“What’s the sitch, detective?” asked Hume.
“The stich. Uation. Look, just tell me what you know about the killer.”
I didn’t like the way he was ordering me around. How long would it be before I was taken seriously in this department? “He’s a real sick bastard, that’s what I know. Child killer.”
“I fucking hate child killers.”
“You whatting hate child killers?” Was this some kind of fed code nonsense?
“Never mind. Tell me more. How does he kill?
“Poison. We find syringe marks on the neck. Didn’t you read a report or anything?”
“One mark or two?”
“Just one. Why would there be two?”
“So the blood isn’t drained? None of the corpses have gone missing?”
“Just making sure. So what does your department think his deal is?”
I was having a hard time keeping up with this guy. He wasn’t making any sense, but he seemed to know what he was talking about. He was definitely a detective.”
“Sergeant Ferrerra thinks he’s a white trash basket case.”
“And what do you think?”
“You’re a detective.”
Maybe he was taking me more seriously than I expected.
“I don’t think he’s a he at all. I think it’s a woman. Maybe a motherly type. The kids are always posed in careful positions–tucked in their beds, sitting at the breakfast table, on the swingset…” I had to grind my teeth a bit thinking of the crime scenes. The horrible, blood-splattered stuff I can deal with. It’s when you see dead eyes on a body that should by all means be alive, happy, that really gets to me. I couldn’t help but see Danny every time.
“How long has this been going on?”
“Why haven’t you caught him–her–yet?”
Was he accusing me of something? He didn’t sound like it–the question was more matter-of-fact. But why would another cop ask that kind of thing? I supposed he wasn’t a cop. He was an agent. But still, he must have known how things work. Finding a serial killer was hard work.
“We only have so much manpower, agent Hume. Or… was it detective?”
“Hume is fine. I take it the last few weeks have had other killers to worry about?”
“Well, yes. We’re a police station.”
“One killer every week? Roughly?”
“Well, no. Sometimes there are two or three.”
“But always relating to the same case? That is, one case a week? And if there are any more, they relate to each other in that week, yes?”
“I suppose. Is it a pattern? Is that what you’re getting at?”
“No. Yes. Sure. What else does your gut tell you about this week’s perp? I assume you’ve been learning something new about him or her over the last few weeks. Possibly over the season.”
”Well, she knows us. That’s for sure.”
“Knows you how?”
“She’s always one step ahead of us. Every time we think we’ve got a line on her, she’s gone. But she leaves presents for us.”
“Pictures of cops’ kids?”
“You read a report I assume?”
“No.You have a kid? How old? “
“I haven’t ‘received ’a picture of my six-year-old son. If that’s what you’re asking.”
“Well, it’s going to happen.”
“What makes you think that? Who the hell do you think you are?”
“You know the killer.”
“You know them. The killer is someone you trust.”
“What would possibly make you think that?” I adjusted my weight. If I had to change my stance into a firing stance, I could. But if this Gavin Hume was the killer, why would he threaten me in a police station? What was his game? He certainly didn’t look like a killer. But I couldn’t take chances.
“Take it easy, detective,” he said, but not nervously. “This is what I do. My methods aren’t exactly conventional, but they work. Within the next, oh, fifty minutes, the killer will be caught. But with my help, you’ll have her in five.”
Day 301’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Meta detective,” “A curious case,” and, “Paranoia.”
A sequel to The Meta Detective. Crime procedurals are all pretty by the numbers. The word fuck doesn’t exist in those worlds.