Numbered
Chapter One


"They'll find me sooner or later, but just not now," he thought, carefully planning the next few minutes. Peter Leland briefly glanced out of his rear view window before parking his car in the empty lot. He had been surveying the scene for weeks and it proved to be the best of places. It was desolate; no one was going to bother him. He wasn't going to leave any clues…well, at least the ones that mattered. After all, he still had more victims – and Peter Leland wanted all the credit.

Tonight, John Wepth is going to be a lucky man. He's going to be victim number one.

I was now speeding towards the new crime scene on the corner of Beech and Bethal. I had just picked up some take out from Chinatown on my way home when I received a call on my cell phone. My partner was dead.

My tires skidded to a stop as I reached the parking lot, red and blue lights standing out in the dark night, a paramedic unit beside a couple of police cars. "Chris Everett," I said flashing his badge to the cop at the tape as I jumped out. "How did it happen?"

The older cop let out a heavy sigh. He'd been on the force fifteen years and he had the fortunate chance of not facing a homicide on his simple patrol duties – until now. "He was grabbed from behind, his throat slit. That's all I know."

"Where's the body?"

"Forensics are at it now. The head of the team is over there. Mitchell."

At three in the morning it was pretty empty, even if the parking lot was at the heart of the city. I looked at the scene around me: the parking lot contained very little cars and a couple of police officers were asking the scarce passer bys if they had seen anything. In the middle of it all, surrounded by a ten-foot radius of yellow police tape was a man I had known well– John Wepth.

We had teamed up on Wepth's last case, which happened to be his first, when a dead body turned up in a canal. The man had been tied to substance abuse, Wepth's area of narcotics, while my specialty was homicide. We ended up arresting a man who we had tied to the both drug dealing and the murder.

Wepth was twenty-seven, just receiving a raise to a special department after four years of standard patrol duty. If any cop wanted to become a specialized officer, it was his dream to be promoted at the end of the fourth year, but that wasn't Wepth's dream. No, he wanted to have a family. And now he'd never see that dream. Ever.

"We're almost done here, Everett," Amy Mitchell said, taking another picture of the perimeter. "Give my team ten more minutes. Then you can look at the scene yourself before paramedics take the body."

"Is there anything?" I asked. I had worked with Mitchell countless times, and in my mind, she was the best. Nothing seemed to pass her eye.

"We have a foot partial from the loose gravel but nothing more. We're going to have to take him to the Coroner's though to ID the bruises on his arms. We might be able to get something off it, but I doubt it."

My eyes were stuck to Wepth's body. I didn't even notice Amy waving a white-gloved hand in front of my face. "You okay, Chris? I heard he was your partner."

"Yeah, he was," I said, adverting my eyes, from his body. "You have fifteen minutes," I said looking at Amy again, "then the scenes mine."

"I only need ten, Everett."

Ten minutes passed too slowly as I watched Mitchell and her team finish combing the scene. Mitchell was true to her word and handed the scene over to me in ten minutes with nothing new. My team arrived shortly after I had talked with her. We knew it was a homicide – but we also knew it could be the start of something bigger. Killers didn't sign their victims unless they wanted to be heard. And by god, this bastard was going to be heard.

"Do we have a description?"

Gedis, a member of my team spoke up. "We got a eye-witness saying that they saw a man walking briskly by, semi-long hair, face down with hands shoved in his jacket pockets. We got nothing more than what he was wearing and a possible height. About 5'7"."

"Update the patrol cars. Tell them to question anyone with that description. We'll check the files later. Now's the time to try and see if he's still out there."

As I deftly walked over to the Wepth's body, I noticed the paramedics had already covered the corpse with a gray tarp. I kneeled down onto the pavement and pulled the tarp away, reveling his cold and lifeless body. "Shit…" I breathed. Right there in front of me was a big 'O' on the side of his neck. I guessed it was the start of 'one' that the cop had told me about. It wasn't enough to slit his throat. No, this guy had to label him.

The education at the police academy told me not to lay a hand on a suspect. Years on the job proved it wise not to provoke a fight. Lawsuits were brought about and cases were lost because of fights, but now I knew why some guys wanted to punch the living hell out of the guy they were chasing. It got personal.

I was about to pull the tarp over his body when I noticed the edge of a white card sticking out of his pocket. I knew better than to touch it.

"Mitchell!" I yelled. "I think you missed something on the body."

She came running over with her lab case in hand. "What'd I miss?"

I pointed to the piece of white sticking out of his pocket. "He didn't usually carry stuff in his shirt pockets. If hey wore any."

I unzipped the bag for Mitchell as she quickly put on a pair of latex gloves and pulled the paper from his pocket. It was a playing card. "The king of clubs…" she said putting holding it by the sides. "We can test it for fingerprints at the lab and see if we have a match on file. I'll get someone to do a handwriting analysis and that'll be able to tell you a little something about this guy. But my guess gentlemen – he wants to be heard." She turned the card and revealed a message in scribbled ink. This is only the beginning. I will triumph.


A/N: It took me about ten seconds to think of this title. If there's any suggestions, I'd like to hear them. Thanks for the time.