Blue tape and eleven pushpins held the global map to the hotel suite’s wall. Rogan studied each point individually, assessing the progress of the crimes. He’d gone over it a hundred times, but still missed whatever linked them.
Lining up his notes he reviewed the information: dates, times, names of towns, addresses, names of the victims. Only the dates showed any order. Today was next in line for a hit. Rogan pinched the bridge of his nose. Nothing else stood out. It was impossible for the serial killer to be so random, yet no identifiable pattern existed.
Evan, his assigned partner and best friend, sat at the edge of the couch, flipping through news channels. Both hoped to find a clue to the next location before another plastic bead screamed bloody death from the map.
Rogan paced in frustration. Maybe he had over-thought the whole thing. He turned his attention to the blaring TV in the middle of the room. An advertisement for an upcoming World Heavyweight Boxing Championship flashed across the screen. Two contenders appeared for a split second before Evan switched channels. Tattooed numbers on the shoulder of one of the men caught Rogan’s attention. Instinct tightened his gut.
“Go back to the boxing ad, I think I saw something.”
Police tape and crying neighbors now played across the screen.
“Hold on, I think we might have something here.”
Impatient, Rogan grabbed the laptop and brought up the Championship information. The boxer in question had tattooed the location of every title win on his shoulder. Maybe that was it.
Rogan quickly logged in to the company’s GPS website and punched in the crime addresses. He scribbled them down in order and did some comparisons. The math genius part of his brain kicked in and it all came together. He punched in a new location. A place called Gilbert, Arizona, showed up.
“We’re headed to the heat.”
Evan either didn’t hear or was too focused on the details of the drive-by shooting to respond.
The satellite image on the computer rolled around dropping closer to earth until an abandoned-looking house and a grove of dying citrus appeared in the dim pre-dawn of the desert. Opening another screen he pulled up the town’s website and scanned through it in less than a minute. Nice town. He hoped they weren’t too late.
Ready for Evan’s full attention he pushed the power button on the TV.
“Hey, what’re you doing?”
Placing the open laptop on the coffee table in front of them he sat next to Evan.
“We should find him holed up in this barn,” he said as he pointed to the run-down structure on the satellite image.
“What? How did you—”
Rogan bounced his leg anxious to get moving. Although it didn’t show much, enough light peeked over the distant mountains for the pair to discern their meeting place. They studied it together, committing the image to memory.