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Chapter Seven: Suspects In View

Steve Parker did his best to slip between the sheets without waking his wife. He had considered staying up all night since the preliminary crime scene investigation and report had kept him at the courthouse until 2:00 in the morning. On the other hand, a few hours of sleep would be better than nothing and so he made his way home, grabbed a bite to eat, taken a shower and crept into the bedroom.

"Don't worry, I'm already awake" his wife mumbled sleepily.

"Rats, I'm sorry babe. Doesn't seem to matter how quiet I try to be, I always manage to wake you up."

"I'm used to it." Veronica Parker stretched and then turned on her side to face her husband. "What was it this time, somebody shoplifting at the all-night convenience store?"

"Hmm, no. Probably shouldn't talk about it tonight." Parker said, hoping his wife wouldn't press him for details as she typically did.

"You know better than that. Now I won't be able to sleep a wink until you tell me everything."

"I can't tell you everything, you know that." He quickly thought of how he might summarize the situation in a way that would be adequate to satisfy his wife's curiosity without saying too much. "Let's just say it was a," he hesitated a moment, "a rather grisly murder." He skipped a beat and then added, "a double murder actually."

His wife raised yourself on one elbow. "A double murder? In this town? Steve, there hasn't been a murder, let alone a double murder, in this town for" she thought a moment before continuing "for almost ten years."

"I know and frankly Veronica, I don't think we should talk about this tonight. I can fill you in tomorrow morning, but -"

"Okay, so there's been a double murder in our little town." She lay back down and reached out to grasp her husband's arm. "That's terrible, I understand, but from the way you're acting, it seems to me there's more to it than just that."

"The way I'm acting? What are you talking about? All I've done is climb into bed."

"You know what I'm talking about. What is it?"

Parker sighed and rolled onto his back. "The victims were a mother and her baby." He waited a moment for his wife to respond and when she didn't he continued. "Someone killed the mother, she was pregnant, so the baby died too." He decided that was all he needed to say at this point. Veronica would know the whole truth soon enough.

"Oh, Steve! That's terrible, just horrible. How could something so evil happen in this town?!"

Parker didn't reply at first. Then, after a few minutes he rolled toward his wife and patted her on her hip then slipped his hand down to rest on her belly. He could feel the baby move beneath his touch. "Sometimes I hate this job" he said. "Sometimes I wonder why I ever decided to go into law enforcement. I guess I thought that living in a small town, I would never have to face the really bad stuff you hear about in the big city. The truth is, I haven't had to, until now." He reached up and began to stroke her head. "Until now. And this hits too close to home, Veronica." He pulled her close and kissed her on the lips. "I don't know why – or maybe I do know why – but I feel like I need to figure this out as quick as possible. Some monster killed that woman and her baby and my gut tells me he is going to do it again. I've got to find this creep." He rolled to his back again. "And when I do I hope he gives me reason to take him down then and there."

Parker jumped as the phone began ringing on the nightstand next to the bed. "What the -" He fumbled for the switch on the lamp, nearly knocking the phone onto the floor. "Hello!" he said roughly.

"Hi, Steve?"

"Yeah - who the f, who is this?"

"Try, Trey Collins." There was a brief pause. "I called your office and they said you had just left for home, so I figured you would be up still."

"I didn't just leave, Collins, I've been home for nearly an hour." Parker felt his wife place a calming hand against his back. He softened his tone as he continued. "So, I'm awake. What is it you called for."

"Well, I fell into a conversation with a colleague here at the hospital after I finished up with the prelim. Oh, by the way, I'll be conducting the official autopsy tomorrow at eleven - uh, today at eleven."

"Great." Parker shifted the phone to a more comfortable position. "That's not why you called is it?"

"No. Like I said I ran into a friend of mine and we started talking shop, you know, and after describing what I was dealing with he thought a minute and said he had something I might be interested in."

"So?"

"Well, something you might be interested in."

Parker flopped back onto the bed. "Damn it, Collins, would you spit it out."

"Yeah, sorry, a little rummy I guess." There was the sound of fabric rustling against the receiver as Collins switched the phone to his other ear. "Anyway, Rob - doctor Clarke - said he had a couple men come into emergency with wounds produced by a serrated instrument, you know, possibly a metal instrument of some sort with a jagged edge. Something like the weapon used on the victim discovered at the church parking lot."

Parker sat up. "What time did this happen?"

"Around midnight."

"Are they still there?"

"One of them, for sure." The rustling again. "Rob said he was being held over night, at least."

"I'm on my way." Parker hung up the phone and rolled out of bed.

"Honey?"

"Gotta go babe." He grabbed a pair of jeans from the dresser. "There's a couple of guys at the hospital who might know something about tonight's homicide."

He hurriedly finished dressing and then leaned over to kiss his wife. "Try and get some sleep. I'll see you later today."

He turned off the light and was out the door before Veronica had the chance to reply.

Chapter One: Slaughter In The Churchyard
Chapter Two: The Guardians
Chapter Three: The Detective
Chapter Four: Checking Out The Church
Chapter Five: Lunch With Connie
Chapter Six: Back To The Scene Of The Slaughter
Chapter Seven: Suspects In View
Chapter Eight: An Unbelievable Story
Chapter Nine: The Suspects Disappear
Chapter Ten: A Plan Of Action
Chapter Eleven: Lily's Help
Chapter Twelve: Another Victim
Chapter Thirteen: The Briefing
Chapter Fourteen: Attack On A Guardian
Chapter Fifteen: The Fury Of The Fiend


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