Seeing You – Part Twenty-three #NaNoWriMo2016

The door-to-door search wasn’t going well. Rick’s team concentrated on the area within the triangulation of the kennel, junk yard and church center. He felt that would be their best chance, but they weren’t having much luck. Two hours in, they’d already knocked on close to fifty doors, only to discover most of them were families. No lone loons, as one of the police officers had described it. People were friendly though, allowing them in to do quick searches. They’d had little to no resistance so far. Only one man had refused and it wasn’t because he didn’t want to let the police officers in; he had an ill daughter who’d just fallen asleep. He’d let them in the next day. They’d had a lot of no-answers, but that wasn’t unusual. People were probably at work and kids were still in school. Tomorrow, they’d come later in the day to those homes.

Rick leaned against his car, sipping a lukewarm coffee, and thumbing through his iPad. Although he hated the tablet, he’d been using it to coordinate with Trip, Troy, and Captain Jakes. They were still on radio-silence in case Kent Percy was smart enough to have a police scanner. Neither of the other two teams were having any luck either. This canvassing was a long shot. It always was in these cases. Simply put, unsubs just wouldn’t answer the door and how could you tell if it was their home or just some businessman’s home who was still at work?

Rick sighed as he remembered what his trainer at Langley had once said. “It’s not like they have a neon sign on their door stating that they are the unsub.”

It was true, but they had other ways to find out. They’d searched the alleys for cars and trashcans for evidence, too. Sometimes they’d get a break. Today was not one of those days though. This stretch of houses had a lot of attached garages with no windows. Percy could easily hide his car and van in one of them, and since it was not a trash pick-up day, there weren’t many trash cans out. They carried on though for another two and a half hours, and as the sun began to set, they stopped for the day. Captain Jakes put out an APB for the car and van, but since they had no license plate numbers and Trip had verified that there were no vehicles registered under Percy’s name, there was little chance that would bring in a lead. One fact had become clear, knowingly or unwittingly, Percy had an accomplice.

By the time Rick and Troy joined their team back at the Fairfax County Police Station, exhaustion had set in. Rick placed his briefcase on the table, took off his jacket and loosened his tie. Troy just sat down and hunched over the table.

“That bad?” Jenna asked as she placed a cup of coffee on the table in front of each of them.

Rick shook his head and plopped down in a chair. “Worse. I don’t think this is how we’re going to catch this guy.”

“Maybe not,” Troy said as he lifted the cup to his lips, “but what else do we have? Nothing. Not one damn clue.”

Rick glanced over at Rayne who was curled up in a chair in the corner of the room sleeping. That gave him some comfort and he smiled. He then turned his attention to Trip who was leaning back in his chair, rocking back and forth. “Any luck tracking down the VIN on that van?”

Trip sat upright and crinkled his face in frustration. “It’s off the grid. No one has registered it since Donny D’Arca reported it scrapped.”

“It’s possible that whoever owns the car is swapping plates with the van when Percy uses it.”

They all fell silent. Jenna re-examined every detail of the case on her iPad while Troy nursed his coffee. Rick tapped a pen on the table and was just about to suggest dinner when a police officer burst into the conference room with flustered cheeks and his mouth agape. His entrance startled Rayne awake and she sat up in the chair, pulling her knees up to her chin.

“What is it?” Troy asked the anxious officer.

“There’s a missing girl, sir. From that church mission. Her mother just called in. Said Miss Fallon would know who her daughter was.”

Rayne’s eyes grew wide and she fumbled in her jean pocket for the dog tag the little girl had given her. “He’s taken her,” she said as she held out the tag for everyone to see.

Rick sighed and stood up. “He said she was too young, but apparently, he’s gotten desperate. We’d better get over to the church.” He paused for a moment and turned his head toward Rayne. “I need you to come with us. Are you up to it?”

Rayne sat her feet down on the floor and rose from the chair. “I told that mother to keep an eye on her daughter. I could sense he would come back for her if we didn’t catch him.” She inhaled deeply. “I’d go even if I weren’t up to it.”

# # #

Maria Sanchez was in hysterics by the time they arrived at the church. Jenna and Rayne sat with her while Rick spoke to the pastor.

“I only lost sight of her for a minute. She was hungry, so I went to get her some cookies and milk. I remembered what you said, Miss Fallon, so I turned around to go back to her and she was gone. The police officer said it might be the man you’d been looking for, but Mia… she was terrified of him.”

“So, you knew this man?” Jenna asked.

“Oh yes, we all knew Arthur. That’s what he called himself. He hung around here all the time. Brought his dog with him. All the kids loved that dog. He was fairly nice then, but after a while, he stopped bringing the dog and began acting creepy.”

“Did he ever show up with anyone else besides the dog?”

Maria’s forehead puckered. “Come to think of it, a younger man came with him sometimes. He was a bit shy though. Always hung out by the door and never said much.”

“Do you think you could describe him to a sketch artist?”

“I can do one better.” Maria stood up and went into a side room. Moments later, she returned and handed Jenna a photograph. “That’s from our Christmas party last year.” She pointed to a young, blonde-haired man standing off to the side of a table filled with food. “That’s him.”

Jenna examined the photo and then passed it to Rayne. “Do you recall his name?”

“Larry? No, Leo. That’s what Arthur called him. Do you really think he took my Mia?”

Jenna and Rayne exchanged glances and then Jenna cupped Maria’s hand with her own. “If he did, we’ll find him. Did you see Leo in here tonight?”

Maria nodded as tears streamed down her face. “Oh, Dios mío. He was. Mia would have gone off with him. They were friends.”

Jenna squeezed Maria’s hand. “You’ve helped us a lot. We’ll find them, all of them.”

Maria continued to weep. “Gracias, gracias,” she said repeatedly.

Jenna and Rayne stood up and walked toward the center’s front door. As they stood there waiting for Rick, Rayne stared at the photograph for a few minutes and then handed it to Jenna. She snapped a picture of it and sent it to Trip, hoping he could identify the man.

“Did you sense anything about Leo?” Jenna asked.

“A little. He’s scared.”

“Of Percy?”

“I think so. Did you see the bruise on his arm in the photo?”

Jenna looked down at the photo. “I hadn’t noticed that.”

“I think he’s being abused. I can sense fear, shame and…” she trailed off because Rick joined them.

“Who’s that?” he said glancing down at the picture.

“Leo. He’s Percy’s accomplice,” Jenna informed him. “Rayne says he’s being abused by Percy, too.”

“That’s not surprising. Percy endured abuse as a child. Abused children sometimes become abusers themselves.”

Jenna grinned. “How’d you get to be so smart, Dr. Harris?”

“Been hanging around Martin too long, I guess,” he said with a wink.

Rayne leaned up against the doorframe and listened to Jenna and Rick’s banter. She suddenly felt Leo’s pain and realized she was standing where he usually stood. She moved a few steps to the left and cleared her throat. Finally, she asked, “What did the pastor have to say?”

“Not much. He said it was a typical evening. Lots of homeless in for a meal and some warm clothes.”

“Maria said Leo was here tonight and Mia would have wandered off with him.”

They walked out of the center and headed toward the car. Rick’s mind spun with possible scenarios. Kent Percy wasn’t a very attractive man and those scarred hands would have scared anyone, especially kids. But Leo… he was younger and attractive.

As they approached the car, Rick stopped and turned to Jenna and Rayne. “It all makes sense now. Leo does the ‘snatch and grab’ for Percy.”

“He must be in some twisted relationship with that creep to do that for him,” Rayne said as she opened the car door and got inside.

Rick nodded. He went around to the driver’s side, opened his door and got inside. “Undoubtedly. We had a case in Baltimore a few years back where a woman helped lure other women to her boyfriend so he could rape them. The woman had been physically and sexually abused by the guy for decades. She’d also been emotionally brainwashed into helping him.”

“We’ve had dozens of cases like that,” Jenna concurred as she slid into the car.

Rick settled behind the wheel and let out a long sigh before starting the engine. He turned in his seat and looked back at Rayne. “I’m really sorry that you’ve had to discover all of this, Rayne. Someone like you… well, you shouldn’t have to know all this ugliness in the world.”

Rayne smiled faintly at him while Jenna nudged him on the arm. “She’s stronger than she looks, Rick.” She winked at Rayne. “You are holding up remarkedly well.”

Rick nodded his head and shrugged. “Of course, she is. I’m just saying… I’m impressed, that’s all.” He turned back around and pulled out of the parking lot.

They’d only gotten a few blocks away when Rick’s cellphone rang. He motioned for Jenna to get it.

“Rick’s phone. Jenna here,” she said into the phone.

“Hey Jenna, it’s Trip. Put me on speaker.”

She did so.

“Guys, I got a hit on Leo. His full name is Leo Decker. In the system for male prostitution.”

“You wouldn’t have an address, too, would ya?” Rick asked.

“Not a helpful one. New York City. And get this, he has a register white Ford Fusion.”

“In Virginia?”

“Are we ever that lucky? It’s registered in New York too.”

“Damn it,” Jenna muttered.

“We do have a license plate number though. Captain Jakes has added it to the APB.”

“Good work, Trip.”

“Thanks, Rick. See ya.”

The line went dead and Jenna turned the phone off. Rayne sighed and folded her hands in her lap. They were closing in on Kent Percy. She just hoped those girls would live long enough to be rescued. She leaned back in the seat and closed her eyes.

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, Part 21, Part 22

or jump ahead to Part 24

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: 1924 words. Total words so far: 38,851

Seeing You – Part Twenty-two #NaNoWriMo2016

“Well, not found found him,” Trip confessed. “But I know who he is now.”

Rick sighed. He thought they’d finally nailed this sick, twisted unsub. An id was a step in the right direction. He leaned over the desk and read the various streams of files Trip had dug through.

“Kent Percy,” Jenna said as she read the profile. “Why does that name ring a bell?”

Trip pointed to a picture of a young man standing in an art gallery. “He is a world-renown artist, or at least he was until he fell off the grid two years ago.”

Rayne stared at the picture for a long moment with her mouth agape. “I remember him. Wasn’t he obsessed with ballerinas?”

“More than obsessed,” Trip said as he pulled up more photos. “He painted them, sculpted them and even photographed them. His sister, Melissa, who was severely burnt in that house fire, had always wanted to be one.”

Jenna studied the photographs. He was good, damn good. “Why did he fall off the grid?”

“As far as I can tell, he came back to Fairfax from New York City in early 2014 because his sister was dying. Kent had been adopted into a wealthy family, but Melissa had been put in a special care center here in Fairfax. The fire did a lot of damage to her lungs as well as her body. The records from the center show that from 2000 until 2014, he’d visited her over 150 times. After her death, he never returned to New York.”

“He’s certainly wealthy enough to live off the grid,” Rick said.

Trip shook his head. “That’s the thing though. He hasn’t touched any of his bank accounts, never used a single credit card, or even used his Mercedes. They found it in an airport lot. His adopted parents had written him off – suicide or homicide? He’s still a missing person.”

Rick raised an eyebrow. “So, his sister’s death was probably the stressor that triggered his killing rampage.”

“Yes, but that still doesn’t explain why he changed M.O.,” Jenna declared.

Trip moved to another laptop and pulled up more photographs. “No, but this does.” He turned the laptop around. The photographs were all a beautiful, white Samoyed in various poses – sleeping, running, playing catch.

“Guess what her name is?” Trip asked.

Rick, Jenna, and Rayne all chimed in at the same time, “Bethany.”

“You all get a gold star.”

Rayne covered her face and began to weep. She saw Bethany caged while a shadowy Kent worked on one of the sculptures he would later put one of the eight girls in. Sparks flew from his welding gun. He’d been careless. He’d also worked on the van in that room and oil had leaked onto the cement floor. A spark ignited the oil which ran under the cage. He’d tried to keep her safe. To keep her away from his welding projects. Instead, Bethany began to burn. He ran to the cage, desperate to get it unlocked, re-burning his hands in the process. Bethany died and Kent’s hands, which still bore scars from his childhood, became horribly disfigure. Rayne sank into a chair, shaking her head to clear away the vision.

“Rayne? What did you see?” Jenna asked as she knelt beside the chair.

“Bethany, burnt alive, just like his dog had when he was a kid.”

“And there is the second stressor.”

Rick paced around the room, thinking aloud. “We now know what caused both stressors. Why he went from holing up those girls inside sculptures to holding the last two in cages, but where the hell is he?”

“He’s no longer using that garage,” Rayne whispered.

Rick cocked his head at her. “How do you know?”

She shrugged her shoulder. “Bad memories, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“It’s what I sense.”

“That’s better. For a minute, I thought you’d lost your senses,” Rick said with a wink and a half-grin.

Jenna laughed, but she too was worried that their lead had dried up. “That just leaves the house he’s in now. The one Rayne saw in her visions.”

“That long stretch of housing along the metro line,” Trip said.

Rick sighed. “I guess we are going to have to do this the long, hard way. Canvassing.”

Trip sat at his laptop typing away. After a long moment, he looked up. “I just sent Troy all the details. He’s on his way back from D.C. and should be here in two hours.”

Rick plopped down in a chair. He knew Troy well enough that if they were going to coordinate a canvassing, his boss would be in the lead. They had two hours to kill.  “So, burgers, pizza or Chinese?”

# # #

By the time Troy joined the team back in Fairfax, they’d devoured Chinese food and left the evidence on the conference table. Rick had cleared the white board and pinned a last-know photo of Kent Percy on a board alongside photos of Gina and Sally. A map of the targeted area had also been pinned up. Captain Jakes had rounded up every available officer from his county patrol, as well as from the city of Fairfax. Thirty men and women of uniform stood in the conference room along with the FBI team awaiting instructions. Rayne sat in a faraway corner with her knees up to her chest, looking pensive.

Troy turned from staring at the white board and faced the officers. “We’ll break up into teams of three. Agent Harris, Captain Jakes and I will each lead a team. You do nothing without coordinating with your team leader, is that understood?”

The officers all nodded and shouted, “Yes, sir.”

“I cannot stress enough how urgent this is. We’ve got two endangered little girls out there and only about five hours of daylight. This is a ‘knock and question’ effort. If anyone agrees to let us search their home, go ahead and do it. If they disagrees, thank them, and move on. If you get a name, write it down after you’ve left the premises. If you get no answer, we will target them again tomorrow. Keep a note of house numbers. And finally, we go in low-key. No sirens, no radio chatter and definitely no arguing with the residents. We don’t want to alert the suspect.”

Troy stepped aside and nodded at Captain Jakes to take over.

“Tiggs is handing out packets that contain the photo of the suspect, as well as photos of the two missing girls. Remember, the suspect has severely burnt hands and could be wearing gloves,” Captain Jakes informed them. “This is a mile-long search, officers. Let’s get out there and find this lunatic and bring those little girls home safely.”

The officers took their packets and cordoned off with their assigned leaders. Jenna wandered over to Rayne and sat down beside her.

“I’ll be staying here with you,” she said softly.

“Don’t you want to be in the field where all the action is?”

“Honestly, I should take Rick’s place. He is far too emotional right now, but he’s got rank and he’s a better shot even under duress.” Jenna winked at Rayne, showing her humorous side.

Rayne laughed lightly. “I feel more comfortable with you here anyway. I don’t think I could take Rick’s pacing.”

They both chuckled and Rick looked over at them. He smiled and threw up his hand, clueless to their chiding of him. Jenna and Rayne huddled their heads together and snickered again. Troy shot them an icy glare that told them both how inappropriate their behavior was. It was true. This was no time for laughter, but after all they’d just been through, a bit of levity was needed and welcomed, especially for Rayne.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen, everyone know where you are going and with whom?” Troy asked.

They all nodded.

“Let’s get to it then.”

The men and women in blue piled out of the conference room, following each of their team leaders. When the last one exited and closed the conference room door, Rayne felt relieved. She knew it was ridiculous to still feel animosity toward the police, but some wounds just wouldn’t heal and that was one of them.

Jenna stood up and began clearing the containers, plates, and cups off the table. She watched Rayne as she tidied up. She still sat in the chair with her knees up to her chin, her head resting on her knee caps and her long auburn hair cascading down to her feet. Her features had also softened in the last few minutes. Jenna normally hated this kind of detail. She did prefer to be among the action, but if she could keep Rayne safe until Kent Percy was in custody, she didn’t mind staying behind this time. She’d grown quite fond of the strange young woman with extraordinary abilities. She just wouldn’t admit that to Rick, ever. She finished cleaning the table and walked back over to Rayne and sat down again. She took one of her hands into her own and squeezed it. Like Rick had told her a million times, waiting was the hardest part of their job.

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, Part 21

or jump ahead to Part 23

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: 1525 words. Total words so far: 36,927

Seeing You – Part Twenty-one #NaNoWriMo2016

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

Seeing You – Part Twenty #NaNoWriMo2016

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.

“FBI… hmmm.”

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.

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

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

Seeing You – Part Nineteen #NaNoWriMo2016

An hour passed since the sketch had been released. The team sat around the conference table while the police took calls. Tips trickled in. Some were easily dismissed, but others had to be physically vetted. The unsub kept a low profile, but that didn’t surprise anyone on the team.

Rick tapped a pen on the desk. Waiting on leads was the hardest part of his job. He stood up and paced around the room, stopped a few times, stared at the boards, and then paced again. Jenna had her nose stuck in her iPad. She felt that they were on the verge of something big, but the pieces weren’t falling into place. Rayne sat quietly beside Trip and Dan. She listened to the two men exchange computer tips. When Rick’s cellphone rang, they were all startled. It was Mr. D’Arca. Rick put him on speaker phone.


“Agent Harris?”


“Paul D’Arca here. I just got off the phone with Donny.”

“Was he able to tell you anything?”

“Not much. He doesn’t know the name of the man who bought the equipment. Just some guy who answered his ad from the local paper.”

“What about the van?”

“Scrapped it at a junk yard. Spartan’s.”

“Thanks, Mr. D’Arca.”

“Wish I had more information, Agent Harris.”

“You did great. If we need anything else, we’ll be in touch.”

Rick ended the call while Jenna added the new information to her iPad. Trip looked up Spartan’s address and sent it to Jenna. He sat there scratching his head for a minute and then pulled up a map of Fairfax.

“Check this out,” he said excitedly.

Rick and Jenna joined him at his laptop. Trip had input the locations of the kennel, Spartan’s and the outreach church where Mr. D’Arca had donated the uniforms. The three locations formed a tight triangle around a section of streets along the Metro line.

“That can’t be a coincidence,” Rick said.

Jenna grabbed the sketch off the board and picked up her briefcase. “Let’s check out that church and junk yard.”

Rick glanced over at Rayne. “You up to it?”

Rayne wasn’t, but she nodded her head anyway. She just wanted this whole thing to be over and those girls returned safely to their parents. She stood up and joined Rick and Jenna.

They went to the garage first, but it was already closed for the day. Rick checked the post on the door and Jenna jotted down the business hours into her iPad. They’d have to return in the morning. They drove six blocks east and pulled up in front of the outreach church, Christ Church of Fairfax. Rick got out and tried the front door of the church. It was locked. He walked around to the side and saw an attached building with homeless people wandering in and out of it. He motioned for Jenna and Rayne to join him.

Rayne walked closely beside Jenna. Her senses were heightened as they approached the doorway. Homeless men stared at her with deadened eyes. She shivered. She didn’t fear them, but she could feel their despair and pain. They walked inside the center and a small child with widened eyes spotted Rayne. She leaned in and half-hid behind her mother. Rayne smiled at her and the girl grinned before hiding completely behind her mother’s skirt. Jenna turned her head to see the girl’s movements and then looked at Rayne.

“She’s a cutie. Shy.”

Rayne smiled and nodded, and then a frown creased her face. “He’s watched her, but she is too young,” she said too softly for Jenna to hear.

Jenna and Rayne hurried along to catch up to Rick who stood at a table where an older man handed out clothes to a group of women. When they caught up to him, Jenna pulled the sketch out of her briefcase and handed it to Rick.

“Excuse me,” Rick said as he approached the man.

The man looked up and flashed a friendly smile at them. “Can I help you?”

Rick withdrew his badge from his jacket pocket and showed it to the man. “SA Harris and SA Styles from the FBI and this is our colleague Rayne Fallon,” Rick said as he introduced everyone to the man. “Can we ask you some questions?”

The man moved away from the table and waved his hand for them to follow him. He led them to a small room off from the main one. “Sorry, these people get nervous around cops. I’m Pastor Richmond. How can I help you?”

“I understand,” Rick assured him. He held up the sketch of the unsub. “Have you seen this man in here before?”

The pastor took the sketch and studied it for a long moment. “I can’t be sure. We get a lot of men in here these days. Times are hard,” he concluded as he handed the sketch back to Rick.

“He would have badly scarred hands,” Jenna added.

The pastor rubbed his chin. “Scarred hands, huh? Come to think of it, a man came in here a few months ago with burns on his hands. We offered to treat him, but he just asked for some clothes and food.”

“Did he ask for any specific clothes, like work uniforms or hoodies?” Rick asked.

“We give out a lot of jackets and hoodies this time of year. It’s possible that we could have given him one, but if I recall correctly, he did ask if we had any old work shirts. He claimed that he was working on a car, no… a van, and he didn’t want to ruin his t-shirts.”

“How can you be so sure?” Jenna asked.

“We get uniform donations a lot here. People close shops and just dump whatever they have. Most of the homeless don’t want to wear shirts with logos on them. Cops can spot them too easily that way and harass them. This man specifically asked for work shirts.”

Jenna jotted down notes again and then looked up at the pastor. “Has he been back recently?”

“Not that I am aware of. He could have slipped in while I was off duty though.”

Rayne took in her surroundings. The room held shelves like the ones she’d seen in the abductor’s basement. “Do you ever give out shelving?” she asked.

The pastor turned his head and followed Rayne’s eyes to the shelves behind him. “Not directly, but sometimes we toss out rusted shelves behind the building. People are free to take them.”

Jenna noted that on her iPad too.

“Thank you, Pastor Richmond. You’ve been a great help,” Rick said as he extended his hand.

The pastor shook it. “Let me know if I can help in any other way.”

As Rayne followed Rick and Jenna out of the center, the little girl ran up to her and handed her a small metal trinket. Rayne looked down at it and inhaled sharply. It was a dog tag.

“Where did you get this?” she asked the girl as she squatted down to her level.

“A man gave it to me. He said I could be his puppy someday,” the girl said in a shy voice.

“When did he give it to you?”

“A few days ago.”

“Did he have scars on his hands?”

The little girl nodded. She scrunched up her nose. “His hands are scary.”

“I know, sweetie. Do you mind if I keep this?”

“I don’t want it. It gives me bad dreams.”

Rayne patted the girl on the head. “Where’s your mommy?”

The girl pointed to the woman Rayne had seen earlier. She stood up and took the girl’s hand and walked over to the woman.

“There you are, Mia,” the woman said with a smile.

Rayne released the girl’s hand. “Please keep an eye on her,” she whispered to the woman. Without waiting for a response, Rayne turned and hurried to catch up with Jenna and Rick.

“What was that about?” Jenna asked as they approached the car.

Rayne held out the dog tag. “He’s tagged her as a future mark.”

Rick opened the back door for Rayne. “Damn it. We need to get this unsub off the streets.”

“We will,” Jenna assured him as she opened her door and climbed inside.

Rayne stared into Rick’s eyes. The kindness she normally saw there had turned into pain. She felt it too. This case had affected all of them in the worst ways possible. She slid into the car and Rick closed the door for her. She watched his body as he walked around to the driver’s side. Even his normal, confident posture had changed. He slouched more. She stared down at the dog tag. On the front, a small bone was etched into the metal. She flipped it over and read a name – Bethany.

“I don’t think Bethany is a child,” Rayne said.

Jenna turned around in her seat. “Why not?”

She held up the back side of the tag. “I think it is a dog.”

Rick let out a long sigh as he settled into the driver’s seat. “What kind of sicko kidnaps little girls to replace a dog?”

“That would be a good question for Mark,” Jenna said. “He has morning shift, right?”

Rick nodded.

Jenna pulled out her stylus and made a note. “I guess tomorrow morning will be a busy one.”

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

or jump ahead to Part 20

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: 1562 words. Total words so far: 32, 067

Seeing You – Part Eighteen #NaNoWriMo2016

The morning lead left the entire team elated. To celebrate, Rick, Jenna, Rayne and Trip shared burgers, fries, and salads in the conference room for lunch. As they ate, they talked about anything and everything not related to the case.

“You followed Jenna around like a lost puppy when you first joined the team,” Rich chided Trip.

“I did not.”

Jenna laughed. “Yes, you did. I had to run to the ladies’ room to get away from you.”

“It was a mild crush, nothing more.”

“That’s nothing,” Jenna said as she stuffed a fry into her mouth. “You should’ve seen how Rick treated me when I joined. I think he had a father complex.”

Rick tossed a fry at her. “You wished. Besides, I met your father. I am nothing like him.”

“True. Dad is sharp and witty.”

Rick stabbed at his heart with a straw. “You wound me, partner.”

Trip laughed at his two colleagues. He noticed that Rayne hadn’t said anything since Rick returned with their food. “How about you, Rayne? What’s your father like?”

Rayne looked up from her salad and shrugged her shoulders. “He died before I was born.”

Jenna lifted a hand to her mouth. “How tragic!”

“Not really. Men don’t last long around Fallon women.”

Trip wrinkled his nose and Rick caught him. “Guess you’d better train those puppy-dog eyes on someone else.”

“I… I wasn’t…,” he stammered. “Honestly, Miss Fallon, I wasn’t…”

Rayne laughed. “It’s okay, and call me Rayne.”

Jenna’s curiosity got the better of her. “So, what happens to the men? Do they just leave?”

Rayne shook her head. “No, they die.”

Rick pulled back from the table and his eyes grew wide. “Seriously?”

“Seriously. Fallon women are cursed.”

Apparently, Rick and Trip remembered the investigation into Rayne’s cousin, Mindy Stevenson, at the same time. They locked eyes. Their mouths hung agape as they nodded at one another.

“Rayne, can I ask you a personal question?” Rick asked.

She nodded.

“Why is there bad blood between you and Mindy Stevenson?”

“Honestly, I haven’t a clue. Ever since we were kids, she has just hated me, mom, and grandmother. She made my life a living hell in school.”

“I think I know why.”


“Yeah, I had Trip check her out. Did you know she is your cousin on your father’s side?”

Rayne narrowed her eyes. “No, I didn’t know that.”

“I bet her mom filled her head with tales about Fallon women,” Jenna chimed in.

Trip leaned across the table. “Your dad was a Carmichael, right?”

Rayne nodded.

“So was Mindy’s mom.”

Rayne slumped back into her seat. So, that’s why Mindy hated her. Her uncle had gotten mixed up with a Fallon woman and died from the curse.

Rick patted her on the back. “Sorry, kiddo. I just thought you’d want to know why she was so mean to you.”

“It’s okay. Mom and grandmother never talked about Dad’s side of the family. I knew they lived close by, but I had no idea my nemesis is my cousin. It actually makes sense now.”

“Afraid I have more bad news. I know where they hauled Charles’ mother off to.”

Rayne sat upright and stared at Rick with widened eyes. “Where?”

“St. Mary’s Retirement Center.”

Rayne rubbed her forehead and lowered her eyes. St. Mary’s was a rundown old folks home. “I can’t believe with all their money, they put her in that place.”

“They don’t have any money,” Trip interjected.

Rick nodded. “Yep, in debt and on the brink of losing the B&B.”

Jenna saw the despair on Rayne’s face. “Enough bad news. This was a celebration, not a funeral.”

Rayne pushed her seat back and stood up. “Excuse me,” she whispered and hurried off to the ladies’ room.

Once inside, she locked the door and slid down onto the floor. She had a feeling all along that Mindy and Charles had done something despicable and cruel to Adelaide. She covered her face with her palms and wept.

“Those tears for me, witch?”

Rayne jumped as a voice ripped through her mind.

“Where’s that purdy necklace of yours?”

She couldn’t see anything. Not through his eyes or her own. She fished into her pocket and pulled out the necklace. As she fumbled to put it on, his voice grew louder.

“What did you do with my mark? I know it was you. Tell me or I kill the blonde.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“Oh, yes you do. Cute little black girl. I’ve been watching her for a month and now she’s gone. Whole family, gone. What did you do?”

Rayne finally got the necklace clasped and she was there, standing face to face with him, but not in the basement this time. He stood in Nisha’s yard with that grey hoodie pulled down over his face.

“Answer me, witch or I swear, I will kill that girl.”

Rayne backed away from him until she bumped into a tree. She stood flushed up against it and slowly moved her arms behind her body, hugging the tree. Sacred Oak, protect Gina and Sally, she murmured in her mind.

“I don’t know where she is. The FBI took them away.”

The man moved toward her. “I don’t know how you knew. I don’t know how you see what I do, but when I am done with those two little girls, I’ll find you and you’ll be dead too.”

Rayne screamed and passed through the oak tree to the other side of it. She felt him moving in on her, closer and closer, and then she heard a rapping sound. Low at first, then more rapid. She clinched her eyes closed, but the sound continued. And then she heard a female voice.

“Rayne? Are you okay?”

It was Jenna. Rayne opened her eyes and raised her hand toward the door. She stretched forward and unlocked it. Jenna hurried into the room and sank to the floor beside Rayne, pulling the upset young woman into her arms.

“What happened?”

Rayne pressed her head against Jenna’s shoulder. “I saw him again. He knows about Nisha and her family.”

“Shhhhh. They are safe.”

“Gina and Sally aren’t. He said he would kill them and then…,” Rayne paused and wiped tears from her face. She glanced up at Jenna. “When he’s done with the girls, he’s coming for me.”

“We won’t let him harm you. You believe that, right?”

“He’s angry, Jenna. We foiled his plans for Nisha and now… he’s going to kill Gina and Sally out of spite.”

“We don’t know that for sure. It could’ve just been a threat. This isn’t your fault.”

“Then why do I feel so guilty?”

Jenna pulled away and stood up. “It’s a natural reaction, but you are not to blame here. He is and we are closing in on him.”

“Not fast enough. Those girls are in danger now.”

“C’mon,” Jenna said as she offered a hand to Rayne. “The sketch artist is back and we are about to release the sketch of the unsub to the news.”

Rayne took her hand and allowed herself to be pulled up from the floor. She wiped her eyes on her sleeve and left the restroom with Jenna. As they walked past the police, Rayne kept her head down. She didn’t need them to see her in that state. Questions would be raised that she wouldn’t be able to explain without scrutiny. They walked back into the conference room. Rick stood by the boards talking to someone Rayne hadn’t met yet.

Rick flashed a concerned look at Rayne. She waved her hand at him and shook her head. He nodded and stretched out a hand toward her to join him.

“Rayne, this is our sketch artist, Dan Fuentes.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Rayne,” Dan said. “I was impressed with your sketch of that young girl. I hope you don’t mind, but Rick told me about your… er, unique talents.”

Rayne glared at Rick.

“Don’t be angry with him. It was my curiosity. I couldn’t understand how you drew such details when you’d never met the girl. I am not a skeptic,” Dan concluded.

“Dan’s worked with us for years. He’s seen and heard just about everything imaginable,” Jenna said, coming to both Dan and Rick’s defense.

Rayne’s face softened and she smiled at Dan. “That’s fine. Can I see your sketch?”

Dan returned the smile and handed over his sketchbook.

As she stared at the man’s face, Rayne traced the sketch with her fingertip. It was the abductor. She didn’t know how she knew since she’d never seen his face, but it was him. She could feel his rage through the obsidian eyes that stared back at her.

“It’s him,” she whispered and handed the sketchbook back to Dan.

“Great. Let’s get this on the evening news,” Rick said.

After Rick went out to give a press conference, Rayne collapsed into a chair. She couldn’t get the abductor’s voice out of her head. He’d been so angry. Would he go through with his threat? She closed her eyes and recalled the large oak tree she’d seen in her vision. Her grandmother had told her that trees held special magic. Rayne just prayed that her invocation to the oak tree would be enough to protect those girls.

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

or jump ahead to Part 19

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: 1556 words. Total words so far: 30,505

Seeing You – Part Seventeen #NaNoWriMo2016

Several days had passed since Rayne’s last vision and Trip hadn’t made much headway on the clues they’d already uncovered. The investigation had begun to stall again. Rick and Jenna sat in the conference room at the Fairfax County Police Station with files and paper coffee cups strewn all over the table. Troy had been called back to D.C., while Mike and Denise took twelve-hour shifts guarding the Wells family. Rayne and Trip huddled at the end of the table, searching through pictures of Ford sedans on the internet. They’d already ruled out the Aspire and Fiesta. They were simply too small. The Taurus and Crown Victorian were too bulky. They finally settled on either a Focus or Fusion, but since white cars were popular, Trip wasn’t sure there was much to work with on the car, except for the window tinting.

“It’s not a popular choice these days,” Trip informed Rayne. “Most people just go with the low tint from manufacturers and in Virginia, you can’t go above 50%. If the window was as dark as you recall, it was a custom job.”

“That could be another tie-in with a car mechanic,” Jenna interjected.

Rick tapped a pen on the table. “What if this guy is a jack-of-all-trades?”

Trip cocked his head and bit the corner of his mouth. “Then we might never figure out who he is.”

Jenna grew impatient. This case had taken so many turns over the past eight months or so that she felt useless. Would it take this unsub kidnapping another girl for them to get new leads? She closed the file she’d been looking through and tossed it across the table. “What about the high school, Trip? Have you finished vetting white males from the eighties until 2000?”

“Not even close. There were thousands of males fitting his description that attended the high school during those fifteen to twenty years. I am still working through the mid-nineties.”

“Maybe he didn’t even go there. He could have bought that hoodie in a department store or the Salvation Army,” Rick tossed out.

Jenna stood up and walked to one of the white boards. She picked up a marker and began talking aloud and writing details on the board. “We know that in the last two years, ten girls have gone missing in Fairfax and surrounding counties. None of them have surfaced. We don’t even know if this same man has taken them all. We know this unsub currently has two, Sally and Gina, and that he made plans to kidnap Nisha as well.” She wrote Sally and Gina’s names on the board and put a separate question mark within a circle beside their names. “The question now is… will he go through with kidnapping a third girl or has his plans changed?”

Rayne sat and listened as Jenna sorted through everything they’d learned so far – the basement, the cattle prod, the cages and muzzles, the white sedan, work shirt and logo, the diesel van, and the hoodie. After a while, Rayne tuned her out. She hadn’t been much use the past few days, but each day she came into the field office with Rick and Jenna and listened to them drone on and on about the case. Unconsciously, her hand moved up to the pendant around her neck. She ran a finger along the cool metallic stone. Suddenly it hit her. What if the reason she hadn’t had any visions was because of the pendant? It hadn’t occurred to her because she did have the one vision while wearing it, but what if…? She slid her hands around her neck, unclasped the necklace and placed it on the table. She held her breath for a few moments while she waited. She exhaled, inhaled, and then exhaled again. Nothing. Rayne sighed. She hadn’t really expected anything to happen that soon, but it had been worth a shot. Her mind drifted back into the ensuing conversation between Jenna, Rick, and Trip.

“Any luck tracking down welding sites or garages with that partial logo?” Jenna asked Trip as she continued scribbling on the white board.

“I had a couple hits on garages, but they had no mechanics who fit our unsub’s description. I am still running a search on construction companies and welding shops. I had a few hits on companies with dark-colored vans, but they were for….” Trip stopped and looked up at Jenna with wide eyes.

Jenna stared back. “What?”

Trip typed away on his keyboard. “I dismissed this place because I was searching for garages and construction companies, but this…,” he paused again and then flipped his laptop around. “A & D Kennels. They were a puppy rescue center.”

Rick’s eyes sparkled. “Cages and muzzles.”

Jenna ignored Rick because something caught her attention. “What do you mean by ‘were’?”

“They went out of business about a year ago, but I have the owner’s address.” He clicked a few more keys and then grinned up at Jenna.  “It’s on your iPad.”

Jenna walked over to Trip and kissed him on the forehead. “You’re brilliant.”

Trip blushed. “Only if it leads to something.”

Jenna picked up her briefcase and iPad. “If it doesn’t, we’ll figure something else out. We always do.” She looked over at Rayne. “You coming?”

Rayne glanced from Jenna to Rick. He slung on his suit jacket, grabbed his briefcase and waited by the door. Rayne hunched her shoulders and wrung her hands. “What if he is the one?”

Rick patted his hip where he carried his Glock. “Got you covered.”

Jenna placed a hand on Rayne’s shoulder. “We won’t let anything happen to you. You’ll remain in the car while we check the guy out and if he isn’t our unsub, we’ll give you the all-clear.”

Rayne nodded. She slid her necklace into the pocket of her jeans and followed Jenna and Rick out of the station.

# # #

Paul D’Arca, the owner of the kennel, lived on the outskirts of Fairfax. When they pulled up at his trailer, Rick was confident that he would not be their unsub. Still, he and Jenna followed protocol and went up to the door. Rick knocked and waited.  Jenna peeked through the front window and then walked around to the side of the trailer. Rick knocked a second time, but there was still no answer. He joined Jenna at the side of the trailer and then they both went around to the back. An elderly man sat in a lounge chair, tossing pieces of bread into the middle of the yard.

“Mr. D’Arca?” Rick inquired as he and Jenna approached the man.

The man slowly turned around in his seat and stretched his neck out. “Who wants to know?”

Jenna pulled out her badge. “I am SA Styles and this is SA Harris from the FBI. We’d like to ask you some questions.”

The man stood up and peered down at Jenna’s badge. “The FBI, eh? What could an old man possibly help the two of you with?”

Rick smiled at the man. “We have some questions about your kennel and someone who may have worked for you.”

“Let’s go inside,” the man said as he picked up his cane. “It’s getting chilly out here.”

Rick and Jenna followed the old man to his back stairs and into his trailer. They were met by three Pekingese who danced around Mr. D’Arca’s legs all the way into the living room. He picked up a can from a table beside a Lazy Boy, opened it and tossed a few treats to the three dogs.

“Please, sit down,” he said as he cleared some newspapers off the couch.

“Do you mind if we invite a colleague of ours to join us?” Rick asked.

“What the hell. The more the merrier, I suppose.”

While Rick went outside to get Rayne, Jenna sat down on the couch. Mr. D’Arca settled into his Lazy Boy and was immediately covered by his three dogs.

“The last of my rescues,” he said as he stroked the dogs’ fur. “Saved from a fire. See, Mitzi still has some bald spots where her fur was burnt down to the skin.” He turned the dog around for Jenna to see.

“Ah, yes, I see. Poor thing. They are lovely dogs.” Jenna didn’t care much for small talk or small dogs. Too yappy, but these three seemed well-trained. She tapped her fingers on her knee as she waited.

Rick returned with a reluctant Rayne. As she entered the door, the three dogs jumped down and greeted her, running circles around her legs. She let out a laugh and bent down to pet them.

“You must be a good soul,” Mr. D’Arca said. “They only greet me that way. Come, sit down, young lady.” He pointed to a chair beside his recliner.

“This is Rayne Fallon, Mr. D’Arca,” Rick informed him.

Rayne smiled and nodded at the older man, and then sat down to his right. The man flashed her a toothless grin as two of the Pekingese jumped into his lap and the other one climbed into Rayne’s. Rick joined Jenna on the couch. He hadn’t seen Rayne that happy since he’d met her.

“Now that we are all settled,” the man began, “what questions can I answer for you?”

Jenna opened her iPad and took her stylus in-hand. “We are investing the disappearance of two girls. We have evidence that suggests that someone wearing a uniform from your kennel may have kidnapped them.”

The man scratched his balding head. “I don’t think that’s possible, Agent Styles. Besides myself, only my son and his wife worked at the kennel. I donated our uniforms to an outreach church when I closed down a year ago.”

“Where is your son now?”

“He and the misses moved to Georgia… that would be about six months ago.”

“What about your equipment?” Rick asked.

The man wrinkled his brow and stared off into space for a moment. “Ah yes. Donny, my son, he sold most of the stuff to some guy. I don’t recall who he was. He paid cash.”

Jenna jotted down the information and prodded further. “What was sold to him?”

“Cages, food bowls, that kind of thing.”

“Muzzles?” Rick asked.

“Yes, there were some muzzles. We didn’t always rescue the nicest of dogs.”

“What about your van?” Rick inquired.

The man raised a brow. “I don’t know about that. Donny used it before he moved. I think he may have junked it before he left Virginia though. It was a piece of shit.”

Rayne decided to ask him about the man’s appearance, since neither Jenna nor Rick had yet. “Mr. D’Arca…”

“Please call me Paul, young lady,” he interrupted.

Rayne smiled. “Paul, do you remember what the man who bought the items looked like?”

“Shady fella. Slicked-back black hair, beady grey eyes, and those hands. I’d never seen anyone with so many burn scars. Well, except for poor Mitzi here. I didn’t want Donny dealing with him, but we needed the cash.”

“Mr. D’Arca, do you think you could describe this man to a sketch artist?” Jenna asked.

“My memory may not be the best these days, but I can’t forget that man. Sure, I will try.”

Jenna smiled. This might be the break they needed. “Great. I’ll have one come by later today to work with you. I think we have all we need. No sense taking up more of your time.”

The old man nodded his head.

As Rick and Jenna stood up and went toward the door, Rick turned back to the man. “Can you contact your son and find who he sold that stuff to and where he junked the van?”

“Sure. I’ll call him this evening when he gets home from work.”

Rayne picked the dog up from her lap and stood up, handing the dog over to Mr. D’Arca. “Thank you,” she whispered.

The man winked at her. “Always a pleasure to meet such a lovely young girl.”

Rick, Jenna, and Rayne left the trailer and climbed into the car. Rayne let out a long breath as Rick pulled away from the driveway. For the first time in over a week, she felt they’d made some progress, and she could breathe again.

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

or jump ahead to Part 18

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: 2043 words. Total words so far: 28,949