James woke up in cold sweat like he usually does. His muscles felt tense, his fingers would be clenched tight, his heart racing and his breathing labored. His hair was wet from the excessive sweating and it just got worse and worse as the days progressed. He was more than just hot, he was sick.
Everything was on fire. All he could see was the bright flames in his room. He blinked a few times to make the vision go away but it didn’t. He was left suffering through his hallucination. He knew it was happening, he just couldn’t stop it.
His hand reached out in bed but there was nothing else in the space beside him. Was he anticipating that there was someone there? He closed his eyes again and took a deep breath. It was hard for him to breathe, however he managed.
He wanted to calm down.
But he was incredibly sick.
He lifted himself up slowly and he pushed his mess of curly hair back from his face. The fatigue put weight on his shoulders. He knew he had to work today but he thought he shouldn’t just because of how hard it was for him to get up.
He’s been sick like this for days, only getting worse with the days to come.
He won’t go to the hospital even though he knows he should. Something about tests and getting his blood drawn made him slightly paranoid about people finding out the truth. He couldn’t go.
So he pulled himself out of bed and walked slowly to his bathroom to wash his face and get himself together enough to make himself breakfast and hopefully get the strength to go to work.
His face and hair was dripping wet when he walked out of his bathroom and into the hallway. His eyes were bloodshot and he had circles under them. The frown that marked his face added years to his appearance. He was not happy at all.
And it didn’t help when he saw Sorrel sitting on the counter, waiting patiently.
“Morning, sharpshooter.” He smiled widely. James rolled his eyes and made his way to the kitchen. “Are you going to make breakfast?”
“Make your own food.” James mumbled.
“It’s better when you make it.” He said.
James looked up and stared around his apartment. There was something missing. He hadn’t noticed ever since he woke up but something was gone.
He even went searching but he couldn’t find what he was looking for.
His kitten was gone.
He turned towards Sorrel and waited. They had this conversation almost every morning yet James doesn’t want to pay attention. Apparently he wasn’t going to have his way, not with how dominant Sorrel always was.
“Looking for something?” Sorrel was still smiling.
“You’re the devil.”
“But you’ve known that.”
Sorrel yanked on James’ arm to pull him back closer to him. He’s known that James was sick for a while now. He put his hand to James’ forehead to feel how high his fever was getting.
“You’re sick.” Sorrel has been telling him for the past couple of days. Though he thought it was more than just physically. “We should go see someone.”
“Sometimes you forget who you are. And you’re a little moody when your fever gets high.” Sorrel cared too much.
He wanted James to get better.
He pressed his hand on James’ cheek, his fingers rubbing on the stubble on his face. His skin was burning hot. James couldn’t go with a fever for days. That wasn’t healthy.
“I’m going to work today.” James said quietly, looking away.
There was just something that made him uncomfortable. It wasn’t being too close, it was just...there were other things he had to deal with. James’ heart was racing from the pressure. These past couple of days have been difficult on him.
He would do anything to get away.
But even knowing that, he’d still prefer to stay around.
“You don’t have to go to work.”
“I’d rather go-”
“If you can handle it then I won’t stop you.” Sorrel said willingly, letting go of James.
He was sure that James wouldn’t make it through the day. So he’d check on him later and force him to get help. It’s not like James was clear headed now.
Sorrel usually had to fix everything, but even if James was being hostile, Sorrel didn’t mind.
Elijah was having a busy day. He had a lot of people to talk to, he had to sort through the missing persons list and his last victims. There were only a few connections between some, and other connections for others. It wasn’t enough to make a clear statement. However, that just means the kills aren’t completely random.
He wanted some insight from someone who he doesn’t work with. Elijah had a hunch about the killers but he wanted his co-workers to find out, he didn’t want to just tell them. If they don’t figure it out on their own, then maybe what he thinks could be wrong.
Elijah went to see James again.
Maybe he wasn’t busy today.
“Mr. Blair has been feeling a little sick.” His secretary said.
Was that supposed to stop Elijah? It wasn’t going to. All he had to do was show his badge for his secretary to know that it was official business.
“I won’t be long.” Elijah said as he walked by.
He did notice that James looked a little pale a few days ago. Did he catch something? Elijah hoped that it wasn’t contagious. He just wanted to stop by and talk about his case for five minutes. With the new evidence that came up, it would be great to talk to someone that thought like he did.
He walked into James’ office quietly. James’ head was down on the desk because he couldn’t sit up straight anymore. His papers were spread out everywhere once he miserably failed to keep organized. He wasn’t taking any calls or messages. James was having a difficult time getting through and Elijah could see that rather clearly.
“I heard you were feeling sick.” Elijah said.
“I think I might die.” James said and he was being serious.
He wasn’t one for getting deathly ill but he has had the worst couple of days. It’s not like he could skip work either. He definitely didn’t want to go to the hospital though it seemed like he might need to in a couple minutes.
He took a breath and lifted himself up so he could sit up straight in his chair.
“Is there something you need?” James asked politely.
Even then he tried to be nice. He was sick, feeling like he might pass out. For all Elijah knew, James might’ve been day dreaming right at this moment. He looked tired and hot.
He needed to see a doctor.
But he felt like James may have been stubborn.
There has to be something to cheer him up.
“We got new evidence for the case. The others can’t put the pieces together, but I wanted to know if you could.” Elijah said and placed a file down on the desk for James to look at.
Elijah took a seat and gave James time to read over it.
He was really sick. It took him a little longer to read. He was pale and sweating. His hands were shaking too but he was reading to the best of his abilities.
James was thinking hard to himself too.
He had to stop himself from making his cry for help.
But he opened his mouth and his delusions formed into words.
“One of murderers is into theatrics. Maybe his occupation has something to do with that.” He said quietly and closed the folder quickly.
He shouldn’t have said anything.
“That’s what you think?” Elijah didn’t even come up with that. He didn’t think it would go as far as occupation. But maybe that’s why the murderer was such a visionary.
“That and they’re close by to the Opal hotel considering the last two victims are associated with the place.” James explained.
He had to bite his tongue.
He couldn’t say anymore.
Elijah thought about it. Maybe it was safe to make those assumptions. A murderer that has an occupation in theater. Elijah didn’t want to limit it to just that. A murderer that’s a performer. That fits better. James gave him the idea.
“Wow. I could roll with that.” He said.
James looked down. He was hesitant and more twitchy than normal, and that was because he was sick.
But he had this feeling like he made a mistake. He won’t be the one fixing it.
“Well, I’m not going to take up more of your time considering that you’re going to go to the hospital...right?” Elijah asked as he got up, reaching for his folder. He wasn’t suggesting that James get checked out, it was more like a demand. “If you need me to, I can call someone over and get you escorted.”
“N-no, I’m fine.” James insisted.
Though he wasn’t fine.
Elijah chose to believe him despite seeing how he looked. He would come by another time when it was more convenient for James. They could talk about the case more. It’s nice to get some input from an outsider.
James was feeling lightheaded all day. He sat quietly, trying his best to finish up his work before the end of the day. He was pale and sweating from his fever that hadn’t broke in days. He could barely keep his eyes focused.
He thought it may have been his anxiety and paranoia. Was he having a panic attack or maybe he was actually sick.
He’s been hallucinating for the past few hours.
That’s how he knew something was very wrong.
He wouldn’t go to the hospital, more like couldn’t. Whatever made him resistant, it might kill him because he needs help and fast.
He put his head down when he heard someone walk into his office. The only other person that comes in unexpectedly was Sorrel. He thought James wouldn’t last a minute longer being this sick. It’s not healthy.
He came over during his break. He wanted to check on James, knowing very well that he would be tired and delusional.
But was it all because he was sick or maybe it was mental.
Sorrel has had a feeling for a while that James would be more than just resistant physically and sure he would try to force James to behave as well. There was so much going on that maybe James was stressed.
Or maybe it was fear.
“I know a guy if you want me to call him.” Sorrel said as he walked over to the desk and hopped up on it.
James mumbled something but didn’t lift his head up. Sorrel looked at James’ hair, noticing the dull curls. James lost his shine.
Sorrel couldn’t stand it.
“I swear to God, if it’s rabies-”
“It’s not rabies.” James mumbled.
“I told you to not bring strays home but you don’t listen.” He said, slightly annoyed.
James lifted his head up, his eyes still closed. Sorrel put his hands on James face, feeling his skin to check how high the fever might’ve been. James was so hot that he was sweating; Sorrel pushed his hair back to feel his forehead, the heat rushing against the back of his palm.
“I know a doctor.” Sorrel said.
James was sure he could get over the sickness but it’s been a few days and he’s only gotten worse.
“I’m f-fine.” James was persistent.
“You’ve been hallucinating, right?” Sorrel knew. “You have nightmares at night, too.” He didn’t seem worried.
In fact, he was annoyed.
James opened his eyes slowly. He could sense the low burning anger inside Sorrel. It should be minor right? Sorrel doesn’t really have a temper, did he?
“What’s wrong?” Sorrel asked when he thought there was a glint of fear in James’ eyes. “Are you feeling guilty?”
Why would James be guilty?
Did he feel that way?
He couldn’t answer. He breathed heavily from his sickness but he couldn’t answer the question. He might pass out at any second because he was feeling so weak.
Sorrel needed answers and he didn’t like when he didn’t get them.
He lifted James’ head up to look him in the eyes. Was it guilt and remorse? Why was it wrong for James to feel that way? Sorrel didn’t like it. He continued to look James in the eyes, trying to figure him out, but when that didn’t work, Sorrel had a quick solution.
James didn’t notice when Sorrel took a pen off his desk and uncapped it, but he did feel it when Sorrel used it to stab his hand. The tip of the pen pierced through the back of his palm, but Sorrel forced it deep enough to dig into the desk as well. James could barely even make a sound from the pain.
It was so sudden.
The blood began to spill from his wound, dripping on his desk. James tried to flex his fingers but he couldn’t. The pain pulsed all the way up to his arm.
“You better hope this is an actual disease instead of some dumb fear.” Sorrel had a feeling that there was more going on.
James’ eyes fluttered as he did his best to focus enough to get the pen out of his hand but Sorrel wasn’t letting go and James was too weak. The pain was immense but James struggled to make a sound.
“Are you feeling guilty?” Sorrel asked, this time wanting an answer.
“N-no.” James could barely hold himself up now.
“Then get your shit together.”
James’ hallucinations were coming back again. It was hard to separate what was real or not. The only reason he didn’t lose himself was because of the pain in his hand.
He felt so weak.
He felt like he was going to fall deeper into that darkness he tried so hard to get out of.
He can’t take this like Sorrel can.
He wasn’t ruthless like Sorrel was.
Sorrel gripped James’ hair with his other hand, forcing his head back so he would be able to see the anger on Sorrel’s face. “I can gut you with this pen. Don’t think I won’t try it.” He whispered.
James thought he was in actual danger. His hallucination was making it worse. He could see a fire. Everything was on fire. And because he was sick, he actually felt the heat. His other hand reached up slowly and weakly, and moved to Sorrel’s neck. His fingers could barely tighten at Sorrel’s throat but it was a start.
At least Sorrel knew James wasn’t completely useless.
“You need to see a doctor.” Sorrel said as he let go.
James felt this need to die instead.
“I’m f-fine.” He lied.
He moved his hand away from Sorrel’s throat, and pulled the pen from his other palm. He continued to bleed but all he could do was look at his hand. It hurt. That was the realest thing he felt. Pain.
“It’s rabies.” Sorrel got off the desk. “I’ll be back, I’m getting my friend.” He said as he left.
James didn’t want to be seen by anyone, especially by someone that owed Sorrel a favor. It’s never good when Sorrel manipulated people. He ruined lives and he did it on purpose. He enjoys it too. There was nothing that made Sorrel happier than being the sole influence to someone’s demise. James needed to get away or he would drown in his anxiety.
All he did was put his head down though. His hand rested on the desk, still bleeding from the wound. James watched quietly, seeing the deep red cover his skin and spill on his desk.
He didn’t like the color of blood in the light. He told himself it was better at night when it looked black.
What made him think that?
He closed his eyes. His fever was getting higher and his hallucinations started once again. He just needed one moment where things weren’t such a mess. He needed one moment where he wasn’t swallowed in his immense guilt.
He was so guilty and he knew it.
He just couldn’t tell Sorrel that.
James constantly had nightmares at night. He could barely ever sleep. He went one day without drinking and it hurt because alcohol was the only thing that could calm his nerves. Did Sorrel stress him out? No. It’s what they did that made James constantly fear for himself.
What has Sorrel done that makes James so uncomfortable?
Within just a few hours, James had his hand stitched and he was given a cocktail of antibiotics and remedies to fight whatever he was sick with. Sorrel was sure it was rabies but they didn’t discuss it. The doctor was doing a kind favor, though he was forced into it. James won’t see results for a few hours but at least he was treated.
“Stop bringing strays home.” Sorrel said as he helped James walk outside. He figured that James needed to be home instead of working himself to death. Even Sorrel decided to take the rest of the day off to take care of him.
The least James could do was behave.
“I want a dog.” James said quietly as they walked together.
Apparently his small kitten went missing and James was sure Sorrel had something to do with it. He always does.
“Will that make you happy again?” Sorrel looked towards him.
“I don’t like what you do to me.” James stopped walking and he faced Sorrel, standing on his own. He meant what he said when he said it. “You know I didn’t want this.” He said, more defeated and depressed than anything. “I shouldn’t...What if I...” He didn’t know how to say it.
What if something went wrong? What if something happens? What if he can’t pull himself back?
Sorrel knew James wasn’t very enthusiastic when it came to certain things. He would only get a few bursts of happiness at a time, then settle into his quiet, lonesome mood as he grieved and tried to bargain with his sins. Sorrel could never understand. Why was it so hard for James to let go?
“You think I’d let anyone hurt you?” Sorrel asked kindly, clearly forgetting that he stabbed James with a pen earlier and threatened to gut him. “I already told you, you can have your fun. I’ll clean up the mess.”
James knew that. It’s just...
He had an affinity for what he tried to fight so hard against.
Even if he wanted to tell Sorrel he couldn’t do it, he nodded obediently.
He could have his fun. Sorrel will clean up the mess afterwards.
There was no doubt that he was protecting James, watching out for him, making sure that nothing happened to him. That kind of feeling doesn’t come overnight. Sorrel wouldn’t let James get hurt.
James knew that.
But one day he will break and he knew Sorrel would not pull him back.
That was the whole point.
So James could do what he enjoyed so much and not have to worry about what to do when he’s done.
“How are you feeling about tonight? Are you up for something?” Sorrel asked.
“Can I get a dog?”
“What’s with you wanting a pet? You can’t fuck a dog! But you know what you can fuck? Me. I don’t understand why you want to hold on to some fucking pet.” Sorrel complained.
James didn’t say anything as he stared at him. He only wanted one thing.
Sorrel groaned miserably because he couldn’t say no. “Fine. But only if you give me what I want tonight.” He agreed on that condition.
James smiled. Seems like tonight will be something to remember then.
The next morning, Elijah was up bright and early when he got a call about another murder. No one would describe details over the phone, it was something he had to see or it wouldn’t be believable. So by seven in the morning, as the sun was just rising, he was standing right at the crime scene, staring at a body that was completely drained of blood because it was everywhere.
“Jessica Langely. Mid twenties. Owned a small boutique on the mall strip at the beach.” Joe said to Elijah.
Her insides were completely exposed. She was cut open and all her organs were pulled out in a mess but still remained in the open cavity. There was a mess of blood around her body and all around the concrete walls and the ground of the alleyway.
“Our killer isn’t a surgeon. These cuts are amateur. All he wanted was to victimize her.” Natasha explained. “Her throat was ripped open by fingers.” She walked around the body and pointed to the wounds.
There were bloody punctures done by fingers. The killer must have gripped her much harder than normal because it’s not usually like that.
“As you can see clearly, all of her organs were pulled out, and not gently might I add.” Natasha continued. “This was quick though, the killer doesn’t seem like a fan of torture considering that his victims are dead before he mutilates them.”
“Neither of them are.” Elijah said to himself as he walked around the body.
There was a trail of blood. No one had noticed it yet, but it was hard to since there was blood everywhere. Elijah had wandered off to see where the trail of blood led to.
He stopped at prints on the wall. It wasn’t perfect but he could see it. Both prints could be distinguished, and they looked different. It definitely wasn’t from the victim, her hands weren’t covered in enough blood to make a print on the concrete.
He narrowed his eyes.
It’s like he could see the placement of the hands. And then he could place bodies based on the prints.
When he closed his eyes, he could immediately picture it. He felt the heat, the wild passion that may have been expressed, the sensation.
And then it finally hit him.
His eyes snapped open. “Oh my God.” Elijah almost shouted. “They’re fucking.” He turned back, yelling at everyone that was at the scene.
It was unprofessional but he didn’t care because he just had a revelation. “They are fucking.” he pointed to the wall.
“How do you get that from just a smudge of blood?” Natasha called out.
He waved them over so he could show them. This was a ground breaking moment for him for some reason and he had to share it. It’s like he had an epiphany. How did this solve anything? He didn’t know but he found out something new.
“Put your hand here.” He told Joe.
“Do it.” Elijah picked up his arm, and put his gloved hand to the wall. He waved the other over. “Nick, come on.”
“I have to show you.” Elijah was serious. He moved the two of them the way it made his vision fit.
Joe had his hand on the higher bloody print. Nick was in front of him, his hand on the lower print.
“These two killers are involved.” Elijah said loudly. The two investigators moved aside when Elijah finally made his point.
“So what, like a murder couple?-”
“I’m not going to take that question seriously.” Elijah said.
“I don’t think we can actually take the accusation seriously.” Natasha said as she eyed the prints on the wall. “You can’t deduce that people are together based on bloody hand prints.” she said as she looked at the concrete.
Though she did realize where Elijah was coming from.
“Still not rolling with it.” She shook her head and walked back to the body so she could continue examining it.
Elijah was going to hold on to what he thought.
The killers worked as a pair. Does that mean they were committing the crimes together? That would ruin the two separate groups of murders. That would mean it’s just one group and all the murders would be classified under it.
But Elijah didn’t think of it like that.
“There’s makeup traces again.” Natasha called. “It’s the same from before.”
Why would makeup be involved? What is this killer doing? Elijah kept asking himself questions. He thought maybe the killer wore it. He came to the conclusion that this killer was a performer, that would make sense since performers do wear makeup.
So who wears that brand?
Elijah continued to look at all the blood. It was everywhere, but he followed the trail of blood that led to the wall again.
For some reason he could picture it.
He felt it.
These two killers were definitely a force to be reckoned with. And by the way Elijah thought that they were exclusive, these two killers were playing a game. The least of their worries was getting caught.