Usually radio silence was a good thing, it meant that nothing bad had happened or nothing bad was currently happening. For the FBI, radio silence either meant you haven’t found the body, or the body was getting prepped to be found by the killer.
In this case, radio silence had me on edge, I was certain it would be the latter.
I sat in Chilton’s-Alana’s in a month or two- waiting room at the BSHCI, flipping through my phone as I waited for the man to come back from dealing with an attempted break out. ‘The security at the hospital has been revamped’ my ass, if a regular crazy could break out then what about the others?
Two days and nothing from Jane as well. I had cancelled my appointment the other day with him via voicemail, opting to have a calmer dinner again, in Dr. Lecter’s home with Will.
Dr. Lecter was still interesting, the conversation had been good. But...it had felt wrong. Confiding in the two of them when Jane was hurting from what I had said. I sat back further in my chair and sighed.
I hated men.
I looked up at the door as a young girl suddenly appeared, eyes bouncing off everything before landing on me.
“Dr. Chilton will be back soon, he had an errand.” I told the girl.
She didn’t seem bothered by me. Just looked around the office, bored.
The girl glitches suddenly, blood spilled from her neck and her skin burned black.
I jumped, phone flying away from me and clattering to the floor. My heart jumped and I pitched forward, stopping halfway to the door as the girl simply smiled.
There was an icy sensation running through my limbs. I recognized her.
“Minnesota Shrike. You’re Abigail Hobbs.” I frowned, she looked different from what I pictured.
She looked drained.
This was the child that had tried to murder Will and Dr. Lecter.
But she wasn’t living and breathing before me, I could see that much.
She was dead.
What the fuck .
Children were easy, that’s why they made the best targets. The innocence they had, had always attracted the evils of the world.
I could see Abigails emotions go across her face so clearly; starting from a worried tick of her eyebrow to the sad dip in her shoulders.
I remembered the looks; looks of approval or disapproval from children. Always so eager to please and receive love and kind words from peers.
Abigail and I stared at each other, and then I saw it. Hidden beneath a scarf.
Where her father had tried to kill her.
Just like mine had.
Her eyes kept flicking back and forth from the door to the window.
I pulled out a cigarette from its pack and rolled the filter between my fingers as I watched her.
This wasn’t an ordinary haunting of mine. The room was calm, cool. She just stood there.
My knee slammed against the table when she appeared mext to Chilton’s pile of files on his desk. I yelped as they exploded everywhere, papers falling and drifting and hitting me in the face. I fell over the table and landed on my back, hitting my head on the floor.
I groaned and rolled over trying to get up to see what she had done, but Abigail was gone by the time I sat up.
There were no hundreds of papers falling from the sky, all the files were still on Chilton’s desk. Messy and unorganized but they hadn’t exploded.
All that was left of her presence though, was a single file on the floor.
There was a concerned shout to me down the hall and I shoved the file into my bag before the receptionist could come in.
I assured the woman everything was fine, that I had just tripped over my own boot and had landed hard. She had nodded suspiciously before closing the door again behind her. I took out another cigarette and opened the window.
The nicotine burned my throat on the first inhale and ripped my lungs apart on the shaky exhale. I watched the smoke curl up in the air before dissipating into the air way above us. My head started to pound
“They’re lying to you.”
I turned around at the voice, coughing in my inhale as the dead girl appeared at my side.
He was right.
“ Right about what?”
That was interesting.
“And the file?”
I jumped as a Chilton slammed his door open with a bang. My nerves so fried I dropped my cigarette again and burnt my skin as it bounced off my wrist.
Abigail was gone, the file was still unanswered in my bag. Chilton complained about the smell but I mentioned Alana’s anger at the possibility of a smoke scented room and he lightened up.
When I mentioned Abigail though, Chilton whipped around to me, hands shaking around a drink.
“You saw Abigail Hobbs?”
“I was waiting for you, dead people have a habit of coming to me when I’m completely relaxed.” I huffed, “When did she die? Beverly told me she was back at an institution but I wasn’t aware she was dead.”
Chilton looked at me incredulously, his mouth was hanging open like he was the one who saw her ghost.
“Frederick?” I snapped my fingers and he just shook his head.
“Abigail Hobbs was murdered in her room a month ago, we haven’t found her body. Someone took it. We haven’t...I haven’t released the information to the police.”
I felt the room drain of every source of light. I leaned back and let the depression leak out of me as we just watched each other.
“Well. That explains why Alana’s taking over.”
“I’m stepping down due to my health.” He said sarcastically as he sipped his scotch.
“You’re telling me that girl was dead-dead then. Just for sure?”
“Don’t you see dead people?” Chilton countered and I looked away.
“I think they’re starting to feel more and more real.” I whispered.
I could remember feeling the warmth from her body right? Or maybe- she didn’t seem to stick to anything- but she moved on the ground-there was no blood or any marks from a death.
“That seems like a conversation between you and Patrick Jane.” He eyed me carefully.
Chilton looked at me the way he looked at Will, he could make a profit off of me until he died. But like Jack, Chilton’s felt me punch him before for getting too close as well.
They hadn’t found her body, but her body was still on the grounds. Somewhere hidden, somewhere safe. Those who had killed her, loved her and were keeping her safe.
I turned to the window and saw a reflection of doe eyes and a blank smile.
They’re lying to you
I watched my father devour the fast food junk I had brought with me, McDonalds may just kill him before the electric chair does with the way he was eating.
I was playing with my new badge, flipping the plastic between my fingers as he read to me in between egg bites, the sloppily written notes Mackey had him take while they were talking so he could go over it later in his cell and blah, blah, blah.
All this was showing me was that Mackey was smarter than I thought...and that my father was only human. After all these years of refusing to see him, it was like coming home almost? Familiarity. He never asked me endless questions about my life, about what I had been up to since I came back into his.
He didn’t care about my life outside the murder.
“Why don’t you ever ask about my personal life?”
“Your personal life.” He stopped chewing and looked at me, “We’re not exactly a traditional family anymore.”
I folded my arms. He had a point if his prison jumpsuit was anything to go by.
“Look Katie-q. I know that what happened made you forget. As long as I’m alive, I’ll protect you from yourself-“
“Speaking of fathers protecting daughters did you hear about Abigail Hobbs’ death?” I interrupted and he paused to think before nodding.
“I do. I do remember that. Some of the guards were talking about it a while back. Shrike kid went missing but her room was a bloodbath.” He shrugged, “Why?”
“...Abigail and I have a lot in common. We were both supposed to die, she knew people that I’m close to now.”
“Her father ate kids, I’m protecting you from yourself and before you go and say ‘Oh my goooood ’, you listen to me right now.” He snapped and slammed his fist on the table, I jumped and skidded in my chair, putting more distance between us.
My father towered over me as best as he could, chained to the floor.
“You have it. The disease, the mental illness whatever you want to call it, you have it. Same as grandpa and no, it didn’t skip you or another generation and Reese sure as hell didn’t have it.”
I looked away at the mention of my brother. I haven’t felt him or my mom again since I saw them outside my office. I wasn’t connected anymore.
“I’m saying sit down because a part of me may believe it now.”
My father literally fell back into his chair, knees giving out. He stared at me, I folded my arms and looked anywhere else but him.
“I’m not a killer, I’m not a cold blooded killer like those who have suffered from this gene. But these ghosts, these girls keep calling out to me. They keep telling me to see, to look. I think they mean look at myself.”
“Oh, Katie. Sweetheart-“
“Just stay out of my head from now on alright? I need to figure this out.” I looked at the file poking out of my bag, “Answer the questions Jack Crawford’s given you and I’ll talk to Chilton about getting some extra leg room for you.”
“I don’t remember Mackey, his face changed too much. He never smelled the same, he always walked different to me I never knew he was here until I heard him say my name outside the cell.” He stretches his arms for a moment, “What does that therapist of yours think?”
I stayed silent and my dad groaned.
“Katherine Morrison, do not tell me that you fought your therapist.”
“Have a therapist help you with this should never-“
“There’s nothing wrong with me.” I snapped and pounded on the interrogation glass, “Get him out of here since he’s got nothing left to say.”
My phone rang as my dad just huffed and went back to his food. I answered it and stuck it on speaker as I lit a cigarette in front of him in anger. He glared.
“Really? You’ve taken up smo-“
“Shut up. Morrison speaking.”
“Wrong number then.” My dad muttered.
I looked up as two orderlies came in with a key and a trash can. I stared down at the unknown number, this was my work phone. I only had one phone and not many people had the number.
I jumped as my phone lit up again and rang. I watched my phone for a second and even the guards hesitated. I hit speaker again.
“KATIE! KATIE COME QUICK -“
The call ended once again. The four of us stood in the room, not breathing as the voice rang in the emptiness. Adrenaline shocked me into movement.
“Get Chilton. NOW!” I yelled at the men and they left my dad and bolted out the door.
“Katie?” My dad was watching me carefully, watching the phone-l.
It rang again. Shrill and full of life.
“Answer it. Same as before. Calm your breathing nothing is wrong.” My dad pushed my phone closer over the table, “Breathe Katie.”
“Morrison.” I spoke up as I answered again, the click of the speaker was frightening.
The heavy weight of the guttural breathing on the other end was something else entirely.
“This is a government official number, if-“
My father fell over from his chained position, eyes wide as his knees buckled from beneath him.
“ Thus...with a kiss….I die.”
The line went dead and my phone background stared up at me. My father's breathing was heavy and labored. Scared. I couldn’t move myself, I looked up, confused as Chilton came running in with Barry on another phone, out of breath.
“Mackey.” My father choked out, “That was him. His voice-”
“Get him up, secure his wrists and…” Chilton’s voice faded out as I watched my father watch me worriedly.
“I need to sit down.” I whispered, everyone stepped away from me like I was the plague.
My father voiced goodbye as he was taken away to be interviewed in another room, I left my phone on that table and I wasn’t planning on getting it back.
I made my way out of the room and into the hall where I promptly crumpled and sank to the floor against the wall.
Mackey had my number. Mackey was someone I had in my contacts list.
I left quickly, leaving behind a note and number for Chilton before I slid into my car. I ripped open my glove box and pulled out the old school Nokia, a phone no one on this earth knew I had.
Jack picked up on the first ring.
“Mackey just killed my ex and someone else. We have two bodies...it won’t be pretty.”
Thirty minutes later, I sat in the lot across from Dr. Lecter’s office, the lights inside were still on but I had seen no shadows.
Inside, I found no receptionist like last time, but last time I had Will to bounce off of and depend on for conversation and safety.
I was the FBI, fuck it, I was here on business.
I stopped from barging in, hand on the doorknob as I hesitated.
This wasn’t...nice? I shook my head and took a step back, what the hell was I doing here? I should be back at the office with Jack tracing the call and-
And Dr. Lecter was only a mutual friend. Not someone I could just use for answers.
I turned as Dr. Lecter opened the door and led a man out who resembled a rat. He walked by quietly without so much as a nod to Dr. Lecter or me.
“I’m sorry if I disturbed your session.”
“Unfortunately, matters of the heart are not as easily fixed as matters of the mind.” He motioned for me to come in, “Mind over matter, heart over mind.”
“Hopeless romantic. In love with being in love.” I added, following him in and gazing again at the library he had.
“Are you trying to analyze my client or give me insight to your own life?” Dr. Lecter joked, I made a face.
“Thus, with a kiss, I die.”
“Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare, a romantic tragedy.”
“It’s also what Mackey just told me about an hour ago while I was on the phone with my dad.” I felt my heart pick up as Dr. Lecter watched me.
“He called you?” Dr. Lecter stopped by his desk and cocked his head, “Isn’t this something the FBI-“
“ Please , please tell me it’s not Will.”
I spun to the man who didn’t even seem surprised at my accusation for a moment. He collected himself and set down the pencil he had picked up.
“You believe Mackey is Will?”
“There’s too many coincidences. I can’t ignore them. The dead girls, they’re telling me to look, to see. Mackey is always around me somehow, I just don’t know it. Even the dead spirit of Abigail Hobbs was pointing me in a direction I don’t understand yet.”
“Abigail Hobbs?” Dr. Lecter’s emotions betrayed him for a moment, I saw sadness and hope followed by pain.
“I understand Will and you were close to her. Like surrogate fathers, before she tried to kill you two.”
Dr. Lecter seemed taken off guard, his shoulders slumped and his eyes looked heavy for a moment.
“Abigail was family to us, through tragedy as well. Unfortunately the poison her father put into her mind, unraveled in the end.” He sighed, “What did she show you?”
I took the file out and opened it.
It was my file. From when I had been admitted to the hospital all those years ago. Dr. Lecter carefully took it from me, keeping a respectable distance from touching me. I didn’t really care.
“Everything is blacked out.” He mused, flipping through the pages, “This isn’t an official report?”
“That’s a separate report. The one released to public files is the one you’re thinking of.”
Dr. Lecter looked at me incredulously.
“You did not see her spirit, Katie. I believe what you see are manifestations of clues you do not know how to process completely. What can be an obvious clue to you could take weeks for forensics to find.”
“Yeah, I know they’re not real. If they were, they’d hurt me.”
“Jacks signature is on all of these.” He looked at me again, “I understand he and his late wife Bella had taken you in and raised you?”
“For a bit. Until I couldn’t handle it and they couldn’t handle it. But I was fine in my own.” I nodded, “So why is Jack keeping my crimes a secret?”
“Your crimes?” He set the file down, “You're not the one killing these people, Katherine. People have been with you when they happened.”
“I’m not saying I am. I’m saying what if it’s right? What if all that blacked out shit is the truth? That I did it and I kickstarted this maniac.”
“The incredible power of the overthinker.” Dr. Lecter sat down and I finally copied, sinking into one of his patients chairs, “How often do you jump to conclusions in cases?”
“Right away. Most of the time they’re right.”
“Why are you taking the responsibility of another man's actions?”
“I have the power to stop him. If I know who he is, it’ll give me a leg up on him. Instead, I’ll be the one stalking him.”
“If it’s not someone in my list, then it’s someone I just met within a year. Mackey knew I’d be with my dad and he knew me well enough to know I’ll answer a call no matter what.” I started to feel myself race in my head, “So if Will is Mackey that makes total sense because Will’s been there since the beginning, he knows everything that went into what happened to me as a kid and he knows what I went through. If he-“
“Katie. I will stop you right there.” Dr. Lecter held up a hand to silence me and I felt my mind quiet as well, “Will Graham is not this killer Mackey...have you considered your own psychiatrist, Patrick Jane as a suspect?”
“Why would Jane want to hurt me?”
I felt my pocket vibrate and I panicked for a moment. Dr. Lecter watched as I took the Nokia out and clicked open the message, Unknown number again.
I know where you are katieq
I dropped the phone and pulled my knees to my chest, panic made me start to shake. I slumped forward and covered my eyes with my heels, digging in.
Dr. Lecter picked the phone up delicately with his handkerchief before he placed it on his desk. I shook my head and felt my body go haywire.
When I looked up Dr. Lecter wasn’t Dr. Lecter, it was Jane. Dropping in blood and oozing black liquid from his eyes.
I screamed and fell back over the chair, slamming my head on the floor again as Dr. Lecter hovered around me, careful not to touch.
“Katherine, Katherine I need you to focus on the sound of my voice.” Dr. Lecter’s voice crashed through the sea of panic in my mind as I sat up, “Where are you?”
“I saw...I saw him bleeding-“
“You are in Baltimore at my office-“
“It can’t be Jane, why would they show me this-“
“It is almost noon. You have been here for-“
I closed my eyes and squeezed my arms around me on the floor. I could feel them touching me, they were yelling at me to open my eyes and look. To look at what he did to them.
The last thing I heard before I blacked out was the sound of a pen scratching against paper.
I was standing above them, standing in the warm blood and soft skin of the dead. Two lifeless forms melted into the fire beneath my feet as blood ran in skinny rivulets down my arms. The blood tasted sweet as my fingers curled around bones and sliced open my skin-
The nicotine I blew out shook me from my daydream as I stood behind the police tape in front of my house.
I let the half finished cigarette drop from my fingers and hit the wet pavement as a tall man stopped next to me.
“Inside your house?” Dr. Lecter offered a cup of coffee, hand barely holding it.
“He used my old phone that was locked in my closet. Jack should have it at the lab by now.”
I took in a deep breath, shaking despite the layers on me.
“I’m scared of who I think it may be now.” I looked around me, nobody was near us but it felt like I was being watched.
“Has Jane hurt you?”
“You know I am a psychiatrist. I can tell when someone is lying to my face.” Dr. Lecter’s mouth twitched in a barely there smile, “How many sessions have you cancelled since the dinner?”
“Every single one.” I bit out, “I can’t look at him. I feel horrible for telling Will that just for him to shove it in his face like it was a good thing.”
“You’re afraid of him being cross with you.” Dr. Lecter analyzes, “You feel as if you owe him everything for helping you but you don’t want to give him everything. You're afraid that he might see you how you see yourself.”
I looked at the older doctor, eyes wide. I owed Jane my life, yeah I’ve told him that a million times but...Jane looked at me like I was everything sometimes, and I couldn’t even muster up enough courage to touch him.
“You’re not weak, Katie.” Dr. Lecter looked over to my house, “Your killer thinks you’re weak, ruled by your emotions and what you can’t see. A psychic link can be caused by an overactive imagination .”
“You saying I’m a fake?”
“I’m saying that if you stop pretending to see ghosts, you’ll see the real threats in your life.” Dr. Lecter sniffed as the police wrapped up the search, “Have you been smoking a lot lately?”
“I know I reek of smoke, Dr. Lecter.”
“Addictions can hurt, no matter how satisfied we think they make us feel in the moment. We'll always want more once we get a taste of it.”
I spotted Will coming out of my house, talking to a burly security guard, courtesy of Alana and Margot no doubt.
Will walked towards us from the house and I ducked under the tape to meet him halfway.
Forensics found nothing, nothing looked weird when I had gone home anyways with Lecter speeding behind me in my tail.
Nothing was out of place other than my closet door had been left wide open. I sighed and sat down on my steps as Will went to talk with Dr. Lecter.
I lived out in the middle of nowhere, my neighbors next door owned land and some horses but right now there weren’t any animals milling about. I couldn’t even spot a chicken in their pasture.
There was just flashing lights and police walking about looking for clues.
“How are you?” Will asked, I clutched the warm cup of coffee, still not being drunk.
“He got into my house, Will. This isn’t a game anymore. Dr. Lecter’s right, if I have a chance I’m gonna kill him.”
“Killing him won’t stop the nightmares.” Will shook his head, “Trust me. I thought I had killed my worst nightmare a long time ago, turns out I didn’t need to.”
“Yeah, well at least your stag nightmare doesn’t break into your closet.” I muttered.
“You’re going to spend the night with me at Wolf Trap and the dogs. It’s not safe here for you.” Will looked up, brown eyes searching mine for a moment.
I looked away but nodded, he was right. I didn’t even want to be here right now. Right now spending the night surrounded by dogs didn’t seem bad at all.
There was one person who knew me better than Will, better than Dr. Lecter’s psychoanalysis and I wasn’t about to play this fucking game anymore. Not in my own fucking house where I sleep.
“I need to call someone.” I stood back up and dialed a number.
Jane lived on the opposite end of Baltimore, in a similar rich neighborhood to Dr. Lecter’s but Jane didn’t have a mansion of that sort.
My car rumbled in his driveway loudly, I kept my foot on the gas and revved until I could see some sort of movement behind his curtains.
If Jane was my fucking killer I was going to take him out myself.
The switchblade in my pocket didn’t give me any confidence, the things he had done to those bodies. And the fucking fake stomach issues?
Before I could slam my car door behind me, the front door opened and Jane stepped out.
We stood staring at each other, several feet apart. Jane seemed relaxed, like nothing was wrong with the emergency phone call I had faked on the way over.
“Are you wanting to come in, Katherine?”
Oh, so now I’m Katherine? Since when am I Katherine?
I followed him inside and to his home office, the house was warm but nothing seemed off. I tried to focus and call in for the dead but nothing was working to get a read off of him. This man that I had known for the better part of a year I suddenly couldn’t cold read him and his emotions. Jane was always open and honest with me…
He was never closed off around me…
I sat down in my chair as Jane took his. He was barefoot, jeans and a simple black shirt. The most I’ve ever seen him in relaxed clothing, even his hair wasn’t gelled. He looked every bit of the typical Aussie surfer right down to his sparkling ocean eyes.
“So what do I owe this surprise visit?” Jane’s eyes traveled over me before firmly sticking to the left of my head, “You’ve cancelled every time slot we've had, I thought you were cutting me off entirely this time. I’ve been waiting for that call after all.”
Something similar to dread and guilt clawed its way up my spine as the knife dug into my skin at an angle.
“Mackey called me from inside my house.” I started and Jane’s eyebrows shot up.
Okay. Not the surprised reaction I anticipated.
“He what!?” Jane looked at me wildly, eyes roaming over what he could take in.
I could see the panic set back into his eyes, the concern. Every emotion poured off of him and I felt the tension break and snap and meld again as he struggled not to come closer to me. He sputtered and fell back against his seat uselessly as he tried to calm himself down. His hands shook, anxiety.
“And I’m guessing Jack Crawford is looking into it as best he can now isn’t he?”
“Can’t exactly go off anything when he used my phone. It’s at the lab but I’m not expecting anything to come back.”
“Where were you? For him to be at the house.” Jane got up and started pacing.
“I was at the hospital interviewing my dad again.” I paused and Jane stopped, “I didn’t tell Jack....”
“Before he called, there was a girl screaming my name.” I watched Jane’s face as he took it in.
Nothing. No recognition or anything to solidify my thoughts on Jane being my killer.
All Jane was guilty of was wanting to date me and hitting on me. And I was so against people I had written him off as some creep.
Jane wasn’t my killer. Jane just loved me and I wanted nothing to do with that so I was trying to write him off and send him far away from me.
I put my head in my hands again and shook, Jane’s soft voice washed over me as he came and knelt near me. Jane had loved me for who I was and had never judged me even when we weren’t in our sessions. He was the closest thing I had to a friend these days.
It would have been too perfect if Jane had ended up my killer.
“I’m sorry I pushed you away, this whole thing has messed me up.” I sniffled and tried to hold back the lump of tears in my throat.
Jane stayed still near me on the floor. Present and understanding. I could feel my body burning from him being too close but it wasn’t painful anymore, uncomfortable and constant but there was no pain.
“Would you like to see another psychiatrist? I’m more than willing to give you a good referral-”
“No. No I want to see you , Jane.”
Jane’s bright smile broke through the murderous rage I had been building up in my head for the drive over.
Dr. Lecter and Will were wrong, Jane wasn’t out to destroy me or kill me.
That didn’t leave a lot of people left on the list of who wanted me dead though.
Standing back in my house was eerie, even with all of the lights on it still seemed too dark. Too crowded.
After Jane, I had to go back to the office and fill out paperwork and go and recount everything for Jack to record. The rest of my afternoon I spent talking too much to too many people who really didn’t care in the end.
Hanging out in the morgue with Zeller and Price had uplifted my spirits a little bit before reality had crushed me back to earth again.
What was worrying me was the lack of dead people hanging around me. Usually I felt them all the time, peeking around corners too quickly for me to focus on.
A part of me wanted Dr. Lecter to be right, maybe realizing my imagination was too much had cut off my dead people powers.
I sighed as I stuffed clothes into a bag, making sure to pack extra socks because Will’s dogs were secret hellions when they wanted to be. I was tired. I wanted to sleep and be done with this case.
I wish I had never met Jack Crawford, now that would be a more accurate wish.
All I wanted to do was fall asleep listening to Will’s house move in the forest. I stuffed my phone into my pocket, Jack had given it back but there was nothing so I may as well just keep it on in case. GPS and everything else had been disconnected, the techs were protecting me yet leaving me entirely exposed on this device.
They had disabled my camera as well on my request.
I walked down into my living room and tossed the bag on the couch, god who the hell was Mackey then? Not Jane and not Will...my hand hovered over my favorite blanket on the couch, I couldn’t touch it.
I literally could not bring myself to touch it, it was like the air around my house turned icy.
Mackey had touched it. He had been all over my house and touched my things. I felt sick, I closed my eyes and breathed in for a few moments. I couldn’t see the dead, but I could see what the living had done to my house.
When I opened my eyes, it was like I could see a trail of blood over everything I owned. Circling around the tv, spread over the furniture and the carpet. Leaving a trail behind like a snail.
I followed the trail to the hallway, hand touching and dipping into the blood as it dropped to the floor and slithered over to my bed.
The walls were dripping and crying in blacks and reds, the sheets were soaked and stained.
Will was right. Whoever Mackey was, he wanted to consume me. He wanted to slaughter.
I jumped as my regular phone rang in my pocket and just like that I was standing in a clean room, nothing out of place. I fumbled with the phone before answering it, heart beating and breath short.
“Katie? Hi, it’s Joan your neighbor. We just heard some loud booms outside in our barn and we didn’t know with the police over there today and all-”
“I’ll come over in a second.” I reassured her and hung up.
I reached into the hidden panel in my closet and took out the shotgun I had stored.
At least this was one thing nobody knew about. I forgot I had it there most of the time.
I had stepped outside and locked my door when I heard a loud boom come from their barn myself, their lights flicked on the porch at their house as I jogged barefoot across the lawns.
Two more loud bangs went off before I managed to get to the porch and meet the older farmer.
“Hey John, your wife just called?”
“You hear that racket? Ain’t the Wiles either they’re outta town and nobody got access to those woods.”
“Yeah, yeah John I know.” I waved him off as he led me inside where Joan and her older son were at.
The loud noise had woken them all up, the kid was still rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“What were the police doing over there today?” Joan asked as I checked the rounds in my gun.
“Just a little work scare, Joan. Everything is alright though, you know how extra the feds can be. You sure that’s not any of your equipment meal-“
A loud, shrill scream ripped through the air and made us whip around to the front door.
That came from the woods.
There was a flurry of panic as I jogged through their house and found the attic door. Their son helped me up as Joan went to call back Jack on my cell phone.
The kid and I pried open the attic window and looked out to the woods. The horses were out near the fence, ears alert and watching something.
“Here.” The son handed me old binoculars but I couldn’t see much as the evening sky continued to darken, “Anything?”
“The animals know soemthing’s up-FUCK!”
There was a flash of light, it blinded my eyes in the binoculars and I ripped them away. The son exclaimed at the same time I did, but by the time I squinted, the flash from the light was gone.
“You saw that? What was it?”
“It looked like someone turned on a giant light bulb and it sparked out.” He panicked as I looked through the window again, the animals were snorting so loud I could hear from here.
Then the most guttural, shrill scream echoed throughout the woods and reverberated in my bones.
A human scream.
I jumped back through the attic hole, the son quick behind me as I shouted for them to lock all doors and windows. Joan and her husband were confused as I tossed the son my shotgun and pushed over their cabinet against the kitchen door.
“Nobody in or out. When is Crawford going to be here?” I ordered.
“The man said he was coming right away-Katie I don’t understand why there was a loud scream is ev-“
“Don’t come out until the police get here. Do you understand?” I was out of breath, the son and I locked eyes but he nodded firmly, “Push this up when I leave. Stay away from the windows. Trust no one except a uniformed officer, if you can, ask for Will Graham.”
I slammed the door shut behind me and heard the cabinet be moved against it.
I took off across the pasture, barefoot and in pain as the horses ran past me at a full gallop, the goats and sheep ran from the edge of the woods and to the safety of their stalls as well, braying and calling out like the devil was near.
My breath tasted like blood as I tripped and stumbled my way across, all I could feel were the pricks and pins in my fingertips from the cold. There were no more noises in the woods, no more light and no more screams.
I propelled myself over the fence and slowed down, I had seen the light straight ahead. A giant light bulb he had said, it had looked like a camera flash more to me.
Mackey had to be here then. Mackey was setting up the crime scene.
Then I heard it. A loud rumble, then the fluttering of birds taking off through the trees.
I ran forward and stopped underneath a fallen tree as I crept closer to the noises.
I stopped creeping along the tree line when I saw it.
One half of the container had been painted with black and greens and browns to blend in. But one half remained stark white so that even the blind could see it.
A happy face, written in red, still dripping in the night.
I didn’t even have my fucking gun. I snapped a branch in half and got up, holding it down as I crept to one side of the container, it was cold but I could hear movement inside.
He was here. Mackey was here. There was a tiny ticking noise before soft floodlights filtered through the cracks in the doors.
There was a hum of a generator somewhere off in the trees and I froze as I heard the container door open and someone step out. I breathed out long and slow as I pressed myself into the container wall, branch out in front of me.
I could take him out, I could kill Mackey.
You’re a killer, it’s in your genes.
I shook my father out of my head as I crawled towards the opposite end from where Mackey was. He moved around the box, feet loud on the forest floor as I backed my way to the doors.
A voice inside the container. Dying.
I hit the doors open with my shoulders and held the weapon out in front of me.
Rotting flesh. Blood.
I was thrown off balance by the stench of decay that I slipped on the floor to my knees and my stick spun out of my hands.
“Oh my god.”
I didn’t even get to exhale. I was shoved, hands grabbed my shoulders and threw me to the ground. I screamed as blood splashed against my face from the floor. I was grabbed again, pulled up by the collar of my jacket and slammed against the wall.
He was touching me. Mackey was-
Mackey slammed his fist into the curve of my neck and shoulder and I crumbled into myself.
My breath was coming short again, I was covered in blood-whose blood?- my skin was itching.
I was screaming.
I scratched and clawed and kicked. His bare skin brushed against mine as he pulled my wrists forward and slammed them on his knee.
Cracks. Cracks from what? Bones splitting? Everything hurt-
He was wearing a mask. That much I could tell. Mackey hauled me up again and hit me in the stomach twice before sending a hard slap against my face and pushing me into the wall.
I slid down the wall, head spinning as blood swirled around me. Someone was crying. Someone is making my ribs hurt I couldn’t see-dizzy- I hurt. Everywhere. My face, my body-
Mackey grabbed me by the hair and I screamed, digging my teeth into his thigh. He yelled and kicked me straight in the hip.
I heard something rip but pain blossomed everywhere through my blood.
My vision began to white out as I sprawled on the ground. I could taste fresh, warm blood trickle out from my nose and down my face to mix with whatever I was laying in.
When I looked through the haze I saw them.
A young girl lying on her side with her lips sewn to a man who was bound to a chair.
Hugh. Alive. He cried and screamed beneath the stitches as I struggled to get up.
A foot slammed down in the middle of my back and my ribs groaned and my lungs pinched.
Mackey flipped me over, I grabbed onto his foot as he pressed down on my throat. I grabbed and clawed at his calves, twisting and trying to dig my nails in.
There was a fist coming down.
I let go.
I can’t see.
Hugh gets his neck cut open.
Through pain, I watched as blood leaked from Hugh’s mouth and painted their chins crimson from where they were tied in the middle of the container.
Mackey stood over me.
I could barely breathe. I couldn’t see. I could feel him. Feel his hands over my-
Oh god, he was really touching me.
Mackey hauled me up by my hair, I attempted to grab him but he slapped me away. There was a sharp searing pain in my right eye and I screamed, I screamed as I felt flesh melt away into blood. I grabbed my face but Mackey just twisted the hand in my hair.
“Please...don’t hurt…hurt....” I spit out, crying as Mackey leaned forward and inhaled my scent from my broken collarbone to my temple.
“ Gorgeous. Even in pain.”
Mackey’s bare hand closed around my throat as he threw me back onto the ground.
I groaned as my head cracked and he stopped moving.
In a last ditch effort, cupped the liquid I was in and splashed him in his eye, he recoiled back and I managed to send my foot straight into his kidney.
I flipped over on my stomach and pulled myself along the floor. I pulled.
Mackey stood up.
I cried out in pain.
And then nothing.
I was aware of a bed and soft sheets before I was aware of the bleach in the air.
There was a pounding in the right side of my head and a ringing in that same ear as light leaked in through my eyes.
My body aches and pulled in the wrong places as I woke up and moved.
A sharp pain in my lungs caused me to stop breathing for a moment as my heart felt ready to explode. The machine beeped as my heart rate accelerated once I opened my eyes.
I couldn’t see anything out of my right eye.
“ You’re awake.”
I cringed as Abigail Hobbs’ blurry face swam in front of my vision.
I stared at her until the sickness passed and I could see the glitch in her skin. She wasn’t real.
“Am I dead?”
The voice that came from my throat sounded like I had ascended from Hell.
I could barely move my body. I felt paralyzed.
“Ab...Abigail…” my throat clicked and her eyes went to the water next to my bed, “Where…what…”
Fucking hell I wake up and this demon child was around me. I panicked and looked around for the emergency button, I grabbed it so hard my wrist twinged and the plastic cracked.
When I looked back around the room there was no one there, there was a sudden flurry of commotion from outside my door. I had been holding the emergency button longer than necessary.
Nurses and doctors barged in followed by a very giant Jack Crawford shouting nonsense.
To hear that booming voice, my fucking god I almost fucking cried. I heard Chilton come in and go over the tubes hooked up to me as my heart rate dropped down to normal.
Fucking hell that ghost kid scared me.
Jack’s voice washed over me explaining what time and where I was and how worried he was as he helped me down two glasses of water.
“What’s going on?” I looked at them and tried to push away from the bed, “Abigail-”
“Hobbs?” Jack repeated and raised an eyebrow, “What do you know about Abig-“
“Will?” I leaned forward as Will came rushing into the room, slamming against the door and skidding in his boots with his hair wild.
“Oh my god, oh my god you’re alive.” Will let out a strangled sound of relief and collapsed next to my bed.
He spread his hands out wanting to touch, my hands twitched from their still place on the bed.
“I thought you had died. They found you on the side of the road half dead-“
“Will, I’m okay.”
“I should have gone with you back to your place to get your things-“
“Will...I don’t remember what happened to me.”
Everyone stared at me.
“I remember leaving my house and running across the lawn but after that. Nothing.” I looked at Jack curiously, “Did someone else die?”
“You don’t know who was in the container in the woods behind your property.”
“Container? In the woods?” I looked between them as my mind raced.
I had no idea what they were talking about. A migraine started to form as I tried to remember the events. It was hazy. Leaving my house.
I had done something monumental recently, hadn’t I? I looked at my fingers, there was blood caked underneath one nail. I remembered something cold, something wet against my skin.
“ Mackey .” I breathed out his name as soft, evil laughter ranf in my mind, “He was there. I didn’t kill him.”
“Why didn’t you wait for backup?” Jack cursed and turned away, “Katherine you almost died!”
“I couldn’t let him get away.” I responded.
Why was everyone mad at me? Had I done something bad to Mackey?
“Did you at least get a good look at him?” Jack demanded as I heard Dr. Lecter walked in with a tall blonde man.
“I don’t.I-I can’t really remember Jack, I’m sorry.”
“How can you not remember you were right there!” Jack slammed a hand on the wall and I flinched, the machines beeped and went off, “You remember his name!?”
“Jack. She has been through a great ordeal, interrogation isn’t going to do anyone good here.” Dr. Lecter grabbed Jack’s arm, “She needs rest.”
“How are you?” Jane sat down on my bed, I could feel Will’s eyes on both of us.
“I may have to up my therapy sessions.” I tried to smile but felt my lip split.
Jane looked broken, lost. His eyes were wide and glassy as he looked over me.
“This is...I’m so sorry that happened Katie.” Jane started to breath deep, “When Jack called me and said that they had found you...you had been missing for ten hours. Someone had found you crawling across the highway with half your skull cracked open.”
“There’s also more bad news.” Jack returned and I looked away from Jane’s broken expression, “Whoever Mackey is, he’s teamed up with the Ripper.”
Nobody else reacted except for me.
“The fucking Chesapeake Ripper!?”
“I’ll calm her down.” Dr. Chilton sighed as my heart raced and cut my lungs in half.
Some medication settled in my limbs like a heavy blanket a minute later as it traveled through a tube. I glared, Chilton gave a tight smile.
“We have three bodies now. Hugh Charmont, the girl is a Jane Doe, and the son of your neighbor.” Jack said, “The Ripper strung them up.”
“He tried to play hero, apparently. Parents say they started to hear you yell and he ran outside. Mackey got to him.”
“So where does the Ripper fit in?” I asked, I started to feel an uncomfortable pressure behind my right eye, “They’re working together then for sure?”
Jack hesitated as he glanced to Will.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out.”
They’re lying to you.
“He took Mackey’s kills from him and displayed them. The Ripper is letting him know that he wants Mackey dead.” Will whispered to me in answer, “We’re expecting something from the Butcher soon, he always follows behind the Ripper eventually.”
I nodded in thanks, thank god for Will. I let it go and closed my eyes before I rested against the pillow for a moment.
“What’s wrong with my face? What happened to me?”
I could feel the cuts and scrapes and gashes along my skin and my muscles were so fucking sore. Half my body was in a brace, my head was wrapped and everything else was a mess of white and pink bandages.
I could feel Mackey’s handprints on me like burns. Clawing and bubbling my skin like tar.
“Do you know what heterochromia is?” Dr. Lecter asked as he held my file.
“Two different eye colors.” Will offered and Dr. Lecter nodded.
“Brought on through genes or extreme trauma to the eye. The trauma to your skull and the right side of your face has given you this condition.” Dr. Lecter spoke.
“Bedside manners, Dr. Lecter?” Jane snapped, I waved off his concern.
“You’re going to be half blind in your right eye.” Will supplied the answer when I opened my mouth to question again, “You were a mess when they brought you in.Nobody recognized you here until they pulled fingerprints. ”
“How long was I out?”
“You’ve been out by yourself for a day or two. We’ve had you under for about two and a half weeks now.”
“...Put me under again.” I groaned.
“Any pain specifically in your eye?” Dr. Lecter asked.
“It’s uncomfortable. I can’t really feel it to be honest.” I frowned, “I thought you weren’t this kind of doctor anymore?”
“One of my colleagues will be treating you after today, I wanted to make sure this was accurate,”
“I asked him too.” Will admitted. I couldn’t help but look down, I could feel the heat rise up in my cheeks.
“Drugs are working nicely.” Jane smiled softly as he stared at me, unmoving and sad.
“He was angry, he went for your face. The one thing he loved the most.” Will crossed his arms as he glared at Jane, “Guess he doesn’t love you as much as he claimed to have loved you.”
“I scared him. I got the jump on him and he freaked out. Somehow I scared him into hurting me. He never would have if he wasn’t afraid of me.” I pulled at a band aid on my finger, “He won’t hurt me like that again. It was an accident.”
“You’re saying the serial killer is scared of you?” Jack asked skeptically, “That his love for you caused this?”
“Not of me physically . But he’s scared of something now and it’s not getting arrested.” I looked pointedly to Jack before I felt sleep tug at me from the drugs, “I’m tired.”
“Do you mind if I have a moment with my own patient then, please?” Jane asked the room, everyone nodded and filed out silently.
“How are you really?” Jane asked as the door closed and the stillness of the room surrounded us.
I let out a broken half laugh.
“I’m fucking scared, Jane. I’m fucking scared.” I closed my eye and felt tears form as the headache pounded on my nerves, “I can’t seem to think straight anymore. I’m not seeing the dead, Mackey is someone that was in this fucking room and I don’t know who it is. It’s terrifying.”
“Get off this case, I’m strongly advising you too. No negotiations with Jack. Walk away from the bureau for good.”
“This case is affecting the both of you. He used to kill for attention and he lost it when he finally saw you. All that longing and frustration and look what he did.”
Jane reached out and I flinched, pulling away back into my pillow. Jane’s face crumpled and he looked away.
“I’m going to find Mackey, Jane. I’m not going to let him hurt anyone else.”
Jane nodded and sighed sadly. He seemed at a loss for words as he looked outside and then to the hospital blanket.
“Katherine...Katie, I have to assign you a new psychiatrist. Due to personal issues I don’t think I can help you anymore.”
I felt my heart drop into my stomach as Jane looked at me again.
“You’re leaving me?”
The voice that came out of my throat was not my own. That voice was broken and hurt and sounded small.
“I’m sorry, Katie. It’s for the best.”
I don’t know what happened. One moment Jane was sitting there and the next he was gone. All I could smell was the ocean and Australian cologne.
Or maybe that had always been Jane.
I felt empty.
I cried until I was screaming into my pillow.
I cried until nurses ran in and administered more drugs into my system and I cried in pain until they strapped my arms down when I tried to grab their throats.
I cried and I cried until all that was left was a hollow shell inside my heart.
They always do and I was left to pick up the pieces of that connection again.