Authors: John C. Dalglish
Tags: #Christian Books & Bibles, #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery & Suspense, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Mystery, #Cozy, #Religion & Spirituality, #Christian Fiction
The Hunter knew fear would grow, connections between the kills would be made, and finally, the meaning of the mission revealed. Then they would know
. Every action has a consequence. Time to hunt.
Devin James moved easily through the newsroom. Black,
six-foot-three, and balding, the journalist was still in good shape. A reporter’s cynical mind, constantly at work, a wide smile.
e was a fixture that demanded, and received, the respect that comes from being the best at what you do. He’d made enemies, sure, but to the average worker at the paper, he was a model for what could be.
Working his way up from the d
elivery docks, Devin got his degree at night school. He wrote obituaries and puff pieces until finally getting a chance at local news.
ostly covered community events and small stories until he got a shot at the overnight city desk. From there, Major Crimes was the last stop.
As the senior writer at the San Antonio News,
Devin could have a glass-paned office, pictures on the wall, and a walnut-topped desk, but he turned the offer down every time. He had the same heavy oak desk he got when he moved to crime duty more than twenty-five years ago.
Whenever they would offer
him an office, Devin would politely decline and say he preferred the bustle of the pressroom. The truth was he didn’t like the idea of being inside a ‘glass cage,’ as he referred to the offices.
’s attachment to antiques ended with his desk. He bought himself a new computer every year, and this year was a very nice Dell laptop. He pulled the rolling chair up to his desk and opened his computer.
hadn’t been able to get much information on the killings done by ‘The Hunter.’ The police didn’t like naming killers, they thought it fed the ego of the murderers, but his boss loved them. Named killers sold newspapers.
As a result, his sources were more tight-lipped than usual
. He pulled up a screen with his notes and went over what he knew.
Two dead, both with arrows. No immediate connection between the two, other than the manner of death itself.
They didn’t have age, family, or schooling in common. If there was something else, which of course he knew there had to be, he hadn’t found it yet.
The possibility e
xisted the killings were random. Such an idea was capable of starting a near-panic in the city, and the reporter didn’t buy it. There’s something connecting these two, he just had to find it.
With his sources at the police department not providing much about the case, it looked like
he’d have to find the connection some other way.
He tried computer searches by name, address, job, and anything else he could think of
, to try and uncover a link between the two cases. After a couple hours of research, he wasn’t any closer. He needed coffee.
As he walked toward
the elevator, he decided going to the cafeteria for both coffee and a donut was better than grabbing a paper cup of the old coffee sitting in the newsroom. He pushed the main floor elevator button, and just as the door started to close, he heard a voice.
“Hold the door!”
Devin stuck his hand between the doors, stopping the elevator. A young man, probably thirty years his junior, got on.
“Thanks, I appreciate it.”
He was taller than Devin, and thin as a rail. This guy clearly wasn’t going for coffee like Devin, at least the reporter hoped not. He didn’t stop moving the whole time the elevator traveled down.
The young man ran his hands through long, black hair, brushed his pants free of something only he could see, fixed his tie, looked at the lights of floors as they passed, and pushed the main floor button at least three times.
Suddenly, he stopped fidgeting. He looked directly at the senior reporter and broke into a wide smile.
“You’re Devin James!”
“Yes, and you are?”
“Chris, Chris Brown.”
The young man grabbed and pumped Devin’s hand.
“I’m a big fan. I love the name you came up with for the arrow killings. ‘The Hunter
,’ it’s a classic.”
The young man
continued pumping the reporter’s hand.
Chris. What brings you to the paper today?”
“I’m new here. They hired me last week and today’s my first day.”
Devin finally retrieved his hand.
“Rural news, stuff outside the city. I got my start with a small paper in rural Missouri, perhaps you’ve heard of it, the Monett Times?”
“No, I can’t say I have.”
“No, of course not. Anyway, it’s exciting to meet you.”
The elevator ride was mercifully
coming to an end.
“Very nice to meet you
As they stepped off together, Devin turned to go to the cafeteria, but Chris
wasn’t done talking.
arrows are the weapon of choice these days.”
you’ve got The Hunter, and I’m going out to Hondo to check out a report of a horse shot with an arrow. My editor gave me the story this morning.”
Devin made the connection the younger reporter had clearly not.
“When did this happen?”
“Ten days ago, I think.
“You have an address or a name?”
Chris stopped and pulled out a notebook.
“The owner’s name is Brad Winston.”
“Chris, would you mind if I followed up on that story instead?”
The young reporter finally caught on.
“You think they’re connected, don’t you?”
“I don’t know
, but I would like to check it out.”
didn’t think it possible, Chris Brown got even more pumped up.
“Can I go with you?”
“I prefer to work alone.”
The young man appeared crestfallen.
“Okay. I’ll have to ask my editor.”
“Who’s your editor?”
Chris told him; Devin was familiar with the man.
what; I’ll give your boss a call to clear it with him. Then, if I find something of interest, I’ll name you as a contributing writer.”
Chris Brown gave the note with the name and address to the senior reporter.
“That’s a deal. I can’t tell you how much it would mean to have my name next to yours.”
Devin smiled and accepted the note. Suddenly he
no longer felt the need for coffee; adrenaline was giving him the jump-start he needed.
Devin James pulled off Highway 90 onto County Road 424. The bright afternoon sun was beginning to set as he came to a stop in front of a mailbox. The address matched his note and he was able to make out the faded name. Brad Winston.
driveway led away to the west, beginning at a cattle gate with large posts on either side. Tacked to each post was a rectangular sign, black with orange letters.
Underneath both signs were the hand written words
‘This means you!’
Devin put the car in drive and
headed across the cattle gate. The entire length of the gravel drive had deep ruts, and the road beat the snot out of his little Subaru. Split-rail fences ran along both sides of the drive and there wasn’t a tree to be seen until he neared the house.
was a typical, two-story, West Texas ranch home. The white building was really more of a washed-out gray; it was in desperate need of a coat of paint. The green-shingled roof had clearly been just as ignored, with patches of black tar paper visible where there were missing shingles.
The porch, which ran across the front and down one side of the house, was littered with junk as if a yard sale was canceled ten years before and nothing taken back inside. The steps off the far end were missing.
A tattered screen door swung open, and a man in his thirties stepped out. Worn overalls hung by a single buckle over one shoulder, and the only other clothing he wore was a greasy ball cap.
Devin leaned out his window.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
He’d heard the man perfectly well.
hat’s the matter, can’t read?”
“Oh, the signs. Actually, my name is Devin James
, and I’m from the San Antonio News. I was hoping to ask a few questions about what happened to that horse?”
you refer to was named Southern Dancer. He was my prize breeding stud.”
Devin quickly realized he had crossed into
“I didn’t mean any disrespect. I heard he was shot with an arrow.”
“I don’t want to talk about it, especially to a reporter.”
“Do you have any idea who may have done it?”
The man, who Devin assumed was Brad Winston, reached behind him and picked up a shotgun, casually resting it on his hip and aiming it at the car.
“Perhaps you didn’t hear. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Devin tried to stay calm.
“Do you mind if I leave you my card?”
The answer came with the sound of a shotgun blast.
James sat stunned for a minute, surprised how quickly the gun had been fired and how loud the shot was. It took a few seconds to realize he
wasn’t hit, and that the blast had been aimed at the sky—a warning shot.
The reporter snapped alert, pulled his head back in the car
, and raised both hands toward the windshield.
He put his car in reverse, backed away, turned around, and sped out the way he came.
Jason was sitting at his desk when his phone rang.
“This is Strong.”
“Jason, this is Devin James.”
The detective’s eyes met
Vanessa’s. Not long ago, Jason would have been tempted to hang up on the reporter, but James had earned the detective’s respect with the help he’d provided in his last case.
“James, what can I do for you?”
“Can I get you to come down to the parking lot?”
“Yes. I’m parked over by your car.”
“What’s this all about, Devin?”
“I have some information for you that may prove to be very interesting.”
hesitated; he had work to do. But finally he agreed.
“Alright, be down in a few.”
Jason hung up and looked at his partner.
says he has information for me. Be back in a minute.”
Jason bypassed the elevator and took the stairs down, going two at a time. He came out into the late
-day heat, and spotted the reporter’s blue Subaru at the far end of the lot.
Devin James got out as Jason approached. He handed
the detective a piece of paper.
“It’s a piece of paper with a name and address.”
, but Devin’s expression remained flat, and Jason noticed the reporter looked a little shaken.
Why do I want this?”
“I believe the death of this man’s horse may be tied to The Hunter.”
Jason rolled his eyes. “Thanks for that, by the way, names make my job so much more fun.”
The reporter shrugged
. “You know how it is. Sells papers.”
“What makes you think this guy’s horse is tied to the killings?”
“It was shot with an arrow.”
Jason glanced up at the reporter and back down at the note.
“Really? That is interesting. How’d you find out?”