.”

 
“Very kind of you, sir! They didn’t inform us we’d be receiving a visit this morning. You’re here to speak with Detective Scofield?”

 
“Sure am. Thought it would be easier than asking him to come downtown for a talk, you know? Captain Lennox was going to join us, but when he found out that my schedule would only permit me to come out here at dawn, on a Sunday, he politely declined.”

 

They shared a chuckle.

 
Heslehurst lifted the cover off the top box with his free hand.

 

“Here, have one, or two, got plenty.”

 
“Thank you, sir.”

 

“So how is he? Doing better?”

 
Just as the cop took his first bite, just as he was at his most vulnerable between chewing and answering the question…

 
“Well, you know Detective Scofield. He’s a fighter-”

 
Heslehurst lunged forward, razor-sharp steel against flesh and windpipe before being lodged through spine and into a lung.

 

He quickly positioned the cop back in his chair, threw the scattered donuts back into their box and sat them on the cop’s lap.

 
The second box had remained closed and showed no signs of blood spatter. The street was still quiet and yet to be lit up by the rising sun. Planning to go through the motions again Heslehurst went around back.

 
Amazing how easy it was to manipulate those in uniform. Then again, these were rookies, not seasoned badges. Just as amazing to Heslehurst was how the human body clock worked as it aged. He entered the back door to the sound of heavy snoring, but by the time he approached the kitchen, the coming sun had awoken Max.

 

Standing on the side of the frig that blocked him from view Heslehurst waited, listened, as Max scooted his way from his bedroom to the bathroom, slowly dragging the left side of his body along the carpet. The Spyderco Killer had given himself a cushion of seven minutes once inside for this very reason, patiently waiting for the old man to come into the kitchen and start his pot of coffee. Still, he couldn’t help but worry a little as time ticked away. What if the station radioed in for a status update? What if the rays of the sun arrived a couple of minutes early, making it easier for some early bird to spot his car parked behind the patrol car?

 

Or what if Riker pops up out of nowhere again?

 

Now he was just being paranoid. After the close call from last night Heslehurst found a pay phone and called his arch nemesis.

 
“Jaime’s growing up to be such a beautiful young lady, isn’t she?”

 
He knew this would send Riker racing up the coastline to her side in Coos Bay, Oregon. No, he wouldn’t be a problem this time. That part was pretty much guaranteed.

 

Max was finally making his way to the kitchen. Drag… Step… Drag… Step…

 
Another thirty long seconds to the counter, where he fumbled with the coffee grounds and filter.

 

Heslehurst could see the sky start to catch fire.

 
Why was he getting so nervous? Seven victims and not a one had made him flinch. Maybe it was from spying on Max for so long. He kinda saw Riker as a young brother. Did he see the ol’ guy as an uncle?

 

Max turned around, half his face drooping as if it were melting, yet still able to convey bewilderment…

 
“You…?”

 

Heslehurst went for his throat, but surprisingly Max was able to get his one working arm up in time to stop him, stepping forward and attacking with more force than seemed possible.

 
Heslehurst found himself fighting for his own life, stabbing at the right arm of the hand that just wouldn’t stop trying to choke him. After a few excruciating seconds he was able to get the blade to the old man’s side, repeatedly sticking it in and out as fast as he could as if digging for something that would bring a stop to the angry arm.

 

Finally it ceased to move, Max standing there with both arms uselessly dangling at his sides, his one working leg about to buckle from the pressure.

 
Heslehurst yelled out as he made the kill, leaving his signature with angry frustration then looking down at the body as he caught his breath.

 
Adrenaline kept him from feeling most of the scratches on his throat, but he felt enough of a sting to start to panic.

 
Skin tissue…

 

Finger nails…

 

He reached into his pocket, withdrew his back-up pair of latex gloves, put them on and picked up the sharpest knife he could find.

 
Breathe…

 
You can’t make a mistake…

 
Breathe and think…

 

He made a note to himself that he’d later need make-up, to cover the scratches. Careful of the rest of his movements, as he had trained himself to be over the years Heslehurst began to cut through Max’s arm with both speed and caution. Evidence he now had no choice but to take with him.

~

 

ROYCE RIGGS

How was Riker able to come so close to saving Lehman yet was nowhere to be found when his partner was being butchered?!
The whereabouts of Nicole Moore’s daughter have never been made public, so perhaps he’s somewhere guarding her from this psychopath. One can only wonder. Even more puzzling, how was the Spyderco Killer able to get so close as to take out the two cops guarding Scofield? Some stranger walks up with donuts, so early that early risers aren’t even up yet, and they don’t question this guy?! I’ll admit I’m guilty
of indulging in a few Krispy Kreme’s every now and then myself, but come on! To completely let their guard down?! Who is this guy, a ninja or something?! Ask me, I say he’s one of them.
Think about it. Who else could get so close? If they’re going to crack this case, authorities need to start looking at their own.

~

 

“Hello?”

 
“Mom, it’s me, are you o.k.?”

 
“Oh, thank God! I’ve been so worried. I’m fine. Are you where I think you are?”

 
“Yeah, all is well.”

 
But it wasn’t, Riker’s voice beginning to crack a little on the other end of the line.

 
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. They’ll be putting him to rest at the end of the week, full honors. His family wanted me to let you know just how much you meant to him.

 

They completely understand you not being able to attend, and said all matters relating to the will can wait.

 

“Do you think he really has any idea where you might be?”

 
“I don’t know, it might have been a ploy to just get me away, but I can’t take any chances.

 
“Why don’t you come on-”

 

“Now don’t say another word. There’s no way we’re risking- She’s the closest thing to a-, you know.”

 
“Why don’t you go stay with Aunt Mary, then? Just for awhile.”

 
“Again, in your heart you know it’s too risky, don’t want to endanger anyone else. Don’t worry sweetie, all the neighbors are helping to keep an eye on me. And patrol cars are making their presence known at least once an hour. Besides, there’s still the alarm, and the double barrel I always keep by my side.

 

“On the news the other night they said it could be someone on the force. Do you think they’ll looking into that?”

 
“I’m sure they’re trying to cover all angles. Just try not to watch too much of that stuff, ok? It’ll keep you on edge.”

 

“There’s just one of ‘em I really watch. You know me. Nothin’ comes between my Jeopardy and celebrity chefs.”

 
“Keep that alarm on, mom. I’ll try to call you in a few days. I love you.”

 
“Oh sweetheart, I love you too! More than life itself. Stay safe on your end.”

 
“I will.”

 
Heslehurst laughed when the line went dead.

 

Laughed at how they avoided saying certain things, as if someone were listening in on them, yet obviously not truly believing it. He had been a fly on Mother Riker’s wall for a number of years now. A bug in her phone, an eye in her computer camera. All part of his blueprint. All part of being the unseen god in their universe.

 

Today was Tuesday, her book club day, which meant she’d be meeting with her fellow menopausal bookworms before putting in her late afternoon hours at her local Walmart as a Greeter. He’d give her time to discuss the Kizzy Cooke novel they were reading, but as for the four hour shift, she’d have to miss it, as well as her daily fix of Jeopardy.

 
This was the busiest day Heslehurst had scheduled for himself thus far. The grand finale to this second round in their big game.

 

First up, Paul Riker, trailer trash who slept until noon and would have bong residue as his first meal of the day, everyday. Living in a West Covina trailer park he was the biological father Jeremy Riker never knew. A life loser who had ran for the hills as soon as he had signed his name to the birth certificate.

 
After the last two kills Heslehurst had no interest in any more surprises, especially if he were to finish his day on time. Mid-morning meant there was still a couple of hours until Daddy Riker woke, making him deep in sleep and therefore unable to hear his door squeak open.

 

Glad for the fact that the guy was lying flat on his back, Adam’s apple pointing straight up to the roof, Heslehurst made quick work of him.

 
SLICE…

 
Turn over…

 

EMBED.

 

Out the door and on to victim eight.

 

 

A gust of wind must have blown over Cindy when she was born, for she was a bright apple that indeed fell quite the distance from Daddy Riker’s twisted tree. Despite having been raised by him, if you could even call it that, she had a natural ambition she couldn’t explain. A determination that helped her block out most of the awful things she grew up hearing. Things like how her mother had left when she was only five months old because she couldn’t stand her. Or how she was nothing to him but a welfare check. Sometimes the harsh words really brought her down, but it was movies and television that helped instill into her hope. It was like no matter what went on around her- the drugs, the whores, the crime- that box she would watch for hours every day was like a surrogate parent.

 

Now a drive-thru cashier and a community college film student Cindy had had no idea that she had a half-brother out there.

 
That is until recently when she started seeing footage of Riker on the news, but the question to her father was quickly dismissed.

 
“Look dad, that’s the guy I was telling you about! The P.I. with our last name. Don’t we look like we could be related?”

 
“Hell, I don’t know,” Daddy Riker had boastfully said between coughs and sucking on his bong. “I’ve fucked so many women, I can’t even remember their faces!”

 
Ah, what a soap opera Heslehurst had been entertained by. It reminded him of that Jim Carrey movie, The Truman Show.

 

Cindy had a habit of eating lunch under one of Citrus College’s far-off trees, the only peace and quiet in her busy day. It was far enough to where any passing students or faculty, including those who were like her and enjoyed lunch on the grass would only be able to recall someone in a groundskeeper uniform if anything at all when later questioned by authorities. Wearing his sunglasses and cap with a fertilizer pack strapped to his back Heslehurst approached Cindy’s tree from behind her, spraying spots here and there as he made his way around.

 

“Oh sorry, I didn’t see you sitting there,” he said when he got to her side.

 

“That’s ok, I don’t think you got me.”

 

She looked down at the sandwich in her hand.

 
“Don’t worry,” he said, “this stuff’s all natural. Couldn’t hurt a bug.

 
“Speaking of which…”

 
He reached down by her shoulder and flicked one off the tree bark.

 

“Wonder where he came from.”

 

Using the opportunity to take a knee, he did so while flicking open his Spyderco, using the fertilizer gun in his other hand to poke around. “Sometimes I feel like a Ghostbuster with this thing on!”

 

As soon as she laughed he swiped, not waiting to see her moment of shock before pulling her forward and skewing her through the spine, and just as he had practiced it went off without a hitch, the extra weight of the fertilizer pack not being an issue. With gloved hands he guided her back up by the shoulders to her original position, taking a minute to spray the grass around them with his special concoction, especially where he had stepped, to erase he area of disturbance.

 

“Sorry, Cindy, but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we can’t get away from those we come from. Who knows how any of our lives would have turned out if Daddy Riker hadn’t been a bong sucker. Maybe you and P.I. Riker would have grown up knowing each other. You can die knowing he’s a good man.”

 

Heslehurst took one more scan of the area before being on his way. “I understand how fond you can be of this little patch of peace. It’s nice. I‟ll see if I can’t get ‘em to make a memorial out of it for you.”

 

So far Heslehurst was making great time, following behind Mother Riker’s 1:35 bus on route to her two o’clock shift start at Walmart.
With only one stop to go before she got off he sped around the bus and drove on ahead, finding a place to park near the back of Walmart and tearing open a granola bar. These retail stores took up so much space. Parking lots in front so big they could build a whole other store. And the area out back, the open space he was staring at, as wide as an industrial area, the backs of neighboring businesses making it all look like a cement prairie. A big waste of space if you asked him.

 

There wasn’t much nooks and crannies of opportunity throughout Mother Riker’s day to get her alone but this was definitely one of them, the aging woman needing to take the shortcut if she were to clock in on time. And there she came, heading Heslehurst’s way as he knew she would. He got out of his car.

 
“Excuse me, ma’am…?

 

At first she was hesitant, on special alert due to recent happenings, tightening her grip on her shoulder bag and looking around but seeing no one in the barren wide space that she could call out to if need be.

 
Heslehurst removed his sunglasses as he walked up to her. “Ma’am?”

 
“Hey, I know you!” she said with a big smile.

 
SLICE…

 
EMBED.

 

He got back into his car and drove away.

 
Eleven victims in nine days, it had to be a record, Heslehurst lighting up a cigar to celebrate his accomplishment. He took out his cellphone and dialed one of his contacts.

 
“Simon, anything come in yet?”

 

“Yeah boss, it just came over the scanner a couple of minutes ago. He struck out in Glendora. Citrus College. Leslie and Mikey are on their way out there right now.”

 
“Alright, make sure the rest of the team is on standby, and that all ears stay on those scanners. I have a feeling he may give us more than one victim today.”

 

“Will do”

 

Six hours later and the city of Los Angeles was buzzing over The Spyderco killer’s latest work, every TV and radio station scrambling to report. But it was CNN, especially The Riggs Report, that would have exclusive details thanks to the best news team in the business. They always knew what questions to ask of authorities and how to get information out of them that otherwise was never intended to be released. They knew how to scan a scene from a telephoto lens. How to follow a hunch and how to see connections where others could not. An award-winning investigative team led by Royce Riggs.

 

With make-up applied and microphone attached Heslehurst sat behind his studio desk, ready to become Royce Riggs, ready to tell Riker, Los Angeles and the rest of the world about the last three killings he had just committed.

 

LINE PRODUCER

And we’re live in five…
four… three… two…

 

ROYCE RIGGS

Good evening, and
welcome to The Riggs
Report, I’m Royce Riggs,
and tonight we are once
again starting off the show
with breaking news.

 

2nd half of 2nd part posted shortly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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