To Catch A Monster

The name is Oliver...DR Oliver Stewart, i am a forensic psychologist, I work freelance. Most state run and a few federally run penitentiaries hire me when they get new inmates who don't seem to integrate into the life,not the scared first timers no it is usually the ones that are loners.  They look you right in the eyes and your whole body turns ice cold, you just know the wiring in that guy's brain is faulty.  I am the expert, the one they call to save them from the "zombies" the emotionless, guiltless, and probably soulless serial killers and mass murderers.  

That is how I stumbled on the coverage of the baby doll killer, unfortunately I do not have a hand in the nicknames.  I followed it on the news for a while, of course they didn't realize it was a serial killer at first, it was a series of random murders of women who look similar.  I finally had to call in and clue them in.  Shortly after that, the Feds called.  So I made a profile, I educated all departments involved, and that's when I ran into an old friend.  

Back in high school, I was the nerdy kid, the one with thick "Buddy Holly" glasses whose only contact with popular kids was tutoring them after school so they could continue playing their sports.  That's when I met Cameron, the other kids called him weird, I just thought he was shy.

Cameron sat down next to me while I was studying one day, I barely noticed him as he opened a book and settled into the uncomfortable wooden chairs, so I hardly heard him speak.  I sensed eyes on me, I slowly turned my head to see Cameron staring at me expectantly. 
"Oh, uh..I'm sorry I didn't hear what you said" 
I felt my cheeks blush from embarrassment. He nodded slightly and flashed a crooked smile.
 "I said, why don't you charge those kids you 'tutor'" he used Air quotes at the word tutor. 
"Why do you say it like that?"
 "Because you do their work for them, and they take advantage of you. Don't let them do that.  Charge them for your services or do the entire assignment wrong so they fail" 
now that crooked smile turned into a full blown grin, his blue eyes lit up and he leaned toward me and whispered 
"you should totally do that!  Nah, you're too nice...Ollie " 
he was the only person to call me that, from that day on that was the only name he called me.  I smiled at the thought of screwing over the dumb jocks that took advantage of me.
 "Cameron, right?" I asked, impressed that he knew my name.
 "Yep, I'm here every day, I would tell you it is because I can study better here but I would be lying. I watch them ..." he waved his arm dramatically across the room. 
"You people watch?" I asked, surprised. 
"Yeah, they're interesting, kinda dumb mostly but fun to watch...what? Why are you looking at me like that?" He asked, amused. 
"Well, I really only know you from passing you in the halls and the few classes we have had together in the last few years and I have never heard you speak more than a few words at a time" i answered honestly.
 He seemed to think this over carefully, still with that sly crooked grin, the silence stretching out impossibly long until he finally said
 "I'm a loner, I'm not particularly fond of other people, but I can't sit back and watch those morons take advantage of you. Stand up for yourself man" with that he slapped me on the back and started to get up
 I was starting to feel silly but I didn't have anyone I could actually call a friend and I knew he didn't either. I turned bright red I could feel my cheeks burning hot with embarrassment.
 "Cameron, I didn't mean anything by that, I blurt things out sometimes without thinking..." now he laughed and I was feeling smaller and smaller
 "oh I didn't take offense to that, it's true I'm a loner and you are too, you need to accept that, it will help you be less socially awkward" he smiled and slapped me on the back 
"I'll see you tomorrow, friend" and he walked out the front doors. 

I snapped back to reality and poured more scotch in my nearly empty glass. The last time I saw Cameron was when I showed up at his grandmothers funeral, he was a mess.

 I walked through the church doors, he was standing silently at the head of the casket, no emotion showing just stood statue like. I stood watching him and my heart ached for him. He reached in his jacket pocket and took a pull off a pewter flask, then tucked it away nonchalantly and continued to stare into the casket. I felt a hand on my shoulder, then a voice whispered
 "thank you for coming" 
I smiled, turned and faced her. Madeline Hughes Lewis, the most beautiful girl in our graduating class, she looked the same, only the faint lines under her eyes told me she wasn't 18 anymore. I hugged her.
 "he's my best friend, and she kept us both out of trouble, I wouldn't dream of missing it" she smiled at that and I added quietly
 "well, he is my only friend" her hand was still on my shoulder and I started getting uncomfortable. I cleared my threat.
 "so how is he holding up? She was his world" I turned to look at him again, he hadn't moved. When I stole a look back at Madeline, her eyebrows furrowed
 "who's that?" She asked nodding her head toward a small woman with dark hair approaching Cameron. She had a familiar look but I couldn't place it. We watched curiously as she stood next to Cam, just then he snapped 
"you're not welcome here!" He boomed and the entire church hushed and watched. 
"Oh my god is that who I think it is?" Madeline whispered. 
"His mother" I whispered back. 
That's why she looked familiar, she was a younger and prettier version of the grandmother with her dark hair pulled back in a messy pony tail, she wore a long back dress with black shawl over her bare shoulders. Not quite appropriate for a funeral but not entirely inappropriate. She was trying to calm him down and talk, she was pleading with him in a hushed voice, occasionally looking over her shoulder, clearly aware of the audience they were attracting. Her movements were clumsy and shaky.
"Is she..drunk?" Madeline whispered
"She's always drunk, that's why she dumped him with grandma" I replied, unable to look away from the drama at the front of the church.
"How sad" she said shaking her head.
He still didn't seem to notice everyone now looking at them. He said something I couldn't make out, but she began to cry and hurried out of the church, still so hushed that the only sound was her heels clapping on the floor and echoing off the walls. I turned my attention back to him, he had the flask out again and muttered "I'm sorry grandma" 

I believe that day changed him, not into a different person, into the one I helped him hide all those years ago when I saw more than just a loner in those haunted grey blue eyes. I saw a monster and I wanted to save him from it. Now as I sit in my home office with a bottle of scotch in front of me, reading through the news reports of the "baby doll killer" I realize that he couldn't be saved, the monster was released the moment his mother walked into that church. See I know that Cameron Carl Lewis is the baby doll killer, and now I've been hired to write a profile to find him. 
I took my glasses off and rubbed my tired, aching eyes. "Oh Cam, what have you done?" I muttered to the mess of newspapers on my desk. I finished the last swallow of scotch in the bottle and shut off the lamp. 

The nightmares were vivid, I watched my friend wrap his hands around the neck of a small dark haired woman, I watched him squeeze the life from her while I stood helpless and screaming at him to stop. He dropped her lifeless body and calmly turn to me "you did this to me!" He boomed in that same cold controlled voice I heard that day in the church "this is your fault!" Then he was moving towards me as I was frantically backing away. Then there was a crash and I was awake. 

My eyes ached and my throat was dry with the taste of old scotch. I slowly rolled over and groaned as my head throbbed. I reached for the water I left on my night stand and froze. There was a shadow in my doorway. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, then it moved. 
"Hi Cam, I was wondering when you would show up" I said to the shadow as I flipped on the lamp. 
"You scared the shit out of me, why can't you just call like a normal person?"  
He moved from the shadows and sat down on the chair across from my bed. 
"I know you've been hired to profile, well, me. You're smart, you had me pegged for this after the first one and knowing you, you keep a scrapbook." He gave a quick laugh at that 
"you know that doesn't make you any better than me right?" I thought this over 
"Cam, I can only hold them off for so long but what is going to happen when they figure out the lead investigator in this case is the killer?" He stretched his arms behind his head and leaned back, his badge and gun resting on his hip. He noticed me looking and smiled 
"oh don't flatter yourself, you're not my type" 
"it makes me nervous" I replied 
"Guns on you make me nervous" 
A chuckle "I am in total control, you have nothing to worry about"
"That's what worries me" 
He shrugged "fair enough"
"Seriously Cam this isn't a joke, you should just leave town"
He sat up straight and leaned forward toward me 
"the only person who is smart enough to pin me for this is you!" He pointed at me and I instinctively jumped back. He relaxed and sat back again. 
"So what're ya gonna do, Ollie?" He teased. 
"Don't toy with me" I said rubbing my temples. 
He stood and handed me the bottle of water that sat on my night stand 
"here maybe you should lay off the scotch buddy, it's making you look OLD" he snickered and headed for the door 
"you're a dick!" I yelled shaking my head as he laughed loudly through my house 
"hey lock my door on your way out!" I called 
"sure thing Ollie" and he was gone. 
I drank down that bottle of water in one gulp and headed to the kitchen for another. I had no idea what I was going to do, he was right he had them all fooled but they had never seen the monster that lives behind those eyes...

It was the summer before sophomore year, I was still working on making Cam appear normal but he had been drinking and smoking pot, He was a ticking time bomb, if someone sparked that anger it was all over. 
School had been out for only a couple days, it was laying in bed reading when there was a soft knock on my window, I pushed the window up wide enough for cam to jump through, I always marveled at how easily he would swing in and soundlessly land on the floor. 
"Hey Ollie" he whispered. 
"Cam it's late, what's up?" I asked sitting down. He sunk down on the bed and stared at his feet for a long minute 
"my grams told me the story of my mother and father. I don't want to end up like my father. Ollie I need help, I need to be like them. It will keep me out of prison" he looked at me 
"your father is in prison?" I asked.
 "Yeah he killed a bunch of kids over drug money or something, I'm done with the drugs and alcohol, I lose control once and it's over" his voice sounded far away. 
I remember thinking his grandmother is a genius, of course she knew what she was doing, and she knew what was lurking in his genes, just waiting for the opportunity to escape and wreak havoc. 
He turned his attention to a framed photo on my desk, picked it up and asked.
"Is this your father?"
I took the photo from him
"No, it's my grandfather, he died when I was young.  I never met my dad, my mom says he died when I was a baby but she always gets angry and won't say anything more."
He nodded and smiled 
"The fatherless duo" he joked, but his eyes were sad.
"You're big enough, try out for football, find a girlfriend, a popular one" I said, changing the subject. He shrugged 
"football would be fun, but do I really need a girlfriend?" He asked, clearly not interested 
"do you really want the guys on the team thinking you like guys?" He looked confused then said "why would me not having a girlfriend make me gay? That's stupid" he had a point. 
"Teenage boys are stupid and football players are like celebrities around here, they will consider you so normal no one will ever think twice." He seemed to accept this answer 
"I can do that" he was nodding.  
By the time school started again, he had done everything I asked and was already swooping in to stake his claim on the head cheerleader, Madeline Hughes.  The most popular couple in school, prom king and queen, Madeline was a sweet girl, she set up a guys night at least once a week she thought it was important he keep me close. Maybe she had seen that monster lurking behind his smile too, even back then. 

They married while still in college.  I thought for a second he had changed, he somehow awakened that part of his brain that is dormant. How naive I was.  Cameron is a Sociopath, he doesn't care about anyone but himself. 
Madeline is a good woman, she stands by him even knowing of his infidelities.  I wonder what finding out his big secret will do to her.  I get a shiver from the thought and I push it away, I don't want to think about that. 
I finished my second bottle of water and lay back down and drift off to a dreamless sleep.

In the morning, I went to give my profile.  To my surprise, Cameron wasn't present this morning. Hoping that he took my advice and left town, I went on with my profile.  After the meeting, I snuck away and headed over to Cam's house.  When I got there, the front door was unlocked so I knock and announced myself, nothing.  I stepped inside cautiously "Cam! Maddy!" I called.  I moved farther into the kitchen and that's when I saw the note, checking the kitchen frantically for a body or bodies and seeing nothing, I picked up the note, and dropped into the kitchen chair.  The house was empty, void of furniture except for this little table and folding chair.  The basement sent shivers down my spine, it was damp and cold. A faint smell of mildew lingers until closer to the bottom of the stairs, when my nose is assaulted by the strong odor of bleach, like someone spilled a whole jug.  I stopped "oh Cam, please tell me you didn't" I said out loud to the empty basement. 
I pulled on the light string and examined the damp dungeon basement. It was impeccably clean, too clean. I was getting uneasy And headed back up the stairs.
I stared at the letter next to his phone, keys and badge, no gun anywhere.  I call the station and report what I'm staring at.  After they arrive, I quickly give my statement and slip away.

I find myself at home, with a fresh bottle of scotch, staring at my laptop.  The cops announced that the killer has been found and he committed suicide, they are trying to sweep this under the rug and move on.  I'm worried about his family, did she leave? Is he looking for her? I had made a few calls to find out, but now I just wait.  I start seeing reports of missing women on the east coast and then near England, he is leaving me a trail like Hansel and Gretel, only his bread crumbs were bodies. He wants me to chase him, cat and mouse. 

I bought a plane ticket, a red eye to England.  I created this monster, I will be the one to destroy him. 

I tried to sleep on the flight, sleep wouldn't come so I asked that the drinks would.  At some point I must have drifted off because when I opened my eyes, the plane was landing and the sun shone bright through the windows, stinging my eyes.

Jet lagged and somewhere between drunk and hung over, I booked a room and the first hotel I found with an open room and slept.  When I woke up, the room was impossibly dark, I clumsily groped for the bed side lamp, effectively knocking it to the floor with a crash.  Groaning, I pulled myself up on one elbow, still unable to see anything.  "Shit" I muttered, fumbling for my cell phone, when I realized someone was in the room.

I froze, I couldn't hear anything, much less see, but I could feel that someone was there.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood up straight.  Mustering up the courage to speak, I finally asked 
"is someone there?" Silence.  A long silence.  
I started to relax, then I heard movement and sat straight up and pushed myself against the wall instinctively. 
"You shouldn't have come, Ollie" a disembodied whisper.  I relaxed 
"why can't you call like a normal person?" 
There was a soft click and the room was flooded with soft light, I still had to blink away the sting.  Cameron was sitting in the wooden chair by the door, he looked around the room and said 
"this place is a shit hole" 
"Yeah, well last minute"
"What'd you do with Madeline?"
"Why do you care?"
He seemed to think this over and said 
"why would I kill my own wife? That would be sloppy"
"Cam, they know it was you anyway, killing Maddie wouldn't have mattered"
His ice blue eyes stared coldly at me, he had a way of turning your blood ice cold with just a stare, I shivered.  
"How did you know I was here?" I asked, but I already knew the answer.  He smiled at that and seemed to relax a bit.  
"I sent for you, you couldn't  resist following the macabre trail I left.  You're so predictable." 
"Nice confession you left, you could have warned me" I said rubbing my eyes.
"You told me to leave before I got caught.  I had it under control until they called you. Do they know how you do it?" He leaned forward with that evil grin he gets when he's up to something.
"They know I am a brilliant Psychiatrist who studies the minds of killers" I said, avoiding the real question.
He laughed and stood up, stretching his arms.
"So what're you gonna do now? Pretend to help police catch me here too?"
I sighed and shook my head 
"Did you come here to piss me off?" I asked.
He feigned being hurt by that and laughed harder.
"Hey Ollie, what's my next move?"
"You're gonna walk out the door and we are going to continue this charade of cat and mouse" I answered.
He shook his head, raised his eyebrows and a sly grin formed on his lips. He had a plan.
"Hey! You could help me.  It's exhausting staying one step ahead of the cops, a partner would take some weight off my shoulders. Partners in crime"
Was he serious? I studied his face for a moment, he was.  
"You should probably think that over" he added with that grin still plastered to his face. 
With that, he turned and headed for the door, giving me a wave, he left me to wonder what he could be planning. 

See, I didn't happen to just figure out my best friend was a serial killer, I always knew.  I was there the first time he killed, in a way, I have always partnered with him.  I created the persona he shows in public, because I recognized the monster lurking behind his ice blue eyes.  I had been hiding my own monster.  I lied to Cameron when we were kids, my dad wasn't dead, he was in prison.  My mother would never tell me the truth so I did my own research.  When Cameron told me what his grandmother said about his parents, I knew.  Cameron is my brother, we have the same monster, I feed my monster by getting into the heads of killers, this was effective for a while but soon, it wasn't enough.  I started drinking to numb the ache.

I got up and pulled a new bottle of scotch out of the paper bag the clerk had packaged it in earlier in the evening.  I picked up a glass from the bathroom counter, studied it "yuck, don't they wash these?" I said out loud, replacing the smudged glass to the counter.
"Who needs the glass anyway?" I said as I removed the cap and took a long drink out of the bottle.
Dammit Cameron, its bad enough I clean up his messes and keep the heat away from him, now he wants help?  

Cameron found out about my dad shortly after graduation, when the letter from the penitentiary arrived to tell my mom and me he was getting paroled. Cameron found the letter on the desk in my room, where I dropped it and went to check on my mother.  Cameron who never used the door, who sneaks in without a sound.  I walked into my room to a pale, shocked Cameron. I saw the letter hanging from his fingers. 
"Cam, I should have told you, I'm sorry" I muttered.
"He's getting out?" He was angry but not about the secret I was keeping from him
"Yeah...I guess" I was confused.
"You're not mad at me for not telling you?" I asked
"No, I get it.  He's my dad too, it's just too bad we both got that monster." He grinned
"I don't get it though, you're mom is cool, she acts like a mother and she wouldn't dump you.  Is it genetic?" He asked seriously.
I was dumbfounded, he could see the monster I thought I had hid so well.
"Maybe, I don't know" I answered. 
He sat down at the foot of my bed and that stupid grin formed on his face. 
"Lets kill him" 
"Cam, that's not funny, knock it off"
"I'm not kidding.  If it looks like suicide, no one will think twice.  Plus he's a douchebag I doubt anyone would care" 
He really wasn't kidding and I would like to tell you that we didn't do it, that we were angry teenagers blowing off steam.
I would be lying, we were angry teenagers but we had that dangerous and deadly gene that made us unfamiliar with the feeling of guilt or remorse.  His death was ruled suicide, and we went on with our lives.
Now we had that taste, that feeling of relief that washes over you, I suppose the way drug addicts feel when they take that hit.  Like an addict, I needed more.  I tried to suppress it with alcohol, and Cameron started killing prostitutes. 
Now he's inviting me to join him and I would be lying if I said the thought made me sick.
My phone beeped, I got a text 'Ollie just give in, that scotch will kill you' 
I sighed and responded 'yeah but it won't land me in prison' 
The next message was a photo of a dark haired woman in her twenties, her blue eyes had fear in them.  He already picked up another girl.  I dropped the phone on the bed.  Was this how I would spend my mid life crisis? Following my brother around, giving faulty profiles to police to eliminate Cam as a suspect?  The alternative is following him around as partners in crime, brothers that kill?  
'I will sleep on it.  Talk tomorrow?' I wrote and passed out.

Morning light stung my puffy eyes, my head was throbbing and my mouth tasted acidic and dry.  I rolled out of bed and dropped my bare feet to the floor.  It was wet.  I must have spilled the scotch, I thought as I pushed myself up to stand.  That wasn't scotch, I looked around the room.  Blood, I grabbed my phone off the night stand to call Cam, there were multiple texts waiting all from Cameron. 
"Ollie? You pass out?"
"I thought you might want some company, I sent her to your room" 

Oh my god. What happened?  The room was destroyed, chairs were broken and lay dead on the floor, smears of blood on the walls and door handle.  I tried to remember something, anything but the pounding in my head just got louder.  Did I black out? I've never lost control before. 
Just then, a loud knock on the door.  I began to panic and froze. 
"Ollie! Open the door!" 
Relief, it's just Cam, my psychotic brother who got me into this mess.
I opened the door a crack and he pushed his way in 
"What the hell.." he began and stopped as he looked around.
"Where is she?" He asked, lowering his voice.
"Who?" I asked, still confused
He studied my face, shook his head 
"You need to put the bottle away man, now you're blacking out?"
"Did you send a hooker to my room?" I got defensive
"You weren't supposed to kill her." He walked in the bathroom, flipped on the light and walked back out with a look I've never seen on him before.
"Seriously, man, what did you do with her?"
"I don't even remember a girl being here, much less any of this" I waved my arm across the room. 
"Get your stuff, we have to go, now"

We never found the girl, or figured out what happened.  We holed up in a hostel under fake identities, that was enough to dry me out, I have been in bed for days just getting through the withdrawal symptoms.  Cam brings water in and he got some valium somewhere to get through the worst parts.  Here we are, hiding out, fugitives in another country.  The news from back home that I've been following has declared us both dead, I don't know how or why but if they aren't looking, we can go home and start over with new lives.





Published by Liz Zemlicka


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