Despite the revelation that she actually has sister clones to whom she is related, and the fact that she has developed real feelings for Lee, Samantha still vows to stick to her original plan: get the money from Anthony and leave with Felix and Katrina.
I was at the shooting range with Ant when I plucked up the courage to ask him after the two sets of tire tracks he found at the shooting scene.
‘Apparently, there were one motorcycle and one car,’ he explained. ‘There had to be three people there altogether, one each to drive the vehicles and one to die.’
‘The sloppy body dump surely doesn’t match the professional hit,’ I quickly opined while reloading my lady-grip Walther.
Ant nodded in agreement. ‘Absolutely.’ He pulled out a snapshot of the decapitated German doll’s head in the bush. ‘You’ve got a live one, Claire. Phone calls. Leaving clues. Messy ones.’
I focused on my target and, using the aiming technique I learned from Alison, hit the target head on. No effort required.
Ant was impressed. ‘Looks like you’ve come a long way, Claire,’ he chuckled appreciatively,
‘Thank you,’ I said, smiling.
Just then, Claire’s phone rang. I took down the information on the stolen Suzuki motorcycle as well as the thief’s description.
‘My son. My son not here,’ was all the bike owner’s mother could say to us.
‘Does the bike belong to a resident?’ Ant asked with concern. The old Ukrainian lady pointed upstairs. Very helpful! How were we supposed to know what she meant by that gesture?
‘You’re the one who’s supposed to deal with the ‘non-English speaking majority,’ Ant pointed out to me as we made our way up the rickety staircase. I flinched slightly. I didn’t understand foreign languages any more than he did.
‘My Ukrainian pretty much sucks,’ I admitted sheepishly.
Ant glanced over the rail. ‘This rail gives easy access to the bike for a getaway,’ he noted. As he looked in the window of the apartment, he saw motorcycle gloves. I tried to look over his shoulder, but he shoved me back. Ant knocked, but there was no response. He tried the knob. To our surprise, it was open. We both drew our weapons and braced ourselves. Having watched The Bill and every other British cop show many times, I was no stranger to witnessing local crime scenes.
Once Ant and I were convinced the room was empty, we both holstered our weapons. I found and picked up a nearby bible that been tagged and notated, carefully inspecting it. I opened it to a marked page; hidden inside was a copy of … Portia’s passport.
Ant looked at me questionably. ‘What have you found, Claire?’ he asked.
I gave him a furtive glance. Then I pocketed the copy and read from the Book of Psalms. ‘For you formed my inward parts. You knit me together in…’ Before I could finish, Ant picked up the recitation from the curious thing he had discovered on the wall. ‘…my mother’s womb. I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made,’ we both concluded the bible verse together.
‘Something tells me that these victims’ killer has some deep-seated spiritual problems,’ Ant noted with a hint of disgust.
I knew something was seriously wrong the minute I looked outside the window and noticed movement. Then, suddenly… bang! I barely managed to shove Ant out of harm’s way before bullets rip through the room. But then, I noticed Ant was bleeding from a large graze on his neck!
‘Don’t worry about me,’ he yelled. ‘Go after him! Don’t let him get away!’
Grunting, terrified, ears still ringing from the gunfire, and way out of my depth, I ran after the shooter who had by now reached the Suzuki. Shaking, I pointed my gun at the shooter. ‘Freeze!’ I shouted. The shooter leapt off the bike and I instinctively stepped back. I instantly thought the shooter was going to attack me, but he didn’t. He ran away, and I immediately chased him. I was half trying to keep track of him, half hiding from him.
I ran into a junked up, empty lot, waving my gun wildly. I called Ant on the mobile and shakily gave him the direction in which she’s run while frantically scanning the lot. ‘I think he went into one of the abandoned buildings here,’ I said.
Then I felt a hard blow to the back of my head. ‘He’ was actually behind me and had clocked me across the back of the head with a large pipe. As I collapsed onto the ground, my gun went flying.
I rolled onto my back and stared up at my would-be assailant who was cloaked in a hooded dark green winter jacket and madly wielding a knife with a filthy yet deadly sharp blade whose hilt was carved into the head of a fish.
‘This is it,’ I thought, terrified. ‘I’m a goner, just like all those other women. I’m next.’
I closed my eyes and held up my hands as the killer stood over me and straddled me. ‘Good riddance,’ a woman voice rumbled in her heavy Slavic accent, ‘Claire Richards.’
I had to quickly save my own life, but I had no time to think of a way to do so. ‘I’m not Claire!’ I yelled at the last minute.
The killer paused, startled. The moment she pulled back her hood to reveal herself I did not expect this because… holy shit! Another clone! Was this a fucking joke? One of our fellow identicals was a serial killer?! THE serial killer!
The Crazy Clone had curly blonde fried-looking hair with dark roots that indicated that she was a natural-born brunette pretty much like Alison, Melissa, Claire, and myself. Her eyes were reddened and looked like those of a mad woman on a rampage – which is exactly what she was!
‘Dirty rotten copycat,’ she gasped as she traced my forehead with the knife blade and examined my face. ‘Who the fuck are you, copy cop?’
Rather than answer, I reached out for a steel rod which I found lying nearby and stabbed her with it in the side hip. I hoped the pain she felt was excruciating. The fact that it really hurt her was good. I angrily shoved the Crazy Clone off me and managed to get back on my feet. She got out her pistol in retaliation and aimed it at me, about to fire. But she didn’t. ‘Not yet, not Claire,’ she babbled, staggering away.
Glad to still be alive and in one piece, I broke down sobbing over my near miss.
Then I heard Ant screaming Claire’s name. ‘Claire! Claire, are you okay? Where are you?’
Ant finally reached the scrapyard lot, clutching the wounded area at the back of his neck.
‘I’m fine,’ I insisted, retrieving my lost gun and the abandoned fish knife that the Crazy Clone left behind. I spotted the bleeding gunshot wound on Ant’s neck and was extremely worried. ‘You really should receive urgent medical attention.’
‘We both should.’
The kind paramedic examined Ant before examining me. The lieutenant showed up. ‘Something tells me that you struggled with the killer in close quarters,’ he confirmed. ‘You can’t tell me you didn’t see their face. What were you thinking, anyway? Entering the flop house without backup?’
‘She didn’t go inside there without any backup,’ Ant pointed out convincingly. ‘I was with her.’
‘It’s true, lieutenant,’ I said. Besides, I was hit from behind, not to mention the fact that the killer’s face was hidden under ‘his’ hoodie the entire time. Therefore, how was I to know what ‘he’ looked like?’
Ant was by now bandaged up. He looked like he’d already recovered. ‘It was a thread after all,’ he soothed. ‘A flimsy lead on a stolen bike.’
‘Very well,’ the lieutenant said, satisfied. ‘Listen, why don’t you take Detective Richards home?’
Having escaped and taken refuge in some abandoned house, the Crazy Clone was in the bathroom, tending to her own injuries. She pulled the impaled steel bar from her naked side and bent over the sink in pain. Her bare back was exposed — revealing grotesque markings of welts and deep slashes up and down the sides of her spine. Some of her blood dripped down the sink.
‘I’m not Claire,’ she grunted as she stitched herself up using a bottle of peroxide, some swaths of cotton, and a piece of wire. As she pulled the thin wire through her flesh, she groaned in agony.