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"Lair Of The Seductress"


Chapter 1
Knockin

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

“Who the hell’s knockin' on my door at this hour?” The truck driver was in his mid-fifties, had a pot-belly, and wore a scraggly gray and black beard and mustache. He looked about the lot and, even with the heavy fog that was rolling in, could see there were no other vehicles in the desolate truck turn-out. 

The man was in a pissy mood because Bill had called-in for a sick day, and he had to take this long distance Washington run. Bill was new at the company and it really perturbed him that just because the man’s wife went into labor he had to cover the overnight route. In his mind it was very inconsiderate of Bill. 

Another rap on the far door caused the man to shift in his seat. Whoever was out there was too short to see. For a long moment he felt some trepidation, and thought about not opening it, then he leaned over and pushed open the passenger door to his 2002 Freightliner FLD120.

The man let out a long whistle when he saw her standing there in the mist; a red-headed honey in a black leather mini-skirt and matching tank top. She wore sexy black fishnet stockings and black knee-high leather boots completing her outfit. She looked to be in her mid-twenties. 

“Nice truck.” She stared at him. The semi was older, but he took good care of his dark-blue beauty. She may have minor road wear and tear, but her motor was clean and well-maintained.  

“Damn girl, what the hell ya doin out here at this late hour? You sure ain’t no ‘lot lizard’.” It was a common term truck drivers used for the prostitutes who worked the rest areas. Most of those women were old and worn out. Not that he hadn’t partaken once or twice, or more. 

“I’m just trying to work my way through my last year of college, Mister. There’s no one else in the lot. Why don’t you invite me in?” She smiled innocently. The kind of smile that made the older man’s heart skip a beat with anticipation. 

“Call me Bernie.” He was sure he couldn’t afford anything this young and cute. “Climb on up, honey.”

“Call me Lilith, baby.” The woman nimbly climbed up into the cab, sitting with her slightly open legs facing Bernie as she closed the truck door. Her skirt was just short enough to reveal she was wearing see-through white lace panties. The color contrast excited the man even more.

“How much money ya looking for?” Bernie licked his lips anxiously, afraid to hear the price. 

“Depends how many times you wanna go.” She smiled, a lot less innocently. Now it was sexy and filled with hints of what was to come. 

“Well, ol’ Bernie's only good for one go at this age, but I promise you it’ll be a good un’.” He gulped as she shifted to give him a better view of her womanly secrets. 

“How about two hundred?” She reached over and grabbed his little soldier who was now standing at attention. 

Bernie swallowed hard and his hands shook while he grabbed his billfold from the console and pulled out two crisp one hundred dollar bills and handed them to the enticing young woman. She slipped the money into her small leather black purse. He was sure the silly bimbo could get four times that amount working for one of the escort services in the big cities. 

“You won’t be needing that tonight.” She pointed at the condom he had also pulled out of his wallet. 

“Ya sure?” He slipped the rubber into the breast pocket of his denim overalls, hoping she was really that naive.

“Are you married, Bernie?” Lilith ignored his question and nodded towards his wedding ring. 

“Yes. Her name’s Merideth. Been married twenty-eight years.” He was having trouble focusing on anything but her firm hand. 

“Don’t you feel a little bit guilty that another woman is holding Merideth’s property?”

“Not at the moment.” Bernie didn’t want to talk about his wife. “But what Merideth doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

“When’s the last time you had sex with Merideth?” Her questions and hand were equally persistent. 

“It’s been quite a while.” He groaned.” But if you keep talkin’ about her, I’m gonna start feeling guilty.”

“Perfect.” Lilith smirked. “So here’s the deal. The more you talk about your wife, the more I’m going to do to you and the longer I’ll make it last.”

“Oh, you may be young, but you’re a kinky one.” 

“Do we have a deal, Bernie?” She kissed him full on the mouth. It was greedy . . . yet needy.

Once she freed his lips, he mumbled, “Yes, yes, deal.”

“One last thing.” She smiled as she pulled him into the sleeping compartment by his manhood. “Tell me you want me and I’ll give you a night you’ll never forget.”

“I want you. I want you very badly.” Bernie was so excited he could hardly get the words out. He couldn’t believe how much his luck had changed. He would have to thank Bill when he saw him. “Oh yes, I want you.”

Soon the cab of the semi-truck was rocking and squeaking with a force that shook the heavy Freightliner. If anyone had been in the lot, there would have been no mistaking what was occuring in the sleeping compartment. 

It went on for some time, causing the windows to fog up. Finally, Bernie’s loud moans and groans of ecstasy turned to something different. They became the screams of terror . . . and pain. Then the foggy truck lot grew quiet. 

“Completus sum!” A bright red light erupted inside of the cab of the truck, then faded away. 

A few moments later, the red-head climbed out of the truck and straightened her leather skirt. She walked away with blood dripping from her hand and a big smile on her face. Only this grin was neither innocent, nor sexy. Lilith bore the smile of sinister fulfillment as she disappeared into the fog.

Author Notes This is the first chapter in The Lair of the Seductress. It is the fourth book in the Wolf Bend Series featuring the paranormal adventures of Greg Harsen and his wife Jenny.


Chapter 2
Maritol Drool

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Previous Chapter:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men in the last book, but was not the main adversary. Now she is back. 

New Chapter:

I can’t believe how much I love this woman. Greg sat across the table staring into Jenny’s dark emerald green eyes, wondering what the beautiful dark-haired woman was thinking. Probably wouldn’t have surprised him that she was thinking the exact same thing. 

It was their one year anniversary. The first year had been rough with the hag kidnapping Jenny, but now he was hoping they would have some peace and quiet. He had offered to take her anywhere she wanted to go. Her only request was for a night alone in the cabin with him. 

They were eating grilled steaks. There was a half-empty bottle of expensive California Zinfandel sitting on the table next to some romantic candles. Mary, Jenny’s mother, was keeping GJ and Temi at her apartment overnight as she often did on Fridays. 

“A turtle?”

“Yes.”

“White Feather really said my spirit guide is a turtle?” His wife frowned. 

“Yes, a turtle. What’s wrong with that?”

“Well, they’re old for one. And scaly.” She looked at him skeptically. “Besides, you get to have a bear. Now that’s awesome. I mean, who wouldn’t want to walk through life with a bear guiding them? I’ve got a turtle guiding me. I can walk faster than a turtle. Maybe I should be guiding the turtle? No, I want a bear, too. I chose a bear.”

Greg knew the wine was starting to hit her. I like it when she gets silly. “I don’t think it works that way.”

“What do you mean?” 

“I don’t think you get to choose your spirit animal. It chooses you.”

“Really?” Her skeptical look was back. “So share your bear with me, Spirit Guide Expert. I’m sure you have enough bear for both of us.”

“What’re you going to do with half a bear?” Greg teased her.

Jenny shrugged. “Half a bear is better than a whole turtle.”

“If you say so.” He smiled at his tipsy wife. “Whatever I have is yours.”

“Gosh I was really hoping you were going to say that.” Jenny got up and grabbed a bottle of Caramel Tennessee Whiskey and two shot glasses from the cabinet behind her. It was her favorite. “Now we can really get this party started and you can put your money where your mouth is.”

“I’m sure we can think of better places for my mouth.” They stared at each other intensely for a moment, then broke out laughing at his corny line. 

Jenny tossed a deck of cards on the table and soon they were playing strip poker. It didn’t take her long to have him butt-naked while she had only removed her socks and shoes. 

“What the hell, card ssshark?” Dang, I’m slurring. 

“Did you forget the strory I told yous about my hrandfather winning my hrandmother in a posker same . . . name . . . game? Is in my blood. Okayyy . . . I’lls makes it even." Jenny was seriously messed up now. She staggered to her feet and stripped off her clothes. 

The married couple matched shot for shot, until the bottle of Whiskey was gone and ended up staggering around the house naked. They made love in the kitchen, living room, and finally their upstairs bedroom before passing out. 

                                            *     *     *

Greg’s head was pounding, along with the front door. His face was stuck to the leather couch in a puddle of drool from his mouth. Something heavy was on his back. He looked over his shoulder and saw Jenny was sleeping on top of him. He could feel a wet drool spot on his back where her lips rested. How the hell did we end up back down here? 

More insistent pounding on the front door. Each bang punctuating the drum beating a painful rhythm in his head. He gently slid his wife into the crux of the couch and covered her naked body. Then he found his clothes in the kitchen and quickly dressed. 

Once he finally made it to the door and got it open, Jenny’s brother Jesse was standing there holding two large cups of coffee. “Sorry, Chief.”

“I told you not to bother me unless it was life or death, Jesse.” Greg was perturbed as he had told his officers it was his one year anniversary. 

“It’s the latter, Greg.” Jesse handed him the coffee. “You need this. You look like shit. No worse than shit. You look like a shit taken by a shit.”

Greg waved his hand at the man to silence him, and popped the plastic lid off the cup and sucked down half of the steaming liquid, pleased that Jesse remembered he liked it strong and black. Now he could talk. 

“The latter? You mean death?” The second half of the cup went down as quickly as the first. 

“Yes. They found a body out on 395. At the old trucker rest area. Agent Harkins requested you.” Jesse held out the second cup of coffee for him. 

“Wait, isn’t that yours?”

“You know I don’t do coffee. I’m a Mountain Dew man. Besides, I knew it was going to be a two cup morning. You and sis haven’t had a night alone in months.”

Damn, I love this kid. Not only because he’s a great cop, but because he brought me two cups of coffee. "So David Harkins requested me. The FBI’s involved? Isn’t that Watson’s jurisdiction?”

“Yep. Something big is going on out there.” Jesse shrugged. “ State Trooper Sgt. Berry Winston's out there with the state crime lab. So I weighed how angry you would be for me disturbing you against how angry you would be if I didn’t. And here I am."

“Right choice.” Greg put his shoes and socks on and holstered his gun, Bass, a nickname his buddies at his old precinct in Chicago had given it. 

“I thought so. They were insistent on getting you out there.” Jesse smiled. 

Greg was really curious now. Why would Harkins request me? We don’t even get along. “Okay, but I have to take care of something important first.” Greg headed to the bathroom. His bladder was about to explode.

Author Notes The Wolf Bend Series is much like a Goose Bumps for adults. Greg Harsen, a former Chicago homicide detective, has been involved in a series of paranormal encounters in Wolf Bend, Washington, where he had originally planned to retire. He ended up as the Police Chief of the town and married a local diner owner named Jenny.

Book One Muddy Waters
Book Two The Bear Cave
Book Three Hags Hollow
Book Four Lair Of The Seductress


Chapter 3
395 Rest Area

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Previous Chapter:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really doesn't like him. What he finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. 

New Chapter:

When they arrived at the rest area off Three Flags Highway, a nickname for U.S. Highway 395, it looked like a circus. There were marked units from various agencies, the crime lab trailer, and a couple of black unmarked SUVs that screamed FBI. The worst part was the press and “lookie loos”. 

“Chief Harsen. What’s Wolf Bend PD doing way out here?” A bald reporter shoved a mic in Greg’s face the minute he got out of Jesse’s marked Blazer. “And please give me something other than ‘No Comment’. Please.”

“Sure.” Greg smiled. I love screwing with these guys. “I have nothing to say at this time.”

Jesse and Greg made their way through the throng of people and after crossing through the yellow police tape, joined up with what appeared to be the ‘brain trust’ part of the disorganization. They shook hands with Agent Harkins, Lee, Sheriff Watson, and Sgt Winston. 

“This can’t be good if you called me out here, Harkins.” Greg eyed the suited FBI man suspiciously. ”What ya got?” 

“Why don’t we let the crime scene do the talking?” Harkins led the small group over to a dark blue semi-cab with a long gray trailer. 

Greg peered up into what looked like a blood bath. Red smears and droplets were all over the windows, steering wheel, and seats. Obviously a murder, nobody can lose that much blood and survive, but I’m still not sure why I’m here.

“It’s already been dusted for prints, photographed, and worked over. Lab boys are finished with the scene. We're just waiting for the meat wagon to come and take the body.” Harkins pointed towards the sleeping cab. “So you can climb up and get a better look.”

“Or you could just tell me why I’m here?” Greg didn’t like games. 

“Humor me, Chief. Climb up and take a look. Then you’ll understand why you’re here.” Harkins looked somber. 

Greg sighed and climbed up the step. He placed his knee on a rain jacket that someone had set on the passenger seat to block the blood. He leaned in and peered into the sleeper cabin. There was a bench style bed along the entire back wall. 

On the far right hand side of the bed was a completely naked dead man, sitting with his back against the wall. He was a hairy fellow with a scraggly beard and a stringy mustache. He also sported a decent potbelly. 

The man’s lifeless eyes were rolled back and made it look as if he were staring at the ceiling. His mouth was locked open in a perpetual death scream. You never really get used to the corpses. If you do, it’s probably time to look for a new line of work. 

The only thing covering the nude man was a sheet of dried crimson blood. It pretty much covered him from head to toe and emanated from a fist-sized hole in his chest, right where the heart should have been, The flapped back skin showed nothing more than an empty cavity. It was gruesome, but Greg had seen worse. 

A dead man, blood everywhere, an unused condom lying near his feet. Maybe no actual sex? What am I missing? Why am I here? Then he saw it. Greg froze in complete shock. Sitting on the floor right in the center of the sleeping cab was a material that was the same color as the floor, making it hard to see, but there it was. A three inch pile of ash. He had seen this one time before. 

“Holy shit.” Greg slowly climbed out of the truck, scratching his head. 

Lee chuckled. “That’s exactly what Watson said when he took a look.”

“So, how’s this guy linked to the Stoggers, besides the obvious ash pile at his death scene?” Greg had that sickening ‘here we go again’ feeling in the pit of his stomach. Old man Stogger and his two sons' bodies had never been found. Just three bloody crime scenes complete with three piles of ash. 

At the time, the name Lilith had come up as a possible suspect but the trail on her had quickly gone cold. Besides, back then Greg had his hands full with a much darker evil. It had taken all of his focus and energy to defeat the ancient hag. Now this Lilith is back?

“His name is Bernard Shultz, age 56, out of Gresham, Oregon.” Dave Harkins started. 

“Gresham is just outside of Portland.” Bill Watson threw in. 

Agent Harkins threw the sheriff a ‘don’t interrupt me again’ look. “We don’t have much else, except his record, which is a lot of speeding tickets and a solicitation of prostitution conviction down in Sacramento. Shultz got netted during a truck lot sting by their Sex Crimes Unit.”

“So you want me involved because of the Stogger link?” Greg felt he was missing something.

“No, I brought you over because you are a damn good cop.” Harken surprised him. ”I need you onboard with this. So, let bygones be bygones. You took down serial killer Henry Morgan twice. Then you rescued a bunch of missing women last year. God knows what or even how all that went down, but I want you on the task force.”

“Task force?” Just how many bodies do they have?

“Yes, We’re calling it Task Force Ash.”

“How many victims have there been?” Jesse broke his silence, beating Greg to the question. 

“This is number eight, not counting the Stoggers.” Watson said excitedly. “Another serial killer.”

Harkins shot Bill an annoyed look. “Sheriff Watson’s correct, eleven murders counting the Stoggers, so far.”

Eleven? Greg shook his head. “That many and this is the first time I’m hearing about it?”

“Initially vics had all been in Spokane, except for the Stoggers. The killer has just started to spread out. This wasn’t personal, it’s the first Watson and Winston have learned of this as well.” Harkins nodded his head to punctuate his statement. “The entire FBI in the State of Washington has had their fingers in this pie, and we’re getting nowhere.”

“So why bring me in now?” I’m not sure I want to be in. 

“Because of Bernard here. No bodies were left at the other scenes. This is clearly a message.” Dave Harkins stared hard at him. “A message for you?”

“I highly doubt that.” 

“Why?” Agent Harkins ran his hand through his wavy salt and pepper hair. 

“If someone were leaving me a message, they would’ve left a body in Wolf Bend. Seems more likely it’s a message for him. It’s his jurisdiction.” Greg pointed at Sheriff Bill Watson. 

“Well, regardless, I want you on board, and I’m not asking. My boss spoke with the governor who called your mayor, Whittis. He’s already agreed to put you on Task Force Ash. You and Officer Kelsey. That leaves Officer Anderson to handle any issues that may arise in Wolf Bend.”

Jesse shook his head in disdain, obviously wanting to be on the task force. 

“You guys went to the governor?” What the hell? Greg was perturbed, which was putting it mildly. 

“In the interest of being completely open, Chief, we can’t have you running around ‘lone rangering’ this, like you did during the Henry Morgan case. Or cutting us out of massage parlor interviews. Besides, we all know these types of killers uncannily seem to gravitate towards Wolf Bend and more specifically, to you.”

Watson must have told them about the interview we conducted at the Slide and Glide parlor. “So, did you say that there were no other corpses?” I’m still having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that they went to the governor. 

“Look, I’m sure you have a lot of questions. We’re having a Task Force Ash meeting Monday at noon in our Spokane Office. That’s the place for your questions. We’ll go over everything and get you up to speed. You’re expected to be there. Don’t disappoint. My boss has the governor on speed dial.” Harkins smiled broadly knowing he had Greg right where he wanted him. 

“We’ll be there with bells and whistles.” Greg knew he had little choice, but that didn’t bother him much. He had very little info, leaving the FBI holding all of the cards. Hopefully, they’ll lay them on the table Monday. 

“They must really want you onboard if they went to the governor,” Jesse said as they drove back to Wolf Bend. “I should be on that task force. I have more time on the force than Katie Kelsey.”

“Yes, but you didn’t work for Bill Watson before, and you aren’t dating FBI Agent Lee. Greg smiled at Jesse’s political innocence. “I’m sure they put the good word in for her with Harkins. That’s how the game is played.”

“Still, it’s a shock that Harkins wants you involved. He can’t stand you."

“Make no mistake, Jesse, this has nothing to do with me. Harkins wants something I stole from him when we took down Morgan. Guys like him all operate the same way, seeking one thing. Credit.”


Chapter 4
Here Comes The Rooster

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapter:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really doesn't like him. What he finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.  

New Chapter:

Greg led Officer Katie Kelsey into the FBI office in Spokane, Washington. They were greeted by Agent Kenny Lee, who gave his girlfriend Kelsey a hug. Then he led the Wolf Bend cops through a set of doors, and down a long hallway where he stopped at a closed door and turned to Greg. 

“Look, Chief Harsen, don’t let Dave rattle you. He acts like a roster marking his territory sometimes. He’ll probably strut around a bit showing his tail feathers. Just ignore his blustering. He’s actually a really good agent.”

“So you’re warning me that Agent Harkin’s a cock?” Greg’s comment caused Kelsey to chuckle which she tried to stifle when Lee frowned at her. 

“That’s not quite what I meant.” Agent Lee looked flustered.

“Relax, Ken. I get your drift. I’m not here to make any waves or step on any toes. It’s your boss’ show.” Greg gave a thumbs up to the Asian man. But if you think I’m going to let David Harkins brow beat me, you got another thing coming.

With that, they entered the Task Force Ash Meeting Room. There were about fifteen people standing around a large square table, broken into pairs and trios, talking. Greg only recognized three of the people in the room. Sheriff Bill Watson, Sergeant Berry Winston, and Agent David Harkins. 

Agent Lee guided them around the room, pointing out key charts, maps, and graphs they had posted, revealing locations, victim’s information, and various other details of the crime. The suspect list had two or three names, all crossed out, and all male. There were no current and active suspects. 

The map that caught Greg’s attention was the one marked with the locations where all of the victims' bodies were found. There was a cluster in Spokane, but the rest of the little red pins surrounded Wolf Bend, making it look as if the killer had intentionally steered clear of his town. Odd. 

“All right, gentlemen, let’s get seated so we can start.” Agent Harkins took a seat at the head of the table. Greg and Katie grabbed a couple of empty chairs at the far end of the table. 

“Let’s start by saying that we have added the Wolf Bend Police Department to the task force. Chief Harsen and Officer Kelsey are the two new faces at the table that many of the rest of you may not recognize.” 

The other members of the task force introduced themselves to the Wolf Bend cops. A couple were FBI, but most were officers from other local departments, like Colville and Spokane. Once the hand shaking ended, everyone re-claimed their seats. 

“So, let’s begin with Chief Harsen. He has a reputation for ‘cowboying up’ and freelancing these types of investigations.” Harkins came out swinging. “I’m sure he can enlighten us on his findings from when he ran off and conducted his side investigation at the Slide and Glide Massage Parlor.”

Greg folded his hands and shook his head wistfully. So much for letting bygones be bygones. 

“Nothing? I thought so, because that’s exactly what happens when the Lone Ranger leaves the reserve. When we don’t work as a team, we fail.”

Okay, I’ve had enough. Greg pushed his chair back and slowly rose from his seat. If he’s gonna hand his meeting over to me, then I’ll happily take it. 

Harkins fell silent when Greg went over to the suspect board, studying it with his back to the group. “I didn’t come here to be kicked around at your Circle Jerk Festival. I’m simply here as an advisor, but I can see you boys obviously need some help getting on the right track.” This is where I’m at my best. “So, Dave asked what do I have? I’ll tell you what I have. I have a better question. You all have been working on this for months. What do you have? I see three names, all marked out. You fellas have eleven murders and not one suspect. That’s some shit.”

“We . . . we just got our first body.” Harkins was obviously taken back by Greg’s boldness. 

Greg chose to ignore him. “Eleven crime scenes and not one viable suspect. And the three you marked off are all males. Why?”

“We —”

“Does anyone other than Harkins know how to speak in this room?” Greg cut the lead agent off. Stand down dickwad.

Bill Watson shifted uncomfortably in his seat and stared at his hands, while Agent Lee cleared his throat. 

“Go ahead, Kenny. Why’s the killer a man?” Greg persisted. 

“Because of the missing bodies. Victim Johnny Winslow from Spokane was a 300 pound guy. He was taken from a park with only ashes left behind, like all the others. A woman can’t move a body like that. At least not alone. Most of the vics were larger men. We were thinking maybe a cult because of the ashes, or maybe a husband-wife team. But obviously you think this is a woman?”

“I don’t think it’s a woman, I know it is.” Greg smiled.

“How, Chief?” Kelsey stared at him intently. 

“A quick look at their charts here. All the vics are male. Two killed in seedy massage parlors. One in a park. Three in their cars and two truck drivers. These men were getting sex, or at least looking for it.”

“What about a tranny or gay male?” Harkins piped up. 

“Possible. Until we throw in the Stoggers. I’m sure my good friend Bill filled you all in on what occurred at the Slide and Glide.” The comment made Watsom squirm even more and this time he cleared his throat. 

“Ah, yes. The mysterious Lilith.” Harkins smirked. “The name is obviously fake.”

“We suspect she’s another victim or at the very least, a pawn to the real killer,” one of the Spokane cops offered. 

“Serial killers don’t operate like that, at least not the practiced sexual predators. They have a type. They go after that type and pride themselves in not killing indiscriminately. Ruins their fantasy. The type becomes an obsession. 

So, Lilith is no pawn. She worked the Stoggers, three dangerous men by all accounts, and lured them back to their trailers like a pro and slew them. Our killer’s type is men seeking sex. Our killer is a woman.” Greg grabbed a red marker and began writing her name on the suspect chart.

“Only Agent Harkins is allowed to write on—” One of the junior FBI agents stopped talking when Greg flashed a stern look at him.

“That’s who you should be seeking. How she’s moving the bodies is secondary. We’ll figure that out when we find her.” Greg underlined her name, then pointed at a map. “Now tell me what you make of that?” 

The men stared at the victim’s body location map that Greg was pointing at before a Collville cop spoke up. “That’s why they brought you on the task force. They think, due to your reputation, the killer is steering clear of you and your department.”

“Obviously you have a different conclusion than us.” Dave Harkins saw Greg shaking his head. 

“Just tell us what you’re thinking, Greg.” Sergeant Winston nodded at him. Greg liked the Washington State Trooper. “Most of us have little experience with serial killers.”

“Okay. Both times I went up against Morgan, he nearly killed me. Thanks to some dead friends, I survived. This perp doesn’t fear me. Besides, that isn’t in the serial killer's psyche. Most like to challenge the cops. They think they’re smarter than us and want to rub our faces in it. They want to brag. They send notes and leave misleading clues. No, if this were about me, then all of the victims would have been in and around Wolf Bend.”

“So what does the map tell you, Greg?” Kenny frowned. 

“Our killer lives in Wolf Bend. She fears getting recognized if she strikes there. Plus, she thinks it takes the heat off of her. It’s her safe place.”

“Makes sense,” Officer Kelsey agreed, always surprised at Greg’s skill. “So how do we find her?”

Greg pulled the little piece of paper out of his pocket that Momma Lin had given him. The massage parlor madam had drawn a tattoo of a heart with wings and horns on it. He passed it down the table. “With good old-fashioned police work. Of course her name is fake, but this isn’t. Somebody has to know something about Lilith’s tattoo. The populace in this region is small. We need to hit the streets in our respective towns. Show the picture around. Hit the massage parlors, truck stops, and any other seedy places you can think of. Someone knows about this.”

The men all nodded in agreement. One of the junior agents grabbed the tattered paper and went to make copies. When Greg and Katie rose up to leave, Harkins came over and extended his hand. 

“Nice work, Chief.” He smiled. “I knew you would be an asset to Task Force Ash.”

I bet you did. Greg shook the man’s hand while he heard Agent Lee lean over to Katie just behind him and whisper, “Guess we know who the real rooster is.”


Chapter 5
Trouble

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapter:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really doesn't like him. What he finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer. 

New Chapter:

First thing the following morning, Greg had an agitated visitor waiting for him in his office. 

“You’re not dragging your department into anything I’m going to regret, are you Chief?” Mayor Whittis gave him an apprehensive look. “I mean your last big caper ended with two of your three new vehicles heavily damaged.              

“Well, there’s a glass half empty, Mayor. Seems you forgot how this department saved five abducted women. We finally had some positive press.” Greg winked at the man. 

“Yeah, great, but no arrest. No culprit in cuffs to parade our success in front of the cameras.” Calvin winced. “Come on, Greg. You know it’s election year and I’m in a super tight race with that crazy alien lady, Sally Benslow.

“I told you that the intern, Lizbeth Nypan, drugged those women and—--”

“Killed herself before you could arrest her.” The mayor interrupted, rolling his eyes. “Once you got the ladies to safety, and went back for her body, it magically disappeared. This is Washington, Chief. The bears and wolves eat everything. You should’ve stayed with her body until backup arrived.”

“Nobody was coming in that freak snow storm. The ladies’ safety was paramount.” Greg sighed. 

“Just promise me you’ll keep us clean on that trucker murder.”

“Clean?”

“Yes. The governor agreed that you’re to act strictly as an advisor on Task Force Ash and nothing more. If we get a victim in our jurisdiction then we can revisit this conversation. Understood?” Mayor Calvin Whittis raised his eyebrows. 

“Completely.” 

“Clean,” Calvin reiterated. 

“As a whistle, Mr. Mayor.”

“Promise?”

“You have my word.”

“Okay. Moving on to the real reason for my visit. Are you familiar with Grayson Lumber?” Mayor Whittis questioned. 

“Somewhat. Don’t they own the giant abandoned mill just south of town?”

“Yes, that’s the one. All four city blocks worth of it. Seems there have been reports of some activity out there.”

“Activity? I thought it was abandoned.” Greg frowned. “Besides, we’re living right smack in the middle of tree central. How’d that place go out of business?”

“Several years ago old man Grayson turned operations over to his son, Marky. The younger Grayson ran the place into the dirt, mismanaging the entire operation.”

Greg chuckled. “That made the old man proud, I’m sure.”

Mayor Whittis smiled. “Regardless, the older Grayson wants the place cleared out. Probably some transient squatters living out there.”

“And why do we care, Calvin?”

“We care because Old Man Grayson still has more money than Elvis and he’s one of my biggest campaign donors.”

“Ah, I see.” Greg shook his head at the intricate spider webs of Mayor Whittis. 

“You’d better see, Chief. I’m your biggest supporter in this town. Who got you brand new vehicles and the outside of the police station refaced? Me, that’s who.” Mayor Whittis let out a long sigh. “Just don’t do anything to screw up my re-election. In fact, you could actually try and do some things that help me.”

“Things? What things?”

“Go cuff and stuff some bad guys and drive them around town.” The mayor looked serious. 

“It doesn’t really work that way, Calvin, besides I’m going to make a speech for you at the Women’s Auxiliary Picnic next week. That’s doing ‘things’ isn’t it?” Greg sighed behind a frown. I hate speeches . . . and politics. 

“Oh yes, that reminds me, keep Jenny away from the picnic. ‘Batty’ Benslow is gonna be there and she hates your wife. We don’t need trouble. Especially with the press there.” 

Greg’s desk phone rang, cutting off the mayor, who looked like he had more to say. 

“Hey, babe. What time you coming home?” Greg’s heart skipped a beat when he heard his wife’s sweet voice. 

“Couple of hours. I’m wrapping some things up.”

“Okay, just didn’t want you to get caught up in one of your capers.” There was a hint of excitement in her voice. 

“What’s up?”

“Mom wanted the kids tonight. They’re having a Disney movie night. So I’m cooking you something special for dinner. Grab a bottle of caramel Tennessee Whiskey on your way home and don’t be late.”

I married my dream girl. “I wouldn’t miss it, hon.” He hung up the phone. 

Mayor Whittis opened his mouth to speak when Greg’s radio exploded to life on his desk. It caused both men to jump. Unlike Chicago, the police radio traffic in Wolf Bend was light and sporadic. 

“All available units, all available units, respond to Colville County Jail. Riot in progress. Riot in progress. This is a county-wide callout for assistance.”

Various units began responding on air, including Officer Kelsey, that they were enroute. “Hold that thought, Calvin.” Greg grabbed his bullet proof vest and made his way to the adjacent gun room, where he grabbed a shotgun.  

Just as he stepped outside, Jesse rolled up to the front door in his police Blazer. Greg climbed into the passenger seat.

“That shotgun looks like trouble, Greg!” The mayor had followed him out the front door. “Remember, keep it clean, Chief. I don’t need any bad press!”

Greg chuckled to himself. Being a cop is trouble, and trouble usually leads to bad press. A moment later Jesse had them racing out of Wolf Bend, lights and sirens blaring, while they headed for Collville.


Chapter 6
Oh Crap!

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Previous Chapter:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really like him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer. A county wide callout for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. 

New Chapter:

The two male Wolf Bend police officers arrived at the county jail just behind their female counterpart. All three wore bullet proof vests and carried shotguns. They took up a perimeter position along with most of the other arriving officers. 

Smoke could be seen coming from some of the outlying buildings just inside of the barbed wire double fencing, Both Stevens and Bivens County Deputies were lining up in a large group by the main entrance. Cops call it ‘stacking’ for entry.

“Chief Harsen!” Sheriff Warson shouted over. “You and your guys mind covering the front gate here while we go in and re-establish control? They haven’t reached the office building yet, but hang out here just in case.” 

Greg led his two officers over to the main doors where they took up positions near the entrance into the complex. You had to go through steel double doors and pass through the office section in order to reach the courtyard that led to the housing units. 

Two large columns of sheriff’s deputies in helmets with large plastic shields began passing through the steel doors. They carried canisters of pepper spray, batons, and beanbag shotguns. There were at least forty of them.

Once the last man passed through, the heavy doors slowly began to swing shut. At the last possible second, a bony hand caught the door and yanked it open. A skinny white man wearing an orange jumpsuit rabbeted out the doors and made a break for it. He had stringy brown hair and rotten black teeth.

The prisoner caught the junior Wolf Bend Officers by surprise. Chief Greg Harsen brought his shotgun up and buttstroked the man across the face with his weapon. With a sickening crack, blood spurted from the man’s nose and mouth, the blow sending him sprawling onto the ground while spitting up teeth.

Jesse and Katie quickly jumped on the scrawny escapee and cuffed him. He had a prisoner custodian badge on and must have been working in the office area when the riot broke out. The man probably hid, waiting for the entry crew to pass into the courtyard and then made a break for it. 

“You didn’t have to do that!” the bloodied man groaned through his busted up mouth. 

“No, I didn’t have to. It was more of a ‘want to’ thing.” Greg signaled two perimeter officers over to grab the prisoner and told them to secure him in a police cruiser until they got the prison under control. Two hours later, it was. 

“Sweet baby Jesus, it’s a mess in there.” Bill Watson walked up to Greg after he exited the building. 

“Any casualties?” Katie asked her old boss.

“One prisoner was killed while several others got busted up. Luckily only three deputies were injured. Nothing serious.” Watson sighed. “The housing units are a shit show. They burnt the mattresses and any paper they could find, including all the toilet paper.”

“Guess they’ll be wiping their asses with their hands for awhile.” Jesse laughed. “How did the deputies get hurt?” 

“All from falls. The bastards spread soap all over the floors, rails, and stairways.” Watson shook his head. 

“What caused the riot, Bill?” Greg was curious. 

“The riot was just a cover for an escape.”

“An escape?”

“Yes. Five inmates drove a trash truck through the back gate. Tower guards unloaded on them but they made it through both fences. The barbed wire flattened the tires and the truck got bogged down in the far wood line. We found one dead inmate left in the truck, shot and killed by one of the tower guards. We caught a second man a few hundred yards into the woods. He had a bullet hole in his knee and probably couldn't keep up with the others.”

“Jesus, Bill, what about the other three?” Greg was concerned. Panicked and desperate escapees are extremely dangerous.

“They made it to a dirt road back in the woods. Must’ve had helped. Either somebody picked them up, or staged a car for them.” Bill looked frazzled. “Sons of a bitches got at least an hour's headstart on us. We put out a state-wide APB and a manhunt is being organized now. Speaking of which, I have to go to the Command Center and help get things organized. Damn press is already here.”

As an afterthought, Greg called out to the retreating sheriff, “Who were the three escapees?”

“They were keeping some bad apples from the prison here due to overcrowding. It was some of those.” Watson stopped and pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “A black fella named Cappy Hendrix. He was in for attempted murder. And . . .two Inju . . . er . . . Native Americans. An Enua Benson—”

“Did you say Benson?” Greg interrupted Watson. 

“Yep, Enua, and his cousin, Lenny Benson.”

“Oh shit!” Jesse turned and sprinted for his Blazer, two steps behind Greg who was running at breakneck speed. 

Officer Kelsey shrugged at Sheriff Watson, then quickly followed her partners. 

“Keep me in the loop, Katie,” Bill called after her. 

A minute later, they were racing back to Wolf Bend. 

“Break every speed limit law in this county, Jesse!” I’ve got to get to her.

“It’s floored, boss. Sure wish we’d brought your charger.’ Jesse looked scared. Lenny had shot and nearly killed the man last time he was free. “Do you really think Lenny would go after Jenny?”

“From everything I’ve heard about her ex-husband, I’m sure of it.” Bill Watson’s voice kept repeating in Greg’s head. They got at least an hour's headstart on us. That’s too much time. Way too much time. 

“I’ll kill the bastard.” Jesse looked about as grim as Greg had ever seen him look.

“Not if I kill him first.” 

                                           *     *     *

(For those who have not read the earlier books in the series here is an excerpt from The Bear Cave Chapter 10 to explain who Lenny is:

“The whole ugly story?” 

“I need it all, Jenny.”

“Okay.” She frowned. “Marriage only lasted two years. It was about a year in when Lenny started hitting me. The first couple of times it was a shove or a kick. It steadily increased until he was throwing full blown punches. He beat me unconscious a couple of times. Never hit me in the face though. Said my face was too pretty to mess up.”

“Probably didn’t want to leave visible evidence.” Greg tried to keep his face neutral, even though her story enraged him. He hated abusers. 

“Oh I know he didn’t. Lenny used to say he’d kill me if I ever went to the police. So I secretly got a lawyer and started to save up money with a plan to run. Once he got served with divorce papers, I was going to just leave the cafe, Wolf Bend, everything. I was going to escape.” She hesitated, her eyes moistening up, with a single teardrop hanging between two long lashes, seemingly plotting its own escape.

“But that never happened, did it, Jen?”

“About a month after I spoke to the attorney, I found out I was pregnant. Numerous tears were now making a break for it, flowing freely down her cheeks.” Greg reached out and grabbed both of her hands. 

“Lenny was happy about the baby, until he downed a fifth of Hennessy one night. Then he told me he had never wanted any children and commenced to beating the shit out of me. He punched and kicked me in the stomach until I passed out.” 

“That’s awful.” 

“Jesse found me lying on the floor bleeding the following morning. He took me to the medical center where they told me I had lost the baby,” her voice was no more than a whisper, and then cracked. She broke down at this point, big sobs racking her tiny body. Greg felt like an ass for making her relive it, but it couldn’t be helped. He comforted the distressed woman as best he could, also needing to wipe away a couple tears of his own, until she was ready to continue.  

“After Jesse found out I lost the baby, he stormed out of the hospital and went after Lenny. They had a tremendous fist fight. Lenny was big and built, but my brother is a scrapper. He beat my ex nearly unconscious. When he turned to leave, Lenny pulled out a pistol and shot my brother in the back, twice.”

“Damn.”

“Yeah, Jesse was in surgery for ten hours. He nearly died. My brother is damn proud of those scars.” She pulled her hands free and wiped her face. “I guess I am too. Lenny got a taste of what it felt like to be beat down.” 

“So that’s why Lenny’s in jail?”  

“Not for shooting Jesse. The District Attorney dropped the case. Said even though my brother had been shot in the back, the fact he sought out Lenny, kicked in the front door to his house, and attacked him left too much room for a self-defense verdict.”

“That’s typical. DA’s only take cases to trial they know they can win. It’s just how the legal game is played.”  

“They ended up charging Lenny with involuntary manslaughter for the baby. Said they couldn’t go for murder because Lenny claimed he didn’t know I was pregnant. I had no proof that I had told him.”

“So you testified against him?”

“It was all set to go to trial, but a week out, the DA offered Lenny a deal. If he pled guilty to domestic violence, they called it a class B felony, then they would drop the manslaughter charges. Lenny jumped on it.”

“Sounds like the system is as broken here as it is in Chicago.”

“I made a victim impact statement at Lenny’s sentencing. Fortunately the judge let Jesse make one as well. He talked about how the death of my baby drove him over the edge and he ended up getting shot by my ex. It must have moved the judge because he gave Lenny the maximum sentence of ten years. Ten years for taking away every single day of life my child would have ever had.”)


Chapter 7
Batty Benslow

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Previous Chapter:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really like him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer. A county wide callout for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. 

New Chapter:

“Damn it."

"Damn it."

“Damn it!" Jesse was pacing back and forth, his hands pressed against the sides of his head.

“Stop saying damn it and focus. I need you. Jenny needs you.” Good advice Gregory ol’ boy. Focus. Jenny’s now on the clock. Victims are usually killed within twenty-four hours after being taken. Focus. Remember WIN. What’s Important Now.

When they arrived, the front door had been kicked in. Greg looked about the ransacked cabin. There was broken glass, a knocked over couch, and small drops of blood on the floor. Looks like Jenny fought hard. He saw her cell phone smashed to pieces next to the couch. Can’t track her that way. 

“Lenny has my sister, Greg  . . . oh damn, where are the kids?”

“Your mom has them. Get your head screwed on tight. If we're going to save her, we need to get to work.”

Officer Kelsey stepped into the cabin. “Nothing outside. They must have left in the vehicle they came in. What now, Chief?”

“Jesse, you with us?” 

“Yes . . . yes, Boss.  What . . . do you want me to do?”

“Get on the horn. Call Berry and have him get their crime lab over here as this is now a crime scene. Then call your mother and advise her about what happened. Tell her I need her to keep the kids until we find Jenny. Keep this area secure until the crime technicians arrive. Then meet us at the station.” That’ll keep the frazzled man busy and out of trouble. 

“On it.” Jesse headed out the door to get on his vehicle radio. 

“Katie, get to the station. Run everything you can on Lenny and Sally Benslow. Properties, cars, everything. I need to know it all, and I need to know it now.”

“What about you, Boss?” She was already heading for the door.

“I’m going to go get some answers from a crazy lady.”

                                 *     *     *

Twenty minutes later, Greg pulled into Sally Benslow’s driveway, just as she was backing out. He nearly slammed into the bumper of her long black Cadillac. It still had the ‘I Don’t Brake For Aliens’ bumper sticker on it. 

Nothing else had changed much either. The rickety old porch attached to the rundown white and brown bungalow style house still had the wind chime with the little aliens dangling from it, hanging from a deck roof support. He couldn’t see it, but he was sure the doormat with ‘They’re Here’ in big bold green letters was still there.  

Katie had dropped him at the police station where he retrieved his police Charger and rushed here. He flipped on his red and blue lights, then stepped out of the car. He could see a large smirk spread across the woman’s face as she glared at him in her rearview mirror. 

Greg approached Sally while she rolled down her window. “Better be here because you’re throwing your support behind my campaign for mayor, Chief Harsen.”

“I’m sure you know why I’m here, Mrs. Benslow.” I don’t have time for her shit. 

“Of course, the feds just left. I’ll tell you what I told them. I don’t know nuthin’ ‘bout no breakout and I don’t know where my son is or where your wife is.”

How does she really know about Jenny? Could Jesse’s call to the crime lab have already gotten back to the feds? Maybe.

“Besides, I ain’t telling you nothing and wouldn’t tell you even if I knew.” The large woman was smug. “That slut is probably getting what she deserves.” 

Don’t do it, Greg. She’s goading you. It took everything he had not to rip her out of the car. “I don’t remember asking you a question. I didn’t come here to ask you anything. I came here to tell you something. I killed the bastard who murdered your daughter. Seems you may have forgotten that, but I haven’t. So as far as I’m concerned, you owe me.”

“So?” 

“So, in my book, that means if I find out you helped, or even knew about Lenny’s plans, then I’m going to come after you and come after you hard.” Greg stared her in the eye.

“Don’t you threaten me, Chief Harsen. I’ll have your badge.” She scowled, spittle shooting out from her engorged lips. 

“My wife’s more important to me than any stupid piece of tin. You just remember what I said, Sally. Besides, if Lenny hurts my wife, you’ll be burying another kid.” Greg turned and walked away. 

“She’s Lenny’s wife, not yours. She’s Lenny’s! And when I run that black homo out of office, you’ll be unemployed anyways!” the hateful woman screamed as spittle dripped off her chubby chin. 

Greg pulled out of her driveway and headed back over to the police station. He had a slight grin on his face. He had gotten what he was really after. Prior to talking with Sally, he had no idea if she was involved with her son’s escape. 

After meeting with her, his years of interviewing and reading people had paid off. Sally Benslow is 100% involved in this mess. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. When he arrived at the station, Jesse pulled in. The two men quickly joined Officer Kelsey, who was sitting at her desk computer with a small stack of papers.  

“Not much, Boss. I ran Lenny first, and he owns nothing. Same with the other two escapees. Sally Benslow owns the house over on Chelsia Street, as well as two vehicles.” Katie shrugged. 

“Two vehicles?” I’ve only ever seen one. 

“Yes, an old Cadillac and a newer Ford F-150. It’s not plated, but the printout shows it’s black.” The female officer handed him the Ford’s data sheet. 

“Says here she bought it just last week. I’d bet my paycheck that’s the staged vehicle the escapees have.” Still, how do we find them? There’s no other leads. Nothing under Lenny’s name. That’s where I expected to find a house, property, or something. Wait . . . where wouldn’t I expect to find something? Of course!

“Katie, try Marge Benslow. Look for any properties.”

“The dead daughter?” she questioned his request but was already typing in her name. 

“If you wanted to hide a place, putting it under a dead woman’s name would be a good idea.” Come on, this has to work. Please, God. I’m running out of options here. 

“Bingo! #7 Stolen Pines Trail. Under Marge Benslow. Purchased six months ago.” Officer Kelsey was smiling as she hit print. Jesse grabbed the paper when it popped off the printer and handed it to Greg. 

“Stolen Pines? Either of you ever heard of that?”

“Yep. It’s an old dirt road about halfway between here and the Colville National Forest. Has six or eight old cabins on it. But, Greg, they’re all rundown and abandoned. There’s an old cave on the hillside behind them that people say is haunted.” Jesse nodded.

“How do you know all that?” Katie asked. 

“All the high school kids know about that place. Once you got your driver’s license, the first thing local kids’ll do is go out there to drink and party. I bet half the town of Wolf Bend lost their virginity out there. I know I did. Cabin #4.”

“Okay, that falls under the category of too much information.” Kelsey frowned. “This has to be it. Dead women don’t buy abandoned cabins. Looks like this escape was in the planning for months. What’s our play, Chief?” 

Greg took a minute to think. It’s almost dark. Clock’s ticking. We gotta move now. “Let’s gear up. Vests and long guns. I know it’d be smart to wait until after midnight, maybe catch them sleeping, but I think every minute counts. We go now.”

“I’ll get on the radio.” Kelsey went for the stationary mic on a nearby desk. 

“No, I said we go now.”

“I understand, Chief, but let’s get some back-up.” The woman frowned.

“She’s family, Katie. To both Jessie and I. We’re doing this my way. I don’t need anyone questioning my actions out there. You can stay out of it if you want to.”

“Shit, Greg, that’s a crap thing to say to me.” A flash of anger crossed the young woman’s face. “Just let me grab the long guns, and we’ll go get your wife.”

“Get the M-4’s.” The usually jovial Jesse looked haggard. “So what’s your plan, Chief?”

“I don’t have one. I’m just going to go in there and kill them all. And if they’ve hurt Jenny, well let’s say I’m going to hurt them a lot before they die.”


Chapter 8
All Hell Breaks Loose

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really like him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer. A county wide callout for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the badguys hideout.

New Chapter:

The three Wolf Bend police vehicles rolled up to Stolen Pines Trail, where there was a tinted out black SUV parked. When they came to a stop, Agents Harkins, Lee, and the two junior task force agents stepped out of the unmarked Suburban. All four men wore black FBI bullet proof vests. 

“If you’re here to stop us, you’d better just get back in that vehicle and leave.” I’m in no mood for bullshit, nor did I have time. 

“Stop you? Katie told us what’s going on and we're here to back your play.” Kenny Lee nodded at Greg and opened the rear hatch to the Suburban. The four feds grabbed shotguns from the rear compartment and loaded them. 

“We’ve had our differences, Chief, but we wouldn’t let you take on three armed men by yourselves.” Harkins patted his shoulder. 

A Washington Trooper Tahoe rolled in and Sergeant Barry Winston exited with a couple of the Task Force Ash officers. Next came five Bivens County Sheriff’s Department Tahoes. Watson had brought his whole force. 

“Pretty much the entire Task Force is here, Greg.” Sergeant Winston held a fully loaded M-4. “Let’s go get your wife back.”

The sheriff jumped out and approached Greg. “Give my boys and I twenty minutes. We’ll set up a perimeter about a hundred yards out, so as not to spook ‘em. The three of them have probably stayed together and I bet they’re armed by now, so once we're in position you guys go straight up the road and hit them hard. The cabins are about a hundred yards in.”

“Guess we have a plan now, Boss.” Jesse handed Greg an M-4 he had just pulled out of the gun locker they had stored them in located in the rear of his Blazer. He and Katie also had one. Twenty minutes later the four FBI agents and a dozen police officers quickly made their way down the dirt road towards the cabins. 

They came upon a very sandy patch in the road, where Barry Winston pointed out a single set of fresh tire tracks. “Somebody’s here.”

When the group reached the cabins, twilight had fallen. The sun was gone, but they still had remnants of light in the sky. The lawmen could see that there were four cabins stretched out along the right side of the road and three to the left. 

Of greater interest was the black Ford pickup parked by the cabin on the far left. It had no license plate on it. Greg knew they were in the right place, but the pickup truck erased all of the fearful doubts that had been creeping into his head. If this had been a dead end, they would have been out of ideas. 

In the center of the road was a large fire pit with ash nearly to the rim. Garbage, beer bottles, and even random condoms lay strewn about the area. Greg sent four cops to clear cabin #1 on the left, while while Harkins took his three agents towards cabin #2 on the right. 

Greg led the rest of the group up the drive towards #3 and #4 when he noticed something. There was a deer camera on an old light pole directly to their front. He held his hand up to halt the group, but it was too late. All hell broke loose. 

Shots rang out from Cabin #2, dropping one of the FBI agents with a bullet to the thigh. Harkin’s men scrambled for cover, while the lead FBI Agent stood in the hail of bullets and grabbed the downed man, pulling him to cover behind some tree stumps. 

At the same time, Shots rang out from Cabin #7 ripping up tufts of dirt all around the cops. They sprinted for cover behind the Ford truck while several yelled “Ambush!”

When they reached the truck, a short muscular black man rose up out of the bed and began unloading a shotgun at the cops as fast as he could rack it. Winston had been ahead of the others and went down. Jesse was faster than his companions and came up with his M-4, unloading it on their attacker. 

Greg saw the man’s face explode as his officer’s semi-automatic rifle found its mark and brought the criminal down. Cappy fell forward, his torso hanging over the closed tailgate of the pick-up, with his shotgun falling onto the dirt road. He was clearly dead. 

Next came an incredible barrage of fire as Harkin’s men, along with the four cops who had cleared cabin #1, turned cabin #2 into Swiss cheese.
 

The cop beside Greg raised his rifle to fire at the last gunman in cabin #7. Greg shoved the man’s muzzle towards the ground. “No! That’s the Benslow cabin. Jenny is probably in there. Besides, the shooting has stopped.”

Greg ordered two of the cops to get Barry to one of the ambulances that Watson had thoughtfully staged nearby. Next, he ordered the rest of the cops to cover the boarded up side windows on the cabin while he and Jesse cautiously approached the front door. There was no movement coming from inside. 

The Chief’s stomach was clenched in fear. Greg’s mind couldn’t stop thinking about what he might find inside. Please don’t be dead. Please God. My kids need their mother. Hell, I need her. 

Jesse kicked open the door and Greg rushed in, clearing right while Jesse took left. The front room was a mess, with beer and booze bottles pretty much everywhere. There were two cots and a couch in the room. An opening led to a back room. Greg and Jesse slowly approached the doorway, both fearful of what the beams of their flashlights might fall upon. 

Then they hear a moan. That’s Jenny! Greg rushed forward. His wife lay on an old bed, wearing just her bra and panties. Her wrists were tied to a metal rail headboard. There was an open window in the room facing the hillside behind the cabin.

Greg ran to his wife, untying her wrists, but she was completely out of it. “B-b-bear. M-m-my b-b-bear.” 

“Look.” Jesse’s light was shining on a wooden table beside the bed that had a needle and spoon sitting on it. “Looks like they shot her full of heroin.”

Jesse grabbed a blanket and wrapped his sister in it. Then he went over to the window and shined his light on the sill, where there were traces of blood. “Looks like Lenny went out the - - -”

BAM! A shot sent Jesse to the floor, fired through the window. Jesse rolled around in pain, revealing that he had blood on both his front and back. Greg knew it was a rifle because the wound was a thru-and-thru, meaning it went in the front of Jesse’s shoulder and came out the back. His vest was no protection against a high-powered rifle.

Greg came up on one knee and emptied a full magazine out the back window, aiming at the general spot he had seen a muzzle flash. Several shots followed from the sides of the cabins, where his fellow officers also peppered the hillside in the last rays of dying light. Muzzle flashes could be seen higher up as well. Most likely it was Watson’s perimeter officers engaging Lenny.

Officer Kelsey came crawling through the door opening, and Greg and her stuffed some old clothing into and over Jesse’s wounds, to try and stop the bleeding. Bullets could be heard zinging over their heads.

“Harkin’s boys took out Enua in the other cabin. Now Lenny has everyone pinned down, at least for the last few minutes of sunlight. Unless he has a night vision scope. Then we’re all screwed.” The woman had a calm presence under fire. 

“That’s the second time the son-of-a-bitch shot me. You got to get him, Greg. Jesse started to mumble. “Anybody have some M&M’s?” 

“Alright, Katie. He’s losing a lot of blood. I need you to get him and Jenny to safety. Can you do that for me?”

“Yes, the ambulances are just up the road. They brought them in closer to take out our two wounded guys. Where are you going?” The young woman raised her eyebrows. 

“I’m going to finish this, one way or another.” Greg crawled to the window. 

Katie knew better than to argue with Chief Greg Harsen. She helped Jenny off the bed, who merely mumbled, “I loves m&m&m&m&ms.”

“Greg, I wasn’t joking around about that cave. It’s behind the cabin at the top of the hill. I’ve been up there once. It’s bad shit. Everyone steers clear of it. Bad magic up there. Boogie man.” Jesse was rambling.

“Get him out of here, Katie. He’s losing it.” Then it was time. The light was gone. Greg shut off his flashlight and slipped over the windowsill, dropping to the ground.


Chapter 9
Haunted Men

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really like him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide callout for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the badguys hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. Now, Greg goes after Lenny to finish him. 

New Chapter:

He moved with great caution, feeling the hillside with his hands as he made his way up, being careful not to step on any sticks in the low brush. Every thirty seconds or so, Greg would see a light flicker for a moment. He couldn’t be certain, but it appeared that Lenny was using a lighter to make his way up the hill. 

There was no reason to push it. Fast in this type of situation often leads to dead. Greg took about an hour to climb the small hill, traversing maybe two-hundred yards in total. Down below he could see a lot of flashing police lights, as well as flashlights that were just reaching the bottom of the hill. 

He was concentrating so hard on not making any noise as he took each small step that reaching the cave caught him by surprise. It was at the crest, with what would be its ceiling looking like it was the top of the hill. What was more surprising was the yellow glow coming from within. 

Greg eased his way to the side of the entrance and slipped his M-4 off safe. Only one of us is coming down this hill, and it's going to be me. The hole into the mountain was about eight-by-eight. 

His eyes caught sight of small blue shimering lights lining the mouth of the cave. When he got closer, he could see they were native symbols etched into the rock. When they moonlight caught them, they gave off a slight blue glow.

Each symbol had two half circles, with the curved parts facing each other and the flat edges pointing up and down. For a second, Greg thought that maybe he shouldn't go in, but his desire to end Lenny pushed the notion aside. 

The focused cop cautiously took a step forward. Then another. Greg swept the M-4 back and forth. With another step, he was in a large cavern, about the size of the downstairs of his own cabin. What he saw was unexpected. 

A lantern was in the center of the cave, lighting up the room. A Remington rifle lay on the floor next to it. Lenny stood at the far wall, with his back to Greg, facing what looked like smoke-stained native symbols. The large man appeared to be frozen. 

None of that bothered Greg as much as the fact that his bear spirit tattoo had started to burn with growing intensity. It usually meant a supernatural evil was close. The evil is that filthy Lenny. 

Greg aimed his M-4 dead center at the six-foot-three, three hundred pound man’s back and put his finger on the trigger. I’m going to drop him before he even knows I’m here. But the sound of Lenny’s voice proved Greg wrong. 

“There’s something very bad here. Very bad. Even being half-native, my blood still screams out in terror.”

“I don’t know what you’ve been smoking, but I’m ending this Lenny, here and now.” Greg didn’t believe his own words. He, too, could feel it. This cave is  . . . evil.

Lenny ignored the cop. “Even in my own great terror, I still offered myself to it. The power is so intense. So strong. So . . . evil. I want it. But it won’t take me.”

“Did you hear me? I said I’m here to finish you, Lenny.”

“You don’t understand, Greg Harsen. It won’t take me because it wants you.” 

A dark shadow, what Greg had initially assumed were smoke-stains, rushed from the wall straight for him. The darkness struck him full on, but the now scalding bear tattoo on the back of Greg’s shoulder emitted a blue aura that surrounded the man. The dark entity struck at Greg again and again, knocking him to his knees, but was repelled by his spirit tattoo. 

“Foul Xelas’ magic,” a deep creepy voice hissed in the air around Greg. 

Then, with a ‘whooshing’ sound, it flew straight back towards the wall and was gone. Lenny Benslow fell onto the ground, unconscious, while Greg slowly rose to his feet, shaken. 

Holy shit, what just happened? This native magic is nothing to screw with. Greg had felt the thing’s immense power. The dark entity had been pure evil. What was that thing? It wasn’t Lilith. It was masculine. Thankfully the tattoo, gifted him by his powerful Native American friends, had saved him. Still, I have business to attend to. 

Greg walked over to the unmoving Lenny and pointed the M-4 at the unconcious man’s head. He was half a trigger pull away from killing the man when he heard a new voice, “You could do that, Greg. You have every right to.” 

He looked over his shoulder at Sheriff Watson. “You’re damn right I do, Bill. He took my wife. He deserves to die.”

“Sure he does, Chief. For that, and a lot of other things he’s done. But the route you’re about to take, this path, has a price. You have to live with yourself afterwards. You have to carry it every day. It’ll follow you the rest of your life.” Watson frowned, a haunted look in his eyes.

“I’m willing to pay that price.” Greg’s face twisted in anger. He’s had to many free passes. I’m willing to pay the price.”

“Are you? I thought that was the kind of man you were when Morgan disappeared. After working with you, I learned quickly that you weren’t. Not even close. So, I’ll tell you what. You just say the word and I’ll turn around and walk out of this cave. Lenny died in the shoot-out and that’ll be the end of it. I’ll take that story to the grave. But I’m betting you’re better than that. So, just say the word, and I’m gone.”

He took my Jenny and did God knows what to her. I want to kill him. I really want to kill him. Greg hesitated, before lowering his rifle. “Damn it, Bill. Cuff him before I change my mind.”

“That’s what I thought, Chief."

Author Notes So, Sundays are going to be busy with this 30 day contest. Thank goodness this book is already finishing. Final editing may suffer though! Giddy-up!


Chapter 10
Aftermath

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really like him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide callout for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the badguys hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. 

New Chapter:

Greg sat holding Jenny’s hand. The woman had her eyes closed, and had been sleeping for some time. She was sporting a black eye and there were several bruises on her face. He caressed his wife’s dark black hair, seeing only her beauty. 

Doctor Lizzy Grimes came in. Initially Greg had kept a wide berth from her, still harboring bad feelings concerning the woman. He knew she had been controlled by the witch’s magic, but the feelings had been present. After a few encounters with the woman in relation to work, he grew to respect her intelligence.
“It looks like she has no major injuries, but we’re gonna keep her overnight, just for observation.” Lizzy checked the monitor and then the IV, before leaving the room. 

When Greg looked back at Jenny, her eyes were open and she was staring at him. “Lenny? Did you . . .”

“No. Bill Watson talked me out of it. Lenny’s back in prison where he belongs.” Greg continued to caress her hair. 

“Good. You don’t need to live with that.” She sighed.

“Did he . . . “ Greg hesitated. 

“No, baby. He tried, but he was too drunk and stoned to get hard. I’m okay.” His wife smiled at him. “I heard they’re gonna keep me overnight.”

“Yes. Your mom still has the kids. I’ll stay right here with you.”

“You don’t have—”

“No argument. I’m staying,” Greg cut off her protest. 

“How’s my brother?” she sounded tired.

“He’s gonna have a sore shoulder for quite some time, but thankfully there’s no permanent damage. Barry’s out of surgery and it looks like he’s going to survive. The FBI agent who was shot is also gonna be fine.” Greg smiled. We were lucky none of us were killed. Damn lucky.

“I saw her, Gregory.” Jenny’s eyes started to close.

“Who?”

“My spirit animal. She was so beautiful and wise. When the drugs had me so messed up, she told me you were coming. Told me to hold on.” Jenny’s words started out groggy and after speaking, she drifted off, mumbling, “I think I’ll keep her. My turtle.”

Greg slept in a chair, with the top half of his body resting on the hospital bed while he held the hand of the woman he loved. He woke up with a sore back and knees, but being with Jenny after nearly losing her was worth every uncomfortable kink in his body.

After dropping Jenny off at her mother’s apartment, behind the Nooner Cafe, he drove to the Ladies Auxiliary Picnic where he was supposed to give a speech, although he had no intention of doing that. When he walked up he saw there were at least two hundred women in attendance, with a familiar face already on the mic at the podium. 

“Wolf packs eating people, aliens running amuck and serial killers butchering women right here in town under this mayor.” Sally Benslow wrinkled up her nose like she was smelling something foul. “It’s time for new leadership. And a new police chief. Those two men are creating chaos. Why just yesterday, three law enforcement officers were shot during an illegal raid led by the incompetent Chief Harsen.”

Mayor Calvin Whittis slid up beside Greg and placed a hand on his shoulder while Sally rambled on. “Three down officers is not what I had in mind when I told you not to make any trouble or bad press.”

“They took my wife, Mayor. Besides, I don’t think two dead escaped convicts and one back in jail constitutes bad press.”

“Well, Greg, you better have one hell of a speech prepared to pull us up from this ratings dive.” Whittis frowned.

“Trust me, Calvin, I’m going to do you one better than that. I’m just waiting for . . . oh, there she is now.” Officer Kelsey pulled up in her police Blazer, and after exiting it, handed Greg some papers. The two cops made their way to the podium. 

Katie took the microphone from the confused woman. “Sally Benslow, I’m placing you under arrest for Conspiracy to Kidnap and Aiding and Abetting Escaped Felons. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand your rights as I have read them to you?” 

“This is police brutality! You’re all witnesses. Police brutality.” The obese woman pointed at the crowd. 

Greg grabbed the rotund woman’s hands and, while placing cuffs on her wrists, leaned in and whispered, “I guess we aliens finally got you, Mrs. Benslow.”

Mayor Whittis approached. “Is this solid? Is it a good arrest?” 

“Relax, Calvin, we got her dead to rights on at least two felonies.” Greg pulled the mayor aside as Katie led Sally to her police unit. “We have her linked to cabin #7 as well as the truck the felons used to escape in. Her fingerprints were all over it, plus she signed the bill of sales. We also have her phone records showing calls to the jail before the escape and calls to a cell phone Lenny had that she also bought. It’s as solid as it gets. She’s going down, leaving you the last man standing for mayor.”

“Geez, Chief, it’s not even Christmas and you came with gifts.” Calvin Whittis was beaming. “Hiring you was the smartest decision I’ve ever made.”

“Until the next incident.” Greg found himself grinning. Things are working out. 

Just then, the mayor’s cell phone rang. “Yeah, he's standing right next to me.”

Greg grabbed the phone when Whittis held it out. “Yeah, I don’t get much signal, Harkins. Another body? Where? Yep, that definitely sounds like a Lilith victim. Officer Kelsey and I have to lock someone up at the station and then we’ll be on our way.”

“Everything okay?” Calvin took his phone back. 

Just when I thought we had a moment to relax. “Gotta roll, Mayor.”


Chapter 11
What Lies Beneath Satin Boxers

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide callout for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the badguys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim has been found . . . 

New Chapter:

Officer Kelsey and Greg headed out to the Pierre Lake Campground in the Colville National Forest where the latest Lilith victim had been discovered. Greg had his Charger humming along at a smooth seventy miles-an-hour when he felt Katie’s eyes on him. 

“What’s the matter?”

“I was just thinking.” He could see her break into a smile. 

“About?”

“That night in my apartment when you were all over me.” Now he could see her bite her lip out of his peripheral view. I don’t really want to have this conversation. Ever.

“We were under the spell of the hag.” He frowned. 

“Oh, stop the pouty face, Greg. Witch or no witch, you wanted me as badly as I wanted you.” Her eyes never left him. 

“Katie, you’re a young beautiful woman. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit you’re super attractive. Having said that, not only am I married, but I’m very much in love with my wife. Not to mention my children. I’d never cheat on Jenny. Never. What happened was caused by the witch. As far as I’m concerned what happened between us was unintentional and didn’t mean anything.”

“Well, that’s the problem, Greg. Your dedication and moral compass is what makes you so damn attractive.”

“I think it’s best if we just drop the subject, Katie. Besides, aren’t you still dating Agent Kenneth Lee? Seems like you two have been together for a bit now.” Greg shrugged.

“Kenny? Yeah, we’re dating.” The young woman slumped in her seat. “We just don’t seem to be a good match. He doesn’t give me what I need.”

Okay, this is getting way too personal. “Any good relationship takes work. But now we're here, so put on your Officer Kelsey ‘hat’ and let’s get focused.” Greg pulled into the campsite and parked. The ground was wet. It looked like it had rained sometime during the night. Well, speak of the devil.

Greg rolled down his window as Agent Lee approached them. “Hey babe. Chief. Why don’t you two hop out and I’ll take you back to the crime scene. 

The trio passed through several onlookers, some press, and a few cops milling about, before reaching the yellow tape. Beyond that, they reached a blue and yellow four-man tent that had a pair of booted feet sticking out of the flapped entryway.  

“How’s Jenny?” Harkins extended his hand to Greg and then Katie. 

Greg shook the man’s hand. “She’s doing great. Thanks to everyone’s help. I appreciate what you guys did.”

“Of course, Chief. We’re a team.”

“Regardless, I really wanted to say thanks. Officer Anderson is getting out of the hospital tomorrow, or maybe the next day. He’ll be fine. How’s your guy?” Greg had heard the agent was already out of the hospital. 

“Stevens is great. No permanent damage and now he has a wonderful battle scar to brag about.” Harkins smiled. “Also, Barry Winston is still in the ICU over in Spokane, but he’s expected to recover completely.”

“Good news.” We were fortunate not to have lost anyone in the escapees’ ambush. Very fortunate. “So what do we have here, Dave?”

The lead FBI Agent leaned over and pulled back the tent flap, revealing Lilith’s handywork. The tent had all of the common camping accouterments, to include a backpack, fishing poles, tackle box, and other various field items. The body lay on a green sleeping bag. Everything was covered in blood. 

The man appeared to be in his mid-forties, slightly overweight, and was nearly naked, except for his socks and boots. He had a pair of satin red boxers pulled down around his ankles. The man’s chest was torn asunder like all of the previous victims, and there was a neat little pile of ash next to his head. His lifeless eyes stared at the roof of the tent, while his blood-speckled face appeared to have a slight smile on it.  

“Looks like he died happy.” Greg frowned.  

“Well, I wanted every task force member to see the scene before I let the forensic techs in.” Harkins shook his head.  

Smart move. Not only shows everyone what happens the longer we fail to nab Lilith but also generates various perspectives on the murder. “How long do you think the body’s been here?”

“No more than a day would be my guess. He was most likely killed last night, but the coroner will verify that. A couple of hikers found him this morning. They said they were about ten feet away when they saw the legs sticking out and called the police. That’s where it gets weird.”

“How so?” Like it’s not already weird. 

Harkins reached into the manilla envelope he was holding and pulled out several high-resolution polaroids, handing them to Greg. “What are these missing?”

Greg studied all six, seeing they were close-up shots of the ground surrounding the tent. “Strange. That doesn’t make sense.” 

“Do you see what’s missing?” Greg handed the pictures to Officer Kelsey. 

He watched her study them until realization flooded her face. “Footprints.”

“Rain?” Greg turned his attention back to Harkins. 

“No way. Barely drizzled. As you can see, the EMT’s, as well as several of us, have left fresh prints all over this mud. There should be prints. Now look at this. The man leaned down and pointed at the satin boxers.”

Greg stared, but wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be seeing. 

“Aside from the oddity that the man is camping in satin underwear, do you see it?” Harkins pointed closer. 

“To each his own.” Nothing surprises me anymore. Greg had once worked a case in Chicago where a dead transvestite hooker was discovered to have been wearing an eight-inch dildo. People are strange creatures. Then he saw it. 

On the edge of the boxers was a muddy heel print. It obviously belonged to the murderer. The angle made it look like she had been exiting the tent when she stepped on the boxers. Whatever carnal acts the two had been engaged in, both of them had kept their footwear on. 

“You aren’t gonna get much out of that.” Katie frowned. “There's not even a pattern.”

“Wait a minute.” Greg remembered a case they had in a hospital where a nurse had been killed. The suspect stepped on a sheet he had placed over the blood, so as not to leave any evidence. The drying sticky blood under the sheet had left a perfect imprint of the man’s foot. The size narrowed it down to two patients, one of which later confessed to the murder. “May I?”

“Johnny, get the Chief some gloves please.” Harkins shouted over to a technician waiting patiently nearby as Greg squatted down over the victim’s feet.  

“Grab a camera as well,” Greg added, in case they got lucky. 

Once Greg had the gloves on, he slowly raised the satin underwear off the ground. Underneath, in a wet muddy patch, was a perfect footprint of a woman’s boot. The technician quickly snapped several photos.  

Greg noted the fairly clear imprint bore a distinct wavy tiger-stripe pattern and could barely make out the outline of the word Xena in the heel. Xena was a commonly known brand that produced various women's boots for work, hiking, and fashion. Great find. Good luck favors the hard workers. 

Greg very carefully returned the boxers to the exact same position they had been in and turned to look at technician Johnny. “Let it dry for a bit, and I bet you get a perfect imprinted picture of the boot on the backside of the underwear.”

“Fantastic work, Chief.” Harkins beamed. “That looked like a ladies’ size six. 

Katie was staring at her chief with a curious look. Greg guessed it was admiration. It wasn’t anything spectacular. With time and experience, she too would learn how to read crime scenes. There’s good reason they keep us old law dogs around. 

Kelsey let out several yawns on the way back, then drifted off to sleep. Good. Greg did not feel much like talking. He'd rather spend his time thinking about the scene he just saw. I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something.

Author Notes I took an intermission for the 30/30 Novella contest. Welcome back to Wolf Bend!


Chapter 12
Grayson Lumber

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Excerpt from Book Three Hag's Hollow Chapter Eight (Stogger attack on Greg and Katie):

A slamming sound followed by a loud grunt came from the back parking lot. Greg bolted back there, seeing Katie lying on the ground, covering her face. An older pot-bellied man stood over her kicking the officer in the stomach. He wore blue jeans and a white t-shirt that read “Beer is queer but whiskey makes me frisky.”

Greg drew Bass. “Freeze, asshole!”

Screeching tires interrupted the scene as a red S-10 pickup truck barrelled around the corner from the side parking lot. The passenger opened the side door and slammed it into Greg while they skidded to a halt. 

A stunned Greg tumbled onto the asphalt, feeling intense pain in his chest. The impact sent Bass clattering across the parking lot. Before he could get up, he felt hands grab him and roughly pull him to his feet. The large man who had him, pinned his arms behind his back, while a chunkier, shorter man ran over and began punching Greg in the gut. 

Both men wore red ski-masks and dirty blue jeans. When the taller man pulled him up, Greg observed he wore a black tribute t-shirt to the Rolling Stones with the big red lips and tongue emblem plastered on the front. The smaller man punching him had on a faded black vintage ACDC t-shirt that read “High Voltage 1975.”

“This is for Renny, pig!” The ACDC wearer punched him hard in the gut. Greg’s gunshot wounds were now burning with pain. Dumbasses wear ski masks, then basically announce who they are. 

New Submission for Lair Of The Seductress:

Two weeks had passed since the dead camper had been found and the Lilith case had gone stagnate. Maybe she was laying low with all the task force heat on the streets. Or maybe she had just moved on. I doubt either is true. I can’t help but feel like Lilith and I are rumbling down the same tracks heading towards an unavoidable head-on collision.  

“Where’s Kelsey?” Greg had stepped into the front room of the police station and saw only Jesse. It was his brother-in-law’s first day back to work after being shot. The bandages under his uniform shirt visibly puffed up that side of Jesse’s shoulder.

“She was on the night shift rotation last evening. Katie volunteers to take most of them. She’s probably sleeping soundly, about now. Why? You got something?” His brother-in-law looked eager to get out of the office.

“You up for a drive? I want to check something out that the mayor mentioned a few weeks ago. Should be a light and easy property check.”

“You bet, boss.” Jesse was already up and grabbing his jacket. Greg drove Jesse’s Blazer and twenty minutes later they arrived at their destination. 

Grayson Lumber was a monstrously large complex. The size of the main building alone was immense. Greg drove them right up to the front double doors of the main offices. Mayor Whittis had provided him with a key, but he did not need it. The windows were busted out of the glass doors and one was propped open, hanging at an angle from the one hinge that still remained intact. 

Behind the doors was darkness. The building had been abandoned for several years. Greg and Jesse grabbed their radios and flashlights and exited the police SUV. As they approached, Greg felt a slight chill. Something doesn’t feel right. 

When they flicked on their flashlights and stepped in, he couldn’t help but feel like they had just entered the belly of the beast. Yet there was something more. Do I smell a slight hint of decay? More likely, my mind is playing tricks on me. This place is ‘horror movie’ creepy. 

The two cops made their way down a long wide hallway, passing several offices. Each had windows that were busted out, and a quick shine of their flashlight revealed that each one was empty. Greg noted a layer of thick dust covered the yellowing tile floor they were now walking on. 

At the end of the hall, they reached two swinging double doors that were windowless. There was a metal sign that read “Hard Hats Required Beyond This Point.” Someone had spray painted a big red penis over the still legible words. 

“I can see the urban artists did some excellent work here.” Jesse grinned. 

“Stay focused. This place feels off.” Greg couldn’t shake the feeling that they didn’t belong. 

The two men pushed through the double doors. His nose wasn’t playing mind tricks. The smell of decay was stronger here. They found themselves in a room the size of a football stadium. There were very various crates, tables, and rusted out saws and machinery all about. If someone was here, they could easily be hidden. 

Greg continued forward, crossing the room. He wasn’t following a hunch, he was following his nose. It led him past two openings. Their flashlights revealed they were once restrooms. Still, he bypassed them to a third opening that had a door. A sign on it read ‘Employee Gym’. The odor was definitely coming from behind it. 

Greg slowly pushed the door open, where they encountered another hall, maybe twenty feet long. They started making their way down it, when Jesse shined his light on the wall. “Look, Chief, more red paint.”

Greg glanced up and froze. ‘Welcome To Hell’ was spelled out, but the texture was different from what was used to paint the phallic symbol they had discovered earlier. “That isn’t paint, it’s dried blood.” 

Both cops drew their weapons and continued towards the door at the end of the dark hallway. Greg noted both it and the handle were covered in cobwebs. Nobody has passed through here in a long time. So why the blood writing? What the hell is going on here. Punks? Transients? Maybe a cult?

“Light and easy property check, my ass.” Jesse shook his head. “Not quite what I had in mind for my first day back.”

Greg grabbed the handle and opened the door, immediately realizing they were dealing with none of the above when the bear tattoo on the back of his shoulder started to burn. 

Several things caught his attention, other than the stench, that made him wonder if he was hallucinating. First, there was a candle burning on a stone table towards the back of the room. We aren’t alone. There was also a canopy bed with red satin sheets, pillows, and a comforter with a pentagram symbol on it. Even the canopy curtains were a rich red. 

There were also several weight benches against the far wall and he could feel a cool breeze flowing through the room, coming from where a large circle of sunlight lit up the center of the floor. Looking up, Greg observed there was a sauna size opening in the roof, where a skylight style window had once been. 

Greg nearly tripped over something, causing him to look back down where he noticed a pile of clothes near his feet. He stared hard, not believing his eyes. In the pile were three t-shirts. One was white with the words “Beer is queer but whiskey makes me frisky.”

The other two were a black tribute t-shirt to the Rolling Stones with the big red lips and tongue emblem plastered on the front, as well as a faded black vintage ACDC t-shirt that read “High Voltage 1975.”. All three had bloody holes ripped into the center of the chest. 

He had seen these shirts before. They were the ones worn by Lennox, Tate, and Starky Stogger when they attacked him and Kelsey at the police station. They had walked into something much more serious than vandalism. Holy shit! This place belongs to Lilith!

Greg holstered Bass and unhooked his radio from his belt. “Central Dispatch Bravo One, requesting immediate back-up out at the old Grayson Lumber Plant.”

“Copy. Any available units please respond to the Grayson Lumber yard on Woodier Road. Officers need assistance.”

“Central Dispatch, Bravo One, also get ahold of the State Patrol and let them know we’re going to need their Mobile Crime Lab.”

“Copy.”

“Central Dispatch, Bravo One, I’m also going to need you to notify Task Force Ash in Collville and get them rolling out here.”

“Any specific member, Bravo One?”

“No, Dispatch, send them all.” 

“Good copy.”

“Boss, I’ve got something over here.” Jesse brought him back to the scene. 

Greg walked over to his officer who was shining his light in the far corner. He saw a very large pile of bones, some still having rotten flesh clinging to them. They were the cause of the decay smell. 

“Look.” Greg rested his light beam onto the stone table. In the center was a small pile of ash. The same as had been left at the other crime scenes. “She killed at least one of these victims in this room.”

They cleared the rest of the room while waiting for other units to arrive. They found no evidence that Lilith was still here, or that she had just been. The lit candle told Greg differently. She must have just left, but how? We came through the only door.

When other cops started to arrive, including Task Force Ash members, the officers bagan pairing up and searched the compound. It took several hours to clear all of the structures on the entire complex. The only room of interest discovered was the old gym. The task force members regrouped outside of the main building in the parking lot. 

“The Mobile Crime Lab is going over that death room with a fine tooth comb. Hopefully we’ll finally get a solid lead on who this Lilith is.” Sheriff Watson seemed hopeful. 

“Just how did you find this place, Chief?” Officer Kelsey asked. 

“Yeah, Greg. I thought I’d made myself very clear that we weren't going to put up with your Lone Ranger bullshit.” Agent David Harkins face was red with anger. 

“It wasn’t that. We stumbled onto this by dumb luck, really.” Greg didn’t like the man’s tone. I guess the ‘getting along kumbaya period’ has ended.  

“Really, chief, cause that seems like a bit of a stretch.” Kelsey also seemed perturbed that she had been excluded. 

Katie’s siding with Dave? Greg stared hard at his officer. “Yes, dumb luck. A couple of weeks ago Mayor Whittis asked me to check this place out for old man Grayson. He thought we were dealing with transients or vandal issues. We had no idea what we were walking into.”

“I’m going to verify that with your mayor, Greg.” Harkins raised his eyebrows. 

“I don't give two shits if you do, David.” He helped save Jenny, but I’ve had my fill of this turd. 

“Why don’t we bring this down a notch, gentlemen.” Watson stepped between the two angry men.

Author Notes The excerpt was just a reminder of the significance of the t-shirts found in Lilith's Lair.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been founding revealing new clues.


Chapter 13
The Notorious Alleyway

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of The Bear Cave:

A dark mist covered the black wolf. When the fog dissipated, the black outline of a man stood there. “Come to papa.” 

The two wolves at his ankles let go. The creepy wet voice caused Harry to scramble the last five feet on his hands and knees. Fear-stoked adrenaline helped the severely wounded man to reach up and open the door, leaving bloody prints on the door handle. 

“Don't struggle and I’ll make it quick and painless.” The voice caused him to look back and see the shadow man was now running forward and leapt into the air, landing on the hood of Harry’s police vehicle. “Okay, who wants to magically disappear next?” 

The man repeated everything Harry had said to the donuts. Carter reached into the SUV and grabbed the mic, screaming, “Help me! Oh my God help me! I’m being killed by a pack of wolves.” 

Harry stared through the cracked windshield when the face of Henry Morgan pressed against it. He recognized the man from the wanted posters that had speckled the county for the past few years. Only this Henry Morgan had mud flowing from his eyes. The deputy continued to scream into the mic. 

“I’m not sure if I can eat you all up in one sitting, but I’m sure as hell gonna try!” Henry Morgan repeated Harry’s earlier thought. Then the horrifying man misted back into the black wolf and jumped onto the roof of the SUV. 

Harry looked up at the edge of the roof. The last thing he saw was the glowing orange eyes staring down at him. Then the wolves were on him, tearing the man apart, devouring his body. Deputy Harry Carter never realized his radio was off, because he had turned off the vehicle when he exited it earlier. Nobody had heard his desperate cries for help.

Lair Of The Seductress New Chapter:

Officer Katie Kelsey was rattling on about the meeting at the Ash Task Force Headquarters they had attended earlier today. Greg was hardly paying attention. His eyes had settled on a yellow “post-it” note stuck to his desktop. 

Katie continued to ramble on about Agent Harkins and his inability to look outside of the box. She made a crack about suspecting impotence. Then she started in on theories. “I asked if you had any theories on the killer, Chief?”

Maybe I misread it? Greg rubbed his eyes and reread the little yellow note: 

Meet me behind the Whittis dealership at 8 PM. Come alone or I won’t show. 

 Lilith

“Theories, Greg. Do you have any?” The woman obviously hadn’t seen the note. 

“Huh? Oh, I’m working on it.” He saw it was 7:45 on the digital phone display. Greg grabbed his police jacket. “That was a brutally long meeting. Harkin’s incessant yammering really wore me out. Let’s go home and come back in the morning with fresh eyes.”

“Sure, boss.” Officer Kelsey left his office. He waited for her to drive away, then went out to his Charger. 

Three minutes later, he was rolling through the main entrance of the Whittis Chevrolet Dealership. He parked at the entrance to the alley way. It didn’t escape his attention that he had parked in the exact same spot where they had found Deputy Harry Carter’s body after Morgan’s wolf pack had killed him.

Pushing that from his mind, Greg grabbed his maglight, but kept it off as he quietly edged his way into the alley. His foot accidently kicked a glass bottle and sent it clinking across the pavement. Shit, you dumbass. Not that she didn’t hear me pull up anyways. Then he saw her. 

Backlit by a full moon, a dark, shadowy figure stood at the far end of the alley near the sheet metal wall. Greg closed to within thirty yards, he could see a very feminine figure hidden underneath the woman’s thin black cloak. Short red curls peeked out of the dark opening in the hood which covered her face in shadow. His shoulder tattoo immediately started burning. 

The place’s sinister history, as well as the nostalgic feeling of his long lost friend White Feather, permeated the area. What the hell, Gergory ol’ boy? Don’t go getting all sentimental on me. Focus on the current situation if you don’t want to become another photo on the victim board in the Ash Task Force office. Focus. 

“Lilith, I presume.” Greg rested his hand on his holstered pistol. At least I have her boxed in. She has nowhere to go. The dark figure just stood there. Wrapped in a creepy silence. 

“You called this little meeting. I doubt it was to show me you have a strong silent side.”

“Walk away from this case, Chief, or you will die.” The woman’s eyes flashed red from inside her trench coat hood. 

“Walk away? I’m just an advisor.”

“You're too good, Chief. That’s why I don’t . . . hunt . . . in Wolf Bend.” Her voice was low and sultry, yet it held a hint of age. 

“Hunt? What’re you doing to these men?”

“I take their essence.” 

“You take their what? Do you like hurting them? Do you enjoy killing them?” Come on, Lilith, give me something I can work with.

“Like? Enjoy? You don’t understand.” He could see the woman shaking her head. “I need it. I need their essence. Without it, I cease to exist.”

“You need to kill them?” I’m not buying into her bullshit.

“In your eyes it would be much like lust. It builds and builds until I experience the male essence. I’m drawn to yours even as we speak. But I’ll never take in your town, if you promise to stay off the case. There are plenty of men for me to experience outside of Wolf Bend.”

This is going nowhere. Greg decided to change tactics. “Were you freed when White Feather crossed over?” 

“I was walking amongst you, but that native wizard had my powers bound. When he passed, I was freed and in great need.”

“What if I don’t walk away?”

“Then I’ll have my way with you and feast upon your soul.” The final word came out as a hiss. 

“What is it with you spirit beings and feasting upon souls? First Morgan, then the hag, and now you. Maybe if you just learn to play nicely with the other souls, then I wouldn’t have to keep putting you guys down.”

“So, are we in agreement? You drop this and I give Wolf Bend a wide berth?” Either Lilith chose to ignore his sarcasm, or just didn’t recognize it. 

“How about we do this the old fashion way and I place you under arrest and take you in? You have the right to remain silent and all that happy horseshit. Now get down on your knees and put your hands on top of your head, bitch.” Greg drew Bass, intentionally provoking the woman, but kept it pointing at the ground between them. There’s no way it’s going to go down like that. I’m going to kill her here and now.

“I guess it’s Plan B then. I’m going to treat you to the most incredible pleasure you’ve ever experienced . . . followed by the worst pain.” Lilith took a step towards Greg. 

“Or we could go with Plan C and I just end this now.” Bass came up, spitting bullets as quickly as Greg could fire them. Thirteen bullets struck Lilith dead center, but she didn’t go down. 

Lilith brushed her coat off as if swiping at gnats. “Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Greg. You’ve been down this road before haven’t you? Bullets don’t do much against the spirit world, even those coated ones.”

What the hell? How did she know those were the dipped bullets I had left over from Mud Creek? The magic bullets didn’t even faze her. 

“You look surprised they didn’t work. Use that impressive investigative brain of yours, Chief. When you released the spirits from the bear cave you ended the magic of the creek. That includes the magic on your dipped bullets. All you managed to do is ruin my favorite coat.” He thought he heard a sigh from beneath the hood. “You’ve put us on an irreversible path. I’ll be coming for your essence soon.”

With a flurry the slender figure rushed at him. At the last moment she took flight, raking her nails across his face as she half-jumped half-flew over the man and, with very feminine laughter, disappeared into the night sky. The moment she touched him his bear tattoo burned with an intensity that nearly dropped him.

Greg had switched on his flashlight at the last possible second and got a quick look at Lilith’s face. She had Greek goddess-like, almost chiseled features. Smooth and wrinkle free, yet she held an aura of incredible ancient beauty. He had never seen the woman before. Once you saw a face like that, you never forgot it. 

Damn, this alley gets more action than Tommy Lee. Greg wiped the blood from his cheek. Shit. I suspected Lithith was a spirit all along, but now that I know for sure, it’s still unsettling. If I keep facing these beings, eventually my luck’s going to run out. Besides, there was something very familiar about her.

Author Notes The excerpt was just a reminder of the significance of the alleyway.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer.


Chapter 14
An Old Acquaintance

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

Excerpt from Hag's Hollow Chapter Six "Going Nowhere Fast":

"I’ve banged a lot of broads, from eighteen to eighty, and let me tell you Nory was the best. The absolute best.” The man licked his lips, grinning like some kind of perverted porno star.

“Doesn’t it bother you that you steal other men’s wives?” The question was driven more from curiosity than being case related.

“You can’t steal what’s freely given.”

“So why go to the husband and ask for her personal things? Seems like she might be shacking up with you.”

“Aw, hell no. Nicky doesn’t shack up with any woman. That would cramp my style. I mean, nothing scares away the Betties like having a live-in girlfriend anchoring you down.” The man scoffed his disdain at such a suggestion.

“So why ask for the items?” Greg was getting nowhere.

“For the psychic. Madam Zola. She needed some personal stuff to really zone in on Nory. So I asked numbnuts Neesh for some items. I didn’t expect him to toss all of her shit out onto the lawn. I took everything in case Nory comes back.”

“Let’s go back to Madam Zola. You cared enough about Nory to hire a psychic?”

“Cared about Nory?  Yeah. . . no. Honestly, I just couldn’t imagine going through life without doing the horizontal hula hoop with that woman again. I was strictly thinking with my pecker.”

“So what happened with Madam Zola?”

“Oh, I nailed her. Surprisingly, she was a real dead fish. Just laid there like a board so I ghosted her. You really don’t expect that from the fat girls.” The scuzzy man shook his head in disappointment.

“That’s not what I meant.” Greg was getting frustrated with the perverted tow truck driver. I need to remember to tell Jenny never to call Meredith Towing. “Did the psychic come up with any leads?”

“Oh. Yeah, she said exactly what I told her I suspected. Neesh killed Nory and buried her in his backyard.”

“And Madam Zola still has Nory’s personal items?”

“Yes, most of them. Except for the panties. I kept those for me. My little souvenir of our tryst.” The man acted like he was grabbing a woman and thrusted his hips a couple of times. “I tell ya, that Nory was the best. A real teeth rattler.”

“Do you have any evidence of any of this?”

“Oh, yeah, take a look in here.” Nicky opened the tow truck door and popped open the glovebox. At least twenty pairs of panties, of all shapes and sizes, spilt out. “I keep evidence of it all.”

Greg quickly left. He couldn’t shake off the feeling he needed a long shower after talking to the nasty manwhore, Nicky Meredith.

New Chapter Lair Of The Seductress:

Not much had been learned from the alleyway meeting. And after Satin Boxers, the name the Task Force Ash members had started calling Lilith’s latest victim, had been found there had been no new victims. When Greg pulled into the police station he saw a Meredith tow truck parked in the lot. Oh, this should be interesting. 

Greg found a very familiar, albeit nervous looking, man waiting for him in his office. He had only met Nick Meredith one time, but there was no mistaking the wavy blond hair and bushy mustache. The man reminded Greg of Bo Duke from the old Dukes Of Hazzard series.  

The ruggedly handsome man wore oily gray overalls and had to be pushing thirty by now. He was wiggling about in the chair and the second Greg entered, he rose and extended an oil-stained hand.  

“Do you remember me, Chief?”

How could I not? Greg shook the man’s hand and took a seat behind his desk. “Of course, Mr. Meredith. What can I do for you?”

“I need protection, man. Real protection.” Nicky looked scared. 

I’m sure you do. Greg couldn’t help but remember how promiscuous the man was. “Protection? From who?”

“From that crazy lady killer. The one who’s carving up the men around these parts. I met her. Now she’s after me.” Nicky took a big gulp and stared at Greg wide-eyed.

“Now slow down and let’s back up.” Greg leaned forward and folded his hands on his desk. “First, how do you know about this crazy lady?”

“Seriously, Chief? It’s all over the news, not to mention all of the townsfolk are talking about it.”

“I don’t have much time for television. So, tell me how you met her.” 

“I was returning with a tow from over in Colville, an abandoned car removal, when I saw this pretty young redhead hitchhiking. Skinny, tight, and so damn yummy; just the way ol’ Nicky likes em. Anyways, being a good citizen, I pulled over to offer her a ride. Of course, one look at the ol’ Nickster, and she hopped right in.”

“Of course.” Greg fought back the urge to roll his eyes. 

“So, there I am driving around the cutest thing this side of the Mississippi. She’s staring at me, and I’m just sitting there trying to figure out how to get her panties off. I’m about to drop one of my best lines on her, when she says, ‘You wanna pull over and fuck?’ Just like that. I thought we were soul mates because that sweet piece was reading my mind.” 

“What happened next?” Greg really wanted the man to get to the point. 

“What happened next? What do you think happened next? Hell, I nearly tore the tires off my tow truck pulling onto the shoulder. We climbed into the backseat and started swapping spit. Damn boy, I could draw a picture of her tongue for you, if you know what I mean.”

“I do. So, did you two have sex?” He shouldn’t be alive if they did. “If so, I don’t really need all of the graphic details.”

“That’s just it, Chief. This is where things started to get weird.”

“How so?”

“Well, she started asking questions. Annoying shit. She got all talky, wanting to know if I had a girlfriend or wife. She wanted to know if I felt guilty about picking up a stranger and screwing her on the side of the road. I told her hell no, but her lips were intoxicating, and all I could think about was sharing my boner with her.”

Damn this guy is such a pig. I guess some people never change. “Do you have a girlfriend? Did you get back with Nory Ticwtkwa after I rescued her?”

“Nah. I mean I nailed her a couple of times after the whole kidnapping thing, but she ended up going back to that slob, Neesh.”

“Her husband?” 

“Yeah. Can you friggin believe that? She’s wasting all that wild native sex on a lardass like him. I was willing to share her, but after she refused to answer fifty or sixty of my calls, I gave up on her. Ol’ Nicky ain’t beggin’ no woman for the poon. Way too many fish in the sea to batter.”

Batter? This guy is such a cretin. “Let’s get back to the hitchhiker, Nick.”

“Oh, yeah. So we’re in the backseat of my tow truck and I’m petting her like a kid who just picked up a new pooch from the pound, but she won’t shut up. All the guilt talk was deflating my tire if you know what I mean. Finally, I told her that ol’ Nicky never feels any guilt about tearing up a new piece of ass.”

Greg just shook his head. 

“Then I saw that tattoo. The one they keep showing on the news.”

“The tattoo?” Who freaking leaked that information?

“Yeah, the heart with the horns and wings. I was trying to release her bra and I saw it on her lower back in the light of my phone.”

Greg pulled a sheet of paper from his desk drawer and showed it to the man. “This one?”

“Yep, that’s it. Right where I like to make my deliveries.”

Greg had to fight the urge to hit the man. “What happened next?’

“Well, I realized I was with the crazy man killer, and after fighting her off, I threw her out of my truck and barely escaped with my life.”

Bullshit. “Now, how about the real story, Nicky? If she wanted you dead, you would be. How’d the encounter really end?”

“Okay, okay. I didn’t actually know that was the crazy woman’s tattoo until I saw it on the news the next day. I really had no clue.” 

“So how did it end?” Don’t tell me Lilith has taste. 

Nick’s cheeks flushed red and he looked anywhere but at Greg. “That broad demanded I let her out. She totally lost interest. Lost interest in me? How is that possible?” 

Greg just stared at him. This fella’s incredible.  

Nick Meredith shook his head. “I mean, look at me, Chief. I’m A+ prime beef filet mignon.”

“Are you serious right now?” Greg was the one shaking his head at this point. “You got damn lucky. If she’d slept with you you’d be dead.”

“I suppose, but it’s still a little embarrassing.”

“So, if you didn’t know she was the killer, and she let you go, then why’d you think she’s after you?”

“Madam Zola told me.” Nick shrugged.

“You’re still seeing Madam Zola? I remember you’d said you weren't into her because of her weight.” Greg frowned.  

“Well, she’s persistent, Chief.” Nick grinned. “Besides, even the big dogs need a bone every now and then. Who am I to deny them? So, I bounce her around sometimes.”

I really want to get to the end of this. “And how does Zola know the killer’s still after you?”

“She did a reading and told me that the death card came up. She said I’m doomed.” Nicky sighed. “So, I’m here to get some protection.”

Greg let out a longer, more frustrated sigh. “Nick, you don’t need protection. From your own admissions, the killer obviously passed on you.”

“Well, what about Madam Zola’s reading?”

Greg laughed. “Madam Zola’s a fake. She tells you what she thinks you want to hear.” 

“A fake? No way, Chief.” The man looked astonished. “Just last week she told me that my life was going to change and it did.”

“How so?” This interview has been going on for thirty minutes and that’s just about thirty minutes too long by my calculations.

The pervy man held both hands up, aiming his pointer fingers at his hair.

“What?”

“What? I got a gray hair. Now I’m gonna have to start dyeing it. I’m turning into my daddy.” Nick grimaced. 

Everytime I talk to this man I feel like I need a shower. “Thanks for coming in, Mr. Meredith. Have a nice day.”

Author Notes The excerpt was just a reminder of the first Nick Meredith encounter.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life.


Chapter 15
Butt Naked

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.


A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.


Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. 

New Chapter:

Greg placed the long black blade on the floor under his desk as Officer Kelsey led a short skinny Asian man into his office. It would be too hard to explain to the man why he had the ancient weapon in his office. This is here because my magic bullets didn’t work, so I thought maybe I could use this witch’s blade against a flying spirit woman who is murdering men and taking their hearts. Yeah, that would go over real well. 

Greg extended his hand, “I’m Chief Harsen. Have a seat, Sir.”

“I’m Haruki Naguma. People call me Harry.” The man shook Greg’s hand and took a seat. He was mostly bald, wore glasses, and dressed nicely. Greg guessed he had to be pushing sixty. He was carrying a brown paper sack that he placed on the floor.

“Just tell me your story, Mr. Naguma. Please don’t leave out any details, no matter how minor. They may be important.”

“Of course. I own WB Cab. I only have one car and usually run it off and on with my employee, Tom Haverson. At night, I keep the car at home and take calls if they come in. It’s rare.”

“And you took a call last night?”

“Yes. A woman named Lisa Smith. She needed to be picked up at the hospital and was heading out to the junkyard. But the call was odd.”

Lisa Smith? That’s original. “How so? The time?”

“No. I sometimes get calls before midnight and this was at ten. It was odd because nearly all of my night time calls are elderly people who want to get shuttled around. Once I arrived at the hospital I could see my fare was a very young and attractive redhead.” 

Sounds familiar. “So you drove her?”

“Yes. Started out very normal. Small talk. Then she asked if I was married.”

“What’s your wife’s name?” Greg had noted the wedding ring when the man walked in.

“Akani. We’ve been married for thirty-eight years. Three children together. She’s a good wife.”

“So your fare was asking about Mrs. Naguma?”

“Yes. Lots of uncomfortable questions. Like how long we’d been married and if I loved her. The drive from the hospital to the junkyard is only ten minutes, so when I pulled in all of the lights were off and nobody was there. This woman asks me if I’ve ever cheated on my wife.”

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her the truth. I would never disrespect my Akani that way. I turned to stare at the woman and I saw . . .” The man shifted nervously in his seat. 

“What did you see, Harry?”

“The woman had taken off all of her clothing. Even her panties and bra. She was completely naked in the back of my taxi.” He shook his head back and forth as if he still couldn’t believe it. “I mean, how did she have time?”

“What happened next?” She may be a woman but Lilith has some big balls.

“I mean, I’m an old man. She was young and beautiful. She could get any man.” He was still shaking his head. 

Maybe he’s got something there. Why isn’t Lilith targeting younger men? Men more her age. I need to review the victims to see if I can figure out how she’s choosing them. “So what did she do next, Harry?”

“She told me to get in the back seat and make love to her. She said nobody would know, not even my Akani. She said I should do one thing in my life to feel a little guilty about. I said no.” Harry stared at his hands. 

“Then?”

The older man continued to stare at his hands. 

“I need the whole story. Mr. Naguma.” Something happened. 

“I’m ashamed.” He would not look up.

What’s he hiding? “Whatever you say doesn’t leave this room. I need you to tell me. This woman’s still out there killing people.”

“Lisa Smith leaned forward over the seat and kissed me on the mouth. It was intoxicating and left me feeling confused. I found that my hands were . . . on . . . her breasts.”

Sweet Jesus. How did he get out of this? He should be dead. “Okay. Then?”

“While I held them, I saw my wedding ring and thought of my Akani. No matter how badly I now wanted Lisa Smith, my perfect wife’s face would not leave my mind. It’s like she saved me. So, I let go of her breasts and I told Lisa Smith to get out of my taxi.” Mr. Naguma shrugged. 

“And she did?”

“Yes. She walked butt naked into the junkyard.”

Greg pulled the picture of Lilith’s tattoo from his desk drawer. “Did she have this on her back?”

“Yes. I got a good look. I couldn’t miss it. It was right above her buttocks.”

“Okay. Then she was gone?”

“Well, I think she was angry with me.”

Interesting. “Why do you think that, Harry?”

“I’m going to tell you something you’re not going to believe, but you said you wanted all the details.” 

Now he’s back to not looking at me. “It’s important.”

“Before she disappeared, she turned and hissed at me in anger. And her face . . .it . . .well.” He stopped talking. 

“What about her face?”

“It changed, Chief, it changed.”

“Her face?” Stone.
Mr. Naguma stared him in the eyes. “Yes. For a split second, she looked like my Akani. Exactly like Akani.”

“Wait.” This is unexpected . . .and new. “She looked like your wife? 

“Exactly.” 

Oh, my. “Then?”

“Then her face became stone-like. Still beautiful, but rigid and hard looking. It’s difficult to explain.” 

“I understand.” Of course I do. I’ve seen it in the alley. An almost mythical goddess appearance. But still mesmerizingly beautiful. “Then she left?”

“Disappeared into the night. But she left something behind.” Mr. Naguma picked up the brown paper sack. “She left her clothes in my car.”

Holy shit!


Chapter 16
Cravings

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. 

New Chapter:

FBI Agent David Harkins slammed his fist down on the table, his frustration apparent. “I really don’t understand what’s going on here. Thanks to Chief Harsen, we know our killer’s shoe size is six as well as her clothing sizes. But we got nothing else.”

“No DNA on the clothes from the taxi driver?” Agent Lee cocked his head. 

“Not one damn follicle. The taxi driver . . . what the hell was his name?” Harkins ran his hand through his salt and pepper hair.

“Harry Naguma.” Greg frowned. What’s this about no DNA?

“Yes. Mr. Naguma stated that the woman stripped to the nude in the back of his taxi. How is it possible for no DNA to have been left behind? Not one hair follicle? She was wearing damn thong panties. I’ve never seen anything like this.” Harkins sighed. 

“And the tow truck guy, Nick Meredith? Anything of value from him?” Colville officer Chenoa Charlo asked. She was Tahoma Charlo’s granddaughter.

“According to Greg’s report, nothing evidentiary. I mean, we couldn’t even pull a print from the Meridith truck or the Naguma taxi. Is this woman really that good? To leave absolutely nothing behind on her clothes or in her hideout. Is she a damn ghost?” David looked perturbed. 

“Not to mention we’ve had no victims in Wolf Bend, but now we have two attempts?” One of the state troopers asked the question that Greg was hoping to avoid. “What do you make of that Chief Harsen? Is she sending you a message now?”

“Could be a message.” More like a warning to back off would be my real guess. “Could be she’s just claiming more territory.”

“It’s certainly an interesting change.” Harkins shrugged. “Still, we aren’t moving the markers forward. We need a break in the case.”

“I don’t agree that we got nothing.” Greg’s comment turned all eyes on him.

“What ya mean, Chief?” Officer Kelsey stared at him. 

“I came here an hour early to study the victimology. Does anyone else find it interesting that none of our vics are even remotely the same?”

“We’ve gone over them with a fine tooth comb, Greg.” Harkins frowned. “Wide range of ages, races, body shapes, and hair colors. Doesn’t appear that she’s seeking anything in particular, aside from male.”

Greg stood. “That’s just it. The lack of any pattern is a clue. Henry Morgan liked a certain female type. John Wayne Gacy liked young boys. The South Shore Slasher went after blond women. They all sought what fulfilled their needs.” 

“So what’s fulfilling Lilith’s needs?” Agent Lee shrugged. 

“Guilt.” Greg smiled while Harkins started digging back through his reports and pulled Greg’s interviews out. 

“Yes. The guilt of attached men. She asked Mr. Naguma if he was married and if he loved his wife. Then she asked the tow truck guy if he was attached and lost interest when he showed no connections to anyone.” Harkins got it. 

“Exactly.” It didn’t hurt that I spoke with the killer in the alley, but I can’t possibly explain how I unloaded my gun into her. 

“So our killer gets off on making it with married or attached men, the guilt and shame driving her to murder? Sounds plausible. Very good, Chief.” Harkins smiled for the first time since the Task Force Ash meeting had begun.

“Very good, Boss.” Katie Kelsey looked at him with admiration. 

“You’re on a roll, Chief Harsen, anything else?” Chenoa Charlo seemed equally impressed, then her smile flipped to a frown. “Wait. What about the Stoggers? They don’t fit that theory. They had no women.”

Damn, Tahoma’s granddaughter is clever. It took me awhile before I stumbled over that. “Yes. The Stoggers don’t fit, but everyone else does. All the others were either married, or in committed relationships. I’m really not sure why she killed the Stoggers. It doesn’t support my theory, but the rest of the victims do. I think we’re on the right path.” I hate it when things don’t fit. 

“Yes, it’s great that we’ve discovered what motivates our killer, but how do we use it to capture her?” Harkins rubbed his hands together. 

“I haven’t figured that out yet, David.” Greg frowned. “But I do know she’s going to kill again, and soon.” 

“How do you know that, Chief Harsen?” Agent Lee was chewing on a pencil. It seems to be a habit with him. 

“She struck out with the taxi driver and then with the tow truck guy. Trust me. Her desire to kill is growing. It’s an obsession for her. She needs it. She will kill again. It’s only a matter of time.” 

“What about the press?” David Harkins held up a plastic bag containing Lilith’s clothes causing the group to lean in and study the contents. A black leather mini-skirt and red sweater were visible through the see-thru evidence bag. “Why don’t we get pictures of these out to the public and see if anyone recognizes them?”

When other task force members nodded in agreement, Harkins continued, “How sure are you that Lilith’s going to strike soon, Chief?”

“One hundred percent.” Greg pointed at one of the wall charts. One hundred and ten percent. If you look at our kill line you will notice she’s struck just about every two weeks. It’s been nearly double that since Satin Shorts. She’s obviously trying with the two near misses.”

Harkins rubbed his forehead. “Any guess as to when?”

“Maybe within the week, but more likely in a day or two.” That’s not easy to figure. 

“Okay. Perkins and Lee, I want you two to get on the phones after this meeting ends and get me as many undercover agents as you can from the other offices in the state. I need at least three hundred to pepper the taxi companies, truck parking lots, rest areas and massage parlors across this part of the state. We’ll work in pairs and use the DHS emergency channel.”

“Three hundred agents is a lot.” Lee whistled. 

“Get what you can from Washington. Then start hitting up the Oregon and California offices. The Deputy Director for this region has already authorized a week. I just needed to nail down the best possible window to use my ace in the hole.”

“I like it.” Greg nodded. It’s better than sitting on our hands, and just maybe we’ll get lucky. “Make sure they all wear wedding rings and have a love story.”


Chapter 17
Kenny

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.
Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of sexual content.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. At the same time, the taskforce has been getting nowhere. 

New Chapter:

“Hey, don’t you own a black mini-skirt and red sweater like they had at the meeting? You wore that exact outfit on our . . . third date.” Kenneth’s mind started putting things together as he stared at a pair of Katie’s Xena boots, one on its side revealing a tiger-pattern tread. “Besides, aren’t you a size six as well?”

When he turned to head for her closet, Officer Kelsey grabbed him and planted a wet kiss on his lips. He sucked her lip into his mouth, enjoying the intense feelings her kisses often exuded. In fact, he usually found it hard to think when she kissed him, and couldn’t remember what he had just been talking about. 

Kenneth released her lower lip from his mouth with a loud sucking sound. Katie’s bathrobe had fallen open, revealing her nudity. His eyes appreciatively took in her feminine curves, then his lips found hers again. This time she pushed him away. 

“No more waiting Kay. I need you.” He hungrily reached for her. “It's been too long. Way too long.”

“I’ve been waiting, Ken.” The beautiful blond rested her tiny hands on the man’s chest. 

“Waiting for what, Kay?” Kenneth Lee was frustrated with the woman. He had never got past second base with her and he wanted to. Boy did he want to. 

“I know.” Her tone was serious now. 

“Know what?” He stopped trying to kiss her. 

“I know you started visiting your ex-wife again. I know about your little sex-capades.” She smirked.

“Damn. Look, Kay, I’m sorry. But it had been so long, and I’m a man. I have needs. Desires.” He frowned. “Besides, you wouldn’t give in.”

“Yes, baby, I know.” She kissed the confused man on the mouth again. 

He found her intoxicating and was having trouble thinking straight. “I want you so badly.”

“I know you do, baby.” Katie kissed him again, longer. “But haven’t you and your ex-wife been discussing getting back together?”

“I-I-I . . .” 

“Don’t lie to me now, Ken. Not if you want to finally get inside of me tonight.” She smiled seductively at the befuddled man. 

“Okay. Yes, Samantha and I are discussing reuniting.” He frowned. “Mostly for the kids.”

“Well, doesn’t that make you feel just the slightest bit guilty since you’re here with me?” Katie’s bathrobe slipped to the floor while she guided his hands to her breasts. 

“Y-y-yes . . .actually it does.” Guilty feelings were not going to stop him. The man was trapped in her lusty web now. 

“That’s exactly what I was waiting for, Ken.” She shoved the man back onto the bed and started to remove his pants. “Exactly what I was waiting for.”

“Okay.” He groaned as the last of his clothes came off. 

“Just one more thing, baby.” The naked woman straddled him. 

“Anything. Anything you want.” Kenny was completely lost in her seductive aura. 

“Tell me you want me.” She smiled down at him. “And I’ll give you a night you’ll never forget.”

“Are you kidding me? Oh, God yes, I want you. Badly. Yes, I want you.” He was breathing heavily now while he rambled on. His befuddled mind had long forgotten the black skirt and red sweater. This had been a long time coming. “I want you so very badly. Please.”

The couple spent the next two hours making incredible love. Katie hadn’t lied to Kenny. It was the best he had ever had. He had never experienced such carnal satisfaction. The woman placed her hand on her spent lover’s chest and smiled down at him. 

Kenny stared at her in surprise as he watched her hand transform before his very eyes. The nails grew at an incredible rate, turning into claw-like fingers. When he looked up at her face, that too had transformed. She no longer looked like Katie Kelsey. 

Her unrecognizable face had taken on a stoney archaic look. Like that of a Greek goddess statue. FBI Agent Kenneth Lee wasn’t thinking about that. He was too busy screaming while her clawed hand tore into his chest and ripped out his heart. 

“Lilith . . .?” He stared at his own beating heart, dripping blood from her hand until the light of life started to flicker from his eyes. His fingers twitched as they drew in blood on the white satin sheets.

“Completus sum-m-m!” The heart burst into bright red flames, sending the woman into writhing ecstasy as she sat astride the dead man. Finally, she fell over onto the bed, her hand releasing a pile of ash onto a pillow. 

Author Notes I like this chapter!


Chapter 18
Run, Chief, Run

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. At the same time, the taskforce has been getting nowhere. Finally, Lilith revealed herself as Officer Katie Kelsey when she killed FBI Agent Kenneth Lee.

New Chapter:

A shiver ran up and down Greg’s spine when he saw the farthest curtain blowing in the breeze. Okay, that’s a little too much like before. But unlike before, he had Jesse with him. At Greg’s request, his officer went over and shut the window. 

The library had always been an integral part of Greg’s research technique. Even in Chicago, he had often visited the city libraries. Not that the internet didn’t provide tons of good information, but libraries held the most valuable nuggets. Old books, microfiche, and reference materials that the world wide web often lacked.  

The librarian, Carson, came over and laid a book on the table in front of Greg titled Fallen Angels And Other Dark Spirits Of The Underworld by Marsha Plackman. He studied the book while Jesse looked for any information on Lilith’s tattoo on the microfiche. Greg spent a half hour in the book, but didn’t find anything that seemed to relate. I’m getting nowhere. 

Jesse came rushing in. “I found it!”

“Found what?” Greg closed the Plackman book. 

“The tattoo. It was on an old film sheet from the 30’s. It’s the sign of a succubus.” Jesse was beaming with pride at his discovery. 

Greg frowned. “A succubus? What the hell is that?”

Jesse shrugged. “I haven’t a clue, but I have Carson looking now for any related books.”

“Nice work, Jesse.” A couple of minutes later, librarian Carson brought over a stack of books concerning succubus and similar ilk.

Soon Greg and Jesse were reading everything they could find about female spirits called succubus. They were different legends about the evil female spirits, from the stealing of men’s souls to keeping men as their sex slaves. All of the different tales involved the element of sex.

“Holy shit.” Jesse shoved an open book under Greg’s face. Annotated at the top of the page was Hunting the Succubus by Alexander Harper, revealing its name and author. Jesse pointed at a word. The one word caused Greg to gasp. Lilith. 

Greg read the chapter twice. It stated that succubus are beautiful supernatural entities who need intercourse to survive. They were said to be very seductive enchantresses, who could confuse and befuddle men with their kiss and scent. 

The book advised that in true form, while still beautiful in appearance, they could produce claws, serpentine tails, and even wings. One succubus was said to have bespelled pope Sylvester II (999-1003) and was reported to have helped him ascend to great power.

Lilith was annotated as one of the oldest succubus from the time of Adam, having dwelled in the Garden of Eden. She was said to be one of the original queens of the demons. Her sister spirits were named Eiseth, Agrat, and Naamah. 

“Go out in your car and search for this . . . Alexander Harper. Here’s his photo on the back cover. Find him and get me a phone number.” Greg handed his officer the book.

“I’ll see what I can do.” Jesse started for the door. 

“I need better than that, Jesse. Find that man.” Greg grabbed another book and started searching through it. 

After more than an hour, he had learned a few more things. Succubus could not be harmed by the normal weapons of man. They could be exorcized away, for a while, but once they targeted a human male, they eventually got what they wanted. The creatures did not like religious symbols. 

Some succubus just couple with their lovers one time, while others stay with their enchanted men for years, satiating them with lust until the human male eventually passes. That seems to be a theme, so why did Lilith switch to killing her lovers? This library always leads me to more questions. 

Jesse came back in, holding a sheet of paper. “Had to jump through hoops, Boss, but I got his number through the publisher. They were reluctant until I told them we’re working a multiple homicide and they looked you up on the internet.” 

Greg grabbed the sheet, which had a number bearing a California area code. He went to the library hardline and dialed the number. After about nine rings someone picked up.”Hello?”

“Alexander Harper?” I hope it is.

“Yes. Who’s this? Do you have any idea what time i—”

“Lilith.” That should garner his attention. 

“What . . . what did you say?”

“I said Lilith. I’m the Chief of Police in a small town over in Washington state and we are dealing with a string of murders.” 

“A string of murders?” The line went silent for a half a minute. “What does that have to do with Lilith?”

That long pause meant he knows the answer to his own question. “All of the victims are men. I believe the killer’s your succubus, Lilith, that you mentioned in your book.”

“First off, she isn’t my succubus. Now what makes you think you’re dealing with Lilith?”

He hasn’t hung up. He knows. “She bears the succubus tattoo. Her face changes almost statuesque. She has identified herself as Lilith. And . . .she can fly.”

“Shit.” 

“Shit's right. Your book doesn’t say anything about succubus killing their victims. So, why is Lilith? It doesn’t make sense.”

“No, it makes perfect sense. Did you notice that my book didn’t reveal much about her? That’s because she has left no witnesses. She kills her mates. Just like a black widow or praying mantis. The bible doesn’t reveal everything that happened in the beginning. Something happened in the holy garden. Something bad that made Lilith hate men. She’s been killing them ever since. I’ve found several strings of male deaths throughout the various centuries. Now I can’t prove it, but it looks like she’s responsible.”

Greg’s detective mind kicked into overdrive. “That seems like a huge stretch. How could you link serial murders across the span of centuries?” Seems implausible. 

“It was actually quite easy, because she left something behind.”

Now it was Greg who paused as it felt like his stomach fell into his shorts. “Ashes?”

“Damn, Chief, don’t tell me you have little piles of ashes at your murder scenes?” Harper’s voice was strained. 

“Yes, every single one.”

“Chests torn asunder, heart missing?”

“Yes . . . when we found bodies. Why didn’t you publish any of this? Because you lacked proof?” 

“Lacked proof? No, that had nothing to do with it. Nor did the fact that I have no idea what the ashes and missing hearts mean. You see, Lilith’s three sisters were destroyed during the Inquisition. Holy men slew them and returned them back to the pit. But not Lilith. There’s no history of her vanquishing. In fact, she murdered twelve puritans in the Maryland Colony, then just seemed to disappear.”

“So why didn’t you write about these findings then?”

“You’re dealing with the queen of the damned. She’s as old as mankind itself and has been killing for centuries. She is the epitome of evil and feeds off guilty lust. I simply didn’t want the likes of her coming after me.”

“Okay. So how can I stop her? Any advice?”

“Are you a religious man, Chief?”

“Not particularly.”

“Then you can’t stop her. You need to stay as far away from Lilith as you possibly can.” 

Stay away from her? That isn’t possible. “So you have no advice?” Greg shook his head. 

“Yes. Run, Chief, run.”

 

*     *     *    

Greg was snuggled tight against Jenny, spooning her warm body. Damn I really love this woman. Haunting thoughts of Lilith faded away as he slipped into a comfortable sleep smelling his wife’s strawberry scented hair. 

Soon the stone-faced woman was chasing him across the bridge in the ravine behind his cabin. He was running hard, but she was flying, screeching at him, all the while swiping at him with her long jagged claws and serpentine tail. 

The hideously beautiful woman was just about upon him, but Greg should have been across the short wood bridge. Still, it just went on and on. Just when the horrible talons of the screeching monster were about to rip his back open, he saw White Feather standing at the end of the bridge. 

His old friend, the medicine man, waved his pointer finger back and forth at Greg. “Don’t go.” 

When the Native American faded away, the terrifying screeching of the succubus transmogrified into a loud chiming sound. It was insistent. Greg suddenly realized he was awake and was hearing his phone. 

“He—llo?”

“Greg? It’s Harkins.”

“David?”

“Yes. Kenny Lee disappeared. Nobody’s seen him. I called Officer Kelsey and told her myself. She didn’t take it too well, but said she would let you know.”

“Okay.”

“Central Dispatch just put out over the radio that a female cop is in the Stonefish Bar, drunk, and just chased everyone out with her gun. I assumed it’s your officer and called you immediately because I fear she may hurt herself.”

“Damn. Okay, Dave, can you do me a favor and get ahold of dispatch and tell them to cancel the call. Tell them I’ll handle it.”

“I already did, Chief. Let me know if you need us to roll over and assist.”

“I will . . . and thanks.”

Greg clicked off the phone and got out of bed, reaching for his pants. Jenny was still sound asleep. 


Chapter 19
Katie Kelsey's Pain

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. At the same time, the taskforce has been getting nowhere. Finally, Lilith revealed herself as Officer Katie Kelsey when she killed FBI Agent Kenneth Lee. An unaware Greg is now walking into a trap. 

New Chapter:

He saw Officer Kelsey seated at the far corner of the bar, her head resting on the counter in front of her. The Stonefish seemed unusually dim, even more so than it had in the past. Greg walked up and grabbed a seat on a barstool next to the woman. It wasn’t lost on him that they were sitting in the same two spots White Feather and he had shared all those years ago. 

The woman was wearing tight faded blue jeans and a white shirt under a black and white checkered flannel shirt. She wore her blond hair in a bun and didn’t appear to be wearing any makeup or jewelry. He could make out faint tear streaks on her cheeks. 

“Drowning your sorrows?” Greg poured himself a whiskey from the bottle on the bar into one of the nearby shot glasses. Odd, this place is eerily quiet.

“Help yourself, Chief.” His female officer raised her head and slammed down a shot, quickly refilling her own glass. “What brings you to this fine establishment?”

“Obviously your situation.” She’s speaking clearly. Is she drunk? “Hand it over.”

“My gun?” Her look would have been comical if Greg wasn’t worried about her safety. “Am I fired?”

“No, you aren’t fired. I’m just going to hold onto your piece until you get through this rough patch.” He held his hand out. 

Kelsey frowned, then pulled her holstered pistol from her waistband and laid it on the bar. Greg took the weapon and put it in his jacket. 

“Katie, just because he’s missing doesn’t mean he’s dead.” But Greg didn’t believe his own words. If Lilith got him, he’s so dead. How’re we going to find him when we can’t even find her?

Kelsey shook her head. “He’s dead. But that’s old relationships. Let’s toast new ones.”

That’s an odd thing to say, but people all grieve differently. The two cops clinked glasses and downed the whiskey. Greg’s bear tattoo immediately started to burn. What the hell? Katie quickly poured two more, which they slung back just as fast. She refilled the two shot glasses immediately. Damn she can hold her booze. I’m already feeling it.

“Things are unraveling fast. Have you ever heard the old Russian saying, ‘Things start slowly but end quickly?’ Seems to fit.” The woman stared at her glass and frowned. “I thought I could keep it together. Keep things under wraps.”

“What do you mean?” They downed another pair of shots causing his bear to burn even fiercer. Why’s she quoting Russian proverbs? And what’s going on with my tattoo? “This isn’t your fault.”

“You know, I’ve wanted you ever since I saw you with your woman in that hospital. I was drawn to you like a bee to honey. It was hard to fight it. To work so close to you, while I craved to have you so badly.” She sucked back another one and raised his glass to his lips, which he drank. 

Okay. That’s it. I’m feeling woozy. “You know I’m in love with Jenny. I won’t cheat on her. She has my heart.”

“That’s the problem, Greg. That’s what makes you so damn desirable. Your strong love for that cute little green-eyed black-haired pixie.”

“Wait.”

“I could smell the guilt on you after we nearly got it on in my apartment. So damn deliciously intense. Especially since you wanted me as badly as I wanted you. Just like now.”

“No. Jenny has my heart.” Guilt? Greg silenced the phone in his pocket, something he had learned to do without looking during his many years of undercover work. He slid his arm around the woman and quickly dropped his cell into Katie’s purse. 

“No, Greg. We’re going to make love tonight. Then I’ll have your guilt-riddled heart.” Katie stood up and took off her flannel shirt revealing her white t-shirt was actually a tank top. “Your scent is making me so very hot, Chief.”

Greg tried to get off the stool, but his legs wouldn’t listen. What’s happening? He glanced at the bottle they had been drinking from. It appeared to be very old and had barely visible faded writings on it he did not comprehend. Why didn’t I see that before?

“I drugged you, Chief. It’s just a paralytic.” She laughed. It was feminine, but somehow sounded very old. “You're simply too damn good, Chief. Discovered my lair, then my footprint and clothing. Damn, Greg, you forced me to take Kenny and now you. I was trying to steer clear of you, but I must admit, I’m going to enjoy this so very much.”

Katie spun his stool so he was facing her. She stepped in between his knees and pushed their mid-sections together, her lips a mere inch from his. She was so close he could smell her lilac scented perfume. In the mirror behind them he could see her lower back, sporting the heart tattoo with wings and horns. It dawned on him that he had never seen her back prior to now.

“Lilith?” Greg’s right hand slipped down to his waistband and slid over Bass. When he tried to pull his gun out, he discovered his fingers weren’t functioning properly. The drug is working quickly. The woman’s hand softly slid over the top of his and tenderly pushed it off the weapon. Shit. His left hand slipped down to his waistband where his feeble fingers managed to unclip his badge. 

“In the flesh. And tonight it’s all yours to do whatever you desire. I’m going to give you a night like nothing you’ve ever experienced. You just have to want it.”

Now the old hag’s last words came back to haunt him, making perfect sense. She said the black blade had been for my partner. She also called her a harpy. The witch was talking about Kelsey. It was Katie all along. How is that possible? How could I have been so stupid? Greg tried to speak, but now his mouth wasn’t working. The only thing he could manage was a slight groan. 

“Oh, don’t be afraid, baby. I have you now. You won’t be escaping this time.” Her aggressive lips found his and meshed with him, her tongue darting into his mouth. 

The intoxicating kiss, combined with his already drugged and foggy brain were more than the man could take. He no longer had any idea what was going on. Why am I here? Why am I holding my badge? Greg’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he lost consciousness.

Author Notes It's about to get real interesting . . .


Chapter 20
Tonto

By Douglas Goff

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. At the same time, the taskforce has been getting nowhere. Finally, Lilith revealed herself as Officer Katie Kelsey when she killed FBI Agent Kenneth Lee. An unaware Greg walked into her trap.

New Chapter:

Jenny stood over Greg’s desk, leafing through the papers on top of it. They had been neatly stacked, but now they were scattered about. There was nothing more than budget reports and expenditures.  

“No messages, Mrs. Harsen, and it doesn’t appear that he came here last night.” Becky was standing in the doorway. 

“Okay. Get ahold of your Dispatch and see if he took a call last night.”

“No need, I already did.” Jesse passed the secretary as she was leaving the room. 

Jenny ran over and hugged her brother. “Oh, thank God, Jesse. I’m scared. Greg left sometime in the night and never came home.”

“I know. I got your message and came as quickly as I could.” Jesse ran his hands through his thick black hair. “Central Dispatch said he took a call after midnight. Seems Officer Katie’s boyfriend disappeared and she went on a bender at the Stonefish Bar. Greg advised that he would handle it and now both of them are missing.”

“Any idea why? You don’t think he’s with Katie? He told me she has a ‘thing’ for him.” Jenny furrowed her brow and frowned. 

“Stop that, sis. You know Greg’s not that kind of man. If he didn’t come home last night and didn’t call, then I suspect their disappearance has something to do with the serial killer they’re hunting on Task Force Ash.”

“So what do we do?” Jenny bit her lower lip, her face wrinkled in deep worry. 

“Anything on the desk?” Her brother made his way around to the other side, and after scanning through Greg’s ‘old school’ rolodex, grabbed the phone. 

“Nothing that helps.” 

After dialing. “Harkins? Yes, Greg and Katie are now missing, too.”

Jenny could not hear the man’s response.

“Lone Rangering? No, this isn’t that.”

More silence. 

“Because I’m his Tonto and I would know. Now listen. I need you to ping his cell phone. Try Katie’s too. You’ll get quicker results being the FBI. Call me the second you get results.” 

A longer pause. Jenny thought maybe she heard a curse word. 

“God damnit, David, I’m standing here with his wife and he’s not just my Chief, he’s my friend. I think your serial killer has them. I need you to do this, now.”

A shorter unheard response.

“Thank you.” Jesse hung up. “He said he’s busy. A blond prostitute attacked one of his undercovers out at the Slide and Glide. They think they have Lilith. The entire task force is rolling that way.”

“So he won’t help us?” Tears welled up in Jenny’s pretty green eyes. 

Jesse grabbed her shoulders. “No, sis. He’s going to ping their phones for us. I can’t promise anything, but it may tell us what area they’re in. While we’re waiting, he asked us to check Katie’s apartment. I’m sure they’re not there, but maybe we’ll find something that helps us find them.”

“Okay. It’s better than sitting here doing nothing.” Jenny grabbed Greg’s police jacket and put it on. It was a little big on her. It wasn’t particularly cold out, but the jacket smelled like him and comforted her. 

Becky hurried back into the room. “Dispatch just took a call from the owner of the Stonefish Bar. Seems they found the Chief’s badge on the floor and that black and white flannel shirt that Officer Kelsey likes to wear.” 

When Jesse started back around the desk his foot kicked something. “What’s this?” The officer reached down and picked up a long wicked looking black blade. 

“That came from the witch’s hollow. I thought it was in our house. That thing creeps me out.” Jenny shuddered. 

“So, why’s it here?” Jesse frowned as he looked at the dark weapon. 

“Maybe has something to do with their case?” 

“I’m not sure.” Jesse stared at the wicked looking sharp blade. It was too long to be a dagger, but too short to be a sword.”

“Maybe we’ll need it?” Jenny wanted to get moving. 

“Okay, we’ll bring it along. Maybe it means something.” The two siblings made their way out to Jesse’s police Blazer.


Chapter 21
Lust Of Damnation

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. At the same time, the taskforce has been getting nowhere. Finally, Lilith revealed herself as Officer Katie Kelsey when she killed FBI Agent Kenneth Lee. An unaware Greg walked into her trap.

New Chapter:

Damn, my head really hurts and my shoulder is still burning. Greg tried to rub his temple, but his arms were restrained. He was sitting . . . straddling a bench. He tried to open his eyes, but his sight was blurry. Where the hell am I?       

The first thing he could make out were flickering lights to his right, as well as a large light source coming from somewhere above him. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly, then reopened them. Now he could see that the flickering lights were candles on a stone table. The light coming from above was a huge broken out circular skylight. 

He knew exactly where he was. Graysons. Smart. What better place to hide than in a location that we’ve already cleared. Task Force Ash has no reason to come back here. It would be a mistake to forget how smart she is. 

“Good morning, handsome.”  He hadn’t seen the woman sitting perfectly still on the bed, her back resting against the wall. She was now a redhead with deep blue eyes. She wore a long black gown that hugged her supple curves. Greg also became painfully aware that he was naked. “I thought you were going to sleep all morning.”

“Lilith, I presume? Or do you prefer Katie?”

“Lilith is my eternal name, although I have been known as many different things throughout the ages. This is my true form.” She smiled, cupping her full breasts. “Don’t you find me beautiful?”

“It’s not really your true form, is it? I saw your true form in the alleyway.”

“Yes, you’re correct in a sense. That was my true aged appearance. But this is what I looked like thousands of years ago, when the One who dwells above created me. Back when I walked in the garden. Do you not find me appealing?”

The woman slowly rose from the canopy bed and approached him. Greg pulled hard at the chains on his wrists. He was shackled to one of the old weight benches from this room's former life as a weight room. It was bolted to the floor. His legs were free.  

“Where’s your cell phone, Greg? It wasn’t on you. We don’t want unexpected guests to arrive before we have coupled.”

Good. She didn’t find it. “I must’ve left it in my car.”

“Perfect. That dunce, Jesse, is probably checking it now. I told you there was not going to be any miraculous last minute save this time. Not like when you faced Morgan or Lisbeth.”  

“Friends of yours?” Greg looked about for a weapon, but there was nothing. Besides, he couldn’t move his arms more than a foot from the bench. 

“I knew of them. Like the sun is aware of the moon.” Lilith was circling him like a cat stalking a wounded mouse. “I know vanquishing those foes made you feel powerful, Greg, but you simply got lucky. Very lucky. That ends here. After I’ve had my way with you and taken what I crave, then you’ll be finished.”

“I won’t submit to you.” She was close now. Very close. There was a scent to her. Erotic. Sexual. His tattoo felt like fire and was glowing blue.

“Speaking of last minute saves, let’s subdue that filthy native magic. It only hurts when you are in danger, and boy are you.” Lilith grabbed Greg and pushed him forward. She leaned forward and licked back and forth across his bear tattoo, finishing by sucking on his shoulder. The glow subsided and then disappeared altogether, taking the pain with it. “All better, baby? That’ll subdue its nasty power for awhile.”

“Doesn’t change anything. I still won’t submit to you.” Her scent was strong, testing his will.

“We’ll see.” Her face was now inches from his. She wasn’t beautiful. She was beauty. Perfect features. Smooth skin. Pristine eyes. “In six thousand years, not one man has been able to resist me. Most don’t even try. It’s cute that you think you’ll be the first.”

The black robe slipped from her body, revealing her nakedness. Her curves were sharp and prominent. She was supple, yet slender. He felt himself stirring, and it didn’t help matters when she placed her hand on it. Think of Jenny. Think of Jenny. Think of Jenny. 

Lilith took in a long draw through her nostrils, her breasts heaving, her eyes flashing. “Yes, think of your woman. I can smell the guilt on you. It enflames me like an intoxicating liquor. Incredible. I can’t wait to receive your essence.”

“Get away from me.” Greg closed his eyes. Bitch is reading my thoughts. 

“That’s never going to happen. Before we’re done, you’ll willingly give me what I need. Even beg me to take it.” He heard her draw in another deep breath. “Intense. I’m even considering keeping you around for a while. I suspect your sweet guilt will only grow with each coupling. It’s been centuries since I’ve done that, although I suspect I’ll be unable to control myself after we’ve mated and I’ll destroy you. I guess we’ll see.”

Lilith straddled him, her nakedness resting on his, causing his body to immediately react. “No. No. No!” Think of my Jenny.  

“Yes. Yes. Yes! Why fight it Greg? Your body betrays your heart. Your body’s telling you what your mind really wants. Just take me. I’m going to have you.” Her lips found his. The reaction was immediate. Her mouth was soft, tender, yet forceful. Storm clouds of lust rolled through his mind. He could no longer fight the physical response of his body. She’s winning.

“See. You’re ready for me. Give in to your desires. Give me your seed.” Her kisses and scent had him confused.  

I have to think of . . . who? . . . Where am I? Her hands were all over him, her tongue filling his mouth. 

“It’s time,” Lilith whispered. “Just say it. Just say you want me.”

Think of . . . Jenny. “No!” Greg tore his mouth from hers. “You’re not my wife!”

“Ahhh!” Lilith screeched and rose from his lap, stomping about. Large black feathered wings sprouted from her back and she launched herself up and out of the skylight. A long reptilian looking tail was the last thing Greg saw as she disappeared. 

Greg sat still for several seconds, breathing heavily while the intense waves of lusty confusion subsided. He pulled hard on his chains, until his wrists started to hurt. Realization flooded over him. She needs me to submit before she can have me. Still, I’m in trouble. A few of her kisses and she nearly had me. God help me. I’m going to die here.

Author Notes Wasn't sure if I needed a sex warning here. It didn't get too deep. Just a few more chapters!


Chapter 22
Emotional Hurricane

By Douglas Goff

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of violence.

Previous Chapters:

A truck driver had an unfortunate encounter with the mysterious Lilith. She killed three men the year before while Greg was dealing with the hag. Now she is back with a vengeance and Wolf Bend Chief Greg Harsen is called to the scene by FBI Agent David Harkins, a man who really dislikes him. What Greg finds awakens him to the realization that more bad things are coming for him and his little town. Further, Harkins managed to wrangle him into Task Force Ash, which was created to capture the killer.

A county wide call-out for a jail riot interrupted the hunt for Lilith. At the riot, Greg finds out that Jenny's violent ex-husband, Lenny Benslow, has escaped from the jail. They race to his cabin, but Greg's beloved wife had been taken. Through good investigation techniques, they may have found the bad guys' hideout. A shootout ensues, with Jesse getting shot while they rescue Jenny. When Greg went after Lenny to finish him, Sheriff Watson convinced him to take the felon back into custody. Batty Betty Benslow was taken into custody for assisting with Lenny's escape.

Greg thought he was in for a rest, but another Lilith victim, 'Satin Shorts' had been found revealing new clues. Then Greg and Jesse found Lilith's lair, getting closer to the killer. Then Greg had a meeting in the alley with Lilith where he barely escaped with his life. At the same time, the taskforce has been getting nowhere. Finally, Lilith revealed herself as Officer Katie Kelsey when she killed FBI Agent Kenneth Lee. An unaware Greg walked into her trap.

New Chapter:

Jesse and Jenny stopped at the Stonefish Bar first, since it was just down the street from the station. They recovered Greg’s badge, which had been found on the floor near the bar, as well as the flannel shirt which had been laid over a stool. Jesse recognized it as Katie’s  immediately. He liked the way she looked in it.  

A quick study of the bar revealed no further clues. Just a bunch of used shot glasses all over the counter. Whatever had occurred here, it involved a lot of heavy drinking. Oddly, there were no empty bottles or cans visible. 

Jesse found himself doubting what he had told Jenny. With this amount of drinking, anything could have happened. Perhaps they would find answers to their questions at Kelsey’s place. 

Five minutes later, they pulled into Officer Kelsey’s apartment complex. She drove a small Chevrolet Metro which wasn’t there. When they made their way to her front door, Jesse pulled out his 9MM Beretta and shoved Jenny behind him. 

“Central Dispatch, Bravo Two. Send any available backup to 2431 Woodgreen Drive, Apartment number 33 at the Woodgreen complex.”

“Good copy, Bravo Two.” He turned down his belt radio, but could still hear dispatch relaying his request and Coleville officers responding that they were fifteen minutes away. His attention wasn’t there. His primary focus was on apartment 33. 

Jesse pointed with his left hand at blood on the doorknob. Without hesitation, Jesse kicked in the front door, the cheaply constructed door frame splintered and gave way with his powerful strike.  

The man quickly cleared the living room, then the kitchen. He astutely observed Kelsey’s purple apple phone sitting on the counter. Next came the bathroom, which was also empty, although there was some blood around the sink. That left just the bedroom. Jesse looked at Jenny and frowned, not liking that the door was closed. 

A bloody handprint on the door, as well as dried blood caking the doorknob, foreshadowed what horrors they might find inside the room. Both siblings were hoping and praying they didn’t find a dead Greg. 

Opting for a more subtle entry, Jesse reached out and slowly turned the knob. When he pushed open the door, he heard Jenny gasp behind him. The smell alone was horrendous, but that was minor compared to the bloodbath they were observing. 

Red splatter covered the walls, dresser, mirror, closet doors, and even the ceiling. Lying in the center of the bed was the bloody corpse of FBI Agent Kenneth Lee. He was lying face up, naked, with his dead eyes staring at the ceiling. His chest was torn wide open. 

Jenny couldn’t take the macabre scene and bolted out of the room, heading for the bathroom, where Jesse could hear her vomit in the toilet. The cop steadied himself, and cautiously proceeded into the murder scene. He thought he could barely discern sirens in the distance.  

Once he reached the bed, he saw a small pile of ash sitting on the blood covered pillow beside the man’s head. Definitely the work of Lilith, not that there had been any doubt after he opened the door. 

Then he froze, several emotions tearing into him at the same moment. Anger, fear, and betrayal. Written in blood on the sheet beside Lee’s cold dead hand was a message. The dying man had managed to identify his killer in his last moments. There was a scribbled drawing of Lilith’s tattoo with one word. Katie.

The sound of sirens pulling up ripped Jesse from the emotional hurricane that was raging inside him. He went outside, followed by Jenny, and got on his handheld radio. “Central Dispatch, Bravo Two. Back-up on scene. We have a homicide victim at my location. Alert the State Troopers that we’ll be needing their mobile crime lab at this address.”

“Good copy, Bravo Two.”

Two young Colleville officers came running up. Jesse turned to them. “We have one deceased murder victim inside. He’s one of us. Tape it off. Nobody get’s in until the State Troopers’ crime lab arrives.” 

Both men nodded and went to work, setting up yellow crime scene tape. Jenny grabbed her brother’s arm. “What’d you find in that room, Jesse? I can see the pain written all over your face.”

“The dead man is FBI Agent Kenny Lee, Officer Kelsey’s boyfriend.” Jesse took a deep breath. “It’s Katie. She’s the killer. She was right under our noses the entire time. She fooled us all.”

“And she has my man.” Jenny grimaced, fear gripping the pit of her stomach. 

Jesse’s phone rang and he stepped aside, answering it. Jenny heard several ‘okays’, then her brother hung up.  

She didn’t wait for him to speak. “What?” 

“That was Harkins. They got nothing on Katie’s phone, but Greg’s phone is firing on a little used back-up tower just to the west of here.”

“Okay, what does that tell us, Jess?” She looked hopeful.

“There’s only one thing out there, sis. The Grayson’s Lumber complex. Harkins said he’s already there. He must have waited to call me. We gotta get out there.” Jesse was already heading for his blazer. “Let’s go get our boy back.”


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