Disclaimer: I do not own Criminal Minds and intend no copyright infringement.
Come, superb cat, to my amorous heart;
Hold back the talons of your paws,
Let me gaze into your beautiful eyes
Of metal and agate.
"Is this the same guy who killed the nurse in Philadelphia and the preschool teacher in Seattle?", the local detective asked no one in particular. "I've seen it on the news last night. Six murders altogether, right? Bastard seems to travel a lot – every victim in another city, all over the USA. And hardworking, too. It's been merely 10 days since this started, isn't it?" He would have spat on the ground, hadn't it contaminated the crime scene.
"Eight victims", Rossi replied curtly. "With this one, it's eight victims in 14 days. Doesn't make anything better, though."
"The victims are getting younger", Prentiss noticed, carefully studying the sixteen year old girl's dead body, lying face down on the tarmac of a highly frequented road south of Chicago. "The first victim was a seventy-eight year old pensioner in Houston and now we have a High School cheerleader."
"It's not only the victims' profile that has changed, there's also a significant alteration regarding the mode of abduction and the dump site", Reid pointed out. "The unsub is getting increasingly more daring – the first victim was a widower, known to be living alone. He was taken in the middle of the night, his body was dumped in a remote area of a public park. Low-risk abduction, low-risk disposal. This victim was taken after a major sporting event at her school and left at one of the city's main traffic arteries."
"On the other hand significant elements of his MO are still the same: No signs of sexual abuse, no signs of any other kind of physical harming pre- or postmortem. One clear shot to the back of the head, execution style… And the thing with the right hand, of course." Morgan wiped dust and sweat from his face. Summer break was just around the corner for the kids. Somehow it made this particular murder even worse. "14 days!", he growled. "And we still don't even know what he hopes to gain from these deeds. What does he get off on? The thrill of the hunt? The feeling of ultimate power before he pulls the trigger? But he doesn't toy with them in any detectable way…" He broke off and took a deep breath. Letting frustration take over wouldn't help anyone.
"Maybe we're looking at it from the wrong direction", Reid spoke up again, more talking to himself than to the others, his eyes never leaving the victim. "What if the elements that remained the same from the first killing onwards are the elements that don't matter to him?"
"That would leave the personality of the victims, the abduction and the disposal as keys to his motivation", Prentiss mused.
"Yes! And what do these three elements have in common?" Suddenly excited, Reid looked at his colleagues. He wasn't sure where this was going, but he had the feeling that they were finally getting a hold of something.
"Attention-seeking", Rossi replied, nodding slowly. "Every victim he chose was bound to attract more attention than the previous one. Only very few people cared about a 78 year old widower found somewhere in a park. But a 16 year old teenager who only hours before had performed in front of a thousand people, lying dead on a road that's frequented by most Chicagoans at least once a week, that's a totally different story."
"We might indeed be onto something here", Hotch agreed, face grave as always, but approving. "Garcia just sent this in. It'll be on the news in half an hour's time" He opened his PDA and started a video, apparently a clip from a TV show.
According to material that's been sent to one of our journalists, the numerous victims of the serial killer called "The Traveler", his latest being Chicago's hometown girl 16 year old Rachel Phillips, are connected by one significant detail: The right hands of all his victims were colorized deep blue with a liquefied indigo powder containing coconut oil.
"Garcia is currently checking if there's been any leak in the data transfer between us, the different laboratories and forensics, but it might very well be that the unsub himself gave this detailed information to the media. This would speak for Reid's theory."
"Finally something to work on", Morgan nodded. "Finally."
AN: This was written for and is dedicated to a wonderful friend. Thank you for putting up with me through thick and thin and always being only one phone call away. Merry Christmas!