Home > Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)(7)

Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)(7)
Author: S.T. Abby

“That doesn’t explain anything,” Leonard points out.

Devin nods. “Jane was the town outcast. The only person who was ever nice to her was Robert Evans. He was nice to everyone. He loved his wife so much that he could never move on after her death. But even a man who loves a ghost still has needs, if you know what I mean.”

Leonard leans up, and I lean back.

“You’re saying they had a sexual relationship—Robert and Jane,” I surmise.

“The whole town knew about it, including Victoria and Marcus. Victoria wanted him to be happy again. Marcus was adamant that his father should stop hiding the relationship. Kyle? Kyle was furious. He already hated Robert because he was one of the few around here who would stand up to him. Victoria soon after humiliated Kyle. He thought he was the guy no girl could turn down, and she broke up with him very publically because of his treatment toward Robert.”

He sighs harshly, shaking his head.

“I was so desperate to fit in back then. I thought it was just petty stuff, no one would get hurt. Kyle was always a bully, so it was either be his friend or be his enemy. No one wanted to be his enemy. His father would ruin them and their family if they stood against Kyle. Just look at Lindy Wheeler and Robert Evans. Those are just two examples.”

He gives us a rueful smile.

“So what part did Jane play?” Leonard prompts.

“Kyle bragged that night,” he goes on, not jumping to the point. “I came back after convincing Lindy to run before Kyle got finished with Marcus and Victoria. I heard Kyle telling Victoria that his ‘cunt mother’ had been the one to bring Robert down in the end. Jane gave Johnson the used condoms with Robert’s semen in them, after Sheriff Cannon threatened her life. Victoria was a bloody pulp by then, but she managed to speak. She told Kyle she’d prove it, and her father’s name would be cleared. And we’d all burn in hell when she was finished.”

He laughs humorlessly.

“I’ve been living in hell ever since that night, so she held true to her word. At least for my part. Kyle just laughed and told her that his own mother had been silenced by the grave, and found it hilarious that the girl bleeding out on the streets thought she could scare him.”

He looks between us.

“Guess he’s not laughing now.”

Leonard looks to me, and I look at him. Devin has all but said he knows it’s Victoria who came back to kill them all.

But why does he suspect a dead girl when no one else in town believes it’s possible?

“You guys should look into Kyle,” he goes on. “First make sure he’s really dead, and—”

“He’s definitely dead,” Leonard says on a shudder.

“Deep down, I always knew he was the original killer. The Nighttime Slayer, they called him,” he goes on.

Again, Leonard and I exchange a look before I return my gaze to Dev.

“You think it was him?”

He nods. “Apparently someone else did too, if what I heard about his death was true.”

“He was killed a little more brutally, but because he was the one who orchestrated the night Marcus and Victoria died. Why do you think he was the killer?”

He snorts, rolling his eyes. “Isn’t it obvious?” he asks loudly, gesturing around us. “The world was a puppet on strings for Kyle. His father covered up the worst of his indiscretions, never seeing the pure evil in him. Kyle could charm anyone into seeing the best, but when he unleashed his dark side, it was consuming, suffocating, and downright scarring.”

A tear leaks from his eye, and he bats it away.

“I stood by and watched a helpless girl and boy be raped and brutally beaten to death. All because of the fear Kyle easily instilled. No one in this entire town had the balls to go after him with someone like Cannon backing his every move.”

“But saying he was the killer is saying he raped and killed his own sister. From what I’ve heard, the sheriff’s affections toward his daughter ran deep enough to make him frame an innocent man just to have someone to blame,” I point out.

“If you don’t think Kyle is capable of raping and murdering his own sister, then you don’t know anything. Rebecca Cannon was the daughter of Mary Beth Cannon. Mary died of ovarian cancer when Rebecca was just five. She was only a year older than Kyle, who the sheriff didn’t know existed yet.”

“Which means the sheriff wasn’t faithful,” Leonard points out.

“Which made Rebecca hate Kyle when he came into the picture,” Dev goes on. “The sheriff favored her, for obvious reasons, and it was the one person in town Kyle wasn’t allowed to lay a finger on. If he’d ever so much as threatened Rebecca, the sheriff would have ended him without pause. Yet Rebecca was put on display in a way so tragic and scarring that it drove the sheriff over the edge. Sounds like one sadistic mind came up with all that, and Kyle’s IQ will let you know he was capable of orchestrating each piece of the puzzle, knowing they’d eventually frame Robert.”

“Why Robert?” I ask, seeing where he’s going with this. “And why time the first killing with the anniversary for when Robert and Jasmine had their first date? And why did most of the girls resemble Jasmine?”

“Well, for one, that Johnson guy railroaded the investigation, certain it was Robert, partially because of that day and the victimology. That was just one step into setting Robert up. Secondly, Victoria was always on Kyle and Morgan’s radar—constant battle between those two. Victoria looked a lot like Jasmine, so maybe your victimology should center around the daughter more than the mother. Lastly, Rebecca was a typical mean girl, and mean girls tend to pick on the lesser privileged. Rebecca went after Victoria on a regular basis, running her mouth, mocking her family and her janitor father.”

He smirks, pausing as though he’s remembering something.

“One day she went too far, saying something about Victoria’s dead mother. Victoria grabbed Rebecca by the hair of her head and slammed her face into the locker. Rebecca ended up with a busted nose. The sheriff tried to come after Victoria, but Robert had some kind of dirt on him that made him back off. Sheriff Cannon doesn’t like being backed into a corner. Then Rebecca, the girl who so often bullied Victoria, is the one disgraced the most? The sheriff got onboard and they went after Evans with everything they had after that.”

He grows quiet, and I run over the facts in my head.

“What was the dirt Evans had on the sheriff?” Leonard asks.

“Some financial stuff he’d used to get out of taxes or something. Sheriff shut that down before the trial, so it wasn’t heavy enough leverage for that.”

It’d be so easy to fall into his line of thought, go with the fact Kyle was the killer. It’d make that case ready to close.

“Kyle wasn’t the killer,” I finally tell him.

His eyes grow angry. “Then you underestimate him.”

I shake my head. “No doubt he was on a fast track to becoming a serial killer, but it wasn’t him back then. The killer was armed with the same knowledge and definitely had a hatred strong enough to let them frame Robert, even aided in persuading their profile and suspicions. He holds or held an IQ high enough to mastermind each and every calculated step. But Kyle never went to the trial.”

He frowns. “What does that have to do with it?”

Leonard takes on the explanation. “We have footage of the trial, including everyone in the trial room instead of just the immediate trial factions. Kyle was never there because he genuinely didn’t give a fuck,” Leonard says bluntly. “The killer would have wanted to watch each and every event unfold as he’d planned, and revel in the downfall of Evans in person.”

Devin sits back, deflated, as though he’s considering it. “So it wasn’t Kyle?”

I shake my head.

“Then who was it?” he demands.

“We’re still trying to figure that out,” I say, motioning toward the stack of DVDs. “We have every face that was there on a daily basis, and we’re ruling them out one-by-one based on all the facts and profiling we can possibly do. It’s odd how more of these discs are arriving by the minute by anonymous tipsters.”

He shakes his head, disgusted. “I still think it was him, and until you can prove otherwise, I think the current killer believes the same thing.”

“Doubtful,” Leonard says immediately. “The one killing now? They’ve spent ten years examining all the evidence and know far more details than we do now.”

His eyes meet ours. “I hope you never catch this one. I hope this one ends every shred of evil this town has left in it. I believe in avenging angels, Agents. And I think this killer has been granted a dark gift to rid this world of the corruption this town offers. I thought there was a soul left to save, but now I don’t think there is. I think the angels’ wrath is here.”

He stands abruptly.

“Where are you going?” Leonard asks.

He turns to face us. “If you’re not arresting me, I’m going to go pick up my baby sister and take her far, far away from this place.”

I cock my head. “Why?”

He heads to the door and doesn’t turn around until it opens. “Because this place is going to burn. I can promise you that.”

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