“Morning. Hey, there was a package that came for you. It’s on your desk.”
“Thanks.” FBI Agent Nathan Thomas continued down the hall to his office in the BAU division. He hung his jacket on the back of his chair, then stared thoughtfully at the plain, brown box in the middle of his blotter.
Hmmm. No return address, no distinguishing marks on the package.
The label was made out to him.
Problem is, I haven’t purchased or ordered anything lately, and if I had, it would have been shipped to the house, not to work.
He wasn’t expecting any case-related packages, either.
He thought for a moment before ringing the lobby.
“Does anyone know if this thing went through the scanner?” he asked.
“Of course it did. Everything does. Standard safety protocols.”
He hung up the phone and frowned for a moment, then pulled on latex gloves, got out his pocketknife, and began to carefully open the package. He waded through layers of packing peanuts until he came to a six-by-nine-inch manila envelope.
Nathan’s pulse quickened.
I have a bad feeling about this, he thought as he pulled the envelope out of the box. He turned it over carefully and used his knife to cut along the bottom seam to preserve any DNA evidence on the gummed flap. Tilting the envelope slightly to one side, he shook it a little. Some Polaroid pictures and a folded paper fell out.
Nathan’s heart fell as he glanced at the photos – pictures of fifteen different young, obviously deceased women, with long, dark hair and staring eyes that were once a pretty blue. He unfolded the paper and read it.
Give her back, Nathan, and it will stop.