Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Here is a story created by my daughter from the phrase; "Sometimes the Dragon Wins." There are three of us in our family who like to write, so we give a phrase every week and have until Friday to write as little or as much as our imaginations allow. My son's stories will be on the next posting. Mine isn't done yet.

Sometimes the Dragon Wins
by Emily Carson
He sits poring over the police report, the crime scene photographs, the coroner’s reports, and the tentative timeline. His name is Don Glasser and he is a profiler for the FBI. It is his job to analyze crime scenes and provide a profile of a possible suspect. As he has so many times before, he allows himself to imagine the crime as it happened.
Sarah Breckner tucks her four year old son, Stevie, in for the night. It’s a little chilly, so she shuts the window above his bed. Or tries to; it sticks and she can’t quite get it all the way down. She settles for shutting the blinds and giving Stevie an extra blanket. Sarah goes downstairs. She has trouble getting to sleep most nights; as is her habit, she turns on the television and lays down on the couch. It isn’t long before the droning noise has lulled her into a doze.
Outside, an intruder cuts through the screen of a living room window. He uses a hammer and a screwdriver to break the lock. Sarah stirs in her sleep, but it’s been a long day. She doesn’t awaken.
Quietly, the intruder climbs inside the house. He leaves footprints in the mud beneath the window, as well as a track on the floor. No fingerprints; he’s wearing gloves. He approaches Sarah, quietly, so quietly. She mutters in her sleep. Quickly he bends over her and clamps his hand over her mouth. She awakens, struggles, bites her lip, drawing blood.
Don takes a sip of coffee and grimaces. It’s from the bottom of the pot, thick as mud and bitter as death. This is the part that frightens him most; it’s easier to figure out what happened at the crime scene than it is to read the mind of the criminal. Yet that is what he is expected to do, it’s what he’s been trained for, to analyze the behavior of a suspect and provide a personality. What was this assailant thinking?
He jumps on Sarah, straddling her, pinning her down. Sarah is a strong woman; she runs nearly every day and swims three times a week. Fear makes her stronger, fear for her child and herself. She fights him, scratching his face. He hits her, sending the back of her head against a lamp. Her nightgown twists around her body as she struggles, leaving chafe marks on her neck and armpits. She backhands him, leaving bruises on her knuckles. Her struggle enrages him; he hits her again and again, breaking her nose, blacking an eye.
The assailant brings out his knife. It’s a hunting knife, made to dress deer and other game. He stabs Sarah through the right forearm, the knife going between the radius and ulna bones. Sarah screams. The noise finally wakes Stevie. He runs to the top of the stairs but doesn’t go down.
The assailant stabs Sarah four more times, two mortally. One punctures a lung, the other slashes the aorta.
“Mommy!” The intruder looks up. He didn’t expect a child. He runs out.
Sarah gets up. As her life is ebbing away, she knows she has to call for help. She staggers toward the kitchen and the telephone. It’s so far and she is so weak. So much blood . . .
Stevie runs down the stairs. He is crying hard now, and he wants his mother to be OK. He clings to her leg as she tries to get to the kitchen. Her blood drips down on his hair and inside his pajama top.
She’s almost there. “Please,” she gasps, not sure who she is entreating. She can feel the strength leaving her legs. Her knees buckle as she grasps the phone. She collapses on the floor, spent. Stevie huddles beside her, still crying as his mother breathes her last . . .
Don rubs his temples. One of his migraines is coming on, making his left eye water and left hand feel weak. He shuffles the papers in front of him, trying to piece the suspect together. From the footprints, he was about 6’4’’, weighing between 260 and 300 lbs. Sarah had his DNA under her fingernails, but this is either a first offense, or the perp has been careful till now, because they haven’t got a match from criminal records. Don thinks it’s more likely that the UNSUB, or unidentified subject, has been careful. Most criminals don’t start out breaking in and attacking. If the UNSUB had any record, it would be for window peeping or breaking and entering.
Since the man ran after he saw Stevie, Don doesn’t think he was stalking Sarah. A stalker would’ve expected the child. Sarah was well-off and attractive. It’s possible the man only had robbery on his mind, but got other ideas when he saw Sarah asleep on the couch. Entering, the UNSUB was organized. He had the knife and the tools. When he couldn’t control Sarah, he became disorganized. He left the tools under the window and the knife on the living room floor. This tells Don that he hasn’t attacked anyone before; any further crimes will begin blitz-style, with the UNSUB using maximum force to subdue his victims. He’ll have learned from this failure.
No fingerprints, no composite sketch. One witness, a traumatized four-year-old. Don writes his profile, but isn’t hopeful. Unless this man attacks again, or is arrested on an unrelated charge, it’s not likely he’ll be found. Stranger crimes, ones with no connection between the victim and the perp, are among the hardest to solve. By all accounts, no one who knew Sarah Breckner wished her ill. It appears she was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Don lets out a frustrated growl, shoving some of the paperwork off his desk. He makes a promise then, one to Stevie and his mother, that he will not give up. He will keep fighting and looking for clues. Despite this, something one of his mentors at Quantico once said runs through his head: “Sometimes the dragon wins.”

1 comment:

Mary C said...

Wow, Emily, great tension. I realy felt the fear and the struggle, you did a great job. the frustration of the policeman the terror of the child, even the viciousness and startled confusion of the killer.