Cain was woken up by the shrill ring of his mobile phone.
Cain looked at the screen before he answers, groggily.’ What is it, Rigby?’
’It’s Tania…..He got to her about half an hour ago. She’s dead.’
At first, all Rigby hears is silence.
’Fuck, fuck, fuck, Fuuuuuck!!!.....What time is it?’
’Just coming up to midnight.’
Cain sighed and then said. ’Tell me more.’
After listening to the limited details, Cain knew that it was going to bad and he knew a strong stomach was required. It also seemed that Rigby’s thought process on linking the vegetables and timing was correct.
Damn it, Cain said to himself. It was only two days since Mingle’s murder. His head would roll for this.
But he had to admit the thing that had thrown them all was the timing. That’s what this guy was good at. He liked to mix things up, which was the main reason why he had not been caught. Was it brilliance or blind luck?
Rigby had arranged to meet Cain in Barnes at the safe house as they were coming from different directions.
Cain pulled up and got out the car to find himself in a blaze of camera flashes. Someone had tipped off the press that there had been another murder in London and the press knew it was “Front Page” material when Cain turned up. The murder must be linked to the City Serial Killer.
’No comment,’ was all Cain could say as he pushed his way past the Police cordon and in through the front door.
’Yes Gov,’ she replied coming down the stairs.
’Who tipped off the press?’
’Neighbours we think. Anyway, nothing we can do about it now. They have seen you, so we can expect an even bigger reception when we leave.’
’What have we got?’
’It’s him. Has to be. Tania was electrocuted in the bath. It is safe to go in now. The lamp used has been disconnected. It’s still lying in the bath. Tania at least had a quick death we think compared to the others. There are no injuries that you would associate with torture but it was still a horrific way to die. She was tied up hand and foot and thrown in the bath. Then a pumpkin was put over her head which we know is one of the vegetables left to be used from the Stringer list. Dr. Slaney is already up there. Due to the rope burns on the wrists and ankles caused by the restraints, Dr. Slaney believes that Tania was conscious and aware prior to the lamp being thrown in. We have to assume she knew what was about to happen.’
’Do I really want to go upstairs?’
’If I had the choice again I wouldn’t. It’s not the visual image that I can’t get out of my head, it’s the combined smell of burnt flesh and pumpkin. It’s vile.’
’Do we know how he gained access and subdued close protection?’
’He came through the garden via the railway track. DC Fisher who was stationed in the kitchen popped out to the garden for a cigarette. He was hit over the head with a shovel. He is on his way to A&E with a concussion. DC Hurst and DC Blake who were out the front were unaware of anything. They had one missed radio contact that they let go for a while. They only raised the alarm when they re-checked about ten minutes later and there was still no reply. That gave the killer a potential window of forty minutes. They hadn’t even noticed that the house had lost power.’
’We think she was listening to music in the lounge. She was hit from behind. The same spade was used. It was left behind the sofa. Wounds to the back of DC Fisher’s head and Tania’s head are similar and representative of the shape of the spade. There is dried blood on the spade blade. Dr. Slaney’s will crosscheck blood samples from Tania and our officer to confirm.’
’For once he was in and out quickly, but still, he was brutal and deadly,’ Cain said. ’What has bugged me since I received your call was how did he know she was here?’
’That has me as well. The circle of knowledge for this place has been kept very tight.’
Cain went upstairs and surveyed the bathroom and living room. Everything was as Rigby had described. He went down to the kitchen and out into the garden. Nowhere was there a sign of a struggle. The killer had known exactly what he was walking into. That concerned Cain greatly.
After he returned upstairs he told Rigby that they should get away before the press pack really picked up a head of steam.
They left and drove directly to the station. It was just coming up to3.30 am.
Cain turned on his computer. The station's press officer was already sending him emails with excerpts from online press articles about the latest City Serial Killer murder. Thank God that they had not got the name of the victim yet. Then the calls for his job and head would roll in. There were already further references to his state of mind. One article did worry Cain in particular. It referenced a recent complaint made against him concerning his harassment of a member of the general public. That had to be Ratner putting the boot in.
Before Cain could call the team together his mobile rang. It was Chief Inspector Critchley. He was straight and to the point. He asked if Tania was the victim? Cain confirmed she was. He said he needed and wanted a report on his desk within the hour summarising what had happened. The phone connection was then cut.
Cain walked out into the operations room.
’Okay everyone, gather round. Thank you for coming in so early this morning. I know that you are already aware that Tania Fanshawe was murdered late last night. It was our killer. We can discuss the details later. What I want to know now and more than anything else is, how did he know where she was? Answer that and we will have the key piece in the puzzle to catching this fucker. Get to work.’
Cain left them to it. He was already going through the options in his own mind. Were they followed? It was the most logical. Or were their computers hacked? Doubtful but it needed to be looked into. Maybe someone had blabbed? It was always a possibility, but again he doubted it. Or another theory and the most outlandish of them all, was the killer was one of them? A killer living and working at the very heart of the team trying to catch him. Cain dismissed the last option almost immediately.
Cain needed some positive information for his report so he called DCI Wainwright to see how he was going with tracking down all the residents at the orphanage at the time of Marlene’s murder. His feedback although not negative, wasn’t positive either. They had worked all through the night and had managed to contact thirty people which was about half the list. He told Cain that his team had pissed a lot of people calling them late into the night and in the early hours of the morning. But at least all those people could now be eliminated as their alibis were quickly crosschecked. They were working on the remaining names. He was also coordinating with Rigby to get the protection order removed from Terry Cox’s file.
Cain briefed him on Tania’s murder and his concern about the killer knowing the location of the safe house. He thanked him and said he would call back later.
I sat in my basement going through the details of each of the murders. I had recorded them all in great detail to make sure that I have not messed with any of the requests that Marlene has made. No death in my eyes has been wasted. They all go towards the completion of my task. I am now very close. I can feel it streaming through my veins. Just reading through each release eases the itchiness that is lurking under my skin, waiting to break out.
I realise though that I have made mistakes. The police are getting closer. I am still questioning myself about how they knew I was at Billcliffe’s apartment. I have to admit as well that the photo fit is a good likeness to me. It makes me look fatter which I don’t mind, but I do worry about when I was seen? I am scared that I may have left DNA at Tania’s flat. Then I was shouted at by that fucking dog walker that I bumped into. What the fuck was he doing out so late at night? I was running out of luck. The last two releases needed to be carried out soon.
On a more positive note, I am liaising with my next victim via Facebook using my Mandy alias. I am using the same rouse that I used on Trevor. I have already gained her interest on MEET and replied via Facebook. I am now so close to the end I don’t care if they run a trace. Maybe they will link the email I use to an IP address that I use regularly. They will only be able to run a trace once they search her flat and find her computer and work out I have used a fake Facebook account. By then the bitch will be dead anyway and I will be long gone. I will need to make sure she is not discovered for a while as I draw in DS Rigby. She will be my last.
I read through my notes again. I have written a checklist after every trip to the flotation tank and every point has been ticked off so far.
I must speak to her before I go to bed. Recently I have been seeing Marlene in my bathroom mirror after taking a shower. She appears through the steam in the mirror. Her features are not clear, but to me she is perfect.
I go upstairs to my bathroom and shut the door. I turn on the hot water taps in the shower, bathtub, and sink. Soon the mirror is clouded over. I wait and eventually she appears. I ask her if she is ready for the final releases?
’Yes, my chosen one. Make them suffer like no others, make them different. Tania was good but it was too quick.’
The following morning I get up early and walk around to my next victim’s home. I know she lives just off Essex Rd in Islington. It is a first floor flat behind the library. After a short while, I manage to gain access to her building and with a quick lock pick, I am inside her flat. I run my hands across her things and inhale her vile scent inside my body. I am so excited. My skin just wants to explode from within.
Cain had moved into the station’s conference room. He was looking through Marlene Stringer’s old case notes sent by DCI Wainwright. There was new information. The key to the case had to be here Cain thought. He had dissected the notes into sections, which were now laid out across the conference room table. He was reading each and every piece of paper making his own notes.
He had the list of witness statements of all the orphanage residents to one side. Cain called the local authorities police liaison, Kemp, and told him he was sending across a list of names that he wanted cross-referenced against all existing and previous bar license holders and applications. Kemp, as usual, was antagonistic and evaded what was really being asked while posing his own questions. Cain was not interested in what Kemp had to say and asked him to just review the list and send his reply as soon as possible.
Cain knew that the clock was still ticking before the next kill. The team was grabbing at straws especially after the shock of Tania’s murder. It had hit the team hard and most were feeling deflated. Cain reminded them that that was how the killer wanted them to feel. Cain said that they needed to prove the killer wrong.
Rigby was searching through Mingle’s smartphone. It showed his use of the dating website MEET and that he had set up a meeting with a woman called Mandy for the 25th November via Facebook. A quick call to the MEET office provided little help. The manager that Rigby spoke to was initially helpful and said there was no usable information on the account. The address given was false and no credit card had been used to activate the account. But they did say the user had logged into the account the previous evening. Rigby requested the activity log for the last month. The manager then became less helpful. They said once the required warrant was sent through they would provide the data. He had to protect his client's privacy. Their client was innocent until proven guilty.
Cain returned to his office from the conference room. He was going through the files that had been dropped into his in-tray when he saw the report of a transvestite's murder. He was glad it was not their case but he could not resist looking and opened the folder. Cain started to read the notes. His interest was suddenly raised when he got to an interview with a club doorman. He had stated that on the night in question there had been a large queue. He recalled a guy from Thames Water being there to check the premises. The doorman said that the fact that they were visited was normal but that late at night was unusual.
Cain looked at the case boards. They were looking for someone that moved like a ghost around the bars. He called Simmonds to his office. Cain wanted Simmonds to take the Thames Water photo fit around all the bars for the staff to look at. Agreed it had be posted across the press but no harm in asking directly.