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.”