In honor of my 38th birthday today, here's a sneak peek--a birthday present from me to you--of the first scene of my forthcoming thriller, THE LONG CRIMSON LINE.
She emerged from the Government Center subway station on time, as usual, her strides across wet bricks confident, the sexual energy that oozed out of every pore apparent to the killer even from several hundred feet away. The killer and those that followed her from the new glass-and-steel headhouse kept their eyes on the target as she crossed eastward along the slightly uneven red bricked walkway of Cornhill once again: the killer remembered this had been an actual street some time ago, complete with sidewalks and berm and light poles, before illogical political dumbassery and douchenuggetry converted old Scollay Square, a rather happening place once upon a time, into this weather-worn shithole. She had her coat open to reveal a short, skin-tight black dress that screamed filthy, non-Christian words at anyone horny enough to check her and it out. It was Friday night after all, and every unmarried person under the age of thirty near the Faneuil Hall Marketplace was horny as fuck on a Friday night. Everyone would get an eyeful—and an earful, the killer thought—before the clock struck 12.
The killer, hidden in a shroud of darkness and a cloud of stale urine against the concrete pillars of Boston City Hall, shot her grin toward the darkened Sears Crescent.
Yes, she thought with a deep exhalation, they will.
The target was still relatively young, the killer knew: she was in her early-to-mid 30’s, even though her body—oh, her body… it was a personal trainer’s canvas, the killer believed, her groin quivering at the mere thought of this gorgeous woman in Spandex—appeared lithe and slightly teenaged with a gymnast’s grace complete with supple, motherly curves in all the right places. The woman’s breasts had fought hard against gravity and had seemingly won the battle, the killer recalled lustily; it was the third thing she had noticed about her. The first was that lovely rear end that swayed gently when she walked, then her crystal-blue eyes that anyone could lose themselves in; the breasts were simply an added bonus to every Tom, Dick, and Qwang that happened to fall under her sexual spell. The killer had to control herself: thinking about them made her deliciously randy, and she stayed her hand from inching toward her crotch.
She couldn’t be randy tonight, like the other denizens in this metropolis, the ones looking for a hard Friday Night Fuck. She had to be calm. She had to be quick.
She had to be ruthless.
The blonde-haired target had shunned her advances far too often in the past few months, so much so that the killer’s sexual frustrations had no off switch. The thought of this woman, naked and in her bed, the killer’s face between her legs after a night of dancing—if anyone could call it dancing; no, it was more of a sensual grind that made them the center of attention, which led to catcalls, to gropes, to free drinks from anyone that deeply desired to see more, to see the two nymphs out of their clothes—was almost too much to bear. The killer needed to shove those thoughts from her mind for her to succeed.
She sneered as the target approached ever closer to the Congress Street staircase.
This will be the last time she goes outside her daily life as a cunt tease, she thought, just as the echoes of the target’s stilettos, as black as her dress and raising her ankles three inches, bounced across the buildings that made up the Cornhill Canyon.
The target slipped around the right-hand side of the staircase and turned right onto Washington Street, breaking free of the crowd that had followed her away from the intersection of Court, Tremont, and Cambridge Streets.
“Bye, sexy,” one young man called to her backside. “See you at the club!”
The leggy target turned her head and gave a wide smile coupled with a flirtatious giggle, not breaking stride as she headed south along Washington. The killer felt her heart skip a beat as the woman’s smile shined through the artificial light.
“Maybe you will, and maybe you won’t. I wouldn’t put money on it, though,” she said, her melodic voice a taunt.
The man’s mates started a cacophony of immature, pre-pubescent jeering as they headed down the stairs.
The killer felt her cheeks burn and twist in anger as the noise died off, replaced only by the sounds of squealing brakes on Congress. She turned her head slightly, hoping that she would hear the sounds of flesh against steel, of breaking glass and pure agony rippling through the heart of the Old City. She bit her lip as nothing out of the ordinary met her ear canal.
Damn, she thought, her heart tumbling into her twisting guts. I hoped the car would take that jumped-up college boy out. Maybe I’ll have to drag my tongue across the asshole’s neck for his lack of wits, and the lack of a penis. Hmm… lack of a penis. I’ll have to remember that.
The killer barked a laugh before she stopped herself.
The target, about thirty feet further away on Washington than she was a moment ago, paused. The killer watched as she turned her head slightly, as if to see from where the laugh had come. There was a bit of movement near her lips—and what lips they were, the killer recalled—and a subtle blink of eyelid followed. The killer moved back as far as she could into the shadows, then held her breath. She fingered the hard object in her pocket.
The young woman ahead looked behind her. From the killer’s vantage point, she knew the woman saw no one; she was holed up in the shadows of City Hall, while the pedestrian traffic from the T and the general direction of old Scollay Square had lessened to almost no one in the last couple of minutes; it would be some time—maybe a minute or two—before the next Green and Blue Line trains rumbled underground, pulling into their respective halves of the station. She watched as the young woman grimaced, her mouth tight while framed by golden blonde tresses. She figured the woman’s heart raced uncontrollably right now, probably just a little faster than her own.
The blonde turned and continued walking, albeit with a bit more purpose in her steps.
The killer ran her tongue across her lips before she emerged from the shadows. She kept close to the right-hand side of Washington—this part of the street much like Cornhill and the rest of City Hall Plaza, red bricked and dimly lit—as she followed the woman to her next destination: an automated teller booth near the Old Corner Book Store.
They had gone there together, the killer remembered, recalling the late night run to the 24-hour breakfast place in Quincy, off the Southeast Expressway. They had danced up a storm, teasing the men—and some women, she remembered—with such moves that they felt the hunger pangs forming at 3 a.m. The killer had invited her, and while the blonde hesitated at first, she relented. The killer thought she had ensnared the young woman, one she had met only a week before, and almost tasted her desperation on the tip of her tongue.
But breakfast was as far as they had gone: the woman had backed out after their meal, saying something about a babysitter and maybe they’d meet up again the following week. She had left the killer with a serious case of blue bean, and she left by blowing a kiss at her across the table before leaving. The killer recalled a large truck pulling up the instant she left, a man at the wheel. She also recalled how, with the passenger door wide open, the woman leaned over and seemingly planted her tongue somewhere in his windpipe before she closed the door. As they drove away, the killer felt tears burn her eyes, all while she imagined her riding him in twenty minutes’ time.
The next week was more of the same: some flirting, some heavy petting and dancing, and lots of drinking. When closing time came, they were making out in a dark corner, hands roaming.
“God damn,” the killer remembered whispering to her as the music ended, “if we still had time, I’d ravish you like I wanted to last week.”
The blonde had giggled and smiled wide.
“I bet,” she replied, her voice husky. She moved back to the killer’s ear and flicked her tongue against the killer’s lobe. Then she nibbled it. The killer had gasped. “Maybe we still can. After some food. I’m starving.”
The killer, delirious with lust, didn’t think anything of it. She wanted the blonde so badly that she didn’t realize the events were playing out the same as they had seven days prior.
They went to the ATM once again; once again, they headed to the breakfast place in Quincy. They ate and held hands and drank coffee—a little too much coffee. It was enough, the killer remembered, to sober the target up. She disappeared into the bathroom after flicking her tongue against the killer’s lips. The killer clamped her legs together as she shuddered in the booth.
She never came out through the same door. The killer never discovered how she managed to get away, but she did note the open window high up alongside the wall with the sinks. Thankfully, she found something that remained in the blonde’s hasty escape: an embossed business card. There was a name on it—Kristine Melanson.
The killer didn’t know the target’s last name, but she had said that her name was Krissy, with a K instead of a C-h. She had pointed that out to her—yelled it to her, during a Def Leppard song that had them gyrating their shoulders and breasts in tune with the other.
But now, the killer had finally realized as she looked at the open window, she had pointed out that the spurning, the teasing, was all a game to the blonde. She had teased the blonde—shit, she made out with me and grabbed my ass!—and left her there alone in the dead of night.
And while the killer held back the emotions in public, she let them loose in the privacy of her apartment.
Still holding onto the business card—it had her smell on it, the killer mused—she noticed it had the blonde’s address printed on it.
It was then, with the knowledge in her mind, that the stalking began—and the beginning of the end for Kristine Melanson. She had found the address easily enough and, after a few hours, waited for her to come out. She did just before 5 p.m. that first Monday, and the killer, hidden in an alcove nearby, felt her eyes grow limned with tears.
Within a week, the killer had Melanson’s routine down to a near science. She worked, went home—the children were simply delightful, the killer had thought as she smiled, thinking that it was a shame they would grow up without their mother—and did nothing else: except that every Friday night, she went to the clubs in Quincy Market where she had met the killer a few weeks beforehand. She also stopped at the same ATM and grabbed a few twenties, before she returned the way she came—the killer had ducked into the shadows while she passed, not letting her know of her presence—and headed down the stairs to Congress Street.
And that strict adherence to a routine, the killer thought, would lead to her downfall.
Her smile crept along her face until it felt as if she dragged a knife along her lips.
The killer kept her in her sights as they moved further south along Washington, headed toward State Street and beyond.
There weren’t many people on Washington right now, she noticed, as October’s chill winds whipped through the cavernous easements; it made for an uncomfortable wait for when the clubs were full. She had done that before. A light fall storm had passed through only a few hours ago, and the killer noted there was still a bit of moisture in the air, the clouds threatening to let loose another torrent.
The killer sneered at the weather. The slow pursuit continued as the woman ahead swept around the back side of the Old State House and continued on Washington.
Their walk in-tandem continued until the woman ahead paused in front of the well-lit ATM booth. The killer halted and ducked toward the side, throwing herself against the side of the building as the woman rustled through her purse. Peering ahead, the woman pulled out a thin piece of plastic. She inserted it. The killer heard a slight buzzing before the woman opened the door and stepped in.
Taking a few calming breaths, the killer pulled three things out of her pockets: her own bank card, a black woolen mask, and the device from within her right pants pocket. The device was cold to the touch, even through her gloves. She donned the mask and walked toward the ATM with dreadful purpose, the pavement quaking underneath her rapid footsteps.
THE LONG CRIMSON LINE is coming to an eTailer near you! Keep your eyes on this blog, or on my social media accounts, for more on this stunning tale!