Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Surgeon's Blade (Excerpt) by Faith Mortimer


The Surgeon’s Blade

Prologue

Playing this game was a major enjoyment. It had been played many times before and, this time, it was proving even more of a thrill.
The watcher spotted her immediately. She was seated at a table for two, and from the number of times she glanced at her watch, it was easy to deduce she had been stood up by her date. The watcher was cautious by nature and spent the time covertly observing the woman from a chosen seat which was half-hidden in the shadows behind a potted palm. She was one of those women in their thirties who looked attractive in a quiet, unassuming way and could have been stunning if she had spent more time over her hairstyle and makeup. Her dress was an off-the-rail model, most probably from one of the departmental stores and in a different colour would have enhanced her prettiness. Unfortunately the dull fabric did nothing for her hair and skin colouring.
Of course, the watcher knew who she was. She had been seen many times around the hospital and came across as confident and sure of herself as far as her work was concerned. Watching her now, sitting forlorn and alone at the table, casting wistful glances at those couples who sat with bent heads as they shared a whisper and promise of the night to come, the watcher knew right away how easy it was going to be; especially while witnessing her nervous, girlish pleasure when she answered a call on her mobile phone minutes later, only to see her face pale in distress as she replaced it into her evening bag.
With a cold smile, the watcher raised a glass and, with the slightest movement in her direction, offered a silent toast.
Why waste time yearning over a date that would never show when your prayers have been answered, dearest girl, the watcher demanded silently. From now on, you’re mine, all mine.


Chapter 1 
Three o’clock. The dead hour. It was rain lashing against the window that woke Libby. Cursing under her breath, she glanced at her clock on the bedside cabinet and contemplated the day ahead: nearly three-thirty. She must be mad! At the end of June, the weather really should be fine. ‘Flaming June’, they called it; well there hadn’t been too much flaming lately. This was the fourth day in a row of seemingly endless downpours. Dratted weather! Well, she was committed to today’s race, and there was nothing she could do but put on a smiling face.
Less than an hour later, showered and dressed, Libby finished a quick breakfast of toast and tea and headed for the door. Her cat followed her and meowed loudly as Libby put on her jacket. The fluffy, pale ginger cat was obviously thinking her mistress was quite mad, not only for disturbing her slumber at this untimely hour, but for leaving the flat on such a cold and wet day. She sat on the rug looking quite put out.
“Okay, Rommie, I’ll see you tonight. Don’t fret. The automatic feeder is primed to open for your tea and I’ve left you plenty of biscuits in the meantime. If you feel you can bring yourself to use the cat flap, please do, because I don’t want any little accidents before I return.”
Libby reached down and gave Rommie a final stroke, thinking the cat had the right idea. The morning so far looked awful. She took a quick look round her flat, mentally going through what she would need for the day: wet weather gear, life jacket, and sailing gloves. With a shrug she picked up her bag and locked the door behind her.
Despite the foul weather, she was excited. Being chosen as part of the crew on a fast yacht for the Isle of Wight’s prestigious ‘Round the Island Race’ had a certain cachet, and she had been delighted when Nigel had chosen her. It was Libby’s first major sailing event, and Nigel’s reputation as a first-class skipper was well known in the yachting fraternity.
Libby unlocked the door to her Mini and threw her bag down onto the passenger seat, rain splattering against the hood of her jacket. She had promised to pick up Jem, another crew member, before going to the marina where ‘Tourbillon’ was moored. Jem was like her, in his late thirties, worked in the Southampton General hospital and loved sailing.
Jem was a good friend to Libby and had been instrumental in helping her get the post of junior sister on the general surgery ward. He had been there ever since he had first qualified, whereas Libby had come down from London, looking for a place nearer to the sea to work. She had met him on a course in London some years back, and on their first introduction, they had hit it off. Over the past few years, six-foot-four Jem, muscle-bound and fun-loving, had become her biggest friend and confidant.
Libby’s Mini glided to a stop outside the house Jem shared with his partner, and not wishing to antagonise the neighbours by hooting at the early hour, Libby ran the short distance up the flooded garden path to his door. The door opened at Libby’s knock, and Jem ushered her inside.
“Won’t be a jiffy, I’ve been listening to the national news on the telly. Hang on, I’ll just turn it off.” Jem walked into the living room and crossed over to the television.  “It sounds like there really is a dangerous weirdo stalking nurses in London. Another nurse was assaulted during the night at St Thomas’s hospital. There’s very little detail released by the police though; only that she’s being treated for shock.” Shrugging on his waterproof jacket, he picked up a bag lying near the door and gestured for Libby to precede him.
She paused in the doorway. “That’s awful. Isn’t that the third one now?”
He nodded. “Fourth, if you include that girl who was raped after accepting a drink from a stranger in that Southwark pub. What was it called? I think it was the Golden Ram or something like that. It’s becoming really serious.”
“I’d forgotten her. She wasn’t a nurse though was she?”
“No, but she’s a radiographer from the same hospital. The police haven’t said for certain whether they think it’s the same attacker. And if you add these girls to the two who went missing in the last year or so, then London has a big problem on its hands. Come on we’d better run for it.”

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The Surgeon's Blade is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK


See all of mystery writer Faith Moritmer's novels here on Amazon


Faith Mortimer was born in Manchester and educated in Singapore, Malaya and Hampshire, England. She is happily married with four children.


For information about Faith and her writing please follow on Facebook on page, www.facebook.com/FaithMortimer.Author and Twitter at @FaithMortimer


Her website is http://www.faithmortimerauthor.com




Friday, April 6, 2012

The Surreal Killer (Excerpt) by Jerry Last

Chapter 1. Santiago, Chile, A Year Ago

He always thought of this part as cutting the calf out of the herd. The problem: Pick up the woman somewhere, somehow without any witnesses to the event. The solution this time: he found her hitchhiking late at night on the deserted street in a poorly lit part of town. He stopped the rented car and offered her a ride. She looked at him, decided he was safe, jumped in the car, congratulated herself on her good luck, and asked if he was heading towards the next town.
“Yes, I am. Where can I drop you off?”
“Anywhere near the middle of town would be great.”
“You’ve got it.”
The car started off in the right direction.
“Can I offer you a little brandy? It’s cold out there,” he said.
“I’d love a sip or two.”
He removed a flask from his pocket and passed it over.
“Thanks a lot,” she replied, and took a long slow swallow. She returned the flask to the driver.
Five minutes later the long-acting drug in the brandy had worked its magic and she was completely helpless. Wide awake, but totally unable to move or speak. She stared at the driver with terrified eyes. The driver steered the car onto a dirt road and drove about half a mile into the woods. After stopping the car, he came around to the passenger side, and pulled her out onto the ground. She noted that there was grass and dirt in the clearing. He pawed her body for a few moments, but didn’t seem interested in undressing or sexually assaulting her beyond the unwanted touching. Out came his syringe, and with a few well-coordinated movements he injected a few mL of fluid directly into her jugular vein. The powerful drug did its work and she was now completely paralyzed.
He opened the trunk of the car. Out came a disposable paper coverall and disposable latex rubber gloves, which he donned. Out came a large machete and a protective plastic face shield, which he also put on. He returned to his terrified victim, dragged her about 150 feet from the car, and proceeded to systematically whack away at arms and legs with the machete for several minutes after she had completely bled out. The mutilation of the corpse continued for what seemed to be a long time after she was clearly dead. Finally he dropped the machete, picked up a small stick from the ground nearby, and dipped the end of the stick in one of the many pools of blood around the body. Very carefully, using the blood as ink, he wrote the words “no mas” on the ground near the body. At that point he made a low, throaty growl that might have meant that he was finally satisfied with the result, and the machete overkill came to an end.
The bloodstained and splattered paper coveralls, latex gloves, and face shield came off and were thrown on top of the dismembered body. So was the machete. Careful examination revealed that there was no apparent blood visible anywhere on him or his clothing after the disposables were taken off. Back to the trunk of the car from which he removed a large plastic container of gasoline that he poured over the body and the disposables. One flick of a match and everything went up in flames, which burned long and hot. When nothing remained but charred flesh, teeth, bones, and ashes he returned to the car and went on to his destination, satisfied that any forensic evidence had been destroyed in the fire. Nothing remained that could link him to the dead young woman, who was a perfect stranger. He smiled a genuine smile of satisfaction………… 

Available on Amazon