Jim Ellison scowled at stack of files, feeling more then a
little angry. Six sexual assault ending in murders and they were
no closer to the killer! He glanced around at the other members of
the task force. Granted, it wasn't the first time he'd headed a
task force but it had to be one of the most difficult. Then again,
didn't he think that every time he was assigned to a task force?
Blair Sandberg was on the computer, trying to find a pattern.
No, scratch that. They had a pattern. All the victims were of the
same approximate height and build with very light blond hair and
light eyes. All were male though their sexual preferences varied;
three were heterosexual, two homosexual and one homosexual. They
had all been kidnapped either just entering their cars from work
or getting out once they reach home. They had been tortured with a
blade, sodomized then their throats cut before being dumped by the
side of the road.
Now all they had to do was hope that the profiler coming in
could put the pieces together and give them an idea of who they
were looking for.
"Ellison!" Simon Banks swung open the door into the
task room. A tall man followed him in and Simon gestured at him.
"This is James Horne. James, Jim Ellison."
"Detective." Horne's voice was low and melodious, his
grip surprisingly strong for such a lean man. But there was hidden
strength in that wiry frame. He stood just a little shorter then
Ellison himself with silvery-blonde hair and gray-blue eyes,
attractive in a feline kind of way.
Ellison turned to introduce the rest of the team, finishing
"Blair Sandberg. Blair!" Ellison hit him lightly on
the shoulder to get his attention and the younger man started.
"Uh? Oh." He turned, offering his hand to Horne, who
happened to be looking over his shoulder at the computer screen.
Only Ellison saw Blair start again, blinking as he saw Horne
clearly for the first time.
"Ahhh, James, this is Blair Sandberg. Observer." He
eyed his partner thoughtfully. "Taggart! Why don't you get
Horne set up? I have to talk with Sandberg a sec."
"Sure! Come on."
Horne turned to follow Taggart toward the center table where
everything was sprawled out and Ellison looked down at Sandberg,
who was still gaping after Horne.
"What's up, chief?" Ellison asked quietly. "You
"You might say that. Don't you see. . ? No, I guess you
don't. Here, take a look." Blair turned back to the computer,
punching in a series of commands. Ellison grimaced as, one by one,
the crime scenes flashed on the screen. Blair looked a little ill
but stuck with it, zooming in on first one face then another until
all six were lined up on the screen.
"I've seen these, chief. . .wait a minute." Ellison
stared at one photo then another before cursing under his breath.
"What's up?" Simon appeared next to the duo and
Ellison silently gestured at the screen. It took a moment for
Simon to see what they were seeing. Simultaneously all three
looked over at Horne, now looking over the case files then back
again. "Are you telling me that our profiler fits the
victimís profile? Thatís a little too weird for words."
"Yeah, it is." Sandberg frowned at the screen.
"But look at them! They could all be brothers!"
Ellison frowned then straightened, turning to look at the
newest member of the taskforce. "Horne. . ." Then he
paused at the sight of Horneís face. The man was even paler then
before. "Heís seen the resemblance" was his first
thought then fear, anger, hate flooded his senses. He froze,
watching as Horne very gently set the file he held down and turned
to walk from the room. Something told Ellison that the man was
about to lose everything he ate for the past three days.
"Iíll be right back." Ellison muttered to his
friends and followed Horne. When he reached the bathroom, it was
to see Horne leaning over the sink, splashing cold water on his
face. He looked up at Ellisonís entrance, flushing slightly.
"My apologies, Detective. Iím afraid my stomach isnít
as strong as Iíd like it to be."
Liar, Ellison thought, listening to the otherís heartbeat. On
an impulse, he asked, "Do you recognize the work?"
Horneís heart jumped, to Ellison, it was as good as a signed
confession. He turned away from the detective, plunging his hands
into the cold water and splashing more on his face. "Iím
not sure. It looks familiar but. . ." His voice trailed off.
"Let me look at the rest of the files and maybe I can say for
Ellison frowned. He wanted to know now, get the bastard before
he killed anyone else but he sensed that it would be a bad idea to
push Horne. "Sure. You gonna be okay?"
Horne gave him a ghastly smile. "Yeah, Iíll be fine. I
donít think Iíll eat ever again but Iíll be fine."
Ellison nodded and turned to walk back to the room. Most of the
team was gone, not too surprising considering how late it was.
Simon and Sandberg were still at the computer and both looked up
as he entered.
"You better come see this, Jim." Simon looked more
somber then usual. "Tell him, Sandberg."
Blair looked at him then back at the computer, looking, if
possible even more nauseated then before. "I ran the search
through the computer with a few more parameters. . ."
"What kind of parameters?" Ellison asked. He thought
they had tried every type of search possible.
Blair looked a little guilty and lowered his voice, despite the
fact no one was near them. "I added Horneís name to the
"Got a hit." Sandberg did something to the computer
and Ellison got his first look at this new hit. His stomach
It was a crime scene photo in full blazing color. Blood and
slashes marred the victimís face but even so he was
recognizable. What was worse was the fact that the man appeared to
conscious; his gray-blue eyes were open and there was a gleam of
awareness in them as he stared at something unseen behind the
photographer with that horribly blank look of the shell-shocked.
There were the familiar marks of a gag around his mouth and each
wrist bore rope burns. His chest was a mass of gashes and the bed
beneath him was soaked with blood. Ellison was surprised he
hadnít bleed to death before being rescued.
"Iím surprised heís still profiling." Ellison
"He isnít." Horne said from behind him and Ellison
whirled, startled that anyone could sneak up on him. Horne gave
him a wan smile. "Thatís my brother, Steve. Twins."
His eyes shifted to the photo and looked even sicker, if that was
possible. "Identical twins." he added needlessly,
turning around to look over the files on the table, reaching for
"But the name. . !" Blair said tactlessly.
"James Steven Horne. That's you, isn't it?"
James frowned, not looking at them. "Twins are really
common in our family and it's become customary to give them the
same name. James Steven. Ryan Christopher. Catherine Miranda.
Hennah Elizabeth. The first-born uses the first name, the second
the middle. So, I'm James S. Horne, my brother is J. Steven Horne.
They spelled it out there and there lies the confusion."
James frowned at the file folder he held, finally seeming to
realize that it was upside down. He let it fall and rubbed at his
face. "Look, if we're going to talk about this, I'm going to
need a drink. Is there somewhere private we can talk?"
"Ahhhh, yeah. There's a cop bar not too far away."
Ellison said. "Their foods pretty good too."
"Good." James ran his hands through his short hair.
"Do me a favor and make sure I eat something before I drink
too much or you'll be pouring me into bed. I get drunk
A short time later, the foursome sat in a private booth at the
BLUE SPOT, each with a plate of food and a drink at hand. James
ate his way through half a plate of the house special before
pushing the plate away and abruptly starting the story.
"Six years back, Steve was working with the Boston P.D.
with the F.B.I. sniffing around, thinking of hiring him away. He
was a real good profiler. Well, he got assigned to this case
involving the sexual assault/murders of several young women. .
"Women?" Blair frowned. "But..."
"Let him finish." Ellison said sharply.
"Yeah. Sorry." Blair muttered.
James gave him a wan smile. "He started on women. Picked
them up, took them to this hidey hole he had and carved them up.
Apparently he couldn't perform with them and took it out with a
blade. If I remember correctly, the first few bleed to death.
About the fourth one, he started to kill them."
"By cutting the throat?" Ellison asked and James
"Yes. Steve did the profile on the killer. He reasoned
that the guy was a homosexual who, probably due to the way he was
raised, couldn't accept it so he kept picking up women and killing
them when he couldn't meet his own expectations." James
paused, rolling his glass between his hands. "It turned out
that he had hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, it also
turned out that the killer was involved officially with the
"Shit." Banks muttered and James nodded.
"Exactly. He read the profile and got mad. Really mad. And
smart. The attacks stopped for several days. . .they'd been
happening about every four days. . .long enough for folks to relax
their guard, I guess. Then one night, Steve got home and got
whacked across the head. Knocked unconscious. He woke up at the
killer's hideaway, bound and gagged." James fell silent,
frowning into his glass.
"How did you find him? I mean, he was found in time. .
." Sandberg caught Ellison's eyes and shut up but James
didn't even seem to notice.
"I was visiting at the time and I found his car."
Ellison threw him a sharp look, wondering why the man would
bother lying now.
"Called the task force he was working with and we managed
to find him in time. He was in the hospital for a month,
reconstructive surgery, the whole shebang." He fell silent.
"Can we get him here?' Simon asked sharply. "If he. .
"No!" James' voice was just as sharp, his look
end beginning two
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