Fandom/pairing (if appropriate): Wire In The Blood, Supernatural
Summary: Tony Hill comes to learn that not all evil is human in nature.
Rating: all ages
Warnings: mild horror, crack, crossover between incompatible fandoms
Disclaimers: The characters and settings aren't mine. No profit is being made, this is for entertainment only. I know nothing about psychology or police procedure, this is purely a product of my imagination.
A/N: This story was written for a ficathon, using a prompt from Ash Wednesday by TS Eliot.
“So, how is Andrew?” Tamara Gold asked, jovially as she and her partner Paul Taylor steered the car through the quiet residential neighbourhood.
“He’s been suspended, again,” Paul said and sighed. “Janet and I don’t know what to do with him anymore. He leaves the house all right every morning, but then yesterday we got a call from his school; he hasn’t been to class in two weeks.”
“So, they’ve suspended him?” Tamara asked.
“It’s ironic isn’t it? Now he’s spending another two weeks loitering in the streets. Short of locking him in the flat, there is no way we can keep him home. To be frank, Janet is….” Paul took them around a sharp turn into a long cul-de-sac. “That should be it, if the Sat-Nav is right.”
“When is it ever?” Tamara asked. “I don’t see anyone just walking by the place. It’s at least a hundred feet from the main road.” Tamara gauged the distance between them and the large property at the end of the cul-de-sac.
The two police officers got out of their car and walked down the rest of the road towards the wrought iron gates that barred entrance to the property. The gates were closed off by the high stone walls surrounding the property on all three remaining sides.
Close up, the damage to the gates was clearly visible. The lock welded to the gates had been completely destroyed and the gates had been chained together with a padlock to keep out unwanted visitors.
Paul pressed the buzzer while Tamara walked along the length of the gate. Through the bars, a house was visible set far back in an overgrown garden.
“Doesn’t look like anyone is home,” Paul commented as he pressed the buzzer again.
“The anonymous caller reported a rotten smell coming from the property. I don’t smell anything and frankly I don’t see how anyone could smell anything coming from the house."
“It’s probably just a dead dog.” Paul shrugged.
Tamara didn’t reply. Using a boulder lying next to the wall, she pulled herself up on the stone wall, trying to get a better look at the property. At first sight, she could see nothing more than she had seen through the gates. A neglected garden and an equally neglected home. The house paint was a peeling, faded yellow. The windows looked blind, dirty curtains drawn shut in them. There was a shed further back half-hidden behind a copse of trees. Then she saw it, dangling high from one of the trees.
“Paul,” Tamara stammered. “It’s not a dead dog. There a body, it’s hanging from a tree.”
“Shit.” Paul was up on the wall and over it in seconds. Hesitating for a moment, while she wondered about the correct procedure, Tamara followed him.
She caught up with Paul between the trees. The body was dangling high above their heads, at least three feet above their grasp. Whoever it was was beyond help. The body was badly decayed and the smell of rotting flesh was clearly detectable now. Tamara pressed a handkerchief in front of her mouth, suddenly feeling a bit sick.
“We should call this in.” She managed, not able to take her eyes off the corpse. It wasn’t the first she had seen, not the first body in an advanced state of decomposition, but a body on display like that – it was like someone was daring somebody to find it.
“We should at least have another look at the house. Make sure no one is home.”
“You think that is the owner?” Tamara was still staring at the body.
“Don’t be daft. According to records, Owen Graeme is almost sixty. This guy is wearing jeans and a bat-man tee-shirt.”
“You’re right.” Tamara nodded. “Will you go over to the house? I think I’ll need a moment.”
“Are you sure you’re going to be all right?” Paul asked concern in his voice.
“I am.” Tamara nodded, not really believing herself.
Paul set off for the house. Tamara watched him go. Seeing his hand resting on his gun holster, she realized that they might well be on the same property as the killer.
Paul had no sooner vanished between the trees when Tamara heard a scream. Her first thought was of Paul, but the scream came from the shed behind her.
“Is anyone there?” Tamara called out and found her voice trembling. There was another scream and what sounded like someone pounding against the wall. Tamara pulled out her gun and approached the shed.
It was as worn as everything else. Tamara rested a hand on the door knob. She carefully pressed it down and to her surprise, it gave.
“Is anyone in there?” No answer. She opened the door.
At first, she saw only blackness, but the smell of sweat and urine was overwhelming, threatening to turn her stomach. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she saw a young man, curled up in the far corner of the shed. She stumbled back, wondering what show of horrors they had walked into.
Dean barely registered the waitress refilling his cup of coffee. She was a pretty blonde, but Dean had no eyes for her today. His entire attention was focussed on the heap of papers spread out over his table in the small diner. Dean rubbed a trembling hand over his face as he put aside another paper. He needed sleep and the caffeine wasn’t helping. But time spent sleeping was time he wasn’t looking for Sam and it had been too long already. After their fight nearly three weeks ago, Sam should have contacted him by now, or should have left a message at their father’s friend Phil’s place where they had been staying the first week after getting to Europe. But then they’d had a huge fight, about Dean getting them into this whole mess where they had to run from the FBI and where they would have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives and where Sam’s law career was ruined before it had started, because you couldn’t be a lawyer if you had a record, much less one for murder.
Sam had sped off in Phil’s car and that was the last Dean had seen of him. He had managed to track Sam’s movements to a friend of his from Stanford who had emigrated to England after his studies, but from there on it had been nothing but dead ends. Something was wrong, Dean could tell. Even angry, Sam would never run off and stay out of contact this long.
His instincts were confirmed when he flipped open the Bradfield Observer and Sam’s picture stared at him from the newspaper page. He looked terrible, weak and pale, and just looking at him made anger bubble up in Dean at whatever had done this to him. Sam was pale and had definitely lost weight since Dean had last seen him. In the photo, his eyes were unfocussed, staring at something beyond the person holding the camera. Dean had never seen such a vacant look in his brother’s eyes, not after Jess had died and not after their father had died.
The picture’s caption informed Dean that the Bradfield police were looking for information about Sam’s identity. Dean read the brief article as fast as he could. There weren’t many details about the exact circumstances of what had happened to Sam, but it was thought he had been the victim of a kidnapping. Apparently Sam had been found being held prisoner on an abandoned property in a Bradfield suburb. Dean ripped out the article, tossed a bill on the table and ran out.
“This is pretty remote,” Tony commented as he and Carol climbed out of the car. “Perfect if you are looking for privacy. Perfect to hold a victim for a period of time – torture them. No one will hear the screams. Did they burry their victims on the property as well?”
Carol looked at him, surprised. “I haven’t told you anything yet. Where are you getting this from?” She wasn’t really irritated, more surprised. At times like these, Tony’s seemed to be doing more voodoo than anything else.
“You showing me the property, there is bound to be some reason, other than it coming on the market recently. It’s not a huge leap to make that this reason is related to some sort of crime. Different offenders seek out different locations to commit their crimes, I’m just working backwards here.” Tony shrugged and followed Carol through the iron gates. Carol watched Tony study their surroundings, wondering what he was seeing that she wasn’t as they were walking down the gravel path towards the main house.
"Two days ago, two PCs were checking out a report of the smell of something rotting coming from the property. They checked it out and found two bodies – one strung up in a tree, the other drowned in a well, weighed down with bricks.” Carol pulled out some of the pictures that crime scene technicians had taken before the bodies had been removed.
“Very showy. He doesn’t worry about the bodies being discovered. I bet the body could be seen from the street.” He pointed to the picture of the young man who had been hung in the tree. “Do we know who they are?”
“Not yet. We are checking missing persons. Nothing in this area that matches the victims, but we are widening the search area to the entire city. It is going to take time.”
“Their clothes, they look new. Never worn. Any indications that these men were homeless or working the streets?” Tony asked, once again as if he had already read her report.
“Maybe. There is quite a bit of backlog at the lab. And they aren’t the only bodies CSU found,” Carol said as they came around the house. From here, they could see into the vast garden with the cordoned off pits were a body had been found. There were six of them. So far.
“Six bodies. The oldest one dates back at least forty years, but we are waiting for the anthropologist to tell us more, the youngest one maybe ten. We are looking into the owner of the house, Owen Graeme. He was suspect in the disappearance of a local boy in 1963. It looks like the first victims is a match to that boy as far as age is concerned. Thomas Dwyer was fourteen when he disappeared in summer 1963. The oldest body is a male between twelve and fifteen years old. We don’t know where Graeme is right now. Neighbours have seen him leave with several suitcases, but no one can remember when exactly. We do know that he purchased a plane ticket to Mallorca with his credit card six weeks ago. We don’t know if he actually made it there, but it is our best guess at the moment.”
“The victims, have they gotten older or younger with time?” Tony asked.
“Older. At least three of the buried victims were in their early twenties.”
“Then he is not a paedophile. A paedophile isn’t interested in twens. He could get those off the streets, if he wanted them for sex. Rent boys. Abducting a kid from a neighbourhood like this is a whole different game. Much more difficult psychologically and logistically. There is also bound to be much more pressure from the police and the community. Even in a neighbourhood like this. How old is Graeme?”
“Fifty-eight, according to his driver’s license.”
“That would make him sixteen at the time, assuming he abducted that boy in 1963. It probably was his first one then. He learned after that. But what is his motive? If it isn’t sex, what is it?” Tony mumbled to himself as they toured the vast garden. “Do you know anything about how they died yet?”
“Not much. There isn’t enough left for the pathologists. We’ll need to wait for the specialist. But we do know that at least four of those six victims were partially dismembered. There hands and feet were severed, probably with an axe.”
“Prior to death or after?” Tony asked with eagerness that always made Carol think of a sponge drinking in all the gruesome facts and assembling them into a useable construct.
“Probably prior. There are also signs that they were burnt before death. More specifically, the pathologist thinks that they had their eyes burned out.”
“That’s a lot of torture. This guy doesn’t need sex. He gets off on violence, on torture. He’s a sadist.” Tony turned around to face her. “Is there anything particular you wanted to show me? Because you could just have shown me the photos. I need to see where the crimes were committed in the first place. Where did he lock them up, where did he torture them? Have you looked at the basement of the house, checked for any hidden chambers?”
“Nothing. Graeme seems to have used only the ground floor, the rest of the house hasn’t been touched for ages. There is no cellar, but there is a shed in the garden. That’s where they found the young man.”
“Young man?” Tony stared at her bewildered.
“You must have read it in the paper, Tony. Where do you live? Under a rock?” Carol asked, surprised. The case had been all over the news, print and television. Appeals had gone out to identify the surviving victim and trace Graeme’s recent movements. While nothing had come of the former, Graeme had been seen loading suitcases into his car some time ago, although the witnesses couldn't agreen on when that had happened.
“I must have been busy," Tony said curtly. "What happened?”
“The officers found a young man locked in a shed in the garden. He was badly dehydrated and hadn’t had any food in days, but he sustained only minor injuries, mostly from being tied up for several days.”
“Has he said anything?”
“No, no one has been able to get anything out of him. He’s in the psychiatric unit for the moment, under guard, but he hasn’t said a word since they found him. Screams every time somebody touches him,” Carol told him. She had gone to see the young man the previous day and she couldn’t forget the vacant look in his eyes, as if he was staring at something only he could see.
“I need to see him.” Tony turned back towards the house.
“He’ll still be there later, Tony. What about the shed? You said you wanted a fresh crime scene.” Carol called after him, part of her angry at herself for assuming Tony had been keeping up with the press surrounding the case. In that light however, his conclusions were all the more amazing, mystifying her as usual. But she had learned to trust his profiles.
“And Carol, you are dealing with at least two offenders here. Graeme is a torturer, a sadist. He wouldn’t have been able to keep a victim locked up for days without inflicting more serious injuries. He would have cut of a finger, or a toe, or burned him with a cigarette, just for starters. You didn’t find any of that, didn’t you? On any of the three recent victims.” Tony called after her as he was heading back towards the car. Carol ran to catch up with him.
“We don’t know what killed them – they were already dead when they were strung up and tossed into the well. But there were marks on their wrists and ankles, indicating that they had been tied up for a period of time before they died.”
“I need those reports,” Tony told her, still walking. “I need to know exactly what their injuries were.”
“I got a copy of the preliminary report in the car.” Carol finally caught up with Tony. She couldn’t tell if it was her or the case that he was upset about. As a rule, Tony didn’t get upset, not at a murder scene no matter how grizzly. But this time, she had messed up. She should have pulled in Tony from the start, have him help with questioning the surviving victim. Maybe he would have gotten something out of the traumatized young man. There might not have been any obvious physical signs of torture when the doctors had examined them, but Carol was convinced he had been through something more terrible than they could imagine just yet.
Carol couldn’t help but feel relieved when they finally left the property behind and stepped back out on the street. It wasn’t so much the faint smell of decay that still lingered over the area, but the tentative knowledge of what had happened or what might have happened behind iron gates and stone walls. Tony was right, no one would have been able to hear them scream back there. They hadn’t stood a chance.
Carol unlocked the car and fished the report out of the glove-box “Here you go, But as I said, it is preliminary.”
Tony started flipping through the pages, past the gruesome images, his lips moving as he was talking to himself softly.
“This is not Graeme, or whoever buried those six bodies on the property. These are not the work of a sadist. There are some common elements, maybe some sort of apprentice, someone who looked up to Graeme, but couldn’t do what he did because he didn’t have the stomach for it. Because, he is not a sadist. What’s Graeme’s physical condition?” Tony suddenly asked, doing that complete detour that always send Carol’s mind for a spin.
“Uhm, there were no photos of him anywhere inside. I don’t know.”
“That’s interesting. Was there anything else missing?” Tony asked, already unto a new train of thought Carol could only hope to follow.
“Not sure. CSU has been over the house, looking for the primary crime scene or scenes, but they haven’t turned up anything yet. But it will take weeks to process the entire property. We aren’t even sure yet that we’ve found all the bodies. There could be more buried.”
“But did you find any cameras, photo equipment, any journals?” Tony pressed on.
“No.” Carol admitted. “You think he documented his crimes?”
“Almost certainly. And he will have taken those records with him. They are the most precious thing he owns. They always think that the memory of what they did will be enough, but the next time, they realize that it just won’t be real enough. So they take pictures, film their victims, take their possessions as trophies. Have you found the severed hands and feet?”
“No, they weren’t buried with the rest of the bodies.” Carol shook her head.
“They won’t be. He will have stored them somewhere he can see them. In a jar on the mantelpiece maybe. Something like that,” Tony said. “When you find him, he will have them with him, along with all the other little things that remind him of what he did. He won’t give them up, even though he knows they can give him away. He needs them to remind himself of his life’s work. He’d be lost without his mementoes,” Tony told her. “He desperately needs to hold on to his crimes. That’s maybe why he found himself an apprentice to carry on his work. But an apprentice would be meticulous, would make sure to carry out everything the way Graeme did, but they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t have to stomach for it. But there is no sign of remorse at the scene. They are staged, someone wanted for these bodies to be found, wanted to shock.” Tony paced on the sidewalk, talking to himself as he flipped frantically through the preliminary reports. Carol leaned against the car, knowing better than to interfere in the process.
Tony Hill found the experience of riding an elevator an interesting one. Boxed up with a random group of strangers, all trying not to look at each other was a veritable tableau of the human psyche. The hospital elevator he was currently riding smelled of disinfectant and cleaning fluid and still it looked filthy. Riding with Tony was an orderly, a well-built young man in his twenties, with a patient in a wheelchair. The young men wore an orderly’s uniform, but Tony noticed something off about him as soon as he stepped on the elevator. His hand was resting on the shoulder of his patient, in gesture that looked caring at first glance, but the hand was clenched a little too tight, a little to close to the patient’s neck. The hairs rose on the back of Tony’s neck.
“Are you going up or down?” Tony asked with false cheerfulness. He had seen that only the button for the lowest level, the level that housed the underground parking was lit. The elevator had been on its way down when Tony had stopped it on ground level.
“Down,” The orderly replied gruffly, avoiding looking at Tony. His hand clenched tighter around the shoulder of the other man. The man in the wheelchair was slumped over, his longish hair hiding much of his face, but as Tony stepped closer, he recognized him as the victim from the police photographs taken after he’d been freed. Tony thought quickly – suddenly tossed into a situation where he was immediately concerned with the lives depending on his profiling skill.
“I’m Doctor Tony Hill. I work with the Bradfield police.” He introduced himself and extended a hand towards the orderly.
The man didn’t take it, nor did he reply. The elevator door opened to the underground parking garage and the man rapidly pushed his patient outside into the corridor. The expression on his face however told Tony all he needed to know – the man was scared and desperate. There was no confidence in his posture; he didn’t even try to distract Tony. Instead he was clinging to the man in the wheelchair, speaking of emotional attachment. Not a killer who tortured his victims, Tony thought quickly.
“Excuse me,” Tony followed the man out of the elevator. “I was sent to talk to this man by the police,” Tony said hoping that the mention that police knew where he was would prevent the young man from doing anything rash.
“You’ll have to come back later.” The man whirled around to face Tony. He had tried to hide it before, but now that he spoke Tony could tell he was American. In this moment, the man in the wheelchair stared emitted a piercing wail.
The other man seemed to forget Tony instantly. He kneeled down in front of the other man, grasping his hand and whispering softly to him. The victim didn’t seem to hear him, he kept screaming.
Tony reached out and put a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Don’t you think we should take him back to the hospital where they can take care of him?” he asked, hoping to connect with the would-be kidnapper over his obvious care for the victim. This man, he was concerned, worried about his victim, to the point where he was hurt by the other man’s suffering. Tony thought it less and less likely that this was the man who had abducted and kept the young man prisoner.
For a moment, the man turned and looked Tony in the face. Then, before Tony could really process what was happening, he drew his fist. It connected hard with Tony’s jaw. His ears were ringing over the ongoing screaming. Tony was trying to scramble back to his feet when the next blow connected. His assailant was saying something, uttering words in Latin as he beat him. Silver spots were dancing across Tony’s vision as he was trying to dodge the blows. He had no chance of getting in any hits himself. His attacker was far too well trained. Tony tasted blood in his mouth and down his throat when he went down. He felt one more blow still playing over the background of screams before he was enveloped in darkness.
“There you are, Dr. Hill.” The attending physician declared as she taped a final butterfly bandage on his jaw. “I don’t think there is anything broken, but we best wait for the x-rays. You were lucky you didn’t loose any teeth.” Tony nodded, every motion causing a fierce lance of pain to stab through his head.
“I’m fine,” He mumbled past his swollen lip.
“That’s good. Normally, I would insist that you spend the night here, but if you are feeling up to it, the police want to talk to you.” There was a certain disdain in her voice. “If they had done their job properly in the first place, this poor young man would never have to go through that, again.”
“What happened to him? I mean after I….” Tony started, not sure how to say it. The official version was obviously that he in some heroic effort had battled the kidnapper and saved the young man’s life while in fact it had been quite the opposite. This kidnapper cared so much about his victim that he had lashed out at Tony when his victim had been threatened by an outsider – Tony in this case. If it had really been an attempted kidnapping, then there was a close relationship in play – possibly a familial relationship. Brothers?
Tony swung his legs of the exam table, sitting up. “I need to talk to that young man.”
The doctor regarded him sympathetically. “They’ve taken him back upstairs. He was completely hysterical. Had to be sedated.”
“Then I want to talk to him when he comes around,” Tony said, getting up on wobbly legs, looking for his shoes. He bent down to pick down up, but if it hadn’t been for the doctor, he would have landed flat on his face.
“I think you are definitely staying here for the night.” She chided and led him back to the exam table. “You rest while I’ll see about a bed for you.”