Please see part 1 for all disclaimers.
"Where is she...? Iíve got to find her...I canít let her leave me again." A stocky woman with short brown hair tossed in her sleep mumbling. She yelled out waking herself up from the dream. Taking a long slow deep breath she wiped her damp forehead and reached over to the night table to turn on the light. The room was sparse. There was only a small twin bed, one night table with an oversized green lamp on it that had lost itís shade long ago, a small three drawer dresser sat along the far wall. Clothes were tossed throughout the room. Looking down at the floor she spotted a 3-inch long sewer roach scampering under a t-shirt trying to get out of the light.
Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed she slowly sat holding her head. "Damn," she said "I guess that last drink really did me in last night. Guess I wonít do that again." She continued to talk to herself then smiled. "Ah...sure I will." Chuckling she stood up slowly until she was sure her legs were under her and would hold. She kicked the dirty t-shirt the roach had taken refuge under and tried to step on the offensive insect with her bare feet. The bug was too quick for her and scampered away. Finally walking into the small bathroom she threw some cold water on her face and looked into the mirror. Running her fingers through her hair in an attempt to bring some order to it she stopped, tilted her head and looked at herself for what was a very long moment. Finally shaking her head she grabbed the towel and wiped her face. Rubbing harder and harder as if trying to rub off the face she saw in the mirror. Tossing the towel on the side of the tub she caught some movement out of the corner of her eye. "Now I told you before Iím not sharing." She said out loud capturing the oversized roach and flushing it down the toilet. Grinning while she watched it spin in circles until the water finally took it down into the sewer.
Stepping back into the bedroom she looked at the small clock that sat on the floor. "Damn, Iím late for work again." She muttered picking her jeans up off the floor where she left them the night before. Opening her dresser drawer to get a t-shirt her only word was, "Damn!" as she looked around on the floor trying to find the cleanest of the dirty shirts to put on. "Guess I better do some laundry this week-end." She mused to herself. ĎAt least itís Friday and payday.í She thought smiling to herself as she quickly pulled her clothes on.
Screeching her car to a halt in the parking lot she started to get out when her boss Mr. Rogert met her. "So Johna, late again." It was a statement not a question.
"Yeah.... Sorry, I just.... I had trouble getting the old clunker started." She lied pointing to the old tan Chevy she drove.
"Ah ha...this is the third time this week." He stood there folding his arms across his chest. "Canít have it anymore Johna, hereís your check. Iím letting you go." He started to walk away when he felt a hand grab his arm. He stopped and turned around.
"Come on Mr. Rogert I promise Iíll never be late again. Itís only forty-five minutes. Iíll stay late. Please" The stocky woman, begged grabbing his arm harder.
Peeling her fingers off his biceps, "I already hired someone who wants to work." He said walking away.
"You fucking bastard!" Johna yelled after him. "I hope I see you dead one day." Getting into her car she continued to mumble, "You fucking bastard. I will see you dead sooner then you think." She started the engine and peeled her tires as she pulled out of the parking lot of the car wash she worked at for the last four months. "One day Rogert." She threatened watching the car wash in her rear view mirror get farther and farther away until it was finally out of sight.
"Well Johna, what now?" She asked herself. ĎNo point in looking for a job on Friday.í She continued down the road turning into the small parking lot behind the studio apartments she lived in. "Well, at least I donít have to worry about rent since my mother owns these. Damn, you idiot" She chastised herself. 'What am I doing, I canít let her see me this time of day.í She thought as she pulled back out onto 7th street. "Guess Iíll head up to South Mountain and figure out what Iím going to tell her." She mumbled to herself turning left heading on Central Avenue then left again.
Parking her car at the top of the mountain she got out and stood in front of her Chevy with her hands in her back pockets looking at the city below her. She felt a certain amount of power running through her veins. She often sat here watching the city, musing to herself she was master of all. It was a game she played with herself pretending she could see into all the little windows. She could see people working in offices, people in classrooms, and ohh...those people in hotel rooms making out. Today she thought about the latter. Sitting on her hood and sliding herself up to lean against the windshield she closed her eyes seeing two women one stocky with short brown hair and the other shorter, thinner, long blonde hair their arms and legs wrapped around each other skin on skin. She thought about how it felt to be touched. Her hand was slowly sliding down the inside of her pants to her throbbing need. "Oh yeah...thatís it nice and slow, just the way I like it.... Yeah." She said rubbing herself.
"You fucking pervert." A male voice interrupted her musing.
Startled she sat up pulling her hand out of her pants and looking around.
"Yeah, you...you fucking pervert. Get the hell outta here!" He continued.
Jumping off the hood of her car she started towards him. Three other young men moved to stand beside the one that was yelling and she thought it to her advantage to just leave. Getting into her car and starting it she gave the four of them the finger. "Bastards!" She yelled at the top of her lungs. Backing out she saw one of the men pick up a rock and hurl it towards her back window shattering it.
"You fucking bastard!" Johna yelled squealing her tires, throwing dirt and rocks behind her until she reached the paved road.
"God damn son of a bitchen day." She mumbled gritting her teeth and looking into her rear view mirror to see the shattered rear window.
"But Captain Daniels I have a right to stay on this case. If it wasnít for me the investigation wouldnít even be this far." Agent Dunn said her tone becoming loud. "Why are you doing this?"
"Agent first of all, STOP yelling at me. And second of all I am the one in command here and when I make a decision I expect it to be obeyed without question. Until I get to the bottom of this Iím assigning you desk duty. Now is that clear?" Captain Daniels was a short rounded man in his mid forties. He wore black framed glasses that always seemed to slide down his nose and he looked at her above the rim meeting her look with one of his own.
"So there is nothing I can say that will change your mind?" She finally asked after a long pause.
"So...you tell me what happened. And I mean all of it." He sat back down into his chair motioning for Agent Dunn to do the same.
"Itís Special Agent Vanís fault. She told me," She pointed to her chest. "me...to go get that little slutís clothes. I refused right to her face so she sent Karen out there. And because of her Karen was murdered and so was Mike." She had a satisfied grin on her face as she crossed her arms over her chest and sat back waiting for Captain Daniels.
"And that is the truth? You didnít leave anything out?" He asked.
"Absolute truth ...sir."
"Hum...then why do I have 3 other agents willing to tell another truth? A truth that you disobeyed a direct order given by Special Agent Van whom I might remind you is second in command. And without her direct knowledge or permission you sent Karen over there and asked Mike to go with her." Captain Daniels watched the grin fade as he continued. "I have ordered an internal investigation and until thatís complete you are assigned to desk duty. Now Agent Dunn, is there anything you would like to tell me about your attitude out in the field yesterday?"
"I didnít have an attitude! I donít like queers and nobody is going to tell me I have to be nice to those...those...people. I know itís all Special Agent Van who is trying to get me into trouble. She never has liked me and thinks she is so much better then I am. I know sheís one of those ...people too. How could you even associate with her? She makes me sick!"
"Iím not here to debate with you whether or not Van is straight or gay because Agent Dunn I really donít give a damn. Sheís an excellent Investigator and thatís all I care about. Now if you have nothing more to add..." He left the statement open. Agent Dunn stood and walked out of his office.
"Now the easy part." Captain Daniels said to himself as he pick up the phone and dialed an extension number. "Yes...Agent Larsen would you and Agent Simmons please come into my office?" He waited for a reply and hung up the phone.
Judy walked over to Chris passing Marilyn on the way. "I bet you had something to do with this." Agent Dunn growled at her former partner.
"What are you talking about?" Judy questioned stopping in front of her desk.
Marilyn stared and waved her hand to get her away from her. "I donít want to talk to you."
Judy shrugged, "Suit yourself." as she proceeded to Agent Chris Simmonsí desk to relay the message from Captain Daniels.
"Agents please come in and sit down. I am reassigning Agent Dunn for the time being. So Agent Simmons youíll be working with Judy. Sheíll fill you in on all the details. You both will only report to me or to Agent Van. Is that clear?" He watched a pair of heads bobbing up and down. "I donít want anything said in the squad room. There are two conference rooms and the interrogation room for you two to talk in. I donít want to take the chance of any of this leaking to the press." It wasnít exactly the truth, well it was but he had other reasons not to have ears overhear what was going on. He suddenly became uncomfortable with Agent Dunnís attitude and didnít want to take any chances with a person who had become a friend. He chastised himself thinking, Ďsheís one of my Agents why shouldnít I trust her?" He looked up to see a pair of watchful eyes on him. "Any questions?í He managed to say clearing his throat.
Agent Larsen was the first to speak up. "Is there something going on we should know about?"
He debated for a long moment. "Letís just say it would be to everyoneís advantage to keep this quiet. Okay?" He finished raising an eyebrow at her then looked at Agent Simmons.
"Yes sir." They both said in unison.
"Okay, where are you going next?" This he addressed to Agent Larsen.
"Well sir, I would kinda like to go back to a couple of the lesbian bars. I had a feeling they werenít saying all they knew. And I would like to go spend a few evenings at Marlyís as well just in case she shows back up there." She looked at Captain Daniels for his comments.
"I think thatís a good idea. But I donít want to hear about you there alone. Agent Simmons, how much of this case have you heard about?"
"Not much, only talk around the squad room. I heard a couple of not so nice comments from Agent Dunn and I know Corey has been assigned to protect a Rachel Woods who escaped from a serial killer. Just kinda the basics sir." She finished.
"Okay, Iíll let Judy fill you in but if you have any problems at all with this case or your assignments I need to know right up front."
She took a stab in the dark. "Are you asking me if I have a problem with gay people specifically lesbians?" She watched him shrug and nod at the same time. "Well sir, let me put your mind to ease. My best friend is a lesbian and no sir I have no conflicts at all."
He smiled at her and nodded. They both stood and walked out of the office grinning at the way Captain Daniels took a round about way to ask her. As they walked through the squad room and spotted Marilyn glowering at them. They just looked at each other and shrugged as they walked past to Judyís desk so she could get her notes and take Chris to the conference room at the end of the hall to fill her in on every detail they had so far.
A pair of eyes followed their backs until the door closed behind them.
"Okay, thank you." Corey said disconnecting the call and sitting back in her chair. "That was interesting." She said taping the phone on her chin.
"What was?" Rachelís curiosity peaked.
"This woman I just talked to. She insists her car wasnít stolen just her license plate. And a man I talked to earlier said he had a white Gran Am that has been missing for almost a year now."
"Whatís so odd about that?" Rachel wanted to understand.
"They both disappeared the same night. And remember when I had you looking at the rear end pictures of cars. One of the possible ones you chose was that of a Gran Am."
"Okay, she stole a car and put a different license plate on it. Now what?" Rachel asked as Corey punched in another number on the phone.
"Captain Daniels please...Yes, Iíll wait." Corey tapped her fingers on the desk. "John, its Corey...yeah...yeah...listen, I might have a lead on the car weíre looking for." She told him about the Gran Am and about the license plate.
"Sounds like you might have something. Iíll get it out on the wire." He offered.
"Good, and how about having someone in Marlyís parking lot watching for that car. Maybe have someone else drive around the other lesbian barís parking lots. Have them make several circles a night." Corey suggested.
"Will do, listen I assigned Agent Dunn to desk duty and brought Agent Simmons on board. I told Larsen and her I wanted absolutely no talk about this case in the squad room."
"Why donít you just fire her?" She asked knowing it wasnít going to happen.
"You know I canít do that." He sounded disgruntled. "Oh by the way the list came in on the name and initials but Corey I have to tell you that thing is probably 1000 pages long. Itís a real shot in the dark anyway." He offered.
"Yeah I knew it would be." A thought came to her and she smiled a devilish grin. "Say John, what have you got Marilyn doing?"
"Just cleaning up some paperwork from a couple other cases..." He said. "Why?"
"Well John," Corey began. "donít you think someone assigned to desk duty would be the perfect one to go through that list line by line?"
"Corey." He warned.
"No listen John, she has the experience and knowledge it would take to sift through all that and know what to look for." The grin stayed on Coreyís face, she was glad Captain Daniels couldnít see it.
"Ah...huh." He said. "But youíre right, she does. Okay Iíll assign it to her but we both know sheís not going to be happy."
"You can handle a grumpy employee canít you?" Corey teased him.
Captain Daniel laughed. "Iíll talk to you soon and Iíll get that car and plate out on the wire." He said chuckling as he placed the receiver back in it cradle.
Corey felt a warm hand on her shoulder and looked into those beautiful green eyes. "Now I ask you Special Agent Van." She paused for effect. "Was that nice?"
"Oh hell, itíll keep her outta my hair and who knows, she may find something."
"You donít really expect her to then?" Rachel questioned.
"Its really just a shot in the dark. ĎLacyí could be short for something else or just a nickname or even just a name only Johna called her."
"Guess I never thought about that." Rachel looked pensive for a long moment. "There are just so many angles."
"Yeah, I guess there are." She snorted; she was just about to get up from the desk when her mail icon popped up. She clicked on it and scanned the contents.
"They have a lead on the trucking company. It looks like it was Shamrock Foods. Theyíre based here in the valley. Want to go with me tomorrow to check it out?" The tall investigator asked as she checked the rest of her mail.
"Of course. But I thought nobody knew who the driver was?" Rachel wondered how they found out.
"We had a reasonable description from the nurse in the clinic that night and one of the deputy sheriffs remembered seeing the truck sort of."
"Sort of? What does that mean?"
"The deputy couldnít remember a name on the truck but he did remember seeing a green clover on the side. There are about a half dozen trucking companies that use that symbol in some way or other and since Shamrock Foods are here in the valley thatís the place to start." Corey looked directly at her lover and touched her cheek with her hand.
"I feel kinda stupid about all this. Sometimes the simplest thing is the best and maybe the only answer." Her eyes searched Coreyís face.
"Hey, remember, Iíve been doing this for a long time, sometimes I think too long." A hint of wistfulness entered her voice and it wasnít missed by the younger woman.
"If you didnít do this what would you want to do?" Rachel tilted her head to the side and leaned into the touch.
"I like being in the FBI. Since I was a kid I donít think I thought of much else. I used to watch Elliot Ness over and over again and anytime a new movie came out or I even found an old one I was in front of it. I just think I need a break." She felt a warm hand on her knee then a forehead touched hers.
"Iím really glad youíre here. Iím sorry I gave you such a hard time in the beginning." The apology was sincere.
"Iím really glad Iím here too." The investigator lowered her voice and circled her arms around her lover pulling her in for a heartfelt hug. "Thanks to you weíre starting to actually make some headway on this case."
"How long have you been working on this?" Rachel questioned.
"A little more then a year. Sheís been very clean. No real evidence. The only thing that has tied at least six of the murders together is the rings. Not to mention Karen and Mike."
"You donít know how sorry I am about them." Rachel said sitting back so she could run her hand over Coreyís forearm.
"Yeah I think I know. This case has taken on a more personal edge for me. I have always been able to separate the cases from letting them touch me in any way, until now." The taller woman confessed.
"Until now?" Rachel raised the center her eyebrows looking at her lover.
"Yes, first and foremost is you. Then of course Karen and Mike." Corey kissed the top of the blondeís head and stood up.
Rachel has noticed that when Corey got upset or agitated she paced. "Would you feel better if you talked to their families?"
"I...I canít. Not now. Not until I can at least tell them that their killer is behind bars. I just feel responsible." Pace...pace..."I asked for Karen to be assigned here. For all basic purposes she was my protégé." Pace...pace..."I brought her in on a lot of small stuff then we discussed this case one night until early in the morning." Pace...pace..."She had some insight into it. I remember leaving details out just to see if she could pick them up," Pace...pace..."and you know what?" She stopped and turned to face a watching Rachel. "She always did. She was the closest thing I had to a friend. I miss her." She felt arms tighten around her as a blonde head rested on her shoulder. Corey returned the emotional hug with one of her own. It was long minutes later before either woman eased the hold. Finally Corey whispered. "Thanks, I think I needed that."
"Humm...Iím glad you finally told me about her. She sounds like she was a special person."
"Yeah, she was." Corey chuckled. "She always told me...I would have to get up pretty damn early to pull one on her. She was sharp, thatís for sure." Corey chuckled "I remember once I gave her a problem to solve about DNA and why it wasnít the suspectís but couldnít be anybody elseís." She paused. "And you know what? She stayed up all night trying to figure it out." Corey smiled fondly and shook her head.
"Was it a trick question?" Rachel asked a surprised investigator.
"Actually no. She did finally figure it out and I was so proud of her." The dark haired woman looked around as if there was other people around and whispered into Rachelís ear "It took me twice as long, but donít tell anyone."
"Hum... promise. Can I interest you in a walk in the woods? Iíd love to hear more about Karen." Rachel smiled, looking up at the blue eyes that studied her face. Softly Corey leaned in for a kiss as it was enthusiastically returned.
"Yeah, Iíd like that." They exited the cabin after pulling on sweatshirts. Standing on the porch for a moment Corey reached over and took a hold of the smaller hand and led the way.
"You are such a loser," Her mother scolded. "Losing another job. I canít believe it. What was it this time? Calling in too much? Not working hard enough? Late all the time? Yeah. I saw you leaving this morning...late." She studied her daughterís face.
"Thatís it isnít it. Youíve been fired for being late. Havenít you learned anything about responsibility? I raised you better than that." Her motherís voice took on an angry tone while progressively getting louder with each word.
"You never raised me at all!" Johna spat the words. "All you ever did was make me feel worthless and unwanted. Your one night stands were more important to you then I was."
She yelled back at her mother stepping closer with each word.
The older woman suddenly felt at a loss for words and turned to walk away.
"Why did you have me in the first place?" Johna questioned.
Her mother turned on her heel. "It wasnít my idea. I wanted to abort you but your grandmother wouldnít let me and if I wanted a place to live I had to have you. I had no place else to go." Turning to walk away she felt a hand reach out and grab her. Turning back to look at the stocky woman fear gripped her soul. The dark look in her daughterís eyes told her she was in for more then she ever bargained for.
"Mother." Johnaís voice was quiet.
"Let me go Johna. Or Iím warning you...." She let the sentence drop.
"What, what are you going to do mother? Hurt me? Again? I think you have finally hurt me for the last time." Suddenly Johna grabbed the older woman by the neck and slammed her body against the wall lifting her off the floor for what was an endless moment. Her mother struggled and tried to speak. She kicked out making contact with the stocky woman but it had no effect. For a very frightening moment her world started to go black until she felt herself slide down the wall and land in a heap at Johnaís. The girl promptly kicked her in the chest causing her to lose what little breath she had been able to gasp in.
Kneeling beside her mother Johna felt for a pulse. ĎGood sheís not dead yet. I sure didnít want it to be that easy.í She mused, thinking about what she was going to do now. ĎI could make it look like suicide,í Studying the older woman. ĎOr an accident...or I could just have the satisfaction of killing her a little at a time like she did me.í She continued to think. ĎYeah, I like that idea...a little at a time.í She smiled looking at the older woman who was slumped on the floor.
"Well mother I guess Iím staying with you for a few days." She said bending over. She grabbed the lifeless form and dragged her into the living room. Kicking the coffee table out of the way she let her drop with a thump, hitting her head on the floor. "Yeah, that will do. At least for now." She stood with her hands on her hips looking down at her mother with what could only be described as disgust mixed with hate. She sat down and reached for the remote control to the TV. Flipping through channels she finally settled on watching the last hour of Good Morning Arizona. Leaning back on the couch she crossed her feet and rested them on her motherís stomach.
"God, this place is boring," She said diverting her attention from Sally Jesse Rafael to the still form lying in front of her. "Hum..." she said tossing her now cold coffee in the older womanís face. Spitting and sputtering she began to move and finally opened her eyes to see her daughter standing above her, feet straddling her waist.
"Good morning mother." Johna said with a wide smile. "So glad you can join me this morning."
Trying to scoot away from her the older woman was stopped when a heavy foot rested on her stomach. Slowly pushing her foot harder into her stomach until her mother grabbed at it wincing from the pain it was causing her. "Johna please...please let me go."
"Why mother...so you can call the cops?"
"I wonít tell anybody. Please." Her mother begged
"Yeah...right. It wouldnít be the first time you called the cops on me. Now would it mother?"
"You need help. Let me get it for you." The begging continued as the foot got heavier and it got harder for her to form words and breath.
"Help. What would it be this time, the cops or the guys in the white jackets? Yes mother I heard you tell Mrs. Glasco that my elevator didnít go to the top floor. No, not this time mother. I think Iíll just kill you and get you out of my misery." A very smug look from Johna as she eased up on the pressure she was putting on her motherís stomach. Taking a deep breath she opened her mouth to scream only to have a quick hand clapped over her mouth to mute the sound. "Now mother, we canít have any of that. Besides I have one hell of a headache and if you make it worse I may not be in as good a mood." She tilted her head and smiled demonstrating her point. Suddenly a fist came at mother from the side shattering her jaw. Passing out from the pain again her body went limp. "Jesus mother didnít you sleep well last night? Tisk...tisk...another nap."
Standing Johna rubbed her hand where she just hit her mother "Damn, that hurt." Walking into the small kitchen she opened the refrigerator. "Humm... not much here, oh well...thereís more here then in mine. Oh!" her face brightened upon seeing the twelve pack of Coors. "I do like the light better, but hey... thisíll do." She commented to herself. "Oh yeah, a sandwich would be good too." She continued grabbing the ham and cheese out of the meat tray. "Letís see, there has to be bread...," She said pulling a cupboard open. "Yeah, oh, lookit what I found, Hostess Cupcakes." She smiled at the thought remembering how she always had to sneak them out if she wanted any.
Looking into the living room she saw brown eyes looking back at her. "Hungry mom...huh...no? Okay." She said taking the box of cupcakes off the shelf and carrying them, her can of beer and a sandwich back into the living room and sitting on the couch in front of her mother.
After eating the sandwich she reached over for the cupcakes. "Why couldnít you just give me one once in awhile when I asked you?" She said waving the treat at her mother. "I never did anything to deserve the hell you put me through. I just wanted you to love me." She finished before taking a bite of the sweet chocolate cake. "Too late now isnít it mother?" Looking at her mother shake her head from side to side. She sat there for a brief moment looking at the pain she caused the helpless woman on the floor.
"Is there something you want to say mother?" She asked sitting on the floor beside her leaning over to hear her whispered words.
"Please, Johna, I love you." Came the whisper.
A hand smacked across her face making the older woman cry out the best she could. "Youíre just saying that now so Iíll let you go. Arenít you?" She waited for a reply that never came. "I always wanted to hear that when I was growing up. Did you know I was on the schools volleyball team and we took state championship?"
Startled eyes looked at Johna. "No I didnít think so. I always had to make excuses why you never came to any of the games. All the other mothers where there. I hated you for such a long time. Now I just donít feel anything." She finished.
"What are you going to do?" Her mother questioned, barely able to speak.
"Iím going to kill you the way you did me. Slow and agonizingly." She stated matter of factly before standing and going into the kitchen. Rummaging through the drawers she found a roll of duct tape. "Well, it works in the movies." She said tossing the roll up into the air and catching it in one fluid motion.
Eyes widened as she watched her daughter return from the kitchen carrying the tape. Making an attempt to scream again she found herself grabbed by the throat. "How many times do I have to tell you to be quiet?" Johna asked seriously tearing off a piece of tape. Her mother tried in vain to knock the heavier woman off her. Pinning her arms to her sides and resting her knees on both of them she bent over and placed the first piece of tape over her mouth. "I always wanted to do that." She smirked at the distraught woman under her. "Every time you yelled and hit me for no reason other then being alive. I tried to be a good daughter. I tried to just be a daughter who needed her mother. You just refused to be my mother. Now itís my turn. Paybacks are a bitch arenít they? Hummm...mother?" She continued talking while she taped her hands behind her back and took a longer time taping her feet together. "There...all done." She rose to her feet smiling down at her handy work while avoiding the pleading eyes of her mother. "Hush now. I want to watch the news."
Ding...Dong...Johna jumped to her feet stepping on her motherís shoulder and tumbling over hitting her head on the corner of the coffee table. "God damn it!" She yelled putting her hand over the area feeling something warm and wet. "Shit." She continued grabbing for a towel as the doorbell rang again. "Yeah?" She yelled through the closed door. No answer so she opened the door just a crack being sure the woman standing there could not see inside to her bound and gagged mother lying on the floor. "Yes Mrs. Glasco what can I do for you?" She mustered up her most pleasant voice.
"Oh Iím sorry dear I was looking for your mother." The older woman said looking at Johna.
"Did you hurt yourself?"
ĎNo you old biddy I always hold a towel to my head and bleed.í She wanted to say but instead,
"Yeah, I tripped over the rug and hit my head on the coffee table."
"Oh dear, would you like me to come in and fix it for you? I used to be a nurse you know." Mrs. Glasco offered.
"Ah...no itís okay. Iíll just wash it off and be as good as new. Was there something you wanted?" She finished trying to hurry the widow up.
"No..no...I just thought I would stop in and see how your mother was. Is she here?" the older woman asked.
"Iím sorry, she went to my auntís for a few days. She just had surgery and mother went over to take care of her. I donít expect her back for at least a week." Johna smiled at her.
"Oh well okay then I guess Iíll see her later then. Thank you dear. Are you sure you donít want me to take a look at that?" She said pointing to Johnaís head.
"Iím fine. But if youíll excuse me?" She rolled her eyes up indicating the cut.
"Oh sure. Bye now." She said before the door slowly closed leaving her standing on the porch.
Shrugging her shoulders she simply walked away heading to her own apartment across the grassy area.
Johna watched as she walked away. Turning she headed to the bathroom to wash the cut and find a bandage to cover it until it stopped bleeding.
Struggling, her mother moved herself over to the door. Kicking on it with both feet to make as much noise as she could. She felt her daughterís present standing beside her. Looking up at her she saw the foot coming at her. Sharp pains in her side and chest then the foot came at her a second and third time. Unable to stand the pain anymore she willed herself to die. ĎPlease god take me now.í She silently begged.
"Oh no mother." Johna said splashing water on her motherís face. Youíre not going to stop feeling the pain if I have anything to say about it. Come on now open those beady little eyes." She slapped her gently on the cheek being careful not to touch the jaw she already shattered. "Come on now. Itís not time for you to die yet. I figure maybe Monday or Tuesday. I think I can keep you alive until then. Remember I said slow and torturous. Why mother...you wet your pants. I guess youíll just have to stay that way. Even though I donít remember Iím sure I laid in my own waste until someone cared enough to change my diapers and Iím sure it wasnít you." The hate for the woman who gave birth to her was evident in her voice.
Dragging her to the bedroom, picking her up and setting her gently on the bed Johna stepped back. "At least up there you canít make any noise while Iím gone. I wonít be but just a few minutes so donít even think of trying. Okay?" She started to walk out of the room. A moment later she returned with the roll of duct tape. "Just to be sure." Johna said wrapping more tape around her feet and legs then around the footboard of the bed. Then wrapping tape around her neck and around the headboard. "Just in case. Any real pressure and youíve killed yourself. Personally I donít think you have the guts." Before walking out the door she spit in her motherís face silently wishing she would choke herself and save Johna the trouble of killing her.
Locking the door behind her Johna stepped out onto the porch. Squinting at the bright afternoon sun she looked around the apartment complex her mother owned. Not seeing the only eyes that were watching her as she walked down the small sidewalk and turned left toward her own apartment.
Mrs. Glasco watched with interest as Johna left her motherís apartment. She knew Johna was lying about her whereabouts. She remembered all the long afternoon talks they had had and knew for a fact her mother didnít have any sisters. The old woman continued to watch covered by her curtains as Johna emerged from her own apartment in a change of clothes. She thought it odd that the woman would ware black jeans and long sleeve black shirt when the temperature was a cool 110 degrees. She continued to watch as Johna walked around back to the small parking lot that accommodated the building. Moving to her kitchen window where she could see the street. A few minutes after seeing the tan car turn onto 7th Street she headed for her front door.
Putting a key into the lock she thought to herself, Ďmaybe I shouldnít be doing this.í She turned the lock and called out before entering. Looking around she could see the mess the apartment was left in. To be honest it scared her and she thought she should just get out of there and forget the whole thing. Instead she continued forward as if her feet had a mind of their own. Reaching for the bedroom door and turning the knob a sudden chill went down her spine. Opening the door she saw the woman taped to the bed. Eyes looking at her she immediately went to the bedside. "Donít worry, youíll be safe now." She said picking up the bedside phone and dialing 911. When she put the receiver down she looked back at Johnaís mother and saw the large round eyes. Slowly she turned around and saw Johna standing there.
"Why couldnít you just mind your own business old woman?" She growled stepping forward showing a large kitchen knife she held. Thrusting it into the old woman and feeling her limp body slide off the blade she casually stepped over her, raising the knife above her head she thrust it down into the chest of her mother. Turning it once to be sure she hit her mark. She straightened up. "Good bye mother." She said turning, "Bitch."
Johna had already turned onto 7th Street when she looked into her rear view mirror and watched as a police cruiser pull into the parking lot. "Oh well, at least thatís done. Gee," a grin crossed her face. "I guess Iím an orphan now." She said as she continued to smile.
Parking several blocks away in a downtown parking lot she walked back to the street where the apartment was to watch all the activity. There were at least 50 people milling around the street watching the activity in the apartment courtyard. No one noticed the stocky woman watching intently from the curb.
Knock....Knock...."Police!" A male voice yelled. "Hello?" He called out again. Still no answer. Knock...Knock. "Police, did someone call the police?" The officer continued, reaching down to the doorknob that turned easily in his hand. ĎHello?" He called again sticking his head in the door. "Anybody home?" He questioned opening the door all the way and stepping into the apartment. Cautiously walking into the kitchen and seeing no one he turned and walked down the hall as he continued to identify himself as a police office. He put his hand on the knob and felt something wet. Looking down he saw his hand covered in blood. Swallowing hard he opened the door. There were the two ladies; one lying on the floor the other still taped to the bed. His knees went weak at the sight and he suddenly wasnít sure he could remain standing. He noticed a slight movement of the woman on the floor. He rushed to her side lifting her head in his hands. "It was Johna." She said before her body went completely limp. He gently lowered her back to the floor and checked the other woman. Seeing the butcher knife sticking out of her chest and the bed covered in blood he ran for the front door to gulp a large breath of clean air then promptly lost his lunch.
"All right Officer Johnson tell me what you found when you entered the apartment."
The detective that was assigned to the case prompted.
"When I got here I knocked a couple of times. I identified myself as a police officer and there was no answer. I knocked again and still no answer. I turned the doorknob and it opened. I yelled inside again to identify myself and still no answer. I walked in, checked out the kitchen first and then went to the bedroom. When I opened the door I saw the two ladies just like you found them except I saw a little movement in the older woman on the floor. I knelt down to her and she told me, "It was Johna." then she died in my arms."
"Johna...are you sure thatís what she said?" Detective Kelley questioned.
"Yeah, Iím sure thatís what she said." Officer Johnson stated nodding his head.
"Iíll be right back." The detective walked over to talk to his Sergeant. "Yeah, he says heís sure."
"Okay, Iíll call them in." Sergeant Osborne said stepping outside. Retrieving his cell phone he dialed a number from memory.
"Yeah...Yeah...make sure they keep everything just as they found it. Weíre on our way." Corey said looking at Rachel. "We need to get back down to Phoenix. There may be a break in the case. Apparently Johna just killed two more people and one was able to identify her before she died." She could see a notable shiver run down her loverís back.
Pulling up in front of the apartment complex "Rachel why donít you stay here? You donít really need to see this." Corey waited for a response from her lover.
Rachel looked over towards the apartment then at her hands resting in her lap. Slowly nodding, she agreed to stay in the truck.
"Good." Corey approved of the decision. "Iím going to lock the doors and leave the keys here with you. Iíll have an officer over here in a few minutes. Until then, if you need anything, anything at all you just honk this horn and Iíll come running. Okay?"
Nodding her head Rachel finally whispered. "I feel like such a coward."
"Hey," Corey turned her head forcing eye contact. "you most certainly are not. You are one of the bravest people I know. Thereís no shame in not wanting to see whatís in that apartment." Corey looked intently into the distant green eyes that finally focused on her. "I have to go. I wonít be long. Remember what I told you. If you need me just honk. Okay?"
Rachel watched out of the window as Corey entered the apartment. Someone walked up and leaned against the car window blocking her view. Opening the window about half way she said, "Excuse me." No answer. "Hey, excuse me would you please move?"
Moving slowly Johna turned around and smiled. "Hello Lacy." She said looking the smaller woman in the eye. Rachel pulled back and frantically tried to make the window go up but inadvertently pressed the button the wrong direction lowering it an inch or so more. Johna reached in and grabbed at Rachelís arm. Moving quickly she pulled herself free from the grip and managed to move across the seat honking the horn and frantically searching for the button to raise the window. Somehow she managed to trap Johnaís arm as she attempted to grab Rachel again. "Youíll never touch me again." Rachel breathed grabbing the keys from the ignition and running into the apartment. She was stopped by the tall investigator running out of the door. "Sheís here, I have her arm trapped in the car window!"
Corey ran out of the apartment with John and two uniformed officers at her heels. Pulling her gun from its holster she approached the side of her truck. Johna was gone and her window was shattered. Glass was lying on the ground. "Fan out!" Corey called. Each officer carefully cheched the area around the cars. Satisfied at last that Johna was not around the area any longer she holstered her gun and headed back to the apartment where she left Rachel with Detective Osborne.
"She...Sheís out there?" Rachel managed to get out before collapsing in Coreyís arms.
"Hey...Itís okay...youíre safe. Take a deep breath...yeah thatís it. Now tell me what happened." Rachel relayed the events as they happened not leaving anything out.
"What was she wearing?"
"Ahh...dark...black long sleeve shirt and black pants."
"John?" Corey said looking at the captain.
"Weíre on it. You two take a couple of uniforms." Captain Daniels stopped and looked at Sergeant Osborne. "With your permission?" Getting a nod in return. "And search the area."
"Corey," The captain, who was standing beside them and heard everything, said. "You take her outta here and get back to where you know itís safe. Iíll send everything to you, pictures, statements, everything. Now get going." The captain ordered. Without hesitation both women were out the door headed to her Explorer with a police escort.
Once inside the truck Rachel leaned back, took a long slow deep breath and let it out just as slowly. Feeling the comforting hand on her shoulder slipping around the back of her neck she finally felt safe. "What is it she wants with me?" Rachel asked as the investigator started her truck.
"Did she say anything to you?" Corey questioned.
"She just turned around smiling and said Ďhello Lacyí then tried to reach in the window at me."
"Iím glad the door was locked." Corey said looking at the shaken woman.
"Me too. I never should have lowered the window." She chastised herself. Looking at her friend "Who were those people in the apartment?"
"Her mother and a neighbor. I figure she and her mother were fighting from the looks of the apartment and the neighbor probably stumbled on what was happening by accident. One of the other neighbors said they were friends." Corey said in her investigative tone.
"How did she kill them? Detective Osborne wouldnít let me go into the bedroom." Rachel continued as Corey made her way through traffic constantly checking her rear view mirror.
"Remind me to thank him." Corey said pensively. "The neighbor was stabbed in the stomach and it looked like she bleed to death. Her mother was stabbed through the heart." Corey debated on telling her the rest. "She was beaten pretty bad and tied to the bed with duct tape."
"Oh." was all the younger woman could say as she leaned her head against the cool headrest of the soft leather seat. "Can I ask you something?"
"Yeah sure." The taller woman said a little puzzled.
"How can you see stuff like that and not let it get to you?"
"Who says it doesnít? Every time I see what she has done to all those innocent people I get so mad! I just have to focus all my energies on finding her. Now more then ever." She finished.
"But donít you just want to cry sometimes. Or is that being too naive?" The young blonde asked feeling very unsure of herself.
"I donít have time to grieve when I first get drawn into these situations. I grit my teeth and do the work. I have to admit there have been a couple of times that I have fallen to pieces, but only in private. I donít share that side of myself with anybody." Looking over at the woman sitting next to her. "Not until now." She grabbed Rachelís hand and gently squeezed it.
They rode in silence holding hands for about an hour before Corey finally broke it. "Are you alright?" She questioned her unusually quiet friend.
"Yeah, itís just hard for me. Iíve never been around all this before." Came the soft confession. "Iím not sure quite how to handle it. Any suggestions?"
"I know itís hard. Believe me I know. I have to disassociate myself from it. But then this is the closest any of this has ever come to me. It is really affecting me."
"Because of me?" Rachel knew the answer but waited.
"Yeah. But I wouldnít give up a moment of it." Corey said pulling off the highway into a turn out. Putting the truck in park and turning to Rachel she asked. "Would you?"
"Meeting you...loving you...not on your life. The rest...yeah." She admitted unbuckling her seat belt meeting Corey halfway and falling into her arms. They sat there with Coreyís strong arms around her soothing her and gently rubbing slow comforting circles across her back. Rachel was the first to break the silence. "You have become so important to me. I canít explain it. Itís just...." Rachel stopped, trying to think of the right words.
Corey finished for her "I know, I feel the same. I couldnít explain it either." She drew Rachel closer and kissed her from the heart. Pulling away, "Feeling better?"
"Yeah thank you." Rachel said squeezing Coreyís hand and settling back into her seat buckling her seat belt for the rest of the ride to the cabin. "So, whatís next?"
"Huh...what do you mean?" Corey asked.
"Johna, where do we go from here?"
"Well, we start weeding through all the information we have so far and profile her up to this point. Iíve gone through some of that stuff several times. Maybe a new perspective or," she reached over a squeezed the small hand resting on the seat edge. "a fresh pair of eyes. If youíre willing?"
"Of course I am. But you need to show me everything. Donít hold back something you think will upset me like you did the other day with the pictures of the murdered women. Promise?"
"I promise." Corey said with a little trepidation in her voice that Rachel heard.
Rachel put the investigatorís hand in her own. "Maybe some of my training will come in handy. Who knows?"
"Yeah, I remember all the psych classes I had to take for my degree." She rolled her eyes.
"Whatís the matter? Didnít you like the classes?"
"Oh itís not so much that, itís just that everyone I knew started analyzing everybody. Myself included." She smiled at the thoughts.
"Yeah, we all go through that at first." She chuckled "I remember trying to analyze myself most of all."
"And what, oh mighty shrink, did your conclusions come to?" Corey teased enjoying the lightness of the conversation.
"That I should go hide under a rock and never bother society." She laughed out loud.
"Well, Iím glad you didnít." The dark haired woman gave her thigh a gentle squeeze.
"Yeah." Corey repeated. "Weíre almost home." She said then thought about how odd that sounded. ĎWeíreí she repeated to herself, ĎYeah I like that.í she continued with her musings. She turned to regard her partner. Rachel was rubbing her arms in an attempt to warm up. "Hey, scoot over here." She instructed. Rachel took her seatbelt off and moved closer to the warmth of her new friend.
"Sorry about your window." Rachel said hugging herself to warm up. "The mountains sure do cool off."
"Donít worry about the window. I would much rather have a busted window then lose you." She said matter of factly. "Besides, now I have you sitting practically in my lap. What more could I ask for?"
"A warm bed mate?" Rachel teased.
"Oh, I donít think thatíll be a problem either." She teased back turning onto the dirt road that led to the cabin.