“I can’t find Twill. Where do you think he is?” asks Douglas Frost as he stands on one side of Dante Schumer’s desk. Dante was looking out of the window and had turned to look at Douglas as he entered.
The question isn’t answered by Dante who just looks at Douglas as several awkward seconds tick by.
Finally, Douglas grins, breaking the tension. “That motherfucker must be guilty of something. No reason to flee otherwise.”
“Isn’t he at his house?” asks Dante. “Did you look there?”
“I looked,” responds Douglas. “I am double guessing my decision to let that bastard out of jail. Perhaps if I had let his ass rot in jail, he’d have more answers for me.”
Dante continues to stare at Douglas with cold eyes, “I guess we better try and track him down then.”
Douglas lets his head bob in agreement, “You have more resources than I do. If you could do something on your end to find this prick, I’d appreciate it. I have to know what he knows about the death of my brother. Don’t you think?”
Dante just nods his head but doesn’t answer verbally, then he slowly turns away to stare out the window once again.
Tenta walks into Dante’s office.
Dante is sitting in his chair, spacing out with something heavy on his mind.
As Tenta reaches the desk, Dante says, “The truth must be hidden as deeply as possible if you want to protect the ones most precious to you.” He finally turns to look at his bodyguard and motions towards a duffle bag on the floor. “This should do it. It’s ten thousand dollars. Make this go away.”
Tenta nods his head and picks up the bag. He turns and walks away.
Twill is sitting eating a meal at a restaurant. He finishes up and starts to stand up to walk out when Tenta walks in.
Twill follows him outside where Tenta opens the trunk of his car. Twill eyes him for a moment and then reaches in and unzips the bag and it is filled to the brim with cash. He glances over at Tenta.
Tenta reaches into his pocket and produces a plane ticket and hands it over. “A house and a job both waiting for you once you arrive.” Twill reaches for the ticket and looks it over.
Twill laughs. “Dante Schumer is a generous man.”
Tenta doesn’t seem amused, “You leave in two days.” He picks up the bag and drops it on the pavement then closes the trunk as Twill continues to smile at him. As Tenta drives off, Twill looks once again at the ticket before dropping it into the bag with all the cash. He picks up the bag and walks back into the restaurant.
“Can I…” he starts but then sees a familiar face.
Douglas Frost looks at him, then looks down at the bag he’s carrying.
Twill looks like someone caught with his hand in the cookie jar as he looks at the lawyer, “Impatient much?” he asks Douglas.
A meal comes to Douglas’ table, but Douglas is staring at Twill, “What’s in the bag?”
Twill sits down at Douglas’ table and sets the bag down, using his foot to slide it under the bench. “Just some tools. For work.”
Douglas gives a soft laugh as if he doesn’t believe him. “Where you been? I went to your house.”
“I’ve been working.”
Douglas takes a bite of his meal. After he swallows, he drinks from his water glass and then says, “A million dollars.”
That gets Twill’s attention as he looks curiously at the lawyer, “What?”
“Give me everything you have on that murder and I’ll give you a million dollars.” Douglas reaches for his wallet and drops $100 on the table for a meal he’s only taken a single bite of. “But you better bring me something important.” He slides out of the booth and walks out the door, leaving Twill to his bag with ten thousand dollars in it.
A million dollars is looking like a much better deal right about now.
Douglas walks to his car and unlocks it then gets inside. He reaches for his phone and dials. “Carlos, find out if Twill has any flights scheduled. You may have to get creative. Check all his relatives’ names as well.”
The next morning Carlos walks into Douglas’ office with a piece of paper. He offers a big yawn perhaps indicating he’s been up all night working on this for Douglas. “I think he’s about to run. There’s a plane to Australia that leaves tomorrow.”
Douglas looks the paper over, “The guy is dirt poor. Someone has to be bankrolling him. See if you can find out who.”
Carlos looks at him for a moment then with great pains he stands up and turns and starts to walk out. He mutters all the way to the door, “I was gonna get some sleep. This job will be the death of me.”
Dante Schumer and Brent Koff are having a meal together in a very expensive restaurant. Dante slides a piece of paper across the table which Brent picks up and looks over. It looks to be a deed to a piece of property. “Thank you for this,” he says as he folds it up and sticks it into his pocket.
“You did a great job during the trial. I appreciate your support,” says Dante.
Brent waves him off, “It’s nothing. Don’t worry, I have everything under control at the prosecutor’s office.”
Dante smiles, “Even Sue Ann Clark?”
Brent returns the smile, “Even Sue Ann Clark.”
Dante nods his head, “Keep an eye on her and keep her in line. Perhaps in a few years, I’ll back you for Attorney General or the Supreme Court.”
“I’d appreciate that.”
“Sue Ann Clark needs to be reined in. She’s taken a keen interest in something she doesn’t need to be involved in. I need you to make her stop.”
Brent nods, “Don’t worry. I know just what to do.”
They both laugh.
Paul Young is throwing some sort of tantrum at the police station, “What the fuck are you guys doing? It’s been weeks and there’s been no movement on Detective Hammer’s case? Are you even police officers?” He walks over and slides a bunch of files off the top of a filing cabinet.
“You won’t let me do it! Then get your asses out there and get it done! What the fuck is going on here? I swear to you if you won’t do your goddamned jobs, then I’ll do it for you whether you want me to or not. That old man busted his ass for this precinct and you’re sitting on your ass eating doughnuts.”
He turns around and tips over the water dispenser, “You all know this was no accident so why are you treating it like a fucking accident?”
Finally, one of the other cops speaks, “Are you trying to get fired, Young? You punk.”
Young storms out of the precinct and stops as he looks at the empty parking space that has been Detective Hammer’s parking space. With tears in his eyes, he mutters, “The old man told me to stop causing trouble and look what he’s done now.”
Sue Ann Clark is sitting in her office. The sun’s going down, but there’s still some light coming through the window as she stares off into space.
Paul Young walks into the office with a large stack of files and he drops them on her desk. “The police are refusing to look into Hammer’s death. I want to work with you. I want to find out who killed Detective Hammer and ensure that fucker goes to jail.”
Clark had look at Young when he first walked in but after he speaks, she just turns away.
“That idiot,” continues Young. “I told him to take it easy before his retirement but he had to go digging into the shit. There was no reason for him to risk his life like that.” He looks down at Clark, “Hey.”
She finally looks at him and we see her eyes are puffy, red. She’s been crying. He continues, “I believe that the murder from seven years ago is related to this. Perhaps even the same killer. Either you can work with me, or I’ll go do it myself.”
She finally turns away and flips through one of the files, “Don’t get involved.”
“What did you say?”
“Hammer said you were a good cop. When you’re sober. And you’re rarely sober. I don’t need that kind of liability.”
Dante Schumer is driving himself through the pouring rain. He stops outside of a very expensive home and rushes from his car to the house. He is let in and let through a series of halls until they get to the end where is a door is padlocked, not just once, but three times.
A young woman in a nightgown is hurrying down a road in the pouring rain. She’s limping and stumbles. She falls once as she turns to look back from where she came before hurrying back to her feet and limping down the road.
She spots a garage up ahead.
She steps inside and locks the door behind her as she looks around. She crosses her arms in front of her, trying to warm up from being soaked to the bone. Suddenly, a shadow appears at the door but she’s not facing that direction and doesn’t see it.
The shadow tries to open the door, but it’s locked so it pounds on the door, which scares the woman who turns around quickly to face the door. The shadow leaves that door and moves around to the other side where a large bay door is easily opened.
The headlights from the car parked in front shine into the building as the figure, wearing a raincoat with a hood on it steps into the building. The lights from the car make it difficult to determine who the person is underneath.
The woman screams as the hooded figure plunges a knife right into the side of her throat. We get a view from the side of the car as we watch the figure stab her in the neck repeatedly.
Ellen Sinclair is sitting at her desk which is under a window. She watches the rain pour down outside. She looks back down at the notebook in front of her and begins to write in her journal:
What happened that day…
She continues to write.
Dawn is approaching as Sue Ann Clark pulls her car into a driveway of a garage. She hurries out of her car and walks towards the double door opening. It’s here we see that it’s the same garage from the previous night.
She walks in and the CSI team is already taking photos and documenting the scene. She looks down at the bloody body. The woman is practically soaked in her own blood from head to toe.
“Have you identified the victim?” she asks.
Paul Young approaches her, “She’s an actress with Spinet Entertainment.”
The name rings a bell with Sue Ann who looks at Young, “Spinet Entertainment?”
She looks back at the body just as they are covering it with a white cloth.
Dante Schumer is sitting at his desk when Tenta walks in.
“Twill didn’t get on the plane.”
That was not what Schumer wanted to hear as he slowly looks up at his bodyguard.
“He seems to have disappeared,” continues Tenta.
Dante’s eyes widen as he looks on in disbelief.
Young walks out of a building where Sue Ann Clark is waiting, “CSI says the stabbing, in this case, is different to the from seven years ago. There was nothing at all saying the victim tried to defend herself so it’s suspected that the killer was a pro.”
She takes the case file from him and opens it before glancing up at him, “You read through this entire file already?”
“I guess you forgot what he told you,” says Young. “I’m quite useful when I’m sober.”
This causes Sue Ann to laugh.
“The victim from seven years ago was stabbed on the right side. But in this case, it was on the left side. So, we’re looking for a left-handed killer.”
Sue Ann finds that curious and looks at him, “What if the killer is trying to confuse us by using both hands?”
Young nods. “That’s what I was thinking. He’s trying to throw us off his trail. Looking at the location, it seems like there are two killers but each stabbing is otherwise identical.”
Sue Ann nods, in thought, “So, we may be looking at the second killing of the same killer. Where’s Card? Twill, I mean.”
“He seems to have fled. We aren’t sure to where.”
“He needs to be placed on the most wanted list immediately,” she says.
Dante’s phone lights up as he sits silently in his room. He glances at it and then reaches for it. He opens his message and he sees a single video that’s labeled Kam Loon Restaurant. Before he has a chance to play it, he gets a phone call from a restricted number.
He answers and brings the phone to his ear.
“How have you been, sir?” the voice of Twill. “I thought this video might keep me safe so I decided to hang on to it.”
“What is it you want?” asks Dante.
“Living a life far away from here is going to be more expensive than $10,000. In fact, I have someone interested in that video who’s willing to pay a million dollars. If you can beat it, it’s yours. Let’s meet, tomorrow at 8 am. I’ll send you an address. And don’t try to send that thug of yours either. I have a safety measure in place. If something should happen to me, the video will be sent to the media.”
Dante brings the phone down and hangs up on Twill.
Tenta walks in, “Twill has been placed on the most wanted list.”
Dante nods and rises from his chair and walks to the window.
Young is chasing someone through the city on foot. The young man he’s chasing ducks into an alley, but Young is close behind. As he gets close enough, he leaps and tackles the man, though he rolls past him. Young is quickly on his feet and before the young man can get to his feet, a kick to the side of the head drops him.
A few moments later, Young has four men on their knees in the middle of the sidewalk, each with their hands cuffed behind them.
“Let’s make this very simple,” Young says to them as he paces in front of them. “I want the whereabouts of Twill by the end of the day. If I don’t get his location by the end of the day, I will run you in for assault, blackmail, extortion, and so forth and so on. He will more than likely looking for fake IDs, burner phones, or stolen cars to flee the city. Find me this asshole and I’ll leave you alone for a couple of months. Understood?”
Douglas walks into his office, “What do you have?” he asks Carlos who was just drinking from his coffee mug.
After a moment to swallow, Carlos says, “So, he was supposed to go to Australia last night but failed to get on the plane.”
“Any idea where he is?”
“I have some people looking for him now. What do you think caused him to stay behind?”
Douglas looks on deep in thought, “He has unfinished business.” He snaps out of his gaze and looks at Carlos, “Let me know when you track that fucker down.”
Dante sits at his desk. He is also deep in thought as he holds a replica of the building he is creating in his hands. His eyes look up as his door swings open and Douglas walks in.
“That motherfucker, Twill. I offered him a great deal, but he still hasn’t gotten back to me.”
That catches Dante by surprise, “A deal?”
“I told him I’d give him a million dollars for information on Justin’s death,” says Douglas as he plops down on the couch. “A rat like that has a love for money, you know. I’m wondering if someone already gave him a shit ton of cash. It kind of hurts my pride a little that he hasn’t gotten back to me.”
Dante, the quiet one as always kind of laughs it off as Douglas watches him. He reaches for his phone, “Yes, Carlos?”
“Twill is on the move.”
Dante is watching Douglas very closely and though he couldn’t hear what Carlos had to say, he’s awful curious.
“Got it. I’m on my way,” Douglas says as he rises. “I guess I’m the only one who can handle stuff at the office. I had wanted to chat, Dante, but duty calls.” He says with a smile, but that smile disappears as soon as he turns away from Dante and heads out the door with Dante watching him the entire time.
Tenta steps outside with a large duffle bag and places it into the trunk before getting into the car.
Paul Young is speeding his way through Seattle, swerving from one lane to another as Sue Ann holds on tight to the grip above her door, “How did you find him so quickly?”
Looking straight ahead as he drives, Young responds. “This isn’t quick at all. This is the fruit of my labor and the reliance on friends. I’m gonna get that motherfucker.”
Sue Ann takes in a deep breath as she grips tighter.
Twill is walking through a heavily crowded area wearing a hoodie and a ball cap, trying to keep from being recognized.
Frost pulls up to the side of the road and gets out and quickly begins to look around.
Somewhere else, Young and Clark park and both exit their vehicles and begin to search with several officers parking right behind them and also getting out of their vehicles. Young begins to give them search directions, pointing each group in a different direction.
Twill continues to walk through, while we see shots of both Douglas Frost and Paul Young with Sue Ann Clark also looking.
Twill walks under an overpass and settles on a bench, where neatly tucked behind is a duffle bag. He reaches for it, tucking it under his arm and looking around to make sure no one has spotted him before getting up and hurrying off.
As he moves on, he notices a group of four men in suits following him. However, as the camera pans up, we see Young and Clark on the overpass above. They pause to look when they spot him walking away from them.
“Shit,” says Young as he begins to run to find a way down from the overpass, which Clark starting to run after him.
Twill keeps looking behind him and finally just can’t deal and begins to run for it.
The four suited men begin to run after him with one of them speaking into a headset.
Young runs down the stairs with Clark behind him and they pursue Twill.
Twill begins shoving people out of his way and with his size, they go down pretty easily.
Douglas Frost is looking and he glances forward and his eyes go wide as he sees Twill coming right towards him. Twill turns around and stops as he comes face to face with Frost.
Then suddenly darts to the right.
He runs across a small stream and back up the embankment. He’s almost caught but manages to push the officers into the water before making it to the top where he shoves another civilian down and takes off. Young and Clark are right on his heels.
Twill rounds the corner and goes up a flight of stairs and Young is right there, so Twill grabs someone and just shoves them right at Young, sending them both down the stairs. With the stairway blocked, Clark runs to the right underneath the stairwell and manages to catch him but just as she reaches him, Twill leaps over the side railing and lands in a dumpster below and she stops to lean over. She sees Young and points, “He went that way!” And she runs again.
Young runs after Twill who runs into traffic and nearly gets hit. Young also makes it across the street, but Clark has to pause to let a couple of cars by before she runs across. Twill runs down an alley with Young not too far behind. Clark makes it to the alley but runs in a different direction.
The alley zigs and zags as Twill spills a trash can and then pushes a man into Young that takes him down. A grin appears on Twill’s face as he feels he’s almost free. He turns a corner and stops to catch his breath. He zips open the bag only to find a bunch of paperback books inside. “Fucking Schumer,” he groans.
He leaves the bag and starts to leave when around the corner, Douglas Frost grabs him by the throat and pushes him against the wall. “I told you if you tried anything funny, you were a dead man.”
Twill is still trying to catch his breath, “The prosecutor and the cops are after me. If I get caught now, you get nothing.”
Douglas grips his throat tighter, “Motherfucker, did you honestly believe I take anything you say at face value?”
Sue Ann Clark runs into the alley and looks around, only to be spotted by Carlos who steps around the corner. “Sue Ann Clark is nearby.”
She sees Carlos and starts walking towards him. Carlos walks towards her.
Suddenly, Twill says, “Those boys weren’t the ones who killed your brother.”
Douglas turns back to him.
“Someone else killed your brother. Do you want the evidence? I want 1.5 million dollars.”
Douglas raises a fist, “I swear if you’re fucking with me, I will end you.”
It’s then that Sue Ann sees Douglas and Twill and she pushes past Carlos, just as Douglas releases Twill who runs off.
Sue Ann reaches Douglas and looks at him with a disgusting look on her face before she runs after Twill.
Douglas turns and walks towards Carlos.
Sue Ann Clark barges into Douglas’ office.
“Where is he?” she asks.
“Who are you referring to?” asks Douglas.
“You know exactly who I’m referring to. Gerald Card. Twill. Whatever the fuck you want to call him. Where is he?” she demands.
Douglas shrugs nonchalantly, “I’ve no idea.”
“I can arrest you for obstructing justice.”
“Where is your proof that I did any such thing?”
“A person died as soon as Twill got out of prison,” she states. “Someone from the same agency as the girl from seven years ago died by similar means. He may kill again if we don’t stop him.”
Again, Douglas shrugs. “Got nothing to do with me.”
“Who told you to get Twill out of prison? Schumer?” she asks.
Douglas looks up at her but otherwise remains silent.
Sue Ann Clark sighs deeply. “Once we catch him, I’m coming after you next.”
With that, she turns and walks out of the office.
Later she walks up the steps to the prosecutor’s building and her father is standing there. “I heard you have a major case going on right now,” says Stanley Clark. “Why do you look so down?”
“Have you been standing here waiting for me?” Sue Ann asks him as a car drives up and Dante Schumer gets out of the back.
He greets them both but turns to address the Attorney General, “I have been meaning to set up a meeting between us…”
Stanley cuts him off, “And what would we need to meet about? Unless we have official business, there’s no reason for us to have any meetings. I’m afraid I don’t see a reason.” He turns to Sue Ann, “Let’s go,” and he starts to walk off.
Sue Ann looks at Dante for a moment, a small grin on her face before she turns to catch up with her father.
Dante doesn’t seem pleased to be treated in such a way as he watches them leave.
A little while later Sue Ann and Stanley are having a meal. She finally brings up the topic she’s been avoiding, “I know you probably don’t want to hear this but Dante Schumer is somehow connected to a murder seven years ago.”
A look of concern crosses Stanley’s face, “I know I taught you this, but a prosecutor shouldn’t throw around suspicion so easily.”
“What if it’s a reasonable suspicion?”
Stanley looks at her and then sets his fork down and she notices and asks, “Is this all you eat? You really should eat more to keep up your health.”
He shakes his head, “As long as I eat something, that’s all I need.”
Meaning, that’s the end of that particular conversation. She brings her hands up as she leans her elbows on the table, “This case I’m working on seems to get more complicated by the minute. It feels like I’ve caught a whale with a trout fishing line.”
Stanley listens and nods. “Take a step back and look at the view from the top. It might be simpler than you think.”
She reaches for her fork and picks at her food, “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
“Like people who pan for gold, gather everything you can on this case and go through them with a fine-tooth comb. The truth will rise to the top,” he says to her. He finishes his coffee and reaches into his pocket for his glasses and places them on his face. “Let’s go.”
Surprised, Sue Ann looks at him, “But it’s still lunchtime?”
Almost scoldingly, he looks at her, “You said you had no leads in this case. Get back to work.” He rises from his seat and walks off, leaving her there.
Brent Koff is on the phone when Brenda Wright walks in. He hangs up as she reaches his desk and lays a folder on top. “It’s the weekly report,” she says.
He ignores the folder for now, looking up at her, “Explain to me this case that Clark is working on. I just got a call from Dante Schumer…”
“The case she was working on was the assault that’s been wrapped up,” she interrupts. “For now, everything she has is petty crimes.”
Brent shakes a finger, “Not those. I am hearing rumors that she’s unofficially looking into something. That’s what I want to know about.”
Brenda pauses before she finally speaks, “I mean, there’s something suspicious for sure. She has taken interest in an unresolved murder case from seven years ago in which Gerald Card was the prime suspect.”
Koff thinks aloud, “Murder case? Didn’t Card work for Schumer Construction?”
“Dante Schumer seems to have a special interest in this case. I need to find a way to use Clark to get an upper hand on him,” says Koff.
A glimmer comes to Brenda’s eye, “Then perhaps you can ask Clark to officially investigate this case that way Dante Schumer must rely on you.”
Koff snaps his finger and points at Brenda, “Perfect. Let’s do that!”
“I’ll get her right on it.”
Douglas Frost is looking at a still frame of the meeting between Ellen Sinclair and Twill where she handed the package off to him. Something doesn’t sit right with him as he gets out of his chair.
A few moments later he’s pulling his car off to the side of the road when he spots Ellen Sinclair coming out of her apartment building. She stands there as if she’s waiting for someone to pick her up.
Frost gets out of his car and walks towards her.
She spots him coming towards her and she turns to go back inside when he says, “What was it? In that package.”
She stops walking and turns to him, “I’ve no idea.”
She starts to walk inside when he grabs her arm hard, “A delivery driver died that day because of that thing you got!”
This gets her attention as she slowly looks up at him.
“Twill said you know everything. He said you played a part.”
She looks down as if remembering the incident, “It wasn’t me. I just did what I was told to do.”
“What was in the package?” he asks again. “You played your part in a murder, that’s what you did. You can tell me now, or you can tell it to the police.”
She stutters for a bit before blurting out, “I told you. I don’t know anything. I received the USB and I handed it over to Twill.”
Stephen Spinet walks out from the garage, “Who’s this guy?”
Douglas looks at Spinet for a moment and turns and walks away.
Spinet watches him go and then looks at Ellen, “Get in the car.”
She nods her head and walks into the garage as Stephen Spinet keeps watching Douglas leave. He reaches into his pocket and produces a phone and makes a call.
Tenta is standing next to a seated Dante Schumer, “It looks like Frost met with Sinclair.”
Dante slowly nods his head, “I thought she was involved with Spinet, but seems like she has a connection to Twill as well.” Dante leans forwards and picks up a photo that was laid out on the table in front of him and looks at it closely.
It’s a picture of Ellen Sinclair walking away from Justin Frost.
Frost is at a shipping business that his brother used to work for when someone brings him a clipboard and he begins to flip through it until he finds what he’s looking for.
“Crystal Music Box – Damaged”
There’s also a name and address.
He says aloud to himself, “The item in the box was a music box that was damaged during delivery but she said it was a USB drive.”
7 Years Ago (on the day of the murder)
Justin Frost is filling out a damage report. He reaches into the box and pulls out the broken music box when a USB drive falls out and onto the floor.
He hears it land and looks down at it. He picks it up and is curious enough about it to plug it into his work computer. He opens the folder and there’s a single file on it that is labeled “Kam Loon Restaurant”. He clicks the file.
He watches the video when his phone suddenly vibrates and it startles him so he jerks the USB from the computer and answers the phone.
The next day he is shown waiting on the street corner, box in hand when Ellen Sinclair approaches him.
“Excuse me,” she says.
Justin spins around, “Oh! Are you the one who called me?”
Ellen nods, “Yes.”
Justin hands over the box. It’s open already for some reason. “I’m sorry about that.”
Ellen smiles at him, “It’s alright. Really.”
“I can compensate you for the broken music box if you like,” he offers.
“It’s fine,” Ellen says, shaking her head. She pauses before asking, “By the way, did you look inside the box?”
Justin pauses as he looks down at the box. He looks like he’s about to say something different, then changes his mind, “No. No, I didn’t.”
Ellen looks at him, though her expression doesn’t look like she believes him. But she nods her head. “Okay. Thank you.” She turns to leave.
Justin watches her leave, perhaps wondering if he did the right thing.
Later that night, he’s still at work sitting at his desk. He sends her a text, “If you decide you want me to pay for breaking the music box, don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
His phone begins to ring.
He picks it up, “Hello? Is something wrong?” When he doesn’t hear anything he remembers what he saw on the USB drive and asks, “Should I contact the police?”
On the other end of the phone, Twill is listening but doesn’t say anything.
Douglas walks in front of the street corner camera and looks up at it. He just stands there for a long while until his phone begins to ring. He reaching into his pocket and pulls it out.
He puts it up to his ear and hears, “Listen carefully. Don’t tell anyone. Come alone.”
It has started pouring rain as Douglas drives through it.
He’s soaking wet as he walks underneath an overpass. He appears to be the only idiot not carrying an umbrella. His phone buzzes again. “Are you fucking with me? Where are you, you piece of shit?”
Twill answers, “I decided to change the location.”
Douglas walks back to his car and gets inside. He puts the phone back up to his ear, “I told you I’d kill you if you fucked with me.” He pulls out into the street.
Dante Schumer is sitting at his desk. He is working on his model of the building he wants to create in Seattle.
He’s making sure everything is perfect as he adds a piece to it and gently slides his finger along the edge.
Douglas walks down some stairs into an underground subway. He looks around for Twill but sees nothing. He places his hands on his hips. His phone vibrates again and he pulls it out, “Now I know you’re fucking with me…”
“Shut up. Turn around and you’ll find your brother’s phone.”
Douglas turns around and sees some lockers there.
“On the phone is the evidence you need.”
Douglas walks towards the lockers, “So who killed him, shit bag?”
“It’s all there.”
Douglas is silent for a moment as he reaches the lockers, “If you’re messing with me, I swear to God…”
“If you don’t believe me, just call his number,” Twill says and hangs up the phone.
Douglas slowly lowers the phone. He glances down at it and begins to punch in the number and then brings the phone to his ear.
Suddenly, a phone begins to ring inside the locker. A horrified look crosses Douglas’ face as he moves towards the sound, standing right in front of the locker. He disconnects the call and then pulls at the locker, trying to open it but it won’t open without a key. He turns and sees a pair of legs on the stairway and runs towards them. The legs run up the stairs and into the rain as Douglas runs after them. He gets out into the open with rain pouring down on him and realizes he lost Twill.
He runs back into the subway and to the locker when his phone rings again. “Give me 1.5 million dollars and I’ll give you the key. Don’t tell a goddamned soul, especially Schumer.”
Frantically, Douglas answers, “Tell me where you are. I’ll bring you the goddamned money right now. Tell me where the fuck you are!”
“Don’t tell Schumer. Do not trust him. Get me the money by tomorrow. I’ll send you the time and place then.” Twill hangs up.
“Hey!” shouts Douglas into the phone, then realizes the call is disconnected. He slams one of the open locker doors in anger. He stares at the locked locker where his brother’s phone is realizing just how close he is and he lets out a primal scream of frustration.
He leans against the lockers and slowly slides down until he’s sitting.
The following day, Douglas is pacing in his office when Dante Schumer walks in.
“You look surprised,” notes Dante as he walks in and takes a seat.
Douglas shakes his head, “I’m not. What’s up?”
“I came to have lunch,” says Dante. “About Twill, looks like he really fled.”
There’s a moment of silence before Dante asks, “Has he been in touch?”
Douglas nods, “He has. But Dante, he told me something very interesting.”
The two men look at each other silently.
“He told me not to trust you.”
More awkward silence.
Douglas laughs, “That motherfucker is full of shit, right?”
Dante Schumer almost smiles as the two looks at each other.
When Douglas’ phone begins to vibrate, he flips it to see it’s a restricted number again.
He hesitates to answer it and Dante reaches for the newspaper and begins to read. Well, this is awkward.
Douglas swipes to answer the phone, “Hello? What’s up Carlos?” Douglas stands up, “That thing you asked for? I looked into it but… hold on a second.” He walks out of the office. Dante lowers the newspaper.
Out on the patio, Douglas looks to make sure he wasn’t followed. “When and where?”
As he lowers the phone, he turns around and sees Dante standing there. The two walk towards each other, Dante says, “Let’s rain check for lunch. Looks like you might be busy today.”
Douglas nods, “Sure. That sounds better.”
Dante nods and walks off. Douglas watches him leave. As the elevator opens, Dante gets inside.
Douglas looks down at his phone and then looks up and as the doors begin to close, the two men make eye contact until the doors close all the way. Douglas turns and walks back into his office where he finds Carlos sitting down looking at his phone.
A suitcase is open on the table and it’s filled with money. Carlos stands as Douglas enters, “Here’s the money you needed.”
Wide-eyed, Douglas asks, “Did Dante see this?”
A little later, Douglas is sitting in his office looking at the suitcase of money when his phone rings. He looks at it and sees it’s Dante. “What’s up Dante?”
“Come out and have a drink.”
“Right now? Sorry, I’m still working on a few things at the office. If it were something that could wait, I’d come out but I’m gonna have to take a rain check. Let’s do it later.”
The look on Dante’s face is not pleasant as he finally answers, “Fine.”
A little later, Dante walks into a bar and immediately sees Douglas sitting at the bar. He walks towards him and sits down.
Douglas turns to him, “Oh, you made it.”
Douglas fills Dante’s glass with some scotch. After it’s consumed, Dante refills both glasses. He takes a moment to look at the scotch label on the bottle before setting it down and asking, “Why do you think Twill said such horse shit? Why would he tell you not to trust me?”
Douglas thinks about it for a moment and then answers honestly, “I don’t know. Why are you worried about what that punk says?”
The words barely leave Douglas’ lips when Dante asks, “What about you? Isn’t that what you’re thinking about? Whether or not you can trust me?”
Douglas blows it off, “Fuck no.” Then he takes a drink from his glass. Dante watches him closely, perhaps looking for a tell before turning back to his glass and taking a drink as well.
After drinks, Douglas is back in his office waiting impatiently when his phone begins to vibrate.
Next, we see him driving. In fact, he’s speeding through traffic.
Twill pulls underneath an abandoned parking structure. He parks the car and gets out.
Dante has a phone up to his ear. He doesn’t speak but lowers the phone. He reaches up and places his hand on top of his model building and presses down, as it crumbles in a pile of rubble onto his desk.
Douglas gets out of the car and walks towards the structure. He stops when he sees a car sitting there alone.
He walks up to the car and sees Twill inside with lots of smoke. He pulls the door open and realizes that Twill is dead. He searches the man’s pockets and then searches the car. He slams the door shut and slams his hand down on the hood in anger.
7 Years Ago
“Delivery!” says Justin after ringing the doorbell.
He tries to call, but no one answers. He makes a note and starts to walk off when he hears the sound of glass breaking and he turns around towards the door.
He hesitates, then slowly walks over and places his ear on the door. He doesn’t hear anything, but reaches down and pulls on the door handle and it opens up and he looks inside.
He hears the sound of water running when he’s suddenly pulled inside. He scrambles backward as the man stalks him. He turns and sees the bloody woman in the restroom. His eyes go wide when he looks up and sees…
Dante Schumer, knife held high.
Douglas walks into Dante’s house. Dante is sitting at his bar, having a drink.
“Twill is dead.”
Dante swirls the drink in his hand, “Who do you think killed him?” When there’s no response, Dante finally turns his head to look up at Douglas, “You must want to know that.” Douglas slowly turns his head to look at Dante.
Dante turns his attention back to his phone. He swipes it open and makes a call.
Suddenly, a ringtone is heard. It’s the same ringtone that Douglas’ brother used on his phone. The same ringtone Douglas heard at the subway when he called it.
The song continues to play as Douglas’ head turns towards the phone sitting on the table. He slowly walks towards it, eyes wide. The song ends before he reaches it.
“Douglas.” Dante rises from his seat and walks toward him. “Wouldn’t it be better to do things as we always have? I give you work. You do it. I pay you a fortune. Isn’t that how our relationship works?”
The two men look at each other.
“Let’s just look forward. Let’s move ahead from the past, Douglas.”
Again, Douglas doesn’t respond.
Dante walks over to the table where the phone is and reaches for a small wooden statue on his desk. He lifts it up and looks at it. Douglas’ eyes suddenly go wide as Dante brings the base of the statue down onto the phone. Once. Twice. Three times. He pounds it until it’s broken into smaller pieces of plastic, glass, and metal as Douglas looks on in shock.
When Dante stops hitting the phone, Douglas looks up at him. “Dante? What have you done?”
Dante meets Douglas’ gaze, “You’re right. Your brother’s death may not have been an accident.”
“Who killed my brother?”
The two continue to stare at each other.
At the gravesite, Twill’s mother weeps openly as she looks at the tombstone.
From afar, Douglas is watching when Sue Ann walks up and stands next to him. He turns to acknowledge her.
“It has been ruled a suicide,” she says coldly. “His mother refused to allow an autopsy. Everyone involved in the murder case from seven years ago has died.”
Douglas doesn’t respond.
She finally turns to him, “You really don’t want to know who killed Twill? What about your brother’s accident…”?
“Knowing won’t change anything,” he interrupts. He stands there for a moment, then slowly turns and walks away. She stands there watching him walk away.
Dante stands overlooking an empty field when Tenta walks up.
“Is the next date set yet?” asks Dante.
“We should probably do it as quickly as possible,” says Tenta.
“Be careful,” responds Dante.
Dante walks back into his den and as he passes his desk, he stops and looks down. He sees the statue on its side and the shattered cell phone. Then perhaps wonders if he did the right thing.
Douglas is back at his office, and all the shades are drawn down and the room is bathed in an eerie blue, making it seem very dark inside. He sits quietly on a couch deep in thought. He picks up a cell phone and dials. Almost immediately a second cell phone rings and he looks on in as the caller ID says it’s “My Brother”.
He recalls what happened after Dante smashed the phone.
Dante reaches into the desk and pulls out another phone, identical to the smashed phone, and lays it on his desk.
Douglas is standing across from him.
“Is this why you suspected me?” asks Dante.
Douglas looks at him and then slowly reaches down and picks up the second cell phone. He unlocks it and begins to dig into it. Checking messages and photos and videos.
“There’s nothing here,” he says.
“Twill lied to you, Douglas,” says Dante. “He was the one who killed your brother.”
“He killed Justin?”
“Why do you think he had your brother’s phone?” asks Dante. “He murdered that actress seven years ago and then your brother came along accidentally and got involved. That’s why he…” Dante pauses and a pained expression crosses his face. “Anyway, that’s what happened.”
Douglas looks down at the phone, then back up to Dante, “Why? Why put me through all of this?”
“When he made you run around the city looking for your brother’s phone, he was also trying to blackmail me. He said he knew what we did five years ago,” explains Dante.
“How would he know that?” asks Douglas.
“It’s not important. The important part is that he’s dead. If the world finds out what we did that day, we lose everything.”
Douglas closes his eyes and leans against the desk as if trying to make sense of all of this. “If Twill was responsible for all of this, then we sent the wrong kids to prison.”
Dante shakes his head, “He could have paid them to do it. Even if he didn’t, those punks would have probably gotten into trouble sooner or later. There’s no reason for you to feel guilty about those assholes.”
Douglas sighs and looks up at Dante, “What have we done? Don’t you understand why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing all this time? Why I’ve come this far?”
“Isn’t it because of your brother? Is he the reason?”
Confused, Douglas asks, “What do you mean?”
“In the beginning, you were given a choice. That choice has become your life. You chose your fate. Your brother didn’t choose it for you.”
Douglas shakes his head, “I didn’t have a choice.”
“You’re wrong. You knew exactly what you were doing when you made that decision. You were in pain, you couldn’t sleep unless you drank yourself drunk every single night and you spent all of your money like it was burning your hand.”
Douglas is silent for a while as he listens then asks, “What else could I have done?”
Dante isn’t pulling any punches right now, “You hid behind your brother’s death and pretended to be a tormented soul. Then you went on to enjoy the life that you chose. You didn’t want to go back to when you were powerless and penniless. You fucking hypocrite!” Tears are starting to fill Dante’s eyes as he stares a hole in Douglas. He finally turns away, “What you need to do now is make a choice. You can keep chasing the dragon of your brother’s death and go back to poverty where you came from or continue living the life you have now and put this to rest once and for all.”
The two stare at each other for a moment and finally Dante says, “I’m sorry, Douglas. I’m sorry that I made you doubt me and for making you feel as if you were alone in all of this.”
As Douglas remembers that conversation from the previous night. He touches his cell phone again and once more the ringtone on his brother’s phone begins to play. It seems to bring him comfort.
Dante sits at his desk in his den. In front of him is his cell phone. He looks at the video sitting there named “Kam Loon Restaurant.” He slowly reaches out a finger and touches the file. The menu pops up and he moves his finger down to where it says DELETE. He touches it.
It asks him if he’s sure he wants to delete the file.
He clicks YES and the file disappears.
Ellen Sinclair is pacing the floor of her apartment reading lines from a script trying to memorize them when suddenly her lights go out.
She stops pacing and looks around. When she turns around, she sees a figure in the mirror. She very slowly turns around to find there’s no one there, so she slowly turns back around to the mirror and the figure is gone.
Scared, she clutches the script to her chest when a hand comes over her shoulder holding a USB drive. She turns around to see Twill.
She screams as she wakes up in her bed, sweating and panting. She climbs out of her bed and rushes to her bathroom where she kneels and begins to puke into the toilet. When she’s finished, she walks to her sink and runs water. She slowly looks at herself in the mirror as she places her hands under the running water. She brings some water to her mouth to rinse it out and then dries off her hands.
Stanley Clark is putting food into Sue Ann’s fridge.
“You have to stop mom,” Sue Ann says. “I don’t have time to eat meals at home so they’re just going to go bad.”
“Your mother worries about you. She still wants to take care of you. You’re just going to have to put up with it,” he says.
As her phone rings, Stanley notices the clock is hung crooked on the wall and walks over to fix it.
“Hello?” Sue Ann says into the phone. “I’m on my way.” She turns to her father, “Something urgent came up. I have to go.” She grabs a jacket and rushes out.
Her father however notices something through a cracked door and opens it up and walks in to find Sue Ann’s crime wall. He looks over each picture, each post-it.
Sue Ann walks into the CSI lab and into the coroner’s office where Paul Young is already waiting and the murder victim is lying on the table.
As she approaches, the coroner begins to speak. “The MO is completely different from the murder seven years ago.”
“If Twill was the murderer seven years ago, then who killed this girl?” Sue Ann asks aloud. “And why wait seven years?” she asks as she turns to look at Paul Young.
Brent Koff, Brenda Wright, and Dante Schumer are having lunch at a fancy restaurant.
“Thank you for joining us,” says Brent to Dante.
Dante shakes his head, “I should be thanking you for this invitation.”
“Of course, it’ll be our treat. We wouldn’t want anything to mistake this for a bribe,” laughs Brent.
Brenda seems a little uncomfortable sitting there.
Dante grins, “The food always tastes better when someone else is paying.” Brent and Dante laugh about it, while Brenda just sits there.
“What’s the update on Sue Ann Clark?” Dante asks.
“She’s intent on stirring up trouble. She was born with the proverbial silver spoon. She really could just coast through this job on that fact alone, but she wants to act rashly. Perhaps trying to prove something to her father.”
Suddenly, Stanley Clark walks up, “Thank you for the invit…” he starts to speak but stops when he sees Dante Schumer sitting there. He looks at Brent, “Isn’t this lunch for prosecutors only?”
Dante speaks up, “It’s my fault. When I heard you were joining them for lunch, I begged for a seat at the table.”
Clark turns to Brent, “Don’t you ever put me in this position ever again.” He storms out of the restaurant. Brent rushes after him, leaving Brenda in the room with Dante.
Douglas is driving down an old dirt road, pondering the last conversation he had with Dante Schumer.
He pulls into Dante’s driveway and stops, getting out of the car. As he approaches the residence, he stops, remembering what happened five years ago.
5 Years Ago
It’s the scene shown previously. The lamp is tipped over, the light bulb flickering on and off. The record player is playing a slow jazz song. A young Douglas Frost walks over and grabs a wooden statue from the desk. It’s the same statue that Dante used to crush Justin’s cell phone five years later.
Douglas slowly walks into a room, gripping the statue like a weapon. A man is sitting on the floor. The same man who was tried for his brother’s death and only got 10 months in prison.
Douglas walks up to him, “I’ve never seen anyone die in front of me before,” he says.
A closer look at the man on the floor shows he’s already been beaten pretty badly, his face covered in blood.
Douglas grips the statue tighter. He raises it quickly and starts to strike but he stops himself. Douglas’ hand is already covered in blood, so begs to assume he probably beat the man already. He slowly lowers the statue and someone walks up next to him and takes it from his hand.
Dante Schumer takes the statue from Douglas with a gloved hand and walks up to the man, raises the statue, and brings it down onto his skull.
Douglas’ eyes go wide as he takes a couple of steps back.
He watches as Dante bashes the man repeated in the head with that weapon, a sick wet thud sound made with each blow. Dante hits him so hard that blood sprays back and splatters against Douglas’ face causing him to step backward.
Dante starts to walk off when Douglas says, “I didn’t want it to go this far.”
Dante stops and turns back to him, “You make your choices and I make mine.”
Douglas looks at Dante’s blood-covered face, “What now?”
Dante looks at him, “Do not forget what I did for you tonight.”
Douglas looks at Dante for a moment and then looks around at the carnage all over the room.
Coming back to the present, Douglas walks into Dante’s house. Dante is seated at his desk, so Douglas walks up and sits on the edge, “Dante? I must be the lowest of the low. After what I’ve done, I still want to live a good life.”
Dante chuckles but doesn’t otherwise respond as he looks at his newspaper.
“Why did you do it? Smash the fake phone,” Douglas asks.
Dante looks up from his paper, “Because you suspected me. You put your trust in a piece of trash like Twill over me. I needed to prove a point.”
Douglas takes that information in, then he nods. “You were right. I guess I was afraid.”
Dante reaches for his glass, filled with scotch. “If they could get away with it, any human would choose their own well-being over the lives of hundreds, thousands. Maybe even millions of others.”
“Why is that?”
Dante slides the statue towards Douglas, “It’s because we’re normal. Humans choose between good and evil based on need, not conscience. That’s what we did five years ago.”
Douglas nods his head, “You’re right. We are all made of the same stuff,” he reaches out and turns the statue a little, “Right?”
Dante nods as his phone rings. He picks it up and gets up from his desk, walking towards the window to answer.
Later that evening, Douglas sits alone in his apartment staring at his brother’s phone. He swipes it and selects to power off the device and slowly places it in a drawer, closing it.
Dante Schumer is being fitted for a suit.
“That’s all,” says the tailor as he folds up his measuring tape and makes a few notes. Douglas stands up and the tailor begins to measure him as well.
“Something special happening?” the tailor asks. “Each year, you both come in for a new suit and it usually comes with good news.”
Douglas asks, “Do we have good news, Dante?”
Dante nods as he pulls back on his jacket, “We do. And it will bring us a lot of money.”
“I’m done,” says the tailor, “Let me grab the fabrics.”
“What’s the good news?” asks Douglas as he takes a seat next to Dante.
“There’s a cell phone company. Their workers were blinded by methanol and they are suing the company. I want you to defend the victims,” says Dante.
“What’s the company?”
Confused, Douglas looks at Dante, “I appreciate the fact that you overestimate me but you know that 99 percent of all cases against Tanner have failed, right?”
Dante shrugs, “You haven’t lost a case yet.”
“Motherfucker,” sighs Douglas, “You want me to defend the victims? I figured you would want me to defend Tanner. This isn’t typically your thing. What’s up?”
Dante just shrugs.
In front of the corporate building for Tanner Electronics, a man and his wife are protesting. The wife stands there with a board hanging from her neck proclaiming she was blinded by unsafe practices of Tanner Electronics.
Her husband is handing out flyers. A man on a bike stops in front of the building and locks his bike before walking towards the couple. The man hands a flyer over that says the same as the board on the wife.
The man reads the paper. He turns to the wife and walks towards her. “Excuse me,” he asks the wife. “Did you see a doctor?”
Her head turns towards the sound of his voice. “Yes, of course.”
The man quickly asks, “Can you regain your sight if you had an operation?”
“It’s not a hundred percent, but it’s possible.” Her husband has now seen that the man is talking to his wife.
“Shouldn’t you go to the hospital then?” asks the man.
The husband finally walks up, “Excuse me. Who are you?”
The man reaches into his pocket and produces a badge that says “Brandon Tanner.” “I’m the…”
The husband interrupts, “I know who you are. You are the CEO of the corporation that blinded my wife. You have to help us. My wife was blinded working at one of your plants but no one will help.”
Brandon nods, “I’m sorry about that. I’ve been overseas on business and have just recently returned. I didn’t know about any of this. I’ll look into it immediately and take appropriate action. We will take care of you.”
A few hours later, a board meeting is held at Tanner Electronics.
“Tell them to receive surgery and give them whatever compensation they ask for,” says Tanner.
The man to his right speaks up, “Sir, there’s no way we can do that. If we admit any fault, we could be liable for hundreds of millions, perhaps even billions in compensation. We are this close to launching the new model.”
“Look,” Tanner says, “She’s going blind. What could be worse than that? I want all traces of Methanol removed from the factories. Find a safer replacement.”
The same guy speaks up, “That’s impossible. Replacing the methanol is the same as admitting fault and it would delay the launch. Let’s wait until after the launch and slowly replace the methanol.”
Brandon Tanner slams his hand on the table, “How about if I replace you instead?”
That silences any further conversation.
Douglas Frost sits on a couch at the home of the couple who were protesting earlier. “This is Jewel, my wife. I’m Buddy.” Buddy says as he sets a glass of ice water on the coffee table. “You really can help us for free?”
“I take on cases like this every once in a while when I think someone needs help and can’t afford it.”
Jewel speaks up, “But the CEO said he would look into it.”
Douglas shrugs, “He’s an important guy. I doubt he’ll have time to look into the matter. That’s why corporations have lawyers.”
“I don’t know,” says Buddy. “He seems pretty genuine.”
“He was probably worried that the protest was going to tarnish the company image. Don’t believe everything you’re told. How many times were you told they’d fix the problem?”
Buddy nods, “You’re right.”
“This was my punishment,” Jewel speaks up. “I was too greedy about wanting money. I got paid more to work overnight”
“How much more?” asks Douglas.
“Ten dollars more an hour. For us, that’s a lot. I can afford to pay for my mother’s care with that money.”
Douglas sighs, “If we can win this suit, then you’d have all the money you need to take care of your mother and then some.
“We just want the truth,” says Buddy. “We want them to admit they were wrong.”
“You’d be better off asking for money. They’ll likely not admit to being wrong,” says Douglas. “First thing is first, we need to get your wife her surgery.”
A few moments later, Douglas walks out of the home with a bag of corn.
“It’s all we have to offer,” said Buddy.
As Douglas walks to his car, he stops and drops the corn into a trash can.
Douglas is sitting along having a meal thinking about the couple he just met. Under his breath, he mutters, “Pathetic.”
As he is about to leave the restaurant, he spots a Stephen Spinet dragging Ellen Sinclair down the hall by her arm. Douglas stops and follows.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? I told you how important this was?” Douglas can hear the Spinet’s voice. Douglas stops as he sees the two in a room. Stephen is berating Ellen.
“I’m sorry,” she says. “I’m just not feeling…”
“Oh, here we go again. If you’re not going to do what’s asked of you, then fuck off.”
He goes to take a swing at her when Douglas pushes the door open. Spinet looks at him, “Who the fuck are you?”
Ellen slowly lifts her eyes until she sees the face of Douglas Frost. Douglas returns the look.
“Answer me,” demands Spinet.
Douglas slowly turns his gaze to the man when someone shouts from down the hall, “We have more customers!”
The man looks like he wants to say something, but instead storms out of the room. Douglas turns to watch him leave and then closes the door before turning back to Ellen.
He pulls the shoulder of her jacket down over her arm and there’s a large bruise. She quickly pulls it up, “What are you doing?”
“Is this really how you want to live?” he asks her.
“It’s none of your business.”
“Why didn’t you tell that fucker off?”
She meets his gaze, “I need to make money. I’m going to make so much money, I can walk all over scumbags like you.”
Douglas slowly nods his head, unfazed by her comment. “It won’t happen like this.”
“Why are you here? Are you following me around?” she asks. “Because of that USB drive? I don’t know anything more. Even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you a goddamned thing. So, quit bothering me and get lost, asshole.”
She starts to walk past him to leave when he grabs her arm and pulls her back.
“I don’t care about that. You can do better than this.”
“What’s wrong with ‘this’?” she asks. “We live exactly the same, you and I. We do anything for money. What do you say to that? If you pay me, I’ll spend the night with you too.”
“Do you think you’re any different?” she asks him.
He doesn’t have a response to that, so she finally walks past him and out of the room.
“The victim who died seven years ago, the murder victim and Twill. They are all somehow connected to Spinet Entertainment.” Sue Ann is theorizing out loud as she and Paul Young sit in a car. “All the evidence has been destroyed. The only thing left is Spinet Entertainment.”
Paul Young is scribbling on a notepad, “That’s odd. If all the victims were a part of that agency, how could no one know anything?” Paul glances up and something catches his eye and leans closer to the dash, looking out of the car.
Sue Ann notices and tries to figure out what he’s looking at. A van has pulled up and some girls get out of a van and head inside. “Are you a fan?” she asks.
“I’ve never seen any celebrities up close like this,” he says.
“When I was a student, an agency approached me out of the blue offering me fame and fortunate,” Sue Ann says as she leans back in her chair.
“Those things are scams,” says Paul. “Almost like a cult.”
Sue Ann scoffs, “If I had said yes back then, I would be very famous by now,” she says as she looks in the rearview and combs her hair back with her fingers.
“I’m enchanting, sophisticated, elegant, and refined,” she says.
As the van pulls out, some folks start taking pictures. Paul looks at them, “It’s them. They might know something.” He opens the door and gets out, Sue Ann follows.
On a table, Paul Young places a photo of the murder victim. It looks like a publicity shot. “Do you know this woman?”
The woman he’s questioning looks at the photo, “Isn’t she dead?”
Sue Ann seems surprised, “You know her? What can you tell me about her?”
“She was a quiet type. She was taking acting lessons. After she died, there were so many rumors,” the woman says. “One of the rumors was that her manager killed her.”
“Her manager?” asks Paul Young.
The man with the woman, with the camera nods. “Gerald Card.” He pulls up his phone and does a quick search and then shows the image on the screen. An image of Twill.
Sue Ann looks surprised, “You know him too?”
The woman nods, “Of course! But he was known to be pretty scary. He used to be a criminal and there were rumors that he would abuse those he managed. Oh! And there was a rumor that her best friend disappeared right after she died. She was an actress too. Just up and disappeared. She hasn’t been seen since.”
Sue Ann and Paul look at each other.
Sue Ann pulls up a search engine and types in the name that was given to her. As she scrolls down the list, she finds an article that reads, “An Actress Has Vanished.”
“Look at this,” she says to Paul. They’ve returned to her office and he walks over. “This missing actress was signed to S Entertainment. Isn’t that Spinet Entertainment?”
“I think so.”
As she scrolls down to the comment section, someone has posted, “Someone should look into this. There are more missing actresses out there.”
A little while later they are sitting around a table, Paul Young begins to explain what he’s found. “The first murder victim was seven years ago. Three days later, her best friend went missing. Four years later, this girl goes missing,” he places another photo on the table. “Three years after that, there was another murder.”
“The one from the other day,” asks Sue Ann.
“So, all these cases involve aspiring actresses. There’s no evidence, so someone cleaning up after themselves. There appears to be no motive. All the cases were closed with various reasonable explanations but no arrests.”
Paul Young grabs another piece of paper, “Looking in their backgrounds, they either had no parents, or their parents were disabled. So, there was no one to look for them once they were gone.”
“So, these targets were selected because they could disappear without anyone causing a fuss?” asks Sue Ann.
“That’s the way I figure it,” says Paul.
Sue Ann is silent for a moment as she thinks and then she finally speaks, “We could have a serial murderer on our hands.”
There’s an eerie quiet for a long moment before Paul speaks, “The only difference is they were all from different agencies. Spinet, Williams, and Concord. So, what do these agencies have in common?”
Sue Ann shakes her head, “I’m not sure. Since two of the victims were from Spinet, let’s start there.”
Another paper is produced by Paul, “I looked into Spinet Entertainment’s CEO, Stephen Spinet. He’s squeaky clean. Finances are solid. The only odd thing is that he owns two vehicles with the same exact make and model.”
“Is that uncommon? I feel it’s not very common.”
Paul nods. “It’s not unheard of, but it is a little unusual. Let’s dig a little deeper.”
Sue Ann is about to agree when her door flies open and Brenda Wright barges into the office. Paul suddenly gets to his feet and gathers his things.
“I saw the lights were on,” says Brenda. “I see you both are working hard.” Paul starts to move out the door when Brenda asks, “Aren’t you Detective Young? 3rd Precinct? We’ve met once before.”
Paul looks at her for a moment, “Did we? I’m on my way out. Good night.” He turns and walks out of the office.
Brenda watches him leave before turning back to Sue Ann, “It looks like you’re working on something very important. You even have a detective involved.”
Sue Ann tries to blow it off by laughing, “Just small fry cases that you gave me. Nothing big here. I just had some questions.”
Brenda doesn’t believe her. “If you want to keep your job, make sure you keep whatever it is you’re doing hidden. And learn to be a better liar.”
Sue Ann is actually shocked to hear these words. She nods, “I understand.”
“Good,” Brenda simply says, then turns on her heel and walks out of the office as Sue Ann watches her leave with a confused expression on her face.
A little later, Brenda sits at a bar. There is a bottle sitting in front of her that she picks up and pours some into a glass. She’s about to drink when a man walks up and takes her glass and drinks it down instead.
“A prosecutor drinking in broad daylight? Isn’t that unheard of?” he asks as he sits down next to her. She knows him. “Officer Bryant.”
He turns to her before she can even answer, “I heard you got some nice connections. How about setting me up with something?” he asks.
“I’ll tell you what?” she says to him. “Find out what Paul Young, detective down at the 3rd is working on and I’ll set you up with something.”
“How do I do that?”
She grabs her jacket and gets up from her seat. “You want something you gotta give something. That’s the price.” And without another word, she walks off.
Paul Young rushes into Sue Ann’s office the next day. “You gotta see this!” He slaps down some paper on her desk.
She picks it up, but he can’t wait so he blurts out, “There’s money moving from Schumer Construction into Spinet Entertainment.”
“What?” she asks.
“Spinet has a mistress who owns a high-end bar. Schumer Construction gives money to her business and after it’s laundered, it ends up at Spinet Entertainment.”
She leans back in her chair, “The fuck? Dante Schumer has some sort of interest in Spinet Entertainment?”
Later that night, Dante Schumer’s photo goes up on her crime wall.
However, what she doesn’t know is someone is watching her apartment.
Tenta approaches Dante at his home, “Sue Ann Clark is looking into Spinet Entertainment. I’ll take care of her.”
“Leave her. If something happens to a prosecutor, they won’t just let it slide. That’s not the way we’re going to be able to handle Sue Ann Clark.”
Dante is waiting outside as Douglas exits the courthouse, “I filed the lawsuit, but I’m telling you this isn’t going to be easy. Tanner Electronics has never lost a court case.”
“Then make it easy for them.”
The two starts walking, “What are you talking about?” asks Douglas. “You know you’re the only one I go easy on.”
“It’s been a long time,” comes a voice. Meeting them on the sidewalk is Brandon Tanner and Stanley Clark.
Dante makes the introductions. Brandon looks at Douglas, “You’re the one defending the victims against my company.”
Douglas nods, “Yes, I am.”
Brandon nods, “Do what you can for them. I’m looking into the cause of the accident.”
“I will,” says Douglas.
Dante interjects, “We’re about to have a meal if you’ll excuse us.”
“Schumer Construction is doing well, isn’t it?” asks Brandon.
Dante tries to blow it off, “We’re just a small family business.”
“Please. You’re the largest construction company in Seattle by far. You sign more construction deals than anyone else in the city. I need to get a few business tips from you.”
The two stare at each other.
“I guess an ocean always runs out of water,” says Dante.
Brandon laughs. “Let’s have a meal together soon. Today, I’m having lunch with my friend and adviser.” meaning Stanley Clark which doesn’t go unnoticed by Dante.
Brandon and Stanley walk off and Dante and Douglas watch them leave. “What the fuck was that? It was weird, Dante.”
Dante doesn’t take his eyes off the departing two as he says, “Douglas. I need you to win this case no matter what.”
“Wait! Hold up! What are you saying to me right now?” asks Stephen Spinet as he sits at his desk. Todd is standing behind him.
Sue Ann and Paul Young are seated on the other side of his desk. “Don’t you find it odd that the victim from a murder seven years ago was from your agency? And there was a second girl, also from your agency who went missing. If you know anything, help us out.” Sue Ann says.
Stephen shakes his head, “I already told the police I don’t know anything about any of this. That girl died. It has nothing to do with me or my agency.”
Paul starts to get out of his chair, “What did you say, asshole? I’ll…” but Sue Ann places a hand on his arm and he sits back down.
She turns to Stephen, “Do you have any idea who might have killed her?”
A dramatic sigh from Stephen, “It’s fucking ridiculous, I tell you. How would I know who killed her?”
However, the look on Todd’s face tells a different story.
Stephen continues, “Are you accusing us of murdering those girls?”
“What I want to know is why two twenty-year-old girls had to die and why the murderer hasn’t been caught yet,” she says.
Spinet blows her off, “You watch too much TV. Real-life ain’t like that. The cops don’t always catch the bad guy like in the movies.”
Sue Ann changes course with her questions, “The original detective who was looking into this case died not too long ago.”
“Normally, when something like that happens everyone stays away from a dangerous case like this.”
“I get off on it,” she says. “I’m warning you right now if I find out you’re lying, or you do something stupid I’ll make sure you spend your life in jail.”
Stephen shakes his head, “You’re giving me a headache.”
Sue Ann notices the plaque on his desk with his name and title on it. “By the way, who owns Spinet Entertainment?”
That causes Spinet to look up at her, “What are you asking me right now? Am I under arrest for something right now cause I feel like I don’t gotta answer all your lame ass questions?”
Paul leaps out of his seat, “You disrespectful son of a…”
“It’s fine,” laughs Sue Ann as she also stands. “I’ll find out who owns Spinet Entertainment by asking my lame ass questions to someone else. Have a nice day,” she says oozing with sarcasm.
As the two walk out of the building, Paul looks at her, “What if we go after the mistress?”
Sue Ann shakes her head, “That’s not going to get us anywhere.”
“Why is this so complicated?” he asks as he gets into his car.
She opens her door and climbs in, “Didn’t Detective Hammer tell you that investigating is hard work?”
“That old fart,” Young says as he starts the car. “Always doing things the hard way. Where to?”
Sue Ann looks at him, “Let’s go have a drink. I hear the atmosphere is nice.”
Paul is confused. “I thought you said you didn’t want to chase that lead?”
Sue Ann grins, “I just want to see the pretty people.”
Douglas and Dante are sitting at a bar. The bartender hands over a bottle which Dante accepts and pours him some and some for Douglas as well. “You know I didn’t eat lunch. You want me to drink on an empty stomach?”
Dante sets the bottle down but doesn’t respond otherwise.
“What’s the deal with you and Tanner anyway? You asking me to do this thing, it’s not your speed.”
Dante looks over at him. “You must find fault with Tanner Electronics. If you win, it’ll bring in millions of dollars.”
Douglas thinks about it, then shakes his head. “This doesn’t feel like a money thing. He piss you off or something?”
Dante looks at Douglas and they both laugh. Dante’s smile however fades as he looks past Douglas. Douglas turns his head and sees Sue Ann and Paul coming into the bar. Sue Ann and Paul also notice them. Sue Ann pauses, then turns and heads towards them.
“Do you come here often?” she asks.
“Sometimes,” Dante says. “What brings you here?”
“Obviously, I’m not here to drink. As a government employee, I can’t afford this place. So, I’m here on official business,” she says.
Douglas has looked straight ahead this whole time.
“I heard a lot of fishy stuff goes on around here,” Sue Ann continues.
Dante chuckles, “I guess the owner will have a tough time tonight. The best prosecutor in town is here.”
“I don’t suppose you could put in a good word to the owner for me since you do business with her.”
Dante now turns around in his seat, so he’s completely facing her. “Now, you say things like that and I think you’re coming after me. I probably shouldn’t say too much more. And here I was hoping we could have a nice conversation.”
Sue Ann smirks, “That’s a joke, right?” she turns and walks away.
Finally, as she leaves, Douglas watches her go. Dante has taken note of this as well.
Tenta pulls up to the side of the road and then gets out and opens the door for Dante. Dante emerges from the car and starts to head inside when a voice calls him, “Dad!”
Dante turns around and walks towards the voice. A woman approaches and the two embrace. After a long moment, Dante pulls back, “I thought you were coming home two days ago?”
Desiree nods, “I’ve been back but I wanted to see a few people before I came home.”
“Did you have fun at least?” he asks.
She nods. “Of course.”
He reaches up to touch her on the cheek, “Come on inside.”
The two walk up the stairs.
Douglas is sitting at his desk when his door opens and Brandon Tanner walks in.
“I apologize for dropping in. I was riding my bike to the office and passed by this building and thought I’d come in,” Tanner says as he looks around the office. “This place is gorgeous.”
“Thank you,” Douglas says as he rises from his seat and walks over and the two shake hands. “Would you like to sit down?”
Tanner walks over, still checking out the place, and finally takes a seat.
Douglas takes a seat across from him, “Are you here to negotiate the settlement?”
Tanner shakes his head, “Not at all. I’d send our lawyers to do that if that were the case. I’m more concerned about what exactly happened. The company would try to minimize the incident.”
Douglas nods his head, “If it were to be true, wouldn’t the company be held liable?”
“I supposed finding the cause of the issue that would affect the core business would come at a price,” responds Tanner. He rises from his seat, “As I said, please do your best for them.”
Douglas rises as well and follows Tanner to the door. “By the way,” Tanner starts, “How would you like to come work for me? I can pay you more than you make now and you’d do some good.”
“I’ve been working on something for quite some time. I’m not sure I’m ready to let it go,” Douglas says.
Tanner nods, “I was thinking perhaps it’s time you walked away from him.” Without another word, Tanner walks out of the office.
As Tanner walks to his bike, a little boy in a superhero costume and a balloon in his hand approaches. “Get lost, villain!” he cries out and extends his arm. “Lightning power! Lightning power!”
Tanner looks down at the boy. He looks around and then squats down. “How old are you?”
“Eight years old.”
Tanner slowly reaches over and takes the balloon by the string and holds it. He watches it sway back and forth for a moment. He then offers the string back to the boy.
As the boy is about to grasp it, Brandon Tanner lets go of the string and the balloon floats up into the air. With tears in his eyes, the boy watches the balloon float up and away.
Tanner stands up and puts his helmet on his head and gets on his bicycle and rides off.
The little boy runs off crying, “Mom! Mom!”
Douglas gets a text. “We need to meet. Somewhere we won’t be seen or recognized.”
It was from Sue Ann Clark.
So, it’s later in the evening and the two are sitting in a tiny diner. Sue Ann looks at him, “I’m not sure how much I can trust you, so I wasn’t even sure if I should tell you this.”
“Isn’t it better not to trust then?” asks Douglas.
Sue Ann considers this, then just says, “The murder seven years ago, it wasn’t the only one. There are more deaths linked to that death. They’re linked to Spinet Entertainment.”
Douglas nods, “And?”
“The prime suspect, Twill, and the investigating detective are both dead.”
“The company funding Spinet Entertainment? It’s Schumer Construction.”
Douglas is trying to piece this together, “So what do those funds have to do with the murder? There’s nothing illegal about investing in a company.”
“That’s what I plan to find out. I have a feeling that these are all related somehow. The death and disappearance of two actresses, the death of your brother the delivery driver, Twill and Detective Hammer. I believe Dante Schumer is behind all of this.”
Douglas nods his head, “What are you going to do about it?”
“I’m asking you outright if you have anything to do with any of this. And if you don’t, I want you to come work with me to discover the truth about Dante Schumer.”
“What does he have to do with any of this? You realize that targeting an individual or a company without any proof is illegal.”
Sue Ann runs her hand through her hair, “Do you even know what kind of man he is?”
Douglas nods, “Much better than you do. You should drop this. Immediately. If you go after Schumer, you’ll only end up getting hurt.”
She snorts and leans back in her chair, “Is that some kind of threat?”
Douglas shakes his head. “I’m telling you to investigate when you have evidence or motive. Do not go after an innocent man.”
Sue Ann watches as Douglas stands up and walks away.
Douglas walks into his apartment and starts to take off his jacket when he hears Dante’s voice.
“I love the view from your apartment.”
It startles him at first as he wasn’t expecting it.
Douglas finishes removing his jacket and lays it against the back of the couch. “What is it?”
“Do you still have feelings for Sue Ann Clark?”
Confused, Douglas asks again, “What?”
“I have this feeling you aren’t quite over her.”
Sue Ann is driving home and a car suddenly turns onto the road and tries to cut her off. She turns to avoid it and finds herself driving straight towards a semi.
“Fuck!” she yells as she ducks her head and spins the steering wheel, sending toward the concrete median.