Story Starter: It Becomes You

“I’m sorry, what?” Kris looked at her incredulously.

“I said, have you checked her history.”

Kris threw his hands up. “Of course– who do you think we–”

Cari held up her hand. “How far did you go back?”

“What? What are you getting at? We got everything.” He gestured to the computer screen in front of him. A picture of a stern, middle-aged woman stared out at them, surrounded by the details of her life story.

Horatio came over and leaned over Kris’s computer. “Yeah, Cari. What are you talking about? We got all the files that were available on her. We even got her psych eval, her school records and bank statements. Everything down to a gnat’s eyebrow. What else is missing?”

Cari breathed out harshly and leaned back. “Horatio, you should know than people often don’t fit the profile they’re given. We’ve been thinking about this all wrong.”

Horatio shrugged. “I don’t see how you can refute hard evidence.”

“No, I’m not saying she’s not behind this but we need a motive and an effective psychoanalysis to know her next moves.”

Kris rubbed his hand over his face. “We already know her next move. She’s a serial killer with a very particular type. We’ve got people on all potential victims and we’re taking all possible precautions.”

“Besides the exaggerated statements about our level of preparedness,” said Horatio, “I agree.”

“What is her motive? It’s not to satisfy any sort of sadistic tendencies. She’s not a psychopath. She’s not mentally unstable. She’s not crazy. She plans her moves. She has an astounding capability to adapt and improvise. Her killing is brutal but it surprisingly quick and clean. She’s perfectly sane and reasonable. So why these horrendous crimes?”

Horatio nods. “She even managed to escape you.”

Cari jabbed a finger a Horatio, her eyes taking on its characteristic excitement in the prospects of a revelation.

“Exactly! There’s also one crucial point that we failed to consider.”

Kris threw up his hands. “And what is that?”

“Why are we, the unit for international investigations, put on this case without having the local forces go through it first? We thought that it was because this case is top-priority and that the local forces didn’t have the resources to deal with it but remember what Janus told us in our first meeting.”

Horatio stood up straighter and quoted, “‘This is not a normal case. A lot of lives are at stake. A lot of lives can be ruined. Do not fail us. We need her rendered inoperational.'”

Cari nodded. “‘Inoperational.‘”

Horatio nodded slowly. “Not dead, or locked up. Inoperational.”

Kris slammed his laptop shut. “What the hell are you two talking about? This is no time to be making conspiracy theories. You know what happened to the last person who went above his pay grade.”

Horatio shook his head, “They put us on the case. We know her life details and we know the case. If there is something else there, we need to find out to catch her. What Cari said is true. While technically everything in her file has matched up to what we found out for ourselves, it’s like the person in the file and the person we’re trying to catch are two different people. Without whatever that crucial last piece is, we won’t solve this case. Either way, our fate has been decided for us when HQ decided to assign us to investigate.”

Horatio turned to Cari. “However, I still don’t know what you’re getting at.”

Cari chewed her lips. “It’s an incomplete thought. We know her patterns of movement and we can reasonably predict what she does. However, because we don’t know why she’s doing this, if she decides to change her agenda, we’ll only know after the fact.”

“And she’s already done so several times,” Horatio added.

Kris scoffed. “What, you think she’s an assassin or something?”

Cari snapped her fingers. “That’s exactly what I think. We’ve been barred from using any sort of lethal force in this case. The excuse given is the potential collateral damage that could be done if we do go in with guns and vans. They also want everything to be quiet and be handled through local forces with us organising the investigation and handling the brainwork. They said they need to show the public results so they want the police force that she’s eluded all these years to make the arrest. They want her to have a public trial and then get sent off to a maxsec prison far away. What they want isn’t her head. They want to incapacitate her at which point, they want her to be brought to them for whatever purpose they’ve planned for her.”

“So she’s either rogue or an enemy,” Horatio said, grabbing Kris’s laptop despite the blond man’s protests and opening up a new search.  “Where do we start? We need a name, clients, affiliation, skills and any known background.”

“So you just invalidated everything we know about this woman, right? Do we have to start over? Does that mean HQ lied to us when they sent us her case file?” Kris rubbed the bridge of his nose, looking defeated and tired.

Horatio turned to look at Cari. Cari shook her head. “No. We’ve been thinking of this backwards. She’s not a killer because she’s an assassin. She’s an assassin because she’s a killer. This is why there’s a discrepancy between her earlier crimes and her recent ones. Her movements have been as visible as they’ve always ever been but she’s much more efficient, more skillful and her hunting grounds, so to speak, as expanded beyond her acquaintances and her social circle.”

Horatio’s hand twitched and clenched over the keyboard of the computer. “She now has access to more resources.”

“Yes. She has a sponsor now. That’s why we can’t catch her. That’s why HQ has tied our hands. Render her inoperational.” Cari leaned over the table, looking first at Kris, then Horatio. Both of them recognise the look in her eyes. Hooded and with an expanded pupil, filled with the excitement of the chase. They both shivered and mentally prepared for a long night ahead.


So if you guys didn’t catch my drift earlier, I was talking about the fact that whoever the killer is was originally a serial killer and then became professional after being recruited by someone.
That’s all for today. I’m Lieutenant and if you like what you just read, click that like button and follow for more. Also, please consider making a contribution to Outlet on our Patreon page and leave us your comments and suggestions below. I’ll talk to you later.

Story Starter: The Invisible Man

Ring! Ring! Ring!

Click.

“Hello?”

“I am invisible.”, came the passcode.

His pulse quickened, “Simply because people refuse to see me.”

“It’s done.”

“Yeah?”

“I hope I get a break after this.”

A sigh. “You know how it is.”

“I know.” A pause. “It’s part of the job after all.”

No answer. The line goes dead.

He stayed leaning back in his chair for a while more, contemplating the flashing red light on his telephone. The chair creaked as he stood up. He faced the concrete jungle outside of the bulletproof and soundproof glass of his office. His hand twitched. He wanted to throw something. He’d succeeded. Then why? Because he wasn’t special enough to be the one to disappear, that’s why.

A sudden thrill ran up his spine. He’s invisible right now. Nobody could see or hear him. He made sure of that. His office is almost impenetrable and impossible to bug. Nobody knows where he is. Not even Red, who just called him. They’ve never met and certainly didn’t where the other is. To Red, he was just a voice over the phone, occasionally giving him a purpose and the money to fulfill that purpose. A disembodied voice. He shivered, letting himself get taken over by that exhilarating thought.

On second thought, he was hungry and he had planned to go home after he got the report from Red. He’d promised his wife to come home tonight. He glanced down at the file on his desk. A pale, tired-looking man stared back at him. Hmph. With a flaming head like his, he must be hard to forget. He opened a drawer and pulled out a stamp. He stamped the file on his desk with a vengeance. Then, placing the file into the out bin, he collected his things and left the office. On the cover of the file were the letters: MIA.


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Story Starter: Deathfriend

 

She was five at the time. It was her first day of kindergarten on an otherwise normal day. She was waiting by the school gates waiting for the sight of her mother’s red hair. Her backpack was an unfamiliar weight on her back. She shifted the straps uncomfortably. Several of her new classmates waved to her as they passed her, hand in hand with their own parents. She waved back with her right hand.

It’s funny how she could still remember each of their faces clearly. The boy with sandy-colored hair, the girl with freckles and an overbite, the curly-haired girl in her flowery skirt, the boy with the Pokemon cap and his deck of cards. She smiled. That same boy lived next door to her now. She had taken a liking to him the first time she’s seen him. It was a child’s infatuation. She liked the way his eyes lit up when he talked about his cards, the way he frowned in concentration and the way he treated everyone fairly. Maybe a shadow of that childhood infatuation still remained. She shook her head. That doesn’t matter anymore. She looked down at her left hand.

Through her five-year-old eyes, she saw her pudgy fingers holding tightly onto her masterpiece as if it would fly away.  A voice called her name. She looked up, neck craned, searching for the source of the voice. “Here, mommy!” Her mom’s red hair came bobbing into view and her fingers loosened. The piece of paper flew away, carried away by a sudden breeze. Thinking back on it now, it seemed like Fate was taunting her. When she was little, she thought that if she hadn’t let go of that piece of paper, her mother would still be here. Her paper with her happy stick family floated away, lost forever to her grasping fingers.

But those thoughts didn’t occur to her until she was older, much older. At the time, a strange man was hovering by her mother. As she came closer, her five-year-old self could see the empty sockets where the eyes should have been, the grinning face and what scared her most, the scythe that he carried in his bone-white hands. The scythe’s curved blade fit snugly around her mother’s slim waist. The man held chains in his hands, chains that ended in shackles on her mother’s wrists, ankles and throat. She pointed to them and asked her mother what they were used for. Her mother, taking it as a child’s figment of imagination, replied as such. But the man turned his empty eye sockets on her, taking notice of her for the first time. She waved at him. Her mother looked over her shoulder, trying to see who she was waving to. But besides a sudden chill, didn’t detect anything else. Her mother took her left hand and led her to the car, chatting happily. And that’s where the memory ended. They could have been walking forever to the car.

She focused again on her left hand. On it, was a scar. One that curved through her palm. Like the strange man’s scythe. A touch on her shoulder caused her to turn her head. A similar grinning face looked back at her. Attached to the face was a cloth-covered body and out of the body was the same bone-white hand, holding a scythe. In the other hand, was the same chains ending with the shackles in the same places. Looking back at her hand, she saw the grained wood handle of a scythe. Oh, that’s right. She was friends with the death gods. The reapers that took her mother’s soul when she died. But that doesn’t matter anymore. The reaper stood up, chains rattling. She stood up at well but her chains were empty. She needed to find someone and soon. As her friend faded away, she followed. The branch that she was sitting on rustled as if shaking off a pest. The boy next door shivered. Maybe he would be suitable.