Home > The Last Move(9)

The Last Move(9)
Author: Mary Burton

“Consider it done.”

In her rental car, she wove through the center of Salt Lake City, managing to hit every red light until she exited onto the I-80 west ramp and wound down Amelia Earhart Drive to the gated entrance of the FBI office.

She’d been working out of this office since she arrived in Utah ten days ago and had barely been around enough for the receptionist to recognize her. She showed her badge. “I’ve paperwork waiting.”

“Pulled it just now.” She handed Kate a stack of papers. “I thought you’d be headed home soon. Heck of a find last week.”

“Maybe I’ll be home in time for Christmas.”

She’d not been to her apartment in Washington in almost six weeks. Times like this, she wondered why she kept a place near Quantico, Virginia. In the eighteen months she’d leased the small apartment, she’d spent about a month’s worth of nights there. Chasing the wicked never stopped.

She found a conference room and, shrugging off her backpack, located a coffeepot. An hour later, she received a call from Mazur.

“I’m still reviewing the case notes,” she said as way of a hello.

“When are you coming?”

She ignored the question. “Do not speak to the press, and keep as many details quiet about this case as possible. If and when the media is addressed, I’ll tell you what to say.”

“I’ve no intention of speaking to the press.” Again, his tone was even, steady, and steely.

“But they do have their place, and we might need them. Also, if an attorney by the name of Mark Westin calls, know that he’s representing Dr. Charles Richardson, who has been arrested in one of the Samaritan shootings. Do not speak to him.”

“Not my first party, Doctor.” No edge sharpening the words, but he was firm.

It was natural to resent outside assistance in a high-profile case. Many local cops saw her as a threat. But she wasn’t, of course, if they did their jobs well. “I’m simply conveying facts.”

“When are you going to arrive in San Antonio?” Mazur asked.

She pulled up the airline flights. “There’s a five a.m. flight out of Salt Lake that will put me in San Antonio at eight a.m. your time.”

“I’ll meet you at the airport.”

“I’m familiar with San Antonio. I can rent a car.”

“It’ll save us both time if I pick you up.”

Us. Both. He was already using words of team building and unity.

Outside of her FBI team, there was no us or both. However, no need to press the point. She’d give him this one. “Understood.”

In front of him were four television sets, each playing a different broadcast. The evening news would be on soon, and he expected some mention of the crime. The last three Samaritan killings had stirred up concern and hysteria and were widely covered by the press. However, there had been next to no coverage on his killing so far.

While he waited for the broadcasts to begin, he replayed the video of last night’s shooting. Each time he watched it, a thrill of excitement snapped through his body. It had been some time since he’d fired a weapon and watched someone die. He feared the old excitement and pleasure might have faded, but the sensations had hit him with full force when Gloria looked at him with such utter happiness and relief. Her savior had arrived. The entire experience was priceless.

And, as he raised the gun and pointed it at her, Gloria’s smile had vanished. Facing death had been sobering, but she’d not cried or wailed. He’d found her composure vaguely disappointing, hoping at the end she would break. Beg. Plead. But she’d not done any of that. She was proud to the end.

Still, even without the tears, the feeling of superiority had been potent.

He’d been so juiced after the killing. He came home, stripped, and bagged his clothes. He’d showered, rinsing the blood spatter from his face, dried off, and changed into clean clothes. He’d tossed the towel in with the clothes and buried the bag on his property.

After, he’d poured himself a strong drink. When the booze hadn’t taken the edge off, he’d ordered a hooker online: small, blond, and young, the way he liked them.

She’d met him at his home. Perhaps not the wisest choice, but he’d needed to exorcise the energy. When she’d arrived, she’d tried to look confident, but she was nervous. Her fear had jacked him up more, and he’d kept her for several hours. She’d left with a couple of grand in her purse, rope burns on her wrists, and lashes on her back.

That should have calmed him. But as he sat here, he felt the energy building again as he replayed the tape, watching the woman’s smile fade, the gunfire, and the body recoil.

“It was a beautiful and elegant death.”

He sat back and savored the feeling before he shifted his gaze to the two other screens, which broadcasted live feeds from cameras monitoring the living rooms of the next victims. There was Coffee Shop Woman and Law School Girl. He’d get to those two in time.

He leaned closer to one of the monitors. She wasn’t home yet, no doubt still working in her shop. They’d crossed paths several times, and he liked her pretty smile. She smelled of perfumed soap and peppermint, and it was easy to think of her as innocent. But she was not.

“Soon, Coffee Shop Woman.”

The evening anchors covered a robbery, a mall fashion show, and a dammed high school football game. Finally the anchor cut to a reporter on the side of the interstate. The neatly coiffed woman was on the other side of the highway, standing on the northbound access road, a good distance from the car.

He leaned forward and in the background saw police milling around the site as the reporter talked about an unexplained death.

“Unexplained, my ass. She was shot in the chest.”

On another television, Channel Two projected Gloria’s face. As the newscaster listed off her accomplishments, images appeared of her with politicians, school children, and in front of her car dealership.

Why hadn’t the cops told the media more?

Gloria wasn’t some low-class hooker or a junkie. She was the kind of woman people missed. All he could surmise was that the cops were scrambling as they tried to figure out if they’d arrested the wrong man or if there was another Samaritan. He didn’t care if they were confused or bumbling around as long as they’d spoken to Kate. The point of the text was to alert Kate. She was the one who needed to be on the scene. It wasn’t right if she wasn’t in the mix.

Frustrated, he rose and paced around the room. He flexed his fingers as he tried to expel the nervous energy cutting through his body. Times like this, it was all he could do to contain the feelings and racing thoughts. He paced. Clenched and unclenched his fingers.

It would be so easy to upload the video he’d taken and show the world what he’d done. His footage would send a ripple effect through the city, the state, and even the country. The Samaritan would again be feared and respected. Think of the panic!

But as tempting as it was, he paused.

He didn’t care about publicity or public fear. The goal was to control one particular person. He had to believe his text had reached Dr. Kate Hayden and she’d soon return to San Antonio.

This game, like chess, had to be played patiently and carefully. He didn’t need to rush. All the pieces were in position, ready to play. Though the media wasn’t covering him yet, they soon would.

He picked up the worn notebook, flipped to one of the last clean pages, and scribbled down the day’s date.

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