11th floor, One Police Plaza
Detective Lyn Bishop entered the Major Case Squad room, her stomach doing almost uncontrollable flip-flops. It had been months since she’d set foot inside these walls, and the idea of seeing certain people again was the specific cause of those tummy flip-flops.
Most specifically, it was the thought of seeing Bobby Goren and Alex Eames again.
She paused as she came within sight of their desks, only to find them unoccupied. A slight pang of disappointment struck at her, along with a more welcome feeling of relief. She just wasn’t sure how ready she was to see them again.
A semi-familiar voice reached her ears, and she looked around to see a fellow detective approaching.
“Hey, Ash,” she greeted him, silently thankful that she was able to remember his name. He smiled at her, but she couldn’t help but notice how pale he was. She wondered if it had anything to do with the reason she had been called back to the squad.
“Ash, do you have any idea what this is about?” she asked. “All I know is that I got an urgent call to get here as fast as possible.”
His smile faded noticeably.
“Deakins will fill you in. Just go and wait in the Stats Room. I’ll let him know you’re here.”
“Okay… Oh, do you know when Goren and Eames will be back? I’d like to say hi to them…”
She trailed off as abrupt silence fell around her, and several officers who had heard her words froze in the middle of what they were doing to stare at her. And… was it her imagination… did Ash actually flinch?
“Just go and wait in the Stats Room,” he told her quietly. “You’ll get the low down soon enough.”
She went, suddenly feeling horribly unsettled.
He looked around as she entered, and though his smile was friendly enough, nor could she miss the way his gaze swept up and down her body.
“Mike Logan,” he introduced himself, extending his hand. She accepted, if only to be polite.
“You can call me Mike,” he offered. She didn’t so much as twitch.
“You can call me Bishop.”
To her irritation, his grin widened at her comeback, and she could read the look in his eyes only too well. She was happy enough to be back at Major Case, but not if it meant partnering this moron.
There was movement behind her, and she turned to find Deakins standing there.
He nodded, and she realised disconcertedly that he was as pale as Ash had been. What was going on…?
“Good to see you again, Bishop. Have a seat.”
She sat in the empty seat next to Logan, ignoring the grin he flashed in her direction.
“Thankyou both for coming so quickly at such short notice,” Deakins told them. “We need your help.”
“Captain Deakins, what is this about?” Bishop asked, feeling that knot in her stomach tighten. Deakins handed them each a thick manilla folder.
“We have a serial killer on the loose. You’ll find in those folders all the information on the five victims that he’s given us so far. I want you two to lead the taskforce to get him.”
“What’s the catch? I mean, this is a high profile case. How come Goren and Eames aren’t handling it?”
Deakins seemed to pale even more.
“The catch, Detective Logan, is that we’re working against time. He took another two victims early this morning, and judging on past experience with this bastard, we only have four days to find them before our killer sends them back to us in body bags. As for Goren and Eames…”
To Bishop’s quiet astonishment, Deakins faltered and seemed to sway slightly, as though he were suffering a turn of some sort. She was about to risk asking if he was all right, when Logan snorted derisively with laughter.
“You mean to say that the mighty Goren came across a case he couldn’t crack?”
“Shut up, Logan!” Bishop snapped, glaring angrily at him. Deakins spoke quietly, his voice audibly strained.
“Goren and Eames were working this case. I don’t know how close they were to identifying the killer. I have to assume they were very close, though.”
“What’s going on?” Logan asked, his smirk fading rapidly as even he finally realised that something was very wrong. Deakins answered slowly, making a noticeable effort to keep his voice even.
“The two people that were taken by the killer this morning are Goren and Eames.”
Both Logan and Bishop stared at Deakins in shock.
“You’re not serious,” Logan said hoarsely. Deakins regarded Logan grimly, without saying a word. The detective blanched visibly. “Oh shit… You are…”
Bishop sat frozen, a cold rush of fear sweeping down through her body in waves. The thought was almost impossible to get her head around. Cops caught serial killers. They didn’t get taken by them. And yet, there is was. Bobby and Alex had been taken by the very killer they had been trying to catch.
“Four days?” she echoed, forcing herself back to reality. “Why four days, specifically?”
Deakins indicated the files he’d given them.
“The MO is the same with each of the five victims. There is a period of approximately five days between when they each went missing, and their estimated times of death. We have to assume it won’t be any different this time around.”
“Do you have any ideas exactly what happened to Goren and Eames?” Logan asked. All sign of banter and joking was gone now from his craggy features, and he was watching Deakins with a look that was all business.
“They went to check out a warehouse early this morning,” Deakins answered. “It belongs to a man who was a suspect until he turned up dead two days ago. I expected them to be a couple of hours at the most, but they never came back. I sent Ash and King to check the place out, and they found Goren and Eames’ shields, guns and cell phones, and a large quantity of blood belonging to Detective Goren.”
“Shot?” Bishop asked, starting to feel positively sick to her stomach. Deakins shook his head.
“No. Evidence suggests that he had his head slammed into the wall pretty hard.”
“That would be as bad as getting shot,” Logan said. “If he took as bad a blow as that, any number of things could happen, from concussion to a stroke.”
“As I said, the clock is ticking. We have very little time to solve this. Please do the best you can, both of you. I don’t want Goren and Eames to be numbers six and seven in this bastard’s tally.”
Logan stood up, followed closely by Bishop.
“We’ll do everything we can, Captain, starting with checking out that warehouse. Bishop?”
She nodded her agreement.
“Is that Goren’s notebook?” Logan asked, indicating the bulky folder that Bishop had collected from Oliver King on their way to the car. Bishop nodded.
“Yes. It was in Goren and Eames’ SUV outside the warehouse when CSU arrived. I guess our guy was in too much of a hurry to bother checking it out. Lucky for us.”
Logan grimaced. “Depends on whether it’s any use to us. Tell me, does any of what’s in there make sense to you?”
Bishop hesitated in answering, flipping slowly through the pages of notes that Goren had scribbled on the case.
“Some,” she admitted finally. “What would really help would be if he named a suspect other than Ray Mathers.”
Logan pulled up outside the warehouse.
“I worked with Goren once. He wrote everything in that damned notebook. If he knew anything more than we do now, it’ll be in those pages.”
Bishop looked curiously at Logan as they passed the police line and entered into the building. She had expected him to deride Goren’s use of the notebook, but instead she heard a grudging respect in his voice. He caught the look on her face, and smiled wryly.
“I admit, I didn’t take anything about Goren seriously when I first met him, especially his obsession with psychology. But then we got into a really bad situation… We had five or six corrupt prison wardens ready to beat the life out of us… I mean that literally… and Goren talked them out of it. Me, I would’ve just opened fire. But Goren actually managed to talk them around. He saved both our lives. I couldn’t not respect him after that.”
Bishop nodded in wordless understanding. Logan regarded her questioningly.
“You ever worked with either of them before?”
She nodded again.
“Last year. I was partnered with Goren for a few months while Eames was on leave having her baby.”
“Really? How’d you find working with him?”
Bishop had to smile at the memories.
“He drove me crazy at first. I’d go home at night and scream into my pillow. I couldn’t understand how Eames was able to work with him like she did, for as long as she had.”
“I know what you mean,” Logan agreed. “When I first saw them together, I don’t think I’d ever seen such an odd looking partnership. But I have to admit, they’re good together. Really good.”
“Yes. They are.”
They rounded a corner, and came on the scene.
“Ah, shit,” Logan growled. “Look at this…”
Bishop approached the wall, feeling the butterflies return good and strong. It was one thing, she thought numbly, to examine a scene like this when the victim was a stranger, but when it was someone she knew… Someone she had worked with…
“Ouch,” Logan muttered. “Son of a bitch wasn’t taking any chances. He really smashed Goren into the wall. Look at that blood spatter. I’d guess that Goren must have been standing right here… The killer must have used something to hit Goren with. He couldn’t have done this much damage bare-handed.” Logan shook his head grimly. “Lights out. Goren probably never knew what hit him.”
“He would have had to take them both out in pretty quick succession,” Bishop said, tearing her gaze away from the blood on the wall. “Whichever one of them went down first, the other never had a chance to radio for help.”
Logan looked back over his shoulder. The way the building was structured, Goren and Eames would not have had to be too far apart to be out of sight of each other.
“I’m betting he took Goren out first. Probably thought Eames would be an easy target once Goren was out of the way.”
“More fool him,” Bishop said dryly. Logan bit back the urge to smirk.
“Normally I’d agree with you, Bishop, but our killer got the better of them this time. Eames couldn’t have been with Goren when he was taken out…”
“But she would have heard it happen,” Bishop said.
“Right. And being a cop through and through, there are two things she would have done before thinking about radioing for help.”
“Draw her gun and go check on her partner,” Bishop concluded, seeing the point Logan was trying to make. Logan nodded.
“Exactly. All the bastard had to do was wait for her. She would have been a sitting duck to him.” He sighed audibly. “There’s nothing here that can help us. We need to try following up any other leads they had.”
Bishop nodded. “I’ll keep going through Goren’s notes. There’s got to be something in there that can help us.”
“C’mon,” Logan said, eyeing the scene grimly one last time. “Let’s go.”
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