At 9:30 PM, Kelly was driving toward Hankins’ apartment for another check, when she saw the gray Explorer pulling into the garage under his apartment. She continued for another block, then pulled into a strip mall. She could see the lights in the apartment come on. Kelly wondered about the change in Hankins’ daily pattern. Other than the time he drove up to the hotel bar at Broadway at the Beach, he had not been out at night since they had him under surveillance. Could that sick bastard have been out hunting? It was dark at 6:30 PM. He had barely time to hunt a subject, torture and kill her and get back to his apartment in three hours. Maybe he struck out again. Maybe he was just doing some scouting. She decided to watch the apartment for another hour. His lights were always out by ten. Kelly thought she would stay until Hankins turned his lights out. At 2:30 AM, his light went out. What could that squirrel be doing so late at night? Kathy said he wasn’t a reader and didn’t seem to be a devoted big screen TV watcher. He didn’t drink. He was up and on his way to work before eight in the morning. Kelly planned on being in a stakeout position before seven tomorrow morning. Kathy had told her that when a subject changes his or her pattern there is a reason. She would find it out tomorrow.
Hankins had no trouble getting his prey up the narrow stairs into the small, dingy apartment. She was still groggy. He guessed she only weighed about 115 pounds. He was so pumped her weight was nothing. He dumped her taped up body on the unmade double bed. Wondering who she was, he opened her purse and took out her wallet. She was Sally Ann Bradford, age 25. He noted her ring and decided she must be Mrs. Bradford. Her driver’s license was from Durham, NC. Apparently she was here as a tourist. Unless her husband was also here, maybe no one would be looking for her for a while. Her car parked in front of the dress shop would alert the police. No pictures of kids in her wallet or in her iPhone. She had a checkbook, a couple of credit cards and $500 in cash.
The woman opened her eyes and tried to scream. Hardly a sound escaped. Good, he could leave her in the apartment when he went out. With her hands and feet secured, she would be helpless and couldn’t make any noise. Hankins walked past the bed into his orderly kitchen and picked up a serious cutting knife. Coming back, he showed her the knife and said he was going to take the tape off her mouth. If she screamed her face would get cut. A scar to remind her of their date. With panic in her eyes, Mrs. Bradford nodded she understood. He ripped the tape off, messing up her makeup. The knife blade was nearly touching her face. Hankins saw she was trying to talk. Finally he understood she needed some water. He put a hand under her head and gently tipped the glass. After drinking she tried to talk again, but he stopped her. Going into her purse, he found lipstick and blusher. Telling her to be still, he patched up her makeup. Standing back, examining his handiwork, he thought, this one is special. The best I have ever captured. I must be careful not to destroy this opportunity. He also thought, I must be crazy to have brought her here. I want to talk to her, but if I wait too long, fear, stress and tears will take her beauty away before I can capture the moment of death.
Just having her here gives me problems I’ve never had before. I want to keep her for some days but she will have to eat, use the bathroom and even bathe. It’ll be risky to leave her alone for more than an hour or so. If I kill her tonight those problems go away. I’ll still have to get rid of the body. That means keeping a dead woman in my apartment until after dark tomorrow. It was now 2:30 AM and he still hadn’t made up his mind. Even as frightened as she was, he enjoyed talking to her. It’s surprising what you can learn about someone in a very short time, if they are motivated to answer all your questions. He even answered some of her questions. She asked if he was going to rape her. He laughed and said no, he wasn’t interested in sex. He could tell from her eyes that his answer made her more frightened. He wanted to tell her that real power was the power to decide between life and death, including how and when. That was purity. Death was clean. No shades of gray. No judgments about good or bad. In comparison, sex was tawdry, full of delusions and illusions. Hankins was certain she would not understand. A discussion like that could ruin the moment and beauty of death.
Just after 2:30 after giving her another drink of water and helping her to the bathroom, he used his ether pad and put her to bed using the last of his duct tape. Tomorrow he had to get some more and a couple of frozen or carryout meals. Nothing else was on his agenda.