|Millennium Possession Is Nine Tenths Of The Law
Author: Mandi5 PM
Frank Black finds a strange connection between a serial killer and a young detective.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Words: 17,578 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 03-10-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6811919
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"POSSESSION IS NINE TENTHS OF THE LAW."
"The dead don't die. They look on and help."
D. H. Lawrence
SATURDAY NOV. 22 1997
He cautiously crept up on the couple sitting together in their car, watching them as they kissed and held one another. He could only make out their blurred figures through the steamed up windows, but he remained there, motionless for a short while, listening to the sounds of the woman moaning softly as her partner caressed her. He smiled as he heard the noises she made, his anticipation growing at the thought of them.
He used the butt of his gun to smash the glass in the drivers door window, and before the young man could react, he had opened the door and pointed the gun at the side of his head.
"Get out slowly, both of you," his voice was calm.
The woman screamed and tried to cover herself with her clothes, but her boyfriend heard something in his voice that froze him into silence. The man smiled and repeated his request and they stepped out of the car, the woman beginning to weep now as he lead them to his own vehicle parked several yards away, hidden from them by a tree. He ordered the man to get into the trunk and then dragged the woman into the passenger seat beside him and drove off.
Much later, when he had finished with them, he walked outside into the night and looked up. A million stars looked down on him and his work. He lifted up his arms towards the heavens.
"You can't stop me," he screamed, then halted. Someone was watching him. He glanced around in the pale light as the full moon came out from behind a passing cloud, but the sensation came from within. Eyes, dark and angry. He tried to see what they saw, but there was only darkness and a faint glowing light beyond.
"You can't stop me," he repeated, his voice less confident now, but then he laughed and went back indoors to begin cleaning up.
MONDAY NOV 24
Lt. Holland stood at the murder scene as the forensic team carried out their work. He looked down at the corpses in front of him. They had been found early this morning by a jogger who had called 911 from a nearby pay-phone. The caller had refused to give his own details, only stating in a breathless voice that he had found what looked like the bodies of a young couple. He had been right. A man and a woman in their early to middle twenties, partially buried, but not completely hidden. They were both naked and had sustained numerous injuries before they had been shot. It had only been a matter of time until they were found.
He was considering calling in Frank Black and the Millennium Group, but doubted whether they could help. Black worked on serial killers. This appeared to be a random killing, two lovers, possibly the work of someone who knew them, a jealous ex-partner maybe, but not connected to the double killing across town three nights ago.
Detective Geibelhouse stepped up beside him and looked at his boss.
"Uh - maybe Frank could help us," he spoke hesitantly, knowing how Holland preferred to work within the department and was reluctant to admit he sometimes required outside assistance.
"I'll consider it, when I think we need to consider it," he grunted.
FRANK BLACK`S APARTMENT
Frank answered the phone hoping it was maybe Catherine. More and more their separation got to him, and every phone call found him wishing it was her asking him to come home.
"Frank?" The voice on the other end was hesitant. "It's Peter."
Frank was silent, as Peter's voice brought a wave of the most intense hatred washing over him. He blinked in surprise at the sensation and it passed, just a fleeting thing, but so powerful.
"Frank?" Watts asked. "You still there?"
He cleared his throat. "Yes Peter. What can I do for you?" His voice was normal.
"Lt. Holland contacted me. They had a double murder three days ago and now another one this morning. So far they've come up with nothing, but they have found some connection between the two incidents. They've asked the Group and specifically you for some assistance. You interested?"
"Would I be of any help?" Frank asked.
"Come on Frank, you can always take a look." Watts spoke almost impatiently and Frank felt another fleeting burst of anger. He ignored it. Sometimes lately, Watts had this effect on him.
He thought about it for a moment. He had nothing else to do. "Yeah, okay, Peter. I'll meet you in Holland's office."
As they approached Holland's office they heard the sound of a raised voice. They waited outside and listened to the argument from within. Holland did not appear to be in a good mood, but then he rarely was.
"Heather, I appreciate your initiative, but you've only been a detective for what, four months - -"
"Six, actually," a female voice answered.
"Yeah, right, six months, but you don't have the experience to be investigating this on your own. I want you to work alongside Geibelhouse and report to him before you do anything. Don't go running off trying to catch this guy on your own. You'll get yourself killed or something - - -"
"I know what I'm doing sir. I've studied a lot of killers and their profiles and I -"
"Studied. Oh sure - read about them, you mean. Go on, get out of here. Go speak to Geibelhouse. Get some real detective work behind you first."
Frank looked up as the owner of the voice walked out of the office, her head down, her red hair hiding her features. She didn't notice him standing there and collided with him.
"Oh I'm sorry, I didn't see you," she looked up and mumbled. Then a frown darkened her face. "Hey, do I know you from somewhere?"
"I don't think so. But maybe you've bumped into me around here. I'm Frank Black," he smiled as he offered her his hand.
Her mouth dropped open as she took his hand. "Frank Black! The Frank Black who used to work for the FBI. Oh, hey I've read so much about you! You're one of the best profilers. All the killers you caught, I've read about them all. I'm a big fan of yours. My name's Heather. Detective Heather McGregor."
Frank smiled again. "I'm very pleased to meet you, Heather McGregor."
"Um - I have to go - but maybe I'll see you again. Get a chance to talk to you," she rushed off, both men watching her leave.
"That's about the worst case of hero-worship I've ever seen," Watts mumbled. "Wish I could get a pretty girl to look at me that way. Don't think she even saw me."
"Maybe it's the hair, Peter, or the lack of it in your case!" Frank replied as he opened the door to Holland's office and they walked in.
"Frank, Peter. Despite the circumstances, it's good to see you again," Holland shook hands with Frank then Peter, and motioned for them to sit down. "I take it you know about the two double killings we've had in the city?"
Watts spoke first. "Yes. We know, but we haven't read up on them yet."
"Turn's out they're the result of the same person. The incidents themselves differ a great deal in the way the murders were carried out, but both the female victims were repeatedly raped and the semen samples match."
Holland handed each of them copies of the reports.
Frank glanced briefly at his copy. "I'd like to have a read at these first, get up to date and then a look at the bodies, if that's okay?" He looked at Watts, who nodded.
"Right. If there's anything you need I'll send over one of the detectives working on the case. A new girl, Heather McGregor, she's green but keen."
"Yeah, we just met her outside," Watts smiled.
They took the files and settled down to read them thoroughly. On the surface they seemed no more than two unconnected homicide reports. A couple in their early twenties, kidnapped from their parked car as they were making out, taken from the car to some unknown location, where the woman had been repeatedly raped, and the man badly assaulted. Then both of them shot in the head at close range and their bodies dumped, partially hidden, and found that morning. The other incident occurred three days earlier. A couple brutally murdered in their home. At first this seemed to bear all the hallmarks of a burglary gone wrong. But the husband had been beaten and tied up, his wife raped and then both had been strangled. This couple had been older, in their middle thirties.
The two Millennium Group members finished reading the reports and discussed it together.
"Seems pretty straightforward to me," Watts closed the folder. "The forensic evidence points to it being the same killer. What do you make of that?"
"It's obvious it is the same killer. The samples taken from both scenes confirm this. But the MO varies to a great extent - the first couple, strangled in their home and left there with no attempt to hid them, to cover up the kill. Then the second couple shot and their bodies taken to a place other than the kill site, dumped and this time partially hidden, but again without any real attempt at concealment. The pattern doesn't match." He looked up as Det. McGregor walked in.
"I agree with you Mr Black. Most serial killers leave trademarks, they repeat things as part of their rituals, they engage in and keep to, a series of actions that have meaning for them. But here, well apart from the rapes, there is no obvious ritual. No posing or staging of the bodies, no distinctive mutilations, no signature from the killer. It's all there in my report."
"You've been doing a bit of profiling?" Watts asked.
"Uh -I've read a lot about the work of the BSU and how serial killers tend to work inside a set of patterns they create themselves."
"Well, you're right on some points," Frank looked at her. "You did good. Now, I'd like to take a look at the bodies before the autopsy takes place. Care to join us?"
She nodded and followed the two men down to the morgue, where the attendant, already waiting for them, pulled the first drawer open and uncovered the corpse of a male.
Frank, with a quick glance at Watts standing alongside Heather, stepped over to the body. He felt oddly uncomfortable with Watts there, knowing he was probably thinking the same thing. Would he see anything, would his gift come back to him? He closed his eyes and took a deep breath then stared at the corpse.
"What's he doing?" she whispered to Watts.
"Quiet," Watts replied softly. "Let him concentrate."
A puzzled expression came over Frank's face. He tilted his head to one side as though listening. Then he stepped back quickly and with a slight groan of pain, he turned away and walked over to the other side of the room.
Watts was immediately at his side. "What happened? Did you see something?"
"No - I - I gotta get out of here." His face was pale.
"Go. We'll take a look at the other body. I'll talk to you upstairs."
Frank nodded and walked unsteadily out of the room, leaving Watts staring after him, a concerned look on his face and McGregor watching them both.
Frank was leaning against the car as Watts came out of the building. Frank knew the man would be expecting some sort of answer but he ignored his questioning look and got into the car. Watts got in beside him, slamming the door behind him. Both of them sat there for a moment, neither wishing to speak first.
Watts finally looked at him. "What did you see?"
"Are you sure? You really didn`t see anything?"
"I`ve already said I didn`t."
"Come on Frank, don`t lie to me," Watts voice held a trace of impatience and annoyance. " I was watching you. Something happened, you saw or felt something. What was it?"
Frank looked at the other man. He slowly shook his head. "It`s hard to explain. I saw darkness and then a light, it seemed to be in the distance, but I felt a presence this time, someone trying to make contact - with me?" he looked at Watts, confusion on his face, trying to understand what it was. "Hell, I`m not even sure if it was connected to the murders. I think it was, but I`m not sure."
Watts was silent for a while. "Well, you`ve always said, that you can see what the killer sees, and now you think this was different?"
"Yeah, Peter. I don`t think this was the murderer, but someone who was watching him."
"I got the impression it was physically painful to you? McGregor noticed it too," he remarked as he went to get out of the car.
Frank rubbed his eyes. "Yeah, it was. Gave me a headache. That never happened before."
Watts left it at that and Frank drove back to his apartment. He went inside and sat down. His headache had become deeper and now he was almost in agony. He closed his eyes and tried to will the pain away. Through the darkness he saw a faint light. He tried to ignore it, seeking only the darkness in the hope it would release him from the pain in his head, but it grew more persistent, brighter, as though becoming closer. Then a voice softly called his name.
He glanced around the apartment, taking in his surroundings and the voice spoke again.
"Who is this?" Frank spoke aloud. "Who are you?"
"Who I am is not important, Frank. I need your help and in return I can help you. You are a good man and you can save a life for me. Before I can pass on, I will give you the killer to save the life of someone I love. I can lead you to him, but you must be careful, because he can see through my eyes and will be dangerous to you and your friends," the voice continued, it`s tone almost hypnotic. "Close your eyes, concentrate. Look at what I show you, use my vision and in time it will bring yours back to you. With my help you can capture this killer."
Frank sat down in the comfortable chair and closed his eyes. He felt the pain gradually begin to lift from his head as he let his muscles relax. Soon he was drifting, slowly, lightly, warm and comfortable.
When he wakened darkness had fallen. He looked at his watch, surprised to see that he had slept for most of the afternoon and well into the early evening. He stood up, cold and stiff from the position he had fallen asleep in. He made coffee and sat down again, the autopsy reports in front of him.
Then the dream began to come back to him, and with it, the recollection of the voice he had heard and what he had experienced in the morgue. He sat there, the coffee cooling in the mug, as he remembered the dream, still distorted, only returning to him in fragments - terrible pain in his chest - regret, that it was too soon - still a task to be completed - a voice crying out "No! Not yet, I must save her." Then just darkness - a life finished - a journey ended.
His concentration was broken by the sound of the telephone ringing. He got up and answered it.
"Frank. I have the autopsy reports. Do you want me to fax them to you, or I could bring them over, I`m not too far away?"
"No, bring them over, Peter."
He made more coffee as he listened to the sound of the car pull up outside his apartment.
"You okay, Frank?" Watts asked as Frank opened the door and let him into the apartment. "You don`t look very good. You want me to leave these until the morning?"
"No, I`m fine. I`d rather look over them now."
Frank reached him a coffee and took the file from him. The two men sat at the table. Watts glanced around the small apartment, so different from the yellow house on Ezekiel that Frank had lived in, along with his wife and child. He noticed a photo of the family on a shelf, taken in happier times, shortly after they first moved to Seattle.
Frank finished reading the summary of the autopsy reports and looked at Watts who was waiting patiently for him to speak. He took another mouthful of coffee.
"Pretty much a run-of-the-mill murder, as far as murders go, in both cases," he began. "The first ones, the female was repeatedly raped, her injuries are consistent with this. Her partner has no serious bruising apart from his wrists and ankles, which leads me to believe that he had been tied and most likely forced to watch while the rape took place. Then both of them strangled. The second couple, much the same apart from the fact that they were shot instead of strangled."
"So what does that tell us about the killer?" Watts questioned.
"Well, he needs an audience, when he carries out the rape. It`s part of his ritual. He not only enjoys the suffering he forces on the woman, but he enjoys the anguish her partner goes through. I am surprised that he shot the second couple instead of strangling them. Many killers prefer the contact with their victims that strangulation causes. Shooting someone at even at point-blank range is less personal. They have less contact and therefore less enjoyment of the kill."
"Yeah, I`d thought of that too. We need to work on a profile of this animal and soon, two murders in -" he checked the dates, "what - four days? It`s likely he will kill again and do it within a short time."
"Okay, I`ll make a start on that and we can compare notes tomorrow," Frank was thoughtful, already attempting to build up a picture in his mind, but the memories of his recent dream still intruded, "I need your help - you must stop him - stop him" The voice echoed inside his head.
Watts took a deep breath, "Frank what really happened today at the morgue?"
"It`s very hard to explain, Peter."
"Well, why don`t you try. You can`t tell me that it was nothing. I know you well enough to know that there was something - you saw or felt something - like your visions, maybe returning."
Frank looked at him, his eyes narrowing at the slight trace of anger he caught in the other man`s voice.
"You don`t know me that well. But like I said, there was something - a feeling of terror, of regret, but not from the victims - it came from another - a third party, but not connected to them."
"Connected to the killer perhaps?"
"Maybe," Frank spoke slowly. "I`m not sure. I think it`s someone who wants me to capture this man before he harms another person -someone important to him. Whatever it is, Peter, it`s not coming from me."
Watts rose to leave. As he opened the door, he turned to his partner, "Do you trust whoever this is?"
Frank was silent for a moment, then looked directly at Watts.
"About as much as I trust anyone these days," he replied.
TUES NOV 25.
McGregor was already in the office making notes when Frank walked in carrying the copies of the autopsy reports he had studied the night before. She smiled at him and watched as he sat down.
"You`re working hard?" he returned her smile.
"Yeah, I`m trying to build up a profile of the killer, but I`ve never really done this before so I`m not sure if I have it right."
"Well, tell me then - what you make of this killer?"
She was about to begin, but hesitated and looked up as Peter Watts entered the room.
"Go on ahead. Don`t mind me," Watts smiled and took a seat.
"Well, I see the killer as being in his twenties, probably his early to middle-twenties. He`s single, unattached, and has no close family ties. He may have had some close family, but I doubt that is the case now, and he`s most likely been alone for the better part of his adult life. I think something occurred - some incident in his youth which triggered his desire to kill, but it has remained latent and unknown until recently, when there may have been some event which has brought this out, possibly something similar to his childhood incident or which caused him to recall his childhood. He has limited intelligence, but is by no means stupid. He did not know the victims, but he planned the murders, waiting only for the right moment to come along before he struck, yet he has remained patient, maybe waiting days or even weeks before acting. I think he probably anticipated the moment, fantasising about it many times, planned each detail in his mind before the opportunity arose. His motive is sexual, a good deal of the enjoyment is in making the partners watch as he proceeds with the rapes."
As she paused for breath, the two men glanced at one another, remembering their own conversation and profile of the killers sexual appetites. Watts nodded, impressed by her, as she carried on.
"He is disorganised, in that he does not take care when he is disposing of the bodies, he merely leaves them in the house, as in the first instance or dumps them half concealed, with no thought of whether or not they would be found, and no real planning at this stage regarding concealment or attempts to destroy evidence."
"Why do you think he does that?" Frank asked.
"Uh - well at a guess, I think he has lost interest in them by this stage. They`ve satisfied his needs and he`s finished with them, probably content to relive the fantasy of the kill in his mind or is already planning his next kill."
She looked at Frank and then at the other man beside her.
"I was surprised when he shot the second couple, this is a change in his ritual. I`m not sure why tho` - possibly an experiment, but I do think he will kill again and soon and I think he will probably revert to strangling his next victims."
She smiled and pushed her hair from her eyes. "It`s weird, but I feel as though I know this man, I`ve thought about him so much lately."
Frank studied her for a moment. "That`s normal, you have to try and get to know him, to know his thoughts and emotions as if they were your own. That`s how you begin to understand and get an insight into his mind, and hopefully draw closer to catching him."
"And see what the killer sees," Watts quoted Frank`s own words.
"Yeah, Peter something like that."
Frank stood up. "Heather, that`s good work. I`m impressed. Peter and I did some work on him last evening and your conclusions are close to ours. Where did you learn all of this?"
She reddened at the genuine words of praise. "Like I said, I`ve studied a lot about the ISU and your work within it, Frank."
Watts looked at her. "He`s right. You`ve built up a good profile."
"Thank`s Peter," she flashed him a delighted smile and stood up, looking at her watch. "Okay, I`ve rambled enough, I`d better go now. Holland wants me to carry out some more enquiries, with the neighbours of the first couple, see if anyone may have remembered anything more," she looked at both of them again. "Thank you for taking the time to listen to me."
After she had gone, Watts turned to Frank, a grin on his face. "Oh, hey - did you see that blush? That kid really worships you."
Frank laughed, a deep throaty laugh, "Leave it alone, Peter."
"I`m sorry, I can`t help it."
"You`re jealous, that`s what it is," a sudden burst of anger almost made him halt. He frowned, but Watts didn`t notice.
"Yeah, I know - do you blame me? Come on, it`s your turn to buy coffee."
Watts took a sip of his coffee, grimacing at the strong, bitter taste of it.
"McGregor has a lot of potential," he said. "She would be a good candidate for the - "
"Forget it," Frank glared at him. "She doesn`t need her life destroyed by the Millennium Group."
"I was thinking of the Bureau. And I want to know exactly what do you mean - destroyed by the Group, Frank?"
Frank sighed, thinking of his home and his wife and daughter. There was a lot he wanted to say, but he let it pass. Watts knew exactly what he meant, and he had no intention of starting a heated argument with him here. Someday, though he would, and it would probably clear the air between them, but for now the uneasy truce was enough, so he backed down.
"Nothing - nothing - I just meant that she was too young - too innocent to have the worries that we have, resting on her shoulders."
Watts stared at him, almost daring him to speak further. Then he too reasoned that this was not the time or the place.
"This is who we are Frank," he said gently.
Frank merely nodded, his mind elsewhere. Watts noticed the vacant expression on the man`s face. He called his name softly, but it drew no response. He watched, amazed at this transformation he`d never witnessed before. This was something new, almost frightening. He reached out his hand to shake Frank`s shoulder, to bring him back from wherever he had gone, but hesitated. What it was, could be important, a new, unknown substance in the gift Frank Black possessed. He found it disturbing; the man was almost catatonic. If this were to happen while he was driving? Watts shuddered at the implications.
"Frank," he almost whispered. Still no response.
"Hey, Frank -" he repeated.
At his second prompt, Frank seemed to come out of it. He blinked and returned the man`s stare.
"This is who we are, Peter," he responded almost automatically, but the voice, although spoken in Frank`s familiar deep tone, did not seem to be his, or to have come from him.
Watts felt a shiver run through him and was about to question what had occurred, but Frank lifted a hand to stop him.
"I know more now," he said. "More about the killer."
He stood up, grimacing as his mind flashed on a house, the image bringing back memories of Catherine and the place she had been taken to. A similar house. Similar, but thankfully not the same. He doubted he could go back there - ever.
"No." Watts spoke quietly, disturbed by what he had just witnessed. The change that had come over Frank had been almost physical, even to his features. He seemed to age. To become someone else, someone older. Watts found it almost frightening.
His face was solemn as he looked at his partner. "Frank - before we go anywhere, or do anything more, you will explain to me what just happened there. And I don`t want to hear excuses - don`t want to hear you saying - I`m not sure or I can`t explain. For once just tell me."
Frank scratched his head, searching for the words, "It`s not like my visions. It`s a voice, an old man`s voice, he`s weaker now as if he is fading. He tells me he has little time left and he can help me, but he has so little time. He knows the killer and where he might be, or where he has been - sometimes it`s really not clear, Peter, but I think I know the location - this time," he looked at Watts. "There`s a old farmhouse - out on Old River Road. I think that`s where he takes them."
He looked pointedly at his partner, trying to read his expression as he spoke these words, waiting for the scepticism, the reference to another house he had tried to locate, and with his own eyes, asked him without words to trust him this time, as both of them remembered Catherine`s abduction and the false location he had taken them to.
Watts finally nodded. "Okay then - let`s go check out this house.
Frank breathed a sigh of relief.
They sat in silence as the car sped along the quiet road. Watts concentrated on driving through the heavy downpour. He almost missed the turn-off, braking sharply as it came into view through the greyness and the lashing rain. The laneway was in bad condition, rarely used and pitted with water-filled holes. He drove slowly now, and finally the house they were looking for came into view.
"This is it," the voice inside Frank`s head told him.
"This is it," Frank said aloud.
Watts stopped the car and they sat there, both of them reluctant to step out into the rain.
"Doesn`t look like there`s anybody home," Watts commented.
The house was in a state of disrepair, no one had been home for a long time by the look of it.
"This is it, Peter," Frank assured him. "I know it. He told me an old deserted farmhouse about halfway up Old River Road. I`m sure this is it."
"Well you`re right about it being deserted. Let`s go take a look."
As they were about to step out of the car and check out the house, another car flew out from the far side of the building, rushing past them and heading down the lane that they had just driven up. It was a Ford, dark brown, covered in mud, the licence plate unreadable. There appeared to be only one occupant, but through the rain and the steamed up windows they could not see his features. Frank grabbed for the cell phone as Watts turned the car around.
"Geibs!" Frank almost shouted. "We`re in pursuit of a possible suspect, dark brown Ford, no licence plate, turning south on the old River Road, heading back toward 501. We`ll need some back-up and road blocks." He hung up before Geibelhouse could ask him why they were there.
"Stay with him, Pete."
"Oh, I`m trying, I`m trying."
Watts fought for control, as the back wheels covered in mud from the lane, slithered and grasped for traction on the wet road surface. For a moment he thought he`d lost it, then the car straightened up and he allowed himself to breath again. The suspect`s vehicle, for his flight had now made him a suspect, was well over a hundred yards ahead of them, and Watts, more confident now, eased the speedometer up and slowly began to claw back the ground they had lost.
"He reminds me of someone whose driven a few stolen cars in his time," Frank mused.
"Yeah, but unfortunately, a few more than I have. See if you can read the licence plate."
Frank squinted through the spray-covered windshield at the plate on the rear of the car as they drew closer to it.
"WCD 4 - can`t get the rest."
He lifted the cell phone again and hit the redial button. "Geibelhouse. Where are you?" he didn`t wait for a reply, but continued, giving them as much as he could. "We`re still behind him. I`ve got a partial - Whiskey-Charlie-Delta-Four-three - or maybe eight. Remainder unreadable. Now about three miles from 501 - oh shit -Peter look out!" he exclaimed.
Geibelhouse heard silence first of all, then the sounds of metal buckling and twisting, then glass breaking.
"Frank! Frank! What`s happening?" Geibelhouse shouted into the phone, but there was no reply. He threw it into the back seat. "Keep trying him, Heather."
"Go faster," he said to his driver as he reached for the radio. He gave his own location and then Frank`s last known location.
"We have a possible traffic accident involving -" he quickly tried to think of a description for the two men who were no longer law-enforcement officers, but not quite civilians either. " - assistant forensic resources," it was the best he could come up with for the moment. "We need paramedics and most likely a tow-truck."
He then radioed the partial licence plate, the description and last known direction of travel of the suspects vehicle to the dispatcher. He listened to the transmissions as her calm voice took over, circulating the details and deploying additional units into the area. Geibelhouse hoped that the suspect could be located and
apprehended without further incident. Another high speed pursuit was only going to end in wrecked police cars and maybe injuries. He prayed it would not come to that.
"Any response Heather?" he watched her in the rear view mirror as she dialled the number again.
She shook her head, a frown on her face. "Just a busy signal."
Frank groaned as the seat belt, like a weight across his chest dug into him. He tried to lift this weight off him, tried to figure out where he was, and why he was soaking wet. His head cleared and then he remembered - The truck. As they came around the bend. It had been on the wrong side of the road, but they had avoided it, hadn`t they? He opened his eyes and realised - yes, they`d missed it, but Peter had lost control and they`d rolled the car. He closed his eyes again for a second as the memory came back to him - the car losing control, skidding on the slippery surface - Peter`s frantic, but ineffectual, efforts to control the skid - striking the ditch, almost flying through the air, tumbling and rolling and finally coming to land upside down.
Then he remembered Watts beside him. He looked over at him.
"Pete - hey - Peter. You okay?" but the only response he got was a groan.
He reached over to Watts feeling the pulse at the side of his neck. Strong and steady. He called his name again. The roof of the car was crumpled in against them, the drivers side almost flattened. He could see through the pouring rain how Peter was wedged up against the door pillar, the remains of the windshield scattered over him. Carefully Frank unclipped his seatbelt and eased himself down onto the roof of the car and out through the windshield. He looked in again, but there was still no movement from Watts.
He reached in and searched around the cars wrecked interior. Finally his hand found purchase and he lifted out the cell phone, a bit wet, but thankfully still intact. Once again he hit redial, relieved to hear Heather respond almost immediately.
"We`ve crashed. Still up on the Old River Road. Need help - I think Peter`s hurt." He threw the phone down and crawled back into the car as he heard another groan from Watts.
"Hey, Peter. Can you hear me? Peter?"
Watts slowly, almost reluctantly opened his eyes. He hurt all over, and it seemed easier to keep his eyes closed, but someone kept annoying him, kept calling his name, making him hurt all the more. He groaned again. He tried to pull his thoughts together, but it was all mixed up. They had been following - no chasing - a car and he wondered why they`d stopped and why he was so sore. They had been chasing a car - who had? Yeah, he remembered now - him and - he searched for the name - Frank? It was clearer now - Frank had been there with him. Where was he now? He lifted his head and tried to look around, but it hurt too much and he closed his eyes again.
But the voice in his head persisted. "Peter - hey, wake up. You okay?"
This time the voice penetrated and dispelled the fog in his head, but his chest still hurt like hell. He opened his eyes again and found himself looking into the familiar, gentle, concerned eyes of someone he knew. Frank? Yes - Frank Black.
"Yeah, I`m okay, I think. What happened?" "We - or rather you, crashed," Frank smiled.
Watts looked around as the full memory came back to him. He had been racing round a blind corner, closing the distance between themselves and the suspects car, but then the truck had met them almost head on as it travelled towards them on their side of the road. He remembered jerking the steering wheel and immediately thinking "No, not in this weather!" but knowing, as soon as he thought it, that they were beginning to skid and he was fighting a losing battle to control the car as it struck the ditch and overturned. He didn`t need to be psychic to see that they had been very lucky to have escaped with nothing more than cuts and bruises. He slowly extricated himself first of all from the seatbelt and then climbed carefully through the broken glass that was all that remained of the windshield. He sat down beside Frank in the pouring rain, holding his side gingerly and gasping at the pain from his bruised, possibly, broken ribs.
Frank rose to his feet as the unmarked police car appeared out of the grey drizzle that the rain had become as the afternoon wore on. He stood there and waited as Geibelhouse, followed by Heather, got out of the car and surveyed the scene - one man standing, another sitting on the cold, wet ground, and the overturned car a few yards away from them.
As Frank explained to Geibelhouse what had exactly occurred, he noticed Heather staring at him, a troubled expression on her face. He met her eyes and she glanced away, disturbed by his probing look. As she did so, a mental image formed. Frank saw - a young girl, in her teens - her long red hair shining in the sunlight. She was laughing and joking with a dark-haired youth. But there was an undercurrent of fear in her laughter as she struggled against him. Then he was grabbing at her, tearing her clothes as he did so. She began to scream, but her screams became muffled as he clamped his hand over her mouth and fought to subdue her. She resisted. "No - please stop. Don`t - please." Frank heard her beg. Then the man replied. "You`re mine Heather - only mine." Frank heard the voice, but it almost seemed to come from inside of him. He felt the rage and the lust as he looked at this younger version of her. He felt her weakening against him and the desire became overpowering as he acknowledged that weakening of her will and her body. But then a shadow loomed over them, blocking out the sun. He felt the youth - himself? - draw back in fear, releasing her.
Frank blinked, and it was Heather who again stood before him, her red hair now in a shorter style and soaked by the soft rain. He called her name, but she quickly turned away, her eyes no longer able to make contact with his. She watched the approaching ambulance.
"I`ll go with Watts," she spoke brusquely, stepping away before Frank could speak. He watched her walk over to Peter, saw the quizzical look on his face as she helped him to his feet and they went into the ambulance.
Then all of a sudden Frank`s perspective changed, and it seemed as though he was watching a rerun of the scene that had just occurred. Only this time he was watching from beyond himself. He flashed on - Peter`s wrecked car; the lights of the unmarked police vehicles and the ambulance flashing through the grey rain; he saw Heather, her arm around Peter as she walked slowly alongside him towards the ambulance. He felt anger, a murderous rage, and then jealousy as he watched her assist him into the waiting ambulance and then follow him inside. "You bastard!" The words flashed through Frank`s mind. He wanted to kill them - no - he wanted to make them suffer first and then kill them. This thought made him smile.
"You okay, Frank?" Geibelhouse was talking to him.
"Huh?" he looked at the detective. "Yeah - I`m fine. Why?"
"Uh - well you looked a bit blank there for a moment," Geibelhouse frowned.
"No - just thinking about something. I`m okay Geibs."
Geibelhouse looked unconvinced, but let it slide. "What happened up here?"
Frank gathered his thoughts. "We were checking that old farmhouse up near the end of the road and I guess we spooked him. He took off like a bat out of hell - and - you can see just how good our pursuit was," he gestured to the car, now on the back of the tow-truck.
"You think that old house is connected to the murders and that whoever you spooked is the killer, right?" Geibelhouse failed to see the connection that Frank had made. He shook his head. "He could have been doing anything there. Just `cause he took off, don`t make him a murder suspect."
"It`s him all right," Frank replied. "Get a couple of uniforms to seal the place. Let no one in or near it. We`ll need a search warrant."
As he walked towards the car, the last traces of the terrible anger he had felt towards Heather and Peter slowly died away and he felt his own emotions returning. Reluctantly he admitted to himself that he would have to discuss this with Peter Watts.
Holland was as angry as Frank expected he would be and he stood silently, riding out the storm as the tall Afro-American police officer paced back and forth, ranting and raving. Finally he ran out of steam and stopped. He looked at Frank.
"What the fuck possessed you to go up there?" he asked.
Possessed. This word almost made Frank laugh out loud. It was a more appropriate word than Holland could ever know.
"A hunch," Frank finally answered. "If you get a search warrant and go back to that house, you`ll find enough evidence to prove that the victims were taken there, assaulted and butchered."
"You want me to go to a judge and ask him to issue a search warrant on a hunch supplied by a psychic investigator? Where`s the probable cause, Frank?" Holland looked at him.
"Ask Detective McGregor!" He replied through gritted teeth. "You`ll find she knows a lot more about the killer than you realise."
Frank`s face remained impassive, but inside he felt the anger beginning to surface again. Thinking of Heather McGregor brought back an image of her and Watts together. He fought to subdue it, but it continued to rise, to build up within him. He stood up.
"I`m going home. All you need is probable cause and I`ve already given you that. I`ve done all I can."
He walked out of the office, slamming the door behind him.
Frank unlocked the driver`s door and climbed into his Jeep. He sat there for a few minutes, his hands clenching the steering wheel. So tired. He thought. The anger, so rare an emotion for him, had left him drained. All he wanted now was to go home and sleep, sleep forever.
Heather waited patiently as Watts was taken to the X-Ray department. She was on her third cup of coffee and stirred from her seat each time the door opened. Her concern for Peter Watts was only partially for his health after the accident. She hoped he would be released soon, for there was a matter she wanted desperately to talk to someone about and for the present he was the only man she could discuss it with. She would have preferred to talk to Frank Black, but he seemed to be angry with her and so she had decided that his partner would suffice. She had tried to bring up the subject as they travelled together in the ambulance, but he had been groggy and distant, in obvious pain and so she had stopped, promising she would run him home if he was not being admitted for observation. She would wait for her chance then.
She was checking the change in her pockets and debating whether or not to risk a fourth cup of coffee when he walked through the swinging doors.
She looked up and smiled. "You`ll live then?"
"Yeah, this time," he replied. "Two cracked ribs, some bruising and a headache. Painful, but not fatal."
She stood up. "Come on. I`ve arranged a squad car to run you home."
"Thank`s. I appreciate this."
They walked towards the exit and the waiting squad car.
As they drew up outside the house, she gently reached for his arm.
"Peter," she hesitated. "You`ll probably just want to sleep this off, but can I call round later? I need to talk to you. It`s important, I won`t take up too much of your time."
"Okay - sure," he frowned, confused by her request. "But make it about six-thirty, and bring something to eat with you."
Watts was speaking on the telephone when she arrived. She had brought with her a Chinese take away.
"I hope you`re hungry," she grinned as he opened the door for her.
She busied herself dishing out the food, inadvertently overhearing his side of the conversation.
"Did Chelsea apologise to Erin?" he asked, then replied. "Good - Barbara, I`m gonna have to talk to you later, Heather McGregor`s here now. I`ll call you back in a couple of hours, okay sweetheart?"
He set the phone down.
"My wife," he explained as he returned to the table and sat down. "She`s taken the girls to visit her parents over Thanksgiving. I`m hoping to join them when this case is cleared up."
He grimaced. "Then I`m gonna have to tell her about wrecking my car."
"Speaking of car wrecks - how do you feel?" Heather asked as soon as they had devoured their meal, both of them hungrier than they had realised.
"I`m okay - it could have been worse," he smiled ruefully.
"I see you`ve got a new car already," she remarked.
"Yes. A rental. For a bit extra they delivered it immediately." He watched her, noting her nervousness. His eyes narrowed for he already knew some of the reasons behind it, but he remained silent, waiting to hear what she had to say.
He was pleased by the way she came straight to the point, but he was still taken aback by the directness and open concern in her voice.
"Peter, why were you and Frank out at that house today?"
"Frank believes that this is where the killer took his victims. He believes that the house has some significance, some connection to a past event," he watched her reaction. She was not as surprised as she should have been. "Or a part of his life that is important - and because of that importance he has now made it a part of his ritual."
"But how does Frank know this? I mean - what gave him this notion, and the relevance of this particular house?" Her face was pale and tense.
Watts deflected her question with one of his own. "Just before you arrived, I got a phone call from Frank," a very disturbing phone call, he thought. "He told me that you would know why. What did he mean by that?" he asked gently.
She didn`t hesitate, she was glad to finally shed the burden she had carried around all day. "That house, which you and Frank think has significance to the killer, was once my home. It`s where I was raised, where I lived until I was fourteen years old."
The words came easily then, and Watts was nothing, if not a good and interested listener.
"I was an only child and lived there with my parents and my grandfather. Dad was a farmer and although it was only a small farm we lived comfortably. When I was born they were delighted and they planned on raising a couple of kids. I think Dad hoped for a son to take over the farm from him one day. Although they tried, it soon became obvious that there wasn`t going to be any more kids and they were stuck with me. I was about four, or maybe five when they adopted Matthew, his parents had been killed and he had no other known relatives. He was a strange kid, dark and moody, always serious - he was three years older than me, but he became the big brother I`d always wanted, and everyone loved him as part of the family, except my grandfather."
She paused and looked at Watts. "This is a long story. Are you sure you`re up to it?"
"Go on," he replied.
"Well, like I said, everyone loved him except my grandfather. And for some reason Matthew disliked him too, in fact they hated each other, could barely be in the same room together without glaring at one another or arguing about something. Maybe he was jealous because I was the apple of grandfathers eye, I dunno. Grandfather always maintained that he was evil and that no good would come of him."
"But to me, Matt was my big brother, and I followed him everywhere and we were good friends. It seemed that I was the only one who could draw him out of his dark moods and make him laugh. With me he was a normal, happy kid. I thought he was wonderful."
She grew silent and Watts studied her face as she remembered her childhood. Then her face darkened as the emotions swept over her.
"Can I have a glass of water?" she asked.
"Sure," he made to get up, but she stopped him.
"No, sit where you are. I`ll get it."
She returned and sat opposite him again, sipping slowly from the glass. He waited patiently for her to continue with her story.
"Then things began to change when I was about thirteen and Matt was sixteen. He became - I dunno - possessive, I guess - always following, me always asking me where I was going or what I was doing. It got so that every time I turned around he was there, watching me, staring at me. He became - very creepy. He began to scare me."
She stopped and drank some more of the water. Her distress was obvious. But before Watts could speak, she began again.
"Peter, I told you this was a long story. I hope you don`t mind having to listen to all of this."
He shook his head.
"It`s something I`ve never told anyone. Only my immediate family knew of it. I hadn`t even thought about it for a long time - until today when I realised where you and Frank were. I was going to tell him, but he seemed so angry with me. He frightened me."
"Tell me the rest of it, Heather," Watts said quietly.
"Well, like I said, Matthew was always following me, always staring at me. I even caught him hovering around outside the bathroom and at my bedroom a few times. But instead of telling anyone, I just tried to ignore him and always made sure I was never alone with him. Then one day I was out the back of the barn, I thought he was somewhere else, and it`s as if he came out of nowhere. He grabbed me and tried to kiss me. At first I thought he was just messing about, and I laughed and tried to make a joke of it, but then he became rougher and started really grabbing at me, touching me and trying to pull my clothes off. He kept on saying that I was his, only his and there was nothing I could do to change that fact. I got really scared then and started screaming. He put his hand over my mouth and I bit him, but he didn`t let up. He hit me a couple of times, just a smack or two at first, then he hit me really hard, and I sort of fell back - and he - well, he pinned me to the ground and - "
"I`m so sorry," Watts reached for her hand. "Are you okay?" She nodded, her tears starting to spill over.
"Yes, I`m fine. Just give me a minute," she took some more of the water.
Matthew Archer lay atop the bed in his cheap hotel room, a half empty bottle and a tumbler on the floor beside him. To the casual observer he looked like nothing more than someone drunk on vodka and sleeping it off, unable to even be bothered undressing and climbing into bed. But he was neither drunk nor asleep.
While Peter Watts listened as Heather told him the story of Matthew and her, and their childhood, he lay there, his mind searching and plotting. His anger at the interruption of his plans and the compromise of the house preyed upon his mind. He had great plans for that old house, it would have been his home once more, a home that he would share again with Heather. But those two cops, or whatever they were, had destroyed that, and now it seemed one of them was trying to take her away from him. That old bastard had lead them to her and she was slipping away again, but he would get her back.
He closed his eyes tighter, and being careful not to let the old man into his thoughts, he used the other to search for her, his rage beginning to build.
Frank Black sat in his red Cherokee Jeep outside the home of Peter Watts. He sat there impassively; his face like a stone mask, his eyes unblinking and distant, yet with a hate-filled darkness in them. He had driven up a short time ago and noticed her car parked beside the blue one in the driveway. He could see them inside, sitting at the table, sharing an intimate meal, both of them chatting, occasionally smiling, as their eyes made contact. He noticed Watts touching her arm and he felt like exploding. It was all he could do to restrain himself from rushing the house and killing them as they sat there. "She`s mine you bastard. Only mine." He growled through gritted teeth. He sat on, waiting and planning, his rage building.
Eventually he decided his course of action and started the car. He drove off, his face still set like stone, his eyes unblinking. He could taste the bile, hate-filled and bitter, like cheap, harsh booze on his tongue. He swallowed it down as he pictured them leaving the table, their meal finished and climbing the stairs together and Watts taking her into the bedroom. He would give them this night together, but after that she would be his and this evil man would pay for seducing and taking and destroying what was his. After tonight she would be his. His own possession forever, and there would be no one left who would deny him this.
"He didn`t rape me," Heather continued, "but he would have done, except my grandfather had heard my screams and came looking for me. He grabbed Matt and pulled him off me. He told me to run back to the house, and I started to, but I looked back and grandfather had him by the throat, and well - basically - he beat the living crap out of him. Then he came back into the house, grabbed up his car keys and took off, taking Matt with him. He returned a couple of hours later and we never saw or heard from Matt again." "I learned later that he had dropped him off outside the hospital and told him if he ever came back, he would kill him and that as long as he was alive, if he ever came near me, he would hurt him so bad, death would seem pleasurable. I guess Matt believed him, for I never did see him again."
Watts sensed that this was not the end and he waited for her to continue in her own time.
"But everything was changed from that day, Peter. Nothing was the same. We were no longer a family. For some reason Mom and Dad blamed me for Matt leaving. They had lost their only son and they were left with
only me. They even went so far as to suggest I had lead him on, and it was my fault he attacked me. I couldn`t forgive them for this and I sort of turned away from them, and I turned to my grandfather, at least he believed in me. A year or so later, Dad sold the farm and we moved to the city. Incidentally, the couple who bought the farm were killed in a traffic accident, about three years ago, just where you and Frank decide to go off-roading this afternoon. It was a hit and run, they never caught the other driver. But anyway, grandfather was my guiding light, he encouraged my dream when I told him I wanted to become a cop, and he was always there to give me the love my parents no longer could."
"And Frank and I going up to your old house brought all of this back. That must have been hell for you?"
"Mmmhmm. I was going to tell Frank, because with the profile we worked up and the connection to the house, I realised the was a chance Matthew must be the killer. But when I went to tell him, he looked at me, stared straight at me - and for a second he reminded me of Matthew. I know this sounds weird - but that`s the way it seemed. Frank reminded me of Matthew and the way he looked at me was the way Matthew did," she shook her head. "He really scared me."
Watts was silent, remembering the strange conversation he had with Frank earlier and the way he was disturbed by Frank`s voice and words.
"Peter," she looked at her watch and smiled. "Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to me. I know it`s late and you`ve been in a car wreck and the last thing you need is me sitting here annoying you, but you couldn`t have been less subtle in the way you managed to ignore my question earlier. Before I go will you answer it? Will you tell me how you and Frank knew to go up there?"
She had been honest with him, so he decided not to do her an injustice by lying to her. "Frank has a gift. It`s why he was such a good profiler. But it`s more than just a good cops insight. He can get into a killers mind and see things from his perspective. I don`t know whether it`s God-given, whether it`s hereditary, but it may well be that," he had his own suspicions concerning Frank`s gift and a possible manifestation of it in Jordan, Frank`s daughter, but these suspicions he kept to himself. "Or it may be the result of some sort of temporal lobe anomaly or chemical imbalance. I honestly don`t know the source of it, but he has it and it works. Trust me."
Surprisingly she absorbed this information, taking it on face value. If Watts said it was so then she had no reason to doubt him, but she would suspend total belief until she saw the evidence for herself.
"Tell me more about your grandfather?" he asked.
As she told him, the last few remaining pieces of the puzzle clicked into place, and he began to formulate a plan.
Frank was pacing the floor of his apartment, his anger growing with each passing minute, overwhelming him, blocking out all other thoughts. He relived the image of Heather in Peter`s home, and his imagination overtook him as he - pictured them together in bed. Heather, naked and beautiful, lying in his bed, her red hair spread across the pillow, as she smiled up at him, her arms open to welcome him. But it was not him. It was Watts, his colleague whom he trusted and believed was his friend, but who had betrayed him and stolen her from him. It was Watts she now welcomed into her arms, encouraging him to touch her and make love to her. His jealousy became uncontrollable, a living fire, as red as her hair, that consumed him and like a virus infected his mind and ate away at his soul.
The phone had been ringing for ages before it could penetrate his thoughts. He looked it in wonder for a second before snatching it up.
"Who is this?" he shouted into the receiver. "What the hell do you want?"
"Daddy!" Jordan howled. "Daddy, what`s wrong? Why`re you angry with me?"
Bursting into tears, she threw the phone down and ran to her mother.
Frank slammed the phone down. Some brat calling him Daddy. Must be a wrong number. He laughed out loud. Then a gentle, precious memory came rushing back.
"Jordan," he whispered as his own mind began to return to him.
"Oh, Jordan, I`m so sorry," he said aloud as he reached for the phone to dial Catherine`s number. But before he could do so it rang and he lifted it, hoping it was her again, his apology already on his lips.
"Frank?" her voice was angry. "What on earth are you playing at? Why did you shout at Jordan like that? She`s crying her eyes out."
"Catherine, I`m sorry. I thought it was someone else, something I`m working on. Oh, Christ - I didn`t mean to scare her. Let me speak to her, please?"
"No. She`s very upset. She been telling me all day that you were angry and I guess she`s right. You can speak to her when whatever`s bothering you is sorted. Don`t call again until then!" With that admonishment, she put the phone down.
Frank groaned aloud. What was happening to him? This continuous, irrational anger he was experiencing. It had really began this afternoon when he had taken Peter up to the old farmhouse and they had crashed. Maybe he had struck his head and this was some form of concussion. Yeah, that sounded like it, he thought. He would see a doctor in the morning and he would be all right then. This anger would go away soon.
But for now it frightened him; he felt as though he hated everyone, all those around him seemed to be conspiring against him. This brought it back and he felt it start to build again, but this time he fought it, forced it away. It took all his concentration to do so, but he managed and he felt it slowly dissipate. Eventually he began to relax, to let his mind drift away from the evil that threatened to invade him.
As Frank Black slept, Matthew Archer rose from his own bed and slipped out of his hotel room. The other cop had gone and was of no use to him for the present. But he was still there, available and he could call on him any time if required. He looked out into the black cloud-covered night. No shining moon this time, no eyes watching him. The old bastard was weaker now. Soon he would slip away forever, and he would be free of him; and Heather would be free of him too, no longer there to protect her, like some interfering guardian angel. They would both be free together. Heather his prized possession would be his.
But first he must dispose of her new lover, and for that he needed the correct equipment. He looked at his watch. It was getting late, but even at this time of night, you could get anything you wanted in a big city, provided you knew the right places to shop and he knew them all.
Frank`s eyelids fluttered, disturbed by the gentle voice that invaded his sleep.
"Frank," it whispered, calling softly to him.
"No, leave me in peace," he moaned in response.
"Frank, he is dangerous. He knows you. He sees the things you see. Your friend is in danger and he is using you. You have to stop him."
Frank turned over in his sleep. "Go away. I don`t know who you are anymore. I can`t believe in you." "You have to trust me, Frank. We have so little time," but the voice faded and he sank back into troubled sleep.
WED NOV 26.
Frank looked tired and haggard as he stepped into the office. His sleep had been plagued with dreams that had wakened him several time. Dreams that had faded before he had a chance to remember them. The rage he felt was still there, trapped under the surface, and beside it, a grim sense of satisfaction, that he could not explain, but which still concerned him. He had finally wakened about five-thirty, lying on top of his bed, fully clothed, a raw bitter taste in his mouth. He had been unable to go back to sleep and decide to get up and make coffee. As he put his feet on the floor, he kicked something. He looked down to see what it was. A half empty bottle of cheap vodka and a tumbler. He didn`t even like vodka. He wondered where or when he had bought it.
He looked up at her as she walked into the office. He flashed on something - her red hair spilling across Peter`s chest as she lay entwined in his arms. Frank frowned. Where had that notion come from?
He looked at her again and this time flashed on - an image of a blue car - a hand reaching out and turning on the ignition - An explosion of light and flame - fire - as red as her hair -fanning out over his chest.
Frank blinked in surprise as the flash of the explosion came again. A warning? The old man trying to tell him something? He stood there, concentrating on the vision. The images returned, almost in slow motion, allowing him more detail. A quick glimpse of Peter getting into a blue car - A BLUE CAR - Peter`s hand turning on the ignition -a flash of red flame - like her hair - Franksmiled, then frowned.
He dropped the styrofoam cup, the coffee spilling onto the floor. He ignored it.
"Heather," his voice was cold, full of dread. "Where`s Watts?"
She was startled by his voice and looked at him and the coffee forming a puddle around his feet. "He`s not in yet, probably still at home. Said last night he`d be late. Why?"
Her tone was almost hostile.
Frank ignored her and grabbed the phone, dialling Peter`s home number. No reply. He slammed the phone down and tried his cell phone number, praying it was switched on.
"Peter, where are you?" he spoke quickly.
"I`m just leaving. Why?" Something about Frank`s voice made him stop.
"Don`t get into your car. I think there`s a bomb."
"Frank - I`m already in it."
Watts slowly took his hand off the ignition. He had been about to start the car when his phone had rang. He closed his eyes and forced himself to remain calm, yet the urge to open the door and flee from the vehicle was strong. He took a deep breath and tried to relax.
Frank`s voice was hoarse. He covered the mouthpiece with his hand.
"Heather - tell Holland there`s a bomb under Peter`s car." He gave her the address, then spoke into the phone again.
"Peter, the bomb squad`s been alerted. They`ll be with you soon."
"Yeah. Uh - maybe I`d be better getting off the phone now."
Watts switched off his cell phone, his heart in his mouth as he did so, setting it down beside him on the passenger seat. He unclipped his pager from his belt, looked at it and switched it off as well. Then he carefully sat back, closed his eyes, and waited.
The bomb squad arrived almost immediately and found Watts sitting perfectly still in the car, a smile on his face that did not disguise the seriousness of the situation, as uniformed officers cleared the area, and cordoned it off using police incident tape. The bomb disposal expert was removing equipment and protective clothing from his van. When Frank and Heather arrived, he was already in place, standing beside the car and speaking with Watts. They stood and watched from a safe distance, as Holland approached them.
"What makes you think there`s a bomb under his car?"
Frank sighed, reluctant to even try to explain himself this time. "Just believe me," he looked directly at Holland. "There is a bomb."
Holland merely shrugged his heavyset shoulders and remained silent. On occasions in the past he had witnessed enough of this ability that Frank Black possessed to dispel most of his doubts on the subject of the man`s gift. He walked away to speak with one of the uniform officers.
Heather touched Frank`s arm, and inclined her head, indicating to him she wanted to talk. They walked a short distance away, stopping where they could not be overheard.
"What`s going on here?" she asked. "This bomb, if there is a bomb, why has it been placed underneath Peter`s car?"
He looked at her and smiled. "A warning Heather, just a warning?"
"A warning to who? Peter?" she demanded. "And from whom?"
"I think you already know who it`s for and who it`s from."
He looked into her eyes and as she met his gaze, what she saw in those eyes, normally so gentle and kind, terrified her.
"Matthew?" she whispered. "We`re close. Is that why?"
But Frank merely grinned and walked back to the police cordon. He stood there, his eyes unblinking as he watched the bomb squad officer talking with Watts.
"If not now, then next time," he promised himself. "There`ll always be another chance."
"Mr. Watts," the officer spoke calmly. "I`m just going to kneel down and have a look underneath the car, see what exactly we`re dealing with. Okay?"
"Fine by me. I`m not going anywhere right now, I hope," Watts also spoke calmly.
As the officer disappeared from sight, he watched Frank and Heather walk away from the edge of the cordon. They stopped some distance from the others who were milling around. They appeared to be talking. He wondered what they were talking about.
The head popped up beside him again. The man`s face was serious beneath the perspex visor of his helmet.
"You found something?" Watts asked.
Watts let out a long breath. "What exactly is it?"
"Well, it`s a basic device. Basic - but sneaky. It`s known as an under-car-booby-trap. I`ve seen a few of them. When I was doing my training, I spent six months in Northern Ireland on secondment to the British Army`s Bomb Disposal Unit. These things were fairly common over there a few years back. They were used mainly for attacks on off-duty security forces, because they`re easy to assemble and can be attached in a matter of seconds using a magnet. This one is very similar, but it`s slightly more intricate. Whoever placed this had the time and patience to wire it up through you engine and into the ignition, to detonate when you started the car."
He looked carefully at Watts. "Somebody mustn`t like you very much."
"I guess not," Watts replied and looked over towards Frank, now back standing at the cordon, staring in his direction.
"Can you defuse it, instead of blowing it?" he grinned. "I`d hate to lose a second car in two days."
"Oh, yeah, I can defuse it. There is one problem though -you`re gonna have to sit here while I do it."
Watts lost his grin.
"You see the connection to the ignition - that`s not normal. Under-car booby traps are designed to be movement activated - made up of about two pounds of commercial explosives connected to a small glass vial of mercury lying on it`s side. While the car is motionless, the mercury is still, but any movement, even a slight movement would be enough to make a connection and bang! You`d have only moved a few yards, not even out of your driveway, and if that failed - well - the electrical detonator fitted to your ignition is there too. Like I said sneaky - and very effective."
"So I can`t get out of the car, in case I tilt the vial?"
Watts nodded very carefully and let the man get on with his work. A small trickle of sweat rolled down the side of his face. He ignored it.
Holland approached him as they were clearing away.
"You okay?" he asked.
"Yeah. Bit shaky. I`m getting too old for this kind of stress," he looked around for Frank and Heather. She was nowhere to be seen, but Frank was still there, leaning against the side of his red Jeep, watching him.
"Where`s McGregor?" Watts asked.
"I`ve sent her back with Geibelhouse. Listen, a neighbour of yours told me he thought he saw that red Jeep parked here last evening. Maybe Frank saw something. You want me to go speak to him, if you want to take it easy for a while, you know after the car wreck yesterday - and now this?"
"No. I`m okay. I`ll do it," Watts replied. "Thanks."
He walked slowly over towards Frank. He stood beside the other man, neither of them speaking. Watts glanced at his watch.
"I could really use a beer, but it`s too early, so I`ll settle for a coffee. At your place," his voice was firm. This was an order, not a request.
Frank didn`t reply, merely nodded and got into his jeep. He fought the anger as he negotiated his way through the mid-morning traffic, Watts following behind.
Frank placed a mug of coffee down on the table in front of Peter.
"You want anything in that? Whisky or something?"
"No," he took a sip from it. "It`s fine."
He took another mouthful and sat back slowly, grimacing as the pain in his side reminded him once again of the car crash less than twenty-four hours before. He was stiff, his bruises and cracked ribs ached. Frank sat down opposite him. They looked directly at one another for nearly a full minute before Watts finally spoke.
"I have two questions Frank," he pointed his finger at him. "One; the phone call you made to me last evening was not to enquire about my health. What was all that about? And two; why were you parked outside my house later last evening?"
Frank`s face creased into a frown. His voice, when he replied, was harsh.
"Well I have two answers - One - I did not phone you last evening. I didn`t make any phone calls last evening, except one to Catherine. Two - I was nowhere near your house last evening. I didn`t go out anywhere last evening!"
But then a seed of doubt crept into his heart. He had wakened up this morning to find himself fully clothed, a bottle of vodka beside the bed. A bottle he had no recollection of ever purchasing. Had he gone out? He tried to remember. Where had the bottle come from?
"My neighbour saw you. You were parked for about an hour, just sitting there. Then you drove off."
"I didn`t," Frank responded, a note of desperation in his voice. "And I didn`t phone you."
"I believe, that you believe, you didn`t. But you did," Watts voice was softer now, but still angry. "You accused me of an -involvement with Heather - although you put it somewhat more crudely than that. You came out with a lot of insults about what a bastard I was, and that Heather was yours and you would kill me before you would let me take her from you again."
"I said that?" Frank questioned. "What else did I say?"
"Well - you were pretty explicit in the things you thought I was up to with her. You sounded like an insanely jealous ex-lover."
"No!" Frank shook his head. "No! I can`t believe I said that. I don`t think there is anything between you. I mean, we joked about it when we first met her - but that`s all it -"
His voice trailed away and he was silent.
"None of this is true, I take it? You and her?" he asked.
"Of course it`s not true!" Watts exclaimed. "Don`t be stupid. She is only a few years older than my eldest daughter - in fact, now when I think of it, it`s Taylor she reminds me of. I`d been wondering `bout that."
Frank got up and walked over to the window. He stared out at the pale sun. The rage was in him again, this time stronger, more angry than ever before. His hands clenched into fists, his nails cutting into his palms. "Please God," he prayed silently. "Just let me stay in control." He closed his eyes, struggling with the emotions that battled inside him. "Please," he begged.
He took a deep breath and walked back to the table. He sat down again.
"Peter," he began hesitantly. "What if I did put that bomb underneath your car?"
"I don`t know - but there is a possibility I may have."
"Why - because of Catherine`s abduction and all that happened?"
"No - no. It`s nothing to do with that. I would never -" he could not finish.
"Frank, this voice you`ve been hearing - could it be him?"
Frank though for a moment, the shook his head. "No. He is not evil. It`s not him. But it may be Matthew. These emotions I`m experiencing - they`re directed mostly at Heather, but also against you, because I`m -no - not me - HE is jealous of you. Maybe he picked up on something from me and directed it against you. But he is using me," Frank`s face creased into a frown. His voice grew hoarse. "Somehow, he is able to control me. Peter, I`m dangerous - to you and Heather and maybe to anyone connected to this case."
"Then I`m taking you off it. For your sake too, Frank."
"Yeah, okay," he felt defeated. He looked at Watts. "Did I put a bomb under your car?"
"I don`t know. But even if you did, it doesn`t matter. Okay?" Watts answered and stood up, preparing to leave. "Frank, don`t let this trouble you. It doesn`t trouble me. But maybe it would be better if you stayed out of it for the time being. We know who he is. It`s only a matter of time now, until he`s apprehended."
"Okay," Frank sighed. "But be careful - both of you." "We will."
THUR, NOV 27.
Geibelhouse looked up from his desk as Watts walked in.
"Hey - how you feeling?"
"I`m okay," Watts replied. "It only hurts when I laugh. Is Lt. Holland in, I have a meeting with him at noon?"
"Yeah. Go on through." As he walked towards Holland`s office, he overheard Geibelhouse muttering to his colleagues. "If it only hurts when he laughs, then it doesn`t hurt at all!"
Muted laughter rippled across the room and Watts suppressed his own grin.
He rapped on Holland`s door before entering.
"Peter," he welcomed him in and got right to the point. "Matthew`s struck again, late last night. But this time maybe we got lucky." "What happened?" "Same attack, same place - a couple in their car, but the guy was an off-duty cop and had a gun with him. He got off a couple of shots, no hits unfortunately. Thankfully they got away unharmed. They`re in the interview room at present making their statements."
Watts absorbed this information, then began to explain his own thoughts on the matter of Matthew McGregor and Frank`s involvement with him, and a possible solution.
Their meeting lasted well over two hours. Holland although somewhat sceptical, finally agreed to the plan Watts had conceived.
"Provided she goes along with it," he said as he picked up the phone.
"Where`s McGregor?" he asked. "Okay, send her up here as soon as she`s finished."
About twenty minutes later, she poked her head through the door.
Holland beckoned her in and told her the situation. She agreed without hesitation.
FRANK BLACK`S APARTMENT
Frank sat alone, his emotions switching from one extreme to the other. One minute he was filled with horror at the thought of what he may have done, then Matthew appeared and he was filled with anger that his plans had once again gone awry. He called out for help to the voice that had started all of this, yet brought him so much comfort. But it was not to be heard. It had gone away. Maybe he had let the old man down and he had now turned his back on him. He wished he could think of a way to redeem himself, in everyone`s eyes - Catherine`s, Jordan`s, Peter`s, the old man, whoever he was, and even Heather`s. She had been in such awe of him when they first met, now she looked at him in disgust and fear. He was no longer the great FBI hero she had read so much about.
But then his emotions changed again - and he realised that it was Watts who was to blame. He had taken Heather away from him, just as her grandfather had done years ago. He`d tried to kill Watts, but had failed. He would try again, but first he would get Heather, make her realise she belonged to him and him alone.
Frank groaned aloud, as the hatred washed over him. "Go away," he cried out. "Leave me in peace."
His prayer was interrupted by the doorbell. He got up to answer it.
Heather and Geibelhouse stood there on his doorstep.
"Frank?" Geibelhouse smiled as they stepped inside. "How`s it going?"
Heather smiled at him but her eyes could barely conceal the fear that was inside of her. Why does he look so much like Matthew? she thought. But she said nothing and took the coffee offered to her. She was glad that Geibelhouse was with her.
"Uh - I know you`re off the case Frank, but I just thought you`d like to hear the developments we`ve made today. We got the full licence plate details on the car he was driving when you and Watts tried to chase him. It was his own. He`s using the name Matthew Archer, his birth name, not McGregor. We have a recent photo from his driver`s licence records and the statements from the couple he tried to hit last night are good - you know - good descriptions, etc."
As Geibelhouse continued, Heather glanced at her watch. Come on Watts, she thought. Call me.
It was as if he had heard her, because at that moment Frank`s phone rang. She almost jumped. Frank reached over and lifted the receiver.
"Frank. It`s Peter. Is Heather there? I need to speak to her."
Without a word, Frank handed the phone to her.
"Hi - Oh Peter," she answered. "I was hoping you`d ring soon. Look, in case I don`t see you later. David has to work tonight, so we can meet at my place, about seven-thirty, is that okay. Your wife is still away, isn`t she?"
She pretended to listen for a few minutes.
"Yeah, me too - I`ll see you later," she put on a seductive voice - arranging a meeting with her lover, hoping Frank would buy the pretence.
She looked at him as she handed the phone back but his eyes betrayed nothing.
They chatted with him for a few minutes more, then finishing their coffee, they rose and left.
In the car, she looked at Geibelhouse. "I feel really bad, setting him up like this."
"Yeah - I know - what choice do we have?"
Holland had insisted she wore a wire, which she took with her into the ladies rest room, followed by comments and offers to assist her to make sure the wire was in position correctly.
She carefully placed it within her bra and returned to the squad room.
"It`s fine," she grinned. "And I managed all on my own!"
Watts drove, his eyes scanning every passing vehicle for Matthew or for Frank. It was a risk they were taking, but it seemed they had no other choice. They had back-up, but it was so discreet, it was practically useless. In the event of something occurring, Matthew (or Frank, his mind kept saying) would be on them, before Holland and Geibelhouse could be there. When it came down to it they were on their own.
"I hope you explained all of this to your boyfriend. I don`t want him coming after me too," Watts asked her.
"Nah - he`s cool. He`s having a beer with some friends tonight. Geibs promised to phone him when we`d finished or if - anything happened -"
He pulled up outside her apartment.
"What happens now?" she asked.
"We go inside, sit down, relax and wait. We play it by ear - see what happens," he answered and they went inside.
"Make yourself comfortable. I`ll be back in a minute," she headed through the living room, leaving Watts standing there.
Watts sat down and glanced around the apartment; small, yet comfortable, but cluttered. Bookshelves laden with books, a few items of clothing carelessly thrown over the back of a chair, magazines scattered on the table and on the floor near the fireplace. A dead plant in an alcove beside the TV set. A coffee mug and a crumb-covered plate on the small table in front of him.
He read the titles of the books, the better part of them on crime, both factual and fiction, but included among them were books on Scotland, historical mostly, but a few reference and guide books in there too.
He returned to his seat as she came back, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, carrying two cans of diet Coke.
"Sorry `bout the mess. I`ve been working a lot as you well know and David`s been busy too."
"Scotland?" he questioned pointing to the bookshelf.
"Yeah, well, what do you expect with a name like Heather McGregor?" she grinned.
The phone rang once, stopped, then rang again, a pre-arranged code from Holland. Both of them looked at it and Heather picked it up. She listened for a while, then replaced the receiver.
"Frank`s car just drove by, turned and drove back again."
She watched him watching her for a moment - something was on her mind. Finally she voiced it.
"Peter - was I the catalyst? Did I, through resisting Matthew all those years ago, cause the deaths of those four people?"
He spoke slowly, formulating his reply. "No don`t even think something like that. You`re not to blame," he hesitated, then carried on. "I did some research on his parents. They were murdered - his mother raped while his father was forced to watch - then both of them were strangled. Presumably Matthew, the baby, witnessed this and it has been there in his subconscious ever since. I suspect the threat made by your grandfather kept him contained all these years and his death two months ago released him. That was the catalyst, not you."
She was silent for a long while, absorbing what he had told her.
"How does Frank fit in?"
"I think Matt must have some psychic ability of his own and is using Frank`s gift to control him."
"This won`t work, Peter."
"Why not?" he asked.
Matthew`s already established a pattern. He takes the victims from a specific area that is a part of his ritual now. You and me are sitting here his outside of his ritual and that`s not acceptable to him, even with Frank involved. We need to be where the others were taken from, sitting together, in a car. We have to keep within the pattern - the ritual."
He thought about it, then nodded. "I believe you`re right."
He picked up the phone and called Holland.
Watts turned off the engine and looked at his passenger. She was tense, her eyes wide and fearful, as she peered out through the windshield.
"Relax," he laughed. "I`m not going to touch you."
Her nervousness left her, and with a laugh, she turned around to look at him. She studied his profile in the faint light. A good-looking man for his age, which she guessed at mid to late forties. Not her type of course, she preferred men with long hair, like David had. Yet, this guy Watts, with his bald head and moustache was handsome by any standards, and his quiet voice, gentle eyes and commanding manner made him very sexy, and under other circumstances maybe she would be tempted. No maybe about it, she thought. She grinned at her self in the darkness, thankful that he could not see her. Get a grip, she told herself. This is a stake-out, not a date, beside he`s already married and the father of three teenage girls and you are almost married. Still he was a temptation.
She kept her thoughts to herself and they made small talk, struggling to keep the conversation alive. As they talked each one scanned over the others shoulder searching the area outside, waiting for Matthew to appear.
Then she froze in mid-sentence.
"What?" Watts asked, knowing the answer.
"Movement, on your side," her eyes widened. "Oh Christ, Peter. It`s him."
Watts had barely time to register her words before the door was opened behind him and he felt the cold metal barrel of a gun against the back of his neck.
"Get out slowly, both of you," Matthew`s voice was calm.
Holland and Geibelhouse looked at one another as they heard Heather`s words over the microphone, muffled slightly because of the warm clothing she was wearing, but still clear enough to be understood.
Holland gave the order to move in, but they were already gone. Matthew`s car parked only a few yards from the car Watts and Heather had been in. He had kept one step ahead of them, switching to another car at the last minute.
Holland cursed everyone and everything he could think of as his men frantically combed the area for a trace of them, the suspect and his victims and the unknown car they were now in.
"Looks like we`ve lost them, boss," Geibelhouse commented unnecessarily.
"Don`t I fucking know it!" Holland raged. "Let`s get out of here!"
Frank awakened from a dream he could not remember, dismayed to find himself slumped over the steering wheel in a street he did not recognise. He looked around as a voice called his name, but there was no one there.
"Frank," the voice was insistent. "Only you can help her now -find her - find her."
"Where?" he asked.
"You know where to look - just go there and save her."
He drove through the heavy rain that was beginning to turn to sleet, searching frantically for a glimpse of them. For anything that would help him trace them. He used all of his concentration, scanning each vehicle and its occupants. He flashed on - Archer`s car, abandoned beside Peter`s. Now they were in an unknown car, somewhere in the city.
He continued to drive, some unknown force deciding his direction of travel. Then he thought he saw her in a green Honda just two cars ahead of him in the line of traffic, just a flash of red hair as the Honda turned right.
"Yes!" the voice shouted in Frank`s brain. "Go after her."
Frank ran the stop signal, swerving as he turned right, narrowly avoiding an approaching car, the driver sounding the horn in warning.
He searched for them, having lost precious seconds making the turn against the traffic. Still no sign of them.
"Keep going," The old man`s voice echoed in his mind, urging him forward. "Find her."
"Where?" Frank spoke aloud in desperation.
Then he saw them again, turning left this time. He cut back across the lane, reaching for his cell phone as he did so.
"Geibelhouse. I`ve found them, they`re in a green Honda, heading north, approaching the highway," as he spoke, the car raced ahead. "I think he`s taking them back to the old farmhouse."
Geibelhouse covered the mouthpiece and looked at his boss. "Do we trust him?" he asked.
Holland gave it only a seconds thought. He had no other choice.
"Yes," he replied firmly, reaching for the radio.
"Stay on the line, Frank!" Geibelhouse spoke back into the phone "Keep giving us your location."
"He`s a good distance ahead of me now, Geibs. Making better time, but definitely heading back to the farm."
"Heading home," the voice whispered.
They drove through the sleet, heading up the Old River Road, past the spot where Frank and Peter had crashed and in doing so had lost this killer they had been pursuing.
They arrived at the old farmhouse where this tragedy had begun. Frank`s tail-lights guiding them as they bumped along the pot-holed lane.
Archer had beaten them. The green Honda was abandoned in front of the house, its doors lying open. He had already taken Heather inside.
The squad cars fanned around the building and uniformed officers and detectives, their guns drawn, readied themselves for their orders as Holland assessed the situation. An armed siege with a police officer taken hostage was the last thing he wanted, but this was what he had. In the darkness, in the heavy sleet, visibility was almost non-existent. But that which worked against them, also worked in their favour. Archer could not see much of them from inside the house. It gave them time to get organised.
"Kill the car lights," Holland ordered.
Frank stood there, his mind almost fragmented as he tried to make sense of the many thoughts that tortured him. He envisioned - the interior of the house - Matthew standing - desperately trying to take control of the situation and resolve it to his twisted satisfaction. Heather beside him - an unwilling companion - his arms holding her against him - his gun pressed to her temple - she stood calmly as though waiting patiently for someone to come and rescue her.
Of Watts, there was nothing.
The old man spoke to Frank. "The back - go round the back."
Frank listened to his words and saw - a door leading into the back of the house - its hinges rusty and weathered - a broken padlock lying on the ground nearby.
"Yes Frank - you can get in there - help her."
He stepped over to Holland. "Keep his attention to the front of the house. He`s up on the first floor. I think I can get in from the back."
Holland frowned, still uncertain whether he could trust him again.
Frank recognised the look. "I`m okay now. Matthew Archer has what he wants. He has no further use for me."
Holland nodded. "Go."
Under the cover of the elements, Frank made his way around to the back of the house. Past the barn where so long ago Matthew Archer had tried to rape Heather McGregor. He flashed briefly on it again, but this time it was not Matthew`s lust he experienced, but Heather`s fear. A flood of pity for her welled up in him. They had returned to where it had all began; they had come full circle and the violence that had been born here so many years before would now reach its natural conclusion, one way or the other.
"Don`t let him hurt her, please Frank," the voice in is head pleaded.
"I won`t," Frank vowed.
He found the entrance and quietly opened the door. From the front of the building he could hear Holland speaking to Matthew through a loud hailer, as he made the usual promises, asking Matthew to give himself up and that it would be better for him if he did so. Frank could picture Holland standing there, and behind him dozens of cops, guns drawn and aimed, fingers on triggers, ready to make a mockery of their commanders words.
Frank slowly climbed the stairs. The house was in a terrible state of decay, damp and musty. Now and then a mouse or a rat scurried away as he climbed.
He could picture Matthew, standing near the window, edging closer to peer at the speaker below.
The old man`s thoughts were powerful now, as though blocking Frank`s presence from Matthew.
Frank stood at the door. Matthew was in silhouette, a dark shadow against the floodlights Holland had ordered. Good, he thought. That will blind him.
Matthew still held the gun to her head, every now and then he would kiss her and nuzzle her neck, whispering over and over, words that Frank could not hear. Heather remained frozen, reacting neither to his words nor his touch.
"Please stop him," the old man begged.
Frank thought these words were inside his mind, but Matthew heard them too. He roughly pushed Heather away and whirled around to face the owner of the voice.
"Who`s there?" he shouted into the darkness, his eyes still blinded by the floodlights.
"Who spoke?" he demanded. Then realisation dawned on him and his heart turned cold as ice.
Frank stepped to the left as Matthew raised his gun and fired twice. The rounds missing their intended target and embedding in the far wall.
The police marksman, his sights trained on the figure at the window, heard the shots, reacted instinctively and let loose a single shot. All Frank heard was the window shattering as Matthew pitched forward onto the floor.
"You can`t stop me," he tried to cry out but the words died on his lips.
"He did stop you," Frank knelt by him, watching the life ebb away. "Just like he promised you he would."
He closed Matthew`s eyes.
Frank helped Heather to her feet. She was shivering from the cold and from shock. He took off his coat and wrapped it around her, holding her tightly as he did so.
"Hey there. It`s okay - okay now," he lifted her chin with his palm and she looked into his eyes, so gentle and kind. There was nothing in them to frighten her anymore.
The old man spoke to him one last time. Frank cocked his head to the side as he listened to the final words, fading slowly as the light shone once more, a moment of brilliance, then disappeared forever.
"Heather. I have a message from your grandfather," he murmured softly. "He told me to tell you he loves you very much."
"What? I don`t understand - he`s dead Frank," she frowned.
Frank shook his head and smiled. "I know. I`ll explain later. Lets go."
He lead her outside to her waiting, anxious colleagues. Geibelhouse came forward first.
"Hey hero," he smiled and placed his arm around her shoulder. "I called David. Told him you`d be home soon."
"Thank you," she whispered.
Frank looked around. "Where`s Peter?"
They all looked around. Where was Watts?
"Oh shit," her hand flew to her mouth in dismay. "He`s probably still in the trunk."
Frank ran over to Matthew`s car, still parked where he had abandoned it. He opened the trunk and shone his flashlight inside on a pale, cold and very uncomfortable figure.
"It`s okay Peter," he grinned. "You can come out now."
He reached out his hand to help him.
ONE WEEK LATER
Frank parked outside Catherine`s new home. He looked around him as he waited for her to answer the doorbell. He felt wrong doing it this way - standing here waiting for his wife to open the door to him, when he should be standing outside of the yellow house, using his key to open the door, and knowing that they would be inside waiting for him.
"Hey there," he smiled as she opened the door.
"Frank! Come in," she stepped back to let him through. "Jordan. Daddy`s here!"
"Catherine, have you any plans today? I mean, do you mind if I take Jordan out for the afternoon?"
"No - I don`t mind Frank."
He relaxed. While not perfect, at least things were better. She had calmed down a lot after he had explained some of what had happened to him. That the anger he had gone through had not been of his doing. Another had controlled him, influenced him, making him say and do things he had no power to prevent. But all this was gone now, and he was back to normal. Just one doubt remained. Had he been the one to place the device under Peter`s car. He would never know, but he, and Watts, would have to live with the possibility that he may have.
He helped Jordan on with her coat and lead her to the car. She held his hand tightly.
"Where`re we going Daddy?"
"Oh, nowhere special - a couple of places."
Jordan talked incessantly as the drove along and Frank listened to her voice, enjoying her chatter. He pulled into the parking lot beside the cemetery and checked the name he had written down.
With Jordan walking alongside him, he eventually found the grave he had been searching for. He carefully laid the flowers he had brought against the headstone, and for a few minutes stood there reading the stone and silently giving thanks.
"Why are we here Daddy?" Jordan asked, her voice taking him away from his thoughts.
"I just wanted to say thanks to someone, Jordan, that`s all."
"Who?" "Just an old man, who needed my help, and in return helped me a great deal," he smiled at his daughter.
"He`s in heaven, Daddy," she looked at the grave, then up at her father. It was not a question
"Yeah - He`s in heaven now, honey," Frank replied, smiling down at her. "I think maybe you would like some ice cream. How about I treat you?"
"Yeah - let`s go get ice-cream," Jordan tugged his hand, pulling him away from the graveside. He took one last look at it before they left.
"You can rest now in peace now. You've stopped it," he whispered.
DISCLAIMER: Frank Black & Family, Peter Watts, Detective Geibelhouse and Millennium are the property of Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox Broadcasting Company, the other characters are my own. This is a work of fan fiction only and no profit will be made from it.
Mandi Sheridan Nov 1997.