When it happens, he seems nice enough.
On a roof far above the city, Twitch takes out the bag and looks at it. Counts to five and lets the stuff float away on the wind, and smiles to himself. It's a funeral.
It's daytime in Seattle, there's cloud cover, you can't see the stars; but if you could, if you looked north from high enough, you'd see one shine very brightly, for just a moment. Just for him.
Estimated time of death sometime yesterday afternoon, early evening. Stomach contents partially digested. Gunshot to the head, point-blank; two to the chest. Execution style, with a .45. Female, judging from the pelvis. No idea of her age. No fingerprints left on her fingers, although they pulled partials from the backseat that might be hers. Every tooth was pulled from her head, postmortem. An expert job; almost every loose end snipped. But it's not about what could be there, and is missing: He rubbed off every edge. It's about what isn't there, that he couldn't obscure: Angie Gower's left ring finger, sawn off two weeks ago.
Mills was locked up last night, and shootings aren't the Piper's MO. But there's something. Sarah hears it buzzing, and pushes it away. Grits her teeth.
"Angie Gower was a street prostitute, it's a high-risk population."
Holder reels it in.
"Who would have known Mills was our number-one suspect? We didn't make it public. Bullet called headquarters the night she was killed. SPD was all over that storage unit... Only a cop could have had access to our files and known about Mills. Only a cop could have found that storage unit before us, planted those trophies. If our victim's Angie, and if our guy's a cop..."
He argues it out, Sarah balking, barely moving. She opens her mouth and something surprising leaps out.
"Do you have any idea what this is gonna do to him? To his career, his life? And if you're right, Joe Mills will probably walk..."
Holder can't believe her. Ray Seward was a bad man, innocent of Trisha's murder. How is this different? She's talking about Skinner, but also herself. This was her freedom, this cobbled and unaligned solution; this was her new life, starting, the island going green. New places she hadn't run to yet. It's an attack, every movement her body makes is defensive. He goes still, and asks again.
"He takes girls into some filthy backroom, makes them take their clothes off, and films them!"