I recognised the voice instantly from countless late nights at the office. When the Sicko, as the papers had 'creatively' named him, had made his third kill, he began sending us tapes. Each one describing his thoughts and feelings, like some kind of messed up audio diary. The profilers had a field day on those tapes but it had all led to nothing. The tapes had nothing in them the location could be traced with, the voice wasn't recognised by anyone, no finger prints on the cassettes, nothing. They'd provided no clues whatsoever and all the thoughts the profilers had gave us no leads. He was a slippery little bastard. After 11 killing he disappeared, a final tape leaving us instructions on how to find the next girl, a gift, he said, since we'd been so hopeless at stopping him so far. She'd been alive, but even she hadn't been able to tell us anything. Then he'd disappeared for three years and the case had gone cold.
And now here he was speaking to me again.
"Allow me to welcome you back to the force Detective. I hear you took a little holiday after I went on my little break. Always one step behind me Detective, even in vacationing it seems. Now, I organised this little present for you to let you know I'm back in town. I will save your profilers the trouble and explain why exactly I staged this as a car accident. Car accidents attract attention, you were no doubt called in later, after the ambulances and possibly the fire crew as well. All those eyes and ears before you and your friends can hide things away should ensure nicely that my message will be heard. Sorry Detective, but no cover ups for you. I will kill 11 more people and finally a twelfth. No more gifts this time. I do hope you are really rested and relaxed after your leave of absence Detective, I can't stop this without your help. Until next time, Detective."
The tape stopped with a click and Michaels and I looked at each other.
"I want you to get everything down to the labs and have your boy tear it apart for clues. I mean everything, hell, take the frickin' road if you have to. I'm not letting this happen again."
Michaels nodded as I stormed out of the evidence tent. I felt dizzy and sick. Walking back to my car I fumbled with the lock and sat down, breathing deeply. After a few moments it was clear it wasn't going away so I opened the glove box, took out the pills inside and swallowed a handful dry. I lay back, my eyes closed for a moment, letting the noise of the traffic and the rain soothe me and then turned the key in the ignition. I looked at my watch. Yeah, it was coming up to that time again. I shifted the car into gear and began the trip to the cancer clinic for my next chemo session.
I'm sick, have been for the last few years but finally the doctors think they nailed it so I came off of extended leave last month. The bastard knew.
The bastard knew.