man placed the phone back in its cradle and went over to his three
year old fax machine and waited.
The call requesting his services had come in minutes before and already the man was gathering as much intel as he could on his next two victims.
The darkening sky and incoming thunderstorm reflected his mood as the fax machine started squawking and two pieces of paper, with one picture on each page was quickly printed and deposited in the in tray.
assassin picked up the first picture and read the short bio of the LA
"Special Agent Don Eppes. Previous assignments Quantico and Albuquerque New Mexico. Left Albuquerque for personal reasons and now works out of the LA office."
The paper went on to list Don's height, build, hair and eye color and other such information.
"FBI agents. You've killed one, you've killed em' all." The man said as he sat down that piece of paper and grabbed the other one.
The man on this piece of paper was younger than Don Eppes by several years. His hair was brown and curly and the smug grin on his face reminded the assassin of his care free years as a teenager, before his brother had introduced him to the life of crime.
"Charles Eppes. Referred by many as Charlie. Credited and well known professor of applied mathematics at CalSci. He is known for his theorem called the Eppes Convergence.
"In his spare time he consults for his brother at the FBI, and he also has consulted for the NSA on a number of their more secret cases."
The bio went on to include Charlie's height, hair and eye color and even the name of his closest friends at CalSci.
"This is going to be to easy." The man said as he
reached under the table and took out his big suitcase which housed
his 9mm pistol and sniper rifle.
Each weapon had seen a ton of action in the man's ten year killing spree, which he had been forced to end five years ago, when it became apparent that the state police had been on to him.
Snorting, the man took out his sniper rifle and began to load it.
Charlie stood in the garage working on one of his many variables in his algorithm that he was using to help Don with his latest case.
The late night bugs chirped and whistled outside as Charlie continued to work into the early morning hours, but he paid them no mind as his mind kept wandering over the details and photos of this latest case.
At first it had been believed that a wild animal had ripped out the throats of four thirteen year old girls, but after closer examination by the coroner, it was determined that the girls were brutally murdered by someone with a machete and fish hooks to make the jagged edges.
Charlie shivered as he remembered going with Don to the crime scene.
"Alright Charlie. I want you to stay in the car." Don said as they pulled to a stop at the end of Holly Lane.
The street was the last residential area before the road headed off into the mountains.
The area was nice, quiet and secluded enough for a murder to go days without drawing attention.
Charlie took in everything around him as his mind filled with numbers. Possible hiding places, plans of attack, escape routes. The jolting of the car as Don climbed out shocked Charlie back into the real world and automatically, Charlie opened the door and followed Don towards the police and the yellow 'DO NOT CROSS' tape that was everywhere.
Don, noticing that his brother was following him turned and said, "Charlie, I asked you to wait in the car."
"Don, I need to see this. In order for my analysis to be sound, I actually need to inspect everything. Sure, you could do it, but you could miss something." Charlie began, but Don held up his hands, not wanting Charlie to go into a long, boring speech, especially when an LA cop approached them asking them to move back or show some identification.
Don took out his ID and said, "Agent Eppes, FBI. This is my brother, Charlie Eppes." Don said, pointing towards his brother who had already cross the yellow tape and was heading towards the barn, where the murders had taken place.
The police officer looked at Don's badge and then glanced at Don and then his brother before nodding that they could proceed.
Don closed his ID and stuck it back into his pocket as he followed his brother.
Charlie, on the other hand had already entered the barn, and by the time Don had entered, Charlie was as white as a ghost and was visibly trying to hold his emotions in check.
Don walked up to him and said, "Charlie, this is exactly the reason why I wanted you to wait in the car. I didn't want to have to put you through this."
Charlie nodded, but still didn't make any move to leave his spot on the hay covered floor.
Whenever Charlie froze and shut down, he could never do things half way, he had to go all the way.
Shutting down both hearing and sight. He would just stand there, like a statue until someone dragged him away and or poured cold water on him.
Charlie usually snapped right out of it with the water bit. He usually yelled at first, then the yelling turned into confusion, the confusion into silent acceptance and the silent acceptance would turn into Charlie shutting down and working himself to the point of exhaustion in the garage of his home.
Don and his father had brought Charlie back from the brink on numerous occasions, and this time appeared to be another occasion that Don would have to spend bringing Charlie back from 'his bubble.'
As Don moved to touch his brother's shoulder, Megan, David and Colby entered the barn looking for Don.
"Don. We've interviewed the parents and they say that their children were never depressed." Megan said.
"So, they didn't give any cause for their children to run away?" Don asked.
Megan shook her head as she handed Don the case file that she had brought.
Don recalled the six minute news clip of the four children.
Melanie Sanchez, Crystal Barrows, Amanda Brinkley and Susan O'Neill all ran away in the dead of night on April 22. All four went to Carl Albert public school, and all four were very close friends.
The friends of the girls didn't have much to say, always repeating that they spent a lot of their time together and were whispering all the time.
"Is Charlie alright?"
Colby's question brought Don out of his musings and he looked to see Charlie, as if on auto-pilot begin to move out of the barn, using the exit on the other side of the barn.
Don could see that his brother was still white as a sheet and he was shaking all over, probably from shock at seeing the terribly blood stained floor.
Cursing softly at his failure to notice Charlie's condition, Don followed his little brother out of the barn and towards the small water trough that lay empty off to the side, or at least they thought it was empty.
When Charlie reached it and looked inside, he let out a small gasp, turned away, ran into the brush and threw up all of the 'food' that he had had for breakfast.
Donuts on top of French toast, orange juice and milk didn't sound all that appetizing to Don, but heck, if Charlie liked them, then so be it!
"I'll go get him." Colby said as he headed off into the tall wheat stocks after the younger Eppes, while Don also looked inside the trough and glanced at the grisly remains.
One small glance and Don knew why Charlie had taken off at a run.
The inside of the trough was covered in dry blood, as was the different size bones that were in there.
Though Don couldn't be sure, he guessed that some of those bones had to be canine. Dog bones mixed in with the human ones.
"Oh, God." Megan said as she also viewed the carnage, "Charlie so did not need to see that!"
Don nodded his head, tore his gaze away from the trough and took in a big gulp of air to try and calm his own stomach.
No matter how many crime scene's he went to, no matter how much blood he saw, Don still found himself fighting his stomach from time to time.
The crunching of wheat made Don turn to see Colby, with one hand of support on Charlie's shoulder as the still to pale mathematician came out from the stocks.
"You alright Charlie?" Don asked.
In answer, Charlie just headed back towards Don's car and the safety of the A/C, which he knew would help calm his angered stomach.
The slamming of the garage door leading from the garage to the house made Charlie look up to see his brother gazing at him with worry in his eyes.
"Maybe you should call it quits for tonight, buddy." Don suggested as Charlie wiped a bead of sweat from his face.
Don's suggestion angered Charlie a little as his mind flared back to the time when they were kids.
Don was always bossing him around, even in front of his friends! Ordering him to do this or that, or to just lay down whatever he was doing to go to some of Don's chores or to lie for his big brother to his parents!
"I'll call it quits when I feel like it, Don!" Charlie shot back as he returned to the safety of his work.
"Alright man, quit being so defensive!" Don replied as he held up his hands in mock surrender.
The venom in his brother's voice scared and hurt Don at the same time.
Sure, his brother and he had gotten into fights when they were younger, and they had a few scrapes since Charlie had started consulting for him, but Charlie's apparent anger now was something new to Don, and it made him shiver for a second.
"Is there something I should know about?" Don asked.
Charlie sighed and shook his head before he replied, "No, no. Just, leave me alone… please. Go talk to dad, or something, just please go."
Don could tell that something was going on with his brother, but he wasn't about to nag Charlie and make him spill the beans.
Don had learned from past experience that backing Charlie into a personal corner like that was not a good thing. When Charlie is backed into a corner, he fights back, and in a mean and heartless way.
"Alright, well I'll be here awhile if you need to talk about anything." Don said as he turned and reentered the house.
Once Don was gone, Charlie placed his chalk on the small desk and lowered his head.
He hadn't meant to blow up like that at his big brother because he certainly didn't need big brother Donny breathing down his neck and watching him like a hawk just because Charlie had made his suspicious.
Charlie shivered and gulped when the walls of the garage seemed to close in around him.
Seeing that he was having a panic attack of sorts, Charlie grabbed his bike and wheeled it outside into the moonlight.
Glancing first left and then right, Charlie jumped on his bike and rode off.
He needed to get away from it all. Get away and think about things.
Since he knew these streets like the back of his hand, Charlie didn't worry about hitting anything as he calmly rode towards CalSci and the safety of his classroom.