Danielle’s stomach sank as she viewed the three new photographs she received in an email from one of the other agents working on the case. Her dark hazel eyes took in every single mark sliced into tiny faces and bodies of the three different children, her heart squeezing in pain at the thought of what the children must have endured.
The killer was slowing getting away from them. Day by day, more and more victims come in—young women and children only, no men—and day by day the sick bastard who did it fell farther and farther off their radar. Rage raced through Dani’s veins as she did took in all the detail done by the monster: thin cuts covered their cheeks, dark, thick thread woven through their eyelids to keep their eyes sealed shut, and the top layer of their lips being peeled off. Like all the victims he chose—the reason was why the was called the Tooth Fairy, all the photographs showed each child missing three to five teeth.
Their bodies just looked bruised and broken, like he had taken a sledgehammer to the tiny skeletons till he’d lost count. She could easily see the rope burn marks on their ankles and wrists from where they’d been tied up—was it so they didn’t struggle, or a sick fascination of the monster? Danielle could only pray that when he had broken their bodies the way she saw from the photos, that they were already dead and didn’t have to go through the pain that they would have surely endured.
The case was horrible all together. As of the start of her vacation, there was a total of five women and two children that had fallen victim to the bastards sick and twisted ways, and Danielle had been lucky enough to pick up the case on her first day. Two and a half months in and it feels as if she hadn’t gotten any closer to solving the case, then she had on day one back in June. And to top it all off, she had to put the case on hold, well her part on hold. Other agents would be in to work on the case, but how could she leave knowing these victims and their families needed her?Growling out in frustration, Danielle closed the email, slammed her laptop shut, grabbed a beer from her brother’s fridge, and joined the man watching a documentary on the tv in the living room. She dropped down right as a stressful sigh escaped her lips. Damien caught his sister from the corner of his eye and turned off the tv.
“Case getting to you?”
“He is a sick, twisted, evil, insane—and any other word that comes to mind—man. Why can’t we catch him?”
“Not all criminals can be caught Dani...”
That was the last thing she wanted to hear at the moment. “Don’t say that.”
“It stinks but it’s the truth, I’ve come across it and so has William. It’s a horrible reality we are all forced to realize.”
“Not this one,” Danielle hissed as she tossed the photos onto the coffee table, “Those kids deserve justice, Damien! Look at what he did to them! How would you feel if it was Clara or Wyatt that had been killed!? Would you be able to sit here and say that not everyone can be caught if it was their photos we were looking at right now?”
“That’s not fair.” Damien grumbled, but Danielle immediately shook her head and let a frustrated sigh crash through her lips as she ran her fingers through her long mocha hair.
“These kids are not any different Damien. They have families who care for them deeply, who have been shattered into a million little pieces that will probably never be able to be glued back together. These kids were daughters, and sons, and nieces and nephews...they all meant something to someone. Those people, who ever they are, deserve to see the man who took their lives from them, be locked up and killed.”
“You think he’ll get the death penalty?”
“He better. He doesn’t deserve to walk on this earth, Damien.”
“And what if you are given the opportunity to kill him? What if you find out who he is and then run into him with no one else around and a gun in your hand...will you shoot him Danielle?”
“If I have to.”
“We can only protect you from so much Dani.”
“I know Damien...I won’t be stupid...I—I just want this bastard behind bars already.”
“Everyone who knows about the case wants to find him and lock him up. You just need to make sure that you will have the strength to do the right thing when the time comes. He may be a criminal, but we still have guidelines that we have to follow.”
“I know,” Danielle dropped her head onto her brothers shoulder, her mind wandering back to the notes that she had read from the email, “Do you think I can do this Damien? Were they smart to put me on this case? I’m just a junior agent and I’m worried that I may not be enough for these victims…”
Damien stretched his arm over his sister’s shoulder and pulled her close. He had no doubt in her abilities, “You’re a Kensington Dani, this stuff is in your blood. This is the stuff that makes you who you are. If you ask me, the smartest thing they ever did was put you on the case.”
“Thank you Damien.”
“I love you sis. I really do hope that you are able to catch this guy.”
“I love you too.”
“You know what,” Damien walked into his kitchen still half asleep, nothing but a single pair of black basketball pants covering his towering body, “I think I could get use to fresh coffee in the morning.” With a yawn, Damien leaned against his island counter and grabbed one of the two cups of steaming hot black coffee from the center.
Danielle smirked at him, sliding over a plate full of fruit, eggs, and breakfast sausage, “You’re the one who chose to stay in New York. Mom makes breakfast every morning for Lauren.”
“I work here Dani.”
“Will and I could get you a new job…”
“The only thing that will ever make me give up my job, is a forced retirement...or my death. I love New York City, and I love being one of its detectives even more.”
“Well let’s just hope that it’s the forced retirement that gets to you first.”
“I’m always safe—” the shrill ring of his phone sliced through his words and brought the conversation to an abrupt stop. Without looking at who was calling, Damien grabbed his phone from his pocket and answered, “Detective Kensington…this early?...Alright, I’ll be there in a few…,” The detective looked up into his sisters eyes; she was already dressed, sporting her usual jeans, long sleeve sweater, and bed—brushed hair, “I’m bringing someone with me.” His finger tapped the end button and then he slipped his phone back into the pocket of his sweats. “Up for a ride along?”
“Really...NYPD is willingly letting a fed ride along?”
“Please,” Damien chugged the rest of his coffee and smashed down his breakfast like a mad man, “I’m inviting my baby sister, not a fed. Be back down in a minute.” Danielle laughed at her brothers comment and started cleaning all the dishes as Damien headed upstairs to change. After placing the last dish in the washer, she started the machine, and then walked to the front door, her brother stepping onto the last step right as she finished putting in her Pumas.
Damien jiggled his car keys to show he was ready to go and then the two of them left together, Damien slipping into the drivers side of his forest green grand cherokee jeep as Danielle slipped into the passenger side.
The drive to the crime scene wasn’t as long as Danielle had expected. Three songs had played through the jeep speakers, the base rattling the rear view mirror, and suddenly a crowd of the most noisiest human beings were in front of them. Damien stopped his jeep next his partners Neeson Titan, and got out of his vehicle without turning it off, “Stay in here for now. I’ll come get you when I know the situation and that it’s safe for you to come.”
“Of course, I mean I have no clue how to keep myself safe in this kind of situation…”
“You’re such a brat.” The jeep door slammed shut leaving Danielle to her own curiosity. She watched her older brother as he pushed through the crowd, stepped under the police tape, and joined his partner and forensic team where she was guessing the body was. Danielle couldn’t see much, but from the looks on their faces, it wasn’t good—no that was much too weak to describe the looks they held; something was terribly wrong. Slowly, like a growing rash, an itch appeared on Danielle’s lower rib cage. Dani scratched at it, the itch slowly moving to her shoulder and then down her arm. There was no pain as she dug her nails into the outer skin of her arm.
“Dani?” Gasping at the sudden voice, Danielle jumped over towards the driver’s seat, her heart racing in her chest she realized that her brother was now next to her with the passenger seat door open. “You okay?”
“Y...yeah. Bad feeling…” She whispered as the itch in her arm disappeared and a pit in her stomach formed. Oh dear God, I hope this feeling doesn’t mean anything.
“So uh...I need your help.”
“Well...remember those pictures you were looking at last night.”
“I’m sorry Dani, but I think that you have another victim.” The pit in Danielle’s stomach grew and her heart chilled. Sighing, Danielle grabbed her phone and followed her brother towards the crime scene. As she closed in on the tape, Danielle pulled out her wallet and flashed her badge towards the two police officers that were keeping the curious people away from the body.
The cops gave her badge a weird look, but they dropped it the moment Damien muttered something like a warning under his breath. At the sound of his verbal growl, to two officers forced their gazes away and Damien and Danielle continued towards the body.
“This is my little sister Danielle,” Damien started as they joined the man that was standing a few feet away from the body, “Dani, this is my partner Detective Aaron Cosco.”
“Sorry we are meeting on such bad circumstances.” He offered out a hand to Damien’s sister.
She takes it with a weak smile, “Same. The victim?”
“Victims actually. A young female and what could be her kid or a younger sibling. Damien here says he thinks that they might apart of the case your working on.”
“Only one way to find out.” Danielle took a deep breath and then walked over towards the forensic team that was still taking pictures. As she drew closer, chills ran up her spine and the world around her started to slow down.