Whisper softly or you're dead

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Chapter 22

A common link?

Michael was pleased. The finding of the body of Sherylee was tying the police in knots. He had never rated the ability nor competence of the police team highly. His sources at the precinct told him they believed there might be three killers and the first man was weak and feeble. This might explain an inferiority complex which sent him out to tame and dominate women before he took his anger out on them. He might be impotent which could explain his anger.

He laughed. A weak libido had never been his problem. Keeping it under control was a different i

ssue and finding the right woman was downright impossible amongst the women he knew at work. He didn’t socialise. Most of the women he met outside of work were whores; painted and loud and he didn’t rate them. They didn’t understand him and disliked his appearance which was a trifle unusual, even he would admit that.

The men he worked with tolerated him but didn’t want to go to the bar nor invite him to any matches or to the gym. He was happy with that. He thought they were fools even those with high IQ’s. He just wanted his perfect woman and then he could take her and retire on his savings to somewhere hot and isolated away from prying eyes.

The killer picked on vulnerable girls, but why these girls? wondered Defoe. The ones that had been discarded years ago had been medical students attending different colleges. Defoe traced where they had been studying. He wanted to know if the medic who murdered had also attended these colleges or even taught there. Two of the medics who had moved away had given visiting lectures, one on genetics and the other on grafting skin. One of the girl’s lecturers had explained how in awe the students were of these medics.

Enough to make them trust him or her absolutely. They were touched by the stories of one woman who changed the lives of others who had otherwise been scarred for life. The surgeon had given the patients back their lives and reasons for their existence. The geneticist had brought them to tears explaining how he had enabled infertile women to have babies by developing new fertility techniques.

Defoe found there were ten medics in the area who had moved between hospitals over the last six years. Four operated in accident and emergency, two specialised in paediatrics, one in genetics and three were surgeons dealing with burns and skin grafts. There were five men and one woman who they needed samples from.

He still needed a link between the U.N.S.U.B. and the other victims. What connected an agency worker, an art student, a girl scout, a High School student wanting to be a model, a prom queen, a secretary and High School student wanting to be an actress? On his suggestion, Cradley sent an officer to the parents to investigate the girls’ attendances at venues the U.N.S.U.B. might have frequented. Had they attended the same talks or conferences or concerts?

Chase spoke to the Prom Queen’s Mom. She said the girl who was a straight A student wanted to attend med school. She had attended a careers’ conference given by 40 medics at the university hospital. Defoe intended to match the names of the medics to the names of his list of suspects. At last, he thought he had found a connection.

It was more difficult to find links for the girls with each other girl and the U.N.S.U.B. They would have to dig deep. What link would an art student have with the medic? He finally found Cherry’s brother had just graduated from his final year of medical school and she had attended his graduation ball. This was the first grown up ball she had attended, and she had been greatly admired by all the young medics there. He requested admin to find a list of the attendees.

The other three girls had no medical connections at all. He had drawn a blank. The woman who impersonated Cassandra Sanders was supposed to be rather artistic and theatrical in dress and in her mannerisms. Perhaps the art and theatre community were the link. The U.N.S.U.B. was clearly a brilliant actress and might have taken drama classes. More searching and they found Mary Jane had been a keen drama student in the local community theatre group until she had dropped out of college. She had attended workshops at the university. Perhaps there was a link between a med student or lecturer who attended med school there and this woman.

Louise was different. She was not arty at all. She rejected the bohemian look, preferring to dress like a smart city girl. Angie investigated her hobbies. She was a keen sportswoman, hence her toned and muscled physique. Her dad paid for her to attend the same private gym he worked out in taking her at weekends to the next big town. It was a fashionable gym attended by the elites in her area, wealthy and privileged, like him a top-ranking city advocate. Angie would run the list of suspects through the list of members there.

The Girl Scout had been the most difficult one to find a link to except for Sherylee who he now believed was a red herring, placed there by the killer to distract them. She was a quiet girl who studied and was a loner, excluded by her local community of girls. She rarely went out except with the school on visits and with the girl scouts. Richmond didn’t believe the U.N.S.U.B. had found her by accident.

Every contact was carefully planned by this man and the murders prepared in advance to the last meticulous detail. She was a nature enthusiast and had written an article about conserving animals in her local paper. The U.N.S.U.B. must have read this and targeted her after reading she was a keen girl scout and camper in the wild. Easy pickings for a clever man with a female who would help him disguised as the scout leader.

Sara fitted the general pattern of being naïve and vulnerable. She was unhappy at home and relied on her boyfriend for attention and moral support. She wasn’t a virgin but only her two best friends knew she had secretly met Jim at motels. Everyone else still thought she was as pure as the driven snow if a little love struck. The killer might have been hoodwinked. She behaved very childishly for her age and dressed very modestly for a fifteen-year old girl. Her draconian mother made sure of that. She had no connections with any medical school nor acting group outside of school. Yet this girl was not an opportunistic pick up, Defoe was sure of that. The slashes were designed to distract as were the words on her stomach, but he had selected her carefully as his target.

Finally, he struck lucky. The school had entered her for a scholarship for an arts grant to a drama college. The scholarship was financed by the uni Mary Jane had studied at. The uni tried to attract kids from poorer neighbourhoods. Neither Sara nor the mother had been told for fear the mother would put a stop to it as she believed an acting career would steer Sara down a path to moral deviance.

Sherylee had no connections with the killer as far as he could tell. The school she had attended was a sink school where no students gained places in any illustrious college or med school. They were lucky if they passed High School. Sherylee had been an achiever in her pauperised, low expectancy


They had found the canoe from which the man watched the girls at the lake and were examining it for evidence. Nothing much had been found, he was immaculately neat and clean. A few hairs had been discovered and these might not be enough to provide the clue they needed to his identity. Defoe cursed under his breath. Science had a long way to go before reality caught up with the shows like CSI, where scientific tests could prove almost anything. So far, they did not have a clue what he looked like, the girls had only seen him from a distance. From the foot-prints the police thought he was probably no more than average height.

The woman was a different case. The police were tracing the cards she had given the girls. They were printed professionally but it was like finding a needle in a hay stack, there were so many small printing companies in the region. The killer was clever. The car was a nondescript family car, and no one had noticed it. The police were getting frustrated and feared he would strike again.

The modelling agency had sent a picture of the scout. As expected she looked nothing like this Cassandra Sanders. The girls had given a good description. She was taller than average and her rather sculptured severe features with high cheekbones and creamy slightly freckled skin made her stand out. The girls had said her skin seemed unnaturally pale for such a dark-haired woman, so he suspected she wore a wig. She had worn large dark sunglasses so her eyes were disguised. The police artist had made a drawing the girls thought was accurate, so it was a start.

This description differed in part from that of the scout mistress who was tall and buxom. If these women were the same lady she had played her different roles well. The scout mistress appeared a rustic with low heels and a strong regional accent from the ‘deep south’; a voice that seduced the listeners with her soft lilting tongue. The model scout had a refined North-Western city accent with clipped vowels and perfect enunciation of her words. The ex-model had walked tall and proud at a fast pace as if her time was precious whereas the girl scout mistress had tended to amble along as if time was of no importance.

They were now building up a profile of a tall, slim flat chested woman with muscled arms. Her eyes varied in colour, so she probably wore coloured contacts. She could vary her accent which meant her natural accent was probably neutral, a WASP. She was an excellent actress. She knew about art and read the papers.

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