Home > All the Lies (Mindf*ck #4)(11)

All the Lies (Mindf*ck #4)(11)
Author: S.T. Abby

Watch over us…

“Which is another confliction with the profile,” I say on a long sigh.

“Exactly. Revenge is more important and the primary focus for revenge killers, yet our girl comes to make sure we don’t get caught unawares by a town she knew was corrupt enough to try and kill an agent of the FBI.”

“So the truth is more important than the revenge,” I say aloud as we bounce theories off each other.

“Or the unsub is firmly grounded in reality and doesn’t want to let anyone else innocent die by the hands of this town.”

His words speak to a mentality the unsub would be incapable of if this is revenge. Again, nothing but conflictions no matter how we profile.

“Let’s focus on what we have. The unsub has been in town for as long as we have, yet has only killed once,” Leonard says as I drive. “And that was to save you.”

“And Donny,” I remind him.

He clears his throat. “The unsub has enough control to let us find out what we need to know, and hold off on killing more,” he adds.

“Only because Kyle is possibly next, and he has around-the-clock protection. He hasn’t even left his home since this started.”

He nods slowly.

“Our unsub is leaving messages to taunt the town, and using the voice of Jasmine Evans to remind them of how the corruption started.”

I take a turn, and he continues.

“I spoke to Lindy May last night,” he says, surprising me. “When I told her what we’d learned about the past, she told me that I only knew about three of Kyle Davenport’s victims. That he was a serial rapist and possibly a sociopath.”

I pull up at the curb and shut off the engine as I turn to face him.

“He’s the sheriff’s son, and they’ve kept us from getting an interview.”

He cocks an eyebrow. “We’re profilers who could see through him. If he’s someone who gets off on raping women…”

He lets the words trail off.

“Then he could be the original killer,” I groan, then curse before punching the steering wheel.

“May be why our unsub has held off on killing him.”

My eyes flit to the innocuous blue house that sets idly between two white ones. This town is outside of the sheriff’s jurisdiction. Something tells me Carl Burrows moved here for a reason.

“Let’s deal with this before we go digging into Kyle,” I tell Leonard.

“Sheriff Cannon and Johnson are going to block us from speaking to Kyle. I don’t get why Johnson would cover up a true killer. Even at his worst, he’s still a fucking agent.”

“Because he fucked up. His ego is more important than justice could ever be,” I say as I get out.

Kyle would have been nineteen at the time. Nineteen seems too disorganized to be the killer from back then, but he fits the profile in every other way.

Unless Lindy May is right and he’s a sociopath. We’re looking for a psychopath. Sociopaths can’t imitate empathy or anything else. Psychopaths can.

As we walk up the sidewalk, I notice someone peering out of the window, watching us as we approach the door. The curtains pop closed and sway from the disturbance, and the door swings open before we even make it to the stoop.

He’s short, has a touch of oriental in his bloodline, given the shape of his eyes and cheekbones. His hair is dark and long, tied back in a ponytail. He looks like he doesn’t get out too much either, given the disarray of his wrinkled clothing and the pungent smell of body odor I get a whiff of from here.

“Are you SSA Logan Bennett and Agent Stan Leonard?” he asks as we step onto his small stoop.

Creasing my lips to hide my surprise, I hold up my ID, as does Leonard.

Burrows adjusts his glasses on his nose as he reads our names, then he looks up and then gestures for us to hurry inside. I resist the urge to cover my nose when we walk in. Old food is lying haphazardly around, covered in flies and sealed in aquariums. Various other aquariums have other things inside them, though my stomach is reeling too much for me to focus on it.

Leonard coughs and covers his nose.

“Your sense of smell is the weakest sense. Give it a few minutes, and you won’t smell it anymore,” Burrows assures us as he leads us through his house.

“What is all this?” Leonard asks, coughing back a gag.

“I study the decaying process and the insect activity that follows. It’s part of the forensics program I run to help identify time of death in hard to date cases.”

“In your home?” Leonard asks, gagging again.

“My lab has several other experiments going on, and I can monitor things better from home anyway.”

“How did you know we were coming?” I ask him as we move through his kitchen, where several more ‘experiments’ are underway.

It smells like death met a rotten asshole and had five puke babies.

Burrows shudders, popping a piece of nicotine gum and chewing it frantically.

“Do you believe in ghosts?” he asks us seriously, looking around nervously.

Leonard tilts his head. “No, why?”

“Because I do. I’m a man of science, but I believe there are too many unexplained variables in the course of a lifetime to believe things are as cut and dry as science implies. A psychic actually solved one case I was involved in one time.”

Confused, I lean against the wall, letting him ramble.

“He said the killer had one eye. He saw the killer through the eyes of the dead victim, and he described him down to the eye and snake tattoo on his neck. Police found the guy, and they also found his next victim in the trunk of the car. She was still alive. And no, the psychic was in no way linked to him. He actually helped solve many cases. He called himself a medium, but I still refer to him as a psychic. Because psychics see shit the normal person can’t, right?”

I look over to Leonard, and he looks back at me.

As one, our gaze swings back to the looney toon doctor who has apparently spent too much time in solitude with rotting food. I’m not sure what an extended period of time in an environment like this would do to one’s psyche. But I bet we’re looking at the product of that answer.

“Why are we talking about psychics?” I ask him warily, trying and failing to follow his thought process.

“I tried calling him today. He said he’d need a victim to touch or something involved with the killer. I had him over, and he touched my wall. He told me nothing about the killer. Instead, he told me SSA Logan Bennett and Agent Stan Leonard would be on their way. Said you’d be here within ten minutes. He said to tell you everything I knew about Robert Evans.”

Leonard immediately pulls out his phone. “What’s his name?” he demands.

“Neil Mullins. He’s clean. He’s not your guy. He’s a true medium, and he helps solve cases that can’t otherwise be solved. But he said he refused to be involved with this one, because the killer is after souls too dark for him to save. He said there are souls begging him to help the killer, and the darker souls were trapped by the lighter ones, being held down. He’s only had that on a very rare occasion.”

Leonard lowers the phone, eyeing Burrows like he’s lost his mind.

“You can check him out. He’s been helping the FBI for a really long time,” Burrows adds.

Leonard walks away, probably going to do just that and find out if this guy has any ties to Delaney Grove or our victims.

We told no one we were coming here, other than our team.

“Why your wall?” I ask Burrows.

He points above my head, and I turn, stepping back to see the red words that have been hiding behind me.

“It started appearing one letter at a time this morning right in front of my eyes,” he says on a shaky whisper.

The time for secrets is over. Tell my story. Save your soul.

“I never wanted to keep Robert Evans’s death details a secret. That was all the sheriff and Doc Barrontine. Not me. Not me,” he says rapidly, his fear, caffeine and nicotine causing his words to rush together.

“What details?” I ask, turning to face him.

“I don’t have any proof. I remember the case. I was doing my residency there. That case derailed my ambitions to be a coroner and turned me into a forensics scientist. Science isn’t politics. It’s organically dirty, not sullied by people. It’s simple math and truth, and all I have to do is deliver the facts. I never wanted to lie, SSA Bennett. I swear to you that’s the truth.”

“He checks out,” Leonard says, sounding confused as he walks back in. “Hell, he’s been in Mexico helping solve a string of murders near the border for the past two months.”

A medium. I’ve worked with them before, and they’re always crooks or attention seekers who do more harm than good by filing away unfounded facts that derail or sidetrack the investigation.

Yet this guy knew us by name? Hell, Elise doesn’t even know Leonard’s first name. He keeps a lid on that, because the name came from his father, and there’s a lot of beef there.

“We’ll look into him more later,” I say, gesturing at the message above us.

Leonard’s breath catches.

Our killer knew we’d come here. He might not have named us, but he knew we’d come today.

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