Download Murder, book 3 in the Damien Drake series is less than a week away! As with the other books in the series, I'll post the first few chapters here, one each day, to whet your appetite for murder and mayhem.
The whistling was generic, not representative of anything that either of the girls could recognize. It was just a string of pitchless notes that didn’t seem to follow a particular pattern or tune.
Which somehow made it all the more terrifying.
Melissa shivered and opened her eyes. Her neck and shoulders were sore from falling asleep with her back against the cold concrete, and her hands, bound tightly behind her, had long ago gone numb.
Her heart rate quickened with the sound of a door opening, and Melissa shut her eyes tightly, trying to will their captor away.
The whistling abruptly stopped, and she somehow mustered the courage to open her eyes again.
A shadowy figure was crouched but a foot from her, head tilted to one side. When a gloved hand moved toward her face, Melissa recoiled so quickly that the back of her skull bounced off the wall hard enough to send stars shooting across her vision.
But the hand didn’t grab her as she thought it might; instead, the fingers brushed a lock of a brittle brown hair away from her face.
“Why are you doing this?” Melissa whimpered.
When the figure’s only response to change the angle of the head tilt, rage suddenly filled her.
“Fuck you,” she growled. When the shadow didn’t respond at all this time, didn’t even seem to acknowledge her, she leaned forward and spat.
The spray struck her captor directly in the face, and the figure stumbled backward. The crawlspace couldn’t have been more than four feet tall, and for a second Melissa thought that the captor might crack their head on one of the low crossbeams.
The figure ducked just in time.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk; that isn’t polite,” her captor said. When the fingers extended toward her face again, Melissa didn’t cower away. This time, she stared forward, hatred in her eyes.
“That simply isn’t tolerated here, sweetie.”
There was no anger in the voice—just simple, perfunctory castigation.
The gloved hand slipped out of sight. When it reappeared, the leather fingers were wrapped around the handle of an eight-inch butcher’s knife.
Melissa didn’t want to show fear, didn’t want to feed her captor’s sick desires. But when her eyes fell on the blade, she couldn’t help it; her eyes widened.
Her captor must have noticed this, as a dry chuckle suddenly filled the crawlspace.
“Oh, it’s not for you, hon,” the figure said. With that, the shadow spun around to face the other woman.
She had been here when Melissa had first arrived, and even though it was difficult to tell how much time had passed in the crawlspace, Melissa thought it to be around three days.
And in all that time, the other women hadn’t said a single word, hadn’t so much as muttered her name. In fact, the only sign that she was alive was her near constant shivering. Like Melissa, her hair was grimy, covering her pale face in thin spaghetti-like strands. As the figure moved toward her, however, the woman started to animate.
Hope suddenly bloomed inside Melissa.
She’s been saving her energy; all this time, she’s been waiting for just the right moment. Together… together maybe we can take the knife, maybe—
But when the woman simply held her arms out, palms up, all optimism fled her.
There were scars on her wrists, a network of criss-crossing pink lines that stood out on her alabaster forearms.
This woman wouldn’t fight, Melissa knew.
“See?” the captor instructed. “This is how you’re supposed to behave.”
Without hesitation, the blade flashed out and a scarlet streak appeared between the pink scars. Blood immediately spilled forth, coating the lower half of her arm before pooling in her palm. The woman’s eyelids sagged, and her neck drooped.
“That’s alright, sweetie. You’ve done your part—I’ve seen you die.”
The figure cleaned the blade on the woman’s dirt-smeared shirt before putting it back into the holster. Then a gloved thumb reached out and pressed into the wound, soaking the pad in her blood.
Melissa wanted to be angry, to scream at her captor, to demand, for the hundredth time, the reason why she had been taken, why they both had been kidnapped.
But the only thing she could muster was a muted curse.
“Leave her the fuck alone.”
The dark figure turned and moved quickly, half-squatting, half-crawling, over to her.
Melissa tried to turn away, to hide her face, but a hand shot out and grabbed her cheeks tightly, forcing her lips into a pout.
“We don’t curse down here,” the captor hissed. Melissa struggled, but the grip was too tight to pull away. Her cheeks ached, and even if she wanted to speak then, she wouldn’t have been able to.
The blade is going to cut me now, cut me deep just like the other woman. Then I’m going to die here in this shitty, freezing basement.
The man squeezed even tighter. Then, with his thumb still dripping with the other woman’s blood, he smeared it across her lips, crudely painting them with the tacky substance.
Melissa gagged, and her captor finally released her face. She tried to spit without touching the blood with her tongue, without letting any of it into her mouth.
Bile rose in her throat when she tasted the coppery liquid, but she somehow managed to fight the urge to vomit.
Apparently satisfied, the captor backed away, moving closer to the dim bulb that provided the only illumination in the crawlspace.
The gloved hand moved again, but instead of withdrawing a knife, it came back holding a black notepad.
As Melissa watched in horror, the figure flipped to a blank page, and then pressed the gloved thumb against the upper right hand corner, leaving behind a bloody thumbprint.
“Write what you know,” Melissa’s captor whispered. And then the whistling started again as the pen started to move across across the page.
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