A/N: Just a little taste of this next dance into darkness. (Hmm…note to self, use that "dance into darkness" line in a story.) I spent a lot of time researching the serial killers mentioned/copied in this story on the TruTV website. If I ever lack for an idea for an unsub I'm sure I can go back and delve into their depths for macabre inspiration.
Sit back, enjoy…and don't be scared of that creaking sound! ;o)
Wednesday just before lunch time, Hotch storms into the bullpen. "Conference Room. Now."
The agents scramble to get their things and hurry in after their leader. They hear Garcia's heels clattering down the hall, a sign they are about to dive into the depths of depravity that speaks to a stressful case.
By the time the whole team is at the table, Garcia has the case info loaded and a crime scene pic on the flatscreen. It is a split image showing "Death to Pigs" on a wall and "Helter Skelter" on a refrigerator.
"Uh, Garcia, why is a picture of the LaBianca murders on the screen? Manson and his family have already been caught for that one. Is there new information?" Reid asks with confusion.
"It's not the LaBianca scene," Hotch states as he closes the door.
"But it- -" Reid starts.
"He's right," JJ interrupts. "The fridge it the wrong colour."
Reid closes his mouth, seeing she is right. "What the hell?" he mutters.
Hotch nods to Garcia.
"Syracuse, New York. They have had 3 murders in the last three weeks. The first, as you see, is a recreation of the LaBianca murders committed by the Manson Family. The unsub went so far as to bring with him a ivory-handled, two-tine carving fork which was used on the male victim. His wife was stabbed with a kitchen knife from their own set."
"Were they grocery store owners?" Emily asks.
"Close. They owned a convenience store which, as you know, does sell some groceries."
"And the messages were written in their blood?" Morgan confirms.
"Yes. This murder was done with eerie similarity to the Manson case. The only differences are there seems to be only 1 unsub and, as such, the wife was killed several hours before the husband got home from work," Garcia finishes.
"And you say this was just the first murder scene? So is this guy obsessed with Manson or what?" Rossi asks.
Garcia looks at him. "That would be 'or what', Senor Rossi." She clicks to the next image. "Anyone recognize this one?" The picture is cut into quarters showing 4 people dead. "I'll give you a hint: the oldest son returned home to find his parents and two younger siblings dead."
"Oh my God! BTK—the Otero family," Emily says.
"Bingo, Agent Prentiss. Again, the scene was eerily similar to the original."
"And my guess is the third murder represents someone else's crime?" Rossi says.
"Yes. This one was an LDSK who killed a bus driver."
"The so-called DC Sniper John Allen Muhammad," Morgan says as he drops his tablet. "So is this guy trying to figure out his own m.o. or what?"
"This feels more like an…an homage to the past than a guy trying to find his own way," JJ offers. "Taking the time to bring that carving fork to the first murder, planning and executing a whole family, setting up the scenes, this guy takes time to get things right."
Reid nods. "I agree. It's almost as if he actually brings pictures to the scene to make sure he gets it right. How long between kills?"
"Twelve days between the first and second. Six days between the second and third," Garcia says.
Hotch takes over the presentation. "Syracuse police noticed the similarities to other cases and that's why they called us in. They figure the unsub's only time frame is how long it takes him to find the perfect victim and perfect set up for the killer he wants to emulate. We need to hit the ground hard as we don't have a victimology to work with unless we profile every serial killer and every victim of the killers. The scenes are still secured so we can look them over. Something in there has to point us somewhere or he will strike again," Hotch warns as he stands. "Wheels up in 30. Garcia, you're with us. I want you onsite to check anything electronic that may come in. BTK sent floppy disks. Maybe this guy will, too."
The team stands as one and hurries to their desks to get ready to go. On the way to the H3 Emily calls Francesca to let her know the team will be gone.
"Any idea how long, cara?"
"No clue. This one is…well…all of them are difficult but this one looks more difficult than most. We'll be in New York so at least it's the same time zone. As soon as we know more we'll be in touch."
"Okay. You and Jennifer be safe, cara. You're still getting over your bruising from the last case."
Emily smiles. "I know. We'll be as safe as possible. I promise."
"Take care, cara. Ti amo."
"Ti amo, Francesca." Emily puts her phone away. "She said to be careful."
JJ chuckles. "She does know who she was warning, right?"
Emily laughs, knowing they needed a bit of levity before plunging into a case that is sure to be anything but fun and lighthearted. As they pull up at the hangar JJ pauses before she gets out.
"Jen? You okay?"
JJ nods. "Uh, yeah just…the whole team again." She turns to her wife. "This time you included. Just gave me a shiver, you know?"
Emily reaches across the armrest and takes her wife's hand. "He's gone, Jen. We'll be fine."
JJ nods. "I know it just…it's silly but it just gave me a moment of apprehension." She takes a deep breath and opens her door. "Let's go. I'll be fine."
Emily smiles and nods. "Of course you will be. You're Jennifer."
JJ just chuckles as she grabs her go bag and briefcase before heading to the plane.