Northwest Hunters: Book Two
Junie Thomas had always been pathologically shy. Short and fat, she was painfully self-conscious. She avoided new places, new experiences and strangers at all costs. Divorced and with her children grown, her whole world consisted of her boring, lonely job and her hobbies. If it weren’t for her computer, she would have never spoken to anyone. But there in the anonymous world of the internet, it had been easy to pretend to be someone else, someone bolder, more experienced… happier.
It was there in the internet that she had learned that her lifelong fantasies of ravishment, of being taken and controlled, forced to do all the things she craved, craved and feared, were not an impossible dream. She learned that there were people who lived this life, voluntary slaves to a Master who could make those dreams come true.
She had found a man in a chat room devoted to Masters and slaves, a man who courted her with promises and the illusion of strength. Perhaps it was the fact he lived too far away to really see that made it easy to play along, to pretend to be a slave, but this little taste of what could be only made Junie realize how much she wanted the real thing, a real Master.
In many ways she was indebted to Sir James. After all, he was the one that suggested she answer Bob and Donna’s ad looking for a submissive woman to come serve them.
Northwest Hunters: Experienced Dominant 50 and wife 52, retired professionals, able to devote full time to the right sub. Him: 5'11” 200 lbs, light drinker, non smoker, SSC, honest, sarcastic, cruel, perfectionist, control freak, sick sense of humor. Her: tall, slender, switch, bi, loving, generous, strict, funny, bold, creative.
Looking for: Sister/slave/sub/pet/toy, age 35-50, large sized women welcome but must be fit and healthy, looks less important than brains. Must be single and willing to pursue a long term relationship and, if we prove to be compatible, willing to relocate. Good communication skills, honesty, no smoking, light drink, no illegal drugs. Must be bi or willing to engage in sexual activity with both male and female owners. Absolutely must be willing to completely submit mentally and physically to a Dominant and willing to respect the authority of his alpha sub.
For: Serving both a Master and a Mistress in bondage, spanking and other impact play, role play, name calling, forced masturbation, blindfolds, gags, erotic denial, hair pulling, rape fantasy games, forced oral, anal, toys.
Hard limits: sex with animals, blood, potty stuff (sorry, we will not piss or shit on anyone), liars, married people, nut cases, republicans.
Short term goal: Online relationship, exploring and getting to know each other, learning each other’s needs and limits.
Long term goal: Live in 24/7 M/s relationship in our rural home. We are outdoors people, have dogs, travel several months a year. Must be willing to share in day to day household chores.
Junie had never thought in a million years that they would want her but at Sir James’ urging, she had answered and now here she was, living a dream.
But if Sir James had done the right thing by encouraging her to pursue this dream, he had also betrayed her. He had shared her information with another man, someone who had befriended him on the internet posing as a friend and a mentor, someone dangerous. This was a mistake that would have repercussions that threatened to tear apart Junie’s life just when she was finally finding happiness.
As usual, Junie woke early, once more stirred awake by Bob's hand cupping her breast, his fingers tugging insistently on her nipple. Silently she twisted in his arms and looked into his eyes. She smiled sleepily, stretched and arched against his hand. Bob warningly put his finger against her lips, cautioning her to be quiet and not disturb Donna still sleeping on the far side of the bed. Junie pressed her lips against it. He raised a brow teasingly and pinched her nipple, causing a tremor to course through her, a silent gasp parting her lips.
Junie's eyes widened in silent outrage, as he reached for her other nipple and pinched it even harder. Junie closed her eyes and took her lip between her teeth, forcing her body to go limp. Bob's eyes sparkled and he scooted down and took her nipple into his mouth, pulling and biting. Junie struggled to stay still, her breath coming in short sharp puffs, assailed by excitement as much as the lancing pain.
Finally he released her, laughing silently. He pushed her out of bed and scooted out behind her. Junie scurried into the bathroom and pushed the door shut after Bob followed her in. Her eyes were smoldering with excitement and frustration.
Junie stood with her back pressed against the door, watching as Bob peed. As he stood up, casually shaking off the last drops, he sighed in satisfaction. “Good morning, Junie.”
“Good morning, Master.” Junie's voice was soft.
As she took her turn on the toilet, she avoided his eyes and tried to focus on relaxing. Bob's voice was amused, “I kind of had you on the crux of a dilemma.”
Junie whispered ruefully, “You did have me in a pinch there, both literally and figuratively. It was hard to be quiet and still, Master. I didn't want to wake up Mistress Donna.”
“It was a delight to watch your face as you realized you were trapped and I was going to push you. Your beautiful eyes are such windows into your soul. I should forbid you ever closing them to me.”
Junie's voice was thoughtful, “Master, that would be very difficult for me; sometimes looking into your eyes is overwhelming for me. My heart fills with emotion.”
“I see it there. I see the lust, the pain and most of all your resolve to obey. It is most beautiful.”
“Master, with your permission, I would make coffee.”
“Yes, that would be good. Let’s start our day. We will shower after Donna wakes up. She mentioned she likes it when you... attend her in the shower.”
“Serving both of you brings great joy to me, my Master.”
As she busied herself in the kitchen, Junie’s mind spun back to the transformation her life had taken in just a short time. She could hardly believe that she was here, living with a Master and a Mistress who had demonstrated that they were willing to commit to her, take care of her. Junie’s eyes filled with tears as she thought the last words, love her. Never in a million years when she had answered the personal ad from a couple looking for a submissive to serve them in their home, did she think that they would ever want her. But it had happened, and so quickly that it was almost too much to encompass.
Like Donna had said, it seemed like the world had conspired to force them to put aside their plan of a gradual and careful timetable of gaining familiarity and making commitments. Some of Junie’s past mistakes as she hunted for a man to be her Master had come home to roost. Her online Master had given her personal information to someone who seemed very dangerous, and both Bob and Donna had taken Junie into their home to protect her. Junie shivered as she thought about how lucky she had been that they had had the foresight to do that. She had not been gone from home for even a day, when the man had broken into her apartment. He had been caught and the police had informed Junie that he was wanted for rape and attempted murder in Oregon.
The thought of him breaking into her tiny, perfectly ordered apartment made Junie feel sick. Her manager said he had destroyed almost all her belongings. At that thought, she felt her heart starting to pound, her mouth go dry. Speaking aloud to herself, she repeated Bob’s instructions, “Don’t worry about that. Master will tell me when to worry about that.” She took a deep breath and forced her mind to simpler things, what to make for breakfast, what chores needed doing today. This was where she was happiest and found the most peace, taking care of Bob and Donna, cooking, cleaning and serving them.
Bob threw a thick yellow pad on the dining table. “Junie, while I brush out the dogs, I want you to write a list of the things that have been weighing on your mind. Write down all the things that you need to accomplish. You have done a good job of obeying me, but I can tell they still are bothering you. Just write down a list. I will look at it and later we will discuss priorities.”
“Once the coffee is done, may I come sit on the deck with you while I write, Master?”
“I would like that.”
Sitting down at the kitchen table as she waited for the coffee to finish brewing, Junie picked up a pen and began to write. She had quit her job at the school records department so she needed to drop by and sign some papers and get some things off her desk. Most important was the picture of her three children she kept on her desk. And then there was her car. The man that had broken into her apartment had also broken into her car the night before and left a very frightening calling card.
The memory was still clear in Junie’s mind. She had been so caught up in the wild, excited anticipation of meeting Bob and Donna for the first time. She had on her favorite yellow dress, her hair and makeup perfect, her mind abuzz with a heady mixture of anxiety and impatience. And then she had seen her car, the driver’s side window shattered into a billion glittering cubes, and then the things on the front seat, a knife stabbed deep into the upholstery, impaling a nude black and white photo of her through the very center where her legs hid her sex. She recognized the picture; it was one she had sent to her former Master. The shock was so sudden that she had staggered back, gasping. It was like the knife had stabbed into her own belly. It took a minute for the distinct, acrid smell of urine to penetrate her awareness and notice the wide wet stain on the fabric of the seat.
Junie shuddered and shook her head, trying to clear it of the memory. She wrote down that she needed to bring the knife and the picture to give the police. She still had it in the plastic bag she had used to pick it up with.
Bob and Donna had made her former Master, Sir James, promise to buy her a new car to replace the damaged one, but she needed to deal with her old one. She was still making payments on it so she needed to get it fixed and sell it.
Then there were all the little things that came with ending one life and starting another, change of addresses, bank branches, and largest of all, telling her three adult children that she was taking a new job, out of the city, as a housekeeper for a nice retired couple.
Junie already had the pad covered with small neat writing when she carried a big mug of steaming coffee out to Bob. He was vigorously brushing out the shining coat of Honey, murmuring softly to her as she leaned against his leg, her eyes glowing in devotion.
Junie smiled softly as she looked at the pregnant golden retriever bitch, “She is starting to show a little, Master.”
“Yes, one of the things I did yesterday was take her to the vet. He thinks it's going to be a big litter. He said she is doing great.”
Junie looked over her list and made another note. “How many is big?”
“Hard to say for sure, but Golden Retrievers can have big litters, probably eight or nine. I hope not more than ten, it would be hard on her to carry that many and the risk of having complications go up, for both her and the puppies.”
Bob finished brushing Honey and spoke firmly to her, “Enough for you. If you still want attention, go pester Junie.” He gave Honey an affectionate pat and then shoved her away.
Junie called the bitch to her, “Honey, come. I will give you loving.”
Honey eagerly laid her head in Junie’s lap, pushing the notepad out of the way, her eyes soulfully looking up into Junie's. Junie giggled, “Oh you poor, poor thing. Never enough love in this world and soon you will be so busy with your babies. I bet you are a wonderful momma.” Junie sat, watching as Bob efficiently combed out the other three golden retrievers.
As Junie rubbed the soft fur around Honey's ears, Bob asked, “How is your list coming along?”
“I have written down everything I can think of at the moment, Master. With your permission I would keep it and add to it if I think of anything more.”
“Only if you understand that once it is on the list, you are not to spend any more time thinking about it until I decide.”
Bob made an exasperated growl. “I am getting sick and fucking tired of Master this, Master that, little of that goes a long fucking way.”
“I am sorry Ma... um... I am sorry. How would you prefer I express my respect for you?”
“You can show your respect by your fucking actions; the tone of your voice, your posture, your facial expression, your attention to my needs, your obedience! I don't mind a Sir now and then and even a Master, if it seems appropriate. But this artificial insertion of Master into every fucking sentence is starting to drive me crazy.” Bob's tone was plaintive by the time he reached the end of his rant.
Junie fought to keep from giggling. “Ma... um, okay... I will be able to do that. I think I will save Master for when I am most grateful for the lessons and gifts you give me, for that is when it feels the most natural.”
“Thank god. Now go take a cup of coffee to your Mistress and wake her up. Tell her I want her to hustle her lazy ass into the shower. I think we will drive to the city and get some of the items on your list marked off.”
“Yes, Sir.” Junie jumped to her feet and trotted off before he could react.
Junie gently waved the coffee in front of Donna's nose, whispering a little sing song. “Wake up, wake up, you little sleepy head.” When Donna's eyes blinked open, Junie put down the coffee cup and kissed her Mistress gently on the forehead. “I bring a message from our Master. He says for you to hustle your lazy ass into the shower. He wants to drive to Seattle this morning.”
Donna laughed and reached up and pulled Junie down on top of her. In an instant she was on top of Junie, pinning her to the bed. It was not difficult, it did not even occur to Junie to resist. “My lazy ass?” Donna's hazel eyes sparkled as she looked down at Junie.
“His exact words, Ma'am.”
Donna let go of Junie's hands and stayed sitting on top of her. Casually she reached for the coffee and took a big sip. “Mmm, good coffee! Thank you.” Her eyes sparkled as she pulled up Junie’s shirt and exposed her breast; she took the hot mug and slowly brought it down onto the tip of Junie's nipple. Junie stiffened and gasped as the heat shot through her. It did not burn. It did not even hurt, but it was intense and held all of her attention. The fact that the cup was filled with scalding coffee added to the tension, Junie knew if she moved, she was at risk of a lot more than a warm feeling.
“Ma'am, that feels wonderful. Perhaps you would like to do that again in the shower as I bathe you?”
“Are you trying to remind me that I have to take a shower?”
“It is not my place, Ma'am, to remind you of your duty. I can only remember my own.”
“You are too damn good. What am I going to do with you?”
“Kiss me, beat me, make me cook you breakfast, Ma'am?”
Donna cracked up laughing. “Okay, okay you win. How is a brat like me going to ever compete with such a paragon of virtue?”
“I am sure you will find a few flaws in my perfection as you get to know me, Ma'am. And I have no wish to compete with you. I wish to serve you.”
Donna gave Junie a frustrated look. “You are no fun to fight with. You never fight back.” Her eyes took on an evil glint and she ran a finger nail up Junie's side and then suddenly attacked Junie's armpits.
Junie shrieked and convulsed under Donna. “Oh god! No! Stop!” Then she dissolved into paroxysms of hysterical giggles, her whole body bucking and twisting. “No, no, no, no! Please, oh god, please stop!” Not once did she try to escape or push Donna's hands away.
Bob's voice cut through the room. “I can see you girls are having fun.”
Donna froze and Junie collapsed under her gasping for air, little giggles still leaking from her lips. Donna grinned, “Good Morning, Master. We were just going to take our shower.”
“Enough of this fucking ‘Master’ bullshit! The next bitch that tries to force this Master label onto me is going to regret she ever heard the word! Now stop the horseplay and get your ass into the shower.” Bob's voice was loud, but he did not sound particularly angry.
Donna wailed in mock terror and leaped from the bed. As she ran into the bathroom she yelled over her shoulder. “It is not my fault, Junie made me do it.”
Junie pulled herself from the bed, her face flushed and sweaty. “Did not.” Her voice was all little girl petulance, but her eyes sparkled.
Bob laughed. “Maybe not, but you loved every minute of it.”
Junie scampered into the bathroom, giggling and nodding.
They hurried through their shower with Bob standing in the bathroom watching them indulgently, running an electric shaver over his face. “No more fucking around, you two. I have plans.” After Junie was finished with washing Donna, he stepped into the shower and pushed Donna out. “My turn. Get dressed. Go make something to eat.”
It was midmorning when they finally were on the road. It was surreal to think about going back to her apartment. In just a few days, the beautiful stone house on the lake, deep in the forest, had become home. But Junie knew she needed to face the damage, to get what few belongings that she could salvage. Her manager had said that the man had broken down her door and that they had to put in a whole new lock. Junie called her apartment manager's number to let her know that she was going to be there in awhile so she could get the new key to her apartment and talk to her about settling the lease.
Junie sighed and made a face. “Damn, I am not sure we can get in, my manager says that the police still have my apartment sealed with crime scene tape.”
Bob pulled the SUV over and looked thoughtful. “Call that police detective Sangstrom, the one you spoke to before, and see if he can do anything.”
It took a couple of calls, but eventually Junie got hold of a police woman that said she was working on the case with Detective Sangstrom. When Junie asked if there was any way she could get some of her personal belongings, Detective Funk said that the crime scene investigator had finished his report and had released the scene. She said she would meet them there to unseal the apartment and ask Junie some questions.
“Okay, we can go ahead. There is a new police person, a woman named Funk who will meet us there and let me in.”
Bob pulled back onto the road. “Good, let’s get this show on the road. Junie, do you have your list?”
“Put a star next to everything that you think you can get done today and read them off to me.”
“Look at apartment, clean up mess, pack clothes, get sewing machine, talk to manager about moving out, take car to repair shop, talk to police, sign papers at work and clean out desk.”
“Way, way too much. Let’s not worry about your work today. And I think that you should not worry about cleaning too much, just enough to get what you need. We can maybe just call a tow company to get your car.”
“I want you to sort out what you want to bring with you to the house. You won't need any household stuff, like dishes, linens, stuff like that. It would be just as easy to donate that stuff to charity.”
Junie spoke up, her voice faltering a little. “I do have some family things, mostly dishes and a few collectibles, which I can't just give away. I will box them up and label them as to which of the kids should get them. I can take them over to my ex-husband's.”
Donna spoke up. “Honey, things are important. They are our history. She will need to have her things with her.”
Bob sounded impatient. “I was not saying she couldn't bring anything. Of course, Junie, bring anything that has emotional significance. There is plenty of room in the garage attic to store anything she wants to hang onto.”
Junie felt a shiver of premonition, “I just hope that guy left me anything to pack.”
Junie was struck by the busy energy of the city. Already her mind had adjusted to the easier, more natural rhythms of her new home. She wondered what all these people were in such a hurry for.
The first thing she noticed was that her car was gone. In her assigned parking spot, a small woman in a leather jacket, dark glasses, and brutally short dark hair leaned up against an unmarked police car, talking on a cell phone as they pulled up. As Junie got out of the SUV, she clicked shut the phone and, pulling off her glasses, held out her hand. “June Thomas. Good. My name is Detective Susan Funk. We were a little worried about you there for awhile.”
“I am sorry. I guess I should have let someone know I was going somewhere.” The detective's eyes were on Bob and Donna, scanning, curious. “These are my friends, Bob and Donna Campbell. They are who I have been visiting.”
The detective held out her hand and gave Bob a quick businesslike handshake. Junie looked around again for her car. “Um... do you know what happened to my car?”
“Crime scene took possession of it. There were some body fluids in the car. We weren't sure if he didn't use it to abduct you, Ma'am. Using the victim’s car was part of his M.O. They had it at the lab, checking for fibers and blood. It should be at the impound lot now.”
Junie swallowed and nodded. “How do I get it back?”
“You can pick it up at anytime. I will give you an address and a case number.”
Bob interrupted, “Could she have a tow truck come get it? It will need repairs.”
“Shouldn't be a problem, sir.”
Always nervous in new situations, Junie was feeling overwhelmed. This little dark-haired detective spoke in quick clipped sentences and seemed almost a cartoon of a police detective. Junie could not help but think of Jack Webb from the Dragnet TV show. She stifled a tiny neurotic giggle, covering her mouth with her hand. Almost unaware of her actions, she turned to walk away, heading back to the SUV.
“Junie.” Bob's voice was soft, but it stopped her. Realizing she was once again running away, mindlessly escaping from something that triggered her fears; she spun and stopped with her eyes on him. The small voice in the back of her head commented that it was amazing how he had done that, stopped her with only one word. He turned to the detective. “Junie has been very shaken by this whole experience. Perhaps you could give me the information, and I will help her with it.”
The detective looked at Junie and then at Bob. Her eyes narrowed and looked thoughtful. “That should not be a problem, as long as that is what Ms. Thomas wants.” She looked directly at Junie. “That is what you want, ma'am?”
“Oh yes, of course.” Junie's voice was relieved.
Bob spoke again. “Junie wants to get a few things from her apartment, clothing, her sewing machine, and a few personal items. Perhaps we could go on up to her place.”
The detective nodded. “I should warn you. The suspect destroyed a lot of things. You should be prepared.”
Junie blinked and took a deep breath. “Okay.”
There was a new door and the door jamb had new wood down one whole side. A yellow tape stretched across the whole thing, with a sign stating that only authorized police personnel could enter. Detective Funk cut the tape and pulled a key out of an envelope and opened the door. Junie could see into her kitchen, it seemed like every single item was out of the cabinets and on the floor, the little table was pushed over and the chairs lay on their sides. Her little television was smashed, lying on the floor next to a large hole in the wall. It was obvious that it had been thrown violently across the room.
The detective nodded. “You go ahead and take a look around in there. I need to get some papers from my car and I will be back up in a few.”
As Junie stepped in, the smell of mold and decay was strong in her nose. The carpet seemed to squish under her feet. Again the urge to run away was almost more than she could resist. She turned and wrapped her arms around Donna, fighting the panic that squeezed at her chest, struggling to breathe.
Donna spoke over the top of Junie's head. “Honey, it would help if you had a little talk with Junie in the hall to help her calm down. I will open a couple windows and try to air this place out.”
Junie felt Bob's hand on her, his fingers were a vice on her arm. His voice was soft in comparison. “Junie, come out into the hall.”
Junie mutely let him pull her out into the hall and stood with her eyes miserably on the floor, her breath coming in short gasps. “Junie, take a deep breath and hold it.” As she inhaled, he nodded. “Good girl, now I want you to remember that we are here. You are not alone. The crap in there is just crap. We will get what we can and leave. Do you understand?” The last sentence was just as soft, but underneath it was his familiar growl.
Exhaling slowly, Junie nodded and whispered softly. “Yes, Sir.”
“When we go back in there, you will remember that you are to not worry about fixing or cleaning anything. Answer all the detective's questions truthfully.”
Junie felt a pang of fear, “Even about Sir James?” Her former online relationship with the married preacher was not something she was proud of.
“I said all her questions.”
This time as she went in, Junie felt calmer. It was a disaster inside, but Junie could see that he had not managed to break everything. A lot of her dishes were still intact. She flinched as she saw that all but one of the delicate china tea cups that had been her grandmother's had been shattered. “Just crap. It’s all just crap.”
As she picked up the single intact teacup, a tear rolled down her cheek and fell into it. She carefully set the cup down and took a deep breath. “Crap.”
Her bedroom was worse. It seemed that the bed had taken most of his rage. Great rents tore through the fabric and it was saturated with what looked like blood. Detective Funk walked in and spoke up. “Crime scene says it is a mixture of ketchup, fingernail polish, and salsa, plus anything he could find around the place that was red. No blood.”
Her clothing was torn to shreds. As far as Junie could tell there was not a single item that he had not systematically cut to pieces. The bathroom stank of smoke and there was a black smear running up the side of the wall above the bathtub. The bathtub was half full of black water and half burned paper, photos, personal records, receipts, letters; the whole contents of Junie's filing cabinet.
“Fuck!” For the first time Junie felt rage. “That fucking son of bitch!” She stomped her foot on the floor, smashing the shards of the broken mirror into smaller pieces.
“Junie, don't hurt yourself.” Bob's voice pulled her attention back to his words.
“Yes, I remember, it is all just crap.” Junie's voice was bitter and angry.
Donna pulled Junie back into her arms. “Sweet, sweet Junie, it was not crap. It is just broken now. We will help you put it back together. Just think you won't have to pack so much now.”
Junie choked down a hysterical giggle. “Yes, I just have to throw it all away.”
“No.” Bob's voice was sharp. “You are not going to stay here any longer than you need to pick up the few things you can salvage. We will pay someone else to clean up this mess.”
The detective spoke up. “Ms. Thomas, I understand that it is difficult to tell, but is there anything here that is not yours? Anything he may have left behind?”
Junie stood and looked around the chaos, blinking away the tears. Peeking out from under her bed seemed to be a coil of rope, once white and now stained with the spilled condiments. “That rope. That is not mine.”
Detective Funk nodded and made a note. “Don't touch it. Crime scene will have to get it. Should have noticed that myself. I have some questions I need to ask you, Ms. Thomas.” Detective Funk looked meaningfully at Bob and Donna. “Privately, Ms. Thomas.”
Donna spoke up. “I am acting as Ms. Thomas' lawyer. If you have any questions I should be present.”
The Detective looked up, surprised, her eyes taking in the tall slender redhead, dressed in casual khaki shorts and light blouse. “You are a lawyer?”
Donna nodded, her eyes sharp, “A member of the State of Washington Bar Association. Do you want to see my card?”
Donna smiled a predatory smile and reaching into her bag pulled out an identification card and a business card and handed both to the detective. She turned and spoke to Bob. “Still comes in handy now and then.”
The Detective seemed uncomfortable. “Well, you can stay if Ms. Thomas requests it, but you both can't stay.”
Bob held up his hand and shrugged. “Junie, I will go see what I can do about getting a repair company to pick up your car.”
After Bob left, Detective Funk looked at Junie. “Ms. Thomas, I am not questioning you because you are suspected of any wrong doing. It is just that the suspect, Samuel Card, is suspected of being involved in a number of disappearances of women... women who are um...” Again she looked at Donna and then Junie. “Women who are into bondage. Women who have been in communication with men over the internet in what's referred to as online bondage relationships. I need to ask you, ma'am, if you have been in one of those type relationships.”
Junie nodded. “I already told Detective Sangstrom that I was in an online relationship. It was a, as you refer to it, bondage relationship. That relationship is over. I am no longer in communication with that man. I am sure that he is not this Sam Card man.”
“We don't think he was. It's beginning to appear that Card passed himself off as some kind of a mentor to men who were in these types of relationships. He would talk to them. Give them advice. Find out everything he could about the women. Not long after that, the women would disappear.”
Detective Funk held out a picture. “Ma'am, have you ever seen this man before?”
Junie looked at the picture of the man with blond hair, mustache and a receding hairline. “Oh my god, he talked to me once. He was outside on the sidewalk, looking up at the building. He asked me about the apartment complex. He said he was thinking about renting here and wanted to know about the building security. Oh god. I actually told him which apartment was mine.” Junie shook her head. “I was so stupid.”
The detective shrugged. “Ma'am, I have some photos of the knives we found in your apartment. I want you to look at them. Is there any here that aren't yours?”
Junie looked at the pictures, one at a time, shuffling through them. She stopped at a picture of a wooden handled hunting knife. “This is not mine. I have never seen it before.”
“Thought that might be the case. Seemed a bit out of place. We found it stabbed into the wall above the bed. No blood on it though. We are still trying to track down the weapon that he used to stab the woman in Oregon.”
“There was another knife.” Donna's voice was thoughtful. “The one he left in your car, Junie.”
Junie nodded and reached into her purse. She had put the plastic bag with the urine stained photo and the knife in her purse before they left to come to the city. She held out the bag. “I found this in my car Friday morning. I think that Sam guy put it in my car after he broke the window.”
The detective's eyes lit up at the bag. “Did you touch that knife, Ms. Thomas?”
Junie made a face. “It had pee all over it. I picked it up with the plastic bag and then turned the whole thing inside out around it. I never touched anything inside the bag.”
“Excellent. That knife looks like it could be the one we are looking for.”
Junie made a face. “My former online relationship guy told him to put it in my car.”
“Ma'am, we need to know the name of that man.”
“Okay, but he really didn't know that this man was going to try and hurt me. He just was tricked by him. I don't think he did anything illegal.”
“We only want to question him about the things that Samuel Card said to him. With each new victim this Card guy would change his computer ISP, his online pseudonyms, even the state he lived in. The only thing we have to track him with is the sort of things he said to the guys he was giving advice to.”
“His name was James Conrad. He lives in Texas.” Junie looked at Donna. “You have his address. It was in my filing cabinet.”
Donna nodded and pulled out a small notebook and read off the address. “This guy won't be happy to hear from you. He is trying to keep his online antics secret from his wife and his congregation. He has offered Junie a bribe of a new car for her to not try to contact him again. In light of the condition of her old car I advised her to accept his offer, as long as he was feeling so generous.”
The detective smiled. “Well, maybe I can have the FBI detectives contact him discretely.”
“FBI?” Junie's voice was shocked.
“He is the prime suspect in two known murders, ma'am, and one attempted murder we know about for sure. The FBI is thinking he may have killed at least a dozen women.”
Junie staggered and swayed. “Oh god. Oh my god.” She walked out of the apartment and into the hall, once again unable to catch her breath.
Donna was beside her quickly. “Sit down, Junie. Sit down on the floor and take deep slow breaths.” After Junie had slid down the wall and sat down on the carpet, Donna looked at the detective. “I think Ms. Thomas has answered enough questions for now.”
“She will still need to make a formal statement. The FBI will need to interview her as well.”
“Not today. You have my number. If you need to contact Ms. Thomas, you can reach her through me.”
The detective had a sour look on her face. “Well, I did not have that many more things to ask anyway.”
Donna crouched down by Junie. “Baby, I did not see your sewing machine. Where did you keep it?”
Junie was still struggling to control her breathing. “Closet… bedroom closet.”
“You stay here. I will go back and see if it is salvageable.”
At the word Ma'am, the detective's head came up, her eyes sharp and measuring. Donna's eyes met hers, challenging. The detective shrugged and turned away.
After Donna turned and walked back into the apartment, the detective spoke softly. “Ms. Thomas, are you okay? Are these people making you do anything you don't want to do?”
Junie looked up, surprised and angry. “These people are my friends. If they had not been there for me, I would probably be dead right now. And no, they are not making me do anything I don't want to do.”
“If you say so, ma'am.”
“I say so.” Junie's voice was final.
Donna came out with Junie's sewing machine in her arms. “It was in the back corner under a bunch of torn up clothes. It doesn't look damaged at all. There was a plastic storage box with some sewing stuff in it that seemed okay, too. I will go get that.”
Bob stood next to the SUV talking with the building manager. “Junie, the manager tells me that the building insurance will cover the damage to your apartment and that they will have no objection to your breaking the lease. I told her that you are going to move out of the city.” He helped them load the sewing machine and box into the back of the SUV.
Donna looked at Junie. “Is there anything else you want to do?”
“I just want to go home. Please, can we just go home?”
That was all that Junie managed to salvage, the sewing machine, a box of sewing patterns and notions, and the single teacup. She rode home with the teacup in her hands, turning it round and round, every once in a while whispering softly to herself. “Crap, it's all just crap.”
Junie stood before the door, watching the wood splinter. She tried to pull air into her lungs, but she could not scream. The door shook and bulged again. He was kicking it in. He was coming in to get her. She wanted to run but her legs could not move. There was nowhere to run. She was trapped. As the door fell in, she saw his face. Finally, a terrified shriek ripped from her throat.
She was sitting up in bed. Bob's hands were shaking her, his voice loud in her ears. “Junie! Junie, wake up!”
Junie looked at him confused, still shuddering in absolute horror. Again he shook her. “Junie!”
Junie shook herself, and drew in a deep gasping breath. “I'm awake. It was a dream, a bad dream.” She looked past Bob into Donna's concerned eyes. “I'm sorry.”
“Hush, little one, I am not surprised. It’s okay. Remember you are safe now. Nothing can hurt you.”
“Yes, Ma'am.” Junie leaned against Bob, her body still trembling, a soft sob shook her and then another.
His arms sheltered her, holding her close and tight. “Let it go. You have been holding this in all day and night. Let it go.” Junie clung to him as she grieved the loss. It wasn't just her belongings; it felt that she had lost something much larger. Suddenly the world seemed like a much scarier place, filled with monsters and lurking danger. It would never be the same again.
Bob held her rocking and crooning, with Donna stroking her hair. Junie cried deep, soft sobs until she fell asleep in his arms.