tagRomanceDeep in the Night Ch. 02

Deep in the Night Ch. 02

byKimMarie©

This is one chapter of a longer crime/romance story that is connected to the other parts. To fully appreciate the story, please start at Part 1 and read through. Thanks. .

Part 2 Agent Connor Meets Some Resentment

Jordan began with the photos. She was visually oriented and wanted to get a grasp of the scene before reading the files. The images spoke to her, presenting to her a moment of death and violence captured forever on the glossy paper. They were similar to so many others she had seen before, but unique in their own way.

Once she finished with the photos, she moved on to the autopsy reports. She finished with the deputies' reports, which she found impressive for a small force. They were thorough, detailed, and organized chronologically.

Nothing had been stolen from the victims' houses, nor had they been sexually assaulted.

Other items included bags of labeled evidence containing the victims' bloody clothing, underwear, shoes, hair samples, and carpet fibers.

Unfortunately, Shawnee lacked the funds (and the precedent) to allocate money toward sophisticated crime scene tests, such as DNA, chemistry, and toxicology. Nor did they have the specialized software to organize and analyze their data. Jordan would have to make do with the paperwork that she had before her and use the databases on her laptop when feasible.

She was beginning to develop an initial impression of Shawnee's slaughterer, however, something wasn't right and for the moment and Agent Jordan Conner couldn't put her finger on it.

She had been brought into the case earlier that day when Sheriff Hagan had come to Albuquerque where she was lecturing and asked her to help him with a bad case. Her job in the FBI was profiling and this crime was perfect for her. She did a lot of public speaking, but this was a chance to get back into fieldwork, which she found fascinating in an intellectual sort of way.

Meanwhile, across town at the El Rancho Taberna, New Mexico State Police detectives Gary Matthews and Casey Samson were each sipping a cold Budweiser and checking out the women who came into the bar. Casey trusted her partner and felt comfortable around him. He was a womanizer and had a new girlfriend every week. Casey didn't like the way he perceived women as objects, but she was comfortable enough to confess to him that she liked women as more than just friends. Gary had sort of suspected it for a long time since she never talked about men or seemed to go on dates with them.

He had tried on more than one occasion to fix her up with some of his buddies, but she always came up with some excuse why she couldn't keep the date. So he hadn't been surprised when she admitted her preferences one evening two years ago during a boring stake out. He had teased her about it for a while, hinting around about having a threesome, but he stopped when that got him nowhere. Casey was a good cop and he respected her skills.

A bond existed between them that had grown from their experience on the streets together and Casey seemed like a male buddy to him now. Her height and size made her almost as strong as a man and Gary knew he could depend on her, so her personal choices were not a problem for him.

Now, as Garth Brooks sang about low places and whiskey on the jukebox, they ordered a second draft.

Casey turned to Gary with a mischievous grin on her face, "Hey partner, what did you think of that gorgeous Fed?"

He gulped his brew and sputtered, "Hell, that bitch wouldn't give you the time of day!" He recalled the rebuff that had occurred that afternoon when the agent wasn't enthralled with him.

Casey laughed in his face, "What's the matter, did poor Gary get his ego crushed?"

Gary retorted, "Listen, that woman doesn't know a good thing when she sees it."

Casey was still laughing when she answered, "Yeah, but you got to admit, she looked VERY nice. I'll bet she looks even better under that suit."

Gary scoffed, "You'll never know. She only bats one way."

"And how would you know?" Casey was indignant.

"Just look at her." Gary argued, "Besides, if she didn't even look at me, what makes you think she'll like you?"

"Gary, you are a conceited bastard. Maybe she didn't look at you because she likes women."

Gary dismissed Casey's statement, "She don't like nobody."

Casey leaned in closer to him, "Are you up for a little wager, partner?"

"The winner is...whoever sleeps with her first."

Gary slammed down his beer, "Bring it on, partner. This will be a heroic conquest! I'll fill you in on all the intimate details." He seemed almost jubilant.

"Don't be so arrogant." Casey corrected him. "With the way you two started, you don't have a chance."

"That's all going to change when I turn on my charm. She won't be able to resist me." He suddenly feigned concern, "It doesn't seem fair for you, though."

"You just make sure you have the cash ready to pay me." Casey replied confidently. "I am the one who will be bragging to you about all the luscious details!"

They downed the rest of their beers and finished with a shot of Captain Morgan, toasting to the challenge of the bet before calling it a night. The sheriff had told them earlier that tomorrow they would be starting a job for Jordan. She wanted the 2000 census for Shawnee to establish a database to obtain as many statistics as possible for every male over 16 years of age. They were less than thrilled about a deluge of paperwork or working for a smart-ass pretty FBI agent.

It was nearly 11:00 p.m. when Jordan finished her initial profile of Shawnee's killer. Reclining in her chair, she rubbed the back of her neck. Her stomach reminded her that she hadn't eaten since the banana on her drive from Albuquerque. Jordan had a one-track mind and when she was involved with a case, she devoted all of her energy to it, often skipping meals and losing track of time. She packed up her laptop and straightened up the files, wondering if she would have to resort to fast food at the late hour.

A deputy was sitting in Sarah's chair with his feet propped up on the desk. "Good evening Ma'am." He nodded to Jordan as she was locking the office behind her.

"Know of anywhere to eat this time of night?" she asked him.

"Diner's right across the street. Open twenty-four hours. Tell them Dale sent you."

"Thanks. I suppose the Sheriff went home?"

"Yeah, long ago. But, he told me to call him when you finished."

"No need to call, if he comes in before me tomorrow morning, tell him I will brief him on what I have when I arrive." Jordan instructed him.

"Will do. You have a good night, Agent Connor."

Jordan tossed her laptop into the BMW and crossed over to the diner. She walked in and was met with the usual stares. There were only two booths occupied, but Jordan walked to the right and sat at the last booth with her back to the wall. That way she could have a view of the entire restaurant and it satisfied that old law enforcement rule, never sit with your back to the door.

A gum chewing fake blonde with far too much makeup, sauntered over and asked, "What'll ya have, sugar?"

"Coffee and the grilled chicken Caesar salad."

The blonde returned shortly with the coffee and placed it in front of Jordan. She didn't seem in any hurry to leave Jordan's table, especially since they weren't busy.

She bent close to Jordan and almost in a whisper asked, "You're that secret FBI agent, aren't ya? You here to catch that psycho killer?"

Jordan motioned for the waitress to come closer.

As the blonde leaned in, Jordan whispered back, "I'll let you in on a secret. I'm really here to investigate aliens."

Her eyes grew wide and her mouth fell open. She looked around her very seriously and replied, still whispering, "You know, I've been hearing stuff about that Raven being an alien. I didn't believe it until now." Straightening back up, she continued, "Well shit, I knew there was something weird about that mystery woman."

Jordan was trying to suppress a chuckle because in this part of the country aliens were definitely believable. Roswell was only a couple hundred miles away.

A gruff male voice growled from the kitchen, "Dammit woman! Quit your yapping and get your butt over here and pick up!"

She sighed, yelling back, "Why don't you just shut the hell up, Eddie! I've been on my feet all day. We're talking aliens here. I don't want to put up with your shit!"

Jordan laughed to herself as the woman sashayed to the kitchen. Her curiosity was also stirred. Why was Raven such a mystery? She was the owner of the motel where the Sheriff had booked her room and he seemed to like her.

The waitress returned with Jordan's salad, "By the way, I'm Sherie. Give a holler if you need anything."

Jordan watched as Sherie chatted in hushed tones to the patrons in the other booth. She glanced at her watch and wished there was a way to time how fast a new rumor could be spread. She wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow's edition of the paper carried the headlines, X-files Case Opened in Shawnee. She looked down at her salad; the lettuce was turning brown, oh well.

Jordan walked back to her BMW in the Sheriff's lot and drove it three blocks to the Shawnee Inn. It was a small motel, with about 30 rooms all single stories arranged in an open square around a large attractive landscaped swimming pool.

The pool was a huge draw for a motel in a town with no tourism. Tired, hot drivers stopped when they saw it, cutting short the trip to Albuquerque. The townspeople could pay a dollar to swim all day. At midnight, it was now closed, but was a refreshing scene with its green underwater lights.

Jordan drove past it to a small lot between the pool and the inn and backed into a space in front of #7. She popped the trunk and unloaded her bags into the room. It was small, but neat and clean with its two double beds, a wooden bureau, a table with four chairs and a small refrigerator and microwave.

Peeling off her clothes, she laid her gun belt on the bedside table. She plugged a charger into the wall and checked her voice mail before connecting the charger to her cell phone. Her secretary had cleared her schedule for the next week, her supervisor had ordered her to check in more often and her best friend, Taylor, was wondering why she hadn't called. It's too late to call her now, Jordan thought, yawning, it would be even later on the east coast.

She stepped into the shower and let the hot water hit her neck and shoulders. That felt soooo good. She was glad that Raven woman had put in the fancy showerheads with five settings. She took the small bottle of shampoo and noticed it was L'Occitane brand. Ummmm, that was unusual to find that high a grade of toiletry in a highway motel.

She lathered up her shoulder length thick hair and put some between her legs as well. The shower accessories included a big loofa, which Jordan also lathered up with the separate bottle of L'Occitane body wash. The scent of the soap was wonderful and she thoroughly covered her trim athletic body with the lovely fragrant sudsy concoction.

She was feeling better now after the long day sitting a desk. She reached up to the shower ceiling and then down to her toes. Her mid-sized breasts hardly moved as she stretched. They were so firm she really didn't need to wear a bra in normal situations except to cover her prominent nipples, which would show unless she wore extra material.

She rinsed off and grabbed for a towel. It was unusually large, thick and soft. Again, a high-quality item in strange contrast to the motel's overall perception of a well kept, but aging property. Jordan wondered if every room was like this.

She changed into a sleeping T and shorts and tucked herself into the bed. The mattress was firm, but soft, great for her tired back. The sheets and blanket were soft and not scratchy at all. Probably a high thread count. More quality here too. In the comfort of some small luxuries in the middle of the high plains, she quickly fell asleep.

***

Jordan was at the Sheriff's office by 8 a.m.

Sarah was bright and cheerful as ever, "Good Morning, Jordan. Sheriff Hagan wanted me to let know that they are all over at the diner."

"Thanks, Sarah."

Jordan walked across Main Street and entered the bustling diner. Clanging silverware and loud chatter greeted her ears as waitresses hurried past with plates heaped with hot eggs, bacon, sausage and home fries. Hagan spotted Jordan and called to her. Between the day shift deputies and the two detectives, they occupied three booths. Jordan squeezed in across from Hagan.

"Howdy Jordan. How was your night?" Hagan inquired.

"Fine." Jordan answered, flipping her chestnut colored hair off of her face, an act that caught all their attention.

Hagan tried to read Jordan's face to see if her expression belied her findings from yesterday's activities, but her look was void of emotion.

He decided to come right out and ask her, "So, Jordan, what have you found?" Just then a redheaded waitress arrived, balancing three plates of food on each arm.

Jordan waited until she finished serving everyone. As the waitress was leaving Jordan looked thoughtful and kept her voice low, "I have a theory, but I am not convinced. This one is bizarre. There is something about the murders which is strange. There is more to this case then what the scenes are revealing." She asked the waitress over, "Can you please bring me some coffee and a toasted bagel?"

The deputies were chowing down and Jordan continued with her voice quiet, "I'd like to bring the task force together for a briefing. I can explain my theory and get everyone's input. Then we can execute a plan for catching him."

Gary overheard. He snickered quietly at another booth as they listened to Jordan's choice of words and mouthed to his partner, "Damn Feds."

Casey just shrugged. She was attracted to Jordan and she didn't share Gary's attitude of "love 'em and leave 'em."

Then she turned angry at Gary's next statement; he looked over at Jordan and announced, "I think your plan is excellent, babe."

Jordan shot him a bored look and replied to him sarcastically, "Do you detective? I'm soooooo glad I have your approval. And my name is Agent Connor, not babe."

Casey smiled to herself at Jordan's comment, silently thinking, you go girl! While Gary may have thought of her as nothing more than a conquest, Casey saw other possibilities. Jordan was different from other women she had known or had picked up in the lesbian bars in Albuquerque. She was intelligent, confident and shrewd; no doubt she could be tough when she needed to be. But, she was also classy and feminine and Casey thought she was extraordinarily sexy.

This morning especially. Jordan wore a blazer with a matching skirt that ended just above her knees. The skirt rode up her thigh when she had sat down and had a slit open on the side; Casey had a first hand view of the exposed thigh from across the aisle. She imagined what it would be like to touch Jordan's firm, smooth leg.

Most of the night Casey spent tossing and turning in her motel room wondering how she was going to get Jordan to go out with her. She had to assume the worst case scenario – that Jordan was straight. Casey wanted to play it cool and not screw things up. She took the bet seriously and was determined to win and more. Maybe, by some miracle, she could actually get the attention of the gorgeous agent.

Jordan poured some cream in her coffee and spread raspberry jelly on her bagel. She switched the conversation to a lighter topic and before taking a bite of the crisp bagel, asked Hagan, "So what is the story with this mystery woman, Raven?"

"Didn't you meet her last night?" Hagan responded after swallowing his eggs.

"No, I finished late."

"Well, it's just that no one knows anything about her so she is the great mystery of Shawnee."

Jordan surmised, "But, I thought everybody knew everyone else's business around here?"

Hagan laughed, "This is true. But, Raven is an exception. She came to Shawnee, oh, about 4 years ago. That right, Jimmy?

"That's' what they say," said Jimmy. "She ended up buying the motel from the old couple that were retiring. Put the swimming pool in front. She doesn't talk about her past or her personal life, so folks in town are always speculating 'bout who she is. They made her out to be everything from a witch to a fugitive from the law to a victim of alien abduction. They even say she's been seen in porn movies."

Hagan shook his head, "It is amazing what people will come up with." The more Jordan heard about Raven, the more she was intrigued with her.

Later that morning, Jordan was posting the images of the three victims onto the corkboards in the conference room. The sheriff went about rounding up his deputies and the two detectives. Sarah hovered around, busying herself with brewing coffee.

Once the team was assembled, Hagan addressed them, "Good morning, again. As you should already know, Agent Jordan Connor is heading up this investigation and will assist us in finding whoever did these killings."

He noticed a scowl on Gary Matthews face. He continued, "She is briefing us this morning on the killer's profile and where we will go from here. Please give her your full attention."

He nodded in the agent's direction, "Jordan." Jordan stood up and walked over to the corkboards at one end of the conference table.

She began, "Gentlemen...," glancing at Casey and Sarah, who unobtrusively seated herself off to the side, she added, "...and ladies. I don't need to remind you that Shawnee is no longer immune to violent crime. Three victims are the affirmation of that tragic edict."

She went on, "At the request of Sheriff Hagan, I agreed to assist with this investigation and after studying the case files, and I have devised a preliminary profile."

Jordan paused before delving into the crux of her presentation. "Undoubtedly, we are dealing with serial murders. Each victim was alone in her house at the time of the murder and suffered multiple knife wounds; the same weapon was used in each case. The killer entered their residences deep in the night, which indicates to me that he knew the victims were alone. He must have done his homework; he picked them personally and knew their habits, so he must have been stalking them."

Jordan referred to the photos, "Here is the strange component; according to the autopsy reports none of the knife wounds were fatal. They were shallow and failed to strike the vital organs. If anything, the wounds were more of a slashing pattern rather than stabs. That explains the splattering on the walls and furniture. The cause of death was exsanguination. That is, the victims bled profusely, went into shock and died from severe hemorrhage as evidenced by the large volume of pooled blood."

She paused a moment, then went on, "This is very different from previous knife murders I have encountered. Usually, the killer plunges deep into the victim's chest and head thereby venting his rage with each strike. The lungs are usually pierced, as may be the heart and brain, causing grave damage. At any rate, the savagery of murders of this type always indicates a hidden anger.

Our killer is angry at women and I would venture to say his mother abused him when he was a child. But the shallow wounds would suggest that he is not trying to explicitly murder them, just make them suffer."

Gary interrupted her, "So, what, has he got a guilt complex about killing people?"

"I doubt it. Most serial killers believe life has dealt them a bitter blow and their behavior is justified. So, on a subconscious level, they don't perceive their actions as being wrong or immoral. Getting back to the victims, I don't think our killer intended for them to be murdered by the slashings, which is where the puzzle comes in."

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