Halloween Stories

Dead Reckoning

Chapter 1: An Unexpected Discovery.

It was late Halloween night and Deputy Anderson was making his final run along some of the country roads to make sure none of the kids were still out raising a little hell.  He was on his final leg of this tour before heading back into town, when he spotted a young man staggering along the side of the road. 

Anderson wasn’t sure if the guy was drunk or hurt, until he noticed the dried blood in his hair and the blood stains on the back of his shirt.  He turned his headlights on high beam, flicked on the flashing lights and started the dash cam.  With the guy looking this bad, Anderson wanted a record that he found the guy like this, just in case the man decided later that he might be able to cash in on this by claiming police brutality and filing a bogus lawsuit. 

The young man didn’t seem to slow down or realize the patrol car was behind him, even with the headlights and flashing lights brightening the area, so Anderson jumped out of the vehicle and yelled to him. 

“Hey, are you alright?” Anderson screamed out. 

The young man finally stopped and slowly turned toward Anderson.  As soon as the guy was facing him, Anderson noticed that besides the blood on the back on his head and shirt, his face was swollen and badly bruised. 

“Holy shit!  Were you in an accident or something?” the deputy screamed.  “Get in the car and I’ll take you to the hospital.”

“No!” the young man stated, quite adamantly. 

“Look, it’s obvious you need medical attention,” Anderson insisted.  “Let me take you to the hospital so a doctor can check you over.” 

The young man didn’t appear to listen to what had been said and began to turn around again, so he could continue walking away.  It was fairly obvious he was unwilling to be transported to the hospital, so Anderson ran up beside him to make a different offer. 

“Look, if you don’t want to go to the hospital, at least let me call for an Emergency Vehicle so an EMT can check you over,” Anderson suggested.  “Just come back and wait by my squad car until they get here.” 

The young man hesitated for a few seconds and then willingly began walking back to the car with Anderson.  When they reached it, Anderson spoke to him again. 

“Would you like to sit inside my car, in the passenger seat?” he asked.  “You would be more comfortable.”

“No,” the guy answered, tersely. 

“Then at least lean against the front of the vehicle, because you look like you’re about to fall over,” Anderson urged. 

The young man complied and Anderson radioed in, gave his location and requested a rescue vehicle be dispatched to assist him.  Once he’d been notified that a vehicle was on the way, he went back to speak with the young man. 

“Tell me what happened to you,” Anderson urged. 

“I was beaten up,” the guy answered, simply. 

“Beaten up?  By whom?” Anderson pressed. 

“The same assholes that made my life a living hell in high school,” the young man answered, angrily. 

“Why did they do that?” Anderson asked.

“Because I’m gay,” the guy replied.  “Those two assholes felt it was their job to make me miserable and tormented me whenever they could, just because I’m queer.” 

“What’s your name, kid,” Anderson followed. 

“Randy.  Randy Hoover,” he admitted. 

“What are the names of the two men who beat you up?” Anderson followed. 

“Charlie Hopkins and Mark Jacobs,” he answered, quickly.  “They’ve been best friends for as long as I can remember.” 

Anderson quickly jotted down all of the names, so he wouldn’t forget them later. 

“Randy, are you all still in high school then?” the deputy wanted to know. 

“No, I graduated last year,” Randy answered, “and so did they.  I just couldn’t afford to attend college, so I’m waiting on tables at a restaurant until I can save up enough money to go.” 

“So where do you live?” Anderson asked. 

“I live in my parents’ house,” Hoover responded. 

“So you still live with your mom and dad?’ Anderson asked, in return. 

“Not exactly,” Hoover answered.  “It’s their house, but they’ve moved away and are trying to sell it.  When they do, they’re going to use some of the money to help me go to college.” 

“So where are they then?” Anderson asked.

“They relocated to another city when my dad got transferred,” Randy told him, “but they haven’t been able to unload the house yet.  I’m just staying in it for now, rather than leave it empty and take the chance somebody will trash it or steal the copper pipes.” 

“I understand,” Anderson replied.  “So how did you end up with those other two guys, Hopkins and Jacobs?”

Anderson read those two names from his notes, after he’d started to ask the question. 

“They showed up at my house,” Hoover answered. 

“And you opened the door for them, even though you knew they probably meant to hurt you?” Anderson wondered. 

“No, that’s not what happened,” Hoover answered.  “At first, I thought it was just some kids trick-or-treating early, since this happened last night.  Anyway, when I looked out the window there was a guy there, but he had a hat on and his head was bent down, so I couldn’t see who it was and didn’t recognize him.” 

“So then you opened the door?” the Deputy wanted to know. 

“Just to see what he wanted,” Randy confirmed. 

“Then what happened?” Anderson pressed. 

“When I opened the door, Jacobs looked up at me,” Randy acknowledged.  “When I realized it was him, I went to slam the door, but Hopkins shoved a rifle barrel in my ribs before I could do that.  He’d been waiting beside the door where I couldn’t see him.” 

“Then what happened?” Anderson asked. 

“Hopkins told me to come outside or he’d shoot me where I stood,” Randy stated.  “I knew he wasn’t bluffing and was itching to pull the trigger, so I stepped outside.” 

“And then what?” Anderson followed. 

“He told me to come down to the sidewalk, and when I did he must have hit me in the head or something,” Hoover answered, “because I don’t remember anything after that.  The next thing I remember is waking up later, but we were way out in the country by then.”  

“Do you think anyone else saw them at your house?” Anderson wondered. 

“I doubt it, but the security cam must have recorded them being there,” Randy informed him. 

“You have a security cam at the house?” the deputy followed. 

“Yeah, my dad installed it after Hopkins messed up the car.  He put a motion detector light by the front door and when it comes on it triggers the security cam next to it to start recording,” Randy confirmed.  “A lot of times it’s only some animal or the wind that causes it to come on, so I’m sure it must have gotten them too.” 

“That’s good to know,” Anderson agreed.  “So what happened next?” 

“The two of them wailed on me after I came too, but I must have passed out again,” Hoover admitted.  “I don’t remember anything after that, not even walking, at least until you stopped me.”

The two of them continued their conversation a little while longer and Hoover gave him more details about what had happened out there, at least as much of it as he could remember.  They continued going over the details until the Emergency Squad arrived and the EMTs began to give Randy a quick once over.  While the EMTs were busy with Hoover, Anderson hopped in the driver’s seat and radioed in to let the dispatcher know the EMTs had arrived and he’d be finishing up here soon.  When he got back out of his squad car, Anderson noticed the EMTs seemed to be having difficulty in getting Hoover to calm down. 

“What’s going on?” he asked. 

“He won’t let us transport him to the hospital,” the one EMT answered. 

“Yeah, he wouldn’t let me take him there either,” Anderson acknowledged.  “Just do what you can to treat him here then.  Ok?”

The EMT Anderson had been talking to yelled to his partner and told him to get some things out of the truck, while he walked over to speak with the deputy in private.  He quickly informed Anderson about how badly Hoover was injured and insisted that they needed to get to a hospital soon.  The EMT also asked Anderson how he discovered Hoover and what he’d learned about how he got so badly injured.  Anderson then advised him what he’d found out from Randy earlier, but their conversation was interrupted when they heard the other EMT shout to them. 

“Where the devil did he go?” he wondered. 

Anderson and the other EMT looked up, but Hoover was nowhere around.  They quickly searched the area around the squad car, to see if Randy had fallen or passed out, but found nothing.  Curious, Anderson played back the dash cam and noticed Hoover had slid himself off the front of the vehicle and wandered off into the field, until he moved out of sight of the camera.  After that, he saw nothing more of him. 

The three of them hurriedly searched the field as well as they could, but it was very dark out, so it was hard to see much of anything, even with a flashlight.  After twenty or thirty minutes of this fruitless effort, while also calling out his name, they finally gave up and agreed to return to town.  They figured Hoover would show up sooner or later and concluded he must have decided to take off because he was afraid they were going to force him to go to the hospital.  For some reason, that was something Hoover clearly didn’t want to happen. 

Anderson’s shift was nearly over, so he went back to the Sheriff’s Department and checked out for the night.  Before he did though, he asked the desk sergeant to make certain that someone was sent out to that location first thing in the morning, so they could look around for Hoover in the daylight.  He didn’t want to take the chance of leaving Randy out there alone, because he could possibly die and Anderson didn’t want that on his conscience.  He also asked the desk sergeant to have someone make copies of his dash cam recording, because he knew they would eventually need that as evidence against the guys who beat the crap out of the poor kid. 

“Where did you say you spotted him?” the desk sergeant asked, for clarification. 

“It was out on old State Route 48, about three miles north of town,” Anderson told him.  “It was also about a mile south of the old Jensen farm.” 

Once he wrote the location down, the desk sergeant assured Anderson that he’d see to it that a couple of deputies were sent out first thing in the morning. 

Anderson then drove home and went to bed.  He did have some trouble getting to sleep, because he couldn’t get Randy’s face out of his head.  That kid was badly beaten and in tough shape, yet he didn’t want to go to the hospital.  Was there a reason he was reluctant to do that?  Was there something more going on here that he wasn’t seeing? 

After many minutes of going over these thoughts in his mind, he finally drifted off to sleep. 

When Anderson woke up the next morning, one of the first decisions he made was to swing by the station to see if there was any word about Hoover.  When he got there, he was immediately informed that a couple of deputies had completely searched the field, and even some other areas nearby, but they had discovered nothing. 

“Maybe he hitchhiked home or managed to walk back into town,” Anderson offered.  “Would you please send someone over to his parents’ house, to see if he somehow got back there?” 

The desk sergeant agreed and had the dispatcher radio for one of the squad cars to drop by the Hoover house next.  A few minutes later, the deputy who’d responded to the call radioed back to report that no one was answering the door. 

“Tell him he has to find a way inside the house,” Anderson urged.  “Hoover was badly injured, so he could be lying inside unconscious.  He could die if he’s in there and we don’t get him medical attention.” 

Reluctantly, the desk sergeant gave the deputy authorization to break in to the house.  The deputy did and searched the place thoroughly, but he still found no one inside.  Although he was frustrated, Anderson was still able to think clearly enough to ask the deputy at the house to bring the security footage back with him.  He knew they’d need to have proof showing the two guys taking Hoover away for his late night beating and didn’t want to take the chance it would come up missing or get destroyed in the interim. 

Once they had the security cam evidence, along with the statements Hoover made in the dash cam recording, the Sheriff’s department felt they had enough evidence to get arrest warrants for both Charles Hopkins and Mark Jacobs.  As soon as these were issued, deputies were dispatched to both of their residences to place them under arrest.  The deputies found Jacobs quickly, since he was at his apartment, so they slapped him in handcuffs and took him to the station for questioning.  Unfortunately, Hopkins wasn’t as easy to locate. 

While that was happening, Anderson went home and dressed for work, even though he wasn’t required to go in for a few more hours.  He was willing, maybe even eager, to work off the clock so he could be part of the team questioning these perps.  Anderson still felt responsible for the young man, seeing he was there when Hoover wandered off, and he was worried about what more might yet happen to Randy.  He didn’t want to be responsible for having the kid die due to his failures, so he was doing everything he could to find him.  Anderson also felt he should do whatever he could to make certain the perpetrators paid for what they’d done to him. 

“Make sure this interview is taped, all of it,” Anderson told one of the tech guys who would be watching the Jacobs interview from the small room on the other side of the one-way glass.  “We need to make sure everything he says is recorded.” 

“Would you like to be the one to interrogate him then?” the senior deputy asked.  “It’s not standard procedure, but since you know more about this case than anyone else, it’s probably appropriate. 

“Yeah, if you don’t mind.  I’d love to ask the questions,” Anderson agreed.  “I talked to Hoover and probably know a little more about what questions should be asked.” 

Anderson was allowed to go in to question Jacobs.  The other deputy said he wouldn’t interfere unless it looked as if Anderson was doing something wrong or wandered into a shaky area that could get him into trouble.  Confident, Anderson strode into the interview room. 

After advising Jacobs of his rights and making certain he understood them, Anderson asked his first question. 

“I understand you know Randy Hoover,” Anderson began. 

“Yeah, he’s a fag I went to school with,” Jacobs replied. 

“It doesn’t sound as if you two were friends.  Have you seen him lately?” Anderson asked. 

“Nah, not since we graduated,” Jacobs answered.  “We don’t exactly hang out in the same crowds.” 

“You might want to reconsider your answer,” Anderson suggested, as he cued up the surveillance recording and played it for Jacobs. 

When it first came up on the TV, Jacobs still looked fairly smug.  With the cap on his head and his face bent down and turned away from the camera, there was no way anyone could tell it was him.  However, that changed when Hoover opened the door and Jacobs looked up to greet him.  Anderson froze the recording at that point to show Jacobs his face could clearly be seen staring toward the lens. 

“Now, I’ll ask you again,” Anderson stated.  “Have you seen Randy Hoover lately?” 

“Ok, so I saw him a couple of nights ago,” Jacobs admitted,  “Charlie wanted me to go with him when he went to talk to Hoover.” 

“By Charlie, do you mean Charles Hopkins?” Anderson followed. 

“Yeah, that’s Charlie’s name,” Jacobs agreed. 

At this point, Anderson resumed playing the security recording.  Now, it showed Hoover being led away from the house with Hopkins holding a gun to his ribs.  Anderson stopped the recording again. 

“It looks like you wanted to do more than just talk to him,” Anderson stated. 

“Yeah, alright,” Jacobs conceded.  “Charlie said he wanted to get even with him for screwing up his life.  Charlie felt Hoover messed everything up for him and that’s why he was having so much trouble now.” 

After being told this, Anderson started the recording again, but stopped it once more just before the trio began to move out of camera range.  It was right at the moment where Hopkins could be seen swinging the rifle butt at something.  It was difficult to tell what he was trying to do, because the other two were out of the frame at that point, but it seemed apparent that he was trying to hit someone or something with the stock.  Everyone assumed it was Hoover that was being struck, but Anderson wanted to be sure. 

“Do you mind explaining what just happened there?” Anderson asked. 

“Charlie hit Hoover in the head with the rifle,” Jacobs answered.  “He did that because he said he didn’t want Hoover to wake up again until we got to where we were going.” 

“And where would that be?” Anderson followed. 

Jacobs hesitated before he answered.  It appeared as if he was considering if he wanted to admit where they took Randy next, but finally he spoke. 

“We took him out to the old Jensen farm,” Jacobs answered, after a very brief hesitation. 

“And what did you do to him there?” Anderson wanted to know. 

“Charlie just wanted to let Hoover know how badly he had screwed up his life,” Jacobs replied. 

“Anything else?” Anderson pressed. 

“Nope, he just wanted to talk to him.  That’s all,” Jacobs answered. 

This time Anderson started to play the recording from his dash cam.  The minute it came on the screen, Jacobs mouth dropped open and his eyes bugged out of his head. 

“That fucker’s still alive!” Jacobs gasped, before he realized what he’d said. 

Suddenly, he shut his mouth again and sat stone-faced at the interview table. 

“From looking at Hoover, and after listening to what he just said,” Anderson stated, “it appears as if you did a little more than just talk to him.” 

“Charlie did that, not me,” Jacobs offered, quite readily.  “Charlie was still pissed about everything that had happened back in high school, so he wanted to beat the crap out of Hoover.  Charlie did all that.  I never touched him.” 

“What happened in high school that caused Hopkins to feel this way about Hoover?” Anderson asked. 

Jacobs didn’t seem to want to answer this question, so Anderson felt he had to prod him a little. 

“Look, I can contact the school and get their records if I have to,” Anderson offered, “but I’d rather hear your version about what happened first.” 

Jacobs looked up and studied Anderson’s face.  After a few more seconds he began to speak. 

“Ok, you’re going to find out about this anyway,” Jacobs conceded.  “Charlie and I don’t much care for fags and Charlie kept running into Hoover all the time, so it made matters between them worse.  That’s because they were in the same homeroom all during school and ended up being assigned seats close to each other most of the time, because of their last names – Hoover and Hopkins.  Even after all the problems they’d had, Hoover walked just in front of Charlie in our graduation line and they had to sit next to each other during the ceremony.  I’m not sure if anything happened then or not, but I know Hoover must have done something really bad to Charlie long before our graduation.”

“Why do you say that?” Anderson asked.   

“Because things started to get really bad just after we got back from Christmas break in our senior year,” Jacobs explained.  “I don’t know what Hoover did to him, but Charlie didn’t like it and set out to get even with him for it.” 

“So you don’t have any idea what Randy did to Charlie that upset him so badly?” Anderson asked. 

“No, I just told you I don’t know.  Charlie wouldn’t ever tell me, but shortly after that Charlie caught Hoover in the restroom and beat him up a little,” Jacobs answered.  “After he knocked him around a bit, then he started to dunk Hoover’s head in the toilet, but one of the male teachers heard the noise and came inside.  He caught Charlie in the act, so Charlie got in big trouble for doing it.  After that happened, he really wanted to get even with Hoover.” 

“So you two just decided to go over to his house that night and do this?” Anderson followed. 

“No, we didn’t plan on going to his place or doing anything to him.  Really,” Jacobs replied.  “We were just driving down the street when Charlie happened to see Hoover come out of a restaurant.  When Charlie spotted him he was like, ‘Fuck!  There’s that fag!’ and he quickly pulled his truck over to the side of the street.  When Hoover drove away, we followed him back to his place and waited for it to get dark.  We must have sat in Charlie’s truck for an hour or more, just to make sure that Hoover didn’t go anywhere else.” 

“So what did you do next?” Anderson asked. 

“What you saw on that first tape,” Jacobs answered.  “Charlie had me go up and ring the doorbell, while he stood beside the door with his rifle.  He keeps it on the gun rack in his truck.  When Hoover opened the door, Charlie stuck the rifle in his chest and made him come with us.  He knocked him out as we were walking toward the truck, so he wouldn’t try to run away, and then we dragged him over and put him in Charlie’s truck.” 

“So then what did you do?” Anderson asked. 

“We drove him out to the old gravel pit and drug him off to a spot that was flat and didn’t have a lot of grass or shrubs on it.  Then, we waited for him to come to again,” Jacobs answered.  “While we waited, Charlie went over and got this hunk of pipe out of the tool chest in the back of his pickup, so he’d have it to use to threaten Hoover with.” 

“Wait, you just said you went to the gravel pit,” Anderson pointed out.  “Earlier you said you took him to the Jensen farm.  Which is it?” 

Suddenly, Jacobs looked like a small child who’d just been caught in a lie and tried to correct his mistake. 

“Yeah, sorry, it was the farm,’ Jacobs responded. 

“Are you sure?” Anderson pressed. 

“Yeah, it was the farm,” Jacobs agreed. 

“So what happened next?” Anderson asked, although he didn’t believe Jacobs was being totally honest with him any longer. 

“Charlie told him how badly he’d screwed up his life and demanded he apologize,” Jacob answered. 

“Did he?” Anderson asked. 

“Yeah, but that wasn’t enough for Charlie,” Jacobs said. 

“What exactly had Randy done to make Charlie hate him so?” Anderson wondered. 

“All I know is that after Charlie got caught messing Hoover up in the restroom, he was suspended from school and banned from attending the prom,” Jacobs explained.  “The fact that he was banned from the prom pissed off his girlfriend, because now he couldn’t take her, so she broke up with him.  When that happened, it made Charlie hate Hoover even more.” 

“So Charlie went after Hoover again?” Anderson asked. 

“Yeah, Charlie was really pissed after his girlfriend dumped him, so he went over to Hoover’s house and caused a whole bunch of damage,” Jacobs revealed. 

“What kind of damage?” Anderson asked, but Jacobs didn’t appear to want to answer this question. 

“Hey, if it involved a police report, then I can go look up that information quickly,” Anderson told him, “but I’d rather have you share those details with me instead.” 

“Yeah, ok.  There will be a police report, because Charlie got arrested for what he did at Hoover’s house?” Jacobs admitted. 

“What exactly did he do?” Anderson asked. 

“Um, he went over to Hoover’s place with some spray paint and painted ‘fag’ on one side of his father’s car and ‘homo’ on the other side.  After he did that, he smashed the windshield and rear window on the car, before he went over and spray painted more shit on the garage door.” 

“So he got caught doing that?” Anderson followed. 

“Yeah, I guess one of the neighbors either saw him or heard him break the windows on the car,” Jacobs answered, “so they called the town cops.  The cops came out and caught Charlie while he was still at the house and arrested him.  Charlie said he could have run, but since he couldn’t get back to his truck and it was parked on the street, he felt trying to run would be useless.  He didn’t live in the neighborhood, so he figured they’d quickly realize the truck didn’t belong there and then trace it back to him.  Once they did that, they would come to get him anyway, so why run.  In the end, Charlie was charged with vandalism and destroying private property.” 

“So that’s why he beat Randy up like this?” Anderson asked. 

“Well, there’s more,” Jacobs added, “because it also had to do with the fact that the arrest cost Charlie his athletic scholarship to college.”  

“And how did that happen?” Anderson wanted to know. 

“Charlie is good at football and wrestling and had been offered a full scholarship,” Jacobs began, “but then he was arrested and had to go to court first.  The case kept getting put off, so he didn’t have the trial until the summer.  It was good in a way, because it gave Charlie a chance to graduate from high school before he had to go to court, but then it turned out to not be so good for him.  That’s because Charlie was found guilty of what he’d done and was given six-months in jail.  That meant he wouldn’t get out in time to go to college that year, so the college pulled their scholarship offer.  That’s why he really hates Hoover.” 

“Let me see if I’ve got this straight,” Anderson countered.  “First, Charlie gets suspended for beating Randy up at school and dunking his head in the toilet, but then gets mad because he’s caught and gets punished for what he did.  Then he goes to get even for that, by trashing Randy’s father’s car, but manages to get arrested this time.  This makes him ever madder because he went to jail and lost his scholarship.  Now, Charlie decides to take you with him to pick up Hoover, so he can do even more to him?” 

“Yeah, that sounds about right,” Jacobs agreed. 

“Damn, this just keeps getting better and better,” Anderson stated.  “Ok, so what exactly did Charlie do to Randy last night?” 

“Charlie started by asking Hoover to apologize,” Jacobs explained, “but then he started telling Hoover everything he did that he hated him for.  Charlie didn’t just tell him though.  He also hit him with the pipe each time he mentioned something Hoover had done that he didn’t like,” Jacobs explained. 

“So he hit Randy with the pipe a lot of times?” Anderson asked. 

“Yeah, he hit him a whole lot,” Jacobs confirmed.  “There was a whole bunch of things Charlie hated Hoover for and he hit him after he told him about each one.” 

“Earlier, you seemed surprised that Randy was alive,” Anderson noted.  “Do you care to explain that?”

Suddenly, Jacobs stopped talking again. 

“Look, you’re in enough trouble already,” Anderson told him, “but if you help us and are able to convince me that your buddy did all of the damage, then things will go a lot easier for you.  It won’t get you totally off the hook, but it won’t be as bad as if you don’t say anything.” 

Jacobs seemed to think this over for a few minutes before he responded. 

“I only offered to help Charlie get him,” Jacobs explained.  “I didn’t know he was going to beat him like that.” 

“Ok, so what did Charlie do and why were you surprised to see Randy alive?” Anderson asked. 

“Charlie beat him really bad with the pipe,” Jacobs offered.  “Most of the time he smacked him in the chest, legs and arms with the pipe, but the last time he hit him in the head.  After he did that, Hoover wasn’t moving, so Charlie checked him over.  He told me Hoover wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse, so we thought he was dead.  Charlie said we should just leave his body there, because no one ever goes out there any more, so the body would probably just rot or the animals would eat it.  That’s why I was surprised to see you talking to him and then hearing him tell you about what happened.” 

Anderson was horrified by what he’d just heard, but he tried not to show it.  Instead, he excused himself for a minute and stepped into the next room.  Once there, he asked one of the techs to type up Jacobs’ statement and then bring it in to him.  After that, Anderson went back into the interview room with Jacobs and continued talking to him about the case.  When the statement was delivered a short time later, Anderson had Jacobs read it first and then sign it.  He then explained that he was now going to be charged and arrested as an accomplice, but not as if he was an actual assailant. 

“Well done,” the senior officer told him, when he came back out.  “I was impressed by the way you handled that interview and not only got him to admit to nearly everything, but you also caught his mistakes and capitalized on them as well.” 

“It wasn’t hard,” Anderson replied.  “The guy isn’t exactly a rocket scientist.” 

Both men laughed.  Now, they just had to find Hoover and arrest Hopkins. 



Chapter 2: The Other Suspect. 

“Has anyone located Hoover or spotted Hopkins yet?” Anderson asked. 

He had just come back out to the front desk, after finishing up the interview with Jacobs. 

“Nothing yet,” he was told. 

“Sarge, would you have someone check out the area around both the old Jensen farm and the gravel pit?” Anderson asked.  “Jacobs mentioned both places as a possible location for where they took Hoover that night and I think we should look around both places for evidence.  We might be able to find the pipe Hopkins used and that could be important.  Besides, although I’m not sure why Hoover would ever want to go back there, he might have been confused enough to return to one of those places, so we might find him there too.” 

“Ok, I’ll have the dispatcher send a car out to check out both places,” the desk sergeant agreed. 

“Sarge, how about putting an APB out on both of them too?” Anderson suggested. 

“It’s already been done,” his sergeant replied, with a knowing smile. 

About a half-hour later, the Sheriff’s Department got their first break. 

“Town Police just radioed in to notify us that they stopped Hopkins’ truck in a traffic stop, over near Jacobs apartment,” the dispatcher stated. 

“Great!  Ask them if they’d mind bringing him over here,” the desk sergeant replied. 

After the dispatcher radioed back, the town police agreed to do that.  When Hopkins was dropped off a little while later, he was placed in the same interview room that Jacobs had previously been in. 

“You did so well interviewing the first suspect,” the senior officer began, speaking to Anderson, “that I thought you might like to try your hand at this one too.  What do you say?” 

“I’d love to,” Anderson eagerly agreed. 

When he went inside the interview room, Anderson was determined to break this guy’s story and discover what actually happened to Hoover out there. 

“So tell me about your relationship with Randy Hoover,” Anderson began. 

“I don’t have no relationship with that fag,” Hopkins spat back.  “We were just in the same homeroom in school and he kept getting into my sh… business.” 

“And how did he do that?” Anderson wanted to know. 

“Because he kept getting me into trouble,” Hopkins answered. 

“Is that right?  I’ve heard a slightly different version about what happened,” Anderson commented.  “I was told that you got in trouble because of the things you did to him, not that he did anything to you.” 

“He started everything and nothing ever happened to him,” Hopkins insisted.  “He never got into trouble, only me.”

“Then why don’t you tell me about how he started it,” Anderson followed. 

“By being a fag and acting as if he was better than me and the rest of the school,” Hopkins stated.  “Can you believe some fag would think he was better than me?  I was good at sports and had a girlfriend.  What the fuck did he have?  Nothing!” 

It was definitely easy to spot Hopkins’ attitude concerning gays. 

“And what did he do to make you feel this way,” Anderson asked. 

“Oh, he always thought he was so smart, because he had the answers for everything that was going on in class,” Hopkins snipped back.  “Then after Christmas in our senior year, he started wearing all these nice clothes.  He or his parents must have spent a fortune on them, just so he’d look good when he swished down the hallway.  He did all of that just to prove he was better than everyone else, but I’ll bet he doesn’t feel that way any longer.” 

“Why do you say that?” Anderson asked. 

“I don’t know,” Hopkins replied.  “I just don’t think he’s acting so uppity about now.” 

“Is that because you beat the crap out of him?” Anderson challenged. 

Hopkins looked shocked that anyone else knew about that. 

“I haven’t seen that fag in ages,” Hopkins replied.  “I’ll admit I hate him, but I haven’t seen him around for a long time.” 

“You might want to revise your answer after I show you this,” Anderson stated, as he keyed up the home surveillance recording.  Hopkins squirmed around in his chair as he watched it. 

“Ok, so I saw him and thought I’d play a little Halloween prank on him,” Hopkins admitted.  “It was just for fun.  I just wanted to scare him a little.” 

“Is that right?” Anderson asked, as he keyed up the dash cam recording and then turned it on. 

Hopkins sat speechless as he watched Hoover telling Anderson about what had happened.  Anderson was nearly ready to ask Hopkins another question, when someone knocked on the door to the interview room.  When that happened, Anderson stopped what he was doing and went over to see what the person wanted. 

“Will you come out here for a second,” the senior officer announced.  “I have some information that I think you’ll want to hear. 

Anderson stepped into the corridor and shut the door behind him. 

“We’ve just located Hoover,” the officer stated. 

“Great!  Did you take him to the hospital?” Anderson wanted to know. 

“No, not exactly.  They had his body shipped over to the medical examiner’s office,” the officer stated.  “The deputy who was sent out there to look around the two sites found Hoover’s body at the gravel pit.  It looks as if the kid died from his injuries.” 

“Why the hell did he go back there?” Anderson asked, rhetorically. 

He didn’t have long to pursue this thought though, because he quickly regained his composer and refocused on the task at hand.  He opened the door to the interview room again and went back inside. 

“That was no prank you pulled on Hoover,” Anderson began, once he walked over to the table and bent over Hopkins.  “I have a statement from your accomplice, a Mr. Mark Jacobs, that tells me exactly what happened out there, along with Hoover’s statements.  I know exactly what you did.” 

Anderson quickly dug through a folder, pulled the confession out and slapped it onto the table.  Once it was in front of him, Hopkins read it quickly. 

“That fuckin’ idiot can’t keep his mouth shut,” Hopkins screamed.  “I even made him punch Hoover in the face a couple of times so he wouldn’t say anything, because he’d be afraid of getting arrested too.  Jacobs is scared of his own fuckin’ shadow and would give up his mother, if he thought it would help him.” 

Anderson inwardly chuckled at Hopkins’ discomfort. 

“Since I saw the results of what you did to Hoover at the gravel pit,” Anderson added, “it’s obvious you weren’t pulling a prank on him or just trying to scare him.  You beat that poor kid instead.” 

“He fuckin’ deserved it for ruining everything for me,” Hopkins said, derisively.  “I only messed him up to show him a little of what I felt like after what he did to me.”

“I have reports on those other incidents you seem to be referring to and it seems that you ruined your own life,” Anderson challenged. 

“If that fag hadn’t started screaming like some fuckin’ pussy in the toilet, then that teacher would never have come in to see what was going on,” Hopkins stated.  “If I hadn’t gotten suspended and then banned from the prom, then my girlfriend wouldn’t have broken up with me and none of that other shit would have ever happened either.” 

“So you’re blaming Hoover because you beat him up, dunked his head in the toilet and then got caught?” Anderson asked, amazed. 

“He had it coming,” Hopkins answered. 

“So he was the only one responsible for you getting suspended and banned from the prom?” Anderson pressed.  “You had absolutely nothing to do with it?” 

“Only that I was making him pay for what he’d done.” Hopkins replied.  “His screaming like a girl is what got me in trouble.”

“And I suppose he was responsible for all the damage you caused at his house and how you destroyed his parents’ property?” Anderson challenged. 

“Yeah, because he caused my girlfriend to break up with me,” Hopkins answered.  “That’s why I did all that other shit to him.” 

“And your girlfriend leaving you had nothing to do with the way you were acting or what you were doing to Hoover?” Anderson asked. 

“Maybe a little, but we could have made up,” Hopkins offered.  “But no, then he made me lose my college scholarship too.”  

“And that had nothing to do with what you did at his house?” Anderson wondered. 

“Just that getting caught there got me sent to jail and ended up costing me the scholarship,” Hopkins acknowledged. 

“Damn, you sure do get in a lot of trouble for an innocent person,” Anderson noted. 

“Yeah, and it’s all Hoover’s fault,” Hopkins snarled. 

“So it was also his fault that you beat him severely with a pipe?” Anderson challenged. 

“Yeah, I only did it because he ruined my life,” Hopkins insisted.  “I wanted to show him what that felt like.  I wanted him to feel as bad as I did.” 

“Well, I guess you accomplished that, but now he’s going to get you one more time,” Anderson added.  “Charles Hopkins, you are under arrest and being charged with the murder of Randy Hoover.  We found his lifeless body at the gravel pit a short time ago.” 

“But you just showed me he was still alive on that recording,” Hopkins challenged. 

“Isn’t that funny.  I guess Randy found a way to get the last word in against you before he died,” Anderson shot back. 

After Hopkins was thrown into a cell, Anderson went over to the ME’s office to discover the official cause of death.  He wanted to have that information so he could pass it along to the D.A. for inclusion on the murder indictment.  

“So what was the boy’s official cause of death?” Anderson asked when he arrived there. 

“Blunt force trauma to the skull and body,” the medical examiner answered.  “Each of the blows caused injuries, but the blows to the chest and head caused massive internal damage.  It’s just hard to tell whether the blow to the head or the ones to the torso were what evidently killed him.”

“Wow, after hearing about all the damage that had been inflicted upon him, I’m amazed the kid was able to walk to where I found him,” Anderson stated, almost to himself. “Not only that, but how the hell was he later able to walk back to the gravel pit, where he died?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about or what you think you saw or know,” the M.E. began, “but this kid didn’t walk anywhere.  On top of all of his other injuries, he also has compound fractures to both legs and one of his arms.  Plus, he has a fractured skull, so the kid died right there the same night he was beaten.  He didn’t go anywhere after it happened.” 

“But I have a dash cam recording that shows him telling me about what happened, after I came across him on Halloween night,” Anderson insisted. 

“I don’t know what you have on that recording, but I’m telling you it isn’t this kid,” the M.E. insisted.  “All of the various indicators, such as liver temp, rigor, decomp and such, indicate he’s been dead for a couple of days, so you certainly didn’t talk to him last night.” 

Since Anderson was unable to explain the recording any longer, he wasn’t sure if it could be used in court.  At least there were still the taped confessions from the two culprits, so they’ll go down for what they did to Hoover.  Hopkins may even get the needle for it, because the murder will definitely be classified as a ‘hate crime.’ 

It seems that Hoover somehow managed to get justice for what was done to him after all.  It also appears that parts of this case may also end up being written off as just another unexplainable Halloween occurrence.