Roach was in a near panic as he drove away from the water treatment plant. His heart was racing, hands were shaking and a cold, greasy sweat covered his face. He hadn’t planned. Hadn’t prepared. Had killed too close to home and had gotten sloppy. He’d been seen.
He’d taken care of the witness, but what would he have done if the man had been armed and willing to fight? What if there had been two men there working? Slamming his palm on the Humvee’s steering wheel he screamed in frustration at his own weakness. Weakness that had led him to get rid of Synthia without thinking it through first.
Yes, she was a liability. She had known things that could send him to the gallows, but had he really needed to kill her? Yes. He had. He had needed to correct his mistake of bringing her along. She had seemed like a good partner at first. Mature beyond her years. Then the immaturity of the teenager had revealed itself when she didn’t get what she wanted when she wanted it. Why had he been so stupid?
Roach suddenly slammed on the brakes, bringing the Hummer to a shuddering stop in the middle of the road. What would he tell people? Not that he and Synthia socialized, but people knew about her. How would he explain her disappearance? There was no logical way off the base, so he couldn’t say she left after an argument. If she left him, she’d still be somewhere on the base.
He sat there, staring out the windshield. Trying to solve the problem of what lie to tell that would be accepted without question. The more he thought, the more angry and frustrated he became as he realized there wasn’t any lying his way out of this. If someone looked closely enough at him and Synthia, and couldn’t find her, there would be questions asked he couldn’t answer. Sure, they couldn’t prove anything, but…
A sudden rapping on the window next to his face startled him. A young female Airman stood there wearing a Security Forces badge on her Air Force uniform. Then Roach noticed the idling Hummer sitting behind him with Security Forces stenciled across the base of the windshield. Shit, he’d been sitting in the road and drawn the attention of a cop. He popped the door open, rather than rolling the window down, and stepped out onto the pavement.
“Are you OK, sir?” The Airman asked, taking a step back. “Are you hurt?”
“Hurt?” Roach was confused, looking down at his body where her eyes were focused.
He was covered in his second victim’s blood. He had thought he was being careful to stay clean, but he hadn’t been careful enough. Looking up he met the young woman’s eyes and saw only concern, not suspicion. Glancing to his left he confirmed she was riding alone before turning back to face her.
“No, I’m fine.” He said in a pleasant voice, shuffling a step closer to her. “I was just over at the…” Roach lunged.
The woman was young, barely 19, and had only become an Air Force cop a couple of months before the attacks. She wasn’t experienced. Wasn’t hardened by the job and most definitely wasn’t prepared for Roach’s lunge. As he had started shuffling forward, he had reached into his pocket looking for a weapon. The first thing his fingers had found was the pair of pliers he’d taken out of Synthia’s purse.
Now he wrapped his hand around them and punched the side of the woman’s head with all his strength. She didn’t even have time to scream before the strike and was knocked unconscious, collapsing to the pavement. Returning the pliers to his pocket, Roach scooped her up and placed her on the rear floor of his Humvee. Looking around he spied a small parking lot adjacent to the base chapel and hopped into her vehicle and drove it into the lot where he parked it behind the building so it was hidden from the road.
Running back to his Hummer he jumped in, took a deep, calming breath and started driving again. Slowly. He couldn’t afford any more attention from the Security Forces right now. He knew how lucky he was that it had been a young, inexperienced woman that had come across him. A cop that had been doing the job for a few years would have had their weapon out and ready as soon as they saw the blood on his clothing.
Quickly reaching the house he had shared with Synthia, he pulled into the driveway and shut down the engine. Taking a minute to look around he was thankful to not see any neighbors. Getting out of the Hummer he slowly walked to the front door, still looking around, and opened it. Walking back to the vehicle he did a final scan, still seeing nothing. If anyone on the street was home, they were occupied with something indoors.
Grabbing the young woman he lifted her and quickly carried her into the house, kicking the door shut behind him with his foot. He went straight to the small bedroom where he dropped her on the bed. Removing her weapon he also used her handcuffs to secure her to the headboard, then walked back out to the living room and locked the front door. Stepping to the window he checked the street again, but still saw no one moving.
Excitement mounting he returned to the bedroom and stripped the woman naked. He had to unlock the cuff on her wrist for a moment to get her vest and uniform blouse off, relocking both hands over her head with the cuff chain looped around a bolt he’d secured in the headboard for when he tied up Synthia. The woman was still unconscious, so he gagged her then tied each foot to a bedpost with strips of a sheet.
Looking her over, he frowned when he saw the tattoo on her right hip. It was large and multi-colored and he couldn’t tell what it was supposed to be or what it represented. But it was distracting and he decided to do something so he wasn’t bothered by it when they began playing. In the small bathroom he began looking for something to cover the tattoo, glancing up into the mirror and seeing the blood on himself. He took a few minutes to clean up, changed clothes, then grabbed the pancake makeup Synthia had used to cover her ink and set to work. A few minutes later he stepped back to survey the results. It wasn’t a perfect job. He could still faintly see the tattoo, but it was good enough.
Roach liked his women conscious and aware of what was happening to them. That was the excitement for him. The fear in their eyes. The terror as they realized what he was about to do to them. The resignation when they finally accepted their fate. The final moment when the light in their eyes blinked out, which if his timing was good was at the same moment as his release into their body.
Hoping she would wake soon, Roach moved back into the kitchen and set about preparing a meal. He had already killed twice today, and was about to indulge in the pleasure of a third, and he was ravenous. Laughing to himself as he worked, he soon had a large steak and baked potato ready and took the plate into the bedroom to watch the woman while he ate. Sitting on a small chair, he balanced the plate on his lap and cut into the steak.
Roach sat and ate the entire meal without taking his eyes off the woman’s face. Several times he had drifted into fantasy, and the face morphed into Katie Chase. The thought of her made him think of the Major, which soured his mood and dampened his excitement. Why was he spending time on this whore when it could be the beautiful redhead tied to his bed? He’d made another mistake.
Standing he walked to the kitchen and washed the cooking pan, plate and utensils he’d used. Putting them neatly in their place, he walked back to the bedroom and looked at the woman who was just starting to show signs of regaining consciousness. Yes, he’d made another mistake taking this one and he needed to correct that error. Retrieving a thin bladed dagger from a dresser drawer, he stepped to the side of the bed, placed his hand on the woman’s chest to make sure he had the right spot, and plunged the blade directly into her heart.
She died instantly, and there was very little blood. Roach knew that once the heart stopped, bodies didn’t bleed, despite what Hollywood like to portray. Dead bodies might seep blood, but it didn’t come flooding out of them in great gushes unless an expert was draining the corpse with the right equipment. Wiping the dagger clean, he returned it to its place and from a different drawer pulled out a sheet of painters plastic.
In only a few minutes he had un-cuffed the body, placed all of the woman’s clothing and equipment on top of it, and had worked an edge of the plastic under her hips. Moving quickly, he wrapped her up like a mummy, using duct tape to secure the bundle tightly. Corpse ready, he stepped into the bath to check himself in the mirror. No blood this time.
Leaving the body lying on the bed, he walked into the small, untended back yard. The previous occupant of the house had left some cheap garden tools leaning against the back fence and Roach made use of a shovel to dig a grave. The Oklahoma soil was dark, rich and soft. Easy digging for the first four feet, then he hit rock. Deciding four feet was good enough, he went back into the house and got the wrapped body.
Some men like Roach will stop to say a prayer over their victims. Some will thank the victim for their sacrifice. Others will even cry for the dead. Roach was none of these. Walking up to the hole he’d dug he unceremoniously dropped the woman’s corpse into the ground, and without a second’s pause began shoveling dirt in on top of it.
He worked for close to an hour. Filling the hole, then stamping on it with his boots to compress the dirt. He repeated the process several times, finally finishing with a pile of dirt that was smaller than the space the body occupied in the ground. There was also a rake resting against the fence and he quickly spread the dirt across the entire surface of the yard, ending at the narrow concrete pad that served as a back porch. Looking over the area, he was satisfied it would pass a casual inspection. Leaving the rake against the back of the house he headed inside for a shower and to figure out how he would take Katie.