"You think Terry's the killer?" Judy asked Doug once they returned to the Chapel and he finished relaying his new theory to the others.
"I'm just saying it's possible," he said.
"Well, I've certainly heard stranger things in my life," Jenko told the young officers, then added, "Gotta admit though I can't think of any right at the moment."
"Come on, Jenk," Doug said, "This year we've already seen a teenage girl set her high school on fire, is it really so unbelievable that this girl could be our murderer?"
"Well it's certainly true that both are very up close and personal actions," Jenko replied, "But the question remains what would possess any person to-" out of nowhere, Jenko took a step towards Penhall and grabbed him by the throat, "Choke the life out of another human being. Especially what would drive a teenaged girl to strangle the life out of someone?", and with that he promptly let go of Doug's neck.
"Hey Jenk, all I can tell you is that when I was growing up," Doug told him, "It never occurred to me that anybody who killed anyone else had a reason to, always seemed to me they just did it for the hell of it, so this is all new territory to me."
Tom scratched one side of his head and offered his own two cents on the matter, "He might be onto something, Captain…I mean this is just a stab in the dark, but he could be right."
"It just kills you to admit that, Hanson, doesn't it?" Doug asked.
Tom ignored Doug's remark and told Jenko what he was thinking, "All the victims have been teenagers, they didn't all go to the same school, but just maybe she somehow knew all of them. If she did kill them…I don't know…maybe in some way she thinks they deserved it, it might be revenge to her."
"But for what?" Judy asked.
"I don't know," he replied.
"Let's recap what we know so far," Doug said, "The night Tom and I were out on patrol, and that girl was attacked, that was where we first met Miss Livingston. She just happened to come out of nowhere and block me, that's a pretty big coincidence."
"But you were chasing someone else at the time," Ioki said.
"And Tom said it himself, the victim was 19, not in high school, doesn't fit the profile of the victims," Judy added.
"So maybe we were wrong," Doug said, "Maybe that was just coincidence, maybe that was a random mugging, all the same, this girl comes from out of nowhere, and forces our hand, we have to reveal ourselves as cops, and she knows we're working this case, so what does she do? Comes up with excuse after excuse why she must be here during the day, so she's only out at the same time we are, she knows what we know, she hears everything we find out, we finally give up at the end of the night when nobody tries to kill us, we go home, and she strikes again."
"Killing Kenny Bradshaw," Tom recalled, "A very well built 17-year-old who should've been able to fight off a 16-year-old girl."
"A raging, psychotic, bloodthirsty 16-year-old girl," Doug corrected him, "Don't forget that part, Hanson."
"Didn't the coroner say Kenny had already been dead for two hours by the time we went out that night?" Judy asked.
"And she'd already been here that whole day sleeping at Tom's desk," Ioki added, "So she couldn't have killed him."
"They got a point," Tom told his partner, "Besides that, when Kenny's body was found, he had blood under his nails, we all assume from his attacker, and insofar as I could tell today, Terry doesn't have a mark on her."
"You said yourself she's been out of school for almost two weeks," Doug replied, "That'd be plenty of time for her to heal up."
"But she still wouldn't have been able to kill him," Tom said, "Unless she had a partner, and we haven't seen anything yet to suggest the killer is working with someone."
"Or…" Doug thought of something else.
"Or…" the other cops asked as they all leaned in towards him.
"Well we know she's tough, she's definitely strong," Doug said, "Would it be possible for her to kill him and then store his body somewhere until it was convenient to lay him out to find?"
"Like where?" Judy asked.
"Like in a freezer, Judy," Doug answered point-blank, "Wasn't the FBI after a guy last year that did that? He killed people, then froze them, then took them out and thawed them and dumped them somewhere? What was his name…ah…Kuklinski, that guy, right?"
"He was a 300 pound man," Tom replied, his tone making it clear he thought this idea very preposterous, "Terry's…"
"Strong and psychotic, a dangerous mix," Doug told him.
"Come on, Penhall," Judy said, "Even if you're right and she would have the strength to lug Kenny's body around like a sack of potatoes, where could she possibly freeze it until further notice?"
"Yeah," Tom added, "We checked the whole house, the only freezer there's the little one on top of the fridge and I really don't think she could stuff a…"
"The basement, Hanson," Doug cut his partner off, "That's where she'd put it."
Tom was dumbstruck, "The…basement?"
Doug reminded him, "We checked the whole house for Terry, but we never checked the basement after she came up. We never looked in the basement."
"That would be very unfortunate for you if this was a horror movie," Jenko told them, "Because that's generally where the slasher hides."
"Think about it, Hanson," Doug told his partner, "What was it she said? A stock up of food in the basement in case of emergencies, it would be the ideal place for a deep freeze."
"There might be something to that," Jenko said, "But I was in the basement and I don't remember if there was a freezer or not, I was looking for intruders, not a roast beef."
"So what now?" Judy asked.
"I think we gotta get back to that house and check out the basement," Doug said.
"We can't do that," Tom replied.
"No, you can't," Jenko told them, then added, "But I can."
"You think she could be the killer?" Judy asked the captain.
"It's not a thought I take any pleasure in entertaining," Jenko told her, "But this is a most unusual case overall, we can't afford to leave any stones unturned. If Penhall's right and she is, we have to find out, and fast."
"How?" Tom asked.
Jenko turned to Doug and told him, "Give me your badge, Doug."
Penhall's eyes widened, "What for?"
"Just give it to me," Jenko said.
Penhall looked a slight shade of sick at this order, hesitantly, he handed it over and asked the captain, "This mean I'm off the case?"
"This means you're grounded," Jenko told him, "That means no TV, no phone calls, and you can't take the car. Hanson, you stay here with him and make sure he stays here, a cop without his badge has no business being out on patrol."
The other three officers looked around at each other questioningly, curiously, and nervously.
"What's this all about, Captain?" Ioki asked.
Jenko held up Doug's badge and told them, "This little baby is the ticket to get back in the house no questions asked." He went over to Tom's desk and picked up the telephone receiver and dialed a number.
"What's going on?" Judy whispered to the others.
"Beats the hell out of me," Doug replied.
Tom signaled for them to be quiet so they could hear what Jenko said. He tipped his head to the side and said into the mouthpiece of the receiver, "Hello Miss Livingston, this is Captain Jenko at the Jump Street Chapel. Listen, I have a very embarrassing question to ask…well not for me, but did you happen to find a police badge laying around your house somewhere? No?" he looked to his young officers knowingly and continued without missing a beat, "Well look, Penhall is crawling under a rock right now because he seems to have lost his somewhere between points A and B. Would you mind if I came over and looked just to make sure it didn't get left there somewhere? Well that's fine, a cop without a badge, he can't be out on patrol, he's as good as naked. Alright…" he looked at his watch, "I'll be there in about ten minutes, thank you," and hung up.
"Very impressive, Captain," Judy said as she slowly applauded.
Hanson stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled in approval at Jenko's little performance.
Jenko pocketed the badge and addressed the young cops and told them, "Here's a lesson you'll all do well to learn early, in life you have to know how to talk to people just right, and once you hone that craft you will go far."
"I ain't seen no stinking badges," Terry told Jenko when he came out to the house. She stood a couple feet away from the police captain with her feet shoulder length apart and her arms folded tight against her.
"Yeah well, they told me that they checked the whole house for you before you came upstairs," Jenko replied nonchalantly as he glanced around the living room, then raised his eyes towards the ceiling, "Maybe he lost it upstairs, he said they searched this place from top to bottom."
"How retro," Terry said with a cynical sneer, "Sounds just like those murder mysteries from the 50s. I suppose next they'll be looking for hands reaching out of the walls."
Jenko jerked a thumb upwards and asked her, "Would you mind if I check upstairs?"
"Yes I mind," Terry told him, "I'll check upstairs, if that's alright with you, officer."
"Call me Captain," Jenko replied.
Terry ignored his remark and headed out to the front hall and Jenko heard her climbing the stairs; once she reached the top and he could hear her walking around on the floor above, he headed to the kitchen and made his way over to where he remembered the basement being. He hit the lights and looked around the room as he made his way down the rickety stairs. No freezer. That shot Penhall's theory clear to hell…unless…Jenko doubled back up the stairs, shut off the lights, locked the door, and made his way over to the backdoor, and went around to the garage in back. He opened the door and looked inside, and there was a lot to look at: a work bench, tools lining the wall, half used paint cans scattered every which way, a 1963 Chevy in the middle that had seen better days, but no chest freezer. That doubly shot Doug's theory to hell.
Jenko closed the garage up and headed back to the house and slipped in just before he heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He quickly palmed Doug's badge and called out to Terry in the front hall, "I found it, Miss Livingston! I wonder what Penhall was doing in here, I found it under the kitchen table."
"Knowing him?" Terry asked as she entered the kitchen, "Probably eating me out of house and home, the fat pig."
"You don't happen to like Penhall, do you, Miss Livingston?" Jenko asked.
"It's nothing personal," she replied, "I'm not particular to any of your cops. I understand they have a job to do but I resent them dragging me into it."
"Yeah, well it seems to me that nobody did a lot of dragging on either side," he told her, "Seems to me that certain events just happened to unfold of their own volition and the three of you collided as a direct result of it."
Terry looked at him inquisitively and asked, "What's that supposed to be, some kind of old hippie philosophy?"
"Hey, it's not bad, is it?" he replied with a small laugh, then a bit more seriously he added, "Miss Livingston, I bid you good day and I hope we don't cross paths again."
"Believe me, Captain Jenko, that's completely mutual," the teen girl replied somewhat smugly as Jenko showed himself to the door.
"Nothing," Jenko told Penhall as he gave him back his badge.
"No chest freezer?" Doug asked.
Jenko shook his head, "Nothing in the basement or the garage. Sorry, Doug, it was an interesting theory, but I'm afraid it's not going to be that easy." He turned and looked at the other cops in his command and told them, "In the meantime, everybody's still got their own assignments to work, so get to it."
"Captain," Judy spoke up, "Do you think we ever are going to catch this guy?"
"I sure as hell hope so," Doug cut in, "If we don't find him soon, I'm going to kill somebody if I don't start getting some sleep."
Hoffs looked at him and asked, "Why can't you?"
"This," Doug pointed to Tom and told them, "He stays up all night obsessing on this case then he don't let me get any sleep either."
"Take comfort, Doug," Jenko told him, "Jump Street is the mayor's pet project, and he knows full well that his pet project has also taken on this decoy stint, so until this guy is caught, the mayor ain't gonna be getting much beauty rest either. Sometimes politicians are just like the rest of us."
"Not enough for my liking," Penhall responded as he put on his jacket, "I'd like to see any of those jokers try our job for one day and see how far it'd get them."
Hanson put on his jacket and added, "I think I agree with him, though not for the same reason."
"You guys are really getting that brother act down to a T," Judy told them.
"Thanks," they responded in unison, then looked at each other.
Tom hated to admit it, but there were times when Doug could be right. He lay awake in his apartment staring at his bedroom ceiling and going over what Doug had said before about Terry being the killer. He hadn't wanted to admit it, and when Jenko came back he'd thought for sure that that would be the end of that speculation. And yet now here he was contemplating the same idea, that maybe this elusive killer they hadn't been able to catch, had been right under their noses and they didn't even know it.
There was something about what she'd said when they went to her house, it stuck in Tom's mind. Her whole ranting rambling monologue about having the chickenpox, playing it back in his mind he would swear there was something more there that he just wasn't hearing at the time. The way she described being shut up, quarantined, and how maddening it was waiting to see the outside again…somehow it just didn't settle with him that she was only talking about a two week stint. She sounded like somebody who'd just gotten out of prison, or a hospital, or…an institution. He lay on top of the covers of his bed and wondered if he got to looking, just what he might found out about their friend Miss Livingston. For that matter, would he be able to find anything out? He was good at undercover work but once you started poking around confidential records, then it was a whole other ballgame.
He hadn't wanted to believe it when Doug brought the idea up, and he still didn't want to believe it, but he was finding it harder to dismiss the idea entirely. In all the books he'd been reading at the Chapel on crime, there had been a few mentioned female serial killers. But poison was generally the weapon of choice, or a gun, on rare occasions in older times a hatchet, a knife, something, he never read about a case where a woman strangled multiple victims with her bare hands. And for that matter he also couldn't recall reading about any women killers already so accomplished in the art of murder before they were 18 years old. Was Doug right though? Just because they'd never heard of it before, did that mean it couldn't be possible? He still remembered the lifeless stare in Kenny Bradshaw's eyes when they found his body, Hanson just couldn't believe that that girl could be responsible…but what if she was? If she was, then he still had to do his job and haul her in, but how could he prove it?
Sleep was futile. Tom got up and headed into the kitchen and made a cup of coffee, he already knew he wasn't going to be getting any sleep tonight, might as well get ready for whatever happened next. He thought about calling Doug but he knew if he did that too many more times in the middle of the night, his partner was going to kill him. He thought about calling Ioki or Judy since he hadn't made a habit of keeping them up all night and they wouldn't be burnt out on it already, but decided against it because he didn't have any idea how to tell them what he was thinking without sounding like a nutcase.
After a shot of caffeine, Hanson felt his brain become more alert and he got an idea. A good one? He didn't know but it was all he had. He grabbed his jacket, and his coat, and left his apartment and got in his car and drove back to Terry Livingston's neighborhood. Terry had made such a point that she'd confined herself to the inside of her home for the past week and a half to ensure she didn't become the killer's next target. He pulled up to her block and saw a few dim lights on in the house behind the closed blinds and shades. Maybe she was in there hiding out, or maybe she was out on the prowl knowing it was past the point where the police decoys went home for the night and there were still unfortunate teenagers out roaming the streets even though they should've known better, especially given the current situation.
Either way, Hanson decided he'd watch the place and see if he caught anybody coming, or going. Maybe nobody would, if they did though, if they did then he was starting to wish he'd told somebody else about this bright idea of his, backup would've been nice. With the engine shut off and consequently the heater, it was got cold very quick, but Hanson was determined to stay as he was and not draw any attention to himself, even though in a very short while he started to feel a bit like a popsicle. Within half an hour his teeth were chattering and his hands were going numb, and Tom was starting to feel like an idiot. He didn't even know what he was watching for, was he expecting Terry to be the killer, or the next victim? And how did he know whether she was home or not? What was he going to do, go knock on the door and act casual about it, he just happened to be passing by at 3 o' clock in the morning? She might not have been the brightest kid in the world but even she wasn't that dumb.
A sudden knock on the window made Hanson drop in his seat and want to jump clear out of his skin. He turned and even in the dead of night saw that it was his partner Doug Penhall standing outside and he looked ticked off to all hell. Hanson reached over and rolled down the window and hissed in a loud whisper, "Doug you just about gave me a heart attack! What the hell are you doing here?"
"Watching you, what the hell are you doing here?" he replied.
Tom opened the door and got out and told his partner, "I came out here to see if anything was going on, when did you get here?"
"About half an hour before you did," Doug told him.
"Why?" Tom asked completely and utterly cluelessly.
"You know why I'm here," Doug told him, "Because you know that I think she's the killer, why are you here?"
"Okay," Tom remarked, "So maybe some of what you said back at the Chapel made some sense."
"Uh huh," Doug replied in an I-told-you-so tone.
"I just thought I'd check it out, okay?" Tom asked.
"What do you think I'm doing here?" Doug asked as he pointed to himself.
Tom looked at his partner and asked him, "Where are you anyway?"
Doug pointed up to the corner, "Parked over there, got a good view of the house from up there."
"Well have you seen anything?" Tom asked him.
"No," Doug answered, "You?"
Tom shook his head, "We might as well just call it a night and go home."
That idea was dashed to hell when they heard the unmistakable sounds of a struggle coming from somewhere nearby. The two cops grabbed their guns and went running towards Terry's house, as far as they could tell, the noise was coming from somewhere in that yard.
The only light they had to see what was going on came from the singular street lamps on either end of the block, and given the house was in the middle of the street, it was about as good as nothing. All the same they traced the source of the noise to some bushes growing on the property line to the next house. There were two shadowy figures, one sitting on the ground near the bushes, the other one took off running.
"Hey!" Doug called as he took off after the runner.
Hanson took a small flashlight out of his pocket and shone it on the other figure, revealing Terry Livingston knocked to the ground and seemingly dazed from a blow to the head as there was a bloody mark running down the side of her forehead.
"Terry!" Hanson knelt down to get a better look at her, "Terry, are you alright?"
Terry's eyes rolled around from side to side but she quickly shook her head and insisted, "Yeah, I'm fine," and tried to stand up.
"What happened?" he asked her.
"I lost him!" Doug called to his partner as he came back up the sidewalk, clearly sore about this fact.
It was then that Doug actually saw Terry, who had tried to get up and just wound up flat on her butt again.
"What were you doing out here?" he asked as he grabbed her by the arm and helped pull her up.
"It's my yard, I have a right to be in it if I want," she insisted.
"Yeah but you've been shut up in the house for almost two weeks," Tom reminded her.
"So I wanted a little fresh air, kill me," Terry defiantly replied.
"That guy almost did by the looks of it," Hanson told her.
"Hey, what's this?" Doug spotted something on the ground by the bushes and picked it up. Tom shone his flashlight and he saw Doug holding a wooden club with a metal spike hook on the end of it.
"What the hell is this?" he asked.
Terry touched the bloody spot on her forehead and answered, "This is what they use for clubbing baby seals to death for their fur." She pointed to the end of the club and explained, "This end's for bashing their skull in, and the hook's for dragging their corpses off."
Doug looked at her and told her, "Tell me you're kidding."
"Where'd it come from?" Hanson questioned her.
"Family heirloom," Terry answered, "My dad's uncle's brother or somebody of that sort brought it back from a trip to Canada several years ago."
Doug was still having trouble processing this newfound information and he turned to her with a very puzzled look on her face and asked her, "Seriously?"
"Oh yeah," she replied cynically, and added, "They say it's the most humane way to kill them…" she shrugged and replied, "Somehow I doubt the guy I hit with it is going to agree."
"Do you know who it was?" Tom asked.
"No," Terry answered, "It was too dark to see his face and he didn't talk, just jumped out of the bushes and attacked me."
"And yet you had the presence of mind to bring this out with you," Doug noted as he held the club up.
"I'm not stupid," she replied, "There's a killer running around here, you think I'm going to come out here in the middle of the night unarmed?"
Hanson put a hand on her shoulder and told her, "We better get you to the hospital."
"I don't need to go to the hospital," she replied as she shrugged his hand off of her.
"You're bleeding," he told her.
"I know that," she remarked, "I'll be fine, but if I was you I'd definitely go to the hospital, maybe you can find the guy that attacked me…" she gestured to the club Penhall was holding and told them, "I believe I managed to hit him with that, I'm sure he'll have some telltale sign of it."
Doug looked to his partner and told him, "I got no idea how we're going to explain this one to Jenk."
"We're not going to," Tom told him, and grabbed Terry by her jacket and explained, "We're going to bring her along and she can explain it."
Terry reached over and grabbed Doug's jacket and said to him in a low, almost threatening tone, "And exactly what're you two doing here at this hour?"
Doug looked at her and nonchalantly responded, "We'll explain that on the way, get in the car."