There had been a murder near the beach. It was quiet for so long that no one thought the murders would continue, but they started up again. It was four in the morning and the waves barely moved. A chill breeze filled the air as everyone worked on the scene. Apparently, if a runner hadn’t spotted the scene from the boardwalk, the dead body wouldn’t have been noticed till the sun started rising.
There was a man laying in his own pool of blood, a weapon in his neck and an open wound extending from his chest down to his lower abdomen. The blood pooled in the wound as well and he suffered organ damage.
The scene wasn’t messy with blood which seemed sort of odd to those that worked. Maybe someone else killed this man.
“Kurt Veras. Mid forties, was a manager for a hardware store. Was stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver about three hours ago.” Natasha said as Elijah walked around the body. “He drowned in his blood.”
Drowning. That gave it away.
Elijah knew who did it.
“Another weapon, probably a dull knife was used to gash through his abdominal area vertically, his organs not in tact.” She continued, pointing out the mess that was seeping through the open wound.
“Hm.” Elijah narrowed his eyes.
Something was wrong.
“Most likely he was standing up with the amount of blood that spilled and then fell upon death.” She said to him.
Elijah didn’t have to think much about this one. All he wanted was to know why. Was this one random too? Essentially they were random, but something seems off.
“This was done in a rush.” He said, crossing his arms. “It’s not like the others...” He turned away, thinking that there was more, that there was something missing.
There were prints in the sand, just one set of footprints and they led off the beach, but there was no extra blood, not even a trail of it. All the blood remained around the dead body in the sand.
“He stayed clean.” He said to himself.
“...Elijah?” Natasha had her hand on his shoulder, stopping him because he was beginning to walk off in a daze.
He was so lost in thought. He was sure something was missing.
“There’s something else.” Elijah told her.
“Well not from what I’ve seen.” She said.
The death was straight forward. There was nothing extra. The man was killed and that was it.
“Maybe this is something else...Elijah...”
He was walking off again. Natasha followed in a haste. She didn’t want Elijah thinking it was the two killers he was trying to catch if it was someone else. There was a chance it could be someone else.
“Elijah, you’re not thinking straight.” She walked beside him. “The scene isn’t bloody, there’s nothing really graphic, there may be a motive.” She listed for him.
“No...” Elijah was still thinking. He was sure he was right. “There’s something missing...”
He continued to walk over to May who was talking to other officials from a different county. Another investigator found something and as courtesy, they wanted to let her know in person. He was concerned by what he found.
“...another body found on our side. It was gruesome so we thought it might belong to you.” He said to May and looked at Elijah when he walked up to them, Natasha behind him.
“Any weapons?” May asked.
“A dull knife. We found two traces of blood.” The investigator said.
Elijah narrowed his eyes again, his lips mashing together as he tried to think hard. He was betting the blood samples belonged to both victims. The same weapon was used.
“He...moved.” Elijah wasn’t sure if that meant anything.
Twice in one night. By the same murderer. For the other killer, Elijah would’ve expected it but not this one. This one was out of character. This one didn’t make sense.
“What do you think, Elijah?” May asked since she saw he was having a hard time. It looked like Elijah didn’t believe what he was seeing.
"Might be someone else.” He lied, already knowing the absolute truth.
“Three groups now?-”
“No, this one might be separate.” He continued to emphasize that there was a slim possibility that it was someone else. “Just some killer that thinks they can get away with it.” He didn’t believe any of what he said. He turned away again to leave.
He knew damn well who did it. He just wanted to know why. It wasn’t the usual just for fun, just for entertainment. If it was for entertainment, there would be blood everywhere but it wasn’t like that. This scene was like any other scene. The second one, maybe not, but the two were connected.
The foot prints led off the beach. Elijah assumed he left and took someone else to kill. He physically moved to another location. Why do that extra work? He could’ve killed two people right in the same place. So what did this mean?
Elijah knew something had to be there.
He was sitting on that kind of information all night.
Even when he got into work, all he could think about was if there was a hidden meaning. He didn’t want to talk about anything else other than what last night meant because he knew there was something there. He was in a daze, barely listening until they needed him to speak up.
“... Elijah!” May had to snap him out of it.
He looked up quickly, finally paying attention to the briefing of the murder from the past night.
She was even talking about the second one that wasn’t in their area.
“You think it’s him?” May asked, pointing her pen to a picture of Jaymin on the board.
“It definitely wasn’t him.” Elijah didn’t hesitate.
“This was to...” Elijah didn’t finish. It was to send a message. Not to everyone, to him only. He just didn’t know what it was. “Anyway, we know it wasn’t Jaymin. It was too clean. The second one wasn’t, but the first one is definitely linked to the second one. He didn’t do it.” He was sure of it.
“Well if it wasn’t him, there would be no reason for him to flee again, right?” May asked.
Elijah was confused.
“We traced back to one of his identities, Sorrel Huo, and everything has been completely cleared.” May said. “No open accounts, no open records, I’m guessing he no longer works at the hotel, everything is all gone.”
They were so close. And if Elijah had spoken up sooner about him, they might’ve gotten him. But he couldn’t think of a moment that made him decide to leave all of a sudden. It’s not like he was exposed, unless he was about to be.
If Jaymin was gone, that meant Morgan was too. He didn’t believe that was true. It was such a rush that he didn’t think it was possible. That’s what the fake ID business was all about, getting people out before they’re caught. Morgan tried to stall but it wasn’t long enough, was it?
So did they really leave?
“I’ll be right back.” Elijah was up out of his seat and out of the room.
He had to be sure it was true before he made any other assumptions. He didn’t think being able to leave would be that easy. Morgan was stabbed for helping get one of Jaymin’s guys arrested. That means he was important.
They were delayed.
Elijah bet they were still delayed.
He went to check the apartment, but there was no one there. The landlord told him they left the night before. He went to the law firm where Morgan worked. They told him James Blair accepted a position out of state, he left the night before.
They were gone.
“They...moved.” Elijah said slowly as he walked on the sidewalk.
They had moved.
He was hit hard with realization. They moved. Like the murder from last night. He moved.
From near the beach to the other side of the city.
They weren’t gone. Not yet.
Morgan was still here, and that was his way of telling Elijah. Granted, it was still murder, but it’s not like he would be able to find a better secret way of telling him. He knew Elijah would figure it out. Plus it was safer. Jaymin shouldn’t find out, at least not now.
The hard part would be finding who they were and where they were.
If he was lucky, Morgan would give another clue.
As he walked down the street, planning to head back to work, someone bumped into him, and it was aggressive too. Elijah wouldn’t have said anything but he thought he was pickpocketed. When he turned back around to see who it was, they just blended in with the group that was walking the other way. He didn’t even notice someone coming towards him until he was hit.
He checked his jacket pocket to make sure his keys and his wallet was still there. And sure enough, they were.
But there was something else.
It was a piece of paper.
The name on it read Amanda Correa. There was an address to wherever she was on it.
“I fucking swear...” Elijah huffed under his breath.
He didn’t like these kinds of tricks and games. Sure, he didn’t like things straight forward either, but this made it seem like he was being toyed with.
And he was, there was no doubt about it.
Elijah went back to the station, still mildly confused and desperately wanting to finish this up so he could take care of business. The others were waiting for him, just as confused as he was. He just upped and left in a hurry without so much as an explanation when he came back. He tried to make it seem like it was no big deal.
He had a plan, it was a broad and vague one but it would be a start. If he could get something to hold on to, then it was fine.
“What we need to focus on is finding everyone that Jaymin might have connections with.” Elijah said. “Clearly he has people doing things for him.”
“Lets put a hit out on anything that seems suspicious. Someone’s bound to know him.” May sighed as she turned around.
They would have to go through a lot of people before actually finding something.
Elijah felt for the paper in his pocket. He had a lead on someone at the moment. This time he knew better than to arrest her for her involvement but he should come right out and question her about whatever she was doing. No deals, no intimidation, no threatening. All he needed was answers.
“Hey, Ben.” Elijah walked up to the young officer when he left the room. “Could you look up this woman for me?” he asked.
“Amanda Correa...” Ben looked at the paper Elijah gave to him. “Looks like the address is near that rich side of the city, all the condos and everything.” he said.
“What’s over there?”
“It’s luxury, man. Everyone just throws money over there.” Ben said in disbelief, like he wanted to be there. “This woman is either a banker, a business owner, has a rich husband, or all three.”
“Find her for me.”
“Sure thing.” Ben said, taking the paper with him.
Elijah believed he would find actual answers with Amanda Correa. He got her looked up and found she was a wealthy business owner. Her husband was as well. Elijah took a look further and found out why she was so rich. He wasn’t here to expose her, unless he doesn’t get what he wants. All he really needs is a tip or someone to give up Jaymin.
After that it’s all done.
Elijah found himself staring up at a building, a tall one. Today was bright, so the sun’s light reflected off the windows. Every person that walked out was wearing a suit and tie. Elijah mashed his lips together as he continued to stare. What was he going to find if he went inside? He was eager to know what was there but it couldn’t be read with the nonchalant expression on his face.
He walked inside and asked to speak with the woman, being directed to the top floor of the building. He showed his badge to the secretary outside the woman’s office doors. He didn’t give her a chance to say anything, possibly warn her, he just walked inside to see her standing and looking outside her windows.
The view of the city was breathtaking, at least to her it was. She never got tired of it. And she could see the ocean from how high up they were.
“Mrs. Correa?” Elijah said, closing the door.
“Yes?” She barely turned.
“I’m an agent working with the police. I have a few questions.” He said, tucking his badge away in his jacket.
“A few questions...” She repeated quietly. Then she turned to face him. “Don’t you have a name?” She asked.
“Elijah Milen.” He answered for her.
She smiled and took a step forward. Her eyes were a deep brown and shimmered from the light. The shade matched with her blond streaked hair that was neatly turned back. She brought her arms down by her said as she walked.
“Mr. Milen...” The woman in the white suit walked around her office, picking up two glasses and a bottle of champagne. “Bulgarian?” she turned to look back at him.
“On my father’s side.” Elijah said, looking at the view.
“And your mother?”
“Interesting.” She smiled as she brought him a glass. “I truly love immersing in different cultures.” she said.
This wasn’t what Elijah came to talk about, but he had to assure her that he wasn’t a threat. All he wanted was some answers.
“I didn’t plan on staying long, Mrs. Correa. I just had a few questions,” he said but he couldn’t turn down the champagne.
He’s worked with these types of woman before. They owned a lot, did most of the work, their husbands were the prizes in this case. Elijah wanted this to be a conversation, and that’s how Mrs. Correa would present this. Nothing more than a conversation about interests.
Elijah would be polite.
“Please, have a seat.” she said, gesturing for Elijah to take a seat in the chair behind him. “What do you need?”
“Well, I just wanted to know if you know this man.” He went inside his jacket pocket and pulled out a photo of Jaymin.
She took the photo from his hand and sat down next to him in the other blue chair, crossing her slender legs. She got a good look at the photo.
She recognized him, but this photo wasn’t recent.
She figured he did something but she didn’t know what. She needed to be as vague as possible to protect herself.
“Looking for him?” she asked.
“We are actually.” Elijah was going to be upfront.
“I can tell you I’ve known him for a few weeks. I stayed at the hotel he worked at for a few days with my husband.” she pressed the glass to her lips.
“Were you two intimate?”
“Oh no, not me.” she laughed, hinting that someone else got the benefit. “I mean, the interest was there. But we had other things to talk about.” she continued to laugh to herself.
Would she lie about what she did? Was it shameful?
Already she was hiding details.
“This is off the record, Mrs. Correa. I’m not interested in anything that you or your husband does. I just need him.” Elijah said, assuring her that he didn’t care about what she did.
“I don’t do anything-” she smiled, pretending to be ignorant to the situation but Elijah knew she had quite the record.
“You launder your husband’s money from his drug business, right?” Elijah wanted to show her it wasn’t a bluff. He knew about her. He wouldn’t walk into this blindly. “You’re really good at it, except for a few minor details, which was how I found out, but like I said, I’m not interested in you.” He said.
She nodded slowly, realizing that it wasn’t a game.
She took a breath.
She set her glass down. “Have you seen the news, Mr. Milen?” she asked, pulling her laptop back from her desk. She opened it up, and the first thing to show on the screen was a news article.
“Mr. Matias was killed last night in his cell. Well, apparently it was a suicide.” She said to him, though she didn’t believe it was suicide.
Elijah hadn’t heard about that. He didn’t think Joey Matias would kill himself. He was content with going back to his country if it meant keeping his family safe. So killing himself didn’t make sense at all. That’s because he didn’t. He was murdered.
It’s not like family was a boundary, but Jaymin didn’t feel that evil for someone so small.
Elijah figured that Jaymin got someone on the inside to do it. That didn’t sound hard to accomplish.
“He was killed...” Elijah knew.
"This is what happens when we talk.” She said. “I didn’t need the proof before, but this was enough to scare me.” she laughed to herself. “I knew Mr. Matias. He’s the one that got my husband in this country so this won’t be taken lightly.”
“What does he want?” Elijah pointed to the photo of Jaymin.
She took a breath before speaking. “Mr. Milen, I want to help but...” she shook her head. She couldn’t do it.
“I’m not here to get you in trouble either.” Elijah made himself clear. “As far as we’re both concerned, no one knows about you or that I’m here.” he assured her.
She took another deep breath. She needed a real drink, something that would loosen her up. But she just settled for her champagne. “He’s trying to leave, but for some reason, he’s stuck. He doesn’t know a lot of people in this area, so I’m told he’s trying to find someone.” she said.
“How long do you think that will take?”
“Well, I referred him to someone else this morning but this guy doesn’t lift a finger till he’s paid in full up front.” she said. “To get the kind of money he’s asking for, it could take days.”
Elijah didn’t know where Jaymin would get the money. In the back of his mind, he thought Jaymin would use this couple to get what he wants.
“Think he won’t blackmail your husband?” Elijah asked.
“He wouldn’t threaten to kill him yet. He would ruin my husband’s business and let the feds get him, then he would kill him.” She said as if those words were Jaymin’s exact words.
Right. Jaymin was all about torture and brutal pay back. He would kill Mr. Correa later.
“Here’s how this might go.” Mrs. Correa said. “I’m sure he doesn’t have an airtight, solid identity at the moment. Until he can get the money he needs to leave, every few days he will use a new one. It will be hard to find him by name, but he can’t leave. And knowing him, he does not like being on the run.”
“Did he ask you for money?”
“No, he’s not the type. He wouldn’t threaten it out of me either.” She shook her head.
Elijah thought there was something missing, and he knew Mrs. Correa didn’t know what that was.
Then he thought Jaymin already got it together. He was ready. If Elijah didn’t act fast, they would be gone.
“Could you possibly give me the name of the guy-”
“No.” She said before Elijah could finish his question. “You saw what happened to Joey Matias. I will not end up like him for talking.” she got up from her chair, pouring more champagne in her glass.
“No.” She said again, this time more serious. “I cannot help you further. Nothing comes out of my mouth.” she turned away.
Elijah got somewhere but not far enough. He needed more. He needed the name of the guy who was about to give Jaymin and Morgan their escape. If he was really supposed to know, Morgan would help out.
What was the point of directing Elijah towards Amanda Correa if he wasn’t going to get much out of it?
She was writing something down on a small piece of paper. She walked over to Elijah slowly, handing him the slip of paper that was between her fingers.
“Nothing comes out of my mouth.” she said again.
This was a kind gesture. If something happens to this man, Mrs. Correa is the first one to be killed. She knew that. So she hoped that Elijah would be good to her and keep what he’s doing to himself for a while, long enough for her to pack her own things and leave the country.
“Thank you, Mrs. Correa.” Elijah said politely and got up from his seat, setting the glass of champagne down.
He was not going to keep in touch.
He got what he needed.
He walked outside the building, looking down at the piece of paper. It was a phone number. Was it something he needed to trace? Even if it wasn’t, he was still going to anyway.
The day was a lot for him. At least he was getting further in his investigation.
He looked up and began walking to his car that was parked on the other side of the busy street. When he got inside, he looked back towards the building he just came out of. He thought he recognized someone that was walking in but he told himself that he got the wrong person.
He had to get back to work.
He told the others about the number he got and what the plan was next. They had to trace it to find who was on the other end of that line.
By five in the afternoon, they had everything to set up the trace. By five fifteen, they had a location, and by five forty-five, they were tearing down a business that a man used as a front to sell fake IDs and pull off bullet proof identities for people. They ruined absolutely everything that man had.
And even then he wouldn’t give Jaymin up.
Soon he would die, but first there was someone else who had the devil coming for her.
At eight o’ clock in the evening, a woman was found dead in her office. Her white suit was dyed red. There was blood all over on the walls and on the furniture.
Her body was placed in her desk chair, her organs spread out in front of her. There was a piece of rope that was in her deformed mouth, the rope tied at the back of her head. Her jaw was broken, barely holding on to her head. And her tongue was gone.
There was a look of surprise on her bloody face. Her brown eyes were wide open, probably how she died. She saw who did it. She knew who was coming for her.
Amanda Correa was dead. Later on that night, her husband’s business was set up and exposed, and he was found in the street of his neighborhood, his body beaten to death with a baseball bat as the murder weapon.
Elijah wasn’t fast enough. He knew that.
No matter what he did and how he did it, he would always be found out. The devil had eyes everywhere. And as much as he was trying to leave, he had no problem messing around with Elijah.
If Elijah wanted to play games, then that was fine. But he would have to learn at one point that he will always lose.