Will Bryant and Dr. Joey Vermiclin stepped into the Police Headquarters in Barken, and both immediately felt the unkempt rage that was spewing forth from the Sheriff's office. They could hear two voices coming from it, one a man's the other a woman's. Will and Joey exchanged glances, both being able to tell from the timbre of the voices that the man was angry, and that the woman was trying to calm him, and quite possibly seduce him.
For the day that Joey had known Will Bryant, they had practically spent every waking moment together, he found that he could really respect the agent. He was smooth, calm, quite professional, and deliberate in purpose. He was not a man that Joey thought would be trifled with, or in any way be denied. He felt that the consequences of making Will Bryant mad would be quite unpleasant indeed. He wondered how much of that was the image that Will projected and how much the real Will Bryant.
Inside the main office sat Randy Kempe, sitting in Davis's seat, with Jenny looking on, trying to help him with something or other, they couldn't see what from the vantage point of the doorway. Randy looked up, saw them, and ushered them in. He gestured to the seats in front of the desk, and they both sat down. Jenny stood off to the side as they entered, and watched everything from behind Randy.
"Randy Kempe," Will told him, offering his hand, "It is good to see you again. I wish the circumstances were better than they are though."
"It just got worse." Randy told him, hading over the piece of paper he'd been holding. "That's from the San Fransisco County Hospital. Apparently Harvey Shishido, our town doctor, was the victim of a mail bomb. He's presently in a coma there, no idea if he'll ever come out."
"I'm sorry to hear that." Will responded in kind, glancing over the paper, before he handed it to Joey.
Joey took the paper, not bothering to read it before asking, "Do you want be to take his place?"
"Yes. Who knows when we'll have more bodies for you. He hasn't killed anybody since that night. Rick should be here shortly. I want him to escort you around, Will. He'll fill you in on anything that's been happening that you don't already know." Randy tells them, obviously uncomfortable giving out orders as Davis had done.
Bryant leans forward, seeing the distracted look of Randy. "And what pray tell are you planning to do?"
Randy looked at Will, staring at him intently. He was quite disappointed in himself, this was not a man he could talk down, he would have to say something. "I am going to make sure he doesn't kill again."
Will rose from the table, looking down on Randy, not sure he should believe what he is hearing. His eyes passed from Randy to Jenny, then back to Randy. He then casually looked over to Joey before saying, "Well, when Rick gets here, tell him I'm going to the motel so I can have a place to stay."
"I will." Randy assured him, then looking at Joey he added. "Jenny, show Dr. Vermiclin the veterinary office. Show him where the bodies are being kept."
Jenny flicked Randy's ear as she passed him, leading Joey away. Will stayed a few more seconds, looking at Randy, wondering just what dangerous thing he had planned in mind. Whatever it was, Will was sure that it would be counter productive. He wondered just how much revenge was motivating his actions right now. He could understand his motivation; had the drug bust not gone well, he would have harboured similar emotions towards the drug dealers.
Will turned and left the office, the eyes of Randy Kempe watching him. He stepped back out in the fresh air of the town, and looked about him. He fervently wished that Davis had been uninjured, or Bill Budd for that matter. He could deal with either of them too quite well, but this man, Randy Kempe, he seemed to be on the verge of an explosion. Turning down the street, he walked the short distance to the motel, happy to see Mrs. Brumfield again, after such a long absence.
The figure watched as the structure took form before him. Designed in the corner of the large inner chamber, it was fashioned from the long pieces of plywood, four lined up one right after the other, each piece of plywood further subdivided into five sections. Each of the sections had a collar hanging suspended from the plywood, with two metal springs facing towards the area directly in front of the collar. Weights were being meticulously added to the springs, as was a clamp. Electrical wiring raced back and forth along the top of the structure, back to a single box of switches, which lay near the figure who was crouching in the shadows underneath the parapet.
"How much longer till it's ready to test?" the figure called out in guttural tones.
"At least another hour or so." the man called back.
Will Bryant looked up from the table as he heard the man enter the hotel. He was a short, wiry man, but certainly not lacking in muscle. His was more of a tempered muscle, like he had seen on a ballet dancer. It was Rick White, he vaguely recalled the man helping him out with that ambush one year prior, and he immediately walked over to the table and sat down with him.
"So what has happened?" Will asked him, putting down the cup of coffee that he had served himself, "and tell me in detail."
"In detail." Rick repeated the phrase, grimacing at the thought of what he had seen. He didn't really like to talk, and now he was being forced to. "Well, four people are dead, and we only have a few clues. We have a video recording of him, but we never see his face. We know his left ear is much bigger than his right. The only other evidence we have is that he bought a bottle of Chardonnay, dated 1863. Oh, he also has a limp in his left leg, other than that we don't know much."
Will nodded, and then said, "I had the hair and fibres you guys sent me tested. Nothing could be gleaned from it. There were no human fibres or tissue samples at all in the entire mix. This guy is good. So does he really eviscerate them in exactly the same way?"
"Yes, all four bodies were done in the same fashion." Rick answered.
"Well, if he is a serial killer, then lets see what we can glean form this information." Will began trying desperately to remember the course he'd taken in criminal psychology. "He must have a master plan, something that only he would understand, that to him is a piece of art. He is an artist, and he creates it in anyway possible. Obviously to him the death and skinning of the dogs is important, for he hasn't killed a single human being that we know of.
"The fact that he eviscerates them in the same fashion is also cause for alarm. I do not know the significance of this, but I have gathered from what I've heard that some other great killer eviscerated his victims that way?"
"Yes, Eddie Jones." Rick confirmed.
"Good, well then, lets continue. So he eviscerates them, skins them, and keeps the skins, that means he's keeping them some place. So we now know that he has four skins, and we know the breeds too, so that helps. He also has that bottle of Chardonnay. Do you think it is possible that the date on the bottle holds any significance whatsoever?"
"Uh...." Rick was flabbergasted by the question. "I have no idea."
"Well if it would have significance, then it would have to relate to either Barken or the people he is killing. Sine he only killed George Thompson with the bottle, he must be somehow related with the year 1863, which I checked into. Of course, since he wasn't born until the 1950's he didn't have any relation whatsoever to the year 1863. Barken however, did have a circumstantial event occur in that year."
"Was that the first time Barken was destroyed?" Rick asked.
"Yes it was, during the month of October, on the 10th, in the year 1863, Barken was laid to waist."
"The 10th?" Rick looked anxious. "That's only a week away!"
"Something big might be happening then; I would wager quite possibly at midnight." Will told him, wondering himself what this guy might have planned.
"What do you think he's going to do?"
"I have no idea." Will admitted. "I don't even know for sure if that date wasn't just a coincidence. Until we have some way of confirming this, we cannot know what it truly means. Now, who was he disguised as two nights ago, when you all planned an ambush?"
"Andy Cobb." Rick replied. "I can't believe he would really do such a thing though, Andy is such a nice guy."
"Andy probably doesn't have anything to do with this. However, I would like to investigate his house, see if there are any tell-tale signs, anything that might give us a clue." Bryant pointed out.
"All right, I'll take you there now if you so wish." Rick offered
"Now would be an excellent time." Will assured him.
Joey was examining the bodies, all of them were quite dead, and by similar means too, the head had been smashed on three of them, it looked like only one of them had kept his skull intact. It was obvious that inexperienced hands had worked over the bodies before him, well not really inexperienced, but unprofessional. It was obvious that the doctor who examined these bodies had not been trained to deal with dead things. Joey smiled a bit at his own discoveries, there were many interesting things about these dogs that he was sure nobody had noticed.
Of course they were all inconsequential at the moment, wouldn't help them find the murderer, so he planned to keep them to himself. One thing hew did find though, nearly knocked him off of his feet. He had been feeling through the inside, just right at the edge where the killer had eviscerated the dog, when he felt a slight aberration in the internal lining. Pulling the skin up, he looked at the internal lining, and although he could see nothing, he could feel that there was something there.
He pulled out a magnifying glass and inspected the area. It looked as if something was there, ever so vaguely, as he could se that the skin was raised up in places, for no reason it seemed to him that was discernible in this light. He pondered it a moment, running over the possibilities, when an idea struck him. He looked about for the appropriate lighting equipment, and though it took him a few minutes, he was able to find a dark light.
He replaced the bulb in the ceiling with the dark light, and turning it on, he noticed immediately that many things in the room took on an eerie glow. Even his gloves glowed before him, and he found the sensation quite delightful. However, he knew it would be bad protocol to leave it there for long, could hurt his eyes. However, what was most important to him lay on that flap of skin. Where before he could see nothing, now it was plain before him, obvious to all.
He quickly checked the inside flaps of the other three corpses. What was there was similar, exactly the same as the first dog. Turning off the dark light he smiled. He'd found the killer's calling card, even though to him it meant absolutely nothing at all. He headed over to the police department, this discovery couldn't wait.
Rick White lead Will Bryant up to Andy Cobb's house. It was a simple house, with a lot of windows, and Will could see an air conditioner sticking out a window to one side. The blue paint on the siding was starting to peel off, And there were a few loose shingles on the roof. Other than that, it looked in fine upkeep, and it was obvious that somebody was living there, the mail having been picked up already.
Rick walked up to the door, and knocked, "Andy? Andy, please come to the door, we have to speak with you. Andy?"
They waited nearly a minute for somebody to come to the door, but nobody came. They looked at each other, and Will nodded, motioning for him to open the door. Rick tried the handle, it was unlocked, and they both stepped on inside. The inside of the house was much nicer than the outside, the furnishings looked to be on an average income, but it looked as if the house had been cleaned last night. The first room they entered was a living room. Just ahead of them was another doorway which led to what looked like was the kitchen. Off to their other side was another doorway. Will opened it up cautiously, already having drawn his pistol. It was a hall closet, nothing there but coats and umbrellas.
Rick continued to call out Andy's name, but there was still no response. Will let him lead, following close behind, checking all the nooks and crannies. He then asked in a hushed voice, "Was Andy married?"
"No, he was a bachelor." Rick replied.
"This is not a bachelor's house." Will told him. "Somebody else has been here."
"I'll sniff around." Rick offered.
"Go right ahead."
Will looked through the bookshelf, checked the TV, turned it one, saw that it was last on cable channel 25. It was TNN; grimacing, Will turned it off. Will turned to look over towards the kitchen. He saw a mutt sniffing at the ground, Rick almost certainly. Will made his way over into the kitchen, glancing at the breakfast cereals, anything that might be interesting. He didn't leave a single door unopened. He however could find nothing out of the ordinary, though he knew this house was too neat and orderly to be a bachelor's house, somebody had to have been here, either a woman or a married man, nobody else would be so clean.
He turned as he heard the sound. It was Rick, he was scratching at something in the next room over. It was the study he gathered from the look of it, and even the desk was neatly organised. Rick was scratching at a door off in one corner, and Will came over to him, and opened the door. It revealed a stairwell leading down into the darkness. Rick put his nose to the ground, and started following something. Will looked for a light switch, found it inside the doorway, and turned it on, lighting the steps, which emptied out into an unfinished basement. The smell of uncovered insulation nearly overwhelmed Will, but he continued on, looking for another light switch.
When he lit up the basement, he saw that it was largely untouched, it remained a mess, simply a large empty space, with a few modifications. There was of course the boiler room, and the piping that came down into the floor over to one side, and Will noticed that next to it stood the only door in the place. Rick headed straight for it. Will did as well, and he listened at the knob. He could hear muffled sounds, and obvious movement.
Rick stood back, and Will held out his gun as he reached for the knob, and slowly turned it. He swung the door open quickly, and his gun pointed at chest level, where there was nothing. He looked lower, and he saw that down there was an emaciated man, bound and gagged so that he could not speak, and could not move. He looked as if he had been brow beaten, and there were marks on his face, marks from what looked like a magic marker. The man's eyes were wild with fright, and Will could see that the man had not only peed but had defecated in his pants; who knows how long he had been held like this, without any chance of escape.
He heard Rick's voice coming from behind him, slightly changed, and he looked back to see that Rick was half-human half-dog, an strange sight for Will, he hadn't seen any like that so up close before. Rick nearly shouted, "Andy Cobb!"
Pastor Paul Aberdeen of the First Cherry Baptist Church was standing in the sanctuary, looking at the walls. He looked to the three that had been his kills, and he could not help but think back half a week ago, when he had been confronted by a monster. A monster who had told him to stop killing, for at least a month. Why were they doing that? He'd heard reports that the entire upper echelon of the police force in Barken had been decimated, now would be the time to strike if ever.
Who was that monster though? There had been two monsters! The first that had told him to stop killing, and the second that had touched him. He had been touched by one of those demons from Barken! At least that's what it had felt like. That was what it had seemed like. There was no other explanation for what he saw, it was a dog, and at the same time a man. Yet he still couldn't tell what the other creature was, it didn't feel human in retrospect. Yet he had no way of knowing, it was simply too confused in his mind.
He left the sanctuary, a feeling of trepidation shaking through him. He did not even know how he had gotten back that night. Presumably, they had taken him back, and that was what really bugged him. They could have killed him easily, and yet they hadn't, what was going on? They claimed to be doing the work of them Lord, and apparently there had been some deaths in Barken, but they weren't all that more productive than Aberdeen's own hunters were. In fact they hadn't killed anybody for the last three nights. This, among other things, worried him.
He strode to his office, not sure where else he could go at the moment, the situation was well out of his hands. As he entered, he saw a figure sitting in his chair, looking up at him, the gun levelled directly at his chest. He was too surprised to run, or do anything but utter, "You!"
"Sit down, Paul." the man told him acidy.
Paul did so, saying as he did so, his composure immediately regained, "It's been a long time, Randy."
"Yes, it has hasn't it." Randy Kempe smiled, but the anger was too much, showing clearly through every essence of his being. Paul shivered under the gaze of the gun, but like before, there was little he could do about it.