Jennifer fought wildly for a way out when a scream sent her into a panic. She quickly tugged the chain to expose her badge as she crept deeper into the cave-like corridor. With each step the screams echoed louder and louder. Her hair stood on end when dead silence thickened the air! She quickened her pace determined more than ever to find the victim, when a blood-curdling scream shot her upright awakening her from the nightmare. She shook her head trying to shake off the sleepy disorientation when once again screams filled the room. She jetted her eyes searching for the source of the screams; her phone. As she fumbled to answer it a shocking image flashed in her mind. The image of a young child wearing blue jeans and a red camouflage jacket. His face unrecognizable only a bloody patch of flesh where his face should have been. Finally, her hand felt the phone and she snatched it up, “Detective Hart.”
“We have another one. This one is…” his voice fell quiet. She thought the call dropped, when she heard him exhale, “It’s god-awful! This son-of-a-bitch is escalating. He dumped this victim in the center of town behind the Burger Palace in Natistoke City!” His voice lowered to a whisper, “It’s gone! The little boy’s face -it’s gone!”
She heard him swallowed hard before continuing, “From the size of the body, this victim can’t be more than ten or eleven-years-old. He left us another note! Hurry, you need to get over here Asap!”
Before she could ask a single question, the line went dead.
The unspeakable image kept flashing in her mind. What the hell is he doing to them? No face? Damn, I need to get moving!
She kicked off the covers to dress as her mind wandered back to the day she made Detective for the Langley County Criminal Investigative Unit, one of her biggest childhood aspirations. She had been so determined her compulsive study habits caused her college friends to tease her for having no personal life. Rarely was she seen without her head stuck in a book. But as a go-getter, she ignored their snide remarks and kept her course.
Tick tock, she mumbled. A simple subliminal catchphrase she had been taught to use to refocus her over-active mind. It helped stop her mind from wandering and wasting time keeping her focused. She blinked as she repeating the phrase. She whipped her long black hair into a ponytail, snatched her gear, and ran out the door.
Once outside she noticed there were no stars in the sky and the moon hid behind a never-ending layer of clouds. The Susquehanna River added to the cloud’s coverage with its heavy plumes of mist. An eldritch effect of the cold air dancing on the water’s surface, thickening an already impenetrable shroud making the morning feel even more cold, damp, and dark.
She stepped to the edge of the porch when a gust colder than ice smacked her in the face causing her eyes to tear. The wind smelled crisp and clean, the way it does right before a snow storm, and up here in the mountains, it was not uncommon to have a passing snow shower this early in Autumn .
All at once, the hairs on the back of her neck began to rise as a bone-chilling shiver attacked her spine. She darted her eyes searching the darkness, standing absolutely still listening but heard nothing. Her senses screaming only heightened her suspicion. Someone was out there! She knew it. She could feel their eyes stalking her, watching her, studying her.
The eerie sensations caused her to quiver. She knew someone was hiding somewhere in the shadows watching her. Once again, she scanned the neighborhood, squinting to see through the thick mist and fog. She stood quiet for a long minute looking and listening, but still, she saw and heard nothing – just dead silence. The only movements she observed came from the heavy curtain of mist and fog. Nevertheless, she could not shrug off the unwelcome feelings of abject fear. She knew something was wrong! She could feel it! It was way too silent and way too dark!
Regardless of her unsettling feelings, she had to get to the scene. Tick Tock, she muttered, took a deep breath, and darted into her car. She locked the doors, started the engine, and turned on the headlights. Blinded by the heavy dew deposited during the night, she flicked on the wipers before turning on the defrosters which instantly blasted cold air onto the windshield causing condensation to cascade across the glass. Then she saw it. Illuminated in the glow by the dashboard lights. Right there in front of her scribbled in the condensation,
“Cycles of Time – Revenge is Mine!”
Sending her into sheer panic mode, she peered out the windows and glanced in the mirrors, searching the darkness for any movement. Her heart pounded! Who could be out there? Didn’t I have the car locked? How did they get in my car? What does it mean… “Cycles of Time – Revenge is Mine?” Who is getting revenge, and for what? What the hell is going on in this city?
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