Part 1 – Endings
After a solid decade of searching, they had finally discovered Red John’s real identity. There had been a hurried frenzy to catch him, and caught him they had. He had been set to strike again when they found him; he didn’t even react when they burst in on him and the young woman he was going to kill. He just peeled off his mask and smiled at them.
“About time you caught me,” he had whispered, his voice an eerie mixture of calm and menacing. “What took you so long? Didn’t I trip up enough for the powerful, all-knowing Patrick Jane to finally put the last puzzle pieces into place?”
“Are you questioning my skills and abilities?” Jane had asked, fixing the serial killer with the steeliest gaze that Teresa Lisbon had ever seen from him.
“I would never question your skills or abilities Patrick! I’ve been admiring them for far too long to do something like that. But maybe I’m suggesting that you’re losing your edge in your old age. It happens to the best of us. I mean look at me, we’re all standing here today. That would have never happened when I was younger. Heck, it would have never happened six months ago. But I’ve grown tired of this game, I’m ready to retire.”
“I’ve heard that one before,” Jane replied bitterly. “The last time someone said to me it turned out he wasn’t the real Red John.”
“I can assure you that I am indeed the real Red John. Now are you going to arrest me or what?”
“What makes you think we’re going to arrest you?”
“Well, it’s your only other option isn’t it? You aren’t going to kill me, not when the pretty Agent Lisbon is standing right beside you. You’ve laid so much groundwork with her that you wouldn’t want to mess up any opportunities you have with her. Not now. And you don’t even have the satisfaction of killing me in self-defense, since I haven’t touched either of you. I haven’t so much as pointed a gun at you.”
Jane looked at Lisbon wearily, there was so many questions in his eyes. She was thinking the same things, like what if they tried to arrest him and he chose that moment to react, to use that opportunity to try and escape, or to try and kill one of them. After all, he was a crafty man, and he didn’t always keep his word. Who was he to say that he would come quietly when his freedom was at stake? For all they knew, he could be playing them.
But. . .
It was a risk that they had to take.
Lisbon took her handcuffs out from her back pocket and approached him slowly, frightened that if she moved too quickly that her worst fears would come true. He dropped his weapon and held his wrists out for her, listening quietly while she spouted off his Miranda rights. Then he let her lead him away with Jane following close behind, making sure nothing went amiss.
He was so sure something would go wrong, the final act was all too easy.
But his fears were unfound, everything went off without a hitch; Red John answered all of their questions, he made a full confession and a few weeks later, his case was taken to trial. The families of the victims had been waiting a decade to put a face to the man who had killed their loved ones. The state of California had been waiting to see the madman’s reign of terror put to an end. The people in higher ups decided they owed everybody a swift and speedy trial.
The jury found him guilty on all counts of charges brought against him, the judge sentenced him to death by legal injection. After everything Red John had done, after all the women that he had brutally slaughtered, it hardly seemed like a fair punishment. He would die a quick and a relatively painless death, he wouldn’t know a fraction of the pain he had inflicted on the people he had killed. It would all be over in a matter of a few seconds.
Jane found comfort in the fact that Red John would not be spending the rest of his life in the comfort of a jail cell with the luxuries of cheeseburgers, HBO, and fellow prisoners he could frighten into doing his bidding. He would be gone forever, nobody would have to be afraid that he would escape and that the cycle would start all over again. He and the rest of the families who had lost love ones could at least find a little bit of closure and try to move on with their lives.
“Are you going to his execution?”
“Are you?” Jane asked, not looking at her.
“Mandy Bosco asked me to go with her,” Lisbon confessed. “It’s been tough on her, you know. . .”
“I’m sure,” Jane answered, still not taking his eyes away from the Sacramento skyline. “Especially since she wasn’t sure if Sam loved her or not, not after they moved here and she knew you two were working together.”
Lisbon ignored him. “I think it would be good for you to go, maybe you’ll finally get the closure you’ve been looking for.”
“That was taken away from me when he let us arrest him without fuss or muss,” Jane said. “I had put away my desire to kill him the way he had killed my wife and daughter. But I thought for sure one of us would get to kill him in self-defense, at least. But I didn’t even get that.”
“Oh Jane. . .” she whispered, not letting him know that she had hoped for the very same thing. That she had prayed even for an opportunity to put a bullet between Red John’s eyes and watch him suffer the way he had watched others suffer for over a decade. “Please go with me. I’m not saying it’ll help, but you never know until you try.”
Jane sighed, finally looking at her. “Fine, if it’ll make you happy, then I’ll go with you. But don’t expect me to magically feel better just because I got to watch the man who ruined my life die.”
Lisbon shook her head and pushed her fingers through her hair, her eyes growing solemn. “Of course not.”
But she was going to pray that it helped just a little bit.
The room was crowded with families who were searching for closure. There weren’t enough chairs to go around, causing some people to have to stand against the walls. The room they were waiting in was too quiet, they were all holding their breath, waiting for the ending of their personal horror story. Waiting to close one chapter so they could finally open a new one and maybe ink happily ever after at the end of their respective journeys.
Lisbon was sitting in between Jane and Mandy, whispering prayers for all the families but especially for Jane. When the guards brought Red John out, she reached for his hand and squeezed it gently. She was thankful when he didn’t pull away and instead gripped onto her hand like it was a lifeline, like he was drawing from her strength.
They watched together as they strapped him down and plunged a needle in his vein. For a breathless second, she thought that there would be a big show and that somehow Red John would escape, he would laugh and say that he had won, that he would always win. But the only thing he did was start to sing a hymn, his voice faded as the drug started to work its way through his body. And then it was quiet.
Red John was no more.