Trinity Island – Chapter 18

January 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm (Trinity Island)

Galen stepped through the sliding doors of the ER, his truck parked in its usual spot. The night nurse saw him coming and pointed down the hallway. Galen nodded and headed for Alyssa’s room. As he passed the first surgical suite he noticed the activity in the room. Peering in the window, he saw Dr. Eberly working hard over a man on the table. The anaesthesiologist had the man’s face covered by an oxygen mask, but Galen still recognized him.

Pushing through the door, Galen asked what had happened to Jacques. Dr. Eberly spared him a few seconds to say that he’d saved Alyssa’s life before he went back to his efforts to save Jacques’. Galen left the room and stepped up to the door to Alyssa’s. Her mother was there with her, trying to console the sobbing girl.

Galen entered the room and Alyssa turned her tear streaked face to his. He’d received a call telling him to get down to the hospital, because Alyssa had been attacked. He hadn’t been told anything further. Alyssa didn’t appear to be harmed, but she was clearly distraught. When he stepped over to the bed she gripped his arm and demanded to know how Jacques was.

“He saved me, Detective,” she wailed. “He came out of the bathroom and blocked the man with the knife from getting to me.”

Galen asked her to run through the events, taking notes as she did. He clarified a few points. She’d seen the man’s face as clear as day, but she didn’t know who he was. When asked, she admitted that she’d never be able to forget his face, or the evil she’d seen in it. She’d cut him and felt certain that it was deep enough to show. He’d have to hide, Galen thought. If he put the notice out that the suspect had been wounded during an attack at the hospital, everyone in the village would be on the lookout for someone with a new cut on their face.

“Do you know when they plan to release you?” he asked.

Alyssa shook her head. “I’m not going anywhere until I know that Jacques is alright.”

Galen agreed to come back with his computer so they could sit and put together a general likeness of her attacker. The quicker he could get it out to the public, the more likely they would find him before he hurt someone else.

He left Alyssa in the care of her mother, knowing there was enough personnel in the ER to prevent the killer from making another attempt on her life. He headed for the station, but took a detour before he’d gone two blocks. His parents lived a block away from the bakery. It was eleven at night and his ma would probably be in bed, but his dad would still be up. He didn’t have to rise early to get the baking started.

Paddy O’Brien opened the door wide to allow Galen inside, surprised to see him out so late. Galen took off his shoes and walked into the living room. He sat down on the couch and waited for his dad to get settled in his favorite chair. Paddy remained silent, waiting for Galen to sort out his thoughts.

When Galen explained about the attack on Alyssa at the hospital, and how Jacques had gotten stabbed several times, Paddy leaned forward, placing his arms on his knees. Galen said how the killer was starting to unravel and he was worried he’d do something dangerously out of character.

“I need to warn the public, but I don’t want to scare him into hiding. If he gets off this island, I may never find him.”

Paddy nodded. “You want us to get the word out quietly. That’s fine and we can do that, but how do we know the person we’re telling isn’t the man we’re looking for?”

Galen explained about the composite drawing he was going to get from Alyssa. He said how she’d cut her attacker on the face and he would likely be trying to hide it, or hide himself. “I’ll get that drawing done as quickly as I can. In the meantime, we should be extra aware of the people around us.”

“It’s possible that this man has a woman in his life who would be willing to cover for him,” Paddy said.

Galen had thought of that, too. It wouldn’t be the first time that a serial killer had had a wife or a lover or a mother who knew what he was up to. They turned a blind eye, thinking that if they didn’t admit it to themselves, then it couldn’t be true. Any woman in the village who would cover for this guy would take their warning back to him. But it was a chance he had to take. He had to do as much as he could to protect the people on the island.

Galen stopped in at the station house long enough to grab his laptop. He had software that would allow him to piece together parts of a face to make a whole. It was quicker than getting a sketch artist, though sometimes the effect wasn’t as exacting as an artist could get it. But it would do for their purposes. Locking the door behind him, he returned to his truck and drove back to the hospital. With a little effort, he and Alyssa would have a decent enough composite drawing of their killer to have someone in the town recognize him. He only hoped that it would be soon enough to prevent someone else from getting hurt.

***

Marty once again paced a path through his living room. The cut on his face had bled a lot, but when he’d washed up, it hadn’t been as bad as he’d thought. He had a one inch gash right at the hairline, which he covered with a bandage. His hair was sheared short and wouldn’t cover it, but he could wear a hat when he was out in public. And he needed to go out in public. He needed to find someone who could dispel the hunger growing within him.

But first he needed a place to work. His shed was gone and he wouldn’t risk returning to the house, even though it was lying empty. He wouldn’t bring anyone to his own home. He needed a place that was not connected to him, at least not directly. The shed had been perfect. The owners hadn’t lived on the island for the past few years. They had busy lives on the mainland and didn’t make it out to Trinity anymore. Just this year they had put the place up for sale and Marty had worried that new owners would arrive and ruin his plans for the shed.

His plans had gotten ruined anyway. He should have expected it and built a backup location, but he’d been cocky. He’d assumed he’d have plenty of notice of someone new coming onto the property. He couldn’t risk using one of the mayor’s other properties, though he would have loved to implicate the man even more than he already had.

Marty wracked his brain trying to come up with a suitable alternative. There were surprisingly few vacant houses on the island. New construction wasn’t as booming as it was in Vancouver. The town was being built up, but the outlying areas had remained fairly static. Several houses had been demolished to make room for the three-storey retail and residential units similar to the rest of the town. It packed more people into a smaller area, and lowered the vacancy rate for the rest of the houses on the island.

His sister lived in one of the units in town. Her coffee shop was on the main floor and several units were above it, on the second and third floors. She’d taken the unit on the second floor, at the front of the building. When she’d returned from university she had refused to live at home. He knew that she didn’t visit their mother. Sarah refused to have anything to do with her. Same with his older brother. He worked at the rappelling station and lived in a small house not far away from the cliffs.

It had fallen to Marty to make sure his mother was taken care of. He’d done his duty by her, but the older she got, the more he hated paying her a visit. She was barely capable of seeing to the house. He paid a local kid to mow the lawn, but the house itself was starting to show signs of neglect. He had no interest in spending any money on the place. It would likely be condemned once his mother died.

But it did have a shed in the back. It was a bit ramshackle, but it backed onto the woods and the nearest neighbour wasn’t all that close. His mother never went out into the yard. She was practically a shut in. She sat in front of the TV watching game shows and soaps all day. He could use the shed and she likely wouldn’t even know that he was there. He’d have to pay her a visit in the morning and determine how run down the place was. If it wasn’t falling down around him, then it might just work as a temporary solution for his needs.

He smiled, rubbing his hands together in anticipation of the next woman he would be able to save. Soon, the hunger that rippled through his body would be sated and he could get back to normal.

***

It took several hours for Galen to get an image of the attacker that Alyssa was happy with. She still wasn’t 100% satisfied with it, but she couldn’t state why it didn’t look right. She said she thought it was the eyes. They couldn’t convey the evil she’d seen there.

“I know evil is a silly word, but if anyone had it in him, it was this guy.”

“I fully believe there are evil people in this world, Alyssa,” Galen assured her. He’d met several of them in his career as a police officer. The program he was using for the composite couldn’t convey the emotion she was trying to express, but it was enough to give them a general likeness. Unfortunately, it was pretty standard. The man was tall, around 6’2″, and fit, which Galen knew after having chased the guy through the woods and never quite gaining on him. He had short dark hair and dark eyes and his skin was tanned. Average.

He couldn’t add the scar, because he didn’t know how badly the perpetrator had been cut. Galen didn’t want people to be focused on the scar and nothing else. Still, if he posted the picture around town then the guy might get spooked and make a mistake. He’d have to return to the station to make the copies and he’d update his board as well.

Jacques had come through the surgery and was in guarded condition. Alyssa now sat in his room holding his hand and willing him to pull through. She’d officially been released from the hospital, but admitted that until the killer was caught, she would be too afraid to return to her apartment. Dr. Eberly had requested a cot be moved into Jacques’ room for her to sleep on. He felt responsible for her, especially since she’d been attacked in his hospital. Everyone on staff had been briefed on the attack and now all members were required to wear visible identification. Anyone not immediately recognizable as a hospital employee was to be questioned.

Galen left the hospital, headed for his ma’s bakery. It was early, she wouldn’t be open yet, but he knew she would be there. Stepping up onto the boardwalk, he smiled when he saw Claire inside, accepting a hazelnut cookie. Pushing the door open and walking in, he wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her hair. He was exhausted; he’d been up all night working with Alyssa, slurping back coffee to keep his eyes open. Claire smelled fresh; her skin was soft and warm. He pulled back and dropped a soft kiss on her lips.

“Why are you out so early in the morning?”

Claire didn’t want to admit, in front of his mother, that she’d had difficulty sleeping because he wasn’t there. Besides, she thought that sounded a little pathetic. When she realized that sleep wasn’t going to come, she’d gotten up and headed for the kitchen. Mac had already been up, getting the coffee started for the forensics team. They weren’t working around the clock, but they still put in a sixteen-hour day. Several of the cops from the dive team had been ordered to remain behind and guard the barn. The powers that be in Victoria didn’t want to risk the killer getting in and damaging the evidence. Likewise, they didn’t want the press breaching the facility and reporting on facts they preferred to keep quiet about.

“I was helping Mac this morning and decided I’d come into town and see if you needed a hand. Or breakfast,” she smiled, gesturing to the bakery case behind her. She nibbled on her cookie.

Galen kissed her on the bridge of her nose. “I could use the help, thanks.” He walked around the case and gave his ma a hug, accepting the cannoli she handed him. He swallowed half in one bite, before realizing that he was starving. He needed a proper meal, but nothing was open at this hour.

“Your father will feed you,” Mrs. T said. “You take Claire there for breakfast and get him working on getting the word out. I’ll call ahead.”

Galen thanked her and led Claire out to his truck. She’d driven into town, but her car was parked down the street. They opted to leave it where it was and he could drive her back to it later. They arrived at his parent’s house and his father was already in the kitchen wearing a frilly apron and setting bacon in the skillet. Galen poured a cup of coffee for Claire, but opted for water himself. He’d already had the better part of a gallon of coffee that morning.

Galen opened his laptop to the image that Alyssa had provided him. He turned the screen around so his dad could see it.

“You recognize this guy?” he asked.

Paddy moved the bacon from the frying pan to a plate covered in paper towel. Glancing over his shoulder, he took a long look at the image, but shook his head. “I think it looks like someone I’ve seen, but I don’t know if that’s just because I expect it to.”

Galen understood the sentiment. His dad had to know just about everyone on the island, so it stood to reason he’d seen the killer before. Unless the guy was a complete hermit who lived off the land, and Galen knew of no one on the island who did this, then the killer had to have popped up in town at one time or another. It was also possible that the suspect was someone on the periphery of his dad’s awareness. Someone who he saw but didn’t know well, so didn’t pay as much attention to.

“He does look familiar,” Claire said. She’d been staring at the image for a few minutes, trying to determine where she’d seen the guy before. “I don’t know where, but I’ve definitely seen this man before.”

“That bodes well for this image then,” Galen said. “Once we get it posted around the town I’m sure others will have a similar reaction and surely one person will be able to put a name to the face.”

After breakfast, Galen drove to the station and plugged his laptop into the network. He transferred the image to a template he’d already made up listing his contact information along with a heading asking if anyone recognized the man pictured. Once the printer began spitting out copies of the poster, he went over to his board to update it with his latest notes.

He studied the board, hoping that inspiration would leap off and smack him in the face. He needed a suspect; someone he could focus his energy on. Until he had one, he was twisting in the wind and every second that passed brought them that much closer to another woman getting hurt or killed.

He needed to figure out what it was about these particular women that motivated the killer to take them. None of them shared anything beyond the basic features, blue eyes, youngish, and female. Some had been romantically linked to the mayor, but not all. Most came from decent homes, but one had evidence of long-term abuse in her background. They hadn’t worked at the same place, lived in the same house, or attended the same church or gym. Galen hadn’t found a single thing that united the women.

It was possible there wasn’t any one thing that made them stand out for their killer.

With nothing left to do but post the pictures around town, Galen decided he’d pay the mayor a visit. If the killer was taking some of his victims from the man, it wouldn’t hurt to find out if there were any more potential victims on the island. Claire had gathered the stack of posters and offered to take them around town to the business owners, asking each one to place the picture in their window.

Galen dropped Claire off in town and drove to the mayor’s place. His wife answered the door and invited Galen into the living room. She’d made tea and offered him some. Galen accepted and had just taken his first sip when Jeff Anglove walked into the room. He could admit to a small amount of disappointment when he noticed that Anglove didn’t have a noticeable scar along his hairline. Though it crossed a potential suspect off his list, he could also admit that Anglove had been about the only person Galen had had on the list.

He now had no suspects and no idea where to take his investigation.

Mayor Anglove admitted that there were several other women still on the island whom he’d had an affair with. He gave Galen their names and addresses and then left the room. Galen spent a few minutes with Rebecca, asking how she was doing with her pregnancy, before taking his leave.

He spent several hours visiting with the women that the mayor had mentioned. He’d showed the image of the suspect to each one and none had recognized him. He’d left a copy with each, suggesting that if they saw the man anywhere near them, to run to safety first and then call him.

With little else to work on, he headed back to the station.

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