Karen Bannister is coming off a really bad year. Estranged from her father and her fiancé dead, she finds solace in her work with the city’s indigent, destitute, and lost. Then something, something savage and brutal, appears and begins preying on those she works to save. Now, from the depths of her own personal tragedy, Karen has to find the strength to lift herself up and, with the help of an unexpected ally, fight back against the darkness that threatens to overwhelm those too weak to save themselves.
After the two cops had left, Preston didn’t return to his work. Instead, leaving the cadaver open on its tray, he stripped off gloves, smock, and the spectacles he used for close-up work and headed to his office. One of his desk drawers held a fifth of bourbon, but with a bit of willpower he could have held off for a while.
The person waiting in his office, however, couldn’t be held off.
Preston walked in, nodded to his visitor and, without a word, sat down behind his desk. He reached into his desk and pulled out the fifth and two glasses. Holding one glass up, he cocked his head at the man sitting across from him.
“Suit yourself.” Preston poured out a little more than one finger, leaned back in his chair and took a drink.
“God, that helps,” he said a moment later. “You can’t imagine what I just went through.”
“I think I can,” his visitor said, “at least to some degree.”
“Did you consult with your men already?”
“No. They came right from the field to your exam room, then headed back out again. It’ll still be another several hours before they have time to write up their reports. Then I have to figure out how to get a look at them.”
The coroner grimaced.
“Sounds like you’re making this too hard, Leo. After all, in your position all you have to do is ...”
“We’re still trying to keep this as quiet as possible, Pres. If our count’s right, your body tonight is number three. And so far we’ve kept it out of the news.”
“As I’m well aware,” the ME said, grimacing at the thought. “But I’m still not sure exactly how I feel about that.”
“So I’m calling in favors,” Leo said, ignoring the doctor’s obvious bait, “such as having you do the PM on all three. But if I flat out ask for the initial paperwork on a brand new case, the boys and girls under me will start to talk.”
“Don’t you think they’re talking already? After all, what I was just going over downstairs isn’t exactly your average case of smash and grab.”
His visitor sighed.
“I know, and believe me I realize we’ve got a limited shelf life on this. But until we know exactly what is cutting up residents down in the Zone, I’m going to keep it on the QT as much as possible.”
Preston finished off the rest of his drink and thought, not for the first time in the last few weeks, that he was glad he wasn’t standing in the other man’s shoes. However, his own burden wasn’t a heck of a lot lighter, for he knew something that he hadn’t yet found a way to tell his visitor. He’d been waiting for a few days for the right time to spring the information, and the discovery of a new body had just mucked things up all the more.
Because anyone with one eye could tell that “cutting” wasn’t the right word to use.
Not even close.
More like “chewing.”
night-to-dawn-magazine-and- books/kevin-r-doyle/the- litter/
A high school teacher and fiction writer in central Missouri, Kevin Doyle’s short stories, mainly in the horror and suspense fields, have appeared in over twenty-five small press magazines. In 2012, Vagabondage Press released his first e-book, a rock fiction novelette title One Helluva Gig. In 2014 Barbarian Books released his first full-length mystery novel, The Group, currently slated to be re-released next year by MuseItUp Publishing. And in February of 2015, Night to Dawn Magazine and Books released his horror novel, The Litter. A lifelong lover of both dogs and the Gulf Coast, he’s counting down the years till retirement, when he can move south and enjoy both.
More information can be found at www.kevindoylefiction.com or at www.facebook.com/kevindoylefiction.