The story that explores a relationship between a ritualistic serial criminal and a cop.
|“........this week makes 15 years of us.” I wrote in my journal before I went to bed.
The next morning was usual like any other morning when I heard the news. I was getting my cup of coffee, making a few funny one-liner conversations with people in the kitchen, and getting to work.
“Seb, how are you holding up?”, Ryan asked.
“Good, I guess. What’s up?”
His face was sullen.
My left side of the body started shaking and I could feel the tremors in my coffee like my body had a 7.3 earthquake. I slowly kept my coffee down on the desk.
“Let’s make a few things clear first. Let’s get a few facts straight before you freak out.”, I thought to myself.
“How do you know?”, I asked.
“Same M.O. Killed the girl by stabbing her,” he took a deep breath, “ multiple times, left his four leaf clover, and fled the scene. You were working on his case, right?”
“Yes,” I exhaled, “on and off in the last few years.”
“Sorry to interrupt, but can I take that case? I want to get this son of a bitch.”
“Yeah, sure. We can work together on this. I think that’ll be fine by our boss.”
My hand was still shaking. Ryan noticed it, but didn’t say anything.
“Where should we start? Looks like he has a pattern.”, Ryan said turning pages on the file he had in his hands.
I clenched my eyes, pulled my fist to keep myself together. I slowly opened my eyes and said. “Yeah he has a pattern. He does three of these every time he does this - which is once every three years.”
“He sounds more ritualistic than serial killer-y. Hey assuming that this is the first one, we should catch him before he goes a hiatus again.”
“Yeah he is. Let’s go to the crime scene to see if this guy left anything there.”
“Seb, are you up for this? Not to be a dick, but he slipped through you fingers thrice already.”
I grabbed my coffee, took a huge sip, and smiled.
“Yep. This time, we are going to stop him once and for all.”
We were at the crime and we were going through the environment of the crime. I have been to 10 of these same scenes before. He leaves nothing, except the four leaf clover locket, as if he is taunting us to catch him. His crimes are usually very clean, and the last time I did this, I narrowed it down to three suspects, and all of them had solid alibis.
We went back to the office and circled up on the information again.
“It looks like there is a pattern among the three murders he commits usually.”, Ryan said.
“Look. Regina, Gretchen, and Karen. They were in a three mile radius and the crime scenes are exactly three blocks apart.”
I look up in hesitation.
“That sounds an awful lot like a coincidence.”
“What? No. Here check it out. Regina, the first, was on 12th street, followed by 15th with Gretchen, and Karen on the 9th street. The ordering is a bit flippy, but there is a pattern here.”
“Still think it is just a coincidence, Ryan.”
“Okay hold on. Aubrey, Beca, and Chloe. Same pattern.”, he looked into the file again, “well not exactly the same, but similar. Aubrey was on 10th street, Beca on 14th, and Chloe on 7th.
“Yep. See how the pattern breaks. That is not a pattern, Ryan.”
I could see Ryan getting frustrated.
“Trust me, Ryan. I went through this. When you are working on something, you want things to fit together. You tell yourself that they and in the end they don’t. They fall apart and then you question your decisions. I agree that there is some merit in your argument, but we can’t go guns blazing on a guy whose standard of education is probably a multiplication table.”
“Hmm. Okay. I can’t seem to find his first murder spree. Probably some intern’s mishap I guess, but I’ll see if I can find anything. I am going to go on my gut on this Seb. If he killed Roxy on 16th street, he would definitely hit the 10th next. We should keep an eye on that.”
“Or he could do 13th maybe? The pattern is not a pattern, Ryan. I am with you on the argument, but we should cover both sides to be sure. I’ll take the 10th and you take the 13th, okay? Let’s stake out tomorrow night because he usually strikes in a span of three days.”
“Okay. But that breaks the pattern. He wouldn’t do that.”,
“Please trust me on this, Ryan. I got this feeling.” I tried to convince him.
“Okay. I am going to take your word on this. “ Ryan said as he left a bit underwhelmed.
I staked out in the car at the corner of 10th Street. I knew he was gonna take a chance today. His methodology is ritualistic. He is going to show up. My phone rang.
“Hello Seb, it’s Ryan. We are wrong.”
“What do you mean?”
“Someone just reported a murder that took place a week back that has the same M.O. I don’t have the full details yet but I will keep you posted.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“It does. By some god awful chance you maybe right - today is going to be his third murder. If the pattern is right, he is going to hit 10th street. Be ready for him. I am coming there.”
“Hey hold on, Ryan. I understand your urgency, but let’s not make decisions in a hurry. You should be there. I’ll get him if he shows up and I’ll call for backup.”
“I don’t want to be wrong on the off chance, Ryan. Please stay there and we are going to get this son of a bitch today.”
Ryan hung up the phone. He received another call.
“Hey, you put out a request for the Miles murders from 12 years ago. Sorry for the delay.” the voice on the other end said.
“No problem. Can you tell me the names and addresses of those?”
“ I could find the names of the first and third murders, couldn’t find the second one. It looks like it was either redacted or erased. I am sorry. But the addresses are...”
Ryan noted down the addresses on the notepad he had.
1877 81th Street
175 Harrison Street
98 79th Street
“Hmm..thank you. “
“Why does 175 Harrison Street sound familiar?”, he thought to himself.
He called Seb.
“Hey bud, I might be wrong. The pattern is a bit……”
I noticed a person running away through his rear view mirror on my car.
“Hey Ryan, I’ll call you back.”
“Okay.”, Ryan hung up.
He opened his maps app to double check his intuition even though he knew it was a lost cause.
I turned around my car to see a man in a hoodie running away. I drove past him and stopped the car while flashing my badge from the window. The man in the hoodie stopped running. I got down from his car.
“Put your hands up.”
The man in the hoodie looked me in the eye.
Ryan, looking through his app, found that his intuition was indeed correct. The streets went from 81st street, 80th street, Spring street, Harrison street, Mark street, James street, Carrie street, Billy street, Daniels street, 79th street, 78th street, etc.
“You again?”, the man in the hoodie asked.
I was shaking.
“Put your….hands up.” I was breaking down.
“The next thing you are going to say is to kneel down and that you are going to call for back-up, and before you do that, you’ll let me go.”
“What? On your knees”, Ishouted, “I am going to call for back-up.”
The man in the hoodie went down on his knees.
“Looks like someone grew some balls”, he laughed.
I walked to my car and grabbed my communicator.
“It’s......” my voice broke. I was bawling.
I took a deep breath.
Ryan called his office.
“Hey it’s me. Does 175 Harrison Street ring any bells?”
“Isn’t that Mia’s old apartment?”, the voice on the other end said.
“Mia. Seb’s deceased wife.”
“Fuck.”, Ryan said in realization.
I was still bawling and the man in the hoodie was on his knees, smiling.
I took a deep breath and said, “GO.”
The man in the hoodie ran away, and I dropped on the road, crying.
I stood up and grabbed my communicator again.
“It’s Seb. Seb speaking. Over.”
“It’s Ryan. Over.”
“Ryan, he escaped. Almost got him. He shouldn’t have gone far away.”
“Goddamn it. I’ll call for backup.”
Things settled down. He escaped again. Ryan was disappointed. I was too, but also relieved.
“If I catch him, I get closure. Closure means moving on from her. I don’t want to. I don’t want to let her go from my heart. If I catch him, it means I can’t chase him anymore. If I am not chasing him anymore, there is a chance that I am letting Mia go away from my heart. If you are reading this and thinking that I am a scum of a person, yes I am. Because rationally I don’t think my feelings are worth the lives of 10 people. Hell, maybe more. But I am selfish. I am not willing to let her go. I don’t want to and I don’t know any other way to make sure that that is not going to happen. Congratulations to 15 years of us.” I wrote in my journal and cried myself to sleep.