A man is not defined by what he has done, but what others think he has done. This Zen wisdom had come out of the mouth of a brilliant, psychopathic, nine year old girl nearly twenty years earlier. It has always been my guiding principle.
Never had I applied it outside of my own life, but sitting in these hard chairs, staring at the man across the table, the phrase had come back to me, complete with her voice. Next to me, Caleb Green was asking questions of our handcuffed suspect. I had remained quiet. Speaking now would not only ruin the effect, but let loose my temper. Strangling someone was frowned upon, even amongst members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The man being questioned was a psychopath, that much was evident in his arrogant speech and demeaning glances. He thought little of Caleb Green or myself. His initial impressions told him we were company men. Our expensive suits were window dressing for the mediocrity that often accompanied being a company man, waiting for his time to ride a desk, before cashing out, taking his pension check, and moving to Florida to live in a gated community in a condo that he might not be able to afford. To him, this made him naturally superior in intellect, cunning, and credibility.
What he had failed to grasp, was the depths of the acronyms given to him. While we were indeed FBI agents, there had been three other letters attached to our identification: VCU. We were not mediocre any more than we were mentally stable. The cavernous pits of our instability were unfathomable. While Caleb and I both wore the mask of sanity very well, we were not.
The differences between Caleb, myself, and the man across the table from us were few. Like him, we were both documented psychopaths. Like him, we both enjoyed bloodshed. Like him, we both had genius level IQs. The differences could be summed up only by our positions, with us on one side of the table and he on the other. Caleb and I were both capable of controlling our bloodlust. It was a delicate balancing act that we had both perfected. Although, I had learned to admit that Caleb had more control than I did.
Quinn Hurst was a murderer, there was no doubt about that. The Los Angeles police department had arrested him mere minutes after he had slaughtered his ex-girlfriend. She had managed to make a 911 call while he brutally attacked her. When LAPD arrived, he was covered in blood and carrying around a bloody hatchet.
However, the FBI was not in the habit of investigating domestic violence, even when it included murder. The hatchet also wasn’t enough to make us fuel the jet and fly out here three days after the murder. We were here because when LAPD searched his home, they found a container full of hearts and not the cute red kind that gets plastered on commercial materials.
There had been ninety-three human hearts in his deep freezer. Unfortunately, there had not been ninety-three dead bodies missing their hearts found in LA nor California nor anywhere else in the US. The year had brought exactly zero bodies missing their hearts and it was already August.
©Hadena James 2015
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