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Shadow Unit 2
Shadow Unit 2
Shadow Unit 2
eBook313 Seiten4 Stunden

Shadow Unit 2

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The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit hunts humanity's worst nightmares. But there are nightmares humanity doesn't dream are real.

The BAU sends those cases down the hall.

Welcome to Shadow Unit.

The Shadow Unit series was created by award-winning authors Emma Bull and Elizabeth Bear.

Erscheinungsdatum5. Juni 2011
Shadow Unit 2
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Emma Bull

Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her subsequent works have included Falcon, the Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-finalist Bone Dance, Finder, and (with Steven Brust) Freedom and Necessity. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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    Shadow Unit 2 - Emma Bull

    Book 2

    Emma Bull

    Elizabeth Bear

    Sarah Monette

    Amanda Downum


    © 2007-2011 Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Will Shetterly, Stephen Shipman, Amanda Downum, Leah Bobet, & Holly Black. Cover design and photo @ Kyle Cassidy.

    First edition. Published by CatYelling.

    Smashwords Edition.

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

    All seasons of Shadow Unit are available online at

    Table of Contents


    Ballistic | by Sarah Monette, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, & Amanda Downum


    Daphne Worth's journal, 2007-10-11 15:26:00

    Chaz Villette’s journal, 2007-10-15 20:53:00


    Endgames | by Emma Bull


    Chaz Villette's journal, 2007-11-11 12:38

    Chaz Villette's Journal, 2007-11-14 12:57

    Overkill | by Elizabeth Bear



    The It


    Ballistic | by Sarah Monette, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, & Amanda Downum

    Act I

    You aren’t supposed to be in Grandma’s room when she isn’t there. It’s dark inside, the heavy curtains drawn tight, and the air smells of camphor and lavender potpourri and furniture polish. Your stomach feels too small as you peer through the cracked-open door, like it did when Tommy Wilson dared you to crawl into that abandoned woodshed all full of spiders. Making Grandma mad scares you more than spiders, but this morning she went to the store and left you alone watching cartoons and eating Cocoa Puffs.

    And now you’ve abandoned your cereal, even though it’ll be soggy when you go back, the milk all warm and brown. Because you dreamed about the pistol again last night, and who knows when you’ll get another chance to look at it? So you pretend Tommy and his nasty scabby-kneed friends are right behind you, teasing and egging you on till you can’t back down.

    The door swings open quiet and you creep over the threshold. The orange shag swallows your footsteps. No lights, in case you need to run away fast, but the glare from the hall is enough to see by. Back in the living room, Elmer Fudd is hunting rabbits.

    The guns are on Grandma’s special table, the old vanity she dusts and polishes every Sunday. Pictures cover the mirror—your father and grandfather and great grandfather standing straight and proud in their uniforms. Ribbons and medals and dried flowers hang there too, and you smell the dust that feather dusters can’t reach; your nose itches.

    The gun you dream of was your great grandfather’s, that he gave to Grandpa before he died. A revolver—worn wooden grip and dull grey metal, cool under your cautious fingers. Heavier than you expect and you nearly drop it; your heart races sick and dizzy before you tighten your grip. A lighter space remains on the yellowing lace doily, the ghost of a gun.

    You stare at the pistol in your hands, SMITH & WESSON written down the barrel. It leaves a funny taste in your mouth. You’re not supposed to touch guns because they’re dangerous. Because they kill people. Your great grandfather got this gun in a war. The war, Grandma says, like there was only one, but even in second grade you can name four.

    This gun must have killed people in its war. Your father did in his—he never talks about it to you, but you heard him fighting with Mom, before Mom left.

    Grandma says that Mom is afraid of guns and that’s why she ran away. She says lots of other things, too, that you’re too young to repeat. You don’t know if they’re true, but you don’t want to be afraid of guns. You’ve never told anyone about the dreams.

    ...proximate cause of death is a penetrating injury of the pleural cavity and heart...

    J. Edgar Hoover Building, Washington, D.C., September 2007

    Cases reached Shadow Unit by tortuous paths. The shootings in Brattonville, Maryland got there by what the BAU at large called the Houdini Clause. If it looked like a stage magician’s trick, it went Down the Hall.

    And the Brattonville shootings did look like stage magic, the kind of thing Penn and Teller would do on the Tonight Show. According to the local medical examiner’s report, there were five dead, all male, all Caucasian, and that was where the victimology stopped making sense.

    One twelve-year-old boy, Thomas Wilson. Gunned down in a schoolyard with a single perfect shot. One Air Force Major, Calvin Henley, 35, killed on a Saturday afternoon while grilling chicken in his backyard, while his wife and two daughters set up the badminton net. Again, a single perfect shot to the heart. One truck mechanic, Steven Glennie, 31, shot on the job on Tuesday afternoon at two forty-five, as he rolled out from under a disabled Kenworth. One Gulf War veteran, James Furtick, 28, shot through the heart as he entered his regular tavern on a Friday just before happy hour. He normally spent a couple of hours there with his old high school buddies, playing an arcade bowling game at which he excelled, despite having lost both arms below the elbow to an IED. And finally, one retired general practitioner, Otto Hollinger, 69, killed while watching a softball game at a local park. Also with a single bullet.

    All killed since August 27th. All within four square miles.

    Daniel Brady, frowning down at the case file on the table before him, said, No bullets recovered?

    Nikki Lau flipped gory, glossy photos, mouth slightly open as her tongue worried the center of her lower lip. Because he was a cruel man at heart, Brady not only noticed how carefully Chaz Villette was not watching her—he also allowed himself to enjoy it. She said, No bullets, no casings, no traces of powder, no nothing.

    Hafidha Gates tapped a ballistics report with an inch-long fingernail, painted with stylized circuit diagrams in copper, green, and white. How the hell do you get a front-to-back trajectory on a guy who’s lying on a mechanic’s dolly? And no bullet in the dolly or the asphalt underneath?

    Daphne Worth glanced at Stephen Reyes before she spoke, which Brady guessed was an improvement from when she only looked at him out of the corner of her eye. She said, "You’d have to be standing right over him. And there are three eyewitnesses. Somebody would have seen that."

    Which got Chaz’s attention. Glennie was lying down when he was shot? He flipped scene photos, a responding officer’s hand-drawn map. There are no tall buildings for a sniper to get vertical in. Maybe a tree, but I’m going to guess there’s not a big old tree in the parking lot of a truck repair shop.

    Lau said, Shooter could have been on top of the rig.

    Worth shook her head. Same problem as with standing over the guy. Roof of the shop?

    Esther Falkner shook her head, an understated sideways gesture that Brady considered diagnostic, in her case. It meant she was frustrated, perhaps a little offended by the facts of the case, but playing the level-headed officer. The angle’s no good. From these, it looks like Glennie was shot standing up and fell over, but he was already bleeding when he tried to stand, and he never made it past half-sitting before he fell back. No one reports hearing a shot.

    Hafidha snorted. Maybe it’s the ghost of Lee Harvey Oswald.

    It gets better, Falkner said. With her fingertips, she squared the sheets of her own copy. Otto Hollinger, the M.D. killed in Lafayette Park. He was standing in the middle of a crowd of people when he was shot. The shooter either doesn’t care if he takes out a bystander, or he’s capable of making his projectile miss anything other than the intended target—both going in and coming out.

    Brady said, And all five bodies showed both entrance and exit wounds.

    He wasn’t asking, exactly, but Lau said, Correct.

    Houdini clause, Stephen Reyes said, the first thing he’d offered since they sat down. How do you make a bullet disappear?

    Chaz’s eyes widened, which made him look like one of those Scandinavian novelty trolls. That’s one hell of a tidy-minded UNSUB.

    I can see why Pauley dumped it on us, Brady said.

    "And why we, Falkner said, with a flick of her hand to indicate Reyes as part of that we, are dumping it on you. You and Lau head out to Brattonville. Nikki, we need damage control. Some local police has been shooting off his mouth. It’s not too far to commute, so we’ll stage out of here. Chaz, start the geographic profile. Hafidha and Daphne, work the victimology and paper trail."

    Peachy, said Lau, and as soon as Falkner’s back was turned, rolled her eyes at Brady.

    Falkner paused by the door. Lau froze like a rabbit in mid-driveway. But Falkner turned, smiled, and said, Oh, and take coats. It’s supposed to rain.

    Brady wondered how many rural scenes in calendars were shot in Constance County, Maryland. Even under the threatening sky, every turn in the road was a photo op: white farmhouse, big red barn, spreading oak with tire swing, rolling fields of seed corn drying on the stalk, or pumpkins, or grass with dairy cattle eating it. Turning from the scenery to the case photos and back made both of them look faked.

    Lau drove the motor pool sedan so Brady could do victimology out loud. It was better than conversation, because he knew the questions Lau was itching to ask. She was a Californian at heart: the concept of personal privacy was a little beyond her. If she wondered about something—your credit rating, your childhood trauma, your weight, your health problems, your income bracket, your sexuality, whether you knew a good therapist—she asked.

    The irony was that Lau knew all about hiding secrets under a flawless front. Her own surface was so deceptive he’d almost stopped seeing it. She was just Lau, adrenaline junkie, immaculate liar. And then he’d glance at her sideways, like this, looking up from the unwieldy stack of case files in his lap, and he’d see her like a stranger: this gorgeous china-doll woman with her sleek hair and her delicate features, who looked like she shouldn’t have a thought in her head beyond making sure her fingernails didn’t chip on the steering wheel. Except that Lau kept her nails as short as a man’s.

    Cognitive dissonance was the technical term, and Lau worked it like a pro.

    So don’t give her an opening, Danny. And the files on the Brattonville shootings gave him plenty to talk about. Five victims: a twelve year old boy, one man in his late twenties, two in their thirties, and one who would have turned seventy in another three months.

    Well, they’re all white males, Lau said.

    "Yeah, because that’s helpful. An UNSUB in rural Maryland might be white, Brady grumbled. The age progression is interesting, but I’m not buying that the next victim will be a white man in his eighties."

    "Well, it could happen." Lau tossed her hair at him, deliberately provocative, and then had to blow her bangs off her forehead.

    He grinned. You wanna stake out the nursing homes?

    Her swipe was halfhearted, because she was driving. But because it was Nikki, and he appreciated her playing along with the pretense that nothing had changed, he let it connect. She said, Well, what do they have in common? Aside from all being white, male, and resident in Brattonville, Maryland.

    Two of them served. Awkwardly, balancing a pile of paperwork on his left arm while trying not to intrude too much in the space Lau needed for driving, he flipped open two more folders across his lap. And where was Chaz when you needed a pile of paperwork chewed through, as if with an industrial shredder? Christ in a Corvette, can’t these hick towns afford a scanner? I’d kill to have this on my PDA. No, wait. Three served. Henley was Air Force, Furtick was National Guard—stationed in Tikrit, poor motherfucker—and Glennie was Army.

    What about the 70-year-old doctor? Korea?

    M.A.S.H. unit, maybe? Hang on, that’d have to be in here somewhere. Military service doesn’t just vanish.

    Unless you’re Todd. Which made Brady snort. She said, Just to be totally clear, we have no record of military service for Dr. Hollinger?

    Brady grunted. Oh. Here it is. He was 4F.

    Flat feet?

    Four eyes. He rattled the form. "Practically legally blind. Which leaves both him and Thomas Wilson without that connection to the others."

    Tommy wasn’t even from a military family.

    "Too much to hope for, cupcake. Which brings us to the next question. How much can a twelve-year-old and a seventy-year-old have in common?"

    They could be related.

    Jeez, Brady said. Insert joke here about the definition of a virgin in Western Maryland.

    Lau gave him a sidelong look, eyebrows raised.

    A girl who can run faster than her brothers, Brady said, and was rewarded by Lau’s half-horrified hoot of laughter.

    That wasn’t what I meant! Jesus, Brady, you’ve got a dirty mind.

    I like to play to my strengths.

    Rain flecked the windshield, and she flipped the wiper lever once. Anyway—sheesh—it’s a small town, right?

    Population two thousand and some.

    "So they could be related."

    Could be, Brady said. "Though if it was a Hatfield and McCoy thing, the penny should have dropped for somebody in Brattonville by now."

    They would have known each other.

    Or if they didn’t know each other, they knew of each other. Or know somebody in common. My high school in Plano had about that many students. And you can be damned sure everybody knew everybody else, at least by rep.

    She took her eyes off the road long enough to shoot him a sideways glance. Danny Boy, you have just been profiled. But then she shrugged and said, They were all shot in places they frequented. In their comfort zones.

    Suggests the killer knew them. Possibly stalked them.

    Or they were targets of opportunity who happened to be where they usually happened to be. Most accidents happen in the home.

    Because most of us spend a lot of time in our homes. Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Brady frowned at the list of victims. In a place that size, it’s almost impossible the killer didn’t have some knowledge of the victims. This isn’t random. His targets aren’t faceless to him.

    There was a pause, and then Lau rattled her nails on the steering wheel and said, Huh. Since August 27th.

    First day of school, Brady said, feeling tightness across his scalp as his eyebrows rose. Got a plan for the PR situation?

    She shrugged. Hope it’s not as bad as Dad thinks?

    Hope is not a plan, Brady quoted, and looked down at his files again.

    There’s a heartening slogan.

    Unofficial motto of the U. S. Army.

    Boys’ clubhouse, she said. He saw her grin out the corner of his eye. There’s always a secret password.

    You’re not supposed to take the gun out of the house, but you’ve been doing it for weeks. You’re not supposed to take it to school, either, but who’ll ever know? It fits snug in the bottom of your lunchbox, wrapped in a handkerchief so it doesn’t rattle. It’s heavy, especially with an apple and two sandwiches, but it makes you feel better.

    You don’t eat with Katie and Crystal that day, even though you haven’t seen them in weeks—Katie really would be afraid if she saw the gun, and you don’t want to hear her fuss. Instead you find a picnic table behind the gym. Usually the older kids come out here to smoke, but today it’s empty.

    August heat weighs on you, thick and sticky even in the shade, but your hands are cold as you open the lunchbox. It was your dad’s—solid metal, just a little rusty around the hinges now. Paint worn and chipped, the cartoon faces scraped away and only bits of the G.I. Joe logo and red-white-and-blue left.

    And there it is, that familiar cloth-wrapped shape under a squashed sandwich and a bruised apple. Waiting. It itches at the back of your neck like a sunburn. Your stomach rumbles, but you don’t reach for the sandwich.

    You can hear it all the time now, not just in your dreams. A man’s voice, stern and curt like a soldier’s on TV, like Daddy’s when he got angry. Telling you to pick up the gun. Telling you what you can do with it.

    Sometimes it makes you mad that even the voices in your head are soldiers. But at least it doesn’t sound like Grandma—that would really drive you crazy.

    Footsteps in the grass, and you shut the lunchbox so fast you nearly catch your fingers. Maybe Katie came looking for you, but no—it’s Tommy Wilson, grinning that nasty grin.

    Crystal thinks he’s cute. Grandma says boys pick on you because they like you. But you know better—Tommy is mean. Spiteful to the bone.

    It wasn’t so bad when you both were little, when you wore grubby jeans and ran fast as the boys and did every dumb thing he dared you to. You could hold your own then. But Grandma thinks young ladies should wear dresses and not play in the mud, so now your tomboy armor is gone.

    So when he starts in on your dress from Sears, it’s no surprise. It’s where Grandma shops, after all. Your dress and your cheap shoes and your hair that Grandma cuts herself. You can handle that, though. You eat your first sandwich and drink your chocolate milk, even though it’s warm now. Sweat trickles down your back, itches under your bra strap—Tommy’d make fun of that too, if he knew about it—but you just stare straight ahead.

    But then he starts in about Daddy.

    "He left you because you’re ugly, he says. He left you because he didn’t love you. Nobody loves you. Your mom left, and your dad left too, and it’s because they hated you."

    And you know better, but you turn around and look him in the eye. My dad was a hero. He died in the war. He was a hero. Tommy’s bigger than you now, and runs faster, but Daddy always said there were some things you can’t just take.

    Your hand is in your lunchbox, the battered lunchbox with the faceless G.I. Joes, because Grandma says this one is good enough and you don’t need a High School Musical one like Crystal has. It was good enough for your daddy, and it’s good enough for you.

    "Oh yeah, Tommy says. He was a big hero like G.I. Joe. Well, your stupid lunchbox is gay, and your Dad was gay too. He probably got shot in the back trying to run away."

    That sunburned feeling is back now, itching and stinging all over and your skin feels too tight. He did not, you say, but you can’t hear your own voice over the gun. It’s cool and heavy in your sweaty hand and it whispers—not stern and demanding anymore, but sweet and comforting like Daddy when he tucked you in at night.

    "He did not. He did not."

    Your daddy didn’t get shot running away.

    But Tommy does.

    And even though Grandma always said the gun isn’t loaded, there’s still a crack and Tommy falls, and blood spreads through the grass in the shade of the old oak tree. You shake all over. You’ve never been so hungry.

    You wait for the screams and shouts and sirens, but nothing happens. You put the gun away and take your lunchbox and empty milk carton and you walk back to the cafeteria to find Katie and Crystal.

    Katie asks what’s wrong, but you tell her it’s cramps and she believes you. In the last fifteen minutes of lunch you eat your other sandwich and the apple and swipe half of Crystal’s chips. You’re still hungry when the bell rings, but your hands have stopped shaking.

    You’re not scared anymore.

    As an oracle, Nikki Lau thought disgustedly an hour later, she made a pretty good toaster oven. If things in Brattonville weren’t precisely bad, then they were very definitely messy, not at all helped by the fact that the person in local law who’d been shooting off his mouth was the Constance County sheriff.

    Sheriff McCutcheon was in his fifties; he’d been sheriff for ten years, and Lau bet he’d been an alcoholic for at least seven of those. He had all the signs, and his deputies were covering for him as if they’d been doing it for a while. McCutcheon also had a theory, and it was this theory he’d been expounding to every microphone he could get near.

    Sheriff McCutcheon was convinced Brattonville had a sniper.

    A sniper? Brady said, doing that politely disbelieving thing where he never quite raised his eyebrows.

    We got plenty of vets, the sheriff said, as if a dearth would be an insult to the county’s manhood. "Korea, ’Nam, Persian Gulf. We got boys with training."

    And you think one of them has, what? Run amok? Lau said.

    Men crack under the pressures of war, the sheriff said, giving her a look that said he’d used the word men on purpose.

    I’m sure any of my brothers would agree with you, Sheriff, she said gravely.

    McCutcheon had the sense to look faintly embarrassed. Your brothers soldiers?

    Air Force. When I think of Major Henley’s family, I remember my own. There, maybe that would remind the sheriff there was more than enough pressure and cracking to go around.

    So do you know of any veterans in Brattonville who have a history of emotional instability? Brady flicked Lau a glance of his own, as tightly packed as a .zip file.

    Course not! the sheriff said, even more offended. "I reckon it’s somebody new. A drifter maybe."

    So have there been any newcomers in the past six months? Lau said and watched resignedly as the sheriff hemmed and hawed and blustered and finally said sulkily that he didn’t know of any.

    Brady stopped on the way out to take a hard look at the map of Constance County posted on the wall, so Lau took the opportunity to smile at the deputy on duty and say, How seriously are people taking Sheriff McCutcheon’s theory?

    The crazy sniper theory? Deputy Raintree said. Ma’am, I’m a veteran myself, and I wish to hell he’d shut up about it. He was dark-complexioned, about the same age as Lau’s oldest brother Bob. It was easy to imagine him in uniform. I know most of the vets around here. They wouldn’t do this. Sheriff watches too many Rambo movies, and that’s a fact.

    Mmmm. Lau had heard but Johnny would never do something like that! too many times to buy it, even from a level-headed man who had all the calm authority the sheriff lacked. Did you know any of the victims?

    I knew all of them, Raintree said. He rubbed

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