I probably shouldn't be writing this right after finishing the book but I couldn't help it. This marks book number one of the year and book three of the series. I plan to write 14 books this year and there are 13 in the series. Yeah.
Dryer is like it's counter-parts, Face Snatcher and Hangings and is so far the shortest of the series clocking in at about 69,000 words when cutting out a 3K block I know I'll remove for a final draft. I'm not sure why it's so much shorter but it's a good thing. Mystery/Crime Fiction is supposed to be shorter. Anyway, onwards:
Genre: Crime Fiction
Word Count: 72,820 (minus about 3K for two or three scenes I'll likely removed in editing and put into a "cut scenes" file)
Prompt: Body parts in a dryer. Yes. Originally though Lucy's "Bugs" in her "Blood, Bones, and Bugs"/"Triple B" nickname was supposed to come out more but I couldn't find anything adequate about finding bug corpses in clothing/dryers/after being in a dryer for 45+ minutes. Plus the unsub kind of evolved into something different which happened in Hangings too.
Main Characters: James Reeves, Mia Liu, Lucy McGregor, Michael Brown, and our killer.
Minor Characters of Note: Detective Catherine Turner, Patterson and SSA Devin Howell. Oh and David Jones made an appearance. Again. For a character that was supposed to be a throw-away in book one he's certainly making a name for himself. I have this feeling he'll appear in the other books too until either dying in a gruesome way or simply disappearing, never to be seen again.
Summation: Again: body parts in a dryer. Just the arms and legs though. Yeah, it's that interesting.
High Points: I, huh. OH. James telling Turner off in a completely respectful way. And of course, James and Mia referring to McGregor as Lucy now. That means they're friends people. It's a turning point.
Low Points: Describing the level of mutilation on victim five. You know it's bad when your seasoned forensic specialist curses, has to take deep breaths and turns away from the scene.
The World: Ours.
The scent was what hit them all first. It smelled like someone had barbequed rotten meat over a grill. It was not a pleasant scent but none of them would cook meat on the barbeque again. Not after this.
The woman working today screamed. The young man who had been waiting for the dryer turned and threw up in the middle of the floor. Someone else started screaming and soon everyone was running over to see what was going on. Instantly they regretted it and wished they had not picked this Laundromat to clean their clothes today.
"Dragon-God, speak or be torched." (This/something similar has become Brown's catch-phrase.)
"Get something to eat before going back to it. We don't need you collapsing from exhaustion." James said.
"Oh. Right, food. Sure. I'll have the autopsy done sometime in the next few hours. Good night." McGregor said.
"Well, let's go see another slew of witnesses. Maybe the perp slipped up." Liu muttered.
"Good luck." McGregor said.
"You're completely happy you're not us right now." Reeves said with a chuckle.
McGregor could not help but grin at that.
"You want to remove body parts from a dryer, be my guest." She told them.
"Riding around in McGregor's SUV in the snow then riding around in your car in the snow made the decision for me. No offensive but SUV trumps car in the winter." Mia answered.
"That makes logical sense." James muttered.
"Plus it looks badass." Mia said.
"That's the Mia I know." James said with a grin.
Sleep was for the weak. It didn't matter that his (Brown) eyes were burning or his wrists were numb. He needed to help them find this asshole.
"I'm fine, Boss." Brown answered.
"Michael, I mean it. I don't know how long you've been up but you look ready to collapse. Once you've narrowed down the missing person's list to who donated in May or June: get some sleep." Reeves said.
No one had called him by his real name since he'd been captured by the FBI. He had been a color or a mythical beast for the past five years. It was foreign to hear his real name on Reeves' lips but it had the effect Reeves was going for. That was the main reason Reeves was Boss.
"Fine. But wake me up when you need something else." Brown said.
"There is no physical way we can get ahead of him. He takes his victims when he drops the limbs (of the one prior). The missing persons list is useless because they're not reported missing until the day after we have the limbs of the victim before." (Yeah, that's bad.)
"So we're looking for a five foot eight white male with dark hair, who dresses in all black and drives a dark Honda?" (Yeah, think of how common that is for a moment.)
The door of 134 slammed open a moment later from one of Mia's well placed kicks. She was in before the sound stopped, gun out and looking through the front of the apartment. James turned to the girls who were staring at him in shock.
"I'm Detective James Reeves by the way. And yes, we need to talk to Timothy Allen."
"Now, when are you and Mia going on a date? I have a lot of restaurant ideas that are nice and cozy," Mom started.
"Ah, NO. We aren't going to date, mom, how many times do I have to tell you that?" James asked.
The fact that Mia was the only straight female he knew that could keep up with him and understood him was a mote point. The fact that he had no social life and would not likely find someone soon enough for his mother was what scared James more than not being able to solve the case.
"Oh honey, I'm not getting any younger."
"And you're 27. You're not going to stay 27 forever and I'd like grandkids at a time where I could still enjoy them."
"Don't you "mom" me. You're my only son and you need a good woman to help you raise your kids. Besides, imagine how kick-butt you and Mia's children would be." (HA!)
"Help! Minions! Help!" Brown tried.
"Any one of you help him and I'll use your computers as targets." Mia said over his voice.
"You, this, no!" Brown protested.
"I'm going to let you go just because I'm really grossed out by how sweaty you are. If you try and run: I'm cuffing you. You're going to James' for a day to sleep, shower and eat a few proper meals. He and I are staying with you to make sure you don't escape. Clear?" Mia asked.
Brown looked up at her, eyes blinking rapidly and mouth dropped open so much that she could see his tonsils. His eyes went to James' face and Mia glanced at her partner. He had his "don't you dare argue" face on which was patent for making perps squirm. Brown sighed in defeat and sagged:
"Fine. You guys are lucky I like you or every electronic thing you owned would become an expensive paperweight."
(She's physically pulling Brown from his office as he's been up for four days straight and is on the verge of collapse. Brown was trying to get the rest of the research team to help him.)
From the scene that'll be cut (cuz it's funny):
"Weird question." (Mia)
"Because this is perfectly normal." (They're sharing his pull out couch while on guard duty to make sure Brown sleeps).
"Funny. Do you mind if I take my bra off?" (Ladies, you know how uncomfortable it is to sleep in those things.)
James had to swallow once or twice to get moisture back in his throat so he could speak.
"You can if you want." James finally got out.
"Okay. I would say don't look but I you're blind as a bat and I don't plan on taking my shirt off." Mia said.
James kept his eyes on the ceiling and tried not to think about how it was feasibly possible for Mia to take off her bra without taking off her shirt (haha). He heard her moving and concentrated on breathing.
"That's better." Mia muttered.
"Good. Um, never mind. I said nothing." James said.
He lay perfectly still as Mia shifted to lean over him. Her lips were mere inches from his. All he had to do was lift his head and he'd be able to kiss her. James banished that thought, cursing his mother for putting that into his head.
"Mia?" James asked.
"Shush." Mia said.
James nodded. He heard it a moment later. Brown was muttering in his sleep. Mia had only moved to listen better. James was half disappointed and half relieved.
"What is he talking about?" Mia asked.
"I think he's talking about flying hippos." James said.
"Wow." Mia muttered.
"Yeah." James said.
Mia didn't move. James was fairly sure she had no idea how close she was to him. He tried to concentrate on Brown's sleep talk but Mia was too close. He also knew she had no bra on and her shirt was stretched tight across her chest because of her former movements. James was a 27 year old male, partner or not, Mia had the parts he was interested in.
"He's singing. What is that?" Mia asked.
"Don't know." James said.
"You're surprisingly unobservant." Mia said with a snort.
"Oh. Sorry?" James tried.
She finally looked down at him. A look of realization came over her face and James blinked when she moved so quickly he hadn't even been sure it happened. (Hehe)
"Um, no. He's (James) just repeating the case information. I hate sounding like a kid or something but can you come, well, fix him or something? He's kind of blocking my way out and I really don't want to get in his way or something." McGregor said.
Mia could hear the nervousness in McGregor's voice. Mia wanted to say something to comfort McGregor but had no idea what to say. Instead she sighed and looked around the empty lot one more time...(James has a bit of a mental break)
Lucy strode into the bathroom and closed the door lightly. When she came back out she was no longer Lucy. She was McGregor, Triple B, and the Forensic Specialist working with Reeves and Liu on a case that was proving to be BAU material. (She's good at separating her personal life from work life while on case).
"He's angry, no, this is beyond angry. He screwed up, he knew it and now he's taking it out on them." James said.
"I've watched a lot of horror movies, slasher flicks, and seen a lot of really shitty stuff doing this job. It comes with the job, you know? But I've never seen anything like that before. This guy is absolutely insane." (Lucy after discovering victim 5)
"You would think I would have picked up some of your curses by now." James mentioned.
"Oh please. You only curse when you're extremely pissed. I curse all the time." Mia said.
"It's when you're not cursing that we have to worry." James said.
"Damn right." Mia agreed.
"Oh stuff it, manko." Mia said.
"What did you just call me?" Turner demanded.
"Jigoku ni ike." Mia said.
"One of these days you're going to run into someone who understands you (A/N: speaks Japanese in other words). Then what are you going to do?" Turner asked.
"Kick their ass." Mia said easily. (Seriously, go look those up if you want. I will be proficient in Japanese curses by the end of this series. ;) )
"Yeah, James. You know, about five ten, longish blond hair, glasses, blue eyes, always in suits? He's walking right in front of you." Mia returned. (Ha)
"Lucy? Are you okay?" James questioned.
"I, my head hurts and I'm going to have a bruise on my pelvis, right above the ilium." McGregor said.
"You're bleeding. I don't think you're going to be dissecting any limbs or bodies today." James said.
"I'm fine." McGregor said.
"Lucy, you're bleeding," James started.
"Don't you "Lucy" me, James. I mean, Reeves." McGregor said.
Their eyes met. James was grinning. She could feel the heat in her cheeks and blood trickling down the back of her neck. It would only slow because of her shirt where it would then gather and stain. At least she was wearing black.
"Well, your eyes are dilated oddly. I'm fairly sure you have a concussion. Plus Mia and Turner are on the way, so is an ambulance." James said.
"I don't need an ambulance." McGregor muttered.
"You whacked your head of a table and got hit by a car." James said.
(Later in the scene)
"Don't they teach you anything in school? External occipital protuberance is on my occipital bone, the posterior, also know as the back of my head. And the ilium is located between the iliac crest and Acetabulum on the anterior or front of my hip. It's the uppermost and largest bone of the pelvis. Goddess." McGregor said.
Both paramedics looked at her in wonder. Liu started chuckling but James kept quiet. He was still grinning though.
"Are you some kind of doctor?" a paramedic asked.
"No, she's a Forensic Specialist who specializes in blood, bugs, and bones. She's a good friend of ours so make sure you treat her well." James answered.
McGregor could not help but stare at him as the paramedics looked between them. She kept staring even as she was loaded onto the stretcher and until the doors of the ambulance were shut. It had been a long while since anyone had called her a good friend. (This entire scene, from Lucy's POV took up a good four of five pages and every bit of it was awesome for her and James. I wish I could put it all here but it'd reveal too much.)
He (Brown) realized the different a moment later. The people in horror films and in video games were fake. The person hanging in front of him had been a real, breathing, living person at some point. Brown closed the image and scowled.
"Sonofabitch." Brown muttered.
He would wait for Reeves to return before hacking into the laptop. Reeves was right. Looking through that kind of thing was not something a person should do alone.
"You don't owe me anything." Lucy said.
"You got hit by a car because I can't shoot. I owe you dinner." James said.
"Don't argue, just accept." Mia suggested.
"But," Lucy tried.
"Ask Brown how persuasive I can be." James said.
Mia wanted to laugh at the expression on Lucy's face. She knew James was referring to bodily dragging Brown out of the office so he didn't collapse.
"And that's why he's not."
"How do you do it?" (Mia to Lucy)
"This may sound cruel but once they reach me they're nothing but dead flesh and bone. There's no soul attached to them and the person they were is gone and at peace. I like to think that by dissecting what's left that I'm helping them be at peace. It's what helps me do what I have to do to put their killers behind bars. You guys have it worse though. You have to deal with the family, friends and co-workers. You guys go through their things and deep into their lives all the time. I don't know how you deal with it." Lucy said.
"It's nights like these that I'm not sure either." James added.
"You've picked up my swearing along with my attitude. Cool your jets, turbo. I don't think the station can handle two of me." Mia joked.
"You were right. That wasn't his first time." (That sounds kinky out of context. I'm leaving it.)
"Thanks. Also, Lucy, her girlfriend, and Mia are coming for dinner probably this week at my place. You're welcome to join us." Reeves offered.
Brown blinked before looking up at the other man. Liu was grinning. Reeves was smiling lightly. Brown listened to Du Hast for a moment before letting out a breath. Reeves' food was great and it was tempting.
"Sorry Boss, I'm good here." Brown said.
"Are you sure?" Reeves asked.
He looked a bit disappointed. Brown didn't mind. He liked staying in his office. Outside was never a good place for anyone. That was where all the crazy people who did shit like he saw kidnapped the people who were trying to be normal. Staying inside was safe.
"Our units normally work with a team of five. As you can see, my team is missing a person...We need a fifth, even if it's only until he returns and I think you would be a good addition to my team."
"Doctor? And you're single? Damn." Anne (Lucy's girlfriend) said.
James flushed when Lucy and Mia laughed at that. His mother said the same thing.
"You didn't tell me he was a doctor, love." Anne said.
"I didn't know you'd want to know." Lucy told her.
"You know I like to know everything as long as it's not too icky." Anne returned.
"Icky? You do know she specializes in blood, bugs, and bones, right? All icky kinds of things?" Mia asked.
"Oh yes, I know. She's the one who identifies the spiders in our flat and instead of killing them, picks them up, studies them, then carries them outside." Anne replied.
"Oh, work, work, work, don't you three think of anything besides work?" Anne asked.
She was being deliberately dramatic. James chuckled at it and Lucy grinned.
"Sex." Lucy said.
"I know that, love." Anne returned.
"I don't want to know how your brain works, Lucy." Mia said.
James ended the call and placed his cell phone back on the table. He could not help but smile as he leaned back on his couch and looked up at the ceiling. This was where he belonged and no amount of money, benefits or special titles would make him leave.