Two days after Helena’s meeting with Ryder Gianna showed up at Gianna’s office with a bag of her favorite takeout. She had a determined look in her brown eyes and she was glaring at Helena. “Why didn’t you call me after your meeting with Agent Lynch?” Were the first words out of her mouth when she saw Helena.
Knowing that this was going to be her friend’s reaction to ghosting her for a few days Helena held up her hands in a surrender pose, “Listen, you know how I get sometimes. I just needed a few days to recalibrate and take some time for myself. I was going to call you tonight, I swear.”
Gianna came further into the office and took a seat across from Helena, her frown had turned into a concerned look, “How did it go?”
Helena tapped a nail against the desk and considered her words carefully. “It went as well as could be expected. He considered me a suspect at some point during the questioning.”
“What?!” Gianna slammed her hand down on the desk causing Helena to jump. “How on earth does this agent think that you’re a suspect? I was with you the entire night when your parents were murdered. Plus you didn’t even know that there had been another murder!”
Helena reached into the bag and pulled out the fries and began munching on them, “It is what it is, Gi. He struck through it so I’m going to assume he doesn’t actually believe I did it.” Helena grew silent for a moment before saying, “I just want to know if this is the same person as before, or if it’s just another Ripper copycat.”
“I guess if they catch the person we’ll find out,” Gianna said. “But are you sure you’re okay, Hel? I just want to know the truth, you know I won’t judge you.”
And Helena did know that. Gianna had never judged her for anything and she would be eternally grateful for that. “I’m fine, I swear. It’s just bringing up old wounds, but now that he’s hopefully done with me I can move on with my life and not have to worry about it anymore.” Helena then looked at Gianna and asked, “So anything new and exciting on your end?”
Gianna knew that there was more bothering Helena, but she wasn’t going to risk pushing her too far, “I may or may not have a date on Friday.”
Helena instantly perked up, “Spill!”
Gianna became shy and shrugged, “It happened so quickly, I was at the coffee shop yesterday afternoon picking up for everyone and we bumped into one another. I accidentally spilled her ice coffee on her and I was so embarrassed, Hel. But she was so nice about the whole thing and we got to talking as I waited for my order. She invited me out for drinks after work.”
“What’s her name?”
“Jacki, she has these beautiful green eyes and a dimple on the left side of her cheek when she smiles,” Gianna had a dreamy sort of look on her face. “She works for some high-class fashion magazine. She’s a photographer and apparently travels a lot. She just got back from Paris.”
“I’m happy for you, Gi,” Helena told her. It had been a while since Gianna had been out on a date, her work kept her busy most of the time and it was hard to find someone when you were almost always at work. “I want to hear all the details on Saturday, you can come over and we’ll make pancakes like we used to back in uni.”
“We haven’t had an us day in so long, it’ll be good,” Gianna agreed as she cleaned up her trash. “Do you have any plans this weekend?”
Helena laughed, “I think you know the answer to that, I’m not as extroverted as you are.”
“I still think you should get out there, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you with anyone.” Gianna was correct, Helena had never dated in this lifetime. She merely shrugged off any and all suggestions at getting out into the dating world.
Helena waved her hand, “I’m fine, Gi. I like staying in my own little bubble, plus I have some work that I need to get done this weekend anyway. I can get a head start on it Friday night that way we can spend more time together on Saturday.”
Gianna let the subject drop and quickly said her goodbyes when she realized how late it had gotten. Her words rang through Helena’s head, but she shook her head. She had a rule for herself, there would be no dating or love in her life. It was easier this way anyhow.
Friday finally rolled around and Helena was excited to see Gianna the following morning to hear about her friend’s date. For once this week she was in a good mood, but as she approached her favorite coffee shop near the building where her office was she noticed a man sitting outside at one of the tables. He had a newspaper open in front of him and a cup of coffee in his hands.
To the untrained eye, he would look like any regular man, but to Helena, she knew that she was being watched. Apparently Agent Lynch didn’t trust her.
She squared her shoulders and ducked inside, acting as if she hadn’t seen the man sitting at the table. She wondered if she should call Ryder and ask him what gived. There was a chance he would deny it or tell her that it was merely a precaution. Glancing over her shoulder she noticed the agent quickly look back at the newspaper and she clenched her hands into fists.
The barista called out her name and she grabbed her order, looking back at the agent one last time she made up her mind that she was going to have to find a new coffee spot until she was sure Agent Lynch wasn’t having her trailed anymore.
The rest of the day went by much as the rest of the week had, uneventful for the most part. When she returned to her townhome and slipped off her shoes she felt most of her stress slip away. Pouring herself a glass of wine and pulling the leftovers of Chinese food from the night before out of the freezer she sat down on her couch and with a soft sigh.
As she ate she pulled out a notepad from her bag and began making a list.
Parents killed in a similar fashion to Jacquline’s MO
No calling card
Silence for nearly five years cooling-off period?
I could be a potential suspect
Agent Lynch is handling the investigation and is having me followed
There had been a small article in the newspaper about the killing, but there were no major details on the case. The author had mentioned the similarities to cases before it and of course, referenced the Ripper killings. Booting up her laptop she went looking through the web for any other information. Helena liked having a wealth of knowledge at her fingertips like this. She wondered what her time would have been like if computers and the internet had been a thing.
She then shook that thought away because nothing good would have come of it especially if Jacqueline had been able to use it.
Refocusing her brain she went through several articles about several killings, though she was able to rule them out because there were too many differences between them and her parents’ and the most recent murder cases. It really did seem like this was a major cooling-off period for whoever was committing the crime. And why wait so long? What would they have to gain from this?
There was no connection between Helena’s parents, herself, and the most recent victim. The most recent victim was a twenty-six year old journalist named Victoria Lane. She had been heading home after a late night at the office when the killer and attacked her in the parking garage of her office building. Victoria’s car had been one of the last remaining ones there that night and offered the killer the perfect opportunity to take her out.
Helena scribbled down the notes about Victoria and her case. Her mind wandering down the path of why her parents then? They weren’t alone, they had been in the parking lot of one of the local restaurants in the D.C. area, the parking lot hadn’t been almost completely empty like it had been for Victoria. The killer could have gotten caught a hell of a lot easier with her parents than Victoria.
Had the killer been waiting for someone else or was this a calculated attack? Had they known that her parents would be there and that no one else would be in the parking garage when they emerged from their evening out? For the moment it seemed like the killer was hitting parking lots later in the evening, but that didn’t mean that whoever was doing this would stick with this pattern.
Could these be victims be planned ahead of time and not victims of opportunity?
Helena laid down her pen and sat back looking at the note that she had just made. Her parents had a habit of going out on Friday evenings to the same restaurant at the same time. Victoria was often known for staying late at work to finish stories. If the killer was looking for victims they could be watching these people to know when the best time to strike was.
Jacqueline had been opportunistic in her killings. She knew the Whitechapel District after going out for a few weeks and familiarizing herself with the area. For her it was more about the thrill of killing, she liked playing God. She didn’t plan her killings ahead of time, she killed when the opportunity was right. Helena remembered a night when she had murdered two women. While the police were studying one scene she had killed another woman a few streets over before calling it a night and heading back to Helena and Elijah’s home.
This killer had the patience to wait things out, to observe their potential prey, and the right moment to strike. And that meant that right now they could be watching their next victim.
The woman sat in her car watching through the rearview mirror as the man exited the elevator and headed for the dark blue Toyota sitting several feet away from her own. He was out later than usual, but he was just a low-level member of one of the local politicians. The woman knew he was a secretary of some sort and could often be found running errands.
She looked at the clock on her dash and noted that it was nearly two in the morning. She was going to have to keep a better eye on him to see if she could figure out the next best time to strike. If she killed him it would definitely mix things up, and possibly shake up the FBI’s perception of who she was.
The man’s brake lights lit up her car in a haze of red and soon were disappearing down to the next level of the parking garage. The woman sat there waiting to see if anyone else was coming, but when there were no other signs of life she started her car and followed him out. Soon she blended in with the flow of traffic thinking of when her next kill would be.