Monday: November 25, 2024
6:04 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
“I won’t be gone long,” Bo said, adjusting the strap of his satchel as he grabbed his travel coffee mug from the small table against the wall. “I just have to run in, fill the lieutenant in on a few things, and then I’ll be back,” he said. “Can you…? You can handle them, right?”
Katie nodded almost tentatively. “I think I’ll be okay. I’ll manage. But your number’s on the fridge if something happens, right?” she asked.
“Yes. Uh, my cell, the phone in the lab, the number in the station, and if all else fails, my email’s there, too,” Bo said. “I won’t be gone long,” he repeated.
“Okay,” she said quietly. “When will we go see Mom and Dad?”
“Visiting hours start up at eight,” Bo said. “We’ll go after that. Does that sound okay to you?” She only nodded. Bo pulled her into a hug with one arm, holding his coffee cup out to the side. “If anything happens, no matter how small, feel free to call me. I’ll answer.”
“Thanks, Uncle Bo,” Katie whispered.
“You’re very welcome, sweetheart.” He leaned down enough to kiss the top of her head. “Feel free to watch a movie or play a game. My house is your house. Text me if you have questions. Call if it’s an emergency.”
“I will. I’ll see you soon,” she said, stepping away from him. Bo nodded, pulling open the door and stepping outside. He drew in a harsh breath as he closed the door. Until Alice was better, every single day was going to be a long one. He knew that, but it was something he was well prepared for. He’d watch over Jacob and Alice’s children for as long as they needed him to. The Masons were his family, no matter how hard it got.
6:15 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, PARKING LOT
Bo’s heart skipped a beat as he stopped at the doors of Clinstone’s police station, his gaze landing on the three gym bags near the doors. One red, one yellow, one green. Just looking at them made him sick to his stomach. He set his coffee cup on the ground and pulled open the flap of his satchel and grabbed a pair of gloves.
A David Bowie song played through his earphones, but his heart seemed to pound much louder than the drums in the song. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and pulled up his camera. He wanted the bags out of sight as soon as possible, and that meant not having time to set up his actual camera. He snapped several pictures of the bags before shoving his camera back into his pocket.
He picked up the bags one at a time, grunting as he lifted them from the ground. They were heavy, well over a hundred pounds when combined, but he had known that before he ever picked them up. Leaving his coffee behind, he walked into the station. He headed straight for the elevator, pressing the call button with his elbow. He was entirely unwilling to carry the bags past the detective desks and down the stairs.
He stepped into the elevator as soon as the doors opened and pressed the button for the basement, the morgue. He stood still in the middle of the elevator, barely wavering when it started moving. He walked into the hall once the doors opened and headed for the morgue. He set the bags on the ground and pulled out his keys, quickly unlocking the door. He pushed it open, holding the key between his teeth as he grabbed the bags and carried them inside. He shut the door with his foot and hurried across the room, lifting the bags onto the table that autopsies were normally performed on.
He stared at them for a moment, waiting. He grabbed the key and dropped it back into his satchel. He pulled it over his head and set it on the floor. The song playing on his phone switched, a sudden change that caused him to flinch.
Bo let out a shaky breath, clasping his gloved hands together near his mouth. Heart still pounding in his chest, he reached out and unzipped the red bag. He let out a soft whimper as the woman’s dead eyes stared back at him.
“No, no, no,” he whispered. He knew that face. He knew it much better than he wanted to. Natalie Lambert, one of the victims from The Surgeon case. Bo stared at her face for a moment before grabbing the plastic baggie that rested atop Natalie’s dismembered hands. Just like back in Los Angeles, the plastic baggie held a handwritten note. The baggie protected the note from the blood within the gym bag.
Bo was used to that. His blue eyes scanned the note, but he barely made it past the first four words before he wanted to throw up. Holding the back of his wrist to his mouth and nose, he slowly sunk to a squatting position on the floor. He forced himself to read through the note.
My little lab geek,
I’ve missed you. Have you missed me? Do you… remember me? I was oh so popular in Los Angeles, was I not? Sometimes I’d see you on the sidewalk outside of where I worked, and I’d take my break just so I could follow you.
Sometimes, the wind would blow just right and I could smell your cologne, your shampoo. Sometimes, the wind would blow just wrong and you’d catch a whiff of my perfume. But it’s okay. By the time you turned around, I was already gone.
I’ve been watching you for a long time, lab geek. I know so much about you, and you know so little about me.
Is that because you don’t care about me?
No, you care about me. You always talked about me. I know you care about me.
I gave you Natalie so you’d know I’ve been watching forever, even when you came to Clinstone instead of Los Angeles. She was the first girl you saved.
But now I’ve killed her. Oops.
I did that for you. To let you know I’m always watching, always looking.
I bet you were sad when I stopped killing, but I’m back now, so there’s no need to be so sad any more. I’m back, my little lab geek. You just have to pay attention this time.
Bo closed his eyes, pushing himself to his feet. He stuffed the baggie into the bag again, pulling off his gloves. He crossed the room and threw them into the trash. He sat down, nearly falling off the little stool. He pulled his phone from his pocket and dialed Jamal Pitman’s number, dropping his cell phone to the table.
“Bo?” Jamal’s voice asked through the blonde’s earphones.
“We have a problem,” Bo whispered.
“What kind of problem?”
“GBK’s back… and I think they’re stalking me.”
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