Tuesday: May 23, 2028
6:59 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE CHIEF JAMAL PITMAN’S OFFICE
Jamal lowered himself into his desk chair, taking a sip of his coffee as his phone dinged with a text. He set the cup down, grabbing his phone instead.
Bo: Most viable suspect, Dominic Wilkinson. No driver’s license, no social media, no job, on disability due to an incapability to work. Guess what keeps him from working?
Bo: Severe anger issues.
Jamal: Damn good job, kiddo.
Bo: It’s not a promise that it’s him, of course, but it’s the best I can do with what little I have to work with.
Jamal: More than I had thirty seconds ago. I’ll send my men on a little search for him, see what they can turn up.
Bo: Keep me updated?
“Mind bringing Mister Roth in here?” Jamal asked.
Frank nodded, pushing himself to his feet. “Of course, sir. Give me a moment.” Jamal watched him leave, sighing softly.
Luca walked into the room less than a moment later, Frank following closely behind him. Frank closed the door, leaning back against it. Clearing his throat, Luca crossed the room and sat down in front of Jamal’s desk. “Morning, Chief.”
“What, umm… what’s up?” Luca asked.
Jamal snorted. “Dominic Wilkinson. It’s possible he’s our Werewolf,” he said. “Currently, I don’t need you to do much. Bo’s the one that found the name, so you don’t need to update him on anything. However, I’d still like you to keep an eye out for the guy, if you can.”
“Sure thing, Chief. What’s he look like?”
Jamal unlocked his phone and opened up a picture Bo had sent him previously. He held it out to Luca. “Here you go. The man in the background.”
Luca leaned forward to grab Jamal’s phone. He stared at the image for a moment before nodding. “Dominic Wilkinson. Got it. I’ll do what I can, Chief,” he assured, handing the cell back.
“Good to hear. You’re dismissed, Luca.”
Luca nodded, rising to his feet. He crossed the room, thanking Frank as the older man pulled open the door. Frank simply nodded his acknowledgment, closing the door after Luca walked out.
The young detective walked past his desk, grabbing his coffee mug. He headed for the break room and made himself a fresh cup.
In the lobby, Dominic and Ashton stood. The younger man stood with his hands shoved into his pockets, head bowed. Dominic kept his head down, but that was nothing but a habit to avoid cameras. As a man walked past them, Dominic brushed two fingers against his hand. The man kept walking, just as Dominic had hoped.
Dominic stiffened as a sudden thought hit him.
The detective knew his name. They already knew about him. They were already onto him. Dominic turned, laying his hands on Ashton’s shoulders. “I can’t be here.”
“They’ll arrest me.”
“Oh,” Ashton whispered.
“I’m gonna take care of Tamara. See what you can do with the cops, okay?” Dominic asked. Ashton nodded. “Don’t mention my name. When you’re done here… God, I don’t know. Go home.”
Dominic cleared his throat. “The guy that walked past us? He’s a detective. Start there. He’s got a… a caring vibe. He’ll take care of you. Promise.”
“Okay,” Ashton repeated.
“All right,” Dominic whispered. “See you around, Ash.”
“Okie dokie, Dom.” Ashton watched the man hurry past him and back out of the police station. Ashton followed the path he’d seen the detective take. “Excuse me?” he questioned.
The detective lifted his head, his brow furrowed. “Ashton Lawrence,” he said quietly. “Please, umm, take a seat.”
Ashton sat down in front of the detective’s desk, folding his hands in his lap. “Detective…?”
“Roth,” Ashton echoed. “You’re not gonna call my mom, are you?” he asked.
Luca shook his head. “No.” He cleared his throat. “Where’d you go without letting anyone know?”
“Away. Just for a little while,” Ashton said. “I needed to get away from my mom.”
“She’s… controlling.” A pause. “She kept forcing me to see a therapist, one that made me uncomfortable.”
“How’d they make you uncomfortable?” Luca asked.
“She was… you know, umm…” Ashton shifting uncomfortably in his chair. What had Dominic called it? “She was violating me.”
Luca stiffened. “Can you, umm, stay here for a second? I’m gonna grab my boss.”
“So you… you believe me?” Ashton asked.
Luca offered a smile. “It’s L.A.. I’ll believe just about anything.”
7:41 AM; LOS ANGELES, TAMARA CHRISTIAN THERAPY, DOCTOR TAMARA CHRISTIAN’S OFFICE
Tamara looked up as the door to her office opened. “Dominic, what the hell? You can’t barge in here without an appointment,” she said.
Dominic closed the door, letting his hand rest on the doorknob. “You… have done a lot of fucked up shit, Tamara.”
“Doctor Christian,” she corrected. “And what’re you talking about?”
“You stopped trying to fix me,” Dominic said. “You got bored with me, and you stopped listening enough to fix me. My anger got worse because you stopped trying.”
“If either one of us stopped trying, it was you, Dominic,” Tamara corrected. She pushed her chair away from her desk, resting a hand on her phone. “I’ll ask that you leave, Dom.”
“I’ll ask that you get your hand away from the security call button,” Dominic said. “Now.”
Tamara lifted her hand before dropping it to her lap. “Come sit down, Dom.”
“No. I’m in control of this, Tamara.”
“You’re always in control of yourself and your sessions, Dominic.”
He shook his head. “This isn’t a session. Nor am I talking about me. I mean you. I’m in control of you and this situation,” he said.
She stared at him for a moment before nodding. “Of course, Dom. You’re in control,” she assured.
He nodded, twisting the lock on the door. “I wanted to know who was more important than me, who… was keeping you distracted from me and all of my issues, my problems. I wanted to know who could possibly be more interesting than me, so interesting that you stopped caring about my anger and everything else that was wrong with me.”
“I never stopped caring, Dominic,” Tamara said.
“Yes, you did!” Dominic exclaimed, smacking a hand against the door. She flinched, pushing her chair back a few inches. “I found him, the patient that was stealing all of your attention. I followed him out of your office and back to his house. I followed him inside. Ashton Lawrence.”
Tamara stood up suddenly. “You didn’t,” she whispered.
“I didn’t hurt him.”
“Thank God,” she breathed.
“Mm… thank Dominic,” he corrected. “I made that choice on my own. I decided to not kill him. I decided to keep him around. Because… you see, it’s not his fault that you stopped paying attention to me. It’s not his fault at all. It’s your fault. You’re the sick one, Tamara.”
“What are you talking about?”
“You’ve been raping him, Tamara.”
Tamara gasped, slapping a hand to her chest, the sound harsh. “I wouldn’t dare! Ashton needs help.”
“And help you did, didn’t you? You started by treating him. You began by letting him talk about his mom and how she murdered his father in front of him. But then you got bored, and you know how easy he’d be to manipulate. He was slow, after all! How would he possibly be able to stop you from getting what you wanted, right?” Dominic asked.
“Shut your damn mouth, Dom.”
Dominic shook his head, pushing himself away from the door. She took a step back as he took one forward. “You stopped caring about what was wrong with him. You changed from his therapist to his rapist, to his attacker, to his violator.”
“I did not!”
“You were supposed to help him!”
“All he ever wanted was help!” Dominic shouted. “He needed help. He needs help. I’ve done more for him in the past few days than you have in five fucking years. You did nothing for him! All you’ve done is damage the boy!”
“I never touched him,” Tamara said through her teeth.
“Ashton says quite the opposite, Tamara,” he said. “And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I am far more inclined to believe Ashton over you. He’s not a liar. He’s nervous and he doesn’t quite know how to express himself, but he’s not stupid. He’s not a liar. He’s innocent and honest. You hurt him,” he said.
“Dominic, we can talk about this,” she said, holding out her hands as he approached her. She countered every one of his long strides with three steps back.
“There’s nothing to talk about, Tamara. I promised him I’d give him justice. I promised I’d take you out so he never had to worry about coming across you again. I won’t let you hurt him or any of your other patients ever again. I won’t give you a chance to take advantage of innocent people anymore. They deserve so much more than that!” he exclaimed, shoving her against the wall.
“Dominic, you’ve got it all wrong,” she whispered.
“I think I’ve got it all figured out, Tamara,” Dominic whispered back. He leaned his forehead against hers, unable to fight back a smile as she flinched. “You tried to take advantage of me. You’d turn up the heat in the office in hopes that I’d take off my jacket or my gloves, depending on the day. You’d cross your arms to push up your cleavage, just hoping that I’d take interest. But I didn’t. I couldn’t have cared less. I wasn’t interested in you or sex.
“I was interested in working through my anger so I could be normal, so I could go back to work and get a better house and move the fuck on with my life, but you didn’t want that. You just wanted sex. So when you couldn’t sleep with me, you worked your way through your other patients, searching for the one with the weakest resolve, the one you could influence the easiest.
“And that’s where our little Ashton comes in. He was so easy to manipulate, wasn’t he? I doubt he fought back. He’s not much of a fighter. He’s much more of a love. He’s too nice. He wouldn’t have pushed you away or shoved you off of him. He would’ve just gone with the flow and hoped that you would let him talk about his problems afterward, but you wouldn’t. You didn’t. It was sex and then you’d kick him out. Wouldn’t you? Didn’t you?”
“Yes,” Tamara whispered. “Yes, okay? Yes.”
Dominic nodded. “See? Doesn’t it feel good to let the truth out? To be honest with yourself. It’s like therapy, Tamara. That’s how you actually do it, in case you’ve forgotten,” he said. He pulled a pocket knife from his pocket and flipped it open. Tamara flinched. “The Werewolf killings?”
“They weren’t jackrabbits, Tamara. They were people, innocent people.”
“Yes. God, indeed,” Dominic murmured. He touched the blade to her cheek; she whimpered. “See… those innocent people? I didn’t want to kill them. I wanted to be normal and go back to my life, but I couldn’t. You wouldn’t let me. Fixing my problems just wasn’t good enough for you. That would have been far too boring, so you let me live with my anger. You let me deal with it on my own. But… but I wasn’t capable of dealing with it on my own. I wasn’t strong enough for that. If I were strong enough for it, I never would’ve come to you in the first place, Tamara!”
“I know, I know. I’m so sorry,” Tamara whispered. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“It’s a little too late for that, Tamara. Apologies mean nothing. You hurt Ash, you let me run rampant… you got two people killed,” Dominic said, his voice soft. “All I wanted was your attention. I needed your attention so you’d help me, but you didn’t help me. You just encouraged it. You encouraged the hunting, because you just weren’t listening,” he whispered.
“I didn’t… I didn’t get them killed,” she said, sniffling. “You killed them. That’s not on me.”
“Really? Really? You’re going to provoke the rage-filled man with a fucking knife? That’s your brilliant plan?”
“Sorry,” she whimpered.
“Uh-huh. Sorry. Of course.” Dominic traced the blade down her cheek, stopping beneath her jaw. He dug the blade into her skin, enough to cause her pain, but not enough to break the skin. He lifted her head with the knife. “Open your eyes, Tamara.” She did as told. “You hurt a lot of people, didn’t you? How many people did you take advantage o? How many of your patients are just like Ash? Easy to manipulate? Easy to break? Easy to violate? How many of your patients did you stop paying attention to in favor of sex? How many people did you stop helping just so you could have sex?”
“I don’t know,” she said. “I… I don’t keep count.”
“And you think I’m the messed up one.”
“Because you are! You’re a murderer.”
“At least my victims only suffer for a little while. I hurt them, yes. Of course I do. I have to. But then they die, and the pain’s gone. The pain is gone forever. They don’t have to live with it anymore. But… but what you do? They have to remember that for the rest of their lives. Do you think Ashton’s going to forget about all the times he came here with the want to talk about his dead father but left with nothing but a little less of his dignity? Of his innocence?” Dominic asked. “You stole so damn much from these people, Tamara. I end lives, but you steal them. You rip the joy and the happiness out of their lives and force them all to live with it.”
“Who’s worse, Tamara? The killer, or the rapist?” Dominic asked.
“It’s not rape if they agreed to it. That’s consensual.”
“You manipulated the mentally ill to get what you wanted. The hell do you think that is? You think that’s consent?” Dominic asked. “Because, news flash, Tamara, it isn’t. That’s nowhere close to any form of consent. How stupid are you?”
“They agreed,” she whispered.
“You’re an idiot.” Dominic cleared his throat. “I’m gonna rid the world of that.” He turned as a knock sounded on the door. The glance over his shoulder was quick, and as soon as he did it, he regretted it.
Heat exploded in his stomach. He slashed the blade across Tamara’s throat and shoved her to the floor. She locked a hand around her throat, pressing her free hand to the floor. Dominic leaned against the wall, dropping his knife to the floor. He wrapped a hand around the small pocket knife in his abdomen, carefully resting his free hand close to the blade.
“You stabbed me,” he whispered.
Tamara lifted the hand she had on the floor, flipping him off.
Dominic scoffed, closing his eyes as the door flew open. Orders were barked, and when he cracked an eye open, he found himself face-to-face with the detective from the police station.
“We’re gonna get you an ambulance,” Luca said quietly. “Don’t touch the knife. Leave it in, okay?”
“I know how knives work,” Dominic said.
Luca grunted his response. “We’re gonna need two ambulances, LT!”
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