Careful little eyes an a.., p.22
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       Careful little eyes: An addictive, horrifying serial killer thriller (7th Street Crew Book 4), p.22

           Willow Rose
 
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  “The thing is, Chloe, you have to learn how to control that anger of yours, that feistiness, or it will end up getting you in trouble. Oh? What do you know? It just happened!”

  Chapter Ninety-One

  July 2016

  “You know, I really liked you, Chloe. I truly did,” Blake says, pointing the gun at her.

  She is on the floor, staring up at him with those beautiful eyes of hers. With her red hair and thick glasses, Chloe was never a beauty in the eyes of most people, but to him, she is. And standing with the gun pointed at her head fills him with conflicted emotions.

  Get rid of her, you idiot! Just shoot her and she’ll never bother you again. Just do it. What are you waiting for?

  Blake moves closer and presses the gun to her forehead.

  “Go ahead,” Chloe says indifferently. “Shoot me if you dare.”

  She is staring directly into his eyes. She shows no sign of fear at all. No shaking hands, no whimper to her voice. It confuses him. All his victims broke down at some point. That was the sport of it. To make them plead for their lives. To make them give up. But Chloe doesn’t react like any of Blake’s other victims.

  “You’re nothing but a spoiled prick and you always will be,” she says, growling as she speaks.

  Just pull the trigger, you idiot!

  Blake tries to. He puts his finger on it and tells his brain to do it, but something holds him back.

  What the hell is going on here?

  “You can’t do it, can you?” Chloe says, mocking him. “I always knew you were nothing but a wuss.”

  “Don’t call me that!” he yells. “Don’t you ever call me that!”

  “Or what? You’ll shoot me? I think we’re kind of at that point already, my friend,” she says. “Can’t you do it?”

  “Of course I can!”

  “Then do it,” she says and grabs the gun and presses it further into the skin of her forehead.

  He growls and, once again, with the intention of pulling the trigger, he screams loudly, but nothing happens.

  “I told you so,” Chloe says. “It’s just like the time you couldn’t get it up. You remember that?”

  Blake is grumbling and snarling loudly. Why can’t I do this? What’s wrong with me?

  “Of course I do, you bitch!”

  “I thought so.”

  Blake stares at her, wondering what it is about her that makes it impossible for him to kill her. Is it because she refuses to show weakness? Like his dad. It wasn’t until he begged for him for forgiveness that he could really attack him.

  “You bitch,” he repeats. He slams the gun into her face.

  That ought to do it.

  But it doesn’t. Chloe comes back up, wipes the blood from her mouth, then laughs. “You think I’m afraid of dying? You think slapping me around will help? Look at me. I have nothing. I have no one to stay alive for. No kids, no family left. It’s just me.”

  “Well, maybe I’ll go down and torture your mother a little after I’m done with you, then,” he says with a grin.

  That finally makes her expression change. He has found her weakness, and now he can finally pull the trigger.

  As the gun goes off, Chloe manages to push it away and the bullet whistles through the living room and hits the window behind them. It shatters and glass is everywhere. Some of it comes towards Blake and he has to cover his face to not get hit. He doesn’t even see it happen, but he feels Chloe wrap her hands around his neck from behind and jump on his back. He drops the gun to the floor, grabs her by the shoulder, and sends her flying through the air into the broken glass.

  In the distance, he can hear sirens, then voices. They sound like they’re right outside the house now. Blake can’t get to the gun in time. He gets up, jumps through the broken window, and runs to the beach.

  Chapter Ninety-Two

  July 2016

  I get the news as we reach Gainesville. Chris Fisher calls me on the phone and tells me my dad is on the way to the hospital and so is Chloe. Jack had arrived at the same time as the police and was with my dad in the ambulance.

  “They’re both alive, but your dad took a serious beating to the face. Chloe got some cuts and bruises, but should be fine.”

  “And Blake? Did you get him?” I ask, speeding up excessively, even though I didn’t think we could go any faster.

  “I’m afraid not. He escaped.”

  “Damn it!”

  “He won’t get far. He’s on foot. Left his bike at your dad’s house. He has nowhere to go.”

  “Still,” I say, disappointed. I can’t believe he got away again. “He’s smart. He’ll find a way.”

  Chris sighs. “I know. At least your dad is all right. Let’s just be glad he is. Chloe saved his life.”

  “You’re right. I’m very happy. Tell her I’m very grateful to her. We’ll be there in a few hours.”

  I hang up with a sigh. I feel like crying, but I don’t. I am happy my dad is safe. I have been so worried about him; it is a great relief to know he is safe, but I am also so angry to know that Blake is still roaming the streets.

  “Dad’s in the hospital,” I tell Joey.

  I speak with a low voice because Salter has fallen sleep in the back while Joey has crawled up front with me. We have made a stop and filled the car with junk food that we’re eating excessively. Well, I am.

  “Good. At least he is in a safe place, then.”

  “But Blake got away,” I say.

  “Crap.”

  “My sentiments exactly. I can’t stand the thought of him being on the run again,” I say, slamming my hand on the steering wheel.

  Adele is singing on the radio. I mumble along while wondering about Blake and where he can be. Where can he go on foot? He is wanted everywhere and people in Cocoa Beach all know him. He can’t stay in town. Will he steal a car? Probably. Or maybe another bike. He can be on the run in a matter of hours, out of town and gone again. But where will he go? What is his next move?

  While Adele sings loudly in the speakers, it suddenly becomes very quiet in my head. I look to Joey.

  “What? What’s wrong?” he asks and grabs a handful of chips. He is crunching loudly while I speculate.

  “His next move. I know where he’s going,” I say.

  I had slowed the car down because there was no longer such a big rush to get there, since my dad was safe, but now I am suddenly in a rush again.

  “What?” Joey asks.

  “Blake.”

  “What about him?”

  I chuckle. “I know where to find him. Oh, my God, I think I know where to find him!”

  Chapter Ninety-Three

  July 2016

  Blake spots his victim standing in front of the bathrooms in the waiting hall. He watches him for a few minutes while he texts on his phone. So far, Blake hasn’t seen him with anyone and that is what he is looking for. Someone alone. The hall is packed with people and their suitcases. All are ready for four nights onboard a cruise ship, relaxing and enjoying a good time by the pool, eating themselves half to death on fried shrimp.

  And they all will, except one.

  As the man finishes texting, he grabs his suitcase and walks into the restroom. Blake follows. He pushes the door open and walks inside. He grabs the booth next to the man and sits down and waits. He hears the man flush, then gets up and walks out. As the man opens his door, Blake slams his fist into his face, forcing him backwards, then hits him again and again, blood spurting out, till the man lies completely still. Then Blake grabs his ticket and his suitcase, closes the door from inside and climbs over it, and walks out in the hall, the man’s suitcase in hand.

  The ship is about to board and people are lining up. Blake moves his fingers and rubs his knuckles, then gets in the line. He smiles at a family with a young child in the line in front of him, then makes a funny face and the girl is laughing.

  Blake feels good about himself as the line slowly moves forward and, one by one, people are getting onboard
the ship, when he suddenly feels someone tapping him on the shoulder. Thinking it’s the person in the line behind him, he turns with a smile, then freezes completely.

  Mary!

  “I thought I might find you here,” she says. In her hand, she is holding a gun, pointed at him. People soon realize it and start to scream.

  “She’s got a gun!”

  Blake smiles. “Okay. You got me.”

  “Going to the Bahamans, are we?” she asks.

  Joey is coming up right behind her, flanked by two officers. “I figured that’s where you would go next, since Laura lives there now.”

  “You bitch,” Blake growls.

  She smiles. Oh, how he loathes that smile. He can tell she is enjoying this. Blake thinks about possible escape routes, but the two officers are coming closer, fast.

  “There is nowhere to go, Blake. I will shoot you if you try anything. And I will enjoy every moment of it.”

  He looks down at the gun. He tries to grab it from her hand, but she pulls it away. “No, you don’t. There is no escape, Blake. It’s over.”

  “Drop the gun!” the officer says.

  “Help me, Officer,” Blake says. “She’s trying to kill me.”

  Mary laughs out loud. “That’s so low, Blake. I would think you could come up with something better at least. Don’t you recognize Chris Fisher? I don’t think he’ll fall for that one, to be honest.”

  “Hands in the air where we can see them!”

  Blake looks again and does recognize Fisher, also pointing his gun at Blake. Blake’s nostrils flare, his eyes blaze, but he knows he is defeated. With a sigh, he raises his hands. He looks into the eyes of his sister, while the officers come up behind him and grab his arms. Someone is reading him his rights, while he stares at her.

  “This isn’t over yet,” he says when they drag him away.

  “Oh, but I think it is,” Mary says with a chuckle. “For you, it is very much over.”

  Epilogue

  October 2016

  “You ready for this?”

  “I don’t know,” my dad says. “You sure this will hold my weight?”

  I look at Danny, who shrugs. “All we can do is try.”

  “All right,” my dad says, and I help him get into the chair.

  Danny has strapped it to a big stand up paddleboard in the attempt to make my dad’s biggest wish come true. Back when he couldn’t move, he told Danny all he ever wanted to do was to learn how to surf.

  Today is the day when my friends and I will help him do just that. He can’t stand up without his crutches yet, so that’s why Danny came up with the chair. We are all together. Chloe, Danny, Marcia, Sandra, Alex, Joey, and me. We have all agreed to help my dad out, to push him into the wave and help support the board while he rides the wave. It is quite the project and has attracted a lot of people on the beach, even a local newspaper is writing a story about it. Salter is also there, recording everything to be able to document it and probably post it on Facebook, even though my dad probably won’t have it.

  “Do you ever think about that kid?” Joey says as we walk out in the water.

  I nod. “The boy from the hotel, you mean?”

  “Yeah. Who do you think he was?”

  I shrug. “Maybe he was lost.”

  “You don’t think he was a ghost maybe?”

  I chuckle. “You know I don’t believe in ghosts.”

  He shrugs. “Well, I do. I think he was that kid from the story and that he wanted to lead you to the bodies. That’s just my theory.”

  “That’s not mine. I don’t believe in ghost stories; you know that. I think there’s a reasonable explanation for everything.”

  “Really?”

  “Really.”

  “Hm. I would have thought that after this, you might have changed your mind, but I guess not,” Joey says.

  “By the way, your little girlfriend, Robbie, called,” I say.

  Joey blushes. “She did? She’s not my girlfriend,” he says.

  “I know,” I say, laughing. “I know. But we had a little chat. Basically, she just wanted to make sure we were all right and hear how Salter was doing. Very sweet lady. Did you know her real name is Roberta?”

  “She told me she would never tell me what her real name was,” Joey says.

  “Guess she trusts me more than a guy who runs out on her.”

  Joey blushes again. “She told you about that?”

  I laugh and want to tease him more, when I hear my dad yell: “Let’s do this!”

  We all grab the board and start to pull him out. I have been giving my dad a hard time about not answering the phone and not getting out of the house before Blake came on the night of the attack. While lying in his bed at the hospital, he told me he heard my messages, but decided he couldn’t run. He was tired of running from his own son.

  “I had to face him, Mary,” he said. “I created him. I made him what he was. It could only stop with me.”

  Now I have decided to forgive him for putting himself in danger and give him an adventure he will never forget.

  We drag him out through the break, then look at each other as a good glassy wave approaches us.

  “Are you ready, Dad?” I yell.

  He gives me a thumbs up. We push as hard as we can, and seconds later my dad is riding a wave, screaming and yelling with excitement.

  “Whoooooaaaaa!”

  I see him disappear down the wave. Danny and Joey are supporting the board on the sides, so he won’t tip over and fall in the water where he won’t be able to get up again. I yell with excitement while he rides it to the beach and up on the sand. I catch a wave and bodysurf in, then walk up to my dad, where Joey and Danny are helping him get up from the seat.

  “That was the most amazing thing ever!” he yells. “I want to do it again!”

  I laugh and throw myself in Joey’s arms as soon as he has put my dad down in a chair on the beach so he can catch his breath.

  “I can’t believe we did it. I can’t believe we made him surf!” I say excitedly.

  Joey looks at me, then kisses me gently. “As long as we’re together, anything is possible,” he says smiling.

  Salter runs to us, then joins our hug. I put my hand around him as well, and push back tears. The rest of the crew join in soon too and we all hug for a very long time. I look into Sandra’s eyes. She has finally told Ryan about her and Alex, and she has moved in with Alex. I am so happy to have her back and asked for her forgiveness because I got so mad at her.

  “As long as we’re all together, nothing can tear us apart,” I say. “Nothing can ever tear the Seventh Street Crew apart again.”

  THE END

  Afterword

  Dear Reader,

  Thank you for purchasing Careful Little Eyes (7th Street Crew#4). The idea for this book came to me when a little girl moved in across the street from us and started to play with my youngest daughter. Suddenly, she was here every day, and I started to wonder where her parents were. Later, I learned she was alone with her mother and that the mother was on drugs. It was obvious to me that the child craved adult attention and she tried to get it from me and from coming here. I let her come as often as she wanted to and she often slept over on the weekends. She would sometimes cling to me and need my hugs and attention to such an extent that it made me feel bad. I started to get very close with her and very attached to her, but I also knew that since the mother and her moved very often, she might get pulled out of my life just as suddenly as she entered it. And I was right. One day, she had moved out, and I never heard from her again. In the time after she left, I started to wonder. What if she had shown up at my house bruised? What would I have done? What if someone decided to keep a child like that? To protect her? What if you ran away with her? Of course, I knew I couldn’t, but what if someone—someone who had lost a child of her own—did so in order to protect her? Because no one else cared enough to act?

  And that was how the story was born.


  The Axeman is a real story. In 1918-19 he spread panic in New Orleans as he killed people in their beds. He later disappeared and no one knows who the real Axeman was. You can read more about him here and also see the letter he sent to a newspaper back then stating he wouldn’t kill someone if they were playing jazz music.

  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axeman_of_New_Orleans

  The story of the boy and him haunting the Hotel Monteleone is also true. As true as ghost stories get. Read about the hotel and the boy here.

  http://hotelmonteleone.com/accommodations-ppcb/?gclid=CJjV172z088CFQaUaQodlTEKGQ

  I went to New Orleans this summer and it was quite spectacular. Go there if you can. It’s worth it.

  Thank you again for all your support. Don’t forget to leave a review if you can. It means a lot to me.

  Take care,

  Willow

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  Books by the Author

  Mystery/Horror Novels:

  What Hurts the Host (7th Street Crew #1) - Grab your copy today

  You Can Run (7th Street Crew #2) - Grab your copy today

  You Can’t Hide (7th Street Crew #3) - Grab your copy today

  Carefull Little Eyes (7th Street Crew #4) - Coming out October, 2016

  Hit the Road Jack (Jack Ryder #1) - Grab your copy today

  Slip Out the Back Jack (Jack Ryder #2) - Grab your copy today

  The House that Jack Built (Jack Ryder #3) - Grab your copy today

 
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