Mardi Gras was swiftly approaching again. For five years, the case had been cold. On what would have been the sixth, it began anew. Now, they were heading into the seventh year.
The killer had stepped up her game. Two men a night were now her target. Each scene was more gruesome than the ones before. Michael was getting to where he couldn’t stomach it anymore. He hoped for an end.
Hell. He prayed for an end. Some sign. Some clue.
His nightmares grew worse. So much so, that he began sleeping on the sofa to protect Arlene. He didn’t want to harm her unintentionally. And, naturally, she understood.
In their seventeen years together, they had never slept separately. But he had never had nightmares, either. Or were these night terrors? He was unsure.
Even before he married, he had never had nightmares. Or even the possible night terrors. Hell. He had never had so much as a dream.
Now, he just wished they would end. Perhaps he had been given a clue as to how to get them to end. Could Lady help him? He had to find out.
Since he knew that there would be no Mardi Gras detail this year, primarily because of the case, he would have to figure out how to go and talk to the priestess. Maybe on a lunch break?
If he did, he would have to set up things for the others to do. Reilly and Danforth would be the hardest two…unless he were to have a break in the case and they found the evidence they needed for a surveillance stakeout. Then, he could set the duo to watching the killer in their car, while sending Justin for a warrant.
He only hoped it could be that easy. He hoped for a quick end to the case so that things could get back to normal. He hoped that they would all come out of this alive. But it had already claimed one life from their midst. It could very well claim more.
He shuddered to think of it. But it was a very real possibility. Someone, one of their own, could very well become a victim. Maybe indirectly. Maybe by her hand. Or they all could.
She already controlled their lives with every killing. She had their undivided attention and she knew it. She knew how to make them follow her every move. He put his head in his hands.
Sam Black was a part time bouncer. He had also served time. But that had been long ago. Still, he saw women now much the way he did then. As playthings. Toys. Sex objects.
And he had been watching her for some time now. He could trace her body in the air from memory. Yes, he had been stalking her. But harmlessly. Sure, he planned on getting her attention. Claiming her as his. But not until he knew every one of her secrets.
Was she married? Did she already have a boyfriend? A lover? Or was she just a high end hooker like all the rest?
If she was married, he would cause a split. If she had a boyfriend or lover, he would take care of them as well. If she was a hooker, then he would buy her for himself from whoever was her pimp or madam. In any event, he would have her. He would possess her.
If she was none of the above, then he had an opening he could get into and talk her into being his. He grinned. She would love being a biker chick. He would see that she was.
He watched The Lonely Hearts Pub. Soon, she would be arriving with that stupid cabby. At least she was consistent. Unless the cabby was her pimp. But he doubted that. The guy looked too honest.
Misty had noticed Sam following her. He had followed her to each place she had gone each night. After an hour, he would leave. She knew her actions disgusted him. Still, it was her life. She didn’t care what he thought. He didn’t own her. No one did.
What the hell. Tonight, she would deal with him. Maybe if she did, he would leave her alone. She looked back from her seat in the cab. Yup, he was there.
“Any club’ll do, James,” She stated.
James looked back in the mirror. “Yes’m.”
He stopped the taxi. Club 86. Good. New territory. She’d never been here.
The bouncer let her in without question. She looked back to see if Sam had made it through the bouncer as well. He had. Good. She had plans for him.
She slid back to a secluded table, where she could watch the dancing for a while. She knew that she’d lost Sam, but not for long. She knew he would find her. She wanted him to.
“I have watched you for a long time,” He hissed, finally finding her, “an’ there’s just one thing I can’t figure out.”
She smiled innocently. “And that would be?”
He stared at her. “Are you taken?”
She looked over at him. “Would I be doing this if I were?”
“For all I know,” He responded sourly, “They all pay you for a night.”
She glared at him. “I am no hooker. I only want them for a night’s worth of fun. No more.”
He took a mental step back. “What about the ones you have feelings for?”
She looked away. “Don’t men like you ever read the newspaper? I lost the only man I will ever love a year ago. I don’t want to give my heart away. they would never stay anyway. Only one did, and he was taken from me.”
He sputtered. “I-I’m s-sorry. I d-didn’t mean anything by it. really.”
Her smile returned. “No matter. If you came to ask me to be anything more than a one night stand, then the answer is no. I don’t want anything more.”
He began to object. She held up her hand. “No. you cannot own me. No. You cannot make me yours. Just be happy I am willing to give you one night.”
He slumped, sulking. “Alright. Fair enough.”
She looked away. “Good. Do you dance?”