Detective Renee Guiterrez was tired. She had just gotten off of her shift at the precinct and was beginning to relax at home when the call came in that she had to come back. A suspect was just caught in one of the cases she was investigating and he was confessing to everything. Renee didn’t want to leave Jose and the kids but he understood and she had to get back. Having a husband who was a paramedic made these emergency situations much easier to move pass. She kissed the kids goodnight and did the same to Jose. She told him that she would hopefully be able to wrap this up quickly as she walked out the door.
As she entered the doors of the precinct, she was greeted by the usual madness that was late Friday nights. Drunks handcuffed to the benches, prostitutes being booked in while their johns tried to cut a deal with the arresting officers. Renee greeted the desk sergeant and went back towards the detectives’ area. Several other detectives were standing around drinking coffee and talking as she approached. Most of the attention seemed to be focused on the lieutenant’s office.
“What’s going on?” Renee asked the group.
“Williams is getting chewed out by the L.T.” answered Patrelli, a short balding detective, who seemed to have a constant smirk on his face. “Seems he got a little overzealous with the guy they picked up and broke his nose.”
“The guy had it coming,” said Detective Nick Butler, Williams’ partner. “He shouldn’t have called him the n-word. He kept poking and Williams gave him fair warning.”
“Whatever, Nick,” replied Patrelli, rolling his eyes. “Williams should know better. Gotta keep the emotion out of the job.”
“You didn’t see what this wackjob did to those people, Patrelli,” said Butler. “He massacred them and just sat there, waiting for us to bust him. He’s a creep.”
“Still, Williams should have walked away,” said Patrelli, taking another sip of his coffee.
“Are you really defending a murdering psycho, Carl?” asked Butler.
“I’m just saying sometimes you have to keep a cooler head,” said Patrelli. “Williams has to get over it. It’s only a word anyways.”
“Really?” said a voice from the door to the room. “So, if I called you a dirty ginny after I just butchered a roomful of people, you would walk away?”
The person speaking had on dark shades and a heavy, dark denim jacket. Her black hair fell to her shoulders and the shirt and jeans outfit she had on suggested she had just left a slightly nicer venue than the precinct. Her right hand held a cup of coffee and she used her left hand to lower her sunglasses.
“Whatever, Sawyer,” Patrelli responded. “Nice of you to grace us with your presence and winning personality.”
“Fuck off, Carl,” said Detective Kate Sawyer. She walked towards her desk and sat down. “I was having an excellent night until I got your call. What’s going on, Renee?”
“I don’t know, partner,” Renee replied. She walked towards her partner and sat on the edge of her desk. “I’m just in the dark about this as you are.”
“Maybe it has something to do with our newest caseload,” mused Kate, sipping on her cup.
Detectives Guiterrez and Sawyer had been investigating a rash of murders in the seedier city motels. The killer’s victims of choice seemed to be men and women in their early twenties that he somehow convinced to leave their friends and join him at the motel of his choice. Once they got to the hotel, he would gut these kids and leave them for the police to find. These cases should have been a slam dunk but unfortunately and strangely there was little to no evidence to go on and the witnesses could never give an accurate description of the suspect.
From what Renee was hearing about the crime, this didn’t seem to be the guy.
“I don’t think so,” she said. “This guy sounds like he killed a bunch of people. That’s not our perp’s M.O. I don’t know why they called us in for this.”
Renee grabbed a chair and sat next to her partner. She stared at Kate for a few seconds directly in her face.
“What?” asked Kate, annoyed at the staring she was receiving.
“You can still smell a little bit of the vodka on you, Katie,” Renee said, reaching into her purse and pulling out some perfume. “Here.”
“Yeah, this won’t seem suspicious,” Kate said, mockingly as she sprayed some on her neck.
“So, what bar was it tonight and what was it this time?” Renee asked. She sat back in the chair and smiled because she suspected the reason even if Kate wouldn’t admit it.
“It was nothing,” Kate said, getting annoyed again. “I just wanted to drink and hang out. Just shoot the shit with some fellow drunks and maybe take something nice home. Nada else.”
“Take something home, huh?” said Renee, still smiling. “Bullshit. You have been in a mood for a few weeks now. You should just go and talk to him.”
“Who?” Kate asked, looking away from Renee.
“Don’t who me, Katie,” Renee said. “You know exactly who I’m talking about. Eric. You two have been doing this silly dance for months and months. You have a good time and then you fight. Then it’s no talking, drinking and fighting. Finally, it’s the big argument and you get back together. I say skip all the middle parts and just have it out.”
“Not that simple, Renee,” Kate said, standing up as the door to the lieutenant’s office opened. “Not this time.”
“Nothing ever is with you two,” Renee said, as she stood up too.
A tall, very fit and very angry black male walked out of the office. He glanced around the room for a second until his eyes landed on Renee and Kate. He stared for a moment and then went to his chair to grab his coat and go outside. The detectives all watched him leave and Butler followed him out. The lieutenant watched them go and then waved Renee and Kate over to his office. They entered and sat down as their lieutenant stood pacing behind his desk with an open folder.
“What’s up, lieutenant?” asked Kate. “Why did you call us in?”
The lieutenant looked up at Kate and then sat down behind his desk. To Renee he looked much older than usual tonight. His gray hair was pulled back from his face and his glasses sat crookedly on his face. Lieutenant Payne looked like he had seen a ghost. He slid the folder across the desk to Sawyer and she picked it up.
“The guy who did that to those people said he hacked up your kids in those motels,” the lieutenant said. “And I believe the sick son of a bitch.”
Kate’s face showed disgust and anger as she passed the folder to Renee. Inside were pictures of a family in a state of fear. They all had the same shocked look on their face as the hotel murder victims. There was blood everywhere in the pictures of the apartment. One picture showed a little boy who was maybe ten, the same age as Renee’s oldest son. He looked so innocent and scared. He was missing his arm and his lower left leg. Renee just closed the folder and placed it on the desk.
“How’d you catch this psycho?” asked Kate.
“That’s just it,” said the lieutenant, rubbing the side of his forehead. “Neighbors heard the screams and called 911. Officers responded and just found him covered in blood sitting on the toilet in the bathroom with the dead mother cut up in the bathtub. He smiled when the first responders entered and said ‘Get me a detective.’ Williams and Butler shot over there and saw the scene. There was blood everywhere and writing on the walls.
“Williams and Butler brought the guy in. Started saying racist remarks in the car and Williams punched him in the face and broke his nose. I had no choice but to chew him out for that.”
“Guy gets no pity from me,” Kate said, with a smirk.
Renee looked at her partner for a second to figure out which guy she was referring to. She gave up and refocused on the matter at hand.
“When did he say he was our guy?” Renee asked.
“While he was in the back of the car,” said the lieutenant. “Butler told me the guy was a chatterbox, saying horrible things to Williams and him and giving up details on all his crimes. Williams caught something about that last hotel murder and that’s when he radioed in to tell Patrelli to get you guys.”
“When can we talk to him?” asked Renee, picking the folder back up.
“Right now,” replied the lieutenant. “He’s in interrogation room three. After Williams hit him, he said he refused to talk to anyone but the detectives in charge of the hotel murders.”
As the detectives stood up, the lieutenant cleared his throat.
“Be careful,” said the lieutenant. “This guy is a nut but he’s slippery. He left no real evidence before tonight and he knows how to muck with your head.”
“Don’t worry,” Kate said, smiling. “I know how to deal with bad boys.”
Kate and Renee entered the room and got their first look at their killer.
He had on white pants and white sneakers spattered with blood spots. His Hawaiian floral pattern shirt had even more blood on it but the detectives assumed most of this was from Williams punching him in the face. His hands were clasped behind his back and he looked up as the detectives moved to stand across from him. A white bandage covered his nose and he looked at the women with feverish blue eyes that contrasted dramatically with his spiky red hair. A smirk played at the corners of his mouth.
“Ahhh, so you must be the detectives I’ve been waiting for,” he said. He leaned closer to the table and grinned. “I must say you two were worth the wait. A lil rough around the edges and older than my usual but we all must adapt and change in this new world. You are both a major improvement over that porch monkey that hit me.”
“Classy,” said Renee, as she sat down in one of the chairs across from the suspect. She placed the folder on the table and stared at him for a few seconds. He smiled back at her.
“What’s your name?” asked Kate, still standing.
“So many to choose from,” said the killer, still staring directly into Renee’s eyes. “I go by Jack Hobbes. At least for now.”
“Well, Mr. Hobbes,” continued Kate, smiling herself. “We are running your prints and so we’ll find out if you are lying to us in a minute anyway. We’ll call you Jack for now.”
“I don’t lie, Detective,” said Jack Hobbes. “Well, at least I won’t lie tonight. The truth is so much more entertaining in this case. Don’t you agree, Detective Guiterrez?”
The use of her name broke Renee’s concentration. She stopped staring and Jack Hobbes sat back in his seat smiling his crooked grin.
“Yes, I know your name, Detective,” Jack said, grinning. “I also know Detective Sawyer’s name too. I like to know who is on my tail when I’m doing my work.”
“Nice to know you are appreciated, huh, Detective?” said Kate, nudging Renee so she would regain her focus.
“This family slaying is a little bit outside of your usual scope of work, isn’t it Jack?” asked Renee. “What? Did you get bored hacking up college kids?”
Jack Hobbes just laughed and Kate felt a dull pain in her head.
“Detective,” Jack said, trying to keep his laughter under control. “Those children were a warm-up to the real show. They were my quick bite before tonight’s appetizer.”
“Really?” asked Kate, the pain in her head subsiding. “What’s the main course?”
“All in due time, Sawyer,” Jack said, chuckling. “First, we have to play my favorite game.”
“What’s that?” asked Renee, starting to get irritated my Jack’s smugness.
“Twenty questions, Detective,” responded Jack. “And luckily for you, I’m not going to count that as one of your questions. So, you ladies get twenty questions between you. But, I must warn you, I’m on a tight schedule. You have about fifteen minutes.”
Renee looked at Kate. Kate just shook her head.
“Don’t ask him,” Kate said, taking a seat next to her partner. “This psychopath will probably count that as one of our questions.”
Jack laughed at this remark.
“Very perceptive, Detective,” said Jack, smiling. “I’m impressed. I didn’t think your small female brain would figure that one out. Kudos.”
“Whatever, you kook,” replied Kate. She leaned in close to Renee and whispered. “This guy is seriously messed up enough to answer us truthfully. You got a question for this maniac, Renee.”
“Tsk, tsk, Kate,” said Jack, looking offended. “Whispering is impolite. Tell her, Renee. I doubt you would put up with that from your children.”
“How the hell-“ began Kate, standing up before Renee grabbed her arm.
“How many people have you killed?” asked Renee, ignoring the implications of Jack’s statement about her children. She figured he got the information like anyone else did. The internet. He probably just Googled her and Kate’s records after he got their names. She pulled Kate back into her chair and waited for Jack’s answer.
“Interesting question, Renee,” Jack said. He looked up at the ceiling as if he was trying to calculate a large number.
“I’ll keep it local for the sake of our discussion,” Jack said, looking back at Renee. “I’ve killed twelve men, seventeen women, three boys, two girls, three dogs and about twenty-three cats in this city, not counting the family tonight.”
Renee sat in shock and Kate just glowered at Jack.
“I know. I know,” he said, chuckling. “That’s a big number but what can I say? I go for the gold every time. Plus, I really, really hate cats. Pointless creatures.”
“Okay, my turn,” Kate said, still shooting daggers at the killer in front of her. “Why did you do it?”
“I did it because it is what I do,” Jack replied, with a grim look on his face. “I’m the herald and I have not been doing my job for years. That changes tonight.”
“Herald for what?” asked Renee, in almost a whisper.
Jack leaned towards the table. His grin returned.
“My masters,” he said, looking from Kate and back to Renee. “My masters are coming to reclaim what is rightfully theirs.”
Kate turned and looked at Renee. Kate started to laugh.
“Okay, Jackie-boy,” said Kate, smirking. “I’ll bite. Who are your masters?”
“The Old Ones,” said Jack. He bowed his head slightly as he said this.
“The Old Ones?” Kate repeated. She shook her head and laughed again. “You have to do better than that, right, Renee?”
“You should watch your mouth, you cunt,” Jack said, no longer smiling. “The Old Ones are not to be mocked.”
“Whatever, jagoff,” Kate said. “I’m very scared.”
“If you were smart you would be,” Jack said. His smile returned. “But don’t worry. You will be long dead before they re-appear.”
Renee opened the folder and began to place the photos in front of Jack. He just smiled as if he was proud of his handiwork being displayed.
“I’m really happy with how this turned out,” Jack said, eying the pictures carefully. “I wasn’t sure I would have enough blood to really get my point across. Luckily, daddy showed up.”
Kate was about to say something when a knock on the door interrupted her. Detective Butler poked his head in and motioned for Sawyer to join him outside. She followed him to the room on the other side of the interrogation room’s two-way mirror. Butler looked through the glass at Renee and Jack Hobbes. He just shook his head.
“That guy is seriously nuts in the head,” said Butler.
“I know,” replied Kate. She crossed her arms across her chest. “Don’t want to leave Renee in their alone too long with that guy. She is probably asking herself how someone can get so gone in their heads.”
“Yeah, well, I gotta better question for you, kid,” Butler said, reaching for a sheet of paper on a chair. “How does someone in this age have no prints on file?”
Kate took the paper from Butler. All of the national databases had no records of anyone with the fingerprints of the man called Jack Hobbes.
“Shit,” Kate said. “Of course, I can never get a slam dunk case. Even when the guy straights up admits it there is something. Dammit.”
She took the paper and walked back into interrogation room three with Renee and a madman whose background was growing stranger by the minute.