I. David Rossi
Mario Puzo wrote, "If you'd come to me in friendship, the scum who ruined your daughter would be suffering this very day. And if by some chance an honest man like yourself made enemies, they would become my enemies. And then, they would fear you."
If you're new in Commack, the locals will tell you that you've simply got to try Angela's for dinner. It's the best Italian food you'll find in a hundred miles; better than any of those places in Little Italy that swear they serve "authentic" cuisine. Just be sure you don't stop in on Friday nights – the restaurant's preemptively booked by the local movers and shakers. If you know Commack, then you won't be surprised to see them packing heat and giving the eye to outsiders.
There's a reason they call it la cosa nostra, this thing of ours. It's just not spoken of.
But the locals know why Angela's is the headquarters of the Long Island mob, and it's not just because their gravy is better than Nonna's and their pasta fagiole soup is to die for. It's because of the head chef and owner, the man they call "the prince".
Local boy, family's always been close to the mob, but young Dave had really outdone himself when he'd come back from 'Nam and eliminated every threat to his brother-in-law, the new capo. Carlo DeSanto, straight off the boat from Sicily, out to whip Long Island's wannabe gangsters into shape. Carlo was a big talker, liked to think he had it in him to make LI a credible presence in the mob world and not just the bastard child of the New York and New Jersey families. He had plans for LI, wiping out the half-assed money laundering schemes and racetrack betting in favor of arms dealing, prostitution, and a nice cut of the heroin trade out of Queens.
But Carlo couldn't do a thing without some smart help, and that's where Dave Rossi came in. Rossi's a modern-day Machiavelli, planning and double-dealing and ruthlessly wiping out anyone in his way. And he's got the pedigree to command the loyalty of the Long Island family – Rossi Sr. was a crap bookie, but a fairly effective enforcer, and Dave's grandfather was "Lucky" Louie, who used to run booze with Capone in Chicago during Prohibition. Dave was their heir apparent, and he'd thrown his considerable mind behind his sister Christina's husband.
With Dave Rossi as the power behind the throne, even New York has woken up and taken notice. The DeSanto and Rossi names are respected and feared; there are rumors Dave even has an entire unit of the FBI's white collar division devoted to his capture. But he's careful. You don't get to be consigliere of an entire family by being foolish, or trusting - you get there by cultivating your allies, ensuring their loyalty, eliminating competition, and making an example of your enemies. "The Prince's" calling card is a bullet between the eyes and displaying the body in a manner that the entire town knows what the poor sap did to cross David Rossi.
The locals know exactly what Rossi does, who he is, and they don't care. Because that's what the FBI and the Mafia experts don't know about David Rossi: he's a nice guy.
He and his wife, Emma, own and operate Angela's Restaurant and Bar. You can walk in, sit down at a table, and within ten minutes, you'll feel like family. Dave charms his customers with stories about the neighborhood and the people there, and Emma is always at the counter ready to ask you about your day, your own family. She's beautiful and smart, always dressed like she's going to the opera even when she's inventorying tins of anchovies and signing for produce deliveries.
They're still, after twenty-five years of marriage, absolutely crazy about each other, and their sons, Anthony and Joseph, are usually somewhere around the place. Tony helps out in the kitchen – he's inherited his dad's talent for cooking – and Joey bartends on the weekends, when he's home from Hofstra. Double-majoring in business and history, his mother will boast. Tony plays varsity football, and the Rossi family – both of them – are always out in full force at his games.
To outsiders, the Rossis have the perfect suburban life. They don't see Dave when he's at a roundtable, ensuring his lieutenants are doing their jobs and executing those who fail him. They don't see the blood he washes off the floor of his meat locker, the bodies that are butchered like steaks and disposed of in the garbage the next day. The deals he makes with the police, the trash workers, the maintenance people, to stay under the radar. The times he takes his boys to the shooting range, because guns are a necessity and they're going to be in the line of fire soon.
One day, not too far from now, Emma Rossi will come home to find her husband dead. Someone in the mob will want the kind of power David Rossi has, and they'll take it by force, because that's how you do things in the family. She will call her sister-in-law, and make arrangements. The person will be dealt with, she will move her boys down to Trenton, where they can disappear. She will allow them to pursue all the vengeance they want, but she will have none of it. It won't bring her husband back.
The only thing people will remember David Rossi for will be a tiny Italian restaurant and a title that loses meaning as the years go by.
II. Emily Prentiss
"The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children." - Clarence Darrow
Her name is Emily Cooley – at least, that's what it says on her hospital records. Emily Cooley, nee Prentiss, thirty-three years old. Born in London, England, to Elizabeth and Michael Prentiss, parents divorced when she was 8. Bitter custody battle, father committed suicide a year later. Lived in twenty-six different countries in the next seven years, until Rome, Italy. Her records change after that – hospitalizations, drug convictions, and one birth certificate.
She has a daughter, Katherine, would be 18 this month if Emily knew where the girl was. Cooley's parents sued for custody, and won. They also cut all ties with both her and their son, John, and Emily says she never saw her daughter again.
Sometimes you even believe her.
It's hard to know when she's lucid enough to be telling the truth. John Cooley married her, then left her two years later, broke, abandoned by her mother, and with a nasty meth habit. She's been in and out of women's correctional facilities and rehab ever since. Every time you think she's done it, kicked the habit for good and gone to do something with her life, she ends up back in your hospital. St. Martha's is her usual sanctuary, and you're listed as her emergency contact. It's ridiculous, you're an ER nurse, you shouldn't have time for her, but you care in spite of yourself.
She's sweet and funny, when she's not detoxing. Flirts with you, says you've got a beautiful smile. Occasionally, she'll talk books; she's very well-read, probably even more than you yourself are, with your minor in world literature. She loves Vonnegut, always has, and you loan her your copy of Finnegan's Wake, because she says she could never get into Joyce. She even returns the book in perfect condition. You talk about the Beats and she makes fun of Burroughs, saying you shouldn't need LSD to write shitty nonsensical half-poetry. She won't hear a word against Kerouac or Ginsberg, though.
Ironically enough, she gives great advice when she's lucid. She tells you off when you want to break up with your girlfriend, saying that fights about dishes and movie nights aren't nearly as serious as you think they are. She tells you to talk to her, instead, listen to why she hates horror movies and thinks dishes will infect your house with killer mold if you leave them in the sink for more than ten minutes. She meets Nicole a couple times, when Nic comes to visit you on rotation, and one day, they spend three hours holed up in one of the outpatient examining rooms, watching House and arguing over who the hottest cast member is.
Nic thinks it's Chase. Emily says it's Cuddy, but there's something to be said for House's blue eyes.
Emily buys you a My Little Pony for Christmas one year, because she remembers you talking about working on your parents' farm as a kid. You want to thank her, but she's nowhere to be found. You look in all of her usual haunts, talk to her dealer and her crackhead friends and the guy she's fucking for a place to sleep when she isn't in the hospital. She's just gone – and the death certificate that pops up in the system a few weeks later isn't really a surprise. Suffocation caused by an overdose of methamphetamine.
You still think about her every so often, even though you and Nicole are married. You just finished your preliminary coursework for your doctorate – psychology. You're going into drug counseling, you've seen enough of it as a nurse, you're a natural. You've always had a good bedside manner, and you're tough enough to wrestle the hardcore addicts.
You wish you could have gotten to Emily before it was too late.
III. Derek Morgan
"We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments." - Oscar Wilde
The guards tell you number 2654 is a scary bastard and you shouldn't get too attached to him, but you won't listen.
You're new at Oswald, transferred from desk duty at Fox River, and it's like nothing you've ever trained for. The inmates are right there across from you when they come in for their counseling sessions, and some of them seem like they could kill you even with the shackles. The brass tries to limit your exposure to the lifers, the baby-rapers, serial killers, and psychopaths, tossing you the guys on white-collar beefs, tax evasion, and a couple of the less-violent sex offenders and druggies.
Morgan, Derek A's file arrives on your desk three months into your stint; Prisoner 2654, serving three counts of aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, and one count of murder two. He's got a rap sheet that reads like a stuck typewriter – assault, battery, aggravated assault, property damage, more assault. Morgan's got anger issues, and with his juvie record (it's unsealed due to his current sentence), it's not hard to guess why.
His victim, Carl Buford. Fine upstanding citizen, pillar of the community – and child molester. No one could ever charge him with anything, there was no evidence, but Morgan and three other boys in Buford's basketball program all filed multiple rape charges against him. Nothing had been done, not one of the four suits stuck. Two days after the last case was dismissed, Morgan walked up to Buford in broad daylight with a knife and gutted him.
Even in prison, Morgan's got a rep for being violent toward sex offenders. The last rapist the guards let within five feet of Morgan got a broken leg, five cracked ribs, a ruptured spleen, and a concussion. Now, the brass needs his cooperation with a kiddie porn bust – the ringleader might have had ties to Buford, or at least gotten ideas from him – but every counselor they've sent has run screaming, and the FBI's getting desperate.
He doesn't touch women and he has a soft spot for black girls, so they've let you at him.
He's so calm, when you first introduce yourself. Answers your preliminary questions about prison life, his personal habits, his family in a short, but not unfriendly way. He tells you about his mother and sisters in Chicago, how he misses playing touch football with his nephews and walking his dog. He talks about his routine, who he likes and doesn't like, what guards he's chill with and who he thinks has a beef with him. Asks you where you went to college – turns out he'd taken a criminal justice lecture given by one of your professors – and how you like Oswald so far. Tells you a story about Keller slipping laxatives into the warden's coffee that has you laughing in spite of yourself.
But then you open the file on Lee Sommers and the kiddie porn, and something changes behind his eyes. You think he knows Sommers from back in Chicago, from Buford, and you ask him so. He pulls the table right off its hinges and flips it, crashing it into the cinderblock wall. Your screams bring the guards, and they chain him to his seat.
He won't help you, and you know why. You've tugged at the string of his past, of Buford, and he's unraveling fast. Morgan won't look at one set of pictures in particular, the ones with the young boys, and you know he's seeing himself. That's what cracks the case for you - it's the way Sommers films his victims and makes them watch it later. Victory films, like a basketball coach would show. Morgan won't talk about it, but eventually verifies that Sommers got his MO straight from Buford.
Though your superiors warn you against it, you ask for him to be brought up to see you. You tell him that Chicago PD and the FBI have caught Sommers, and he smiles, just for a moment. It's so impossibly innocent and heartbreaking that you almost want to touch his arm, reassure him. The prison tattoo on his right bicep – a single rose for an outside murder, three leaves representing three inside murders, and one thorn for every year he's served of his fifteen-to-twenty – makes you stop.
He may be a victim, but Derek Morgan hasn't been innocent of anything for a long time.
IV. Penelope Garcia
"Our most basic instinct is not for survival but for family. Most of us would give our own life for the survival of a family member, yet we lead our daily life too often as if we take our family for granted." - Paul Pearshall
It's been fourteen years, four months, and seventeen days since the accident. Four continents, eight countries, and one very long month she spent sleeping on the beach in Oaxaca and you spent cleaning up the mess she left in LA. You suppose the destructive impulse is understandable when she wakes up one morning to find out she's on the FBI's most-wanted list of computer hackers and her choice is to either run or turn traitor. Penelope Garcia ran, and she hasn't stopped running, but the Bureau is pissed that Oracle seems not to have gone anywhere.
That's when they call you in.
Because while Penelope Garcia is a ghost, barely traceable since she's gone completely off the grid, stopped using her credit cards and social security number and gotten paperwork in what ends up to be her grandmother's maiden name, the hacker Oracle is as busy as ever. She does her work on borrowed machines, a quick trace on an innocent bystander's laptop here, a full hack into the CIA on a bounced IP address there, and she always skips town right afterward.
You and your team are always at least six steps behind her. You could match her on a good day, Lynch, too, if he's stepped up his game, but you doesn't have very many good days. The rest of your team aren't even in her league, so you're always looking for the next clue as to where she is. There's been a cell in Attica with her name on it for six years.
You met her once, in Seattle, undercover as another hacker. You'd just been made an agent, and you weren't very well known yet. She agreed to meet at a Mexican restaurant, and you sat at the bar with her and drank some of the worst margaritas either of you have ever had. She'd opened up a little, to a fellow hacker girl, and you'd learned a lot. Most of your info on her, your insight into her, came from that day.
She says she loves what she does, but that sometimes, when she's just waited tables at another crappy sports bar with men leering at her chest, or gotten fired from another IT position for inappropriate attire/sexual harassment/foul language, she considers surrendering. No more blowjobs for rent. No more hotwiring laptops for perverts, hiding their kiddie porn or snuff film collection or bestiality clips behind innocuous files and directories. No more programming viruses. No more keeping people at arms' length for fear they'll turn her in.
You almost feel sorry for her, before you remember that this is the girl who leaked undercover CIA ops to the Russian mob. This is the girl who exposed Nick Allan as an agent, and got him shot sixteen times. This is the girl who destroyed an entire city's security system the night of a grand jury proceeding – four jurors killed, all witnesses either disappeared or killed. She's beyond-dangerous.
You almost arrest her right then and there. Then she tells you about the cops who came to her door the night of the accident.
They'd burst through the door, looking for evidence that her parents were at fault. Drugs, alcohol, whatever they thought would sell the story that Mark Garcia and Verity Hall were better off dead, rather than let the world know that a couple cops had been drinking on the job and sideswiped and killed two innocent people. They'd driven seventeen-year-old Penelope and her twelve-year-old stepbrother Luke down to the morgue to identify the bodies, then falsified reports to say their parents had been abusing them. Child Services had gotten involved right away, and then she barely ever saw Luke again as they went to separate families in the foster system.
She talks about how she finished high school with her head down and her mouth closed, and you remember the feeling. Cal Tech was more of the same, until she just couldn't keep up with her courseload and still maintain her hacker profile. She dropped out on her nineteenth birthday and left her foster home the same day. That's when she went completely off the grid.
She says she's seen the world, and there are days when she wouldn't trade it for anything. Then May rolls around, the anniversary of the accident and Luke's birthday – and she remembers she hasn't seen her stepbrother in almost fifteen years. She doesn't know what he's doing, probably out of college now, maybe has a girlfriend. Penelope wishes she could know the man he's become, but then she remembers – he probably won't want to know her. She'd abandoned him, and who has time for a stepsister who abandons you to become a criminal?
You let her go that day, let her fade off into the night. Some days you don't regret it – she didn't mean to become what she is. Some days, you think you should have shot her where she sat, see how she liked being a victim for once.
V. Spencer Reid
R.D. Laing wrote, "Schizophrenia cannot be understood without understanding despair."
You are the police's first stop when they find the body; they think you can give them answers.
You are – were – Spencer Reid's best friend. As much as a kid like Spence could have a best friend, anyway. You met in Intro to Psych; you were reading Paradise Lost, and Spence had awkwardly perched on the seat next to you, asking if you were a fan of classicism, and you had to laugh and tell him that, no, you just wanted to get a head start on your assignments for Brit Lit 101. Before you knew it, Spence was sitting next to you every class, in his too-big corduroy pants and tweed jackets with the patches on the elbows, like some kind of mini-professor.
He sure as hell was smarter than the professors, that was for sure. He would pick apart their lessons, interject every time they said something that wasn't completely factual, generally be a pain in the ass. You knew he didn't mean to, but he just couldn't help it. It didn't endear him to the other students, who already thought he was weird for the way he dressed and the fact that he was a good seven years younger than they were.
But you liked him in spite of his annoying habits. You let him drag you to philosophy club meetings and dressed him in your kid brother's baseball jerseys to try and help him fit in. Nothing could disguise Spencer's brain, though, and once he opened his mouth, the ridicule would start. Most people learned not to be obvious about it if you were around, but you could see it wearing on him as the months went by.
In sophomore year, Spence got different. Quieter. Not as irritatingly know-it-all, though he could still think rings around his professors. You asked him what happened over the summer, why he was different, and he looked at you like you were from Mars, and told you his mother had died. She'd been diagnosed with adult-onset schizophrenia, and killed herself when she went off her medication. You asked where his father was, and he laughed – too jaded and bitter to be Spence, if you hadn't been hearing it with your own ears – and said he'd like to know that himself.
You don't know what kind of deal the university cut Spence after his mom died, if it was tuition remittance or scholarships or work-study, but he kept going to classes. He got reckless, though, started antagonizing the bullies that he'd previously either ignored or let you deal with. He'd come back to the dorm with black eyes and bruises one time, a broken wrist another. He won't tell you what he did to get them, either, just tells you "stop worrying, Brian, I'm fine".
Spence is far from fine, and everyone should have seen it.
Junior year comes, and the workload almost doubles. You're so focused on your own work – analytical psychology, focused on teenagers, of all fucking things – that you forget that you barely see Spence anymore. He was in one of your English comp classes, but dropped it because it "conflicted with other engagements". You teased him about having a girlfriend or something, and he just shook his head and said he was focused on school.
And then the police knock on your door.
It's a Wednesday in October, no particular meaning to the day, and you open the door to find two officers and the dean of the psych department. They tell you Spence overdosed on Zyprexa, and you have to sit down and laugh hysterically for a couple minutes because, clearly, this is a sick joke. Zyprexa is an antipsychotic, it's for use in early-onset schizophrenia.
That's when they tell you that Spence has been diagnosed with it for months, since that summer his mother killed herself, and God, you should have seen this coming. You were supposed to be his best friend, the one who looked out for him, because Spencer Reid was barely sixteen years old. You knew people were picking on him, you knew he was acting differently, you should have seen every fucking warning sign because you're a psych major.
You never saw it coming. No one did.
VI. Jennifer Jareau
"People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned." - James Baldwin
Mrs. Carpenter was always your favorite teacher.
She was pretty and smart and knew about almost everything. Even when you get older, go to high school and Allegheny County Community College, you'll still remember all the things she taught you. She showed you The Magic School Bus to teach your class about the water cycle and about friction, even though the only water any of you will ever drink is from the well in your backyard, and the closest you'll get to physics is through your TV.
She gave you spelling quizzes every week, which you aced, but everyone else hated. Why would any of you ever need to know how to spell "jeopardy" except to sniff disdainfully at Alex Trebek and the know-it-alls on that show? She never said your dreams of getting out of Fullerton were stupid – she said that you (all of her students, but especially you, who were only ten and already curious about the rest of the world) could do anything you wanted with your life, and that there was more to the world than just football games and the smoke from the steel mills.
You didn't know then what you know now.
Because you've known Mrs. Carpenter all your life. You live three blocks away from her, on Applewood Lane, and you buy snacks from her parents' corner store. Your father and Mr. Carpenter worked at the same auto body shop, and now play pool at the same union hall. Your mother used to babysit for Kenny, Sam, and Andy when the Carpenters needed someone to look after the boys. You grew up to marry Sam Carpenter, the middle child, blonde like his mother, with her love of soccer and terrible jokes.
It isn't until Sam gives you your first black eye that you really look back on the things you didn't notice about Mrs. Carpenter. The way she always wore long sleeves, even in summer. The way she would joke about being "clumsy" when the makeup wasn't hiding the bruises. The way she used to talk back to her husband, tease him around other people, and then stopped.
You know, now, that she was going through the same thing you were.
It's a Saturday afternoon you finally get up the courage to leave Ella with your mom and go see Mrs. Carpenter. She's Jen now – though her father will still talk about when she was a rebellious teenager and a star athlete who went by "JJ" - because she's your mother in law, though you still have to suppress the urge to raise your hand every time you talk to her. You knock on the door, and she opens it with a small smile, saying hello and inviting you in. The smile fades when she sees the bruise on your cheek from where Sam was drunk again last night and you were in the way.
She sits you down at the kitchen table with an ice pack and a glass of wine, and as she uncorks the bottle with shaking hands, you can see the fading marks around her wrists and across her cheekbone.
"Does it ever get better?" you ask, eyes wet from the tears you've held in until now.
She takes your hand, and you'll never know how she can be so collected. "No," she says, in complete honesty. "I used to think it would. That when the boys were grown, he'd stop. Kyle just learned how to hit me better."
You try to take a sip, but your hands are shaking too badly, and she takes the glass from you gently.
"Get out," she says. "Take Ella to your parents, let them say their goodbyes, and get as far away from Fullerton as you can. Go to Pittsburgh or State College or Erie, start fresh."
"Just like that?", you ask.
She nods, eyes impossibly sad and regretful. "If you don't, you'll die here. You'll still be walking around, but a piece of you will be as hard and cold as ice. And your daughter will grow up to be exactly like you."
You shake your head. "Sam will find me."
She laughs, and it's so, so bitter.
"He won't. He's just like his father – doesn't know a thing about the value of people – and he's just like me. He won't be strong enough to leave."
Two weeks later, sitting in your one-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh miles away from Fullerton, holding your daughter close, you hope she's wrong.
VII. Aaron Hotchner
An old British rhyme says "Remember, remember, the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason, and plot. I know of no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot."
Aaron Hotchner remembers the fifth of November for other reasons; the day he killed his first person.
When you're a criminal prosecutor, you see a wide range of human evil. You watch as they gloat over their crimes, or deny that they even committed them. And if you don't prove it, they get off scot-free to kill and kill again. So you fixate, you obsess, on the ones who get away. You can't go after them yourself, because that's vigilantism. Taking the law into your own hands, and Aaron knows no one is above the law.
But what if there was another way?
What if you could study the people you prosecute, get inside their heads? The FBI calls it "behavioral analysis", and they have an entire division dedicated to its use. You can find books about it – John Douglas, Robert Ressler, David Rossi – in any library, and Georgetown Law has an entire floor on criminal behavior. You start spending lunch breaks there, and taking Jack and Molly on "library trips" more and more often. Haley thinks it's great they're reading, never questions it.
So you continue in your unorthodox education – no one thinks twice, a criminal prosecutor studying criminal behavior – and you start to see patterns. Douglas writes about narcissists, braggarts like the Green River Killer and how they track the media. Ressler writes about sexual sadists, the ones who get off on power and control, and how they spiral and escalate. Rossi writes about cult leaders – Waco, Ruby Ridge, Jim Jones – and the delusions they can make an entire group start to believe. There are entire series of books devoted to victimology, why a killer chooses the victims he or she does, and signature, the thing that makes each kill special to a specific killer. You study those even closer, looking at picture after picture of examples and becoming fascinated despite yourself.
The power of the human mind, you learn, is infinite in its capacity for violence.
The DA worries about you. She says you're slacking off in your cases, and you double your efforts. You've started drinking more – scotch, just like Dad – and you start combing through open homicide cases to see if you can do what the detectives can't. It's not hubris; a fresh pair of eyes is a necessity in any type of work. Haley is worried, too, but she has her own job, and Molly and Jack to worry about. She likes being a lawyer's wife, it's easy, safe. She doesn't like rocking the boat, so she leaves you to your research.
And on November 5th, you discover the Wakefield case. Triple homicide, with an edge of ritual to it. The killer is methodical, and this is the fourth murder he's committed. He positions two of the bodies as if they're having sex and the third as if he's discovered the cuckolding. Reliving the stressor, the traumatic event that caused him to kill in the first place. You're pretty sure your killer is the first victim's ex-husband, Alex Wakefield.
Haley doesn't want you going out so late. She's worried, thinks your late hours and secrecy are because you're having an affair and you have to laugh in her face. You don't have time for an affair. She slaps you, and after that, you can't remember what happened, but she's on the floor and her cheek is purple. She's crying, and you can just hear Dad in your head - "be a man, Aaron! Men don't cry! Shut up, you little bastard, before I really give you something to scream about."
Maybe Dad never remembered hitting you or Mom, either.
It's all a blur as you drive out to Charlottesville, where Alex Wakefield lives. You park a block away and change into a pair of ripped-up old jeans and a white tee-shirt, something every guy under the age of 60 wears in this town. You pull on a baseball cap and a black hooded sweatshirt that's two sizes too big, which make you look younger and smaller than you are. You know that witnesses can sometimes ID an assailant from their shoes, so you've bought an old pair of Nikes from a thrift store that have the treads and logo worn off.
Alex Wakefield answers the door in his boxers, bare feet clomping along the wooden floorboards, and looks surprised when you address him by name. He mistakes you for one of the neighbors, and invites you in. He looks just as surprised, two minutes later, when you snap his neck.
The latex gloves go in a sealed plastic bag along with the shoes, in case CSU finds treads, and they both get dumped in a landfill forty miles away. You rewind the odometer on your car when you pull into the garage. One of Douglas's cases almost went unsolved because no one had thought to check the mileage on the UnSub's car, showing the distance he'd driven to dump the bodies. It's barely after 1 am when you come home to find Molly sleeping on your side of the bed because she's had the clown nightmare again.
Hugging your daughter has never felt so good, because there is one less murderer in the world.
The next time, it's easier. You notice a man at the gym who's following one of the trainers around, and catch him outside of her house with a .22 and some duct tape. According to Ressler, nearly 75% of all stalkers will escalate to rape and murder, given time. You don't allow that to happen for this guy. He goes down just as stunned as Wakefield did. Same deal with the gloves and shoes – it's good, it's methodical – and you come home early enough this time to watch a Capitals game with Jack.
You have a pattern now of your own. Research, isolate, execute. Every two weeks, you make sure one less murderer, one less rapist, one less child molester – and they're the ones you kill slowly – are walking the streets.
For the first time in your life, you feel good about what you're doing.