You need someone who thinks like one to catch one.

Jiawen followed the officer at the institute of mental health deeper into the dell blocks where those who are ill mentally are kept. There are not your normal mental patients. They are psychopaths and killers. She passed through 3 locked gates before arriving at the chamber holding 4 separate cells.

The cells are all padded, each housing only one inmate. If the lighting of the chamber is an indicator of the kind of place she is in, the red light resembles the bowels of hell more than anywhere else.

The officer opened the viewing window for Jiawen and she instinctively touched the weapon around her waistband. The grip of her pistol reassured her in a manner no one could.

Officer : Do not step beyond this yellow line. Do not get within reach of his grip. Do not attempt to pass him anything or take anything from him.

Jiawen : Yes I know what to do.

The officer tapped on the metal door with his baton, the echo of steel hitting against steel echoed around the chamber. Jiawen positioned herself for a view of what is inside that mysterious prison.

When she sees the man she came for, she felt a chill run up her spine. Making eye contact with him almost caused her to pull out her weapon.

Officer: James!…James! Someone is here to see you!

Jiawen looked at the man with his unkempt hair and overgrown moustache sitting crosslegged in the room. He’s playing with a rubik’s cube in one hand, while in the other, held a book.

Even while staring at Jiawen, his fingers did not stop moving. The coloured tiles on the cube changed position with each other so fast her eyes could hardly keep up. The colours aligned on all sides, mixed themselves up again, and magically gets rearranged without James looking at them. It’s like his fingers have a life of their own.

James shut his book and stopped playing with the cube at the same time.

Jiawen : James… I am…. I am superintendent Liu, from Central Police Division…. I have some questions for you.

James smiled and slowly got off his bed.

Despite being separated by a 2 feet thick concrete wall and a solid metal door, James’ imposing presence still made Jiawen back away instinctively.

James : I’m all ears…

Jiawen looked at the calm and quiet man staring at her from the viewing chamber. He rest his hands behind his back, his eyes slowly closed, as if he was dedicating all his attention to her.

Jiawen : 28 hours ago, someone mimicked your signature.

James : mmmmhhh.. go on..

Jiawen : He strangled the girl with her pantyhose….removed her clothes…

James exhaled slowly, as if he was reluctant to let go of the breath of filtered air from his cell.

Jiawen : He washed, ironed and hung up the clothes for the victim, bra & panty, just like you did….before removing a piece of her face.

James : mmmmhh…. And then?

 Jiawen : 14 hours ago, there is another one. Similar signature…found naked face down.

James : mmmmhhh… and ?

Jiawen : 7 hours ago, there is a 3rd one. Found naked sitting up.

James : Seems like you have a serial killer running around.

Hearing James speak in such a calm measured tone is so chilling that it took everything Jiawen had not to bolt from that creepy place.

Jiawen : Sounds like you have a fan. Any theory about this?

James laughed.

James : There’s very little details for me to form a picture about it. All I know so far based on what you told me, is that 3 are dead. 1 of it is a girl, you did not mention the gender for the other 2.

Jiawen : Why can’t the other 2 be female as well? Their clothes are also removed.

James : You can also remove the clothes off a man no?

Jiawen felt the hair on her skin stand on it’s end. Given a choice she would not have come here to speak with him. However, the police have absolutely no clues at the moment aside from the signature the killer is trying to mimic.

James : Seeing how silent you are, allow me to give you my perspective.

James walked around the room, put his right index finger to his lips for a couple of seconds before he started talking.

James : You have victims from both gender. That confuses you, it messes up your usual profiling methods. The killer is meticulous, he left no clues except the mimic of my signature. If the hour of discovery is correct, base on what you shared, the killer strikes faster each time, halving the cycle of his kill.

Jiawen could not believe how sharp James is to pick these subtle clues up.

James : 28, 14, 7. Which means there’s a chance the next kill has already happened but you have yet to find the body. The killer is disciplined, he’s on a schedule. His victims, are random in race, age, gender and location. The only clue tying them all together is his copycat signature of mine.

The officer managing the chamber looked at Jiawen. The expression on her face told him that everything James deduced has been right so far.

James : Where is the 1st body found?

Jiawen hesitated before giving James a vague reply.

Jiawen : North of the country.

James : You could have given me the town name, the address, the spot, the type of place it is found. Instead you gave me a general direction, this leads me to believe you are deliberately hiding information you afraid will give away more than you intended.

Jiawen : What is wrong with giving you a general direction?

James : My first kill was in Sembawang, my second is in Yishun, my third, Punggol. My 4th..

Jiawen : Pasir Ris…

James smiled.

James : seems like you know me well.

Jiawen : You split the country into sections like the face of a clock. You killed 12 in 12 hours in 12 different locations, leaving a trail of bodies across the country.

James : Am i case study now ? hahaha

James correctly guessed the location of the other two bodies becase they tie in with the town in which he committed his murder. If this is indeed a copycat, he or she will attempt to replicate what he accomplished.

James : This tells me you already have your colleagues swarming Pasir Ris, trying to find the 4th victim…

Jiawen deliberated whether or not to answer James. She has secrets of her own to deal with aside from keeping the case confidential as much as possible.

Jiawen : You’re a monster James.

Jiawen thought about the victims that James killed. All of them are women, all of them strangled to death with their own clothes. As if that were not sick enough, James washed their clothes and hung them up to dry, leaving their dead body naked where they lie before removing a piece of their face.

James : You’re right I am.

His quick admission left Jiawen speechless as 4 other officers from the mental health institute stepped into the chamber with chains and restraint jackets.

Jiawen : They should have hanged you when they caught you.

James : they didn’t catch me. I gave myself up.

Jiawen : And your defense lawyer claimed you are mentally unsound.

James gave a smile that gets under Jiawen’s skin.

James : but I am mentally unsound…. Let’s not waste time. Open the door.

Jiawen : Why would I do that?

James : You didn’t come here to chat. You came here because you needed a monster, to hunt another one of his kind.

10800 words

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