Sara Walsh was a workaholic. Her job as a field agent for the FBI was her life. She didn't have many friends, and besides her occasional partner and best friend Jen Lowry no one in the bureau knew much about her. She was twenty-seven years old, brunette, and not exactly social. She had her reasons to be close however. Her father was a cop who had died in the line of duty when she was only twelve. Her mother was living out the remaining years of her life in a professional care facility because of progressed Alzheimer's disease. She didn't like people to know these things about her however, because she had absolutely no desire for pity. She was as emotionally, physically, and mentally capable as any agent in the United States, and she didn't want anyone to think differently. She had an older sister, Margaret, but they only "talked" to exchange Christmas cards once a year. Margaret had left right after their father died, and Sara could never forgive her for that or her lack of involvement in their mother's treatment. She blamed her mother in a sense for her father's death (she had always been Daddy's little girl) and couldn't stand to be around her anymore. Sara on the other hand, knew the truth- in law enforcement, random things happen, and instead of being bitter decided to make the best of her life and live out her father's legacy by going into the FBI and staying close with her mother. She had been changed by his death however. She never married, saying that she had no interest, but she knew that it was because she didn't want to leave herself open to the pain of losing someone again, or the chance of hurting her husband if something happened to her. Instead she chose to live alone in a four room apartment with her cat Sparkles
What she didn't know was that there was someone out there who would be severely affected if something happened to her, despite her best efforts. Her boss, Shawn Miller had been secretly in love with her since she made her way into the Bureau. He was thirty-two years old, the youngest man ever to become head of a branch of the FBI. He had been in the bureau since he graduated from the academy however, and was ready to move on to some small-town cop job with a little less excitement, which is why he was less than thrilled when he got a call from the chief in Quantico alerting him of a serial killer that had been making his way up and down California that the government wanted the Feds to handle, as he had crossed too many lines and created too much of a d ifficult case for even the state police's capabilities. He decided to hand it over to Sara as it appeared to be a high-profile case that would require a lot of time and patience. Sara at least had a lot of time, and was always willing to devote a little extra of it to a difficult case. This had worried him in the past, but he knew that it would come in handy for this case, which had been labeled "The Red Hand Serial."
Sara walked into Shawn's office, having just closed a case and looking for her next assignment.
"Hey chief," she greeted her boss, "I just closed the Noller case. Got anything for me?"
"Actually… A new case just came in, 'The Red Hand Serial'."
"Oh, I think I might've seen something about that on TV. Wasn't it state's case?"
"Well," He replied, "It was, but Quantico just called, they want us to take over. State's already been alerted and they're willing to cooperate fully with us. They know they're in over their heads. In fact, they're the one who called Quantico in the first place."
"Wasn't this guy the one with the victim's handprint on their bedroom door? In blood," she asked, instantly drawn into what she saw instantly as a huge career case.
"That's the one," he said grimly, "you'll have to look really carefully on this one Sara. He hasn't left anything behind for us yet, which is why it's our case."
"Shawn, don't I always look carefully?"
"Right," he apologized, "I didn't mean to offend you or anything. Really, I was just reminding you."
With that Sara walked out of the room, not in anger, but out of eagerness to begin reading the case file and try to find out how to nail the creep who had already killed five women between the ages of twenty-five and twenty-nine. He was clearly a serial with a specific time. From the pictures of the body Sara could see he preferred brunettes, and from the case notes she read that he had never left so much as a partial fingerprint at a scene. "So he's careful," she thought aloud, "this one should be tough to crack. Exactly how I like them" The only clue left behind that it was the same person or group was the victim's handprint in their own blood on the bedroom door where the murder took place. Surprisingly the bodies never looked posed though, which is common after a killer moves it. In thi s case, the corpses always looked like they had simply fallen from the final knife wound that made them bleed out, and were never found in the same position. "Its possible," she mused, "That he forces the women to leave their hand print before they die. I say he but I'm not sure if it's he, she, or even they. Well, looks like I'm going to be clocking a little overtime. I guess the first step is to talk to the state police, see what else I can get to go on." So she made a coffee on the coffee machine, thinking to herself as she sipped it on her way out that a federal office should be able to afford to provide their employees with semi-decent coffee.