"Luce, will you stop pacing already? You're driving me crazy."

Luce Barton threw her hands up in the air.

"I'm driving you crazy? What's that supposed to mean? Are you the crazed psychopath that we're supposed to
be hunting down? Because that would be just great. Half a town murdered in their sleep and the one
responsible is the guy with the badge." Luce snapped at Adam.

When Adam didn't make any response to her crazed allegations, Luce paced faster, stomping her feet hard on
the cement ground with every step.

Adam decided that this would be the opportune moment to throw his notebook at Luce.

The pages of Adam's little black notebook rustled loudly as the book flew through the air, hitting Luce square in
the back with a satisfying smack. She spun around, glaring dangerously at her partner.

"Luce, it's late. Go home." Adam sighed before Luce could rip his head off.

Luce deliberated following his orders for a moment. Thinking first that she should instead chuck Adam's
notebook back in his face, then wondering how long it would take for Adam to reorganize the top of his desk if
she dumped its contents on the floor.

It was too important a question to go unanswered.

Luce strode up to Adam's desk and swept her arms across the surface, knocking off countless papers and
writing utensils. It was only then that Luce followed Adam's order's walking out of their shared office with her
head held high.

"Chief." Luce acknowledged with a curt nod as she marched out the door of her and Adam's office.

"Detective." Chief Walker responded trying to suppress his laughter.

The chief waited until Luce had reached her car and slammed the door shut, before speaking again, his voice
now serious.

"Any leads yet?"

Adam sighed and ran his hands through his already messy chestnut locks.

"None, this guy was real careful."

The chief pursed his lips and tapped the plain manila folder in his hands, trying to find a less painful way to
break the news to Adam.

As it turns out he didn't have to.

"Latest vic?" Adam asked with a grimace.

"Yeah." Walker hadn't moved except for the motions of his jaw as he gnawed the inside of his cheek.

Adam held out his hand for the police file, and the chief placed it reverently in Adam's outstretched hand.
Adam opened the folder with a business like expression that quickly melted to one of horror.

"Emily Barton." he breathed.

"Yeah."

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Come on!" Luce groaned into her cell phone.

For the third time in ten minutes Luce's sister had refused to answer her phone and the fact was driving Luce
insane.

"Em, where are you?" she asked the empty space around her, bouncing her knee anxiously.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------

"I have to go." Adam stood up quickly and strode over to the coat tree in the corner of the shared office. He
snatched up his brown Unabomber jacket and was in the process of shoving his arms into it when Walker
grabbed his arm and stopped him.

"No, you don't."

Adam glowered at his superior.

"And why not? This psycho goes for families and gets the youngest first, then the oldest. He's already gotten
Luce's youngest sister, she's next."

The chief sighed, a pained expression on his face and his hand still firmly grasping Adam's arm.

"I'm coming with you."

Adam grinned ruefully.

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------

BANG.

Luce sat up from her kitchen table with a start.

"Ugh." Luce groaned, wiping her cheek off. It and the table in front of her was wet, very wet.

She looked at the clock and groaned again. It was about one in the morning, a time when all sane people were
still in bed.

Luce stood up, her chair scraping loudly on the tiled floor. She stretched her arms up to the ceiling, her back
cracking as she did.

BANG.

Luce froze mid-stretch.

Someone was in her house and they weren't being too careful about hiding their intrusion either.

Luce mentally ran through her checklist of things she locked when she got home.

Windows. Check.

Garage door. Check.

Front and back doors. Check.

Alarm system… shit.

Had Luce remembered to set her alarm system, her home would be swarming with cops, Cops with guns.

Luce cursed herself for leaving hers at the office, it was probably the dumbest thing she had ever done… other
than not setting her alarm when there was a serial killer somewhere in the vicinity.

Luce ground her teeth together, of course she would forget them on the night when she would need them the
most.

Luce whipped her head over to the right as a stair creaked.

She smiled, now she knew where the intruder was.

Luce turned around and opened her kitchen knife drawer as quietly as she could manage. She carefully
selected the most impressive knife in her possession and walked with swift steps out of her kitchen and toward
the stairs, her bare feet padding softly on the ground.

Luce walked stealthily through her home, double checking every hall or nook. After what seemed like years she
reached the stairs.

No one was on or around them.

Luce placed her foot on the middle of her creaky bottom step, and keeping her weight on it for as short as
humanly possible, leapt to the second. From there Luce ran up the remainder of the stairs, reaching the top
quickly and immediately pressing herself flat against a wall.

A large calloused hand clamped down on Luce's shoulder and she shrieked until another came down on her
mouth.

"Luce, calm down. It's me."

Luce having regained enough clarity to realize that screaming would do her no good, she ripped the hands
away from her mouth and shoulder.

:Walker!" she hissed. "What in the hell do you think you're doing her?"

"Checking up on you." Walker said, a little too sweetly for someone who had just been caught sneaking around
her house.

Luce narrowed her eyes at the chief.

"Creepy."

Walker only smiled.

Luce pointed down the stairs.

"Get out."

Walker rolled his eyes but turned towards the stairs to leave.

BANG.

Walker and Luce both jumped at the noise, Luce directly into Walker's arms.

"What was that?" She asked quietly shifting her gaze around her quickly.

"I don't know, but it sounded close."

Luce noticing the compromising position that she was in, hopped out of Walker's embrace, clearing her throat
and straightening her clothes.

"We should go check it out." Luce suggested, not wanting to have her unexpected visitor in her house for any
longer.

Walker swallowed, hard.

"Yeah."

"Do you have your revolver?"

Never the traditionalist, Walker refused to carry the standard Glocks and instead kept his favorite revolver with
him on the job.

"What? Oh um, yeah right here."

Luce held out her hand.

"Give it here."

"Why?"

Luce turned to give him a hard look.

"Because this guy is in my house and I'll be the one to get rid of him. Now would you please give me your gun?"

The chief looked doubtful.

"Fine, but first give me your knife. I have to have some means of protecting myself against a potential
murderer."

Luce rolled her eyes, and handed the shining object to the chief. When each had their respective weapons,
Luce motioned for Walker to quietly follow her. She was able to guess where her unexpected visitor was hiding
from the direction of the last bang.

Luce wondered briefly why her intruder made so much noise. The serial killer that was on the loose, was known
for his stealth. When they had murdered someone while others were in the house, no one had heard anything.

That was a big part of the killer's lethality, no one heard him coming, and no one knew he had been there, until
they woke up in the morning to find that either their youngest or eldest would not see another dawn.

The person in -Luce had determined- her rarely used guest bedroom, seemed like they wanted to be heard.
What if someone was being held- ?
No. Luce shook her head to clear her troubled thoughts. No one was being held against their will in her house.
It just wasn't possible.

"Luce?" Walker whispered warily.

Luce had stopped in the middle of the hallway, lost in her thoughts.

"Yeah?" Luce whispered back.

"You stopped."

"And…?"

"I was just wondering if you were going to start moving again anytime soon."

Luce shot her boss a hard look.

"Yeah, I was just taking a moment to think."

Walker was slightly confused.

"About what?"

"It doesn't matter, let's just keep going."

Walker nodded once in agreement, and the duo continued their silent trek down the thickly carpeted hall.

Many gleaming doors where passed and when Luce and Walker reached the one that opened into the guest
bedroom, Luce paused once again.

"Would you like me to take over from here?"

Luce took a deep breath.

"No, this person is my problem, I'll take care of them."

"If you're sure…" Walker answered dubiously.

BANG! BANG! BANG!

Whoever was in the room appeared to have heard their short hushed conversation and was now making as
much noise as they could, almost as if to warn them away from the site.

It didn't work.

Luce took another deep breath and pushed down on the door handle silently opening the door.

She slid her arm into the crack between the door and its frame first, the borrowed gun in her hand. Next came
her torso, and a quick flick of her wrist turned on the ceiling light. Last came Luce's head quickly darting
around looking for the source of the noise.

To her surprise, the room looked almost exactly the same as when she had been in it last. The small wrought
iron bed was made with it's deep red sheets pulled tight, all the deeply stained furniture was in place with few
photos of family adorning their surfaces.

This was the guest room, there was no need to air all of her personal life in front of her guests but if Luce's
mother wanted to stay over, she would usually catch hell for not having any pictures of her family up.

All in all, the room was perfect, Martha Stewart would surely be proud. Except for the fact that Luce's partner
was tied to an armchair in the corner, with a filthy rag shoved in his mouth and a rather nasty looking bump on
his forehead.

Luce ran forward to help Adam, shoving the revolver into her loose fitting pajama pants on her way. Walker
hung back in the doorway.

Adam thrashed wildly and shouted unheeded and misunderstood warnings at Luce, who was at that moment
trying to undo the knot that was holding his gag in place.

When the gag fell, Adam hissed at Luce.

"Get out!"

Luce ignored him, and went back to untying the rest of the knots in the ropes that hindered Adam's
movements. Walker was in the doorway, twirling the shining blade on the tip of his finger.

"Luce get out of here." Adam warned. "He's not who you think he is."

"Wait who isn't who I think they are?"

Adam's hands were now free and he rubbed the tender skin where the thick ropes had rubbed his writs raw. He
grabbed Luce's arm and pushed her up, once again telling her to get out.

Walker laughed, lifting up the shiny silver blade to let light gleam off its flat surface.

"She can't leave and neither can you."

Luce's head whipped up and she stared at Walker hopelessly confused.

"Why not?"

Adam grabbed Luce's arm.

"Luce. Don't you get it? He's the murderer. He's the one who tied me up and left me here."

Luce didn't believe him. Walker had always been so calm, so nice. But then again it was always the quiet ones.

Luce shook her head to clear her mind of the old cliché. It couldn't be Walker, it just couldn't. Even if it was he
wouldn't be at her house. It just didn't match the rest of them, it always started with the youngest.

Thoughts of her sister's refusal to answer her calls filled Luce's head. She gasped. It had taken awhile but now
she realized that Adam had been right.

"Emily." she breathed. "You bastard!"

Walker grinned mischievously.

"It was always tough being the middle child. Never living up to the academic standards set by the oldest, not
being as angelic as the youngest. I was an average child, and my parents never paid me any heed, they were
too busy fawning over their other, better children.
Even now they like my siblings the best. Well liked them the best."
Walker added as an after thought.

Luce's stomach heaved, hardly able to take in what Walker was telling her. Adam was crouched down nearby,
ready to tackle Walker when the right moment revealed itself to him.

"That's why the middle child was always left." Luce said quietly after composing herself enough to speak. "You
sympathized with them, and got rid of their competition."

Walker smiled once again, showing all his teeth. They looked pointed and menacing, like those of a wolf.

"Yes." he confirmed.

Luce's body tensed, and without warning, she whipped Walker's gun out of her waistband, aimed quickly and
fired.

The gun clicked.

Walker held up his hand, it was filled with small metal cylinders.

"You didn't think that I'd give it to you loaded now did you?" Walker asked, turning his full attention to Luce, he
shook his open palm a little while the other held the large kitchen knife in the 'kill'
position.

"Come get them. I dare you."

Luce growled and Adam pounced, knocking Walker and the bullets to the ground. Unfortunately for Adam, his
tackle did not cause the chief to drop the knife.

The two men grappled on the ground, Walker frantically stabbing, and Adam dodging his attacks, while Luce
scrabbled to load Walker's gun.

Walker found purchase on Adam's right shoulder just as Luce slipped the bullets into the gun's chamber and
snapped it shut with a click.
Adam cried out in pain as the knife went straight through his shoulder and stuck fast into the floor

Luce shot again, this time succeeding in putting a bullet through Walker's chest, not through his heart but
close enough.

Walker fell to the floor, clutching at his chest, Luce dropped the revolver and ran over to help Adam, pushing
Walker further out of the way. She grabbed the hilt of the knife that was embedded in Adam's shoulder trying
to pull it out, but Adam pushed her hands away.

"The gun, get the gun." he grunted.

Walker was getting up, pushing through the pain to get himself to the only usable weapon in the now bloody
room before Luce. It was too bad for him that Luce was closer and that the gaping hole in his chest slowed him
down quite a bit.


Luce vaulted after Walker's revolver, accidentally kicking Adam's shoulder on the way, he groaned in pain and
grabbed at his shoulder.

"Sorry." Luce aimed and shot for the third time that night.

Walker fell, hitting the floor with a loud bang.
He did not rise again.
The Middle Child

By: Diane Smith