Horror and Thriller Fiction posted January 21, 2024 Chapters: 1 2 -3- 4... 

This work has reached the exceptional level
The crime scene.

A chapter in the book Lair Of The Seductress

395 Rest Area

by Douglas Goff

The author has placed a warning on this post for 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.”

Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Save to Bookcase Promote This Share or Bookmark
Print It Print It View Reviews

You need to login or register to write reviews. It's quick! We only ask four questions to new members.

© Copyright 2024. Douglas Goff All rights reserved.
Douglas Goff has granted FanStory.com, its affiliates and its syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.