She lay awak e, staring at the ceiling wondering for the umpteenth time if she should go out to the k itchen for a
glass of warm milk . Pulling back the blank ets she swung her legs onto the icy floor. Shivering, she pulled a
threadbare peach terrycloth robe about her. She slipped her feet into a pair of fuzzy lamb slippers. Wriggling her
toes, a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. She made her way into the kitchen, walk ing through the pitch -dark
halls by rote. She opened the refrigerator and retrieved the milk . As she was reaching for a glass, a cold hand came
across her mouth. The glass tumbled from her fingers, shattering on the floor around her feet. She felt several
shards dig into the soles of her slipper covered feet as she was dragged from the room.
The sound of tearing cloth shattered the silence of the secluded house. Screams rent the night, echoing for miles
yet reaching no living soul.
Michael Taggart stood just inside the room. The heavy wood furniture had been overturned and even turned into
splinters in some cases. In one corner someone had already lost his lunch. Several mo re looked like they wanted to.
He crossed the floor of what had once been an elegant bedroom, surveying the crime scene. â€œDr. Montoya?â€ He
gestured to the mutilated body. â€œWhat have we got?â€
â€œCaucasian female. Mid to late twenties. Been dead less than twenty hours, if I had to guess. Iâ€Ÿll be more exact
when I get her back to the office. She died from severe trauma. Her neck is broken.â€
â€œShe sustained several lacerations as well.â€ He murmured thoughtfully.
â€œWhereâ€Ÿs all the blood?â€
Michael looked up. He met the county coronerâ€Ÿs deep green eyes. â€œWhereâ€Ÿs all the blood,â€ he echoed. â€œI donâ€Ÿt
suppose thereâ€Ÿs blood anywhere else in the house?â€ He took in the shaken head with stoicism. â€œAnother one for the
serial killer.â€ He rubbed the back of his neck. â€œJust great!â€ He dropped his hand to his side with a sharp slap. â€œGet
back to work. I need that report on my desk tonight.â€
â€œTonight?! Tonight when?â€
â€œTop priority Maggie. Tonight!â€ He turned and left. Moving deeper into the house, he found the master
bedroom. It had been tossed. Clothing was torn and strewn everywhere. The scent of perfu me wafted up fro m
broken bottles, overpowering any other scent that might be there. Taking a handke rchief fro m his pocket, he covered
his nose and mouth before stepping inside. Coughing, he pulled a pair of rubber gloves from his pocket and donned
them. Running his finger over each surface he passed. When he reached the bedside table he found a book lying
face down on its surface.
â€œShe was neat as a pin. An artist, according to her financial records.â€
He looked up and found a lieutenant in the doorway. â€œDoes she have a name?â€
â€œMadelaine Grey, Detective Taggart.â€
â€œGrey?â€ Michael dropped his head into his hand. â€œThis just keeps getting deeper. Thank you lieutenant. Get
back to work.â€ He lifted the book from the table and idly flipped through the pages. His attention was caught a few
pages into the book. Backing up a page, he scanned the careful script ag ain.
He followed me to the gallery again today. I donâ€Ÿt know what he wants. I wish heâ€Ÿd stop following me.
Reading further he found several more entries talking about a mystery man fo llo wing her.
He was in the west hall again. I ran into him coming out of the exhibit hall. His hands were icy as they bit into
my shoulders. Made me wish I had worn my jack et. He scares me.
A sound outside the room startled him fro m his read ing. Snapping the book shut, he slipped it into a glassine bag.
Glanc ing at his watch he hurried out of the roo m. Pointing at the cop guarding the front door, he gestured with the
book. â€œIâ€Ÿm returning to the station.â€ Handing the book to the uniformed officer, he frowned. â€œHave this booked into
evidence and see that I get copies ASAP.â€
A single la mp burned in the darkness illu minating a snifter of a mber liquid. A slender wh ite hand appeared fro m
the shadows and lifted the glass fro m the table. Ice clinked hollowly as the empty glass was set back down. A phone
rang and was answered. â€œYes?â€ Silence reigned for several moments. â€œI told you, sheâ€Ÿs dead.â€ Another silence