In December 2013, the once great Behavioural Analysis Unit, first of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and then of its replacement, the Foederatio Borealis Indigatores Imperiale (FBII), was reformed and reduced in size due to damning implications found in the controversial Milner Report. The Report alleged that the BAU's methods had caused unethical practices that corrupted law enforcement operation as a whole across North America, and thus recommended its disbandment. The BAU counters that it has always "followed the rules" and misapplication by lower level officers was really the culprit. Thus, the cases from its last year of operation are presented here, so that the readers may decide for themselves the validity of the BAU's assertion.
The team (in January 2013):
-Unit Chief Aaron “Fitch” Fitchner, 45, known for his steely, no-nonsense approach
-Senior Agent Claudio Pucci, 60, a goateed older gentleman who had a mobster vibe to him who serves as the team's historian being the longest tenured BAU agent
-Special Supervisory Agent Zeke Coleman, 36, a former football player who brings his athleticism and competitive fire to his job and is the de facto second in command of the Unit. He is an expert in crime scene observation
-Special Supervisory Agent Emily Proctor, 36, a former international operative and is the team's linguistics expert as well as their go-to-person for interviews and interrogations.
-Special Supervisory Agent Doctor Pascal Yves, 30, an academic genius (though socially awkward) that is the team’s academic expert with an emphasis on behavioural analysis.
-Special Supervisory Agent Zoe Parkes, 27, who, like Yves, is an academic genius, though she is sociable. She is also an academic expert, with an emphasis on statistics and probability.
-Technical Analyst Andi Morales, 33, a slender brunette, she is sassy and playful and serves as the team’s computer expert
-Media Liaison Jenna Jayme "JJ" Cooke, 33, a slender blonde who packs more muscle than she looks like, openly displaying warmth but only as a cover for her many insecurities
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Present day, Quantico, Virginia
It’s okay Zoe...it’s just an interrogation room, thought Special Supervisory Agent Zoe Parkes of the Behavioural Analysis Unit. The cold, dark room was foreboding, and with every passing moment, the isolation she felt grew larger and larger. Mentally, it took a lot for her not to be scared of her surroundings, but, if she wanted to get out of this, she had to be strong.
Two hours passed before her interrogator, Agent Emily Proctor, walked in. Parkes, whose trepidation literally caused her to sweat, had taken off her sweater vest, revealing a tank top underneath. Proctor immediately snapped.
“Did I say you could take off your sweater?” said Proctor. “Put it back on, you tramp. You’re in an interrogation room! Have some class.”
“I was hot, agent,” Parkes replied defiantly. “Besides, if you’re not going to show me any respect then I have no reason to show you any.”
“You forget, Parkes, who has the power here.”
“I know who has the power here. It’s not you.”
“Oh really?” Proctor couldn’t help but laugh derisively.
“Yes. I have something you want. I have no reason to give it to you.” Parkes stared with intent into Proctor’ eyes, all while refusing to put her sweater back on.
“You want to play that game? Okay...” Proctor opened up a folder she carried into the room. “So Zoe Parkes...Special Supervisory Agent in the FBII...born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 23, 1985 making you age 27...oh, you graduated magna cum laude from both University and high school...well, that’s very nice. You went to Parma Heights Public High School and graduated at the top of your class...then you studied Criminology at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Says here afterwards you got a job at the FBII Field Office in New York, then, as a special favour for Claudio Pucci, you joined the BAU on October 15, 2010, a year and a half after you started in New York. You were always very special, weren’t you Parkes? So why are you such a Mama’s Girl? You make frequent visits to her, even after you joined the FBII...you should be independent, yet here you are, coming home for ‘Sunday meals’. Is that why you didn’t get me a coffee this morning? Because you expect everything to be handed to you because you’rethat special?”
Wait, Zoe...this is a trap...it’s ‘pride-and-ego-down’...it’s textbook. “If you want to think that I didn’t work hard for everything I gained then do so...of course, why do you think you’re so special that I need to get you a coffee? You make enough money, do you Emily?”
Outside of the room, Parkes’ boss, Aaron “Fitch” Fitchner and teammate Pucci were looking on.
“Have you ever met someone that wants to willingly go through an interrogation?” asked Pucci.
“She’s dedicated to her craft, almost to the point of obsession,” said Fitchner.
“Okay, she’s obsessed with it...but I’d rather have someone that dedicated to improving her craft than to have someone who never accepts responsibility for their failures.”
“Why did you send her in to see Kate? She practically folded like a tent.”
Fitchner anticipated the question, having been torn on that decision himself. “Parkes really wanted to talk to her...I saw the passion in her eyes. I thought if Coleman was there she’d be okay...and I disagree with your assessment...she held her own in there, though she laboured through it...she’s only been with the team for two years...she’s not a seasoned veteran like you and I, and Kate Sanders doesn’t pose nearly the threat that some of our other UnSubs do.”
“How’s she doing in there?” asked teammate Zeke Coleman, approaching Fitchner and Pucci.
“She’s doing pretty well,” said Pucci. “She’s not giving Proctor much.”
“I was concerned for her with Sanders,” said Coleman, “but I couldn’t take my eyes off Kate...one false move and we both could have been toast.”
“You did the right thing,” said Fitchner, “if you’d tended to Parkes you both would have been dead.”
“Can you believe that lady?” said Coleman, “she never knew when to quit.”
“Kate Sanders was all about control,” said Fitchner. “When she lost it, she started to grasp for straws...that’s why she struck at Parkes, thinking she’d be able to regain control but we knew she didn’t have a chance.”
Proctor and Parkes emerged from the interrogation room, with Parkes still not wearing her sweater. She reached for it before Fitchner stopped her.
“It’s okay,” said Fitchner, worried that she was doing so as a sign of weakness, “you’re still professional. It’s just us right here, we’re not yet in the office.”
“I know,” said Parkes, who still put the vest on, “but I don’t want to forget when I do step out of the hallway.”
“OK,” said Fitchner, convinced Parkes was doing so for practical purposes. “Proctor, how’d she do?”
“I think she did pretty well,” said Proctor. “I told her this many times...she’s stronger than she gives herself credit for. She didn’t crack once.”
“I do know all the tricks,” said Parkes, “so I don’t know why I let Katie get to me.”
“When you want something so badly you can taste it,” said Pucci. “You get carried away. It happens to all of us.”
“I’m just this bucket of emotions,” said Parkes, hanging her head in shame. “I hate that about me.”
“No you don’t,” said Coleman. “You only say that because of what happened with Katie. You wear your heart on your sleeve...that means you’re in tune with your emotions, and you feed off the emotions of others. You relate to people, Parkes. You’re not cold or distant...you’ve become a lot of people’s friends.”
“It’s admirable that you want to be better,” said Pucci. “At some point, though, you just have to understand that you can’t do it all on your own...that’s why we have a team. Even though we’re all trained in each other’s jobs, we all know there’s members of this team that can do things better than we can, just how there’s jobs we can do better than other members of the team. I mean...we’re not going to send Yves to go kick a bad guy’s ass, we get Coleman to do it. However, we’re not going to ask Coleman to explain momentum and geometry...we get Yves to do that.”
Parkes smiled, reassured by Pucci.
“Come on,” said Proctor, putting her arm around Parkes. “I think I owe you a coffee.”
“Kids,” said Pucci to Fitchner upon the two of them returning to Fitchner’s office. “They always want to be the masters of everything...they never like making mistakes.”
“Youth brings scrutiny,” said Fitchner, “you believe the grizzled veteran because they’ve been through the wars, but a kid doesn’t look like they’ve seen anything so you constantly wonder if the kid really understands the reality of the job. Look at Yves...he’s been with this team for over a decade...yet he still gets looks.”
“Yves’s more in content with his abilities than Zoe is,” said Pucci.
“Yves’s matured,” said Fitchner. “I’ve seen it right before my eyes. Gone is the wide-eyed kid I saw when he started working, the one who could barely hold on to a gun properly or even have the courage to talk to an UnSub. Now...while I wouldn’t want him chasing down villains like Coleman does, or talking them down like Proctor does, at least I know I don’t need someone to come in and save him if he gets into trouble...he can more than hold his own.”
“Zoe at least doesn’t have problems passing her field qualifications though,” said Pucci.
“Parkes’ problem isn’t with the quality of her work,” said Fitchner, “it’s her zeal. She’s more likely to be reckless, moreso than Coleman. She won’t fight fair, and she follows her hunches way too much...but if she didn’t have the ability to think on the fly, then she wouldn’t be the agent that she is. Yes, many times her hunches are wrong...but many times, we don’t have time to sit around and wait for a decision...that’s where she’s most valuable. Her emotions...she’ll get over them as she gets older, especially as she gets more confidence in her abilities. That’s when she’ll also learn to stop second guessing herself...because that’s when she’ll learn to trust her instincts.”
January 4, 2009, Downtown Cleveland, Ohio
“Mr. Pucci,” said a sheepish Parkes as she approached Pucci, who had just finished delivering a lecture at a book store. She was nervously clutching her books tightly against her, though she still extended her hand. “Great lecture tonight.”
“Glad you liked it kiddo,” said Pucci, firmly shaking her hand. “Do you go to school in the area?”
“Actually, I go to Rutgers...I study Criminology. I go back home during the Christmas break to see my mother...she lives down the road, in Parma Heights. I’m not usually in this area but when I heard you were lecturing, I had to come. I love all of your books.” She smiled again, nervously.
Pucci patted her on the back, hoping it would relieve her tension. “Don’t worry kiddo, it’s just me.”
“It’s not that...it’s...” Parkes stopped herself before continuing. “It’s just that...over in East Cleveland there’s been a string of strange murders lately...I know, East Cleveland’s pretty rough...but I can’t help but thing something is going on there.”
“I know what you’re talking about,” said Pucci. “I read just about every murder story that comes out on this continent...the ones here have piqued my interest a little bit. The murder rate has been unusually high in the past few weeks and...from what I can tell from the news reports, M.O.’s seem to be everywhere. I’ve offered my advice to the police when I can, but they haven’t called us in yet so there’s little we can actually do.”
“I’ve had a look at the area whenever I could...I think there’s a serial killer on the loose who is ‘practicing’...I just feel it...deep down inside. I don’t know how to connect them, but I’m working on it.”
“Keep digging.” Pucci pulled out his card to give to Parkes. “Let us know if you find anything.”
Present day, Quantico, Virginia
“I see an H...he’s calling to me,” said a man in a suit to a lady in the audience. It was BAU teammate Dr. Pascal Yves watching a video of a purported psychic.
“That’s my uncle Herbert!” said the lady to the man. “He died last week!”
“He said he understood what happened, and he’s sorry that things couldn’t have worked out differently.”
“We had to take him off life support...it was so hard...but his brain damage was just too much. I’m so glad he’s not upset with us.”
“He understands life hasn’t been the same since the accident, but he wants you to know that none of it is your fault.”
“I really tried holding that ladder for him...I really did...but I slipped.”
“It’s okay...he forgives you.”
“I’m so glad.” The lady began to sob, at which point the man approached her in the audience and gave her a hug. “Thank you...thank you so much.”
“Is that Oldrich James?” asked Jenna Jayme Cooke, the BAU’s media liaison passing by Yves’s desk.
“It is,” said Yves. “The famous psychic that now works for the California Bureau of Investigation...I’ve been watching his videos because I’ve been thinking of Randy Joe again...I know, we haven’t been called into the case yet but I only think it’s a matter of time now...it’s been five years, he’ll eventually broaden his horizons beyond the CBI’s jurisdiction, even if it’s by accident.”
“Do you have anything on RJK? He’s been pretty elusive...he doesn’t leave a lot of evidence behind.”
“Not much...I do know he’s a narcissist because he leaves behind symbols, and that he likely works in law enforcement, since one of his accomplices was a sheriff and for someone to evade capture this long and killing this visibly has to know something about forensics and its countermeasures. He also has a strange obsession with James...which doesn’t narrow down much because James’ been in the public eye for so long, so there’s a long list of people who fit that description. He commands respect, though, since he seems to have quite a few people working for him and they seem to be willing to do anything for him...he’s organized and intelligent, and likely in his 40s now.”
“Sounds like he might be running a cult...I’ve heard people describe him as ‘Messianic’.”
“It’s not out of the realm of possibility...in fact, I’ve openly thought that perhaps his ‘cult’ is a rogue unit within the CBI itself...it might explain why one sting operation got botched ‘from the inside’.”
“How’d you hear about that? There isn’t a single news report about a sting operation.”
“I’ve heard whispers, talking with other agents...quite a few are as flummoxed about the case as I am.”
“Hey Pascal,” said Parkes, smiling at Yves as she sat down at her desk beside him. She then took off her sweater vest.
“Hey Zoe,” said Yves, catching a look at Parkes. She looks lovely...that tank top really accentuates the curves of her body...okay Pascal stop that...she’s your co-worker. Parkes flipped her hair behind her ears, her auburn locks glistening in the office lights. Yves then had an image of Parkes shaking her head in slow motion, with her locks flowing as she moved her head. Stop it man, stop it!
“You okay Pascal? I’m just feeling very hot right now.”
Yes, you are very hot. “I’m...I’m okay...um...” Yves sped up his speech. “Do you remember Randy Joe? I’ve been looking into the case and-”
Parkes laughed, thinking about how cute Yves was when he was having an awkward moment. She didn’t plan for it, so it became an unexpected surprise for her. “Pascal, slow down. I remember Randy Joe...the man’s a modern day Zodiac. I hope the CBI catches him soon. Did you find some new information?”
“Unfortunately not...but I find his case and the case of Oldrich James to be very fascinating.”
“Just like you are, Pascal.” Parkes smiled before logging on to her computer to work.
January 5, 2009, East Cleveland, Ohio
Parkes looked over the body. It was a female prostitute, eviscerated as she was leaving the residence of a john. It’d been there for a few days, as the police were still investigating. Parkes came at night, when the police were done, and got as far to the crime scene as she could.
“So we’ve had BTK, Son of Sam, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run and now...the Ripper,” said Parkes to herself.
“It’s quite the assortment of killers that Cleveland has had lately,” said a man approaching Parkes. He was a Caucasian male with scruffy hair and a full assortment of facial hair, but his hair was groomed and he appeared to be in good health and spirits.
“Back off!” Parkes authoritatively held a can of mace to the man’s face.
The man tried to be reassuring. “Do you think if I was going to attack you I’d just come and say hello?”
“You expect me to believe that, in East Cleveland? I know serial killers come in all shapes and sizes...heck, Ted Bundy was quite the charmer if I recall correctly.”
“Well, okay...we got off on the wrong foot...I apologize for scaring you...my name is Eric Poulsen. I live down the street. These murders have been racking my brain for weeks.”
Hearing the name rang a few bells for Parkes. She didn’t realize she’d met him ten years earlier when her family visited Sanibel Island in Florida, where Poulsen used to live. She started to let her guard down just a little, knowing he was an old acquaintance. “I’ve been trying to figure it out myself...sad the police hasn’t gotten involved.”
“I agree completely. It’s probably the area...that’s how he gets away.”
“It must be.” Parkes started to think Poulsen was pretty cute, but she was too shy to ask him out.
“There’s a coffee shop down the corner if you’d like to discuss this a bit more.”
“Sure.” Parkes smiled warmly. “I’d like that.”
Present day, Quantico, Virginia
“These are strange messages,” said Coleman, staring at his computer screen. “I mean, who immortalizes a seagull and a fish? Well, this is Florida...it makes a lot of sense when you think about it that way.” One picture showed a bubble painted in the sand, with the line interspersed with hearts. Inside the bubble was the message “R.I.P. Angel” written in assorted seashells, with another message right below it- written in the sand- saying “we miss you seagull”. The second picture showed a fish skeleton with the message “R.I.P. Carl” written underneath it with beat-like twigs.
“Are those the pictures from Sanibel Island?” asked Yves, who was visiting Coleman’s cubicle.
“Yes they are,” answered Coleman. “It’s funny...the locals are used to all sorts of different sand structures...so I’m confused about why anyone would send me something like this...although no one has seen two R.I.P. messages in the same week...that’s ringing a few alarm bells.”
“They’re made out to Angel and Carl...Angel is manifested as a seagull while it appears like Carl is a pike...the only way this makes sense is if we think about the Casarans...they believe in reincarnation, but they believe you only manifest itself in a life-form once, so you can only have one life as a human. Your next life was based upon how you lived in the previous one, and a bird represents freedom or a ‘good life’, whereas a fish represents weakness or a ‘bad life’...Casarans believed at a funeral they could ‘influence’ the next life by having an image of the desired life-form in question...this is about sending a message.”
“So Sanibel has an African UnSub.”
“No...this guy is a copycat. Casarans used more local birds and fish when they made a message like this...these are local to Sanibel.”
“So we have two murders...Angel and Carl. I’ll have to get Morales to look into missing person reports.”
Just then, Parkes walked by Coleman’s computer. She stared at the messages with intent, then bolted to the bathroom, where she could heard vomiting violently. Fitchner heard Parkes’ hurls and ran outside to understand what was happening.
“Coleman...Yves,” said Fitchner, motioning the two agents to come to him. “Is Parkes okay?”
“I didn’t even realized she had passed,” said Coleman, walking instinctively towards the bathroom, as did Fitchner. Yves contemplated doing the same, but he instead decided to sit and watch knowing he didn’t need to be there with Fitchner and Coleman handling the situation. He did watch with interest, out of concern for Parkes.
“Parkes?” shouted Fitchner through the door as Coleman pounded away at it. “Are you okay?” When there was no answer, Fitchner asked for Proctor to come and take a look. She was already on her way, as was Pucci, the commotion drawing them both in.
Proctor walked in and saw Parkes lying in a stall right next to the toilet, still moving but staggering. She eventually sat up right next to the wall, still weak from the vomiting.
“Parkes?” asked Proctor, concerned. “Are you okay?”
“Proctor...” started Parkes.
“I think you need to go home.”
“No...take me to the First Aid Room...he can’t get me there.”
“He? Who are you talking about?”
January 14, 2009, Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey
“Oh man, I’ve wanted to do this all day,” said Parkes with excitement.
Parkes quickly closed the door to her dorm room and started to passionately kiss Poulsen, as both of them stripped each other. Poulsen, being particularly strong, held Parkes up against the wall as he had his way with her body, Parkes’ excitement level growing with every stroke of his fingertips and every caress with his mouth.
The two of them eventually made their way to Parkes’ bed, with Poulsen throwing her on to it, just how Parkes liked it. Of course, it wasn’t Poulsen’s style to have sex in a bed, so Parkes instinctively crawled out of it and cleared her stuff off of her desk so they could continue enjoying themselves there. Even though Poulsen liked it rough as well and thoroughly enjoyed banging Parkes against the wall, when he kissed and fondled, he did it with care, and he made sure he didn’t go too far when he did throw her around. Tonight, Parkes tackled him onto their bed so she could service him there, figuring she needed to instigate some foreplay considering Poulsen usually did it himself. Eventually, Poulsen planted Parkes on her chair and had sex with her right there, and when they were finished they both climaxed in a grand moment of ecstasy. It was fast, it was haphazard and it was rough but, most importantly it was exciting- Poulsen was nothing like the boyfriends Parkes had before.
The next day, Parkes met her friends in the dormitory cafeteria with an excited smile on her face. They knew what it was about.
“Hey Zoe,” said Amanda Blackburn. “I guess your ‘boy toy’ came over last night?”
“He’s not my ‘boy toy’ Mandy...I think I like him,” Parkes said, barely containing her excitement.
“You’ve only known him for what, nine days?” said Jessie Palmer. “You can’t like a guy after that many days.”
“This is so real guys,” said Parkes, enamoured by her new love. “He’s into criminology like I am...we connect on so many different levels...and the sex...oh boy...the sex.” Parkes and her friends shared a giggle, before Parkes started clutching her back.
“What’s wrong Zoe?” said Blackburn.
“I must have bruised something last night,” said Parkes, wincing. “Hey, no pain no gain.”
“Yeah...” said Palmer. She looked at Blackburn with a look of concern, with Blackburn sharing the same look.
“No...this is all consensual guys,” said Parkes. “I don’t want you to worry about me.”
“Zoe...” started Palmer. “We’ve seen this too many times...you find some ‘new guy’, you quickly fall in love and three weeks later, he breaks your heart. You get attached way too easy...plus, if he’s hurting you right now during sex, imagine what it will be like down the road...guys like that get off on violence...see how he reacts when you cook his steak wrong.”
“He’s going to be different,” said Parkes, trying to reassure her friends. “Besides...we all need something to take the stress off of all these final projects...it’s as if four years of University weren’t enough.”
“I know what you mean about that,” said Palmer, thinking, as did Blackburn, that it wouldn’t benefit to keep on pressing the issue.
Present day, Quantico, Virginia
“Angel and Carl are his parents,” said Parkes, still woozy. “He’s killed them.”
“What makes you so sure?” said Proctor.
“They live on Sanibel Island...he’s read all this stuff about African culture...he’s very well read about a lot of things...he just never went to school so he never learned how to properly apply things.”
“So now you’re worried he’s going to come after you?”
“I don’t know...I just know he was practicing all this killing just so he could figure out how to kill his parents...his father abused him regularly, even when he wasn’t at home...Carl called him all the time...left threatening messages on his cell phone...Eric had to change the number but they still found out.”
The door opened to the bathroom as another woman came in. It was Technical Analyst Andi Morales, running to check on Parkes with a cup of chicken noodle soup.
“Here,” said Morales, handing Parkes the soup. “Drink this. Are you okay pumpkin? Is she okay, Emily?” Parkes nodded yes.
“Yes, she’s fine,” said Proctor. “Just scared...her old tormentor is loose.”
“Eric Poulsen?” said Morales.
“How do you know?” asked Proctor
“Zeke asked me to look up the names in the missing person database,” said Morales. “Eric Poulsen’s parents Angel and Carl were both reported missing just yesterday, though there’s no bodies found as of yet.”
“That doesn’t fit Eric’s M.O.,” said Proctor, surprised. “He doesn’t hide things.”
“Things are different now, Proctor,” said Parkes, starting to feel better with the soup. “He learned from the first time...he got caught because of his original M.O.”
“So how’d he get out now?” said Proctor.
“He skipped bail,” said Morales, “and the border between Roman Florida and the North American Union is undefended, so as long as he had falsified documents, he could flee.”
“So he might not even be in Sanibel anymore,” said Proctor.
“No,” said Parkes. “He will be...he loved it down there...he would never leave.”
“Means we have to make him,” said Proctor.
March 15, 2009, Wessex, Ontario
“I’m glad you took me up here,” said Parkes, lying on a couch with Poulsen. The couple had escaped for Mid-Winter Break in a cabin that Poulsen had built the previous summer.
“Isn’t it amazing,” said Poulsen. “Just the two of us, sitting by the fireplace...the perfect place to get away from all of our ills?”
“Yeah.” Parkes started to run her fingers up and down Poulsen’s chest. “My friends were worried about me dating you...they didn’t this would last...look at us now.” They smiled, as Parkes leaned in to kiss Poulsen.
“I’m just glad to get away from my dad. I’m a grown man...I can take care of myself now.” As if on cue, the phone in the cabin rang. It was Carl.
“Are you that tramp he’s going out with?” said Carl Poulsen to Parkes, who picked up the phone, “because your loser of a boyfriend forgot to take me shopping today.”
“I resent your description of me and I profoundly offended by your actions. My boyfriend owes you nothing. Good day,” said Parkes, slamming down the phone. “The nerve...”
Eric Poulsen snickered at his dad, then changed the subject. “Treasure, I’m going to go grab some firewood...I noticed our fireplace is getting low.” They kissed before Poulsen departed for the woods.
Parkes decided to take this opportunity to look around. They spent so much time together that she never got to see Poulsen’s vast collections of books in the living room, mostly on crimes and culture. He’s so well read, thought Parkes, I need to learn more about this man. She picked up a book, Pucci’s “Compendium of Serial Killer Profiles”, the textbook on criminal profiling, and began to read. What she found horrified her- interspersed within the pages of the profiles were pictures of the crime scenes she visited back in January, as if Poulsen was checking off which killers he’d already managed to copycat.
“Oh my...” said Parkes, hurriedly putting the book and its contents back in order in shock. She started to breathe heavily contemplating her next course of action before Poulsen walked back in.
“Treasure,” said Poulsen, “what are you doing?”
“I should have known,” said Parkes. “ ‘Treasure’ was the pet name the Stampede Stabber gave all of his victims...dear goodness Eric...am I going to be a victim too?”
“Woah, woah, woah...you stop that now...I’m not doing any of that stuff.”
“The book Eric...you have pictures of the crime scenes that I visited. Crimes that I investigated...ones that I stopped looking at because you said we’d figure this out together. Is that why you haven’t killed anyone in two months? Because you didn’t want me to find out who you really were?”
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Parkes took Pucci’s book and thrust it in his face. “This Eric! Are you that dense?”
“That’s not what you think it is, Zoe.”
“Then what is it? How’d those pictures get in there? You and I are the only ones who know about this cabin; and I didn’t take any pictures of the crime scene...in fact, the picture with the Ripper...it’s got me in it. It’s time-stamped at the exact moment that you met me...that’s a strange coincidence, don’t you think?”
“Don’t you ‘Treasure’ me anymore, boy! We’re through.”
Poulsen reacted the only way that he could- violence. He darted for Parkes, grabbed her and threw her on a nearby chair. He ripped off her shirt and used it to bind her hands behind the backside of the chair, and did the same with her legs with her pants. He also took off her underwear just so she could sit there, naked. As she squirmed and struggled, Poulsen hit her as many times as he needed to, just to make sure she didn’t resist anymore. He then violently raped her, knocking over the chair in the process. He then put it back up and reached for a pistol he kept behind the case.
In the meantime, Parkes was sobbing uncontrollably, resigned to her fate. “No! Please don’t! I’m sorry, I’m sorry...” She cried some more, her body gripped with fear about what was going to happen next. “Eric, no! Please...please...” The scene was getting worse in Parkes’ mind, her thoughts racing almost as much as her heartbeat was. Instinctively, she closed her eyes, still crying and sobbing, trying to think of anything that would get the ordeal to end. “OH MOMMY MOMMY, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!” She yelled as she continued to cry, but instead of hearing a gunshot, she heard Eric drop the gun and bolt out of the cabin. Parkes continued to sob, until she got so tired that she just fell asleep.
March 16, 2009, Quantico, Virginia
“Are you sure about this?” asked Pucci to his visitors, Blackburn and Palmer.
“Yes,” said Palmer. “Zoe doesn’t miss class...she’s always on time, in fact, she’s usually early...not seeing her today makes me think something happened to her.”
“Okay,” said Pucci. “Who was she with?”
“This weirdo,” said Blackburn. “Eric Poulsen...also from Cleveland. He visited her a lot on campus...they were having really loud sex...pretty violent too...she had a lot of bruises from the times she spent with him, but she was so happy that we eventually concluded that he wasn’t actually hurting her. Of course, we know that someone who is violent in bed is more likely to be violent, but...”
“This weirdo,” said Blackburn. “Eric Poulsen...also from Cleveland. He visited her a lot on campus...they were having really loud sex...pretty violent too...she had a lot of bruises from the times she spent with him, but she was so happy that we eventually concluded that he wasn’t actually hurting her. Of course, we know that someone who is violent in bed is more likely to be violent, but...”
“Young love,” said Pucci, finishing her sentence. An older lady walked into Pucci’s office.
“Hello,” said Pucci to the woman, “can I help you?”
“Yes,” said the woman. “I’m Sheila Parkes...Zoe’s mother. I’m sure her friends here have told you that she’s missing...she never came home on Sunday...she never misses Sunday dinner. Eric even told us she’d be back for it...something’s up.”
“Did Eric tell any of you where they were going?” asked Pucci.
“All we know was that it was a cabin somewhere in Ontario,” said Blackburn. “He didn’t tell us where it was...Zoe’s Facebook account doesn’t even say because Zoe never turns on the ‘Places’ feature.”
“It’s usually smart,” said Pucci. “Stops stalkers, though in this case it could have helped. Why’d you guys come to me and not the police?”
“She loves you,” said Sheila. “She has all of your books...we know you can help.”
Pucci contemplated for a second what his next course of action would be. There wasn’t much to go on but he had an affinity for Zoe...he knew she was special. “I’ll take the case.” He then looked over Sheila’s shoulder outside his room to see Coleman and Yves practicing hacky-sack on the office floor, “and I got the best people for the job.”
Present day, Quantico, Virginia
“Fitch,” said Coleman to Fitchner just outside of the bathroom. “We gotta take this case...we can’t let Poulsen get away again.”
“If he’s skipped bail then this is a continental case,” said Fitchner. “We can take it...we don’t need to be asked. The only problem is, we don’t know that he’s actually in Florida.”
“Fitch...I know Parkes sometimes leads us on a wild goose chase...but she knows Poulsen better than any of us...we should trust her judgement.”
“Okay. I’ll notify Sanibel PD that we’re on our way. I want you and Yves to go to the beach and examine the messages in the sand, see if you can find anything. I’m going to send Parkes and Proctor to the Poulsen household and see what they can find. Pucci and I will meet with the police and see what their investigation has turned up so far.”
March 16, 2009, Quantico, Virginia
“Okay, so Zoe Parkes was investigating a string of strange murders in Cleveland, Ohio,” said Yves, discussing the case with Pucci and Coleman in Pucci’s office.
“Then they stopped,” said Coleman. “Around the time she meets Poulsen.”
“We don’t know for certain that Poulsen is the killer we’re after,” said Pucci. “It’s entirely possible that this case is unrelated and that maybe something happened to Poulsen as well.”
“Poulsen fits the profile of the killer, though,” said Yves. “Zoe’s friends describe him as someone who is into serial killers as much as Zoe was, and the murders do suggest that someone is ‘practicing’ his craft, like a young person would. We can tell he’s well versed in serial killer literature but I’m not sure he comprehends it on a high level, because his crimes are still very disorganized.”
“I think it’s too coincidental,” said Coleman. “The killings happen, Poulsen meets Zoe and the killings stop...I don’t know how we can’t conclude there’s a connection. Poulsen also has a very violent personality...Zoe’s friends have reported that the two have had very violent sex.”
“Yes he does fit a serial killer profile,” said Pucci, getting up and staring at his bookshelf, contemplating. “I’m just not sure he fits the Cleveland serial killer profile...but...” Pucci waved his finger in the air to remind himself not to get carried away, “we’re getting away from the task at hand, and that’s finding Zoe. We’ll worry about the Cleveland killings later.”
“He’s either a serial killer or a serial killer in the making,” said Coleman. “We know that much. So, where in Ontario could a serial killer go to hide a body.”
“A body?” said Pucci, in shock, although he knew the possibility that Parkes was dead passed his mind, as much as he didn’t want to think about it.
“I wouldn’t like to think that either Pucci, but we can’t ignore it...her chances aren’t so great now,” said Coleman.
“Ontario is blessed with a lot of open spaces surrounded by cities,” said Yves. “There’s ample opportunities for a killer to dump a body without having to make too much of a drive. In fact...” Yves pointed to an item on Pucci’s shelf. “Is that an Ontario road map?”
Pucci took a look and answered in the affirmative.
“Pass it over to me,” said Yves. Pucci dutifully handed Yves the map, which Yves promptly unfurled.
“Hey, don’t break it,” said Pucci. “I still use that from time to time.”
“He’s right here,” said Yves, marking a city on the map.
“Wessex?” said Coleman.
“Wessex County has been described as ‘The Killer’s Dumping Ground’,” said Yves. “Not just because it’s surrounded by wooded areas perfect for dumping bodies, but because Wessex has been so chronically mismanaged that their police department never gets around to investigating any bodies on time. The city is so poorly managed that the CTV network in Canada made a TV series called ‘Dan For Mayor’ about a buffoon who won the mayoral election simply by running on a lark...it was a pretty accurate depiction of what goes on in the town, much to the chagrin of the townspeople.”
“So that’s where we’ll find Zoe,” said Pucci, excited. “Is the plane ready?”
“Just called them,” said Coleman. “Wheels up in 30.”
“You’re starting to sound a lot like Fitch,” said Yves, with a laugh.
Coleman laughed as well. “Yeah,” he replied, “well, I still wouldn’t want his position...I’ve got too much work as it is on my own...I know, I have leadership aspirations but I’m not sure if I could do his job where I’m at right now.”
Present day, Quantico, Virginia
Parkes by now had calmed down, and was seated with the rest of the team in Fitchner’s office. Right next to her and holding her hand was Morales, as Parkes sat, slouching and still feeling scared about the prospect of Poulsen being free. Yves sat on the other side of her, while Coleman, Pucci and Proctor were standing. Fitchner was seated at his desk, trying to get a read on Parkes.
“Let me just start that I understand your reaction,” said Fitchner. “If anyone knows about being violated, it’s me.”
“I thought George Farley didn’t...” said Parkes, her voice trailing off.
“No he didn’t,” replied Fitchner, “but he toyed with my sense of control. I never let anyone get inside my head...I’ve stared into the eyes of a thousand killers, and only one- Farley- gave me the thousand yard stare. This was a guy who knew my every move and everything else about me and played me like a violin. I know your situation is different and I can’t claim to understand what you went through, but believe me I know what it’s like when you have that one person that gets inside your head and torments you.”
“Billy Matt was in his sixties,” said Coleman, beginning to flail away with his arms, “and he knocked me out cold. I didn’t know he was an ex-Marine...all I knew was that I was knocked out cold by some old guy and that got to me. That, and that he took Ellie Spicer. Fortunately the second time when he tried to do it again I anticipated it and kicked his ass, but Billy taught me to never underestimate my opponents.”
“Tobias Heathcliff had me bound in his farm for an extremely long night,” said Yves. “I cracked very easily because here was this guy who made me realize just how spiritless I had become...it was harrowing being in a place of torment that doubled as a place of spiritual awakening...and he made me dig my own grave. Thankfully- as I predicted, since most religious people don’t actually read every part of the Bible- Fitch understood my trick and used it to locate me, but it was tough sledding for a while.”
“I got shot,” said Morales. “I’m the one that’s full of life and never experiences any danger yet here I was, clinging to my life and having to realize that I just might not have taken things as seriously as I should have.”
“Once Patrick Boyle figured out I wasn’t going to sleep with him that night he had me tied up in a warehouse in Boston,” said Proctor. “I still have the brand that he left for me on my left breast...fortunately the BAU and JTF-12 teams were on his trail and apprehended him but as strong as I am, I knew Boyle is crazy prepared and it was the only time I ever felt my life was in actual danger.”
“Before any of you were even alive,” said Pucci, eliciting a laugh from the room, “John Wayne Gacy found me and locked me in his cellar with all of his victims...it was one of my first cases, and I had to rely on Max Ryan, of all people, to help save me...I was young and scared just like you are Zoe, and I questioned why I even took up this profession...fortunately for me, Ryan’s sense of justice prevailed over any kind of hatred he had for me and that made me realize that I had to soldier on, for justice, and that I should never take this job for granted.”
“The point is,” said Fitchner, “we’re all here for you and we know what you’re going through. There’s no need to feel bad about it. I know you want to appear tough and strong but you don’t need to be- we’re always here to help...we’re in this together.”
“Thanks guys,” said Parkes. “If I could hug you all right now I would.”
Fitchner laughed. “We’ll have a group hug later...we have business to take care of,” he said. “Parkes...now that your head is clear and that you know Poulsen better than any of us, how should we proceed?”
“Okay,” said Parkes, slowly regaining her composure. “He hated Carl, hence why he used the fish, but Angel...that had to have been a mercy killing. He loved her, but her family had a history of cancer and it was only a matter of time before she’d be afflicted by it to, so if she’s dead, it’s because he felt sorry for her. I remember...” her voice trailed off, remembering her frightening experience at the cabin in Wessex. Morales instinctively rubbed her back, allowing Parkes to continue. “He spared me because I shouted for my mother, because he realized he couldn’t kill someone with as much of an attachment to their mother as he did for his.”
“Did you plan for that?” asked Fitchner.
“No,” said Parkes. “It was just instinct...when I was a little girl having nightmares I always called for her and...well, I had as much of a nightmare as anyone could ever experience.”
“So do you think he looks at you as ‘the one that got away?” asked Coleman.
“I don’t think so,” said Parkes. “I mean, I can never be sure, but he reacted in a fit of range, not because he actually wanted to kill me. I still don’t believe he would. I think he still loves me...I remember getting a text message from him a week after his assault saying how sorry he was and that he wanted to make things right, but I knew better. Even after his arrest, he still looked at me with genuine love in his eyes. So I don’t think I’m in any real danger, nor are my parents.”
“We’ll still get them personal security services,” said Fitchner. “We can’t take any risks.”
“I’ll be okay coming with you guys,” said Parkes. “I know I’m not Coleman or Proctor but I’m not afraid of him anymore, all because your stories helped me tough this out.”
“You’ll be with me anyway,” said Proctor, “and we don’t split up at all.”
“Understood,” said Parkes.
March 17, 2009, Wessex, Ontario
“Yves, you better be sure about this,” said an exasperated Coleman. The three of them had been driving in the back woods within Wessex town limits for over an hour without much luck.
“I’m sure about this,” said Yves. “It has to be here...Wessex is notorious for its lackadaisical building licensing.”
“Is there anything the town gets right?” said Pucci, sardonically.
“The pub is pretty good,” said Coleman.
“I think I know why,” said Pucci.
Yves then pointed at a log cabin with excitement. Coleman had to hurriedly turn around to navigate the truck to the cabin that Yves pointed out, but when they got there they were astounded.
“That’s a near replica of the cabin that Leonard Lake and Charles Ng used to assault their victims,” said Pucci. “My goodness...this town is so stupid.”
“Guys,” said Yves, calling their attention to the side entrance, “the back door has been left ajar.”
“The mother f---er fled already,” said Coleman, who cussed again in frustration. He drew his gun and led the team inside. Yves then noticed the room that Parkes was held captive in. He made sure the room was safe and then rushed to Parkes.
As soon as he touched her neck to check her pulse Parkes woke up and began sobbing on his shoulder. He undid her ties and she held him, sobbing uncontrollably.
“Guys!” Yves shouted to the other two, “she’s down here! Get me some clothes and call the paramedics.”
“I’m sorry,” said Parkes. “I know you’re not supposed to do this but I can’t help myself...I haven’t seen a soul that wants to help me in so long.” She then planted a firm kiss on Yves’s mouth. “Thank you.”
“Zoe,” said Yves, “we’re here to help. Trust me, you’re not the first naked woman I’ve rescued...they usually don’t kiss me, but hey, there’s a first time for everything.”
“You’re cute,” said Parkes, laughing at Yves’s statement. “You’re Pascal Yves, right?”
“Yes,” said Yves. “How’d you know?”
“Oh I love your work,” said Parkes, “and I had to quote one of your papers for an essay I wrote last year.”
“Zoe!” said Pucci, hurriedly tossing Parkes some clothes. She put them on and gave Pucci and Coleman hugs. “Thank goodness you’re okay,” continued Pucci, who held Parkes as if she was his daughter.
“I knew you guys would come for me,” said Parkes. “Thank you so much.” She then looked down at her clothes, which was a mismatched set of a golf shirt and short shorts. “I would never wear these clothes,” she remarked with a laugh. “Come on, you guys don’t have a lady that could have come save me?” The three men laughed, happy that Parkes was finally making light of the situation.
Parkes stayed overnight at a Windsor hospital- per Pucci’s request- and, despite being knocked around by Poulsen, her body amazingly escaped with only minor cuts, scratches and bruises, and would be fine the next day. The three men stayed with her the whole night, trying to plan their next course of action.
“Eric Poulsen could be anywhere now,” said Coleman, having gotten off the phone with Morales. Poulsen had managed to forge a new license plate and falsified documents for himself once he arrived at Wessex. “There’s serial killers everywhere.”
“I think there’s one place in particular that he would go,” said Yves, “and that’s where most serial killers congregate- California.”
“Guys,” said Parkes, weakly from her bed. “He’s not going to California...he’s going to Florida. His parents live on Sanibel Island, and he hates his father...all this killing...it’s because he wanted to practice before he killed his father.”
“Why just his father?” asked Pucci.
“His father was an abusive alcoholic,” said Parkes. “He beat him and his mother incessantly...he left the house just to avoid him but Carl still found ways to taunt him. He never admitted it to me directly but, putting all this together, Carl Poulsen is the ultimate object of ire for him and his ultimate target. You don’t practice killing just for the heck of it...you practice killing because you have a target and you want to do it right.”
“We’re making a massive leap here,” said Yves. “The evidence doesn’t suggest Florida at all...this whole time his behaviour is consistent with someone who loves serial killers...why would he deviate from this path?”
“Okay, genius,” said Coleman with a hint of incredulousness. “Why don’t you tell us where he’s going then?”
“I don’t know,” replied Yves, sheepishly.
“Zoe has given us a lead,” said Pucci. “It may not be much of one, but it’s something. We need to follow it.”
Present day, Sanibel, Florida
“Proctor,” said Parkes, putting on her seatbelt in anticipation of the drive to the Poulsen house. “I know Fitch told us to go to the Poulsen house, but I don’t think we’ll find anything there.”
“Okay,” said Proctor, “where should we go?”
“There’s a little used beach to the west of the Causeway, right adjacent to it,” said Parkes. “Poulsen had a few pictures of it at his house, and it’s the perfect dumping ground for two bodies. It’s also a fisher’s paradise and Poulsen was really into fishing.”
“I’m trusting you on this, Parkes,” said Proctor, calling Fitchner on her cell phone.
“Fitch,” said Proctor, “Parkes thinks we shouldn’t go to the Poulsen house...she thinks the Causeway has a better link.”
“Can I talk to her?” said Fitchner.
“Yes,” said Proctor, passing the phone to Parkes.
“Parkes?” said Fitchner.
“Yes?” said Parkes, wondering if something was wrong.
“Why the Causeway?”
“There’s a little used beach there...it’s perfect for dumping bodies and Poulsen loved that area...I’ve seen multiple pictures in his apartment. He would have dumped the bodies there.”
“Okay, you can go there but if you find nothing, go immediately to the Poulsen house.”
Once the pair reached the destination, they were greeted by a yellow gate that stopped them from driving the car any further. As Parkes predicted, the beach there was empty, but there was no sign of any bodies.
“Parkes,” called out Proctor as Parkes searched the wooded area nearby the beach. “If there’s any bodies here they would have either been discovered or washed away...what makes you think there will be something here?”
“I just know it, Proctor,” said Parkes. “Poulsen was all about symbolism...everything meant something to him and this place meant something.”
“All I see is clear water, bush and an empty beach,” said Proctor, walking around and holding up her arms in the air in frustration. Parkes, however, kept digging but found nothing except an alligator causing her to scurry away quickly. Proctor saw the alligator come after Parkes and immediately pulled out her gun and shot it dead, having no other choice.
“Well, if you want a Gucci, there’s your chance,” cracked Proctor. Parkes laughed, though she felt bad for the dead alligator.
“I forgot I’m not in Cleveland anymore,” said Parkes, brushing off the sand from her shoes.
“Okay Parkes,” said Proctor. “I’m ready to go to the Poulsen house...there’s nothing here.”
Parkes sighed in agreement and walked with her, frustrated this hunch didn’t work out.
March 19, 2009, Sanibel Causeway Mainland Port, Fort Myers, Florida
“Okay, so we’re here...now what?” asked Coleman, getting out of their car with Pucci. Yves and Parkes stayed inside the FBII vehicle, which was unmarked.
“Now...we wait,” said Pucci. The team was greeted with Lee County Police cars- unmarked- flanking the port, with Sanibel Police with a similar set up at the other end of the Causeway. Both departments were given pictures of Poulsen, and were told that upon sight, if they were to give chase they cannot make their presence obvious, lest Poulsen notice them and react violently.
“Coleman,” said Pucci to Coleman, “go across the Causeway to Sanibel and help with the arrest. The rest of us will stay here.” Coleman dutifully took a ride with a police car to the other end of the Causeway in anticipation of Poulsen’s arrival.
Inside the car, Yves and Parkes started to bond a bit more.
“How do you know he isn’t in Sanibel already? It’s only a 26-hour drive from Wessex,” asked Yves.
“Eric is careful,” said Parkes, “he wouldn’t just blindly drive, he’d stop a few times and make sure that he’d be rested. Besides, I think he went back home to Cleveland and picked up some stuff first.”
“Yes Ms. Parkes?”
“Please, call me Zoe.”
“How did a young guy like you get to have such a badass job like this?”
“I remember I was finishing my PhD at Cal Tech, and my boss, Aaron Fitchner, approached me. He told me his colleague, Jason Simeon, recommended me for the team and that I should consider joining the FBII. I told them I wasn’t sure if I could pass all the field qualifications, since I’m just a stick, but Fitchner told me that I was a special talent and that he was willing to waive all those qualifications just to have me, and that I’d be on a team where I wouldn’t need to be gifted in the field to be successful. So I applied, and a year later I joined the Behaviour Analysis Unit.”
“How did Mr. Simeon find you?”
“He read my treatise on an interrogation technique I devised for my PhD. I didn’t have a name for it but he loved it.”
“The Yves Technique?”
“Yes, that’s the one.”
“I had to quote it for an essay I did for a class on police techniques...it was fascinating stuff. How’d you come up with it?”
“It was simple...I just used my understanding of psychology to come with mind tricks that interrogators can use to get criminals to confess...I know it’s maligned now, but I think that’s more police personnel misusing it than the technique being designed that way.”
“I admit, I’m one of the people who thinks the technique is manipulative.”
“I remember reading an article about an innocent man who confessed under the technique because the interrogator mistook his stressful tears as guilt, and made him think he killed his wife in a drunken blackout when, in fact, his alibi was solid.”
“See, that’s the fault of the interrogator. Although tears usually indicate guilt, you have to read the suspect and understand the situation...a lot of people like have things that are ‘cut and dry’ but the reality is far more complex...you can’t just say ‘oh he’s crying, therefore he’s guilty’. You have to remember context.”
“How would you have handled that situation?”
“I know the case you’re talking about...and I would have taken a break instead of pressing on. I would have also taken the man at his word that he doesn’t remember what happened, since having a drunken blackout means the suspect cannot reasonably expect to remember what he actually did...a real confession involves having the offender fill in details you didn’t know, and being able to accurately recall them. If you’d like, I’d teach to you sometime.”
“I’d love that. I really would love to pick your brains...you’re so smart, Dr. Yves.”
“Please, you can call me Pascal, we’re friends now.”
Parkes smiled. “You know, Pascal, Agent Coleman was telling me you annoyed him one day talking about the Death Star...do you know how many times I’ve thought about that very thing myself?”
“That I annoyed Coleman?”
“No, the Death Star and its gigantic cost...I mean...why waste all that money on something that will hardly get used? A planet is pretty defenceless.”
“Well, the Galactic Empire would likely have so much money that $18 septillion would be a drop in the bucket for them, but you are right...why not make something that can do more than just shoot down a planet?”
“Not to mention you’d be wasting all those resources...it makes no sense to want to blow it all to smoke.”
“I should give you my card...I think we need to have a movie night or something.”
“Are you asking me out, Pascal?”
Yves grinned, realizing what he had done. “Maybe I am...I’ve just never met anyone that can keep up with me before...well, Coleman can but his attention span is as wide as a dime.”
Parkes laughed before resting her head on Yves’s shoulder and snuggling up against him.
Present day, Sanibel Beach, Sanibel, Florida
“The message for Angel was carefully planned, whereas the message for Carl was constructed rather hastily,” said Coleman, examining the two messages with Yves, which were side by side.
“These are rather specific seashells too,” said Yves, examining the message for Angel. “They’re all shaded in some way...even the white ones are completely white, not just wiped of their colour.”
“So Angel gave colour to his life.”
“Not just that...I think Angel died of leukemia. The colours look like sanguine symbols and bones, indicative of a bone marrow condition.”
“Angel’s message was carefully crafted. She was likely discovered dead by Eric when he got down here, and he killed Carl in a fit of rage, hence why it was hastily crafted.”
“Coleman, look at this.”
A few yards away, Yves noticed a sandcastle with a pair of sandals left behind.
“That’s got to be something,” noted Coleman. “Is Parkes done at the Poulsen house yet?”
“Let me call her,” said Yves, calling Parkes. “She’s actually on her way...they found nothing.”
A few minutes later, Parkes and Proctor showed up at the scene. Parkes gasped with immediate horror at the sight.
“Those...those,” said Parkes, stammering. “Those are Lana Poulsen’s slippers...Eric’s much younger sister...he’s taken her...”
“What?” Coleman inquired, stumped. “How do you know?”
“He loved his sister...kept talking about her,” replied Parkes. “Anyway, we can’t stand here and talk, we gotta find her...she doesn’t have that long left.”
“There’s no sign of a struggle here, Parkes,” said Coleman. “She could already be dead.”
“No,” said Parkes. “Something tipped him off...I’m not sure what but he was here mere moments before you guys arrived. Lana never forgets her slippers...she loves them...he had to have taken her in a flash.”
“Parkes,” said Proctor, exasperated at the thought of another wild goose chase. “You have to be right about this...we can’t just run around the island like this.”
“The lighthouse,” said Parkes. “They’re at the lighthouse...he’s always there. He’s taken several pictures from it...I’ve been in a picture with him in it, when I visited the island more than ten years ago. Lana loved it too...they have multiple pictures, and she loved seeing the wildlife preserve there.”
Proctor rolled her eyes, but Coleman didn’t miss a beat.
“Parkes,” said Coleman intently, “let’s go.”
March 19, 2009, the Causeway, Fort Myers, Florida
A camera inside a patrol car up the road on Summerlin Boulevard caught Eric Poulsen as he was driving down to the Causeway. Pucci received the tip on the radio, and instructed the police to be ready for pursuit.
“Zoe,” said Yves, putting Parkes’ head down. “Stay down. Eric is coming through the Causeway, we don’t want him to see you.” Parkes didn’t even question Yves’s instructions, following them to the letter. Fortunately, Poulsen didn’t see their car and drove right through the Causeway, paying the toll and cPuccing to the bridge.
Upon learning of Poulsen’s impending arrival, Coleman gathered the Sanibel police, reminding them to be discreet. He observed the passing cars carefully and would be the first to turn on his sirens indicating the chase really was on.
Poulsen, however, wasn’t going to drive on to the island. As soon as he got off the Causeway, he parked his car on the adjacent beach, causing Coleman to jump out of his car.
“Eric Poulsen! Zeke Coleman! FBII!” he hollered to Poulsen, who began to run.
“Oh no you don’t,” said Coleman, in hot pursuit. Poulsen, not gifted as a runner, had a tough time of it trudging through the sand whereas Coleman, a decorated high school athlete and experienced in sand, had an easy time of it, allowing Coleman to tackle Poulsen and arrest him before Poulsen could escape into the nearby bush.
“Eric Poulsen,” said Coleman fiercely. “You are under arrest for the kidnapping of Zoe Parkes.” Poulsen tried to get up but Coleman held him tightly to the ground, as the rest of the police surrounded him making sure he could not escape as Coleman completed the arrest.
Present day, the lighthouse, Sanibel, Florida
“Eric,” said Lana Poulsen, gripped with fear wondering what was going on. Eric was tying her up against the dumpster located to the right of the lighthouse. He’d already thrown his parents in the dumpster, and remembered at the last moment he had to get Lana in there too before the dumpster was emptied, as it was once a week. After he killed her, he would shoot himself, leaving the garbage collector to find them all dead.
“Don’t ask questions Lana,” said Eric. “I have to do this, there’s nothing left.”
“...but why, Eric, why?”
Eric responded by punching her. Lana began to cry. He wished he didn’t have to do it this way, but Eric felt he now had nothing left to live for. He found his mother already dead at the hands of his father, so he killed his father the way he always planned to- just like Charles Manson did, with stabbings and a pillowcase tied over his head.
Moments later, Parkes and Coleman arrived at the lighthouse. Parkes raced out of the car first, and ran past the bathrooms. Since it was a blind corner, she didn’t see Eric Poulsen, who jumped her.
Parkes, however, wasn’t rattled, using her leg to flip Poulsen up above her and onto the ground near her. She had her gun out right when Poulsen was able to look up and realize what happened.
“You forgot I’m not a scared little girl anymore,” said Parkes. “Don’t try anything stupid- I will shoot you.”
“Zoe...” said Poulsen, “I love you...why would do that to me?”
“Oh yeah? Well you had a poor way of showing it.”
“Come on Zoe...that night in Wessex...that wasn’t me...”
Parkes gave him an incredulous look. “Really? Maybe you should tell me who it was, because it sure looked a lot like you.”
“I was going to tell you eventually...I just...I just didn’t know how.”
“...and then you were going to kill me too, if not then it would have been now, where Lana is right now.”
“No...you don’t understand...we would have been together...we could have been Bonnie and Clyde...we could have triumphed over my oppressive dad and waged a real war on this vengeful society.” Poulsen started to think that maybe if Parkes came back to him that maybe his life could be worth it again. Parkes wasn’t buying it.
“You make no sense Eric...besides, don’t you know robbing banks ain’t my style anyway?”
Coleman then arrived at the scene, and, having seen that Parkes had everything under control, directed his attention toward Poulsen. “Don’t do anything stupid Eric!” he hollered, drawing his gun as well.
Poulsen, recognizing his earlier foe, decided enough was enough. He fumbled around his pants for a bit before drawing his own gun and aiming it at Coleman, forcing Parkes to shoot him dead. She fired at him several times, each shot a therapeutic one for all the pain Poulsen put her through, her rage coming out with every bullet. She emptied her cartridge right there, with Poulsen dying instantly.
She then sank to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably. Coleman untied Lana Poulsen before tending to Parkes, with Lana also suspecting something was wrong.
“Parkes,” said Coleman. “What’s wrong?”
“That,” said Parkes, still crying. “How could I? How can I be such a killer?”
“It’s justifiable,” said Coleman. “He was drawing his weapon to shoot at me...I was in danger so you had to protect me.”
“No Coleman, I know that,” said Parkes. “I’ve just...I’ve just never done that before...I know it was justified...but still...he was a human life and I just so coldly took it away from him...”
“Parkes,” said Coleman. “I remember the first time I shot someone...it was a gangbanger in the south side of Chicago, my first beat on the police force, let alone my first day. He pulled his gun at me and I had no choice but to fill him with lead. I too, wondered just what I had become, before my partner told me that if we didn’t kill for the greater good, then those who kill for no good will go unpunished. Some guys won’t quit until they die...there’s no way around it. I wish it didn’t have to happen that way but sometimes we don’t have a choice. I know, you’ve never done that before and it’s a shock, but remember...at the end of the day you did this for the greater good, and now a serial killer won’t hurt anyone else.”
Instinctively, Lana came to Parkes and gave her a big hug. It was that moment where Parkes realized the true impact of what she’d done, by killing Eric to save his sister, who would be dead if it wasn’t for her.
“Thank you so much kiddo,” said Parkes, holding Lana tightly and kissing the top of her head. “Do you want to go to Jerry’s and get a sundae?” Lana nodded yes excitedly.
“I think we could all use a sundae,” said Coleman, smiling at what he was seeing.
“Jerry’s has some pretty good food too,” said Parkes. “It’s a supermarket and a quaint restaurant all in one. We should all go...and it’s got Wi-Fi so Pucci can update his Twitter account.”
At Jerry’s, the team gathered for a celebratory meal after sending Lana off to live with her grandparents. They were all expected to fly out that night, but Fitchner had other plans.
“Seeing how it’s going to be lovely here and how trying this case has been for some us,” said Fitchner to the team, “I’ve decided we’ll fly out in three days. You guys deserve a weekend getaway.” The team greeted the news with loud cheers of excitement.
“Fitch,” said Parkes. “I know I can be difficult...but thanks for having patience with me.”
“Parkes,” said Fitchner, “you don’t need to apologize. You did a great job today.”
“Kiddo,” said Pucci. “One of these days you’ll understand your full potential and stop second guessing yourself.”
“I understand you had your first kill today,” said Yves.
“Yves!” said Coleman, admonishing his lack of tact.
“It’s okay Coleman,” said Parkes. “I’ve come to terms with it...seeing Lana made me feel better about it and made me realize why I do what I do.”
“Zoe,” said Pucci, “as long as you remember days like today then everything becomes easier. We see so much loss and despair, it’s days like this where we save someone that reminds us why this job is worth it. This can be such a thankless job sometimes, and we all know it can be hard going through the cases and seeing the depths of human depravity...but we get through it knowing that, at the end of the day, we’re still saving the greater good. Don’t ever forget that.”
“Sanibel Police was telling me they’re glad this is all finished,” said Fitchner. “They’re used to helping seniors with Alzheimer’s get home, not dealing with a serial killer.”
“I’m glad this is finished too,” said Parkes, “and now I don’t have to worry about Eric anymore. I wish I didn’t have to kill him but I had to do it.”
“Farley’s dead,” said Coleman. “Matt is dead. Heathcliff is dead. Boyle is dead. Battle is dead. Even Gacy is dead; and now yours. Says something about the people who challenge FBII agents...they literally won’t quit until the very end.”
The next day, at their hotel, Parkes greeted Yves in nothing but a bikini top and short shorts, ready to hit the beach.
“Hey Pascal,” said Parkes.
“Hey Zoe,” said Yves. “I was thinking since we need to have a movie night that we can do it right now.”
“Oh no mister,” replied Parkes, grabbing Yves by the hand. “Grab your trunks, we’re going to the beach. It’s too hot not go...it’s 86 and gorgeous, Pascal. Besides, you get to stare at me all you want.”
Yves laughed and agreed at the prospect, deciding against worrying about the sunburns he thought he was going to get. He quickly changed into swimming trunks and put on his sandals.
“...and then, Pascal, after we discuss the finer points of the Death Star, maybe you can show me how your Light Saber works.”
Yves grinned. “I think I’d like that.” They both departed for the beach.
Upon arrival, they greeted the rest of the team already basking in the sun and cracking jokes at Pucci’s expense.
“I think you guys are just jealous about my legs,” said Pucci, wearing nothing but a speedo. “One of these days, you’ll be man enough to wear something like this.”
“Sure Claude,” said Fitchner with a laugh, “I admire your bravery on the field, but I don’t think that’s the kind of bravery I want to emulate.”“I think I can see his butt hanging out from the side of the swimsuit,” said Proctor. Coleman responded with some catcall-type whistling. The team then had a good laugh, and went about having an enjoyable few days at the beach.