Monday: December 2, 2024
5:09 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
“All right, babe. Walk me through,” Jensen said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. He set two coffee mugs on the nightstand before his full attention fell on Bo.
Bo sat at the foot of the bed, one leg folded close to his body, the other hanging over the side of the bed, Acamas curled up in the small triangular space created where Bo’s foot touched his opposite thigh. “Last Monday was… was the GBK imitation,” he said.
“Okay. I wasn’t… actively stalking you during GBK, so… I don’t know anything about the case or the scenes, nothing but what we saw in that documentary,” Jensen said.
“GBK killed criminals the same way that the criminals killed their victims. GBK made them write and sign a confession admitting to what they had done. GBK would cut them up and separate the parts between three gym bags. The confession was always tucked away in a plastic baggie and put in with the head and the hands in a red gym bag,” Bo explained. Jensen nodded. “Most of that was… true for the imitation. Except, umm, the victim wasn’t a criminal.”
“Who was it?” Jensen questioned.
“Natalie Lambert,” Bo said quietly. “The… the girl I saved during The Surgeon case?”
“Jesus, Eli. I’m sorry,” the younger man whispered. Bo nodded. He looked down for a moment, grabbing the note that had been left for him with Natalie’s body. He handed it over to Jensen.
Jensen’s green eyes read through the note quickly. His eyes narrowed, he read it a second time. “This bastard thinks he’s really fucking funny, doesn’t he?” he asked, lifting his eyes to Bo’s face.
The blonde only offered a shrug. “Probably.”
Almost cautiously, Jensen reached out and touched a hand to Bo’s knee. “It’s gonna be okay,” he promised.
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted ever so slightly as he nodded. “Tuesday was a female victim found in the same dumpster we found Tess Brown in during The Surgeon case. Her tongue was cut out, her eyes were dug out. She had a cut up the abdomen, a cut in her right side beneath her ribcage, three letters carved into her hip, and a cut down the left side of her face.”
“Like Tom?” Jensen asked. Bo nodded. “Jesus,” Jensen whispered.
“That would be CGK,” Bo said. Silently, he handed a second note over to Jensen. Jensen’s lip curled in disgust, and Bo knew it was because of the first two words.
“Sick little…” Jensen trailed off, dropping the note to the bed. He dropped his hands to his lap, his fingers curled into fists. “He knows you’re related to Tom. That can’t… You can’t find that online.”
“Which means he’s been following you for… a while.”
“Yeah,” Bo repeated.
Jensen nodded slightly, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallowed. “ ‘Kay,” he whispered. “Continue?”
Bo nodded. “On Wednesday, I went out to get the mail. There was a third note in the mailbox,” he said, handing the note in question over to his boyfriend.
Jensen cleared his throat, drawing his legs onto the bed as he read through the note. Jensen shivered, lifting his eyes up to Bo’s face. “That’s why you told your mom not to change Thanksgiving. You were on the phone with her when you found this, weren’t you?” he asked. Bo nodded. “How does he know what we talked about?” Jensen questioned in a whisper.
“He had the house bugged. He did it when we were in L.A.. Based on the recordings, he did it the day after we left for Thanksgiving break,” Bo said. Jensen nodded, raking a hand through his hair.
“So you dealt with the bugs?” Jensen asked.
“Yeah. I removed them, put the audio on my computer, took them apart, and deactivated them,” Bo said.
“Good,” Jensen said quietly. “Go on.”
“Thursday, there was a clay dragon in the mailbox.” Bo brought up a picture on his phone and held it out to Jensen. “O Goncho.”
“That’s the first clay model Thanatos displayed for us,” Bo said. “Of course, the, uh, copycat’s models are much smaller. I broke it open, drained the lizard blood from it, and pulled out the next note,” the blonde said, handing the small piece of paper over to Jensen.
Jensen skimmed the note, his brow furrowed. “What’s Mammoth?”
“A serial killer,” Bo said quietly.
“Okay,” Jensen said slowly. “What did they do?”
“Umm… just… killed people,” Bo said.
Bo cleared his throat. “He kidnapped boys. He’d lock them up, starve them for a few days, and then he’d take them out into the woods. He would drill replicas of mammoth tusks into a tree and hang the boy up on it so that the tusks were under his armpits. He would carve the letter M into their stomachs and then leave them to bleed out.”
Jensen cocked his head to the side. “Why… why does it bother you so much? You’ve seen worse.”
“I was fifteen,” Bo said. “When I worked that case, I was fifteen.”
“How old were the boys?”
“Between thirteen and sixteen.”
Something shifted in Jensen’s expression. “Eli,” he whispered.
“It was my fault, okay?” Bo asked, his voice breaking. “I had a hunch who he was, but there was no evidence to back up the claim, so they couldn’t get a warrant to search his house. The detectives wouldn’t even bring him in for questioning!” he hissed. “S–so I went instead. I would’ve been his seventh victim. But… in the woods, I stabbed him,” the blonde whispered. “And then I ran.”
Bo shook his head. “They never found him. I ran to the police station, but by the time the officers got out there, he was gone.”
“What about before then? They were looking for you, right? You would’ve been missing for several days. Didn’t your parents report you missing?”
“I wasn’t living with them. I had moved in with an analyst at the station, and I was living back and forth between his place and a hotel. It was a weekend, so I didn’t work, and I typically spent weekends at the hotel anyway. To the rest of the world, I was never gone,” Bo said. He tapped a finger against the note. “Except for him. He knows. He knows everything.”
“What if he is Mammoth?”
Bo shook his head. “Mammoth had no idea who I was. He didn’t know my name or where I came from. He just knew I had found him out and that he needed to get rid of me,” he said. “If Mammoth was my stalker, he would’ve already killed me, when I was alone.”
“Fair enough,” Jensen quietly. “C–continue?”
Bo cleared his throat. “Another clay figure was in the mailbox on Friday. Azi Dahaka. It’s a three-headed dragon. Again, filled with cat blood with a note inside. It… it just asked if I would miss Acamas if she were gone.”
“So he was trying to convince you she was dead.” Bo nodded, reaching down to pet the one-eyed tabby. She purred, stretching out her paws against his leg. “Why didn’t you call me?”
“Because, ‘Jens, can you tell me if Acky’s dead real quick?’ wouldn’t have been suspicious to you?” Bo asked.
“Yeah,” Jensen said slowly. “Fair point.”
“Saturday was the Ammut imitation. You know the basics of that one?” Bo asked.
Jensen nodded. “Autopsy, remove heart, take a selfie of yourself in a mirror while holding the heart. The point of the selfie is to point out where the glass box containing the box is hidden, as well as where the Bluetooth speaker is,” he said. “Yep, I’ve got the basics.” Bo handed his phone over to Jensen. “So… so this is the killer?”
“You can’t do anything with it?”
“He’s wearing a hoodie so I can’t see his hair, and his the camera covers his face. The gloves help cover the rest of his skin, so I have no idea what race he is,” Bo said.
“Damn.” Jensen looked back up at Bo. “Where was the note?”
“The victim’s chest. You know, where her heart’s supposed to be,” Bo said. He held the note out to Jensen.
“Oh, cute. He drew a heart on it,” Jensen muttered. His brow furrowed. “Little Duck?”
“Aramis is one of the forensic analysts I used to work with.”
“So he’s the one that let you live with him during Mammoth?” Jensen asked.
“I’m not going to let him get close enough to get his hands on you, Eli.”
“I love you too much to lose you now. And the bastard isn’t getting anywhere near the girls, either,” Jensen said. Pressing a hand to the mattress, he leaned forward and kissed Bo, moving his free hand up to Bo’s face. Bo sighed softly, letting his fingertips rest against Jensen’s jawline. Jensen leaned his forehead against Bo’s. “I love you, Eli. You gotta know that,” he whispered.
“I love you, too, Jens.”
Jensen nodded slightly, inhaling deeply. “Do you work today?”
“I’m on call. I don’t… because I have Jake’s kids, they only want me there if there’s a crime scene. Especially with… with the stalker issue,” Bo said.
“Of course.” Jensen pulled back, frowning. Holding Bo’s face between his hands, he pressed a kiss to his forehead. “No more lying,” he whispered.
“I know. I just… I’m older than you are, Jensen. If… I should be able to take care of myself,” Bo said.
“Eli, babe, asking for help and sharing the scary as shit situation you’re dealing with don’t mean that you can’t take care of yourself. It means you can take care of yourself well enough that you know when to delegate in order to protect your mental health,” Jensen said softly. Bo nodded. “I’m going into the station today. I think I could benefit from looking over the case file that’s been built up over all of this,” he said.
“Sure. Umm, the Ammut replication is a separate case. I didn’t let them know that it relates to me,” Bo said.
“I’ll let David know, okay?” Jensen questioned. Again, the blonde nodded. “I’m gonna take a shower. I feel slimy as hell after reading those notes. Join me?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there in a sec.”
“ ‘Kay,” Jensen whispered. He kissed the top of Bo’s head as he climbed off the bed. “I love you, Eli. I’ve got you covered on this monster.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Thank you.” He reached out and squeezed Jensen’s hand. “I love you, too. I’ll meet you in the shower, okay? I’m just going to go ahead and start another pot of coffee first,” he said.
Jensen nodded. “Okay. I’ll be waiting.”
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