The blonde stumbles backwards, startled that I found her here. Donna Cook was her name. Founder and CEO of CookTech, a weapons company responsible for hundreds of deaths in the Middle East. A conventionally attractive woman, yes, but that won't be helping her tonight. I hoist the 50lb bag over my head and explain to her what it is I'm about to do. "In this bag," I say loudly enough for her to hear me over the noise of the diesel engine in the background, "is malic acid powder." She gives a confused look, fumbling in her purse for what looks like pepper spray. I pull a knife out of my belt and throw it through her purse, sticking it in the drywall behind her. Pinning her against a door, I say to her, "Malic acid is the chemical responsible for the wonderful flavors of sour candies." She starts to flail as I tape her hands together through the door handle and slice the bag open. As I finish opening the bag, I can feel her squirming against me, trying to kick me away. I feel a sharp pain as she bites my arm, apparently in the delusion that a small arm wound will make me spare her life. I hold her mouth open and start pouring the glistening white powder down her throat. She spits out the first few grams, but eventually she succumbs, convulsing as the acid burns her throat. After about 3 cups of it goes down her throat, she stops breathing. I check her pulse. Dead. Donna Cook has been eradicated for good.
3:30AM. The time of day that the phone rings the loudest and the least pleasant time to get up. I roll out of bed and hit the floor, noting the caller ID saying it's the police station.
"Detective Beanathe." I say as the cold glass of my phone hits my ear.
"Just got a report of a murder." replies the voice of Lisa, the night dispatcher, saying the phrase that is all too familiar. "Crime scene is at 800 1st Street."
"I'll be there in 10 minutes," I say, mentally calculating the time it would take for me to grab a shirt and some pants and get out the door.
I rush out the door, stepping into the brisk Minnesota air. There's a bit of snow falling, but it doesn't improve how I feel. As I get into my car -- and it is a beautiful car, a 1966 Corvette Stingray-- I can't help but think about what's going to happen. I check my gun, start the car, and start driving to the scene of the murder.
As I pull up to the crime scene, I can tell one thing immediately: I've seen something like this before. The facial expression, though unique, is the unmistakable face of pure terror. "Niphred." I say out loud, realizing that this is the same killer who has struck before. The man of fear. A chill goes through my body as I realize that this is all happening again. People being murdered with the use of their greatest fear.
I wake up to the sound of my phone. As I reach to it, I begin to wonder what kind of situation this could be. "Aceldama." I say into the phone. "What've you got for me?"
"The Minneapolis police force asked us for help on a serial killer. Comey asked for you specifically." says the voice from inside the phone. "Get on the next flight to MSP. All the data they have will be sent to you now, and the lead detective on the case will meet you at the airport."
"Affirmative." I say back, the slightest feeling of curiosity about what this case might include. Serial killers are a fascinating subject to me, almost a guilty pleasure. I throw on some clothes and rush to the airport, opening the email and preparing for the 2 hour flight from Washington DC to Minneapolis. I. Hate. Flying.ns 18.104.22.168da2