Later that evening, the Detective called me back.
“Miss Blake, I checked on that janitor. He said he had forgotten that he had taken Mr. Dodge’s key off his ring so that he could get a new one made. Apparently, the old one wasn’t opening the door. So, it looks as if Mr. Dodge is our culprit.
“Oh, thank God. It’s over. Thank you so much, detective.”
“Don’t mention it.”
“Did you arret him at work?”
“No. Early this morning before he left for work. I made him call in sick.”
Back at the precinct, a Detective Blanche was questioning Mr. Dodge about the phone calls. “Why did you terrorize Amanda Blake?”
“I’m telling you that I didn’t.”
“Oh ya? You said you were inn your office at the times those calls were made, correct?”
“Then you made them.”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Okay, smarty pants, then tell me how you didn’t make phone calls from your office when you were there.”
“You heard me. Computers. Somehow you can make it look as though a phone call is coming from somewhere else other than the real place they’re calling from. It’s done through the computer using the phone lines.”
“How do you know all this?”
“I watch a lot of television.”
“Damn. Back to square one.”
I went to bed early that night, to get caught up on my sleep. In the middle of the night, I woke up to a scratching noise. The clock display read 11:00 pm.
“Brandy, is that you chewing on paper again? You’re a good dog normally, but when you wake me up, it’s another story.”
“Noooooooo, iiiiiiiit’s meeeeeee. You are mine. I must have you,” the voice slowly whispered.
“Who is it? Who’s there? Whoever you are, get out of my house,” I said, as my voice shook with fear. I could smell that eerie scent of roses that came with that note yesterday.
“I seeeeee youuuuuuuu. I am in your mind, and I am part of you now.”
“No, no, no, no! You’re in jail, the police arrested you. Leave me alone.”
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha… It worked like a charm, didn’t it?”
I couldn’t quite place where the voice was coming from. I got up out of bed and frantically felt my way in the dark for the light switch by the door. Finding it, I turned it on. But there was nobody there. From somewhere in the house, I heard a faint tap, tap, tap. I tip toed out of the room and into the hall. Again, I heard tap, tap, tap. Where was Brandy? As I got to the living room, I turned on the light, but then shrank back in horror at the sight of Brandy’s bloody body on the floor. In the corner, hanging from the ceiling, was a dummy that looked like me. It was holding a dark red rose in its mouth. In its hand was a note that read:
You’re next, Amanda
Tears began to stream down my face. Just then, I noticed a car coming up the driveway. Who could that be at this hour? A few minutes alter the bell rang. I quickly put an afghan around me and opened the door. It was Dan. I looked at him suspiciously and said, “What are you doing out so late?”
“I was on my way home from the football game between the Sea Hawks and Miami and thought I’d drive by to see if everything was okay. Now that they caught the guy. Amanda, you’re crying. What’s wrong?”
“Help me, Dan. He, I, he… My dog is dead.”
He ran past her and into the living room.
“We have to call the police. Here, sit down and try to stay calm. I’ll go call the police.”
“Ask to talk to Detective Blanche.”
“Detective Blanche please.” Silence. “Yes, detective, someone has been in Amanda’s house. They’ve killed her dog.” Silence. “Yes, Detective. Yes… yes… Okay, bye.”
He sauntered into the living room with a big grin on his face.
“Are they coming?”
“You see, I really didn’t call them.”
“What do you mean. I heard you. Wait a minute. How did you know that someone had been arrested? I mean, no one knew that accept me and Detective Blanche. It was you, all this time. But I just saw you drive into my driveway. You couldn’t possibly have just been here, and you said you had just come from the football game.”
With a devilish grin, he said, “You’re so gullible. I parked my car around the corner of your house. Perfect, don’t you think? And now, since the police have their man in jail, no one will be able to help you now.”
I wanted to run, but my legs wouldn’t move. I wanted to scream, but my scream was silent. He moved over to me and gently caressed my cheek. I wanted to tell him to stop, but m lips were frozen. I was trembling with fear. Finally, I found my voice. “Leave me alone!” I pulled away from him and started to run to the door, but he blocked me.
Slowly, he walked toward me.
I moved back.
I could hardly breath.
My heart was beating fast.
My legs were rubber, and I couldn’t move fast enough. I tried to make a run for the back door, but still he caught me. He turned me around to face him and threw me to the floor. I tried to get up, but he was on top of me in an instant, ripping my clothes off and hitting me as I tried to fight him hopelessly.
At that moment, both the back and front door flew open. Detective Blanche and his men poured through the doors with guns in their hands.
“Hold it, buddy. Stand up and put your hands on your head.”
Dan just sat there.
After Dan arose, I got up and, in a hurry, put the afghan around me.
“Detective, how did you know? He said he didn’t call you?”
“I never took the tap off your phone. We heard that call he supposedly made to me. It was obvious that he wasn’t talking to me, so I figured something had to be up. By the way, I took the liberty of contacting your Aunt Helen. I told her to come over here, that you might need her.”
The next day I didn’t get up until 12:00 noon. When I walked into the kitchen, Aunt Helen came over to me and gave me a big hug. “Detective Blanche came over this morning to see how you were doing. I told him you were still asleep and shouldn’t be disturbed. He also told me something very interesting.
“He said that after arresting Mr. Hastings, he ran a check on him. Apparently, he’s wanted in California for rape, and that his real name is Doug Frier. He’s also wanted for illegal computer hacking.”
“So that’s how he got my new phone number.”
The thought of last night ran a chill up my spine. Aunt Helen saw me shiver and said, “Oh, come now, love. You’re going to be just fine.”