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16+ Violence Mature Content

Meeting Dr. Kavanaugh

by TheRedPencil

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for violence and mature content.

“Please Dr. Kavanaugh, I don’t know who else to go to. You’re listed as the leading expert on The Architect. I can’t keep going on like this. I need to know.” Sara Addison Welch pleads shoving her notebook forward and opening it to a heavily decorated page.

Dr. Andrew David Kavanaugh leans forward in slight awe, “Ms. Welch, these drawings..”

“I know! I kept drawing them, they show up everywhere! They would appear in my notebooks before the bodies would appear and I don’t know why! Please!” Tears are streaming down Sara’s face now, dripping off her chin and collecting on the notebook pages beneath her anguished eyes.

Dr. Kavanaugh sits back in his chair in wonder, “You would draw the exact scenes The Architect created before they appeared? This seems... impossible. I would believe it was a hoax if you didn’t seem so authentically distressed by this.” He leans forward again and examines the notebook pages.

“Can you help me? Can you explain this?” Sara takes a step back and collapses into the soft grey chair behind her. “I just want answers. I just want this to stop.” She collapses forward into her hands, releases a great sigh and scrubbs her hands down her face. She stays there for a moment, staring down at the dull brown carpeting beneath her feet before sitting up straight. “I want you to monitor me all night. The next body is due tonight, if I have something to do with this serial killer, if I have something to do with all these innocent people being murdered and then displayed as art exhibits then I need to know. I need to know Dr. Kavanaugh.”

Dr. Kavanaugh hums quietly before shifting to stand, “I can surveil you through the night and into the morning but I can’t promise any answers. I can’t promise you any resolution. I need you to understand this.” He walks around his desk to stand before her, “I want to help you get to the bottom of this but I need you to understand this first.”

Sara’s head droops forward only a little before she regains her composure, “I figured you’d say something like that. I’m willing to do anything, even if it only gives me a small insight or no answers at all. You observe me overnight and into tomorrow and any information you learn can be used in any research, even if it doesn’t lead to the capture of The Architect.” With a quick intake of breath she stands to look Dr. Kavanaugh in the eye and sticks out her hand, “Do we have a deal?”

Dr. Kavanaugh smiles softly, “We do indeed, Ms. Welch.”

At 19:36 on Sunday, April 5th 2020, almost seven months after The Architect started his ruthless, but beautiful killings Sara Addison Welch walked into lead FBI profiler Andrew David Kavanaugh’s office and asked for his help with her nightmares. She’d been dreaming of the killings before they started appearing on the streets. Just fragments at first, a bundle of flowers or a slice of something melting, but the first real nightmare came a week before the first body and had continued like clockwork ever since.

A beautiful young men draped in silks lounging on a melting wooden bench, a solemn middle aged woman curled into a nest of pansies and posies clutching a single pearl, an elderly man sprawled in an armchair watching an old television filled with his own burning fingers, a child flat on her back eyes wide with curiosity dressed like a queen fallen. Sara had woken from each nightmare trembling and terrified, soaked in sweat, fingers cramping, legs aching, head pounding, mouth dry like she’d just run a marathon.

She’d taken to downing coffees and staying up until she passed out from exhaustion. No dreams that way. When she’d finally conquered the dreams she started noticing the doodles. Little sketches that appeared beside her notes in Chemistry, crafting gardens and fields where there was once only solvents and solutions. Arms and legs held her equations and eyes focused around her answers. She knew about the scenes the bodies were found in from the nightly news and it only made it worse. She told Lina about her nightmares after she filled up the second notebook with drawings. It took Lina two weeks to connect her dreams and sketches with The Architect's creations. Sara tried to tell her it wasn’t possible, how could she be connected to a serial killer, but Lina wouldn’t listen. She insisted that there was something there.

She heard Dr. Andrew David Kavanaugh’s name for the first time during a police briefing two months in to The Architect’s reign of terror. He’d delivered a profile of the man they believed to be behind the killings and Sara barely paid attention. Four months later and she’s sleep deprived, scared witless, and failing all her classes. It’s her roommate Lina that finally talks some sense into her.

Sara wakes to a gentle hand shaking her shoulder and when she opens her eyes soft brown ones nestled beneath thick, furrowed brows are gazing at her worriedly. “Hey girl, did you miss class today?” When she notices that Sara’s eyes are open Lina leans away a little to give her room to sit up, “Sara?”

Sara just rolls further away, desperate for just one more moment of that sweet, pitch black nothing. She nuzzles her head deeper into the cave that is her comforter sure that she’s dissuaded Lina from any further investigation, but her thoughts are rudely interrupted when her blankets are roughly ripped away and the cold March air rushes in.

“Lina please, just a few more minutes, I just need a few more minutes and then I’ll be fine.” Sara rolls over to face Lina and makes a grab for her comforter, but Lina’s already tossed it to the floor a few feet away in a move of unexpected genius.

Lina leans forward and cradles Sara’s face between her palms, “You’re not fine, Sara. You are not fine. You’re not even remotely close to okay. I’ve watched you slid down farther and farther into this hole, but as your best friend I can’t allow it any longer. I’m going to drag your ass out of bed every day if I have to, I’ll call every single therapist and psychiatrist in the phone book if that’s what it takes, but I will not let you waste away in this bed.” Lina releases Sara’s face, but keeps a hand firmly in the air between them, “Am I understood?”

Sara got out of bed that day. And the next. Then three days in a row. Then the whole week. She wasn’t better, she still had nightmares, she still sketched out killings before they happened, but Lina helped her manage them, helped her stop them from overpowering her again. Together they researched every therapist, psychiatrist, psychic, hypnotist, and herbal healer in the city of Little Grove, but none seemed to know how to help. It was eventually Sara’s idea to find out where the FBI profiler on The Architect’s case was working out of, but it was at Lina’s insistence that Sara actually sought him out.

Lina grabs Sara’s shoulders and gives her a firm squeeze, “You’ve got this. Don’t let him turn you away, make him listen to you. He’ll be able to help. I know it.” She pulls Sara into a quick embrace before shoving her gently towards the door, “Go in with that confidence I know you have and call me as soon as you’re done, okay?”

Sara Addison Welch walks into Dr. Andrew David Kavanaugh’s temporary office in the west Little Grove Police Station at 7:36 on Sunday evening and convinces him to put her under surveillance until the following night. Dr. Kavanaugh wants to know how this college freshman has intimate knowledge of one of the most prolific serial killers he’s seen. Sara just wants to sleep peacefully.

Dr. Kavanaugh sets up a small cot in one of the two interrogation rooms. He walks Sara through the connected room so she can see what he will be doing throughout the night. He introduces her to the three other agents who will assist him in watching over her: Agent Burt McConnell, a burly bear of a man with a sweet smile; Agent Jason Sawlen, a tall, thin man whose nails sparkle a light blue and Agent Amita Khatri, a short fiery woman who puts Sara at ease with her no-nonsense attitude. She calls Lina to let her know that she’ll be staying the night at the station and that she’ll make sure to call her first thing in the morning. At 9:30 PM Sara changes into some sweats and a shirt that a Sergeant Fuentes lends her and crawls under the wool blanket they set up on the cot.

Dr. Kavanaugh notes on his little yellow pad that by 10:15 PM Sara Addison Welch is soundly, deeply asleep.

At 12:58 AM Dr. Kavanaugh wakes to Agent Khatri tapping his shoulder and telling him to get some sleep somewhere reasonable. A chair isn’t reasonable.

At 2:17 AM Dr. Kavanaugh is woken again, this time by Agent Sawlen, who informs him that Sara is awake and asking for him.

Andrew Kavanaugh grows increasingly worried the more he takes in Jason Sawlen’s appearance. His hair is mussed on one side, his eyes shifty with anxiety, his ever present nail varnish is being chipped away on his left hand by his right.

“Agent Sawlen? What’s wrong? Is Ms. Welch okay?” Kavanaugh pushes back the blanket he’s draped over himself and stands from his makeshift bed on the department lounge’s couch.

Agent Sawlen scrapes a little more blue from his left thumbnail, “She’s asked to speak with you, sir.” He gestures with his head out towards the hallway, “She didn’t seem inclined to wait long.”

Kavanaugh quickly slides his feet back into his shoes and follows Sawlen out into the hallway. “Why is she awake? Does she need something?”

Sawlen glances back at Kavanaugh, “She woke up about ten minutes ago and asked to speak with you. When I informed her that I could retrieve anything she needed she insisted she needed to speak with you. When even Amita couldn’t get her to say what she needed we decided it would be best to wake you up.” Sawlen stops in front of the interrogation room door, pulls the door open, and sticks his head in, “Here’s Dr. Kavanaugh as you requested.”

With a slight nod to Sawlen, Kavanaugh enters the room and the door closes softly behind him. He steps forward until he’s a few feet from the cot Sara is sitting on. “You asked to speak with me?”

Sara swings her feet out from underneath her and brushes her toes across the cement floor. Once. Twice. Three times. On the fourth she swings herself up into a standing position and stretches her hand out towards Dr. Kavanaugh.

“I did. I hear you’ve been following my recent works. It’s so nice to finally meet you, Dr. Kavanaugh, my name is Addie.”

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126 Reviews

Points: 144
Reviews: 126

Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:17 pm
papillote wrote a review...

Hi, I’m sorry to say I didn’t like this piece as much as the other two reviewers. Sorry. I hope you know this is meant as constructive critic. I’m not here to hurt your feelings.

I thought the big reveal was kind of phoned in. That, plus multiple personality disorder is a little cliché, these days. Especially with one of the personalities being a serial killer. I mean, Norman Bates, the Beast in Split…And no offense but that’s some tense competition.

My big problem, however, was that I didn’t really give a crap about any of the characters, except maybe Sara. I need to know more about a character before I care. And I don’t mean their résumé either. I need to know what makes them tick.

I know Lina’s a pillar of strength – I don’t know why. Is she like that with everyone? The motherly type, but blunt? Or is it something she would only do for Sara because of a special relationship between them? What about Kavanaugh? He agrees to help and, fine, but why? And that line (“I would believe it was a hoax if you didn’t seem so authentically distressed by this.”) isn’t enough for me. Who talks like that?

Also, story development didn’t feel organic. It felt like you were cutting one long scene with bits of exposition. The changes in the narrative voice didn’t work for me either.

I'm sorry, this was very negative, which isn't what I want to give you. If I could give you advice, it would be to streamline the story. You don't really need to shove in context, you can make it bleed into the scene in small touches.

TheRedPencil says...

Hi Papillote,

First I just wanted to say thank you for leaving a comment, it's always nice to see how a piece is received from multiple different people.

I did have a few questions to shoot back at you though.

First, about the redundancy in topic, I realise that DID has been written about before in the context of one personality being a serial killer, but I wanted to try my hand at writing a short within this theme. Plus, let's be honest, if no one did anything twice because someone had already done it better then the world would be rather boring wouldn't it? If you have a suggestion as to how to keep the main idea of Addie being the killer and Sara being connected to her alive while not falling into the 'has DID and one personality is a killer' trope then I would love to hear it!

Second, about not "giving a crap" about any of the background characters. I wrote this story to give the reader an insight into Sara's struggle. While I did include Lina, Dr. Kavanaugh, and Agents McConnell, Khatri and Sawlen in the telling of the story they were less so written as their own fully formed characters and more so as tools to show changes in Sara's behavior and personality. They're not written to be cared about. Because this is a short I wanted to keep all of the reader's attention on Sara and what she's experiencing rather than grow the reader's appreciation or care for any other character.

I did wonder about your comment on Dr. Kavanaugh's linguistics. You quoted him saying "I would believe it was a hoax if you didn%u2019t seem so authentically distressed by this." and then said that no one talks like this. I'm quite honestly confused by this. Do people really not talk like this? I can't imagine that you'd want him to have the same tone that Sara or Lina does so how would you picture him talking instead? I imagined him as a very professional man. He's a somewhat posh profiler who is intrigued by the human mind, especially that of a killer, and someone who has been lied to enough that he knows when someone is being truly authentic in their actions and emotions. Is there another way to phrase this while keeping his mindset and background still clear?

As to the story development, I wrote the story to be read as one long scene being cut with flashbacks that show what lead Sara to Dr. Kavanaugh's office. Totally fine that that doesn't work for you, but that's how I wanted it to be read.

With the context, I didn't want it to be subtle. I wanted the reader to understand just how traumatizing the experience was for Sara to be reliving these killings in her nightmares and in her drawings. Unfortunately I didn't have a full novel length to let it bleed through slowly while still reaching that level in the end. In order to show the reader Sara's state of mind collapsing I did have to 'shove in context'.

Thank you again for commenting, a story can't be well rounded without at least one negative comment on it. However, if I could offer some constructive criticism of my own, you could work on making your reviews a bit less criticism and a bit more constructive. In a whole six paragraphs of review you only offered one piece of advice and, no offense, it wasn't very helpful. Criticism can be helpful, but it would also be helpful if you would offer a few ways to fix something that you've had an issue with.

Just a thought.


papillote says...

I've been thinking about this. I'm not sure how I'd use split personality in a story. Criminology isn't my strong suit but, from what I understand, there is still a lot of debate about whether it even exists. Americans, historically, are more pro than con on that subject but, over here, there is a real debate in the scientific community. From what I understand too, it's very rare for a split personality to commit these kind of crimes. They're more likely to go for petty crime and physical arm is usually self-inflicted or defensive. That being said, I've been reading accounts of people diagnosed with dissociative identity and I think the premise of a normal person slowly coming to the realization that she's got a serial killer for a split personality could be an amazing premise. You've got loads of interesting stuff in these accounts: the voices, the lapses in time, the inexplicable bruises, the people you don't know who seem to know you...Maybe my real issue is really with structure, I needed something more linear to feel the rising tension, the flashbacks substracted from that for me. Anyway...All the luck and everything

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9 Reviews

Points: 162
Reviews: 9

Wed Nov 13, 2019 8:15 pm
mel0 wrote a review...

I absolutely love this! You did an amazing job creating a captivating story. I was hooked from the beginning. I did not expect that ending! The flow is great. Going from the present to background/flashback and back to the present. I like how you switched between using just her first name to her full name making sure the reader knows her middle name in preparation for the ending. The way you describe Sara and her mental state throughout adds a lot of realism. I loved the serial killer's name. It makes me very curious about their work. Only a couple of nitpicking things. "almost seven months after The Architect started his ruthless, but beautiful killings Sara Addison Welch walked into lead FBI profiler" There should be a comma after killings and before Sara. Also "It was eventually Sara’s idea to find out where the FBI profiler on The Architect’s case was working out of" is a little awkward. I had to read it a couple of times before I understood what you were saying. I think it would make more sense if you said: "It was eventually Sara’s idea to find the FBI profiler on The Architect’s case." Of course, feel free to disregard any feedback. Overall, really great job! I loved this and was left wanting more!

TheRedPencil says...

Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm not the best at grammar and your nitpicks were super helpful!!!

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10 Reviews

Points: 739
Reviews: 10

Wed Nov 13, 2019 3:02 pm
thegoldenbird says...

Pretty cool story. Gripping as it advances. Bone-chilling as it climaxes. I like the entire flow and the writing style. The plot, of course, is great too. Keep writing!

P.S: I have a couple of works which I would like to publish, but not enough points for the same. Do you think you could help me with that?

Memento homo, quia pulvis es et in pulverem reverteris (Remember, man, that you are dust, and you will return to dust)
— Genesis 3:19