Chapter Fourteen: Legends of ICQ

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Freddie's eyes were crossing. She'd been reading about the Executioners Three for two straight hours, and she still hadn't opened her history or English homework. Unfortunately, she doubted her teachers would accept "saving Berm from a potential murderer" as an excuse for not turning in her essays.

Too bad, because the more Freddie read, the more certain she was that a murderer was on the loose in Berm.

The question, though, was whether it was a series of copycat murderers like Divya had suggested at the Archives...Or if they were all the same person. Like, obviously it hadn't been the same psychopath since the 1600s, but the last thirty years of similar events could theoretically be be linked to one killer.

A serial killer.

No matter what, the current murderer was using the legend of the Executioners Three to cover their tracks. Which was (though Freddie hated to admit it) very Scooby Doo. And she supposed that made her and Divya the "meddling kids."

And also, now that Freddie was considering it, it also made a very good Halloween costume. She could be Velma and Divya could be Daphne...Maybe Freddie could also convince the rest of the Prank Squad to join in too.

Or wait—did cool kids even dress up for Halloween? They were probably too busy worrying about the Lumberjack Ball, which always fell around the same time.

The sound of a car door slamming drew Freddie out of her daydream (Kyle would make an excellent Scooby). She scrabbled from her bed; springs squeaked and the stolen ledgers and library books bouncing. In two leaping strides, she reached her window and peeled aside the blinds. Then, like a total creep, she squinted over to Sheriff Bowman's.

Where sure enough, Theo Porter was standing outside his car.

He wasn't walking toward his aunt's front door, though. Instead, he was staring very blatantly at Freddie's house. Even from here, Freddie could see the bruises marring his Romeo face.

A scrub of his hair. A shift of his weight. A glance toward Bowman's door. A glance toward Freddie's house. Then finally, he slid his hands into his pocket and loped toward the front porch.

Freddie's lungs loosened. Distantly, she noticed her room had gotten very hot.

"What are we looking at?" Mom whispered.

And Freddie jumped halfway to the ceiling. She shrieked too. "Oh my god, where did you come from?"

"Oh, I see," Mom said, pressing in close to the window. "We're looking at the Sheriff's nephew."

Jeez, did everyone know Theo was related to Bowman? Freddie's heart thundered in her ears. She glanced at her bed where her super contraband Archives books sat in plain view.

As casually as she could, she slunk to her bed...and then flung her pillow over the ancient tomes.

"You should go over there," Mom murmured, still gazing out the window.

"What?" Freddie snorted a bit too forcefully. "Why would I do that?"

"Because you like him."

"I like Kyle Friedman."

"Really." Now it was Mom's turn to snort. "So you just made out with Theo onstage because...?"

"To prove a point!" Freddie's hands flew to her burning cheeks.

"Wow." Mom shot her a flat-eyed stare. "If that's how you kiss to prove a point, I can't imagine how you kiss someone when you like them."

"Can we please stop talking about this?" Freddie marched over to her mom and grabbed her elbow. "I like Kyle Friedman, and that's the end of the story. He's nice, he's beautiful, he's popular—"

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