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Death Masks

Author(s): Kim Richards

Computer geek Bill Cristo finds himself on the trail of a serial murderer when he takes up jogging at the local metro park. First serendipity and then curiosity prod him to begin an unofficial investigation. Who is murdering young men in this park? Is it the loony old guy who hangs out at the old cemetery or the creepy park ranger?

Bill's investigative skills bring him to the attention of this killer, and the people near him become targets, including his live-in girlfriend, Dixie. To confront this killer before it gets to her, Bill faces his own meekness and fear but not before becoming a suspect himself.


EXCERPT:

Tonight no moon came to lessen the cold darkness among the trees of Tonton Metro Park. Perhaps a deterrent for normal people, the night's intense silence did little to disturb the night creatures indigenous to the park. They scuttled among the ruins of autumn leaves and sticks, quietly rustling about their business. The temperature dropped enough for the cold to mask any scent of plant or animal.

One night creature in particular, not indigenous to any park, prowled the paths. It hadn't intended to come here this night but upon driving home, chanced to see three young men dart from the street onto the jogging path. All of them had potential from what little detail came across this distance. The possibilities simply couldn't be ignored. With growing excitement, it parked the car across the street, retrieved the appropriate tools from the trunk and set out after them.

It didn't take long to find them. A bit too easy perhaps with time enough to situate oneself among the low evergreens. A faint breeze picked up, fingering the tree branches and stirring them.

The boys passed close enough for their sweat and testosterone to thicken the air around. Three of them. The first's loud voice heralded their coming like a crashing cymbal through the near midnight silence. Carrying a small silver boombox by the handle, he stumbled out of the trees and across soft mounds of grass covering the open picnic area. His crude attempts at humor echoed off the tree trunks. A quick assessment determined his demeanor as one of youthful stupidity driven more by arrogance than drugs. From the looks of this one, that came next. Larger than preferred, he might do.

The entity, nestled within the darkness, sneered at their lack of awareness. The second boy brushed the prickly branches of its hiding place, coming within a breath of touching evil before following his friend into the faint waning moonlight. A thin, pale hand obeyed an irresistible urge to nick his elbow with the needled tip of its palmed syringe as he passed.

"Ow!" the second youth whined. He slapped at his elbow and accelerated his steps. "Aw, something bit me." He cast a hateful glare at the bushes, unaware of the being inside with the power to transform hate into fear.

His sniveling disqualified him. That one's got nothing valuable to offer. He was wrong...all wrong. Wrong build. Wrong face with its large nose and overly pimpled complexion. The dangerous mind diminished him as not worth saving.

Then an angel stepped up behind him, surrounded in a halo of writhing dark pine branches. A slight gasp in the darkness nearly gave away the predator hiding there. The third youth turned, and without recognition in his eyes, stared directly into the face of his hunter.

He's beautiful, and perfect. Dark hair; blue eyes like sapphires; tall enough. Thin with just the right amount of muscle accentuated by the close fitting cloth of his t-shirt. And that shirt: the same one in the dreams. Thank you God.

An image of him as he would be in a few hours came easily to mind, creating an outpouring of adrenaline and child-like excitement. Too bad there were others or he'd be taken now. Don't touch him. Your touch might ruin him.

Wait. Time to wait. Patience is a virtue. Waiting turns to pain, hurting like restraints of cold iron rubbing the skin away. No pain, no gain. It's always worth it in the end. Always.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-0-9804739-4-0
Genre: Thriller
Date Published: 04/07/2008
Publisher: Eternal Press

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