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Chapter 24

Iwas still at the precinct house in Brentwood at around seven-thirty that night. I was tired and finally looked up from a thick sheaf of police reports on the sadistic murders that had taken place in nine West Coast cities, plus the one in DC, that we knew about. The case was scaring the hell out of me, and certainly not because I believed in vampires.
I did believe in the weird and horrible things people could sometimes do to one another: savage bites, sadistic hangings, draining blood out of bodies, tiger attacks. For once, I couldn’t begin to imagine what the killers might be like. I couldn’t profile them.  Neither could the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. Kyle Craig had admitted as much to me. That was one reason why he was out here himself. Kyle was stumped, too. There was no precedent for this string of murders.
Jamilla appeared at my desk around quarter to eight. She had been working down the hall. She has a very pretty face, but tonight she just looked tired. There is a simple fact of life about police work.  Adrenaline starts flowing during bad cases. It makes everybody’s feelings more intense. Attractions grow and can cause unanticipated problems. I had been there before, and maybe so had Jamilla. She acted like it. Perhaps that was why we were a little tentative around one another.
She leaned over my desk and I could smell a light cologne. T have to go back to San Francisco, Alex. I’m heading out to the airport now.
I left beaucoup notes for you and Kyle on some of the files I was able to get through. I’ll tell you what, though, it doesn’t seem, to me, that all the murders were committed by the same killers. That’s my contribution for today.’
‘Why do you say that?’ I asked. Actually, I’d had the same feeling.  Nothing to substantiate it, though. Just a gut reaction to the evidence we had gathered so far.
Jamilla rubbed the bridge of her nose, then she wrinkled it some.
Her mannerisms were funny, and made me smile.’The patterns keep changing. Especially if you look at the most recent murders versus
the ones from a year or two ago. In the earlier murders the killers were methodical, very careful. The last couple of murders are slapdash, Alex. More violent, too.’
‘I don’t disagree. I’ll look at all the files carefully. So will Kyle and his folks at Quantico. Anything else bothering you?’ I asked.  She thought about it. ‘A strange crime was reported this morning.  Might be something. Funeral home in Woodland Hills. Somebody broke in, ravaged one of the bodies. Could be a copycat. I left the file for you. Anyway, I have to run if I want to catch the next shuttle ...  You’ll keep in touch?’
‘Of course I will. Absolutely. You’re not getting off the hook this easily.’
She waved once, and then she was gone down the hallway.
I hated to see her leave.
Jam.



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