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“There’s got to be a misguided admiration on his part,” suggested Zander. “Why don’t kids look up to real leaders?”

“Beats me,” said Mason.

“He knew about the masks,” said Nora, pulling them back on topic. “He told the detective which masks were at each scene. We’ve kept that completely to ourselves.”

Mason shot her a sharp look. “Did he include Vance Weldon? Even the press isn’t aware of that case.”

Nora looked at her notepad. “He said the first guy wore a Freddy Krueger mask.” She exchanged a look with Zander and Mason. “I’d say he knows a lot about our cases.”

“You’re assuming he’s telling the truth,” said Zander. “We’ve had a half-dozen people call to claim they killed Denny Schefte. Up until now it’s been easy to eliminate them.” He looked at Micah. “I have the feeling this isn’t our guy—no matter what he knows. He’s a toothpick. Do you really think he had the arm strength to lift Samuelson up on that wall in his living room?”

“Maybe he wasn’t alone,” said Nora. “But he claims he acted alone.”

Someone rapped on the observation room door and Ava stuck her head in before anyone could move. “Sorry I’m late.” She stepped inside and looked through the window. “He’s so young!”

Mason felt justified. It wasn’t his age that’d made him see Micah Zuch as young; Ava was twelve years younger than he. Nora brought her up to date.

“I’d like to go in first,” said Zander. “I don’t see the point in easing our way into his good graces. I want to know if we’re wasting our time. That shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.”

Nora agreed, and Zander stepped out of the observation room.

Mason bit his tongue, remembering his promise to stay silent.

Zander appeared in the interview area and placed a notepad on the table as he sat across from Micah. “I’m Special Agent Zander Wells. I understand you have information on some murders.” He clicked his pen, positioned it over the notepad, and looked at Micah expectantly.

Micah stared back. “Special agent? Like as in the FBI?”

“Yes.” Zander offered no more explanation.

“Can I see some ID?” Micah hadn’t moved from his slouch.

Zander silently held out his identification. The young man looked at it and nodded. “Why is the FBI here? Isn’t this a Portland police building?”

“I’ll ask the questions. Do you have something to share with us or not?” Zander glanced at his watch.

Micah straightened in his chair and lifted his chin. “I killed those cops.”

“Which ones?”

“The guy at the coast. The one in southeast. The one last night and the one up in Vancouver.”

Zander didn’t write down anything. “What are their names?”

He recited four names, which Zander listed across the top of his pad.

Mason didn’t get excited. All that information could have been found online. Except the information about Vance Weldon.

“How did you kill Special Agent Weldon?” Zander emphasized his title.

“I hung him,” he said simply.

Zander wrote something under Vance’s name and looked hard at Micah. “Vance was a big guy. How’d you do that?”

The young man snorted. “Don’t you know anything about engineering? Ever hear of a pulley?”

“There wasn’t a pulley at the scene.”

“I took it with me.”

“What was Special Agent Weldon wearing?”

Micah described the man’s clothing perfectly, including his shoes and the type of mask he’d had on.

Optimism swept through Mason. Had their killer walked in off the street?

“Why’d you kill Special Agent Weldon?” Zander asked as he wrote down the articles of clothing under Vance’s name.

“No reason.”

Zander looked at him for several seconds.

No reason? Mason exchanged a look with Ava and Nora.

“How did you kill Captain Denny Schefte?” Zander moved on as if Micah’s answer didn’t matter. Mason knew he wouldn’t feed the man’s ego. An answer like “No reason” was a clear request for more questions about his motive. Zander neatly stepped on it by setting the question aside as if it held no consequence.

“I cut his neck. But first I hit him on the head.”

“What did you hit him with?”

“A baseball bat.”

“Where did this take place?”

“A cabin outside of Depoe Bay.” He went on to perfectly describe what Denny had been wearing that night.

Mason listened, seeing the clothing in his mind’s eye. He was disturbed by the monotonous delivery of Micah’s answers. The man sounded like a robot. He sat perfectly still in his chair, having moved only when he’d first realized the FBI was interviewing him. That appeared to be the one element he hadn’t been prepared for. He’d had ready answers for every question and didn’t hold back. Except when questioned about motive.

Again he answered, “No reason,” when Zander asked why he’d killed the captain.

“He could have gotten all this information from photographs or police reports,” Ava whispered. “Could we have a leak somewhere?”

“But that still doesn’t explain why he’s confessing,” Nora said.