Authors: Weston Kincade,James Roy Daley,Books Of The Dead
A LIFE OF DEATH: 9 - 12
- BOOKS of the DEAD -
“A well written story that flows off the page.”
~ Coral Russell, author of Amador Lockdown
“Another awesome book by Weston Kincade – a paranormal coming-of-age mystery page turner. I could not put it down… I promise you will not be disappointed with this one.”
~ Chantale, Geeky Girl Reviews
“A Life of Death is a completely amazing story. Fans of paranormal mystery and suspense stories should enjoy this book. Definitely give it a read as soon as you can!”
~ K. Sozaeva, Now is Gone
“A Life of Death is my favorite kind of book, characters' emotions are painted in details. It's so vivid and alive I get a sense that Alex, the main character, is a younger version of Weston himself. This book in beautiful in unexpected ways.”
~ Helmy Parlente Kusuma, author of There is Hope
“A Life of Death is quite simply, absolutely superb. I loved this book, it was an emotional and entertaining journey that had me hooked.”
~ David King, An Eclectic Bookshelf
“A very good story.”
~ Kathleen Brown, author of The Personal Justice Series
“The title drew me in and the novel itself is an experience that should not be left unread.”
~ Bruce Blanchard, author of Demon's Daughter
“Mr. Kincade did a wonderful job telling this story. The characters are well developed and easy to relate to. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this book."
~ Christi, Alaskan Book Cafe
This book is a work of fiction. All characters, events, dialog and situations in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
A Life of Death 9-12
Copyright 2013 by Weston Kincade
on his website.
For more information visit:
* * *
A LIFE OF DEATH: 9
- BOOKS of the DEAD -
Metro Police and Sergeant Rollen
September 16, 2011
During the ride to the DC Metropolitan Police Department, Jessie asked, “So what’s the deal?”
“What do you mean?” I continued staring out the window of the rented sedan, following the GPS to Indiana Avenue Northwest.
“Don’t give me that. You know exactly what I mean. Why do you always treat me like I’m an outsider? Since you got on the force, it’s been that way. What happened to your good ol’ trusted friend, Jessie, the guy you used to take with you and Paige to investigate murders and ghosts?”
I sighed. “Look, Jess. It’s not like that. I’m not trying to keep you out, but you have to understand. You’re a civilian, and these people could go out of their way to hurt me, especially since I’m not even sure Irene’s still our girl.”
“Then don’t you think I should know what’s going on, especially if someone might be gunnin’ for me?”
“You’re probably right. I just don’t want you getting hurt. I’ve already gotten you more involved than I like.”
“That never stopped you before,” Jessie shouted.
“It did… you just didn’t know about it. You moved up here and things were going well for you, so I didn’t want to mention how bad things got with the arson murders.”
“So, it got worse than you said?”
I nodded. “Yeah, people were freaked out, but it always calmed down by the end of the next month. Later on people accepted it, but knew that it would only be
of them, so they’d mourn the victim and for the family that next week. Basically, life went on. It’s pretty bad when a town accepts an annual sacrifice and believes the police are inept and unable to stop it.”
“Well, weren’t they?” asked Jessie, but it was a rhetorical question.
I flinched. “Yeah, but even I couldn’t find the person responsible. The mayor hounds us this time of the year like clockwork. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but this murderer is smooth. She never reveals herself to her victims, always appearing in that damnable costume. She’s so slippery, she’d hold her own in a pond full of eels.”
Jessie chuckled. “You know, my dad used to say things like that, too.”
My thoughts turned to the few memories I had of my father and the smiling picture of him in his trucker cap. “Yeah, mine too,” I whispered. “But the only links I’ve found so far beyond the tattoos are the arson and body positions.”
“What is it with these tattoos? You keep telling me there’s some connection with them, and I’m telling you, there’s not. They’re just really common. Hell, I’ve seen a few people with ankh tattoos today alone.”
“How do you know there isn’t a connection? It can’t just be a coincidence.” Slipping the file out of my briefcase between us, I tossed it into his lap. “Take a look at them. They all have one.”
“Jessie, you can’t be that stupid.” I shook my head. “And here you were telling me to stop acting dumb.”
He’s not this stupid, never has been and never will be
Through my peripheral vision, I watched as Jessie searched for his voice. Each time he opened his mouth, it snapped shut before a word could escape.
Maybe there’s more to this than I thought. Something’s going on.
As we rolled to a stop in front of the large, glass-walled police station, I parked on the street and shifted the car into park. “Look, Jess, I love you like a brother, but if you’ve got somethin’ to tell me, do it now. I need to know.”
Jessie glanced at me and our eyes met, but only for a moment. Then he shook his head. “Nah, it’s nothin’. I just know you’re chasing your tail on this one. It’s…” But he couldn’t finish.
“Fine, save it for later. We gotta have a little powwow with the local department here.”
“You still think Irene might have somethin’ to do with these murders?” Jessie stepped onto the curb and closed his car door.
I shrugged. “Maybe. I have a few other questions, too.”
* * *
Jessie loudly sipped at his cup of coffee as we left the detour to the coffee shop and entered the department office. Behind the marble counter sat a slender but well-framed, black man in uniform. His gold nametag read Rollen and the three chevrons on his shoulder labeled him Sergeant. “Can I help you?” he asked over the ringing telephones and chatter of background voices.
“I really hope so. I’m a visiting detective and thought you might be able to help me with a case I’m working. Seems my town and your city share a few citizens from time to time.”
The man nodded. “Doesn’t surprise me. We get people from all over here. Where are you from?”
“Tranquil Heights,” I replied.
The officer looked at me quizzically. “Where?”
“It’s a small town in southwest Virginia, in the mountains.”
“Yeah,” Jessie interjected, “one of those places most people don’t hardly notice when they’re passing through.”
The officer nodded. “I gotcha. Never lived in a place like that myself, but I know what you mean. Born and bred in NOVA here.”
Jessie and I both nodded. I was aware of the differences in perspectives. To people living in northern Virginia—or NOVA for short—the rest of Virginia could be an entirely different state.
“Things are a bit different here from what you’re used to, I’m sure.”
“So I’ve noticed,” I replied. “But we’ve got a serial killer that I think may have come to your fair city.”
“A serial killer?” the man asked. He lowered his voice. “You gotta be joking. Don’t tell me we got another redneck sniping the highways again, pardon the term.”
I stepped up to the counter. “No worries. Most country boys would take the name as a compliment. They’re survivors, most of them at least, livin’ off the land. But no… no sniper. In fact, our murderer seems to have an affinity for a particular date—September 20—and only murders annually. She’s killed fifteen people over the last fifteen years.”
“At least it’s not thirteen,” he whispered, obviously somewhat superstitious.
Jessie breathed a sigh of relief. “At least there’s that. It could be worse.”
“I think any murder is bad. These are horrible.” I grimaced as scenes from the last seconds of past victims’ lives came to mind: the monstrous treatment, the fear, the smell of lighter fluid, and the pain as the flames torched every inch of skin. I shoved the memories aside, but the lingering smell of burnt flesh still coated my nostrils. Shivering, I said, “Look, Irene Harris used to live in Tranquil Heights. She grew up there, but she’s since moved here. From what I can tell, her travel arrangements over the years pretty well match up. I was hoping you might be able to tell me more, do a search on her past, things she’s been caught doing, Sergeant.”
“You got credentials and a department number I can call? I gotta look into things a bit first. You know how it is.”
I removed my card from my jacket pocket and laid it and my badge wallet on the counter between us. He scanned my ID and badge, then took the card and picked up a phone on a nearby desk, just out of earshot.
“Damn, Alex. I gotta take you with me the next time I encounter one of these fellas. It’s like you’re long-lost buddies.”
“I wouldn’t say that, but there’s a certain respect we have for one another…” My thoughts turned to the two policemen in the shack at the Metro entrance. “Usually.”
After finishing one call, Sergeant Rollen dialed another number, spoke for a few minutes, and finally dialed a third. Eventually he sauntered back to us. “Mind if I keep this?” He waved the card between two extended fingers. “Just in case I need to get hold of you.”
“Sure. I’d appreciate it. So what’d you find?” Grinning wide, I asked, “Am I the same Joe Shmoe I flew in with, or did someone knock a few screws loose?”
Jessie and the sergeant both smiled.
“Yep, I spoke with Sergeant Tullings. He was a little pissed to hear you’d skipped town, but vouched for you. He said to be sure and call them, hurry back, and somethin’ about his coattails poppin’.”
I nodded. “Yeah, just a little local lingo. You get used to it down there.”
“What’s it mean?”
Jessie answered with a chuckle. “That he’s pissed.”
Sergeant Rollen smiled. “Yeah, I got the gist of that. That explains the last thing he said. He wanted me to remind you that this wasn’t what the mayor meant when he said by any means necessary.”
“They’ll get over it,” I said, waving away the warning. “The mayor’s son was one of the victims. So what can you tell me about our fair lady?”
Rollen’s eyebrows rose. “Well, she ain’t necessarily a fair lady.”
“That much I know.”
“She got in some trouble a while back with her husband. He died when their house burned down. She pled to involuntary manslaughter and was granted time served for the three months she spent in jail and four years of probation.”
“Yeah, I figured that much out from the reports our office came up with. That’s a pretty light sentence.”
The officer nodded. “Yeah, I thought so too, so I dug a little deeper. I’m really not supposed to tell you this, but I called Moten, the DA that worked the case. He said there was some speculation from her lawyers about treatment when they hauled her in at the local PD. I’m sure they didn’t have nothin’, but after the scandal last year, none of the government offices want a whiff of media attention, especially the department. So, with things not lookin’ so rosy, they cut a deal. According to the law, she did her time.”
Jessie looked stunned; his jaw hung open until he managed to say, “You can’t be serious.”
Sergeant Rollen looked at Jessie with the same expression I knew mine held: pity. “That’s the way the world works. We just manage where we can while the people with power walk around with the keys to the kingdom, worryin’ about stocks, multi-million-dollar bank notes, and election funds.”
“It’s the world you live in, Jess. I don’t like it, but get used to it.”
My tall friend shook his head in shame. “But this is the police department. You guys can’t cater to the bad guys or let people off for murder. Who’ll protect the innocents?”
This time my pity turned to skepticism. “This isn’t news to you, Jessie. Think about years ago, my uncle, and the way the police’s hands were tied. It’s no different. If anything, it’s worse now. Like Rollen said, we just roll with it and do what we can.”
Jessie’s eyes found mine and this time held them.
I said, “What more can we do, but try and uphold the law, bring a little justice to those in need when we can.”
His shoulders slumped. “I know,” Jessie mumbled. Turning away, he dropped his half-finished coffee into the trash and said, “I’ll wait for you in the car.” Then he quietly slipped out the doors.
“Wow, how old is he?” asked Sergeant Rollen.
“Old enough to know and still young enough to dream.”
“So what about these other murders?” I asked. “She’s been in my town for every single one of them.”
Rollen punched a few keys on his keyboard and printed the results, motioning me around the counter. I came around and leaned over his shoulder. Scanning the monitor, his head twitched for a moment. “September 20, you said?”
“Then why’s she back here so soon?”
I pondered the question. It was valid. This was early for her.
Does she know we’re onto her? She couldn’t have just stopped,
I concluded. Everything I found in my research said that serial killers don’t just stop. It’s like an addiction. That’s why her location changed last year. It was her husband, and she couldn’t just fly him back to her hometown to die.
“What about her alibi?” asked the sergeant.
“Family; they claim she was with them the whole time. She flew into Tranquil Heights September 1 and stayed with some family, but she visited a man and stayed the night more often than she stayed with her sister or parents. The guy’s a car salesman at a local dealership, Crandell’s Used Cars, in Tranquil Heights. His name is Otis Simmons.”
“What’s her motive?”
“Workin’ on that,” I replied halfheartedly.
“Soundin’ less than solid then. Why would she change locations after fourteen murders?” Rollen replied.
I thought for a minute. It was the same question I’d begun asking myself since taking a sneak peek through her dirty laundry. “Yeah, I’m starting to wonder about that myself. The date lines up though, and the method. She’s been in town for every one until her husband’s death, and one of the victims was living in DC.”
“You sure you got the right person?”
He turned his head and arched an eyebrow at me. “You don’t sound sure at all. Why hasn’t BCI been called to get involved?”
“I was sure enough to hop a plane on my own dime up here chasing after her, but you’d have to be from down there to understand why no one called BCI. When outsiders come into town, everyone clams up. This is where tons of moonshine was made during Prohibition. A lot of them still make it, and none of the locals speak with outsiders. That’s a surefire way to lose any cooperation or respect the public still has for us.”