Friday, November 27, 2009

Part Three: Pursuit. Chapter Twenty-Seven

“Lemme see that,” said Stockton, reaching out for Raynes' laptop. His brow furrowed as he worked with the computer. “It wasn't an automated response, the guy sent that email in real time as soon as he received it.”

“What, so he's sitting in front a computer somewhere,” Anderson asked. Her hands began to tighten.

“No, I don't think so...yeah, he was using a Blackberry. It just notified him of the email and he sent a reply.”

“What? But then—“

“Yeah, I know. I'm on it. I can track the IP address, but now we just have to get...Sprint, it looks like, to kick loose the information. We can triangulate where he was and track where he goes if he leaves the phone on.”

“So, we got him?”

Stockton looked up and gave a crooked grin, his skin sickly in the light of the laptop. “We will. As soon as we get the info from the phone company.”

Anderson pulled out her phone. Florio answered on the second ring.

“You got something?” he asked.

“The arrogant prick sent us an email, so we can track his phone once we get some cooperation from Sprint. We'll need a subpoena.”

“I'll get a judge out of bed. You'll have it in an hour.”


“Keep at it, hon, we're almost there.”

“Damn right.” She hung up. “Alright, Stockton, we're running down a subpoena for you. Otherwise, keep at what you're doing. Especially matching those veteran's records, that might be what finally sticks with this mess, if it all adds up.”

“You got it.”

“Russell,” Anderson said, “Seriously, go home. You're no good to us exhausted.”

He nodded and began to gather his things. “What about you?” he asked, “You look wiped out.”
Anderson bit back a snide comment and thought for a moment. “I'm going to find somewhere to take a nap.”

Her guards, who had been introduced to her, but who she continued to think of as Larry and Moe, followed her out to the parking lot as she got her bathroom bag from her car. One of them checked the bathroom for her before she was allowed to use it, and then they waited for her outside as she washed her face and brushed her teeth. One of them checked the first empty office that she found and then they took up stations outside her door while she turned off the lights and sat down at the desk.

She put her head down on her arms at the desk. The posture echoed in her muscle memory and she realized that she hadn't slept like this since college. Finals week, she supposed, getting an hour in between study sessions. Even with all her traveling for this job, which was seeming more and more ridiculous to her, she had never had to sleep at a goddamn desk. Shitty hotel rooms that she regretted sleeping in, certainly, but never at a desk. It made her feel removed somehow, as if what was happening wasn't concrete or real. The fact that she'd been to two obscene crime scenes in 24 hours probably didn't help.

She realized that her education had failed her. The breakthrough in this case had come because of plain, boring, old-fashioned police work, not anything she had learned at the knees of experts from around the country. Her education certainly had not prepared her for what she had seen at the Wozcynski house. On the other hand, she supposed that nothing really would have prepared her for that.

She stared at her hand, so close to her eyes as to be fuzzy, and tried to let her thoughts drift. He had practically handed himself over to them and she wondered if he had done it on purpose. Clearly his activities in the last day had become reckless and radically different from the cautious movements he had been making previously. She didn't believe in the old trope about killers wanting to be caught, so she was stuck wondering what he was doing, why he was being so brazen, so aggressive.

It was clear that he had been operating for more than five years, in Portland and now here, so it didn't make any sense that his compulsion had finally taken him over. If it was going to do so, it would have done so before now.

She sighed and turned her head, looking now at her elbow, seeing the fibers in her blouse up close. People were lazy, she thought, she knew that. They generally didn't act on their own, they tended to react. What could this guy, Cambuto or whatever, be reacting to?

The answer to that was plain enough, he was reacting to being discovered. After years of operating without anyone being the wiser, he had become public. Admittedly, his name wasn't released and his details weren't made public, but the fact that he existed was now known. Was that all it had taken? Was the fact that he had been uncovered like a crab underneath a rock what had pushed him to start acting out.

She considered this idea. It made a certain kind of sense, she supposed, just like the crab, if it was cornered, it would start trying to nip at its attacker, even if it were 100 times larger. Was the killer so primitive that as soon as he was spotted he would take to the offensive? It certainly seemed like that could be the case.

She thought of the killer's naked aggression and compared it to the idea of a cornered animal and it seemed to fit. Her thoughts were slowing down now, sleeping creeping in at the edges of her vision, but she grasped for one last thought.

Cornered animals were dangerous and unpredictable. That fit. It also meant that no matter how careful their plans were, they couldn't be careful enough. Not with a cornered animal. There was just no telling.

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