In the BAU they didn’t give serial killers cute nicknames – that was the business of the press – but if they had, this one would probably be That Bastard.
(Penelope, privately, called him The Creepy Bastard, and he deserved the name).
They were coming to the conclusion that the sick fucker – not all that sick, not in the scope of things they’d seen – might just be smarter than them. And that was a thing that was outside of their mythology. Serial killers, after all, had only themselves, and maybe, just maybe, a partner. They had the whole team, and all the resources of the FBI.
And then… the strangest of dead ends. They’d figured out his pattern, because he had one. They’d found him with the girl on a surveillance video. And then… gone.
They’d tracked him to the factory, though, and when they’d started scanning the ground, they’d found remains. That had led to some digging, and, on a whim, when the first set of remains – old ones, they couldn’t be the same guy’s work, they predated the freaking factory – was so close to the bedrock as to be sitting on it, Reid had them pull in more intense equipment and they scanned the bedrock.
Privately, Derek Morgan was muttering Idu Eperu to himself and hoping nobody overheard. There were some things FBI background checks just didn’t cover…
They found the victims first. And then, only a few feet away from the skeleton of a post-pubescent girl… a male skeleton. His head was between his feet, and there was something sticking into his heart. Wood, the radar operator thought.
Derek’s heart slowed. He swallowed, and checked out the expression on their resident – human – genius. He hadn’t put it together yet. Good.
“You have to wonder about his victims.” He flipped through the images on his tablet, moving ostentatiously and putting the tablet in Reid’s line of sight.
“‘His’ victims? Derek, these bodies go back for centuries. There’s no way they could be the work of one guy. The oldest documented human being only lived to be one hundred and twenty-two years old. Either the age of the factory is improperly documented, or we have the work of some sort of copy-cat killer or killers.”
“Or he faked the burials to make it look like they were placed before the factory was built.” Derek felt dirty. He was putting forth information that directly contradicted his own knowledge regarding the case. But his choices were limited.
Spencer was still frowning. Processing. “How did he get the bodies down there, anyway? Some of those bodies are embedded into the bedrock. And how are we going to get them out of there?”
“They can’t be in the bedrock. The radar has to be wrong.”
There was a reason Derek was in the BAU, a reason besides his profiling skill and his aim with a gun. Without steering, the BAU would have figured out the existence of the Ellehemaei – of the Nedetakaei- long ago.
So the bodies couldn’t be in the bedrock.
“And what’s this guy? All the vics are posed exactly the same. It’s almost ritualistic, especially if you look at how the bodies are grouped. They must have done some sort of map or paperwork. I wish the excavating team would move faster.” Spencer was pacing now, brushing his gloved fingers over everything in the sparsely-furnished space.
This, Derek could help with. He stretched his legs and looked around the room.
“He snatched them from nearby gas stations. He brought them here in that van, and he raped them.” He kicked at the sleeping bag. “This is a bachelor’s set-up, nothing fancy, no trappings of a temple or anything like that. This wasn’t the sort of space he expected to impress anyone – but it’s not set up to frighten them, either.”
He’d lost Spence. He glanced over at his teammate and suppressed a sigh. The genius was studying the body layout on the radar scans again. “Morgan, look at this.”
He’d drawn out the shape on a paper. Shapes, when you really peered at it.
“It’s almost like they’re letters.”
Derek’s heart tried to stop. Not almost like; they were letters.
“I feel like I’ve seen them before, somewhere in my mother’s books.”
Derek looked at the scans again. He was pretty sure he knew what that one was, the anomaly that messed up the pattern. The bastard had picked on the wrong girl, and she’d left him where all his old victims were.
“Okay.” He made a cursory search of the drawers – an old toolchest sat against one wall, near the second set of manacles. Most of the tools in there now didn’t bear thinking about, but there was an old notebook, scribbled in so long it was covered with notations.
Like the message written in bodies, it was all in Old Tongue.
Derek sighed. He had his loyalties. He had always had his loyalties, and if they’d changed over the years, well…
A fae’s first loyalty was to their crew.
“All right, so he’s trying to tell us something. Here’s his notebook; it’s written in the same thing, looks like. What can you do with it, genius?”
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