Fear Series

The First One died to pique her interest, The Second to touch her soul. The Third One died to steal her peace, The Fourth makes Fear, his goal.

Violence leaves a stain on your soul, and the fear that accompanies that violence can never be removed. It can be hidden, shadowed, and put away, but throw in just the right set of circumstances and it will blossom once again.

Leigh Ramirez has been through a lot in her short life: an abusive husband, raising two kids on her own, and two near death experiences on the job. All she wants now is to get back to a sense of normalcy, in her life and at work. She wants to move on from all that’s happened to her. It was her decision to leave police work and put that life behind her, but when a young girl is found dead in a local park with something of Leigh’s in her hand, Leigh is lured back into the world she left behind.

Someone wants Leigh to experience the beauty of fear. They want her to live it, feel it, and breathe it.

As young women continue to turn up dead, their resemblance to Leigh is lost on no one, least of all her. Each victim found takes a piece of her soul, steals more of her peace. It doesn’t take long for Leigh to realize that this can have only one end. Even while her friends try to protect her, Leigh refuses to go into hiding and is ultimately forced to face her greatest fear, as it threatens both her children’s lives and her own.

 

CHAPTER ONE - Prologue

Awareness came slowly, harshly, as the salty taste of her tears invaded her senses. She could feel wetness on her arm from the blood that dripped steadily from a deep cut on her shoulder. She tried to clear her head by moving it side to side only to have the world tilt around her. She wasn’t sure where she was, or even how much time had passed since she had been taken. A whimper escaped her at the thought. The only thing she could be sure of was who she was, Marie.She tasted the tears mixing with the grime caked on her face and felt an overwhelming thirst. She couldn’t remember having a drink of anything since before he grabbed her. Listening for any sound of movement she hesitated before trying to move further, fear controlling her heart and soul. Silence…she knew that at least for now, she was alone.Her body ached terribly, and when she did move her senses were assaulted by the sour stench. She could still smell him on her, on her clothes making her wonder just how much time had passed. The smell of his sweet cologne and stale body odor had made her gag when she had struggled against him. God knows she had fought him, but physically and mentally she was exhausted.Pulling at her restraints she knew for certain at one point she had even managed to kick him where she knew it should have hurt. He had taken her by force, refusing to let her go no matter how hard she fought. After taking what he wanted, he had walked away briefly before viciously paying her back for kicking him. His response had been brutal and unforgiving.The first blow had knocked her head into the ground stunning her. The kick to her side had enveloped her in a wave of pain that crashed again and again like breakers on the shore, hitting her ribs as he continued to strike at her. As her consciousness had begun to fade, the beating had become almost bearable, until there had been nothing, but the invitation of darkness.

Now, waking, with her legs and hands duct-taped together, she could barely move and her breath came in shallow gasps as the damage to her ribs threatened to rob what little air she had left. The gag in her mouth was suffocating and uncomfortable but seemed to have been placed by him as an afterthought, her tongue easily pushing it out. Marie knew in her heart she wouldn’t be suffering for very much longer.

A bone deep pain emanated from her shoulders, from the unnatural position of her hands taped behind her. Her body’s refusal to respond as she asked it to told her she must have lain this way for some time.

Struggling against the tape and the pain that radiated through her body, she tensed as she heard him approaching again, his footfalls heavy and final. Marie could feel him when he entered the unlit room, the only light now filtering in from the hallway he came from. She tried to quell her panic, the sound of short gasping breaths as she struggled for air the only sound to be heard. Marie listened for his footfalls but they had vanished, but she knew he was close, she could smell him. Her reaction when he touched her was one of shock. The suddenness of his hands on her and the absolute fear it provoked made her heart practically pound out of her chest. She prayed to just die, now, but still she drew breath.

He forcibly rolled her onto her back, and smiled as her eyes opened wide at the sight of the blade in his left hand. Bucking and fighting violently against the restraints, Marie fought to live with renewed strength trying desperately to avoid the blade that she knew was meant to end her life. His deep laugh as she fought against him sealed her fate.

Marie felt the first slice on her right arm. A whitehot fire spread down her shoulder as the blood now flowing freely mingled with the blood from an earlier cut. She screamed at him as she fought to get away but no one heard her, no one came. Her mind filled with thoughts of her parents and little sister and how she wished she could have said goodbye. Her last memory of them was of a brief dinner before she went out to a party, a party she never made it to. A party she wished she had never left home to go to. With each slice of the blade, Marie felt her limbs grow heavier. Her shallow breath slowed as she struggled and with a whispered “why?” she felt herself go limp until at last there was no pain, no feeling, only a deep peace and eternal darkness.

With a satisfied grunt he wiped the sweat beading on his forehead with his sleeve, and cut the tape from around her wrists with his knife before carefully positioning her arms.

“Stupid bitch had put up a fight.”

He hadn’t realized how much of a fight until he had placed her body in the trunk of his car. Now, after pulling her from the trunk of his car and walking the short way into the woods where he planned to leave her body to be found, he was not happy to find himself out of breath.

Pulling a rosary out of his pocket, he put it in her right hand, and gazed down at her lovingly. She really was a beautiful girl, even now. He wiped the blade of the knife on his pants leg and licked it clean before putting it away in the special holster he had made for it. He took care of what belonged to him, always. Sadly, he looked at the swelling on her face and the bruises on her naked body, wishing she hadn’t fought him so hard. It would have been easier, for both of them. He finished positioning her and reached for his final accessory, an invitation of sorts, which he put in her left hand.

Stepping back to admire his work, he couldn’t help but smile, what he had started here could have only one end. It was up to him to make it happen, no one else, and until he could make her his, he would find his release in other ways, as he had with the beautiful Marie.

The pose he had placed her in was reminiscent of a scene he had acted out once before with his love, an act he wanted to repeat. Looking at the rosary, he wondered if she would remember the meaning it had for them or why he had used this particular color rosary. It had been a long time though maybe she had forgotten him. “No!” the anger that welled up inside of him at the thought overwhelmed his calm at what he had accomplished. Taking a deep breath he was determined that she would remember. She would remember him, as he had never forgotten her. The years, the distance, the love, they were all real and it was up to him to insure that love, his love won out over everything else.

Smiling at the card he had placed in Marie’s other hand, he knew the fear that finding it would invoke, as well as the curiosity it would create, and he relished the power he felt as he was walked away from such a wonderful encounter. The card said it all, as did the note on the back; it was an invitation that she was sure to accept. Being who she was, she could do nothing less.

He brushed himself off and nonchalantly walked away from his work. Whistling to himself, he figured Marie would be found within a day or two and then she would be told of the “invitation” he had left for her. Chuckling to himself he could feel his core warming at the thought of possessing her. She would be his again, one way or another.

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