When she hung up the phone to Xander, Lisbon realised just how much she had been relying on him providing some sort of lead. But he had the same as her: nothing. Apparently there were no hints in any book of prophecy and the bad guys around Cleveland hadn’t heard anything about someone kidnapping an ex-psychic. She groaned and tried to think. Who would want to hurt Jane? Most people who met him, she admitted to herself. Jane had a way of irritating people. Those they met through an investigation were either thoroughly charmed by him, or thoroughly irritated. Which unfortunately widened the suspect pool of who would want Jane out of the way.
“Rigsby, did Forensics get anything from that busted light at the restaurant?”
“They found some fibres, and they’re running trace on it, but no fingerprints or DNA.” He shrugged tiredly. “Whoever it was, was seriously careful.”
Lisbon froze as a horrible thought occurred to her. “Red John careful?”
Rigsby turned to look at her and she wished she’d kept her suspicions to herself. He looked utterly horrified at the thought that Patrick Jane could now be in the hands of the one man who truly hated him. “If it is Red John, do you think he’s killed Jane?”
“No.” She shook her head firmly and hated herself for having to extinguish the hope that suddenly appeared in Rigsby’s eyes. “If it is Red John, he’s going to keep Jane alive for as long as possible. Which means we have work to do.”
She took Cho back with her to the restaurant, to interview the staff yet again. A thankless task, and probably pointless, but at least it gave her something to do. “Is there anything you remember about that day? Anything out of the ordinary at all?” She was on her tenth interview and was fast losing heart and enthusiasm.
“Well, there was something a bit odd.” One of the waitresses frowned. “But I don’t think it’s relevant.”
“Let me decide that. What was odd?”
“I thought I saw an old school friend, Jason Remington.”
“So, I could have sworn I read that he was murdered last year.” The waitress shrugged. “Maybe it was a different Jason Remington.”
Lisbon was on the phone to Van Pelt before the waitress had finished speaking. “Van Pelt, pull everything you can find on the murder of Jason Remington, from last year. I want to know who did it, how, when, where, everything. Got that? We’ll be back in an hour.”
As she walked back into CBI HQ, Lisbon wondered what a dead man could have to do with this, but any lead was better than nothing. Van Pelt met her at the door, looking worried. “Boss, you aren’t going to like this.”
“Why? What have you got?”
Van Pelt laid out the case file, along with several crime scene photos. Rigsby and Cho joined them, but luckily every other agent was busy. “Jason Remington was found murdered in a park last year. He’d been drained of all his blood.” All four exchanged worried looks. “There were two puncture wounds in his neck, going down to the carotid artery, and traces of blood in his mouth. Sacramento State Police never found any suspects, motives or forensics. Case is still open.”
Rigsby looked around, checked no one could overhear them. “Vampire?”
Van Pelt nodded. “I checked with Marissa. If there was blood in his mouth, it suggests that he was turned, made into a vampire himself.”
“So our vampire walks by the restaurant that Jane was at, at roughly the same time as he disappeared.” Lisbon shook her head. “Too much of a coincidence. Figure out how we find Jason Remington. Xander once told me that most vamps don’t change their habits too much. Maybe he still likes to go to the same places he once visited. Check everything. This is the best lead we’ve got.”
Jason Remington lived up to Xander’s description that most vampires weren’t very bright. They found him at the mall he always gone to as a child, hanging around after dark. It had taken ten officers to subdue him, and only with the use of taser, but he was handcuffed to a chair in the main interview room, with Cho standing guard, armed with a large wooden cross that made the vampire flinch back in his seat every time he moved.
Lisbon looked through the one-way glass. “Van Pelt, Rigsby, do everything you can to keep Hightower away from this one. God knows how we’d explain we have a vampire suspect.”
“Got it, boss.” Rigsby hesitated then grinned. “You do realise you’re about to have an interview with a vampire?”
“If I hear any more Anne Rice jokes, I’ll personally see you on guard duty outside the State Senate for the rest of your career.”
Patrick groaned as he woke up. At least his chloroform headache appeared to have gone. This time, he was standing up, his wrists encased in metal shackles, linked by a strong chain that was hooked to something in the ceiling that kept him standing upright. More worrying, to Patrick’s mind, was that someone had removed his jacket, vest and shirt, leaving him half naked. Whatever they had planned, he was willing to bet it wasn’t going to be pleasant.
Mentally, he ran over his condition. He was hungry and thirsty, but aside from the bump on his head, he seemed relatively unharmed. Given his current predicament, he was willing to bet that was because whoever kidnapped him was doing it on the orders of someone else – the ‘them’ that had been mentioned by the only captor he’d seen so far. And they didn’t want anyone else to hurt him, presumably so they got to do it themselves. So, powerful enough to arrange a kidnapping of someone who worked with the CBI, and sadistic enough to want to hurt him themselves, instead of watching anyone else. He looked around the still dark basement. He had a feeling this one wasn’t going to be about a ransom.
OK, so who had he pissed off lately? No, that wasn’t going to narrow it down much. OK, who had he pissed off who had the nerve and the resources to pull something like this? There’d been that Russian he’d stolen a painting from, and a couple of rich, privileged people he’d thoroughly humiliated, but the only name that really occurred to him was Red John.
Only Red John would have as little respect for the CBI to kidnap one of their own. He had no doubts that Lisbon had mobilised the whole agency looking for him, and he had no doubts that she would find him. Whether she would find him in time was a very different matter.
As the door to the basement opened, Patrick took a deep breath, determined that whatever happened, he would not give Red John the pleasure of seeing him scared. A man and woman descended the stairs and this time, a light bulb was switched on. The man stayed back, stayed in the shadows, but Patrick knew. How, he couldn’t say, but he knew.
“Red John.” It wasn’t a question.
He turned instead to study the woman. Tall and slim, she had long dark hair and big eyes – almost beautiful, but there was something not quite right in her gaze. Dressed in a long white gown, looking like something out of a Victorian novel, she floated over to him, holding a china doll in one hand.
“Miss Edith, aren’t we lucky?” Her voice was light, her tone whimsical and her accent Cockney. Patrick wondered how she’d ended up with Red John. She reached out and touched him lightly. Her fingers were cold. “Look at my new toy.”