All Rights Reserved.
TO JASON HESLEHURST IT SEEMED LIKE ONLY YESTERDAY when he had watched the then six-year-old run around The Charles Marina as if it were her backyard. He had understood how such surroundings could enthrall such a curious little girl as Jaime. From the air of the sea laced in salt to the cluttered yet cozy sight of so many docked boats. From the creaking wood below every footfall to the cowboys of the sea who passed over them from one adventure to another. He too found himself absorbed by the environment, Jaime unknowingly serving as his guide as he’d watch her from a distance for hours on end. A shy one she wasn’t, not thinking twice before running up to some sailor, grabbing his arm and asking him to tell her the story behind each and every one of his tattoos.
The little girl was indeed a wildflower, being raised by her Grammy and Pappy within their unconventional lifestyle. Half the time they could be found out on the water, where Jaime’s beautiful smile would be just as bright as the last days of summer, while the rest of their waking hours would be spent in their small shack business atop the old wooden dock right outside their boat. Known as The Tackle Box, it was where sea enthusiasts came to get fresh bait and fresh ink. The little six-year-old would be so captivated by her Pappy’s work as a tattoo artist, especially during the special times when he’d let her sit on his lap and wrap her small hand around the vibrating machine, his hand over hers as he’d give himself a touch-up here or there.
Before Heslehurst had left the marina to get back to his hustle and bustle life in Los Angeles he had had one more thing to do. The one thing he travelled all this way to do.
It was the time in the day when little Jaime had been given her hard-earned dollar and was allowed to run down the dock to Davey Jones’ Locker, the market that sold her favorite candy.
Removing his ball cap and sunglasses Heslehurst had glanced down at the temporary tattoo across his forearm then made his way down the creaking wooden dock as Jaime exited the market, making sure to match her speed so that they’d run into each other at the corner.
As expected her eyes locked in on the colorful design that was slightly above her eye level; an open treasure chest full of gold coins, with a long sword sticking out of it and held by a skeletal pirate with a parrot on his shoulder.
“Wow, are you a pirate?!” Jaime asked with wonder, her eyes transfixed on the image.
“Not really. More like a storyteller. Are you a pirate?”
She laughed at the thought, now looking up at him with that bright smile.
“I didn’t think so. You’re too cute! What do you wanna be when you grow up? Wait, let me guess…
“A tattoo artist!”
“Yep, just like my Pappy!”
Her eyes were now back on the fake ink, little fingers reaching out to touch it. “Hey, is this-”
Only six years old and could already spot a forgery. Heslehurst pulled his arm back before she could make contact, redirecting her attention to what was in his other hand. “Look what I’ve got. A treasure for you! Know what it is?”
“A coloring book.”
“Yep, but not just any coloring book. Look…”
He began to flip through the pages.
“There’s tribal images, landscapes, people. All sorts of cool things, just like tattoos!”
Her eyes grew wider.
“Keep drawing, Jaime. Keep coloring. You’re going to be a great artist someday!”
He handed her the coloring book, along with a 16-pack of Crayola crayons from his shirt pocket.
“Wow! Thank you!” Jaime said with that bright smile of hers.
He placed a hand atop her head.
“Keep practicing, sweetie. Someday we’ll make a treasure map together.”
And with that parting goodbye he turned to walk away.
Jamie ran up to him, placed one of her Reese’s miniature cups in his hand, then took off down the dock to color the day away.
It was a sign of innocence Heslehurst had been touched by, and maybe in a different universe he would have allowed it to change him. But in this world he already had his purpose, as did everyone, including sweet Jaime, who was now three years older and beautifully sticking to his master plan.
At nine years old she now had her own little station set up right outside The Tackle Box. A chair, table, a bag of oranges almost as tall as she was and a tattoo machine. What a brilliant tourist attraction. While other kids her age had lemonade stands Jaime sold her one-of-kind works of art at five dollars a pop, tattooing oranges with whatever customers wanted. Most requests were for ships, fish and other images of the sea. A unique souvenir with an interesting story behind it.
As for Heslehurst he knew exactly what he wanted the girl to ink for him, flipping open his Spyderco and placing it on the table before her.
She had grown so much since the last time he saw her three years ago and was now such a pro with her tools of the trade. The way she held the machine, used its pump, refilled its ink, created with its needle. So fluid, already so second nature. He really wanted to talk to her grandparents, to ask them to allow her to give him his first tattoo. He would lay down a grand, tell them to use it to further her passion. But then what? She’d be left having tasted the real thing, only to be prevented from doing it again until she was of legal age.
Oh how he knew of such awfully long periods of time restriction. He himself was just about to be set free from a nine-year self-imposed sentence. No, he couldn’t imprison her under such torturous confinement. Right now she was content with using paper and oranges as her canvas. He was sure she wondered about real skin, maybe even dreamed about it, but she couldn’t truly miss what she had yet to actually experience, and so he would let her be, to grow until they were to meet again.
Jaime handed Heslehurst the orange with his pocket knife engraved on it, he handing her a hundred dollar bill in return.
“Oh, I have to go inside to ask my Grammy for change,” she said.
“No need, it’s all for you. Keep up the great work!”
“Wow, thanks mister!”
He smelled the orange. “Thank you.”
Heslehurst felt a little bittersweet. In an odd way she was like the daughter he’d never have. With his free hand he folded the blade of his knife into its handle and clipped it to his pocket, letting thoughts of the Spyderco lift his mood back up as he left the marina. Any day now Riker and Max would receive the package he had sent them. A fine wooden box, with even finer Cuban cigars inside. Being the thinking men they were he was sure they’d catch on to the clue right away. Cigars- being one of the very few things that could overpower the stench of a decaying corpse.
Fifteen cigars- nine with red bands, to represent the past nine years of silence and therefore the nine victims to come, and six with yellow bands, for any collateral damage that might occur.
With a Spyderco attached to the inside cover of the box they would immediately know who it was from. The gift would serve as a token of Heslehurst’s appreciation, for them keeping him in their thoughts for all these years of his absence, while at the same time letting them know the game was back on.
In reality Heslehurst had never truly been absent, most of the time hiding in plain sight as he’d observe the three over the years, including “Uncle Riker‟ taking a train up to Coos Bay, Oregon every couple of months to visit Jaime. Within a year of Nicole dying Max and Riker had set up their P.I. agency, serving as a way for Riker to cope while giving Max a reason to finally retire from the force. The two were a great team, mainly working with different police departments on unsolved homicides. They had an impeccable record of bringing to a close thirty-five of the thirty-six cases that had passed over their desks. The only one they couldn’t crack was the one so cold it was frozen in limbo. The one that hit closest to home. Orchestrated by Heslehurst himself, which made him feel all the more proud.
Any day now they’d receive the package, his only regret being he wouldn’t be there to see their reactions. Mixed expressions of shock and excitement. Of knowing that carnage was about to ensue and that they were about to get another shot at bringing him down.
Good evening, and welcome to The Riggs Report.
I’m Royce Riggs, and tonight we’re starting off with breaking news.
Just hours ago, the private investigation
agency, R.S.P.I., Riker & Scofield Private Investigations, received an anonymous phone call leading them to an abandoned water tower in West Los Angeles. Inside the dry storage tank, two female bodies that
had been strung up along its inner
walls, their throats slashed, spinal cords severed. Initially Police weren’t saying much about the incident, but after detailed photos
were sent to local and national news media, including here at CNN, apparently from the killer himself,
authorities had no choice but to release details. The two women, who are of African- American descent, each had a Spyderco pocket knife sticking out of their back, causing immediate paralysis. If this sounds familiar that’s because it is. Exactly nine years ago today Nicole Moore was found brutally murdered in the same fashion, within an hour upon giving birth. What had made the tragedy all the more shocking was the fact that she had been breastfeeding at the time. For years authorities attempted to solve this case but to no avail, believing the perpetrator to be either dead or incarcerated on unrelated charges. Ironically, or perhaps not, the initial suspect in the case, a background actor by the name of David Lehman, who was later found to be nothing but the actual killer’s unsuspecting pawn is due to be released on parole next week. Although yet to be confirmed, we here at the Riggs Report believe the two female victims to be Marla and Tesha Williams, the mother and sister of the campus cop who was first to fall victim to this Spyderco Killer nearly a decade ago. The two women have been missing for over
a month now, and if them would explain why authorities need time to identify. How could these incidents not be related? Which begs the next two obvious questions… Will there be more killings to follow?
Or will The Spyderco Killer
fall back into obscurity for
another number of years?
2nd half of Part 2 posted shortly.