"A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words"
The following story is based on the characters of the TV Series "Walker, Texas Ranger". The characters belong to CBS Productions, Top Kick Productions, etc., but the story is mine. ALL DISCLAIMERS APPLY. (No copyright infringement is intended.)
The phone rang as Trivette sat down at his desk. "Trivette speaking. Where? Ok, we're on it." Trivette hung up the phone. "There's been another murder. Same MO as last, young girl, dark hair, small featured, 110-120 lbs. The sheriff's office said her body was found downtown in a trash bin." Walker, Gage and Sydney listened intently, taking in every detail, then all four headed to the crime scene.
Walker surveyed the area where the body was found, looking for anything that might help bring the murderer to justice. Gage and Sydney checked over the body. The girl was naked and her hands and feet were bound. She'd been beaten, slashed and probably raped; But why? Who was she? "What kind of an animal would do this?" asked Sydney.
"A very sick one," replied Gage.
Gage and Sydney spoke with Mary, the coroner and she promised to let them know what the autopsy revealed.
"Walker, there's nothing more on the body right now, we're going to head back to the coroner's office and see what the autopsy might turn up. Mary is clearing her schedule for this one," said Sydney.
"OK, you two go on. Trivette and I are going to keep looking around; there has to be something here," said Walker.
"Walker, I might have something," said Trivette. Walker picked up a small envelope and pulled out the contents; pictures of the victim when she was alive. There were 24 pictures taken at various locations and appeared to be without the victim's knowledge.
"It looks like he stalked her," Walker flipped through the pictures and passed them to Trivette.
"But why photograph her and why leave the pictures with the body?" Trivette asked as he looked at the photographs.
"I don't know, but at least with these, maybe we can find out who she was," replied Walker.
Walker and Trivette met up with Gage and Sydney at Ranger HQ. "Gage, you and Sydney check out some of these places in the photos where the girl was entering or leaving and let's see if we can at least get her name."
Gage and Sydney returned a few hours later. "OK, her name was Tanya Martinez, she was 26, a wife . . ." said Sydney.
". . .and mother of two," broke in Gage with a distant look in his eyes. Having lost both of his parents at an early age, he could only think of the two children. At least they hopefully had other relatives to live with, unlike he and his sister.
"Good work! Trivette and I will go talk to her family," said Walker.
"Gage, are you OK?" asked Sydney. Gage was staring out into space, remembering the night of the car crash that had taken his parents lives and how he and his sister were placed into foster care. "Gage?" said Sydney.
"Hm? Yea, I'm OK. This case is just reviving some old ghosts I thought I'd put to rest," said Gage, trying to smile.
"Your parents?" asked Sydney.
"Yeah, I just really feel for those kids. I know what they'll be going through."
Walker knocked on the door of the apartment where Tanya Martinez had lived. A little boy, about 7, answered. "Hi there, is your daddy home?" asked Walker.
"Yes, he's changing my sister's diaper." Danny Martinez came out of the back room carrying the baby.
"Hi, I'm Danny. What can I do for you?" he said to Walker and Trivette.
"Mr. Martinez, can we speak to you alone?" Walker said, dreading the duty ahead of him. Danny Martinez's smile turned to concern. He put the baby in her crib and told the little boy to sit on the couch while he stepped out on the porch with the two nice Texas Rangers. The little boy immediately sat down on the couch and continued to watch TV.
"Mr. Martinez, do you know Tanya Martinez?" asked Trivette.
"Yes, she's my wife. She left Saturday evening for a couple of days. She's an advertising executive and had a meeting in Austin." replied Danny. Walker asked Danny to sit down.
"Mr. Martinez, I'm sorry, but your wife is dead."
"No!" shouted Danny, "How?"
"She was found here in Dallas, no ID, badly beaten and bound and gagged," said Trivette. Danny got up, leaned over the railing and threw up.
"Who did this to her?" Danny screamed.
"We're still trying to find out. It looks like someone had been stalking her for awhile," said Walker.
"Do you have anyone you'd like for us to call, to be with you and the children?" asked Trivette.
"My sister, Laura." Danny gave Walker the number and he and Trivette waited with Danny until his sister arrived.
"I am truly sorry for your loss Mr. Martinez," said Walker.
"Just catch the bastard that did this to her," replied Danny.
Back in the truck, Trivette shook his head. "Man, I hate that part of this job. It's one thing to deal with the body and killer, but to realize that there's family involved and having to look someone in the eye and tell them that their loved one is gone."
"I know what you mean," said Walker.
Walker and Trivette returned to Ranger HQ.
Gage met Walker and Trivette as they walked in the door. "Walker, Mary pulled some fibers from under the Martinez girl's fingernails, looks like we might have a lead."
"Great, when will Mary have the results?" asked Walker.
"She just called," said Sydney, hanging up the phone.
All four headed to the coroner's office. Mary was looking at something under the microscope. "These fibers appear to be from animal skin."
"Like a bearskin rug?" asked Walker.
"Exactly" said Mary. "I've also found a few splinters with a varnish on them."
"A hardwood floor?" asked Walker.
"A very good possibility," replied Mary smiling.
"Thanks for your help Mary." said Walker as they left.
Alex was waiting at Walker's desk when the four returned to Ranger HQ. "There's been another murder with the same MO as the Martinez girl."
"Where this time?" asked Sydney.
"The body was found outside of a restaurant downtown," said Alex.
Walker, Trivette, Gage and Sydney headed to the crime scene. Walker and Trivette checked out the body this time and Gage and Sydney surveyed the area.
"Hey, I might have something here," Gage said, as he picked up a wallet.
"Is there any ID in it?" asked Sydney.
"Thomas Bain," said Gage and I've got an address. Gage showed the wallet to Walker and Trivette.
"Get it back to the lab and see if they can pull any prints, then see what we have on this Bain in the computer. Trivette and I will meet you a little later to see what turned up," said Walker.
Gage and Sydney dropped the wallet off at the lab, then ran Thomas Bain's name. "Wow!" said Sydney. "Looks like this guy leads a charmed life."
"What do you mean?" said Gage walking over to Sydney's desk.
"He's been arrested twice in connection with murder investigations, but never convicted," replied Sydney.
"Great," said Gage. "We've probably got our killer, now we just need to figure out a way to arrest him and make it stick."
"I might have an idea," said Walker as he and Trivette entered the room," but it's risky and it involves Sydney."
"What are you thinking Walker?" asked Gage.
"Sydney fits the description of what this guy looks for in his victims; dark haired, pretty, petite, 110-120 lbs. We could send her in undercover. My thoughts are have her move in next door to Bain. It would only be a matter of time before he made his move, then we could make ours," said Walker.
"Yeah, if he doesn't kill her first," said Gage with determination in his voice, "No way!"
"Wait a minute Gage, this isn't your decision to make, it's mine and I know I can make it work," said Sydney. Gage glared at Sydney, obviously hurt and walked away.
"Sydney, Gage is right, this assignment could be very dangerous," Walker said, wanting to make sure she understood the dangers.
"I realize that, but when I became a Texas Ranger, I didn't expect the road to always be easy," replied Sydney.
"OK then, you'll go in as Bain's new neighbor, Sydney James," said Trivette.
Sydney left to have her new ID established and to prepare to move into her new home.
Gage headed straight for his car and down the road with the radio blaring. "What in the hell was Walker thinking? How could he put Syd's life in jeopardy like this? He has to realize that if this guy gets his hands on Syd, there would be no wire and no way to locate her." Gage's thoughts were running wild. His feelings for Sydney ran deep and even though he had never told her how he felt about her he realized that he wouldn't be able to stand it if he ever lost her. "Syd's good at what she does, she's cautious and tough and can definitely take care of herself. Maybe that's why Walker's willing to let her do this," thought Gage as he turned his car around and headed back to Ranger HQ.
"Where's Gage?" asked Walker.
"I think he went to cool down a little," said Trivette.
"I need to talk to him, let me know if you see him," Walker said as he headed towards his desk, Trivette nodded.
At that moment, Gage stepped in the door and was greeted by Walker, "Let's step in here and talk." Walker pointed to one of the interrogation rooms.
"I know I was out of line," Gage began, "but . . "
Walker interrupted, "What's going on between you and Sydney?"
"What do you mean?" asked Gage defensively.
"You're acting as if she's a little closer to you than a partner," said Walker, "which if she is, that's great, I think you two would make a terrific couple, but you know there's no room for couple's as partners in the Texas Ranger's. It can't mix and it won't work."
"We're not a couple. We're not involved. We're partners who care about each other and watch each other's back. Don't you care about Trivette?" responded Gage.
"Yes, I care about Trivette and I love Alex. Both have been kidnapped before and you're acting more like I did when Alex was kidnapped. Gage, I need your head to be clear on this one, for Sydney's sake," said Walker
"It is! I'm OK with it! I know Syd can handle herself," shouted Gage as he left the room and slammed the door.
Sydney arrived at the house beside of Bain's with her moving van. "Hello pretty lady. Are you my new neighbor?" said Bain as Sydney came up the walkway.
"Why yes - Sydney James," Sydney replied as she met Bain's outstretched hand with hers.
"Do you need help with anything?" offered Bain.
"No, thank you, I'm going to let the movers take care of it, insurance your know," said Sydney.
Gage, Walker and Trivette moved all of the items into the house. Some of the pieces had bugs attached and Sydney had her own supply to plant at Bain's house. "Syd, please be careful," said Gage as he was leaving. "I still have a bad feeling about this." Sydney's eyes met Gage's.
"Thank you for your concern sir, but I'm sure the insurance will take care of it," shouted Sydney as Gage headed for the van. Bain was on his front porch watching and waiting for the "movers" to leave.
Bain approached Sydney. "Why don't you come over here for awhile?" he asked "I'll pour some wine and toast my new neighbor."
"Well, OK, for a minute" said Sydney. Sydney hadn't had time to gather the "bugs" to plant in Bain's house, but at least she was still wearing a wire. Syd whispered "I hope you guys are getting this."
Trivette drove the van down the road for about three miles and pulled over. He, Gage and Walker would be camped out here for a while, or so they thought. Gage had the headphones on; "You sure are pretty," said Bain "Where did you move from?" he asked.
"I've been in El Paso for a few months on assignment," replied Sydney.
"What kind of work do you do?" asked Bain.
"I'm a freelance photographer."
"What kind of pictures do you take?" asked Bain as he poured the wine.
"Mostly scenic views."
"Have you ever photographed people?" asked Bain.
"Walker, Trivette, grab the headsets." said Gage. Walker and Trivette began listening to the conversation.
"Sure, I've photographed people. I've done still shots and reunions, things like that."
"How about swimsuits?" asked Bain as he sat down very close to Sydney.
"No, well unless you count me and my friends at the beach."
"What about 'birthday suits'?" asked Bain.
"You mean nudes? No, I've never photographed nudes."
"Would you ever consider it?" asked Bain.
"I don't know, I've never really thought about it," said Sydney feeling very uncomfortable.
"Come downstairs with me, I want to show you something," said Bain.
"Don't go Syd, we'll lose contact if you go below ground," thought Gage.
"Not tonight, I need to get back to my place and unpack. I have an early appointment with a travel agency in the morning and I'm not even sure which box my shoes are in," said Sydney.
"Well, another time perhaps?" said Bain, eyeing Sydney up and down. "May I walk you home?" he asked.
"No, I'm OK, but thank you and thanks for the wine," said Sydney as she left.
Sydney walked into her house and picked up the two-way radio out of one of the boxes. "Did you guys catch any of that conversation?" asked Sydney.
"It's on tape, but it's not enough for a search warrant. We need to know what's in his basement," said Trivette.
"I know, but I'd rather find out without Bain in the house," said Sydney. "I'm going to take a shower and go to bed now."
"OK Sydney, good night," said Walker.
"Gage, are you still there?" asked Sydney.
"Yeah, I'm here."
"Are you still mad?"
"No, I'm not mad, just watch your back," said Gage.
"That's why I have you," said Sydney with a smile, "Good night Gage."
"Good night Syd," said Gage with a slight grin.
The next morning Sydney was awakened at the crack of dawn by a knock on her door; it was Bain with breakfast in a bag. "I didn't know if you'd had a chance to unpack your kitchenware yet, so I thought I'd share breakfast with you. I hope you don't mind."
"How thoughtful," said Sydney, "give me a few minutes to get dressed." Gage was awake and listening to the conversation from the van.
"That won't be necessary," said Bain as he pulled a gun out of the breakfast bag and pointed it at Sydney.
"What's this all about?" Sydney asked.
"I want to add you to my collection," said Bain.
"Guy's, he's making his move" yelled Gage as Walker and Trivette were getting up.
"What collection? What are you talking about?" said Sydney trying to get away from Bain.
"Move! Out the back door!" shouted Bain as he pushed Sydney out the back door and across the yard to his house. "Open the door!" Sydney reluctantly did as she was told, knowing now that she was on her own. She hadn't had an opportunity to plant any of the "bugs" in Bain's house and she wasn't wearing a wire; all she was wearing was a pair of cotton shorts and a sports bra.
"Damn, we've lost her!" shouted Gage as he adjusted the volume of his headset. "He's taken her to his house."
"Did we get any of him this morning," asked Walker.
"Are you kidding, that's Syd in there, of course I had the tape rolling," said Gage shaking his head.
"Do we have enough for a search warrant?" asked Trivette.
"Probably. Take the tape to Alex and get the warrant. Gage and I will wait here," said Walker. Trivette set out to get the warrant. Meanwhile Bain had taken Sydney to his basement.
"How do you like it?" asked Bain. "I hope it meets your expectations because you'll be spending the rest of your life here." He placed handcuffs on Sydney's wrists and started to handcuff her to the bed, she kicked him but to her surprise, Bain threw a right jab and a left hook, knocking Sydney to the ground. He then pulled her right leg back at an angle, until she screamed in agony. Bain then pulled Sydney up on the bed and handcuffed her hands to the headboard and left the room. Sydney soon passed out from the pain in her leg.
Gage and Walker knew if they were to get Sydney back unharmed, they wouldn't have time to wait for the warrant. "We do have probable cause, don't we?" said Walker, halfway trying to justify what he was suggesting.
"That's enough for me, let's go," said Gage as he and Walker headed for Bain's.
Bain returned downstairs as Sydney was waking up. "Be still, I want to clean you up before the pictures," said Bain as he began to wash Sydney's face and attend to her bruises. "If only you had come quietly, I wouldn't have had to be so rough. You're so beautiful," said Bain, caressing Sydney's legs and then stroking her hair.
"Listen, I have a boyfriend, I have a job. People expect to see me. If I'm not there, they will look for me," said Sydney.
"Let them look, they won't find you. I have this basement very concealed," said Bain with a laugh. "You're mine now, until I grow tired of you."
"Is that what happened with the others, you grew tired of them?" asked Sydney. "You're the one in the papers aren't you? The one killing those girls and leaving their bodies in dumpsters?"
"They were all trash," said Bain "they pushed me away, but they had already been with so many other men. You're different though, you were nice to me, that's how I know you're the one." Bain reached over and pulled Sydney's mouth to his, he was about to kiss her when he heard a noise outside. Bain quickly gagged Sydney and headed upstairs.
"Texas Rangers, open up Bain," yelled Walker as he and Gage pounded on Bain's front door.
Bain opened the door "What can I do for you, Rangers?" he asked.
"We have reason to believe that you are holding a young girl here against her will," said Walker.
"That's ridiculous," said Bain, "feel free to search the house."
Gage and Walker searched the upstairs, opening every door. "Do you have a basement or a cellar?" asked Gage.
"No sir. No basement or cellar."
Gage had checked every door and none lead to the basement. "Sorry to have bothered you, Mr. Bain," said Walker.
"Where is she! We're onto you Bain, we know you killed the other girls!" shouted Gage as Walker was urging him towards the door.
"Ranger Gage is new to Dallas and well, you understand," Walker said to Bain.
"I'll take that into consideration while deciding if I want to sue him for slander," said Bain "now if you'll excuse me." Bain closed the door.
"Walker, you know he's lying. He does have a basement, or at least a cellar and we know he has Syd." said Gage.
"Yes, I know and I also know that with accusations like you were slinging he might just figure out that Sydney was wired. He might figure out that she's with us. Gage, I just don't know," said Walker shaking his head.
Gage banged his head against the wall, he knew Walker was right, he knew he'd screwed up. He had let his feelings for Sydney get in the way and now if Bain killed her, her blood would be on his hands.
"Gage, this is what I was talking about. I need you to be clear headed," said Walker.
"I know," said Gage, "maybe I should back off of this one."
"Too late now. I'm going to need your help," said Walker as Trivette pulled up beside the van.
"I've got the warrant we requested and another for Bain's arrest," said Trivette
"I'm going to step out for a breather," said Gage. Walker filled Trivette in on what had happened after he left.
"Well, Gage is right, we know Bain has her and we know he's lying," said Trivette.
"I know, but the trick is going to be getting her out before he decides to kill her, if he hasn't already," said Walker as Gage was opening the door of the van.
Bain lifted the trap door, which was hidden under a rug, under the table. "OK, my pretty, I have the camera and lights all set up and ready for your pictures"
"What pictures?" asked Sydney.
"Your seductive shots," said Bain as he unlocked one of Sydney's handcuffs. Bain led her to the bearskin rug. Sydney was limping, still feeling a tremendous pain in her right leg. "Put this on," said Bain, handing Sydney a lacy teddy.
"What if I say no?" asked Sydney.
"Then I'll put it on for you," replied Bain.
Sydney reluctantly slipped on the teddy, carefully peeling off her clothes so Bain couldn't get a good view of her.
"Very good!" said Bain when Sydney had finished slipping on the teddy, "Now, lay down on the rug." Sydney did as she was told. Bain then handcuffed her wrists to a ring in the floor and walked to the camera. "Now, smile for me," said Bain.
"I don't think so," said Sydney.
Bain pulled out a knife and shook it at Sydney. "Don't think for a minute that I won't use it," said Bain. Sydney thought about the two homicides and how they had been beaten and slashed and she put on her best fake smile for Bain.
"Trivette, you stay in the van and wait for our backup," Walker was a little reluctant to leave his partner to man the van, but he knew he needed to keep Gage focused on getting Sydney out of Bain's house.
"How do you want to play this Walker?" asked Gage as they approached Bain's front door.
"Pick the lock, we'll go in quietly. There must be a hidden entrance to the basement since we couldn't locate one when we searched the house," said Walker. Gage picked the lock and he and Walker sneaked in. They could hear Bain's voice coming from under the floor.
"Beautiful, Sydney! Now a shot from this side." Bain was clicking away with his camera and was so absorbed that he didn't hear the soft footsteps upstairs, but Sydney did.
"If you freed my hands, you could take some sexy pictures of me under the table," shouted Sydney, hoping Walker and Gage could hear her.
"Why are you shouting?" asked Bain.
"Am I? I didn't realize," said Sydney.
"What's the matter, are you nervous?" asked Bain.
Walker and Gage had heard Sydney. Gage immediately picked up on the clue Sydney had given and quietly moved the table and rug and found the trap door underneath. Walker quickly opened the door and Gage crept down the steps first with Walker close behind. Gage was almost at the bottom of the staircase when the next step creaked. Bain immediately dropped the camera, pulled his knife and grabbed Sydney by the hair, holding the knife to her neck, the handcuffs pulled at her wrists.
"Bain, let her go!" shouted Gage as he raised his gun towards Bain.
"You again?" said Bain.
"Let the girl go," said Walker.
Walker and Gage both had Bain in their sights, but he still had the knife on Sydney.
"Drop your guns, or I'll slit her throat," said Bain.
Gage hesitated for a moment, he was pretty sure he could take Bain out without getting Sydney hurt in the process, but not sure enough. He laid his gun down.
"You too Ranger!" shouted Bain to Walker.
"Bain, let her go," said Walker, still holding his gun. Bain pressed the knife into Sydney's neck, a trickle of blood began to ooze slightly from the fresh cut. Walker shouted again, "Bain, that's enough, let her go!"
Gage was slowly moving towards Bain and Sydney while Walker kept Bain distracted. Bain was growing tired of this standoff with Walker.
"Put it down Bain, now!" Walker repeated. "You know if you slit her throat, you'll be dead before she hits the ground."
"Does it matter?" said Bain. "She's just like the rest of them. She wanted to pose for me, she wanted me to take her. Look how she's dressed. With this beautiful body, charcoal hair, luscious red lips," with that, Bain leaned over and covered Sydney's mouth with his.
Gage saw his opportunity, he leaped over the railing he'd been hiding behind and threw a right jab into Bain's jaw. Bain recovered quickly and realized he still had the knife in his right hand. Gage and Bain struggled for the knife while Walker released Sydney from the handcuffs. Bain wielded the knife from side to side swatting at Gage. Gage dodged the knife and picked up a seat cushion to use as a shield. Bain knew how to handle a knife and was able to disarm Gage. While this struggle for the knife was going on, Trivette had entered the house to back up Walker and Gage. Walker carried Sydney up the steps and met Trivette.
"Take her and get the paramedics," said Walker.
"Where's Gage?" asked Trivette "Holding his own with Bain," said Walker as he went back down the steps.
Bain brought the knife down across Gage's left arm and back across his chest. Gage didn't flinch; he pulled the knife from Bain's hand, kicked Bain in the chest and when Bain was on the floor, Gage put his knee into Bain's chest and held the knife to his throat.
"Gage, that's enough!" said Walker.
"No, it's not enough. It's not enough for Tanya Martinez or the girl behind the restaurant and it's not nearly enough for Syd," shouted Gage with a rage in his eyes that Walker had never seen before. At that moment Sydney came back down the stairs.
"Gage, put the knife down, he isn't worth it." Gage didn't budge.
"Put it down!" yelled Sydney. Gage threw the knife across the room, landing it with deadly accuracy in the bull's eye of a dartboard on the wall and staggered backwards as he stood up.
"You're hurt!" said Sydney as she helped steady Gage. Trivette handcuffed Bain.
"Sydney, do you want to do the honors?" asked Trivette
"You bet," said Sydney as she limped towards Bain. "Thomas Bain, you're under arrest. You have the right to remain silent, if you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they've been stated?" Bain dropped his head "I'll take that as a yes," said Sydney.
"So, you're a cop too?" asked Bain.
"Texas Ranger," said Sydney proudly.
Trivette led Bain upstairs to a waiting police car. "How are you doing, Gage?" asked Walker, noticing the blood on Gage's shirt.
"I'm OK," said Gage as he and Sydney leaned on each other as they went up the steps.
Gage and Sydney were both treated at a local hospital and released. Sydney's leg was badly sprained and bruised, but not broken. Gage had 6 stitches in his arm and another 12 in his chest. He and Sydney were at his apartment relaxing.
"Sydney, did he hurt you?" asked Gage, hoping she knew exactly what he meant.
"No, he didn't get that close," answered Sydney.
"Did he watch you change?" asked Gage.
"Yes, but I was discrete," answered Sydney.
"I guess I'm pretty much ruined at HQ though. Once those pictures start floating I'll never be able to look anyone in the eye again; especially Walker and Trivette," said Sydney.
"Come here," said Gage.
"What?" asked Sydney.
"Come here. I have something for you." Sydney sat down on the couch beside of Gage.
"I took this out of Bain's camera when he and Walker were talking. I thought you might want it," said Gage as he handed Sydney the roll of film. "I haven't exposed it, yet. That's up to you. I couldn't say anything in front of Walker and Trivette, but you really did look great in that teddy and under different circumstances, well . . .," stammered Gage.
"You'd better hush while you're ahead, but thank you." Sydney gave Gage a peck on the cheek. "Thanks for caring about my feelings and always trying to protect me. I guess you're just my knight in shining armor."
"Syd, you know I care about you. Sometimes maybe too much," said Gage. "Walker thinks you and I have a thing for each other."
"That's funny, Alex said the same thing to me," said Sydney as her eyes met with Gage's. They held that gaze for a few moments then slowly melted into each other's arms and kissed.
"Gage . . .," protested Sydney.
"No words Syd, not tonight. Let's see where this goes," replied Gage. Sydney nodded and Gage gently picked her up and headed to his bedroom.
The End (or the beginning of something else)