Gabriel - By T Lovell

Gabriel - By T Lovell Gabriel - By T Lovell

Status: Finished

Genre: Mystery and Crime

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Mystery and Crime

Summary

A story about morality and conflict set in London's East End.

Summary

A story about morality and conflict set in London's East End.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Gabriel - By T Lovell

Author Chapter Note

A story about morality and conflict set in London's East End.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: November 22, 2012

Reads: 395

Comments: 1

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: November 22, 2012

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Gabriel

 

Chapter One

‘Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings’.

He remembered thinking that, as he hugged Rachel for the last time and stoically fought back the flood of tears that raged in a torrent behind the dam of his lifeless eyes.

As he lay on his bed staring at the ceiling and cursing the ineffectiveness of the blackout blinds he listened to the sounds of the people passing by. Laughing, screaming, irate and crying and wondered what they thought about when they lay alone in their rooms.

Friendship had been his Achilles heel for as long as he could remember. He’d long since resigned himself to the fact that he was incapable of love and eluded himself into thinking that he could alienate friendship in the same way, but Rachel had spoiled that.

He could define her friendship in two words. Unconditional kindness. He drew solace from the fact that very few people he had known were capable of that and therefore friendship should now be easy to avoid.

It wasn’t that he didn’t like people. In spite of his attempts to portray the persona of an enigmatic misanthrope and extolling the virtues of solitude, he actually craved company. He loved an audience for his wit and ability to remember poignant quotations. He had revelled in the impressed looks but more so the laughter he was able to effortlessly impart upon his fellow beings. He had made it his mission to make Rachel’s days seem less exasperating as it was the only way that he could repay the kindness that she had shown him.  A lifeline from the mire of dullness that was their professional existence.

Now she had gone.

He resigned himself to the fact that he would never see her again and found comfort in the knowledge that he too had left the environment that had thrown them together and forged their friendship.

He had no way of knowing that their paths would cross again but under different circumstances.

He leaned across to his bed side cabinet and reached for his bottle of distilled damnation. It had been the only true constant in his life. Jack Daniels was a great guy. It gave him confidence, helped him to forget (or at least not care about) his past and put a rose tint on the world in general. It also convinced him that his scheme was viable. A true friend.

 

It was the perfect crime. Not victimless but the victims didn’t count. Truth be told he may even be hailed as a hero. Possibly even revered as a modern day Raskolnikov or Robin Hood for the un-enlightened. He smiled at his pseudo-intellectual snobbery. One more drink then time to put the plan into action. Too much time had been wasted on benevolence and now he could revert to type without embarrassing his repellent conscience. 

He got up and took his long black coat from behind the door. He returned to the bedside cabinet and opened the drawer. He looked at the air gun which was an exact replica of short recoil, 9mm Glock 17, picked it up and put it in his inside pocket.

He descended the stairs that he had played on with his brother as a child, smiling as he passed the photographs of his children, nephews, departed uncles and family outings when life was less complicated.

‘’I’m off out Ma. Don’t wait up. Double lock the door.’’

‘’Okay boy. Don’t get drunk. See you tomorrow.’’

Maybe.

“When you’re scared you’re not bored”.

A school ‘friend’ had imparted those words of wisdom many years before. He had never been able to resist a challenge. Boredom was his greatest adversary.

One thing was certain.

He wasn’t bored.

 

Chapter 2

Rachel read the letter again. Her deep chocolate coloured eyes were drawn to the line that said:

‘’The National Crime squad would like to request your professional input with an on-going investigation’’.

She smiled at the realisation that the years of study at Reading and subsequent PHD in Criminal Psychology were finally going to bear fruit. Those years in the wilderness earning money as opposed to following a career path were finally behind her and the banality of senseless phone calls and irritation were rapidly becoming a distant memory.

She felt a strong but tender hand placed on her shoulder as the other brushed back her sleek black hair and the soft caress of a tender kiss on her neck. She ran her hand through his thick, black hair and smiled.

‘’Cup of tea?’’ He asked nonchalantly; oblivious to her uncomfortable demeanour.

 ‘’Got one thanks”. She replied.  “Kettle has just boiled. ‘’

She paused. Trepidation filled her mind as she considered her next statement carefully; unsure of the response it would receive.

 Her husband, Mike, was a good man. Strong, dependable and kind with a dark sense of humour that she had been attracted to as soon as they had met. These attributes coupled with a masculine frame and handsome rugged face had ticked all the boxes. The fact that he was a serving Police officer with a strong sense of morality had been the icing on the cake so to speak. The only fault that she could recognise was his tendency to be a little too overprotective. This was the reason for her nervousness at choosing her next words.

She decided to take the easy option and give him the letter. She could enlist her skills in non-verbal communication to gauge his response before he made it and respond accordingly. She tried to avoid using her expertise with her family, but it had proven priceless on more than one occasion. Her children had learned very quickly that it was pointless trying to lie to their Mum. She always knew when they were up to no good.

‘’This came today.’’

She handed him the letter.

She watched his face and hands and noted that he raised his eyebrows very slightly when reading and momentarily closed his eyes before speaking. A sign that he was unhappy with the text and that he was trying to close out the information that he had just received. She also noticed that he moved his hand towards his mouth before he spoke in an effort to cover the lie about to come out of it.

This was why she didn’t like using her skills with her family. She felt like she was betraying their trust when reading them.

Then came the lie.

‘’That’s great’’. He said with little conviction... ‘’You’re finally going to get to do what you’re good at. I’ve heard about this case. Some psycho targeting drug dealers, pimps and paedo’s. Shoots them in the face then cuts their hearts out. Some of the boys think he’s doing us a favour. Cleaning up. Still…Can’t have some Charles Bronson wannabee running around out there can we? When do you start?

He moved across the kitchen to re-boil the already boiled kettle which she recognised as his attempt to avoid eye contact.

‘’Monday morning. It’s mainly office based. No field work as far as I know.’’

She hoped the last sentence would alleviate his anxiety and sincerely hoped that his displeasure at her appointment was purely based on his protective instincts.

They had never been equals. He had always been the alpha with a career. She had always been a Mum with a job.

‘’We’d better go out and celebrate tonight then’’. He turned and forced a smile. ‘’ I’ll book us a table at that Mexican place we like. You phone your Mum and ask her to look after the kids. I’m going for a shower’’

‘’Okay.” She replied compliantly. “I’ll give her call after breakfast’’.

He left the kitchen before the kettle switched off, nonchalantly putting the unused cup back in the cupboard.

He is a good man she thought and then remembered that she didn’t like Mexican food and only ever had salad when they went there.

She read the letter again.

Chapter 3

The killer looked at the lifeless body slumped three feet in front of him. This had been his most rewarding kill to date. A wry smile creased his face as he enjoyed the irony of grooming this paedophile for five weeks in the way that it had lured its innocent victims into its heinous world of degradation in order to fulfil its own wicked needs.

Finding it on a chat room had proven easy but  the subsequent on line friendship that had developed with Toby – a fourteen year old lad who had taken a shine to his cyber bait - Amy, had been a bit awkward. The killer had perfected his 13 year old girl vocabulary and ‘’Cul8r, btw ,wtf and hak ‘’ had all served to enhance the illusion but unfortunately Toby had shared a penchant with Amy for JLS, Justin Bieber and One Direction, which had proved problematic as the killer was more of a Rolling Stones type of guy.

The killer had tried to convince himself that by chatting to Toby he was enhancing his credibility as a thirteen year old girl with the paedophile fraternity but the truth was that he just didn’t have the heart to dump him on line. Who knew what that would do to the kid? It could turn him into a psycho or something.

Fortunately Toby had found a girlfriend and she had become jealous of his on line chats with Amy and so the young man did the honourable thing and told Amy that they would have to end their chats. A fortuitous turn of events. The killer wasn’t convinced that he was a good role model for the boy anyway.

However; the Amy ruse had lured his intended prey to their current location and culminated in the scene currently unfolding.

The killing had begun by accident. The first victim hadn’t been planned. It had started just like the early robberies. Drug dealers had been the perfect prey. They enjoyed dark, secluded places, always carried plenty of cash and were not about to report their misfortune to the local constabulary.

‘’Officer. Some guy has just held me up at gun point and stolen all my drug money’’

He smiled as he thought of a chubby desk Sargent taking down the particulars and offering victim support.

 This victim certainly wouldn’t be making an official complaint.

The killer’s modus operandi had remained the same throughout the initial six robberies. There had been no need to deviate as they had all gone well and the money had been rolling in. He hadn’t legislated for number seven having the nerve to believe that a six inch commando knife was a match for his, albeit fake, 9mm Glock 17. The air pellet in the eye had given him a taste for that form of dispatch and using the knife on its owner had been the logical progression in the subsequent course of events.  He had been surprised at the lack of remorse that he had felt and the ensuing adulation at discovering a real Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol and copious amounts of ammunition in the dealer’s back pack had made it a good night’s work.

His phone vibrated in his pocket signifying that enough time had elapsed. The incisions he had made post mortem into to carotid artery and pulmonary vein would ensure that there would be little blood flow to the heart and render the final piece of his art work a far less messy affair. He set about his task having perfected his skill with his previous victims and thus reducing the time needed to complete his mission.

‘’You won’t be needing this where you’re going’’ he said quietly under his breathe and then grimaced at his own triteness as he completed his undertaking.

He placed the still tepid heart into the right hand of the monster as he had done on several previous occasions and stood back to admire his latest creation. He recalled a quote by his favourite philosopher:

‘’Who so ever battles with monsters had best ensure that it does not turn him into a monster, for if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will surely gaze back into you.’’

Was he a monster?

 No.

 His conscience was clear and the Toby’s and Amy’s were safer than they had been yesterday.

He smiled, turned his collar up and walked away.

Chapter 4

Rachel pushed the ‘End call’ button on her phone and looked at her husband across the kitchen table.

‘’They want me to attend a crime scene’’ she said, feeling disassociated from the words that she had just uttered. A surreal feeling engulfed her which she perceived to be her minds way of isolating her from the enormity of the task that she had just agreed to undertake.

Presenting her psychological profile of the killer to the task force which had been established to apprehend the killer had been challenging enough. The undertones of dissent from the hardened police officers that had been assembled to listen to her, and murmurs of ‘’what are we …The fuckin FBI now? ‘’ and ‘’Heads up…here comes Miss Marple’’ muttered under coarse, cigarette and alcohol tarnished breaths had all been disconcerting, but she had overcome that and presented her profile.

Even her appearance on a national television crime prevention programme asking for witnesses had been less terrifying than she had expected it to be, but this was different. She had never seen a corpse, especially one which had been mutilated.

Mike put down his cup, turned the page of his newspaper and spoke without looking up.

‘’Don’t do it if you don’t want to. No field work. Remember?’’

She felt angered by his dismissive tone but questioned the motives for her anger. He was only being protective. Shielding her from the horrors of the reality that he lived with on a daily basis. She felt guilt at the thought of her recent prominence overshadowing his graduation to the elite CO19 special firearms unit. After eight weeks of gruelling training he had qualified at the top of his squad with a previously unknown 98% accuracy score rate and was being hailed as one of the best of the best. His accomplishments had been virtually overlooked by their friends and family as she had received all the plaudits for her new found fame as the first British criminal profiler to be retained by the Met. The TV appearance had also made supermarket trips unbearable.

‘’Yes that was me’’ she had found herself saying with alarming regularity whilst engaged in the unglamorous task of food shopping. She was convinced that Posh and Becks had people to go to Tescos for them.

‘’I have to’’ she replied. ‘’They say that it’s imperative that I see this one first hand. He’s changed his victimology and they need me to establish if this is his work or some kind of random copycat killing. God knows where that could lead to.’’

‘’Do you want me to drive you?’’

‘’No; it’s okay. They’re sending a car to pick me up. I don’t think I’ll be long’’.

‘Okay.  I’ll get a take away for me and the kids’’. He still hadn’t looked up from the newspaper.

The doorbell rang, breaking the uneasy silence and Rachel hurried to answer it.

‘’I’m off then…bye’’

‘’See you later.’’

No kiss, just a hurried exit.

Chapter 5

The journey from South to East London was at best, time consuming and even with the assistance of blue flashing lights and a siren it had taken almost thirty minutes to get to the scene.

‘’Apparently the body is over there Ma’am’’. Said Detective Constable Greg Hodgeson, pointing to a clearing visible through a thicket of bushes.

He was a junior member of the task force and had been assigned as Rachel’s chauffeur for the evening, and was not particularly enamoured with the task.  He - like a growing proportion of his colleagues, was not completely sure that catching a serial killer that was systematically ridding the capital of ‘scum’ was a valuable use of police resources and that paying a psychiatrist ‘’or whatever this bird is’’, was the best use of the money saved by overtime cutbacks.

Rachel walked gingerly towards the opening in the clump of trees that sat back from the winding tarmac path.

Victoria Park was generally a busy place connecting the parishes of Bow and Bethnal Green but the inclement winter weather had reduced its patronage and offered an almost rural tranquillity in the midst of the East End’s urban chaos.

This particular scene however was a hive of activity with uniformed and plain clothes police officers jostling for a glimpse of the carnage behind the blue and white tape. Copious, white paper suited forensics experts went about their toil in earnest and tried to disguise their feelings of revulsion.

‘’This way Ma’am’’. Said an ashen faced scene of crime officer as he guided Rachel through the entrance in the bushes and ensuing mayhem. She had tried to brace herself for the horror that she was about to witness whilst being driven to the park, but was unprepared for the sight that greeted her in the clearing.

‘’We initially thought it was his work’’ said the SOCO. ‘’ A single gunshot to the right eye. Entry and exit wounds concurrent with a .22 calibre semi-automatic pistol. The main vein and artery have been severed post mortem ensuring minimum blood splatter. Following that the heart has been removed and placed in the victim’s right hand. The thing that we don’t understand is the significance of the dog and the random nature of the attack.”

She found herself transfixed on the macabre scene before her. The victim was a large, heavily tattooed white male with a shaven head, several facial scars and a Swastika earing. At his feet, looking almost as if it had been posed was the body of a Staffordshire bull terrier that looked to all intents and purposes as if it had been savagely beaten to death.

‘’It’s not his style’’ said the SOCO. ’’An indiscriminate victim in a public place in the early hours of the evening. He’s usually clinical. Nobody has ever seen him. Anyone could have chanced upon this. He must have sat here for at least ten minutes waiting for the body to bleed out before removing the heart. And what’s the deal with the dog?’’

Rachel composed herself and fought back the feeling of nausea welling up inside her. She could not understand why she felt more sympathy for the dog than she did for the man.

‘’Has anyone searched the body? She asked.

‘’Not yet Ma’am. We were told not to touch it in case you needed to see it in situ.”

She was beginning to become tired of being called Ma’am but was unsure of the protocol so decided not to react.

Had the dog been beaten to death while trying to protect its owner? That made no sense. Shoot the dog then shoot the man or vice versa. Why beat it to death and give the victim time to retaliate or flee? She briefly examined the dog’s mouth and could find no indication that it had defended itself or its master which it surely would have done given the circumstances of their demise.

She took a breath in order that her voice would appear calm and collected.

“Could we search the body please? I need to establish if a robbery has taken place and to get this man identified.”

The SOCO’s set to work and almost immediately called for her attention.

‘’Ma’am. You need to see this’’.

She walked over to the scene and knelt beside the body. Placed inside the recently vacated, open chest cavity was a clear plastic bag, and inside the bag was a blood-stained note.

It was addressed to her.

Chapter 6

Rachel studied the note.

The forensics department had been unable to acquire any evidence of finger prints or DNA and the only information they had managed to gather came from the clear plastic bag which had contained the residue of powered cocaine.

This was also discovered in the victim’s hair during the autopsy along with evidence of sustained alcohol and MDMA usage. It also transpired that his fists and boots were contaminated with blood and DNA from the dog.

This evidence at least validated part of the contents of the note. 

A handwriting specialist had offered a profile of the author, stating that he believed the subject to be of slightly higher than average intelligence, bordering on an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and remorseful. This mirrored Rachel’s profile apart from the remorseful observation. None of his crimes had suggested that their perpetrator had experienced any feelings of penitence for his actions.

She could feel the hairs on the back of her neck rise and a cold feeling of dread filled her as she read the note again, this time aloud to herself in the dingy office that she had been allocated.

‘’Hello Rachel.

So…..

I may have made a mistake here. In my defence I did ask him to stop beating that poor dog but he just refused to comply. My quandary now is that I have exacted vengeance upon this man because he killed a dog. The others deserved it. Removing them from the gene pool was a necessity to preserve its purity but this does not feel right.

My main concern is whether I will know where to draw the line. Does a lousy mother smacking her kid in Morrison’s constitute a heartless act and warrant my special form of retribution?  I guess I won’t know until it happens - and that’s what troubles me.

The problem is that I can’t stop. I need this to make my existence meaningful.

That’s where you come in. I saw you on TV. I think this could help us both. You can catch me and receive the plaudits and I can stop before I make a bigger mistake.

I haven’t finished my work yet and so I can’t give you too much but his note should set you on the right path and maybe give you a bit of a clue to my identity.

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evil doer; Nothing more difficult than understanding him”.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (I think)

Always did like a good quote.

I don’t know if I need to be understood. I’m not sure if that would serve any purpose. I do know that I need to be stopped.

Oh dear!’’.

She placed the note on the desk and leaned back in her chair. Habitually, she rubbed her eyes and twisted her long black hair over her left shoulder. Nothing in the note gave any indication as to the killer’s identity, and numerous other people that had read it had dismissed it as worthless.

Some of her colleagues had suggested that it was a copycat killer desperate for some form of macabre recognition by feeding on the true killer’s notoriety to fulfil their twisted needs. Details of the vigilante slayings had been selling newspapers for months.

Others had suggested that the killing had been revenge or drug related. They suspected that the mutilation and note had been some form of ruse, designed to fool the police into thinking it was ‘’our boy’’ and not to peruse any further investigations into the victims shady past activities.

The police had however completed their inquiries and the dog owner’s history was unravelling into an unpleasant saga of robbery, violence and drug abuse although, not in the same league as the killer’s previous victims.

Rachel had listened intently to these and other theories but had remained distant and unwilling to commit herself to the validity of the note. She had told her colleagues that she needed more time to study its contents and adjust her profile accordingly.

This was a lie. She did not need to amend her profile or undertake any further of the study the note. The first reading had been enough.

She knew the Killer.

Chapter 7

The killer had recognised her instantly.

They had sat opposite each other for over three years and amidst the banality of their professional existence they had shared numerous episodes of laughter. She had listened to his tales of anguish, imparted warm hearted advice, hidden her boredom during his moments of moroseness and shown him the unselfish kindness that he had rarely, if ever, known from another.

Her appearance on national television had taken him by surprise as he had severed all contact with her shortly after they had said their final goodbye, and had no knowledge of her new life.

‘’Time does not heal. It forms scars over open wounds that make them easier to bear”.

Another quote he’d read somewhere. His mind was awash with them. He felt sure that he generally got them wrong and added morsels of his own inferior thoughts to the works of the good and the great but it didn’t matter. Others could not judge their accuracy because nobody heard them now. They were his, in his mind, and no longer intended for anyone else. By obliterating the memory of the people that he had cared about, he had protected the scar tissue. He had vowed to himself that he would never again allow anyone to inflict the wounds of lost friendship or unrequited love upon him.

To that end at least he had been successful.

He had been visiting his parents and they had all been watching the TV together as was customary on his visits. His new found affluence had afforded him the luxury of renting a fifty foot, purpose built house boat on the Medway River. His beloved black motorcycle ensured that he could visit his parents a couple of times a week but with the reassurance that he was only twenty minutes away from the serenity of his new home and it’s opulent panoramic views. 

The exhilaration of speed on his bike was surpassed only by one thing. Fulfilling his destiny.

He had watched Rachel as she asked for information on a dangerous serial killer whilst assuring the viewers that there was no need to be alarmed, as his victims appeared to be selected solely from the criminal fraternity. ‘’The general public,’’ she had reiterated ‘’do not appear to be his target’’.

He would have preferred it if she had said ‘prey’.

‘’I reckon they should just let him get on with it. At least he’s got the bollocks to do something. No one’s gonna miss those shit bags anyway. It’s like the old days when the twins ran the East End. They never hurt normal people either. They should give him a fuckin medal, not try to nick him!’’.

The irony of his father’s endorsement of his actions disorientated him. His Dad had never been one for any outward showing of emotion or approval and this ratification of his current undertaking had been a revelation. The highest affirmation he had received in the past had been ‘’Well done boy, but…’’

For a split second he’d actually considered telling his Dad the truth but then the lies about his new found wealth from his imaginary new career and the subsequent gifts bestowed upon his loved ones would also come into question. Killing and Ill-gotten gain would not sit well with his Mum and besides, he’d worked hard at creating the illusion. He disliked the deceit but had to maintain it to protect the people that he cared about. The only moral conflict he had felt the discomfort of contending with.

As he watched Rachel he wished that she would laugh or at least smile. That was how he remembered her. ‘ Not really appropriate’ he thought and smiled as he knew that she would find the comic irony of her giggling through her grave presentation as funny as he would. Stifling laughter was something they had become adept at as they had enjoyed the priceless, comic value of their hapless colleagues, the abject triviality of their daily endeavours and the axioms and catchphrases (So….and Oh dear!) that only they had shared.

As he watched her, the thoughts that had troubled him when they had worked together returned. Where is the divide between love and friendship? He was not sure that he was even capable of feeling love for another adult. Not anymore. All he could really measure was the correlation between the agonies that he had felt when previous loves had left and the pain that he had felt at the moment of her departure. He had drawn solace in the knowledge that his confused feelings had never been reciprocated or mentioned by him in sobriety and that she had not felt the same hurt at their parting.  He wasn’t exactly her type but more importantly he would have hated for her to feel the same pain.

He needed to clear his head and exorcise these aching recollections.

He stood up and made his usual ‘Got to go, early start tomorrow’ excuse. He kissed his Mother and said bye to his Dad with the usual pat on the shoulder. That was acceptable.

It was early evening and he had decided that a stroll through one of the places he had favoured as achild would help to clear his head. A place full of happy memories and that was untainted by the blemish of remorse, anger and failure. It was a short journey from his parent’s house to Victoria Park and upon arriving he parked his bike under a tree, lit a cigarette, and set off along the winding tarmac path that meandered aimlessly through the cloak of bushes and trees.

The sun was beginning to set and the vibrant colours shimmered through the leaves as the birds sang their melodic evensong. He wondered how the different shades of red and green looked to non-colour blind people. He even wondered if he was the lucky one and that he could derive more pleasure from nature’s aesthetic beauty than the normal people. Maybe he was unique. He doubted that. The park was almost empty and he could feel the winter chill and crisp freshness against his skin. He tilted his head back and took a deep breath in the hope that the oxygen would purify his soul and rid him of the sadness.

Then he heard the shouting and the pitiful whelp of a dog.

Chapter 8

Almost five months had elapsed since she had received the blood stained note. There had also been another five murders. The pressure had been mounting for a conviction as the authorities were uncomfortable with the media coverage overshadowing the pomp and circumstance of the jubilee celebrations and imminent Olympic festivities. Orders from on high to supress information to the leeches from the tabloids had only served to increase their hunger and things were becoming very uncomfortable.

By far the biggest problem had been the necessity to reiterate the criminalisation of these heinous crimes, as public opinion was now firmly in favour of the vigilante who was systematically ridding society of the poisonous denizens that lurked in the dark and preyed upon the weak. She had even questioned her own motives for seeking to capture their assassin.

She had laboured over her conflict of morals but had managed to convince herself – albeit without total conviction, that murder of any kind was a criminal act and reprehensible, regardless of the immorality of the victim; but as she stood here, gazing at the ink-like water, engulfed in the serenity of calmness, she felt the burden of motive weigh heavily upon her once again.

Apprehending this criminal and ending his violent spree of human desecration was paramount and her own belief that what he was doing was in fact justified, could not impede that.  More than that had been the belief that her prime suspect had been her friend and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, she could not accept that he could be capable of such atrocities. The facts however did not support her belief. Months of covert investigations had led her to this place. An endless number of dead ends. The problematic interviewing of their ex-colleagues and ultimate subterfuge in extracting information from his family had caused her to question her motives on countless occasions. The constant, niggling doubt of “What if I am wrong?”

She considered the evidence again. 

He had all but disappeared from society and severed ties with everyone he had known.  He had no passport or current driving licence and there was no record of any national insurance contributions having been made for over a year. He was not on the electoral register nor registered unemployed. No medical records existed after 2008 and he had no bank accounts, debts or had made any card purchases since leaving his previous employment. His parents had given her an address in the Medway towns and told her he was driving for a living but neither of these facts had proven to be true. Why would he lie to them? Even his children only visited at his parents and believed that he lived at the false address. Their lives were too full to consider the living arrangements of their estranged father. He had become a ghost and most importantly, the note was almost certainly from him. Almost certainly.

The obvious course of action would have been to have informed her superiors of her suspicions and had surveillance placed on his parents’ house but that would have implicated him. What if she was wrong? She would be subjecting a good, kind man to the kind of media frenzy that had destroyed many innocents, suspected of crimes that they had not committed. She was all too aware that a feeling of desperation was running through the police and a conviction was desperately being sought. This had to go away. Perhaps anyone would do. What if she was wrong?

But then there was the note. To her, from him. His words.

It had to be him.

And so here she was. Alone.  Standing at the end of a marina gazing at the Medway River as the reflection of the stars danced across the surface of the water, about to confront the man she suspected of being the most prolific serial killer in modern history. A man that she had once called her friend. A man that she knew had once harboured feelings for her but had never disclosed them for fear of damaging their friendship. A good, kind man.

His boat had been easy to find. Even in the darkness, the polished deck shone in the moonlight, and the dulcet tones of Claude Debussy drifted on the breeze complimenting the quietude of a perfect evening. She walked up the platform to the deck and immediately noticed that the door was ajar. Before she could knock she heard his voice.

“Come in Rachel. I’ve been expecting you.”

Chapter 9

“I’m pleased that you came alone. I rather hoped you would. I was dreading a Tarantino style shoot out. I expect you have some questions. This is a rather nice 1980 Californian Merlot. I’ve developed a taste for colonial wine. The French are so snobby about their Vin Rouge and the Italians should just stick to White. Would you like some?”

He gestured to a half full bottle and leaned forward to reach for a crystal wine glass placed on a smoked glass coffee table, positioned to the right of a large Chesterfield armchair. She nodded and as she looked around the room Rachel noticed the minimalist decoration was punctuated with prints of fine art and photographs of his family. Numerous framed poems and quotations adorned the walls and in contrast a number of film posters and framed comics. She thought it strange that were no books but spotted several e-readers discarded haphazardly around the room. In pride of place were an expensive music system and several monitors. The largest screen displayed CCTV images of numerous angles of the marina. In the corner was a life size statue of Spiderman with a coat and desert scarf hanging on it. It was also sporting a bowler hat.

“When it’s dark I like to sit on the deck and look at the river. It’s not quite the same as being at sea but its tidal here and probably as beautiful. I expect I’ll eventually go the same way as Hemmingway’s Marlin but I’m hoping you’ll protect me from the sharks. I don’t think they’ll take too kindly to my joining them. I suppose we all need to do something worthwhile with our lives. At least in our own minds anyway. Kill bad people to protect the good… Catch killers. We all have our role to play. All the worlds a stage; that sort of thing. I won’t bore you with another quote.”

Rachel looked at him in horror. Her worst fears had been realised. She had found the monster, and the monster was not evil. She fought back a tear of pity and forced the only word that she was able to utter

 “Why?”

“I don’t think I ever had a choice really. I’ve always subscribed to the nurture vs. nature debate but I guess I’m the exception to the rule. You always said I was unique. There was no reason why I should end up like this and so it seems that I was just born evil. I can’t think of any other explanation for my actions. I felt the need to do something worthwhile.  I decided that it would be best to inflict my inherent cruelty on those that deserve it rather than the poor souls that generally end up as victims. I’ve always dreaded ending my days without having achieved anything to help people and bring happiness into the lives of the unfortunate. I considered buying an ice cream van but settled on becoming a psychopathic vigilante. You’d have laughed at that a few years ago. Anyway… I’m happy that I’ve done my bit. My fear - as I told you is that I’ll make a mistake.”

He paused and poured the wine.

“To that end, I am going to tell you where to finish this.”

Rachel suddenly felt cold and a feeling of dread engulfed her. She knew that he would never succumb to capture and understood that he was about to tell her how to end his life. She nodded and drank the wine

“I have a great foe to vanquish. They optimise everything I deplore and must pay for their indiscretions. They are the figure heads of tyranny and I have no choice but to rid the world of their evil.” He paused and smiled benevolently.

“That sounded really cool in my head but when I say it out loud it sounds a bit corny – Don’t you think?”

Rachel tried to stifle a gasp but could not. He gave her another friendly smile and poured her a second glass of wine.

 “This is my plan”. He said with an air of eager excitement that reminded her of a child talking about a forthcoming trip to a toy shop

Chapter 10

As she drove away from the marina she mused on the events that had just transpired. She alone knew how and when the horrors of the past year would end. She understood that there had only ever been one inevitable outcome and that she was to be the instrument of his demise. She also knew that she could not allow his final plan to be fulfilled.

She contemplated the enormity of his final sentence.

“I’m going to kill the heads of state at the opening of the Olympic Games”. He had said calmly.

The words had sent a chill up her spine and even now as she drove along the dark country lanes, the magnitude of the impending horror about to unfold filled her with a sense of unbridled dread.

She knew she had no recourse but to avail her discovery to her superiors and wondered how she would explain the past months of covert investigations on her part, without incurring their wrath.

She only had weeks to arrive at an answer. It took her less than two minutes.

She pulled into a lay-by and took the phone from her bag. She pressed the speed dial number 1 and briefly recalled how that number had previously been reserved for Mike. Now it was the hot line to the command centre of her task force.

“I know who he is and where to find him” she said to the anonymous voice that answered.

As she sank back into the seat the conflict once again raged within her.

It took less than twenty minutes for the first patrol car to arrive. It was followed by two vans carrying the officers from CO19. Mike was the first to exit and came over to her car.

“How did you know?” he asked

“The note” she replied.

“Are you absolutely certain? He’s not likely to walk away from this. We have orders to end this tonight”

“Absolutely certain” she replied. “Be careful.”

She stayed in the car and watched the vehicles drive off; their lights out and she knew that she had just sanctioned an execution. She switched off her phone, started the car and headed back to her office. She felt no remorse. She felt nothing. She wondered how long the nothingness would last.

Chapter 11

As she entered her office she was engulfed in a torrent of activity. DC Hodgeson hurried towards her and gestured to a quiet corner of the room.

Away from the madness of the incident room, Hodgeson spoke quietly and with what she interpreted to be an air of accusation.

“He wasn’t there Ma’am”.

Once again she stifled the urge to tell him not to call her Ma’am and desperately trying not to appear relieved she asked him to give her all the details of the operation.

“No time Ma’am. The Chief wants you to in his office.”

An hour later she sat at her desk having recounted the details of her investigation and the killer’s subsequent plan to her superiors. She had felt uneasy at the adulation she had received but had maintained her composure, even managing to look disappointed that the efforts to apprehend him at the marina had proven unsuccessful. This feeling troubled her. She should have felt disappointed.

“There is no way that he will breech the security at the stadium. Those guys can detect a bomb or weapon a thousand feet before anyone can get near the place. We have the authority to position marksmen with an open ‘shoot to kill’ directive and all train stations, airports and points of egress are on full alert. We know who he is now and we will stop him”

Her superior’s confidence should have assuaged any doubts she may have had but she was not as optimistic. She knew how resourceful the killer could be and a niggling doubt still haunted her. This was not his style. Killing innocents with an uncontrolled explosion did not fit his agenda. In spite of the ferocity of his crimes, he was all about protecting the innocent. Something was wrong.

Chapter 12

As he walked toward exit at Stratford station he smiled at the two armed police officers standing at the barrier. They beckoned to him and he walked nonchalantly toward them, removing his backpack as instructed and placing it on the ground.

“Just a routine search sir” said the younger of two.

“No problem “he replied. “ Good to know you guys are on the ball. I think I look shifty too”

There was no response to his attempt at wit. Just a hurried thank you as their attentions turned to next potential terrorist. He shouldered his backpack and began walking toward the stadium.

Obtaining the tickets for the opening ceremony on eBay had been fairly easy although he wondered how many other people had paid over five thousand pounds for a few hours entertainment. He concluded that this was free enterprise at its avaricious best.

“I should have shot that thieving bastard” he thought to himself and smiled. “Glad I gave him crap feedback.”

He joined the queue between an elderly couple and a family of five and considered how nice it was that the children would remember this day – probably for the rest of their lives. He felt sad that he had missed such opportunities with his own children and wondered if they were watching it on TV. He hoped not.

He watched the children giggle and enjoyed their look of delight as they were allowed to pat the Spaniel that scurried amongst the queue. It made him happy to know that they were oblivious to the dog’s actual purpose.

He hadn’t underestimated the extent of security within the stadium and was asked to open his backpack a further four times before being ushered in the direction of his seat. His obscurity had been his greatest weapon against his foes and once again it was proving to be invaluable. He had gone to great pains to remove all photographic evidence of himself from his loved one’s possessions and as far as he was aware, his expired passport and driving licence pictures of some ten years previous, bared little resemblance  to his current façade. He’d always joked that he looked like Carlos the Jackal in them. How ironic he thought. The blue contact lenses, self-inflicted limp (he had used a hammer to ensure that the pain in his thigh was real and couldn’t be forgotten) and blonde hair dye had all helped to enforce his anonymity.

As he scaled the stairs towards his seat he began to regret the hammer idea as the pain was searing and he wondered if he had gone a bit over the top. He reconciled himself in the knowledge that only a maniac would go to such lengths and “Let’s face it”, he thought to himself, I do fit the bill.

The ensemble of world leaders had already taken their seats and he felt pleased that his research and ill-gotten gain had enabled him to get this close. He settled himself into his seat and surveyed his neighbours. His and the subsequent rows in his tier seemed to be populated exclusively by older, well suited, affluent looking men and women, punctuated occasionally with unrespectable looking types in expensive designer clothing and assorted bimbos. He was happy that no families could have afforded this prime vantage point. He wondered if this section of the crowd had all been on eBay.

Satisfied that he had reached his point of no return he reached into his jacket pocket and took out a notebook and pen. Oblivious now to his surroundings he began to write

Chapter 13

Rachel stood at the panoramic glass window overlooking the stadium. At the insistence of her superiors who were gathered around her in the security observation point, she was scanning the crowd with high powered binoculars. The phrase ‘needle in a haystack’ had sprung to mind when she had been set this task, but as she was the only reliable witness to his current appearance she had agreed to go along with the futile exercise. The music began and the jubilant crowd cheered as the ceremonies commenced. The lavish splendour of the occasion did little to reflect the current climate of economic austerity and she felt somewhat aggrieved at the hypocrisy of the speeches spewing from the leaders of nations whose record of ignoring human rights seemed to have been overlooked or at best, put on hold when they were invited to this celebration of great human physical endeavour.

“It’s time to put aside our differences” seemed to be the order of the day and for a fleeting moment she wondered if the removal of these people wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Then she considered the devastation and injury to the innocents that would occur and intensified her search.

Injury to the innocents. That still didn’t feel right.

Sociopathic killers very rarely changed their MO and blowing up a stadium full of innocent people did not fit his. As she scanned the tiers around the dignitaries there was only one face that she had not had a clear view of. The subject in question had spent the entire proceedings scribbling in what appeared to be a note book. He shuffled occasionally in what seemed to be an effort to stifle pain from his right leg but at no point did he look up. He did not fit the description that she had given to the security personnel and snipers that were positioned around and inside the stadium, but something about him did not seem right.

She alerted several of her colleagues but was reassured that there was no way that a potential terrorist could get that close, carrying any known form of explosive or gunpowder based firearm as every method of covert  detection  had been employed to ensure that scenario could not arise.

Unknown to her almost instantly several marksmen were ordered to concentrate their aim on the subject.

She continued to watch.

Chapter 14

He re-read his note and tore out the page, folded it in half and placed it in his top pocket. Unknown to him at precisely that moment several high velocity rifles were switched from safety mode to fire. He lent forward to fasten his shoe lace and winced at the pain burning like a white hot poker in his right leg.

“What a stupid bloody idea” he thought. “I should have just faked a limp”

He had practiced the throw meticulously, knowing the exact distance and that cognitive repetition would ensure his muscle memory would provide the correct velocity to ensure that he hit his target.

He remembered the line of a poem that he learned at school. He had submitted it for a competition and had won a prize. He had always harboured feelings of guilt about that prize. Not because he had fooled those awarding it into thinking it was his own work. If they were too lazy to check it out then more fool them. They deserved to be deceived because of their laziness. He felt guilty because he had taken the credit for someone else’s work. A brave young spitfire pilot that should have been afforded the adulation he deserved.

He closed eyes and recited the lines to himself.

“We have no heaven to buy with blood, no hero’s world to give. We do not seek to make man good, but only let him live.”

He knew she would be in the security observation room directly opposite his seat. He knew that she would have been watching him all the time that his head had been bowed forward. He knew she would be the only person that could unequivocally identify him. As he stood up and lowered the backpack directly in front of him to his knees he knew she would alert his executioners.

He raised his head and stared directly at her. As he launched the backpack over his head and into the midst of world leaders he knew she would be the one to end the nightmare. Then he smiled.

Chapter 15

Almost to the millisecond as the first bullet struck him in the throat, the bag hit the floor of the executive viewing suite. The ensuing mayhem engulfed the immediate area and no one saw the second bullet tear through his face and rip out the rear of his skull. The third and fourth bullets hit him cleanly in the heart. In a surreal moment of slow motion the world’s great leaders scrambled over each other, clawing and striking out like drowning rats, desperately trying to put distance between themselves and the bag, and disregarding the basic human premise of protecting their fellow beings.

The security forces raced to ensure that the mass of blood and tissue, no longer recognisable as a human being, proved no further threat and the people in the immediate vicinity were ushered away before they could fully comprehend the events that had taken place.

The great and the good were shepherded out of the suite and bomb disposal experts were on the scene within minutes. Rachel was oblivious to her surroundings. The last thing that she remembered was screaming “Its Him!“ And then time seemed to stop. The impact of the silent high velocity rounds had made it impossible to identify him and so she was asked once again to confirm that they had terminated the correct subject. She confirmed this without any reservation. She winced at the coldness of the phrase ‘terminated the correct subject’.

She was driven back to the special operations room and once again escorted into the Chief Inspectors office. She was asked again to confirm that she had seen the killer prior to his demise and could positively identify him. She did.

Almost an hour later Hodgeson walked into her office carrying a cup of tea. She had been typing up her notes and was nearing the end.

“Cup of tea Rache?” he said. Smiling a toothy grin and displaying his crooked nicotine stained front teeth.

“It’s Ma’am to you Hodgeson, and yes. Thank You” she replied, enjoying his confusion as to whether she was joking. She sipped at the tea as he turned to leave.

“Oh yeah.. Er.. Ma’am” he said cautiously. “Did you hear? Apparently there was nothing in that backpack. That’s why there was no explosion and how he got through all the security. They’re going with a death by cop theory. Bit OTT though eh? Every fucker in the known world must have seen it. Reckon he was an attention seeker or trying to send a message or something. Still. He got that bit right. Every fuckin paper from here to Africa is telling the story. Front page news. Some clever bastard has called him Gabriel after some angel that comes to save mankind from evil. What a crock of shit. Just another fuckin psycho if you ask me. Still. Took a few scumbags off the streets for us eh?  Oh…and they found another note. It was in his top pocket. Wasn’t addressed to anybody. Just said ‘Thank You’. The geeks in the lab want to know if you want to see it.”

She sipped her tea and continued typing.

“No. It’s not important. Like you said. Probably just a fuckin attention seeker. Thanks for the tea and Greg…..Rache is fine, but stop swearing.”

He smiled, bowed his head apologetically and walked out narrowly avoiding a collision with Mike in the doorway as he arrived.

“Sorry Boss” he said as he scurried off into the main office.

“No idea why he calls me boss” said Mike. “He’s the same grade as me. Gormless twat. You ready to go home?”

She tapped at the keys to form the words ‘Case closed’ and shut the lid on her laptop.

“Almost. One last thing to do”

She took her phone out of her bag and reassigned Mike’s number to speed dial one.

“Finished.” she said.

Epilogue

It had rained almost constantly for three days. The drug dealer lay slumped in the alley in the dark North London back street. The blood from the single gunshot wound to his right eye had seeped into the puddles turning the water red in the soft, translucent yellow light of the faded street lamp. His killer crouched opposite. Silent and completely motionless. The collar on his long black coat turned up against the cold night air. The gentle hum of his mobile phone was barely audible above the rain but served to signal the final act of the evenings undertaking. The yellow light glinted on the polished steel of the blade as he withdrew the knife from his inside pocket. At almost exactly the same time, a similar scene was unfolding in the Moss Side district of Manchester and the South African township of Soweto. It was approximately 11.30pm when Rachel’s phone rang. It woke Mike and the kids.

 

END

 

 

 


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