He was starting to regret what he did? Starting to regret running like this.
He knew that Justine was hurting, that she had questions, but maybe once he was gone, and once that journal was gone, maybe she would be safe.
Even that was not guaranteed though, he had inserted himself in her life. He should have found out what she had known long ago and left, the second he realized she knew nothing he should have left.
He had fallen in love though, falling in love with Justine had not been part of the plan.
The things he would do for his brother.
How did his brother get in something like this?
Murder, sure his brother had been a trouble maker, but he would never believe he could kill anyone.
But he had all but confessed to him, and for the past ten years he had kept that confessions a secret and that journal.
That journal had proved his brother was not everything he believed he was?
I can’t believe this, I am living a plot to a bad movie here? My brother has confessed to have murdered the sister of the woman I have fallen in love with? And to keep her safe, and to keep my brothers
secret safe. I have disappeared. I had no choice really.
Bert unlocked the glove box, to look at the journal once more, and was shocked to find it was gone.
Who could have found the journal?
Bert had just gotten the truck, no one knew he had it, except the person he bought it from.
What if they were somehow connected to Brandi’s murder too?
Am I ever going to wake up from this ten year old nightmare?
Will Justine ever be able to forgive me?
Bert kind of doubted Justine would be able to forgive him, the way he had lied to her. The way he had played her. Who could blame her if she didn’t? He knew her sisters killer, and ran instead of telling someone.
I am such a coward.
He could not turn his brother in though, not until he read the whole journal, not until he made sense of all of this.
If he could ever make sense of this?
It was all so confusing.
Bert tore up his truck looking under the seats, in the bed, the console anywhere to see if he could find the Journal, but no luck. It was gone, it was really gone.
This wasn’t good.
His life was once again being turned upside down, and now not only was he in danger, so was Justine.
It was exactly what he had not wanted to happen.
He had to figure things out, he could not let that journal fall into the wrong hands.
If it hadn’t already.
Bert was starting to feel like he was losing his mind. Piece by piece.
This was probably exactly how they wanted him to feel, it was exactly how he had made Justine feel.
He deserved this, but Justine did not deserve the danger she would face if that journal was in the wrong hands.
What could a ten year old diary written by a fifteen year old girl have in it that would cause so many people to die? Not merely die, but be murdered in such a brutal way?
Bert had, had it for the past ten years, but that did not mean he had read it, not most of it, only the part that his brother had shown him. He had not had the courage nor the time to read it any farther.
Maybe he should have read it. Perhaps all of this would make more sense if he had, but he had really had no desire to read a ten year old diary from a fifteen year old girl who had been murdered.
Something in that diary had led to that murder, that much was certain.
Brandi had known something.
And now Justine was in danger, he was in danger, and countless other girls and women.
There had already been several Murders, murders he had known that could not be tied to his brother.
No none of this was making much sense, the fact that his brother had confessed. It somehow did not jive with him. It was like he had been trying to convince Bert of something he did not believe himself.
The pieces did not forget, and no matter how many times he tried to figure them out in the past ten years, they never did forget.
The fact was Bert just could not make sense of any of this any more than Justine was. And part of Justine’s pain was his fault.
If Bert were a praying man he would be praying for forgiveness. Forgiveness for all the mistakes he had made, but the truth was he was no longer sure what he believed. He knew Justine was a believer. She wore her faith proudly, without shoving it down people’s throats. She had a quiet way about witnessing to others as she called it, and if Bert were a believer that would be exactly how he wanted to be. He would want to be exactly like Justine, but instead he had hurt her, something she would never intentionally do to another, because she had known pain all to well.
She had found her sister dead. Murdered, there was no pain equal to finding someone you loved murdered.
Maybe I would be able to make more sense of life if I believed? Maybe I should have taken a cue from Justine?
I can’t believe I fail for his lies. He just left me. I thought he loved me, he was only trying to find out what I knew.
Brandi warned me to be careful, before she died. She knew something was going to happen. I only wish I had listened to her, maybe I could have saved her.
Justine knew that she could not blame herself forever. She was going to have to let some of this guilt go at some time, but she was not sure when that time would come. It wasn’t like she was responsible for a lost trinket, she could very well be responsible for her sisters death. Not directly of course, but indirectly, though the logic just wasn’t their. She did not even know what was going on.
Lord I am sorry for being like this, but I feel like my life has been turned upside down once again. I don’t know what I am going to do, my faith has been shaken in a very real way. I know I can’t blame you for what happened, but Lord I feel like I have had some kind of curse put on my life or something. I know your love overpowers all of that, but I am struggling. Thank you Lord.
“Brandi I feel like I have failed you all over again. I am so sorry.” Justine believed her sister heard her. She may be gone, but she lived on in her heart.
There was something that was in that journal, that long lost journal, that led to her death. Justine remembered a small disk she kept in that journal as well.
A disk of files that she had saved before she did.
Justine was not even sure if that disk would be readable, but if it was by some small chance, then maybe she would find answers on that as well.
Why hadn’t she remembered this until now?
Ten years later, and she remembers a small detail like that. A disk that may lead to her sisters killer or killers.
This was starting to feel like something out of a movie to Justine, but the fact was she wanted answers. She wanted to know what was on that disk, and what was in that journal. Once she knew that, and her sisters killer or killers were behind bars, she may find peace after that, but she did not even know if that day would come. She could only pray it would.
Lord I pray someday we have the answers we have been searching so long for. I pray that someday soon Brandi’s murderer will finally have to face justice.
Justine would be relieved when the pieces finally fell together. When she finally could put the pieces of the puzzle of her sisters murder together. Fact was even ten years later, none of this made any sense. She wasn’t sure it ever would. Murder just wasn’t supposed to make sense? Especially the murder of an innocent fifteen year old girl.
She’d be twenty five now.
She might have children by now, a family.
That was all stolen from her, by the person or people who murdered her.
“Maybe the fact that I am starting to remember more details from the week s before you were killed Brandi is a good thing. It was like I was drugged or something.’
People may think Justine was crazy for talking to her dead sister this way, but the fact was she didn’t care. This made her feel closer to her sister, and no one was going to take that away from her.
What others thought at the moment did not matter though, what mattered was finding her sisters killer.
The same thing that had mattered for the past ten years.
Finding out who killed her sister was what mattered. And she was going to do that, but if it were going to take me the rest of my life I was going to find out about it.
Lord lead me to the answers I need to figure things out.
Someday Brandi would get justice, Justine would make sure of it, even if no one else did. She needed to find the answers. Answers that she did not have now, but someday she would have. Justine had to believe she would have answers.
Lord things are slowly starting to come together, but they won’t come completely together, until I find that journal. It disappeared sometime after Brandi was killed.
The pieces were falling together, but they were not yet complete. Someday they would be complete, but not at the moment.
For the moment though, she had to get back to work get back to the normalcy of life. Not that it had been anyway normal in the past ten years. She was going to get back on with her life, and for now she was thankful she was self employed. An author just as her sister had dreamed of being.
Truth was like Brandi Justine had always loved writing, but Brandi had been more passionate about it. She was certain her sister would have been famous by now, if she had lived.
Ironically now she was famous in her death. The brutal murder had made sure of that, but that was not how anyone had imagined Brandi becoming famous. She could have been the next Danielle Steel.
“You would be something great by now Brandi. The fact is to us you already were, and someone decided to take you from us. Ten years and I still miss you like it was yesterday.”
I guess you never stop missing someone that was murdered the way Justine was.
I miss the way we talked late into the night when we were younger. Before all of this, before you were gone of course, but before things started changing too. I was four years your senior, but I had always enjoyed your company.
Don’t get me wrong, we had our moments, we could both drive each other nuts, but we would have each others back.
I didn’t have your back, when it counted though?
If I had you might be alive, but I wasn’t even there. I was at classes.
Someone murdered you in broad daylight, Mom and Dad were at work, I was in class, and no one saw anything. Heard anything.
It just doesn’t seem right, it still doesn’t to me.
I am not sure if it ever will.
Murder is not something that is supposed to make sense though.
Justine was more determined than ever to find that journal.
She remembered a Storage Locker she had been to once with Bert, she didn’t know what was in that locker, but was sure it wasn’t much. His house was nicely furnished, and she couldn’t imagine him keeping junk in a storage locker.
Something was hidden in that locker, something he didn’t even want her to see. He had kept her away from that Storage Unit at all costs.
The journal? Could he have Brandi’s journal?
Justine did not want to think this way, but she could not help it. Something was in that Storage Until something he did not want her to see.
The pieces were starting to fall together. The past ten years had been a lie.
She had fallen in love with a liar, and perhaps even worse. She may have fallen in love with her sisters killer.
The thought alone made her sick to her stomach.
Lord whatever I find out, please don’t let Bert be the killer. I believe he knows more than he has been saying, but please don’t let him be the killer.
I don’t want to have fallen in love with a killer.
None of that was going to matter though, because the fact was she wouldn’t allow herself to love Bert anymore. At least that was what she had planned on doing, just stop loving him. Her heart had other ideas though.
Why am I such a fool that I fall in love with someone tied up with Brandi’s murder? At the very least I have fallen in love with a liar.
I can’t believe I let myself fall in love with someone like this.
“How could I have been so stupid Brandi, so blind?”
Of course she did not expect her sister to answer the question. It wasn’t really a question to be answered anyway, not by anyone but herself and God.
“I miss you Brandi, I truly do. I don’t know if I will ever stop missing you. I think maybe when I find answers I will find peace. But I am not even sure about that.”
Fact is I am not sure about anything, other than my sister deserves justice, and I am going to do my best to make it.
Justine drove over to the storage unit to see if Bert had closed out the unit. She was surprised to find out he hadn’t. And thankfully he had left a spare key at her house, the last time he had stayed over. Perhaps he had done it on purpose, though Brandi could not figure out why he had left it, or whether or not he had done so on purpose. She knew he had two keys, she was sure one was with him, and the other was left at her house.
Justine drove over to the storage unit, to see if she could find the journal inside, she did not really expect to find it in there, but perhaps she would find something. Maybe she could figure out more about Bert.
Somehow she doubted that though.
Brandi wasn’t sure if she would ever be able to make sense of any of this. She needed to find the answers.
Fact was none of this made sense.
The unit was empty except for something in a far corner, a small box, no bigger than a shoe box.
Why rent a storage room for something so small, unless it was valuable? Perhaps not monetary , but perhaps in another way. Like life and death wise.
Is it to much to hope, that the journal is in here, that he didn’t take it with him?
She wasn’t surprised to find the box empty, except an old disk that had been overlooked, or perhaps fallen out of the journal.
“This is Brandi’s disk?” She said to no one in particular. There was really no one to talk to in that empty room anyway. She had to leave, and somehow retrieve what was on that disk.
Is it to much to hope a ten year old disk still works Lord?
Justine had decided one way or another she would find out what was on that disk.
Maybe it was nothing, but then again maybe it was something.
She was going to do her best to find out one way or another.
Maybe if she had the answers, she could have some measure of peace.
Maybe she could finally put her sister to rest. Truly to rest. She was buried yes, but she had not truly been put to rest, because it was hard for that to happen when no one felt any peace.
I don’t know what’s on these disks, but I hope whatever it is, can answer some of the questions, that have been lingering on for ten years.
Justine hoped the disk was the one she thought it was, the one that belonged to her sister. The one that had went missing the same time as the journal, shortly after Brandi was murdered. But in a small way she was almost afraid to find out what was on that disk.
Whatever is on this disk, if it is the disk I think it is, was bad enough that Brandi hid it from us, that someone killed her for that and the journal, and after she was dead they made it disappear.
Somehow Bert ended up with it.
Justine was starting to put the pieces together, but she wasn’t sure she liked them. Because it involved Bert being involved with her sisters murder. Or at the very least he was involved with the cover up, getting the person who killed her sister.
I don ‘t want to believe these things about Bert, the only other option was that he was in danger too. That the killers somehow have him.
Right now nothing would surprise her, but if he was in danger he needed help.
If she called the cops before she knew anything though, she needed to spend time in prayer, and in the word, perhaps the good Lord could help her make sense of all of this.
Brandi went home, and took a few moments out to read Isaiah 41:
41 “Be silent before me, you islands!
Let the nations renew their strength!
Let them come forward and speak;
let us meet together at the place of judgment.
2 “Who has stirred up one from the east,
calling him in righteousness to his service[a]?
He hands nations over to him
and subdues kings before him.
He turns them to dust with his sword,
to windblown chaff with his bow.
3 He pursues them and moves on unscathed,
by a path his feet have not traveled before.
4 Who has done this and carried it through,
calling forth the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord—with the first of them
and with the last—I am he.”
5 The islands have seen it and fear;
the ends of the earth tremble.
They approach and come forward;
6 they help each other
and say to their companions, “Be strong!”
7 The metalworker encourages the goldsmith,
and the one who smooths with the hammer
spurs on the one who strikes the anvil.
One says of the welding, “It is good.”
The other nails down the idol so it will not topple.
8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
11 “All who rage against you
will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
14 Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
15 “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge,
new and sharp, with many teeth.
You will thresh the mountains and crush them,
and reduce the hills to chaff.
16 You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up,
and a gale will blow them away.
But you will rejoice in the Lord
and glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 “The poor and needy search for water,
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the Lord will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
21 “Present your case,” says the Lord.
“Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.
22 “Tell us, you idols,
what is going to happen.
Tell us what the former things were,
so that we may consider them
and know their final outcome.
Or declare to us the things to come,
23 tell us what the future holds,
so we may know that you are gods.
Do something, whether good or bad,
so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear.
24 But you are less than nothing
and your works are utterly worthless;
whoever chooses you is detestable.
25 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—
one from the rising sun who calls on my name.
He treads on rulers as if they were mortar,
as if he were a potter treading the clay.
26 Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know,
or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’?
No one told of this,
no one foretold it,
no one heard any words from you.
27 I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’
I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good news.
28 I look but there is no one—
no one among the gods to give counsel,
no one to give answer when I ask them.
29 See, they are all false!
Their deeds amount to nothing;
their images are but wind and confusion.
Despite all the madness of the past few days, spending time in the word, did bring her a measure of comfort.
Justine had started to feel like she was neglecting God, she was sure glad she opened her eyes to that.
It was her faith that had got her through for the past ten years, and her faith alone.
Thank you Lord, for all you have given me. I know you are going to help me through this, just as you have done for the past ten years. I may not understand what happened, but I know that you do.
“I feel much better now that I spent time in the word. I can not even begin to imagine how you felt when you faced our creator. I know you were a believer Brandi, you gave your heart to the Lord, when you were ten and a half. ”
Justine found a level of comfort in talking to her sister the way she so often did. She did it when she was alone of course, because other one might think she was crazy. She wasn’t of course, she just felt a measure of peace when she talked to her sister.
Thank you Lord, for everything you have given me. Thank you Lord for letting me find the disk, for letting Bert leave the disk behind. I am sure he didn’t mean to Lord, but I am glad he did. I pray he is okay. I pray that I get the answers I have been searching for, and I pray that someday all of this starts to make sense. I am not sure it ever will though. My sister is dead, murdered ten years ago, that will never make any sense to me.
The fact of the matter was Justine was feeling better than she had in a while. Perhaps it was finding the disk but most likely it was the fact that she had taken the time to talk to God.
It was amazing how having a relationship with the Lord, got you through the toughest of times. Even after Brandi had been murdered she had not stopped believing her faith may have been shaken, but she never questioned his existence. She may have wondered why this had happened, and the fact was she still did, but despite all of this she knew that God existed, that he was God.
I am grateful for all you have given me Lord, and for the answers I believe one day you will lead us to. I love you and I thank you.
Justine booted up her old computer, praying that the disk would be readable. Praying that it would lead to answers, she was relieved when she saw the disk was still good. It had been kept in a cool dry place, that had allowed it to be persevered. She was grateful for that, and thank you for all you have given me.
Thank you Lord, maybe now I will have the answers I have been searching for. Maybe I will be able to put the pieces together. Perhaps even save Bert if he was still in danger.
Bert was relieved when he finally found the journal. Buried under the truck seats.
How could I have been so careless? I would never be so careless.
Something just wasn’t making much sense to Bert, the fact was the last few days had been something of a blur.
In ways he felt like he was running from ghosts. If he felt like this, how much Justine feel?
I was a fool I loved her, and I hurt her. I never wanted to do that, never wanted to do any of that. My intention was never to hurt her. Of course it had been never to fall in love with her either, but it was hard not to fall in love with Justine. She makes me feel like a prince.
Bert had never missed someone in his life, the way he missed Justine now. It saddened him, that he had to run away from the woman he loved in order to keep her safe. He hared that he had to make that choice, but he could not be responsible for anything happening to Justine. She had already lost her sister, and he knew who the killer was, if he believed everything his brother told him. And somehow he didn’t.
This was all so confusing.
Justine must be beating herself up over him leaving. He was going to make it up to her one way or another. If she would ever speak to him again, when this was all over. If this was all over?
I should have listened to my heart. I should have stayed with Justine, but I couldn’t not at the risk of her life.
I put the woman I loved in danger.
I wish I had her faith, maybe if I did I wouldn’t feel so utterly alone.
Bert picked up the journal that had belonged to Brandi, Justine’s little sister, the journal that had led them together, but the one thing he had not expected to happen, happened. They fell in love.
He hadn’t even believed he was capable of love, until he had met Justine. And now the journal that had belonged to her sister was the closest thing he had to Justine.
The only problem was the disk was gone.
Where was the disk?
It had to have fallen out in the storage unit, or someone else had got to it.
Maybe the journal had not been misplaced after all, maybe it hadn’t been the journal they were after but the disk?
The fact was he knew though, they had been after both.
It had to be in the unit.
He would have to retrieve it someway or another.
He was certain Justine probably had it now, and she was in danger.
Bert drove as fast as he could, without bring suspicion to the local police. After driving for a few hours he picked up a burn phone to call Justine on. He could not risk calling her on his cell. He had changed the number anyway, and put it under an assumed name.
He dialed her number, praying for an answer. He knew she would want an explanation. The business trip had not been a business trip after all. By now even she probably knew that.
“Justine it’s Bert, I know I owe you an explanation, and that will come in time. But please be careful. I know you went to the Storage unit and found that disk. It could put you in serious danger.”
“What are you talking about Bert? And why should I believe anything you say?”
“Justine I know I lied to you, but never about the way I felt towards you.”
“I want to believe that Bert. I really do.”
“You can believe it Justine, and please be careful, there is something on that disk that Justine killers want.”
“The journal, the disk? Why kill someone over such everyday objects.”
“Justine all I know is they hold secrets the killers don’t want discovered. I don’t know how your sister got tied up in it, or my brother but they did.”
“Yes my brother, he’s there fall guy.”
“He was a suspect wasn’t he?”
“Yes but it’s all a mistake. I will tell you about it later. I am on my way back now. Don’t tell anyone I called. Not even your parents. It can put them in danger as well.”
A second later, the line went dead.
Something was wrong, very wrong.
I don’t know what’s going on Lord, but I am starting to see how Brandi must have felt before she was murdered ten years ago.
Have they got Bert now?
I don’t know what’s going on Lord, but I am hoping that I wake up from this nightmare soon.
Justine picked up her Bible once again, this time trying to ease her fears, trying to make sense of all of this.
None of it made any sense though, Justine wasn’t sure it ever would.
Brandi was dead, had been for ten years, and now the killers may very well have taken Bert.
He had told her to much.
Maybe if she hadn’t insisted on stirring all of this up things would be different.
Forgive me Lord, I feel like I have stirred up something that maybe should have been left alone. But I needed the answers that led to Brandi’s death. I think now I have only made things more difficult. I could be responsible for whatever happens to Bert because of my insistence. Maybe I just need to let Brandi rest in peace.
The fact was Brandi couldn’t rest in peace until she had the answers to her sisters murder though. Until the person or people responsible were put behind bars.
Somehow she knew it was tied to several other deaths in the past ten years.
Justine opened her Bible to 1 John 4, praying for a small measure of peace.
On Denying the Incarnation
4 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
God’s Love and Ours
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
The word did bring her comfort, but right now she had to figure things out like how to save Bert.
Despite everything he did not deserve to die the way Brandi had, no one deserved that kind of brutality. He deserved better.
The fact was despite everything Justine still loved Bert, and she had to try and protect him. If he was in danger, and somehow she knew he was.
The people responsible for Brandi’s death were obviously very dangerous. And they would stop at nothing to get what they wanted. Not even murder!
The way Brandi had been murdered, and all those women besides her was proof of that.
They were connected, Brandi’s murder, and the others. They had to be.
Justine I am afraid, there are dangerous people out there. I am not going to tell you what’s happening, but if anything should happen to me. I beg you try to find out who did this to me, and please be careful. Mom and Dad couldn’t bare to lose another daughter. You are all they have left.
Justine folded the note, and put it away. It was falling apart from ten years of handling. The note told her what she had already known, someone had been after Brandi, even before her death. She was going to find out who did this to her sister, and now who had Bert.
The call had went dead, and Justine had thought she had heard other voices.
Did they know who he called?
Was she next?
Lord why did I have to stir up all of this? Why did I have to insist on digging for the answers? Perhaps if I hadn’t things would be different. Perhaps Bert would be sitting beside her.
“Brandi I want to find the answers to who killed you, and why, but I don’t want other people to die because of this. I don’t know what you got wrapped up into Brandi, but whatever it was, it was something very dangerous. How could a fifteen year old girl, get tied up into something that leads to her death? Who kills a fifteen year old girl for a journal and a computer disk.”
Justine booted up her computer once again. Retrieving her sisters files, the files that may have led to her death. She wanted the answers, and perhaps they would help lead her to Bert. If he really was in danger, like she believed he was, she had to find the answers.
Justine couldn’t wait until this nightmare was put behind her.
A nightmare ten years in the making.
What did you have on that disk, and in those journals that could have led to your death?
When will this nightmare end?
Please Lord keep Bert safe, I would not be able to forgive myself if something happened to him because of me. Dear Lord please keep him safe. Keep us all safe. This is all such a nightmare.
I love you Lord, and I thank you for getting me this far, but I am asking for protection.
Brandi deserved to have justice. She deserved that and so much more. She had deserved to live, but ten years ago she had been murdered.
Ten long years ago.
Ten years is a long time for a murderer to get away scot free, ten years is a long time for someone to be allowed to keep killing.
Justine had turned on the news just a few hours, to find another girl had been murdered. Once again the M.O had been similar, if not identical to Brandi’s this girl had been seventeen, and Pregnant. Seventeen was young to get Pregnant, but it was certainly nothing to be murdered over.
I feel like I am living a nightmare right now. I need your help to get through this Lord. I really do I can not do this on my own. I need you Lord, now more than ever I need you. I feel like I am reliving my sister’s death over again. I love you Lord and I thank you for getting me this far.
Justine could only imagine how alone Bert must feel. She had been trying to witness to him for the past ten years. Maybe now he would see that she had been right that she really did need the good Lord. Everyone did, even if they did not realize they did.
I couldn’t even begin to imagine getting through the past ten years without you Lord. If it hadn’t been for you I would have given up a long time ago. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
“Brandi I really wish I knew more about your life, the few months before you were killed, but you hid everything so well. You really didn’t want us to know about any of this did you?”
Justine wanted answers. She wanted to know what had happened to her sister, that was the only thing she wanted to know for the past ten years. She wanted to know who killed her sister, she needed to know that.
“Someday Brandi you will have justice. I really believe that, I have to, but right now I needed to find out where Bert is. Whoever has him may hurt him? The way they hurt you Brandi, the way they killed you. I couldn’t live with someone else I loved being murdered the way you were.”
Someday Justine would stop talking to her dead sister. Or maybe she wouldn’t.
Thank you Lord for getting us this far, and I am going to believe that you are going to keep Bert safe.
I love you Lord, and I do thank you for everything you have given me. I know I have been asking a lot of you lately, but Lord it is not me I am trying to save but Bert. Another death would tear us all apart. Another murder. Someday this is all going to stop, someday we are going to make it.
“Where is the disk and the journal?” Bert’s captors demanded.
“Do you really think I am so stupid, I am going to tell you. The second I do, you will kill me.”
“You’ll die if you don’t tell me.”
“I am no idiot. As long as I know where they are and no one else does. I must be kept alive, the second I tell you, you kill me.”
“Maybe we should just make you wish you were dead.”
“Do that and you will never find either one.”
“One way or another we will find it, if we have to get to your little girlfriend of yours. She deserves to die, the way her sister did.”
“And why did you feel the need to kill a fifteen year old girl? I know you have children, what if someone did that to one of your children.”
“My children are not stupid enough to go looking for trouble.”
“You are heartless.”
“Maybe but I am alive, and I am free. I intend on staying free. You know we will kill you one way or another. We will not be found out.”
“What are you going to do, kill everyone?”
“Everyone who stands in our way.”
Bert quieted. He was hurting. They had beat him, his lips were fat, his eyes nearly swollen shut The pain was intense, but the pain in his heart was even more intense. His heart was breaking, because he knew what Justine must be going through,
She heard them take me, she could be in danger too.
I know we really haven’t been on speaking terms Lord. I know I have questioned your very existence, but now more than ever I need you to be real, and I need you to help Justine out of this, She doesn’t deserve this, right now I am wishing I had never been so deceptive. If I had been honest with her from the start maybe none of this would have never happened.
Justine had never stopped believing, even after what had happened to her sister she had not stopped believing.
She was stronger than Bert could ever be, he had no doubt about that.
Whatever happens Lord, please help Justine through this. Let her survive this, let her find the answers she has been chasing for the past ten years, and I promise you Lord, if I get out of this alive I will help her in anyway possible.
Bert had gone from never praying to talking to God, twice in the same day. In the same hour even, and he was discovering Justine was right. God did not leave your side, when you reached out, and he was thankful for that.
I am sorry if I ever questioned your existence Lord. I am starting to see now that you are very much real, and that you love us. Lord please help me through this.
A few hours later, someway came back into the room bringing Bert a tray of food. He didn’t know why they were bothering to feed him, if they wanted to kill him, unless they planned on poisoning him somehow, but he kind of doubted that. These people would make the death more brutal more painful. Each death held a message.
What am I dealing with here Lord? Did they get to Trevor too? Is he dead?
Bert wanted answers, just as Justine had. He wanted to find out why these people kept killing girls and women. One after another. Somehow he had to get out of here, and go to the police. If they didn’t get him soon, it would only lead to more deaths.
“Are you ready to talk yet?”
“I told you I am not answering your questions, the journal is gone, the disk is gone, that is all you need to know.”
“You’re a fool you know that. I am the one that holds the cards not you.”
“I am not speaking, do what you want to me.”
“Perhaps bringing your girlfriends dead body to you, would be enough convincing?”
“Don’t even think of touching her.”
“She’s nosy and she needs to be quieted just like her pretty little sister was.”
“You’re a sick bastard.”
“That may be, but if you don’t start talking very soon, I will bring you your girlfriends dead body. And I will find her.”
Lord he is capable of this, please stop this maniac from getting to Justine. Please lead the cops to him.
“I am not telling you anything. Either way my life is in danger and so is Justine’s.”
“The less you tell me, the more painful I will make your girlfriends death. And I will make you watch.”
“Just leave her out of this.”
“Sorry that’s not happening, she is in this, and I am going to make sure she pays for her role. Just how much pain her payment brings is up to you. I can make her death quick and painless or I could torture her.”
“Or you could have a heart and let her live. Because if you don’t someone will go after your family. They will make them go through what you have made all these women, and little girls go through.”
“No one threatens my family.”
“I would be careful if I were you, because one day you will be caught, and you will pay. I just wonder if your family will have to pay as well.”
“Then leave Justine out of this.”
“Sorry I can’t do that.”
“You are more of an idiot than I thought.”
Bert had no idea where he was getting the courage to talk like this. To face the monster in this way, but that was exactly what he was doing. The fact was he wasn’t so scary face to face, someone needed to take him down.
Bert wasn’t one who believed in taking another life, but for this monster, he wanted to make an exception. He would strangle him with his bear hands if he had the strength and energy at the moment.
I know you frown upon killing, but in this case, I would like to see him struck down, before he takes anymore lives, and I know he will. He will kill and he will keep killing until he is caught Lord. Help them to find me, and arrest him. He doesn’t deserve to see the light of day again. He deserves to fry in the electric chair. Thank you Lord for listening to me. I am glad I started talking to you again. Justine was right, it is liberating, and good having someone to talk to.
“You are going to regret this, you will crack.”
“You obviously don’t know me.”
“I have seen your type before, they always crack.”
“Well there’s a first time for everything. And I am going to be glad when I see you fall.”
“That’s not happening.”
“You are not God, you are not invincible.”
“That’s what you think.”
“You really are crazy.”
“No you are the one who is crazy, for not giving me what I asked for.”
“That’s just not going to happen.”
“One way or another it will, you can be sure of that.”
“I don’t think so.”
Justine knew she couldn’t talk to her parents about what was happening. It would only serve to freak them out. She had to give a report to the police though. Bert was in danger, the person who had killed her sister, most likely had him.
They wanted that journal, the stupid journal that had caused her sister her life, a decade ago.
Justine was able to retrieve the files from Brandi’s disk. She opened the first one dated November.2011. Ten months before Brandi was killed.
I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t like what I see. These guys, old guys probably older than Dad, picking up girls, girls about my age. Some a little younger, and some a little younger. I don’t know what’s going on, but it can’t be something good.
I always thought Emerald Lake was such a nice friendly town. Safe, but now I am starting to see that is not true .
I can’t let anyone know what I saw, the fact is I am not even sure what I saw. But something is not right.
“I hope they listen to me, they believe me. I am afraid they are going to think I am just some nut, but this is real Brandi, as real as your murder was ten years ago.”
Justine drover herself to the police station praying all the way. Not only did she need to tell them about Bert missing, but she had to show them what she had discovered on that disk. She only wished she had the journal as well. Perhaps if she had them both, it would be more believable.
She had to tell them regardless, but she was going to take a few moments to find comfort in his word.
Justine opened her Bible and began reading.
1 Thessalonians 3
New International Version (NIV)
3 So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. 2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, 3 so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. 4 In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. 5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.
Timothy’s Encouraging Report
6 But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. 7 Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8 For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9 How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.
11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.
Justine finished her time in the word, and got in the car. She was watching her back the entire time. She wanted to make it to the police station, in one peace, without being followed. She felt like someone was watching her, really watching her. She felt like she was being followed and she did not want to even think about what they would do, if they caught up to her and they got the disk.
Lord I am scared. Help me through this. I love you Lord, and I appreciate everything you have done for me. But I feel I am in serious danger right now. I have seen lights following me from the house.
Justine noticed that a dark SVU had been following her from the time she left her house. She had noticed him, after she pulled out of the driveway, but she had not thought to go back into her house. In fact she thought that may actually be more dangerous.
How afraid you must have been Brandi? I have been feeling that fear now.
Justine hadn’t even had a chance to read everything on the pages, but she would. She needed to report this to the police though. Maybe she would just tell them about Bert missing until she knew what was on that disk, but if she did that she could be impeding the investigation.
Lord I am so confused I don’t know what I should do. All I do know is I want Bert to be safe. I want this to end. I want all of this to end. I love you Lord, and I thank you for getting me this far. Don’t let this car keep following me. Let me lose him, before I get to the police station.
Justine let out a sigh of relief when she pulled into the police station safely, and made the report of Bert missing. She decided to wait on giving the police the disk until she knew more. She wanted to find out what was in those files.
She wanted to know what her sister had seen that, most likely led to her death, and how her fifteen year old sister had gotten mixed up in all of this. She couldn’t understand why Brandi had been murdered, that was not something she could ever understand. Her sister being murdered would never make sense to her.
What danger can a fifteen year old posses to these men? The men she wrote about on those files Lord!
This was all a bad nightmare.
But it was more than a nightmare, this was reality.
Her sister really had been murder, and now those murderers, most likely had Bert.
The murderers had been free to kill for the past ten years, perhaps longer.
Somehow Justine doubted Brandi had been the first person these monsters murdered. There were probably more dating to the eighties, perhaps longer. She did not want to think about it, but for the past ten years, she was forced to think about it daily.
Her sister was dead, because there was something going on in Emerald Lake. A small out of the way community, that until Brandi’s death hadn’t known much in the way of violence, but after Brandi’s death things began changing and not in a positive way. More girls were being killed. Justine did not like to begin to think about it.
How can so much evil exist? I don’t think that is something I will ever understand Lord. I don’t think I can ever get passed the evil. I love you Lord, and I thank you for everything you have given me. And I thank you that despite everything you have blessed me. I know for awhile I was not seeing that especially after Brandi was killed, but Lord I do know that you Love me Lord and I thank you.
Justine was thankful she was able to make her report, then return to the house. It was almost a relief when no one followed her, but she couldn’t be to careful.
Before she went to bed, Justine once again opened up her Bible, and took some time to listen to what the good Lord said. I love you Lord, and I thank you.
Zephaniah 3 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
3 Woe to the city of oppressors,
rebellious and defiled!
2 She obeys no one,
she accepts no correction.
She does not trust in the Lord,
she does not draw near to her God.
3 Her officials within her
are roaring lions;
her rulers are evening wolves,
who leave nothing for the morning.
4 Her prophets are unprincipled;
they are treacherous people.
Her priests profane the sanctuary
and do violence to the law.
5 The Lord within her is righteous;
he does no wrong.
Morning by morning he dispenses his justice,
and every new day he does not fail,
yet the unrighteous know no shame.
Jerusalem Remains Unrepentant
6 “I have destroyed nations;
their strongholds are demolished.
I have left their streets deserted,
with no one passing through.
Their cities are laid waste;
they are deserted and empty.
7 Of Jerusalem I thought,
‘Surely you will fear me
and accept correction!’
Then her place of refuge[a] would not be destroyed,
nor all my punishments come upon[b] her.
But they were still eager
to act corruptly in all they did.
8 Therefore wait for me,”
declares the Lord,
“for the day I will stand up to testify.[c]
I have decided to assemble the nations,
to gather the kingdoms
and to pour out my wrath on them—
all my fierce anger.
The whole world will be consumed
by the fire of my jealous anger.
Restoration of Israel’s Remnant
9 “Then I will purify the lips of the peoples,
that all of them may call on the name of the Lord
and serve him shoulder to shoulder.
10 From beyond the rivers of Cush[d]
my worshipers, my scattered people,
will bring me offerings.
11 On that day you, Jerusalem, will not be put to shame
for all the wrongs you have done to me,
because I will remove from you
your arrogant boasters.
Never again will you be haughty
on my holy hill.
12 But I will leave within you
the meek and humble.
The remnant of Israel
will trust in the name of the Lord.
13 They will do no wrong;
they will tell no lies.
A deceitful tongue
will not be found in their mouths.
They will eat and lie down
and no one will make them afraid.”
14 Sing, Daughter Zion;
shout aloud, Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,
15 The Lord has taken away your punishment,
he has turned back your enemy.
The Lord, the King of Israel, is with you;
never again will you fear any harm.
16 On that day
they will say to Jerusalem,
“Do not fear, Zion;
do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
18 “I will remove from you
all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals,
which is a burden and reproach for you.
19 At that time I will deal
with all who oppressed you.
I will rescue the lame;
I will gather the exiles.
I will give them praise and honor
in every land where they have suffered shame.
20 At that time I will gather you;
at that time I will bring you home.
I will give you honor and praise
among all the peoples of the earth
when I restore your fortunes[e]
before your very eyes,”
says the Lord.
Justine finally went to bed, well after 3 a.m exhausted, but still to worried to sleep. She wanted to sleep, but she was unable to do so. Her mind was on her sister, but more so than that it was on Bert. She couldn’t imagine, what he was going through, but she knew it could not be good.
“Brandi it’s nights like this, when I miss you most. I wish I had someone to talk to really to talk to, and if you were still here Bert wouldn’t be in danger.”
The fact was if Brandi hadn’t died, Justine probably never would have met Bert. It was a sad fact, but true . Something tragic had brought something good, but wasn’t that how it worked? The good Lord had the ability to take something bad and turn something positive out of it. Meeting Bert had been a true blessing to her, despite all the lies. She understood now that Bert had been trying to protect her, and she loved him even more for that.
I know Bert isn’t a killer Lord, but I also know he is danger and I won’t truly be able to rest, until he is helped. Lead the authorities to him wherever he is at, and let no more lives being taken. I am sick of hearing about girls dying Lord, not just dying but being murdered in such a brutal way. Who goes into a girls house, and then shoots her execution style, the way they did Brandi, and how did they know she was alone. Usually we were together, or she was away from home, but it wasn’t often she was home alone, on a school day around eleven o clock in the morning. We had all thought she went to school that day, but she hadn’t. The fact was she had missed several days of school already. Someone had to be watching her, following her Lord. I am still seeking the answers I need.
“Are you ready to speak yet? I would think you would have had enough of this by now.”
“No I told you I am not going to say anything.”
“You’re a fool.”
“No I am no fool or no idiot. If I say anything, you will certainly kill me.”
“I told you I am going to kill you either way. I always kill those who make me mad.”
“That’s a hell of a way to deal with your anger management problems.”
“I’m not the one with the problems, you are the one with the problems, and soon they will be picking up your pieces off the side of the road, but first I am going to kill your girlfriend, and make you watch. I already have some trailing her. She was foolish going to the cops the way she did.”
“Leave her out of this.”
“She’s already in this, and I am going to kill her.”
“Leave her out of this.”
“You know I am not going to do that.”
“You are nothing but a monster who gets off on killing defenseless woman and children.”
“You better shut up, the more you talk the more you are signing your girlfriends death warrant.”
“You already told me you were going to kill her.”
“Just how painful I make her death is up to you.”
Lord please keep Justine safe. I know I don’t have the right to ask you for anything, but this isn’t for me, this for Justine. I want her to be okay Lord. I am asking that you keep her safe. I love her Lord, as much as I denied for the past ten years I love her. I mean really love her, and I can not imagine my life without her, and I think she loves me too.
“You will speak, and you will speak soon. ”
“You don’t get it do you? In the end they always speak.”
“You don’t know me all that well.”
“They are always weak.”
Once again Bert was left alone with his thoughts. He knew the beatings would come in time. But for now he was going to be left alone with his thoughts. And sadly those thoughts fell on what Justine must be going through. Justine was hurting because Bert drug her into this, at least that was what he felt.
Help Justine Lord. I know for years I have abandoned you, I doubted your very existence. I know now that Justine was right all along. I love you Lord, and I thank you. Whatever happens Lord I know you are with me.
His brother hadn’t been in town at the time of these murders, fact was he had been put away on drug charges.
His brother had a little problem with Pot, and Meth, but to kill someone he could not imagine.
Still people got desperate when they needed a fix.