Gina Coleman walked along the dimly lit road to the Fairhall Dormitory on the Boston University campus. Her steps were quick and decisive as she tried to make it to the dorm as soon as possible; evening wasn't a good time for young women to be up and about alone. Usually Gina returned to her room before nightfall, but that day she had to stay behind late at the School of Medical Sciences to finish some academia related work. She and her friends, like hundreds of female students before her, had written to the university authorities asking for better lighting of the streets in the campus vicinity, because of past incidents of violence against women. The petitions were to no avail- therefore the girls had to take responsibility for their own safety.
Gina thought she heard footsteps behind her. She stopped in her tracks and looked around, searching for the source of the noise. The road was deserted and surrounded by trees and bushes. The only sound Gina could hear was the chirping of the insects and other insects.
Gina mustered up her courage, tried not to get scared, recalled that the dorm was only 10 minutes from here, and started walking again, pulling her heavy bag closer.
She thought she heard footsteps behind her again. She stopped yet again and looked behind her.
"Hello?" she said, trying to sound curious rather than nervous. The road was deserted. Gina felt the hair on her neck stand up- the sensation of being watched by an unseen entity overwhelmed her and heightened her nervousness.
Being a Neuroscience and Behavioral Psychology student, Gina knew what physiological processes her body was undergoing to adapt her to possible danger in her current situation-walking a lonely stretch of road at might. Somehow rationalizing her fear and paranoia through scientific knowledge made her feel better and less scared, and her mind told her body to stay in motion. She took a deep breath, and started walking again.
A few seconds later she heard footsteps yet again...except this time they were right behind her, and she knew someone was chasing her.
Before she had time to fully register the danger, a hand firmly lodged itself over her mouth, cutting off her scream, and another grabbed her by the waist. She fought and struggled with both of her hands and legs, before inhaling the chloroform that started to anesthetize her and made her cease fighting.
Her attacker lifted her bodily, and slumped her over his shoulder. Then he hightailed it out of there.
Ansen Cole and Lance Carter sat in the AV Lab, on their tenth cup of cold coffee, watching the video footage from the ATM camera. They still hadn't narrowed down a possible suspect- thousands of people had been on that street the day Danna McBride's body was discovered, and it was nearly impossible to narrow down a possible suspect.
"Hey...Cole...rewind the video again!" Carter suddenly yelled, making Cole nearly jump out of his skin and spilling a bit of the coffee in his own hand.
"What? You saw something?" Cole asked, nonplussed.
"Yes...yes, rewind the video please!" Carter said again, nearly falling from his seat in excitement, his eyes the size of tennis balls.
"Okay...tell me where to pause," Cole replied, and taking the remote, started rewinding the video.
"Stop...right there! Do you see that guy?" Carter said, pointing to the plasma TV eagerly.
"What guy? Where?" Cole asked.
"The one standing under the awning of the antiques shop, right next to the alleyway. He's wearing a blue polo shirt, a brown jacket and blue denims, and a cap on his head!" Carter replied.
Cole tried to locate the man Carter was talking about, and found him soon enough. The red cap was obscuring part of his face, but still, it was a score.
"Let's play the video again, and find out where he came from, what he did here and where he went off to," Ansen said, now sharing Carter's enthusiasm.
Ansen pushed Rewind, and they saw the camera capture their guy coming in from the left side...right around from the street where Cole had been with his girlfriend to collect the cake that very afternoon. The man went to stand in front of the shop, and subtly, from his position, tried to recon the area around the alleyway. Soon, he turned right again and stood at the mouth of the alley, took out his phone and seemed to be busy with it. But Cole and Carter could clearly see that the man's attention was fixated on the alley- his face was turned that way while his hands worked on the phone.
A few minutes later, he turned on his heel and walked back the way he had come. In this whole charade, nobody paid attention to him or turned to look twice in his direction. He was the perfect predator, camouflaging his movements and reaching his murderous goals while successfully remaining inconspicuous, Cole thought.
"Did you see that?" Carter asked.
"Yup...I did. The bugger didn't bother to look up, unfortunately, or we could have seen his face. Anyways, we got something. I'll print out snapshots of the man's every moment on this film," Cole said.
after he had taken the print-outs, they began to watch the video again, looking for the man's reappearance in the video. They didn't find anything till the footage had reached that of late evening.
This time it was Cole who spotted the anomaly.
"See the dark van that just pulled up near the sidewalk?" Cole yelled, pausing the video and rewinding it.
"Yes! A dark van is the perfect camouflage during evening time. No one would notice it in the dark! But it's parked right in front of the alley. Shit!" Carter exclaimed.
"Have patience! Let's watch the rest of it," Cole said.
Cole allowed the video to play forwards, and a few minutes later, they saw a figure in a dark jumpsuit, with its back to the camera, carrying a black trash bag into the alleyway.
"That's him!" Carter said.
"Yes. Carrying Danna's body like a sack of potatoes," Cole replied. He didn't know whether to feel excited or mortified.
A few minutes later, the figure came out of the alley, sans the bag, and this time he was facing the camera.
"So he wears a jumpsuit and ski-mask," Ansen observed.
"And drives a dark SUV," Carter observed.
"I'll print out these photos as well. The Lieutenant will be so glad," Ansen said.