Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Part Two: Bodies. Chapter Four

This was a good place, Alex had decided, the first time he had climbed this hill in the dark.

After he'd discovered it he'd dug Liz up from her temporary hiding place and brought her here as well. She was what brought him back when he didn't have business. This was the perfect place for him to leave bodies at night, sometimes two at a time now, when things went well, but there were nights when he came up here just to bask in the energy, to enjoy the view, to have a quiet drink. Once, when it had been warm a few months ago, he'd sat here and drank most of a bottle of bourbon and watched the sun come up. He'd fallen asleep in the little camp chair that he'd bought himself and woken up at noon when the sun began to bake him. He was far enough off the trail that it was not likely anyone would catch him, but it had still been an unnecessary slip. An extravagance he could not afford.

So most nights he came here to clean up after himself, to dispose of those weaker than he. On nights he was nostalgic, though, he came to visit Liz. Not that he dug her up again, nothing so grotesque. He just liked standing above where he knew her to lie, gloating over his victory, remembering again and again the sounds she had made and the new toys and tools he'd found in that cabin. He wished he could return to it, but he knew it was too dangerous. Taking her had been dangerous enough as it was. Much as he had been tempted, he had never returned to Portland. He had followed local reports online until the news cycle had dropped him and then he had gotten on with his life.

Seattle had been good to him. His excellent fictional references had made it easy for him to get similar work, better work as it had turned out, largely typing up verbatim transcripts of patient interviews. He'd done very well at them, picking out even the most challengingly mumbled words, that he'd quickly specialized. There were other typists who handled more pedestrian cases, but the hard ones were all his. Most of the hard ones consisted of veterans that he knew the clinic saw on a pro bono basis. They were perfect. Largely anonymous, often homeless, depressed, suicidal or hopeless. He was a lion penned in with the sheep here.

Alex had enough money to get himself situated in Seattle without worrying about getting paid for a few weeks. Some of his money came from clearing out as much as he had been able to from Liz's accounts. Before he'd even really gotten started that had been the first thing he had gotten from her: Information.

As soon as he arrived in town, he put out feelers and got some job interviews, but he could afford to be picky and he waited for the perfect position. In the meantime, he found an anonymous room in a boarding house on Beacon Hill, where he had his own entrance and could come and go as he pleased and where there was enough street parking for both his vehicles. As far as he could tell, everyone else in the building was on welfare, unemployment, or other scams, or were students. No one asked any questions, and no one gave him a second glance. The landlord was happy to have him, a responsible, apparently well employed 30ish white male. References were a snap for Alex to falsify, thanks to the internet and phone and mail forwarding services.

He also took the time to set up a new PO Box and begin his usual set of scams, generating a small stream of revenue from bullshit online setups designed to separate the dumb from their money. He suspected he would have money from the people in his building within a week. They seemed the type.

In the rest of his considerable spare time, Alex learned the city. He drove the square of I-5, I-405, I-5, and I-90, back and for across Lake Washington, crossing from Seattle to the “East side” and back. He went further afield, driving on I-5 north to Everett and south to Tacoma. He drove up and down Highway 99, which had once been the famous stalking ground of a killer with much less finesse and intelligence than he had.

Alex was, he admitted, still learning the city when he began. He had been finding and killing animals from the beginning, of course, it was how he kept himself in check. He quickly found neighborhoods where there were plenty of cats, and racoons were plentiful when you knew where to look. When he started with humans, he did so with ease and subtlety, taking a vagrants here and there, occasionally following good leads from his day job, but not often yet. He wanted to be careful with that, as good a gig as it was. No, mostly he trolled late at night, looking under bridges and overpasses. He found a quiet place out of the way on the east side of Lake Union, between downtown and the University District, where he had so far found three homeless men and one homeless woman. He was beginning to think of it as his fishing hole. He had yet to take what he thought of as a prize, something to remember, something to treasure. He would soon enough, he was sure. Perhaps it was time to start looking.

Yes, Alex thought, looking out at the lake and the stars, helping himself to another sip from his flask, he liked Seattle. He would stay here for a while.

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