Authors: LS Sygnet
Tags: #murder, #freedom, #deception, #illusion, #human trafficking
by LS Sygnet
COPYRIGHT 2013 LS Sygnet, Smashwords
Edition. All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be used or reproduced in any manner without permission except in
the case of brief quotations.
This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places and incidents are fictional or used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or
persons, living or dead, is coincidental. All rights
reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or paper print,
without written permission from LS Sygnet.
Daddy’s Little Killer
Beneath the Cracks
The Chilling Spree
Sins of the Father
and coming soon, the final book,
Cloaked in Blood
For Mary, Maja, Pat, Deanna and Jenee.
You help me in ways both great and small, but
In June last year, I grabbed my purse and
left the only life I’d built for myself behind. It was simple,
after walking away from a bad marriage. Bad marriage had devolved
to worse career. Dad always taught me to be prepared to leave
anything and everything behind – if that was the only option left
on the table.
I did it.
Severed what minuscule emotional threads
Out of the frying pan and all that junk.
How many clichés can run through my brain
right now? Probably ten times the amount of misery since that
fateful night in early June last year. Misery of my own making.
I can’t stop thinking about it.
Picture a cobra, backed into a corner, so
pissed off that striking first and damn the consequences seemed
like a good idea. No, that’s not true. I wasn’t thinking. Not even
a little bit.
I keep seeing the moment my ex-husband died
playing on an endless loop in my mind. Slow motion. A gun that was
first in my pocket, brought to the scene of the crime because
frankly, I didn’t trust my criminal ex-husband or any of his
associates. Truly, that was the only thought in my head that
Damned curiosity. Fucking frustration. For
two years after Rick’s arrest, I walked with a perpetual cloud of
suspicion shrouding me. My colleagues no longer trusted me. Some
profiler I was, right? Money launderer for the Marcos crime family
sleeping beside me at night, clueless little wife.
To understand it, one would have to
experience a loveless marriage that is essentially occasional
co-habitation and nothing more. There were no cozy dinners, no
snuggling at night and unburdening of the garbage left over from
soul-shattering jobs. He lived with a ghost.
I died the day I found out that my father,
the man I have idolized for my entire life would no longer be there
for me every day.
But if I was a ghost in our marriage, Rick
was a zombie, not alive, not really dead. He was a predator, and I
was the meal he planned to devour to sustain that existence.
He called me, long after the ink on the
divorce decree was dry, over two years of dust on the pages that
should’ve set me free. Something in his voice intrigued me. I’d
never heard it before. Desperation. Need. A soft plea that sparked
such curiosity in me. How could it not lure me? I spent a decade
with a man who was a complete stranger in the end.
But like Dad always said, sometimes paranoia
is just good common sense. So I took a gun to the meeting, and I
made sure it was on my turf.
No, we didn’t meet at Quantico. We met in a
place I used to visit for peace, for solitude. For an endorphin
And I learned what cruelty really looked
like that night. His eyes were black in the moonlight that
flickered in and out from behind soft clouds above.
The gun was suddenly out of my pocket.
Pointed right in his face, so slowly, but without the slightest
tremor in my hand. A sense of calmness, complete serenity washed
over me, even though the world was no longer shades of pale-blue.
It turned red and black, angry and hot, but at the same time so
cold that nothing penetrated the resolve in my heart.
The black eyes filled with doubt at first.
Disbelief even. A sardonic smile taunted me, but couldn’t penetrate
the shell that grew around me.
“Get on your knees.” Dull, flat, resolved.
That was how it felt. What it evoked from Rick was something quite
A flood of fear, panic so strong I could
smell it, heavy with instant sweat and a sickening acrid oil that
coated my nostrils. He knew.
Yet I knew nothing but the varied shades of
rage and retribution. They bled together until something so dark
and foreign was born within me, I lost who I always believed I was.
Dad’s advice flooded into my gray matter. It all made sense,
suddenly. My father was all wise, all knowing. I hadn’t lost him at
all. He lived within me, and I could never let him go again.
Rick knelt before me. He tried to reason
The words didn’t penetrate my armor.
He made threats, ugly confessions. He’d take
me down with him. Even if I killed him, the wheels were in motion
to expose my complicity in his crimes.
In an instant, it didn’t matter to me, was
incomprehensible that he might’ve been bluffing. I simply pressed
the barrel of the gun into the flesh behind his right ear.
His words came faster and faster. Marcos was
family in more than just the business sense of the word. Sort of.
Rick Hamilton exposed the fatal link, the one that would make me
look one of two ways – guilty as hell or dumber than a box of
rocks. Marcos’ nephew, Danny Datello was Rick’s cousin.
Don’t you remember, honey? You met him at
One little twitch, such a slow and slight
movement in the movie in my mind, and then blood, bone, brain
tissue sprayed in a fine mist into the night air. Birds shrieked in
grief perhaps. Even if he wasn’t fit to breathe the same air as I
did, when a man dies, the world becomes less somehow.
I can still hear the sickening thud of his
body hitting the dirt.
My eyes burned, not with tears of regret,
but with disgust that he hadn’t suffered more, that my moment of
freedom was so fleeting. I stared at the moon overhead, peeking out
from behind a cloud that looked like a finger pointing downward,
marking where I had achieved liberation from the past.
Now I wonder if it pointed at me in
I was not free, nor would I ever feel free
again. It was the beginning of the end.
Nine months later, I’m more lost than ever.
The ghost has faded to something even less tangible. I’m pretty
sure that there is no Helen Eriksson anymore. Helen, perhaps. I am
not an Eriksson.
Not if the latest demon sent to torment me
told the truth.
Last week, my new husband rescued me. Johnny
Orion, one of the truly good guys in this world, stopped me from
being sold into slavery by a group of men and women engaged in
A normal woman would cling to a guy like
that. She’d hold on for dear life. But I’m barely an apparition
these days. I’m vague, like the fog that drifts in patches through
Darkwater Bay every night. One might believe he caught a glimpse of
something tangible in the mist, but then it’s swallowed up, and
he’s never quite sure.
After a brief stay on a psychiatric ward to
rule out psychosis ( it was a simple delirium brought about by
severe dehydration), Johnny brought me home.
I can’t get the waking image of Rick’s
murder out of my head. In my heart, I believe that Johnny bought
the lie I told him when he suspected the truth – that Rick’s death
was a suicide, as it was finally and officially ruled by the
He loves me. He loves the beautiful lie he
created and labeled
who Helen really is
. What I feel is a
little more complicated. Yes, he rattles me on a regular basis. I
can’t bear the thought of hurting him.
But I keep seeing Rick.
I might be one of those people with a black
hole, a great and vast void where goodness is supposed to reside.
I’ve felt guilty many times over the past few months. I’ve even
experienced what I suppose is regret and remorse. Still, at the
root of every feeling is nothingness. Everything is disconnected
from me now.
Who am I? Have I ever known? Has my entire
life been a never ending lie? A fabrication. The motions of
Dad always said that I should find normal
and sane, embrace it, live the American Dream and love it. Believe
it. But always be prepared to walk away and start over.
Becoming someone else, Diana Farber, saved
me nine months ago. It saved and damned me at the same time. I’m
not a faithful person. I must see it to believe it. There must be
logic and reason and hard evidence. Here lately, even that
steadfast comfort has been stripped away. I feel that perhaps there
is something to the notion of fate. Destiny. God, but I hope karma
is complete bullshit.
All roads sucked me into Darkwater Bay.
First, the corrupt ex-husband – and my thirst for vengeance led me
here. Danny Datello used to live here. He died here. No, I didn’t
kill him. Ironically, I regretted his death. In some strange way, I
felt a bond with him in the end. Danny Datello might’ve been the
only person on earth who truly understood the dichotomies that
create people like us. Able to love, ruled by hate, thirsty for
justice of our own invention.
Darkwater Bay’s criminal element bore all
the layers of a rotten onion. Peel back one, and find another
darker and more rancid. Now I wondered if the fetid center was my
heart, my contribution to the unredeemable. I wish I could feel
something. Anything. Numbness would be more than what penetrates
the hard case wrapped around me. It’s a coffin, the sealed
mausoleum that keeps the whole world away from my universe.
Andy Gillette kidnapped me. He planned to
sell me to someone who wanted me
. Tamed. Subservient.
I snapped his neck with a well placed leg around his throat. I
should feel victorious. Guilty maybe? Just like the images of
Rick’s death haunt me, Gillette’s words are there too.
The woman who kidnapped Crevan’s twin sister
used that name. She was never captured. The infant was never
I haven’t stopped staring at him, as
covertly as possible of course. I remembered an odd look Johnny
wore once when Crevan and I were together. Sort of vague
recognition. Had he seen a family resemblance? If I looked closely,
would I see it too? Was it wishful thinking? Was it dreadful
Our eye coloring was similar.
He has a dimple just left of center on his
chin. I do not.
There are russet highlights galore in our
Then there is the pouty mouth, the full lips
blessed by Mother Nature’s collagen. Check. They match.
What doesn’t fit is my ungodly height.
Crevan is a mere three inches taller than me, a tad on the
low-average side for men in this area of the world. I’m a pinch
under five eleven. Surely if I came from this breeding ground, I
would be as petite as most of the women I’ve encountered out