Allison Dodd flinched when she heard the shuffling footsteps coming closer. Naked and tied spread-eagled on the filthy table, she whined when an illuminated halogen floor lamp was dragged closer. The bright light left her nowhere to look or escape the horror that surrounded her.
Squinting, she could barely make out the man who stood next to her. "Please, no more."
The tall broad-shouldered man gently patted her naked thigh. "Poor baby. Don't tell me I wore you out? We've still got lots to do." He coldly smiled as he eyed the bruises on her lightly tanned body.
The girl closed her eyes as tears slid down her cheeks. She flinched when her abductor leaned down and whispered in her ear.
"Sex games weren't what you thought they'd be? Little girl, little girl, little girl...playing at being a woman." He ran his hand through the short blonde curls that framed her oval face.
"I'm only fourteen!" Allison screamed, unsuccessfully trying to move her head away from his grasping fingers. "Leave me alone! You can't do this to me!"
Her abductor gently patted her quivering stomach. "Was it everything you thought it would be, little girl? Giving yourself to a man who knows what he wants to take." He leaned down and sank his teeth into her right thigh. "And how to take it?"
"GOD! PLEASE! pleasepleaseplease..." The young girl closed her eyes, trying to deny the reality of what was happening.
The man straightened and laughed. "I don't think God has anything to do with this. But if it makes it easier for you...by all means, pray your little heart out."
The young forced her dark eyes open when the man moved away. She watched with horror as the man pulled a small rolling table next to the bed. On the table were sharp knives of every shape and size. Violently shaking, she looked into her captor's eyes. "Why?" she whispered in fear.
The man cocked his head to one side. "Because I can. Because no one can stop me." He shrugged and started to unbutton his dark shirt. 'Because I am God's champion, you poor little fool.'
"Please..." Allison took a deep breath and tried to control her voice. "I won't say anything to anyone. I won't even go to a doctor. I'll never say a word! NOTHING!" She desperately tried to free her wrists from the ropes that bound them. "I'll run away, far from here."
Her abductor ignored the words as he carefully undressed and folded his clothes, putting them on a chair sitting on the edge of the illuminated area. Coming back to the table, he allowed his body to respond to the arousal flowing through him. This was what made the months of planning and self-denial worth all the work and trouble. This was the moment when his victim teetered on the knife-edge of despair and that last fleeting hope of a miraculous rescue...believing that life just couldn't end in this place...in this way.
Naked, he knelt between the girl's spread thighs and breathed deeply. This is why he lived and why he killed to offer sacrifices to God. He reached towards the table and carefully selected his first knife.
The teenager whimpered as the bright halogen light flickered against the knife's long blade. "Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Holy Mary Mother...ARRHHHH! Mommy! Mommy! GODDDDDDDDDDD!"
The man shuddered in ecstasy as her blood splattered his chest.
In darkness, Brother Jeremy waited on the front steps of the monastery, his hands folded within the sleeves of his robe. Patience had been a hard master, but the lessons had been learned and appreciated. There had been times in his life when he'd ignored patience and allowed his hot-blooded enthusiasm to dictate his actions and give voice to passionate dedication.
But as impressive as rushing water over rocks can be, its very impressiveness can be diluted when viewed every hour of every day. And while still waters can run deep, they can also be even more damaging when unleashed.
'For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not believe, no explanation will ever be enough.' Brother Jeremy wasn't sure who had said those words, but he believed in them. There had been a few moments in Brother Jeremy's past when it seemed as though nature itself held its breath…waiting with unspoken belief in the power of eternity.
All Brother Jeremy had to do was learn to accept those moments and allow them to occur without any urging on his part. But while patience brought its own rewards and satisfaction, Brother Jeremy was human enough to appreciate it when he could see the results of his patience.
Peering into the darkness, he saw the thin figure gradually appear. As the figure came closer, Brother Jeremy frowned. The young man looked to be malnourished and hardly able to walk in a straight line. But a closer look revealed the bone-deep spiritual weariness that was eating at his visitor's soul.
"Brother Jeremy?" The young man dropped a worn backpack onto the ground.
"Welcome, my son." Brother Jeremy walked down the steps and held out his hands. "Father Tobias in Detroit wrote me that you were coming."
The young man stumbled forward into the monk's arms and laid his head on Brother Jeremy's shoulder. "Please…sanctuary?"
"Of course." Brother Jeremy gently hugged the young man. He was aware of Brother Timothy quietly joining them. The younger monk took the backpack and disappeared back into the monastery.
"Just for a little while. He'll be here soon. He's after me again."
Brother Jeremy's dark eyes narrowed. He felt the old passionate fire in his veins beginning to stir…the passionate fire that had years ago put him on the front lines of protesting injustices. Ruthlessly tamping it down, he patted the young man's back. "You have sanctuary here for as long as you wish. No one can remove you against your will. It will not be allowed." Brother Jeremy stepped back from the hug, yet held onto the young man's arm. "Come inside. Brother Frederick has spent most of the day preparing a good hearty stew. You will eat and then we'll pray. Hopefully, then you will be able to sleep."
Hours later, the young man was restlessly sleeping in one of the sparsely-furnished cells. Brother Timothy had been delegated to sit by the young man's bedside until relieved later by Brother Jeremy who had gathered the rest of the monks in his office.
"Our visitor is named Chad Malloy, and he has been granted sanctuary," Brother Jeremy explained.
"He brings trouble." Brother Marcus' words were a simple statement of fact without any question or condemnation.
"Most probably," Brother Jeremy nodded. "Let me tell you a story, my brothers. So you will be prepared when the authorities arrive."
Blair shivered in the cool morning air as he and Jim walked towards the crime scene along the banks of the Kodiak River.
"Should have brought your jacket, Chief."
"Bite me, Ellison," Blair calmly replied. "I couldn't lay my hands on it when you bellowed we were leaving."
"A place for everything and..."Jim smirked.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah." Grinning, Blair held up his hand to Jim's face. "Tell me when I care."
Jim nodded to the uniformed officer standing next to the yellow crime tape. "What do we have, Richardson?"
The young patrolman slowly shook his head. "Kid can't be more than fourteen or fifteen, sir. Just dumped here like garbage."
Jim grunted as he ducked under the tape.
Blair winced and followed. He saw Dan Wolfe, the Medical Examiner, kneeling next to the body. A quick glance and Blair agreed with Richardson's assessment. 'Just a child.'
"Morning, Dan," Jim greeted. "You got here pretty quickly. We got the call ourselves about twenty minutes ago."
"I heard about it on my way in." Dan shrugged. "Thought I'd save somebody else the trip."
"What do we have?" Jim asked. He saw Blair step closer and turn white. Putting his hands on the younger man's shoulders, he turned Blair back towards the road. "Wait in the truck." When Blair started to protest, Jim gently smiled. "Go," he whispered.
Dan gave the younger man a sympathetic look as Blair quickly walked away. Some people could handle dead bodies. Others never would.
Jim turned back towards Dan and knelt. "What do we have?"
"Multiple stab wounds." Dan pointed with one long forefinger. "At least one is fatal. But my guess is she died from shock first. Definitely killed elsewhere. The killer dumped her body here then threw her clothes and backpack on top of her." He stared at Jim, sadness in his dark eyes. "This one's nasty, Jim. A lot of these cuts were made to hurt her."
Jim focused his sight on the corpse. "Dan…there's…something…carved on her stomach."
Dan leaned closer then slowly nodded. "I can't make it out, though."
'I…am…the…' Jim silently read. "Was she raped?" he quietly asked, refocusing on the Medical Examiner.
Dan sadly nodded. "From the bruising on her thighs, I'd say it's most likely. I'll know for sure after the autopsy."
"Who found her?" Jim sighed.
"A couple of joggers," Dan replied. "One of them fainted. The other's half-hysterical. I put her effects over by the patrol car. I'll get them on my way out." He shook his head. "Can I take her out of here now?"
Jim nodded. "Get me a prelim as quick as you can, okay?"
"I'll start as soon as we get her back," Dan promised. He got to his feet and motioned for the waiting gurney.
Jim also got to his feet and walked back towards the road. He motioned for Blair to join him as he headed for the patrol car on the other side of the crime scene tape.
"Sorry, man," Blair shivered.
Jim noticed the shivering and removed his leather jacket. Putting it around his partner's shoulders, he frowned. "I think you're coming down with something."
"No, I'm fine," Blair protested, reveling in the warmth of the jacket. "But seeing that didn't help."
Jim grunted then nodded at the patrol officer. "You got the personal effects, Richardson?"
The young patrolman nodded. "Just waiting for Forensics to take them."
Jim glanced at the clothing. "Pretty standard," he mused. "Jeans. T-shirt. Underwear. Shoes."
Blair shuddered at the sight of the bloodstained clothes. He glanced over his shoulder and watched as Dan accompanied the covered body from the crime scene.
Reaching for the backpack, Jim found two textbooks (history and math), a notebook, a small umbrella, and a wallet. Opening the wallet, he found a picture ID of the victim. Jim sighed. "You were right, Richardson. Allison Dodd was fourteen."
Simon Banks nearly laughed when he saw Blair walk into Major Crimes wearing Jim's leather jacket. Then he caught the worried look that Jim was giving the younger man and frowned. "You coming down with something, Sandburg?" he asked as he joined them at Jim's desk.
Blair patiently sighed. "No, I forgot my jacket this morning." Blair shrugged out of Jim's jacket and hung it by the door.
Simon glanced at Jim. "Allison Dodd's parents filed a Missing Child Alert last night when she didn't come home for dinner. Dispatch had her description circulated over the radio, and the night patrol got a more intense briefing before hitting the streets."
"Whoever grabbed her must have done it before then," Blair guessed.
Jim frowned. "Cascade's a big city, Chief. We'll know more once Dan gives us a time of death."
"What do we know so far?" Simon asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
Jim sighed. "Allison J. Dodd. Age fourteen. Eighth grade student at Clark Middle School. We're going to interview her friends and check the school. She had two names scribbled in her notebook. A Julie Trent and Lashida Franklin."
"This one's raised some red flags," Simon casually spoke. "Once the data was put into the system, I got a call from the FBI. Seems this is just the latest in a string of serial murders. The Feds have been after this guy for a while. The lead investigator, Vincent Garrison, will be here at noon."
"Aw, Captain, c'mon..." Jim groaned.
"Not negotiable," Simon crisply interrupted. "Apparently, Garrison has been the lead investigator ever since they were able to determine a connection between the murders. He's bringing his files, and I'd like to have something positive to contribute."
Jim curtly nodded. "What do we know about this Fed?"
Simon frowned. "He's made his career on solving serial killings. Pretty impressive record, I might add. No family. Seems to live for the job. Has a reputation for getting the job done even if he does make it intense and personal." He suddenly smiled. "Sort of reminds me of you, Jim. Before Sandburg, of course."
"That's right. Blame it on the anthropologist," Blair muttered.
Simon turned to see Megan approaching them.
"Allison Dodd's parents are downstairs, sir," Megan quietly announced. "It seems that our favorite local reporter, Don Haas, broadcast that a victim matching their daughter's description was found this morning."
"Damn that man!" Simon snarled. "Rhonda!" he yelled across the bullpen. "Get me the station manager for Channel 7 News!"
"He's on Channel 12 now," Blair corrected.
"Channel 12!" Simon yelled.
Rhonda nodded and reached for her Rolodex.
Simon rubbed his forehead. "Son of a bitch," he mumbled. "Connor, go downstairs and escort the Dodds to Interrogation Room 3. Jim, you and Sandburg question them. Brown! Rafe! Get over to Clark Middle School and find out what you can about Allison Dodd. Talk with a couple of students, Julie Trent and Lashida Franklin."
Megan nodded and walked away.
"Jim, we can't show them the photos from the crime scene," Blair protested.
Jim reached for his phone and quickly dialed. "Dan? Do me a favor. Don Haas broke the story about our dead body and her parents are here. Can you take a...yeah, something better to show them. Thanks, I'll send Blair down for it."
Blair nodded and headed towards the elevator. "Megan! Hold the elevator!"
"And you, sir?" Jim quietly asked as he grabbed a file folder.
Simon grunted. "I'm going to have Don Haas' ass for brunch!" He glared at the bullpen. "Let's get on it, people! The clock's ticking!"
"Mr. and Mrs. Dodd, would you like some water or coffee? Tea perhaps?" Blair gently guided the two grieving parents into Interrogation Room 3.
Andrew Dodd, a dark-haired man in his late 50's with graying hair at his temples, slowly shook his head and cleared his throat. "No, thank you."
Felicia Dodd, also in her late 50's, shook her head as well. Her short, light brown-to-graying hair looked to have been hastily combed. She anxiously twisted the plain gold wedding band on her finger. "What about Allison? Is she the one who was found?" She looked up at Jim with tears in her eyes.
"I'm sorry that news story was released before we had confirmation as to the identity of the girl who was found." Jim gently apologized. "Captain Banks is lodging an official complaint with the television station." Jim laid the photo Dan had taken onto the table. "Is this your daughter?"
Andrew closed his eyes and swayed in his chair.
Blair quickly ran to the other side of the table and supported him.
"I'm...fine..." Andrew opened his eyes. "Please..." He motioned Blair away.
Felicia stared at the photo. "My child shouldn't look like that," she murmured.
"I'm sorry, but I need an answer for the record," Jim apologized. "Is this your daughter, Allison?"
Felicia reached over and took Andrew's hand. "Yes, it's Allison."
Jim silently nodded and put the photo back in the file. Setting it to one side, he gently continued. "You filed a Missing Child Alert when Allison didn't come home for dinner. Did you expect her before then?"
Andrew put his elbows on the table and rested his face in his hands. "My baby's gone," he whispered.
"She was going to the library after school," Felicia explained as she patted her husband's arm. "For a paper...her history class. Allison loved history." She forced a smile. "It was her favorite subject."
She looked down at the table. "Allison was born to us late in life. We married young and wanted to have a child quickly. Our first daughter, Lisa, was born when I was only twenty-two. We wanted other children, but..." She took a deep breath and glanced at her husband who seemed to be ignoring them.
"Lisa was wild," Felicia continued. "We tried to raise her properly to work hard and be a responsible member of society. But she...she said she didn't want to be tied down. She said she wanted more than what I had and that we were stifling her. She was always spouting some sort of nonsense about needing to be free as a child of the world." The older woman bitterly shook her head. "She broke her father's heart when she ran away with some boy."
Felicia took a deep breath. "We spent almost every penny we had saved to track her down. One private detective finally found her in San Francisco. Her boyfriend had left her." Her blue eyes hardened. "She was living on the street and selling herself for drug money. We told her to come home. But she kept talking about being free and that she couldn't stand to be tied down. She died of a drug overdose three months later."
Blair glanced away, thinking how easily Naomi could have suffered the same fate as the Dodds' elder daughter.
"Lisa was just a baby herself," Andrew murmured. "She didn't know any better."
Jim noticed the glare Felicia gave her husband. "And Allison?" he prodded.
"A month after we buried Lisa, I found out I was pregnant," Felicia explained. "We vowed we wouldn't make the same mistakes with this child. We had allowed Lisa too much freedom and she encountered too many temptations." She briefly smiled again. "But Allison was different than Lisa. She didn't rebel. She went to school and came home. She wasn't allowed to date or stay out."
Blair studied his fingertips. 'Man, they overcompensated. Wonder if Alison was as submissive as her mother thinks?'
"But she went to the library after school?" Jim asked.
Felicia hesitated. "We wanted her to have a good education. I always took her to the library, mostly on Saturdays. But she was doing a special paper for her history class. She would catch the bus from school to the library on Tyler Street, do her research for a few hours, then catch the bus home. She knew to be home by 7pm for dinner."
"What about her friends?" Blair asked.
"Our Allison kept to herself," Felicia proudly answered. "There were a few girls she was friendly with. But she didn't run around with them. She knew I didn't approve." She took a deep breath. "They were too concerned with having fun. I doubt their parents even knew where they were half the time."
Despite himself, Blair winced at the self-satisfied tone in Felicia's voice.
Her plump face suddenly crumpled. "I always knew where Allison was! I never should have allowed her to go to the library alone! I should have made her wait until Saturday! Now I've lost both my girls! If they had just stayed home where they belonged!" She pounded her fists once on the table in front of her.
Andrew raised his head and awkwardly patted her arm. "It's not your fault, Felicia. You were a good mother. To both our girls."
Jim glanced at Blair who shook his head. Standing, the detective offered, "I'll have Inspector Connor escort you home in her car. With your permission, I'd like her to look through Allison's room. Just to make sure we haven't missed anything."
"Do you think she knew who did this?" Felicia gasped.
"We have to cover all the possibilities, Mrs. Dodd," Jim smoothly answered.
"The reporters...they'll be at the house." Andrew shook his head. "I don't think I can take this."
"Andrew has a heart murmur." Felicia worriedly glanced at her husband.
"I'll have Inspector Connor make sure they leave you alone," Jim added.
"But they won't," Andrew softly spoke. "They won't."
Silently, Jim and Blair escorted the Dodds to the bullpen. While Blair then walked them to the elevator, Jim motioned to Megan.
"Take them home in your car, Connor, and make arrangements to return their car to them," Jim ordered. "Neither of them need to be driving right now. By the way, they've given permission for you to search Allison's room."
Megan nodded, sympathetically eyeing the grieving parents and reached for her jacket.
The Australian detective hesitated.
"If you see the press, clear them out."
Megan's return smile was just as feral as Jim's.
Evelyn Chambers wiped the tears from her eyes then replaced her glasses on her face. "I can't believe it. Allison is, I mean was a model student. She was never any trouble at all."
"We have a warrant coming to search Allison's locker," Rafe quietly explained. "But we would appreciate it if you could assign someone to watch it until we search it."
"You don't think a student is involved, do you?" Evelyn gasped.
"Mrs. Chambers, we're just covering all the bases," Henri explained. "Teenagers, boys and girls, hide things from their parents and other adults. Their friends, with all good intentions, might try to cover for Allison even now."
Evelyn nodded. "I'll have one of our security guards stationed at her locker."
"We need to speak with two of your students," Henri continued. "We understand they might be friends of Allison Dodd's." He slid a piece of paper across the desk.
"Do you know them?" Rafe asked.
Evelyn slowly nodded. "Minor infractions. Smoking in the rest rooms. Habitually late to classes. Occasionally skipping entire days." She half-smiled. "These days, I'm happy when this is all I have to deal with concerning students." She rose to her feet. "You may use my office to speak to these girls. The students will be changing classes in a few moments. I'll be walking the halls for a while."
"One more thing, Mrs. Chambers," Rafe interrupted. "When the warrant arrives, it'll have a request for Allison's school records."
"I'll have the file ready," the principal promised.
Lashida Franklin was a pretty dark-skinned girl with long, ebony hair and expressive dark eyes. She wore a denim skirt with knee-high boots. Her dark red blouse was covered with sparkly material that caught and reflected the overhead fluorescent lights. Her equally dark red fingernails nervously tapped her thighs.
Julie Trent was a bubbly redhead who reminded both detectives of Blair. Her dark eyes moved from one detective to another as she crossed and uncrossed her booted ankles. Her dark jeans and yellow blouse were clean and neatly pressed.
"Are you sure it's Allison?" Lashida finally asked.
"I'm afraid so." Henri nodded.
"God, her poor parents." Lashida shook her head.
"Julie! That's cold!" Lashida accused.
The other girl shrugged, tossing her head dismissively.
"Don't you think her parents are upset?" Rafe asked, leaning against Mrs. Chambers' desk.
"Oh, sure. I mean, of course!" Julie quickly nodded. "I just…" She glanced at Lashida.
"You just what?" Rafe prodded, with a slight smile.
"I just think they're partially responsible, that's all," Julie mumbled.
"Julie! Girl, what are you saying?" Lashida demanded.
"C'mon, let Julie talk," Henri urged.
Lashida sniffed and edged her chair away from her friend.
"Her parents…well, really her mom never let her do ANYTHING," Julie explained. "I mean, on my last birthday I had a bowling party. A bunch of us at a public bowling alley. You know, a nice one. Not one of those smelly smoky places."
Both detectives silently nodded.
"Anyway, it's Saturday afternoon," Julie continued. "Broad daylight! We're going to bowl a few games, have pizza and cake, and I'd open presents. You know, a nice simple party."
Lashida leaned forward. "Her parents found out there were going to be boys at the party."
Rafe and Henri exchanged amused looks.
"You would have thought we were going to have an orgy in lane eight," Julie grumbled.
"Did Allison come to the party?" Henri asked.
"Oh yeah. And her parents sat and watched EVERYTHING!" Julie indignantly answered.
"Allison didn't even sit with us," Lashida quietly added. "She tried a couple of times, but her mother kept calling for her to come and sit with them." She glanced down at the floor. "She was so embarrassed that she left early."
"Why do you think her parents are partially responsible for what happened to Allison?" Rafe asked.
"They kept her so sheltered!" Julie exclaimed. "She had no smarts when it came to…"
"Julie!" Lashida warned.
"Look, this is a murder investigation," Henri sternly warned. "If either of you know anything that could help, now is the time to tell us."
Both girls looked at each other then at the detectives.
"Allison wasn't going to the library," Lashida finally admitted. "She was meeting some guy."
"A man," Julie clarified. "She said he was working on his Masters or something."
"At Rainier?" Rafe asked.
Julie shrugged. "She never said."
"All Allison said was that she met him at the library," Lashida continued. "Then she started sneaking around to see him. Telling her parents she was going to the library."
"This is very important," Rafe stressed. "Did Allison tell you anything about this man? His name? What he looked like?"
"She called him Jeff and said he was working on his Masters." Julie frowned in thought.
"In history!" Lashida remembered. "They were both looking at the same type of books at the library when she met him."
"C'mon, Allison must have said something about what he looks like," Henri urged.
"You think he might be the one who killed her?" Julie asked.
"OhmiGod! What if she told him about US?" Lashida shrieked.
Rafe winced but held out his hands. "Hey, hey! There's no reason to think that!"
"She said he was tall and good-looking," Julie babbled. "Umm…dark eyes?" She looked at Lashida who quickly nodded.
"Okay, that's good," Henri soothingly smiled. "Now, take a deep breath and tell us if there's anything else Allison mentioned about him."
Megan growled under her breath when she saw the Channel 12 news truck parked in front of the Dodd's house. Several curious neighbors were loitering on their front porches or in their front yards trying to watch what was going to happen without being obvious about it.
Megan pulled into the driveway and turned off the ignition. Then she turned and looked at the Dodds who were sitting in the back seat. "When we get out, we'll go straight to your door and get inside. Say nothing to those vultures."
Andrew merely shut his eyes and nodded.
Felicia took a deep breath and opened the car door.
Megan jumped out and opened the rear car door on Andrew's side. As soon as the man had gotten out of the car, she slammed both doors shut.
Felicia quickly walked around the car to take Andrew's arm. The two women hurried him towards the front door.
"Mr. Dodd! Mrs. Dodd! Was the body found this morning your daughter? Do you have any comments?"
Felicia got the front door opened and pushed Andrew inside. She followed and shut the door firmly behind her.
As Megan angrily turned around, she saw a few of the Dodds' neighbors hesitantly moving closer. "You have some bloody nerve!"
"Inspector Connor. Major Crime Division." Don Haas smiled. "Any comment for the press? Why is this murder so important to be elevated to Major Crime?"
Megan's eyes narrowed. "Are you saying that any murder is considered unimportant if Major Crime is not involved?" Seeing the surprised look on the reporter's face, Megan took a step closer to him. "How do you know I'm not here as a personal friend of the family? And, by the way, how dare you publicly announce the name of any victim before the family is notified? Are you completely lacking in human compassion?"
Instinctively, Haas took a few steps backward as Megan advanced. The crowd of neighbors parted as the reporter retreated.
"And don't give me that bloody nonsense about the public having a right to know!" Megan seethed. "The family has a right to know first and not by having it be the lead story on a sound bite by a reporter who obviously is too inconsiderate and lacking in human decency to know better! Or are you just simply trying to advance your own career at the expense of grieving parents?"
"Now look here…" Haas began.
"You're trespassing on private property," Megan angrily interrupted. "And I don't believe these good people appreciate all the uproar you've brought to their neighborhood, either. How many of them have you accosted in their own front yards this morning in order to get a sound bite?"
The murmurs of "me" and "us" filled the air. Nervously, Haas looked around, surprised at the crowd and its reaction.
"I suggest you tuck your tail between your legs and get out of here before I decide to arrest you for harassment," Megan threatened.
"You wouldn't dare!" Haas blustered.
Megan took a step closer. "Oh, yes, I would. And it's all on tape, by the way." She nodded towards the cameraman who was still filming. "You're on record for announcing the name of the victim. And I can prove it was done before her family was notified. I’m sure that won't look good to your viewers, now will it?" She coldly smiled. "Then you waited at their house until the Dodds returned, disturbing the entire neighborhood. Then you wouldn't even give them a chance to get inside their own home before running after them, yelling questions! How do you think your ratings will look after this becomes public?"
Haas stared at Megan for several moments, then turned to his cameraman. "Shut it off." Looking back at Megan, he threatened, "Don't think my editor won't hear about this."
Megan's smile widened. "He already has." Then her smile disappeared. "I think you'd better leave now before I demonstrate what other uses I can find for your microphone and camera."
Simon watched as his detectives returned from Dan Wolfe's office and walked towards Interrogation Room 5. He turned back to the balding, fifty-something FBI agent who comfortably sat in a chair with a briefcase on his lap.
"We're ready, Agent Garrison." Simon smiled. "If you'll follow me." As they exited his office, he nodded at Rhonda. "Thanks for getting everything ready on such short notice."
"YOU'RE welcome, Captain," Rhonda answered while completely ignoring the Federal agent.
Garrison impatiently waited, his hazel eyes staring at Simon. "We don't have a lot of time to be socializing, Captain."
Simon eyed the agent. "I try to make time to thank my staff for their efforts, Agent Garrison."
"I try to make time to catch serial killers, Captain Banks." He looked down the hallway. "Shall we?"
Simon silently led the Federal agent down the hallway to where his detectives were waiting.
Simon turned to see Megan quickly walking to join them. "Sorry I'm late, sir," she apologized. She curiously eyed Garrison.
"Inspector Megan Connor. Agent Vincent Garrison, FBI," Simon introduced. Then he noticed Megan's expression. "Am I going to be receiving any phone calls, Inspector?"
Megan cheerfully shrugged. "I'm certain Don Haas isn't happy with me." She saw Garrison's curious expression and added, "A vulture masquerading as a local television reporter."
"We can't afford to be at cross purposes with the local press," Garrison snapped. "I would think that would be obvious to everyone."
"That buggering bastard was harassing the parents of a dead child!" Megan angrily poked Garrison's chest with her forefinger. "I had the pleasure of telling him just what he could do with both his microphone and his camera!"
Simon briefly relished the thought of watching Megan tear into the FBI agent, then inwardly sighed. "Inspector! Interrogation Room 5!"
Megan angrily tossed her head then brushed past the startled FBI agent.
Garrison watched her disappear through one of the open doorways then glared at Simon. "Is that an example of the control you have over your people, Captain?"
Simon smiled in satisfaction. "As a matter of fact, yes, it is."
"Here, Sandburg." Henri slid his coffee cup across the table.
"That's okay." Blair smiled. "I've got some tea." He returned the cup to Henri then took the mug that Jim put in front of him.
They all looked up as Megan stomped into the room. "Bloody egotistical fool!" she growled as she sat down at the table.
"Are we taking bets on who's on her shit list?" Rafe asked in a mock whisper.
Megan leaned across the table. "That idiot FBI agent that Captain Banks is bringing down the hall."
They exchanged silent looks then looked up as Simon entered, followed by Garrison.
"This is Agent Vincent Garrison of the FBI," Simon introduced. "You've met Inspector Connor." He tried not to smile when Megan curtly nodded in the agent's direction. "Detectives Henri Brown, Brian Rafe, Jim Ellison, and Blair Sandburg, our consultant."
"Hey, how are you?" Blair greeted as he sipped his hot tea.
"Let's get started." Garrison sat down next to Rafe.
"Inspector, did you find anything in Allison Dodd's room?" Simon asked.
"Nothing that will help." Megan shook her head. "Her parents gave their complete cooperation and agreed to allow Forensics to search this afternoon."
Simon nodded and looked at Henri and Rafe.
"We spoke with the two girls mentioned in Allison's notebook," Henri began. "They said Allison had been meeting a man who's supposedly getting his Masters in History possibly at Rainier. I guess that would be easy enough to verify. All they knew was a first name, Jeff, and that he was tall with dark eyes."
"We obtained a warrant to search her locker and obtain her school records." Rafe opened the file in front of him. "Her school record is spotless. No detentions. GPA of 3.8. No after-school activities."
"Her locker had a jacket, several textbooks, a few library books, and notebooks," Henri added. "One of the notebooks was sort of a diary. In it, she mentions someone named Jeff who she met at the library and was dating."
"Which confirms what Allison's two friends said she told them." Rafe closed the file. "The handwriting definitely looks like Allison's, but Forensics is confirming it as well as dusting everything for prints."
"Jim." Simon nodded in his direction.
"We interviewed Allison's parents," Jim reported. "They're middle-aged…Allison was a late child. Their elder daughter died of a drug overdose before Allison was born. Apparently, they kept a pretty tight rein on Allison. If she was seeing anyone, she was keeping it a secret from them."
"Exactly what her friends said." Rafe nodded.
"The Medical Examiner will have a complete report later," Jim continued, consulting the open file in front of him. "But the prelim states no semen was found so our killer wore a condom. They found a couple of hairs which they hope to match to someone eventually. There was also a bite mark, and they hope to match that if we arrest someone. There was no foreign matter under Allison's fingernails so she probably didn't have a chance to fight him. The cause of death was shock due to multiple stab wounds. She was also repeatedly raped both vaginally and anally." He closed the file with a sigh. "She also had the words 'I Am The Resurrection' carved into her stomach with a small knife, possibly a scalpel. Time of death is estimated at between midnight and 8 a.m. The Medical Examiner believes that she died slowly. The SOB took hours to kill her."
"Agent Garrison believes this fits the pattern of a serial killer who has struck elsewhere." Simon nodded at the Federal agent.
Garrison passed around thick file folders. "There have been eighteen murders exactly like this one in the past three years."
"Dear God." Henri closed his eyes.
"They come in a series of three murders per location," Garrison continued. "Six murders had been committed before the pattern was discovered. All the victims were murdered within twenty-four hours or less of their disappearance. However, some of their bodies weren't found until days later."
"What's the time frame between the murders themselves?" Jim asked.
"Anywhere from two days to five weeks in each city. From two to six months between cities," the Federal agent answered. "Another reason the pattern wasn't immediately discovered." He stood and began pacing. "The first set of victims were in Joliet, Illinois. Victim number one was Ingrid Swenson. Single Caucasian female. A nurse. Three weeks later, victim number two. Anthony Lykins. Divorced African-American male. Age 43. Salesman for a plumbing supply company. Six days later, victim number three. Matthew Caldwell. Single Caucasian male. Age 17. High school student. All three victims had the words 'I Am The Resurrection' carved into their stomachs. All three victims were raped, tortured, and stabbed. The cause of death for victims one and three was shock while the cause of death for victim number two was a stab wound to the heart."
"Is there any religious connection?" Blair asked.
"Swenson was Lutheran. Lykins didn't attend church. Caldwell was Baptist," Garrison answered. "We've already eliminated that possibility. At this point, the Joliet police knew they had a serial killer. But then the killings stopped. Two months later, another set of three murders occurred in Elmira, New York." He waited while the detectives opened the second file.
"Victim number one was Terrie Kendall. Caucasian female aged 27. Separated from her husband. No children. Worked as an aerobics instructor. Two days later, victim number two. Heath Petrie. Married African-American male aged 39. He was an investigator for the Elmira City Child Protective Services. Two weeks later, victim number three. Erika Holt. Widowed Caucasian female aged 52. Worked part-time as a hairdresser at a J C Penney's hair salon."
Garrison leaned against the closed door. "At this time, a connection was made between the murders in Joliet and the ones in Elmira. Three months later, he struck in Fresno, California."
Jim glanced to his left to see Blair had drawn a quick outline of the United States. He'd checked off locations approximating the cities where the murders had occurred.
"Victim number one was Robyn Hurst. Married African-American female aged 41. Two children. She sold beauty products from her home. One week later, victim number two. Evelyn Kelsey. Widowed Caucasian female aged 69. Three children. Seven grand-children. Former elementary school teacher who did volunteer work as a tutor. Five weeks later, victim number three. Shawn Donahue. Single Caucasian male aged 20. College student majoring in philosophy."
"Same manner of death and markings on the body?" Jim asked, glancing up at the Federal agent.
Garrison nodded. "Three months later, the murderer struck in Florence, South Carolina. Victim number one is Ursula Woodward. Caucasian female aged 23. Engaged. A 911 dispatcher for the city. Four weeks later, victim number two. Ray Lynch. Married African-American male age 40. One child. High school phys-ed teacher. Eleven days later, victim number three. Rose Li Miller. Married Asian female age 28. One child, a three-month old daughter. Worked as a bank teller for the First Florence Savings & Loan."
"I take it family members were eliminated as suspects," Megan spoke up. "None of second or third murders were copycats?"
"All the murders were done by the same person," Garrison assured her as he began pacing again. "Six months later, the murderer turned up in Montgomery, Alabama. Victim number one was Enrique Marrero. Single Hispanic male aged 54. He worked as an auto mechanic after coming to the US from Haiti. Sixteen days later, victim number two. Christopher Hartman. Married African-American male aged 31. Four children. He was an insurance salesman. Four days later, victim number three. Tiffany Kent. Single Caucasian female aged 16. High school student."
The Federal agent eyed the detectives who flipped through the final file. "Eight weeks later, he's in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Victim number one was Ian Winfield. Single Caucasian male aged 34. Worked as an orderly at Cedar Rapids Memorial Hospital. Three weeks later, victim number two. Oliver Gibson. Divorced Caucasian male aged 59. Two children. Three grandchildren. Owned a small neighborhood market. One week later, victim number three. Norma Hatfield. Widowed African-American female aged 70. No children or grandchildren. Retired secretary for a local legal firm."
"No common denominators," Rafe muttered. "Age. Sex. Race. Marital Status. Jobs." He looked up in disbelief. "Nothing at all."
"No, there's two similarities," Blair muttered. "Both of them very important." He looked first at Jim then at the others. "First, all the murders took place in cities that would be considered to have average size and population compared to the 'big cities' such as New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles," Blair explained.
Henri nodded. "Big enough to select victims at random. Big enough for a stranger not to stand out."
"But small enough that the murders wouldn't get buried in the press." Megan agreed.
"And the second?" Simon asked.
"None of the victims were homeless street people," Blair pointed out. "All the adults were employed or retired. The rest were students. All had reasons to be positively interactive within established social structures."
Jim carefully stacked the closed file folders, then rested his folded hands on top of them. "The background reports on the victims from the murders in Joliet and Elmira are pretty extensive. But there's practically nothing on the later victims' background."
"I don't need them," Garrison replied. "The reason I was able to get here so quickly is that I was already headed here."
"You knew the killer would be in Cascade?!" Simon bellowed.
"I knew no such thing," Garrison denied. "But the man who can lead us to the killer is nearby."
"How do you know that?" Jim demanded. "You don't even know who the killer is."
"Chad Malloy will know." Garrison picked up his briefcase and began putting files back into it.
"Who's Chad Malloy?" Simon demanded.
Visions of Charlie Spring dancing through their heads, Simon and Jim looked at each other in astonishment.
"A psychic?" Blair sat up straighter, his interest immediately piqued.
"Chad Malloy has the ability to touch the victim and see what the victim saw at the moment of death," Garrison carefully explained. "He'll be able to see the murderer. We'll finally have a picture to circulate."
"And you think this Chad Malloy is in Cascade?" Simon snorted.
"I started tracking him after the murders in Elmira. I got a lead on him in Detroit after the murders in Florence but he got away." Garrison tapped the edge of his briefcase with his left forefinger. "I'm positive I've finally tracked him to a place nearby." He looked at Simon. "I'll need Detective Ellison and Mr. Sandburg to accompany me to St. Sebastian's Monastery."
Jim frowned in confusion. "Your psychic is a monk?"
"No," Garrison slowly smiled. "My research has indicated you and Mr. Sandburg are known to the monks of St. Sebastian's. I'm sure you will be able to convince them to cooperate."
"Oh, man," Blair moaned.
"I think their time will be better spent on tracking down leads in this case," Simon snapped.
"I think, Captain Banks, that you were given specific orders to cooperate in every way possible," Garrison coolly replied. "If you don't, I'll make two phone calls. The first will be to my superior at the Bureau to have this case taken away from the Cascade PD and put under Federal jurisdiction. The second will be to the local media. Perhaps to Mr. Haas to explain the FBI is taking the case because of the Cascade PD's refusal to cooperate." He opened the door. "Shall we go?"
Jim glanced at Simon who had gotten to his feet. For several seconds Simon stared at the Federal agent in silence. "I don't suppose you have a problem if we continue to work this case while you're on your little road trip?"
"Not at all." Garrison nodded to Jim. "My car is in the garage downstairs. I'll follow you." He turned and walked out of the room and down the hall towards the elevator.
"Bloody hell!" Megan exploded. "Can he do that, Captain?"
"We'll see," Simon grunted. "Jim. Sandburg. Go with him. The last thing we need is trouble at a monastery."
"Personally, my money's on Brother Jeremy," Jim muttered. "C'mon, Chief."
"I'm going to make some calls about Agent Garrison. I'd like to see if he has as much power as he thinks he has. The rest of you continue the investigation. Megan, you accompany Forensics to the Dodd's home. Rafe, check out the library. See if anybody remembers Allison and this 'Jeff' person. Brown, I want you to contact the other PD's. Get all the information you can about these murders. I'd like to know what Garrison's left out of the files he's so graciously allowed us to see."
'Sometimes I wonder if it's worth all the lies and sneaking around. I just wish Mommy and Daddy would back off a little and let me LIVE. Some days I feel like I'm suffocating. Get up. Go to school. Come home. Go to bed. Then do it all over again the next day. I just want to be like other girls and go to the movies without my parents sitting in the row behind me. I know they love me, and I know why they're so protective. And I shouldn't bitch so much. I don't have to ask where my next meal is coming from or who'll take care of me when I'm sick. But sometimes I just feel like screaming! That's what makes it so exciting to be with Jeff. He understands. God, Daddy would keel over from a heart attack for sure if I brought him home. And Mommy? I think she'd cry.'
"We never did ask Garrison why this Malloy guy is running from him." Jim checked the rear view mirror and grunted at how close the agent's car was to the truck. Idly, he wondered if it would be worth it to suddenly hit the brakes.
"My guess is that he's used Malloy before and Malloy didn't like the experience," Blair answered. He closed Allison's journal and put it on the seat between them. "She was the perfect victim, you know. She was being stifled and over protected at home and looking for a little excitement."
"They were just trying to keep history from repeating itself, Chief. If this killer hadn't come along, who's to say if their actions would have been right or wrong?" Jim sighed. "You know if Garrison's right about this guy, a lot of people might still be alive if Malloy had cooperated."
Blair looked over his shoulder at Garrison's car then at his partner. "That man is gonna be trouble. We've got to be really careful about you using your abilities."
Jim glanced at the rear view. "Something I should know about?"
Blair frowned. "Think about it, Jim. If Malloy can do what Garrison says, what do you think Garrison would do if he found out about what you can do?"
Jim curtly nodded. "He's obviously done enough research to know about our connection to St. Sebastian's."
Blair groaned. "I hope Brother Marcus stays out of sight."
"I hope Brother Jeremy's in a good mood," Jim grunted.
Jim decided it wasn't a good omen when he saw Brother Jeremy waiting on the front steps of the monastery. Deciding the best defense was a good offense, he walked towards the monk. "Brother Jeremy, you're looking well," he greeted.
"Brother Jim. Brother Blair." Jeremy ignored Garrison.
"Ah, Brother Jeremy, this is FBI Agent Vincent Garrison," Jim introduced as Vincent held out his badge.
Jeremy didn't even bother to glance at it. "What can I do for you, Brother Jim?"
"We want Chad Malloy," Garrison curtly answered. "He's needed for an investigation into several murders."
Blair tried not to smile when Jeremy calmly continued to ignore the Federal agent.
"Is Chad Malloy here?" Jim gently asked.
"He is." Jeremy nodded. "He's sought and been given sanctuary."
"This isn't the Middle Ages," Garrison snorted.
"Nonetheless, the concept is still valid." Jeremy finally turned to face the Federal agent. "You cannot remove him against his will."
"I'll get a court order if necessary," Garrison warned. "There's precedent for removing…"
"You have no legal basis for doing so," Jeremy brusquely interrupted. "He's broken no laws and is not wanted by any legal authorities for any crimes."
"I consider him to be a material witness!" Garrison seethed. "And I'll get Malloy's assistance one way or the other. Even if I have to go through a bunch of monks!"
"By all means, go ahead," Jeremy angrily replied. "I'm quite sure the Church will prevail."
"Is that faith talking, Brother Jeremy?" Jim casually asked.
"No, precedent." Jeremy briefly smiled. "Agent Garrison is not the first man to come to a place of refuge and attempt to bully his way inside." He angrily glared at the Federal agent. "The Church has withstood many such attempts in the past and will withstand them in the future."
Blair looked past Jeremy to see several of the monks, including Brother Marcus, resolutely standing in the doorway.
"Brother Jeremy, while I disagree with Agent Garrison's method, he DOES have a point," Jim gently argued. "If Mr. Malloy can use his talents to prevent another murder…"
"Do you know what that does to him, Brother Jim?" Jeremy interrupted. "I was serving in Detroit when a local child was horribly assaulted and murdered. A teenager named Chad Malloy found her body in a local park one morning while jogging. When he touched her, he saw AND FELT was happened to that child."
Jeremy saw the shocked expression on both Jim and Blair's faces. "I see. Agent Garrison neglected to inform you of that little fact, didn't he?" The monk was surprised by the sharp, angry glare Blair gave the Federal agent, then took a deep breath.
"Naturally, the police didn't believe him," Jeremy continued. "They thought he was the murderer. The boy sought shelter in our church. While he was there, speaking with his attorney, another murder was committed. This time, the police urged him to help. Of course, he agreed. The murderer was caught and convicted."
"And Chad?" Blair gently asked.
"He nearly suffered a nervous breakdown," Jeremy sighed. "The police were constantly at him to solve murders."
"This time he can maybe prevent another murder!" Garrison yelled. "Nineteen people have already died! Do you want to explain to the family of victim number twenty why that person was brutally murdered? Can you explain the concept of sanctuary to them?"
"You must know what Brother Chad goes through?" Jeremy furiously accused. "He feels EACH AND EVERY death! Every cut of a knife…every blow struck…each bullet ripping through flesh and blood!" He contemptuously stared at the Federal agent. "Or do you just not care?"
Blair uneasily glanced at first Garrison then Brother Jeremy. 'God, it must be literal hell for Malloy. Especially with somebody like Garrison pushing him all the time.'
Jeremy took a deep breath to control his anger. "You will leave now, Agent Garrison." He turned to Jim and Blair. "Brother Blair, Brother Jim, you are both welcome. But we will not allow the concept of sanctuary to be violated."
"Don't you think that should be Malloy's choice?" Jim asked.
"He has a point, Brother Jeremy."
Blair saw a young man in his late twenties slowly walk past the monks standing in the doorway of the monastery. Tall, pale, and extremely thin, he wore faded jeans and a denim shirt. His short black hair was neatly combed, and he stared at them with equally black eyes before turning to stare down at Brother Jeremy. "Do I have the right to refuse to help?"
"You have the right of sanctuary," Brother Jeremy firmly replied, before glaring at Garrison. "They do not have the right to violate that sanctuary."
"There's a lot you can do to help, Malloy. You KNOW that." Garrison stepped forward. "You can save a lot of lives if you help me. Or you can stay here in hiding while other innocent people are tortured and murdered."
"You will be silent!" Jeremy thundered as he stepped in front of Malloy.
"I can't let them…" Chad took a deep breath. "If I can help, I'll go with you." He turned to Brother Jeremy. "But I can return, can't I?"
"Our doors are always open to you, Brother Chad," Jeremy assured him. He reached out to gently squeeze the young man's arm, concern in his eyes.
"We'll make sure you get back here." Jim looked at Garrison and then at Jeremy. "You have my word."
Jeremy reluctantly nodded. "Brother Jim and Brother Blair will watch over you."
"This man is a Federal witness." Garrison stepped forward. "Come with me, Malloy."
"Actually, since it's our case, he's OUR witness," Blair corrected, turning to get in Garrison's path. "You can follow us back, Agent Garrison. You don't have a problem with that, do you?" He saw Jeremy's smile and Jim's frown. Usually Blair left the confrontational scenes to his partner.
'What are you up to, Sandburg?', Jim silently questioned his partner before turning to the monk. "Give my regards to the brothers."
"Be safe," Brother Jeremy urged. "Our prayers will be with you all."
Jim waited until Garrison had stomped back to his car before joining Blair at the truck.
Blair had opened the door for Chad who had climbed inside the truck. He closed the door and waited for Jim.
"You want to explain this, Chief?" Jim asked as he approached.
"This is my area of expertise." Blair glared at the Federal agent's car. "I'd also like some time alone with him away from that moron to find out just what Chad's able to do. I don't think he needs to actually touch the victim. I think he could do the same thing by touching something personal of Allison's."
"There was a locket in her personal effects," Jim remembered. "The killer probably took it off her."
Blair nodded in agreement. He stared at his partner for a few seconds then got into the truck.
Jim's eyes narrowed then he jogged to Garrison's car and tapped on the window. When the Federal agent rolled the window down, Jim leaned in. "We heard on our radio that an accident's got traffic all tied up on the highway. I'm going to take the ferry back to get around it. Just follow me."
Turning back to the truck, the Sentinel of Cascade smiled.
Blair spent several minutes putting Chad at ease. Then he turned his head and looked out the window. "What are you up to, Jim?" he barely whispered.
"Thought we'd take the ferry back," Jim casually spoke. He glanced in the rear view mirror and smiled again. "Avoid all that traffic."
Confused, Chad stared at the road. "Traffic?"
"Closer to Cascade," Jim assured him. He glanced at the young man then at his partner. "Trust me."
Blair turned to look at his partner, then nervously patted his seatbelt. "Just remember we have a passenger, man," he whispered.
Several back roads led to the ferry that crossed the bay. In the distance, they could see the tall buildings of Cascade. Jim studied the ferry for several minutes as they edged forward. Several times, he courteously allowed cars from other roads to get in line ahead of him.
Jim glanced in the rear view mirror and saw Garrison's angry expression as yet another car got in line ahead of Jim's truck. Openly smiling, he followed the car onto the ferry, taking the last available slot.
Blair snickered as he heard Garrison's car horn behind them. "Oh, that's good," he muttered. Looking over his shoulder, he saw the Federal agent angrily arguing with the ferry worker who was locking the gate.
Chad also turned and looked out the back window. "He's so angry," he murmured.
"The man needs to learn to relax. All that pent-up stress can't be good for him," Jim suggested as he opened his door. "I'm going to stretch my legs and get some air."
As the ferry pulled away from shore, Jim stood behind his truck and stared at the receding shoreline. Although he could have extended his hearing to determine what Garrison was saying, he didn't bother. Crossing his arms across his chest, he watched as the figure of the Federal agent grew smaller and smaller.
Simon nearly groaned when he saw the pleased smirk on Jim's face. Getting up from his chair, he walked into the bullpen to see Blair leading a thin young man towards the interrogation rooms. Motioning for Jim to join him, he nodded in Blair's direction. "Is that the guy Garrison is so hot to find?"
"Yeah." Jim nodded, giving his retreating partner a concerned look.
"Where IS our esteemed Federal guest, anyway?" Simon asked.
The corners of Jim's mouth twitched for a second, then he regained his composure. "It seems he missed the ferry, sir."
"He did, did he?" Simon mused.
"I got the last spot on the ferry, and he had to wait for the next one," Jim explained.
Simon closed his eyes. "That means he'll be here in about twenty minutes. Agent Garrison isn't going to be pleased."
"Neither was Brother Jeremy." Jim glanced down the hallway. "Neither is Sandburg."
Simon tried not to smile. "What did Garrison do to piss HIM off?"
"I'm not exactly sure," Jim admitted. Then he stared into Simon's dark eyes. "I'm not certain you want to know."
Simon grunted and turned back into his office. "Have I ever mentioned how much I hate that mumbo-jumbo stuff Sandburg pulls off?"
"Yes, sir," Jim respectfully nodded. "Sometimes I feel the same."
"I asked about our helpful Federal investigator, by the way." Simon leaned against the open doorway of his office. He smiled at Jim's interested expression. "Seems he's one of the original lone wolves. He gets results so his eccentricities, shall we call them, gets winked at." Simon's eyes narrowed. "However, his supervisors are getting a little antsy at his methods. Seems the last couple of cases Garrison's worked on have been a little short on actual evidence. He's never had a perp released for lack of evidence, but that's been more because the Federal attorneys made up the slack in court."
Jim's eyes flickered down the hallway towards the interrogation rooms. "He's relying on Malloy and not on police work."
"Seems that way. Makes you wonder what we're going to find out from the other PD's." Simon agreed. "His supervisor has also been pushing for him to take some down time. If not, he leaning towards forcing him into some sort of counseling."
"Burn out?" Jim asked.
Simon hesitated. "He didn't air any dirty laundry. But I got the feeling it was more like Garrison's dancing on the edge and ready to fall over. He may be a powder keg ready to blow, Jim."
"Understood, sir." Jim turned as Henri walked into the bullpen. "H, can you do me a favor?"
"Will it upset that Fed?" Henri asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh, yes," Jim nodded with a grin.
"Ask and ye shall receive, my man," Henri promised.
"Run down to Forensics and bring Allison Dodd's personal effects to me." He walked towards his desk. "I just thought of something that may buy us a little more time."
Before escorting Chad into an interrogation room, Blair stopped in the break room. Selecting a salad and apple that looked reasonably fresh, he dropped coins into the slot and punched the proper buttons. Then getting a bottle of water from another vending machine, he led Chad down the hall.
Closing the door to the interrogation room, he nodded for the other man to sit down. "Come on, you need to eat. Brother Jeremy will have my hide if I don't see that you eat properly." He stared down at the food on the table. "And this is about as healthy as it gets around here."
"I'd rather not." Chad lowered his head and studied his folded hands on his lap. "I'll get sick if I do." He glanced at Blair then lowered his head again. "I can't stand to have anything in my stomach when I touch…"
Blair sat across the table from the younger man. "About that…all I know is what Garrison has told me. And, frankly, I don't think he knows anything about your abilities. He certainly doesn't give a damn about what it does to you." He leaned forward, edging the food closer to Chad. "Tell me how you do what you do."
Chad hesitated then sighed. "It's like Brother Jeremy said. I stumbled onto a body in Detroit. That's when I realized I can do this."
Blair frowned. "Okay. You stumbled upon the body in Detroit. So you didn't choose to touch it, right?"
Chad shook his head. "I don't like dead bodies."
"Man, I am SO with you on that!" Blair chuckled. He opened the bottle of water and held it out until Chad took it. "So, you've never tried doing what you do any other way? Garrison just makes you touch the bodies?"
Chad frowned. "There was this detective in Philadelphia. He handed me a picture of a victim. I started to see something, but Garrison pulled the picture out of my grasp. He started yelling at this guy that he was going to screw up what I was doing." He sipped the water. "After that, he never let anybody else ask me questions or anything. It's just getting so hard to come back from that darkness." Nervously looking around, he asked, "Where is Garrison?"
Blair shrugged. "He'll show up sooner or later. But you really need to eat. I'm not kidding that Brother Jeremy will be mad at me if you don't." He smiled when Chad slowly reached for the apple, then began eating. "So, nobody's ever worked with you about your gift?"
"More like a curse," Chad shook his head.
'Yeah, I've heard THAT one before.' Blair tried not to smile. "How about if we try it with you touching something the victim had with her?"
Chad's thin shoulders slumped. "If you want. I just want to get this over with and go back to the monastery."
Blair's blue eyes hardened. "Chad, I promise you. No matter what happens, Garrison isn't going to get his shot at you. You don't deserve what's been done to you, and you're not going to suffer any longer."
"You can't stop him." Chad miserably shook his head. "He's a Federal agent. You don't know how important he is."
'And Garrison doesn’t know who HE'S dealing with.' Blair patted Chad's arm. "Just relax and eat. Leave Garrison to me."
Once Chad began to eat, Blair stood and left the room only to nearly run into Jim who was standing in the corridor, arms folded across his chest, evidence bag clutched in one hand.
"You shouldn't make promises like that, Chief," Jim warned. "You don't have the authority to do anything about Garrison."
"Don't I?" Blair calmly stared up at his partner. "What Garrison has done is criminally negligent. And you shouldn't have been eavesdropping, by the way. But as far as Garrison's concerned…" he angrily shook his head.
Jim sighed. "You have no idea if what Malloy can do. Assuming he can do ANYTHING, are you sure it can be done in any way other than what Garrison has done?"
Blair crossed his arms over his chest in silent mimicry of Jim's stance. "I don't know that Garrison's way is the only way. In fact, I'll bet you it isn't. Garrison doesn't care about Chad. He's just using him."
Jim shrugged. "I won't argue about that," he agreed.
"Jim, all I'm asking for is a chance to see if Chad can help us without endangering him," Blair angrily hissed. "Garrison's a moron and has no idea what he's doing. It would be like me telling you that you would have to turn all your dials up to the max in order to detect anything with your senses."
Sighing, Jim tried to find a way to gracefully give in. Not finding one, he resorted to glaring at his partner only to have Blair ignore him.
Blair smiled and nodded. "See, you understand this stuff out if you try."
"Don't start," Jim warned, trying not to smile. "I'm serious."
"So am I," Blair agreed. He glanced over his shoulder at the closed door then back at his partner. "I think one of Chad's problems is that he hasn't been given the chance to figure out how to deal with what happens to him as a result of what he does. He's never been given a chance to learn to step back away from it or deal with it in any way."
"Okay, here's the locket. What do we do?" Jim asked handing the evidence bag to his partner. "Let me rephrase that. What are YOU going to do?"
Blair hesitated. "What I try to do for you." He started to get angry again. "Pretty much what any LEGITIMATE RATIONAL RESPONSIBLE interrogator would do."
"Easy, Chief." Jim frowned. "You can't do anything for anyone if you stay that angry." He suddenly grinned. "That's MY job."
Blair reluctantly chuckled. "I can't imagine what Chad's gone through." He looked at his partner. "What somebody like Garrison would make you go through."
"Not gonna happen," Jim calmly reassured him. "Come on, maybe we CAN get this done before Garrison gets here. 'Cause when he does, he's not going to be a happy camper."
Blair shrugged. "I need you to get a few things from where we've got our emergency supplies stashed."
Federal Agent Vincent Garrison was more than a little upset as he walked into the lobby of the Cascade PD. Not only had he stood and fumed for twenty minutes waiting for the next ferry, but he'd been denied access to the PD parking garage. The young officer on duty had directed him to the visitor's lot down the block rather than permit him to park in the garage as a courtesy to visiting law enforcement officers.
"Garage is full, my ass," Garrison furiously muttered. "I'll have Ellison's badge for this! Banks' too!"
"Excuse me, sir. You need to sign in."
Garrison angrily whirled around to see an officer who looked to be three years past mandatory retirement standing behind him. "I signed in this morning," he snarled.
"Then you should have your visitor's pass." The old man genially smiled.
"I turned it in when I left!" Garrison shouted.
"Then you'll need to sign in, sir." The older man took Garrison's arm and led him back towards the desk sitting near the front entrance of the building. "May I see your identification?"
"I went through all this nonsense this morning! With you! Are you just senile or stupid?!" Garrison raged.
"You got a problem, Smithy?"
Garrison turned around to see another uniformed officer standing behind him. This one, however, could have passed as a professional wrestler. Although his badge identified him as Officer Kirkcannon, Garrison was sure this was a relative of Andre the Giant.
"I don't think so," Smithy smiled as he comfortably settled into his chair. "I was just about to examine his identification."
Kirkcannon crossed his massive arms across his massive chest and waited.
Sighing in frustration, Garrison reached for his identification.
Jim wasn't really surprised to see Garrison in Simon's office when he returned from the storage room. The Federal agent was red-faced and from the way Simon was glaring at the man, Garrison was probably yelling at the top of his lungs. He quickly walked across the bullpen and tapped on Simon's door before entering. "We're ready in Interrogation Room 5, sir."
"I'll have your badge, Ellison!" Garrison yelled. "Interfering with an investigation…"
Jim silently cross the room and stared down at Garrison. "If you think you can take it, go ahead and try," he quietly offered.
"Ellison!" Simon warned.
"This case still belongs to the Cascade PD, Agent Garrison. So if anyone is interfering in an investigation, it's you." Turning away, Jim nodded at Simon. "Sandburg's got an idea, sir. It's a little unorthodox."
Simon snorted then got up. "Let's see what he can do."
When Jim opened the door to Interrogation Room 5, he handed several white candles to Blair who began placing them on the table.
"I can't believe I'm going along with this," Simon grumbled. "Sandburg Zone?"
"Round trip ticket provided, sir." Jim half-smiled.
Garrison started towards Chad only to find Blair standing in front of him.
"I'm running this interrogation," Blair explained. "YOU will sit over there." He pointed to a nearby chair.
"Like hell!" Garrison exploded.
Chad flinched at the loud voice.
"Agent Garrison!" Simon barked. "Sit down and cooperate! If I have to make another call to your superior, I assure you that you WILL be yanked from this case!"
Furious, Garrison all but threw himself into the chair.
Chad drew a deep breath as Blair began lighting the candles. Jim dimmed the lights before leaning against the closed door. Simon sat at the table across from Chad and Blair.
Blair smiled at the nervous young man. "First, we're going to relax."
"This is bullshit!" Garrison yelled as he got to his feet. "For all we know, somebody else is being brutally murdered while we sit here and play games with the one person who can identify him!" He lunged towards Chad only to find his approach one again blocked by Blair. Snarling, he started to push Blair aside.
Jim swiftly moved across the room. He grabbed Garrison by his shirt-front and slammed him against the wall. "Don't you ever attack my partner again," he hissed.
"You're assaulting a Federal agent!" Garrison wheezed.
Jim used his strength and leverage to pin the Federal agent against the wall. "Do I look like I give a damn?"
"Ellison!" Simon yelled.
"Jim, put him down!" Blair ordered. "We can't go fishing next weekend if you're in jail!"
Jim pulled Garrison back to his chair and shoved him down. Glancing over his shoulder, he snapped at Blair, "Spoilsport!"
"Ellison! Behave!" Simon ordered, getting to his feet.
Jim curtly nodded then stood next to Garrison's chair at parade rest.
"And you, Agent Garrison! You will cease interfering in the questioning of someone that you've called a material witness!" Simon continued. He turned to Blair. "Sandburg! Get going with whatever you're going to do!" Spotting Chad's frightened face, he softened his voice. "Mr. Malloy, I'm Captain Banks of the Cascade PD. Thank you for agreeing to assist us." He glared at both Jim and Garrison. "I apologize for the mayhem." He moved to stand next to Jim.
Chad uncomfortably looked at Blair. "I need to…"
Blair nodded. "First, I'm going to relax you."
"You can't hypnotize him!" Garrison argued. "It'll corrupt the evidence!"
Blair slowly turned around. "You will be quiet," he said in a low voice. "Chad will help us, but I will not consent to you raping his mind. Again."
Jim refrained from shivering at the power that emanated from Blair's voice. Still uncomfortable with the supernatural, Jim instinctively worried every time his partner added being an active shaman to his repertoire.
Garrison glared at the younger man. Then he heard an animalistic growl and looked around in confusion. He started to speak, but found his throat closing, preventing him from making a sound. As soon as he stopped trying to speak, he could breathe again.
Surprised, Jim glanced at Blair only to see his partner looked similarly surprised.
"Get on with it, Sandburg," Simon growled.
"Okay, Chad, just relax and get comfortable," Blair urged. "The candles are for protection against the darkness. Nothing evil can approach. The light will protect you."
Simon leaned closer to Jim. "Does he know what he's doing?" he whispered so quietly that only the Sentinel could hear him.
"Blair's a Shaman," Jim proudly whispered in return. "If anyone knows, he does."
Blair knelt next to the Chad, gently touching his left knee. "Take a deep breath…hold it…release it. Again. Again. Let all the darkness slip away. You are protected by the light. Breathe deeply again…hold it…release it. None of the memories will hurt you. You will see and hear what you need to see and hear. But nothing will hurt you. Breathe deeply…again…again…"
Jim quickly blinked, suddenly realizing how susceptible he was to Blair's guidance. He studied Chad's relaxed body and half-smiled. 'So THAT'S what I look like when Blair puts me under.'
Slowly, Blair opened the evidence bag. Reaching out, he opened Chad's left hand and dropped the locket into Chad's palm. "This is only an inanimate object. It has no power to harm you in any way. You will see what she saw…hear what she heard…but it will not harm you. You do not feel what she felt. There is no need to do so. Simply look and listen."
Slowly, Chad's eyes focused on the locket...
'Please, God, don't let him me hurt me again! I swear I'll be good! I won't sneak around any more! I'll stay at home. Please, Oh God, please.'
Chad watched as Allison saw her abductor approaching. Calmly, he listened as the man taunted her.
The tall broad-shouldered man gently patted her naked thigh. "Poor baby. Don't tell me I wore you out? We've still got lots to do." He coldly smiled as he eyed the bruises on her lightly tanned body. "Sex games weren't what you thought they'd be? Little girl, little girl, little girl...playing at being a woman." He ran his hand through the short blonde curls that framed her oval face.
Chad walked to stand next to where Allison was bound. He studied the man carefully, noting his features. "I can remember you," he whispered.
Allison whimpered as the bright halogen light flickered against the knife's long blade. "Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Holy Mary Mother...ARRHHHH! Mommy! Mommy! GODDDDDDDDDDD!"
"I can't watch this," Chad whimpered as he backed away. "I'm sorry. I can't. I'm SORRY!"
Startled, Chad's eyes opened. For a few seconds, he looked around in fear, then took a deep breath.
"Chad?" Blair gently tapped the young man's knee. "Chad?"
"Yes," Chad whimpered as he wiped his eyes. "I'm here." He looked at Blair in surprise. "I saw him. I saw him."
Blair put the locket back into the evidence bag and closed it. He slid it across the desk towards Simon.
"If we get a sketch artist in here, can you tell her what the killer looks like?" Blair gently asked. When Chad silently nodded, he looked up at Simon. "Yvette Marcum would be the best, Captain."
Simon nodded. Sgt. Marcum was at her best when working with traumatized victims. "I'll get her up here." He sympathetically looked at Chad. "Thank you, son." He reached for the dimmer and returned the lights to full brightness as Blair blew out the candles.
"Will you tell me their names? The ones who died?" Chad asked. "I'd like to pray for them when I go back to the monastery."
"I'll write them down for you." Blair nodded. He stood and motioned for the others to follow him into the hallway. Wearily, he leaned against the wall, noticing Garrison's angry expression. "Something you want to say, Agent Garrison?" he gently asked.
"I can't go into court with this!" Garrison protested. He looked surprised that he could speak. "What did you do to me?" he demanded.
"I didn't do anything to you," Blair quietly answered. "Why would you think that?"
"Why can't you use what Malloy will provide?" Simon asked with a frown.
Jim merely stood next to his partner and folded his arms across his chest.
"You hypnotized him! That's corrupted the evidence!" Garrison accused.
"I didn't hypnotize him. I simply put him into a relaxed state so he could use his abilities without being hurt by them." Blair angrily looked at the Federal agent. "You should be brought up on charges for what you've done to him!" he hissed. "Making him feel each and every death by touching the victim! There was no need to do that! What was the point?"
"I used the tools available to me to locate, arrest, and convict violent criminals," Garrison coldly replied, eyeing Blair. "You work well with Malloy."
"Don't even think about it," Simon warned even as Jim growled low in his throat.
"Are you saying you wouldn't be interested in helping Malloy capture violent criminals?" Garrison demanded. "Help save lives?"
Blair stretched his muscles with a smile. "Oh, man, get off it. I've had guilt trips put on me by professionals. You're not even a talented amateur."
Simon grunted in amusement. "I'll get Marcum up here. Perhaps you'd like to join us, Agent Garrison? We could go over the files the other Departments faxed to us about the victim's background. Seems the name 'Jeff' comes up more than once or twice."
"The hell you say." Blair half-smiled as he followed Simon.
"That doesn't necessarily mean anything," Garrison protested.
"Maybe. Maybe not," Jim quietly spoke. "Think about how many people you come into contact with each day." He grinned at his younger partner. "Some of us more than others."
They stopped at the entrance to the bullpen.
"We go to a bar and have a casual conversation with the guy sitting on the next barstool. We go to the grocery store and have a casual conversation with the guy in the checkout line." Jim shrugged. "It doesn't mean that our killer was close to all his victims. The ones who came into contact with a lot of people might not have even mentioned a 'Jeff' to their family or close friends."
Simon nodded. "When Marcum gets up here, you go back in with her, Sandburg. Help that boy put a face to this piece of garbage."
Blair nodded but followed Jim to his desk. When the Sentinel raised his eyebrows, Blair grinned. "I promised Chad a list of the victims, remember?"
Jim nodded, then watched as Garrison angrily accepted the files from Megan who smiled sweetly at him even as she shoved the files against his chest. Then he sat behind the desk and motioned Blair to sit close. "Listen, Shaman, forget about hiding my abilities," he murmured. "You do anything more than breathe, and Garrison's gonna be looking to find ways to spirit you away. You've already peaked his interest."
Blair grinned and patted Jim's arm. "You and Brother Jeremy will protect me."
"Sandburg," Jim warned. He took a deep breath and backed away. "Just what DID you do to Garrison to shut him up?"
Blair frowned. "I honestly don't know." He glanced at Garrison. "Did I imagine it or did I hear one of our spirit animals?"
Jim nodded. "Yours, I think. Go head and write down those names. As soon as Malloy finishes that sketch, I want you to get him back to St. Sebastian's."
Blair glanced at Jim then began printing. "Am I supposed to stay there, too?" he casually asked.
Jim sighed. "No. But just cool it around Garrison, okay?"
Blair grinned. "I'll leave him to you and Megan," he promised. A few minutes later, he frowned. "Jim? Look at this, will ya?"
Jim leaned closer and read over the younger man's shoulder. "Are you kidding?"
"The first letter of each victim…" Blair muttered.
Rose Li Miller
"I am the Resurrection," Jim quietly spoke.
"And Allison is the 'A' in 'and'. The first name of the next victim will begin with an 'N'," Blair continued. Suddenly, he twisted in the chair and looked at his partner.
"Dammit, it can't be THAT easy!" Jim shook his head. "Can it?"
Blair turned back in the chair and wrote the cities where the murders had occurred.
"Jeff McC…" Jim caught his breath. "I'll be damned," he muttered.
"Here, take this one." Blair handed the paper to Jim and began writing the names on a fresh sheet of paper.
Jim took the paper and stood. "Take it with you, Chief. Marcum's here."
Blair nodded and went to take the young sketch artist to Interrogation Room 5.
Jim casually walked across the bullpen and knocked on Simon's door. Hearing Simon's order to enter, he did and closed the door behind him. "I think you should see this, sir. The first name of each of the victims are spelling out 'I Am The Resurrection'."
"The words carved into the victims." Simon frowned as he stared at the list. Then he glared at Jim. "And the cities…"
"Apparently spell out the killer's name." Jim nodded.
"Thanks for your help today. We can always use volunteers." The middle-aged woman smiled in gratitude.
"I've been there when things were really tough. If not for the kindness of people helping me when I needed it…well, who knows where I'd be now?"
"I wish everyone was as generous with their time as you."
"I'm glad to help. Same time tomorrow, Natalie?"
"That'll be great, Jeff. Thanks again."
"Can I go back to Brother Jeremy now?"
Blair glanced at Jim.
"Your call," Jim quietly spoke as he handed the sketch to Simon. He knew his Shaman was torn between staying with his sentinel and fulfilling his obligation to the broken young man who'd helped them. "I can handle things on this end."
"I'll be back as soon as I can," Blair promised.
Simon studied the drawing. "Allison Dodd's mystery boyfriend."
"He's got to have rented something in Cascade," Garrison decided. "As long as he possibly would be in the area, he couldn’t afford to stay in a hotel all that time." He looked at Chad. "I'm glad you haven't lost your touch, Malloy. You can do far too much good with it."
"Better get going, Sandburg," Jim advised with a glare at the Federal agent.
"Be careful," Blair urged his partner. "I'll be back tonight."
"Stay the night if you're tired," Jim cautioned.
"I'll be back," Blair repeated.
Jim nodded. 'Just get Malloy back to Brother Jeremy. We'll see then what we can do to keep him out of Garrison's clutches.'
A few hours later, Henri suddenly shouted. "Got it! A Jeff McCabe rented an apartment at 4722 Webster Street. The rental company's faxing over a copy of the rental agreement."
Jim looked up. "That's close to where Sandburg used to live. Developers are converting old warehouses into apartments."
"There's no listing for any other occupant at that building." Megan stared at her computer screen.
"Maybe nothing else has been rented," Rafe mused. "Or maybe the building's still in the process of being converted."
"It's not a good part of town," Jim recalled. "I doubt they've got many people lining up to rent."
"Bingo and ca-ching!" Henri gloated from the fax machine. He held up the rental agreement. "Our man McCabe used his Illinois driving license as identification. It gives his occupation as a field sales rep for a Chicago medical supply company called Staff Surgical Supplies."
Garrison grabbed the paper. "It's a match," he muttered. "It's a match!" he yelled. "We've got the son-of-a-bitch!"
"Maybe," Simon grunted. "We'll need more before we get any sort of a warrant to pick him up." He looked at the groups of detectives in the room. "Rafe. Contact the airlines. Find out if our Mr. McCabe has flown in and out of the cities where the murders have occurred. Connor, contact this Staff Surgical Supplies. Get a history on him. We need to make sure that if they employ a Jeff McCabe, that it's this Jeff McCabe. Brown, check the car rental agencies. Find out if he rented a car and for how long then check the DMVs in other states. Ellison, contact reality companies to see if McCabe has a rental history where the murders occurred." He turned to Garrison and smiled. "Take notes, Agent Garrison. You might find it useful the next time you run an investigation."
Blair stopped his car in front of the monastery. As he helped Chad from the front seat, he saw the door open.
"Brother Blair! Brother Chad! Is everything all right?" Brother Jeremy worriedly asked.
Blair nodded. "He's tired, Brother Jeremy. And he's had some herbal tea that sorta relaxed him." He half-smiled and shrugged.
"I know their names, Brother Jeremy," Chad muttered as he leaned against the monk. "We can pray for them now."
"Yes." Jeremy soothingly nodded, putting an arm around the younger man's shoulder.
Brother Marcus appeared. He gently squeezed Blair's shoulder then helped Jeremy walk Chad to the monastery.
"Blair, please come with me," Chad begged, looking over his shoulder. "Help me pray for them."
"Brother Jeremy is really good at that." Blair shook his head. "I need to get back to Cascade and help Jim."
"But you brought me the light!" Chad tried to push away from the monks.
Blair quickly grabbed Chad. "The light is within you, Chad. It always has been. It always will be." He looked at Brother Jeremy in concern. "Okay, okay. We'll pray for them."
Chad wearily leaned against Brother Marcus who slowly walked him inside towards the sanctuary.
"First, we need to eat," Brother Marcus murmured. "Sustenance of the body will help the sustenance of the soul."
"Brother Jeremy, I think he may need more professional help that you can provide," Blair quietly spoke.
"Perhaps." The older monk nodded. "But healing his mind will do no good until his soul is healed. And make no mistake, Brother Blair, his soul is gravely wounded by all that has been done to him." He took the younger man's arm. "Come. After we pray, Brother Frederick will prepare some sandwiches and coffee for your return journey."
The detectives gathered in Interrogation Room 5 for a final briefing.
"As far as we can tell, McCabe doesn't fly. Believe it or not, he must have driven from city to city." Rafe glanced at Henri who nodded for him to proceed. "According to the Illinois State DMV, he's driving a 1997 dark green Buick LeSabre. We can't find any record of an airline ticket being issued to Jeff or Jeffrey McCabe."
"Maybe he's used a false ID," Megan suggested.
Garrison shook his head. "There's no evidence that he's tried to hide his identity here in Cascade. There's no reason to suppose he tried to hide it anywhere else."
Megan reluctantly nodded. "If he avoided flying, he would be able to avoid trying to get any sort of knives past security."
"What did you find out from Staff Surgical Supplies?" Simon asked.
Megan glanced at her notes. "According to them, they employed a Jeffrey R. McCabe as a field sales rep until July 1997. The previous month, his parents and wife were killed in an automobile accident. I spoke to his supervisor. He said that McCabe had always been a quiet man, but after the accident he became almost non-communicative. He also inherited quite a bit of money from his parents, plus the insurance from his wife's death. His supervisor got the impression that McCabe didn't need to work any more so they weren't surprised when he quit." She looked at the others. "His supervisor also said that he was worried about McCabe after the tragedy. He said McCabe didn't seem to show any sort of grief. He just got quieter. Shortly after McCabe quit, he sold his house and moved away. No one's heard from him since."
"Ellison?" Simon questioned.
"I haven't heard from either Florence or Elmira yet," Jim admitted. "But a Jeff McCabe rented apartments on a monthly basis in Fresno, Montgomery, and Cedar Rapids."
"Joliet's close enough to Chicago that he might have stayed there for the first killings," Garrison mused.
"Is it enough for a warrant?" Jim asked.
Simon nodded. "Ellison, get a team together. Full body armor. We don't know what sort of weapons this guy's got besides knives and scalpels."
Quietly and efficiently, the Cascade PD surrounded the converted warehouse and sealed off the exits. Speaking quietly into the microphone, Jim began the countdown. "On my mark."
"Lord, we commend the spirits of these unfortunate victims to the safety of your arms," Brother Jeremy quietly intoned. He glanced at the paper in his right hand. "Ingrid Swenson. Anthony Lykins. Matthew Caldwell.
"Five. Four. Three."
"Terrie Kendall. Heath Petrie. Erika Holt."
"Two. One. Mark."
"Robyn Hurst. Evelyn Kelsey. Shawn Donahue."
Jeff McCabe was standing in the kitchen area preparing a salad when his door burst open and armed men ran into his apartment. At the same time, he heard the back door being shattered as well as the window next to the fire escape.
"Cascade PD! FBI! Freeze!" The commands came from all directions.
McCabe reached towards the kitchen counter where a butcher knife lay.
"Ursula Woodward. Ray Lynch. Rose Li Miller."
An Internal Affairs investigation later determined that the bullet from FBI Agent Vincent Garrison's gun was the one that actually killed Jeff McCabe. The bullets from the guns of Detective Jim Ellison and Inspector Megan Connor were wounding shots.
Henri kicked the knife away from McCabe's body.
Jim secured his weapon and knelt next to the serial killer. "We need medics! Now!" he shouted.
"Enrique Marrero. Christopher Hartman. Tiffany Kent."
"Why did you do it, McCabe?" Garrison demanded. He stood over the body, resisting both Rafe and Henri's attempts to push him back. "Tell me why, you bastard?!"
"Ian Winfield. Oliver Gibson. Norma Hatfield."
"Because God said I could," McCabe gasped. Shuddering, he convulsed twice then went limp.
Jim got to his feet and stepped aside for the EMTs. He looked at the others and shook his head.
"Tell them not to waste their time," Garrison growled as he shook free of Henri and Rafe's hands. Without looking back, he turned and walked away. "Sorry son of a bitch," he muttered.
"Jeff McCabe," Chad suddenly added.
Jeremy and Blair looked at each other, then at the young man kneeling between them.
"Jeff McCabe," Chad softly repeated, closing his eyes. "God forgive him. God forgive us all."
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