Here's the latest addition to the story. Hope you like it. As always, you can find chapters 1-3 in my earlier posts
Ben didn’t even have his dreams to himself anymore as he slept, reclining in his office chair. He was surrounded by articles and papers, strewn, haphazardly all around him. Ben didn’t even seem to take better care of the hacked record of Stacy’s foster care that he had worked tirelessly to acquire or the police file about the Black widow killer that had stretched his moral boundaries to the limit to obtain. The mess was nothing in comparison to the disorder this situation was growing in his mind. His latest search for answers had led him into a frantic almost visceral hunger. There had to be a connection, something that could unmask this murderer without incriminating himself, because after all, Ben had thought to himself, all criminals make mistakes.
The alarm clock next to his cold bed erupted into its cumbersome ringing. Ben launched out of his chair, long arms flailing, heart pounding, papers sent drifting to the floor. Just then his watch joined in the disorienting noise too. He lifted his wrist to turn off the alarm, blinking the pleasant dreams about Stacy out of his head. It was four o’clock. She would be off work soon; time to escort her home.
He reached for his shoes under the desk and one of the fallen papers caught his attention. He had read it a few times before; it was an article about Stacy’s husband’s funeral. His death had been a big blow to the small community that they had lived in and most of the town came to the memorial service which was apparent in the photo that went along with the article. And then something jumped out at him that he hadn’t noticed before. Within the grieving crowd behind Stacy and the casket stood a man that he had seen recently. Ben’s eyes widened angrily; how had he not noticed before. How could this have escaped his meticulous searching? He had seen this man twice in the last month at Stacy’s office building. He had thought something was suspicious about the way he walked up to the entrance and then abruptly turned and returned to his car.
Ben poured over this new discovery during his covert drive behind Stacy’s car as she made her way home in the evening traffic. He made room for the article in the passenger seat by tossing the bills he had gotten in today’s mail to the back of the car with the others. He didn’t have the money to pay for them anyway now that he no longer had time in his arduous new lifestyle for his job.
Outside her apartment, he tucked into his usual parking spot behind a dumpster where he began his nightly watch. He had also just finished adding up all the variables in his head for the last time. The man in the picture, the man that Ben had seen outside Stacy’s work seemed to fit the profile. From the case file Ben learned that the Black Widow Killer is known to select his victims while attending their spouse’s funeral. The murderer then brutally kills the mourning widow within the week, but Stacy had moved suddenly and left everything behind to start a new life. This explained the strange, unfinished personal information Ben found imbedded in that returned computer so many months ago.
It seemed like an eternity ago when he went about his meticulous, orderly life as if it made sense. And now all that mattered to him was preserving the life of the woman he loved; a woman who didn’t know he even exists. He wouldn’t let anything or anyone hurt her; she was all that mattered. In his resolute train of thought Ben, ironically almost overlooked the shadowed figure walking down the sidewalk in front of Stacy’s apartment. He didn’t notice until the person walked up her steps and looked over the directory, underlined Stacy’s name with a finger, and pause suspiciously before descending the stairs again.
Ben’s heart raced with anticipation as the person slowly walked under the street light and revealed his face. It was him; Ben knew it and with complete certainty. This is the man from the article picture, the man Ben saw at Stacy’s office; her intended murderer.
To be continued...
To be continued...