I have the final draft at the editors. Should be soon hopefully.
Here is a sneak peak at Sweetest Revenge.
“Why are you doing this? Please, let me go. Don’t hurt me!” A girl cried, as she was dragged out of a black, dirt encrusted Mustang. She grabbed the door handle and held on for dear life. It wasn’t enough though; the man was stronger. Her arm felt like it was ripped out of its socket, making her cry out in despair. Time seemed to stretch for an eternity as they drove from the park to her doom. But now, anxiety rushed through her in an icy flood as a cabin came into view; she knew this was the end and she wanted back into the car.
“Quit fighting,” the man demanded. “I don’t want to do this. But they’re making me.” His last words were filled with a desperation that rung in her ears. Maybe there was hope.
“Please, please. You don’t have to listen to them.”
Tears ran down her face and she stumbled as he pushed her up the steps. Trying to spin around, she scratched the first thing she came in contact with: his face. She turned and fled, anxiety piercing her chest. With an angry snarl, he followed and grabbed her arm, throwing her towards the weather-beaten door. Looking for a grab hold, she threw her hands violently towards the man’s body leaving another large scratch down his arm, this one deeper than the last.
“Look what you did! Don’t move!” He slapped her, knocking her against the door once more.
Before long, she was tied up, sitting in a rickety chair facing the dirty, stained wall, yellowed with age. From what she could see, there were very few furnishings. The sparse fittings in sight looked as if they had been pulled out of the garbage. Holes littered the couch, and the fabric was worn, with the springs showing through. No curtains were hung, instead, black trash bags were duct taped to the windows. She could just make out the light of the full moon peeking through.
She wrinkled her nose as the smell of rotting garbage wafted towards her, probably coming from the kitchen. How could someone live like this?
Where is he?
There was a noise from behind and she began to shiver and quake as the footsteps continued advancing. What did I do to deserve this? Why? Oh God, why?
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” The man muttered over and over. He began laying garbage bags around her on the floor as he sang, “Hush little baby, don’t say a word, Pappa’s gonna buy you a mocking bird,” he then pulled a large knife from the bag he was carrying. “…If that mocking bird don’t sing, Pappa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring…”
She began whimpering and tried to control the overwhelming urge to vomit. He whipped his head towards her, as if startled she was there.
“Don’t start. This isn’t my fault, my life was ruined. I can’t get it back. Never! Never!”
With the force of a charging ram, he punched her. Blood ran down her lip, mixing with her tears that fell to her knees. Her ears were ringing and she could no longer discern the mad mumblings of her captor. Losing her equilibrium, fighting back was no longer an option. He had tied her arms behind the chair, and her mind began to go fuzzy as she helplessly watched him duct tape her ankles together. Her world became dark.
She woke to excruciating pain and screamed. Flames of agony were buried deep and running along her arm and it took her several mind-numbing seconds to realize that she wasn’t on fire. He had his knife buried in her arm and he was digging. She screamed again and barely heard his maniacal laughter. Again and again the knife went deeper into her terrified body.
She didn’t know how much more she could take, her parents’ wonderful faces flashed through her mind and the tears continued to track down her aching face and fell onto the plastic garbage bags. She tried to scream, but her voice was hoarse. All of a sudden, he stopped.
Maybe it’s over, she thought.
But then she felt his grimy, slippery fingers as they closed around her throat and began to squeeze.
Her poor body thrashed around like a fish out of water, and the man could see the life slowly drain from her eyes, then nothing.
He breathed a sigh of relief, it was done. He looked around at the blood splattered all over. Good thing I have the garbage bags. But blood still moved in a river towards the corners onto his floor. He growled a curse; of course, even in death, she was ruining what little he had left.
He wrapped up her limp body in a few clean bags and stepped onto the porch. A crunching noise drew his gaze to the deck and he noticed there was a pink phone crushed beneath his boot. He dropped the lifeless body to the ground and picked up the phone, quickly shoved it in his pocket, and drew a deep breath. Almost done. He threw her into the trunk of his car, and then stood uncertainly for a moment, silently debating if there was time to clean up her mess. His thoughts went back to the blood drying on the floor; he took his frustrations out on the dead girl in front of him, before slamming the trunk and stomping back to the cabin. It was good none of the neighbors were around this time of year, to hear her wonderful screams. The rich sounds had quenched the fire of vengeance burning inside of him, for now.
He stripped off his bloody clothes, discarding them in the garbage bags, and then threw everything into the fireplace. He grabbed a bucket, bleach, and rags. With a grimace, he knelt down, fiercely scrubbing the bloodstains, scraping his knuckles from the force. The water in the bucket turned bright red by the time he finished, and he could smell the stench of death in his cabin. He would need to open the windows before all his possessions were permeated with the odor. Finally, he was clean enough to dispose of her. It was too risky having the fireplace burning while he was gone, so he had everything stuffed behind the hearth. It would be ready for his return, like a cleansing, and he could continue with his vengeance. He locked the door and made sure the windows were open; the bags were still secure. He then jumped into the car and sped away, spewing gravel behind him.
He shut off his lights, as he drew nearer to the park, and coasted down the gravel road. Hopefully, from what he had observed there wouldn’t be anyone around the park at this hour. When he popped the trunk open there was a metallic smell that made him gag; he covered his nose for a moment.
He could do this; he had to. Heaving the body out, he struggled a moment, almost dropping her. Making no noise was extremely difficult when the bushes were dry, and the leaves were brown and crunchy. At least the snow muffled the sound somewhat. He wanted to use a flashlight, but it would stick out like a sore thumb against the darkness. It was good fortune that the full moon shone so brightly from the clear sky and the stars sparkled, casting a faint glow. If he moved slowly, his eyes could adjust enough to keep him away from most of the sharp branches.
This looks like a good spot.
The body dropped to the ground with a quiet thump, and the few leaves left from Fall scattered, settling again around the body. If one looked closely, they would have been able to see some blood seeping out of the bags, as the encroaching red stained the pure white snow.
“Echo, come back here!”
Shit! Someone’s here. He peeked through the deciduous branches, wishing there were more evergreens in the area. A woman came into view with a little dog close beside her, and the small dog was trying to veer towards his hiding place. He felt in his pockets and swore softly. He had forgotten his knife. About to take a step towards them, he froze when the dog was pulled away.
As Kaila Porter pulled on Echo’s leash, she halted beside a park bench, her sides heaving.
A shadow peeled itself away from the trees, pulling farther back into the cover of overgrowth, a few steps away.
Hearing a rustle, Kaila glanced around the park before sitting down with a groan. It surprised Kaila how much endurance and speed Echo had, compared to many other Shih Tzu’s she had seen.
They were such a small dog; Kaila also thought that with their little legs, they wouldn’t move quickly; wrong!
Almost at the end of her run, Kaila rested a moment before heading back to her apartment. It was almost nine, so Holly should be home and would hopefully have supper ready. Kaila was glad Holly, her best friend since elementary school, had moved to Calgary with her. Kaila would have been quite lonely without their usual girl talk. Yes, they could have hung out on the phone, but it just wasn’t the same as curling up in front of the T.V. and watching a sappy movie, tears streaming down their faces. Usually, they couldn’t help comparing their lives to what was happening on the screen.
Kaila enjoyed the peace and quiet of the park; the path was free of annoying bikers and other runners. Fall was Kaila’s favorite time of year, with the leaves bright orange and red. She watched as the few remaining leaves lazily fell from the trees spread throughout the park as the wind whistled between the branches. They brought back fond memories of her childhood; she had helped her father rake the leaves into a large pile, before running through them, laughing.
The neighborhood she grew up in had trees everywhere, which was a selling feature in Kaila’s mind, if she was going to buy a house. A few of the residents had destroyed the trees in their yards, making it look like a barren wasteland compared to the others. It was funny watching the older people as they walked by these houses and glared at the empty lots. They seemed to take it personally; even if they lived several houses away. But, to each their own, and Kaila had just been glad there were plenty of trees around her childhood home to climb and hide in. They were a great place to share secrets with your best friend, where no one would hear. As an only child, she hadn’t needed to worry about a snooping sibling, but the girls never wanted their parents to hear any talk about boys.
Watching the scenery unfold helped relieve the stressful day at the police station. It had been a grueling six years, but she had finally made it. Kaila was thrilled with the promotion to Detective, even though she was still battling the misconceptions of a few officers. Many thought her father, Chief Grant Porter, had pulled the strings to get her in. She remembered the first few years, the jokes and whispers behind her back, because of her blonde hair and blue eyes. Kaila had heard most of the blonde jokes out there. “What do you call twenty blondes in a freezer? Frosted flakes.” Was just one of many bantered around the water cooler. The jokes had slowly tapered off to only a few diehards over the past years. The others in the department were realizing that she had a great mind for detail and an inner strength that was an asset to any case she investigated. One bright spot was Kaila’s new partner, George Hapner, he didn’t listen to the talk still floating around and was willing to give her a chance.
Kaila put her hands on her knees and pushed herself up with a sigh. She should really be used to running by now, but every time was a challenge. Kaila would rather be working out in a gym, lifting weights, but her dog Echo needed to get out and walk. Keeping her trim figure was easy. It surprised Kaila that with the amount of garbage she put in her mouth that she hadn’t ballooned out. Knowing her luck, it would hit her when she was older and her metabolism stopped working. But until then, Kaila had no real plan to change her ways; she loved food.
Kaila’s breath became labored as she turned around the block and her apartment building came into view. She and Holly were fortunate to have found the place; it was only a couple of blocks from Glenmore Athletic Park and Riverdale Park. It was close to both Kaila’s police station and the University where Holly was finishing up her medical degree, and to the medical examiners’ office that she worked a couple of hours a week as an assistant. Most of the apartments in the Altadore area were quite pricey, but because of the damage sustained from the previous tenant, theirs had been rented at a discount, for the first few months anyways.
Kaila was glad to be working Monday to Friday, though of course, that could change depending on the cases. Holly was busy with school and her job, while also fitting in her studying. Kaila was usually in the station by seven in the morning and left around seven. She worked whatever hours George did, Kaila didn’t want to be seen as a slacker; she had enough problems. George insisted a couple of times that Kaila wasn’t required to come in as early, he was just a workaholic. But she didn’t mind. They had the same frame of mind in that regard. Being a workaholic was one of the reasons she couldn’t marry her ex-boyfriend. It was also difficult not to spend extra time at the station when they were dealing with a murder case. She could picture the victims’ families lining up at the door asking, ‘why?’ …‘Who was it?’ She was reminded of their last case where an innocent bystander was gunned down during a store robbery. The sixteen year old boys’ family had come to the station demanding answers. Why was he shot? Was he the target? Who did it? And Kaila could only stand there saying that they weren’t sure, but as soon as they knew the family would be the first to know.
That should make anyone want to work harder.
From moving in, unpacking, and settling into their careers, there just hadn’t been time for many renovations. The girls had a vision of how the place would look in the end, and with hard work and some elbow grease, Kaila knew they could pull it off eventually.
Kaila pushed the third floor button on the elevator and pulled Echo towards her, before he could begin digging in the garbage can again. He was still a puppy and trying to keep up with his training was difficult because of her work schedule. Echo sat panting quietly, looking around for someone to visit with. She could see the gears in his head turning a mile a minute, debating on how to escape. He was one of the friendliest dogs Kaila knew. Her parents had recommended a nice, large dog for protection, but as soon as she had seen Echo through the pet store window, Kaila was hooked. He was very loyal, and tried discouraging any strangers from coming closer, but he also loved to have fun and played hard.
I should speak to the super, Kaila thought as time stretched. It shouldn’t take this long for the elevator to come down. She could just imagine getting stuck in the slow contraption. Most of the other tenants in the building were lawyers and doctors, working long hours as well. She wouldn’t be discovered until she was shriveled up, lying in the corner, with Echo gnawing on her leg.
“Hey, Holly smells good.” Kaila closed the apartment door and released Echo, who ran to his water bowl. She looked around their apartment and felt a sense of contentment. She loved the fireplace and enjoyed it immensely in the winter. Even with the multiple holes in the walls, and the desperate need for new paint, Kaila was besotted.
“Hi, Kaila, how was the run?”
“Fine, but I’m exhausted. Time for a shower.”
The spray felt good. Kaila put her head under the cascading water, and let it wash away the day’s dirt and grime. Thinking about the station again, she had known it would be difficult starting there, but it seemed more problems came up than she had expected. The pace was extremely different than back home and at first she had trouble adjusting, and then the doubt and whispering from the others. But Kaila was strong and wouldn’t back down. This was the career she had strived for from the very beginning, and nothing was going to stop her. She could still remember sitting at the kitchen table with her dad, pouring over cases, asking a multitude of questions. The criminal mind fascinated Kaila, leading her down the path of a detective, rather than using her psychology degree. No matter what she expected from a suspect, Kaila was still surprised by the depravity of some. And she had found her kindred spirit in Holly. When a fellow student was murdered during middle school, the girls discovered their mutual passion for solving crimes. As the investigation progressed, they searched, in their own way, for the motive and criminal. Of course, you can’t get very far when you’re only twelve, but it was the beginning. They had been determined; it was their job to speak for the victims and find the bad guys. Kaila and Holly had never strayed from that path, but continued into their current fields.
By the time Kaila walked into the kitchen, supper was sitting on the table and a pile of books and papers were on the side.
“Thanks a lot, you didn’t have to. I can see you have enough today. But I knew there was a reason I wanted you as a roommate!” Kaila said gesturing to the books and laughing.
“Ha-ha, you’re so funny. It’s your turn to cook tomorrow, don’t forget. I needed a break anyways.”
“Yeah, fine. Maybe I’ll just order pizza.”
As she was shoving a mouthful of delicious pasta into her mouth, Kaila felt a buzz from her phone. “I have to go,” Kaila said, standing up.
“George just texted. A body was found in Riverdale Park. I’ll probably be late.”