As I sliced the knife across his throat, neat and clean, it suddenly reminded me of my Gran, and how she would expertly carve the ham at Christmas dinner. Always so neat, so clean, so pristine. What didn’t remind me of my Gran at Christmas however, was the blood, the seemingly never ending pool of blood that spewed from his neck, and my perfect slice. I watched, fascinated as he flopped around on the floor of his office, like a fish that had just been taken out of its tank, unable to breathe, unable to live. And that it had been at my hand that this had came to be. I knew I should have felt guilt, or pain, or regret or possibly even fear. But, in truth I’d felt none of those things, instead all I felt was relief, relief for me and all the girls and boys like me that he had used up, abused, and cast aside. It was men like him that made me do what I did, in fact it was one man in particular that made me do what I did…
Depending on who you ask, I have a lot of names, I have a lot of stories, and I have an answer for every question, so no one would suspect anything. To the outside world I’m just a woman, like any other. Not very tall, but not too short, not very thin but not fat. I have long soft, thick blond hair, worn in a ponytail most of the time, and I have sky blue eyes just like my Gran – at least that’s how she’d describe them to me when I was little.
My real name is Susannah Stackhouse, born and raised in BonTemps Louisiana, raised by my Gran and her brother once my parents died when I was just a little kid. I stayed with them until I was nine, and that’s when it all changed. You see, my great uncle Bartlett was someone very important in our small little town. He was smart, he was respected; he was practically worshipped by some of the people there. A lawyer that climbed the ranks of the system quickly, he was on the fast track, considered one of the best in the state and wanting to hold court – literally with Judgeship in his sights… Ambitious to a fault, and he wasn’t going to let any one or anything stand in his way. Let alone a crying little girl and her truth.
When I moved in with him and my Gran I was seven, and it started almost right away. He would baby-sit me while my Gran ran her errands, or went to church meetings, or bake sales or visiting the neighbours. To anyone else he was just being a loving uncle. To me, he was my living nightmare.
The touching started when I was eight, and by the time I’d turned nine … well, I was no longer a little girl. Forced to grow up in ways that no one should ever be, I had been raped, abused and broken too many times to count. Of course I didn’t know it then, I didn’t know what ‘it’ was that he was doing to me, all I knew was that it hurt, and he liked it. I hated it, I hated him, and soon that boisterous little girl that I once was ceased to exist.
The day after my tenth birthday, I somehow summoned all the courage I had left in me, and I told my Gran, I told her what I knew to be true. That Bartlett was a man, who had done things he shouldn’t have to me for a very long time. And that’s when my life changed again, so many changes – too many for such a young soul. I know that now, but then, back then I had no clue. In church they always preached on about how we should tell the truth, right? So when I told the truth I thought I was doing the right thing. According to God I was, but not according to my uncle, and it seemed that in our household my uncle had more sway than God. He had somehow managed to convince my Gran that I was broken, that I was ‘evil’ for making up such lies. And that’s when they sent me away. To the hospital with the white walls and the smell of bleach that never seemed to fade. Where they asked me questions, and wrote my answers down, where they fed me medications for my ‘disease’ like it was candy. I thought I was wrong, all those years, they had me convinced of it. That I had imagined it, in my head, and that I really hadn’t been raped repeatedly by the man I was meant to trust. I was schooled and lived my life in that facility and it felt like that’s where my life was meant to be, forever. But, it wasn’t, and suddenly a meeting with my matron, and my main psychologist, told me that my Gran had died and that they really had no reason to hold me there any further. They had been holding me under his, and her word, that I was sick in the head, but as doctors they knew I wasn’t and over time I proved it. I shut out the anger and the pain, I shut off the fear and I became what they needed me to be, I became a girl just like any other, one that would blend in on the street that you lived on.
I became my own lie.
The day I turned eighteen, was the day I was set free from that place, and in many ways I had been set free of my mind where I’d locked that other girl away for all those years. She was pissed and wanted her revenge. But the other girl, Sookie, the girl that I had become for the outside world, she knew I had to wait because what he deserved would take time, careful planning and a flawless execution.
In the mean time I would need practice, and there were plenty of others out there – just like him- and plenty of other girls out there – just like me – who couldn’t stand up for themselves and get their entitled revenge, and for those girls I would do it and it would be practice to make myself perfect for the time when I was ready to face him again. And I would, and for what he did, for the life he stole in that bedroom, for the innocence of that little girl, I would get my revenge, and he would meet his death.
To the outside world I’m just a girl, like any other, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something else…
You might just find a serial killer, in training.
A/N: Chapter1 to follow shortly!
“Coffee then?” he asked from my kitchen making more noise than a cat on crack, after I’d told him to go fuck himself for calling at this hour.
“No. Jesus, Bill I told you, I want sleep, you know that thing I was doing before you came knocking on my fucking door at eight am.”
“I forgot you had the night shift… Here, I have coffee, you just need to get out of your bed to come get it, I brought donuts too…”
I groaned. I’d fallen into bed not even five hours ago. I hated my partner more than anything in that moment.
“I hate you, you’re an asshole.”
He just smiled.
“Shut up and drink the coffee, I need your opinion on Pam.”
“Oh fuck, not this again. Dude, give it UP. One, she’s our boss, and two, I’m pretty sure she’s gay. You aren’t going to fuck her. Please, move on.”
“You’re tight with her, I figure you could put in a good word for me…”
Was he deaf?
“Lesbian, Bill, gay. As in… pretty sure you’re missing a few things she needs, and have a thing she doesn’t. Please find someone else to obsess over,” I said as my head fell onto my kitchen island.
“You promised me sugar, where is it?”
He just laughed and handed me the giant donut, and I began to basically inhale my coffee.
“So I had a date with Elsa last night…” he said, clearly not taking the hint that I wanted nothing more than to pass out. I’d been working homicide for three weeks now, and it was fucking with my head, and my sleep schedule.
“She had these amazing breasts, right? I mean amazing. Or so I thought, you know man push up bras are just false advertising. How the hell would they all feel if we went around stuffin’ a sock down our pants! It’s not right.”
“I’d never have to do such a thing, Bill. You might, but I -”
There was a smash, a bang and a yelp from next door, knocking both of us out of our far too early morning sparring and over to next door.
“Are you alright?” We both said at once as we both walked into her apartment. The door was ajar and the place wasn’t lived in, at least not yet, she’d clearly just moved in. There were boxes everywhere, some packed, some still sealed, spread all over the place.
“We heard you scream…” I said, and she turned around.
“Oh, hi guys, no this?” She motioned to the drill she was holding. “This is just a bitch of a drill… or the wall, clearly I know what I’m doing.” She blushed, putting it down on her counter. “I’ve been trying to put up some shelves and prove some stereotypes wrong… though I guess I am kind of failing at that, huh?”
“My god, you’re beautiful,” Bill blurted out, and I just rolled my eyes. He really was as subtle as a flying brick. She was beautiful, there was no arguing with that, as she stood up on that stool in a pair of denim cut off’s showing off her tan legs, with her long blonde hair braided to the side of her neck, bright blue eyes and big pink lips – yes, she was beautiful, but did that mean he had to just… blurt it out?
Bill had no tact.
“Oh… I… thank you?” she answered as awkwardly as expected. Sometimes Bill was just a big creeper.
“No, really, I mean I know you must get told that everyday, but you are… Can we help you at all?”
She laughed, clearly embarrassed as she hopped down on to the kitchen floor. “Um, thanks, but I think I can mange it.”
“It didn’t sound like it from where we were.”
Her face changed from bashful and sweet to something else, and I had to stop myself from laughing because it was directed at Bill.
“You know what, I was doing just fine. I didn’t ask for you … both of you, to come barging into my home and tell me what I can and can’t do.”
And the beauty had bite. I liked her.
“I’m sorry,” I spoke up, “you’ll have to excuse Bill, he was raised by wolves and well, he doesn’t have a tactful bone in his stupid body.” I glared at him.
Bill just fumed.
“And you are?” she asked.
“Eric Northman, I live next door, and this is my partner, Bill.”
Her face relaxed.
“Oh so you’re …. both gay. That… that’s so sweet that you live together.”
I busted out laughing, I couldn’t help it. Bill was almost turning purple.
“No! No, we’re not GAY!” he said, arms almost flailing, as the beauty stood there with a rather amused look on her face.
“NO! We’re cops. Detectives, actually.” he said, smug.
“My mistake,” she grinned.
“And you are?” I asked.
She paused, and it was a noticeable pause, as if she was asking herself whether or not she should tell me.
“Sookie. Sookie… Sanderson.”
“Cruel parents,” Bill blurted out and she propped her hands on her hips once more. He really was just digging himself a big ass hole as far as this Sookie girl was concerned.
“I like my name,” she said.
“Sookie, is it short for anything?” he asked.
“Nope, just plain Sookie. And I don’t mean to be rude, but as you can see I have a lot to do… so…”
Bill wasn’t taking the hint.
“Bill?” I said. He was still looking at her. “Bill? Let’s GO?”
I mouthed an ‘I’m sorry’ to her and it made her smile, as I all but dragged Bill out the damn door. When we were safely next door he pouted.
“She seems like a bitch, she can hang her own damn shelves.”
I just rolled my eyes at him and waited until he left so I could nap. Sleep was good.
There was a tapping on the door, but I still heard it, mainly because the sound of a pin dropping would wake me. The cons of my job I was either fully caffeinated, or always on edge for some reason or another, so a deep sleep was something that was rare for me to have. I stumbled out of bed, glancing at the clock in the kitchen on my way to the door. It was two pm, I’d been napping almost all day.
“Hi,” she said, smiling. “I’m so sorry to – oh, did I wake you?”
“Shit, I did, didn’t I? I can just go -”
“No, you’re here now, what do you need?”
“Um, this is going to sound dumb, but you know those shelves that I had under control? Well, I thought wrong. I put some plates on them? And … it fell down. I was hoping you’d -”
“Sure. Gimme a second to pull on some pants, and I’ll be right in.” Why was I blushing? I was grown ass man, so the pretty new neighbour saw me half naked… no big deal, right?
“Thank you so much! And really, if you’re more comfortable pantless, those boxers show off your nice legs,” she smiled, a sarcastic tone to her voice.
“Are you mocking my chicken legs?”
She laughed, “I’d never do such a thing… Anyway, I have coffee and food for you in thanks, so come in when you’re ready. The door will be open.”
I wasn’t so good with social situations, I mean, I had tried, I just didn’t feel right most of the time. My work kept me busy, and really the whole flirting, feeding a girl some bullshit line so she’d fuck me, was never really my style. Ask Pam, and she’d tell you I had no style, sexually or otherwise, but that’s just because she’s a smart ass. I just liked my alone time, and women didn’t seem real big on the ‘let’s just see each other whenever’ deal for very long. I’d been ‘officially’ single for two years, one night stands not withstanding. Sex was sex, that I could get – easily. It was the relationship parts that I had trouble with.
“So I take it you just moved here?” I asked as I fixed her cluster fuck of a shelving unit. The bolts weren’t big enough to fit the slots, it’s why they wouldn’t hold for her.
“Yep,” she said, putting a cup on her island, along with a plate of pie. God it smelled good.
“So where did you move from?”
“All over really.”
“Last place I lived was out of state.”
Man she liked to avoid real answers, huh?
“Where are you from, Eric?”
“Born and raised in Sweden, till I was eleven, then we moved to New Orleans.”
“Explains the accent,” she smiled. Her accent was distinctly southern.
“I take it you’re from around here though?”
“What makes you think that?”
“The accent, mostly, and the southern girl cookin’.”
“Because I made pie, I must be a southern girl?” she quirked an eyebrow.
“No, because you made a brown sugar pecan pie. I’ve only gotten that around these parts.”
She smiled, “It was my Grans recipe. And she grew up here.”
“I see. And what do you do, Sookie?”
“Waitress. Nothing spectacular, but I make good tips.”
“Don’t say that, if you’re good at what you do it is something, and I should know, I’ve experienced some really shit waitresses.”
“It’s Merlotte’s on fifth, you know it?” she asked. I nodded, I knew it well, it was the nearest and best grill closest the station.
“I eat in there at least once a week, when did you start?”
“Wow, so really new in town then.”
“Yep,” she smiled.
“Fixed,” I said, and finally took a piece of the pie. It was as good as it smelled. “You must thank your Gran for this, it’s unreal.”
“You must not get enough good food, huh?” she countered.
“I work late hours and I inhale coffee… I do eat, I just don’t eat right, I guess.”
“Well, if you’re living on a cop’s diet, it doesn’t show. Or are you one of those guys with super fast meta-what’s-it?”
“Metabolism?” I offered.
“I don’t know, maybe…”
“Thank you for this, Eric. You’re a life saver.” She had a sweet smile, genuine, and it reached her eyes. Though as soon as it left them, a sadness took over. I didn’t know her from Adam but I knew sadness when I saw it. I saw too much of it, in my line of work. She thanked me again, offering me the entire pie – which I had a hard time turning down. She told me she liked to bake, that it calmed her down, but if she ate all she cooked, she’d be as big as a house. She convinced me that I was saving her the calories.
I made a new friend.
I had to calm down; this always happened. I was so calm, almost too fucking calm while I was doing it. It was like the other me just took over and everything went as it should. No emotions, no second thoughts, no fear.
After though, that’s when the fear, and the second thoughts would sink in. I’d threw my weapon of choice into the river as I walked past the bridge. I’d left the wig in a dumpster three blocks away, I’d then thrown my clothes in another bin six blocks away from there. I found my change of clothes, and made my way back to wherever I was living at the time. That was the drill, simple, exact, and perfectly timed. I’d been doing what I had just done for over four years before I decided to move back to Louisiana. I had time, I had patience and I had to practice, because when it came to him, it had to be perfect.
I got back to my place, hands still shaking from the adrenaline, and I showered and I scrubbed until I felt like myself again. Or as much of myself that ever truly felt. He was a minister, of all things, but that’s not what surprised me. Older men, and especially men in positions of power seemed to be a common theme when it came to abusing young girls. In this case it was a young boy. He wasn’t such a young boy any more, he was a grown man, and I’d met him like I’d met all the others. In a support group for abuse survivors. I found him, and then I found his abuser, who was still living the high life as a respected and honoured member of the God fearing community.
Such bullshit, and no one even knew. Or maybe they did know and they just didn’t care? Just like my Gran.
He pissed his pants as he begged me not to do it, I simply asked him how many boys had done the same as they begged for their life while it was in his hands. And how many he’d granted that mercy too.
He didn’t answer me. So I slit his throat, and watched as he bled out on his plush carpeted flooring before I made my exit.
No soap ever seemed strong enough though, and sometimes my skin would be red and raw by the time I allowed myself out of that shower. I looked around my newest place. New Orleans, and a one bedroom apartment near where I had my newest job. It would do.
For now, since I knew as soon as I’d done it, as soon as I reached my goal I’d be gone. One way or another, I’d be gone.
The next morning I decided that I may as well make a house a home while I was there. I liked my things, I liked to feel safe, and I did so by surrounding myself with my things. The hospital wasn’t big on personal touch, and I made sure that no matter where I was staying that it always felt like home.
I hung pictures, I bought pretty pillows, my books, shelves… I never could hang a shelf. No matter how hard I’d tried, they always were either crooked or shaky. This one was no better, as it fell three seconds after I put six of my new dishes on top of it.
I screamed on instinct, and little did I know that I had such bat eared neighbours.
The Bill guy was shorter than the Eric guy, much shorter in fact. He had chestnut hair, while Eric had a shade of blonde that matched my own, both cut short, both curiously watching me and my place. Eric had an air of authority about him, whereas Bill carried an air of desperation. One that was evident as he hit on me, three minutes into meeting me, much to the annoyance of his taller friend. My heart skipped a beat when he told me they were cops, both of them. My mind reeled as to why two cops would be hanging around my place at eight in the morning, but I let out a silent sigh of relief as I discovered that the taller of the two was my neighbour. It was going to make things tricky, that was for sure.
When they left, I did my best not to panic, though I wasn’t so sure why I was panicking, since as far as they were concerned I was just a girl. Just that Sookie girl, sweet, innocent and new. They didn’t need to know how high my body count was, or what my weapon of choice was to achieve said body count. No, all they needed to know was Sookie.
Why I gave them my real first name, I’d never know. But, I found there was something oddly comforting in the taller ones eyes. I wanted him to know me, my real first name at least. Sookie was what my mother would call me, an old Southern take on Susannah. The last person to call me Susie was Bartlett.
I baked, it’s what I did, when I felt that out of control feeling taking me over. The anger, the pain, the fear, all of it. Baking, as odd as it may sound, levelled me out to normal again. It was my favourite thing. My mother and I would do it every Saturday, and my Gran and I would too, when I lived with her. It was peaceful and productive, and I needed it to calm me down. Those few seconds where I felt myself slipping, slipping back into the rage that had almost consumed me as a child. It helped, and I got baked goods out of the deal. Some people did crack, I baked cookies and pie.
What I still couldn’t get a handle on was the damn shelf though, and I wanted it in place. Since my tiny apartment was lacking in storage, I had to make my own, and my pretty white plates needed a home. So, I did the one thing I never thought I’d do.
I knocked on a cop’s door and asked him for help.
He answered in his dark blue boxer shorts, that really didn’t do a whole lot to conceal what he was working with. It made me blush, and I saw him change tint as we talked. I assumed he’d just woken up and then realized he was talking to me half naked. He was kind of adorable for a giant.
Relationships, physical ones, rarely worked for me. And I had tried. It was a fear that I once set out to conquer. The idea of sex, rightly so, terrified me for a long time. But I knew, instinctively that all men weren’t like Bartlett. I knew that some men were good and true. And they shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush. I’d met Alcide shortly after I left the hospital, I’d gotten a job as office secretary for his father’s construction company. I’d faked some references and found my way pretty quickly. I knew how to type and I knew how to answer a phone, the rest I figured would come to me. What came to me, was Alcide. He was a sweet boy, kind and gentle, despite his size. We had flirted and talked for weeks before he asked me out, and I’d nervously said yes. It was a disaster. I was jumpy and scared, and when he went to kiss me I punched him.
Thankfully though, he had a good sense of humour, and bought my bullshit about it being nerves. As he fumbled to touch me, in the backseat of his car on the second date. I closed my eyes and willed my brain not to see Bartlett. Not to feel sick, not to want to run away, and the first time we’d had sex I cried the whole time. He assumed it was because I was a virgin, but I hadn’t the heart to tell him that I had not been a virgin for a very, very long time. The night he told me that he was in love with me, was the night I knew I’d spent too long in Texas. I left the next morning without a word. I felt guilty about it for weeks, but I knew that as sweet as he was, that life wasn’t my life. He wanted peace that I couldn’t offer him, kids I couldn’t make for him, and a happy home that I knew I’d never have.
As I stood there with the cop, the detective in fact – a man that had the power to find out my secret and put me away for a very long time, I found myself shocked when I was attracted to him. His eyes, his smile, his laugh. The attention he paid as he screwed in the bolts and nails, fixing my broken kitchen for me in a matter of minutes. I liked how he spoke to me, not like I was that odd quiet girl like they did at work, or not like I was the pretty girl walking past the building site. No, he talked to me like I was an old friend. Like he’d known me all his life. I liked how he looked at me too, it wasn’t leering like his friend had leered, but it was something else. Was I crazy to want to know what that look could possibly mean?
If I was crazy, then so was he; I mean everyone has a little madness in them, don’t they?
I read it over and over again, and something was ringing familiar to me, I just couldn’t place what it was. Two weeks prior, a well respected minister had been murdered in his office, it was late one Sunday night, when someone had come in, and seemingly without much of a struggle – sliced his throat open and left him to bleed to death on the floor of his office. I’d been reassigned the case since I’d just closed my last, a rape and suicide, my job just wasn’t what you’d call pleasant.
“No signs of a break in, anywhere in the building?” I asked.
“No sir, it looks like whoever got in, was invited.”
“So, he either knew them or wasn’t exactly intimidated by them at that point. Security cameras?”
“Just on the outside of the building, near the parking lot, and so far, nothing before during or after his TOD.”
What the hell was he doing at his office at one a.m., and what the hell was he doing letting that someone into his office at that hour.
I’d interviewed his wife, his two kids, their housekeeper, and the damn gardener and all them had a clean alibi. The wife seemed to be taking his death in her stride, and the kids almost seemed happy. But they checked out. The kids were at the movies around ten, she picked them up with her best friend after they had dinner in town near by, at midnight they came back home, phone logs have her on her phone to her friend after that just as her husband was being murdered. Usually when there was a murder like this, family was the first to be ruled out, I mean who better to fuck you up than the people that knew you best, right?
I worked the case for three days without bringing Bill in on it, he was working two other cases and in all honesty he and I liked to take as many extended breaks from working together as possible. He was good guy, deep, deep, deep down, but on the surface most of the time I just wanted to punch him. I’m sure he felt the same way about me too most of the time, we were just too different. And it had been Pamela’s bright fucking idea six months ago to team us up. She was ‘worried’ about me being inside my own head with the cases so much, and while I did appreciate her thoughtfulness in a certain way, in another larger sense, I really wished she’d have minded her own fucking business.
“You should eat.” She said sliding her perfect ass onto my desk.
“I did eat… before.”
“BEFORE.” I looked up from my files and I saw her smirking.
“Last I saw, you ate half a stale sandwich, seven hours ago. You look like shit, and that won’t help you think if you’re starving. I know you. Go to the diner and get some dinner. I might even come with you.” She said pulling her hair into it’s normal position, in a bun on top of her head. Pam was my boss, in more ways than one. She and I had attended the same University and met in criminology class. We’d been sarcastic friends ever since. She’d worked her way up in Los Angeles for years after we graduated, but transferred when she was offered the position of chief in New Orleans.
She sauntered in before me as I held the door open for her, Merlotte’s on a Thursday night, it was packed as usual, but cops for one reason or another got special treatment, I think the guy who owned it was the son of a cop or something. I wasn’t real sure.
“This place is a fucking dump, but fuck me if they don’t have the best burgers.” she said, her eyes lighting up as she looked over the menu that was sitting on our table.
“Hi, what can I get for y’all tonight?” Came the perky question and I looked up, recognising her voice instantly.
“Oh Hi, Eric.”
Pam looked at us curiously.
“You’re new.” she said, “I haven’t seen you here before…”
“Um, yes I am… I started a couple of weeks ago. I usually work the morning or afternoon shifts though, maybe that’s why you’ve never seen me?”
“Hmm… Maybe. I’ll have the bacon cheese burger with a side of fries and a diet coke, please.”
I glanced at my menu, though not really caring.
“I guess I’ll have the same.”
I watched as she jotted it down, her hand writing neat and fast, “Okay I’ll bring by your drinks in a second, anything else?”
“No, that’s all.” Pam said, abruptly. She always was less than polite to wait staff, I never knew why.
“Thanks.” I said and hoped that I wore a friendly smile, and not a creepy one, to make up for Pam and her rudeness.
“You know her?” Pam asked once Sookie had left.
“Uh, no, well, kind of. She’s my new neighbour, just moved in, that sort of thing.”
“Oh, and did she ask to borrow a cup of sugar.” She said, her voice laced with innuendo.
“You watch too much porn, Pam.”
She just laughed at me.
“She’s cute. Nice ass… you should ask her out.”
“Why? Think of how convenient it would be, free pussy, right next door.” Of course as she said it, Sookie came back with the drinks, and by the tint of pink in her cheeks she’d over heard Pam’s mouthful.
“Two diet cokes.” She said as she put them gently on the table.
“Thank you.” I said, and Pam just tried to contain her giggle.
“Anything else I can get for you, free pussy not included.” She bit her lip and with that Pam just burst out laughing. “I am sorry…?”
“Right, Sookie, I am sorry I don’t mean to be rude.”
“Yes, you do.” I said.
“I don’t, I am crude, but I try my best to be nice about it. And really you’re cute, and I am assuming single and Eric is… I guess cute, and definitely single, in fact pathetically so… it was just a suggestion.”
I wanted to head desk, literally.
“Ignore her, she’s a bitch.”
“She’s also your boss…” Pam said.
“Yeah, and she’s still a bitch. Just… I’m sorry.”
She looked from Pam and back to me again, her blush dying down.
“Don’t worry about it, I’ve heard worse, believe me. And, um, your order should be up soon. If there’s nothing else…”
“No. Thank you.”
As I watched her walk away I resisted the urge to kick Pam under the table.
“I can’t believe you did that.” I said.
“What? She has a sense of humour, most up tight chicks would have been offended, she seemed cool about it… you know, maybe she’s okay with the idea.”
“Eric I just -”
“Fine! Jesus, you know if you got laid a little more often my guess is you wouldn’t be such an uptight little bitch.”
By the time Sookie came back with our orders I could barely look her in the face. I made sure to leave a hefty tip before we got the hell out of there.
“It rings a bell, you know.” I said, as we made our way back to the station and I went to my desk. “I know I’ve seen this M.O. before I just can’t seem to remember where…”
“What you got so far?” She asked.
“All older men, in their fifties, and sixties. Most of them well to do, a minister, a high school teacher that came from a wealthy family, and a lawyer. Two of them weren’t married and lived alone, one of them had a wife and two kids. All grew up here, never moved, never really had any kind of beef with anyone as far as we can tell. Apart from the minister, the other two were mostly loners, oddball and really kept themselves to themselves. The Minister was a well known member of his parish.”
“And nothing links them at all?”
“Not a damn thing. I mean, other than the fact that they’re male and over fifty.”
“All killed the same way?”
“Almost, throat slashed for the Minster, the lawyer got his small intestine ripped open and his wrists slashed, and the teacher was stabbed with a rusty letter opener – in the throat.”
“Jesus.” She said as she looked over the photos.
“I know, add that to the fact that all the crime scenes are clean, almost too clean. Like whoever did this, knows the drill, they know what we’re looking for and they make sure we don’t find it.”
“You think it’s a cop?”
“No… not a cop. It’s neat, too neat in way that makes it almost messy.”
“I don’t understand your brain you know that?”
“I know, hell, I barely understand my brain so I can’t fault that.”
“You’ll figure it out…”
“Yeah, but when? Before or after they strike again?”
“You think this all the one guy?”
“I think it might be… don’t ask me why, but I just do. I could be wrong but… we’ll see.”
I looked back up the board of evidence again, as I tried to piece together this very gross puzzle. Same shit, different day.
When Sam had asked me to work the night shift, I couldn’t very well turn him down. I was the new girl after all, and I was still proving myself no matter how good my service was. So, I agreed. It meant that I could only meet with Tara at the morning meeting instead of the nightly one, it made it less likely that she’d want to talk since most people went on their lunch hour during that time of day. But I went, to the meeting inside a church hall across town, a bunch of people were already seated in the circle of truth and were talking amongst themselves.
“Sookie?” Came the voice, and it was Marla, the woman who ran the support group, “I think we’d like to hear from you today, if you feel up to it? Since we have some new people here…”
I looked around, and yes, you could always spot the newbie’s. Fear in their eyes, fear of being judged. That wasn’t what this was about though. This, was about saying it out loud, and making those thoughts that you hold so deep inside you for so long that it makes you feel like you really have made it all up, it makes that come to life.
“If you don’t feel -”
“No, no I don’t mind.” I nodded, as I saw Tara slide in silently to her normal seat. She waved and I waved back before I stood up, smoothing down my dress as I did so.
“Um, hi. I… my name is Sookie, and I’m… a rape survivor.” I exhaled. Every time I said that, it made it that much more real. “Um, the … the first time that I was raped I was eight years old. And the last time it happened, I was almost eleven and a half.” I hated the memories that flashed in my head in those moments. Mainly because they pissed me off all over again. “He… um, he was family and I was meant to trust him, I was meant to look up to him like everyone else did. But I couldn’t because I knew what he was really like. And I knew what he could and would do to me, all the time. It was always real early in the mornings… or real, real late at night when no one would be around, or they’d be sound asleep.” I felt the tears pool in my eyes at the memory that I had thought I’d buried. The morning of my birthday when he made me use my mouth on him for the first time.
I felt sick.
I exhaled “And I um…” I smiled though, I had too, I didn’t want to freak the newbie’s out. “I find that this place, and this right here.” I motioned, “It has helped me so much in accepting what happened to me.”
As did the circle of trust in New York, and in Florida, and California.
“I accept that it wasn’t my fault. That I didn’t do anything to make him think that it was something that I wanted him to do to me. I was kid, I was baby basically and he was an old man compared to me. He knew exactly what he was doing when he would tell me that no one would believe me if I told them, and it was what all the big girls did anyway and he knew I wanted to be a big girl…” I shook my head. “It was his fault. Not mine. And I think that is something that may take some people years to accept, but once you do, the freedom that it gives you… I can’t describe that feeling. They are the ones that will burn in hell for what they’ve done. You just have to remember that.” They clapped as I took my seat again and we listened to a few more people talk, before we agreed to meet again later in the week.
“Instead of drinking the dirt here, I know this good coffee place a few blocks over…” Tara suggested and I agreed. She’d been to group with me for months now. And I had to find out who her abuser was. I knew he was also a relative, but up until that point she hadn’t given me a name or any real details on him. I knew she wanted payback, she was just too terrified to confront him. She said that she knew if she was to seek him out, she would kill him. She couldn’t let that happen, as much as she would have liked, since she had her own daughter to think of now, and she couldn’t have her child left motherless because of that asshole. He’d already ruined her life, he wasn’t going to be the cause of the ruination of her daughters life too. I understood that completely, didn’t mean that I agreed that the bastard got to get away with it though.
Construction worker, living two towns over. Bingo.
I’d finished my night shift. After the rather embarrassing encounter with Eric the night had run smoothly, and he’d left me a ridiculously large tip. I guess he was really mortified by what his friend had said, but I was honest in what I had said back. I really had heard worse. Hell, if only they knew, I’d done worse too.
Lafayette was the cook in Merlotte’s bar and grill. He was about six three, and his black skin was always made up to perfection with the best and most carefully applied eye makeup I’d ever seen outside of beauty departments in stores. He was gay and he was hilarious, and he was also one hell of a cook. I felt most comfortable with him for some reason. The women in Merlotte’s looked at me like I was the odd girl, and the men looked at me like I was still the odd girl but I was still a girl and they’d like to fuck me. Lafayette was none of those things. He didn’t judge my weirdness, or the fact that I liked to eat alone and read my books, and he didn’t pressure me into giving him any details about my life either.
He lived three blocks from my place and offered to walk me home, since apparently ‘shit wasn’t safe for a woman on her own at night… or a gay man’. Apparently together we cancelled out the danger.
If he only knew what I’d done I guessed he wouldn’t have felt so safe with me.
“So Sook, you have a boyfriend?”
“Girlfriend?” He winked and I told him no. I asked if he had a boyfriend and he told me there was this one guy he was trying to work it out with, a Jesus, of all things.
“I saw you talkin’ to Detective Northman before, and the chief. She’s a little icy, but he’s cool I guess.”
“He’s my neighbour.”
“Ohhh, honey. Instant access.”
What was it with people just assuming because we lived next door to each other that that of all things was going to be a deciding factor in whether or not something happened.
“Girl, come on… I know he’s a little socially retarded an all, I mean I always just figured he was meant to just be pretty and looked at, not really talked to, much… mainly because he’s so quiet. Rest of the cops are as loud as boars in heat… but he’s got that silent danger to him that’s so fucking hot.”
“He ask you out yet?”
“Yet? What? I barely know the man.”
“Well, get to know him!” He wiggled his brows at me and I just rolled my eyes. “Honey, last time we saw him with a woman in the bar it was like, two years ago, she was this red headed whore that treated us all like shit she stepped it. After that, it was one woman then another and another, none of them lasting more than a night. And he got more and more miserable as the nights went on. Then, he just stopping coming in for a while, and tonight was the first night he’s been back in months. He’s normally a daytime patron lately, but… maybe you changed that.”
“Oh, please. Besides, my usual shift is days remember? How could he have possibly known?”
“Eh, okay you have a point, but he is a detective… they know shit.”
“Good night, Lafayette.” I said as I reached my building, and I let him kiss me on the cheek.
“Mmmkay, goodnight, sugar. Think about what I said. He’s too hot to be up there all alone.”
I smiled to myself as I caught the elevator up to my floor and made it into the apartment before I threw my shoes off and slammed the door. I still had a ton of unpacking to do. I had pictures to hang and my closet to arrange, before I sharpened my knifes for tomorrow night since I also had a paedophile to kill, and then pick up my dry cleaning before my next late shift.
I was tired just thinking about it.
Running, it helped me clear my head and usually a half hour on my treadmill did the job, but I was needing air and lots of it. So, I ran my route. It took me ten miles there and back, and by the time I was home again I felt the annoying in between of adrenalin and exhaustion. It was mid evening by that time and I’d been out of the house most of the day, I got home to two messages on my voicemail from work and another about my upgrade for cable.
Yeah, that was it. Of course there would be no calls from anyone else, mainly because that was all I did. I went to work, I came home, and I watched TV. I was thirty five and realized that other than that, I had really nothing else, or no one else, in my life.
When did I become one of those cops?
I sighed to myself, accepting my failure for a second as I powered up the shower. My muscles aching.
Whacking off in the shower, not my proudest of moments throughout the day, but necessary at times. I was a single guy who worked insane hours on cases that I could never really talk about, and if I did it usually freaked out the women that did stick around too much for them to stay sticking around. So, I took matters into my own hands from time to time. I rinsed my hair and got out of the shower, towelled off some, and wrapped the bigger towel around myself when I heard the small tapping at the door again. I knew they wouldn’t still be there by the time I got dressed so I just opened the door. I found Sookie, standing with baked goods that smelled like heaven on a plate.
“Oh, you’re in! I wasn’t sure… so I was just checking.”
“Hi. Um yeah it… I’m working late shift.”
“Oh. Well good, I’m glad I caught you before then. I was baking just now and I have a ton of food and I was hoping you’d take some off my hands?”
It smelled like pie, apple if I wasn’t mistaken.
“It’s apple pie and some oatmeal cookies too…”
“I think you’re trying to fatten me up.” I laughed and then I swear she checked me out. Not that it was difficult for her to do that since I was standing there in a towel and all.
Seriously why am I always half dressed around this woman?
She just laughed handing me the plates.
“Well, enjoy ’em.” She nodded before she started to walk backwards to her place, still smiling.
Fuck it Northman, just do it. Just ask her out for a drink.
“I… I um… Well I…” Words, use your words.
“Yeah?” She asked, looking confused at my sudden brain freeze.
“Thank you.” I blurted.
She just smiled again, a warm friendly smile that made me want to kiss her. Well pretty much all her expressions made me want to kiss her. Did I mention I was an idiot? Because I am. A big one.
“You’re welcome, Eric. You’re also dripping.”
She nodded to the floor, yeah I was still all wet. Shit.
“Oh! Right yeah, ok I’ll… go now.”
“You do that.” she laughed, “Have a good night.”
I really needed to get my shit together.