Let’s talk about a not-so-new written work, that will be on a book shelf near you in the immediate future. I have been toiling to complete the edits on my new novel, but as fate would have it, technical difficulties have made a presence in the publishing process. (Sucks, I know.) But this has given me ample time to polish several other works, and bring them to light for all of my newer fans! And of course, my faithful followers of old, I have something special planned for you as well. But that is a few months down the road, so be patient. I wanted to share a chapter from Death Prescription, which I hope you all enjoy…remember, death is only a click away!
The Blackbirds’ Feast
The morning had a slight chill to it, as Conservation Officer Alicia Strand was conducting her morning patrol. She had picked up a warm cinnamon roll and a cup of piping hot chocolate, before she started her shift an hour ago. Alicia also brought along a bridal magazine, which she would glance at when she got bored. Not like Ethan will ever pop the damn question anyway, she thought, entering the deserted Dunlap County Conservation Center. The park consisted of one hundred and eighty acres; many recreational activities were available to the large number of tourists who would visit. It was known for its dangerously tall bluffs. Many climbers had attempted to ascend the mountainous terrain, but most were unsuccessful. That meant Alicia and the other patrol officers would spend a lot of time helping conduct rescue attempts for the misguided. She just passed one of the bluffs and was maneuvering the tan patrol jeep up through a winding paved road. The overused vehicle bounced along the path; she felt every deformity the road had to offer.
“Damn Jeep! I told Renni to fix these shocks,” Alicia said. She distinctly remembered telling the park’s mechanic about the needed repairs. Alicia drove for a few minutes longer and then decided it was time for a break. This will work, she thought. Alicia had driven to the most secluded part of the park known as Parma Point. Not too many campers knew it even existed; most of the time the park’s maintenance employees were the only people ever to spend time here. She turned into the gravel parking lot and noticed unwanted weeds had grown wild between various parts of the broken pavement. She would make a note of it and have the park engineer come out and throw some weed killer on the nuisance.
She turned into a haphazardly constructed parking spot, made of green treated two by fours, ready to finish her cup of hot chocolate. She was flipping through her magazine, when her police radio came to life.
“Dispatch, to four-ten.” The sound of a male voice filled the patrol car. Great! Alicia grabbed the car’s radio microphone. “Four-ten, go ahead, dispatch.”
“I need you to respond to a high angle rescue at Sutterman’s Bluff ASAP!”
“Affirmative, dispatch, I’m about ten minutes from there now.” Alicia said.
“I will show you en route to the location. Be advised I have already called fire rescue as well,” the male dispatcher said.
“I will advise when I’m on scene.” Alicia shifted the vehicle into drive, activating the lights and siren. She turned the vehicle around to leave the parking lot, instinctively looking to her right. The conservation officer did a quick double take. That’s sort of weird. She stopped the jeep and stared out into the clearing, where three picnic tables were positioned. The middle one appeared to be covered in a dark moving mass.
“What the hell?” Alicia had, the feeling something was terribly wrong. She squinted to see what was on top of the table, but couldn’t tell from the distance. She decided this may be just as important as the rescue and figured it wouldn’t hurt to investigate. Alicia would need to call dispatch back and let them know. The fire department will be expecting me, she thought, picking up the handset. She pushed the transmit button speaking clearly for the county dispatcher to hear.
“Four-ten, to dispatch.”
A male voice acknowledged the call. “Dispatch to four-ten, are you at Sutterman’s Bluff already?”
“Negative, dispatch. I think I have discovered something else here at Parma Point.”
“I already informed fire rescue you were on your way to their location. You’re the only one on duty. You copy that?” the male dispatcher asked.
“I need to check this out. I will advise.”
“Ten-four,” the dispatcher said; the radio went silent.
Alicia exited her vehicle, flipping on her portable radio. She walked briskly toward the picnic area. When she was about twenty feet away, she noticed the massive dark object she spotted was actually a swarm of crows. They weren’t making the loud obnoxious cawing sound these types of birds normally make. Very eerie, she thought. Alicia edged closer to see what the birds were drawn to, but couldn’t tell what lay beneath the never-ending flock. They were feeding on something. She figured some careless campers might have left their trash or spoiled food lying out and forgotten to throw it away when they departed.
When she got within a short distance from the black birds, Alicia looked down, almost tripping over a neatly folded pile of clothing. The garments were within arm’s distance of the picnic table; she bent to look at them more closely. That is very strange. Why would someone leave folded clothing here in the middle of nowhere? She took a few more steps toward the birds, trying to scare them. They appeared to be oblivious to her presence; only a few made any noise at all. Most of them continued shoving one another aside, flapping their wings now violently, to include themselves in the ongoing feast at the bottom of the melee.
Alicia waved her arms to shoo them off, as they hesitated before they began to fly away, and exposed what was underneath. She realized what the birds had been dining on. Lying prone on the table was a mutilated figure of what appeared to be a young female. The woman was naked; spread eagle on the table’s bloodstained surface. She appeared to be tied to the underside of the bench, by thin ropes. They were secured to what remained of both her swollen hands and ankles. Alicia almost choked on her saliva as she approached the victim. The disgusting odor of recent defecation and torn rotten flesh almost made her eyes water. She gasped at the sight of the woman’s face. The skin around her cheeks and eyes were ripped away from the bone. Her eyes were now empty sockets that held a gateway leading to her brain tissue. The sight was so riveting she barely could take focus from it. Alicia glanced down; the woman’s fleshy mid section appeared to have a carving engraved into it. She stared at the words the killer had sculpted
Not him…not here. Those words, and that monster were enough to scare anyone working in law enforcement the last several days, and she was no exception. Alicia pushed the transmit button on her portable and spoke into the black external microphone.
“Four-ten, to dispatch. I need assistance from a county supervisor and a detective ASAP!”
“What have you got up there?” the dispatcher said.
Alicia lost all radio etiquette. “A fucking homicide here at Parma Point! Homicide and it’s the guy… you will also need to call the coroner as well. I will secure the crime scene until they arrive.” Alicia peered at the corpse.
The dispatcher’s voice cracked. “I will get the detective on duty from the county! Also be advised more units will be heading to assist.”
“Ten-four, dispatch,” Alicia said, running back to her patrol car. She opened the rear hatch of the patrol unit and pulled out a roll of yellow police tape and a plastic body bag. The plastic would prevent the deceased from being eaten further by the wildlife. It was going to be a very long day…