The Killers Amongst Us:Chimera Dawn Chronicles(3)By: Declan Conner
She breathed rapidly, reaching for her waist pouch, unzipped it and fumbled around. Her fingers trembled as she withdrew a can of Mace spray. Juggling with sneaker and canister, the Mace slipped from her grasp. The can dropped on the bench and tumbled between the wooden slats. Her jaw slackened. She stared, wide eyed, as the canister rolled down the banking, and into the lake. Goose bumps surged from her neck to her toes.
Gail took a deep breath. She edged her way on to the path, sneaker in hand as her only defense. She glanced at an exit twenty yards away and then back to the animal.
“Please, someone... anyone?”
She sidestepped slowly toward the gate. All the time, she kept her eyes on the crossbreed. Ten yards to go and she froze. The animal rose to all fours, and then prowled to within five yards of her, before sitting and snarling once more. She looked toward the gate. A black van pulled up and parked. She looked back at the animal and then to the exit. A young guy jumped out of the van and lifted the hood to his vehicle as if checking the engine. She snapped her vision back to the animal. It stood, walking stealthily, inching toward her. As she moved along the path, the animal continued to follow her, stopping and sitting whenever she stopped, herding her like a sheep.
She turned to the gate, limping the last two yards.
“Please help,” she shrieked, almost at the gate, her entire being in spasm.
Dropping the hood to his van, the young guy rushed over. He opened and then closed the gate as she passed through. She stood akimbo, then bent over, her chest heaving, gasping for breath. She rose, snickered, looked to the sky, then back into the park.
“Thank you, God, and thank—”
Her heart paused mid-beat. The dog leapt over the gate. Its paws thudded on her chest. She screamed. Her vision exploded with flashes of colors as her head connected with concrete. Hands grabbed her, lifting her. She kicked out at fresh air, squealing. Arms snaked under her arms from behind, with fingers locking on the nape of her neck. The scenery spun as she was bundled toward the van. She planted her foot on the sill at the side entrance to the van. A blow to her calf, and her foot dislodged. Projected forward, her forehead struck the metal frame. Light headed, as if a veil shrouded her eyes, her surroundings faded to black.
Gail opened her eyes. The blurred figure of a man stooped and exited the van. She looked around. Her eyes widened. There were four other girls trussed up in the same fashion as her and gagged with duct tape, all whimpering. The dog jumped in through the side door. Its saliva dripped on her legs. She retched at the foul odor drifting from the dog’s open mouth. Then darkness descended as the sliding door to the van closed on the world outside.
Friday, 10:20 a.m. July 11th, 2008. LAPD headquarters.
LA homicide detective Brett Shaw sat at his desk, and typed out the final paragraph to his latest solved murder report. He read the draft and shook his head. There were more spelling mistakes than usual. He knew his mind wasn’t attuned to the report, not with his wife at home, suffering violent headaches. The remorse at leaving her in bed earlier in the morning twisted his mind inside out. Those sentiments were doing battle with practicalities. He had to work. It was his duty. There was a need to bring home the dough. Vacations had to be paid for. College fees had to be saved for his daughter’s future.
A security job, with regular hours on minimum wage wouldn’t do it all. Truth was; he was addicted to his work, and his wife’s illness was an unwelcome distraction. He loved his job. It felt like every day started with a junkie’s fix, giving him an intense buzz. His extension rang and he snatched the handset.
“Logan wants you in his office.”
Shaw sighed with relief. He had half-expected the call would have been from his twelve-year-old daughter Amy, or his wife’s sister, telling him his wife had taken a turn for the worse.
“On my way.”
Shaw made his way past the empty workstations. An hour earlier it had been bedlam. He smiled, thankful for the silence, save for the hum of the computer fans. He disliked working on team efforts, preferring to run solo. He wondered what his boss had for him and quickened his stride along the corridor to Logan’s office. He tapped on the door and entered.