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I hope you enjoy the prologue to my newest release. It will be out this Friday, November 1st!
Inside the trunk of the vehicle, she was struggling to get free from the bindings around her wrists. As she slid around, she could hear the Christmas music playing in the car, entertaining the person who had taken her. They were obviously enjoying the whole kidnapping thing.
I hope you enjoy the prologue to my newest release. It will be out this Friday, November 1st!
It isn’t easy being a killer.
You would think that taking a life and plotting an entire crime from start to finish would be the simplest thing to do. How hard could it possibly be to pick a victim and then steal the life from their bodies?
Well, that part wasn’t difficult, but the rest was a strategic masterpiece in the making.
Any good homicidal maniac knows that you have to be damn good at your job, or the police and Feds will be all over you. First, you have to watch your prey and follow them around for a few days to make sure they were the right ones for you.
You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without first trying them on, would you?
So, the same was true with picking a woman to claim in your little murderous game of cat and mouse. They had to be perfect for what you had planned, and not just any woman would do.
After finding the lucky lady, you have to go deep into planning mode. There’s the whole ‘electric chair’ outcome that you have to worry about. In this game, there can be no errors. No one wants to lose their life strapped into that device. Getting kicked out of the game means death, so you have to be very careful when it comes to evidence.
Basically, there could be none.
Gloves were needed to keep their bodies pure. Lest you planned on spending your dying days in a bright orange jumpsuit in Federal lock up. If you have any intent on having your way with them first, then you will need even more protection. It may be a hindrance, but it will keep your little guys from finding their way back to you in the long run. You don’t want the police putting your sample on file for future reference. That could come back to bite you in the end if you ever were to become a prolific killer.
Now, if you physically have contact with the women’s bodies, then you need to have a sure fire way to remove any possible trace evidence and fibers.
A common shop vacuum seems to work wonders in a pinch. Well, it did for him anyway. It was well worth the investment to suck away all the stray hairs that were inadvertently left behind.
Then you need a place to leave the bodies. If you’re playing a game and vying for the attention of the world to see, then you want the location to be in the open and easily accessible. It can’t be too hard for the cops to find, since they aren’t the brightest individuals on the face of the earth. It needs to be a place that you can just happen across when the crime scene is discovered, just so you can gawk in horror, like everyone else.
Who didn't like to watch the way it all unfolded, and stare in pride at their fine masterpiece? Watching was the best part. It was for him anyway. Some killers enjoyed the taking of the victim, the raping or the killing. Not him. He loved the observation. It was like watching your opponent in action and unobserved. It was being able to play a game and not have anyone see you taking notes.
So, it was important to make it count. He personally liked picking locations that made no sense, even to him. It would keep everyone guessing and far from discovering the truth of who was committing the crimes.
Lastly, there was one more important part to the sport. You needed to have the perfect opponent. Regular detectives wouldn’t do- not in his case. Why waste time with some local idiots, when you could ask for the king of all cops?
It was funny. If you just left a note, then you could get them to come to the party. If you promised more dead women, then you could have them at your beck and call. When they believed they were working against someone so twisted and crazy, they’d pull out all the stops to just end your game.
Too bad that wasn’t going to happen.
There was a new mastermind in town, and this time it wasn’t the almighty Feds.
For him, there was no love lost for this time of the year. It was a time of fake happiness, family tomfoolery, and faux bliss. But this season, he was giving himself the best Christmas present ever. He was taking the gift of life. Not just one, but as many as he could until Christmas came to an end. When the holiday was finished, he’d wrap it up and wait until next year to pick up again. Maybe it would be here in Vegas, maybe it wouldn’t. That would depend on the FBI and how good they were at their jobs.
Only time would tell.
Some might call him sick, perverse, and twisted, but he knew the absolute truth. He was the only sane one in a world full of lunatics. Why run around trying to buy presents that would be forgotten shortly after the holiday? Why run up credit card bills on ugly sweaters and decorations for your home, when you could give yourself the gift that kept on giving?
It was the memory of being full of power and in control.
It was the best gift that could ever be placed under your tree. You could lay in bed, night after night, dreaming about how it unfolded and relive the emotions that you felt as it happened. It was as close to absolute happiness as one could get.
Murder was the best present ever and highly underrated!
The rustling sound from the next room drew his attention back to his evening’s plans. It was time to take care of the ‘situation’. At just the thought, he was filled with such peace. Now, this was what the spirit of Christmas was all about!
Entering the darkened workspace, he stood admiring his two captive prizes. One, he’d taken a day ago, and the other just that night.
They were very different from each other and completely random. That was how it needed to be. It would make the FBI go crazy as they tried to ferret out the rhyme or reason behind them. One was a young teacher, and the other was some pricy call girl, hired to make men’s dreams come true.
If you thought about it, they were actually more similar than different. They both helped people.
One assisted children in learning.
The other taught men that buying sex was acceptable.
There was no doubt that right about now, the one woman was probably rethinking her life and choices. Offering herself up to him was probably her one biggest regret.
Oh well, live and learn. Then he realized how funny that truly was, since her learning and living were about to come to an end.
Moving towards the innocent one, he stroked her hair as he stared down into her terrified eyes. “I’m sorry you have to die this way, but I needed a ‘nice’ and you were the best I could find.”
The woman made some noise from behind the gag in her mouth, following it up with tears sliding down her cheeks.
He kissed her on the forehead. “You’ll go fast and won’t suffer,” he promised. “Unlike my little ‘naughty’ here. She’s going to feel pain and suffering as she finds her way out of this world.”
The other woman whimpered and shook at his words. She began to struggle against the chains wrapped precariously around her throat.
“Well ladies, shall we begin?”
They both fought to get free from their bindings, but neither had a chance. Life was marked in minutes now for them both, not days or years.
Today they were destined die.
Life was on its way out.
Putting his hands around the ‘nice’ one’s neck, he slowly cut off all the oxygen. Her eyes went wide as he crooned to her and whispered reassuring words that it would all be okay. “Just go to sleep precious one. It’s time for peace.”
Slowly, she obeyed like he knew she would. ‘Nice’ always did what she was told and followed the given commands. Soon, her eyes rolled back into her head and the up and down motion of her chest came to a stop. Now, she was meeting her maker and free from the bindings of this life.
And just like that, she was gone.
He turned his focus to the woman fighting hard to slide across the floor and away from him. She’d been forced to watch the woman’s life being snuffed out. By the look on her face, he could tell she was terrified, knowing what was coming.
“My gift to her was a serene ending, but you won’t be so lucky. ‘Naughty’ leaves the world kicking and screaming as she begs for mercy, because there has to be balance in everything we do.”
He began stripping from his clothes, not to ruin them or leave any evidence on the victim.
She began crying and that only excited him more.
“It’s time to give me the best Christmas present of the year. I do believe that I’ve earned it,” he stated, putting on protection and following through with his plan.
The woman’s eyes were huge, as tears poured down her cheeks. In that moment, she began praying silently and asking for forgiveness for whatever it was she had done. It was obvious that she was going to die, but now she begged for a quick passage much like the other woman had been offered. In her time of death, she too wanted to be ‘nice’.
He leaned over and grabbed her by the hair to drag her back to the mattress from which she had escaped. Her body scraped across the floor and landed with a thud at his feet. The chains around her neck tightened to the point that she began to panic.
“I’m going to enjoy this,” he admitted, grinning. “How could I not?”
His laughter filled the room, as one woman lay dead and the other began the torturous journey to death.
Her prayer wouldn’t be answered.
She wouldn’t go easy or fast.
The killer made sure of it.
Pressing her securely to the mattress beneath him, he whispered in her ear. “Let’s begin the celebration,” and then he did just that.
Much to her horror, by the end she begged for death.
Three hours later
He stared down at his masterpieces. The last few hours had been brutal for the ‘naughty’ one. He’d taken her a few times and enjoyed the fight and the broken submission. As he buried himself in her body, his mind was already wandering towards locating the next pair of women.
It wouldn’t be long now.
There would need to be quite a few more. There were only so many days remaining until Christmas, and he didn't want to miss a second of the holiday revelry.
He lined the trunk of his car with plastic, to keep their bodies pristine and the blood from ruining the carpeting in his car. That wouldn’t help him in the long run if he left a trail. He packed them in carefully, placing ‘nice’ on the top, since she was the innocent in all this. He wanted to treat her body gently, since she’d earned it. The only harm he’d done was the word carved into her ivory skin.
At first, he debated doing it but then again, she was already dead, so what was the harm in that?
Closing the hatch, he grabbed the two bows and two notes he had for the FBI. Once there, he’d place them around their necks and start the next part of the game.
Before long, they’d find them. Then he could sit back and revel in his glory that with four dead women, they were no closer to figuring it out.
Ah, those poor Feds. This time, they would realize that they had met their match. He was going to outsmart, outplay, and outthink them until they gave up in frustration. There was no way they’d find him and end his little holiday adventure.
Now, it was time to dump them and find the next pair of early Christmas presents. His ‘naughty and nice’ list was getting longer and longer.
Okay, who was he kidding?
It was also his very own wish list. They’d caught his eye and now he had to have them.
How he wished there was more time before the holiday. He’d been a very good boy this year and deserved even more presents.
Then again, who could stop him from just taking whatever he wanted.
Twenty miles outside Vegas
Well, she wasn’t and it was time to end his fun.
When she came to, her head was covered with a hood and her mouth had been taped shut. They were the first to go in her attempt to break free. If she had to fight to survive, she needed to be able to call for help or better yet, bite her captor. If he was going to kill her, then she would take some DNA with her for the police to find. In fact, she’d take a finger or chunk of flesh if need be.
She didn't know how long she’d been out. The lump on the back of her skull throbbed, but whatever he’d placed over her nose was making her head swim sickly to the point she wanted to vomit. Trying to think back, her mind rebelled and wasn’t having it. It looked like she needed to focus on the here and now until she was free.
She didn't know what was happening, but she was well aware that the next few moments would mean life or death. It all came down to what occurred when the car came to a stop.
Freeing her hands, she reached down to get her ankles unrestrained, and then scanned the dark confines of the car trunk for anything to use as a weapon. The tail lights were visible inside, illuminating the space with enough light for her to see outlines of items.
There was nothing to use, but she did find one thing that might save her.
This was a newer model car, and inside was a safety release latch.
There was a way out!
When he bound her, he should have made it harder to escape. Now, she could pop the trunk and make a break for it when he slowed down.
He hit a bump and it jostled her, causing her to land hard on her side. That was going to hurt in the morning, if she lived to tell about it. Already, her body sung in aches and pains, but the adrenaline forced her mind to push past it. Later, she was pretty sure she would be feeling like a truck ran her over.
For all she knew, one actually did. Everything that happened was a little bit hazy.
Right now, she had two priorities, and she kept focusing on them in her drug fogged brain. Now, she needed to survive and get home. Everything in her told her to stay fixated on getting back to his side. There would be safety if she was only strong enough to overcome what was coming.
Nat King Cole played over the radio, irritating the shit out of her, as she finally freed her ankles. Reaching up, she waited until the car slowed down to pull the release. When it finally did, she held the trunk lid with sore fingers and peered out into the night.
All she could see were trees.
There were lots of them too.
Someone wasn’t in downtown Vegas anymore.
Gone were the neon signs and the palms and back were the real deal. Okay, so this wasn’t going to be as easy as she hoped. In fact, the insurmountable odds began weighing on her mind, as she scanned the situation further.
Yeah, this wasn’t looking good at all.
She was screwed.
Then she could feel the change in motion, as the vehicle slowed down. It must be coming to a crossroad or stop sign. It was now or never, and in her mind she prayed to a higher power that she’d be strong enough to pull it off. The car rolled to a stop, and in that moment she took the chance that either screamed life or death.
He’d catch her, or she’d be fast enough in her state to stay one step ahead of him.
Pushing up the trunk lid only far enough to squeeze out, she felt the car begin to move again, as she fell from the inside. When she hit the asphalt, her body sang in pure pain, but she didn't care. She was way too busy praying that the music would cover any sounds and offer distraction.
Then she did what her instinct told her to do.
She ran for her life.
It was important that she stay focused on the path ahead and never look back. If she did, there was the fear that the person who abducted her would be right behind her.
It scared her to know she might be recaptured again.
That he’d take her once more.
If he succeeded, could she get free a second time?
Racing further into the trees, she wished for some protection as the cold air assaulted her body and lungs. He’d taken her clothes and boots, leaving her only with a lacy bra and panties. Obviously, he’d wanted to make it as hard for her as possible to get away from him.
Well, mission accomplished there.
Being half-naked wasn’t exactly how she wanted to be found, but at this point it didn’t matter. Getting away and to safety meant everything at this point.
She had to call him!
He would find her!
It wouldn’t matter where on the planet the abductor took her. He would come. She had to believe that with all her heart and soul. It was all that was pushing her on through the chilly night.
Weaving in and out of the trees, they sliced and whipped at her as she refused to stop or look back. The only sounds that filled the night were that of her footfalls and her rapid breathing.
Tripping over a root, she went down, scraping her knees and palms, but refusing to give up.
She was tougher than this.
This wasn’t the way she was exiting this existence.
There was no way in hell that after all she survived in her life that she was going down to this maniac. Up she jumped, all the while pushing on to move closer towards freedom. When she’d run as far as she could, barefoot, she leaned protectively behind a tree to listen and track the possible person chasing her.
There were no sounds.
No one was out there.
Surely, if he was following she’d hear him.
That gave her renewed hope, and then there was the crash of reality. She was in the middle of nowhere, dressed in her underwear, and it was getting later in the evening. If she were in Vegas, she’d know how cold it was going to get but here she had no clue. Was she still in Nevada? He took her early in the day and at this point she could be in another state.
Her first instinct told her to find help, and then if need be shelter from the cold. It was survival mode, and she wasn’t going to panic any more than she already was inside.
Pushing on, she refused to let it break her.
Not yet. There’d be no tears until he came for her. Once she saw him, she’d shatter apart under the exhaustion of it all. For now, there was the need to stay strong and keep believing that she had a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving all this.
Moving through the trees, she knew as long as she kept moving in one direction, it would be okay.
She wasn’t aware of how long it had taken, but there was a clearing up ahead, and it gave her hope. Maybe, it was a rest stop or a police outpost.
When she broke through the tree line, there was indeed a building visible.
Her heart soared as she raced toward it. There were no cars, no lights or sign of life. If she had to, she’d break the window and find some warmth. Her hopes crashed as she spotted the barred windows. Well shit! Okay, on to plan B.
Reading the sign beside the door, she was never so happy to see words in her life. It was a ranger’s station, and the location was the national park right outside of Vegas. She wasn’t that far from home after all.
She pounded on the door and peeked in the windows, hoping that someone was working late.
No one was there.
And then she saw the phone booth. Immediately, she knew what needed to be done. Racing towards it on damaged feet, she pushed the pain out of her mind. This would be her one shot at salvation.
“Please work,” she muttered as she slammed the door to the rickety old booth and picked up the handset.
There was a tone and her heart began to rejoice.
She dialed nine-one-one and prayed for help.
“What’s your emergency?” came the monotone woman’s voice.
She almost wanted to weep in joy at just that sound alone. “I’ve been abducted. I escaped the man’s car, and I think I know where I am.” She read her the sign above the ranger’s station door and waited for the woman to say something, anything.
“You’ve been abducted?” Immediately, the woman’s tone changed from boredom to urgency.
“You need to call this number. It’s the direct line to the head of the FBI in Las Vegas. His name is Director Greyson Croft. You need to call him,” she demanded. “Do it now! I don’t know how much time I have!”
“Okay, calm down,” the woman said, taking the number that she repeated over and over.
“I can’t! I escaped, and he may be coming back for me! Call the damn number! He’ll verify that this isn’t a prank!”
The operator kept her on the line and did what she asked. When the call was picked up on the third ring, she spoke to the man.
“Is this Greyson Croft?”
“Yes,” he replied, sounding frazzled and very irritated.
“I have a woman on the line, and she gave me this number. She’s saying that she has been abducted.”
There was hope beginning to blossom in him.
“Where’s she at?” he demanded, motioning to everyone in the room to follow him.
The operator told him what she’d relayed and gave him the story.
“Do you have her on the line?” He practically shouted into the phone.
He knew what he needed to do.
“I need her name.” There was always the slim chance that this was a prank. “And then tell her to hide! We’re on our way.”
The operator switched over to the woman. “Ma’am, are you still with me?”
“Yes, but hurry. It’s cold out. He took my clothes.” Her teeth chattered as she scanned the area to assure he wasn’t coming for her.
“Director Croft needs me to get your name. Who are you?”
She wanted to weep at the mere mention of his name.
“I’m his wife. I’m Detective Emma Croft.”
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