Supervisory Special Agent Mike Baldwin got his nickname “The Mustang” on the college football field where he could run a forty-yard dash in 4.1 seconds. With that kind of speed, he could practically pick any NFL team to play for, but he chose a life of justice within the FBI instead. He was a natural born leader, teacher, drinking buddy, and mentor. He was my friend.
Now he’s lying dead at my feet in a pool of his own blood.
Mike and I were following a lead that had come into our Denver office about Nelson Giggle, a serial killer who had already slain fifteen African-American women between the ages of twenty-four to thirty-two throughout the United States. The women were all bright, talented, and attractive. Some had already begun their success up the corporate ladder, but all of them had one thing in common.
They all looked like me.
At five foot seven and a hundred and twenty-five pounds, I’m a little taller and lighter than the average woman in the States. Like Mike, I was a collegiate athlete, my game was football too, but of the international kind. Between my regular exercise regimen and the FBI’s training, I was strong. Quite strong. But not strong enough to break the bonds to the chair I was tied to.
“Hello, Clarice,” Giggle snickered.
“My name is Christie.” I said. “And the correct line is ‘Good evening, Clarice.”
One of the phases of profiling a killer is learning their trait theory. The FBI has been chasing Giggle for some time and one of his traits is his love of movies. It’s a part of his personality and trivia is one of his pastimes.
“Of course, Ms. Daniels, I am aware of that. It was just irresistible. Just as this is.”
He backhanded me across my face. Before I could bring my head back, he smacked me the other way. My lip was now busted and bleeding. He lifted my head with two fingers.
“Did I mess up that pretty face, Christie?” I spit in his face. He licked it up with his tongue.
“Tsk, tsk girl. You’re good. Very good. No one has ever gotten this close before. Your friend down there should have trusted your instincts.
“Just get it over with, Giggle.”
“You know me better than that Christie. I like to take my time.” He grabbed me under the chin, forcing my head up and ripped the scrunchie off my ponytail. “You’re not the only one who can do research Chrissy-poo. I know quite a bit about you too.”
“Is that right?” I spit more blood on the floor. Internally apologizing for messing up someone’s rug.
“Yes, yes, indeed I do. How could I not find out who has been so persistent? Christie Daniels. FBI profiler, Senior Special Agent by twenty-five, degree in psychology from Yale, your masters from Keiser in criminology. A regular Alex Cross in a dress.”
“I don’t wear dresses.”
“No, you don’t, do you jock? What else do I know about you? Oh yes, intelligent quotient of 154, top of your class actually. Too bad about the knee, you probably could have made the Olympics.
“I would have, you sick mother...”
He roared and slapped me again, getting in my face. “I am not sick!” Just as quickly he regained his composure bouncing his eyebrows. “I am a little horny though, baby. And I brought my toys with me.”
With that he turned and walked out of the room.
We were in a farmhouse off the beaten path of Cokville, Wyoming, which only has a population of 542. Contrary to popular belief, modern farmhouses are quite nice and modern. This one had a European style to it, but the bedroom we were in had a Caribbean feel to it and all the furniture was made out of bamboo and wicker, including the chair I was strapped to. My ankles were bound by Mike’s cuffs and mine and my hands were tied down with rope to each arm of the chair at wrist and elbow. I could barely wiggle, but the chair creaked loudly when I did.
Nelson came back in with a small satchel and one of those tables you use to eat TV dinners on. He set up the table off to the side and put the satchel on it. Then he dragged Mike’s body out of the way, leaving a trail of blood. Then he put the table in front of me.
“You have Netflix, Chrissy? Do you mind if I call you Chrissy? Of course not. I mean, we’re going to get so acquainted in the next few days, aren’t we? Well, I got myself a subscription. It’s so awesome! I never knew what I was missing. And you know what? There are some really good television shows that you can…what do they call it…binge-view?
“Binge-watch,’ I said.
“Ah, right. Binge-watch. Well, anyway, I found the most fascinating show. It has become my favorite? You know what it’s called? Take a guess, Chrissy? Come on.”
“I’m not playing along with your little game Giggle.”
Playfully he said, “Oh, poo. Just one Chrissy. Just one.”
Sucking his teeth, “No, no, no. No trash like that. The one I’m talking about is called Dexter.” I reflexively cringed against my will.“ I see you’ve heard of it. It’s great. A serial killer who works for the police department as a forensic scientist. Isn’t that fascinating? I love it!”
At this he unrolled the satchel. Inside were an array of blades and other lethal pieces of steel like bone saws and even some hand tools you’d find at a local hardware store.
“I’m a federal agent, Nelson. You’ll get the death penalty for sure if you go through with this.”
“After this, I assure you, no one will ever find me again.”
From one end of the satchel, he pulled out a small butane burner. Like the kind you’d see in chemistry class. He lit it with a flint striker and the pretty blue flame took on an ominous connotation. Giggle put on some gloves and then took a thin steel rod and ran it over the flame, turning it on every side. In a short while, the tip began to glow.
Holding the rod up to his face, he said, “And may the odds be ever in my favor!”
Then he put the rod against the back of my hand and held it there. I gritted my teeth against the pain. My flesh seared to third degree in moments, but I held my countenance. Sweat now dripping from my brow.
“Oh, Chrissy. I knew you’d be a tough one.”
Giggle laid the rod on the table and pulled out a knife. I reflexively flinched my head back. Instead of using it on me, he started to cut away my clothes. First my jacket, then my shirt, leaving me with tattered shards of cloth hanging around the ropes, leaving me with just an exposed bra. Then he split the legs on either pants leg all the way up to my thighs. Then he slowly ran his hand all over my body, while touching himself, then cut my bra open from the front.
Giggle ran the knife from my neck down along my chest to my belly. “I think you’re the prettiest of them all Chrissy. The prettiest of them all. Do I need a Tic Tac?” He laughed himself silly with that one, then suddenly sliced into my clavicle. It was so sudden, I couldn’t control myself and let out a startled scream. “Oh yeah, baby. I’m gonna make you scream for me.”
I was about to lose my mind, then all of a sudden I heard a loud bang. It clogged my ears within the small confines of the room. Then I looked at Giggle who had a shocked look on his face as he watched the blood begin to trickle out of his chest. “No fair.” He turned his head aside and looked down.
I turned my head and from the floor, Mike had his gun in his hand. He had just shot Giggle. Before he shot him again he looked Giggle in the eye and said, “You’re terminated.” Then he blew him away.
“Hey boss. Nice to see you’re in the land of the living,” I said.
Mike rested on one elbow. “Yeah, well, he shot me through and through, but I knocked myself out when I hit the wall and fell. Sorry about that.”
“I’m half naked and tied to a chair.”
He smiled, “I know I’m irresistible, but we don’t have time for your kinky shenanigans Daniels.”
“Just wait until I get out of this chair, Mike. Just wait. Ooo, you are so going to pay for that.”