*** author’s note: There are some pretty dark topics brought up this chapter, including death and sexual assault. If you find these themes triggering or offensive, I suggest you refrain from reading.***
10:24 p.m. | Merrow Rose Hotel, Suite 210
Aislyn sighs as she turns off the cold running water in the sink. Since the criminal waiter fled the restaurant after recognizing her, she saw no reason to make a scene and let her father and Nicole enjoy their dinner, unable to stomach anything herself, before returning to the Merrow Rose. She glances at her healing scar in the mirror, realizing just how lucky she was that that had been the only injury she’d received during the whole incident.
She thinks back to Jacob’s warning before everything went south, and recalls him mentioning that there were five victims that she could have prevented had she listened to his initial warning weeks prior. Aislyn had done a tremendous job of pushing that guilt from her mind while she focused on ensuring she and Kim’s safety. Now it appeared that in order to successfully put those guys behind bars, she’d have to confront that truth she’d been ignoring.
A knock on the bathroom door pulls her from her thoughts. “Hey kiddo. You sure you don’t need anything to eat?” Her father asks in concern.
“Yeah, I think I’m just going to call it an early night. I didn’t feel too well when I got back to the table.”
“Alright well, if you change your mind, don’t hesitate to ask us to get you anything or order room service.”
“I won’t. Good night, dad.”
After making sure her father is out of earshot, Aislyn walks into her bedroom, where she feels a huge surge of cold air around her. “Penny, Tori.” She says in acknowledgment when she lays eyes on the ghosts. “You guys can come out too, you know?” She adds, turning her head towards the wall to her left where she feels more cold emitting from, but sees no ghosts around. “Told you she was the real deal.” Penny says, following Aislyn’s gaze.
A few more female ghosts phase through the wall and Aislyn steps forward to stand before them. Penny and Tori join, flanking the sides of a pale girl with purple hair in an asymmetrical cut. She appeared to be their leader as they all turn to watch her speak.
“So, Penny and Tori tell us you can catch those bastards who are responsible for being the reason why we’re here standing before you like this. Is that true?” Aislyn nods, doing her best to keep her teeth from chattering. She’s hardly encountered more than two ghosts at a time aside from when she woke up from her coma – part of the reason why she preferred to not go to hospitals unless it was absolutely necessary – and felt like she was in a meat locker.
“How exactly do you plan on doing that?” The purple haired girl presses on. “I’ll explain in a little bit.” Aislyn says in a low voice, “My family is in the next room and I don’t want them to hear. For now, I need you to trust me and be a bit patient.” Aislyn knew that the girls had no reason to trust her, considering they didn’t know a thing about her. She wasn’t sure if it was because they genuinely believed she could help, or if they were merely intrigued by her ability, but after a moment of exchanging brief glances with one another, they nod in unison.
Aislyn waits until she hears her father and Nicole retreat into their room for bed, which thankfully takes less than an hour. After waiting an additional fifteen minutes for the usual shift change of the officer posted outside, she silently exits the hotel room in the gap of time between the current officer leaving and the new one arriving. Aislyn follows the signs down towards the recreation center, before seeing the room she was looking for in the distance.
Luckily, the business center is empty when she enters, that would make things less complicated for her. “You’re a very interesting girl, Aislyn. I hope this works.” Tabitha says as she appears behind her. In the hour in her room, Aislyn had learned all of the girls’ names and briefly explained her plan to them. “It will.” Aislyn says as she takes a seat and starts up the computer.
The rest of the girls reappear and crowd around Aislyn; despite putting on the thickest jacket she could find in her suitcase, she shivers as they draw near. “So, who’s first?” Aislyn asks as she opens up a blank word doc. “I am.” The girl Aislyn had learned was called Chrissy says as she steps forward.“The events are still pretty fresh in my mind… It hasn’t been that long since–” “Right.” Aislyn says, cutting her off before she can finish that grim statement. “Go ahead.”
Chrissy sighs and begins, “It was December 11th; I was walking down Sequoia Street. Some guy with black hair that dangled in front of his eyes was tying his shoe near the bus stop, you know, the one that takes you to the older part of town; that’s where I live-lived. It was pretty late… I’d say around eleven. I was leaving work and I don’t have a car; it was my first time catching the night bus. Well, first and last.” Chrissy pauses to give a humorless laugh.
“He began engaging in causal conversation, and it makes me ashamed to think about it now, but I thought he was kind of cute, so I wasn’t afraid or intimidated by him. Then I felt some hands reach over from behind me and cut off my airways. Next thing I knew, I was in some sort of damp cell. I tried calling for help, but I soon figured out that there was no one else in the area for miles. Bus stop guy eventually came, joined by another man in a mask. After asking for my name, which I give out of fear after seeing their guns, they leave me alone again and come back after several hours. They probably realized I was nothing special… like I said, I lived in the older part of town, and don’t come from money. I didn’t have a boyfriend, or a husband, I guess that was all the confirmation they needed to determine my life wasn’t worth much…”
As Chrissy continues, describing how they restrained her, how they laughed at her tears, how they forced themselves on her… Aislyn does her best to listen and document everything she can despite beginning to feel sick. Each and every one of these girls could have been alive if she’d just done what she did every other time a ghost came to her and listened. Why? Why was it the one time she chose not to, there were such real and lasting repercussions? Once Chrissy finishes, the shortest girl of the group, Rebecca, does the same, followed by Tori, Penny and Tabitha, whom Aislyn realizes is the leader because she was the first to have passed away.
By the time Aislyn finishes hearing all their accounts of kidnapping, torture and sexual abuse, she places her hands in her lap and takes a breath, doing her best to still the tremors that had formed in her hand as she listened on with growing anguish.
She was able to learn that the brothers were named Jet and Blade Perelli, and that they were fraternal twins. Since the girls spent the initial days of their deaths following them around screaming at them as if the men would be able to hear them, they were able to provide several hiding locations the brothers frequented as well as their day jobs.
Now that she had all of their tales documented, Aislyn began getting to work morphing her pages of writing into a confession. She had enough details to write out the crimes, and whatever gaps there were in some of the girls’ stories due to being unconscious or drugged, she was able to fill in herself from what Jacob had told her when she herself was captured with Kimberly.
It takes a few hours, but eventually with their help, Aislyn finishes. She doesn’t read it aloud, but feels the girls reading her work over her shoulder, nodding in approval. When they conclude there is nothing else they have to add, she sends it in an attachment to the Oldmerrow Police Department. “Well, now it’s just a matter of time before the police go and arrest those creeps.” Penny says in approval. Aislyn nods; she had no intention of sharing the fact that she could’ve prevented their tragic deaths, but still says, “Sorry.”
“For what?” Tori asks.
“For the fact that I’m standing here and you’re not.”
“You expect us to be angry that you and your friend survived these serial rapist-killers?” Tabitha asks incredulously.
“That’s ridiculous.” Rebecca chimes in. “Aislyn, because of you, our families will know what happened to us. You put enough details for the police to pull up CCTV or dash-cam footage to catch those guys in the act. We told you where they unceremoniously dumped our bodies in shallow unmarked graves around the city… There’s nothing else we could ask or expect you to do. Yeah, it sucks we came to an early demise, and I can’t speak for the others, but I can say that I lived my life in a way where I wouldn’t have any regrets, and I don’t.” She says with a sad smile.
“What about the rest of you?” Aislyn asks, turning to look at the each of the girls sitting around her. “Do you have regrets?” She wasn’t sure why she’d asked, for she would surely be further saddened by their answers, but the question escaped her lips impulsively. Surprisingly, each girl, after taking the time to share their dreams, goals, and things they’ve accomplished, all agreed that they would’ve liked to have done more, but have accepted what happened. It only made Aislyn feel guiltier.
“What about you?” Tabitha asks.
“What about me?”
“What do you want to do?”
“I’m… not sure, yet.” Aislyn says honestly.
“You don’t have any dreams? Goals?” Tori asks. “I did, but that was a long time ago. Living life like this…” Aislyn pauses to point at her eyes, “kind of put a damper on my social and work life.” She says with a bitter smile. “Well, Aislyn, don’t you for one second feel guilty for living. Once we are able to see our family get the closure we’ve been wanting for weeks, and some of us for months, we’ll be able to move on in peace. How many people have that chance? To speak from beyond the grave so their loved ones don’t spend years agonizing over what could have happened, never really knowing for sure? We can’t thank you enough.” Penny says.
“You don’t have to thank me… It’s the right thing to do.” Aislyn says. Feeling her throat tighten the way it did whenever she felt like crying which she hadn’t for years now, she could also feel tears pooling in her eyes but blinked them back. “Look at the time.” Tabitha says. “You’re probably exhausted.” Chrissy chimes in, gesturing towards the window where the sky had begun to brighten with the incoming sunrise.
“Well, Aislyn, if you don’t hear from us, then your plan was a success.” Rebecca says as she rises to leave, the others begin to do the same. There is a chorus of goodbyes as each girl disappears, and Aislyn is left alone in the business center, feeling warmer externally now that all the ghosts had gone, but remaining cold inside…
Aislyn waits in the lounge, which had begun to fill up with other guests who wanted to drink a free cup of coffee, indulge in the available snacks, or print some papers, and does her best to steer clear of them until the next shift change for the officers. Once she’s fairly certain her window has arrived, she begins to walk back. Aislyn manages to reach the door without being spotted; once she places her hand on the handle, she hears a voice behind her and starts. “Ms. Persefoni? Where do you think you’re going?”
Aislyn jumps back from the door in surprise, and turns to see an officer standing with his arms crossed. His badge reads Rogers, and Aislyn doesn’t miss the fact that he’d asked where she was going and not where she was coming from, which meant he hadn’t seen her walk back and was assuming she was sneaking out. Exhaling a sigh of relief, Aislyn answers, “I wanted to get an early breakfast, but I think I’ll just wait until my parents wake up.” “But–” “Goodbye.” Aislyn says as she rushes inside and closes the door.
Aislyn heads towards her room, glancing at her father and Nicole, who were still sleeping soundly, on the way. She was glad that she’d managed to complete what she’d set out to do without putting herself or anyone else in harms way.
She drops onto her bed, exhaustion finally beginning to set in. As her lids begin to get heavier, she feels the tears that she’d held back earlier spill out. Using the back of her hand to wipe them away, Aislyn shuts her eyes, hoping that the course of action she had taken was the right one.
9:00 a.m. | ???
“Alright, it’s the morning now.” Jet says, to his brother. “You said we were gonna find a way to recapture that girl who got away that you ran into last night.” “I know what I said. I’m thinking.” Blade says, as he strokes his chin and collects his thoughts. “You know what’s crazy? I know she recognized me, I could tell from the fact that she inquired if I was leaving. The strange part was, she asked without batting an eye.”
“Was it the one who was quieter than the other girls we’ve had around? She said her name was Aislyn, right? I had called dibs on her.” Jet says.
“Yes… And because you convinced me to bring her and her friend, instead of our usual one girl rule, now they’re both out there.”
“Why share when we could each have our own? Besides, who would’ve guessed that they’d find some way out. Which we still don’t know how they did by the way.”
“We can ask when we get them back, and we will…” Blade says slightly angrily, he liked to be in control of things and hated when things didn’t play out the way he wanted them to.
“Why don’t we just head on over to–” Jet stops himself and turns his head towards the main entrance. This hideout, being located so far out of town, was often eerily silent. The slightest sound in the distance was amplified due to their isolation, so it didn’t go unnoticed that there was the sound of a running car – potentially several – in the distance. “Do you hear that?” He asks his brother.
“Yes… unfortunately, I do.”
9:04 a.m. | Somewhere outside Oldmerrow
“Over there.” Daphne says, pointing to an old house that comes into view in the distance. Officer Turner nods and veers left and the other following patrol cars follow suit.
“Right, then. You know the drill. This could be some sick prank, but in the off chance that it’s not, we need to go in with our eyes open and wits about us. Tom, you and Alanna search the first floor. Gary, you and Ruby case the upper ones and work your way down. I’ll comb the perimeter.” Commissioner DeCarlo says, dishing out orders to her team.
She’d sent the rest of her officers that weren’t guarding Ms. Persefoni and Ms. Scott to the other locations that were written in the odd confession letter that had arrived at the station earlier that morning. “You heard the commissioner.” Tom, Daphne’s right hand, says, pulling out his gun. “Let’s move.”
“Nothing here.” Tom radios in as the search of the first floor yields no results. “Same here.” Gary says as he and Officer Meadows return downstairs, after looking through the musty upper floors. “I guess this was a bust then. Let’s regroup back at the station.” Daphne radios back.
Officer Turner, who was still glancing around in suspicion, pauses by the fireplace on the way to the main entrance. He kneels down and runs his hand along the wood, having felt the faintest warmth emit from it. He presses his transceiver, “Commissioner, we might need to double check the site.”
“Why is that?”
“The fireplace; it’s warm. Someone has definitely been here recently.”
“Copy that; I’ll look for signs of a recent exit.” The Commissioner says, picking up her pace; she couldn’t help but feel that the whole situation seemed off. Why would any suspect send a confession, as opposed to physically turning themselves in? Unless, they wanted to send law enforcement on a wild goose chase, which was looking to be the case. Depending on whether they’d be able to bring anyone in today, Commissioner DeCarlo was beginning to come up with more questions than she was finding answers for.
“Coming Ruby?” Officer Turner asks as he turns around and reascends the stairs. “Right behind you– Whoops.” Ruby says as she slips in a puddle formed from the melting snow leaking through the decrepit roof. She drops her gun and it bounces off of the chair by her legs and skids across the floor.
“We might as well go in these rooms, even though we can see into them because of the worn down walls. Give me a hand with breaking this door down.” Gary says over his shoulder. “I’m coming.” Ruby calls back as she rushes to retrieve her fallen gun.
As she bends down, a pair of feet speed down the hallway, and beat her to her weapon. “Whoops, indeed.” A voice says. Ruby raises her gaze and sees the inside of the barrel of her gun, she instinctively raises her hands to protect her face, and the sound of an ear shattering shot echoes through the air.
Commissioner DeCarlo who had strayed a little ways away from the abandoned house in search of a hidden car or exit, arrives last to the scene. She sees Tom has subdued a suspect on the floor, and notices that Officer Meadows is down and Officer Ramirez is tending to her.
“Where’s Officer Turner?” She asks urgently. “Upstairs. He hasn’t come back down yet, even after the shot.” Tom says over his shoulder.
Commissioner DeCarlo bolts for the stairs, taking them two at a time. As she rounds the corner at the top step, she sees Gary hunched over, clutching a wound on his chest that was spilling blood. “Freeze!” She yells, aiming her gun at the suspect who looked as if he was going to go for another blow. When the attacker meets her gaze, he punches out the glass on the already cracked windows behind him and jumps.
Sliding along the rooftop after him, Daphne presses her toes against the roofs edge to prevent herself from falling below, while the suspect jumps without hesitation.
“I won’t ask a third time. FREEZE!” She yells behind him. The man continues to run, his knife still clutched in hand.
Steadying her grip on her gun, and taking a breath, Daphne aims and fires, sending another deafening sound into the air…
2:10 p.m. | Oldmerrow Police Department
“Hey, aren’t you supposed to provide medical attention?” Jet asks with bitter sarcasm. “I’ve been shot.” He adds, wiping at the blood of Officer Turner still splattered on his cheek.
“Very funny.” Tom says as he prepares to place the other Perelli brother in his cell. “It was just a flesh wound, the commissioner is a sharp shooter; she managed to graze your hand enough to get you to drop your weapon.” “Kiss ass.” Blade says under his breath and his brother lets out a throaty chuckle. “You seem pretty chipper for people who are probably never going to see the light of day again.” Tom says through gritted teeth.
“For what? Defending ourselves after the police showed up to our place without a warrant, guns raised? I’m pretty sure a jury and a court would think otherwise.” Jet says. “Very funny.” Tom says as he shuts the cell he places Blade into. “We have your confessions already. Why bother sending it in if you were going to play dumb?”
“What?” The brothers say in unison. “Is this some sort of interrogation tactic? Nice try blue boy, but we aren’t about to confess to something we didn’t do.” Blade says. “It’s the truth, and we did have a warrant. How do you think we found you guys in the first place?” At that, the brothers turn to look at one another in utter confusion.
“Everything checked out, the other teams are returning now. They’ve found the bodies exactly where that letter said they’d be.” Officer Ramirez says upon entering the commissioner’s office. “No unpleasant surprises, then?” Daphne asks.
“And our team?”
“Gary’s all bandaged up and Ruby looks as though she’s going to pull through as well. Thankfully that Perelli brother is an unskilled shooter and didn’t hit a vital spot.”
“That’s great.” Daphne says, unable to bring herself to smile.
“You don’t look too pleased. It was a successful day, Commissioner.”
“Yes it was. But it was also too easy.”
“You call two of our own in the hospital, easy?”
“No, I call two men with absolutely no evidence against them or case being built on them, to confess to not just one, but multiple crimes detailing it the way they did.”
“Maybe they felt guilty.”
“I believe I’ve taught you better than to think that, Alanna.” Daphne says. “You’re right… It’s just, that was a close call we had there. Can’t we just claim the victory and leave it at that? Do you always have to over analyze everything?” Alanna asks, trying her best to hide her slight irritation, but failing to do so completely. “You know me well enough by now to know that answer.” Daphne says with a grin as she turns to look out the window, fixing her gaze on the snowy gray skies.
“Of course.” Alanna says with a sigh. “I was hoping we would be able to call it an early night tonight. But it’s not over, is it?”
“You are more than welcome to go home, I just need you to do a two more things for me before you go. First, contact the families of Ms. Persefoni and Ms. Scott. They will probably sleep a lot easier tonight knowing their attackers have been caught.” Daphne says, turning back to face Officer Ramirez.
“Right. What’s the other thing?”
“I need you to see if you can get someone to trace the origin of that confession.”
“I’m on it.”
Thanks for reading! And now the previously unnamed pieces of garbage have been caught and shall rot in jail. Sorry for the brief bits of darkness there, it felt kind of icky to write… Aislyn has once again taken the law into her own hands and succeeded. 🎊 It feels weird to be shifting to party mode, but next chapter that’s where we’ll be. No more depressive stuff from this gal, no sir. 😎 I hope the whole police crackdown scene wasn’t too confusing. At this point, I just wanted it to be over and done with, and I kept switching the scene from officer to officer, so if it was weird, my bad… But that’ll be the last of that kind of material for now. Feel free to let me know what you thought~
You can see why I had to split this chapter, as both parts still were absurdly long… hehe, my bad. Posting two part/technically two chapters in one week feels so weird considering I usually struggle to barely get one out. It made me think back to when I first started The Elite and used to post two chapters a week every week, lol. How did I ever? 😆 Anyways, the table of contents is updated once more and assuming there are no surprises, we should be good to go with consistent chapters for a few weeks, but we’ll see if I manage to keep that up… It’s me, so you never know. 😇
Have a great week and take care,