Hankins looked at his watch. It was 7:00 PM dark and cold. He was bored with his new life in Georgetown as an indoor house painter. It paid less than his Oriental rug store in Charleston and the work was much harder. His urge to kill had grown until he couldn’t think of anything else. His last foray to Myrtle Beach produced nothing. But, he never looked beyond the hotel lobby. He felt he had graduated from taking any young woman available. He wanted to kill someone whose disappearance or death would make the national media news scene. In the past he had worked like a trapper, setting the trap and waiting until a young woman came close enough to be grabbed. Now he was going to be the hunter. He would search an area until he saw someone with class and money. The type of car, the dress and the shops the potential victim visited now defined his search criteria. He was going tonight. The urge was strong, but he must not settle for anything less than he deserved.
Kelly, following Kathy’s instructions about keeping only a casual watch on Hankins, missed him leaving his garage. The light was on in his apartment and she assumed he was there. He was now sitting in his Ford Explorer watching the front door of the well-lighted shop. Hankins had noticed a fashionable jewelry shop in North Myrtle Beach on a previous hunting excursion. From his parked car, Hankins could clearly see the interior of the store. His plan was good. He had only been in place for 30 minutes, yet had seen two very desirable targets. Now he was watching a young woman of his dreams shopping for what looked like diamond earrings. He had seen her park her car a half-block from the jewelry shop. She went into a high-end dress store near where she parked and was now in his hunting area. A car moved from a parking place next to her Lexus. Hankins didn’t even think. He just slid the Explorer in next to the Lexus on the driver’s side.
He could still see the front door of the dress shop but not the interior. He knew she was alone. All he had to do was wait. He decided to use his cane and a shopping bag of empty boxes as props. Hankins was waiting in a secluded spot three cars away from the Lexis. He saw her leave the dress shop with an armload of packages. When she walked between the cars with her purchases, Hankins was only a few steps behind. As his prey approached the driver’s door of her Lexus, Hankins stumbled, dropping his packages between their cars. She turned around, saw the man with a cane trying to retrieve his dropped parcels, and bent down to help him.
Muttering apologies, he took his ether-loaded cloth out of his bag and pressed it tightly against her face. No one saw the struggle. In less than 30 seconds, she was on the floor in the back seat and under a blanket. He put her packages in her car, closed and locked the Lexus door, and drove out of the shopping area onto the service road. He found an isolated spot and bound his victim with duct tape. He hated handling duct tape while wearing gloves.
This one was too good for his usual routine of torturing his catches and then quickly killing them with his signature counterclockwise neck twist, while he shot images of the moment life left. Dumping the battered bodies was a mere housekeeping chore. He never gave it a thought and never went back to the dumping place. He had his digital images to awaken his memories.
This one would be different. He was going to take her home. He knew it was dangerous, almost madness. But, the urges were strong, stronger than ever, and she was special. Even her looks. Blonde with a page boy haircut, the stylish black skirt, white ruffled blouse and black short jacket. Good legs in stockings and high black pumps that showed them off. It was the eyes that surprised him. He had never seen more beautiful eyes. They were almost violet. He needed another look. The pictures would be sensational. Maybe he would have to post them someway.
Home was only 15 more miles. The plan was coming together in his head as he drove. He heard some stirring in the back. That was okay, she couldn’t shout or even move about. He planned on driving straight into the garage. Thank God, it had a remote opener, a decrepit one but it worked. She would stay in the car until he readied a place for her upstairs. If she would be quiet, they could talk. He wanted to hear all about her. For a while she could remain dressed, and he would be nice to her. If she refused to do as he asked, the rules would change. He would have to make that clear. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair.
He realized he hadn’t even thought about the man from Herat or his work with the terrorist. He heard the news reports on his TV about the violence in Charleston and knew who was responsible. He was so lucky. If it hadn’t been for the fire that burned his shop and killed five of the terrorists, he would have been involved in that mess and would now be dead. They would never find him, and his woman would help him not to worry about them.