Eight weeks has passed since Isis’ encounter with the twins. She and Toni were suspended—with pay—pending the outcome of the charges that were brought up against them by the Internal Affairs division. A lawsuit against the N.Y.P.D. was also pending.
Isis stood in the bathroom staring at her reflection. “My niece goes on trial in two days. What the fuck am I gonna do?” she said as she stared at her face. Isis looked as if she’d aged five years.
She thought about the visit she’d had with her sister yesterday. Deloris had come out of her catatonic stupor weeks ago, but she still refused to talk to Isis. Pam was still in isolation at the Woman’s House of Detention on Riker’s Island. Pam was a shell of her former self. She’d lost weight, and her hair was a mess. She wore two large mittens on her hands to prevent her from hurting herself. Isis’ heart went out to her niece when she’d seen her.
Isis opened the medicine cabinet and took out a bottle of ibuprofen. She popped two capsules in her mouth and washed it down by placing her mouth under the faucet. These teenagers are ruining my life, she thought as she stared at her reflection again. A tear slid down her cheek. Isis felt useless.
Although she and Toni were officially off the case, Lt. Stone had made it his business to supply Isis with the case files of all the victims Stacey and Jannifer had erased since Isis had been sidelined. In fact, Isis had just received a stack of files--Detective Chalk had dropped them off. She and Toni had already gone over the files for the latter part of May and all of June, which contained the arrest records of each victim. All the victims were either rapists, child molesters, or pedophiles. The files also contained the autopsy reports, crime scene photos, and eyewitness accounts.
Thousands of tips had poured in from all over the city. The police commissioner appeared on CNN urging all teenage girls not to walk the streets in twos. All registered sex offenders were told to stay off the streets until the perpetrators were caught. Isis walked back into Toni’s bedroom. As Isis sat down on the queen-sized bed, she thought, thank God, Pam won’t be charged with any of those other murders. But that was of little consolation, because if Pam was found guilty of the murder of Derrick Simmons, she could go to jail for twenty-five years, and for a seventeen-year-old girl...that’s a death sentence.
Isis stared at the file Detective Chalk had dropped off. She had the files set up by the dates. She started going over them again. This time she focused on the conflicting eyewitnesses’ statements.
Folder-1. Witness name: Timothy Dalton, age 38. Date, 7/1. Statement: “The girls were Asian, like Chinese. They were twins.”
Folder-2. Witness name: Kandis Odin, age 40. Date, 7/2. Statement: “I saw two white chicks coming out of the apartment. They looked like twins.”
Folder-3. Witness name: Michael Myers, age 20. Date,7/2. Statement: “I saw two sexy lookin’ fat girls coming out of Cash Money’s apartment. They looked like they were sisters.”
Folder-4. Witness name: Janie Reed, age 54. Date, 7/3. Statement: “They were twin Hispanic girls, about sixteen years old. One of them spoke to me when she walked into the building with Jose.”
Folder-5. Witness name: Artel Miller, age 34. Date, 7/4. Statement: “One of them was a black woman with large breasts and a fat ass. The other was a white girl with small breasts. They look like they were sisters.”
“Oh, my God! These girls are freakin’ unbelievable...” Isis said to herself. “How in the world could they...” Isis let her words drift as she continued to read.
Folder-6. Witness name: Jasmine Guy, age 30. Date, 7/6. Statement: “They were twin girls, mulatto, or maybe white. About 17 years old. They were both in good shape, and they both had short, curly brown hair and their eyes were black like coal. And they both had a funny mark that ran across their mouths.”
Isis read the file over and over because Stacey and Jannifer did not use a disguise for that particular murder. Isis read the victim’s arrest record: Kyle Douglas. He was the director of the Louis and Mary Massey’s Foundation for Abused Children. He’d been arrested for DWI a couple of times. Isis wasn’t surprised to read Kyle Douglas had a cache of child pornography hidden on a USB.
Toni entered the bedroom. “I’ve got to go,” she said as she pulled a pair of jeans from out of her closet. “Kevin’s waiting for me at his shop.” For the past week, Toni had visited Kevin’s Masquerade & Costume Shop in the village to go over his surveillance videos. “I’ll be back in a few hours. Are you going to be okay?”
Isis stood up and kissed Toni on the mouth. “I’ll be fine. I’m gonna make a few calls.”
“Are you still going to call Detective Allen?”
“Yeah, something came to me last night and I wanna check it out.”
After Toni had left, Isis called Detective Flossie Allen. The detective picked up on the first ring. Isis asked the detective if she could do her another favor. She wanted the names and addresses of all the victims that survived an attack from a sadistic rapist from other states, then moved to New York within the last six months. Detective Allen told Isis that she would get the information to her as soon as possible.
Toni came through the door excited and out of breath. “Isis, Isis! Where are you?”
“I’m in the bathroom.”
Toni heard the toilet flush.
Isis walked out, drying her hands on the back of her jeans. “What’s up? Whatcha got?”
Toni grabbed Isis by the hand and pulled her into the bedroom. “We got them, Isis. We got ’em!” Toni was waving a DVD in her hand. She placed the DVD into the Sony recorder, picked up the remote, and hit play. “Wait until you see this.” Toni hit fast forward until she got to the place she wanted. “Tell me if you recognize these people?” Isis stared at the flat screen, then her eyes lit up.
What she saw was a complete shock to her. Her new neighbor walked into the shop. She was with the teenager she claimed was her granddaughter.
“Kevin said that they come into his shop all the time. He said that they’d bought a couple of fat suits one time, wigs of all kinds, body paint, and get this: there’s one particular item they always buy when they come to his shop...realistic, silicone masks.”
Isis’ truck came to a screeching halt in front of her building. She and Toni charged up the stairs. Mrs. Green flung open her door and asked what was going on. “Get back inside, Mrs. Green,” Toni said. “This could get violent—”
Isis banged on her neighbor’s door. Her neighbor lived in the apartment right above hers. “Open up. This is the police!”
Mrs. Green, who was standing at the bottom of the staircase, looked up at the detectives and said, “Isis, Ms. Hill isn’t home.”
“What?” Isis said as she stopped pounding on the door.
“They’re not home. I haven’t seen them in a couple of days.”
Isis turned her head in Toni’s direction.
“What? I know you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking?”
Isis didn’t bother to answer Toni. Instead, she waved to Mrs. Green. “Throw me the key.
“Isis, no, we can’t—”
Ms. Green looked at Toni. Then she stared at Isis.
“Ms. Green, throw me up the keys, now!”
Ms. Green did as she was told and threw the key up to Isis.
“Isis,” Toni said. She was standing next to her partner. “We’re not on the case anymore. What are you doing?”
Isis whipped her head in Toni’s direction. “I’m helping my goddamn family, Toni. That’s what the hell I’m doing!” Isis slipped the key into the lock and turned it. Before she stepped in, Isis removed her Glock.
Toni sucked her teeth before she freed her weapon.
The first thing Isis noticed was that there wasn’t a stick of furniture in the living room. Also, the whole room was painted snow white: the walls, the ceiling, the floors. It was the total opposite of the twins’ apartment in the village. She slowly made her way through the entire apartment. Nothing. “Dammit!”
Ms. Green called out, “Is it safe?”
Isis marched over toward the door. “When did they move out?”
Ms. Green looked around the apartment. “Oh, my word. Why did they paint it white?”
“Ms. Green. When did she move out?”
“I... I don’t know. I was away at my sister’s house on Long Island for a couple of days.” Ms. Green walked out of the apartment. “All this white is hurting my eyes…can we go downstairs?” Ms. Green told Isis that she didn’t see a lot of furniture when Mrs. Hill and her granddaughter had moved in and she hardly saw the woman.
Isis had asked Toni to go and get her forensic kit. Toni rolled her eyes. “We’re going to have to talk later.”
It took Toni three hours to dust and probe the entire apartment. There wasn’t a single trace that the apartment was ever occupied. Isis could see that her partner was upset with her. “There. I’m done,” Toni said. “Can we get the hell out of here now?”
The drive home was a yelling match. Toni marched into her apartment and held the door open for Isis. Once Isis entered, Toni slammed the door behind her. “Why are you trying to throw away your career, Isis?” Toni said as she threw her keys on the couch. “Do you want to get fired?”
Isis paced back and forth in Toni’s living room. She didn’t answer. Her lips were moving a mile a minute, but she hadn’t spoken a word.
“Isis, do you hear me talking to you?”
“We’ve got to go back to their apartment in the village.”
Toni looked dumbfounded. “What?”
Isis continued her manic pacing. ’Yeah, we’ve got to go back.”
Toni jumped in front of Isis. “Hey, hey, hey. Hold on. Do you hear yourself?” Toni placed her hands on Isis’ shoulders. “Isis, you’ve got to get a grip.” Isis stared into Toni’s eyes. The look scared Toni. “Do you hear me?”
“We’ve got to get back into that apartment in the village.” Isis was staring at Toni as if Toni was in full agreement with her.
“Isis, what is wrong with you? You know we can’t go back there.”
“Come on. I’ll drive.” Isis snatched the keys off the couch.
Toni’s fax machine came to life. It pushed out a piece of paper.
Toni could not believe what Isis was preparing to do. Toni was not going to let Isis destroy her career. She ran over toward the dresser. She opened the top drawer and removed a long, black, double sided dildo. “I’ll beat the hell out of you with this thing if you try to walk out that door, Isis.”
Isis turned her head and looked at her girlfriend. Toni was standing in a judo stance. The rubber sex toy was bent in her hand.
“What the hell are you gonna do with that, fuck me to death?” Isis said before the laughter had struck her. She laughed so hard, tears were streaming down her cheeks. Isis’ laughter was contagious. Toni became infected. Just when the guffawing subsided, Isis’ cell phone went off. She removed it from her pants pocket and checked the number on the screen. She didn’t recognize it.
“Hello,” Isis said. “Who is this?”
“My name is Dr. Susan Patterson. I’m the director of the women’s ward at the Louisiana State Psychiatric Center in Shreveport.”
“How did you get this number?”
“A Lt. Stone at the Double 0 precinct gave it to me. He said you were the one I should talk to about the murders that are happening in your city.” Isis stopped laughing.
“And who did you say you were?”
Dr. Patterson repeated her name. “I think I know who you’re after: Stacey and Jannifer McHill. They were patients of mine for two and a half years.”
Toni, who was standing by the fax machine, watched her partner’s facial expressions go from laughter to excitement. “Who is it?”
“And why do you think that, Doctor?” Isis said as she walked over to Toni’s fax machine. As Dr. Patterson gave her reasons why, Isis picked up the fax Detective Allen had sent over. She glanced at the names. Her eyes almost popped out of her head when she read the third names on the list: Stacey and Jannifer McHill. “Oh, my God. Doctor…” Isis forgot the doctor’s name. “What were the names of your patients?”
“Stacey and Jannifer McHill.”
“Can you describe them for me?”
As Dr. Patterson described her former patients to Isis. Isis’ knees became weak and her head began to spin. Toni noticed and went to her partner’s aid. She helped Isis to the bed. Isis handed the fax to Toni.
“We got ’em, baby.” Isis smiled as she continued to listen to her savior: Dr. Susan Patterson.
Isis peeled away from Toni’s apartment building and raced toward Kennedy Airport. Dr. Patterson had explained to the detective that what she had to say about Stacey and Jannifer McHill was in fact covered under doctor-patient privilege, but was willing to help the city of New York to save the men of the city. She had agreed to open her files on the twins.
Five hours and ten minutes later, Isis and Toni’s flight had touched down at the Shreveport Regional Airport. The first thing the detectives noticed when they stepped off the plane was the heat. It overpowered them both.