Rayne, Rick, and Jenna sat at a secluded table in a small diner. Among plates and coffee cups, file folders, Jenna’s iPad and Rick’s laptop consumed the entire table. They’d had a successful morning. They now knew that the unsub considered himself an artist using junk parts, which meant he had welding skills. He’d also bought the van, so he had mechanical skills as well. He could have burnt his hands while performing either of those functions. Jenna had sent Trip the information about a Kyle or Ken and he was running a search. They still hadn’t figured out why he changed his M.O., where the other eight girls were or what the dog had to do with the other two girls.
The artist angle intrigued Jenna. She ran a search for sculptors in the area, but none named Kyle or Ken showed up. She then ran a search for anonymous sculptors. There were six in the Fairfax area, but only three of them had displays using metal. She made a note of that and switched the search. She figured that he would need a workshop to construct metal sculptures. Maybe old factories or garages? She sent a message to Trip for him to search for any that had been rented in the last eighteen months.
“I think I might have an angle for us to investigate,” Jenna said as she looked up from her iPad.
Rick tilted his head. “Spill it.”
“Well, the guy at the junk yard said that the unsub was an artist. If he is using metal, that means he is a sculptor. I ran a search, but there are none in the area named Kyle or Ken. However, there are three anonymous ones in the area with displays. I thought we could check those out.”
“If they are anonymous, I don’t see how that will lead us to the unsub,” Rick criticized.
Rayne’s eyes widened. “No, she’s right. This isn’t so much about the abductor as it is the girls. Remember what I said about them? They suffocated and there was a metallic ringing.”
“Holy shit…” Rick yelled, disturbing some of the other patrons. He lowered his eyes and his voice. “Are you thinking what I am thinking?”
“That maybe the reason none of these girls were ever found is because they’re inside some sculptures? Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking,” Rayne confirmed.
Jenna packed up the file folders and grabbed her briefcase. She held up her iPad. “I’ve got the addresses for the displays.”
# # #
They arrived at the first display in a small park, but they could tell right away that there were no girls hidden inside. The metal structures had too many open spaces. They headed to the second display on a college campus, but like the first one, these sculptures also had too many open spaces. The final display was in a huge field by a series of abandoned apartment buildings.
Rayne gasped as they got out of the car. In a square display of walls and windows from car parts were eight structures, closed-in sculptures that told a twisted story – a larger-than-life male and crouching girl, a large hand raised to strike, an over-sized sofa and television, a woman frozen in a doorway, a huge basketball, and a six-foot tall dog with headlight eyes and a car grill for teeth. Long sheets of metal in zig-zag patterns where placed every few feet throughout the display and smaller pieces stuck up from the sofa and television. Rayne understood their significance. Fire. She fell to her knees and buried her head in her hands.
As Jenna squatted down to comfort Rayne, Rick ran to the display. A faint whiff of decomposition still lingered in the air. He doubted the smell would’ve alerted anyone in this neighborhood of open fields and abandoned buildings. If they hadn’t made the connection, those girls would have been lost forever. When he reached the display, Rick placed a hand on the basketball and slid it around the circumference of the huge object. He shivered from the coolness of the metal and the horror contained inside. He walked over to the crouching girl and placed a hand on top of her head which had been created out of small, welded-together pieces of car bumpers. He knelt and bowed his head. He couldn’t imagine what those girls went through as they slowly died inside those sculptures. He said a little prayer and then stood up.
“Call it in,” Rick said to Jenna, choking back tears.
Jenna stood up and pulled out her cellphone. As she spoke to the captain of the Fairfax County Police Department, she walked around outside the display. On the far side, a child-sized sculpture stood with its face and hands pressed against a window, looking in at the other sculptures. Once she hung up with the captain, she snapped pictures of the entire display and sent them to Trip. In the email, she told him to search for survivors of a fire in that neighborhood twenty-five to thirty years ago.
Rick and Jenna joined Rayne back at the car. She was in hysterics and Jenna led her to the back seat.
“I couldn’t save them,” Rayne wept.
“There’s nothing you could have done here,” Jenna assured her. “You weren’t on the case back then. They were long gone before we brought you in.”
Rayne looked up into Jenna’s eyes. “I can still hear them, begging, pleading, and banging on the inside of those sculptures for help.”
Jenna pulled her into her arms. “If I could, I would take those voices away from you, but without them, we would never have figured this out.”
Rayne glanced over at the display. She saw a basketball fly through a window, glass shattering to the floor. It crashed into a heater, tipping it. Flames sprang up. A man jumped from the sofa and screamed at the woman and girl. The woman ran from the kitchen, but froze in the doorway as flames engulfed the curtains and furniture. The girl crouched down in fear as the man raised a hand to slap her. Get up, brat! Where’s your brother? The man ran for the door, but the fire surrounded him. The family dog tugged at the girl’s dress, pulling her through the flames and toward the broken window. The boy stood outside, staring in. He saw the dog and his sister crawling toward the window. He grabbed his sister, pulling her out. He dragged her toward the field behind an apartment building, far away from the fire. She was badly burned. He ran back to the house to rescue the dog. She whimpered as the boy pulled at her front legs, but her collar was caught on a shard of glass. Flames lapped at the dog’s back feet. As the boy let go of the dog, Rayne’s vision faded and she collapsed in Jenna’s arms.
# # #
Within the hour, the field was tapped off and crawling with police and the local CSI. They’d brought in a crane and truck to haul the sculptures to the FBI lab at Langley. Rick, Jenna, and Rayne sat in the car, watching as each sculpture was lifted and placed upon the truck. As the last one settled on the bed, Rick turned over the engine.
“Nothing more we can do here,” Rick acknowledge. “We should get back to the field office and coordinate with Trip.”
Jenna had written down everything Rayne had seen in her latest vision and sent the information to Trip. Rayne felt certain that the young boy was their unsub. If only he and his sister had survived, it would prove to be a good lead.
“That fire weighed heavily on his mind,” Jenna proposed. “Something created a stressor for him to kidnap young girls and do… that to them.”
Rick nodded and glanced back at Rayne through the rearview. “You okay back there, kiddo?”
“Not really. I’ve gone from despising this abductor to feeling sorry for him. And that just weirds me out.”
“Don’t be, Rayne. You are empathic. It is natural for you to feel compassion for someone who obviously went through something traumatic as a child.”
“You’re right, but why did he have to turn into such a creep?”
“Just one of those mysteries. We still don’t know why some people who’ve experienced trauma are fine and others turn into serial killers,” Jenna informed her.
Rayne sighed and glanced out the window. She needed a peaceful place to soothe herself, but there was no chance of that in the ensuing hours. She closed her eyes and envisioned her cottage and garden, of tea brewing and the laughter of her grandmother. By the time they arrived at the field office, Rayne felt a little better, but it still wasn’t enough. The girls’ voices lingered, as did the look on the boy’s face as he turned loose of the dog.
When they walked into the conference room, Trip couldn’t contain his excitement long enough for Rick and Jenna to even put down their briefcases. He motioned for them to join him at the end of the table where information was displayed on three separate laptops.
“I’ve found him!”
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.
In case you missed a part, click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20
or jump ahead to Part 22
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: 1535 words. Total words so far: 35,402