The terror in her eyes and the realisation she’s going to die is sweet medicine to my soul.
Her eyes widen, and then concede, when the spoilt bitch knows her time is over.
Her blood spills as I carve into her flesh my hate for her perfect existence.
Oh, the gratifying sound of her last breath.
She too will taste the feeling of nothingness.
Lucas tried to shake off his nightmare as the icy water prickled his skin. The hollow pain living in his chest threatened to suffocate him. He stuck his head under the spray while their faces haunted his mind and forced the torment deep down, back where it came from, where it belonged.
The shrill of the phone broke through his troubled thoughts. He held their images in his mind for a moment before allowing them to fade. As he cleared the haze, they disappeared. Chilled through, he stepped out and his aching body protested with a shiver. Physical pain was easier.
Throwing a towel over his hips, he ran to answer the insistent ringing.
“It’s me,” Maggie responded.
“We got another one.”
As Maggie gave him directions, Lucas pulled a suit, shirt and tie from his well ordered wardrobe.
“I’ll be there in twenty,” he told her.
Lucas returned to the bathroom and shaved quickly. He glanced in the mirror and noticed his eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep. He shrugged. What did it matter? Running his fingers through his hair, he took a few deep breaths in preparation for what he was about to face. He threw on his clothes and after a tedious ride in the lift, he jumped into his unmarked car.
As he drove, memories of that day came with a vengeance. The day he’d successfully put behind him, until last week. The visions refused to fade night and day now. He looked down and saw the blood, so much blood.
He shoved himself back to reality. He needed to concentrate. During his twelve years as a cop, he’d seen the horrors, dealt with them all before pushing them aside. Some were harder than others but he’d gotten through mostly unscathed, until now. This case was different. It was affecting him.
Lucas parked next to his partner’s car and as he climbed out the humidity warmed his still cold limbs. The oppressive heat would only get worse as the day progressed. Maggie leant against her car, waiting. When she spotted him, she strode over, her frame athletic and expression grim. Even with a scowl, she was a stunner. With her short blonde hair and penetrating blue eyes her beauty was unique. She certainly didn’t look like your average cop. Her physique and angular features turned heads.
“Definitely the same?’ Lucas asked.
A long forgotten yet familiar lump surfaced in Lucas' throat as they flashed their badges at the taped-off scene. An officer directed them towards the dank alleyway in the rear, which was undetectable from the road. The unmistakable stink of rotting garbage assaulted them as they turned the corner.
The victim lay face-up, naked and brutalised. She appeared to be in her mid twenties and would probably have been beautiful, like the first victim once was. Her wrists and ankles were lacerated as though she’d been bound and at her throat remained a gaping smile. The absence of blood implied she’d been murdered elsewhere. Purple and yellow bruises speckled her body indicating days of abuse while her face was battered and swollen. Lucas could see the fear frozen in her unseeing eyes.
Across her chest the words SPOILT BITCH were slashed in red - light and dark. Lucas determined the varying degrees of colour and congealment indicated the wounds were inflicted over time. Another pretty young woman tortured and left in a dirty alley behind a warehouse, as if she meant nothing. It would not feel like nothing to the people who loved her. Lucas knew this first-hand. Bile rose in his throat. What kind of sick bastard could inflict these horrors?
Techs were walking the grid, collecting evidence and taking photos when the Medical Examiner arrived. David Walker was in his late forties. A short, squat man with pointed features and thinning hair, his compassionate nature complemented his thoroughness. His knees creaked from the strain as he knelt beside her.
“The chest wounds and cause of death appear consistent with the last victim,” he began. “Ligature marks on the wrists and ankles too.”
“Similar dump spot as the last one,” Lucas said.
“Yes, all too familiar.” Maggie shook her head. “Any ID again, Dave?”
“Can you help me roll her over?”
As he crouched, Lucas slipped on latex gloves from his pocket and helped roll the body from back to side. He held her in place as Dave examined the victim, took her temperature and checked for ID beneath her. Lucas swallowed down the lump still wedged in his throat; handling dead victims never got any easier.
“Yes, here it is,” Dave said. He passed the ID to Maggie’s now gloved hand, which she bagged.
“Kate Miller,” Maggie read.
“Thanks, Dave.” Lucas turned to Maggie. “Same MO.”
Lucas helped ease the body back again and as he stood, tore off his gloves ready to deposit them in the nearest bin.
“Let’s go,” he said. “See if we can work out what these two have in common.”
* * *
At the station, coffee in hand, Lucas logged onto his computer. As it went through its sluggish loading process, he rubbed tired eyes, ran his fingers through his hair and drank his strong caffeine hit, anything to distract his mind. A solitary word became his silent mantra. Focus. He tapped his fingers impatiently, waiting for the missing persons’ database to load Kate Miller’s report. He considered making another coffee when at last the details materialised before him.
Kate had been reported missing the previous Monday night, although she’d in fact been missing since Sunday. He pulled the report on the first victim, Libby Greene, from the pile on his desk, to scan again with fresh eyes, checking the correlations. Libby had been missing for six days before her body was discovered early the previous Tuesday morning.
Libby had been sexually assaulted several times over the six days, while the letters cut into her chest were also inflicted over time. Her throat had been slashed, leaving the identical gaping hole they’d seen that morning. She too, had been dumped behind a warehouse having been killed elsewhere. ID left with the body but no other possessions.
“Hey,” Maggie said. As she slid into her chair opposite, she aimed a breakfast roll at him. “Here, eat something.”
“Thanks, but I don’t know if I can.” He grimaced. “Kate’s been missing for six days. There’s an overlap.”
“So he might’ve grabbed Kate before he killed Libby.” She paused. “This is one sick puppy we’re dealing with here, Hudson. Holding one girl while stalking another and perhaps holding them both. Can you imagine what they would be listening to ...?”
Lucas nodded. “He could have more than one location too.” He shook his head in frustration. “We’re speculating until we get Dave’s report.”
“A lead would be helpful.” Maggie paused. “I guess it’s time to talk to Kate’s family, see to the notification.”
Maggie studied Lucas as he grabbed his jacket from the chair and picked up his keys without saying a word. This usually indicated he wanted to drive. She noted the tight set of his jaw and the dark smudges under his eyes. He wasn’t sleeping again. She quickened her step as she followed him to his car. He lit a smoke, a habit she barely remembered him having. His dark eyes reflected his far off thoughts and troubled mind. His self imposed solitary life was slowly destroying what little light remained. His passionate nature was being torn apart by loneliness. Maggie was well aware of how much this case would be disturbing him. She wondered whether this would be the one that tipped him over the edge.
From Spoilt: http://amzn.to/dlOF17