Northwest Hunters: Finding Happiness:
Junie woke to the familiar feeling of Bob's hand cupping her breast, his fingers teasing her nipple. The pleasant sensations echoed through her, waking her senses, making her aware of her full bladder. Lifting his hand to her lips, she kissed his fingers and slipped from the bed and tiptoed into the bathroom.
Bob was at the bathroom door when Junie came out. She slyly put her finger to her own lips and quietly slipped from the bedroom, leaving Donna still sound asleep, curled in her habitual little fetal position. Junie dressed quickly and started a pot of coffee, and sat idly looking at the list she had started the previous day.
Bob had drawn a line through ‘check her apartment, pack and move’. Junie pressed her lips together, fighting down the urge to start crying again. “It’s crap, it’s just crap.” He had also marked off getting her car fixed. Junie thought back. Bob had mentioned something about finding a repair shop to get her car from the police impound lot. He must have done that.
Bob came out, dressed in his usual worn jeans, work boots and work shirt. “How are you doing, sweet girl?”
“I keep reminding myself that it’s just crap.”
“Well, I could have maybe chosen a better word. I meant that things aren't important. They are just that, things. But Donna is right, things define our history, they speak about the paths we have taken. You probably feel a little adrift right now.”
“I guess you both are right. In some ways I feel sort of freed, like a weight is gone. But at the same time, I feel almost too weightless, like a helium balloon that has been set loose to drift in the sky, like I could completely float away, until I can't see the ground.” Junie's voice quivered and she stood up quickly, taking a deep breath.
As she poured each of them a cup of coffee, she asked, “Is Donna really a lawyer?”
“Yes, she is. She was a lawyer and I was an investment banker. She was a corporate patent lawyer. She had a finger on the pulse of a lot of new technology as it was just being developed. Her knowledge of the new products and my investing skills were a pretty good combination. We both felt very uncomfortable with the life we were leading. The money we made helped us walk away from it all.”
“Donna mentioned that you would help me make some investments so I can have an income when I retire.”
“Not a bad idea. The sooner you start the easier it is.”
“I am not sure I want to retire. I think this is a lifetime gig.”
Bob looked up from his coffee and nodded, his eyes possessive. “Keep thinking that way, girl.”
“Yes, Master, thank you.”
“You are welcome.”
Junie walked with Bob as he took the dogs out for a long walk. Bump tore through the woods at breakneck speed, his ears and tail up, chasing imaginary monsters. Sunny trotted at a more sedate pace, sniffing and marking the trees as he went. The two girls, Honey and Maddy, roamed, but seemed to stay closer to Bob and Sunny. In fact, it was clear that no one seemed to pay attention to Bump as he careened through the woods.
“Bump is sure full of energy.” Junie's voice was amused.
Bob snorted, “Teenagers. He suffers the most when they are penned up all day. Sunny won't tolerate him being rowdy too close by. Watch, for all his crazy running around, he never goes too close to Sunny, or the girls for that manner.”
“How old are they?”
“Sunny is the old man, almost ten. That is getting old for a Golden. Maddy is seven, Honey is six, and the kid over there is just turning one. Maddy and Honey are half-sisters. Bump is Sunny's son by a bitch that a breeder friend of mine owns. Bump is going to be a great dog once he gets over some of that youthful enthusiasm, the heir to the throne.”
Back at the house, Junie got Bob a fresh cup of coffee and then helped brush the dogs. She thought to herself how much she was coming to like this time of day, sitting with Bob, sharing with him a task he clearly loved.
She was so glad to be home. Yesterday had been horrible. She never wanted to go back to the city again. She dreaded the items on that list that meant she would have to go back. “What do you have planned for today?”
“Garden and then building supply. I guess we should get going on making you a nice space of your own.”
“I sure don't need as much space now.” Junie could not keep the sadness out of her voice.
“Sweet Junie, if you are going to be doing that lifetime thing, we should plan ahead. I can't give back to you what you have lost, but I fully intend to fill your life up with new memories, better memories.”
“I guess I am being a bit of a baby. Other people lose their things in fires and disasters all the time.”
“And they feel just as devastated as you do. It's a time for grieving, just don't get stuck there. You were also a victim of a crime and that makes you feel even more vulnerable.”
“I am just grateful for Donna's instincts. If she had not said that thing about him seeming like a criminal... if she had not...” Junie faltered, feeling the terror still swirling in her from her dream of the night before. The image of what would have happened to her if she had been home that Friday night filling her head.
A warm soft tongue on her face startled her, and made her realize she had closed her eyes. Junie smiled down and then paused realizing it was the more reserved Maddy who had sensed her distress and kissed her face. “Hey you, I thought you were still making up your mind about me.”
Bob laughed, “Seems she has decided to approve of your addition to her pack. She has always had good sense and a sensitive spirit.”
Junie impulsively hugged her arms around Maddy's neck. “Thank you, pretty girl. I needed that kiss and the endorsement.” Maddy sat still, accepting the embrace, her tail gently swaying.
After she had finished her breakfast, and cleaned up all the dishes but Donna's, Junie asked, “Ma'am, you have wireless internet here?”
“Yes,” Donna looked up from her toast and granola. “Why?”
“I need to get the settings and password so I could check my email and stuff. I want to order some fabric to sew some new clothes.”
“Oh, of course, you should have said something earlier.”
“Yes, Ma'am. It’s just been kind of busy. The one time I thought of it, you were kind of tied up and I got distracted by those phone messages about the break-in.”
“After I get done eating, I will help you get your computer working.”
“I would appreciate that, Ma'am.”
“There is a nice little fabric and yarn shop in town, run by a local woman. She is a member at the food co-op. She gives all the other co-op members a discount. I am sure if you couldn't find what you want there, she would be glad to order it for you.”
Junie felt a wave of reluctance. She did not want to go to town. She sure as hell did not want to meet anyone new. Her eyes slid from Donna. “I would just like to order it online, if that would be okay, Ma'am.”
“It’s up to you. But I thought you two would get to be great friends. She is a really nice woman.”
Junie nervously got up from the table and began to wipe off the already clean counters. “Yes, Ma'am, I think I will go do some cleaning until you are ready to help me with my computer. No hurry, whenever you have time.” Her voice as evasive, her eyes looking anywhere but Donna, the thought of going anywhere seemed overwhelming.
Junie headed out to sweep off the deck and clean up the clumps of dog hair. She was still outside, deadheading some flowers when Donna called her into the house.
“Bring me your computer.”
“Yes, Ma'am.” Junie went to her room and came back with her laptop and set it down on the table in front of Donna.
“Here are the password codes. Go ahead and try and do it yourself. It should just prompt you through the steps.”
It did not take long and Junie was online. Junie logged onto her online banking and checked her balance. There was a little more in the bank than usual because she had not had any food expenses. She looked through the small handful of bills she had collected from her mail box, and quickly transferred the funds to pay them.
Junie again looked at her balance. Donna had said she would pay her, but Junie expected that at the end of the month. And there was going to be the expense of getting her car repaired. She only carried liability insurance on her car and she had no idea how much the repair of the window, upholstery and cleaning up the urine would cost.
Junie sighed; money had always been one of her biggest worries. Her part time job had barely paid the bills and any unexpected expense could upset her carefully balanced budget.
Junie did have a credit card. She used it to order things online, but was rigorously disciplined to never spend more than she could pay off each month. She toyed with the idea of just buying what she needed and worrying about if she could pay later, but the idea grated on her.
Sighing in frustration she got up and when out to find Bob. He was in the garden replanting a row of greens when she approached. “I saw you marked off getting my car fixed from my list. Do you have the information of what company and how much the repair estimate is? I need to figure out how much I can spend on fabric to sew some new clothes.”
Bob looked up and looked puzzled. “Don't worry about that. I gave them my credit card number. I told them to call me when it was fixed.”
Junie frowned in nervous frustration. “I don't know if I have enough money to pay for it.”
Bob frowned. “What did I just say?” Junie heard the growl in his voice.
“Um... not to worry about it. That you gave them your credit card number, told them to call when it was fixed, Sir.” Her voice took on a sing song repetition.
“It is clear you don't have a hearing problem, and you don't seem to have any trouble remembering what I say. Perhaps you should spend some time thinking about why you are having trouble obeying?”
“Don't make me have you repeat my words again.”
Junie's voice was soft and surprised as the literal meaning of his words finally sank in. “Oh! Oh, don't worry. I am sorry, Sir. I feel so distracted today. It seems all that is in my head is worry.”
“I will try, Sir.” Junie knew the words were empty and useless. Her head was a chaos of thoughts and feelings, there seemed no way to create the order that she so craved, both internally and around her. Junie rubbed at her head in a frustrated attempt to calm her soul.
Junie looked at Bob and whispered softly. “Master, one time, when we were first talking on the computer, you said if I felt like I needed to be punished, I could ask.” He lifted her chin and looked deep into her eyes, seeing the confusion there.
Bob looked at her, and then at the garden. His eyes were thoughtful. Finally he took a hold of her arm and began dragging her toward the house. Shoving her through the back door, he pushed her down onto the couch.
He walked to the kitchen sink and washed the dirt from his hands. He marched past Junie and into his room and returned with the nipple clamps and the crop. He dropped them beside her. His words were clear and compelling. “Stand up. Take those clothes off!”
Junie jumped up and quickly stripped, but as she was carefully folding her clothes, he grabbed her hair and spun her to face him. Junie's hands automatically reached up to her head, trying to ease the pull, but he slapped them away. “Hands down!” Junie could see that Donna had come out of the office, her eyes curious and then cautious. Junie dropped her hands and her eyes.
“No, look in my eyes.” Bob's voice was quieter, but still held unquestionable dominion. Junie's lips were quivering as she looked into his intense blue depths. “Junie, you are troubled. Focus on who your Master is. It will calm your mind.”
Picking up the clamps, he pinched her nipples until they were erect and then snapped the clamps on, ignoring Junie's flinches and gasps of pain. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a length of coarse garden twine and threaded it through one clamp and wrapping it around the back of her neck he tightened it, pulling her nipples up, once more lifting the heavy weight of her breasts. Junie forced herself to breathe softly, each breath pulling at the clamps.
Taking a second longer length of twine, he tied it to the rope at the back of her neck and brought it down between her legs. Stopping to tie a row of knots carefully placed to lie against her most tender flesh and up to her neck again. Pulling it snug enough that if she stood straight it dug painfully between her legs and forced her tits up even higher.
Bob picked up the crop. “Lean over and hold onto the back of the couch.” Junie whimpered in fear and excitement as she leaned over. Every time she moved, her breasts weighed heavily on her nipples and the knots rubbed and chafed against her clit. Junie could feel her cunt heating and swelling, a soft tide of moisture making her thighs slippery.
“Remember to thank me and beg for more.”
“Oh yes, Master. Thank you. Please hit me.” Junie's voice shook with anticipation.
Bob took his time, making sure that the entire surface of Junie's ass was scarlet and welted. She was squealing in pain, sobbing her words almost incoherently by the time he told her to go put on her shoes and come out to the garden.
Junie's mind was floating as she sidled into the garden, her body twisted and hunched in an attempt to keep the knots between her legs from scraping against her clit. As she walked up to him, Bob snapped the crop against her sore ass and gently criticized, “Such poor posture. The knots are there for a reason. Do not avoid them. Take comfort in them. Stand up straight for me.” Junie yelped and stood up, her eyes wet with tears.
He looked her over, checked the tightness of the clamps on her nipples. He quickly adjusted them and Junie noticed he was careful to insure the teeth always bit into in a different place on her swollen sore flesh. Watching closely to spread the torment and protect her from any injury. Finally he crouched down and examined the twine buried deep between her cunt lips. Taking the twine in his fingers he pulled it from side to side, rasping the knots across her clitoris. Junie shuddered in pain and skyrocketing excitement. Automatically, she spread her legs wider, pushing toward his hands and the torment that she was learning to crave. “Thank you, Master.”
“Don't come while you are working.” Bob took one of the pieces of twine attached to her nipples and led her off toward the compost pile. He handed her a spading fork. “Turn the compost. Keep turning it. I will come get you when I want you to stop.” He gave the twine a jerk. “And don't forget your posture.”
“Yes, Master.” Junie stabbed the fork into the pile of garden debris and lifted it and turned it over. The sudden movement made her breasts sway and bounce, tormented her nipples and made the twine between her legs slide and dig relentlessly into her flesh.
Junie forced herself to stand straight and, using her foot, she pushed the tines of the spade deep into the rotting vegetation. This movement was just as painful as the other. Realizing that no matter what technique she used, it was going to be torture, she sighed and muttered, “Take comfort... remember Master... stop worrying...” Using her Master's words as a mantra, she focused on the rhythm, letting the pain roll over her, cherishing it, letting it erase the clamor that had filled her mind since she had picked up the yellow pad and started writing lists.
She had turned the entire pile once and was starting in on a second time when Bob called her to him. Looking deep into her eyes he removed both clamps and let the weight of the rope pull them back across her shoulders, letting them fall to the ground behind her. Junie sighed at the easing of the pressure on her crotch just before the pain swelled in her nipples, erasing any sense of relief.
Rather than tenderly massaging the blood into her nipples, Bob looked at her, watching the pain in her eyes. “Put your hands behind your neck. Arch your back. Beg me to hit your nipples.”
Junie put her hands up, clasping her hands behind her neck, thrusting her breasts out at him. She stammered, “Please, please Master. Hit my nip... nipples.”
Bob began to methodically snap the crop into Junie's nipples and aureoles, each blow wringing a yelp from her lips. Junie could feel herself warming, loosening, her back arching, her breasts seeming to reach toward the pain. Her cries changed to groans; her words begging for more, deeper and vibrant.
Bob's eyes flicked to a garden bench “Lie down on your back.”
Junie lay on the bench her eyes locked on his. Bob pushed her legs apart and growled, “Lift your cunt up, and raise your ass up.” Junie arched, offering herself to him and the sky. “Good. Take the cord, rub it on your cunt, and masturbate with it until you come. As you climax, call out to me. Scream to your Master that you are coming.”
Junie's hands found the cord and began to slowly grind the knots into her flesh. Lost in his eyes, she groaned loudly with the intensity of the sensation. As she felt the tension build, her whole body shaking with her impending explosion, her movements quickened. Junie whimpered a keening squeal and then grated out, “Oh fuck, I am coming!” Then she fell silent, her breath trapped in her throat, her body absolutely still except for the frantic motion of her hand between her legs. Junie balanced on the brink and then fell, her words a confused babble, “Coming, yes, oh, fuck yes. Coming!”
Junie's eyes never left his, until she collapsed and then they drifted closed, as she rode the warm soft waves of the lassitude down. Her whole body reverberated with the drumming of her heart.
Kneeling down Bob gently pulled the twine away from her fingers and cupped his hand, warm and soothing, over her throbbing flesh. He stroked her face and pushed her hair back. “Open your eyes for me, Junie. Show me your obedience.”
Junie's eyes fluttered open. Her eyes were soft and filled with happiness. “Thank you, Master. Oh thank you.”
Bob smiled softly and gently kissed her quivering lips. “Good girl. Go take a shower. Take a nap if you want. Just stop the worry. You have nothing to worry about ever again.”
Junie woke to Donna's hand shaking her gently. “Junie, you need to wake up and get dressed. We have company. The FBI is here and they want to interview you.”
Two men in dark suits were standing on the front deck, looking out toward the lake talking. Junie peered out the window at them. One was older, with a grim weather beaten face. Bald with a fringe of gray hair around the rim of his head, he seemed to be doing most of the talking to the younger man.
All four Golden Retrievers stood on the deck watching these strangers. Bump was excitedly trying to jump up on the younger man. Junie wondered what the man had done to excite the young dog so much. At the same moment, she realized Bob must not be here. There was no way that Bump would be so out of control if Bob was around.
Donna opened the door. “Would you gentlemen like to come in?” They both turned and nodded walking toward the house. Junie fought the urge to run to her room, moving to behind the counter of the kitchen, picking up the dish rag and wiping busily at the shining tile counter.
Junie did not look up when the older agent spoke. “Ms. Thomas, I am Agent Durant, this is Agent Gold. We just want to ask you a few questions and get a formal signed statement from you. It shouldn't take too long.” He had a sharp, acid voice and a southern accent.
Junie glanced nervously at the older agent, “Okay,” and returned to wiping the counter. She looked pleadingly at Donna, “Where is Bob?”
Donna spoke; her words were directed at the FBI agents, but crafted to reassure Junie. “My husband, Bob Campbell, has gone to town to pick up a few things. I expect him home soon. I am Junie’s lawyer and I have advised her to answer all your questions at this time.”
Agent Durant stood quietly for a minute and then spoke again. “Ms. Thomas, come sit down.” It was not a request. His tone was sharp and impatient.
Junie's eyes flashed up at him. He was looking at her directly, the corner of his mouth turned down in irritation. Junie dropped her eyes, edged around the counter and moved toward the table. Agent Gold moved to pull a chair out for her and Junie shrank back away from him.
“Ms. Thomas! I said sit!” All patience gone, the older agent's voice cracked like a whip. Junie found herself almost falling into the chair in her hurry to obey. She caught a pained expression on the face of the younger agent.
Donna stood to one side watching the agents with a curious expression on her face. After the men sat down across the table from Junie, she moved into the kitchen. “Would either of you gentlemen like a cup of coffee? Junie was just mentioning how she wanted a cup of coffee.”
Junie looked up at Donna her eyes confused. Coffee? Why was Donna talking about coffee? She mumbled nervously, “Um, yeah, coffee sounds good.”
Agent Gold smiled and eagerly accepted, but Durant just sat staring at Junie, his eyes calculating. Junie felt a shudder of nervousness. It felt like he was stripping the flesh from her bones with the intensity of his regard. As Donna filled the coffee pot with water and fresh grounds, Agent Gold got out a laptop computer and a small recording device and placed them on the table.
Agent Durant's voice was penetrating. “Ms. Thomas, we are here because we need to find out as much as possible about the suspect Sam Card; how he thinks, what he says, what he does. Other than the woman in Oregon, you and your former online Master are the only ones we have to learn these things from.”
Junie looked at him puzzled, “Why? I thought that they had all the evidence they needed to convict him in the Oregon case. Why do you need to ask me questions?”
For the first time Agent Gold spoke up. “Ms. Thomas, we have compelling evidence that Sam Card has killed other women. We have two unsolved murders and at least ten other women who are missing. The only thing they have in common is...” The young detective stumbled, paused his face turning red.
Agent Durant slammed his fist on the table. “Shut up, you idiot. If you can't talk about bondage without turning red and stammering like an idiot, just shut up!”
Junie jumped and flinched at the loud noise. Donna spoke, her voice firm. “You are guests in my house. I invited you in and I can invite you out.”
The older agent turned to Donna, and for a moment Junie thought he was going to yell at her too. He seemed to swell up and then, took a deep breath. “I am sorry. This whole case has been a series of frustrations. This Samuel Card has covered his tracks very well.” He looked at Junie. “Ms. Thomas, you may have something that could help us. There is little question that you have been involved in what people sometimes refer to as B, D, S, M.” He said the letters one at time, pausing between each one. “All the women that we think that this Samuel Card has killed were online submissives. We have only two survivors, you and the victim in Oregon. The Oregon woman is cooperating, but we need your story too so we can find patterns in this guy's modus operandi. All serial killers have a pattern.”
“But if you have him in custody, what is the point?”
“If we can determine his pattern, we will hopefully be able to identify which of the women that have disappeared are his works. At least it will help us solve some of these cases.”
“So are you?”
“Am I what?”
The agent closed his eyes in frustration. He spoke slowly, enunciating like he was talking to a child. “Submissive.”
Junie turned to Donna, her eyes alarmed. Donna shrugged, “Answer the man's question, Junie.”
“Yes, sir, I guess I am.”
“At least we have that out of the way. You gave the name of a James Conrad as the man you were engaging in these bondage behaviors with. Is that correct?” His voice was still patronizing.
Junie was beginning to feel increasingly angry at the way this man was talking. Her voice took on a sarcastic edge. “Yes, I engaged in bondage behaviors with that man.” Her face was red, and her eyes were furious.
Donna interrupted, “Agent Durant, how familiar are you with the lifestyle?”
The FBI agent frowned at being interrupted. “I know what I need to know.”
Donna flushed and she blinked a few times. Deliberately mocking his contemptuous tone and his southern accent, she taunted, “Then perhaps you would be aware that your manner is insulting and embarrassing to someone who is a member of this so called B, D, S, M lifestyle.”
At this moment Bob came in the back door. He stopped and took in the scene. He could tell that Donna was furious and struggling to control her temper. Just as clearly, Junie looked miserable, sitting at the table her head lowered between her hunched shoulders. He did not know who these two men were, but the huge black car parked by the garage had feds written all over it, feds or the mafia.
Donna looked up clearly relieved that he was back. “Bob, good, the FBI is here to interview Junie.”
“That would explain the characteristic large black car in the driveway.” Bob held out his hand, a broad smile on his face, but his eyes were guarded.
Donna spoke up again, “This is Agent Durant and Agent Gold.”
Bob nodded and sat down next to Junie; he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her to lean against him. “It seems like this interview has Junie a little upset. I am not sure what has been going on around here, but I will not tolerate disrespect in my house.” His tone was final.
Agent Durant exploded, “What the hell is the matter with all you people? Every time I try to interview one of you I get stonewalled.”
Bob nodded. “Well, you should understand that 'us people' are very used to being treated like we are freaks. We are either judged as being somehow sinning against some religion, being some kind of domestic violence criminals, sexual deviants or rapists, and somehow worst of all suffering the dirty minded curiosity of small minded voyeurs that get titillated and then turn up their noses. We naturally avoid the limelight. Treat us with respect and you will find we are pretty much normal people, normal people with feelings and pride.”
Agent Durant frowned. “It was not my intention to treat any of you with disrespect.”
“That is a good start. What is it you need to know from Junie?”
“We need to know how she met this James Conrad, exactly what kinds of things were said to Ms. Thomas, and what kinds of acts they engaged in.”
Junie made a distressed squeak.
Bob raised a suspicious brow, “Why?”
“There is some compelling evidence that Samuel Card was in frequent communication with the males that were participating in these online...” Agent Durant seemed to hesitate, for the first time trying to find more appropriate words.
“…Relationship! It was an online relationship. It is sometimes referred to as an LDR or long distance relationship because the two parties involved cannot be together because of distance or other more complicated social barriers.” Junie's tone was defensive, but she had found her voice and it seemed her nervous embarrassment was gone for the moment.
Bob gave her an encouraging squeeze. “Good girl, all they need is for you to tell them how it really is.”
Junie nodded. “I met James Conrad in a chat room. Do you know what a chat room is?” She had to make a conscience effort not to speak down, like he had been.
Agent Gold spoke up. “Yes, ma'am, it's an online website where people can have real time text conversations.”
Junie nodded, “It was a chat room dedicated to people who were interested in talking about bondage. I met him there, his chat name was Spurrs. I did not learn his last name until about a week ago; he just had me call him Sir James. We talked for a while and then we...” Junie took a deep breath. “...we cybered.” She raised her eyes up from the table and stared challengingly at the FBI men, “Do you know what that is or do you need me to explain that?”
Agent Gold's eyes never left the laptop that he was furiously typing on. Agent Durant waved his hand dismissively. “Don't care about that kind of stuff. Just want to know details. Was there a time when he seemed to be acting on the orders of someone else? Were there things that seemed out of character or that he was pressured about? Were there words or phrases that seemed repetitive? Those are the things I am looking for.”
Junie looked at him askance, “I can't remember every single thing he said to me, every time we talked for the last year.”
“Was there a time when he seemed to change?”
Junie paused, leaning against Bob, relaxing and her brow creasing. “It was about three months ago...” Her voice was soft. “Around the time he stopped trying to get me to do things in public. He started getting a lot... um... harsher. He seemed to want to hear me in pain more than... um... well, in pain more. And he started to talk about me playing with other people.”
Bob spoke up this time. “Play is slang for engaging in bondage play, with or without sex.” Bob's voice took on a bemused tone. “I have always thought it was an odd choice of words. It seems so superficial for something that has such potential for depth of expression and experience.”
Agent Durant looked up at him clearly irritated at the digression. “Yes, yes.” He looked at Junie. “Go on, you mentioned other people.”
“Yes, he talked about finding guys to set me up with, but I wouldn’t do that. He would have me pretend that he was someone else. He kept talking like he was someone else, someone he had sent to um... punish me... or um... rape me. But, it was a fantasy thing... role playing.”
Detective Durant nodded. “Go on. Did these other persons he spoke about have a name or some identifying characteristics?”
“No, no names. That was the point. I wasn’t supposed to know who they were. They were strangers. But they always carried a knife and threatened if I 'did not please them' they would... stab me... um...” Junie's voice faltered and dropped to a whisper. “...in my private parts. He said he would 'fuck my bloody cunt with it'. Those were the words he used every time. He had never talked like that before.”
Agent Gold's head jerked up from the laptop. “Bingo.”
Junie's voice was soft and full of horror. “The knife he left in my car, it was stabbed through a picture of me, a nude picture. The knife was stabbed right between my legs, through my...” Junie stopped and swallowed.
Agent Gold's voice was both excited and clinical. “It is central to all Samuel Card's murders, the obsession with knives and the ritual mutilation of his victim's genitals.”
Junie's hands were shaking so hard that her coffee slopped onto the table as she lifted it to sip. She gagged as she swallowed. “I feel sick. He was going to do that to me. I was so lucky.”
Donna spoke up, “Luck, fate, part of what the pattern wills. They all mean the same thing. You were meant to live, perhaps to help end this evil man's actions.”
“Is there anything else you need from Junie?” Bob seemed to have had enough of having these men in his house.
Agent Gold looked up. “We will need a formal signed statement about the knife in her car. It will be presented in evidence in the case against him in Oregon. It had his fingerprints on it and there was her DNA on it as well.”
Junie's mouth went dry. “He stabbed her?”
Agent Gold looked up from the laptop. His eyes flicked to Agent Durant and then at Bob. “Yes, ma'am.”
“Is she all right?”
Agent Durant interrupted, “As a rape victim, her identity has been kept confidential. She was seriously injured. It was a miracle that she survived at all. It will be a long time before she is fully recovered physically. She will carry scars both physical and emotional for the rest of her life.”
Junie felt a tear run down her cheek. “Could you tell her I am sorry? Could you tell her... um... thank you for being brave enough to testify against him. Tell her if there is anything I could do to help her...” Her voice trailed off.
As Agent Gold went back to the big black sedan, saying he had a mobile printer set up in the trunk, Agent Durant went back out to the front deck. Junie withdrew into a little flurry of cleaning, almost obsessively wiping the counter and then rearranging some things in the cupboards. Donna watched her with an understanding look on her face, letting her soothe herself with old habits.
Bob followed Agent Durant out to the deck. Both men stood looking at each other for a while. Bob broke the tension, “How long have you been after this guy, this Samuel Card?”
“The first victim we became aware of was a body dumped in a lake in Louisiana seven years ago. There were some pretty unusual knife wounds on the corpse. I knew right then that we were looking at a serial killer. No one else wanted to believe it. They were very sure that the killer was the man she had been having online conversations with. He had been having her role play some scenes that were almost identical to her murder. But he had a rock solid alibi; there was no way he could have done it. Then they tried to find someone else she may have told about the role play stuff, like it was something she was asking for. It took a second victim in New Hampshire two years later, for them to start to take my serial killer theory seriously.”
What makes you think that there are more?”
“It’s all on their computers. The same stories being played out, over and over again, only with different men all the time. We finally got a break when one of the men admitted he had been getting the ideas from a third man. We tracked the email conversations to a guy, but he was long gone. We only got a rough description of him, age and race, but all the names he used were false. He has always been a step ahead of us. It seems he changes his name, his online pseudonyms, his ISP address, the town he lives in, everything, after each victim. Another trouble is he has gotten better at hiding the bodies. We were hoping that we could get a line on that, but so far nothing.”
“Have you learned much from the Conrad guy in Texas?”
“I want to question him personally. This is my case. I was there when they found the first victim. I am headed to Texas next. Agent Gold is from the Seattle office. If Ms. Thomas thinks of anything else she should contact him.”
“This James Conrad, he threatened Junie with embarrassment and also with having Samuel Card come and punish her. I am pretty sure that he had no idea what kind of a monster he had gotten tangled up with.”
“Yes, that is how it was for all the men. They were all pretty horrified.”
“Well you should know that when this Sir James guy threatened Junie, she told Donna and me. We did a little investigating on our own. Junie had his mailing address and we hired a private investigator and found out his name and that he is a Baptist minister. We made it very clear to him that we were not going to let him hurt Junie. We told him we would expose him to his wife and church if he persisted in harassing her. He was very motivated to comply with our suggestions. He even offered to buy Junie a new car to replace her damaged one.”
Agent Durant looked sharply at Bob. “I am sure he was really happy about that.”
Bob's laugh was humorless. “He was not happy.”
The FBI agent turned to look out over the lake. He cleared his throat. “I am just trying to get my head around this. Do you mind if I ask you some questions?”
“I don't have a problem with questions.”
“Why do they do it?”
“Why do who do what?”
“Why do these women let men like you mistreat them?”
“You are way over the line with that one. It shows how little you understand about what really is going on. I never have mistreated a woman in my life. I worship women. I count myself lucky to be a part of their existence.”
Agent Durant looked at Bob, clearly trying to listen, but at the same time stubbornly holding onto what he knew. “Aren't you their Master?”
Bob began to laugh. The sounds of his amusement rang out across the lake and echoed back of the far hills and came back to them. “Master… I am starting to hate that word. I do not own these women any more than they own me. We have a wonderful symbiotic relationship. They need me. I need them.”
“That's the thing that has me the most confused. The way the women seem to be drawn to these guys.”
“Now you are getting to the heart of the matter. It is exactly that. Women are drawn to men. Men are drawn to women. It is the nature of our genders. The male and the female are like the poles of magnet. It is the very essence of the male and female to be drawn to one another. Dominants and submissives are polar opposites as well and we are even more powerfully drawn to one another.”
“But why the whipping, the humiliation, the violence? It seems the very antithesis of love and trust.”
Bob sat down and put his feet up. “It is interesting that you speak of trust. If a submissive gives herself into the hands of a Dominant, it is the absolute epitome of trust. It is a submissive's nature to find fulfillment in the gifts she gives; the service, the respect, the love she shares. Without an outlet for this drive to serve, to submit, a submissive is frustrated. Instinctively she will be drawn to anyone whom she can serve, even to abusive men who will mistreat them.”
Agent Durant nodded, “Okay, I get that, but it still does not explain the whips and stuff.”
“There are two separate reasons for the infliction of pain. One is simple and biological. Pain and pleasure are closely linked in the human brain, for some more than others. A little or a lot of pain, depending upon the individual, can enhance sexual pleasure immeasurably.”
“Yes, I understand. That’s the 'M', masochism.”
“Well masochism as well as the psychological enjoyment of the idea of pain, humiliation and helplessness. The other reason is the trust. The giving of oneself over to another completely, pushing and testing that limit, surrendering to the will of another. Pain is only a small part of it. It is the rituals of surrendering to the pain, to the will of the Dominant. It is a dance that defies description. All I can say is that the emotional intensity of the bond generated by such rituals is boundless. It is bondage beyond ropes and chains. It is a binding of the very spirits of the Dominant and his submissive.”
“Are you a sadist?”
“Do I get sexual enjoyment solely from inflicting pain? Not really. I enjoy looking at women who are aroused. I make sure that what I do arouses the women I am with. That arouses me. I very much thrive on the power and control. When a woman surrenders to me, trusts me. It speaks to me. I am the Dominant around here. Donna calls me the boss dog. This is my territory. Those girls are members of my pack.”
Agent Durant shook his head. “It is beyond me.”
Bob stood and stretched. “It is that lack of understanding that we face every day. All we ask is that you don't pathologize what you do not understand. It is our life. It is how we need it to be. All we ask is acceptance.”
“But it is getting women killed.”
“Don't blame the victims. I agree that their need to be subjugated may have made them more vulnerable. But there have been serial killers in the past who killed children because they were vulnerable, or prostitutes, or the elderly. It is the nature of a predator to select the target that fits his pathology. I would be curious to learn about this Samuel Card's past that he chose submissive women as his targets.”
“We are having a lot of trouble finding out anything about him. He is not talking. We can't even figure out if Samuel Card is his real name. His fingerprints aren't on record anywhere except in relation to these crimes. We are hoping that as this case breaks we will get some people who come forward who maybe know who the hell he is and where he came from.”
Bob shook Agent Durant's hand. “Well good luck. I don't envy you your job.”
Bob stood and watched the big black sedan with the two agents as it made its way down the drive. Agent Gold had managed to get him to one side and muttered quick thanks for their help. “Sorry about Durant. He is taking this whole thing way too personally. He is losing perspective. He was way out of line in there, yelling at Ms. Thomas. I am going to talk to the head office about maybe pulling him off the case.”
Bob shook his head. “Not until after he interviews the Conrad guy in Texas. I think he will do a good job there. Agent Durant has just the kind of insensitivity that will resonate for that bastard. In fact you can tell him that in my opinion, James Conrad will respond very well to his methods of interviewing a witness. Conrad is weak and a coward. He will be easy to intimidate. As a Dom he betrayed a very sacred trust when he put Junie at risk. I hope Durant makes him squirm. I wish I could be there to watch.”
Agent Gold laughed and handed Bob his business card, “Well thanks for letting us invade your home. If Junie thinks of anything else, call me please. If I have any questions about BDSM, could I contact you, in relation to the case of course?”