The Obsession Page 139

“Doesn’t work doesn’t mean it can’t work.”

“And what’s the point in having a mechanical man around if he can’t fix a vintage radio that would be perfect in the sitting room? I think, yes, I think I’m getting used to it already.”

“I’ll get the case. How about if I see if I can get used to drinking your wine while we set it up?”

“An excellent idea.”

They drank wine, loaded books on shelves.

“Did you talk to Loo?”

“Yeah. She’s pissed. Not at you,” he said, reading Naomi’s face clearly. “Jesus, give her some credit. She’s pissed this bastard’s been stalking you since college. Pissed he killed Donna. And now she’s aware. A lot of people go into Loo’s. A lot who aren’t local, who stop in for a drink, some easy food. Or like they will Friday night to listen to the band. She’ll be looking.”

For a thirtyish guy with an average build in Wolverines, Naomi thought, but let it go.

“Mason’s going to West Virginia, to the prison, with someone from the BAU.”

“It couldn’t hurt.”

“They have some names.”

Xander dropped the book he’d just picked up. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t recognize any of them. But they’re going to interview anyone who sends up a flag—who’s corresponded with or visited Bowes multiple times, or whose correspondence sends up those flags.”

She picked up the book, set it on the shelf. “They’ll look into all of them. Lifestyle, travel, occupation.”

“Good. Nobody’s ever looked for him—not like this. And I’m not buying he’s so damn smart he’ll slip through now that they are.”

“Mason agrees with you. I’m working on getting there, too. He could be gone—from here, I mean. He could have moved on, at least for now.”

But when they found the body of Karen Fisher, part-time waitress, part-time prostitute from Lilliwaup, on the side of the road a half a mile from Point Bluff, they knew he hadn’t gone far.

The best thing about a press pass—and his was legit—was how it got you where you wanted to go. The little whore from nowhere stirred things up again, brought reporters from Seattle back. Even some national stringers.

And he was right there with them. Hell of a story that would be, he thought. If he wrote it himself he’d win the fricking Pulitzer.

Up yours, New York Times, Washington Post, and all the other creaky dinosaurs who wouldn’t give him the time of day when he’d wanted a job.

Now papers were the dodo of news, and blogging was the way to go.

He could work anywhere, and did. He’d actually doubled back and covered some of his own work before, but this marked the first time he’d been right on the spot before, during, after.

While he found it tremendously satisfying, and knee-slappingly funny, he knew he couldn’t stay in the area much longer.

Getting too hot, he thought as he recorded the droning chief of police (asshat) and the media liaison from the FBI (arrogant bitch).

Time was coming—he could feel it—to wind up the odyssey. Time to take Naomi for a ride, have some long conversations, a hell of a lot of fun.

Then end her.

After that, maybe he’d take his show on the road. Maybe up to Canada for the summer, down to Mexico for the winter.

Footloose, fancy-free. And plenty of targets to shoot when the mood struck. In memory of Naomi Bowes.

And one day he would write the story. He’d write a book—not for money. He’d have to wait until he settled somewhere. Like Argentina. He’d write and self-publish the book that rubbed everything he’d accomplished in the faces of the asshats and arrogant bitches.

He took notes on his tablet, took some pictures. He liked focusing in on Mason, he especially liked that.

Hey, over here, fuckhead. I’m going to kill your sister soon. I’ll rape her every way there is to rape first, then strangle her like your old man should have.

Maybe send old man Bowes a picture of her. There were ways to smuggle things in—and he’d made a point of finding them. He thought that would be the whipped cream on top.

Yeah, he’d do that, and go one better. He’d publish all the pictures online, every one of the bitches he’d done. God bless the Internet.

Then everyone would know he’d outdone Bowes. Outdone them all. The Green River Killer, the Zodiac? They were nothing next to him.

Deliberately he threw out a question during the Q&A, wanting to draw eyes to him.

Look at me, look at me, look at me.

He would’ve asked a follow-up, but the ugly bitch beside him tossed a question out first.

Later he wrote up the story for the bullshit Daily Crime blog he freelanced for, working on his laptop in the pizzeria because most of the media types retreated to the motels or the coffee shop that looked out over the marina.

“Can I get you anything?”

He looked up, saw the pretty blonde he’d targeted and lost. He thought: You should be dead.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“Ah, gotta get out of my head.” He offered a big smile. “Forgot where I was for a minute.”

“I can come back.”

“No, that’s okay. I could use a Coke, and, yeah, I could eat. How about the calzone—loaded.”


She brought the drink in under two minutes. “Are you staying in the area?” she asked. “You’ve been in before.”

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