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- In Molly’s office, the Footprint Killer claimed another victim: her assistant, Cameron.
- Alex and Trevor mourned Cameron’s death and its troubling circumstances together, as Trevor’s parents arrived home from their latest trip abroad.
- Trevor remained unaware that the recording device Cameron left for him contained audio footage of the murder, but the killer staked out the Brooks house with the intent of taking the device before it was too late. 

With a baseball cap pulled down tightly — it is enough of a shield but less likely to draw attention than a ski mask — the figure walks casually from the car, now moved to a more distant part of the neighborhood where it won’t be observed, toward the Brooks family’s house. A quick glance around reveals that no one seems to be nearby or watching, and the gate to the backyard unlatches easily. A set of large windows with the blinds opened allow a full view of the main downstairs living area, and it is clear that no one is present. 

Breathing hard, with hands trembling slightly, the person inspects the various windows before finding one that is unlocked. It takes only a minute of careful work to slide it open, pry the screen free, and then climb inside the house.

The house is still. Trevor already went out, and Alex went with him. That means there should be nobody home. 

The figure surveys the house and sets out to the find that recorder.

There might not even be anything on it about Cameron’s murder, a little voice inside reasons, but if there is, I need to find it before anyone else does.


“I’m so sorry,” Tim Fisher says as he embraces his sister. “You must be devastated."

Molly Taylor leans into him. "I am. Cameron was so wonderful to have around…"

Tim continues hugging her as Jason Fisher emerges from the kitchen. He crosses the living room and sets his water down on the coffee table to offer their sister some comfort of his own.

“Mol, I’m sorry,” Jason says as he wraps an arm around her shoulders. “How are you doing?"

She sniffles and wipes her eyes. “I’m sort of in shock, I think. I can’t believe that he’s gone.” 

Her brothers nod in grim agreement, but all three of them stiffen instinctively when the doorbell rings. After they all share a look acknowledging how silly it is to jump at something so normal — right? — Tim hurries to the front door. He looks through the peephole, undoes the deadbolt, and finally unlocks it to let their remaining sibling in.

  Tim Fisher

“What’s going on?” Sarah Fisher Gray asks, all business. 

“I wanted to talk to all of you,” Tim says as they circle around the sectional sofa in the living room. 

Sarah looks to Molly. “I’m sorry about Cameron."

“Thanks,” Molly says, her eyes still watery. “Tim, what’s this about?"

“I went to see Mom this morning, and it freaked her out to hear this, but I think we need to take it seriously,” he says as he steps toward the center of the room. “It seems really clear to me that someone, for whatever reason, is after all of us. They already got Ryan."

He watches as his sisters and brother shift uncomfortably, checking one another’s expressions to see if the others are giving any weight to Tim’s theory.

“I don’t want to scare you guys, but the fact of the matter is that I’m already scared out of my wits already,” Tim continues. “Something really crazy is going on. And it seems way too coincidental that Sandy was killed in a place that Jason was supposed to be, and now Cameron was killed somewhere Molly could’ve been…"

At those words, Molly’s sobs erupt anew.

“I never should’ve had Cameron go back to the office,” she says through her tears. “Then he’d still be here."

“You can’t think like that,” Jason says as he pulls her close. “Take it from me. Do you know how many times I’ve wondered if I could have stopped Courtney from walking out of our wedding reception?"

“Guys, we can’t change things that have happened already,” Sarah says. “But we can stop more things from happening."

“That’s my point,” Tim says. “We all need to be alert. Aware. I told Samantha that I don’t want her at home alone, ever, until this crazy person is caught. That goes for all of us, and all the kids, too. No one stays late at work. No one stays in the house alone. Deal?"

“Deal,” the other three agree, with Sarah’s voice leading the way before Jason and Molly pipe in, too.


Upstairs in the master bedroom, Roz Brooks blinks her eyes against the sun cascading through the gauzy curtains. Her head is still foggy from sleep, and it takes her a moment to orient herself and realize that she is back in her bedroom at home. She is so accustomed to cruise ships and hotels that, despite the warmth of the house in which she and Patrick raised their children, being in it no longer feels like the default for her brain. 

She turns her head on the pillow and sees that her husband is still sleeping soundly. It is no surprise; they were up early for their flight home from Los Angeles, and they stayed up late last night talking with Lauren and Josh. If not for the sticky feeling in her mouth, Roz would probably have slept for hours, too. 

Doing her best to be quiet so that Patrick can sleep, she creeps to the bedroom door and, closing the door softly behind herself, out into the hallway. The landing opens up to an overhead view of the formal living room, and she takes a moment to appreciate their home. No, it might not be a place where they spend the majority of their time anymore, but there is something so wonderful about being here again. She is glad that Trevor has taken such good care of the house in their absence, and she smiles at the thought of being able to spend the next several weeks here with him before she and Patrick embark upon their trip to Mexico.

She makes her way down the stairs and into the kitchen. In the refrigerator, she finds the water pitcher and pours herself a glass, which she gulps down greedily. She is refilling the glass when she hears a creaking noise coming from above… and then another.

She doesn’t think that Patrick would be awake yet — and, if he were, he wouldn’t be walking around in Trevor’s room, which is located above the kitchen, a fact she knows all too well from when he was a teenager. 

“That’s weird,” she thinks, double-checking the refrigerator. Just as she thought, there isn’t any food in there — and Trevor and Alex went out specifically to pick up lunch for her and Patrick. She wonders if he could be upstairs with Alex; she doesn’t have any idea what their current status is, but she was surprised to find Alex hanging out at the house when she and Patrick arrived home earlier.

Her stomach rumbles, and she feels a flare of annoyance that Trevor might have forgotten to get their food. She decides to see if she’s just overlooked something, but she goes up the stairs quietly, not wanting to interrupt Trevor if he and Alex are together. But when she reaches the top of the stairs, she sees that the door to Trevor’s room is wide open, so she approaches and steps into the doorway—

—and freezes when she sees someone else entirely in there, standing over the desk.

The second or two that come next feel as if they stretch on forever. She has no idea what to do, wondering if she is imagining this or has forgotten something. But there is no explanation, especially not as the uninvited guest turns to her with panicked eyes.

“What are you doing in my house?” she demands.

The intruder is silent. But she sees that panic in the eyes transform, perceptibly, somehow, into something darker, something menacing. She takes note of the baseball cap pulled low. And then it all makes sense. 

“Oh my god,” she says, backing away. “It’s you!"

322 Bar & Grill

“Here’s your to-go order,” the waitress says as she sets a paper bag on the edge of the table, “and here are your cards. Thanks again, boys."

Trevor Brooks and Alex Marshall thank her and then sign their credit card receipts. 

“I didn’t even realize how hungry I was,” Alex says as he dips another of his sweet potato fries in ketchup. 

“Same. Eating was the last thing on my mind all morning."

“I don’t blame you."

With a clink, Trevor sets down his fork in the bowl that now houses the measly remains of his Cobb salad. 

“It’s been nice to spend some real time with you today,” he says, “even if the reason why sucks. I’ve missed you."

Alex feels a flash of heat behind his cheeks. Trevor’s words make his adrenaline pump, though he isn’t sure if it is in a positive or negative way. He still isn’t comfortable with Trevor’s open interest in him after everything that happened with Liam — not to mention the vitriol that Cameron was carrying around about it up until the minute he was killed — but some primal part of him enjoys and even craves Trevor’s attention the exact same way it did on that night when they ran into each other a few years back, when Trevor returned to King’s Bay.

“I’m glad I was able to talk to you about all this Cameron stuff today,” Alex says, parsing his words carefully. “I never feel comfortable talking too much about this kind of thing in front of Jason."

“Yeah.” Trevor nods somberly and takes a sip of his sparkling water before continuing. “I think my parents were glad to see you, too. They’ve always loved you."

“They’re great. I’ve… missed them, honestly."

Trevor’s eye catches Alex’s, as if to say, I know exactly what you’re really thinking. Alex breaks the gaze by grabbing the paper bag.

“We should get going. I’m sure your parents are starving.” He slides quickly out of the booth so there is no debate to be had.

“Good idea,” Trevor says as he, too, rises from the booth. “This way the food will be there when they wake up from their naps."


While Molly and Jason settle onto the sofa and talk more about Cameron’s murder and Alex and Trevor’s reactions to it, Sarah follows Tim into the kitchen.

“Now that those two can’t hear us,” she says, “what do you think is really going on?"

Tim peers through the doorway to be sure that their other two siblings are distracted before he speaks.

“I need to talk to Brent, but he’s been slammed all day with the Cameron stuff,” he says, “but Loretta Ragan has to have something to do with this. Right?"

Sarah folds her arms over the front of her flowing, white, sleeveless blouse. “I was thinking about that. But why? She’s in enough trouble as it is. She’s never getting out of prison."

“She has nothing to lose, then."

“But she has to know she’d be a prime suspect."

Tim shrugs, almost conceding that Sarah has a point. “Because we ‘stole’ Spencer from her?"

“Wouldn’t it make sense to go after Claire’s and your kids, not our parents’, then?” Sarah shakes her head, and her dark blonde hair brushes back and forth over her shoulders. “Now that it seems clear this is about us, she deserves to be looked into. But something about it feels really off to me."

“I’m going to talk to Brent as soon as I can,” Tim says. 

Sarah leans a hip against the granite counter. “I keep going back to Nick Moriani. I don’t know why, or how, and I know he’s beyond dead, but if there’s anyone who ever would have had that kind of vendetta against us—"

“We saw Nick get decapitated.” 

“I know. But there’s something there.” Sarah sets her jaw, determination sparking in her face. “We’re going to figure this out, and we’re going to do it before anyone else gets hurt.” 


As soon as the statement leaves Roz’s lips, she knows that she can’t waste any more time. She just knows it: this is the person who has been killing people in King’s Bay. There is no other reason to be lurking around their house uninvited. And that anger in the eyes — it is unmistakable. She turns on her heels to run.

Before she makes it out of the doorway, though, a pair of hands grab her. They are strong hands, somehow surprisingly so, and the tight grip of them on her arms pushes a scream out of her. The intruder immediately pulls her closer, forcing a solid arm across her midsection, and uses the other, free hand to cover her mouth. She continues to emit muffled hollers, hoping that her husband will hear her pleas.

“Be quiet,” the voice whispers into her ear, though it is less the typical whisper than a croak, the sound of death itself. 

  Roz Brooks

Roz continues to flail against the stronger body. She knows that she has nothing to lose now.

The killer spins around and flings her against the wall.

“Let me go!” she spits as the hand momentarily leaves her mouth.

It clamps right back over. “Too late."

She tries to kick a leg out, in a desperate move. It connects, but not solidly, not in any meaningful way, and when she is slammed backwards again, she realizes with horror that the window is open — and her body is pushed against the thin defense of the screen.

“What do you want?” she says, raising her voice so that it is audible even through the hand once again blocking her mouth.

“That’s none of your business."

She tries to scream again — and this time, the sound comes out, but only because she is falling backward as the screen gives way.

* * * * *

Patrick Brooks rarely dreams, but today, his dreams are not only existent but particularly vivid. 

He is on the deck of a cruise ship — one that looks a lot like the one they just took around the Mediterranean, but it is much larger, almost impossibly so. He can see the skyline in the distance, but the sky is a deep navy, as nighttime has already settled over the indistinct body of water around them. And he hears his wife, somewhere in the distance, shouting.

“Let me go!” she yells.

“Roz! Where are you?” he hears himself say, but when he moves in the direction of her voice, the deck somehow grows longer.

“Help her!” he screams, but it is dead silent. No one is around. 

He awakens with a start.

He is not on the cruise ship. He is at home, in the master bedroom of their house. Still breathing hard, he sees that Roz must be up from her nap already. That’s all. She’s fine. He closes his eyes again and presses his head to the pillow. A few more minutes of sleep won’t hurt anyone.

* * * * *

Alex steers his car through the subdivision’s wide streets. In the passenger seat, Trevor holds onto the paper takeout bag. 

“I wonder if Cameron’s parents are going to come here,” Alex says. “I’ve never met them."

“I wouldn’t want to, if I were them."

“Yeah…” But Alex’s attention is stolen away by what he sees at the Brooks house.

“What the fuck?” Trevor exclaims as Alex motors toward the driveway.

The two of them stare at Trevor’s mother, hanging out of a second-story window as she grips the windowsill with both hands. 

“Mom!” Trevor screams as he jumps out of the car before Alex has even put it in park.

“Help!” Roz shouts, her voice blasting through the still summer air. 

Trevor races toward the front door. “I’m coming!”

Alex’s limbs barely seem to be working as he gets out of the car. Transfixed by the terrible scene, he sees a figure through the upstairs window, a baseball cap pulled low over its face. 

  Trevor Brooks

“There’s someone in there,” he says as he pushes the car door open.

“I’m coming, Mom!” Trevor repeats frantically.

Alex runs over to position himself beneath Roz. He wonders if he could catch her, or if the force would knock them both out. He looks around desperately for something to soften any fall she might have. 

“Help!” Roz cries out in desperation.

“Who’s in there?” Alex asks. The puzzle pieces are sliding into place, but he doesn’t have the focus to put them together or make sense of them right now. He sees Trevor fumbling to unlock the front door to the house. 

“It’s him!” Roz says, looking down at Alex with wild panic in her face. “It’s—"

But before she can say the name, the window slams down on her fingers, and Alex watches in horror as Roz loses her grip and plummets to the driveway.


Will Roz survive her fall?
Will Trevor be able to corner the killer?
Discuss it all in the Footprints Forum now!

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Tuesday, Sept. 01, 2015

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