Author: Sara Nublas
Character: Emily Prentiss main, all team involved
Warning: SPOILERS to Lauren (6x18), this story is the third part of my post-Lauren series which is organized as follows 1-Asteriscus hierochunticus, 2-What’s left of me, 3- E.P. The stories are posted on my profile and on my website
Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters of the show ‘ Criminal Minds’, I’m just borrowing them. No infringement intended.
A/N: -thanks to miaa29 for poking my curiosity and setting my muse on this path
-No beta even for this story, but I always happy to read your comments
-I’m not an expert in criminology or psychology, so I profusely apologize if the profiling part in the following chapters is a mess. I tried to do my best to make it believable, so please, bear with me. Nonetheless I’m absolutely interested in any comment and suggestion you can provide :)
2. “Three women killed in the last ten days. The unsub strangled them, cut their hair, painted their nails and staged the bodies” Hotch details the case, while the gruesome pictures of three women in their thirties flash on the screen; Garcia promptly turns her gaze and waits for a hint from Morgan to look back at the screen.
“Any sign of sexual assault?” Emily asks.
“No, but the unsub beat them pretty badly, also the coroner found ligature marks on wrists and ankles” Reid answers skimming fast through the pages of the report.
“The haircut, the nail polisher, the staging of the body; it seems he’s trying to recreate some kind of fantasy” Morgan comments.
“He chooses his victims, kills them in their apartments and turns them into grotesque dolls” Emily adds with a sting of despise in her voice “this requires time and study”
“And experience” Rossi adds, “This guy is not a newbie.”
“Still he doesn’t focus on a precise type or on a specific geographic area” Reid remarks looking at the file “It seems he’s still making up his mind.”
“With such a short cooling off period it won’t take him long” Rossi counters “As he practices he gets smarter and enjoys it more and more”.
“Seems to me he’s already enjoying it enough” Emily asserts bluntly, gaining a long inquiring look from Morgan.
“Wheels up in one hour. Emily you’re with us on this one” Hotch briefly states before leaving the room.
As soon as they land, Hotch meets with the detective in charge of the investigation, Rossi and Reid go to the scene of the second crime, and Emily heads with Morgan to the apartment of the last victim.
It’s almost dusk and a police officer is waiting for them at the door “Be careful with all those glasses” he warns.
“The glasses?” Emily asks.
“Your guy broke the light bulbs and shattered the mirrors, the floor is covered with fragments. Watch out” he explains.
The profilers enter the house with their flashlights on, carefully surveying the space and observing the scene.
Crick, crack, crick, crack, crick, crack.
“So, the unsub wants to be in control. He plans carefully his steps, stages the bodies, doesn’t show any sign of remorse,” Morgan assesses walking ahead “but then he loses control and shatters at the mirrors. This guy is all over the place.”
“Seems he hasn’t decided yet what he wants to be” Emily maintains pensive.
The rhythmic noise of the broken glasses and the dim light of the torches make the atmosphere sinister.
Crick, crack, crick,crack, crick, crack.
I hear Morgan’s words fading somewhere far from me.
I’m in another alley, another city, another me.
It’s a dark, dank aisle; I have to grope my way along the wall to avoid stumbling on the uneven floor. The broken glasses crash under my heels, announcing my only presence in the eerie corridor.
The windows have been smashed and replaced with wooden panels, occasional rays of light pass through the cracks between boards, revealing scattered details of the inside of this building. I remember of a game I used to play when I as a kid, when I lazily lay awake in my bed before starting the day and watched the light filtering through the blinds and dancing in my room; innocuous familiar features such as a fold in the blanket or the leg of a chair would turn into frightening monsters and ominous demons hiding in the dark and ready to prey on me. Only the reassuring daylight, flooding the room once I opened the blinds, would break the spell of darkness and erase my childish fears.
The air is oppressing in here, the piercing smell of smoke, urine and sex hurts my nostrils and turns my stomach. I swallow, close my eyes and try not to inhale too deeply.
My name is Erica Porter, I’m from Seattle and I’m here on business.
“So, the unsub comes from behind. Attacks the victim, kills her and arrange the body. Then he goes wild, breaks the lamps, the mirrors and leave?” Morgan shakes his head in frustration.
“Or maybe it’s part of his devising. He breaks in, shatters the light bulbs and the mirrors and then waits for her to come home” Emily offers.
“Why all this preparation? It’s way risky, the neighbors might hear the noise of the broken glasses; the victim could run away before he gets to her” he asks again.
“Because he wants to smell her fear surging after realizing something’s wrong and right before resolving to run away. It’s only then that he feels in power. After he killed her the game is over, so he has to arrange her body to relive the fantasy” there’s distress in her voice, her breath labored, the last words come out almost choked.
Morgan can’t see Emily’s face in the darkness, but frowns at the sound of her voice. Something’s really wrong and suddenly he feels the urge for switching on the light to see her face, to make sure she’s fine. To make sure she’s Emily.
I knock the door and after a few seconds Cecile comes to open. He’s in his forties; he loves stating his rank through designed clothes, high-class hookers always at his side, expensive cars and long stripes of cocaine on the crystal table. But the truth is that he is and always will be a rat, who climbed the ladder by selling drugs to teenagers or putting them on the streets and one lucky day stumbled across a terrorist, Valhalla, who upgraded his business. Seven years ago he got caught in a big operation and saved his ass from jail by becoming a snitch, a well infiltrated one. Now if Doyle is around, Cecile knows it.
I follow him through the room, where he dismisses two half naked girls lying on the sofa, they’re dressed as models and their ages summed together barely total thirty.
It’s time to talk business; I talk, he sniffs. He almost chokes on his stripe when I tell him I want to know Doyle’s whereabouts; he’s well aware that if he talks and Doyle finds out, he’s a dead man; but if he doesn’t talk then I’ll spread the voice he’s a snitch and he’ll be a dead man, anyway.
I look at him impassive while I list three addresses by heart: his mother’s, his sister’s, his ex wife’s and mother of his son. I don’t lose my cool when he starts sweating and pleading and finally gives up the information I want.
I leave the apartment without looking back, repeating myself that he’s a despicable creature, unworthy of pity or compassion, that I would have never used those addresses anyway, that I’m acting for the greater good.
My paces become faster and faster until I reach the main door almost running; when I dive into the harsh sunlight, I’m almost blinded. I stagger to an alley where I find a break from the steam devouring this summer day and I crouch down, vomiting my empty stomach.
This time the daylight is not enough to dissolve my demons; they stand boldly, laughing loud at my defeat.
Emily startles when Derek reaches for her shoulder “Hei, you ok?”
“Yes, absolutely” she smiles feebly while she tries to even her breathe.
“Prentiss, are you sure you don’t want to sit out this case?” he asks on the way back to the car.
“Why?” she fakes bewilderment.
“Because your hands are shaking and it seems you just saw a ghost” he stops in front of the car surveying her expression, trying to decipher her elusive tone.
“I’m just tired” she justifies dodging his eyes “now let’s focus on catching this guy, ok?”
Morgan gives her a concerned look before getting into the car; he knows whatever it is, it’ll have to wait until the case is over.