The Annex, Toronto
“I had a really good time tonight, Bryan,” said Vanessa Stargell to her friend, Bryan Hudson. The pair were walking Stargell home from the Dance Cave, a local club, after dancing the night away.
“Thanks,” replied Hudson. “I did too.”
“I really needed to get over Tyler,” said Stargell, referring to her boyfriend whom she caught cheating on her.
“No problem,” said Hudson with a hint of a smirk. By now the pair had walked Stargell to her home south of the club, in an old Victorian home where Stargell rented the basement.
Once inside, Hudson thought he could make his move. He sat down next to Stargell, who inched away from him though Hudson didn't notice. He then started to caress Stargell's cheek and right behind her ear, then tried to lean in for a kiss. Stargell shoved his face away and got up.
“Bryan...you're a nice guy,” started Stargell, trying to come down softly. Hudson rolled his eyes, having heard this speech before.
“Let me guess...” interrupted Hudson, whose voice now seethed with anger. “You're not interested in me.”
“I'm sorry.” Stargell teared a little bit. She'd been friends with Hudson for a few months now and got really close to him and didn't like to get him upset, but she couldn't ignore her feelings anymore.
“Oh, you think 'sorry' is going to cut it?” Hudson's anger and volume grew with each word. “I put up with your B.S. Let you cry on my shoulder many, many times. Listened to you as you rambled on and on about Tyler, and how you desperately wanted 'a good man'. One walks into your life and you don't even give me the time of day. You're just like all the other girls.”
Stargell started to get angry herself. “I owe you NOTHING Bryan. Just because you're a nice guy doesn't give you a free pass into my pants!”
“Oh yeah?” Hudson grabbed Stargell by the throat and bodyslammed her against the wall. He proceeded to rape her right there. When he was finished, he punched her and threw her against the wall, eventually giving her a severe beating. He finished her off by strangling her, enjoying with his depraved eyes seeing the life exit Stargell’s body. A sense of relief came over Hudson, who helped himself to some of Stargell’s valuables and cash before leaving, remembering to take Stargell’s house keys so he could lock the door behind him.
“Good morning Reid,” said Derek Morgan to his colleague on the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU), Dr. Spencer Reid. He was picking him up from the Quantico train station as he usually does to drive him to work.
“Good morning,” replied Reid in his usual cheery but sheepish tone.
“I don't know why you don't learn to drive,” said Morgan. “Doesn't your two hour commute get to you?”
“No,” replied Reid. “I can do a lot of work on the train. I actually find it relaxing. I think driving is way too stressful.”
Morgan nodded his head, not wanting to press the issue any further.
“How was your weekend, Derek?”
“Went to this club in Washington...met this girl...” Morgan continued with a smile. “Things got hot and heavy...took her back to my place...and well, you know, the rest is history.”
Reid nodded his head in appreciation. “Sounds like you had quite the weekend.”
“You could say that.” Morgan now had a tinge of regret in his voice. “I just wonder sometimes if it's all worth it...I'm 36, at some point I should settle down, stay with a girl for more than one night.”
“Maybe you can still go out with this girl.”
“Nah…I didn’t feel anything for her…it was just one night and that was it. We both knew it.”
“The first step in solving a problem is realizing you have one in the first place. So it’s an encouraging sign.” Reid felt slightly honoured that Morgan would go to him for dating advice, given Reid’s vastly inferior dating skills to Morgan’s.
Morgan smiled. “I know. I wonder how you do it…at least you had a girlfriend for more than three weeks.”
Reid smiled. “So the Casanova is jealous of the Loser’s relationship abilities.”
Morgan laughed. “Yeah, I’m aware of the irony.” He then got serious but tender, wagging his finger at Reid as is his custom. “Kid, don’t call yourself a loser. You’re not a loser. Don’t forget that.”
May 4, 2012
College Park Village, Toronto
“Jerks!” said Haley Summers to an inconsiderate man who bumped her as he passed by, knocking over her handheld cart full of groceries. The grocery store she was at was a small store with tight spaces, but she had to shop there since it was the only one open at night and she was in a bind.
“I know what you mean,” said Hudson, who happened to witness the incident. “Here, let me help you with that.” Hudson proceeded to help Summers pick up her fallen groceries, which she was genuinely appreciative for.
“Thanks,” replied Summers, giving Hudson the warmest smile. “People can be so inconsiderate in this city.”
“Everyone is so selfish in this city. Are we really so busy that we can’t even look around to see if there’s anyone in our way?”
“I know.” The two of them at this point had gotten past the checkout counter and were now walking together out of the store. Summers was uncomfortable with Hudson tagging along but she didn’t want to be rude so she went along with it. Hudson, however, was oblivious to Summers’ uncomfortableness.
“So…uh…what do you do?” asked Summers, trying to break the tension of Hudson walking with her.
“I just work at a call centre…I sell newspapers,” answered Hudson, sheepishly.
“Oh? Where is that?”
“TelCom…it’s at Yonge and Wellesley.”
“What do you do?” By this time the pair were deep into Allan Gardens, a park notorious for its homeless population.
“I think I'm going to continue walking from here. Listen, thank you for helping me with my groceries.”
“You're welcome. I think we should get dinner sometime.”
Summers winced and debated giving Hudson a fake phone number as was usually her custom, but thought he was too nice to be rude to. “I don't know who you are...it was a nice gesture...but, I have a boyfriend...I'm sorry.”
“That's okay. We can just be friends.”
“It was nice meeting you.”
Hudson wasn't going to let her walk away. In one swift move, he grabbed her neck from behind, spun her around and choked her. She got out a scream but they were common at the Gardens so no one paid much attention. Hudson, with rage in his eyes, choked the life out of Summers, telling her that he would be “the last person she sees.” He then left her limp body and her groceries behind, fleeing the scene. The homeless were grateful for the free food, none of them paying much attention to Summers, a woman they knew often scorned them as she walked by.
Agent Zoe Hawkes had been staring at the wallboard almost all morning, her arms folded as she examined the postings with intense scrutiny. Her colleague, David Rossi, walked by, handing her a coffee.
“Thanks Dave,” said Hawkes, appreciative. She wasn't expecting the gift.
“Figured you could use it,” replied Rossi. “Looks like you've had quite the morning. What are you working on?”
“It's this case in Toronto...several women have been murdered...nobody is connecting them but I can't get over the fact that they are.”
Rossi took a look at the board himself. “Let me see if I can help. How do you figure they're all connected?”
“Well, the M.O. is the same. They're all strangled and left at the scene...no attempt at covering them up.”
“Strangling...this is personal.”
“Exactly. It's in the same geographic area too, clustered mostly around downtown Toronto.”
“Mostly around the West End of downtown Toronto...he's got to have ties there. What about the one up here, around Bathurst Street and Finch Avenue? That's nowhere near the other murders.”
“Yes, but it's the same M.O.- strangling and just leaving the body there.”
“Leaving it there...it's like a warning for anyone who crosses this UnSub's path.”
“You're right...but what's he warning them about?”
“I don't know. Have you gone to the Toronto Police about your findings?”
“I've kept in touch. They don't believe me...I just know they're connected.”
“Says here there was an arrest in connection to the Haley Summers murder.”
“They got a homeless guy...fits the bill, except I don't think he has the physical strength to overpower Summers. Besides, none of his fingerprints are even close to Summers' neck.”
“Keep digging. If you find anything let us know.”
August 19, 2012
Bathurst and Finch, North York, Toronto
Hudson just stood over the body, frozen. He'd just strangled Yuki Misato, an exchange student from Japan. Misato, like many foreign exchange students, was overtly friendly and allowed Hudson to cross boundaries he wouldn't normally cross, such as hold her hand and hug her tightly for an extended period of time. To Misato, it was just an extension of her personality, but to Hudson it was a way in. When Misato pushed him out, he reacted the only way that he could and that was to kill her. However, whereas before he didn't think much about what he did, this murder struck a chord.
She was such a nice girl, thought Hudson. Does everyone who rejects me have to die? He then concluded that yes, they all had to. He was tired of being "the nice guy" that all the girls turned to when they had problems but would reject him whenever they wanted a relationship. Why? I'm a nice guy. Girls should *love* me. I won't mistreat them at all. I'm the perfect antidote to those jerky boyfriends they all get. I don't understand why they just can't see how great I am. He pondered for a moment. His life isn't where he liked it. At 34, he works at TelCom when he should be applying his degree in Geography. If only he had the motivation to get the grades needed to get into grad school...then he wouldn't have to hawk newspapers, despite his talent for it and the fact the job basically gives him whatever schedule he wanted. He liked living on his own, but he could never escape this feeling that he had that he could have so much more. A girlfriend, he concluded, would go a long way towards ending his misery...at least he wouldn't feel so alone.
Hudson heard footsteps in the distance, so he decided to start walking away from the body. He wasn't worried about being caught- it was nighttime, and the area was poorly lit anyway. His mind still continued. He thought back, six years ago, when his mother passed away, about how much he missed her affection. His father cared for him too, but he missed what only a mother could bring. That's what he hoped he could get with a girlfriend- an opportunity to reconnect with his mother.
He walked to the Subway restaurant and ordered a sub. All that strangling made him hungry.
“Hey,” said an African-Canadian man in line right behind Hudson.
“Hey?” replied Hudson, bemused that the stranger would strike a conversation with him.
“I just walked by this woman's dead body...it was so surreal.”
“Really? Where is it?”
“Oh just around the corner. It was pretty good work...she was strangled real good.”
“That's a shame. The poor lady.” Hudson faked his empathy really well.
“I mean, he really got in there good...the bruising around the neck indicates someone with real skill.” Unbeknownst to the man, a Subway employee called 911 from the manager's office, disturbed by what he heard.
“You know...you know too much...” Now Hudson was disturbed as well.
Literally seconds later, two Toronto Police officers came in and arrested the man for Misato's murder. Hudson smiled to himself, fortunate that he got away from the body just in time.
November 13, 2012
Trinity Bellwoods Park, Queen West, Toronto
Ahh, finally, thought Hudson to himself, a relationship that’s working! Four weeks ago he strangled Alison Stewart in an alleyway beside a nightclub in the Queen Street and Spadina Avenue area, just down the street from the park. The two of them just had a date, Hudson’s first in five years, but it ended with Stewart stating that she’d rather be friends with Hudson, leading to her death.
Tonight, at Trinity Bellwoods Park, was his second date with a woman named Kristen Lewis, whom he met on the subway after managing to hold her hand for most of the ride. The first date went extremely swimmingly, as Lewis- in her own words- “let herself go” for Hudson, with the two happily frolicking around downtown. They were supposed to go to a club to dance but they were too busy getting into each other’s pants, having sex numerous times. Lewis would remind Hudson that their subsequent dates wouldn’t follow the same script, with the second date being extremely slowed down. Hudson didn’t mind- he wanted a relationship, and if it meant he had to slow things down with Lewis, then so be it.
Things started off well. The two of the casually chatted about their day while walking through the park, and then the conversation veered into something about fried eggs. At one point, Lewis realized she just didn’t have feelings for Hudson, so she had to let the cat out of the bag.
“Bryan, I think you’re a very nice fellow,” started Lewis.
“Oh no…no no no…you’re NOT going there,” snapped Hudson. These moments were becoming frustratingly routine for him.
“Bryan…please…there’s no need to get upset.” Lewis tried to calm him down, but she also -started to inch away in fear.
Hudson went into histrionics, his voice yelling at Lewis as high as it could go. “NO NEED TO GET UPSET? NO NEED TO GET UPSET?!? I am sick of being so nice yet being kicked-” Hudson paused briefly to kick a nearby stone- “around, and-” he kicked some grass- “and downgraded because-” another kick- “I’m not exciting-” another kick- “to date.”
A man heard the screaming in the distance and decided to run over, concerned for Lewis..
“Hey man! Back off!” said the man, grabbing Hudson and throwing him away from Lewis. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“This,” said Hudson. With adrenaline still running through his veins, he grabbed the man and choked him to death. The man was slender, so Hudson liked his chances. However, Lewis still managed to escape, because of the time Hudson needed to choke the man. Hudson took the opportunity to flee, though police officers took their time arriving to check out the scene because they thought the yelling and screaming were just a few drunks having a simple argument.
“OK, thanks Chief Conan,” said Hawkes, hanging up the phone.
“Who was that?” asked Morgan.
“That was Toronto Police Chief Fred Conan,” said Hawkes. “Says he could use our help...he's gotten nowhere with the Vanessa Stargell case.”
“What about the homeless guy?”
“He's apparently going to trial...his lawyer is trying to stop it but, being a public defender, all he knows how to do is file injunctions and bury the case in red tape.”
“Then there's Alison Stewart and Yuki Misato.”
“Conan is adamant those cases aren't related. He's already apprehended Misato's killer, he says, but she fits our UnSub's M.O. better than the man he did catch. He won't tell me why Stewart isn't related, even though he has no one in that case either.”
“Toronto,” started Reid, joining in to the conversation, “hasn’t had a serial violent offender since Paul Bernardo was the Scarborough Rapist in 1988. They did actually have a serial attacker earlier this summer when a teen groped numerous women from behind in Christie Pits, roughly the same area as our UnSub operates, but his crimes weren’t violent.”
“He was an easy to pin the blame on,” said Morgan, with anger tinged in his voice. “Young, black, social outcast…the police then could say they have a serial attacker because he wasn’t ‘one of them.’”
“You don’t think the Christie Pits attacker is related to our UnSub?” asked Reid.
“No, he couldn’t be,” replied Hawkes. “Our guy got into the home of Stargell without forced entry, and he strangled all the women, getting personal with them. The Christie Pits guy lacks the confidence our guy has.”
“He also doesn’t have a convenient target,” said Morgan, visibly moved by the case. “That’s why the police went so easily with the homeless person…he’s a convenient target. You could believe he committed a murder just because of who he is.”
Walking in was Jennifer Jareau, the team’s media liaison, telling them that their leader, Aaron Hotchner, was calling them in to the war room. They were officially called in to the Stargell case in Toronto.
“So he gets into her room,” said Agent Emily Prentiss, “she says something and his reaction is to rape and strangle her? Talk about overkill.” Prentiss then mused for a second, then she continued. “Does anyone else find it weird that we’re being called in for a single murder? What about you, Morgan?”
“I believe we have a serial killer,” piped in Hawkes. “There are four murders I know about in Toronto with exactly the same modus operandi- he strangles them and leaves them behind. He gets to operate in seclusion because Toronto police have been too stupid to tie them together.”
Morgan smiled, liking that Hawkes was developing the passionate bite he was known for. “I have no doubt that we have to take this case,” said Morgan, with passionate calm. “The Toronto police are dropping the ball because they refuse to see the forest for the trees. Because the attacker isn’t a convenient target, like a transient or a minority, the police don’t want to admit they have a serial killer.”
Hotchner was intrigued by Morgan’s comment but was uncomfortable with him making a leap so early. “It’s an interesting observation but we don’t have any proof that it’s actually happening.
“I think he’s right,” said Rossi. “We have two victims with the same M.O. and the police have apprehended two suspects with very poor connections to the victims just because they’re not white. Toronto Police have also struggled with racial profiling for over a decade…so much so that they collect more than four times as much information on minorities than they do on whites. It’s likely happening again.”
“Okay,” said Hotchner, swayed by Rossi’s assessment. “Morgan and Reid, you guys go to the Dance Cave, the last place where Stargell was seen alive. Prentiss and Hawkes, you visit Alex Mortimer, the man arrested for the Misato murder and then Charles Mustaine, the main arrested for the Summers murder. Rossi and I will examine the Stewart case and see if there’s a connection with our UnSub. Wheels up in fifty.”
“Fifty minutes?” asked Reid, surprised.
“It needs refueling,” said Hotchner.
“I needed some coffee anyway,” said Reid.
The BAU Plane
“Toronto,” said Rossi to Hotchner, wistfully.
“Bringing back bad memories?” asked Hotchner.
“The police called us in to catch the Scarborough Rapist in 1988. We gave them our profile, canvassed the neighbourhood. We got a tip from an Alex Smirnis who said he was friends with the UnSub. We really felt like we were getting close.”
“Max Ryan spoke to Smirnis. Said he sounded funny. Then he spoke to Paul Bernardo, whom we all know now was the Rapist. Said Bernardo came off as congenial and affable, and Ryan concluded that he wasn’t the personality to commit the crimes.”
“You guys had Bernardo and you let him walk?”
Rossi grimaced with anger. “I called him out for it. Reamed him for days. Told him Bernardo fit the profile and that he could talk his way out of anything…and Ryan fell for it.”
“Because you let him walk he moved, continued to rape and eventually murdered three more women with the help of his wife, Karla Homolka.
“Exactly. If Ryan wasn’t so pigheaded we could have had him and saved all those lives.”
“…and now you’re seeing a repeat in the pattern.”
“Yeah. If the Toronto Police weren’t so pigheaded three other women would be alive today. It sickens you.”
“You told me once that we can’t save everyone. Made me realize that there are some things that we can’t do and there’s nothing we can do about it. The only thing we can do is learn from it and make sure it doesn’t get any worse.”
Toronto Police Headquarters, Downtown Toronto
“Glad you guys could make it,” said Chief Conan, greeting the BAU.
“Pleased to meet you,” said Hotchner, shaking his hand. “I’m Agent Hotchner, the team leader.” He then introduced his team, with each shaking Conan’s hand except Reid. “These are Agents Morgan, Rossi, Prentiss, Dr. Reid, Hawkes and Jareau.”
“Agent Hawkes,” said Conan. “We spoke on the phone.”
“Numerous times,” replied Hawkes. “Do we have any leads on the murders?”
“I don’t know why you keep on thinking we have more than one,” said Conan with a hint of derision.
“Chief Conan,” said Jareau, trying to calm Conan, “we’re not trying to impose, we’re just merely trying to cover all of our bases. It’s our belief that a few of the murders are actually connected to each other.”
“That’s preposterous,” said Conan, “Toronto is a nice, safe city. We don’t have serial killers.”
“Just because it’s a nice city doesn’t mean bad people don’t live in it,” said Jareau. “Serial killers can live anywhere and ignoring the problem only makes it worse.”
“We’re going to need to talk to Charles Mustaine and Alex Mortimer,” said Hotchner.
“They’re not part of this,” scoffed Conan. “I can tell you that right now.”
Morgan was seething with anger, but did his best to contain it. “Just let us do our jobs,” he said. “We know what we’re doing. Trust us.”
“I’m done talking!” said Mustaine, angered at the sight of Prentiss walking into his cell. He spoke with a heavy drawl, being a vagrant displaced from Oklahoma. He also got even more disheveled since getting incarcerated. “What’s this broad come here to do? Bury me some more?”
“Knock it off,” warned Prentiss in her most intimidating voice. She got right into Mustaine’s face, her eyes locked into his, filled with rage. “I’m here to unbury you if you treat me with some respect.”
“Okay…okay…” Mustaine had now backed off, knowing Prentiss wasn’t playing around.
“Let’s get to the point. You were present when Haley Summers was killed, right?”
“Says here that you had your fingerprints on Summers’ body. What were you doing?”
“I knew the girl,” said Mustaine. “Didn’t like her much. She always walked by with her high heels and her huffy attitude…couldn’t help but make a few remarks at our expense. Oh boy…did I really want to hurt her. She was so inconsiderate…like she thought I chose this life. A tornado leveled my home and I had to become a drifter. This ain’t fun…nobody would want to choose this.”
“I understand that, but right now it looks like you have the motive and the connection to kill Haley Summers. If you want me to get you out of here, you need to help me out.”
“I remember hearing Summers walking. She was with some guy. Didn’t pay too much attention…thought it was another one of her ‘boyfriends’ walking with her. Next thing I know I hear some bags drop in the distance. A couple of minutes later, someone yells ‘free food’ so I ran over. I picked up the dead body and it was Haley. That was when the cops got to me, noticing I was holding her body. They concluded right then and there that I was her killer.”
“This other guy…what did he look like?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Just think.” Prentiss adopted a relaxing voice and held Mustaine’s hand. “Close your eyes and think deeply. Try to remember every last detail.”
“Okay…he’s a white boy. Regular height, average build. Brown hair. Young, but definitely not a kid. His hair was all kind of messy and he looked like he hadn’t shaved in days, but he did appear to be in good hygiene. I think he said something about dinner to Haley and she said no…and then it all went silent. Then the bags fell.”
“That’s it.” Prentiss had a realization. “He was asking her for a date and when she said no…he strangled her.”
“What a coward…to take rejection like that?”
“That’s why we’re going to put him away for you.”
“Mr. Mortimer,” said Hawkes to Mortimer in his cell. They’d already begun their interview and got past the niceties. “It says here that police were called in to the Subway location closest to the Misato body because, and I quote, ‘you seemed to know too much about the crime when engaged in a conversation with someone in the lineup.’ Why did you know what you knew?”
“I was in the army,” replied Mortimer, a big man. “Joined the Ontario Army when it invaded Ohio and captured it for the newly created country. I had to kill a few people in hand to hand combat…I even strangled a guy. I was going to mention to the guy in line that we need to get prepared since an army man was on the loose. Then the darn 5-0 show up and ruin my day.”
“Why were you looking at Misato’s body?”
“I was in shock. I think anybody would when they saw a dead body. I knew we weren’t in a warzone, and Misato didn’t look like the type that would be involved in any kind of fight anyway. I merely wanted to investigate, because I was concerned. If Toronto needs to raise an army I would fight for it.”
“So you think this guy is an army guy?”
“Or just a guy on a mission. You don’t strangle a girl that hard without having that much anger.”
“Did you happen to catch the guy who did it?”
“It was dark…couldn’t see much…but I did see a guy walking away from Misato and I believe it was shortly after she died, but I’m not sure. Then I saw the guy in the lineup at Subway and thought it looked a lot like the guy I just saw. I thought maybe if I talked about how impressed I was at how the crime was executed he would have confessed to me…then I could have made a citizen’s arrest and figure out what army he works for.”
Hawkes smiled. “Thank you Mr. Mortimer. I think I have enough to do that for you.”
Toronto Police Headquarters
Investigation HQ for Alison Stewart
“So Alison Stewart and this unknown guy walk into The Annex Wreck Room nightclub,” said Rossi, examining his copy of the Stewart case file.
“That’s down the street from the Dance Cave,” said Hotchner, looking up the nightclub on Google Maps, “right within the geographic comfort zone.”
“Witnesses say they had a few drinks…they danced…they even kissed a few times. Said the guy seemed to get little overboard with it.”
“He sounds a little overeager. Do we know who paid for the drinks?”
“Let’s give Garcia a call.”
“Hello grizzled veterans!” beamed their technical analyst, Penelope Garcia, never at a loss for enthusiasm. “What’s the mission today?”
“She loves her job doesn’t she?” noted Rossi sardonically.
“Yes I do!” Garcia beamed.
“Garcia…on the night of Alison Stewart’s murder, we need to know if she purchased any drinks,” said Hotchner in a serious tone.
“Okay…” Garcia said, typing away. “The results are…negativo.”
“Thanks Garcia,” replied Hotchner, hanging up on Garcia.
“So the UnSub bought all of Stewart’s drinks,” said Rossi, going back to the report with Hotchner.
“There were also reports that he was acting very chivalrous around her,” noted Hotchner.
“…but not when she wasn’t there,” said Rossi. “He was rude to a bouncer when she had left to go to the bathroom, but adopted his nice guy routine when she came back.”
“So he’s pretending to be nice to curry her affections.”
“…and when she didn’t return them…he killed her.”
The Dance Cave, The Annex, Toronto
“Hey brother,” said Morgan walking up to the bouncer, a tall African-Canadian with dreads. It was nighttime, around the time the club opened. “I’m Agent Derek Morgan with the FBI. I’m here with my colleague, Dr. Spencer Reid. We’re here from the Behavioural Analysis Unit. We’d like to ask you a few questions about the Vanessa Stargell murder.
“Ask away,” said the bouncer. “It was a shame she died.”
“How many times did she come to the club?” asked Reid.
“I didn’t see her much,” said the bouncer. “She’d been to the Cave a few times with her boyfriend, a guy by the name of Tyler. He didn’t treat her very well…they often argued while they were in line together. I saw Tyler quite a bit here alone…I think he cheated on her a lot.”
“This Tyler person,” pried Morgan, “was he with Vanessa on the night of her murder?”
“No,” replied the bouncer assuredly. “He told me he was in Miami for the week. She showed up with some other guy, I never saw him before. Some white guy…average build and height. Seemed to be going out of his way to be nice to Vanessa…he gave her his coat despite her repeated refusal.”
“Did you get a name?” asked Reid.
“No,” said the bouncer. “I know I look at ID’s all the time, but I see so many…it’s hard to remember names.”
The bouncer then had to excuse himself to let a patron through the line. The patron, a man in a black stylized shirt and jeans, was let inside without the bouncer checking for his ID.
“Hey you didn’t ask for his ID,” noticed Reid.
“He’s a regular,” said the bouncer. “I don’t need to ask for it.”
“He’s a regular?” thought Morgan, out loud. “He probably knows something. Let’s go talk to him.”
Hudson stared into the sink. He’d just washed his face, so water was dripping profusely from his skin. He should pick up his towel and dry himself off, but he couldn’t help but think.
What did I do wrong? He thought to himself. Kristen was the perfect girl. We had so much fun together…if maybe I wasn’t so eager to take off my pants with her I’d still be with her. He stared at his phone. Lewis still messaged him from time to time, because she wanted to be friends with him. She bought his apology for the incident, but Hudson was tentative about the friendship since it’s becoming clear to him that Lewis didn’t want to progress from it. Hudson held out hope…faint hope that one day he and Lewis could lead a lifetime happy together.
He toweled himself off. Sat down on his couch and turned on the TV. Star Trek: First Contact was on. “Commander Data…oh how I wish I could be like you,” Hudson said to himself. “To be able to shut off my emotions whenever I felt like it. To not feel the isolation your crew puts you through because, if you could feel like a human feels, you’d know they only use you for your brain.” Hudson’s voice filled with anger. “Just like those women used me for my kindness!”
He turned on his computer to a dating site. He met some women through it but none progressed beyond the Emailing stage. He looked fortuitously at potential dates then walked away.
“No…” he said to himself, exasperated. “I don’t want to kill again.” He then thought to himself again. “I don’t have to kill. I can let the next woman that rejects me live…but then they won’t learn their lesson…no, stupid…if you kill again they’ll catch you. You can’t risk it.” He then breathed deeply and stared intensely at the screen, hoping to find another girl. “Still, I don’t want to be lonely…I want another girl.”
His phone then started to ring.
The Dance Cave
“Sir,” said Morgan, stopping the man in the black shirt. “I’m Agent Morgan, this is Dr. Reid. We’re with the FBI. Do you have a moment?”
“Sure,” replied the man.
“What’s your name?” asked Reid.
“My name is Daniel…Daniel Graco,” said Graco.
“Hello Mr. Graco,” said Morgan, shaking Graco’s hand firmly. Reid didn’t extend his hand, telling Graco about his germaphobia. Morgan continued. “I understand you’re a regular here at the club?”
“Yes I am,” replied Graco. “Am I in some kind of trouble?”
“No you’re not Mr. Graco,” replied Reid, assuredly. “We’re just investigating a murder that happened around this area several months ago and thought maybe you could help us out.”
“Okay,” said Graco. “Shoot.”
“Do you know Vanessa Stargell?” asked Morgan, holding up Stargell’s photo.
“Vanessa…how could I forget her?” said Graco, wistfully. “She was a sweet girl…when I heard she was killed I was devastated.”
“So you met her,” pressed Morgan. “Could you describe the nature of your conversations with her?”
“I met her the first time last year, with her boyfriend Tyler,” explained Graco. “I was sitting at the back, just enjoying a beer. I hadn’t met her at this point, so when she came by my seat to ask if she could leave some of her stuff there, I said it was fine and didn’t think too much about it. She was just another girl at the club. Then she came back and asked me if all I wanted to do was sit there, so I quipped to her, ‘are you inviting me to dance?’ She leapt at the opportunity to dance with me, and we were at it for almost an hour. I really enjoyed the experience. Then she said she had to go back to her boyfriend, which was Tyler. I got the feeling she wanted to do something with me but thought better of it.”
“Did Tyler exhibit any anger towards you for dancing with his girl?” asked Morgan.
“Not at all, which surprised me,” said Graco. “I decided to go about my night. Left the interaction at that. A couple of months later I met Vanessa again. This time we actually kissed…and I got her phone number. We agreed to meet up just as friends, but we certainly had a connection.
“Then came the last night I saw her alive. She’d come with this guy…some sheepish white guy. Had brown hair, didn’t shave at all. He was average looking, kind of like me.”
“You look kind of dapper,” replied Morgan, smiling. “Don’t sell yourself short, kid.” Graco smiled, thanking Morgan for the compliment.
“This guy that she was with, do you remember that much about him?” asked Reid.
“We talked for quite a while, actually,” replied Graco. “Assured me that Stargell was just his friend…but I felt like he felt scorned. We shared a few beers…he complained quite a bit about how mean girls are and all they want are ‘bad boys’…I said to him, ‘all that stuff is in your head…women don’t like to be mistreated.’”
“How did he handle your statement?” asked Reid. By now, both he and Morgan were listening intently to Graco.
“He scoffed at me, said I was wrong,” replied Graco, a tinge of anger coming through in his voice. “Said that I couldn’t have gone out much if I held such delusions, that he knew everything. I sat there thinking, ‘dude, why do you have to make this some kind of ‘us vs. them’ mission?’ It made no sense.”
“So he got confrontational,” asked Morgan.
“Not yet,” replied Graco, a statement that caught both Morgan’s and Reid’s ears. “I asked him if he was happy with himself. He replied ‘no’. That’s when I told him, ‘if you’re not happy with yourself how can you expect a girl to be happy with you?’ I told him that women don’t want a mope…they want a guy who is sure of themselves, and, more often than not, the ‘jerks’ are more confident than the ‘nice guys’. That’s the reason why they get the girls- because they’re not fixated on ‘being correct’ with one girl because they know there’s a million other ones they have a shot at still. I told him, not scoring has nothing to do with whether or not you’re nice- it has everything to do with how you handle yourself. Girls don’t want a guy who’s too afraid to make a move or ‘need’ them to feel happy, because those guys are basketcases- they want a guy who’s sure of themselves. Because, let’s face it- we’re all strangers until we’re given a reason to care, and nobody cares about a beggar. That holds true whether you’re nice or not.”
“Sounds like you’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this,” said Reid. Graco’s words seemed to resonate with Reid, who grappled with the same conflict.
“What did this guy do after you told him all that?” asked Morgan.
“He snapped at me,” replied Graco. “Stormed away. Grabbed Vanessa and just marched with her out of the club. I never even got a chance to say goodbye…” Graco started to tear a little, but held his composure. Both Reid and Morgan looked at him with sorrow.
“I’m sorry,” said Reid.
“It’s okay,” said Graco. “Life goes on.”
“Did you get a name?” asked Morgan.
“All I know is that his name was Bryan,” replied Graco. “No last name, I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” said Reid. “I think we have enough.”
“Thank you Mr. Graco,” said Morgan, again shaking his hand firmly. “If you hear anything else, don’t hesitate to give either of us a call.” Morgan and Reid handed Graco their cards. Morgan then gestured to the bartender, “give this man a drink,” Morgan said, handing the bartender money. “It’s on me.”
Once outside, Morgan and Reid analyzed the interview.
“Do you think he’s right?” asked Reid.
“He’s got no reason to lie,” responded Morgan. “He showed actual remorse for Vanessa, and his description of Bryan matches exactly the description of the guy Vanessa was seen leaving the club with. Besides, he has no motive to want to kill her- Bryan, whomever he is, does.”
“Vanessa kind of scorned him though.”
“Yes, but he’s a regular. Just like Vanessa. If he left with her and news of Vanessa’s murder came out, he’d never show his face at the club again. The fact that he did speaks volumes.”
“Okay.” Reid was now thinking out loud. “Bryan…is quite the case. We’ve got your classic narcissist that has a hint of vigilantism and has a severe inferiority complex. We all know the saying about a woman scorned…but this is out there.”
Morgan laughed at Reid’s statement. “You got that right, this is out there.”
“Usually guys who martyr themselves as ‘nice guys’ lack the confidence to look a girl in the eyes and strangle her, but Bryan does…it’s very odd behavior.”
“That’s because Bryan only thinks he’s not confident. He actually is, he just drops this mopey look just to get attention.”
“He craves it…he’s probably not afraid to talk to people, it’s just that the only thing he can think of is how inferior he is to everyone else. He uses people for pity, though he might not realize this.”
“Once those women stopped pitying him, he turned on them. They made it personal for him.”
“Which is why he just leaves the women behind…because it’s a warning to any woman that crosses his path that if you scorn me, this is what will happen to you.”
“He can’t have more than three victims.”
“He’ll have a lot more. This likely won’t stop until we catch him.”
“He probably has victims we don’t know about…and he’s probably working on a girl right now. This guy is obsessive about being in a relationship…if he thinks a girl gives him even a sliver of hope he’ll continue to pursue her.”
“Maybe that’s why he hasn’t killed in a while…he’s actually found a relationship.”
“Doubt it, or if he has one, it’s a girl he doesn’t like. No girl would want to go for this mope.”
“We have to tell Hotch what we’ve found, because he could be with a girl right now and she could be in extreme danger.”
Morgan called Hotchner, told him about his findings. Hotchner told him to call Garcia and see if she can narrow down a list of suspects.
“I was beginning to wonder if you would call me,” cooed Garcia as she picked up the phone from Morgan.
“You know me, I’d never ignore you,” said Morgan, suavely.
“Sugar, what can I get you for?”
“I need you to help me find someone. His name is Bryan. Look for all variations of the name. Likely lives in the west end of downtown Toronto. Probably works a menial job and either lives with his parents or lives alone in an cheap apartment. Definitely single. May have even gone to therapy within the past year.”
“Okay…” Garcia typed away furiously, and in a few minutes, gave Morgan a list of names. “We’ve got a Bryan Hudson, he lives on his own in a bachelor along Yonge Street, still within the area but close to where he works, which is at TelCom as a telemarketer. He’s done lots of therapy over the past three years. Then there’s Brian Eastman, who lives with his parents a few blocks down from the Dance Cave, works seasonally with Toronto Parks and Recreation as a vendor, also has done therapy. Brian Collins…a hot dog vendor who lives on his own and operates a stand at a rival club, just down the street from where you are…ooh, massive amounts of therapy. I got 17 other names…do you want me to go through them all?”
“No, it’s okay. Message me everyone’s details. Thanks babydoll.”
“What’s the verdict?” asked Reid.
“20 Bryans that fit the bill,” replied Morgan.
“All in this area?” Reid was surprised at the high total.
“They don’t call Toronto ‘the Loneliest City’ for nothing.”
“Give me the list, I’ll help narrow it down.”
“It won’t matter. We don’t have probable cause. We can’t just barge in to any of their homes and arrest them- we have no proof on them. We gotta give Hotch the profile and tell JJ to release it tonight- he could be out with a girl right now.” Morgan called Hotchner, as well as organized a sketch artist to meet with the bouncer and Graco to get a detailed picture of the killer.
Toronto Police Headquarters
“Thank you for coming this late at night,” said Jareau in front of the podium, addressing a throng of reporters. The press conference was being aired live for the 11PM news, with every nightclub in the city getting a live feed as well.
“You’re all here tonight because we have a matter of public safety on our hands,” continued Jareau firmly. “Since there is no other way to put it lightly, we are just going to get to the point and declare that Toronto has a very serious serial killer in its midst. He targets women, and he could be out tonight with one and she could be in very grave danger.”
Jareau next pointed to a composite sketch given to her just minutes before the press conference. “This is a composite sketch of the offender. His name is ‘Bryan’. He’s 30-40 years old, with an average build and height. He is a white male with brown hair and is often unkempt in his appearance, but still practices good hygiene. He is a classic narcissist with an inferiority complex, who believes that women have mistreated him because he thinks he is ‘too nice’ to them. He doesn’t lack confidence with women, he just lacks the self belief in himself to act appropriately in those situations. He thus overcompensates on his generosity thinking this will compensate for his lack of social skills. He is constantly craving attention, because to him, the lack of acknowledgement of his needs is paramount to anything else, even, ironically, the needs of others. He seeks out women because he feels he needs a motherly nurturing and is obsessed with having a relationship because then that means he finally has someone who will take care of him. When the woman inevitably decides she’s had enough of taking care of her, he will snap, often with deadly consequences.
“We’ve connected him, so far, to three murders but we believe there are many more, and that there is a woman in danger as we speak. We urge any of you, if you have any information that can lead to an arrest, to please call our tip line or send us a message on the Toronto Police Board’s social networking sites. You can find our number at the bottom of your screen or you can go to your news agency’s web site or the Toronto Police Board’s web site to find more information on how you can leave a tip. Thank you.”
Almost instantaneously, Jareau received a call.
“Hello?” said Jareau, trying to pick up the caller. “This is Agent Jennifer Jareau of the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit, how can I help you?”
“Hello, Jennifer?” said the caller, a female, nervously.
“Miss, are you okay?”
“Yes, I’m fine. I just heard you give the profile and I think I know the person you are describing.”
“What’s your name?”
“Kristen, Kristen Lewis. I live in Toronto. I met Bryan a couple of weeks ago…I thought he was really nice but now that I think of it, he was overcompensating his niceness for me. We went on two dates. On the first date we had a lot of sex because I like to have fun and I want to see if this guy is worth more than just a casual fling. It went according to plan on the first date, but afterwards I was leery about having a relationship with him because I just wasn’t feeling him. So I slowed things down in the second date to see if I could salvage something but I couldn’t…but when I tried to break up with him he got violently angry, and I ran away. I heard in the distance some guy confront him and I think they got into a fight but I was too far away to know what happened.”
Jareau’s eyes widened as she realized Lewis was talking about a murder of a man who fit Hudson’s M.O., a man by the name of Mark Davis, just a few weeks ago. “Kristen, has Bryan tried to contact you since the incident?”
“Yes, because I have. I thought he was nice enough to have as a friend.”
Jareau then realized that Lewis inadvertently kept herself alive by doing so. “Kristen, give me your address. I’m going to send you a squad car to pick you up and bring you to the station. We believe you can help us.” Jareau then took down Lewis’ information and directed a nearby squad car to pick her up.
In the meantime, Jareau spoke to Hotchner about the call.
“Hotch, we have a lady by the name of Kristen Lewis who says she met Bryan a few weeks ago and even went on a date with him,” said Jareau to Hotchner. “Says she still keeps in touch with him.
“Bring me Morgan,” said Hotchner. “This is up his alley.”
Morgan walked towards Hotchner. “You wanted to see me?” Morgan asked.
“Yes,” replied Hotchner firmly. “JJ just told me that we have a lady who went out on a date with Bryan and still keeps in touch with him. You’re our expert on obsessional crimes. What do you think we should do?”
“He’s fixated on her. We can set a trap. He’s kept her alive because she’s willingly kept in touch and gave him hope that there still could be a relationship…we know that if she calls him that he’ll come. We’ll just have to coach her on what to say…we’ll even have Hawkes come in and act as her friend.”
“Let’s do it.”
After briefing Lewis at the police station, Hawkes drove Lewis back to her apartment to set the plan in motion. Outside would be the rest of the BAU in unmarked vehicles, with Morgan and Prentiss pretending to be plumbers working on Lewis’ sink just so Hawkes could have some backup if she needed it.
As soon as he entered Lewis’ apartment- a small two-bedroom flat she shared with her brother, who was out of town- Morgan took off his shirt, revealing his toned and ripped torso underneath.
“Do you have to take off your shirt, Morgan?” quipped Prentiss.
“What?” asked Morgan, smiling and feigning incredulousness. “I gotta provide something for the ladies.” He really just took off his shirt for better mobility under the sink, explaining as much to the ladies in the room, but he couldn’t help provide a bit of fan service.
“I wish all our plumbers looked like that,” said Lewis, in awe of Morgan’s body.
Hawkes laughed. “Don’t we all.” Hawkes then got serious. “Morgan and Prentiss are going to pretend to be a husband and wife plumbing team.”
“Husband and wife?” said Prentiss, mockingly. “You think I’d marry this guy?” Morgan just laughed.
“It’s only for show, Emily,” replied Hawkes, trying to reassure her. “I also don’t want Bryan to look at Morgan and think he’s a threat.” She then turned to Lewis.
“Kristen,” said Hawkes diligently. “Do you remember what we discussed?”
“Yes,” replied Lewis, taking deep breaths. “Just act natural. Don’t be confrontational. Go as far as I feel comfortable doing and don’t accuse him of anything.”
“Good,” said Hawkes, reassured. “Now, make the call.”
Lewis diligently called Hudson, inviting him over because she thought they could “work things out”, though things would have to be slow. Hudson readily accepted the proposal. Within twenty minutes, Hudson arrived at the door.
“Hey,” said Hudson, giving Lewis a warm hug. Hawkes was uncomfortable seeing that, knowing that Lewis was wrapping her arms around a man who wouldn’t be afraid to wrap his hands around her neck. “I’m glad you invited me over.”
“Bryan,” said Lewis, introducing Hawkes to Hudson. “This is Zoe. We met at school.”
“Hi,” said Hawkes, shaking Hudson’s hand despite her best intentions. “We’re both in Business Administration at Humber College. We’re both a little worried about the test next week. I came over to help her study.”
“Yeah,” said Hudson, sheepishly. “Kristen told me about that. I told her not to worry.”
“So, you’re not asleep at this time of night?” asked Lewis, trying to make conversation.
“Oh,” said Hudson, getting a bit more comfortable. The three of them had made their way to Lewis’ couch. He then heard Morgan swear because he dropped a wrench. “What’s going on in the kitchen?”
“Oh that’s Morgan and Emily Prentiss,” said Hawkes, without skipping a beat. “They’re a husband and wife plumbing team…Kristen’s having some problems with the sink.”
“I see,” replied Hudson, reassured. “Anyway…I’m a bit of a night owl. I don’t really sleep. My job is in the afternoons mostly, so I tend to be awake at night mostly.”
Hawkes feigned looking at her phone. “I still can’t believe they don’t have a lead on the poor lady that got murdered in March,” she said, in mock horror.
“Vanessa Stargell,” replied Hudson, not realizing the trick Hawkes was playing. “I know, it’s unfortunate.”
“I really hope they find the guy soon,” said Hawkes, realizing Hudson had cracked.
“I hope so too,” said Hudson. “I was there, inside her house when it happened. Some robber broke in and attacked her and that was it. I couldn’t do anything…I feel so bad.”
“Really?” said Hawkes, knowing her plan worked perfectly. “I wonder…how do you know that? You know there wasn’t any sign of forced entry in to her apartment…and that’s the cross necklace she liked to wear around your neck, isn’t it Bryan?” By this point, Hawkes had gotten up from the couch and stood beside Lewis, looking right at Hudson.
“I…I…” said Hudson, stunned.
Hawkes pulled out her badge and her gun. “Zoe Hawkes, FBI. Bryan Hudson, you are under arrest. Get on the ground and put your hands where I can see them.” Prentiss had come from behind the sink and gotten behind Hudson, completing the arrest as Morgan and Hawkes had their guns drawn.
As Hudson was taken out of Lewis’ apartment into a waiting squad car, Lewis and Hawkes exchanged a few words.
“Hey,” said Lewis, giving Hawkes a, long warm hug. “Thanks for everything.”
“No problem,” replied Hawkes. “You did great. We couldn’t have done it without you.” By this point, both ladies were tearing, and were hugging again.
“Maybe we should actually be friends.”
“For sure.” Hawkes enthusiastically gave Lewis her card. “Whenever you need me or if you’re in the Virginia area, don’t hesitate to call. If I’m in Toronto I’ll give you a shout.”
A bit off into the distance, Reid was catching up with Morgan.
“I hear you doffed your shirt,” quipped Reid to Morgan, who laughed at his statement.
“Yeah,” said Morgan with a smile. “I needed to get underneath that sink. It was a real bugger.”
Reid responded with a bit of sarcasm. “Sure Morgan, that’s why you did it.”
The BAU Plane
Having successfully completed another case, everyone on the plane was asleep. Everyone except Morgan and Rossi, who were having a hearty conversation.
“I heard Toronto gave you some bad memories,” said Morgan, trying to make small talk.
“Yeah,” said Rossi. “We could have caught Paul Bernardo before he killed those girls. Oh well, that’s the past…at least today is a better memory.”
“Dave…I have a question for you.”
“Go ahead Derek.”
“Women came easy for you too, right?”
“Oh yeah. Too easy.”
“At what point were you able to say, ‘this is the one I’m not going to cheat on’?”
Rossi laughed. “I’m not quite sure I’m there yet.”
“Yeah, but you actually got married. I’m 36…I’ve only been in one committed relationship and I cheated on her frequently. Since you were able to settle down somewhat, I thought maybe you could help me out.”
“Derek…love is a funny thing. We’re told early on in life that there’s ‘the one’ out there for us and that when we find it, we’ll ‘know’. Yet, for some us, that search seems like it will never end, and then we wonder if this ‘one’ was something the greeting card companies made up just so us poor saps of men can be suckered into buying something for someone who they won’t have a hope will return their favour.” Rossi then got wistful. “It’s funny. People look at us and think we’re never lonely, because women throw themselves at us, but they never seem to realize that none of them stick. You get a false sense of companionship, so much so that it’s not really there, making you feel just as alone as all those people who are single.”
“So you’re telling me I need to come to terms with that.”
“One of the basic tenets is to be happy with what you have, because if you’re not happy with yourself then no woman can be happy with you. I’m sure you know that already.”
“Yes, I do.”
“What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t force yourself into something because you feel alone. Instead, use your womanizing skills to your advantage. You have no problems meeting new women. Eventually these women might feel like you’re getting lonely and will use that to their advantage. You have to turn it in your favour and make them ask if they’re going to be the ones lonely without Derek Morgan.”
Morgan nodded his head.
Rossi continued. “Most people would envy us. We have an abundance of riches. Use that to your advantage and scrutinize every woman and make them prove themselves to you because, if they don’t, there’s a million other ones right behind her. Don’t ever forget that.”
Morgan smiled and thanked Rossi, as he put his headphones back on to listen to his music before the plane touched down in Quantico.