“Ahh, Kate,” said Jack Hobbes with his horrible smile. “So nice of you to join us again. Renee was about to ask me an undoubtedly uninspired question. Typical, right? I’m sure you can come up with something clever though.”
Renee turned to look at her partner with a quizzical look on her face. Kate just shook her head.
“Okay, guy,” began Kate, passing the sheet from Butler to her partner. “Who the hell are you? And why do you have no prints on record?”
Hobbes just chuckled.
“Are those the two questions you really want to ask, Detective?” he asked. “I mean I already gave you a name. You sure you want to take this trip?”
Kate just sat and stared at Jack Hobbes. He waited for a few seconds and then sighed.
“Okay, kiddies,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “I’ll spill the beans.
“I went by many names through many periods of time. I’ve worn many faces. Liu Pengli. Gilles de Rais. Thug Behram. Montague J. Druitt, one of my personal favorites. Dr. Henry Holmes. But these are all masks and shells to cover me.”
Hobbes leaned forward again. He nodded his head to the women to move in closer to the table. They looked at each other and then moved nearer.
“My real name is hard to pronounce,” Jack shared, in a conspiratorial whisper. “But, I guess if you wanted to, you could call me Legion because I am many.”
Jack leaned back in his chair and starts to laugh. Renee turned away in disgust and Kate just folded her arms across her chest with a sneer.
“Come on, Katie,” Jack said, still laughing. “That was a good one. It got all serious and dark. The looks on your faces were priceless.”
Jack chuckled one last time and then his face turned serious.
“I told you I wouldn’t lie to you and I haven’t,” Jack said. “I am all those things and people. I am also this fleshy meat bag I’m in right now.”
“Where are you from, Mr. Legion?” asked Renee, still sneering.
“Here, there, everywhere,” Jack responded, moving his head back and forth. “Originally? A dark, dark place where it gets really, really…cold. Bet you thought I was going to say hot, right? By the way, do one of you ladies have a cigarette I can get? I’m betting you do, Sawyer. I like to light up after a good massacre.”
“Get bent, psycho,” replied Kate.
“Heh,” laughed Jack.
“Okay,” began Renee, returning her gaze to the murderer. “If you are telling the truth, then how old would that make you? I mean I recognize one of those names.”
Renee turned her head to look at Kate.
“Montague John Druitt,” Renee said, with a smile playing at the corner of her lips. “That guy died in the 1800s. Mr. Hobbes here is claiming to be one of the people suspected of being the infamous Jack the Ripper.”
“Ahh,” said Jack, smiling. “Nice to see someone actually reads around here. And Montague, or I should say me, was Jack. Only killed five or so people before I got stopped. I’m much older than I look. I jump around from shell to shell. Plus, I moisturize a lot and do pilates when I can between killing sprees.”
“What do you mean ‘jump around from shell to shell’, wacko?” asked Kate.
“Exactly what I said, stupid,” Jack said, giving her a cold glance before turning to Renee. “I guess you are the smart one in this dynamic duo, chica.
“I use a human body to move around on this plane when I want to interact with you monkeys. I take the soul inhabiting the bodies and either destroy them or imprison them if they are particularly strong. It’s what happened with Mr. Druitt. Got forcefully ejected from him. I can usually stick around long enough to do the work of my masters though.”
“’The masters’ again, huh?” said Kate. “Okay. What do these masters want?”
“I told you before,” Jack said, his eyes becoming stormy. “They want what is rightfully theirs. Their planet, this planet, back. The great and powerful Old Ones are returning! They were here in the beginning and will be here at the end.”
“Yeah,” Kate said, smirking and leaning in closer to the table. “If they are so ‘great and powerful’, then why do they need you? What took them so long if they have been around for so? Why wait so long? That doesn’t sound so ‘great and powerful’ to me, chief. Sounds like they are weak and scared. I mean, why do they need you?”
A look of anger crossed Jack Hobbes’ face. It was a gone in a second and his familiar grin had returned.
“I wasn’t going to tell you this but it won’t matter anyway,” he began. “There are rules that all entities must follow. Rules of engagement and occupation. To gain access back to this planet, they need a price paid in blood. To accomplish this task, they need a physical agent. Someone to do the heavy lifting on this end, if you will. Me.”
“Then why did you wait so long, Jackie?” Kate asked, still smirking. “I mean you have been around for centuries killing and it took you this long to enact your masters’ grand plan. Seems a little slow to me.”
“She raises a good point, Mr. Hobbes,” Renee began. “Why wait so long if you just have to murder some random number of people?”
“You know,” Jack said, looking between the women. “I’m not sure why I am surprised that creatures with such short life spans can never appreciate long term planning. Can I get that cigarette, please?”
Kate just laughed and was interrupted from responding from a knock on the door. This time Butler motioned to Renee to join him outside and a beefy officer entered to stand by the door.
“You can have her for a dance, pally” said Jack, winking at the man. “But bring my other date back soon. I don’t want her to miss the dramatic ending.”
The detectives entered the other room where Lieutenant Payne waited. He did not appear happy and he seemed shaken. He had a few sheets of paper in his hand.
“What’s going on, sir?” Renee asked. She wasn’t used to this side of her lieutenant.
“Butler heard the names the guy called out,” began Payne, passing Renee the papers. “Good catch on the Druitt thing by the way. How did you know?”
“Dad was a history buff who was fascinated with The Ripper,” Renee said, looking at the sheets. “What’s this?”
“All those guys he named,” Butler said, as he stared into the next room. “They’re famous serial killers. Liu Pengli was a king in China in 144 B.C. who used to go on raids and kill people randomly. Over a hundred deaths.
“Gilles de Rais? Fifteenth century French nobleman who supposedly rode with Joan of Arc. Historians believe he was a psychopath who killed as many as two hundred people, maybe more.
“Thug Behram was an Indian serial killer. Perhaps the most prolific serial killer ever. He liked strangling people. Like nine hundred plus people or that’s the rumor.”
Butler took a sheet from the bottom of the stack Renee was holding.
“You already knew about Druitt,” Butler said, handing her back the sheet of paper. “Which brings us to Dr. Henry H. Holmes, which was the alias for one Herman Webster Mudgett. Nice mug on this guy, huh?”
Renee looked at the picture that went along with the sheet. It was a man with a bowler hat and a very bushy mustache.
“The Butcher of Chicago. He created his “Murder Castle” out of a drugstore and killed between nine and twenty-seven people in the span of two years through various methods, like poison, stretching, stabbing, etc. Big fan of torture this guy. Claimed he was possessed by, wait for it, Satan. Sound familiar?”
“Yeah, a little bit,” Renee said, looking through the papers again.
“Our little psychopath in there is a fan of other loonies,” said Lieutenant Payne, shaking his head in disgust. “What goes on in these guys’ heads?”
“Can you turn on the speaker, Butler?” Renee asked. “I want to see what else, Katie can get while I’m in here.”
Butler hit the switch and Detective Sawyer’s voice streamed into the room.
“So, Jack,” Kate began, still smirking. “You were saying something about rules and killing. Let me guess. It’s not a random group of people you are killing. There’s some method to your madness, right?”
“Of course,” Jack said, the smile on his face not reaching his eyes again. “The Old Ones can only return when certain things are done and the time is right. I’ll explain it all to you if you give me a smoke, Sawyer.”
“You know what,” laughed Kate, reaching into her pocket. “I’m so interested I will give you a smoke. If you make the wrong move though, I will drop you.”
“Are you sure that’s okay, Detective?” asked the officer near the door.
“No worries,” Kate smiled as she stood up. She placed her cigarettes on the table and asked the officer for a slightly longer pair of cuffs. She moved around to the back of Jack’s chair. She place one of the halves of the new cuffs around a hand, unlocked the other cuffs and grabbed his hands. The table had a small loop and she slid the cuffs through this. She clasped Jack’s hand again and went back to her seat.
She took a cigarette out her crumpled pack and placed it in Hobbes’ mouth and lit it. He took a drag and smiled at Kate.
“Nothing like a good cigarette,” Jack said.
“Uh-huh,” Kate replied. She slid a plastic ashtray towards him and smiled a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Now, why don’t you tell me about you little entry code to Earth for your big bosses.”
Jack Hobbes took another drag of the cigarette and then breathed out the smoke slowly while looking at Kate coolly. She didn’t flinch. He smiled.
“It’s simple really, my dear Katie,” Jack said, flicking ash into the ashtray. “It’s like a lock. To open a lock, you need to activate the tumblers. Conditions have to be right and parts have to be the right length or else that lock ain’t opening.
“For the lock to open here,” continued Jack. “A set of people must be killed in a particular order around a particular time. Archetypes if you will. Doesn’t matter who is killed between these people. I can have all the fun I want between but I have to kill these particular people to unlock the doorway for the Old Ones. They have to fit categories.”
Kate just waited while Jack inhaled another drag. He started to speak again.
“I had to kill a Noble Idiot, a Fallen Harlot, an Unspoiled Virgin, a Loving Family and two more people,” Jack said.
He took another drag and looked Kate straight in the face.
“Then,” he said, exhaling. “I kill this body and my masters pour through the gateway I have made for them and your race becomes food, slaves or dead. They haven’t really decided what to do with you cretins yet. I’m voting for sport for hunts. You guys are too stringy for any sort of decent meal.”
He laughed at this and looked at the officer standing at the doorway.
“Big and silent,” Jack said. He looked back at Kate. “That’s your type, Katie.”
Hobbes took another pull and smirked.
“No,” he said, exhaling. “I know your type. You like them strong and brooding. Like that nigger cop from earlier.”
Kate tried to mask her reaction but Jack caught it. He smiled his evil smile.
“You don’t have to say a word, lil Katie,” he said, ashing his cigarette. “I can smell the porchmonkey on you. Even under all that booze and cheap perfume. Disgusting habit. Like these cancer sticks. These things will kill you.”
Kate just sat there staring at this bloodied murderer in front of her. His eyes were unmoving and seemed to burn into her soul.
“I mean,” Jack said, leaning closer. “I really shouldn’t judge you. I’ve worn the skin of almost any race in the world but I have never been a big fan of miscegenation. It is one of your race’s biggest flaws. Love without boundaries? Please. I don’t know how you could do it. But after talking to you and him I don’t really know how HE could do it. You are truly gross.”
Kate was standing as the door open and Renee walked in. She gently pushed Kate back in her seat and sat down next to her. Renee saw the fury in her partner’s eyes and knew she had to push forward.
“Glad to have you back, detective,” Jack said, still staring at Kate. “Your little friend here was just catching me up on her love life. Quite nasty.”
“Well,” Renee began, casting sideway glances at her partner. “As interesting as that is I’m more concerned where you got your current body from.”
“Is that a question, detective?” Jack asked, smiling at Kate now.
“Yes, it is, Mr. Hobbes,” Renee replied. She could tell Kate was cooling down but they were on the edge.
“I found this charming gentleman a few years back,” Jack said, leaning back and looking at his clothes. “He was a petty thief on his way to graduate to grand larceny. I hopped in, made some changes to his wiring and body, hence no fingerprints and began my job anew. Fun times followed as you both know.”
“This whole body jumping thing,” Renee asked again, spreading out the papers she got from Butler in front of her. “Does this mean you are immortal?”
Jack face lit up as he saw the articles in front of him. His fingers gently touched the pictures.
“Yes and no,” he said, still looking at the pictures. “The body I am can die and if I don’t get out in time, well, I’ll be stuck in I guess you would call it Limbo for awhile. But, when I do get a body, my essence usually toughens it up so much that it can pretty much take anything your little toys can dish at me.”
Kate had regained her composure a little bit and leaned forward.
“Before we got off topic, asshole,” she said, through a forced smile. “You were talking about your last two victims to let in your little overlords. Who are they?”
Jack looked away from the pictures and steepled his fingers underneath his chin.
“The last two targets,” he said, smiling. “Hmmm. Well, the VERY last one is the Faithful Friar. I already know who that is. It’s some weird little priest that has a church downtown. The other is the Spirit of Justice. I have no idea who that is exactly but I do know that person is located in this very precinct.”
“Really?” Kate said, smiling and leaning back in her chair. “Well, I guess it sucks that you aren’t going to get your last two lambs for slaughter, huh? Especially if you don’t even know who it is.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Jack said, leaning back in his chair. “I’ll just slaughter everyone here tonight. That’ll take care of that little problem.”
“That’s a lot of tough talk, Jackie-boy,” Kate said. “But the fact remains that you are handcuffed in a room surrounded by cops. You aren’t doing jack shit here tonight, sweetheart. So sorry. Here have another cigarette. It’ll make you feel better.”
She took another cigarette from her pack and placed it in his mouth. She lit it and he inhaled deeply. Jack just smiled at Kate and gently tapped the ash into the ashtray.
“Check your watch, Katie dear,” Jack said, pulling again from the cigarette. “I think you’ll find fifteen minutes have passed.”
Kate looked at her watch and said “So?”
“So,” Jack said, returning the cigarette to his mouth. “I told you you had fifteen minutes to talk. I think it’s time for me to be going along on my merry way now.”
Before anyone could make a move, Jack Hobbes pulled apart his cuffs and grabbed Kate Sawyer across the table.
“Bye, bitch,” he whispered in her ear. He threw her high into the corner of the room where she slumped crookedly to the ground.
Jack flipped the table and grabbed and lifted Renee off her feet by her throat. With his other hand he twisted the officer guarding the door hand holding his gun until his arm snapped. Jack flicked his hand out and connected with the nose of the policeman driving cartilage and bone deep into his brain. The big cop crumpled to the floor.
Jack took Renee and pounded her body against the glass mirror separating the interrogation room from the observation room three times. Blood began to form at the back of her head and the mirror began to crack. Jack smiled his crooked smile as an alarm was sounded in the precinct.
“Come and see, gentlemen” he said to the men behind the glass. “Come and see.”
To be concluded...