Chapter Seventeen - A Small Lie
Meadows and Toni sat in Jack Hodge's office making small
talk before finally touching on the subject that brought them to the FBI building.
"So, you mean to tell me that this friggin' serial killer went back to the crime scene, revisiting it, and
was careless enough to leave a cigarette butt behind?" Jack asked. "Does he want
to get caught?"
"Well, the cigarette butt wasn't
there when we originally scoured the scene-- and it was afterward. We didn't miss it on the first sweep," Meadows
replied. "Hey, it didn't just appear. As far as wanting to get caught, no, I doubt it. He must've been careless, you know, caught up in the thrill
of the return and excited-- not realizing what he'd left behind. It wasn't like it was a new kill that he needed to
clean up afterward- it was his perverted revisit," Meadows explained.
think it might have been his first time returning a scene," Toni injected. "If it hadn't been the first, he
wouldn't have been so careless, I don't think. He's been good at not leaving any sign of himself behind until
"You're probably right. That makes more sense than
wanting to get caught, or being so careless to leave a piece of himself behind," Jack answered.
Toni felt she knew the killer's logic about returning. "I believe since this is his twelfth victim-- but
his first sacrificial kill, and it being in the news so prominently, he felt compelled to return and revel in the moment,"
she surmised. "Remember, he thinks he's an artist and he's finally got public recognition with this victim."
Is there something significant about a twelfth victim and the sacrificial crucifix? Was he twelve years old when he realized
his mother was abusive or not right in some way- different from other mothers? Does it mark the birthday a of his age, or
awareness-- carnal knowledge?
"She's right, Jack. He thinks of
himself as an artist. With every victim, he escalates as though he was a beginner taking art classes and now has graduated,"
"An artist? I didn't make that connection--
but the crucifix, well, I figured he was a religious fanatic or something like a cult," Jack said. He leaned back in
his chair with hands behind his head, intrigued. "What does the letter mean?"
Toni figured she could confide in Jack and tell him what they had so far. After all, he was an agent and had years
of experience. Maybe he could shed light on the case, another head to confer with, she thought. "Can I tell
Jack about our theories, Brad?" she asked, looking at him for approval.
Go ahead. His input could bring another steak to our plate. I trust him," Meadows answered.
Toni didn't know where to start, but had to pick a point to begin. "He's mutilated and decapitated all
his victims after stalking them and selecting them with deliberate reasoning. What reasoning, we don't know yet. The twelfth
victim was dismembered and laid out in a crucifix, which according to our theories of profiling him, means he's crucifying
a woman-- purifying and saving some woman in his life possibly," she told him. "The 'R' is his
signature, just like all artists sign their artwork," she added.
gathered that to some degree, but not that he was purifying a woman. Of course, I don't have any profile on him to deduce
that theory," he responded. "I figured he was some crazy lunatic thinking he was saving himself. But with his signature,
at least you have a starting point on a name."
"We think he
had an absent father and an abusive mother. Probably a mother that was, or is, so bad that he feels he's getting his revenge
on her abuse, or making sacrifices of these women in order to cleanse her of her misdeeds and purify her-- save her from her
past sins. To be the mother she should have been or maybe the mother he thinks she can be if he gets her salvation and redemption,"
she explained. The verbal theory brought more light to the profile than she'd originally hypothesized.
"Why is it always the mother in these cases?" Jack asked.
Meadows wanted to answer and show off some of his experience and knowledge. Maybe impress Toni, if that were possible.
"The relationship between a mother and her son is a lifelong bond. Plus, it was theorized by Freud, the opposite-sexed
parent of the child is the first relationship a child has with that gender-- you know, the first bond with the other sex."
Toni was surprised he'd been studying so much about Freud's theories. Freud wasn't
accepted in standard profiling because of his over-the-top theories and fixation on sex; theories that people behave on a
sexual level due to a childhood trauma. Although true in some cases, it wasn't a recognized basis for all psychosis. But
in this case, it was more than likely very accurate.
true. And in this case, the mother failed to bond with her male child, although the son emotionally bonded with her via his
imagination. He pretended he had a normal mother-son relationship even though he didn't. And he hasn't let go of that
fictitious idea, even in adulthood," Toni told them. "At least not abandoning the idea of the possibility it was
normal-- or admitting it's too late to salvage what it actually was," Toni answered.
Jack took a moment digesting what they'd told him. "Okay, he had a messed up childhood, a lot of people
do. That doesn't turn them into serial killers. Most people learn to deal with it, move on, and lead normal, productive
lives," he told them, leaning forward in his over-stuffed leather chair.
couldn't justify that fact, but knew the time was right to tell Jack the rest of the story. "Jack, that's not
all that makes this guy who and what he is."
"Oh?" he questioned.
Toni continued to explain. "Besides the method of killing and torturing, I hear his
voice in my head." She waited for his response.
Is all Jack could say.
"He chants-- or whispers poetry when he kills.
He whispers poetry at other times, too. I think when he stalks them and finds his next victim. Anyway, I hear the him whispering
in my head."
Meadows admired Toni for telling him, especially to
someone she didn't know. He knew that she was embarrassed about her abilities and the hearing was new to her. It had to
be difficult for her to tell someone other than him. "Jack, let me try to explain this better if I can. The killer whispers
poetry all the time and Toni's receptive to it. She interprets the poetry fairly well. We know he's stalking his next
victim by what she's currently heard and interpreted so far."
was shocked Meadows defended her new ability, then added, "His whispers are demented and dark-- evil. It's more than
poetry, more like a ritual, maybe inspirations for his work and his intended work to come. His art. He thinks it's art
and that he's a master artist. I believe his poetry is his way of escaping from his mother's sadism and he went inside
his mind as a recluse hiding. Some kids manufacture imaginary friends, but he took his pain to a new level."
"Jeez, Toni! That has to be pure hell for you!" Jack told her. He got up, walked
to her and leaned in, putting his arm around her shoulder. He gave her a slight, but polite, sympathetic hug, then sat back
down behind his large cherry wood desk. Straightening the desk calendar mat, he placed his elbows on it with head in hands,
and thought a moment. Jack didn't envy her being a psychic and being able to hear some pervert's thoughts. "Maybe
I can get one of our best profilers to assist you both on this case and help take some stress off."
"No. Thank you anyway, Jack. We've got a pretty good feel on this guy and Toni doesn't
need outside help. It'd only be undue interference at this point," Meadows answered.
"I understand. I was always reluctant to have too many on a case when I investigated. Too many chiefs and not
enough Indians, sort of speak." Jack picked up the baggie with the cigarette butt sealed inside and took a closer look,
inspecting its half bitten end. "There should be enough saliva for a good DNA analysis and hopefully some epidermis cells,
too," he told them.
"So, you'll do the labs on this personally,
guy?" Meadows asked.
"I'll get right on it. We have a shift
change in the lab in about twenty minutes and that'll get me in there with no questions. The crew coming on, won't
ask questions and certainly won't tell. We have a personal relationship; don't ask- don't tell," he announced.