Greenly approached him. “The ball’s been dusted. We’re waiting for the results now.”

“Thanks, Greenly,” Will said, and meant it.

Greenly was frowning and seemed to be having difficulty with saying something. “So, nine victims, then?”

“Nine.” Will nodded. “At least we know he’s reached his goal.”

“Goal?”

Will crossed his arms and leaned against his truck, “The bowling ball. Nine pins. Nine victims.”

“…there are ten pins in a bowling game,” The horrific realization etched itself across Greenly’s face.

Will felt his insides grow cold. He’s not done.

~ ~ ~

Will woke up in a daze and glanced at his alarm clock which was flashing, beeping and doing what alarm clocks do best: annoying people out of much needed sleep. Swearing mentally, Will rolled off the futon that he had crashed on four hours earlier without even bothering to unfold it and went directly to the kitchenette to make coffee, shutting the alarm off as he passed. The kitchen was cluttered with dirty dishes and piles of mail that he had only had the presence of mind to actually bring inside and not open and sort. Will shoved aside a pile of mail to make a place for himself at the table and the magazine at the top of the pile fell to the floor with an irritating splat. Will grudgingly bent to pick it up but quickly tossed it at the heaping trash bin when he caught sight of the cover: it advertised the opening of a bowling alley. His answering machine was flashing a big, red number 8 at him, but Will didn’t have the heart to deal with the recordings. He scooped the coffee grounds into the filter and started the maker, then went to his bedroom to get ready for the day, unplugging the alarm clock and taking it with him. Half an hour later found him freshly showered, dressed, coffeed up and en route to the police station for his meeting with Gramps and Feud and in a much better mood. 

“You’re late,” Janice, the desk clerk, greeted him as he walked through the lobby doors.

“Thanks, Janice, it’s nice to see you, too.”

Janice smirked at his tart reply, “He’s waiting.”

Will headed towards his grandfather’s office, quickly and instinctively taking in his surroundings: two perps sat on the bench near the desk, cuffed and scowling. Jogging up the stairs, he met Angus O’Hara, his grandfather’s oldest friend and longtime partner before he had been named Chief.

“William!” Angus’s booming voice could be heard throughout the station, naturally. Will sighed, knowing that it would have drawn the attention of anyone within shouting distance. Angus’s voice was wonderful during interrogations when they were trying to intimidate an answer out of someone, but when trying to discreetly and quietly hold a private conversation, one might as well have announced it to the world via foghorn.

“Hi, Angus,” Will forced a smile and accepted the firm handshake.

“How are you, lad?”

“Oh, you know,” Will shrugged, putting his hands in his pockets, and stepped to the side so a sergeant who was clearly in a hurry could step past without knocking them both down the stairs.

“That right?” Angus didn’t believe him. That was the difficult thing about working with cops: it was nearly impossible to evade a question because they could read you like a book.

Will started up the stairs again, “I’ll tell you about it later.”

Angus stopped him, “You going to see your grandfather, lad?”

“Yes, and I’m very late,” Will started up the stairs again, his good mood gone. There’s no chance that conversation’s just going to stay between the two of us.

~ ~ ~

Sometimes Sam thought that the only thing being a cop had taught her was how to answer a phone in the middle of the night after being woken up from a sound sleep. It was an art, to be sure. Reaching out from underneath the warm covers, actually picking up the phone in one movement rather than flailing like a fish out of water, or accidentally knocking it to the ground, actually putting the correct part of the phone to your ear so you could hear whatever emergency was calling you from home this time. Tonight was no exception. Even though she was no longer at an “on-call” status with the Bureau, it was as if it was an instinct. Phone rings, you answer, no matter what time of day, no matter who it was, or what they were asking. No matter how surprising. After the phone call this morning, she had quickly showered, dressed, packed, and booked her flight. Nothing could have prepared her for that phone call. A simple phone call had never propelled her out of bed so fast. Sam closed her eyes, utilizing the headrest, as the plane began to taxi down the runway. I might as well get some sleep now… No telling when I’ll rest well again. But her body would not rest. Instead her mind continually played that conversation over and over in her head until she thought she could scream.

“Dryden?”

“Do you have some vacation time you could use? Or could you request some?”

“Dryden, what’s going on? Why are you calling me now?” She was sitting up in bed, struggling to turn on the lamp.

“He’s back, Sam.”

Those words haunted her now, “He’s back, Sam.” She hated that she knew before he told her details. She knew who “he” was, she knew what he was doing, and she knew he had to be stopped.

Ciara Zaketti
Column Editor