Rayne glanced at her watch on the bedside table. Four-thirty-eight. She might have slept for two solid hours, but she’d tossed and turned for nearly three before finally drifting off to sleep. And here she was, awake once more. She threw her legs over the side of the bed and felt the floor with her feet for her slippers. After locating them, she slipped into them and grabbed her robe on the end of the bed. She walked over to the dresser and picked up a tea can. She’d had two cups of chamomile earlier, but knew there would be no time for more sleep. She needed something stronger. Black tea with spearmint. That would do the trick. She padded down the hall to the living room, but Rick wasn’t on the couch and there was a light on in the kitchen. Apparently, she wasn’t the only who couldn’t sleep. When she entered the kitchen, Jenna and Rick sat at the table. Several files were strung out around them. Jenna had her iPad on and they were both sipping coffee.
Rayne sat her tea can on the counter, prepped the tea kettle and then walked over to the table. “How long have you two been up?”
Rick rubbed the back of his neck. “All night. On my second pot of coffee.”
“An hour,” Jenna said, yawning.
Rayne bent over Jenna’s shoulder and checked out the notes on the iPad. Jenna had circles around the kennel and Spartan’s and the words welder and mechanic written beside them.
“Still no idea how any of this connects,” Jenna said as she looked up at Rayne.
“All of this started about two years ago, correct?”
“Eighteen months ago, with missing girls, but we still don’t know if he abducted all of them. He could have started all of this with Sally back in July.”
“There’s a lot that doesn’t make sense,” Rick stated. “A dog named Bethany. Characterizing young girls as puppies. I mean, he’s keeping them caged, muzzled and disciplined with a cattle prod, but why? What is it about that dog that he has shifted all of this onto these girls?”
“And why does he want to fatten them up?” Jenna tossed out.
Rayne shuddered. That was the creepy part. What could he possibly want with fattened girls? The kettle whistled and Rayne went to the stove to turn it off. She gathered the two cups and sieve, prepped her tea, and left it on the counter to steep. She walked back over to the table.
“Something must have happened in late June or early July. Maybe with the dog?” Rayne pondered aloud.
“A stressor,” Jenna said. “That’s what we call it at the FBI.”
Rick stood, picked up his coffee cup and walked over to the counter. He sat the cup into the sink and turned to Jenna and Rayne. “You two can work on this for a while. I need a shower.”
After Rick left the room, Rayne sat down at the table. She pulled a couple of the files toward her and opened the one on top. It contained the photos of the missing girls. She glanced through all of them again. “It’s hard to believe that this many girls have gone missing and none of them have turned up yet.”
“We haven’t given up on any of them. It is frustrating though. If they are dead, why haven’t we found any burial grounds? If they are alive, where are they being kept? And worst of all, do we have more than one unsub out there?”
Rayne spaced all the photos out on the table. One by one, she stared into the eyes of each young girl and asked the same question in her mind, where are you, little girl? She willed them to speak to her, even if their words were echoes from the past. Her hand moved up to the pendant resting inches below her neck. She traced the moon with a fingertip. Speak to me, she whispered in her mind. She heard nothing. Disappointed, she pulled away from the table and went to the counter for her tea. As she stood there sieving the tea from one cup to another, she heard a faint voice. Closing her eyes, she strained to hear it.
I don’t want to die. And then Rayne heard a metallic ring, as though someone was striking metal against metal. She didn’t recognize the voice. And then another voice called out. Help me, I can’t breathe and more metal against metal. Over and over, she heard young girls call out, begging for their lives, pleading for safety. Suddenly, Rayne couldn’t breathe. She gasped for air and raised a hand to her throat. She coughed and sputtered, grasped the counter with her free hand and slid to the floor.
“Rayne? What’s happening?” Jenna pleaded as she stood over her.
“I… I can’t…” Rayne tried to speak, but couldn’t. She clawed at her throat. A fingernail slipped under the necklace and she ripped it from her neck. The clasp broke and the necklace landed on the floor. Rayne took a deep breath and then exhaled.
Jenna flashed her a concerned look. “Are you okay?”
Rayne nodded as she continued to breathe deeply.
Towel-covered, Rick ran into the kitchen, still dripping from the shower. “What’s going on?”
Jenna shook her head. “I’m not sure, but I think she nearly suffocated.”
Rick stooped down and placed a hand on Rayne’s shoulder. “Is that what happened?”
Rayne nodded again. “That’s what happened to those other girls too.”
“Are you sure?” Jenna asked.
“Yes. I heard them pleading, gasping for air, and felt their lives snuff out.”
“Did you see anything?” Rick inquired.
“No, but I also heard a metallic ringing.”
Rick stood up and held out a hand to Rayne. She took it and eased herself off the floor. As Rick led her to the table, Jenna picked up the necklace, grabbed the tea cup and followed them. Rayne sat down at the table and stared at the girls’ faces. She sighed and cupped her mouth with her hand.
“Here, drink this,” Jenna said as she sat the cup down. She put the necklace beside the cup and began picking up the photos and putting them back inside the file folder.
“All of them, except Gina and Sally, are dead,” Rayne whispered. With shaking fingers, she lifted the tea cup to her lips.
“Do you think the same unsub killed them?” Rick asked.
Rayne took a sip of the tea and swallowed. “Yes. It was him. I could feel his rage… but something’s changed.”
A light went off in Jenna’s head. “The dog. That’s what’s changed.”
# # #
Rick sat at the table Skyping with Mark while Jenna and Rayne took showers and got dressed. He filled him in on the events of the past few days and then got down to the reason for contacting him.
“This unsub has changed M.O. and we might know why. Tell me if I am wrong about this. We have a serial killer who’s killed eight young girls and then suddenly, he’s keeping two alive and treating them like they are dogs. He’s tried to convince Sally that her name is Bethany and we think that was his dog’s name. Is this the result of a stressor?”
“Sounds like it. My guess, something’s happened to his pet. The psychological explanation is called transference.”
“What is that exactly?”
“Well, it usually means that a person will redirect feelings and desires from childhood onto someone in a present relationship. His prior actions with those eight girls could have come from this and his current reaction to these other two girls could be another form of transference.”
“So basically, this guy is reactionary, from childhood issues to current issues.”
“Yes, it would seem so.”
Rick changed the subject. “How’s the Wells family?”
“Scared. Bored. Scared some more. They won’t have any peace if this unsub remains loose.”
Jenna popped up behind Rick and waved at the camera. “Hey, Mark.”
“Morning, Jenna. How’s Rayne?”
“Considering that she nearly suffocated this morning, I’d say she’s doing pretty good.”
“Good to hear. Listen guys, I must go. The Wells family are awake and Denise is ready to get out of here.”
Rick nodded. “Tell Denise hello for us. I’ll keep you updated.”
Rick ended the Skype call and closed his laptop. He gathered up all the files and stuck them into his briefcase. Meanwhile, Jenna sat down, crossed her leg, and stuck her nose in the iPad.
Rayne walked into the kitchen wearing a pair of black slacks and a purple sweater, courtesy of Jenna’s closet. “What’s on the agenda today?” she asked as she leaned against the counter.
Jenna lifted her head. “The junk yard and then some breakfast.”
Rayne glanced down at her watch. Seven-twenty-five. “What time does the junk yard open?”
“Eight,” Rick said as he looked at his watch. “We’d better get rolling.”
# # #
They pulled up outside the junk yard a few minutes past eight and climbed out of the car. The gate was opened, so they walked up to the office and went inside.
“Can I help ya?” an old man behind the counter asked.
Rick and Jenna flashed their badges and introduced themselves. The old man leaned in, lifted his glasses, and read their credentials.
Rick nodded. “Yes, and this is our colleague, Rayne Fallon.”
Rayne smiled at the man, but he turned back to Rick without responding. She could feel tension all around her body.
“What you need?” the man asked.
Rick produced the sketch of the unsub and handed it to the man. “Ever seen him?”
“Oh sure. He used to come here all the time.”
“But not lately?”
“Ain’t seen ‘em in a few months.”
“Do you know his name or where he lives?” Jenna asked.
“Kyle? Or maybe Ken. I’m not so good with names. No clue where he lives.”
“Did he buy many items from here?” Rick inquired.
“Lots of stuff. Mostly doors and car panels. Claimed he was some kind of artist.”
Jenna wrote it all down and then looked up at the man. “Did he ever buy a van?”
The man scratched his chin. “Come to think of it, he did. I’d just gotten it too. Said he was gonna fix it up so he could haul his art pieces around.”
Rick thanked the man and they wandered out of the office. Once outside, Rick stopped and turned around. He stared at the rows of junked parts and grinned.
“What’s so amusing?” Jenna asked.
“How do you put metal pieces together?”
“Welding,” Rayne said.
“And to get a broken-down van going?”
“Mechanic skills,” Jenna chimed in.
Rick grinned again. “I’d say he’s a jack-of-all-trades.”
Seeing You (a working title) is the story of Rayne Fallon, a witch with the power to see into the past and future, although not always accurately. She gets tangled up with FBI’s SA Rick Harris and SA Jenna Styles as they search for an 8 year old missing girl, thought to have been kidnapped by a Serial Killer.
Seeing You ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
or jump ahead to Part 21
I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Each day I will try to write at least 1667 words for a total of 50,000 by the end of November. Today’s total: 1800 words. Total words so far: 33,867