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Detective Wenhom arrived that evening. He looked stressed, and if he wasn’t always so meticulous he would’ve looked like a complete mess. A simple tucked in shirt and wrinkle-free jacket made anyone look good. His pants were so solid they didn’t wrinkle easily which helped when he was in the middle of a case. He loved and hated time-sensitive cases. He loved helping the public, he found great pleasure in bringing in criminals but the pressure did get to him sometimes. He had three deaths weighing down on him and according to his professional estimate. they were all caused by one person.

A serial killer was a daunting challenge. Serial killers typically didn’t make any moves without mapping out and thinking through every movement. A regular murder was often committed by accident or because someone misplaced their feelings and overreacted, that was common, they called it a crime of passion. The average murder was easier to solve because the murderer would murder without any stable thought then when the reality of it kicked in they would try to cover it up. It was rare that they could cover up everything. The police banked on all of the possible variables. Witnesses, blood trails, footprints, and murder weapons. The odds were that one of the variables was flawed, they only needed one mistake to crack a case.

A serial killer often did have similar motives but not the same methods of carrying it out. The serial killers' targets had not left him much to go on but thankfully he was not the same person that shot a bullet at the factory. In the beginning, he suspected that the person that shot inside the factory could’ve been the serial killer. He was haunting the city and was fresh in his mind. Thomas, who was originally annoyed by the detective's presence the night of the incident, was much more understanding in his decision.

The detective explained everything to the men.

“This started in a similar way to what you experienced. On September 29th two businessmen were walking outside of the bank and someone shot at them. We believe they shot from the roof across the street. At first, we thought they were interrupted because they missed a pretty easy shot. The next day one of those men was found dead. We assumed since the shooter missed the first shot he went back to finish the job. It was a pretty simple analysis until someone else was shot at but not hit.” He looked out the window uncomfortably. “Do you mind if I shut these?” “No, go ahead,” Thomas said. “Thanks, I feel a lot less out in the open here.” William nodded his head. “The second shot was on October 2nd. The bullet was aimed at a group of teachers walking home from school. The next day one of them didn’t show up to work and was later found dead. We assumed the factory shot was the next target, but there was another one, someone was shot at on October 4 and then we found the body a few hours ago which breaks the pattern.” “What if they are still planning on killing one of us but because we all had bodyguards his plan was thwarted.” “I had thought of that, so I collected all of the bullets from the missed shots and murders and tested them. They all matched except yours. “The killer has been so pattern-oriented we doubt it's the same person.” “That’s a relief,” William said. “If that’s true,” Thomas interjected. “Yes.” The detective said, pointing at him. His gesture read as “you got it.”

The detective stayed for about an hour, he told them if anything odd happened no matter how small, they needed to call him. Detective Wenham left and William followed him out to start one of the Copans. Carol was outside getting her mail from her mailbox. Her mailbox was at the front of her yard, unlike William and Thomas’s house. She stood at the box and shuffled through it while watching William out of the corner of her eyes. She walked over to him. “Hey sweetie, I’m sorry about the shooting. It’s a shame, I hope you don’t leave our little town because of this.” She assumed they would be on their way out, to her someone shooting a gun at her meant, get out of town. “What? Oh.” He laughed. “We aren’t leaving.” “What?” She asked, shocked. “Yeah, we are signing the deal this week.” She smiled. “I thought that was what you were doing the other day? The day you were shot at?” “No, no. Well, everything was settled except the factory. We were just looking at the factory, that was the last piece of the puzzle. We picked one so we’re ready to move forward.” “Are you signing the papers at the factory?” He looked at her. “No at the Catma offices probably, unless they already have the papers together then he might bring them to the house.” “Oh, that’s good.” She said changing his perception of her interest. “If you were signing at the factory I was going to say be very careful.” William smiled. “That’s very nice of you.” They waved goodbye and returned to their respective houses.

The wind swirled around the bases of the dying trees. The fallen leaves followed the path, twirling up into the air in a swift powerful stream only to be released suddenly, then carried slowly back to the ground. Ever since the detective took her notebook, Carol had been using a different one. It was not a new, fresh one, but it was one she had been taking random notes in recently. She figured combining the two would be more efficient. Carol had a cozy living room. The walls were a buttercup yellow and all of the wood was cherry. The combination of cheery colors gave it a light and airy atmosphere.

Her couch was made out of gold-colored satin strands woven amongst each other. The colors of yellow and gold repeated often. There was a giant painting above the couch. The dual-tone was rebuffed by the painting which was made with gold, dark red, and black. It was blended into a fuzzy landscape mixed with pink peonies lazily slumped in the foreground.

One of the gold ornaments she prized the most was a horse. It was a standard-looking horse mounted on all fours. The hooves were attached to the base. The horse was wearing an intricate-looking, possibly Roman Empire-themed, saddle and dress. On the horse's legs above the tops of the hooves were dozens of bangles. Realistically, it didn’t seem practical but it could have possibly had battle merit.

She stood at her window, which was directly parallel to the painting. She watched the neighborhood, taking a special interest in the couple taking a walk through their street.

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JRBANCROFT

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