Luke and Matt quickly moved through the old house, checking around corners. So far, the entire place had been cleared except for one final room at the back. The place wasn't very big, so it hadn't taken long to get through it and discover that it was completely empty.
"Holy-" Luke muttered as they stepped into a room, his eyes widening. Matt flipped on a light switch as he shouted clear to the other officers that had been with them. A few of the locals were there as were a few of the state investigators. They hadn't known if Walker would be there with Daisy, so had brought a rather large group just in case.
"He made a shrine," Matt said, looking around the small room, taking in the seemingly hundreds of photographs and news clippings hung up on the walls. Some looked to be pages ripped out of yearbooks.
"Are they all Daisy?" Luke asked, stepping up to take a closer look.
"The barn and tool shed are clear. Holy fuck," Ryan said as he walked into the room, holstering his own gun and looking around. "Is this…"
"Don't touch anything," Matt said. Ryan walked up to one wall.
"These are from high school," he said. Matt walked over to him. "These photos and those are her articles from our high school newspaper. The sheriff's been stalking her since then?"
"Longer than that," Luke said, glancing over at them. "These have got to be elementary school."
"He's obsessed with her," Matt said. "All of this… it's been about Daisy. But why?" He pulled out his phone and dialed up Prentiss. "Yea… you should see this place… He's got a room covered in photographs of Daisy."
"There's some of the other women too," Ryan said. "Looks like surveillance photos. Probably from watching them to learn their routines."
"Looks like Reid's hunch was right," Matt said with a sigh. "They're not here. Has Garcia found any other property?" He was silent as he listened to Emily on the other end and nodded. "Got it. We'll head back in." He then hung up and looked around the room.
"You know, I got a creepy vibe from him the day we got here. He was always particularly attentive to Daisy," Luke said. "What do you know about him?" Ryan looked over at him and shook his head.
"He moved here when we were in high school and joined the police force. He had been working with one in Tulsa, I think… At least that's where he said he transferred from. I didn't really get to know him until I joined the force," Ryan said. "He was always a bit… strange. But you get a lot of interestin' types in a small town like this."
"He's related to the pastor – nephew, I think is what Reid was thinking," Matt said. They both looked over at Ryan again.
"I don't remember anything about that whole thing… The Fischers didn't have any kids our age," Ryan said. "And no one really talks about them. Not like they did with the Whites and such. I didn't even know Walker was related to them before all this."
"We should head back. See if they've gotten Fischer to talk," Luke said.
First chance he got, Spencer sped off to the police station, eager for an update. He had spent a fair amount of time in the library, staring at the board in the hopes it would magically give him all the answers. But he knew that it wouldn't. It was likely that Daisy hadn't known what was coming when the sheriff showed up at her house.
"Did they find anything?" he asked as he rushed up to JJ and Emily. The two looked worriedly at each other and then back at Spencer.
"He had a shrine," JJ said. "It was all about Daisy. Clippings of her articles. Photos. Dated all the way back to high school and some even before that."
"But they weren't there?" he asked. They shook their heads.
"Wherever he's been taking them, it's not the house," Emily said. "We didn't find anything there besides the shrine. Garcia's looking for other properties, but it's slow going. The county hasn't digitalized all their property records yet." He glanced towards the interview room where the minister was still seated.
"Has anyone talked to him?" he asked.
"He won't say anything," Emily replied. "He's completely shut down."
"Does he know that Walker's taken her?" Spencer asked. Both women just looked at each other. He then started towards the interview room.
"What are you doing?" JJ called out.
"Maybe he'll speak to me," Spencer said, pushing the door open.
"I'm not sure-"
"He knows something," Spencer said, cutting off JJ. He walked into the room, shutting the door behind him. The man calmly stared up at him. It was a bit unnerving how calm he was considering how everyone else was rushing around in a near panic.
"I know that you're related to the sheriff. Right now, I need you to tell me where he might be," Spencer said.
"Drop the act and tell me! He's got Daisy!" Spencer shouted. Mitch's eyes widened as he sat back. "He's the one who's doing this, isn't he? Because we haven't found anything that connects you to these murders." Mitch looked down at his hands, still saying nothing. "Why are you covering for him?"
"Because he's got no one else," Mitch said. "It wasn't his fault… he… never had a father. My sister never told me who his daddy was… I looked out for her and Randy as much as I could."
"You thought the right way to look out for him was to cover for him?" Spencer asked.
"He was only 14 at the time. I was sure he didn't understand what he was doing," Mitch said, still not looking up at Spencer. "I was going to get him help… and then those little girls started telling stories and… it all got out of control…"
"I don't care about what happened then right now, I need to know where he would go," Spencer said. "Any sort of barn or property? He has Daisy and could kill her. We don't have much time – it's already been an hour." Mitch looked up at Spencer, his eyes wide.
"Surely he wouldn't hurt her," he said. Spencer frowned. "I know it was wrong of him – what he did - but he was convinced that he was in love with her."
"Where is he?" Spencer asked again. Mitch sighed heavily.
"If he's anywhere, he might be at the old Fischer farm," he said. Spencer threw a pad of paper on the table with a pen.
"Write it down."
The caravan of SUVs careened down the country roads as fast as they could go without skidding off on the gravel. Reid bounced in his seat, silently urging the car to go faster.
"We'll get there in time," Emily said from the driver's seat.
"I hope so," Reid said, searching the dark countryside for any sign of life. The farm was remote and far outside of the town, which made it perfect for nefarious means. The sheriff could easily abduct the women and bring them here for whatever he wanted without ever having to go through town. He then could take country roads to the drop sites.
Reid hoped that they weren't too late. Nearly two hours had gone by since he discovered Daisy missing and he wasn't sure what Walker had planned for her. They had forced him to push up his timeline and he was possibly devolving. Quickly. They had forced him to improvise and that never turned out well.
"It's just up here," Emily said, glancing at the GPS. She slowed down and started down a small lane that was nearly overtaken by large trees. Almost before the car had come to a stop, Reid was jumping out of the front seat, pulling his gun out. He knew the plan but didn't want to waste any time.
As he cleared the tree line, he could make out a large dilapidated house that looked dark and empty. Next to it sat large barn with lights coming through a slightly opened door.
"Reid, wait!" Emily hissed from somewhere behind him. He slowed down slightly but didn't stop moving until he was at a door. Slowly, he glanced around it inside, seeing the sheriff pacing. Daisy was tied up in a chair, glaring at him. She was a bit battered, but otherwise looked in one piece.
"I just wanted us to be together!" Walker shouted.
"Easy," Emily said softly as they crept in, their guns drawn. Just behind them, Reid could hear the others moving around the barn to various other entrances so they would have the sheriff surrounded. Reid had wanted to be the one to talk him down, but Emily insisted that she be the one – Spencer was too worked up.
Spencer could feel his heart pounding as they ducked behind old farm equipment, edging closer.
"I could never love a monster…"
There was a growl of rage. Reid quickly stepped out from a bunch of boxes, his gun up. He saw Walker start charging at Daisy, a hunting knife raised in his hand. Without thinking, he took aim and fired off one shot. Walker's face quickly contorted into one of surprise as he fell to one knee.
"I've got him covered. Get to Daisy," Emily said as the others rushed in. Spencer quickly put his gun up and ran to her side. She was staring at the sheriff, her eyes wide in shock.
Daisy looked up at Spencer, blinking.
"I'm fine," she said automatically as he worked to untie her.
"You're bleeding," he said.
"It doesn't hurt," she said, looking back over at Randy, who was now surrounded by people. Spencer pulled her up and started leading her out of the barn towards a waiting ambulance that had pulled up while they were inside.
"You might have a concussion," he said.
"I'm fine," she said again, her voice far-off.
"Seriously, you need to go to the hospital," he said.
"It's 20 minutes away in another town," she said as he sat her down in the opened back and paramedic stepped up and started looking her over.
"The cut looks minor, but we should get her over to check for other injuries," he said, glancing at Reid.
"I don't want to go to the hospital," Daisy said, starting to come back at bit. She pushed the paramedic away from her as he tried to clean up some of the blood on her temple and cheek.
"You could have-"
"I said I don't want to go," she nearly shouted, glaring up at him. "At least not right now. I need to get back to the station and talk to him."
"Talk to who, Daisy?" Spencer asked.
"The youth pastor," she said, turning her glare to him.
"You really should-"
"Do not tell me what I should do. If you won't take me, I'll find my own way there even if I have to walk all the way back into town barefoot," she said firmly. Spencer stared at her a moment before finally nodding.
"I'll take you there. But then you're going to the hospital to get checked out," he replied.
"Fine, but I'm not staying the night," she retorted. Spencer sighed and looked to the paramedic, silently apologizing.
"Will she be okay if we put off the check-up for another hour?" he asked. The paramedic frowned as he looked back at the still glaring Daisy.
"I don't like it, but if you get her over to the regional hospital in an hour, she should be fine," he said, relenting. Daisy jumped up and started walking away.
"Good. Let's go."
Daisy stomped into the police station later, her eyes lit up with rage. She was still barefoot and her clothes were dirty. There was a cut on her temple, which was already starting to bruise and dried blood went down her cheek and chin. Rossi looked over, confused. She looked like she needed to be at a hospital, not here.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, walking up to her then back at Spencer, who was just behind her. Daisy ignored him as she kept walking towards the interview room.
"She wanted to talk to him," Spencer said.
"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Rossi asked.
"She wouldn't take no for an answer," he replied, quickly catching up to her. Daisy charged into the room, the door slamming against the wall and causing the old man sitting there to jump.
"Daisy," he said softly. "I was… praying that they would find you in time…"
"I don't need your goddamn prayers!" she snapped. "He would have killed me… and he did kill those other women!"
"I didn't what he was doing-"
"Bullshit. You had to have known. It was all over the papers," she responded.
"I… I did read a few things," he admitted. "And when the FBI showed up, I figured that… well, it must have been about what happened back then… but I didn't know that he had moved back here. His mother took him out of state and I hadn't spoken to him in years."
"You knew. This whole time, you knew what he did and you didn't say anything. Didn't do anything!" she shouted at him. Reid quietly walked in behind her, shutting the door.
"I tried to help him, but his mother-"
"You should have turned him in!" she shouted. "Why did you cover for him!?" He sighed and rubbed his face.
"I thought it was just a… childish mistake. That he could be saved," he said softly.
"He hurt a five-year-old girl!" Daisy shouted, slamming her hands on the table. "ME!"
"Daisy, I think that's enough," Spencer said, moving to restrain her.
"Don't touch me, Reid!" she shouted, her eyes still on the man across from her. "Because you didn't turn him in, four women - four innocent women - are dead. My friends. Are. Dead. You may not be held responsible by law, but I will hold you responsible and I hope you burn in hell with your damn nephew." She then spun around and left the room.
Reid looked over at the door and then back at Fischer. The old man seemed to crumple as he dropped his head into his hands and his shoulders began shaking.
"She's right… I could have stopped this," he said. Reid stood silently watching. "This is my fault. I should have… I should have told the truth." He looked up at Spencer. "Is she… is she going to be okay?"
"I don't know," Spencer finally said. "I like to think that with time, she will. But I do know there are four families out there that won't get to see their daughters and wives again. And there's a little girl out there who will never see her mother again."
Mitch was silent as he looked back down at his hands as he shook his head.
"I should have said something…" he murmured again. Reid didn't say anything, just walked out of the room and shut the door behind him. He looked over and saw Daisy pacing slightly as she waited on him, a concerned Rossi standing nearby.
"Let's get this over with," Daisy said, looking up at him. "I want to get a shower and to bed." She then turned and stormed out of the station. Spencer sighed and moved to follow.
"Good luck," Rossi said.
Reid stood nearby with Emily, watching as the ER doctor looked over Daisy. She had been silent the entire ride over and was only answering direct questions about her injuries and pain level.
"We found everything in the barn," Emily said. "Lighter fluid, tools. It was all there. He didn't bother to hide any of it. I'm sure the forensics will all come back linking to the four women."
"Probably thought the remote location would be enough," Reid said, looking back over at her. "Granted we still don't know what his final plan was."
"They took him to a larger hospital in Oklahoma City. I sent JJ and Rossi up to talk to him as soon as he's out of surgery," she said. Spencer nodded.
"This was all about Daisy," he said. Emily nodded.
"Rossi said Fischer spilled everything after we left to go out to the barn," Emily said. "Randy was born and raised here. And he had always been fascinated with the Whites and Daisy. Followed her around. He caught them once… was already making plans to move him and his mom to the City when the little girls started spreading the story. It got mixed up somehow, and they ended up telling everyone that it was Fischer, not Randy. He was run out of town and he lost touch with Randy and his mother."
Spencer sighed and continued looking over at Daisy. She frowned at the doctor and started shaking her head. He had a feeling they wanted her to stay overnight and she was fighting it.
She then hopped off the bed and started walking away, the doctor following her. Thankfully someone had gotten her a pair of hospital slippers. She had changed into a pair of sweats that were a couple sizes too big while someone from the forensics team had taken her clothing into evidence. They had been here an hour already as she was examined. She managed to stay quiet and calm as they took photos and gathered what physical evidence that they could.
"Ms. White, you really should stay…"
"No," Daisy said. She stopped and looked up at Emily and Spencer.
"Can we go?" she asked.
"Sure, but we need to debrief you," Emily said. Daisy nodded.
"Fine. Can we do it at the house?" she asked. "I really just want to go home right now and put on my own clothes."
And now the story from the other side. One more chapter to go! Thanks for reading and following!