“You know, you can keep screaming but no one will hear you.” Jasmine said as Hazel kept screaming at the top of her lungs.
Jasmine rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Come on Hazel, you can’t possibly be afraid of me. How many times have we been alone together?”
Hazel continued screaming. Jasmine grabbed a piece of cloth and stuck it in Hazel’s mouth. “Will you just shut up.” She said crouching at eye level with Hazel. Hazel’s screams were muffled coming from the cloth. “I just want to talk.”
Hazel spat the cloth out. “Talk? You kidnapped me and tied me up and you just want to talk?” She said indignantly.
“Finally, a coherent sentence from you.” Jasmine said standing straight up. “I was beginning to think you have brain damage.”
“No, you are the one who as brain damage.” Hazel said angrily. “How many people have you killed huh? Three? Four? And that’s not including those who you tried to kill.”
“Wow, so you are just throwing me into the fire.” Jasmine said. “You don’t even care about my side.”
“Oh my God would you listen to yourself?” Hazel said. “You kill people and now you are trying to justify it.”
“I am not okay.” Jasmine yelled. “Don’t try to prove you are better than me, you self-righteous bitch!”
Hazel cringed. She had never seen Jasmine lose her cool that way. This was not the same person she knew.
“Sorry,” Jasmine said calming down. “It has just been a really stressful,” she paused. “year.” She completed.
Hazel looked around her. She was in a room, with only one window. The walls were musty and there were cobwebs in the corners. “Where are we?” She asked.
“In an abandoned house of highway 74.” Jasmine said. “There is nothing around us for miles.”
“Great, so you brought me here to kill me. Just like you killed Carla.” Hazel said.
“Carla was an accident.” Jasmine snapped. “I didn’t mean to kill her.”
“Yes you did.” Hazel said. “John told me about all the drugs. So you are him right? Zas? I bet you killed her because she was onto you.”
Jasmine laughed derisively. “Trust me, Carla didn’t have a clue.” She said. “Well, until the end.”
“How about the others huh?” Hazel said. “The ME? Tom? Probably Jeremiah. I bet his death wasn’t even a suicide.”
Jasmine laughed. “You think I would sneak into a police holding cell and kill someone?”
“I don’t know what you are capable of.” Hazel said.
“Yeah well I can assure you Hazel,” Jasmine said. “I didn’t kill any of them. Someone else did.”
* * *
“No.” Toni said fiercely shaking her head. “I don’t believe it.”
“I know this is hard to understand.” James said. “But it is true. She is the killer.”
“Where is Hazel.” Toni asked. “Jasmine was going over to her house last time I saw her.”
“We haven’t been able to get in touch with her.” James said. “I suspect Jasmine has her.”
“Oh my God.” Toni gasped. “You don’t think anything has happened to her do you?”
“I don’t know.” James said. “But you have all been alone with her right?”
“Yeah.” Toni said. She buried her face in her hands. “I don’t believe it’s been her all this time.”
“So you never noticed anything strange in her behavior this past few weeks?” James asked.
“Jaz has always been weird.” Toni said. “But after Carla’s funeral she seemed more withdrawn. Kind of like sad.”
“Do you have any idea where she might be hiding?” James asked.
Toni thought for a moment. “No, I have no idea.” Toni said. “I guess never really knew her..”
“Okay how about Hazel?” James asked. “Do you know where she can be?”
“You think they are in this together?” Toni asked.
“We have to consider it yeah.” James said.
“Well, Hazel could be in Newport,” Toni started. “Or her aunt’s house, it’s about forty miles from here.”
“So that day you found Tom,” James began. “Where was Jasmine? Was she at school? Where was she after school?”
“I don’t really know.” Toni said. “I saw her at school, but we were fighting that day, so I didn’t see her for most of the day.”
“Do you know who she was with?” James asked.
“She was with Hazel for most of the day I think.” Toni said. “I remember Hazel mentioning she spent some time in the chemistry lab with her.”
“Chemistry lab? As in making drugs?” James asked.
“It was the school’s chemistry lab so I don’t think so.” Toni said.
“Okay,” James said. “Hang tight. Your parents would soon be here.”
* * *
Hazel couldn’t believe the words coming out of Jasmine’s mouth
“You didn’t kill them? If you didn’t then who did?” She asked indignantly.
“That is valuable information.” Jasmine said. “One I am not willing to share, yet” She said.
“What’s the point?” Hazel said. “You are going to kill me anyway. The least you can do is give me answers.”
Jasmine sighed. “Okay what do you want to know?”
“Did you kill Carla?” Hazel asked.
“Yes.” Jasmine said.
Hazel was taken aback. She didn’t expect such a blunt answer from her. “Why?” She asked.
Jasmine pulled up a chair, turned it backwards so the back rest faced Hazel and sat down. “Okay, let me start from the very beginning. Last year, I was in desperate need of cash. So I sold a couple of pills.”
“What kind?” Hazel asked.
“ADD medication.” Jasmine said. “I swiped them from my brother’s medication.”
“What did you need cash for?” Hazel asked.
“My chemistry project.” Jasmine said. “Not everyone that has rich parents to take care of all their problems.”
“Of course.” Hazel muttered. Chemistry genius.”
“Yeah I bet it makes sense now right?” Jasmine said cocking her head to one side. “Anyway I burned through my brothers pills. completed my project, but surprise surprise, I didn’t win it.”
“Win what?” Hazel asked.
“The scholarship.” Jasmine said.
“I didn’t know you entered for a scholarship last year.” Hazel said.
“Because I didn’t tell anyone.” Jasmine said. “Anyway, I knew I had to make my own way through college, so selling those pills gave me an idea.”
“So you became a drug lord-or lady-to get college money.” Hazel said skeptically.
“Okay I didn’t become a drug lord.” Jasmine said annoyed. “And It wasn’t just for me, it was also for my brother. Don’t make judgments you entitled piece of-”
“Okay okay, I get it” Hazel said apologetically. Jasmine’s temper was rising again.
Jasmine calmed down. “First I needed some more amphetamines so I wet to the only person I knew who had them. Jeremiah.”
“John told me he didn’t know who you were.” Hazel said.
“And he didn’t duh.” Jasmine said. “He just thought I was speeding. I told him I had a tough test coming up. So he bummed me some, and I studied it, and came up with a whole new formula.”
“Who did you test it on?” Hazel asked slowly squinting her eyes and looking at Jasmine with suspicion.
“What? Just on me okay.” Jasmine said. “I am not some kind of monster.”
“You? Took amphetamines.” Hazel said snorting with laughter.
“What did I say about judging?”
“So, I got the formula right, made the drugs and delivered it to the only drug dealer I knew. Jeremiah.” Jasmine said. “He didn’t know who I was. I was leaving it like gifts in his car, storage locker, and he paid me using an offshore account I had access to.He never had a clue who was doing all that.” Jasmine said smiling. “I actually felt bad-ass.”
“Okay I get it.” Hazel said. “You were a bad-ass. What does this have to do with Carla?”
“Few months ago,Carla found out what John was dealing with Jeremiah.” Jasmine continued. “I didn’t care, it wasn’t my problem until she started sending me messages. So she got on my nerves so I told Jeremiah to cut John loose. Jeremiah did, but Carla still wanted me to stop dealing all together.. So I tried to give her a scare. I jumped her when she alone at night. But she didn’t stop. Her and Tom went after my lawyer.”
“Who?” Hazel asked.
“Moraine Heathway.” Jasmine said simply. “Carla’s mom.”
* * *
“Still haven’t found the girls?” Jones asked.
“No not a sight.” James said. “For what it’s worth, I don’t think Hazel is in this with Jasmine.”
“Let’s not conclude yet, until we have all the facts.” Jones said. “Where is O’Brian?”
“He is doing some legwork.” James said. “He’ll call me with updates shortly.”
Jakes came up. “I just came from The Stuarts mansion. Hazel’s red sedan is gone.”
“So that’s their getaway car.” James mused. “Where is it?”
“Well, traffic cams spotted it on a road leading to Highway 74.” Jakes said. “I reckon that’s the direction they went.”
“North or south?” James asked.
“Did they take north or south.” James asked.
“Uh, I don’t know” Jakes said.
* * *
“See a while back.” Jasmine continued. “I knew I had to have a reasonable explanation for where I was getting that money. So I hired Moraine Heathway as my lawyer to set up a trust.”
“Why her?” Hazel asked.”
“Cause I had dirt on her.” Jasmine said. “She was siphoning money from her client’s trust accounts so I blackmailed her into helping me.”
“So Carla found out?” Hazel said. “So you killed her.”
“Don’t jump the gun.” Said Jasmine. “She found out her mother was helping Zas, which was a name I used to communicate with Jeremiah and sometimes Carla. So she and Tom started stealing files to try to uncover my Identity. Fortunately, I used an alias, John Smith. But unfortunately that helped her find my account, and she had Tom hack it and steal all my money.”
“How much?” Hazel asked.
“Fifty Grand.” Jasmine said. “It wasn’t all of it, but still that’s when I got mad. By then, Jeremiah was tired and wanted out, but just like Carla, I had a lackey, who had been helping me collect dirt on Jeremiah.”
“Who?” Hazel asked.
“Not important.” Jasmine said. “Actually, very important, but I am not sharing. So I tasked Jeremiah with getting it back for me, but he failed, so then I quietly suggested to you that we go to Newport for spring break.”
“So that was just part of your plan?” Hazel gasped.
“Yes. I knew Carla would bring the money with her. Remember those huge bags she carried? That I coyly asked why she packed so much?”
Hazel nodded her head. “Yeah.”
“The money was in one of them.” Jasmine said “So I told Jeremiah to search her room, just to make him feel like he was doing something, then when we had spent a few days in Newport, I texted Carla to give me some face time at the Gala. I had Jeremiah set that up.”
“But you were in Newport” Hazel said slowly.
“Yes.” Jasmine said. “I searched her bags and found the money. But I didn’t take it, ‘cos that would have made it easier to figure out it was me. So I stayed quiet for a few days planning my move. Then I told Jeremiah to join me in Newport.”
“So it would look like it was him who stole it.” Hazel guessed.
“Gold star.” Jasmine said. “So I lured him to the house and clubbed him over the head. I had my lackey take pictures just to be sure I had evidence of him in the house, I went upstairs to get the money, but Carla was there.”
“She saw your face?” Hazel asked.
“No.” Jasmine said. “I was dressed in a hoodie. I tried clubbing her on the head too, but I missed. There was a struggle, and Carla got away.”
“With the money?” Hazel asked.
“No, she left it there.” Jasmine said. “I knew it was a matter of time before she called you guys, because she obviously thought I was trying to kill her,”
“Weren’t you?” Hazel asked.
“No, I just wanted the money.” Jasmine said. “So I changed, and by the time I was done, you and Hazel were getting home.”
A light dawned on Hazel, “You were the first to see all the damage.”
“Yeah.” Jasmine said. “So when Carla called and told us about the money, I thought, who better to hide it than, Hazel. The girl who sucked at hiding things. Really? In the cupboard in your basement? That was too easy.”
“So you stole it.” Hazel said.
“Damn straight.” Jasmine said. “I only had one problem. Carla was still out there running from nothing. Luckily, I had my lackey keeping a close eye on her.”
“Ben.” Hazel said suddenly. “That’s who was helping you.”
“You do realize the more you know the more reason I have to kill you right?” Jasmine said.
“Sorry” Hazel said.
“Anyway, when Carla saw John, freaked out and ran to Hazel’s house, Ben called me. So I intercepted her when she left, and I came clean.”
“You did what?” Hazel asked shocked.
“I am not the monster you though me to be right?” Jasmine smiled. “We were in the forest then. At the spot she used to meet Ben. So after I finished, that bitch told me she couldn’t take it, and told me to turn myself in.”
“She was probably scared.” Hazel said.
“Yeah she was.” Jasmine said, her face blank. “I could see it in her eyes. She tried to get away, but I couldn’t let her leave.” Jasmine said, her eyes beginning to water. “Not without trying to explain. So we struggled and for a moment, I got angry. Just a tiny moment. Enough time to bash Carla’s head in the tree. And again. And again.”
Hazel put her hands to her mouth. “So you killed her. And Ben knew?”
Jasmine shook her head wiping her eyes. “No, I told him it wasn’t me.” Jasmine said. “I texted him from Carla’s phone asking him to meet so he could find her there. Then I called Jeremiah, and told him what I had done. And just one tiny part of me wanted to make him suffer, so I told him I framed him for it. Then he went all psycho, stole her body, and killed the ME in the process.”
“What about Tom?” Hazel asked.
“He was still sniffing around trying to find out who I was.” Jasmine said. “So the day he died, I went to his house with every intention of killing him. I mean, I figured, why can’t I do it again, right? So I broke into his apartment waited for him, but I changed my mind.”
“Just like that?” Hazel asked.
“Well, I didn’t want to be a killer.” Jasmine said. “So when he walked in I clubbed him in the head, and stole his computer. I don’t know what he had, but it definitely wasn’t my name, I checked. So I left him on the floor and went home.”
“So who killed him?” Hazel asked.
“Who else saw him that night?” Jasmine asked.
“Oh my God.” Hazel covered her mouth. “Toni.”
* * *
“We found something sir.” Jakes said. coming up to James.
“What is it?” James asked him turning around.
“We found a camera on La pate avenue showing the car turning on 74 north. The road is a restricted forest there, so I bet that’s where they are.”
“Great, let’s go.” James said.
* * *
“Your mind sure goes to dark places huh.” Jasmine said. “No, Toni didn’t kill her brother.”
“Then who did?” Hazel asked.
“Well, it’s probably whoever he found in that payroll.” Jasmine said.
“But you had the computer.” Hazel said. “You saw whoever it was that Jeremiah found.”
“Yes I did.” Jasmine said. “But I am not going to tell you.”
“Why? Who am I going to tell?” Hazel said.
“It’s my last bargaining chip okay?” Jasmine said. “I am not telling anyone.”
“Okay fine, so what happened to Jeremiah?” Hazel asked.
“The van he used to steal Carla’s body, I stole it from where he buried her and put Carla’s phone in there.” Jasmine said. “I wasn’t going to let Carla’s body rot in the back of a sawmill factory.”
Hazel shook her head. “So you kept on framing him? Why? What did he do to you?”
“He is an entitled brat who sells drugs, not because he needs to make money, but for the fun of it. Why not?” Jasmine spat.
“If you stole that money, why would you encourage us to tell the police about it?” Hazel asked.
“Okay first of all, I didn’t steal the money. I was simply taking back what was mine. And I knew leading the police to the money would lead them to Jeremiah.”
“You said you didn’t kill him. So he committed suicide?” Hazel asked.
“No.” Jasmine said. “Someone did kill him. The person on his payroll.” Jasmine got up from her chair and looked out the window. It was getting dark/ outside.
“How about Mrs Heathway” Hazel asked. “Why did you try to kill her?”
Jasmine shifted uncomfortably. “Well, when she found out I was the one who killed Carla, she tried to turn me in.” Jasmine said. “I without thinking, I hit her, and she fell. There was blood everywhere, I thought she was dead. So I buried her in the woods. Apparently I was wrong.” Jasmine reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone.
Hazel slumped in her chair. “So, what are you going to do with me now?”
“Yeah, Hazel.” Jasmine said taking out a knife. “What am I going to do with you?”
* * *
They had completely surrounded the building. They had scanned the area and found nothing but one old abandoned house in the forest. Hazel’s red sedan was nowhere in sight. But there were signs of movement in the house.
“Think she is in there?” Corbin asked James as they got down from the car.
“This is the only place they could have gone.” James said. He took out a bull horn. “This is the police. You are completely surrounded. Come out with your hands in the air.”
“She has a hostage.” Corbin said. “There is no way she would come out.”
A few seconds later, a figure emerged from the building. It was a girl, she walked slowly putting her hands up. The light hit her face. It was Hazel.
“She is gone.” Hazel said.