*There are four fingerprint powders, magnetic jet black, magnetic silver, silver special, swedish black, plus two other methods, cyanoacrylate fuming and ruthenium tetroxide. In tests, finger marks were recovered and positive results were achieved with magnetic black and swedish black powder on living subjects. Best results on dead bodies a with the RTX method, ruthenium tetroxide.
The day flashed by, already seven. Janah’s troop checks into the Whiteface Lodge, two room suite, two full baths, well appointed rustic motif.
They picked up wine, Daphne opens and pours, girls go off to showers and a quick change to casual, then down to the restaurant.
Two orders of center cut prime ribeye with whipped potatoes and mustard greens, two Scottish salmon with tomato feta salad, two sides of black beans with bacon, green chili, tomatillo and lime. Six girls swap around the dishes, Oceane has only salmon, which she talks to while she enjoys it.
Daphne, “The food is quite good, steaks came as ordered, salmon nice and tender, that black bean side had a nice zing.”
Chloe spears her last piece of ribeye, “Yum, I am such a carnivore.”
Janah, “I did vegetarian forever, then when we kept adding family, it was too much to ask Daphne to cook one veg meal. I mean, she could grill vegetables or make a salad, to make the meal interesting it has to be more than that. I’m not much on red meat, seafood is another matter.”
Zi, “We ate vegetarian at the Shaolin Temple, that was the tradition. Fortunately, unlike alcohol, there is no prohibition on meat when we go out in the world. Daphne made such great vegetarian when she took over the temple kitchen, we didn’t think of meat.”
Daphne, “Those were the days, sixteen hours of work, practice, study and meditation.”
Sloane, “Did you get tired of the grind?”
“When you’re in it, and we went voluntarily, everyone is busy, it seems normal. We never had to think up what to do next, there was always something.”
“Things haven’t changed much, our family is much like the temple, always projects, jobs to do, maybe more variety than the temple.”
Zi, “Yes, and the temple operated on schedules, there were eighty to a hundred monks. Things had to progress in an orderly fashion. Now our lives are completely different, we never know what the new day will bring.”
“Which one do you prefer?”
Zi giggles, “I’m a Buddhist, Sloane.”
“What does that…? Wait…Buddhist, no preferences.”
“It’s not like we can turn them off, more like being aware of them. Preferences are biases that can slant our perceptions, that leads us away from the real, but let’s not get too philosophical. We had a marvelous dinner and need to rest, sleep will bring insights. Tomorrow we have to find a particularly gruesome murderer.”
They watch a bit of news, CNN, which mentions the three killings, no report of another body hanging in the forest.
Janah, “No fresh kills, something anyway. Unless, of course, there’s a poor girl strung up that hasn’t been found yet.”
Zi, “I hope our boy has been too busy.”
Janah, “You may have hit on something, Zi.”
“What did I hit on?”
“Daphne, calendar the dates when we think our guy was capturing and holding a victim. I know it’s a bit of guesswork. They were frozen, then thawed, a lengthy process. But we know when they went missing, and we know when they were found, forensics has an idea how long they had been exposed outside. Put it in a timeline.”
So much for bed, they spend an hour lining up possible time frames for freezing and thawing.
“He could have had them frozen indefinitely.”
Janah, “Possible, I’m betting he had to dispose of the body before he could get his next victim. Something goes wrong, a fire or just a power outage, and he’s opening himself up to problems. He had to have hung the women while they were still frozen, or mostly frozen anyway. Easier to handle a rigid body than one that flops around uncooperatively.”
Chloe, “Also less messy, the bodies will start to reek as they thaw. You’re right, he’d want to dispose of them quickly.”
“Assume it takes three days to freeze the body completely, it takes only a couple of hours to haul it to the woods, find a spot to hang it. Our guy has likely scoped out sites beforehand. He needs a tree with a sturdy branch, but low enough that he’s not climbing a ladder. Rope over the branch, noose around the neck, he simply pulls the body up until the feet are a foot or so off the ground.”
Zi, “And he accepts the chance that the girl will be found partly frozen?”
“Forensics would figure out she had been iced anyway, unless he burned the body cell damage and frostbite would be obvious.”
“Okay, there are the dates that fit our guesswork, each with four or five day windows. More than enough time to capture, freeze and dispose. What now?”
“Sleep now, tomorrow we dig into EMT work schedules.”
The ugliness of the day dampens any desire for intimate friskiness. There are comfy big beds, girls are soon cozyed up and blanked until morning.
They’re having breakfast at the lodge, Janah and Daphne split a three egg omelet with vegetables and cheese. Oceane has a bagel and lox, naturally, it’s fish. Sloane needs calories, she gets ham, two poached eggs, light Hollandaise, with a fruit cup. Chloe and Zi have Irish oatmeal and pancakes one order of each to split between them.
It’s just seven thirty when we finish, as I sign the tab Janah’s phone dings, it’s Simpson.
Janah listens then, “We’ll be there in twenty,” she hangs up.
She looks at us, “Another body.”
Chloe, “Oh man.”
The drone is in the Tahoe already, they don’t carry weapons, just grab jackets from the room, Daphne hangs the DND on the door and they’re off to another crime scene.
Daphne parks the SUV next to a string of cops cars, the staging area is ablaze with blinking lights.
Simpson is waiting, “Good morning, bad morning, she’s about fifty yards deep. I don’t know how we’d have found her, it’s dense in there. Our piece of luck was a woman with her dog off leash. She said he raced around with his nose in the air and bolted straight to the site.”
Janah, “Where’s the lady?”
“Sitting in the back of the EMT van, she lost her breakfast, fortunately only tea and granola, naturally she was shaken badly.”
“One of my girls needs to talk to her, she’ll feel better afterwards.”
“I don’t know…”
Janah smiles, “You don’t need to know, you need to take me to the crime scene. Chloe, visit with the woman.”
“Will do,” she heads in the direction of the van.
Simpson starts to say something, thinks better of it, he hasn’t forgotten what Maxwell was told, ‘anything she wants.’
“This way, forensics hasn’t gotten here yet…”
“I’m not in the habit of screwing up crime scenes.”
“I didn’t mean…”
Janah grins, “Sure you did, it’s your job.”
Sloane, “His scent is here, I can track it.”
Maxwell arrives, “I’m getting the EMT work schedules you wanted,” he asks Simpson, “same or something unusual?”
“Same, take a look, like two of the others, hung close to the tree. She was dead already, it isn’t like she could shimmy up the trunk.”
Janah, “Sloane needs to do a search. She won’t need to get close to the scene, just circle the area.”
Maxwell, “Looking for?”
“Smelling for, she’s caught a scent that shouldn’t be here.”
Maxwell turns to Sloane, “What scent?”
“Light, but something like mineral spirits or nail polish remover.”
“There’s no camping around here, not likely to be a camp stove.”
Janah, “It’s Freon, the refrigerant. Go on Sloane, it won’t last long.”
Simpson, “I don’t smell jack.”
“Most Freon is relatively odorless, but for someone like Sloane, that doesn’t matter.”
Maxwell, “So she’s got a dog nose?”
Maxwell snorts, “Very funny.”
“Oceane will need to touch the body, it can wait until it’s in the morgue, but it will reveal more the sooner she can get to it.”
“Ah, okay, but after forensics has what they need.”
“Not a problem.”
A short stocky woman shows up with two other younger men in their clean suits.
Pictures taken form out distance, about thirty feet, then slow walks towards the body. It would be miraculous to find something on the ground. It’s wilderness, tree roots cover the ground, so you have to pay attention to where you step. Fallen trees remain where they fell.
Finally get to the body, more photos, front back, side.
The woman says, “Damn, she’s still mostly frozen. I make it less than twelve hours I’d say six even, but it was cold last night and the body wouldn’t have thawed much.”
Janah, “Explains why the Freon scent lingers. It hasn’t been windy, no rain.”
They don’t fiddle around much, they pull on the bag while the body is still hanging to keep any containments off, in short order they have the body down and the two men carry it out to the coroner’s van which also serves as a hearse.
The girls follow, Janah reminds Maxwell about Oceane.
Maxwell, “Hold up fellas, unzip the bag.”
“Max, we need it as clean as we can get,” Forensic Lady complains.
“Yeah Lorraine, I know. The girl just has to touch her forehead and one hand.”
“Just let her, I got orders, besides, she can’t muck up anything by touching her for a minute.”
“What if there are fingerprints, we can get them off skin you know.”
Janah, “Understood, can you dust the two spots now? I’m certain the killer wore latex gloves, but he could have screwed up.”
“Fair enough,” they dust, no prints.
Daphne, “Do your thing Oceane, what does the body tell you?”
Oceane goes to the body, places her hands, it’s dead quiet, skeptical cops and forensics watch, half of them have their arms crossed, in ‘this is bullshit’ attitude.
Oceane, “Big man, bushy beard, gloves, winter coat, one gold tooth. Woman died quickly, heart is sick.”
Lorraine, “You into psychics now Max?”
“I’m into solving and stopping murders, and these ladies come with FBI references. If that girl can read tea leaves, I’m good with it.”
She gives us the once over, “Sure as hell aren’t hard to look at.”
Chloe comes over after her talk with the woman whose dog found the body.
“She’ll be fine, it was the initial shock, most understandable. She didn’t know about the frozen part, she thought the girl killed herself at first, then she remembered the news stories. She was more freaked that the killer was still around. She did the right thing, go to her car, lock herself in and call 911.”
“She recognize you?”
“No, I have a cap, sunglasses. It was easy, she just wanted to dump her story, I said almost nothing.”
Chloe radiates empathy, it’s why she’s so good on screen. When she’s in the scene, she is the scene. People are drawn to her, probably because she is the happiest person any of us knows or ever knew. Only the two, now deceased, Qi Masters at the temple could come close. Chu and Zhang were in a constant state of hilarity, no matter how many times they’d seen something amazing, it was like the first time. I believe they woke up every day amazed that there was a temple, and monks, and Daphne was making breakfast, then gung fu. Each day was their first day.
Maxwell, “Your girl is consistent in her description, and Lorraine, the new information is gold tooth and bad heart. I’m not asking you to believe anything, when you do your thing, let me know about the heart.”
“Will do Max. Find the guy, this is getting nasty,” she goes off to her van, the coroner’s van and hers go on their way to the morgue.
Janah, “Let’s get someplace where I can match up my dates with the EMT schedules. You got EMTs and paramedics, right?”
“Yeah, the whole lot. It’s on a spreadsheet, don’t ask me about spreadsheet, tech isn’t my thing beyond tapping away at bullshit emails from above.”
“Daphne will figure it out, forward the email to me.”
“Uh, how do I do that?”
“You have it on your phone?”
“Yeah,” he taps the screen, the email pops up.
“Click here,” she shows him what to tap, “now type in,” she gives him one of my email addresses, “tap the send tab.”
Maxwell, “Damn, so she’s got it now?”
I wave my phone, “Right here. I need to get someplace where I can manipulate spreadsheets easier than on a phone.”
Janah, “Let’s go to the hotel then.”
She comes streaking up the road.
Simpson, “How’s she run that fast?”
Simpson, “That’s what you said about her nose.”
Incredulous, “A wolf taught her to smell and run.”
“More like transmitted the skills, mind to mind.”
Maxwell rolls his eyes, “You’re from another planet aren’t you?”
“Let’s say we’ve uncovered things on this planet people don’t think is possible. It’s not important that you believe me. Results are important and we’re one more girl behind.”
Daphne, “What’s the verdict Sloane?”
“He must have used coolant recently, or maybe if he’s fooled with it so long it’s just a part of him, clings to his jacket, whatever.”
Simpson, “Say she’s right, could it be a repair guy, you know, air conditioners, freezers?”
“Possibly, the EMT hat could be to reassure the victims until he takes control.”
Maxwell, “Jesus, so we should find refrigerator repair guys?”
“Only heating and cooling guys, but a repairman might also do coolants. At least we’re narrowing down potential suspects.”
In fact they weren’t narrowing much, the killer is a Shadow. He doesn’t need to be an EMT, or a refrigerator guy, he just needs to get close enough to grab the girl’s mind and she gets in his truck voluntarily.
Janah’s problem is she can’t tell the cops that. They would botch the arrest, or get mind-sided and just walk away. If they did manage to arrest him, jail would run to chaos as the Shadow screwed with people’s heads, a cop would shoot a prisoner for no reason, the imprisoned would start fights, one of the cops would just open cells for reasons he can’t explain, cops might even shoot each other.
There’s one more reason she can’t clue in the police, if he’s confirmed as a Shadow, Daphne or Janah will kill him.
Daphne goes to their mind to mind line, “The EMT and repair lists may be productive, but I have trouble seeing a Shadow working a regular job. Maybe repair, where he takes jobs if he feels like it, but not a paramedic. Those people have schedules.”
“He’s not in a first responder group, a Shadow couldn’t stand to be around the same people that long without creating an incident. Give them what you match up on the first responder side, they’ll have something to do, then let’s dig into independent repair people.”
“If he’s not in that group?”
“Don’t know yet. We can’t just randomly drive around hoping Chloe or Zi spots a Shadow. I need to ask Maxwell about the drones.”
“Captain, where are the drones?”
“We have one, three more coming in today.”
“Good, they know what they’re looking for?”
“White mid size refrigerator truck, all the cams are being actively monitored for bushy beard, black coat, EMT hat.”
“Particularly around roads leading to the wilderness, fire roads too?”
“Yes, of course, I hope we don’t have to catch him preparing to hang another frozen corpse.”
“I don’t think that’s a problem actually, although the roads need to be monitored anyway, in case.”
Simpson, “Why not a problem?”
“He’s gotten his notoriety, not personally, his name isn’t on the news, but his deeds are. I’m guessing, only guessing, that he lays low enjoying his spotlight. When the news cycle spins over to something else, that’s when he’ll start up again.”
Maxwell, “So we should try and keep it in the news.”
“Yes, absolutely, know any friendly journalists?”
Simpson, “We treat them right, feed a story, try to answer questions honestly, so, yeah, a couple.”
“I suggest you go to them straight up and ask them to keep the story bubbling, even if it looks like the department is stuck. Play to that, get your mug on the camera and ask for the public’s help. No details about EMTs or white trucks, just the usual, anyone see anything suspicious around the time of the abductions, we need your help, you get the idea. It gives the media the content they crave and if you play your cards right, it can turn into community awareness and involvement, not a bunch of cops that can’t find a killer.”
Maxwell, “Want to be our public relations officer? You have the talent for it.”
Janah, “Got too much on the plate now. You can do this, and stick Simpson out there, he’s articulate and good looking, be humble, ‘every effort is being made, our alert citizens are invaluable, call this number….you know the drill.”
Daphne is searching through refrigerator, freezer repair, heating and cooling people. “There aren’t that many within ten miles of the crime scenes.”
Zi, “The woods are only one crime scene, the real crime is wherever he’s killing them.”
“Exactly, and we need to spot him, verify his Shadow creds without alerting the police.”
Chloe, “Let’s get a second car and drive to the repair shops, look for bushy beard. And we’re assuming the truck he uses is refrigerated, what if it’s just a truck that resembles an EMT van? He could be taking them to a real walk in freezer, one that gets the temp really low.”
Janah, “Chloe’s right. Parcel off the places Daph, plot the routes, then we’ll get another car and go on a Shadow hunt.”
Janah, Zi, Sloane and Oceane take the Tahoe, Daphne and Chloe are in a Toyota Camry. There are twenty possibilities, and they know the killer could be coming from farther out than their search area. The freezer angle will have the police interviewing repair guys soon enough, going through EMT work schedules won’t take up much time, Daphne correlated the spreadsheets and found only three possibilities
Daphne, “We didn’t look at ice companies.”
Chloe, “Like the guy drives an ice delivery truck, or works in the factory?”
“Yeah, how cold does an ice truck get?”
Chloe fishes around on her phone, “What about dry ice? I’m reading that it’s used to preserve bodies, minus ninety six degrees. Technically, you could make it at home with some simple equipment.”
Daphne, “Brilliant! Let me think…” she cogitates for a while, “Then why did Sloane pick up the scent of Freon?”
“Well, we don’t really know the scent was Freon, he could have come into contact with mineral oil or even gasoline almost anywhere. If it was Freon, some regular ice companies also make dry ice.”
“Ah, then he would be in contact with Freon and with CO2, so perhaps ice companies with both, let me get online with Janah.”
Janah, “Good catch, I’ll search my side. Oh, and while I was on the net I saw that Freon is being phased out, that most coolants now are something else, there are three or four alternatives.”
“Then Sloane wasn’t smelling Freon or our guy is still doing things the old fashioned way.”
“I suppose it doesn’t matter, we need to get this settled and all we can do is visit the most likely places. If Chloe or Zi can pick up Shadow residue, that’s all we need.”
Chloe and I strike out, she did take a stroll around the sites, no smoky residue anywhere unless you count the odd diesel belch. If people in the plants wonder about two women stalking around the fences they don’t do anything about it.
Chloe, “Nothing, now what?”
Janah’s in Daphne's head, “Got him, or at least where he works part time. He uses one of their smaller refrigerated trucks to make dry ice deliveries.”
“How do you know that?”
“Residue in the cab of the truck.”
“You haven’t approached the boss?”
“No, it’s him, has to be. If I clue in management, then it’s a police matter. Particularly if he turns up dead and I was his place of employment asking about him.”
“We’re on our way.”
The facility, Magic Ice, is on a few acres of fenced dirt, concrete parking lot, the building a single warehouse with two bays for trucks to back in and load up. No big trucks there now, there are two smaller ones that fit both Oceane’s description and resembling an EMT wagon. For whatever reason, the trucks don’t carry the company name, just two identical white trucks, otherwise unmarked.
Daphne, “Maybe they’re rented, but then the rental company name would be on them, wouldn’t it?”
Zi, “Sounds right. Trucks look pretty new, maybe they haven’t gotten around to having the signs applied.”
Just then, the door to the office opens and a big guy with a bushy beard comes out folding a piece of paper. He stuffs it into his coat pocket, a coat like Oceane described, black, puffy winter insulated.
Oceane, “Gold tooth.”
Gold Tooth opens the door of one of the two smaller refrigerated trucks and climbs in.
Sloane, “We don’t have a tracker, maybe he stops someplace and I can get it attached.”
Daphne, “I’m getting down the road ahead of him. Zi, tail him, keep your distance. Depending on what happens, we can switch places later or, like Sloane said, he stops long enough for her to tag the truck.”
Daphne and Chloe pull out and hustle down the only exit road to the four lane.
Janah, “He’s just leaving, you need to be moving, there’s no reason a car should be stopped where you are.”
Daphne pulls off the shoulder to the asphalt, cruises along past another industrial something, this plot with several buildings, then a gardening business with rows of plants and flowers.
It’s three in the afternoon, Gold Tooth drives north to a rental hall. Happy Times on the big overhead sign, message underneath, “Your one stop caterer for weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, parties and meetings. Let us do the catering and clean up, you enjoy the party. Use our beautiful hall or custom catering for your home or office,’ phone number and web address at the bottom.
Happy Times, not a bad name.
Gold Tooth opens the refrigerator door, small cloud of water vapor, he stacks twenty pound bags of ice on the cart he’d pulled off the roof and rolls it to what must be the kitchen.
Sloane zips to the truck, clicks on a Spark Nano, the tracker we prefer. In a tough plastic case with a powerful magnet, it will hang on through rough roads, water and potholes.
I check my screen, there’s Spark, blinking away.
Our two cars are side by side a block away, Sloane zips back, “Working?”
I wave the phone at her, “Like a charm.”
And here comes Gold Tooth, another load, then he rolls the empty cart back to the truck and hooks it to a rack on top.
Now if we lose sight of the truck, we still know where it is. Gold Tooth appears to be driving aimlessly.
Zi, “He’s prowling, notice how he slows when there’s a woman walking alone.”
Janah, “Can you confirm Shadow?”
“Ninety percent, one of us will have to get physically closer,” experience is that one of the Sensitives has to be within twenty yards or less to get a definite read.
Nothing happens for two hours, he stops at a convenience store gas pump, sticks the nozzle in and walks to the store.
Daphne is with Chloe in the Toyota, “Go inside and let’s get this settled.”
Chloe goes in, checks out the cold drinks, Gold Tooth walks behind her to the register. He stops, turns towards her, she looks up, he smiles, gold tooth incisor shines.
He hustles out to his truck, clicks off the pump and closes the gas cap, waits a few beats.
When Chloe leaves the store, she walks between his truck and our car a few gas islands over.
Daphne sees her jerk to a stop, she’s not walking to the car, she’s not walking anyplace. Gold Tooth approaches. Game time.
He takes Chloe by the elbow, walking her to the rear of his truck, she’s wobbly, missteps and reaches for the side of the truck for balance.
“Janah, he’s grabbed her mind, we need to get busy.”
Two car doors open, then a third, Daphne is right behind Gold Tooth, “Not tonight Shadow.”
He spins, stares….grimaces and snarls, “A fucking priest.”
“That would be me.”
He releases Chloe, even a talented Shadow can’t control his target and deal with a Shaolin at the same time. Daphne feels him trying to capture her mind. Janah is next to Chloe, she leads her away, Gold Tooth doesn’t notice, his hatred for what she represents overwhelms his desire to capture another victim. Daphne, a Shaolin Priest, is the ultimate capture, he’s giving it all he’s got.
Unfortunately for him, Daphne’s years of Qi training, including a transmission from Master Tan many years ago, make her essentially invincible to his mind fuck. She’s not invincible if he fires of a blast of Qi energy, which is what he’s raising his arm to do.
She sees his fingers close, she turns off conscious thought, letting her subconscious tell her which way to jump. He grins maniacally, the sign that he’s going for it.
Then a growl and a blur. Sloane has his wrist in her mouth, Gold Tooth yelps. Sloane has pointed teeth, like a wolf, and the same jaw power, power than could snap through his bones if she wished.
He raises his hand to deal with wolfgirl, Zi grabs the free wrist and twists. He shoots himself in the side with his own internal energy. A rib cracks, it could have been Sloane’s, or Daphne’s. Sloane and Zi walk him to the rear of the truck. A car pulls up to a pump further down, man gets out but he’s diddling with the pump and doesn’t see them.
Daphne goes to the rear, opens the door, Sloane releases him, Zi and Daphne shove him inside.
Daphne, “Let’s see if his Qi can keep him thawed overnight,” he left his key in the truck, she climbs in and fires it up.
Daphne sticks her head out of window, “Janah, follow me, Sloane drive Oceane, Chloe and Zi to the hotel.”
If they wanted to see it through they don’t say so. When they’re in the field chasing Shadows Daphne is in command. It’s not military, everyone has their input, but eventually someone has to decide on a course of action. That’s Daphne.
Sloane grabs the tracker from the underside of the truck, they load up and drive off, Daphne drives the truck, Janah behind her in the Toyota.
Two hours later, they show up at the hotel.
Zi, “How’d it go?”
Daphne, “Glass of wine for my girl please.”
Sloane brings Janah a glass of red.
“She’s pooped, Gold Tooth managed to stay warm, even after we wound our way to his place, courtesy of his license and auto registration. True to form for Shadows, it wasn’t fancy, his personal car is ten years old. I pulled it out from under the carport and backed in the truck, right up against the wall. The rear door didn’t appear to have a way to open from the inside but I figured why take a chance. He might know something not obvious to me. There’s no opening to the roof or the passenger compartment, which makes sense, the idea is to keep the cold inside the insulated walls. Janah plugged in the truck to an electrical outlet, the freezer motor kicked in right away.”
Janah, “Then a stroke of luck. We decided to check out the house, found a big freezer full of dry ice and souvenirs from his kills, earring, a shoe, lock of hair and a bracelet.”
Chloe giggles, “Don’t tell me.”
Sloane, “Tell you what?”
Daphne, “I pulled the truck far enough from the wall to crack open the door but not enough for him to get out.”
Sloane laughs, “Then you and Janah filled the compartment with dry ice.”
“Janah had to Qi up to keep him from trying to force the door. then I backed up against the wall again. In the morning, he’s going to be a popsicle through and through. He’ll never generate enough Qi to keep it above freezing.”
“Damn, awesome, he gets exactly what he gave.”
“Yep, too bad we could only kill him once, what’s for dinner?”
Chloe, “We decided not to restaurant or room service, stopped on the way and picked up roasted chicken, beet salad, mac and cheese. I can heat that in the microwave, we got plates and plastic utensils, another bottle of wine. The bottled green tea is for you and Zi.”
“Perfect, I’m going to shower my murdering self, then settle in for a bite of chicken.”
Janah, “Me too, freezing Shadows is labor intensive.”
Oceane floats past, sits next to Sloane, “Gold Tooth is cold, blue fingers,” then she takes a glass of wine and walks over to the couch, “Cassandra says we will go home.”
What she means is, Cassie wants Oceane home, they wouldn’t likely know if any of the rest of us showed or not.
Daphne and Janah appear freshly showered, Chloe brings plates and the group settles in for a fresh episode of Stranger Things.
Janah, “Flight out tomorrow.”
Zi, “Talk to Maxwell or Simpson?”
“I want to be in the air first, which is why our flight is at seven. Amaya will pick us up, we’ll be home for quarter to nine.”
Sloane, “Great, looking forward to connecting with our guests.”
Daphne laughs, “Looking forward to connecting to Sarah.”
Early night, early morning, girls are on the plane and halfway to Teterboro. Janah’s on the sat phone with Maxwell and Simpson.
Maxwell, “Whaddaya mean you’re in the air?”
Janah, “I mean case solved, I’ll text you the address of your Iceman. There won’t be any more bodies, unless there’s one out there nobody has come across yet.”
Simpson, “But how….?”
Janah, “I was told Iceman kept souvenirs, they’re right on display in his house, jewelry, hair and a shoe.”
Maxwell, “And where’s the perp?”
“I have it on good authority that he’s accidentally fallen into the refrigerated truck in his driveway and that the keys are in it.”
“And who told you all this?”
“I have to protect my sources Captain, you understand that I’m certain. I suggest you say the efforts of the good people of Lake Placid led you to investigate a certain person of interest. He turned out to be the perp. How you spin the frozen killer in his own truck is up to you. A vigilante maybe, or he committed suicide in the same way he killed the women, he’s insane, who knows why he froze himself to death. Oh, his truck, I’m told, is backed against a wall, which he couldn’t have done as a suicide. You may want to let it roll forward a few feet, enough that a big man could crawl in anyway.”
Maxwell sighs, “What if the DA wants your testimony?”
“The DA may want a lot of things, I hope he gets them, our testimony won’t be on his wish list, it will never come up. Enjoy your promotions gentleman, I have other pressing matters, a pleasure meeting both of you,” she clicks off.
Maxwell and Simpson look at a dead line, then each other.
Simpson, “Whoever those women are, I want to stay on their friendly side.”
Maxwell, “I’ve made a career out of hard work, dumb luck and even a bit of bad luck. I am not about to question what kind of dumb luck drew those girls into this. We also got connected to the mysterious Mrs. Pearson, connections are good, very good. Let’s get to the Iceman’s place, we have a little housekeeping before we make a public announcement. And we have to do it, no extra cops, no forensics, no nothing until we have the story straight.”
Simpson grins, “I haven’t done crime scene alteration in years, it’s good to be back on the front lines.”