Senator Marshall Graham was enjoying a day at church. It made for a good photo opportunity. This was one of the biggest Catholic churches in the city, which he had grown up with when he was a kid. The Bishop who presided here, Francis McMillan, was a very outgoing man in the community. He led a number of outreach programs that targeted the homeless youth. He used to say that if you could reach out to them, they were that much closer to having a better life. Apparently, there was something to this, as a lot of youth thought that he was an amazing man. Some of them were still involved with the church, to that day.
That Sunday, at the last Mass, it was a very pleasant ceremony. The Bishop was giving a lesson about how the story of Lazarus was a metaphor for mankind, with Jesus being able to revive us all, free of sin. It was during the sermon, everyone’s phones suddenly went off at the same time. Most were polite and didn’t answer, but others did. A lot of others. There was talking. Buzzing and whispering. The Senator was too curious not to look as well. He took out his phone and entered his code to turn it on. What he saw next horrified him. Videos that were taken, with sound, of the Bishop. He was some of the kids, both boys and girls, telling them to take off their clothes. He was then instructing them on how to orally please him. Everyone looked up at the man. One of the girls at the front started to cry, memories flooding back that her parents had been paid good money to forget. Other footage appeared of parents in the congregation who were paid money to forget. Records were shown of the Vatican sweeping this under the rug. The Senator was in shock. There was another video, of him accepting money from the man and the diocese. Campaign contributions. Now, he looked like he was taking money from a rapist and pedophile.
He looked back down to his phone and there was a message that came up.
Senator Graham and Bishop McMillan, answer for your sins!
The crowd got up. Yelling was starting. The Bishop was clearly scared, looking for a way out. The Senator wasn’t far behind. A cop in the room, who was the father of the girl who was crying, was enraged.
Ten minutes later, the beating began. Both of them were beaten to death with whatever the crowd could find. By the time the police arrived, it was nearly a street riot. Another day for The Watcher.
Her dreams were shattered by the loud ringing of her cell phone that sat beside her on the bedside table. Wolfe rubbed her eyes, grabbing it.
“This had better be something REALLY important.”
“It is, boss.” It was her partner. “We need your help down here. We’ve got over three dozen people that we’re processing and a crime scene to look over. I got called in too. This one is big. A bishop and a senator were the latest victims of The Watcher.”
That got her attention. “Which senator?!”
“Marshall Graham. You know, the family-first guy who is real big with the Catholic crowd?”
“Ah, shit. I know him. I was assigned to a shindig he was doing at the city. Guy seemed like an asshole.”
“Well, he’s a dead asshole now. Beaten to death by the crowd. We need your help at the station.”
“Alright, I’ll be there in half an hour. I better be getting overtime on this.”
“You will. Now come on.”
The station was a mess as she arrived. Loud, angry and filled with righteous indignation. It was already annoying her. The Lieutenant, an older and very grim man, greeted her when she got off the elevator.
“Sorry to call you in like this, but it’s crazy down here!”
“I see that. So, I hear that there is a crime scene to deconstruct.”
“Your partner is waiting for you. Head over, see what you can make from the absolutely nuts amount of carnage in the room. You’ll have a lot to look over when you get back. We need to take this apart, since we have you-know-who arriving today.”
She knew. The FBI agent. This was going to be fun.
“Alright, make ourselves look smart. I gotcha.”
“Thanks a ton, Jen. Get it done.”
She did a mock-salute. “Yes sir!”
He rolled his eyes, walking away. “Smart ass.”
That got a smile out of her. Her partner already had their stuff ready. “You ready to go, boss?”
“Yeah. Let’s do this.”
It was as the Lieutenant said, carnage. Blood was absolutely everywhere. They were told that photos were taken of the people involved in the beating. Their Forensics people were doing the church. One of them, a rather lonely but intelligent young man looked up at her and smiled. It was no secret that he had a crush on her, but was too nice to be forward about it. She told herself that she might reward his courtesy at some point. It was only polite.
“So, what do we have?” she asked.
“A bloodbath, I would say.” Deacon groaned.
“No shit. But I was hoping for some more specifics.”
The Forensics man, Daryl, nodded to her. “Oh, it’s a bloodbath, but it started like the rest – with the Watcher. He sent everyone a file at the same time.” He took one of the phones that was collected as evidence. “Check it out.” He showed the file, from the beginning. “We tried to trace the source, but it was online and bounced around from a dozen different routing services, so we got nothing. As always, The Watcher is good.”
As she looked through the file, she shook her head. “Damn, this Watcher really stumbled on to something. Would have killed his reelection bid.” Looking down at the corpse, she chuckled. “Well, I guess it really did kill it, huh?”
Her partner couldn’t help but find it darkly amusing as well. “In any case, boss, what do you see.”
That snapped her back, getting her to start looking at the two bodies. They were mangled beyond reason. With all the blood everywhere, it was hard to pinpoint what had been used as a weapon and what wasn’t. There were candlesticks that were used. Brass and weighed a ton, that did some damage. Fists and kicks that were clumsy and not a good weapon. Those were already collected into evidence. That was when a thought hit her.
“Have you all noticed that there is a kind of finesse about all of this?”
Deacon gave her a look. “What do you mean?”
“Well, think about it – the Watcher could have picked any time and any place to do this. They could have used any data. But he picked now, today, to do this. It implies that there was a greater calculus here. Like, he wanted both of them to die.”
Her partner stood up fast. “Wait, you mean to tell me that these crimes were actually intended to be murder? Not just whistle-blowing?!”
“Exactly! Whoever The Watcher is, they pick their victims specifically by where they will be and with who. The first victim was out in the street, where lots of people were. The goal was to get many to see it. The second was with someone who would be affected by it. I get the feeling that the driver who abandoned that CEO didn’t do it unintentionally. This was a crime that had a point and purpose. All of them have. The timing, the place. All of these things are taken into consideration. We have us a very, very smart criminal. And now we know, these crimes are done with the intent of getting these people killed.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” a man at the entrance announced. Everyone looked over to see him, his graying hair and very well-kept suit.
“And you are…?” Deacon asked.
“Ah, forgive me, Agent Edmond Bradley, Federal Bureau of Investigations. I’ve come to look into this case.”
That got everyone attention. He looked to Wolfe and smiled.
“You seem to have quite an eye, Detective…?”
“Wolfe, sir. Jennifer Wolfe. And this is my partner, Ryan Deacon.”
They all shook hands.
“To get right to it, I agree with Detective Wolfe. These crimes are too precise and too focused to be random. Who these people are and how they are chosen to be dealt with is a matter of utmost care for our Watcher friend.”
Wolfe thought for a moment. “Something tells me that this is personal. These aren’t random people. He could have the most ho-hum asshole chosen, and that would be fine. These people are chosen because they are powerful. There’s a message in here, somewhere.”
Bradley nodded, pointing to the phone. “I think it’s all in the last part of the reveals – answer for your sins. He sees these people are sinners, who he must cleanse. It is personal Very, very personal. We’ve got a zealot who is going to clean the scum of the world.”
Deacon rolled his eyes. “What an ego.”
“Perhaps, but that doesn’t make him or her any less dangerous. Remember that.”
Wolfe was impressed. She liked this guy. He was as good as his reputation suggests.
They got back to the station and found that Bradley hadn’t come alone. He had an entourage, and they were all very serious. The Lieutenant came out of his office.
“Everyone, briefing room in 15! We’ve got a lot of ground to go over.”
They all found their seats, with Wolfe standing by the wall in the back. She wasn’t a big kiss-ass, so she wasn’t looking to endear herself to the agent. He was just a guy, after all. The room darkened as a digital projector came on. The Captain of their precinct came to the podium.
“Alright, everyone. As you may have heard, we are finally going to be going after this person who the public calls, The Watcher. The FBI has sent over one of their best agents, Edmond Bradley, to assist. Now, I expect you all not to make this a jurisdictional dick-waving contest. This is going to be a collaborative effort to capture one of the most elusive criminals in modern history. Now, I think I’ll turn it over to Agent Bradley.”
The agent took the podium, his face very serious. “Than you, Captain Stockfeld. It’s a new age, here in America. A new age when being a criminal is easier than ever before. The person we are looking for lives in that age. They have grown up in it and think they are safe because of it. Now, you all may be wondering why I am bringing homicide into this investigation? Well, as one of your detectives, a Miss Wolfe, pointed out, it’s because the nature of what is being done has one clear goal – to kill the people whose secrets were revealed. For all intents and purposes, the person we are looking for is a serial killer, and I mean to treat it as such.” He looked to Wolfe, nodding at her. She felt her cheeks go red, with a smile on her face. It felt nice to get a compliment from this guy.
“So, my first question is – why do you think that they call him The Watcher?”
Nobody spoke for a long time.
Finally, it was Wolfe who looked up. “It’s historical.” Everyone looked over at her. “There was once a prison called the Panopticon. In it, the prisoners were all in a semi-circle, with the guards in the center. The guards could watch any of the prisoners at any time, but the prisoners wouldn’t know know if they are being watched. It was to make them constantly afraid. The Watcher is much the same.”
Everyone looked impressed. So did Bradley.
“Very good, Detective. I will be picking people for my task force by the end of the day. When you come in to work tomorrow, be ready to get deep into this. There is no such thing as the perfect crime. While this person may think they are keeping their hands clean with the use of technology, they are a cold-blooded killed, and rest assured, we will find them. That ‘ll be all.”
The group left, with everyone anxious to see who would be picked. As she was leaving, Wolfe was stopped by Bradley.
“Not big on hogging the spotlight, eh?”
She shook her head. “Nah. Don’t see the point. I don’t need to suck my CO’s dick to get ahead. I’d rather have my effort speak for me.”
That got a critical look. “In this world, I wish you luck. So, I just thought that I would tell you that I have already selected you to join my task force. You have shown your chops, and I’m excited to see what you have next.”
She smiled at him. “I’ll see you then, Agent.”
The door to the apartment opened. It was dark inside, with the only light being from the computer that was on. It was a very expensive machine, with a couple of remote hard-drive cubes alongside. The person took out their phone, placing it in its charger. There were two sitting there.
They took a seat at the computer. When the light came upon them, it was Detective Wolfe, with sweat on her shirt from the gym.
“Well now, Agent Bradley. Let’s see what you’ve got. Game on.”
Until next time, a quote,
” Is there anyone out there other than me who’d be willing to eliminate the vermin from the world? If I don’t do it, then who will? That’s just it: there’s no one. But I can do it. In fact, I’m the only one who can. I’ll do it.” -Yagami Light, Death Note