Sample Chapter
Hello Sheriff, Grant, come on back. Anne, the coroner, led them down the hall to the very back and through a set of double doors. Grant figured this room was the operating room. At the back there was a second set of double doors that led into a large refrigerated room. The room was cool, dark, and very quiet; not quite like the brightly-lit bustling morgues in the big cities. Grant saw the sheriff visibly shiver. It was cool, but not that cold. But then Grant could sympathize. Morgues were not his thing either.
I wasnt expecting you here today Sheriff, Anne commented while flicking on a small desk lamp on a metal desk in the corner. The limited light gave an eerie glow to the room and did not reach far past the desk.
Yeah, well, me and Grant were out chasing down some very important leads this morning. I figured I should come by and see what all you had come up with.
Well I found several things
Grant said you had some partials, the sheriff interrupted, practically squirming all over the place. He was more than just a little uncomfortable; he looked like he was going to be sick. Grant resisted the urge to shake his head. Only in a small town.
Yes, Anne had already walked back to her desk.
Why dont I go ahead and take those back to the office and see what we cant find out, he suggested tersely.
Grant could practically hear Annes laugh as she smiled at the sheriff. She held up a three by five sheet of plastic with four small smudges; the fingerprints. The sheriff practically lunged for the proffered material and then smiled, clearly glad to be getting the hell out of there.
On his way out the door, he threw over his shoulder, Grant, you dont mind walking back to the station do you, and was gone before Grant could even think to answer. Grant realized he wasnt meant to answer. He had been issued an order. The sheriff never asked questions.
As soon as the door was closed Anne let out a light laugh. Hes always been a bit skittish about the morgue!
Is that why you brought us in here? Grant asked hesitantly. He wasnt that thrilled to be here either.
Why, dont you want to talk in here? Or are you afraid, too? she smirked at him.
Im not afraid! Grant defended. Its just well, strange, standing around a bunch of dead people, he added.
Its not strange at all. Standing around a hospital is worse. All those people in pain and misery, forced into undignified circumstances; that is strange. People in the morgue are dead, they dont care. Besides, Elisabeth is the only one here. This isnt county general, we dont get too many stiffs in here. Typically, Anne amended.
Grant gave her an odd look, and she smiled. I didnt just bring you in here to spook off old iron gut. I thought you might like to see what Ive got to tell you, so itll make more sense. Anne moved to the wall filled with drawers.
You mean I have to see the body again? Grant visibly paled.
Detective, you disappoint me. I never pegged you as squeamish, Anne chuckled.
Im not! Grant had to bite back the defensive tone.
Of course not. Alright, Anne reached over and pulled open a drawer. Pulling the sheet back, she revealed Elisabeths body. So whats this hot information you and the sheriff were tracking down?
Nothing so helpful, Im afraid. A young girl went missing last night and the sheriff is adamant that she was abducted by our mystery killer, Grant sighed in exasperation.
You disagree? Anne arched her brow speculatively.
No, not necessarily. However, in my experience you connect serial killers by their patterns, and this one has yet to reveal a pattern at least that I can discern but Im hoping you may be able to shed some more light in that direction, he smiled at her.
Well, I may only give you more questions. It just depends on what you can make of it. She shrugged apologetically.
Yes, but these are new and different questions. Questions left by the killer. Not questions of a bereft mother whose child may or may not have anything to do with this case, Grant pointed out.
Right, well, lets get started then. First, note the bruising on her neck, Anne indicated the dark marks on the girls neck.
She was strangled, Grant nodded.
Well, yes and no. Do you see how dark and mottled the bruising is?
Yes?
Elisabeth was strangled posthumously.
He strangled her after she was dead? Grant looked closely at the marks, his aversion to the dead forgotten with a possible lead in the case. Why?
Thats your question, Detective, Anne murmured.
Right. Grant took out a notebook and began making notes.
Now, I showed you that, to show you this. Anne lifted Elisabeths wrist and tilted it out. There were distinctive bruises consistent with someone checking the pulse. There is no evidence of a struggle so who do you know that bruises that easily?
This was done after she was dead also? Grant posited.
Very good Detective, but do you see how much darker it is than the bruising on the neck? Anne pointed to both marks for comparison.
Yes?
The blood had not finished pooling when the pulse was checked. This was done nearer the time of death.
Whats the time frame? Grant scribbled furiously.
Anne shrugged. Id say the pulse was checked on her wrist somewhere between one and four hours after death. She was strangled almost two days later.
Thats a little strange, Grant agreed.
It gets weirder. Anne lifted the sheet to reveal the bruising all along Elisabeths right side.
What the hell! Grant couldnt help the explosion, nor could he keep his body in check as it forcibly recoiled.
Havent you ever seen a dead body before? Anne asked surprised.
Well, yeah but that wasnt there when we found her. He cringed and then leaned in to look closer. What is it exactly?
Well, you are wrong. It was there when we found her. Hed simply covered it with makeup. Hes done it with all the bodies, Anne reminded him.
Grant nodded. Right, I read the reports. But it said that the makeup was on the back side of the other bodies to cover pooling The lights had come on, but Anne explained anyway.
The other girls were left on their backs after death as if laid out for funeral, therefore the pooling was on their backs. Elisabeth lay on her side after she died. He also covered the bruising on her wrist.
A sinking feeling came over Grant. You mean he knew the bruising was on her wrist?
Anne nodded.
I dont think those prints are his. Why would he bother to use gloves, but be so careless as to touch her wrist? Grant frowned in consternation.
Maybe he was taken off guard, he panicked when he found her dead? Anne proposed.
Not likely. I have a feeling those prints are going to come back matching one of the other missing girls. Grant shook his head, not wanting to believe it. But his gut was rarely wrong. Anne, do you know the physical health of the other girls? I mean before they died? he clarified.
Anne looked at him oddly. I dont understand.
Its kind of hard to explain. I got a tip, and Im checking it out. This person said that one of the girls was starving herself and that is why he killed her. Grant shrugged in an effort to give his statement less credence.
Anne nodded. Well, Sandra was thin. I didnt think about it because shes been battling anorexia since high school. Sandras illness was about control. I can see how it may be possible that under the circumstances she would revert to her old habits, feeling the need to have some control over what was happening to her. He could see Annes eyes focusing inward as she mentally reviewed Sandras information
How common is that knowledge? he queried, almost hopefully.
About Sandras disorder? Not very. Her father is a proud man. He could never admit such weaknesses were in his genes. That is part of why it went untreated for so long. I was actually the one who discovered it. It took everything I had to convince him the problem was real. He had her treated in Seattle one summer and then I would check up on her periodically. As far as I know, we were the only three who knew about it. Locally, anyway, Anne shrugged.
Ok.. Grant still wasnt sure. After all, hadnt the sheriff said something about Clear living in the city? Maybe Seattle. This source also said that the first girl had something wrong with her lungs. Do you know?
Anne frowned. Im afraid I dont. Cause of death was pretty obvious after a cursory inspection. I suppose I could always have the body exhumed.
No, no need for that. I just have one more question for you. Grant hesitated not sure he wanted to do this. What do you know about Clear Angel?
Anne looked at him, startled. I think youd better sit down and tell me how you met Clear, and exactly what she said, Anne directed.

Grant was amazed at how well Anne was taking all of this. He had just finished telling her about Clears intrusion into his office and she had not batted an eyelash, or more accurately, raised an eyebrow.
I know this seems absolutely absurd. I mean psychics are bullshit, and I know this, but well there have been some rather strange coincidences. Things she has said that well, I dont know how she could know. Maybe shes a really good guess, or maybe she has an amazing spy system set up but thats just as ridiculous as her being a psychic Grant just kind of ran out of words and didnt know what else to say. Anne had said nothing to give him an idea of her thoughts on the matter.
Anne nodded in the silence, took a deep breath and then expelled it. Well, if Clear is saying itAnne shook her head, then its almost invariably true.
Grant eyed Anne skeptically.
Dont get me wrong! she added quickly. As a rule, I do not believe in psychics. Miss Cleo is a con artist. But you dont know Clear. Ive witnessed some really amazing things from her, Anne tapped her lip pensively.
How do you know her? Grant felt guilty as he interrupted her internal dialogue.
We went to school together. Anne smiled. That was the first amazing thing. She was a ten-year-old sophomore in my junior year. Clear is a genius. She graduated the same year I did. I think she did that on purpose. We well we were friends. Obviously she got picked on a lot I felt sorry for her. She really was incredible!
I remember this one time this guy, Timmy Thompson, came up behind us in the hall and said to me When youre done playing with your little friend, wanna come play with mine? I was absolutely mortified, but Clear Nothing could faze her. She walked up to him cool as a cucumber and said You are a mean little boy Timmy, and you had better be careful because your nasty little habits are going to catch up with you soon. No one thought anything of it. They just laughed. Can you imagine this little ten-year-old talking smack to the senior bully? Two weeks later Timmy was found in his fathers barn. He had overdosed on heroine. No one even knew he was a user, but Clear knew. Anne sighed.
Maybe she got lucky. It happens, Grant threw the idea out there.
Luck requires percentages, Detective. Ive never known Clear to be wrong.
And how many predictions, or whatever you call it, have you seen her make? Grant challenged, trying not to sound like this was an interrogation.
Anne was once more lost in thought. Just as Grant began to try to find a polite way to probe further, she took a deep breath and continued. More than I can count. One of her predictions may have saved my life, Anne whispered.
For senior week my parents rented me a cabin by the lake. Clears parents didnt think she should go. She was so upset and begged me, in that sweet little kids voice, not to go. She said something bad would happen. She couldnt see it clearly, but she knew that if I went I would never come back.
At first, I just thought she was jealous and didnt want me to go without her. But she kept at it! Always insisting that she didnt know what was going to happen; but that if I went, I wasnt going to come back to her. Part of me just figured it was the fear of me going off to college.
We werent going to the same place and wed practically become sisters, but another part of me was scared. Id seen her do this before. I decided to postpone the trip a week. I told my parents that I thought it would be easier for Clear if I went while she was at summer camp. They didnt know about Clears abilities.
So, what happened? Grant probed.
Anne looked at him seriously. The night I would have arrived, the cabin burned to the ground.
She didnt predict a fire?
No. That is the tricky thing. Clear has an incredible gift, but she didnt have any control over it back then. Sometimes it was just vague I dont know abstract ideas. But other times she could tell you down to the second when something would happen.
When I asked the sheriff about her, he didnt mention any of this. Why?
Clear didnt exactly advertise her abilities. Her parents learned very early on that people would shun her. Thats part of why they came here and they hoped it would be less traumatic for Clear.
Grant shook his head, not understanding. But she came to me. She doesnt even know me, but she came to me. Why?
Well, Im not psychic am I? My guess would be that she had a very strong feeling on this case. Wouldnt you try and save lives if you thought you could? It was probably out of desperation. These images or whatever she picks up, they haunt her. Shes trying to make it stop. I have to say, I am a bit surprised she told you she was psychic, though.
Actually she didnt at first. She was trying to be vague, but I figured it out, Grant admitted.
Anne shook her head sadly. Poor Clear. Do you have any idea why a child prodigy that could possibly develop the cure for cancer or AIDS, world hunger do you know why someone like that lives up in the mountains pretty much by herself and runs a horse ranch?
Shes antisocial and she likes animals? Grant suggested.
Anne rolled her eyes, Because she cannot survive anywhere else. She moved to Seattle for a while to go to college, but everywhere she went she was bombarded with images of violence, she was in constant pain, and she couldnt sleep. If you overheard somebody planning a bank robbery would you go to the cops? But how do you explain to the cops that you overheard them thinking about a bank robbery, a murder, or rape?
She couldnt take it. So she moved to a small town in Colorado. About a year ago these kids went hiking in the Grand Canyon and got lost. Clear had a vision. She knew where to find them, but when she went to the park rangers they told her to leave it up to the professionals. They had already checked there and the kids werent there.
After two days Clear finally made the decision to hike in and bring them out. She brought them out alive, but only just barely. She was promptly arrested for suspected kidnapping and attempted murder. Hows that? She saved their lives and was locked up for it!
Well Grant scratched his chin, I can see where they were coming from. You have to admit, it would look pretty suspicious.
Anne rolled her eyes again. She spent almost two months in jail. After several attempts by the police to get the kids to say that she had kidnapped them, they had to concede that the childrens stories never changed and neither did Clears. They finally let her go, but the whole experience was rather traumatic for her. Thats when she came home and took over the ranch.
Grant sat quietly mulling over what Anne had told him. All of a sudden an alarm began going off. It was on Grants cell. He snatched it up and turned the alarm off.
Listen, I gotta run. There are several things I gotta go check out. But if what you say is true. He glanced up at Anne. Her brow was arched in a how-dare-you-doubt-me look. He shrugged. I guess Id better call her. Are you two still in touch?
Anne shook her head shortly. I see her in town every now and then. Ive treated her for insomnia, for a lack of better definition, a few times; but we havent really talked in years. I mostly read about her ordeal in the paper.
It went into all the details? Gant looked surprised.
No, only one paper published her side of things. But knowing Clear, I could tell the truth around the garbage.
Right I dont know if Im going to call her or not. Its kind of well, beyond me, Grant shrugged apologetically.
Dont feel bad, its a bit beyond me too. There is nothing medically sound that supports what she does, but I know what Ive seen.
Grant turned towards the door, feeling itchy all over. He was ready to end this conversation.
Detective, did you want me to see about exhuming Karys body?
Without turning, Grant shook his head. It wont really make a difference, will it?
No I suppose not. Anne smiled as she watched Grant walk out the door.
What a difference this could make. She turned back to Elisabeths body. There may be hope yet. If the Detective is half as smart as I think he is and not half as stubborn as I suspect. She covered the girls body back up and pushed the drawer back in.

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