Her head was aching. She blinked a few times and pushed herself up off the floor. Or she tried to, at least. Her right wrist screamed in pain. She ground her teeth and rolled over slightly to her other side. As she rolled, she realized her ribs hurt, too, and the pain was so sharp she almost wanted to cry.
She wouldn't give him the satisfaction, though.
It had been her suggestion that she be the undercover cop for this. There was a serial killer, but there wasn't enough hard evidence to arrest him. All the cops had was a name and a face, and even then they weren't a hundred percent sure. No DNA, no fingerprints...nada.
So she volunteered. She looked enough like the other girls that it was conceivable that he'd try something with her. So for weeks, she'd planted herself in the same situation that the other women were in, waiting for an encounter.
What she hadn't expected was to be hit over the head and knocked out.
She could feel something sticky on her cheek. Once she was able to push herself up to a standing position with her good hand she touched her cheek, and only then did she feel the dull pain there. When she pulled her fingers back she saw blood. This was not good. Someone should have been looking for her now. Someone should have found her by now.
Her head snapped up and she looked into the shadows of the room. They'd been wrong about the guy, all of them. It hadn't been Mark Walker. No, it had been his identical twin brother Matt. So she assumed that they were still casing Mark's place, and she was all alone with a psychopath. She stayed quiet, waiting for him to do something.
He walked over to her and she saw the glint of a gun in his hand. Her gun. Now she was starting to panic. She was injured and he was armed. The odds were not good.
"I don't like having cops tail my brother," he said. "Mark's a good kid. He doesn't need that crap."
"Then you shouldn't be murdering women," she said in a hoarse voice.
"I do it because I have to," he said, raising his voice. "I can't stop it!"
He was close to her now, and she had a wild idea of how to get out of there. She wasn't big, but she'd learned how to hit someone where it hurt. He was a guy who moved his arms around when he talked, and when he had his arm up to continue on his train of thought, she barreled forward and rammed her shoulder into his chest as hard as she could.
He was so surprised that he stumbled backward and dropped the gun. She got herself in a position to move and grab if first as his butt fell to the floor. He got onto his knees and reached over for it, but she got there first. She held it in her left hand and aimed it at him.
He got himself up off the floor and leered at her. "You're right handed. You'll never get a shot off."
"Want to bet?" she said.
He charged forward and instinctively she pulled the trigger. The gun fired and she saw blood oozing down from his forehead as he stopped and slumped to the ground. She took a step back and looked at what was now simply a body before she moved towards where he was, hoping he'd kept her bag with him and that her cell phone was still in it.
She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw it on the ground, some of its contents spilled out on the floor. She grabbed it with her good hand, wincing as she bent over, and dialed up the first number she could think of.
He picked up after two rings. "Flack."
"Don...I killed him."
"Jess? Jess, where are you?"
"I don't know."
"Hold on. Just...hold on, okay?" There was a pause and she could hear him yelling towards someone to trace her phone. And then he was back. "What happened?"
"It wasn't Matt. It was his brother. He got me and God, Don, I hurt."
"Just hold on. Keep talking to me until someone gets there. Are you inside or outside?"
"Try and get outside."
"I don't know if I can."
"Just try, okay?"
She moved around the body and headed to the darker corner of the room. She looked around and saw a door. She clasped the phone between her ear and her shoulder and turned the knob. "It's locked."
"Can you unlock it?"
She turned the lock and then looked up. There was a deadbolt and she threw it before reaching for the knob again. It opened. "It's open. Looks like I'm in an apartment building."
"Get outside and tell me the number or street or something. And stay on the line. Don't stop talking to me."
"It's apartment 4A," she said as she looked at the door. She felt so tired all of a sudden, but she knew that was probably a sign she had a concussion. She knew staying on the phone and talking was the best thing for her right now.
"Mac and Stell are on their way. Adam tracked you down. But we still need the building number."
"I'm going," she said. She glanced into the room one last time and shut the door behind her. Right now, all she wanted to do was crawl into bed and be held for a long, long while. But she knew if she wanted that to happen, she had to get out of the building. And she would because she wanted to leave that whole scene behind her and never look back. She knew it wasn't going to happen like that, but that was what she wanted, and getting out of the building was a step in the right direction.