Stalker by Sean E Thomas by Sean E Thomas - Read Online

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Stalker - Sean E Thomas

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He owned her.

She was his to rape, torture, hunt and kill.

Watching from his black GMC Suburban, Anubis focused his long-lens video camera on Janet Darnel. He had hidden his vehicle from view behind a copse of trees across from the Midnight Sun Motel. He watched her every move. As she slipped into her clothes, he knew she had left the curtains open just for him and him alone. She taunted him. If she had closed the drapes, it wouldn’t have mattered. He’d hidden cameras in her room earlier in the day.

Anubis had followed her for several days. He always met or followed his quarry from the airport. It was the first stage of the hunt, a hunt that would last for days—days in which he savored and documented each glorious moment on film. He owned her.

At the airport, the target would always tell him if she was the one. It was the way she looked at him, smiling invitingly, licking her lips, flipping her hair, or moving a strand of hair from her face. He licked his lips as she removed her bra. Her golden hair slipped over her shoulders and she flicked it aside. Her champagne glass shaped breasts ended in small pink buttons. He felt himself growing hard as she slipped off her dress and proceeded to sashay around the room in nothing but black silk panties. His mouth went dry as he grew even harder. The camera continued rolling, capturing every nuance. His lust drove him to kill. He owned her.

He loved the Internet—he could find out almost everything about anyone. Janet was from Seattle. She reminded him of his first kill not far from Seattle. He had started long ago in Washington’s mountainous forests. His beginning had been a simple accident. Trailing a large buck deer, he’d found a trail crossing the deer’s. The tracks were small and unsure in their gait. He followed. After two hours he caught up and watched his quarry as she fumbled setting up her tent. His excitement had increased when he placed the crosshairs on her head. When he heard someone call her name, his fingers slipped, the rifle bucked, and her head exploded. He hadn’t even heard the report of the rifle. As he watched the scene unfold, he’d felt an exhilaration that was orgasmic. That day had changed his life.

The adrenalin rush never lasted long enough. And reliving his memories abated his lust for only a short time. He had to kill and kill again for the rush. After several kills in the Washington forests, the police began to close in. They began checking the multitude of campgrounds that dotted the area. Anubis realized he needed a larger, safer hunting ground and moved to Alaska.

He’d taken the name Anubis, the right hand of Isis, after he started killing. He felt the name was apropos. Anubis helped Isis in the funerary rites of the dead to assure admittance into the underworld. He also monitored the Scales of Truth to preclude any deception by the gods that would condemn the soul to the unjust fate of eternal death. As Anubis, he held his victim’s fate balanced on the scale of life.

At first, Anubis hunted prostitutes on the streets of Anchorage. He found he was in competition with another stalker. After his fifth kill in Alaska, police scrutiny intensified on the streets, especially with the other killers working the Anchorage area. For a while, Anubis sat back and watched for his competition. From the Sheraton Hotel’s tenth floor, he watched 5th and 6th Avenue with a spotting scope. He took down license plate numbers of every car that stopped for a prostitute and began searching for the other killer. He knew the identity of the killer even before the police. He followed his competition to his lair and watched him work. His competition was Robert Hansen, a local baker.

Local prostitutes had been trusting and easy prey. Even when he’d hunted them in the bush, he found they lacked the true terror of a young unsuspecting college girl thrown into the same situation. Prostitutes had been hardened emotionally in the crucible of the streets. Though it made them crafty and excellent prey that fought back, they lacked the ability to show true terror.

Hansen and Bundy had nothing on him. He had beaten both of their combined records long ago. Theodore Robert Bundy had murdered thirty young women across the United States. The state troopers believed Robert Hansen had killed twenty-one prostitutes. There may have been more. Hansen kidnapped his victims and flew them to the Knik River valley. After raping and torturing them, he stalked them through hills, valleys, and forests and killed them. His victims’ bodies were all over the wilderness. Hansen had made two mistakes: he let a victim escape and he’d buried the bodies. If he’d left the bodies for the animals, almost every trace would have disappeared in days.

Anubis licked his lips. Janet sidled up to the window and closed the curtains. She had three more days in Anchorage before she returned home. She had come to Alaska to see her dying aunt—her only living relative. Her aunt was now six feet under, buried in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery. The aunt’s funeral was tomorrow. The lights went out in the room. Soon, very soon.

He looked at his watch and settled back in his seat. He tilted it back sixty degrees and closed his eyes, enjoying the fantasy. At midnight, he woke and looked around. The motel parking lot was empty and the motel was almost dark. It was time. Anubis turned off the SUV’s interior light switch, slipped on his latex gloves and opened the door. This was going to be easy. Earlier in the day, he’d sabotaged the lock on her door when the maid had been in the bathroom. It’d taken a matter of seconds. Furtively looking each direction, Anubis ran across the parking lot to Janet’s door. He inserted a screwdriver between the lock and the striker plate. He pushed the plunger back and slowly opened the door. Janet had engaged the chain. Anubis took a piece of coat hanger he’d fashioned for this situation. He moved the wire with expert finesse and unlatched the safety chain. He again checked for any unwanted company, but found he was still alone.

Anubis quietly slipped into the room. Janet was sleeping in the nude, the sheets barely covering her legs. He almost sucked in a breath and stopped himself. He worked at keeping his breathing and heartbeat even. He closed the door. She was now his. He pulled the stun gun and aimed it at the slut. He wanted to wake her and see the terror on her face. Yet, he had lots of work to do and couldn’t afford her cry to wake the neighbors. He walked over to her side of the bed, placed his hand over her mouth and fired the stung gun. Her body jerked wildly, violently, and she woke. He was rewarded as terror filled her eyes. She struggled and drug her nails across his arm, drawing blood. He cursed and hit her with two additional jolts. As he released her mouth, she tried to force out the word, Why? She passed out.

Anubis pulled a syringe and injected her with a cocktail of drugs that would keep her out for hours.

The thundering pain in his head drove him to his knees. Anubis fought the darkness spreading across his mind and the other shadow tried to take over his mind. He took several deep breaths and tried to calm the pain. That damn stainless steel bolt from the plane crash was still there. His hands shaking, he pulled a bottle of Tylenol from his pocket and fumbled with its cap while staggering to the bathroom. Without counting, he shook several tablets out into his hand. He threw the tablets into his mouth and drank from the faucet. He waited for the drugs to take effect as he hunched over the sink. He pulled a towel from the rack and wrapped his arm. He pushed himself up and looked at his masked face. He had won the battle. He smiled. He took another towel and the ice bucket with soap and water and headed to Darnel. Taking out a jackknife, he cleaned under her fingernails.

Anubis snapped plastic ties over her hands and feet. Then he taped her mouth and wrapped her up in a sheet. He scanned the room and went to work gathering up all her personal items—shoes, clothes, makeup and pocketbook.

* * * *

At Lake Hood, Anubis loaded his prize and her belongings into his plane. He looked at his watch; it was two a.m., Saturday. That gave him the entire weekend to have fun with her. After studying her for the week, he knew she wouldn’t die easily. He fired up the Cessna Caravan Amphibian’s engines.

Thirty minutes later, he saw one of the few calm, straight, stretches of the Matanuska River and adjusted the trim. It was one of the few places on the river you could safely land a float plane. He backed off the throttle. The floats skipped across the glacial clay-flecked water, coming to rest. When the currents began to push the plane down river, he gently increased throttle to maintain forward movement. Anubis guided it into a small inlet off the river. He increased power and ran the plane a few feet up the beach and killed the engine. Now, the plane was hidden. White water rafters never used this section of the river because it was too tame. It was perfect for Anubis. Working out of sight of the public kept him from being caught.

The sun crested the mountains as Anubis stepped from the cabin and walked across the pontoon to the cargo door. He pulled Janet’s limp form roughly from the cabin, pulled off her sheet and threw her over his shoulder. He tossed the sheet back into the cabin and unsnapped his crossbow from its holder. He slipped the quiver of crossbow bolts from the bulkhead and nudged the door closed. Adjusting the load on his shoulder, he stepped onto the shore and strode off into the wilderness. Shortly, he found the location he’d used many times before. Tall aspen, birch and spruce surrounded his favorite clearing. Anubis dumped Janet on the ground. He cut the plastic ties with his hunting knife, placed the knife on her stomach, and injected her with another chemical cocktail to revive her. The knife was to give her hope. It had a compass, a rudimentary wire saw, fishing kit and a sewing kit. Anubis surveyed the area, though he knew he was alone. He slipped a sheet of paper under the knife. He turned on the video recorder he’d used at the hotel to continue the documentation and jogged for the trees.

From the tree line, Anubis and the camera watched as Janet pulled herself from her stupor.

When Janet’s eyes flittered open, the bright light seemed to burn. She tried to focus. Bright colors cascaded across her mind’s eye and a loud buzzing closed in on her spinning head. She tried to remember who she was. Nothing made any sense. She floated in the air and at the same time, she felt the cold hard ground. A knife rolled from her belly as she pushed herself up. She was nude. She looked around the woods trying to figure out how she had come here. The note fluttered to the side and she snatched it in her shaking hand. She brought it to her face, tried to focus her eyes and read it. Realization and terror filled her eyes.

Anubis smiled. He remembered the words. Janet, you have an hour to live. You are my quarry. I am giving you a fifteen-minute head start. You must follow the trail south for four miles. If you cover the four miles within the hour, I will let you live. If you don’t, you will be killed. Anubis.

As Janet read the note, her memory, her training started coming back. She pushed herself up, her head still spinning. As she stood, her legs wobbled, didn’t want to cooperate, and she almost fell to the ground. She took a deep breath, set her face in determination, looked around one last time, and forced her legs to move.

Asshole, you made a fatal mistake. You kidnapped a cop, she yelled. You’re the one that’s going to die.

This was something Anubis hadn’t expected. The Internet hadn’t yielded all the information on his quarry. Janet headed into the forest and disappeared. Anubis took another trail that paralleled the one Janet was on. On occasion, he would creep up near her trail and watch her as she passed. Periodically, he’d call out in a faint voice, trying to appear he was far behind her, Janet, I’m coming. I’m behind you.

Come on, asshole. You don’t scare me. She had the feeling she was god and all powerful. She knew the feeling was from the drugs the maniac had given her.

Janet increased her speed. Her feet looked like raw hamburger, blood flowing with every step.

* * * *

A half hour into the hunt, Anubis decided he’d give her inspiration. As she passed a tree he fired a bolt into a tree ensuring that it just missed her head. She ran faster.

He went back to the parallel path and jogged faster. After ten minutes, he went back to her path and found her in hiding and waiting for him. She was unlike the others. At one point, she’d put the fishing line across the trail. He had watched her set the trap. He was supposed to stumble over the line and she’d drive the knife into his heart. He chuckled to himself.

She waited. Maybe she could draw him into the trap. Anubis or whatever the hell you call yourself, if you harm one hair on my head, my friends will hunt you down and put you away.

After a few minutes, she became worried and headed down the trail.

Anubis was puzzled. Though he thought she’d become hypothermic and slow down, she hadn’t. Janet was in exceptional condition and hadn’t succumbed like the others. This time, he couldn’t afford to play with his prey. She was too dangerous. He continued down the parallel trail and set his trap on the opposite side of a small clearing. In the center was a small depression; it was ground zero. Janet stopped at the edge of the clearing and studied the tree line.

Anubis watched her from a stand of trees. His groin tightened and his mouth became dry as the heat rose in his cheeks.

Janet sprinted.

Anubis stepped from the tree line and leveled the crossbow. Janet, it’s over.

What the… She stopped short and Anubis fired the bolt. It struck her in the center of her chest, driving into her heart. She screamed and dropped the knife as she stumbled backward into the center of the clearing. He raised his arms in the air and spun in a circle, feeling the adrenalin rush, reliving each moment of the chase and kill. After several minutes the rush began to dissipate and Anubis walked up to Janet’s corpse. He looked down at the corpse and regretted the hunt hadn’t lasted longer. He picked up the knife and made several slashes over the body and walked away. He knew when the animals smelled her fresh blood, her body would be gone in no time. Now, he had only his memories. His first and primary rule was to keep no souvenirs of the kill. After studying the video he’d made of each hunt, he planned how to improve his technique. Then with regret he destroyed them. Robert Hansen had kept souvenirs. In his attic rafters, he’d tucked driver’s licenses, various ID cards of the dead women, an aviation map with specific locations marked off, pieces of jewelry and newspaper clippings. There would be no souvenirs for Anubis.

Chapter 1

It was the Fourth of July and they were at work. Staff Sergeant Robert Sable, Staff Sergeant Aaron McCabe, Sergeant Ann Stockwell and Corporal Grant Foster were seated around Captain Carl Owen’s mahogany office desk. Fluorescent lights flickered overhead, shutting out the dismal rain-soaked morning. The rain beat against the window pane in machine gun staccato rhythm while morning rush hour traffic splashed through the city streets. Gray clouds and a wall of fog masked the Chugach Mountains. Inside, the office was dry, neat and tidy; it rivaled the office of a Marine drill sergeant. Large bookshelves lining the walls contained police and investigative books, procedural manuals, law books, and State of Alaska governmental policy and regulations.

"Why’s the Monique Harwood case on hold?" Sable ran his hand through his white hair, combing a wayward strand in place.

It’s twenty years old, Owen said. Now we have a hot one—a missing Seattle police detective. Work the Harwood case during your spare time.

Sable nodded. It grated on him. An old case, a new case, age never made it less important. A killer was still out there raping and killing. Monique Harwood, a young college freshman, had been raped and killed in her dorm room. Colt Stevens, the trooper’s lead CSI, was reexamining the evidence. Maybe the killer had left his DNA either on the ropes he’d used to tie Harwood or there could be mitochondrial DNA from the killer’s hair.

Let’s do it, Owen said and dialed a lead detective in the Seattle Police Department. He put his phone on speaker and they listened to several long rings before the phone was picked up.

Seattle Police Department, Captain Chris Morris speaking.

This is Captain Carl Owen, Alaska State Troopers Anchorage Detachment. I’m returning your call.

Is Anna Stockwell there as I requested?

Yes. Sergeant Stockwell is here. What can we do for you?

Detective Sergeant Janet Darnel from my homicide division is missing. She was in Anchorage for the funeral of an aunt. And she was supposed to be back last week. The Anchorage Police Department was no help. They found her rental car in front of the Midnight Sun Motel with her room cleaned out. I understand she was getting together with Sergeant Stockwell while she was there?

Owen inclined his head toward Stockwell.

Sir, Darnel never contacted me. I found it strange so I checked with her motel. According to the clerk, she left without checking out. I checked with all the airlines and cruise ships. I even checked with the Canadians at the border crossings. It appears she never left the state.

If you’d look into her disappearance, I’d considered it a favor, Morris said.

I’ll get my detectives on it. Owen stood, using the desk to push his tall husky frame. At six foot eight, he towered over McCabe. His thick hair had gone mostly gray and he had the kind of weathered skin that comes from years in the outdoors.

After Morris hung up, Corporal Foster said, I didn’t want to bring this up while Captain Morris was on the phone. There are several young women who went missing under similar circumstances.

How? Owen’s gray-green eyes narrowed and he appeared deep in thought. He stood and began pacing.

"There seem to be similar cases throughout the state. Ten rental cars and rooms have been abandoned at the same motel over the last three years. The young women left without checking out. I have a list of twenty similar situations