“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.” – Stuart Chase
It was gasping for breath around the gag in its mouth, the zip-tie tightening around its throat. Its long hair and slight body struggling against him was ecstasy. The excitement of this moment caused his body to tighten in pleasure as its eyes continued to look into his face pleading for him to stop. He transferred the end of the tie to his left hand as he plunged the knife deep into its torso. The feel of the warm blood flowing through his fingers and its high-pitched squeal started the crest of release he needed…
Spencer shot up out of bed with a gasping cry. The horror of The Knowing had occurred for a sixth time. He struggled briefly with the bed linens as copious amounts of sweat caused them to cling to his clothes. Sitting on the side of the bed gasping with his hands in his hair, Spencer tried to get a hold of his panic. Her face as she was killed burned brightly behind his closed eyes. That was the moment that affected him the most. Even the disgusting desecration and dumping of her body afterward wasn’t as blazed into his psyche as at the moment of seeing the light leave her eyes. Spencer still felt the sexual afterglow of the killer’s release and on trembling legs made it to the bathroom just in time to collapse and retch in the toilet.
Dragging himself up off the floor, Spencer washed his face and rinsed his mouth shuddering with revulsion at the images of the kill still in his brain. He had never hated his eidetic memory more than in the last six months. Looking into the mirror, seeing his drawn face with dark shadows around amber eyes, Spencer worked to calm his rapidly beating heart and slow down his panting breaths. Running his fingers through his hair, he looked objectively at himself. Beyond the results of the new trim to his hair--which still didn’t make Spencer look his age and caused the light brown locks to curl ridiculously around his ears--he was relieved to see that some color was coming back into his face. But despaired at his appearance, looking even more disheveled and unstable than he had just weeks before. He didn’t know how much longer he could keep The Knowing a secret.
Still shaking slightly, Spencer moved into his small living room to seek solace amongst his books and with his cat. He wasn’t sleeping again tonight. Gently picking up Gottfried from his position on the couch--the fluffy gray creature yowling in protest at the disturbance--Spencer sighed burying his face in the soft fur for comfort. “I’m going to have to call them again, aren’t I?”
In hindsight Spencer mused, he should have probably gone with a disposable cell phone rather than the small number of payphones left around the city. Still fidgeting slightly to straighten his tie and cardigan from their manhandling from his arrest, two men came into the room.
Spencer immediately felt the pressure on the edge of his mind of the presence of a Sentinel. As a sensitive, he could often tell when people he encountered were either Sentinels or Guides though it was not common to come across one. The empathic imprint of this Sentinel though was extremely powerful, full and rich in tone gliding across his brain like a tickling caress.
“Dr. Reid, I’m Supervisory Special Agent David Rossi and this is my colleague Supervisory Special Agent Aaron Hotchner.” Hotchner was the Sentinel and Spencer felt like he was vibrating out of his skin being in such close proximity to him. Agent Hotchner definitely looked the part of a G-man with his suit and shirt starched and pressed within an inch of its life. The younger of the two agents pierced Spencer to his chair with his gaze. Spencer quickly looked away from the Sentinel to the older agent who had a more friendly expression and seemed more relaxed with his graying goatee and hair framing a craggy face, casually dressed in a suit jacket and jeans.
Laying some files on the table. “You declined to have a lawyer present,” Hotchner said gravely. “Do you know why you’re being detained?”
“I have a fairly good idea.” Spencer said softly. “You think I’m a murderer or if that isn’t the case, you think I have some connection to him.”
Spencer could feel the Sentinel scanning him with his senses, looking for any indication that he was involved in the killings that had been occurring in Washington over the last year. He was so scared. Needing to help the police to stop the killer, to stop The Knowing, to stop the nightmare he had been living with for months now.
Rossi quirked a dark eyebrow, “Well, we have recordings of you telling the MPD where to find the bodies of the last three victims and we just caught you red handed placing another call. Are you going to tell us you aren’t involved?”
“You could say I am more of a witness to the crimes than a willing participant.” Spencer replied. He glanced at Hotchner, but quickly shifted his eyes back to Rossi.
Rossi shot up out of his chair looming over Spencer. “Do you know who is doing this!” he demanded. Hotchner placed a restraining hand on Rossi’s arm as Spencer reared back in his seat away from the older agent. Rossi obviously wasn’t as laid back and nice as he’d initially thought.
“Dr. Reid you need to tell us what you know and how you know it,” Hotchner said gently. The Sentinel was still scanning him and it was making Spencer fidget even more than he usually did in uncomfortable situations. Clutching his hands around his elbows he knew his posture was defensive. But the sensation of Hotchner’s power flowing over and through his body heightened his awareness of the Sentinel to an almost unbearable degree. The tickling at the back of his brain was continuing to increase. If it didn’t stop soon Spencer was anxious he might do something to make things worse for himself. Though being in an interrogation room with two FBI agents--one of which was a powerful Sentinel--was bad enough.
“It started six months ago.” Spencer replied.
Hotchner’s handsome face twitched a bit. “What started?”
Spencer observed the Sentinel for a moment trying to work out what to tell the agents that wouldn’t cause them disbelief. It was going to be the first time Spencer would tell anyone what was happening to him. The frustration and stress of the possible scenarios that could occur were taking a toll mentally and physically. He only hoped they wouldn’t institutionalize him. The fear of being diagnosed as a schizophrenic like his mother had been his constant companion since The Knowing had started.
“I had a car accident six months ago and was in a coma from brain trauma for three-weeks. I witnessed the first killing soon after I was released from the hospital,” Spencer’s look shifted from the Sentinel to the other man. “You’re not going to believe me.”
Rossi took the files from Hotchner as he sat back down and pulled out photographs of the victims placing them in front of Spencer. They were garish in the harsh light of the room. He couldn’t look at them. He already knew what the results of the kills were and didn’t need to inspect them further. “Tell us and convince us what you say is true,” Rossi said.
“I’ve been a sensitive since I was very young. After I came out of the coma, I had a dream about a man killing a prostitute with a zip-tie and a knife,” Spencer looked down at his hands lying on the table, but not before he saw Rossi raise his thick eyebrows incredulity.
Spencer breathed deeply and haltingly continued, “The perspective was from the killer’s point of view at the moments just before she was killed. The dream concluded with the victim’s death. It was so real, I thought it was a nightmare even though I experienced his thoughts, could see the terror on her face, and felt his euphoria at the moment she died.” Spencer thinking back on the experience he now wondered how he could’ve mistaken the telepathic link for a dream.
“It wasn’t a dream. I knew after the second murder and the second ‘dream.’” Spencer lifted his hands to make air quotes. “After I saw the news in the paper--saw her picture--I knew that what I was seeing was Him.”
“You know that telepathic gifts not related to the Sentinel and Guide bond or the empathic abilities of Guides among the normal human population aren’t real,” Hotchner stated. “Don’t you?”
“Of course I do!” Spencer exclaimed, running his fingers through his hair in agitation. “There is no scientific evidence to support ‘psychic’ powers among regular humans beyond some minor empathic sensitivity. I just know what I’ve experienced since the accident can only be explained by the term.” He just knew he was starting to look demented by the way Rossi was eying him warily.
Hotchner’s persona was stiff and neutral, but Spencer could just detect the Sentinel’s internal conflict. It teased his empathic senses--minor as they were--raising the hairs on his neck and making his temples pulse in time with his heartbeat. The Sentinel didn’t actually disbelieve him, as Rossi obviously did.
Spencer looked into Hotchner’s dark eyes pleadingly. “I have seen six murders so far and he will not stop.”
Hotchner’s nostrils flared slightly as he studied Spencer. He knew that a Sentinel’s enhanced senses of sight, smell, touch; taste and hearing were often used during prisoner interrogation. The compilation of these senses particularly sight, smell and sound were often used to read the truthfulness of the people a Sentinel had contact with on a daily basis. Spencer could only hope that any sense impression he was generating for the Sentinel would convince the agents he was being truthful and not crazy.
Rossi started. “Look, you’re a start man.”
“I’m a genius actually,” Spencer chirped, interrupting Rossi and receiving a dark look from the agent. But he soldiered on, “I have three PhD’s and other degrees. I believe in the scientific process. If there was any other way to explain myself I would, but I can’t.
“Ok,” Hotchner replied slowly. “Tell us about the killer.”
“I don’t know who he is or what he looks like, but I can tell you a bit about his motivations,” Spencer answered. “The thought transference is going on longer than it did initially, but only starts at the point just before the death of the victims. What I have been seeing has gotten clearer over time and since the third killing the transference continues throughout the aftermath and dumping of the body.”
Spencer closed his eyes trying not to cry in front of the agents. Wanting to get this part over with quickly, hoping he wouldn’t hyperventilate as he accessed the memories of the most recent murder. His hands fluttered on the tabletop, “If you are able to find him, he’ll have photographs of all of the victims on a USB drive hidden in the wall safe behind a freezer in his garage.”
Opening his eyes, he focused his gaze on the Sentinel. “He targets prostitutes, because he sees them as filthy and disposable; garbage cluttering up his neighborhood.”
“He lives in a house, older with a detached garage, the place he tortures and kills the victims. You won’t find his DNA and he doesn’t have sex with the victims. He is very careful not to leave any trace of himself on their bodies. He desires to have sex with them, but since he sees them as diseased he won’t. He still gets himself off though at the point he kills them.” Spencer stopped for a moment and felt tears start to run down his face.
Hotchner reached out to take his right hand and Spencer sighed as calm washed over him from the touch. He sniffled a bit and gave the agent a hesitant smile as he used is cardigan sleeve to wipe the tears off his cheeks. Hotchner gave Spencer’s hand a squeeze of encouragement, “Please continue Dr. Reid.”
Spencer wanted to continue to cling to the Sentinel’s hand, but Rossi was giving Hotchner a look of perplexed disapproval. The FBI probably didn’t approve of coddling murder suspects, Spencer reflected. He hadn’t touched anyone in such a long time and it had been even longer since he felt so serene and safe. The calm feeling dampened when Hotchner released his hand, but the feeling of safety continued to wash over Spencer. He didn’t know what was happening or how the Sentinel was calming him down, only that it felt so good he never wanted it to stop.
There was a knock on the window that had Rossi rising from his seat to leave the room. Spencer could see a pretty blond woman in the hallway, obviously waiting to share information with the agent.
Hotchner pulled the photographs away from Spencer--to his relief--to place them in the files with a heavy frown on his face. Hotchner was a well put together man, handsome and tall with dark eyes and hair. Spencer figured he was in his late thirties, but his face was weathered and he had more frown lines than laugh lines around his eyes and mouth. Spencer’s sensitive ability was fairly minor, even though he could sense who was Guide or a Sentinel, he only occasionally was able to receive the impression of a person’s emotional state. Though he couldn’t get a read on Hotchner’s emotions, the Sentinel’s abilities just kept washing over him. Almost like the warm blanket in his apartment that he liked to snuggle with on the couch to read while Gottfried nestled down in the nook created by his legs.
Spencer was so focused on the feeling that he startled at Hotchner’s voice. “Dr. Reid, what you have told us is incomprehensible. The possibility that you are telepathic can’t be proven and would definitely not help you in court. How do you expect us to proceed?”
Abruptly, the door opened and Rossi came back into the room. “Dr. Reid, as you know we obtained a warrant to search your apartment,” he started.
“Your agents didn’t let Gottfried out did they?” Spencer demanded.
Rossi just looked at him. “Who’s Gottfried?”
“My cat,” Spencer replied.
“As far as I know, a cat escaping your apartment has not been mentioned. Can we please continue?” Rossi looked as him expectantly.
Spencer could only hope the agents at his apartment were not traumatizing Gottfried too much. “I do know your case is only circumstantial. If you decide to charge me,” he stated.
“That much is true at this point,” says Rossi. “But that can change quickly, and you can’t deny that what we found in your apartment does not cast you in a good light.”
Hotchner looked at Rossi questionably. Spencer rushed to reply, “I know what you found and I know I can help you catch him if you let me.”