Author: Hailey Burns PM
A killer is running rampant through the streets of NYC with two girls already dead. Capt. Sam Harker places his best detectives on the case. As they embark on the harrowing task, they have no connections or leads. For the killer, it's just his numbers game. AN: Please forgive any minor errors. It's a work in progress. Let me know about anything huge.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Romance - Chapters: 4 - Words: 18,168 - Reviews: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 08-17-12 - Published: 02-03-12 - id: 2994169
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The black sedan pulled into the front of the five story, red brick building. A few uniformed officers stood around the door with cigarettes in their mouths. An officer brought in a man in handcuffs with an eager intern following close behind. As Detective Don Wilson watched the intern, he realized that through all his years on the force, he still couldn't decide if the interns were like shadows or puppy dogs. A smile crossed his features. It didn't feel like it was that long ago that he himself had been an intern, eagerly awaiting his future in the department. Wilson and his partner followed the intern through the heavy door. He turned his head and kindly thanked the intern for holding the door, giving him a large smile. The intern smiled back and was following behind his assigned officer in a flash. Wilson continued to walk through the maze of people in the hallways until he reached the empty stairway. On the second step, he looked behind him to make sure that his partner was still behind him. She was. The trek up the few flights of stairs was lilted with the presence of rays of sunlight peering in through the windows. The air around them was beginning to heat up.
The pair exited the stairwell onto a floor that wasn't quite as lively as the hallway on the first floor. Papers were stacked in piles on every possible surface available. Boxes were placed on top of desks filled with various papers relating to whatever case was concerning to that desk. There were about ten desks, each set up in pairs. There was one grouping that had a third desk pushed against the sides of the other two. In that third desk sat a uniformed officer that was dutifully working away at his computer. His dark brown eyes scanned the information that was laid in front of him. He never saw the detectives heading to the desks that surrounded his.
"Dorian," Don barked. He laughed when the man jumped and looked up with wide eyes. His partner just shook her head. "Whatcha up to?"
"Nothing," he swore. He shook his head and took a deep breath to still the adrenaline. Dorian Valdez still hadn't gotten used to the other detective's joking. It had only been a few months since he was "promoted" to working with the detectives. It was always a dream of his and the Numbers Killer case had allowed him the opportunity since he was the officer that was called out on the first victim. Wilson had taken every opportunity to pick on the new kid. "I did a check on your dead girl."
"You print it?"
"Just sent it. There's nothing too interesting to report, but she's got some dirt on her."
The two detectives walked around to the stand behind him and look at computer screen. A few entries had been made in her name. To top the page, there was the record of her driver's license, and a few parking tickets. Valdez clicked on one of the entries further down on the list. It was one of three misdemeanors on her record.
"This is about the worst I can get on her," he stated. "Just a possession charge."
"What for?" Alex spoke up.
Don raised his eyebrows. "Lemme guess, probably underage drinking and possibly fake ID."
Valdez looked up at him with a grin. "And we have a winner! Same night too."
Valdez pulled up another entry. "Campus security broke up a party that got out of hand and guess what, our girl was drinking again."
Alex walked over to the printer and pulled out the pages that had their victim's info on it. "So basically, our girl was a typical college kid," she stated in a deflated voice. "Dorian, have you faxed records to get the reports from these?"
"Not yet, Alex," he said. "I will in a second."
"I wonder if our other two girls were at either of these events," she pondered. "Could you check that too, Dorian?"
He gave her one of those looks that said she was pushing her boundaries with his abilities. He was only one man after all.
She returned the look with puppy dog eyes.
Rolling his eyes, he agreed. "Only if you send the faxes."
"Deal," she settled. She grabbed the printout and headed towards the fax machine.
As she stood patiently by the fax machine for the confirmation to come through, Captain Sam Harker walked off the stairs. He had his long tan trench coat on with his black leather briefcase in his hand. His square rimmed, brown turtle shell glasses perched on his straight nose. His brown hair that was flecked with gray was surprisingly still neatly brushed back. His moustache flared as he sighed when he looked upon the detectives that were busily flitting about. His brown eyes stopped on the woman standing at the fax machine. It had been so long since they had first met, and she had changed so much. It a few moments, but she turned around and caught him staring at her. Her hazel eyes lit up. With a smile on her face, she waved at him. Involuntarily, the corner of his lips turned upward. He sighed again. It was going to be hard to talk to her about what had happened during the meeting that morning. "Alex, can I see you in my office for a second?"
Wilson's eyes flipped up from his computer screen. He looked at Harker and then over at Alex. It was never good when someone was asked into an office. He mostly remembered his trips to the principal's in high school, and something about Harker's tone distinctly sent off warning bells.
Alex's smile vanished. She tossed the confirmation notices from the fax machine into the trash and walked over to his side without a backwards glance to her partner. "What's up?'
He waited for her to cross the threshold of the door to his office. He rubbed the bridge of his nose under his glasses. He closed the door and walked to his desk. Looking up at her, he motioned to the chair in front of his desk. "Sit." She did. Her wavy brown hair had been taken out of its ponytail and was now hanging loosely around her shoulders. He could tell that she had gotten ready in a hurry by the fact that her purple oxford shirt hadn't been buttoned yet that morning. He shook his head with a smile. There was a confident look about her face, even though he had a good feeling she had nothing to base it on. "Heard you got a dead body."
She smiled sheepishly. "Oh yeah. About that…" Her hand made its way to the back of her head to wrap itself in her hair.
"Save it, Alex," he ordered. He knew the protocol. He knew that she knew. That wasn't what this was about.
For a second, her face questioned his reaction. She wasn't always called into his office. If he had a problem with her, he would mostly deal with it at her desk. If this were a protocol issue, he would just go tell her, especially since he all ready knew. "No. This is big. You know that. This is a serial case now. I told you that from the start." There was a hint of pride in her voice. She had been right, and now she got to prove it to the world.
Harker sighed. "I know. I always believed you." A smile crossed his face. "The trouble is the brass. Now they officially believe it too."
Her eyes shot to the ceiling as her head was tossed back. Instinctively, her hands pulled her hair back, yanked the hair tie off her wrist, and her hair sat obediently in its ponytail. Her eyelids fluttered shut. She realized that he only called her into his office for one reasons: he didn't want anyone to hear the contents of the conversation. Something wasn't right. Something about the way his eyes had darkened since he mentioned the upper ranks of the NYPD told her that the meeting he had just come back from hadn't gone the way he had expected. She sighed and wrung her hands together. "What now?"
Harker leaned against his desk. He folded his arms across his chest. "They want to call in the experts."
Alex's hands clenched into fists. In a second, they had relaxed, but the tension continued to linger on her features. This was not good. Her eyes flicked over the memorabilia in the window frame to her partner. He didn't know anything. He didn't know that the case they had spent so much time and energy on was slipping away from them. She steeled her resolved and looked up at Harker. "No. This is our case. I know it backwards and forwards, and I'm pretty sure Don does too."
It was Harker's turn to run his hand through his hair. For a second his mind deviated from the current situation. As his fingers felt the texture of his hair, he could imagine the ones that had turned gray. It was situations like this that made them turn on him, he thought. He hated politics, always had. He sighed. "Alex, the FBI has an entire team dedicated to finding serial killers. I hate to say it, but if you know the case that well, why don't you have a suspect?" It felt as if his brain had betrayed him. He wanted to be on her side, but what came out of his mouth didn't portray his intention.
Her eyes dropped. The knot in her stomach untied itself as it seemed to plummet through the floor. Words failed her. She couldn't speak. She just looked at him. He had believed her; he just didn't believe in her. She stood up.
Harker kicked himself. He hadn't meant what he said to come across the way that it had. He had spent a few minutes too long in the presence of the upper echelon of the police. Their lack of faith in her had rubbed off on her. He had always had the utmost faith in the daughter of his late partner. She had always had a knack for solving puzzles and was probably one of the smartest cops in the ranks at the time. He knew that she was the best to solve this case. She just had to stare it in the face long enough. It pained him to watch the girl that had become like his daughter this upset at something he said. He pulled up a chair and sat down. "Alex, wait," he begged.
Her body forced her to turn around. "What?"
"I didn't mean it that way, Al. I didn't mean to say that. I have and always will believe in your ability to solve a case. I know that you'll get this guy too. He's smart, but you're smarter. The brass is breathing down my neck to haul in the big guns and kick you off the case. I won't let them until I have no other choice. This is your case. I assigned it to you for a reason. This is your chance to show them that you're really that good. Now, go get them."
She gave a hint of a smile before walking out the door. To emphasize her point, the door slammed behind her.
"Damn it," he swore under his breath.
Her quick strides carried her to her desk where she promptly sat herself down before the computer. Rage pumped through her veins. How could they want to pull her the instant that it was declared a serial killing? They didn't even give her a chance. Or maybe they had, and that was problem. Hurt and doubt began to well up in her mind. Maybe the chance had been had, and even a second one. Third time's the charm, so they say, just maybe not for her. Harker was right. If she knew the case backwards and forwards, why hadn't they caught the guy or even gotten a name? She looked up at Harker's office. His sad eyes peered caught hers from behind his glasses. She looked away. She logged into her computer and began typing up her report from that morning. Her breathing slowly came back to its normal rate as her fingers made the report come to life.
Wilson looked over at his partner. There was a weight on her shoulders that hadn't been there the entire morning—that is until she went into Captain Harker's office. Something that had been discussed had upset her. He knew that she had put on the blinders to the rest of the world by the way her eyes never left the computer screen. To go and talk to her now could mean disaster. He sighed and looked down at his hands that had stilled over the keys of his own computer. This couldn't mean anything good for the case, but he couldn't let it get to him. He had to focus on the killing, not the wellbeing of his partner. He would ask her what had happened over drinks that night, or perhaps over lunch. He went back to his report.
For a while, she worked. She was silent. Words were scrawled across the computer screen as she wrote down everything that had been done that morning. She started with the crossing the yellow tape all the way to walking in the building after talking to Weber's mother. The missing picture was something that had caught her attention, so it was mentioned in detail. Everything from Wilson's and her banter about who was going to tell the mother to the interview with the garbage man that had found the body was included. The case numbers of the other cases were included and made to show that everything would now be lumped into one gigantic case. She made a quiet mention of this to Don as her report grew exponentially. Every so often, her chair tilted back and her hands ran through her hair. After an hour of writing, she saved and printed the document. Clipping it together, she placed it on her desk. "Don, I'm going to go out for a bit. I need some fresh air. Anything you want me to grab?"
He leaned back. Downing the last of his coffee, he shook his mug at her. "Some decent coffee would be nice."
"You know that place a couple blocks from here?"
"No," he chided. "That little, local shop that has that orange mocha."
She smiled. "Oh, yeah. That place! That place is great." It was one of their favorite spots. There were many hours spent in that coffee shop, even back when she was in high school. "What do you want?"
He stared at her for a second. He had mentioned the orange mocha. It was, after all, the only thing he ever ordered there. Sometimes, his partner seemed awfully thick, but he could forgive her for that. "What do you think?"
"Large orange mocha, double shot."
Mentally, he kicked himself. Of course, she remembered. She wasn't that thick. "Yeah," he grinned.
"Just makin' sure," she affirmed with a smile as well. Her head turned to the end of the desks to the uniformed officer. "Dory, do you want anything?"
He scowled. He hated that she called him that, but he had never bothered to say anything to her about it. It was something that he was actually getting used to. What was he supposed to have as a nickname for Dorian. It worked out all right, but he did wish she wouldn't call him that. "Nah, I'm good. Thanks though." He gave her a polite smile from below his straight, dark mustache.
She nodded. "Hey, while I'm out, do you know what would be great?"
They both looked at her blankly.
"I spotted two traffic cams from the area where our girl was killed. Do you think that we could pull footage from there? I'm pretty sure they're ours so it should be on the network somewhere."
Valdez nodded. "I'll look for it. If we can see her, I'll try to pin down which direction she came from and see if I can follow her."
She smiled broadly. "This is why you're awesome. Thank you."
"I was going to put a call into the college to get her class records and anything else," Wilson tried.
"Perfect," she agreed. "Give me a call if you get a roommate or boyfriend."
"Anything else?" she offered to the room. "Going once, going twice, gone." She spun on her heel towards the stairwell. "See ya."
Thirty minutes after walking out of the precinct, Alex had finally gotten her wits back about her. She hadn't been expecting to react like she had to the comments that Harker had made. It shouldn't have made her as upset as it did. As she thought back, it made sense that he would make that comment. She knew that she would have if their positions had been reversed. It didn't matter how long they had known each other if it was a valid point. It was. His faith in her hadn't been questioned; it wasn't her abilities that were questioned. It was a question of why hadn't anything popped up, why hadn't a connection been made, and why hadn't she seen it.
Her report would probably have to be looked over again to edit before she sent it in to be reviewed and put into the system. She wasn't thinking straight. Warmth from the single cup of coffee seeped into her hand. It felt comforting. Just smelling the contents gave her a jolt of energy. At the corner, she stopped and stared at the camera above the traffic light. A wandering thought about whether the last moments of a young girl's life had been captured crossed her mind. The signal turned and her feet carried her across the intersection. Despite being work hours, the streets were becoming increasingly crowded. Tourists were lured by the sunlight to come out and play. Because of that, the sea of people continued to cross the intersection much longer than the light allowed. She was thankful for that because it became increasingly more difficult to cross the intersection. But she made it. Soon she was climbing the stairs in the police precinct and returning to her desk.
The floor of detectives was beginning to also become more crowded as the other detectives began to check in for whatever craziness would ensue that day. Wilson and Valdez were gathered around one desk. They were staring intently at something on the computer screen. With piqued interest, Alex came around behind them and stared at a face. It was that of a man, probably in his mid-twenties. He had black hair that just barely hit his shoulders. His eyes were a dark brown that seemed almost black as well. The pale skin was a stark contrast to the pitch black eye shadow and lipstick on his face. He was wearing a black Apocalyptica sweatshirt. The information on the screen told them that his name was Max Milian. "Who's this guy?" she inquired, making her presence known.
Don simply turned around and plucked the cup of coffee from her hand. "This is Max Millian."
She narrowed her eyes at him. "Thank you, Captain Obvious. Why is he important?"
He took a long swig of his mocha with orange flavoring. "Oh, that's good," he sighed. "And you are welcome, Major Sarcasm," he retorted with a smirk.
She shot him a glance.
"Mr. Millian here was our dead girl's boyfriend."
"How do we know that? The mom didn't know anything."
His smirk grew. "C'mon, Al, you were a reckless teenage girl once," he chided with a wink.
She snickered, but still had her eyes narrowed at him. It didn't take long for her to see his point. "And I never told my mom anything. But I did talk to the RA a lot."
He pointed his finger gun at her. "Exactly. She was quite talkative with the RA and the RA was of course happy to talk to me." He smiled broadly. "She said that Christina had a lot to talk about. At first it was her parents divorce. Apparently, for a while, she didn't want to leave her dorm room for a while after that one, so the RA got to have fun with that. The RA said that about two months after that, she started dating Mr. Creepy here. Their relationship was hot and heavy, and then she dumped his sorry ass. For a while, he didn't get the message, and our girl cried and cried to the RA about how he was stalking her. Finally, RA suggested that she get a restraining order against him. And she did. Talk about a harsh wake up call."
"How long ago was that?"
"About four months ago," he stated.
"Same time the killings started," she said smugly. "Where is he?"
Wilson's face sunk. "No idea. He hasn't been in class at all today, didn't show up at work, and his roommate hasn't seen him."
Valdez looked up. "I'm trying to get his credit card and cell phone information so we can ping him. Once we get that, we should be able to track him down to a relative location."
"Sounds good," she sighed. "How are we doing on the traffic cam?"
"Haven't starting looking yet," he admitted. "I'll start now. This Milian guy came up before I could get started."
The phone on Wilson's desk lit up like a Christmas tree and began to ring. He quickly reached over Alex's neck to get to the phone. Placing the phone to his ear, he leaned against her back. "Detective Wilson." He smiled at her.
Silently, she wiggled out from underneath him to her desk. The thick stack of paper sat menacingly on her desk. Picking it up, she began to flip through the report that she had written earlier. It wasn't a bad report, she told herself. A pen made quick suggestions of things that needed to be added. Within minutes, she was back in Word and making those changes. By the time that she had gone into the database and submitted her report, Wilson had hung up the phone and was grabbing his jacket. "What's going on?"
"That was the roommate," he stated. "He just got a hold of Milian. Says he's at a club downtown called Trivia."
"Got it. Let's go." He smiled. "It's time we have a chat with Mr. Creepy."
"You should probably stop calling him that if we're going to interview the guy."
"Oh, I don't know. Complaints and stuff," she retorted. She grabbed the coat off the back of her chair as well.
Right as they were heading away from their desks, Alex's cell phone rang. "Gordon."
It was the coroner's office. "Detective Gordon," Dr. Watson greeted. "I'm going to be starting the autopsy in about fifteen minutes if you'd like to come down and join us." By "us," he usually meant himself and whichever victim he happened to be operating on. To be honest, it freaked most detectives out, including Alex, but no one ever had the guts to say anything.
"I'll be there," she affirmed. Sliding the phone back onto her belt, she turned to her partner. "Sorry, Don. Looks like I gotta take a rain check on meeting Mr. Creepy. Doc's about to start the autopsy."
"Mr. Creepy, huh?"
"Really? That's all you got from that?" she sighed. "Yes. Mr. Creepy."
He laughed. "Fine. You're going to miss all the fun, though."
She sighed. "I know. But you know just how much I love the bodies being dissected," she sneered sarcastically.
He laughed again, but mostly at her face. Her lips had curled into a snarl, and her nose was crinkled. Her eyes were closed tightly. Her shoulders shuddered. "Eh, it'll probably be quick. I mean, it's pretty obvious what killed her. There probably won't even be a full autopsy. Which means, no brain saw or rib cutting." He laughed harder as his partner paled and shivered.
"Stop it," she begged.
With a roll of his eyes, he consented. "Okay, see ya in a bit."
Alex nodded. "Just don't start the interview without me."
Detectives Don Wilson and Alex Gordon parted ways.