Chapter One: Detective Gunnar
-Six Years Ago-
Luka Gunnar looked down at his cell phone as it vibrated. His sister was calling again.
How hard is it to screw in a damn lightbulb? He thought as he stared at her name on the screen.
He knows she’s calling for more than just the light in her apartment being out. She misses her big brother, and he must admit, he misses her too. But his job takes a lot of his time.
“Is there something you need to take care of?”
Luka looked up at his captain. “No, sir.”
“Then please pull your attention back to the board, Detective Gunnar.”
“Yes, sir.” Luka said with a nod.
They have been chasing this nut job for the past few months, and always a step behind the bastard. He’s killing differently every time, to throw them off, but the idiot seemed to forget to change the knife he used. Their forensics specialist, Nancy Wolfe, had found that the blade used on all six murders, had been from the same knife.
That means one knife, one killer.
The idiot may change where he finds the women, or where he stabs them, or how many times he stabs them, but he has never changed the damn knife he used.
This is where having a favorite weapon will bite him in the ass.
Now all they need to do is slice through the suspect list, and Luka had his sights on suspect number one, William Nash.
Luka looked down when his phone vibrated again.
The captain stopped talking and looked at Luka. “Do you need to take that out into the hall?” He asked as he pointed to Luka’s phone.
“No, sir.” Luka said with a shake of his head as he turned off his phone.
“As I was saying.” The captain continued as he turned back to the board. “We think he will strike in this area next.” He said as he used his stick to point to a street on the board.
“Hey, isn’t that where Darcey lives?”
Luka turned his head to his partner of the past two years, then turned back to the board. His heart dropped to his stomach. His partner was right; the captain was pointing to the street where his sister lives.
She’s a college student now, but she insisted on having her own place. He didn’t blame her, though. The dorms here, suck.
“She’ll be fine.” He said with a nod as white flames of hot liquid shot through his body. “She doesn’t fit the profile.”
Luka knows he’s right about this, at least.
The last six women the man had killed, had been between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five and had had brown hair and brown eyes, and above-average height of between five-seven and five-ten.
His sister is five-two, with blond hair and blue eyes, and had just turned twenty.
When the captain finished and dismissed the room, Luka moved out into the hall and turned on his phone. He had two messages. He dialed his message service and listened.
“Hey Brother, just calling to see if you’re coming over tonight. I got on a stool and replaced the stupid light bulb myself. Almost fell over, but I got it done, aren’t you proud of me?”
Luka smiled with a sigh of relief as he listened to his sister’s message.
“Anyway, I’ll make your favorite for dinner if you come over. Mom finally gave me her secret ingredient. Do you want to know what the secret is? Brown sugar! Can you believe that? All these years, and it was a simple thing like brown sugar. So, I’ll start fixing it now, just in case. Love you!”
Luka let out another sigh of relief as he waited for the second message to play. His blood turned cold as he listened to his sister, whisper into the phone.
“Luka, someone got into my apartment. I don’t know how; I know I shut and locked all the windows as you told me to. I even had the deadbolt latched. But I know I had heard them. I had gone to the bathroom, and as I headed through my bedroom, I heard a noise in my kitchen. I know it wasn’t rats, it was too loud to be something like that. I’m hiding in the closet, as you taught me. No, he found me, LUKA!”
Luka listened to his sister scream as the man dragged her from the closet. His face paled as he listened to someone beat on his sister, then the phone disconnected. He stared at the blasted thing in his hand, his heart somewhere in his throat.
“Luka, are you okay?” His partner asked as he approached.
“I need to get to my sister!” Luka hollered as he ran from the station.
Abraham Princeton stared after his partner, then turned to an officer. “Tell the captain we will need backup at Darcey Gunnar’s apartment.” He said before he took off after his partner.
Abraham jumped into the passenger seat just as Luka was pulling away from the curb.
“What’s going on, Luka?” He asked as he watched his partner.
“This.” Luka said as he lifted his phone and turned the speaker on, so his partner could hear the message.
They listened to the message in silence. Abraham’s face paled as he listened. When the phone cut off, Luka pulled his phone back and hit the speed dial for his sister. The phone continued to ring, and he threw the phone, almost hitting Abraham.
“I should have answered her call instead of turning off my phone!” Luka hollered as he slapped his hands against the steering wheel.
“From the sounds of it, we wouldn’t have had the time to get there…”
“We could have tried, damn it!” Luka hollered as he pulled against the curb in front of his sister’s apartment and jumped out without turning off the motor.
Abraham pulled the keys from the ignition, then followed his partner into the apartment building.
Luka stopped outside his sister’s open door and turned to look at his partner. He gestured with his hands for his partner to go right and went left, towards his sister’s bedroom. Luka stopped when he saw the blood was everywhere in his sister’s room.
This wasn’t the normal stab and run. He did this in anger…
He found his sister on the floor, just outside the closet, her phone still in her hand, her eyes staring blankly up at the ceiling.
“Darcey!” He hollered as he rushed to his sister’s body.
“Don’t touch her!” Abraham hollered as he caught his partner’s arm. “Don’t mess up any of the evidence he may have left behind, this time.”
“But it’s Darcey!” Luka cried out.
“I know.” Abraham said as he surveyed the room. “This isn’t his normal MO.” He observed.
“Does it matter?” Luka asked with a hitch in his voice.
“It does to the judge and jury.” Abraham said as he moved closer to his partner’s sister.
“I can’t stand to look at her like this.” Luka said with a growl, then turned and left the room.
As Luka moved into the living room, he saw his captain and several other officers enter the apartment.
“Detective Gunnar.” The captain said as he joined his detective in the living room.
“It was him, captain, I know it was.” Luka said as he stared at the wall.
“I’m sorry.” The captain said with a frown.
“I should have been here…”
“Don’t blame yourself, detective…”
“I don’t.” Luka snarled. “I blame that son of a bitch who killed her and all those other women…”
“Your sister doesn’t fit the profile.” The captain said as he watched the young detective.
“He did this to throw us off his trail then, or maybe he had found out that she’s my sister…” Luka stopped talking.
Maybe this is my fault.
“Sir, you need to see this.” An officer said as he stood in the doorway to Darcey’s room.
“What?” Luka asked as he turned to the officer.
“You stay here.” The captain said as he laid his hand on the detective’s shoulder, then turned to the bedroom.
Luka huffed as he followed them into his sister’s bedroom. Abraham was holding Darcey’s left hand up as he examined it. Luka moved in closer to see what his partner was looking at.
“She fought back.” Abraham said as he held up her clenched fist.
Good girl, Sis. Luka thought as he stared at the clump of hair in his sister’s fist.
“Finally, some evidence.” The captain said with a nod. “Wrap it up, boys; I want to get her to the forensics, tonight.”
“Don’t I get a say in that?” Luka asked as he followed his captain out of the room.
“Your parents do, yes.” The captain said with a nod. “Speaking of which, have you called them yet?”
Luka froze, he hadn’t even thought of his parents. They will freak out and blame him for this. If he wasn’t a detective, his kid sister might still be alive.
Luka stood back as he watched his mother cry in his father’s arms.
“I’m sorry.” Luka said as he fought back his own tears. He has been fighting them all night. “She’s dead because of me…”
“Don’t beat yourself up, Son.” His father said as he held his wife. “I’m sure you tried to save her.”
“We got there as soon as we could, sir.” Abraham said, interrupting his partner. If he let the man, he would put the entire world on his shoulders.
“When can we see her?” Luka’s mother asked with a hiccup.
Luka looked at his mother. “We can see her tonight. They will want your permission to let the forensics team do an autopsy and see if we can catch her killer.”
“Of course.” Kole Gunnar said as he watched his son. “Are you okay, Son?”
“He’s beating himself up, sir, and he hasn’t cried.” Abraham said as he watched his partner.
“Luka.” Lesa Gunnar said as she moved out of her husband’s arms and walked over to her son. “You need to cry, get it out.”
“I will cry after we catch the man.” Luka growled. “Until then, I need my full wits to find the bastard.”
“Oh, Luka.” Lesa cried as she fell against her son.
“I’m sorry, Mom.” Luka said as he held his mother. “I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me.”
“We could never hate you, Son.” Kole said as he placed his hand on his son’s shoulder. “We may not always like your job, but that’s because we fear for your safety.”
“And I’m grateful for your job.” Lesa said as she looked up at her very tall son.
He’s even taller than her husband. She sees so little of him now that he’s a detective; she had forgotten just how tall and handsome he is. But he will always be her little boy, no matter how big he gets.
“We know you will find the man responsible and bring him in for your little sister.” She said with confidence.
“Thanks, Mom.” Luka said as he closed his eyes.
He promised himself that no matter what it takes, he will find the man who killed his little sister and give him the justice he deserves.
Watch out William Nash; I’m coming for you.