The following day,
One Police Plaza.
Detective Mack Taylor looked up from his desk as Stella strode in, and had to swallow the urge to smile. Normally she ragged on him about not sleeping, but for once she looked no better. As it was, he couldn’t resist commenting.
“Had any sleep at all, Stella?”
She glowered at him.
“Don’t start, Mack. You know none of us have had any sleep since yesterday morning, and you’re not the one to start lecturing. Particularly not while we’ve got two missing cops and a serial killer on the loose.”
He nodded, apologetic.”
“I’m sorry, you’re right. What have you got?”
She waved a folder at him.
“A bit of research for you. I was running a comparison on the wounds of our five vics, and it set the alarm bells off. Their wounds, and the manner of death is a match to those of eleven people murdered in Florida two and half years ago.”
Mack at up slowly, his interest piqued.
“Yes. And the killer was never caught.”
“Sounds like he may have migrated north. Who ran the investigation down there?”
Stella grinned, looking thoroughly pleased with herself.
“I can’t get you the guy that ran the investigation. He retired and moved to Germany a year ago. But I can get you the guy that ran the CSU investigation.”
“Lieutenant Horatio Caine.”
Horatio Caine sat back slowly, taking a rare moment to shut his eyes and rest. The team had just wrapped up a big case, and so far they’d had no other callouts.
A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth. It had been young Ryan Wolfe who had found the last piece of a very intricate and complex puzzle, allowing them to finally nail a vicious killer. Wolfe might have been the newcomer, but he was proving in spades that hiring him had been the right thing to do.
The phone rang.
Horatio frowned in mild irritation and, as he picked it up, said a quick prayer that it was not another case.
“Caine,” he answered, only partly successful at keeping his voice neutral.
“Didn’t wake you up, did I?” a familiar voice asked at the other end. Horatio sat up quickly.
“Yeah,” Mack confirmed. “How’re you doing, Horatio?”
“Good,” Horatio answered warily, instinct warning him that something had to be very wrong for him to be getting a call from the head of the NYPD CSU. “I’m good. And you?”
“Had better days,” Mack admitted. “I’m going to get straight to why I called, Horatio. We’ve got a very bad situation here, and we’re running out of time fast. I’m hoping you might be able to help.”
“What’s it about?”
“We’ve got a serial killer on the loose. We have five victims so far and the likelihood of another two if we don’t catch this guy soon. We don’t know a lot, but the wounds on our vics apparently are a match for the wounds on eleven victims that turned up down your way about two years back. According to our info, you led the CSI investigation.”
Horatio’s breath caught audibly in his throat.
“Tell me, Mack, do any of your victims have multiple puncture wounds on their bodies?”
“All of them do.”
“And arrow wounds? Like a crossbow and arrow?”
“Yeah, those too.”
“The Hunter,” Horatio said hoarsely.
“The Hunter,” Horatio repeated. “We never caught him. By the time we got an ID on him, he’d disappeared.”
“You got an ID?” Mack asked, startled and hopeful.
“Yes and no. The ID he was using down here was false, and we were never able to link it to any other ID. But what we did get was a sketch of him from the individual who was meant to have been his twelfth victim.”
Mack felt his hopes suddenly soar, and had to forcibly put a dampener on them.
“You had a survivor?”
“Yes. If your guy is the same man that escaped us two and half years ago, then you really do have a serious problem on your hands. Especially if he’s upped the ante, and taken two hostages. How long have the last two been missing?”
“Over twenty-four hours now. We know we have less than four days to find them. The entire NYPD has gone on high alert over this one.”
“I think I can understand why.”
“No, Horatio, I don’t think you can. The two that were taken yesterday just happen to be the two detectives from the Major Case Squad who were investigating the killings.”
Horatio felt his stomach roll unpleasantly.
“That’s right. And if they die, we’re going to have an entire police force out for blood. Now I’d like to catch this son of a bitch alive, but I want to find the two missing detectives alive even more. I need your help, Horatio.”
“Mack, I’d like to come to New York, if that’s okay with you.”
Horatio could almost hear the sigh of relief at the other end.
“I was hoping you’d say that.”
“I’d also like to bring my team with me.”
The offer was unexpected, but not altogether unwelcome.
Horatio did a quick tally in his mind. Himself, Calleigh, Eric, Ryan… and Alexx…
“Five, including me,” he answered.
“How soon can you be here?”
Horatio smiled faintly.
“We’ll charter a plane…” He glanced at the clock. It read ten-thirty. “We’ll be there by two.”
Deakins looked at Mack Taylor long and hard before responding to what he’d just been told.
“Let me get this straight, Detective Taylor. You effectively invited an entire CSI unit up here from Miami because of a few similarities in the wounds sustained by our victims, to those of victims from serial killings two and a half years ago?”
“Not just a few similarities, Captain Deakins. Almost everything is identical, from the wounds to the manner of death.”
“So we’ve got a copycat on our hands? Is that what you’re telling me?”
Mack didn’t flinch at Deakins’ snappish tone.
“No, sir. The Miami killer was never caught. The killings stopped after his last victim escaped.”
Deakins froze, staring at Mack in shock.
“They had a survivor?”
“Yes, sir. A survivor who gave them a picture via a sketch artist.”
The captain let his breath out in a rush.
“I’m sorry, Mack. I don’t mean to be impatient…”
“It’s perfectly understandable, sir. I know I’d be the same if it were any of my people that were missing.”
Deakins looked past Mack, out his office door to two desks that sat unoccupied near the middle of the floor. He could damn near picture Alex and Bobby sitting there, doing their paperwork… trading ideas and information… Not having them around was like being served an empty plate at your favourite restaurant. And the idea that maybe he might not see them again alive was unthinkable.
He looked back to Mack, all too aware of the ashen colour of his own face and shadows under his eyes from worry and lack of sleep.
“When will they be getting here?”
Mack smiled faintly, relieved.
“Within the hour.”
Lieutenant Horatio Caine waited silently for his team to gather together before speaking. Finally, Ryan Wolfe and Calleigh Duquesne arrived, completing the number. Even their coroner, Alexx Woods, was there, at Horatio’s request.
“Horatio, what’s going on?” Alexx asked, speaking for all of them. Horatio spoke in a quiet, grim voice.
“With the exception of Wolfe, all of you should remember our serial killer, The Hunter.”
Momentary silence fell.
“The Hunter?” Wolfe echoed. “I’ve heard of him. The one that got away…”
“That’s right, he did,” Horatio conceded. “And now it appears our boy has resurfaced in New York.”
“New York?” Calleigh asked in surprise. Horatio nodded.
“I spoke to Mack Taylor just a short while ago. So far they have five bodies, and the count could be set to rise. Our killer has gotten cocky. Two detectives from the Major Case Squad, who were investigating the New York killings, have disappeared. Mack said the evidence points to their having been taken by the killer.”
“Oh, shit,” Delko muttered. “How long ago?”
“Just over twenty-four hours,” Horatio answered. “That means we have less than four days to find them alive.”
“We…?” Alexx echoed. Horatio regarded them all grimly.
“There’s a chartered Gulf Stream waiting for us at the airport. Grab your things, all of you. We’re going to New York.”
He looked around to find Alexx still standing there, looking confused.
“What is it, Alexx?”
“Horatio, I can’t just pack up and go to New York… My kids…”
“I’m sorry to put you in this position, Alexx,” Horatio apologised softly. “But this is a priority situation. There are two missing cops who are running out of time fast. We know this guy. We know his style, his signature, and we know just what it is that he does to his victims. They need our help over there.”
“But what do they need me for?”
“They need you to look at their first five victims. There might just be something you’ll spot that they’ve missed. They’re looking for any clue as to where the victims were killed to give them some idea of where to look for their missing detectives.”
“Horatio, I hate to say this,” Alexx said softly, “but I really don’t like their chances. If this is the same killer, you know how good he is. Even if we do somehow manage to track him down, odds are it’s not going to be in time to save those two missing cops.”
Horatio nodded, accepting her words though he clearly was not in agreement with them.
“Well, Alexx, we’re going to try.”
Back Home Law and Order: Criminal Intent Main Page Next