the BAU filed in, chatting amiably to each other about their activities over the last few days. They'd been able to take the weekend off, a first in weeks. She winked when Morgan sat down, shooting her a charming smile and finishing the greeting off with his patented nicknames.
"Good Morning Baby Girl."
"Morning to you too, if only I could say the same for our poor victims." She lifted the remote in her hands and pointed it behind her to the large screen without looking. It flashed to the image of a young woman.
"This is Patricia Cornwall, age 21, found in the forests of Sleepy Hollow, New York. She was discovered early last month in the Olympic National Forest. No one knows why she was there, only that she sustained massive injuries, the least of which was abnormally low volume of blood in her systems." Reid raised an eyebrow at that, scrolling through the ME's report on his tablet.
"It says here that she had only 20% of the blood she should have had when they found her, but she didn't bleed out because of her wounds." Penelope nodded, flicking the controls to the next screen.
"Yeah, ME's autopsy discovered that all the wounds were post mortem, and the only wound made peri-mortem were two small puncture wounds on the side of her neck. Icky." She shivered at the photos of the holes in the woman's neck, rubbing her own unconsciously. JJ looked at the screen and then at Hotch.
"Ok. It's...unusual but it's only the one. Can't local police handle it? I mean why call us?"
"I'm with JJ, this seem's like your run of the mill whacko, and it's in Sleepy Hollow, not a lot of room for error in a suspect pool that small." Penelope held up her hand to stall the conversation.
"Yeah, except for the fact that since then, 3 more people have turned up, all in the same forest, all with the same cause of death and Sleepy Hollow guys have already called in the FBI but they're having 'trouble' with the search." The blonde made quotation marks with her fingers. "In this case, having trouble means that they've got nothing."
"Well, the blood draining, could be a bizarre vampire thing. We've seen that before." Morgan offered, JJ snorted, shuffling the papers in front her, shoving them into her bag.
"Uh, yeah, been there, so not ready to do that again." Hotch got up from where he was sat, following JJ's lead and packing his papers.
"Well, he's taken 3 women so far, the interval's between kills are getting shorter and it's only a matter of time before he abducts someone again." He slung the bag over his shoulder. "Wheels up in 30 guys."
. . . . . .
"So what do you think?" Abbie asked Crane as they crouched over the body of the latest casualty to whatever was hunting people in the woods. Crane stood up stiffly, hands behind his back, as he subtly perused their surroundings.
"Definitely of the supernatural nature Leftenant. Although as to what exactly has made a hunting ground of Sleepy Hollow, I cannot be sure of. Yet." Abbie followed suit and stood up, dusting her black trousers off, squinting into the sky, hands over her eyes, before she, like Crane, let her gaze wander through the dense woodland that surrounded them.
"Well, whatever it is, we haven't caught it yet, and that's the fourth one it's killed." They pulled off from the main group of FBI agents that were busy taking samples of everything from the grass that surrounded the girl's, Aly's, body to scraping particles from under her fingernails.
"I can see that you're on edge, perhaps if we returned to Archives, we might yet find some way of identifying and thus defeating the monstrosity that inhabits our backyard." The younger woman bit her lip, glancing around, her eyes landing on her boss.
"It's not only that. I just found out that Reynolds' called in the BAU last night. They're going to be arriving in two hours and that doesn't give us a lot of time."
"Behavioral Analysis Unit. Reynolds thinks we've got some kind of weird serial killer on our hands." Crane's mouth quirked into a wry smile despite his best efforts.
"Well, that would not be too far off target." Abbie returned the expression, the smile infecting her too. She raked a hand through her straight hair, brushing it back out of her face.
"Well, right or not. We've got a problem here." She put both hands on her hips, looking at her feet and kicking aimlessly at the ground, a stray pebble facing her wrath as it skittered away with a small kick.
"How do you propose we proceed, Leftentanent?" She bit her lip and glanced sideways up at Crane, a small smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Somehow, as annoyed as she was when a new creature came knocking, she knew she'd take it over Pandora any day.
"Only one thing to do. Find this thing and get rid of it, before our guests arrive." She waved her keys at him and turned back towards the road to the car. Crane gave one last look into the depths of the forest before following Abbie, his long coat flaring out behind him, under his clasped hands.
. . . . .
"Sleepy Hollow, huh?" Morgan hung a nonchalant arm out the window in the passenger seat of the FBI issue van that they we're driving to the FBI headquarters in Sleepy Hollow. The forest rushed by them at breakneck speed. They'd gotten word on the plane that a fourth victim had been found, and though the tech's had already carted the body off to the Medical Examiner's, Hotch decided that since the dump site was on the way to the office, they would all take a look at crime scene.
"You know, this city was originally North Tarrytown. It only changed to 'Sleepy Hollow' because of a poem written in 1820 by Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. A fantastical tale about a Hessian soldier who had his head blown off by stray cannon fire and that after his death, he rides at night to find his head." JJ laughed in disbelief, staring at Reid, who was sitting next to her in the back seat, wearing sunglasses, despite the foggy weather.
"Kid, do you ever get tired of just knowing all that stuff?" Reid looked at Rossi, appearing confused at the idea that knowledge could be cumbersome.
"What? I -" He never got to finish, with Hotch interrupting him as they slowed to stop in a paved enclosure off the main road.
"It should be just around the bend. FBI headquarter's said some of their personnel might still be in the area, cataloging." The statement proved true as they parked, seeing another black FBI SUV parked farther off to the side. They all got out of the car and opened the trunk, donning bullet vests out of habit and sheer preservation instinct. Guns properly holstered, they made their way into the forest, aiming at first for the strip of yellow caution tape that they could see in the distance.
As they approached, all of the members did a half circle, observing the site.
"Well, it's certainly secluded." JJ said, squinting in an attempt to see farther ahead. "The killer knew he probably wouldn't get caught, dumping her here. No pathways, no trails, nothing to lead anyone closer." Derek shook his head, crouching at the indent in the ground where Aly's body had lain.
"It doesn't make sense. Like JJ said, there's no path's, or anything like that but they found her dressed in camping gear, which means she was staying in the forest, but she's miles from her camp. What was she doing here?"
"Maybe she caught him doing something? He killed her in an attempt at hiding himself?"
Whatever they'd been about to say next was drowned out by the sound of violent rustling in the woods ahead. Instantly, all of them whipped their guns out, training them ahead at the shaking foliage. Next thing they knew a young African-American woman came running out of the trees, skidding to a stop at the sight of the agents, holding her hands up in surrender, moments later, another person, a taller, caucasian man wearing a black, long knee-length coat followed her out and raised his hands in a similar gesture.
"Whoa, whoa! Don't shoot! I'm Agent Abbie Mills, this is my colleague, Ichabod Crane." Rossi, closest to the two, eyed her suspiciously, allowing her to slowly withdraw her credentials, snatching it from her to examine it. After a moment, he handed it back, slowly lowering his weapon. It didn't escape the gaze of the other's that her partner was repeatedly looking behind him, like he was worried that something would appear.
"It's real. What are you running for?" Before she could respond, there was an earsplitting, guttural roar that reverberated in through the forest. Then Joe and Jenny came tearing out, barely stopping despite the barrage of guns aimed at them. They paid them no mind and ran past them, with Joe yelling as he went.
"Listen, I think we should -"
"Hey!" Derek held his gun out threateningly at them and Abbie put her hands back up frustrated and restless, they were going to get massacred if they didn't start running like right now. "He asked you a question! What are you running from?!"
Crane leaned in Abbie's direction slightly, eyes watching the five people that had gun pointed directly at all of his vital organs.
"Leftenant, might these be the people to whom you were referring to in the morning?"
The roar sounded again, and this time much closer. The BAU looked behind the two they had cornered. Coming straight for them, at an alarming speed was a skeletal being, wearing ancient armor and carrying with it a stench so awful they could smell it already, eyes watering. It bellowed again and Abbie sprang into action, Crane at her side.
"Listen, we could stay here and chat -"
"What is that?!" JJ yelled, her gun fixed on the thing that labored through the foliage, gnashing its teeth and carrying the largest broadsword she'd ever seen.
Abbie had had enough, she and Crane started shoving them back towards the cars.
"Okay, that's it. Less talking, more running!"
"I SAID RUN!"