Home > All the Lies (Mindf*ck #4)(4)

All the Lies (Mindf*ck #4)(4)
Author: S.T. Abby

I look to Jake, and he glares at the screen as I speak. “They’re on edge.”

“Right where we wanted them,” Jake says quietly.

The Wheels on the Bus starts playing on the speakers, and one woman trips, falling to the ground as my mother’s voice continues to echo through the town. The voices of so many children accompany her voice, making it a hair creepier. The music dies suddenly, and Jake’s lips twitch as he studies something on his laptop.

“They unplugged it from the server.”

“Just like we knew they would,” I agree.

“When they plug them back in, it’ll alert me. I’ll start it over.”

“Until they have no choice but to leave them unplugged, and no way of telling the town what’s going on when the haunted house opens.”

He nods slowly. “You ready for that?”

A dark grin etches the corners of my lips. “Very much.”

Someone entering the sheriff’s office has my attention. Chad Briggs steps in, wearing his deputy’s uniform, and seals the door behind him. His eyes flick to Johnson, then he addresses the sheriff.

“Some information has come to light.”

“Then spill it,” Sheriff Cannon growls.

His eyes flick to Johnson again. “Some sensitive information.”

He waves dismissively toward Johnson. “He’s not the one from that group to worry about. What information?”

I can tell Briggs is hesitant, but he finally answers. “SSA Bennett and another agent were spotted leaving Diana Barnes’s home. They were there a while, Sheriff, and I just got word that her son is untouchable right now. Staying with some lawyer in New York. I think she told them everything.”

Sheriff Cannon curses, running a hand through his hair as he tosses his hat across the room.

“Calm down,” Johnson says, regaining his own composure. “That’s just the ramblings of an old woman. He’d need proof. There is none. And most of the suspects involved are dead already, so it’s not like they can confirm or deny. We need to focus more on making sure there’s nothing left that could show what we did to Evans.”

“There’s nothing,” Sheriff Cannon says, but my lips twitch.

“There’s plenty,” Jake says, grinning broadly. “You’re just too stupid to know it, Sheriff.”

And we have so much to share. When the time comes.

“Diana Barnes could become a problem if she gets someone to corroborate the story,” I hear the Sheriff telling Johnson, then his gaze shifts to Chad Briggs. “See to it that isn’t the case.”

“They’re going after Diana,” Jake says as Chad nods and heads out of the room.

“Not until nightfall.”

My eyes flick back to the screen where Logan is. I turn up the volume, though he’s almost too far away from the camera for me to hear.

“The coroner died two years ago, so that’s a bust,” Donny is telling him.

“We need to visit the hospital where the kids went,” Logan says, and my stomach sinks.

“Fuck,” Jake hisses. “He shouldn’t be focusing on you. He should be focusing on the corruption.”

“If he goes there and pieces things together the way Hadley did, then we’re screwed,” I say quietly.

“It was fate that Kennedy was dying the same night you needed to survive,” Jake says quietly. “And Kennedy Carlyle? The same girl who was the daughter of the drunk drivers who wrecked into your mom? There’s no way that was all for nothing. There’s no way that wasn’t a sign. We’re meant to do this. Not meant to get caught mid-way.”

“We need someone to speak up and talk about my father,” I murmur absently, watching Logan as he tears off his red tie, frustrated.

Jake stands and goes to the edge of the room, pulling out his wonderful creation of time releasing paint. They’re all labeled differently, each one having a different timeframe for when the paint will appear.

“Then let’s give them some incentive to talk,” Jake says before tugging on his hood and walking toward the door. “Call me if you see anyone slip up on me. I’m going to the school. I’ll disable the school cameras when I get there.”

“Got you covered,” I tell him.

The monitors surrounding us cover the entire town. It’s like staring at hell all day.

“Lana needs to go back home.” Logan’s announcement has me shifting my gaze to his screen.

“Good luck telling Hadley that,” Donny says with a grin.

“This isn’t amusing. She could be in real danger. I knew better than to bring her.”

He looks as though he’s agonizing over this.

“No offense, but you’re just too emotionally invested in her safety to see she’s actually safe. Not one woman has been targeted. Only men. If anything, she’s safer than you are.”

“I don’t trust the sheriff or Johnson right now. This has nothing to do with the Scarlet Slayer.”

Donny’s eyes widen, and so do mine.

“I sound so fucked up. I’m more concerned over two law officials than I am a fucking serial killer. This town is pure toxic,” Logan says on a sigh.

“Johnson is twisted, but he’s not an idiot. He knows he can’t lay a hand on you and get away with it. We need to find some solid evidence to give to Collins so he can give it to the subcommittee.”

“There’s someone obvious we haven’t spoken to since we acquired new evidence,” Logan says thoughtfully. “He only lives about an hour from here.”

“Christopher Denver,” Donny says on an exhale. “Of course.”

Jake’s father. My father’s lawyer. My father’s only friend in a town of traitors.

We knew they’d get around to talking to him sometime.

My eyes pop over to the school screen, seeing Jake with his hood on as he takes quick strokes, hurrying the paintjob. Everyone is inside the school, and the windows are above his head, making it impossible to look out and see him.

I can’t believe he’s doing it in daylight right out front though. Fortunately, the streets are mostly quiet, and when he hears a car, he ducks behind the holly bushes.

Finally, I see Jake jogging around the side, heading into the woods that will spit him out right back here. My attention returns to Logan, and I focus solely on him.

“Who keeps calling?” Donny asks him as Logan silences his phone again.

“Johnson. I’m sure he’s trying to find a way to throw us off this investigation. By now he’s probably already heard we talked to Diana Barnes in private. He may be wanting to find out what we know.”

“Let’s go talk to Denver before he finds out what we’re doing.”

Logan glances at the time on his phone. “Okay, but I want to be back before it gets too late and make sure Lana is good.”

“Call her from the road, lover boy,” Donny says, rolling his eyes as Logan takes the driver’s seat of the car. Logan seems to be laughing about it.

I can’t hear what they’re saying when they shut the doors, but I mute everything when my phone rings.

“Hey,” I say, smiling like a little girl with a crush.

“I need to run out of town to work on a lead. Any chance you’d go back home? I don’t like you being here.”

I smile, loving the way he cares. My eyes flick to the screen where people are passing by the school, slowly gathering as the paint appears.

“I think Delaney Grove is growing on me.”

He groans at the terrible joke.

“Logan, stop worrying. I’d rather be with you, or at least close to you, than sitting around wondering about you and if you’re safe.”

“It’s not me I’m worried about, babe. I can take care of myself.”

I can take care of you better.

My eyes move up as Elise and Leonard arrive on scene, taking pictures of the new message.

“Stop worrying about me. I doubt this guy even cares who I am.”

He grows quiet for a long minute.


“Sorry. Was just thinking about how you completely ruin psychology.”

“How so?”

“Because you were attacked by a known serial killer because of my job, yet you stubbornly want to stay, acting as though the thought of another coming after you doesn’t faze you.”

I swallow hard. Never once has he sounded suspicious. Even now he sounds more confused than suspicious.

“I have a gun,” I tell him softly. “And I don’t want to be in my house.”

I close my eyes, hating the fact the lie will make him feel guilt.

“Go back to the hotel.”

“No,” I say on a sigh.

“Shit. We’ll resume this conversation later. Elise is beeping me.”

“Love you,” I say without hesitation, finding the words rolling off my tongue with natural ease.

“Love you.” I can hear the smile in his voice even as someone makes gagging sounds in the background.

Just as I hang up with him, Jake walks in, eyeing me as I try to wipe the dopey look off my face.

“As soon as this is over, I’m going to find my own goofy grin,” he grumbles, but the smile in his eyes betrays his Grinch-stole-Christmas tone. “Did I miss it?”

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