“Thank you for inviting me to join Girl’s Night,” I said, taking a sip of my wine. Maura and Jane had been amazing with their efforts to get to know me and including me in their weekly Girl’s Night.
“It is our pleasure,” Maura assured, leaning across her kitchen island to refill my wine glass. “So, Emily, tell us more about you. What was your life like in Florida?”
“Not that much different than it is here. I spent most of my time working. I was a beat cop for several years, but finally made the jump to detective recently. In my time in Florida, I closed a record number of cases for our district and put away several high profile convicts.” I could feel the effects of the wine and knew I needed to slow down. We had work in the morning and the last thing I wanted was to show up hungover my second week with the team.
“But that’s all about work. What about your personal life? Were you seeing anyone?” Maura prodded.
“Maura!” Jane exclaimed. “She may not want to share that information with us. You do remember that she only just met us last week, right?”
Waving her hand in a dismissive motion, Maura replied, “But she’s your sister. Why wouldn’t she want to share with us?”
Watching the two of them together was like watching a sitcom play out before my eyes. “Sometimes you are just as intrusive as my mother,” Jane shot back playfully, downing the rest of her wine and instantly reaching for the bottle.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Maura asked, a look of confusion on her face.
Jane just rolled her eyes, then turned her attention back to me. “Please do not feel like you need to tell us everything about yourself, especially since you haven’t known us long.”
I started to reach for my glass, but remembered I needed to stop since I had to work in the morning. “I’ll tell you anything you want to know about me, although there isn’t much that’s very interesting. My life in Florida pretty much only revolved around work.”
Maura turned her gaze on Jane and said, “Must run in the family.” When she turned back to me, I could see the interest in her eyes. “So, was there a guy back home?”
“No. Like I said, I spent almost all of my time working. I was dead set on becoming the youngest detective to put away a most wanted killer and I did just that a few months before I transferred here.”
“That’s amazing!” Maura gushed. She had clearly had enough wine tonight. Her cheeks were tinged pink and she was becoming overly enthusiastic about everything. “It took Jane longer than that to put away that level of an offender.”
“Is tonight rag on Jane night? What gives? So what, Emily is a bit ahead of where I was when I was her age. It might be because she’s been looking up to me since she started her career. Who’s been looking up to you that long?” Jane turned to face Maura as she responded to Maura’s claims.
“I can think of one person,” Maura said without missing a beat.
“Someone that doesn’t want to sleep with you?” Jane shot back.
“That’s low even for you,” Maura argued.
As much fun as this was, I knew I needed to get home, so I quietly stood up and gathered my things while calling for a car. Maura and Jane were so lost in their argument, they didn’t even notice I was leaving. It didn’t matter. I would see them in the morning.
I stepped outside into the chilly night air. A light breeze was blowing as I waited my the curb for my ride. I thanked myself for remembering to stop by home and drop off my car before I headed to Maura’s because now I wouldn’t have to Uber to work in the morning. It had been about ten minutes when a car rolled to a stop. I glanced at the description on my phone and from what I could tell in my slightly inebriated state, everything lined up, so I hopped in the backseat and gave the driver my address.
I was still trying to get my bearing on the city, so I trusted the driver to get me home, but somewhere along the way, I realized we had been driving for way too long to be headed to my house. “Excuse me,” I said, enunciating my voice so the driver could hear me over the sound of the radio.
“What?” the guy barked, instantly turning my blood to ice. I had heard enough of that voice in Florida that I would recognize it anywhere. How was he here? How had he found me? Why was he here? The thoughts bounced through my head as I tried to figure out my next play. Obviously he wasn’t here just to be my Uber driver, which begged the question, why was he here? What business did he have with me?
I ran through a thousand different options in my head, playing out each scenario at warp speed before deciding on my strategy. I just hoped it would work and I would live long enough to get out of this situation.
With one hand in my purse, I discreetly pulled up my text messages and shared my location with Jane. I knew there was a good chance this guy would take my phone and it would become obsolete, but for now, it was my best option.
“I think you missed the turn to my house. Can we turn around?” I asked, keeping my voice even and calm.
“If you really think I’m taking you home then you aren’t as good of a detective as you pretended to be,” he grunted.
“Okay. You have my attention. Clearly we both know each other. What do you want? You’re out. What else do you want?”
“I want my name cleared. I can’t walk down the street or go to my nephew’s school without everyone running in the opposite direction. I go out of prison fair and square,” he said, meeting my gaze through the rearview mirror.
“But you committed all the crimes we convicted you of. Don’t you understand why people might act that way?” I knew I was playing with fire, but I had to try the calm, tactical approach first. If I went straight for trying to gain control of the car of making a run for it, I would never get far. I knew too much about this guy’s MO. He would kill me before I made it to the sidewalk.
“But you were the one that ruined my life. You were the one that dragged me out of that house, blood on my clothes. You were the one that caused my picture to be plastered all over the media. You were the one that caused everyone to see me as a monster. I can never have my old life back because of you, so now, it’s time for you to pay.” I felt my breath catch in my throat. I had seen first hand the kind of torture this man could inflict and I did not want to be on the receiving end of that. The only advantage I had was I knew who I was dealing with. I had studied this man. I knew his MO and he never deviated, although, here he was hundreds of miles away from his usual hunting grounds. I would be lucky to survive through tomorrow. I needed to find a way to alert someone. I needed help.
We had been driving for awhile and I was starting to question Kalen’s motives. He hadn’t tried to get my phone. He hadn’t checked to ensure I didn’t have my gun, which unfortunately, was stored safely back at my house. He hadn’t even made sure I didn’t contact anyone. If I didn’t know this man’s brain better, I would have thought he just wanted to chat with me, but I knew that with this man, that was most definitely not the case. He had another plan up his sleeve. I just hoped I had more tricks up mine.
Kalen pulled the car off the interstate and quickly made a left turn into a gas station parking lot. He pulled to a stop in front of a pump and turned off the engine. He popped open his door and turned to look at me. “Stay in the car,” he barked.
I knew this might be my only chance, so I said, “I need to use that bathroom. Can I run inside really quickly? I promise I’ll come right back.”
I could see the glare in his eyes. He didn’t believe a word I said and, rightfully so. “You could even come inside with me. Stand by the bathroom door. Just please let me go. I’ve needed to go for awhile, but I didn’t want to make you stop.”
“Fine,” he huffed. “Hurry.” I grabbed my bag, shoving my hand inside. “Give me your phone.” His voice was rough and sent a chill up my spine. I knew there was no use arguing. Right now, despite the situation, I felt like I was safe. He wanted something from me and he wouldn’t get it if I was dead. He had a reason to keep me alive.
I handed my phone over to him and immediately, he threw it to the ground and stomped on it until it was nothing but an array of tiny shards. While he was destroying my only point of contact, I fished around in my bag for my lipstick. If nothing else, my team could track me here. The least I could do would be to give them something to follow up on. I stuffed it in my pocket before he could see.
“Now your bag,” he barked, holding out his hand. I handed it over. Other than my wallet, there wasn’t anything of value in there. He tossed it in the trash and then nodded toward the small mini mart. I lead the way, my mind racing with what to do next. It would be impossible to alert the cashier with Kalen behind me. I could take my chances with writing on the bathroom stalls with the lipstick, but if he checked, he would likely kill me. What could I do to help the team find me?
“You have two minutes. If you’re not out by then, I’m coming in. And don’t even think about doing anything stupid.” The evil glint in his eyes was enough to have me rethinking my plan.
With the bathroom door locked behind me, I set to work. I touched as many surfaces as I could, starting with the door, then the stall walls, and the sink. Looking at the mirror, an idea came to me. Using my finger prints, I could write a message and Kalen would be none the wiser. It was perfect.
I'll try to update once a week. I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
My head was pounding. Last night was fun, but I was starting to realize I couldn’t bounce back as quickly as I had when I was younger. I pulled myself out of bed, slipped into my clothes for the day, and headed to the kitchen for coffee.
I was taking a long gulp when Maura walked into her kitchen.
“Good morning, Jane,” she said, cheery as ever.
“Good God, how are you not hungover. I watched you down at least half a bottle last night,” I groaned.
“I’ve been trying out a vitamin regimen that is supposed to prevent hangovers. Plus, I drank extra water yesterday and made sure I balanced my food intake with my drinks,” she said, pouring herself a cup of herbal tea I couldn’t stand the smell of.
“And apparently it’s working,” I grumbled, moving around the island toward the couch. I had left my phone somewhere and I needed to find it before heading to the precinct. I checked the coffee table, the couch, and the floor, but when I couldn’t find it, I slipped my hand behind the couch cushions. The first thing I found was an old candy wrapper that I had probably left there months earlier, but then I pulled out my phone. It wouldn’t turn on since I forgot to charge it overnight, but I made a mental note to charge it when I made it to work.
An hour later, Maura and I made it to work. She headed straight down to the morgue, while I headed upstairs to the bullpen. It was strange not starting the day with a crime scene, but knowing Boston, there would be one before too long.
The elevator dinged when it reached our floor, but as soon as I stepped out, I could sense that something was off. I walked into the bullpen and Korsak whipped around in his chair. His face fell as soon as he realized it was me.
“What? Hoping I was someone else?” I asked, harsher than I meant, but today was shaping up not to be my day.
Korsak seemed to wrestle with what to say and before the words were out of his mouth, I knew something was wrong. “Emily was supposed to meet your dad for breakfast but she never showed. He tried to call her a bunch, but she wouldn’t answer. He even went over to her place and she wasn’t there. I was hoping she was with you.”
I felt my heart drop. Emily would never not show up for something. She was just as punctual as Maura and was never late for anything. If she wasn’t at home and she wasn’t here, where else could she be?
I remembered my phone was dead, so I quickly plugged it in, hoping she would have texted or called to let me know if something was going on. I tried to get it to power on but it was taking it’s sweet time this morning. Each second that passed, my heart pounded harder.
“Was she with you and Maura last night?” Korsak asked, breaking me from my thoughts that were spiraling.
“Yeah. She left a little after nine last night. She said she was going home.”
“Did she seem off at all?” he asked.
“Not that I remember. We had all been drinking. She had Ubered over, so I assume she took one home too.”
My phone finally came back to life and I saw a missed text from Emily. “That’s weird,” I said, looking at the message.
“What?” Korsak asked, coming to stand right behind me.
“Emily texted me around ten last night. There are a bunch of random letters and she shared her location.” When Korsak didn’t say anything, I spun around in my chair to see his face twisted in concern.
“See if Nina can ping her phone. I think it’s safe to assume that something isn’t right.”
Hurrying from my seat, I headed into Nina’s office.
“Everything okay, Jane?” she asked.
“No. Emily might be in trouble. I need you to track her phone. She sent her location to me last night, but I can’t seem to get an updated location.”
Nina’s face sobered and she instantly got to work, tapping away at her keyboard. I didn’t know what else to do, so I stayed put, watching her screen change as she went through the process of trying to isolate Emily’s phone signals.
“You can track her, right?” I asked impatiently.
“I’m trying, but I can’t find get a signal from her phone. Either it’s turned off or it died. All I have is the last location where it was active,” Nina said, a frown on her face.
“Send me the address. Korsak and I will go check it out.” I was out of the room before she had a chance to respond, but seconds later, the text came through with the information I needed.
“What did Nina say?” Korsak asked, glancing up from the file on his desk.
Not stopping to answer, I said, “I’ll tell you in the car. Let’s go.”
Next chapter coming next week!
The crime scene techs arrived shortly after we blocked off the bathroom. I searched high and low for any notes, any words, anything of Emily’s that she might have left behind, but there didn’t seem to be anything. How would we ever find her if we didn’t know who had her, why, and what they wanted?
If her kidnapper had hoped for a ransom payout, they would have called by now, which meant that they wanted something that only Maura could give them. Since she hadn’t been in town for very long, and hadn’t made any enemies that we knew of, it was likely someone from her past.
The crime scene techs rifled through the trash, dusted the room for prints, and swabbed for DNA. They were about to call it quits, when something occurred to me.
“Hey, will one of you dust the mirror?”
“For prints?” the guy asked.
“Yeah. I have a hunch. Start in that corner,” I said pointing to the upper left hand corner of the mirror. The mirror looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years, but it would be the perfect cover to try and leave an invisible message. It’s exactly what I would do.
It took a moment for the powder to stick to the fingerprints, but quickly it became apparent that there was a message hidden in the grime on the mirror. As the letters and numbers became visible, I started to question if Emily had been out of her mind when she wrote this. The numbers and letters were all jumbled, some overlapping others. There were no words and I didn’t know what any of it meant.
Korsak stood beside me, processing the information written on the mirror. “Wait,” he said all of a sudden. “Two hundred and seven is the code for kidnapping. Those codes are old and no one uses them anymore, but I bet that’s what she was trying to convey.”
Nodding, I asked, “But what about the next part? It’s just a string of letters and numbers. 1D16489. What does that part mean?”
“Are you sure that’s what it says? I thought it was a five instead of an eight.”
“Either way, what does it mean?”
“It could be more old school codes, but I don’t recognize any off the top of my head. How about we let the techs take some photos and we head back to the precinct to start chasing down leads?” Korsak suggested.
Part of me wanted to argue with him. I felt I needed to stay to ensure that the crime scene techs didn’t miss anything, but I also knew that they were good at their jobs and wouldn’t leave any stone unturned. “Okay,” I relented, following him out of the cramped bathroom and back to the parking lot. I made a move to pull Emily’s purse out of the trash, but Korsak stopped me, reminding me that it was evidence and would be returned to the precinct as such.
My head was laid on my desk, the cool wood finish felt good against my forehead. How could I have let my sister get kidnapped? Why hadn’t I seen it coming? Why hadn’t I been able to protect her? What if it was too late when we found her?
I couldn’t help the dark thought that ran through my head. Just the mere thought of Emily not being okay made me want to puke.
Resolved to do everything in my power, I sat up, ran through what we already knew, and got back to work, pushing all thoughts away.
Since the crime lab had confirmed that the prints found in the bathroom belonged to Emily, I got to work. I typed the string of letters and numbers into my computer and waited to see what came up. Sifting through the results, I didn’t see much of anything that I could connect with Emily. I was about to give up when the numbers from the mirror and Florida appeared in the same search result. I clicked the result and realized what Emily had been trying to tell us.
“Korsak, Frankie, I think I found something,” I called, drawing their attention my way. The two came to stand on either side of me, staring at my computer screen.
“What are we looking at?” Frankie asked.
“These were the numbers from the mirror. They match the case number of a arson case in Florida that happened while Emily was still living there. I guess she wanted to tell us who we were looking for.”
“I’ll get Nina to start searching. See if she can find any connection. Great work Janie,” Frankie said, already halfway to Nina’s office.
Thanks for reading. Next chapter will be out next week. I hope everyone that is in Ian's path is staying safe.
Since leaving the gas station, we drove for close to four hours in the opposite direction. I hoped the team had found the clues I left behind, but I couldn’t be sure that they would be able to put the pieces together. Also, in my moment of haste, I kept wondering if I had transposed two of the case file numbers.
The first rays of sunshine were starting to peek out from the horizon when we finally pulled to a stop in front of a small unsuspecting house. The grey paint and red door didn’t stand out from any house on the street. The team would have a hard time tracking me here. I just had to hope Jane’s detective skills were as good as I thought they were.
“Get out of the car,” Kalen barked, throwing open the back door. Gently, I swung my legs out of the car and stood up. My whole body felt stiff from sitting in the car for so many hours. “Inside. Don’t even think about trying to screen or run. You know what will happen.” His tone was different now. It was obvious this was a place he felt in charge, in control. His orders were stern and precise. No room for argument. I knew I had to watch what I said and did. Each word could decide my fate.
Inside the house, the walls were bare, as were the rooms. The only furniture inside were two folding chairs and a TV tray set up in the living room with a small television in the corner of the room.
“Sit,” Kalen barked, pointing to one of the chairs. I followed his order, taking in the space, searching for any clues. He wouldn’t have picked this space at random. It most have some significance. There must be a reason he came all this way to find me.
“Can I ask you a question?” I asked, when he stepped to the window to glance out of the plain white curtain.
“What is it?” he asked, his voice still rough.
“What do you want from me? There must be something. You traveled so far and went to so much trouble to have a chance to talk to me. What can I do for you?”
“I already told you. I want you to fix this? I want you to clear my name,” he asserted, pacing back and forth across the room. I could see him holding back his anger. His knuckles were white from the tight fists he kept clenching.
“How can I do that?” I asked.
“You can tell everyone that you got it wrong. That I wasn’t the person that did all those things.” His voice was calmer, almost childlike. If I didn’t know what this man was capable of, I would think he was just a sweet gentleman, but I had caught him red handed, literally, with an ax, standing over a dead body.
I closed my eyes for a brief second, not wanting to give him too much time where I couldn’t see him. I had to choose my words carefully. I knew this man. Had studied his mannerisms and ways of thinking for hours on end. I knew that he was smart enough to understand that the reason he was out of prison wasn’t a mistake I had made. In fact, my work had almost kept him behind bars, but because we hadn’t gotten a confession out of him, he had walked when news broke about the former crime scene tech that hadn’t followed protocol.
“Kalen, do you really think I could say that? I won’t lie for you.” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I knew I had said the wrong thing. His face went blood red, his breathing coming in deep huffs. He lunged for me and I tried to scrambled out of the way, but I wasn’t fast enough. He grabbed hold of my ankle, squeezing so tight, I’m sure it was turning purple. I tugged at my leg, trying to free myself, but I couldn’t seem to get loose.
“Help,” I screamed, hoping someone, anyone, would hear me.
“If you keep that up,” he growled, pulling me by my ankle, “I’ll kill you.” The words sent ice through my body and I let my body go limp. He dragged me across the floor, down the hall, and into another room. This room was darker. There were no windows and no lights, so it was pitch black as soon as he shut the door and locked me inside. At this point I was still alive and that was all I could ask for.
Sorry for posting late! It's been a crazy week. Next chapter coming next weekend!
Frankie, Nina, and I had been pouring over this old court case for hours and we couldn’t find any connection to Emily. It was as though she never would have come in contact with the defendant.
“Maybe, the property where the fire was set has a significance?” Nina suggested, already using her tablet to search for more information.
“What if she got the numbers wrong? She would probably have been anxious and rushed. We’ve already checked and the guy that committed all these crimes died last year. it’s not like he’s the one that has her,” I thought aloud.
Frankie leaned back in his chair. His hair was all rumpled after hours of running his fingers through it. “If that’s the case, then we are back at square one. We are already fifteen hours behind this guy. We’ve got to find her.”
Nina rejoined the group, a look of defeat on her face. I knew the odds of finding her alive were growing slimmer with every passing moment, but we had to keep trying. If we gave up now, we surely would never find her.
“I’ve been compiling a list of every case that Emily had a connection to back in Florida. There were close to two hundred and forty cases attached to her name. I narrowed it down to those with living defendants, and finally, I narrowed it down further by trying to match as many numbers as possible. That narrowed it down to just over fifty. Did she ever mention any of her previous cases? One that maybe stood out?”
I ran through everything Emily had mentioned in the last few weeks. Had she brought up any of her former cases? Anyone that she was scared of? Anyone that had messed with her or threatened her? I came up with nothing and along with that came a pounding headache.
“Thanks Nina. It may still be a lot, but at least we are getting somewhere. I’m going to go check with Maura and see if she’s found anything that might help.”
The crime lab was working in overdrive. They had collected every possible piece of evidence from the scene to analyze. There would be no cut corners or unexplored leads.
“Maura, you got anything for me?” I asked, catching her off guard. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“No, you didn’t. I just didn’t hear you come in. I’m sorry Jane. I wish I had something for you, but we haven’t really found much of anything yet, but we have extra hands coming in from Springfield and that should help us move faster.”
I nodded, although inside, I just wanted to scream. Nothing in this case was moving quickly and I felt like it was my fault. She was my little sister and I hadn’t protected her. She had been kidnapped from mere feet from where Maura and I were. I should have done something, anything really.
“I see you spiraling over there. There is nothing either of us could have done. We didn’t know. But you can do something now. We are going to find her,” Maura promised, pulling me back to the present.
“Thanks Maura. I’ll let you get back to work. Call me when you have something.”
I couldn’t bring myself to go back to my desk and I couldn’t hang out in the crime lab. There was too much going on in there and I didn’t want to be a distraction. I headed back upstairs, but took a detour and found the conference room to be empty. I just needed some space to think.
We knew Emily had been kidnapped and obviously, she knew her kidnapper. Since she knew the case number, it was likely a case she worked, but the number she wrote on the mirror didn’t seem to line up. Maybe she had mixed up the numbers or misremembered a digit? Either way, that wasn’t helping us right now. The crime lab was busy trying to pull prints from Emily’s cell phone and purse, but so far, nothing. The gas station didn’t have any working cameras, but a bank across the street did. Nina was trying to find an image of the vehicle so we could get it out to the state police.
The door suddenly burst open and there was Frankie. “Come with me. Nina just found something.” I hurried to catch up with him as he practically sprinted down the hallway.
The two of us bounded into Nina’s office, finding the rest of the team already gathered in the room.
“What did you find?” I asked, completely out of breath.
Clicking a few buttons on her computer, Nina pulled up an image of a nondescript black SUV. “I was able to pull this image from the camera across the street. I don’t have a view of the driver, but I did find this image of Emily in the clothes that you described her to be wearing last night.”
“When was that from?” I asked.
“Last night around midnight,” Nina answered.
“So we are still nearly twelve hours behind. They could be anywhere by now,” I said, my heart sinking in my chest.
“This isn’t the end of the road. We put out a BOLO on the vehicle. Yes, it is a common make and model, but at least it is something. We know that Emily was alive then and he wouldn’t have let her out of the car if he was just going to kill her. She must serve him some purpose. There is still hope Jane. We just have to keep pushing. We will find her,” Korsak encouraged. “Now we all need to get back to work. We will check ever person that owns that type of car and anyone that might have rented that car. We will stay here all night if we have to, but we are going to bring your sister home safely.”
Next chapter coming next week!
I was pushing myself beyond my limits. I hadn’t stopped to take a break in hours. I knew how important it was to keep working and to find some lead that would help bring Emily home. I didn’t want Jane and Frankie to have to deal with the pain of losing someone so close to them because of their job.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and almost jumped out of my skin. Clearly I had been too focused on work and hadn’t heard anyone enter my office.
“You need to take a break. You won’t be of any help if you burn yourself out,” Frankie said, his hand rubbing light circles on my shoulder. I leaned into his touch, enjoying the comfort he provided. I hadn’t thought I would ever find someone I loved after losing my fiance but Frankie changed everything with that first kiss, although that wasn’t what really made me fall for him. It was the way that he always checked in on me and made sure that I was taking care of myself. It was the way that he never seemed jealous that I loved another man before him. It was the way that he wanted to know about my fiance and the life we were building. All of those things caused me to fall for him.
“I promise I’ll take a break but I’m so close. I’ve been running every case Emily worked on in Florida that had even a few of the numbers she wrote on the mirror. I feel like it should be easier to narrow it down, but it’s taking forever.”
“It will be there when you get back. Just take five minutes and we can go get a coffee downstairs and come right back,” Frankie insisted, giving me one of those irresistible goofy faces.
I relented, leaning into his touch as he guided me out of the room. “Fine, but only five minutes. Time isn’t on our side.”
“I know, but you need to take care of yourself too.” I still wasn’t used to Frankie’s caring and nurturing side. It wasn’t something I had ever seen from him before we became a couple, but it was quickly becoming one of my favorite characteristics about him.
Downstairs, we both grabbed a cup of coffee, taking a moment to breathe. I hadn’t noticed just how tense it was upstairs until I was out of the environment. In the elevator, on the way back upstairs, Frankie tried to get me to delay for a few more minutes, but I couldn’t bring myself to stay away from my desk any longer. Five minutes helped me reset, but it was past time to get back to work.
I stepped back in my office and the first thing that I noticed was that the program I had been running had stopped. I had set it to search for any case that had Emily’s name listed and contained any of the numbers from the mirror in the case file. On the screen was one case. I felt my heart rate tick up. This was the lead we were needing. I just hoped that it helped us find her.
I rushed into the bullpen. “I’ve got something.” Within seconds, the entire team was in my office, staring at me expectantly. I opened up the case file that had almost the same sequence of numbers and letters that Emily wrote, only one number different.
The whole team scanned the documents on the wall of screens. There was the defendant that Emily had arrested after catching him standing over a dead body with blood on his hands and the murder weapon in hand. It would make sense that this man was after revenge since Emily was the one that put him away.
“But shouldn’t this man be behind bars? With the evidence and Emily’s testimony, that case should have been a slam dunk. And it says there,” Jane said, pointing to one of the documents on the screen, “that he was connected to at least four murders and two other kidnappings. How could it be him?”
That was a good point. Had I jumped the gun? I scanned the rest of the files before finding the answer that sent a chill up my spine. “There was a lab tech that was caught falsifying evidence and without a confession, he walked. Actually, it says here, that he just got out a few weeks ago.”
“That’s got to be him,” Korsak said. “Put out a BOLO and track him every way you can. He is thorough and planned out. He would have a plan and a damn good one in order to pull off kidnapping a cop, especially one that knows exactly who he is and what he is capable of. I hate to say it, but he is going to be hard to track down. We just have to hope that he made a few mistakes along the way and that is going to be how we will catch him.”
Hope you enjoyed chapter 7! Next chapter coming next week!
Nina was busy tracking our suspect’s phone, credit cards, and social media, while Frankie, Korsak, and I scoured the case files that were sent up from Florida. My eyes were starting to blur since I hadn’t taken a break in hours, but it was worth it to bring Emily home.
The sun had set about an hour ago, but that wasn’t stopping us. The whole team had vowed to stay until we found her and brought her home safely. It was approaching eight o’clock when I heard footsteps. I turned to see my mother walking toward us with three large brown paper bags from The Dirty Robber.
Everyone turned in her direction as the smell of food permeated the room. She placed the bags on the nearest table and looked at all of our faces. “Why so glum?” she asked, cocking her head to the side.
I turned to glance at Frankie. Somehow in the last few weeks, we had managed to keep Ma from finding out about Emily, but it seemed that time was running out on that. Frankie gave a brief nod, urging me on.
I stood up, crossing the room to stand right beside her. “Ma, I think we should talk.” I could see the worry cross her face and I hated that I had to be the one to tell her about Pops and his affair, but she deserved to know. Especially since Emily was a part of our lives now.
I led her down the hallway until we were safely tucked away in the conference room. “You’re scaring me. What’s going on?” she asked, pacing back and forth in the small space.
“Ma,” I started, “I shouldn’t be the one telling you this, but it’s not like Pops ever will.” I clenched my fists several times, trying to find the strength to tell her. I knew she would be livid. Most anyone would be in her position.
“Jane, just tell me,” she urged.
I took a deep breath and let out the whole story about the affair and how Emily was our half sister. I watched her face to see how she was taking the news, but for the first time, she didn’t show any emotion. When I finished the story, she cocked her head to the side. “The bunch of you were all bent out of shape about this?” she asked.
“You heard me right? Pops had a child with another woman while the two of you were still married,” I repeated for emphasis. She was acting as if I hadn’t just shared life changing news.
She placed her hand on my arm. “Jane, I knew. Well,” she revised. “I didn’t know at the time, but he came clean with me about the affair a few years ago. He told me about Emily, but swore me to secrecy. I promised I wouldn’t tell you kids.”
How had she managed to keep that big of a secret? How was she this calm about the whole thing? I definitely hadn’t given her enough credit when it came to this situation. I had expected yelling and crying. Possibly even some screaming.
“So why are you telling me this all now?” she asked, bringing me back to the present moment.
“Emily moved here a few weeks ago, but when she left Maura’s last night, she was kidnapped. We’ve been following every lead, but we haven’t been able to locate her yet.”
“Oh Jane,” she said, pulling me into a hug. “I’m so sorry. I know how hard it is. I will never forget the times you were kidnapped. The fear can paralyze you, but Emily has a great team working to bring her home. I know you will find her.” She gave me one more tight squeeze before releasing me. “Now, get back to work and bring that girl home. I expect to meet her once she recovers.”
I gave her a tight lipped smile and a short nod before returning to the bullpen. Frankie cocked his head to the side in question, but I waved him off. Now wasn’t the time to get in the middle of it with him. Now, it was time to get back to work.
“So, where are we?” I asked. Korsak was standing in front of our timeline. We knew where Emily was kidnapped from. We know where her kidnapper took her next. We just don’t know where the went from there? Would they head back to Florida or would he keep her local? How far would he risk transporting her?
“Nina has been searching non stop for any connection between our suspect and this area, but so far, she hasn’t turned anything up. We haven’t been able to trace the car just yet, but we should be getting close. The crime lab was able to pull a partial print off of the gas pump where the car stopped. They matched it to Kalen Bishops. At least we know that we are on the right track,” Korsak explained.
I took in the information. This man was organized. He would have a plan, which would mean that he had to have reliable transportation that wouldn’t chance him being pulled over. He would also have a place lined up to take Emily that would be secluded enough that no one would raise suspicions, but not so far out of the way that would prompt questions.
“Have Nina check any name that might be important to him. Aliases, friends, family members, victims. He would have to be able to hide in plain sight to pull this off, so he wouldn’t risk tipping anyone off. He probably has false documents on him so he was able to get here undetected,” I said.
“On it.” Korsak nodded, heading straight for Nina’s office.
Sorry for the late update. My internet has been out for several days. Hope you enjoy.
Screaming for help and trying to run was obviously the wrong choice. I lost Kalen’s trust the second my fight or flight response kicked in. I saw it in his eyes and the way he gripped my ankles, pulling as if he was envisioning ripping me limb for limb.
“Stay,” he barked, slamming a metal door closed behind him, the lock slamming into place. I had never been good with confined spaces, but being locked inside a windowless room was pushing me beyond my limits.
I sat against the far corner, my back pressed against the cold, damp bricks. There was a small trickle of water that was coming in through a crack in the ceiling opposite where I was sitting and so I tried to focus my attention on that. At least that way I wasn’t focusing on the pain radiating in my ankles.
At this point, it must have been nearly twelve hours since I was at that gas station and left the team that message. Had the seen it? Were they looking for me? Did they even know I was in trouble yet?
If Jane was half the detective that I thought she was, I knew she would find me. I just had to be patient. I just had to have faith.
Time seemed to move in slow motion. With no windows, it was hard to tell if it was day or night. It was hard to tell what was happening outside of the room, but I could sometimes make out the faint sounds of a voice. It was only ever one voice though and it was a voice that I would hear in my nightmares for the rest of my life.
At some point, Kalen showed up with a plate of food, dropped it by the door, and left without a word. It smelled just as bad as it looked and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it, even as my stomach growled. The effects of the alcohol had worn off hours ago and I was wishing I had been smarter about drinking. From now on, I would never have more than one drink if I was leaving somewhere alone. And beyond that, if I ever had to leave alone, I would have my gun on me.
I was starting to nod off when I heard the lock click open. There stood Kalen, his eyes nearly black, looming over me. I shrunk back in the corner as far as I could, but I could tell from the look on his face, I would never be able to escape the punishment for my actions earlier.
I flinched when he lunged for me. I felt his cold, calloused hands wrap around my upper arms and drag me forward. Before I knew it, my body had left the ground, my feet dangling nearly a foot above the hard wooden floors. “If you would just do what I asked, neither of us would be here. I could be back home and have a chance to actually see my kid. I could live my life. It’s your fault my life is over.” I felt each word as they rushed out of his mouth in humid huffs. Little drops of saliva ended up on my face and it took everything in me not to reach up and wipe them away.
“You better say something,” he growled, his grip growing tighter. “This is all your fault.”
I didn’t know what to say. I had lost his trust and nothing I said right now would help me reestablish it, but I needed to do something or I wouldn’t be alive long enough for the team to find me.
“Tell me what to do,” I finally said, my voice coming out all squeaky like a mouse.
“I want you to record a video saying you were wrong. That you messed up and I didn’t do any of those things you said I did.”
I bit my tongue to stop myself from asking how that would help. I knew it wouldn’t win me any points with him. As much as I didn’t want to do what he asked, I knew it was my only chance to get out of this alive. Of course, with giving in, there was always the chance that he would decide to kill me anyway, but I guessed that was a risk I would have to take.
“Okay,” I agreed, a shiver running up my spine. He finally lowered me to the ground and my legs struggled to hold my weight. Kalen reached out to steady me, but quickly removed his hands and rushed out of the room.
With the door closed and locked, I let out the breath I had been holding. Even though I was still on edge, I felt some of the panic subside. I needed Jane and the team to find me and fast.
Sorry for the late update. My internet was out for several days.
The sun had set and the twenty-four hour mark was quickly approaching. Nina had been working nonstop for hours trying to find any connection Kalen might have to the Boston area, but so far she hadn’t turned up and leads. Korsak was talking with the Florida cops to see if they had any information that might help, while Frankie and I went through the timeline searching for missing pieces.
One board was filled with all the pieces about Emily’s known whereabouts, while the second board was filed with every piece of information going back fifteen years pertaining to Kalen. Best we could gather, he had starting kidnapping and killing around the age of twenty-five. In that time, he had kidnapped sixteen women and killed twelve of them. The other four were tortured and two of those had died by suicide due to the harm he had inflicted upon them. The remaining two victims had gone into witness protection and we had no way of tracking them.
Nina emerged from her office and sat on the corner of Frankie’s desk. I was still getting used to the two of them being together, but they seemed to balance one another out in the best way. “I’ve checked every person that was even remotely connected to Kalen. I haven’t found anything that ties him to this area or any name that he might be using to hide. He really covered his tracks,” she said.
I studied the board again, wishing something would pop out and give me the answers that I needed to find my sister. I hated how powerless I found to help her right now. There had to be something we were missing. I was just about to turn away when something occurred to me. “Uhm. So Kalen’s first kidnapping and kill was Maria Rinolo. Does it seem like he was too organized? Like he knew exactly what he was doing?”
“What are you getting at?” Frankie asked from his desk.
“You’re thinking he’d done it before? That she wasn’t his first victim?” Nina asked.
“Yeah. Usually first time kidnappers leave a witness or leave behind a clue. And a first time killer usually picks someone that is important or meaningful to them, but the detectives on the case never found a connection between Maria and Kalen. What if there was a victim before her? That might be the one that really meant something to him. That would be the one that he would use the name of to hide behind.”
“I’m on it,” Nina said. “I’ll check into any missing persons from the year before his first known victim went missing. I’ll let you know if I find anything.” She hurried back into her office and got straight to work.
“We’ll find her,” Frankie said, coming to stand beside me. I wished I had the same level of confidence as he did.
“I’ve got something,” Nina yelled, rushing into the bullpen. My head snapped up from where I had been nodding off. There had been no leads in hours and there was only so much time I could stare at the same board without going crazy.
No one spoke, but we all gathered around her. “I did what Jane suggested and looked for missing persons from the year before our suspect’s first known kidnapping and killing. There were a few that met the right physical descriptions, but only one met the right background and physical description. Her name was Taylor Hines. I found out that she is from Boston, but moved to Florida when she was eight. Her old house is an hour away.”
“Let’s go,” Korsak said, grabbing his jacket, motioning for Frankie and I to do the same.
“Address has been sent,” Nina called, as the three of us rushed for the elevator.
The whole way to the address, I felt jittery. What were we walking into? Was Emily even there? Was she okay? What had he done to her? By the time we pulled to a stop in front of the house, I was ready to take down this son of a bitch.
Just a few more chapters left. Thanks for sticking with this story. The next chapter will be out next week!
Had it been hours or days or weeks? I had no way of knowing. The cold had permeated my bones and I hadn’t stopped shivering in hours. After I agreed to film the video for Kalen, I thought he would get it done quickly, but here we were and he still hadn’t reappeared other than to drop off food. I hadn’t dared touch it, only taking a few sips of the water to keep myself hydrated. Jane and the rest of the team had to be close. There was no way they wouldn’t find me. They were the best team of detectives I had ever worked with.
I was just starting to nod off when a loud sound somewhere within the house startled me. I bolted up, assuming the worst. Kalen’s mood swings were unpredictable. Other than the one time early on, he hadn’t taken his anger out on me, but it was only a matter of time.
There were loud thumps and muffled voices, several, all angry, but I couldn’t make them out. My heart rate picked up. It had to be the team, right? They were finally here to rescue me.
When the metal door was pried off it’s hinges, I let out a strangled cry. There stood Jane, Frankie, and Korsak.
Jane rushed to my side, pulling me up from the ground and wrapping me in her arms. Her warmth instantly infused into my body, sending a chill up my spine as the cold dissipated.
“I’m so glad you are okay,” she cried into my ear, running her hand through my hair which had become a matted mess. All I wanted to do was go home and take a nice long shower to wash away the events of the last few days.
“Emily?” Korsak said, drawing my attention. I pulled back from Jane to see him. “Are you okay?”
I nodded. “I think so. Just a few cuts and bruises, but nothing that won’t heal in a few days.”
“We got him and nothing is going to get him out of prison this time. We will make sure of it,” Jane said, easing my worries. “He will be locked up for the rest of his life if I have anything to say about it.” That sounded good to me.
“Let’s get you home,” Jane said, pulling off her jacket to wrap around my shoulders. The move almost sent me into a fit of tears, but I managed to bite them back. When I had moved here, I had just wanted to know my sister and brothers. I never had expected them to accept me so wholeheartedly.
One more chapter to go!
Three days later, I returned to work, despite Korsak’s protests to take some more time for myself. It just wasn’t in my nature to stay down for long.
Being back at work made me feel mostly back to normal. Although the stares from everyone made me feel anything but. It was like they were just waiting for me to snap, but that wasn’t in my DNA. I was built to withstand even the most challenging of situations and come out standing on the other side. They would learn that about me soon enough.
“Jane, did you finish those files about Emily’s case?” Korsak asked, breaking the silence that had permeated the room.
“Yeah Sarge. All done,” she said, passing them to him.
One thing had been running over and over in my mind since Kalen had kidnapped me and taken me to that abandoned house. How had the team tracked me there when it was in the middle of nowhere?
Speaking up, I voiced my question.
“Well that was all Jane and Nina,” Korsak said. “The two of them started looking at Kalen’s patterns of behavior and realized that his first known victim couldn’t have been his first. It was too organized.”
“So, from there, Nina pulled every missing persons report from the year prior to Kalen’s first victim’s kidnapping and found a few possible suspects. She compared all the elements of the case and found one that met the bill,” Jane added.
“Then, I found that that individual had once lived here in Boston, so we tracked down the address and sent the team,” Nina said. “I actually just got word from the crime scene techs that were logging evidence from the house. They had a hunch and dug up the backyard. They found the body of the first victim. Apparently her body had been buried there nearly sixteen years ago.”
“Wow.” There were so many questions that never had answers when I had been originally working the case. We had considered the possibility of a first victim, but had never found one and could never gather enough evidence to suggest who that might have been at the time. My team and I had spent weeks chasing leads trying to nail this guy, but we were missing a vital piece. When we finally had him, a technical error got him off the hook. This time, he wasn’t getting out of it. These charges would stick and he would spend the rest of his life behind bars.
“Thanks,” I said to no one in particular. “I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t found me.”
“We were just doing our jobs,” Jane said with a shrug.
“I know, but it means a lot to know that I have a team that never gives up. Especially when that team is family,” I said, a smile spreading across my face. I glanced around the room and saw everyone had a similar expression. I might have gone through a traumatic experience, but knowing these people had my backs made it seem easier to move on.
Thank you to everyone that has read this story. It has been amazing to read all of your comments and see all of your encouraging words. Writing these two stories has been an amazing experience. Thanks for going on this journey with Jane, Maura, and Emily!