"Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace."- Eugene O'Neil
November 18, 2011- Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York-11:30pm
"The princess is good and the prince is nice! So everything is going to be alright…" rang through the air in a dark alley in Empire State Plaza in Albany New York. A man dressed in a dark hooded coat sang while stalking up and down an alley, waiting for his prize to arrive. It was a cloudy night in the Capitol city; residents were sleeping throughout the city leaving only stragglers free to roam amongst the streets.
A block away, Gloria Harrington sprinted down State Street as fast as she could in her three inch heels. With two shopping bags daggling from her arms, she was heading towards her car five blocks away. The thirty-seven year old lawyer had lost track of time during her weekly shopping spree, leaving her to walk back to the car in the dead of night.
Once she had walked another block, she started to hear the singing from the man in the dark hooded coat. Gloria slowed her steps to a slow walk as the singing became louder and louder until she passed the man in the alley. He suddenly looked up at her, his eyes examining her physique.
Gloria swallowed and stared at him for a second before turning and crashing into a tall physical fit, cheery woman. Gloria only had seconds to look the woman in the eye before the woman asked, "Have I seen you before?"
"I'm not sure, ma am. Excuse me." Gloria stepped around the woman and tried to continue on her way, but the woman grabbed her arm and pulled her into the alley. In response, Gloria swung her bag at the woman and scratched her in the face.
It was then when she saw a taller, stronger male with a tazer in hand appear…
Who grabbed her and threw her into the red brick wall of the closest building, where she lost consciousness.
November 21, 2011- Albany Police Station- 6 Days later
FBI Supervisory Special Agent and Unit Chief Aaron Hotchner jolted up in his chair at the sound of his name. He looked up to see SSA Derek Morgan staring at him worriedly with a case file in his right hand. Hotch embarrassedly straightened up and asked, "What time is it?"
"It's almost 5:30. Are you ok?"
"I'm alright." He wasn't, he was exhausted from rough nights filled with nightmares and anxious, but as usual, he kept his feelings from the rest of the team.
He stood up and glanced towards the window where the faint outline of the Corning Tower peeked through the cloudy skies on the damp Friday evening. The team was in Albany, New York investigating a case of ten serial kidnappings. The latest victim, Gloria Harrington , had been found in a dumpster on the South side of Albany. Dressed in a long black dressed and heavy makeup, the Albany police had found a connection to three other bodies with the same MO, stab wounds, and signature, evening attire. Two women, two men; found in dumpsters all over the city. The unusualness of the case prompted Albany to call in the Behavioral Analysis Unit immediately.
After flying to Albany, the team spent two days coming up with a profile and digging deep into each victim's lives. The best connection that they could find between the victims was that they were all brunettes and had been seen at a local shopping mall the day before their disappearances.
"Autopsy got lucky and found a small trace of DNA on the most recent victim's body. It was sweat and we got only a familial DNA match," Morgan told Hotch. The Unit Chief looked away from the window and received a file from DNA trace from Morgan.
"Agent Morgan?" a young Albany detective called from the doorway. Morgan nodded before giving the detective a finger, signaling him to give them a minute. " It's a married couple that lives in the city. I'll be back in a second," Morgan finished before following the detective out of the conference room.
Before Hotch could take a breath, SSA Emily Prentiss stepped into the room and quietly closed the door. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Prentiss," He opened the case file and spotted the names, "Mary Anne and Daniel Dent, a married couple living on Partition Street here in Albany. I'm going to go check it out."
"Hotch, "Prentiss said, "something's bothering you and everyone knows it. Talk to me."
I can't- it's a stupid nightmare. "I'm really ok. I just haven't been getting a lot of sleep."
"Why?" Prentiss stood squarely in front of the door, blocking Hotch from walking away from the conversation. She narrowed her eyes at him with crossed arms, challenging him to try to use his authority against her. Slipping on his coat, Hotch sighed and said, "I've been…..I think I'm losing my objectivity on this case."
"How's that?" She was taken back; rarely did the Unit Chief lose his objectivity.
"I know it's nothing, but the victims all look like you and I."
"Hotch, it's just a coincidence. We've had cases where that's happened all the time."
"Well, I've also been having this weird dream where….you and I are the unsub's last victims and we die. And I've been having it almost every night now."
Prentiss dropped her arms and took a step towards him. "How long have you been having this nightmare?"
"A month….but you're right, it's probably nothing. I've- I've better go; it's getting kind of late." Using the opportunity, he walked past Prentiss and pushed open the door of the conference room.
"At least let someone go with you!" Prentiss called after him, making him stop in his tracks.
"It's a simple questioning….and I need the space. I'll be alright. I promise."
Dent Resident- Partition Street, Albany 5:55pm
Twenty minutes later, Hotch knocked on the front door of the Dent's resident. He shivered from the light drizzle that started on his way over to the home. The driver over also was oddly comforting and gave him the time he needed to get himself together.
The door suddenly whipped open, revealing a Mary Anne Dent. With her rosy cheeks immediately blushing, she giggled in delight at the sight of Hotch. Her reaction made Hotch tense; something's not right. No one is that happy to see a federal agent on their door steps.
"Ms. Dent, I'm Agent Hotchner with the FBI and I have a few questions regarding the kidnappings in the area. " Hotch watched Mary Anne examine him visually as if she was checking for something.
"Oh, ok. What's your first name? I assume it isn't Agent?"
I don't like this at all….. "Aaron," he answered hesitantly. A sudden crashing noise erupted from behind Mary Anne. Hotch immediately pushed past Mary Anne with his gun drawn and entered the home. He scanned the small living room and kitchen before spotting the back door dangling off the hinges. He sprinted towards it and found himself in the small backyard.
Hotch raised his weapon when he spotted Daniel Dent running around the back of the house. The agent sprinted after him towards the house cellar. Once Daniel reached the cellar, he suddenly slowed down to a jog, giving Hotch time to catch up.
Hotch jumped out towards Daniel and aimed his gun towards the men, who stopped in his tracks near the driveway. "Hands where I can see them!" the agent yelled.
Daniel put his hands up and taunted, "What are you going to do to me, Agent? Kill me?"
Something's not right! "Hands on the ground where I can see them, now!"
"You seem certain of your decision, I like it," Daniel responded. He slowly put his hands down and smiled at his wife, who now stood in the shadows by the cellar, unbeknownst to Hotch.
"Put your hands up now or I will shoot you!"
"I think you'll do just fine."
Hotch let out a soft, "What?" just as Mary-Anne stepped out from the shadows. He only caught a glimpse of her before she slammed a crowbar into his stomach and then across his face. Hotch instantly lost consciousness and felt to the ground, his gun sliding a few feet away from him. She dropped the crowbar and let out a triumphant laugh.
"He's a tough one, isn't he?" Daniel remarked, noting Hotch's crumpled position on the ground. He kicked the handgun away and caught a view of Hotch's ankle holster. He bent down, pulled out the pistol, and said, "He's prepared for anything except for my darling dame."
Daniel turned Hotch onto his back and began to dig through the agent's pockets. "He has a badge- wow; I sound like an investigator, don't I? Well, Mary Anne, you think he'll do?"
"Handsome, well built, a savior," Mary-Anne grinned," He's perfect."