Page 18 of Just Me

He didn’t reply. Instead, he turned it back toward him, and started reading the text aloud.

“Hey beautiful. Do you look as cute in real life?”

He saw Cami’s eyes widen at that. He read the next one.

“Can we meet? I’d like to meet you! Like to organize a meet-up, babe?”

“Oh.” Cami leaned closer to look at the text. “That’s creepy. How did he get her information? That should not have been available in the game. Do you think he was a player?”

Connor shrugged. “At this stage we can’t tell.” He read the next one.

“Hey babe. I want to see you as you really are. I’m sure you’re hot. How about sending me a pic? Just one? Or must I go looking for myself? You know I can find out what you look like?”

But then, the texts got threatening.

“Why aren’t you responding? Am I not good enough for you? You need to learn a lesson. You need to learn some manners when someone finds you cute!”

And a final one: “Don’t think I can’t find you. I know how and I can.”

And then there was no more interaction. It seemed like Adriana had blocked the unwanted messager.

But had she done it too late?

“Those texts are really threatening,” Cami said to him, sounding shocked.

“They are,” he replied with a nod.

“He could have found where she lived,” Cami said. “From the sound of those texts, they met online. Do you think he picked up who she was from VR and stalked her in real life?”

“That definitely seemed the intention from that last text,” Connor agreed.

“So, who is this guy? You want me to find out?”

Connor held up a hand. “No. Don’t overstep our mandate. The FBI databases can provide us with his ID.”

He got out his laptop. He saw Cami give the machine, which was a couple of years old, a dubious glance.

“It works just fine,” he told her, defensive now. He was due for an upgrade next year. It wasn’t like he was working with obsolete equipment, for heaven’s sake. Her expression would probably be the same if he’d pulled out an abacus. That was the impression he was getting.

Quickly—all the more so because she was now staring—he logged into the database he needed and entered the cellphone, hoping that the systems would be fast.

To his relief, they were.

“The phone belongs to Guy Vernon. Here’s his address. He lives at 34 Beacon Road.”

“Just a sec.” Now, Connor saw, Cami was busy on her own phone again. The speed with which she worked still took him aback. It didn’t seem humanly possible to be able to work at that pace, to type at that rate from a phone? And she’d said she was faster on a keyboard?

In a moment, Cami looked up, and her face was triumphant.

“I’ve gotten his IP address. And I’ve cross-checked it. He was a player in Bordercross. His in-game name is Skullhead. He was there! He might have seen Adriana in there, and that was the point of contact that led to him messaging her, in which case he might also have tracked down Liz Hughes too.”

Connor felt a surge of excitement. Between the FBI database and Cami’s research, it seemed that Guy Vernon—aka Skullhead—was a strong suspect who had a definite link to one victim and a possible link to the other.

“It’s time to go and speak to Guy,” he said, standing up. “Let’s see if this suspect is home.”

Tags: Blake Pierce Mystery
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