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Chapter One

Falcon: "Hello room. How's everyone tonight?"


Brandy saw him as soon as he entered. She had been waiting for him. She had been studying him for weeks now, committing his every move to memory. She knew his real name, his address, where he worked, how much money he made, what kind of car he drove, what his favorite restaurants were, everything. She always learned everything she could about her Righteous Purifications. However, there was no need for him to know that. The game was sweeter when it was played at her speed. She sat silent watching all the regulars say hello to him, watching how he carried himself. That was important. Brandy tested many men in hopes of finding an honest and faithful man. A man completely worthy of the high standards and spiritually pure morals demanded by her Mission. Not one of them had passed. She knew that Falcon wouldn・t pass her Mission・s strict qualifications either. He was just too damn eager. He moved too quickly, like he was restless. A worthy man would know better than to rush things along like a bumbling adolescent trying to steal a first kiss. He would take his time and play the game properly. She would make him wait before she engaged him in any type of conversation. This was her game and she enjoyed every single aspect of it.


The greetings had died down now, and Falcon had gone silent. She knew his silence meant he had no interest in the conversations going on in the main room. He was here for a very specific reason. He was here for her.
Still, she would make him wait. Sweet anticipation only served to make her Mission・s Purification process that much more rewarding.
Lightning Boy: :Hi room.;
Hot Boxx: :Hi LB how r u?;


Lightning Boy: :Hi Boxx. Wanna pc?;


Hot Boxx: :Lol. No thanx Lightning Boy. I may not be that hard to get, but I ain・t that easy either.;


Countrygal: :Oh Boxx u could be turning down the offer of a lifetime lol.;


Hot Boxx: :A risk I・m willing 2 take CG lol.;


Lightning Boy: :Umm What does lol mean?;


Falcon: "Hello Brandy, I c u hiding over there."


Countrygal: "I think she's in PC Falcon. She's been quiet for awhile now."


Brandy snorted out a dry, contemptuous laugh. She was not in Private Chat, an exclusive chat box that two people can share and have a private conversation within some chat room sites; she was just watching. Waiting. It had taken the sinner even less time than she expected before he came looking to satisfy his wickedly disgusting primal urges.


However, his agonizing wait was just about at an end. Sinners, like fish, had to be reeled in just the right way. Otherwise, they had a nasty tendency to wiggle free from the hook, and she had worked too hard on this Godless sinner to let him get away now.


Brandy: "No, I'm here Falcon. Hello back."


Falcon: "Well good Brandy. I like it when u r here."


Brandy: "Oh? Why's that?"


Falcon: "Because u r fun, u keep this place moving."


Countrygal: "Come, come now Falcon. We r all fun."


Brandy sneered at the monitor with sheer contempt. What did this insignificant snot Countrygal know about being fun? She was just like the rest of the pathetic and desperate women who came to this room looking for something that was utterly impossible to find.


Brandy: :I try Falcon. It・s a dirty job but someone has to do it 此


Falcon: "Would u care to PC Brandy?"


Brandy: "My but you move fast Falcon."


Lightning Boy: :I・m new here and not at all sure of what I・m doing. Would someone please talk to me?;
That comment made Brandy shake her head in disgust. She had little time for the newbies. She had even less time for the ones who tried to pass themselves off as being newbies as a way to get the opposite sex to talk to them. This Lightning Boy was a clear case of the latter. She had seen him here before when she was under a different name, and had seen him use the :I・m new here; line many times. He was a liar. She would bet all the money she owned that he was married and just looking for a quick cyber session with someone. Brandy took a second to write his name down on the yellow legal pad she always kept by her computer. Maybe Lightning Boy would earn consideration for Righteous Purification someday, but for the moment, he was dismissed.




Bethany: :Hi Lightning Boy.;


Lightning Boy: "Hi Bethany. You wanna PC baby?"

She knew it. Typical male slime.


Bethany: "No thanks LB."


That made her smile. She had to comment.


Brandy: "Good girl Bethany."


Falcon: "Brandy?"


Brandy: "Still here Falcon."
She bit her lip. She had forgotten about him, and that could be bad. Married men came with fragile egos and quick tempers, and she did not want to anger him or chase him away.


Falcon: "You never answered me before sugar."


Brandy: "And what was the question again Falcon?"


She breathed a deep sigh of relief. She had not lost him.


Falcon: "I asked if you would like to PC?"


Brandy: "In a bit lover, just want to stay in the main room for now OK?"


She had learned that it was better to make the sinners wait a while before you gave in to their sickness and allowed them to PC you. It made them want it more while at the same time not making her look over eager to have cyber-sex. Men wanted their cyber-partners to be dirty and nasty when they were alone with them, but expected them to show some self-respect and dignity when others were around. She knew how to handle men like Falcon. She had done it before. All of this was part of a much larger game.


Rasberrie: "Hi room.;


Falcon: "OK sweetie, just let me know when u r ready."


Lightning Boy: "Wanna PC Rasberrie?"


Jenni: "Hello room."


Brandy: "Will do Falcon."


And she just sat there. Watching the words scroll across her screen. Every night it was always the same. A bunch of names all blathering endlessly in a never-ending jumble of a dozen different conversations all going on at once. The more people in the room the more confusing it became. Right now it was fairly easy to follow, as only eleven or so were in the room. The room could hold twenty-five people, and the room would be full very shortly. People came and went all night. She spent most of her time just watching the people chat, searching for candidates for Purification.


And composing her list.


Only the married males made the list. She had no time for single men for they did not break any marriage vows by chasing their desires. She could always tell the married ones. They were the ones who used fake names. Names like, "Lightning Boy," "Styx," "Spartan," and the list went on and on.


Currently, there were five names scribbled on her yellow legal pad. One of them already had a line through it. After tomorrow night, so would a second. He had been easyXhardly any fight at all not like the one she currently was working on, not like Falcon.


Brandy had learned through her own marriage how to observe and interpret peoples・ actions. She knew who was lying, who was cheating, and who was there just for giggles. She hated the liars and cheaters; they turned her stomach and needed to be Purified. They deserved what she was going to do to them. There was no shame on her part. No remorse. No guilt. No second chances. Just a deep down feeling that she was doing a good thing. Even more important, she was doing the right thing.


The people who came to chat rooms such as this were unclean in the eyes of God; there was simply no way they couldn・t be. They represented everything that was vile about humanity: deception, greed, fornication, they were all found within this den of filthy sinners. Every one of God・s Holy Commandments were shattered in chat rooms every hour of every day, and it turned her stomach to be sharing a planet with such disgusting, Godless creatures.


Being in this room and passing judgment on its occupants was her calling. The Higher Power had given her a Mission: she was to Purify the impure sinner. The Lord said, :Death is the wages of sin,; and to Brandy that meant something very special. Those who sinned willingly against the laws of God fell out of favor with the Lord, and therefore became a cancer upon humankind. Someone who worked to cure cancer was not viewed as a sinner; they were seen as a savior, a warrior for God who walked within the Light. Her Higher Power had sanctified her against all sin allowing her to do what must be done to purify this human cancer from the face of the Earth, thereby saving the world and those who chose the Light over darkness.


The Internet would serve as her hunting ground. It would lead her to where the unclean played. She was sent to watch them by the hour, by the day. She needed to study them in all their unholy wickedness. Learn their ways, their individual sins. Then she would be judge, jury and executioner. That was her Mission just as it had been the Mission of the one who came before herXPurify the sinner.


She was not the first Brandy, nor, she hoped, would she be the last. The original Brandy was a revolutionary woman, a serial killer who Purified in the name of the Mission close to a decade ago. She remembered learning of the original Brandy through the evening news, and silently became obsessed with finding out all she could about this amazing woman. The news reporters at the time scoffed at her audacity of leaving clues for the police on her victims, but they simply did not understand greatness when it was so obviously displayed before them. The messages were sheer genius, and they intrigued her immensely. The messages reminded her of the old Jack the Ripper killings, and she came to view this Brandy as a modern day Jack. Brandy wasn・t afraid of getting caught, nor was she afraid of death. The messages were a testament to the battle she waged against the cancer of the world. They were an open invitation for anyone to join her on her holy crusade to purify the sinners. They were completely misunderstood, even by those who did walk the path of righteousness. She paid very close attention to the messages Brandy left. Like fools, the network news shows reported them religiously. They were boldly printed on the front page of newspapers all around the country, and every plastic-faced anchorperson repeated them over their fake smiles. Dozens of highly respected psychological experts and analysts nationwide were called upon to decipher the meanings behind the messages. They couldn・t see that that was exactly what Brandy wanted them to do. It didn・t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Brandy was trying to convey something profound with her messages; the only question was what was she trying to say? Not even the woman who would eventually assume her name and Mission recognized them for what they truly were at first. She had been just as baffled as everyone else.


Brandy remembered with perfect clarity the day she finally figured out what her mentor was saying with her cryptic messages left at the crime scene. She was telling everyone that she knew these men, and that they were unclean in the eyes of the Lord. Brandy・s killing was not a random act of violence by a sick and deranged lunatic like everyone suspected; rather it was a very well thought out and precise act of vengeance for some wrong-doing. Lunatics simply did not possess the incredibly advanced mental skills it took to plan and implement such intricate and brutal acts. This Brandy was a cold, calculating, and malicious killer, which made her very smart.


The next question was how did Brandy know her victims, and what did they do to deserve her wrath? Were they ex-lovers who cheated on her? Somehow, that seemed a little too ordinary for such an extraordinary woman. Were they co-workers or business associates who cheated her out of something? Again, that didn・t seem to fit this woman somehow. You didn・t kill a person for taking a job away from you. You might spike their coffee with laxatives, or drop a few eggs in their car・s gas tanks, but murder? No. For that she would need very serious justification. So, who were these men? Why did they deserve to die in such a horrific and violent manner? It was clear that their death was a punishment, but what crime was so terrible in her eyes?


She never found out the answers to her questions until her Higher Power came to her one night and explained exactly who Brandy was and why Brandy did the glorious things she did. Her Higher Power was the most incredible man she had ever met. Tall, dark and handsome in a devilishly brooding way, he was extremely mysterious and very intelligent. The Higher Power never revealed his true name to her on their one and only meeting that fateful night, nor did he divulge how he came to know of her obsession with the original Brandy. Nonetheless, he had successfully recruited her to follow in Brandy・s historic footsteps with his majestic and divine manner. The Higher Power enlightened her to the horrible ways of the unclean sinners of the world, along with how and why these wretched sinners needed to be stopped. It became clear to her how these sinners were slowly destroying the world that she loved so deeply with their evil ways. She came to grasp how the sinner meticulously unraveled the moral fabric of society, along with disobeying Holy Scripture. Such blatant acts against God could not go unpunished. The filthy sinners of the world could not be allowed to win. The very fate of the Earth was at stake. It was her duty to help win the war against the sinner; she now knew within the deepest reaches of her heart that it was what she was born to do. The Higher Power was well pleased with her decision to join in the Holy Cause, and as a reward bestowed upon her the name Brandy and Brandy・s Holy Mission. She was now Brandy in title, purpose and most of all faith. It would be her great honor to continue the Righteous Purification legacy of Brandy.


For two weeks Brandy had remained silent, a mere watcher of the unspeakable sins man made before God, and they were many. Time after time, day after day, they would flood into the room all too eager to commit sins of the flesh even if it was just over a computer screen. The intent was still there, and that is all that mattered. She would watch them. Study them, and compose her list ascertaining who were the vilest sinners this den of thieves had to offer.


Brandy・s silence had been short lived. For to truly understand the immeasurable depths of the sinner you had to lower yourself to their level and enter their world. You needed to get inside their headsXto think as they thoughtXto actually become a sinner yourself. Only then could she hope to understand the true meaning of her Mission.


Brandy still had not gotten over the sense of disgust she felt when she had first entered chat rooms, and discovered how vile the sinner could really be. It hadn・t taken her very long to learn what a Private Chat window was; men had bombarded her relentlessly the instant she popped into the main room. Before she could even blink, four PC windows had popped open in the upper left-hand corner of her screen and every single guy asked her the same thing, :ASL?; Brandy had no idea what ASL meant and felt foolish asking one of the sinners for an explanation. :Age, sex location; he had responded. Brandy had been shocked and outraged by the sheer gall of the sinner to ask her such personal questions before even saying hello or introducing themselves. That was the beginning of her education into the mindset of the impure sinner. Brandy learned the hard way that if you wanted the sinner to speak to you at all, you had better be willing to open your legs very quickly. If the sinner got the feeling that you wouldn・t put out for him, he lost interest in you immediately and stopped speaking to you outright. Some sinners didn・t mind chasing you around for awhile if they believed it would eventually end in sex, but they were fairly rare. The average sinner wanted sex and did not want to work at all for it.


Now Brandy knew the sinner. She had studied their ways, listened to their conversations, fielded their lewd suggestions. She had learned. She knew what it was like to be in the skin of the sinner. She did not like it. It was dirty, meaningless and not at all like the sublime connection she experienced with her Higher Power.


This is when Brandy had begun compiling her list. The list was the key. It was what separated the innocent from the sinner, the cheater from the seeker, the married from the single. Married men were her target. She would never understand why a married man, or woman for that matter, would willingly come to an adult sex chat room looking to have a sexual encounter over the computer. The sheer fact that they did showed a weakness in them. It meant there was something lacking in their marriage, there was a void of some kind, a need that was clearly not being fulfilled by their spouse.


That void was not the weakness, for no marriage is perfect. That was not what made them sinners. What made them sinners was that rather than dealing with their problems directly, they came slithering into an adult chat room like a snake looking to try and have cyber-sex with someone other than their chosen spouse. To her that was more than a weakness, it was a sickness.


Of course, not all married people in The Sex Stage were sinners, there were some people out there who were simply lonely and looking to just chat, to have some contact with another human being. Mostly, she found, the people who fit in that department were stay-at-home mothers, and housewives who did not really care for game shows or soap operas. Her Mission did not include those people.


This evening Brandy spent an hour or so just watching the stupid drivel scroll up her screen. Many came and went, but the room always stayed full. More important, Falcon was still there though he had grown suspiciously silent again. It was time she threw herself back into the fray.


She took a few moments to light some candles and incense she kept close to her computer. Setting the right mood while dealing with the sinner was everything. Soon, the spacious living room was bathed in a sweetly intoxicating aroma and the relaxing flicker of candlelight. Now she could begin.


Brandy: "Hey Falcon, you still out there?;


Falcon: "Yes Brandy, I'm right here;.


Brandy: "Still wanna PC?"


Falcon: "You bet."


Brandy: "Double click me baby."


The rest of the night was spent entertaining the Godless shell of a man. The only comfort Brandy took from the experience was the knowledge that soon he would be Purified.


*****




Rachel Holden was rudely roused from sleep two hours early when the telephone on the nightstand screamed to life. She opened one eye and grumbled, :Who the hell is calling at this hour?;


:I don't know, babe,; Dallas groaned. He reached for the phone and she listened as he barked out his name instead of a greeting. Whoever was on the other end kept the conversation short and sweet. After just a few seconds, Dallas said, "I'll be there as soon as I can, sir." He turned to face her, and she couldn't help but notice the urgency in his eyes. :That was Lt. Gramm," he said as he flung the covers off and bolted out of bed. "I got to go."


Rachel watched as he disappeared into the bathroom. :Perfect,; she muttered aloud. :Just perfect."


Rachel reluctantly threw the covers off and went downstairs to make them breakfast while Dallas showered and shaved. She knew it meant a lot to him when she woke up with him. Dallas wasn・t exactly a wizard in the kitchen. In fact, she・d often told friends that he could burn water, so she always made it a point to get some food into him before he left the house.


Rachel heard the shower turn on as she grabbed an old skillet from under the sink. She knew the thin trickle of water would soon be making its way down the kitchen wall any minute now. She made another mental note to call the repair guys to come out and fix whatever the problem was which had become part of her morning ritual.


Rachel had a job of her own as a computer design consultant; however, she was her own boss which allowed her the freedom to set her own hours. She loved the fact that she worked at home. It would be the perfect situation, when she and Dallas had kids if they ever decided to have kids. Dallas would have to start showing a little bit more interest in her and a little less of his workaholic tendencies if children were going to be around. Hell, right now she・d settle on the little more interest in her part-even if kids weren・t part of the picture.


They didn・t need the extra money that she pulled in really. Dallas made enough to live on plus with the higher pay rate for making detective, money was even less of an issue. They did not have fancy tastes and liked living a more comfortable, simple existence. Rachel worked because she loved working with computers, and she could not see spending all day in front of the tube watching Days of Our Lives. No matter how hunky the men were.


Rachel heard the shower turn off. A quick glance at her watch let her know Dallas had only been in there for ten minutes. Usually his showers ran anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes.


:Something big must be up,; she said to the eggs in the skillet. :You boys better scramble extra fast today.;


A few minutes later, Dallas appeared in the kitchen naked from the waist up, with a white towel draped over his broad shoulders. His jet-black hair was wet and messy from him rubbing the towel through it.


At 6'2; Dallas was an impressive sight. His eyes were a deep-sea blue, and were always sharp and alert. An inferno of passion, wisdom, and compassion blazed constantly behind those eyes, giving Dallas an intense expression. His eyes were her favorite feature. She could gaze into them forever just as she was doing now.


It amazed Rachel how just the sight of him could affect her so much. She really wanted to be angry with her husband for dragging her out of bed at such an ungodly hour, but just one look into those eyes and her anger vanished. Sometimes, she thought to herself, you just can・t win.


His mouth was a strong one, accented by a full bottom lip. Over the years, the promise of being kissed by those lips had made her do some crazy things. His chin was his weakest feature in her eyes. It wasn・t a strong chin, nor was it a weak one. It was just there. Its only saving grace was a slight dimple that made him seem somehow boyish. Overall, Rachel Holden considered her husband a very handsome manXnot gorgeous in a classic movie-star way, but very handsome indeed. She also knew several of her friends would eagerly agree with her assessment. She had seen the not so subtle looks over the years.


As a teenager, everyone had loved Dallas・ schoolboy good looksXincluding him. She had watched him strut around high school like he was King of the World. Which, of course he was in her opinion.


Now, she knew how much her husband resented his looks. He complained to her constantly that they stood in his way, and caused people not to take him seriously. Even the appearance of a few gray hairs around his temples did not detract from his young-for-his-age looks.


After a decade of marriage, she still considered him the sexiest man she had ever laid eyes upon.


Dallas smiled warmly at her. "Morning, Pretty Baby," he said as he kissed her forehead, then her lips. "Breakfast almost ready?"


"Just finished," she answered. "What's going on?"


Dallas shrugged his shoulders. "Looks like I just landed my first case."


"Wow," she said. "Can you tell me about it, hon?"


"You know I'm not supposed to talk about official police business with anyone outside the department, Pretty Baby. It would be unethical," he said with a smile.


"I would never ask you to do that, Detective Holden." Rachel said. "I don't want to know about official police business anyhow. I just wanted to know what the first case my husband landed as a detective is."


They both laughed. She loved sharing moments like this with him. In her opinion, there were not enough of them. He was never home long enough for there to be much time for light-hearted banter. His job saw to that.


"Oh, well, that's okay then,; Dallas said. :I have full clearance to discuss that." He ate a few large mouthfuls of his eggs before he began. Rachel waited in silence.


"It's a murder case,; said Dallas. "Gramm said some guy was found in some shit-hole motel out in Harvard all cut up from some sort of sharp weapon."


Rachel deliberately kept her face expressionless. Ten years of marriage to a cop had hardened her heart to hearing what people are capable of doing to each other.
"Most likely the weapon was a large kitchen or butcher knife,; continued Dallas. :Whatever he used the guy had one hell of a time apparently. I'd love to stay and eat this great breakfast, babe. But Gramm made it pretty clear he wanted my ass in Harvard just as soon as I can get there."
Rachel nodded. "I understand, hon. Go do what you got to do."


Dallas kissed Rachel tenderly on the lips and said, "I may be home real late. Don't feel like you have to wait up for me, Pretty Baby."


Rachel hugged him extra tight and replied, "I never feel like I have to, hon. But I'll be awake when you get home, no matter how late it is."


Dallas smiled lovingly at her. "Good. I love you."
"I love you too, hon." With that Dallas kissed her one more time, then turned his back and left her standing at the front door.

*****




By the time Detective Dallas Holden drove to the crime scene there were already several squad cars there, light bars flashing, sending bright red and blue shards of light everywhere. The homicide had occurred in a rent-by-the-hour motel in a quiet little town called Harvard about five miles south of the Illinois/Wisconsin border. It did not see a whole lot of action or excitement. A couple of uniforms were milling about but not seeming to be doing a whole lot. This irritated Holden slightly. A fresh-faced cop spotted Holden as soon as he stepped away from his vehicle and darted over to him


"Jesus, Detective Holden, you should see it in there," he said with just a trace of a tremble to his voice.


"What do we have?"


"A fucking bloodbath, sir. Killer went nutso with something very sharp. My guess is a butcher or maybe a filleting knife.;


Holden tried not to grimace. "How many victims?" He knew of course; he just needed something to say.


"Just the one, sir."


Holden nodded. He started the slow walk into the motel room.


"Hey!" cried the uniform. "Congrats on the promotion, sir."


Holden stared at the young cop for a moment then gave a slight smile and a wave of his hand before he turned and continued walking.


The doorway of the room was closed off with standard yellow
police tape. Holden felt a slight thrill race through him as he flashed his new badge at the uniform guarding the door, and then stepped inside. The room itself was exactly what he expected. A typical run-down, rent-by-the-hour dive. The carpet was dark brown and worn very thin, the walls were a dirty shade of yellow, or maybe beige, he could not tell exactly. A cheap dresser held two equally cheap lamps and a 1970・s model television set complete with a manual channel-changing knob. Holden hadn・t seen a television like that since he was a kid, and wondered for a moment how much the thing was worth.


A queen-sized bed was centered against the right side wall of the room. A naked dead Caucasian male was spread-eagled on the bed. Blood covered the corpse almost completely except for the word :sinner; written across the forehead. Dark drapes, a muddy brown matching the carpet, covered the windows.


Huge puddles of dried blood were everywhere-splashed on the walls, the ceiling, the dirty drapes. The television screen was completely smeared with it. So was the mirror in the bathroom, though oddly enough, not the shower space. That area was sparkling clean, suggesting that the killer showered before they left.


:I want this area gone over twice with a fine-toothed comb,; ordered Holden. :If the murderer was actually dumb enough to take a shower in here than there・s a damn good chance he or she left us a nice little DNA sample behind. Make sure any and all hairs, fibers, dried soap flakes and anything else you can scrape off the tub get into an evidence bag. Same thing with the drain cover and shower curtain. Rip them out and bag them. Let・s make sure we don・t miss anything here, boys.;


It felt good to give orders and see people snapping into action to carry them out. Holden decided he could get used to being in charge of a crime scene in a hurry.


Holden spotted a cop that he knew fairly well over in the corner of the room going over some notes in a tiny notebook and approached him. "Hey Davis, what's the story here?"


Tim Davis was a twenty-three year vet who never wanted to shake the uniform for his own detective・s badge. Davis would tell anybody within earshot that they would have to be insane to want to be a detective. Holden had heard that speech from him the day he learned he had passed the entrance exam.


Davis began running down the facts. "We've got a dead male Caucasian here, cause of death is rather apparent, but its official tag at this time is severe loss of blood due to deep, multiple stab wounds caused by a large, very sharp blade, in the line of large kitchen or possibly butcher knife. Name is Paul Clarkson, age 39; address 1315 Northfield Court, Harvard, Illinois. He was married. It is unknown at this time if he had children. His wife・s been contacted, and is on her way to the hospital to make a positive ID for us. Anything else?"


What・s with the word .sinner・ on the stiff・s forehead? We got ourselves a Jack the Ripper wannabe?"


:Who knows what the crazy bastard has going through his head. Maybe he don・t even know who Jack the Ripper was. Maybe he thinks he・s an original.;


:Is it written in blood?; asked Holden.


Davis checked his notes for a minute. :Says here it was, yeah.;


Holden nodded and tried not to cringe. "Who found the body?"


"The maid," Davis answered, pointing his chubby thumb in the direction of a frightened Hispanic woman. "She's over there in the corner. Her English sucks. I can't make shit out of anything she says. One of the Spanish-speaking guys got her statement. You can have it if you want."


Holden continued looking around the room. "Thanks," he said. "I'll get it out of the reports."


Davis gave him a shrug. "Any way you want to play it, you're the detective." There was no malice in his voice.


"Does that make me a dick, then?" Holden asked.


Davis smiled and tossed back, "You always were a dick, smart-ass. That there shiny new badge just makes it official."


:You know Davis, you should consider becoming a detective too. You really have the knack for it.;


Davis chuckled. :Thanks but no thanks, Detective Holden. I could never give up the cool car they let me ride around in. Besides, being a uniform cop is in my blood. I guess you can say it・s just my little way of serving the greater good.;


The two men shook hands before Holden made his way out of the crime scene and into the refreshing cold air of a typical Illinois November night.




Dallas Holden had been a cop all his life, as had been his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather before him. Even before he could walk, his destiny had been laid out for him. He grew up learning how to function as cops functioned. His childhood was loaded with strict rules and heavy discipline. While other kids his age were learning to ride bicycles or play catch, he was learning how to read evidence and how to lift fingerprints off doorknobs.


By the time he was ten, Dallas was riding along in his father's squad car during weekends and school vacations. He was tested on his knowledge of police codes and the proper way to respond to any circumstance by the code issued it on a weekly basis. One night, when he was twelve, he witnessed his father fire his service revolver at another man. The subject he was shooting at was a middle-aged man covered from head to foot in dirt and grime, and had pointed what looked at the time to be a weapon at his father. It turned out that the man only had a water pistol, but from a distance it looked real enough. It was the first time Dallas had seen another human being die. He had never forgotten it. Neither had his father who spent many sleepless nights pacing franticly across the living room floor trying desperately to dispel the demons of that horrible tragedy.


By age seventeen, Holden knew everything there was to know about being a uniform officer. His dad had pulled a few strings with the department and Dallas was able to take the police entrance exam a year early. He passed the exam with the highest score the department had seen since his father had taken the same exam some twenty years before.


The night he passed his entrance exam, he and his father sat up all night in their kitchen and got drunk on cheap whiskey. It was the first, and only, time that Dallas had been allowed to surrender total control of his mind, spirit and body to anything. He relished the experience.


He had made beat cop at the very tender age of eighteen, and wore the uniform with all the pride and glory that past generations had worn it with. At twenty-five, Holden had become the most decorated cop in his department. He rose through the ranks with amazing speed, and at the age of thirty-two he took the exam for becoming a detective.


Holden passed the detective exam the same way he passed his original police entrance exam, at the top of his class. Last week, he had turned in his uniform badge for his new shield.


Now, his first homicide case as a detective had officially begun.


*****





Dallas arrived home just after 8:00 p.m., and was famished. Rachel had his dinner sitting in the microwave oven just waiting for him to arrive. As soon as she heard is car pull up the driveway, she set the timer for two minutes and hit the START button. The least she could do was give him a hot meal.


Dallas walked into the kitchen, tossed his coat onto a nearby chair, grabbed a Pepsi out of the fridge and then kissed her. She could tell just by the look in his eyes that he wanted to talk, but she didn't want to push it.


Dallas took his seat at the table and Rachel brought his plate to him. He smiled his thanks.


"What a day, babe," he said. Rachel thought his voice sounded tired.


"Any idea who the victim is yet?"


"We got his license, so we have his name and age and address but little else so far. The wife made a positive ID sometime last night."


"He was married?" Rachel said calmly. "How do you know that?"


"Well for one, he wore a wedding ring. That's a giveaway right there, babe."


Rachel shot her husband a stern look.


Dallas smiled mischievously. "Second, the woman who answered the phone when we called gave her name as Mrs. Clarkson."


"So" Rachel said, "what was he doing in a motel, while his wife was sitting at home?"


"That's the million dollar question right now, babe. No trace of anyone else was found, though we obviously know there was one. I mean unless the poor bastard stabbed himself repeatedly that is. Plus. . ."


"Plus?"


"It might be nothing anyway," Dallas said with a dismissive wave of his hand.


"Tell me, Dallas.;


"The shower space," he said slowly. "It was clean. I mean spic-and-span clean."


"Yeah, so?"


"You didn't see that room, babe," Dallas said as he got up from the table and placed his plate into the sink. "There was blood everywhere. I mean everywhere. On the walls, the floor, the ceiling, all over the furniture, everywhere. Even the bathroom was covered in it. Everything but the shower."


Rachel said nothing.


"If everything else was stained, why wasn't the shower bloodied too?"


"Maybe they didn't go into the shower, hon,"

Rachel suggested.


"Even so," Dallas said shaking his head at the thought, "it would've gotten some blood on it. The way the rest of the place looked, the killer spent some considerable time just splashing the shit around." Something in his tone of voice told her that Dallas considered the splattered blood to be a very significant fact.


Rachel marveled at the intensity of her husband. She studied his eyes. They were the color of the ocean, but now, a storm was brewing behind them.


"What does your gut say, hon?" asked Rachel.


"You want to know what my gut says?"


Rachel nodded. "It's never led you wrong before."


"All right," Dallas said after a long pause. "My gut tells me that this sick son-of-a-bitch killed this guy for whatever reason, splashed his blood all over Kingdom Come, then calmly took a shower to clean himself off with a dead body lying on the bed."


Little else was said between them. Dallas was clearly upset over the clean shower thing, and Rachel knew him well enough to know when not to push things.


"I'm going to bed," said Dallas. Rachel watched him trudge his way up the stairs towards their bedroom. She went around the house making sure the lights were all turned off and the doors were locked. Then she followed him up the stairs with a slight smile on her face.



------
SC Lang



Comments

The following comments are for "Original Sin Chapter 1"
by SCLang

S.C. LANG...Published Author of "Original Sin"
Congratulations on your new book, looks like your book is doing quite well, the Amazon sales are good, eh?

Welcome to Lit.Org. I am so glad you decided to join us. There are many writer's here some published, some not, many novices too who can and actually want some input, comment, critique...and if you want the same (some feedback or comment) just ask, we need more vocal active involved writers here, we have quite a few now, but many more readers than actual commentators, and what do writers want more than anything besides having their work read, eh? FEEDBACK! Whether they admit it or not ALL writers love feedback and critique despite all the jokes regarding critics, lol;-)

I am so glad that I have had a chance to look over your work. Looking forward to reading more...

I think you will find this is a well established, serious community of writers who are really into writing...and like you, they too are interested in what they like, oh surprise;-)

Stuart Myers aka Ochani Lele (published writer) our glorious Editor, and our site designer, Chrispian Burks, are always here to send your questions and suggestions to:

bstuartmyers@gmail.com

chrispian@gmail.com

Once again, welcome, and thank you so much for sharing your work with the membership of Lit.Org.

Blessings to you and yours,
Sincerely,
Karma aka Lena
(Lit.Org Staff)

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 6, 2009 )

@ S. C. Lang
I got a head's up that you were in here, and I wanted to welcome you.

I'm a bit burnt out on reading and writing today. I started the NaNoWriMo challenge, and after 5 days and 30,000 words, I'm pooped.

Tomorrow, when I'm back in writing and reading mode, I'll give this piece a look-see. If the rumors I've heard about you are true, I'm sure your work is fabulous.

Me? I'm just a dedicated hack!

Ochani

( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: November 6, 2009 )

PLUGGING full SPEED ahead.....
By the way, S.C. Lang, I LOVE the concept of your book "ORIGINAL SIN"--totally cool. I definitely want to read it ALL...thanks for sharing this much so far with us all, it rocks. I've
read some reviews on it too, and it sounds like it is right up reading street in what interests me.

Oh, yeah, around here we have this philosophy of shameless self promotion. Plug away, plug away...we love to plug each other too, we do that a lot. We do a lot of social networking kind of plugging and such... I mean in a marketing advertising kind of way that is, ohhh...that sounded kind of odd at first...um-mm. Is it me, or just my mind?

Oh, and another thing, S.C., Lang, Ochani is not a hack as he claims, lol! He is busy at book signings and appearances these days just like you are. He has several published books under his belt, and is well respected among other writers. He is just humble as I am sure you are too (as if I ever met a successful humble writer? Ha!) Humble pie won't get you very far in this very competitive world of marketing in the publishing world.

Good luck to both of you on your book signings and appearances and pluggings and ALL those sales, and you, S.C. Lang, might want to consider this thing that Stuart is doing here with Nanowrimo or whatever it is called? He and several writers here are very excited about it, sounds like fun...fascinating concept, you can find out more about it from the Nanowrimo writers here, I know nothing, except that they are doing an awful lot of massive writing for some Jungian type huge novel thing...uhh? And, duh? I am clueless, again.

I mean if I were a real writer (like you and Stuart, and the many others here) I might give it a whirl and try it, but alas I am but a peasant of an simple poet mind and talents, and my muse has abandoned me of late.

I must get back to my yogurt and meditation now...my mantras call to me.

Tashi Delek!
Karma

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 6, 2009 )

Here it is....
http://majestic.lit.org/wordpress/

copy and paste that URL, it is the link (found on our right hand corner of our home page here MAJESTIC)... Look at the first column "From the Editor's Desk", Stuart aka OchaniLele talks all about NaNoWriMo-case you're curious.

( Posted by: TheRealKarmaTseringLhamo [Member] On: November 7, 2009 )





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