Addison felt uncomfortable travelling with three other people in the large SUV. As she looked around the interior she was surrounded by stoic men in dark suits staring at their Blackberry’s. The iPhone in her pocket chimed, but she ignored it because the car was slowing to a halt. Before the engine was even turned off Addison was out of the car gulping up the fresh air, Rossum wasn’t far behind and almost collided with her because she had stopped dead.
She had never been a part of the scene before her, she had always visited the areas after it was all cleaned up, or before anyone knew there was a scene to look at. Looking at it now, she had to admit that she was impressed. The call had come in no more than half an hour before hand, but already crime tape had been set up and officials were questioning bystanders. Rossum nudged her slightly, and like a zombie, Addison walked towards the crime scene.
The brooding FBI agent pulled out a handkerchief and held it to his nose, he offered one to Addison, but she was already ducking under the yellow tape that said, ‘DO NOT CROSS’. The loose soil buckled under her feet, but she didn’t take her eyes off of the body in front of her.
A piece of blue tarp had been placed over the face leaving the young women’s make-up perfectly preserved. The rest of her body was naked and she was laying spread eagle partially buried in the soft earth. The clothing was piled neatly beside the body down to the expensive jewelry laid on top.
Addison knelt down and a police officer tried to stop her, but Rossum intercepted and pulled him away from her. He saw that she had a weird look in her eyes, one he had never seen before, and he suspected that it was a look that he ought not to be disrupted.
The victim’s perfume was the first thing that Addison noticed. The body had to be a recent dump because it had rained a few days earlier and that perfume smell was still potent and the victim’s hair still dry. Surveying the body, she saw no signs of torture, there was only one indication that this woman was dead at all and that was the 10 inch steak knife sticking directly out of her chest, but even that wound had been cleaned to the point that there was no blood anywhere on the victim’s body.
One of the police officers pulled the tarp off the vic’s face and Addison’s stomach lurched. Sure, she was used to seeing dead bodies, but they were mostly in photos, this was the closest she had ever voluntarily been in front of. The vic’s blue eyes seemed to peer at her, no, not at her, through her, judging her.
All of a sudden Addison was back in her childhood basement. It was where her father stored all of his dangerous tools. Addison was never supposed to go down there, usually there was a huge lock on the door leading down the steep steps, but it was unlocked that day. Standing at the top of the stairs Addison knew she had to go down there, her curiosity was overwhelming. She felt the wooden walls, her heart beating faster as she approached a large white door. Her small hand slowly reached for the knob, she needed to know what was behind this mysterious door that she had never seen before. Her skin made contact with the cool metal –
“Ma’am, are you alright, ma’am?”
She was pulled out of her fantasy by the officer that had pulled the tarp off the victim’s face. Addison smiled, “yeah, sorry, just lost in my own train of thought.”
“I know how you feel. This one is so young; she had a full life ahead of her.”
She nodded in the direction of the jewelry, “looks like she had someone who really cared about her as well, that engagement ring is worth about ten grand, not to mention the Cartier watch. This woman was definitely not a low risk one, this guy is confident, I would guess that this probably isn’t his first kill.” Addison’s well trained eyes zeroed in on the vic’s hands, she turned to the officer, “do you have a pen or something? I don’t want to touch anything.”
She reached into her breast pocket and handed the pen over to the mysterious girl suspiciously. Addison took it and slipped it under the index finger; she took a long look at it. Uncle Ross, could you come look at this for a second?”
The lady cop gave her a funny look, but Addison ignored it, though she could feel the curious glances. She saw a large figure kneel down beside her, “will you please stop calling me that?”
“Aw, but you’re my favourite uncle though, plus we are supposed to be keeping my existence on the DL remember?”
“Yeah, because me bringing my niece to a crime scene wouldn’t pull any attention. Is there a reason you called me over here, or was is just to torment me?”
She winked at him, “just a perk I guess. Look at her hands.”
Rossum gazed down and Addison moved out of the way so he could get a better look, “so what, she has a manicure. Have you seen her clothes, her hair? It’s probable that this girl was no stranger to having her nails done. It’s okay Grace, rookie mistake.”
He patted her shoulder and started to stand up, but Addison pulled him back down, “You seriously don’t have a clue about me, do you? Look under the nails, there is skin and blood under there.”
“Okay, so, she fought back, that’s good. Hopefully we can get some usable DNA.”
“Oh my god, do I have to spell it out for you? If she fought, fought this hard, any manicure that she got before the attack would be ruined. This job is fresh, it’s perfect.”
“He’s painting their nails?”
Addison pulled her brown hair over one shoulder and took a closer look at the vic’s face, “I don’t think that’s all he is doing. Her make-up is done, but it doesn’t look like her kind of make-up. If I’m judging by the clothing this is a business woman, the pencil skirt, the blazer. That is generally accompanied by basic make-up, foundation, a little bit of blush, mascara, and maybe some lipstick, but this bright blue eye shadow and pink lipstick? It just doesn’t fit. Plus, what female kidnapping victim have you ever encountered who hasn’t cried? Her mascara isn’t smudged at all.”
“He’s making them over. That must be why he leaves them in in such open places, he spends all that time painting their nails and doing their hair, he doesn’t want it to be for nothing, he wants them to be found like this.”
The breeze picked up and Addison stood, “That means there could have been victims that have been overlooked because the make-up didn’t seem odd, or the bodies weren’t found right away and his efforts had been ruined.”
Rossum stood excitedly, “We can look through some of the unsolved murders in the area. If we know more maybe it will help lead to this guy.”
Something on the ground caught Addison’s eyes. She kicked the dirt covering it over and examined the trinket on the ground. The effeminate gold chain looked familiar to her, “No need, I know who did it.” She turned to walk back to the SUVs, but turned her head, “you’re going to want to grab that bracelet, that right there is important.”
Rossum looked confused, but ordered someone to bag the bracelet. He ran to catch up to Addison so she could further explain. When he got to the car, she was already behind the wheel, “you’re not cleared to drive.” He said gruffly through the passenger window.
“Oh, stop being a grumpy old man. I promise I will drive very carefully. Plus you don’t know where we’re going, and I’m not very good at giving directions.” Rossum seemed to be unfazed by her batting eyelashes, which was rare for Addison, so she decided to try a different tactic, “you can stand there with that look on your face all day long if you want to, but I have the keys and I’m going to catch a murderer, with or without you.” She revved the engine to prove her point and Rossum quickly jumped in.
“Fine, but you are going to have to explain a few things on the way.”
“Of course, Uncle Ross.” She peeled out of the forested area, and when they were safely back on asphalt, she reached into the backseat and pulled her large purse into her lap. The vein in Agent Rossum’s neck was growing, and Addison knew that she was trying to avoid yelling at her, so she transferred it into his hands, “Go into there and pull out the file on Wayne Kratey, they should be in alphabetical order.”
His fingers weaved through the papers quickly while Addison’s eyes flicked from the road to the bag quickly. He pulled a thick beige folder out and double checked the name in the top left corner, “Kratey comma Wayne. Now what has this poor soul done to end up in one of your files?”
Ignoring the jab Addison aggressively punched her left blinker, “read out the first sentence, will you?”
“Suspect exhibits over-confidence in everyday situations. Multiple arrests for peeping and stealing women’s underwear – nice guy – Kratey’s appearance is very deliberate, except one piece of jewelry that seems out of place.”
Rossum lowered the paper and his eyes flicked to Addison, her eyes firmly on the road until she heard his voice stop, “The bracelet?”
“I knew I had seen it before. It’s just so dainty and I remember thinking that it didn’t fit with his macho man exterior, keep reading.”
“Neighbours of suspect’s family say it was a troubled childhood, they at first thought the family had a little boy, and a little girl about the same age. The mother wanted a daughter and would dress Kratey up as a girl on benders –”
“I think that’s why he makes them up, but then strips them to humiliate them like she humiliated him. The bracelet belonged to his mother.”
Rossum squinted his eyes at her, “How do you know all of this?”
“A while back there was a murder inside a college. Real brutal stuff, the girl was a bloody mess, found in the library supply closet. Kratey was scheduled for a late night delivery, but it was never completed. Police questioned him, but he said he got a flat and didn’t make it to the school that night. He also had an alibi; his mother said she and Kratey were on the phone when he got the flat and while he waited for help. He had a clean record, police released him, and the crime was never solved, but the girl’s underwear was stolen.”
“A clean record? Your notes say he was a peeping Tom and stole women’s underwear.” He reread the lines to be sure.
“Yes, but that was when Kratey was a minor, those records are sealed.”
“And how, may I ask, did you get access to them?”
“She looked at him with a smirk, “you can’t hide from me. Besides, when you have done this for as long as I have you learn to make a few friends.”
“So where are we going?”
Addison gave him an exasperated look, “We’re going to get him.”
“We don’t have enough to arrest him yet, Addison! We need to run the DNA. That bracelet could have been anyone’s!”
“I understand how law enforcement works. That crime scene is fresh, wherever he killed them is probably still covered with her blood, and there could be other clues there about others he’s killed. I can get a confession, but not with you.”
Rossum shook his head, “I can’t let you go in there alone, especially if this guy is who you think he is, you’re unarmed, and let’s face it, I doubt you could overpower Mr. Kratey.”
“Stop underestimating me. Put a wire on me, if shit gets out of hand you can jump right in.” Rossum was pursing his lips again, as Addison slowed to a stop in a residential area. She pushed it into park and looked at him, “Look, I might not be able to keep everything on the up and up.”
“Are you looking out for me?”
“Uh, no. I just don’t need you nagging me every five seconds. If you aren’t beside me, it’s going to be pretty difficult for you to stop me.” Rossum looked like he was thinking it over, “do you want this guy or not? I am your only way to land him before he kills again. I know this guy; I have been following him for over four years.”
“Fine,” Rossum rolled his eyes and reached for a bag in the backseat, “Unbutton your shirt.”
“Rossum, I’m flattered, but this really isn’t the time.”
He held a small microphone in his right hand, “It’s for the wire.”
Addison let out a small laugh, “duh, I was kidding.” She pulled her blouse off her shoulders and pushed her white lace bra towards Rossum. He slipped the mic onto the underwire and clipped the small receiver onto the bottom of her bra. Next, he pushed a flesh coloured bud into her ear, and one into his own.
He pulled another mic out of the pack, “can you hear me?”
“Yes, I am sitting right beside you.”
“I mean in your ear.”
“Yes, I can hear you, are we good to go now?”
“Well can you tell me the plan, maybe?”
Addison refastened her buttons and arranged her shirt so the wire didn’t show, “I go in there, get him to confess, then I walk back out here and you cuff him. We live to catch another murderer.”
“Listen, it’s going to reflect really poorly on me if you end up dead on the first day.”
“I’ve done this before, and I’m fine.” Before Rossum could argue, Addison hopped out of the car and walked to a small, red brick house. She swallowed the lump in her throat and knocked on the door. The familiar face of Wayne Kratey opened the door and slowly looked her up and down, “Mr. Kratey? I think you’re going to want to invite me in.”
“I think I’m going to want to invite you in too.” A creepy smile spread over his face and his bicep muscle twitched.
Addison fought the disgusted look that wanted to make its way to the surface, “I doubt you’ll be so happy once you hear what I have to say.” She waltzed into his living room and sat down on the floral print couch. Kratey took the chair on front of her and rested his forearms on his thighs, “We found your little project today, but you accidently left something behind. And by the looks of this place, you’ve been searching pretty hard for it. Don’t worry; your bracelet is safe in the custody of the FBI.”
Kratey’s face turned hard, “I have no idea what you’re talking about, I think you should get out of my house.”
Addison calmly crossed her right leg over her left, “I think I’m going to stay actually.”
“Then, I think I should probably call a lawyer or something.”
Addison heard Rossum laugh into her right ear, “Yeah, I’m not actually a police officer, so your rights don’t really matter to me. But I really need you to tell me where the rest of the bodies are because I know she wasn’t your first.” Addison lowered her voice and leaned forward, “We both know who your first was, don’t we?”
“I know that you’re crazy.”
“Samantha Tale.” Addison saw the red creep up on Kratey’s neck, “yeah, that’s what I thought. Now, I’ve known you’ve done it forever. Your criminal record is a bit more telling when you are able to get access to it.”
“So what are you going to do about it, you’re not a cop.”
“Yeah, but I have already talked to your mother. See, I’m a weird type of person. I like to solve crimes in my spare time. I don’t really have any vested interest in it, but I really need a confession, or enough evidence to prove I’m right. Now your mom, she was your alibi, was she not? But you weren’t talking to her were you? You didn’t get a flat. You killed Samantha, and then you slashed your own tire and got your mommy to lie for you to cover it up, but she didn’t know what she was covering up, did she?”
“Don’t talk to my mother.”
His voice was escalating, and it caused Rossum to speak up in her ear, “Addison, if you’re in trouble I want you to say something, something I will understand as a sign.”
Addison cleared her throat as a sign that she understood, “It’s too late for that, I’ve already talked to her. She knows something is up. Just tell me what happened. We can talk to your mom, we can make her understand, but you have to tell me what happened.”
Addison kept eye contact, but made her eyes soft and compassionate. Kratey teared up, “Don’t tell her, you can’t tell her!”
“I’m not going to tell her. What happened? Samantha was a bitch wasn’t she?”
“I thought she was different. I thought she was the one…”
“But she was just like the rest of us, right? She turned you down; she didn’t understand you, did she? She was scared of you.”
“It all happened so fast. I hit her with a hammer, and then, I just couldn’t stop.”
“I understand, you know who would understand even more than me, my Uncle Ross.” She annunciated ‘Uncle Ross’ so Agent Rossum would understand, “I’m going to go call him, and he’s going to help you.”
“I don’t want you to go. You’re different, you understand me.”
“Wayne, I’m not going anywhere. I’m just going to step outside and make and make a phone call, then I am coming right back in here, and we’re going to figure this out.”
Addison stood up and straightened her skirt; she pulled her phone out of her bra and walked towards the door. When she got there Rossum was already on the other side, “he’s all yours.”
Addison walked back to the SUV and sat in the passenger seat. Sirens sounded in the distance, in a minute two dark sedans pulled up to the house and Rossum pulled Kratey out of the house, he was thrashing around and yelling something at the officers who walked up to receive him. Rossum walked over to the SUV and hopped into the driver’s seat. He silently started the car and turned down the radio.
Rossum stared straight ahead, “that was dangerous.”
“But it worked.” Addison unbuttoned her blouse again and pulled the wires from under her bra and put it into Rossum’s hands.
“Addison, it could have gone a completely different way, he could have easily killed you.”
“I like to think it wouldn’t be that easy, I mean I would put up some fight.”
“It’s not a joke; I was terrified every second you were in that house!”
“Well, shit, Rossum! At least this time I had a little back-up. I do this, this is what I do. This is how I confirm whether or not people are guilty. I don’t hand them over to you until I am completely sure of who they are. Every name I have ever put on your desk I have been one hundred percent sure they are guilty. Funny enough, this is the safest I have ever felt speaking to a serial killer.”
Rossum’s icy stare melted a little, “Is that a thank you?”
“Not even close. Now can we please get out of here? Dealing with mass murderers always makes me want a shower.” She shivered a little at the thought, “and don’t think I’ve forgotten about you feeling me up earlier, you totally owe me.”