- Dark Hell continued
The drive was longer than he wanted but he had picked a perfect place. He parked his car and walked around to the
trunk and opened it. The fuckin' terror in her eyes is priceless-- a real Kodak moment.
He reached inside the trunk. She flinched, pulling her head back as far as she could to get
away from him, wedging it against a metal toolbox she'd shared the trunk with on the long ride. Reddick smiled with insatiable
delight. He caressed her tousled hair, arranging the curls to his satisfaction. She was violently trembling with fear and
muffled sounds escaped from behind the duct tape covering her mouth. He liked that. It is good sign.
When the time came to remove the tape, only the owls and other critters would hear her screams.
Her screams will intensify the moment.
R-i-p... he removed
the tape... she screamed and kept screaming.
...You can't turn your face away
I possess your last breath.
Off it goes into the dark unknown,
while your eyes can only see
I've allowed so graciously.
Now, your death is mine to behold,
as I make myself so eminently known...
Chapter Six - Everything Means Something
Feeling dizzy, Toni tightly held the charmed angel figurine then passed out. The vision
of Marilyn Hines being brutally attacked was too intense; too much to emotionally deal with.
Meadows knelt beside her, patting her face. "Ms. Taft--Toni! Toni-- are you all right? Ms. Taft--Toni, look
at me-- look at me!
Her eyes fluttered, barely opening before closing
again. "I-- I'm okay," she answered, trying to sit up.
fainted. Are you really okay? All you said before you hit the floor was, "blood, so much blood." You had a vision
didn't you? Did you see what happened to Miss Hines? Did you see the him-- the killer?"
"Yes and no. I saw the poor girl fighting for her life. And I saw him-- but I couldn't see what he looked
like. His face was featureless."
Detective Meadows assisted
her up into a chair, handed her a glass of water, then fanned her face with a file folder.
"Thank you. I think I'll be fine. I haven't fainted in a long time, but sometimes it happens when it's
too intense. I guess it's my mind shutting down-- 'kind of a survival defense or something," she apologetically
"Jesus! You really gave me a scare. I thought you
had a heart attack! You neglected to tell me what to expect."
concern made her feel warm inside for a brief moment but didn't stop the feeling of terror of seeing Marilyn Hines.
She was brutally beaten, tortured, ravaged and raped-- and then dismembered.
Meadows moved a wisp of hair from her face and reached into a desk drawer, lifting out a fifth of bourbon and brown-stained
mug. He poured some to the brim and handed it to her. "Here-- drink this. I insist. It'll calm you and take the edge
Toni didn't argue with him and took the mug, then
gulped in one drink. She didn't like bourbon, but didn't care what it was at that point. She needed the drink and
With one eyebrow raised, she looked at the bottle
and lifted the mug up. "Can I have a refill, please?"
it and crudely turned the bottle up to his lips, taking a big swig.
she said, finishing it off. She set the empty mug on his desk. "Something isn't right. My vision weren't like
the others before. I heard-- well-- I heard his voice-- I mean, his chanting. I think it was chanting or maybe it was whispering,"
she told him and wondering why her psychic abilities were enhanced. She hadn't experienced that kind of audio telepathy
"Do what? You heard the killer? His voice?"
Meadows asked, slamming the empty bottle down on his desk.
yes, I did. But it was in my head, not with my ears. It was like remembering a conversation you've had with someone and
it echoes through your mind. This is new. I haven't heard things like this in that way before, if that makes any sense.
"Okay, Toni, slow down a moment. What did you hear-- in your
head? I mean-- what did the son-of-a-bitch say?"
"I heard, 'beauty
is in the eye of the beholder' and something like 'choice of desire,' no, wait-- I think it was,
'in which is the choice of his own desire,' at least that's what I think it was. And something like, 'selfishly
to possess for himself.' I'm not sure if I can remember the rest-- I'm sorry."
"Try to remember, Toni. Try real hard. Relax and concentrate, okay? Just breathe and relax... it might be something
that we can connect to this bastard. Song lyrics, a poem, something-- anything."
"For his own demented reflection, the fruits in which he so grimly reaps, becoming darker and deadly bolder,"
she chanted with her eyes closed. She rocked back and forth in her chair as a child would in fear of a nurse coming in with
a hypodermic needle to give her a shot.
"My God! This
is one friggin' sick-ass bastard! "
Meadows walked over
to the chalkboard grabbing a stubby piece of white chalk and scribbled the first two lines, then turned around looking at
Toni. "What was the next line?"
She repeated it while fanning
herself with a folder while still rocking her body back and forth.
down-- hold on a sec. I can't write that fast. "The fruits in which," what?"
"He so grimly reaps, she mumbled, pouring more bourbon in the abandoned mug
while watching Meadows scribble the words.
and deadly bolder," she added. Then drank the the bourbon in one drink.
"We're going to have to take this line by line. There's got to be something here to decipher. It means
something. Everything means something."
Chapter Seven - The First Clue
"Excuse me, Detective Meadows, I don't
mean to interrupt-- but I think you should know, we've just received a call from the Forestry Division north of Holler
Hills," the young man announced.
"What's it about, John?" Meadows asked, not looking away from the blackboard.
John stood in the doorway briefly pausing without answering, looking down at Toni who was
sitting in the middle of the floor with folders scattered haphazardly around her.
"A ranger found another body-- well, what was left of a body, sir," he finally answered.
"A woman's body?"
sir. Parts of a woman's body. They said it was an awful mess. A real gruesome sight. I told the ranger you'd be up
there as quickly as possible. I hope that was all right, sir. I figured it's probably the same case you're working."
"Damn! All right. If he calls back, tell him we're on our way. And John,
dispatch a CSI crew team right away. Notify the local coroner, too," Meadows instructed. He glanced down at Toni.
She returned the look with a dread mixed with terror, knowing she'd have to accompany
him to the crime scene. That was just one reason she'd retired from police consulting; the hideous aftermath of the evil
psychosis and what people are capable of.
John left closing the door behind
him. The office was as quiet as the eye of a tornado before its fury devastates its path. Meadows knew what Toni was thinking.
He could see it in her expression. Fearful fright. The fright you feel when you know the tornado is about to lash down and
carry you off into its bowels, never knowing where you'll end up, or even if there would be anything left when it finished
"You knew it was bound to happen again. It was inevitable,
"I know. I told myself I'd be emotionally ready when
this time came, but how do you prepare yourself? How do you do it?"
"You're never really prepared. And you never know when or why. It's just an ugly fact of life and somebody's
got to do this job. So here I am," he told her with a forced, but warm smile. He'd hoped it offered her some comfort.
Maybe some courage by his own example.
Detective Brad Meadows,
who was always the gentleman, helped her stand up while holding her coat for her and patiently allowing her to slip her arms
in one at a time.
"Thank you. I guess this is it. Let's
go and get this over with," she said, buttoning her coat.
Meadows was thankful the sun was shining, warming any chill that had lingered earlier and
proffering plenty of daylight to work in.
He opened the door for Toni so she could get out of the car when a forensic
examiner greeted him. Damn. They're fast! he thought.
"Detective Meadows, we've already got it roped off and
numbered markers established," Robert informed him, motioning toward the area with his left hand as he shook Meadows'
hand with his right one. "You must be Ms. Taft. I've heard of your impeccable reputation, Ma'am. It's an
honor to finally meet you," he told her.
Toni extended her gloved-hand, "Nice to meet you too-- uh-- what was your name again?"
"Robert. Robert Burnstein, Ma'am," he announced, shaking her hand. "If
you'll follow me, I'll take you both to the main area where we've established the crime scene."
The three walked a few yards, winding through a trail of tall grass and brushy thicket on
the path the forensic team had created after determining it didn't interfere with the evidence.
Toni counted the markers that were scattered and could tell they formed a pattern.
"Stop!" she yelled.
The two men immediately
"What is it, Toni?" Meadows asked.
"Look. Don't you see it?"
and Burnstein looked in the direction she was gazing.
it! Meadows declared. "It's some sort of pattern."
don't see anything. What do you mean, pattern?" Burnstein asked, while looking around.
Toni pointed her finger forming the letter in the air. "There!"
"It is a letter," Meadows announced, shocked.
see it now! How did our team miss that? We've been all over this area and no one's noticed," Burnstein responded
with his hands on his hips. He unsnapped the encased binoculars from his belt and raised them to his eyes. After adjusting
the focus, he turned his head slightly following the markers in his sights, then handed the binoculars to Meadows.
The letter 'R' was distinctly laid out with numbered markers.
It was more satisfying than he'd dreamed it would be or imagined. A lock of her soft golden-blond hair was a
blessed addition to his ever-growing collection of trophies. It didn't matter if it was slightly saturated with blood.
It only enhances its beauty.
Reddick popped the tab off
a beer, kicked his shoes off into a corner of piled rubble and filthy clothing, then sat back comfortably slurping the cold
brew with an insatiable relish.
...Take your life in your own hands,
or sit alone in reflective silence.
grand, all things needed,
will not drop right into your lap unheeded.
Make your choice, stand your
drink your fill and sedate your plight,
in this dark hell made of fools tonight...
He thought back to his childhood like he always did after he'd finished every masterpiece
was a fuckin' whore. But a fuckin' good whore. She had more men visit than the average fuckin' whore could count.
I don't think she could fuckin' count that high. Money. It's all she ever wanted. Fuckin' money. Well, it
kept her fuckin' supplied with booze for sure. I understand that. Maybe the stupid bitch knew what she was doing after
all. It paid her fuckin' tab. But there's better things in fuckin' life than fuckin' money could ever fuckin'
He smashed the empty beer can, tossed
it on the floor, grabbed another cold one, and kicked the discarded bit of aluminum aside on his way back to his ragged
armchair. He sat down, but didn't slouch in his usual fashion of both legs dangling over one side, instead, sitting with
legs sprawled apart. He unzipped his pants, stroked himself, excitedly recalling all the exhilarating
sensations the pretty blond had given him...