Aaaaand we're back. This is a story written by Real Life Rose from another one of my stories called "Law of Inertia"
I helped but she did the heavy lifting. I give unto you...Mindhunter
Chapter 1: Wrap up
I walk down the hall of the police station to the interview rooms. It's about nine in the morning and a beautiful late summer day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My subject was brought in late last night and I've decided to let him stew overnight. I've been searching for this particular interview for the past 18 months; Philadelphia police have had an active serial killer on their hands for the past two years. They started out behind the eight ball on this case because they were slow to find the links between each case. Serial killers stick to a pattern, a type of victim, a schedule, or some sort of predictable factor; it's up to me to find the connection between each murder.
I take off my gun and put it in the borrowed desk I've been using since I got here. If you look at my desk, it looks like a pile of photos and manila folders have been breeding on it. There are stacks of files on each victim and comparable serial killer profiles as well as a white board that resembles a spider web. This is one of the harder profiles I've made on a serial case and one of the few times I don't blame the local police for not making the connection between the killer and his victims.
He is a home health aide nurse and stalked his client's friends when they spoke like his mother did. Once he found a match, someone who would remind him of him mother enough to be worth his time; he would pump his client for information about the victim and stage a robbery. Since they looked like robberies, it delayed the Philadelphia Police Department's call for help.
It's time to clear my head and get my game on because I'm about to go one-on-one with a man that would literally flay me if he could. I'm here to do a job; I'm here to make sure this man will never hurt anyone again. All the years of death, evil, victims, victims' families, and the hunt boil down to this moment. I leave my office and step into the viewing room to make sure the recording equipment is working; I don't want a repeat of Annapolis. My subject is sitting at the table handcuffed in front of him, but his palms are sweating, his pupils are dilated, and he's blinking rapidly; this shows me he's nervous. My job is to get as much information out of him as I can; to make him want to talk. The more I can get out the better because with a case as high profile as this one, the only chance this guy will have is his lawyer shouting the insanity defense from the rooftops.
I step into the room and immediately feel his evil presence. There is no way anyone could be so close to someone like this and not feel the depravity rolling off of him. He looks behind me to see if I have a partner, male or otherwise. It's just me and this is for a reason. This way, he doesn't feel as threatened. The first word that comes into my mind while looking at him is "payback".
I'm dressed with my hair back in a bun, glasses with a string on them, a cardigan sweater, button up shirt and slacks to make me look more like his victim pool. It makes him feel more powerful, like he felt towards his targets…and when you're comfortable in your superiority, you talk.
"I finally meet you; you've been on my mind for a long time." I say calmly; he twitches. He wants the attention yet there's something else there; restrained, vile, dangerous.
"I'm really glad I found you before you went back up to your mother's." I say, getting him to think about the target of his rage. I make sure to keep my tone measured in a kindly, nice grandma tone; but he remains silent and starts clenching his fists.
I take out a file with his mother's information and picture. It's a picture that was taken from his home when he was arrested. It's a happy picture, and when I make sure he can see it, he puts his chin up and his shoulders back while glaring at me.
"Why would your mother tell me to you couldn't do anything right if you tried?" I ask kindly but it's all a bluff. I've never talked to his mother but the way he posed the crime scenes screamed a mother's attention to detail.
He seethes in response "My mother doesn't get to tell you anything."
"She just did." I counter with a little apprehension in my voice. I know he can hear it as that's what he's attuned to; it's what he wants.
"She doesn't get to tell anybody about me anymore." He says and I can hear the restrained hostility in his voice. This is what I want, to get him in a place where that rage will come out and be directed at me in a way I can use in court. "I get to decide what people think." He grits while pointing his finger at me; a classic sign of aggression.
"I know, but how are you go to stop her?" I lean back and touch my throat waiting for his answer; it's a sub-conscious sign of concern that makes me seem less of an interrogator and more of a friend.
"Her lying tongue won't be able to say anything much longer." He hisses letting some of his endless well of rage start to bubble.
This is the first thing I need, a reference to a non-public case detail. The state of each victim's body was the same, the back of the head fractured or broken, tongue cut out and throat slit. The mutilation of the face shows that it's not a diffuse rage this killer is attacking, it's a person he's lashing out at and the human face is the dominant connection used in human psychology. The age of the victims tells me the real target of the rage is a mother, grandmother, or foster parent.
"Tell me then about how you grew up" I continue.
"I'll tell you what I told all of them" he spits. "They were vicious, nagging, useless wenches that got what they deserved." Agitated, upset people are far easier to interrogate than calm collected people as they cannot control things like pitch, tempo, phrasing and other clues I use to crawl inside their heads.
"Why would anybody stick around to listen to you blather on about them?" I hurl at him. Sudden changes in temperament also leave people distracted and off balance, this is how you chip away at the lies they thought to tell.
"Because I made them." He says with all the smug superiority you'd expect of someone who feels they know something you don't.
"With what, harsh language?" I counter rapidly.
"You wish. I put them right where they wanted to be, at the kitchen table with a cup of tea. You see, I'm not so bad." he adds almost happily.
This was another gem for the jury to digest. Each victim was found tied to a chair at their kitchen table. He also wasn't a trophy taker, he was a trophy giver; police found identical tea cups at the scene that could not possibly have been from the victim's houses. Prints had been found on two of the cups that remained intact during the final struggle, but his prints weren't in the system.
"So why hit the back of her head?" I say soothingly. He's reliving the moments he had the victims at the table and I want him to give me a running monologue of his personal movie.
"I like that I can make her shut up the same way she made me. What goes around comes around; it's only fair" He says and I can see he truly believes he has dealt fairly with his victims.
"But you can't shut her up forever with a smack to the back of the head" I reply quietly, like he's snuffing me out.
"No, but I can cut her lying tongue apart." He says and I can see the relief in his eyes as he relives the symbolic part of the mutilation.
"How many." I whisper and lean in with my head tilted.
"Fourteen." he says in a whisper with his eyes shifting. "I started on my twenty first birthday." He obviously means for that information to remain between us. He feels a sort of connection with me, he's identifying me as someone who can be trusted, probably someone who he thinks won't be able to talk soon…just like his victims.
And now it's time to make the kill.
"It's too bad you couldn't get the job done right you bum!" I shout jerking him out of his self assured bubble.
He jumps up and lunges at me screaming, "You'll never say another word!"
It happens very fast after his outburst. His forward momentum does nothing to help him as I raise his cuffed hands above his head, then swing them to the side, effectively pinning his arms above his head and bent behind his neck, the pain of which makes him bend to my mercy as I restrain him. The sound of his face hitting the table echoes through the room while he continues to scream and fight. The door bursts open and the peanut gallery rushes in to restrain my subject.
I have what I need from him so I slink out of the room, leaving the shouting and violence behind, for now. When the subject is of no further use to me, it's kind of anti-climatic because my attention turns to all the paperwork that goes along with obtaining a confession. I go back to my office, clean up my files and organize them for the DA who will prosecute. This is something the local law enforcement can take over from here.
I'm done here…Another year of my life neatly rolled up into a case file that will be processed and catalogued at the Quantico archived library of evil known as the Behavioral Profiling database.
I hold still and take a deep breath. I'm done with this one and he'll rot for eternity, away from daylight. When I'm just about out of here, the local police captain comes into my office looking kind of sheepish.
"I have to admit, I thought the guys were joking when they said "30 minutes or less or it's free". He jokes and I smile at his candor.
"I'll send you the bill." I retort while I pack up the files for shipment back to Quantico. It takes a while but I say goodbye to the friendly local cops I've worked with; for the most part they're good people that have to work with the scum of society every day. I pack my things into my purse and drive back to my soon to be ex-apartment. Packing never takes long as I don't bring little house warming things with me. I'm not here to bring me into the mix; I'm here to take some one out of the free world.
Turning in the keys to my house is always a bonus; I don't have to worry about the cleaning deposit and I can just fill out a form with my leave date, I'm able to hit the road before lunch.
It's about a six hour drive back to Boston and I want to make it before rush hour, although at this rate, I'm going to hit just that. I drive out to the freeway while I think about the women that will live because of me. My suspect worked as a home health aide for a private company. He would fixate on women who had a habit of gossiping and speaking poorly about family members to their friends because his mother treated him like a servant, gossiping about everything and anything while he played the part of maid at tea time. She had a habit of smacking him on the back of the head when he messed up and had no problem publicly humiliating him for his failures. In his teenage years he got addicted to bondage porn which is what pushed him into violent, homicidal territory. There hasn't been a serial killer this century that has not been addicted to that stuff; it really is a gateway drug.
I turn on the radio after I stop for lunch to a breaking news report which says that Chad Marven Kelly, age 25 of Allentown, Pennsylvania has been arrested in connection with the home invasion murders in Philadelphia over the past 4 years.
"Goodbye Philly! It's been a pleasure doing business with you and I hope to never see you again!" I say to no one in particular. They can contact me when they need me to testify; that won't be for another six months, at least.
I make my way again to the interstate and it's freewheeling from there on out to my house outside of Boston. I forgot that it's a national holiday today, the traffic gods have smiled on me. When I arrive home, I see the empty shell of a dwelling without even a cat to keep it company while I'm gone. My living habits look more like a vagrant of the law enforcement world than a stable member of the community.
I spend months at a time wherever I'm needed, wherever the most evil people society has to offer strike over and over again until someone like me connects their evil acts together and stops them. Until I'm called back into that world; it will just be office work and physical fitness tests until then.
I'm excited to get back to the firing range and Kenpo lessons that are only available at the field office. I also can't wait to reacquaint myself with my Jacuzzi bathtub; you gotta wash the creepiness off you somehow. After turning the gas back on in my house, bringing it back to life; I indulge in a victory bath with some Chinese food and a mindless movie. "Napoleon Dynamite" is the funniest movie people will never get. With my dinner in hand, it's a great brainless movie and should I get the chance, I will most assuredly "Vote for Pedro."
Sleep claims me before too long, however unpleasant it may be. I don't get the images every night, but the interviews replay over and over; sometimes the predators get loose and I have to catch them again. The worst dreams are when they chase me or I'm the victim in the crime scene photos.
I wake up and make it to the office by eight in the morning and get to work on paperwork. I'll need to file the closing reports for the Kelly case today but I take a second and walk over to my boss's office. He's not in yet so I head down to the gym for some combat refreshers.
Kenpo is what they call a "dirty" martial art; it is designed to kill your opponent as quickly as possible. I spar with a few guys from immigration and do some work on a kick bag as well. I also practice some knife work before heading down to the firing range to re-qualify on weapons.
As I make my way back to my office, I see that my boss is in and I walk in. He's the leader of the Behavioral Sciences department for the North Eastern US and he's earned that title.
"Hey John." I say and drop into a chair.
"Hey Bella, your back early. he says with a mild amount of interest.
"Yeah, I'll be going back to testify once they get the cases straight."
"How'd you get this one?" asks like a normal person would ask if you picked up creamer on the way to the office.
"I got him to admit how many victims he took, so they should be able to try the cases together."
"Nice." he says appreciatively.
"So what's my schedule for the next little while?" I ask casually. I'm out on assignment more than I am here at "home".
He has to dig through his papers for a bit but he finds it eventually. "You'll be on peer review for two weeks, after that you'll be on consulting status and I was hoping you would be available to teach a profiling seminar for the New York Police Department towards the end of the month." He says like he really doesn't care. This is the part of the job he hates.
"Sounds good, but why send me to the seminar? Is it because I have boobs?" I ask in mock seriousness.
"Those help." He says in the same tone but can't hold in the smile for long. "Nah, with your most recent case, you'll be the highest profile in the news." "I want you to build some recruiting contacts while you're there and you have that It's-like-a-normal-job vibe for the audience" He says and I have to laugh. How someone could ever think this job (or myself) is normal is beyond me.
"I guess that's why they pay me the big bucks." I reply with complementary eye roll.
"Don't worry, you'll be back on the road in no time" he consoles me. "There's always another freak to bag and we have the crazy corner of the country." John offers with a fake cheerleader smile. "Did you meet anyone worth noticing in Philly?"
"No, they had a bit too much chauvinism in the blood and I don't think they would be suited to meeting our "clients" in their world. They favor the I'm-better-than-you approach and rely on brute intimidation to get information, although in all fairness, I don't fault them for being slow on the uptake for this case. The killer staged it to look like an elderly home invasion and took valuables, but he didn't fence them, he just threw them away. It looked like a robbery ring that didn't want witnesses until the tea cup detail popped up, that's when they called us. It's all in the report and after peer review it will be just another book in the library of evil." I say casually. We who swim in the abomination of evil have to treat this casually or we'd go crazy so quickly we'd be of use to no one.
"Alll-righty then, I'll book you for the seminar in two weeks." He replies and I get up to leave his tornado of an office. John is a pioneer in the behavioral science field and still talks like a grandpa. I'll miss him when he retires.
"Later Douglas." I say and leave him to his cases. Lunch is a welcome change because for the first time in months, I can find something besides Philly cheese steaks. I think the smell of them is permanently embedded in the police station I just left and I'm done with that particular food item until I retire, at least. I'm just fine with a chicken club sandwich and salad; that's as far away from the dreaded cheese steak as one can get.
The rest of the day is fun because I get to catch up with my group that's not currently off consulting. I hear that there is a martial art tournament this weekend that I can make if I pay the late registration fee, so after I pony up the dough; I wrap up the files I'm looking over and ship them to the library of evil before I go home. Upon my arrival I check my voicemail to find the familiar "zero messages" alert then settle in for a night of research and a little literary candy.
Friday passes with much the same kind of routine, except I get to play a prank on Amber, the resident shrink. She's always watches me closely because of my upbringing and romantic life, or lack of. She thinks I'm going to crack one of these days. It's not like that's unusual around here. We swim in evil, it's an occupational hazard. The reason she watches me in particular is because she likes a certain type of patient but I don't revisit or stew on a problem unless I have to, which isn't her favorite type of patient. I don't have a need to rehash life over and over again; I chose an accelerated deployment rotation because I prefer to meet a problem, solve it, and move on with my life.
What I managed to do in retaliation is replace the motivational posters she puts up around the office with "de" motivational posters that look just like her cheerleader ones. My favorite one was a picture of a hunter sitting on a chair outside of his tent with a huge lion sitting between him and his gun saying "Awkward, notice how I am between you and your rifle." I start an office pool to see how long it will take her to notice them.
On Friday night I take a trip to the Boston Symphony and to my utter delight, Bear McCreary is the guest composer with select songs from the new "Battlestar Galactica" series. I'm a fan of the show but that's not why I like the music; I like it because his use of Taiko drums is legendary. I let the music soak into me and revel in the corners of the world that have yet to be touched by evil. My seat is lackluster, but I'm in the acoustic zone and as long as I can hear it, I don't care where I sit.
Saturday I wake up at after eleven in the morning and grab brunch before the tournament. I'm only a blue belt but I have extra training in observing body language so I make it to the quarter finals before I get pinned and lose. Most opponents don't like that I train in Kenpo because it's not suited well to friendly sparring. I don't get why they can't process the fact that I'm not learning this to earn trophies, I'm here to practice killing or at least permanently maiming anyone who wants to hunt me like an animal.
I notice some guys from the New York police department so I make small talk and tell them I'll see them in two weeks for the profiling seminar. That forced conversation doesn't take long and I make it home by nine pm, I don't waste any time making my way to take a bath to soak away the tournament hits. While I soak think about how I can keep up my lessons next time I'm sent out on assignment so I can test for my green belt even if I'm on a case.
Sunday I once again wake up around eleven but I'm excited to get to my "just for me" activity so I get out of the house quickly. I love to dance, but I'm not in one place long enough to take lessons or train, not to mention my balance issues. I rent a dance studio for a couple of hours and lock the door, put my music on, and warm up. This is where there are no scripts, no forms, no subterfuge, and no lies. This is where I don't have to monitor everyone's body language, I can just feel the music flow through me, doing whatever I fancy. It's my release from the life I live, for the next two hours, I can twirl, hop, slide, reach, spin, flip with no expectations. I even use a gymnastic ribbon if I want; no enemy dictates how I work here.
Monday brings the peer review rotation and I plug away, going over the files of my colleagues and signing off on their speculations and observations. I also begin work on the seminar for the NYPD which I'd rather not, but do out of loyalty to John. Speaking in front of groups ranks somewhere between a root canal and sitting in a tub full of scissors and I'm not one to procrastinate something unpleasant. In my line of work, problems left unsolved tend to grow.
The rest of the week passes without incident except the misguided prank attempt to glue my desk shut. The guys really need a refresher on detecting body language; looking down while walking past me is a dead giveaway of guilt and I catch them red-handed. I'm getting free smoothies next week as penance for their cute but pathetic attempt at a prank. I spend Saturday in Kenpo lessons and Sunday, I dance.
The next week is even quieter because they guys had a daily reminder of what happens when you mess with me, though on Friday after lunch, Amber found the "remodeled" motivational posters I put up. I think she knows it's me because things like this don't happen when I'm out consulting. Harry wins the $200 office pool as he bet on a week. I take the train to New York on Sunday and settle in for the pimp my job seminar.
When I walk into the seminar a few of the detectives glare at me. I don't have fond memories of my second case here; we never caught they guy but the murders just stopped. Either he was killed somehow, he moved to another area, or he simply stopped. Either way, the case was never closed and I didn't get to sleep soundly for a few months; I don't know if he's out there, shattering more lives in another country or if he's six feet under and that's one of the crappy parts about this job, you never know if you don't catch them.
The seminar goes fine but I don't meet as many prospective profilers as I hoped. This job has a very high burnout rate and if we don't find more people at least willing to try, we could be in trouble.
I get back to the office Tuesday morning with a message to talk to John immediately. I find him on the phone and he silently motions for me to take a seat.
"Yes, she's here now, I'll catch her up." He says and hangs up the phone.
"What's up?" I ask.
"You are requested on a consultation in Portland, Maine."
"Since when do local police get to request profilers by name?" I ask.
"Since Tyler Durden asked to be taken off the case."
Tyler was a fellow profiler, and I didn't think him the giving up type.
"He asked for you, not the locals." John said.
"This is a tricky case" He continued. Durden hasn't been able to find a connection between the victims and the intensity is increasing. The killings started suddenly and none of the normal factors are lining up. You have recently distinguished yourself in interrogation and predictors and the local police are desperate" He says.
I'm worried. It must be really bad if they already have a profiler on location and they are still coming up empty.
I take a deep breath, "When do I leave?"
So what are your first thoughts about this?