More Death...No Sleep

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They'd found Juan and it was bad. Very bad. A hunter and his dog were the ones who had actually found what was left of Juan Cano. The dog had been walking ahead of his owner when he'd come upon Juan's severed arms. By the time the hunter had caught up to the four-legged pal, the dog was using Juan's fingers as a chew toy. The legs were found a few yards away from the arms and the head...the head had been propped in a tree.

Gruesome.

"Sick bastard." Dirk grumbled, placing a handkerchief over his nose. He'd been in Homicide for ten years but he'd never been able to get used to the smell of rotting bodies. Rachel quietly took in the scene.

"Could one person do this?" She asked, removing her sunglasses.

"Maybe but he'd have to be one big fucking dude." Dirk asked.

Rachel nodded in agreement, then turned to the CSI examiner and said. "Bag him."


3

A photo of Juan Cano, during a happier time, was pinned to the corkboard surrounded by a cluster of other missing teens. He was the latest victim of the Dumping Ground Killer. Juan had taken his place next to the rainbow of faces of murder victims.

"Why teenagers?" Dirk asked running his fingers through his hair. He'd stared so long at the photos he'd memorized them. Every smile, their heights and weights. It was as if they had become a part of his family. He carried for them.

"Fetish?" Rachel offered. "Maybe easier to control than adults? He's getting smarter too. No forensic evidence... contaminated crime scenes."

"Yeah, this is one smart, sick son of a bitch." Dirk grudgingly agreed.

***

Rachel was exhausted when she finally entered her apartment at midnight. She dropped her keys on the counter and rubbed her aching neck. A migraine was burrowing its way through her skull. A light rain had started and she lifted her bedroom window to cool the room. There it was. A police cruiser parked on the curb directly below her apartment. She'd noticed it for the first time last week. It was the same car. She was being stalked. Her heart skipped a beat. She could feel the person sitting in the car looking up at her.

In a split decision, Rachel grabbed her gun and rushed out of her apartment. She exited the building with her weapon drawn just as the police cruiser was pulling away.

"What the fuck?" Rachel breathed tucking the gun away as onlookers stared at her in disbelief.

After cold shower and half a bottle of wine, Rachel lay awake on her bed. A sharpening sense of fear hummed in her mind. Who was after her? She had a horrifying sense that she knew the answer.

Dirk sat on the stool at Foster's bar downing house tequila and throwing back Coronas. The case was bending his mind as well. The pressure of seeing the disappointment in eyes of the citizens. The constant questions. The scores of flyers with the faces of the missing kids flooding the city, silently judging his failure to avenge them. It had driven him to drink. As if that wasn't enough, he was in love with his partner, Rachel.

A crush was like heart disease, it progressively got worse until... flat line. Crush. At what age did crushes cease to exist anyway? Maybe infatuation...no fixation...was a better word for what caused him to need to take a cold shower at the mere thought of Rachel after hours. Whatever it was he had it for Rachel the moment he'd laid eyes on her. She was beautiful, smart, feisty...and troubled. The perfect mix of crazy and unforgettable.

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