Inspector Steven Young looked around the incident room. The pictures of eleven male children stared back at him. He felt so much remorse. He blamed himself for ten of their deaths. If only he had caught him after the first.
He had been put in charge of Frankie Johnston’s murder what seemed a lifetime ago. It had only been a year.
He stared at all the kids’ eyes. His thoughts took him back to the conversation that he had with Dr James Fisher the Medical Examiner. This was just after Frankie’s Post Mortem. The Doctor’s insight had been worrying…
“Well James, what can you tell me?”
“As I am sure that you have already gathered, the boy’s neck was snapped. Violently twisted to one side. The severity of the break shows strength but that’s all.”
The Doctor took out a bottle of whisky from his desk and two glasses. He poured them both a good measure.
“I don’t like the feeling that I am getting Steven. This kid was grabbed, taken straight to the waste ground and killed. The times match up.”
Steven swirled his drink.
“Any sign of a sexual assault? Could he have been interrupted? There are a few dossers down there.”
“There was no sign of any type of sexual act to the kid or to him himself. He picked the kid to kill him.”
“Come to fuck James, how can you say that?”
The Doctor took a sip.
“You don’t fuck about if you are going to execute. This is what this felt like.”
Steven could never explain the feeling of a revelation but he knew that he had just heard one.
“There will be more.”
“On what basis? I respect your opinion but how the hell can you say that? Tell me something that I can pull apart. You said executed?”
“Off the record, my speculation? You know I don’t officially do any of the psychological side of this anymore.”
“Of course. Whatever you say is just between us.”
“The act was cold. He had very little contact with the boy. It was all about the kill for him.”
“Why male? Why not family?”
He shook his head.
“Not a relative. The coldness of the kill suggests no prior contact. If the boy was the reason there would have been more rage. It is a sort of you are making me do this scenario. That causes rage. Remorse then kicks in and the body may have been cuddled afterwards but there was nothing. Normally with family there are, for want of a better word, mistakes. A woman? I doubt it. I am not saying that the strength wouldn’t be there. But normally, when it comes to a child something is used to kill. Hands on is very unusual. So again this leaves us very little to go on.”
Steven downed his drink and held his glass out.
“Have you any good news.”
“Yes and no. I have got something but until we catch him it means nothing. Frankie had some traces of leather under his nails and there were a few smudges of motor oil on his clothes.”
Steven sighed, “So the bastard we are looking for wears a leather jacket and the kid was transported in a car.”
“Pretty much. So until we get the comparisons…”
“Fuck all to go on!”
The door to the incident room opened and brought the Inspector back from his thoughts.
“Sir, they’ve got him. Lawrence Craig has been arrested.”
He leaned back and refused to analyse his feelings.
“The Service Station twenty miles north.”
“Was he running?”
“Doesn’t look like it. No luggage. He said that he was heading to his work. He was going in the right direction.”
“OK Bill, the usual for a piece of shit. Keep the hoards away. Press; advise them there will be a statement later on. No time frame, the usual. Bring him in the side door. Put road blocks at either end of the road. No-one in or out until our guest is here. You know the score.”
Sergeant Abbott nodded as he headed out the door, “I’ve got most of that done.”
Steven flicked through the file. He wasn’t looking for anything in particular. He felt the anger and hatred begin to sicken his stomach. He stared at the file. Black and white facts, no emotion. He read a few pages immersing himself in the facts. He had to remove the emotion.
He read until a uniformed officer advised him that Craig had arrived.
The Inspector met Bill as he walked towards the interview room.
“Will you join me Sergeant?”
“Of course. Oh I called Doctor Fisher. I thought that you would want him watching on. Someone we can trust without too much protocol.”
“Good man! There will be plenty of time for the official study of this prick.”
The two men walked into the interview room. Steven was never surprised at how a killer looked. Lawrence Craig was immaculate. He stood and held out his hand.
“Please sit. I am Inspector…”
“…Steven Young and Sergeant Bill Abbott. I have read your names and saw you Inspector, give those very insightful interviews.”
The formalities were done.
“Would you like a lawyer Mr Craig?”
“No. The guilty only need lawyers to represent them in court.”
“So are you saying that you are innocent?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“So are we going to get a confession?”
“I admit to everything that I have done. I think that will be the exact same as what you will be charging me with.”
Steven hadn’t expected this.
“I will answer all you need to know. I will give you a signed confession on one condition.”
The Inspector leaned forward.
“I don’t really think that you are in the position to make conditions but go on.”
“I should like to know how you caught me. I thought I’d been very careful but obviously not.”
Steven thought for a few seconds.
“The last boy that you murdered. We found a small piece of a members pass for the leisure club in his sleeve. Someone spotted a dark coloured BMW on the corner where Peter went missing. We just had to tie the car with someone who used the gym.”
“That is a bit vague. God knows how many people that drive BMWs use the gym?”
“Forty seven to be precise. But your file spoke to me.”
“A hunch. You caught me with a hunch!”
“Maybe. But if your pass is in your house I am quite sure there will be a little piece torn out of it. We have that piece.”
“Do you want a lawyer now?”
“No Inspector. You have caught me. I don’t go back on my word.”
Bill looked at his boss and raised his eyebrows. They both thought that there would have been some back peddling.
“Do you admit to, on the night of…”
“Inspector! I have told you that I killed all those boys. I have snapped the necks of eleven boys. I believe that they were between the ages of nine and twelve. What else do you want me to say? I am a tad upset though.”
“Pissed off at being caught?” Bill growled as he began to rise.
“You do not need to be so vulgar!”
The Inspector pulled him back onto his chair.
“You have a bit of a temper Sergeant. You will need to watch that.”
They waited to see where he was going with his statement.
“I am not annoyed at being caught. I am glad it was because of Peter. That is what is ironic. He caught me. Please tell his parents I am so sorry. I didn’t realise.”
The two policemen looked at each other.
“That he was adopted. I saw the appeal. Those parents. Their misery. I know that they hoped his birth mother had taken him. I felt terrible.”
The tear that he shed didn’t make any sense to Steven.
“And what about the other ten boys?”
Lawrence Craig perked up.
“Oh I have no regrets about them. I would have been more inclined to weep for them before they died.”
“I take it you don’t understand the traits of a conscience?”
“No conscience Sergeant. I freed them. My heart bled for them for what they would have become if I hadn’t intervened.”
Bill was getting agitated.
“Are you going for an insanity plea?”
“Don’t insult me. I am as sane as you. I just look at things differently.”
The Inspector stood up.
“We will have a break. Do you want some coffee Mr Craig?”
The two men left Craig with a constable. They went into the observation room.
“What the fuck was all that about?”
The two men sat beside the Doctor who was still scribbling notes.
“What do you make of him?”
“At first I thought a definite sociopath but he can’t be. He showed genuine remorse for that one boy. A serial killer follows patterns, keeps trophies. The pattern is what you would need to explore.”
“Maybe he has fantasies and they are constant.”
“Could be but you want him cold and calculating. You don’t want to mention fantasies if you want any hope of a conviction without a diminished responsibility tag or insanity. That then comes down to reports and someone’s opinion. We all know where that can lead.”
“What do you think I should ask him?”
“Start at the beginning. Ask why those boys were chosen. Especially ask him why his conscience is clear. Ask him what you want me to tell you!”
“Will he answer us?”
“I think so. But those answers are going to be what he is convicted on. No matter how sane he thinks he is our system will class him as insane. So no matter how cold and calculating he is we are back to reports and opinions. I’ll tell you one thing; someone is going to get a load of papers published because of the study of Lawrence Craig.”
They left the Doctor and returned to the interview room.
Bill Abbot gave Craig his coffee. The Inspector began.
“I want to back up a bit. First off, why boys?”
“I simply couldn’t kill a girl.”
“A child is a child.”
He showed no emotion.
“Maybe so. But I couldn’t kill a girl. There is no point in arguing or questioning. That is my only explanation.”
“I don’t see the difference in being a child killer so we will move on. Was there a reason that you chose those particular boys?”
“Yes. I chose them because I could see their parents in them.”
“But we all see parents in children. What made them different?”
“Not resemblance Sergeant…Character.”
“These children were clones of their parents. They would have ended up just like them. I mean, that first boy was wearing a knitted jumper. I can guarantee that some elderly relative thought it was a lovely idea to have father and son in matching bloody jumpers.”
“So were you trying to get at the parents?”
“That is a fair question. But no. I was stopping them becoming their parents. I cry for the children that once inhabited their small bodies, not the little people that they had been made. I had to break the chain. If I had not killed those children they would have eventually reproduced and reared their offspring in the same way as they had been reared. It goes on and on. This world needs individuals to put it right. We have enough problems already. We don’t want it filled with bland, comfortable people whose main aim in this world is being socially acceptable. And the only way they can do that completely is when their kids become socially acceptable. We need a different breed to take up the challenge. Our downfall will not now or ever be stopped by clones of the beige. They have no thought or feeling for anything other than themselves. They are as shallow as the fuck that produced them! I weep for the world we live in!”
“Oh so you do swear Mr Craig!”
“I’m sorry Sergeant. I can get a bit heated.”
Steven massaged his temples.
“I think I understand about the adopted boy now.”
Craig cleared his throat.
“They had been brought together through mutual respect. He hadn’t been made into them. They were together through choice. Not because some privileged bastard believed it was fashionable to mould a child into a respectable and acceptable clone of themselves.”
“What about your parents?”
“I am nothing like them.”
“So they don’t go around killing innocent boys?”
“That was beneath you Inspector!”
Craig took a sip of his coffee.
“Would you take a letter of apology to Peter’s parents?”
“I don’t think that it is a letter they want. Maybe something more final.”
“I understand. But I have given myself up for punishment.”
Abbott began to laugh, “We caught you!”
“No you didn’t. You possible would have but if I hadn’t spoken, this would not yet be resolved. So in that aspect, I have given myself up.”
“Mr Craig. I would like to get your official statement. Times, dates, all recollections.”
“I will be happy to. I can recall most of the circumstances.”
“Fine we will send someone in.”
The men concluded the interview and left the room. The Doctor met them in the corridor.
“Steven, I don’t know what he is. I don’t know what to call him. He has a twisted logic. A warped intellect. Fuck knows what anyone will make of him.”
“So where does that leave him?”
“In the hands of British Justice!”
“Wonderful. A sick fuck who will motivate more sick fucks. The media will be appalled but love him. The medical profession will just love him. All we will be left with are disciples and a lot of unscrupulous bastards who will make a lot of money out of this. All for the sake of him playing God. He didn’t give those kids a chance.”
The Doctor nodded, “Sadly I think you are right. Although he did say one thing that I agree with.”
“I weep for the world we live in.”