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First pages

Once Upon a Time

Down the Rabbit Hole

A pool of blood and vomit mixed with the mud on the ground. It was directly beneath the gaping mouth of a middle-aged woman, half hanging out of the open car door of a cobalt blue Ferrari, which was wrapped around the trunk of an oak tree. Tree, car, and woman were off the side of a rural state road, ten miles outside of Sonoma. It looks like she survived the initial collision long enough to open her door, but died from her internal injuries before she could undo her seat belt.

 

Two patrol cars were there, and one ambulance.

 

Inspector Kalev Tzedek was 42 years old, tall, dark, and handsome, and had a solid muscular build. His hair was graying at the temples. It was styled in an easy to maintain buzz cut, favoring utility over vanity. His name was exotic, showing his Persian ancestry, but nothing else about him was. He had light brown hair, light brown skin, light brown eyes, and a light brown trench coat. He was light brown personified. His personality was also light-brown. Quiet, unassuming, fades into the background, but always there, always watching.

 

A police officer approached him, looking puzzled. "Inspector?" she asked. "I didn't know they called you for this. It looks like an ordinary car crash to me. Do you suspect its something more?"

 

"No, I'm just here to tie up loose ends." He said as he looked in the duffel bag in the passenger seat of the car.

"This is Greta Oberlin, 55 years old. She is the prime suspect in the double homicide of her husband and his lover. She knew I figured out she was the killer, so she ran. It was her bad luck to drive during a thunderstorm. Being frightened, upset, and drinking heavily didn't help her chances either."

He held the gym bag opened. It was full of cash, and a gun. "Have ballistics match the gun to the Oberlin case. Put the money in evidence. This case closed sooner than I thought."

He returned to his car, and as he took his seat, his phone rang. Another case already, and he had not even had his coffee yet. There is no way in hell he was going to another crime scene without coffee. He ordered a cup and a biscuit at the Rainbow Burgers drive-thru. He paid with the loose coins previously discarded in the cup holder. By chance it was exactly enough to pay for his order, leaving the holder empty so it could fit the coffee cup. For a coffee stirrer, they gave him one of those little plastic swords you see in appetizers, or stabbed through fruit in fancy drinks. Sometimes the stirrer looks like a little magic wand with a star on top, but not today. Today is a plastic sword day.

 

The Inspector headed to Verdant Estates. It is a gated community of McMansions; huge tacky houses, one after another, virtually identical, for people with lots of money but no taste. He drove up to the guard station at the front gate and rolled down his car window to speak to the guard. The Inspector flashed his badge briefly, and the guard knew exactly where he wanted to go, and pointed him in the right direction. The guard has seen a lot of badges this morning.

 

As he entered the gate and drove past one perfectly manicured lawn after another, one mansion stood out. It was not because of architectural originality, but because of the two police cars, one CSI van, and three news vans out front. He also noticed Sonoma Police chief McNair’s car, indicating this must be a high-profile case; if the press is there, so is he. He parked across the street then walked over. There were a number of reporters and photographers, with the uniform police officers holding them at bay. Tzedek walked up to one of the officers and showed his badge. He then walked into the house.

 

Police chief McNair was sitting in a rather ornate living room with an obviously distraught couple in their early 30’s. McNair can always be counted on to come to the rescue of wealthy people in need. There were CSI geeks going through the house looking for fingerprints or signs of a break-in. When Tzedek entered the room, McNair stood up and gestured for him to come sit.

 

"Inspector Tzedek, welcome. This is Mr. and Mrs. Beaufort. Their five-year-old daughter, Desiree, has gone missing."

 

"I’m so sorry to hear that," he said, somewhat dryly, as he sat down. He said, "I’m sorry for your loss" or some variation of that phrase so frequently it was automatic, and has lost its emotional impact.

 

The couple sitting before him were the picture of modern southern gentry. She had a tall updo with every hair in place, most of those hairs obviously purchased rather than grown. He had a mullet hair style, long in the back and high in the front, and a bolo tie, with a pearl clasp and pearl tips. She had a long pearl necklace tied in a knot. They both had matching pastel outfits, as if designed to make them look perpetually perky. The Inspector also noticed Mrs. Beaufort’s abundance of eye makeup was not running from tears shed.

 

Inspector Tzedek took out his tablet and began to both record and take notes. "When did you first notice she was not at home?"

 

"Yesterday morning." the husband said.

 

"Why did you wait so long before calling the police?" the inspector asked.

 

"On the TV they say you have to wait twenty-four hours before reporting a missing person", said the husband, as if displaying great knowledge.

 

"That's for a missing adult", replied the inspector. "Missing children should be reported as soon as possible. Can you show me her bedroom, please?"

 

Mrs. Beaufort stood up, and said, "Right this way".

 

Inspector Tzedek followed her up the stairs. The room was huge; larger than his own master bedroom. Centered against the far wall was a king-size princess bed, with a pink gauze canopy. Most everything in the room was pink, with a few bits of red hearts and white diamond shapes here and there to provide enough contrast to truly appreciate exactly how pink all the rest of the room was.

 

There were photos of Desiree all over the walls.

 

"They are from her modeling, and pageants. She was Little Miss Birmingham, and then Little Miss Alabama. She might have won Little Miss Southern Confederacy, but we had to move here, of course." She paused as Inspector Kalev examined the photos. Desiree was wearing pastel dresses with lace and bows in every photo. She had bright violet-blue eyes, and her strawberry blonde hair was teased in a huge bouffant. The Inspector then noticed the hair was still there in the room, as a wig on a mannequin head.

 

"Here," the mother pointed to one of the photos, "This is when she just won Little Miss Sonoma. We are preparing for her to compete in Little Miss Golden Gate, and after she wins that then Little Miss California Republic!" She said, rather excitedly.

 

Inspector Tzedek looked around the room. "There is no sign of struggle. Everything looks to be in place. Is anything missing? A Favorite toy, perhaps?"

 

Mrs. Beaufort looked around. Her face lit up, with a sudden realization. "Yes! Her cat! Not a real cat, a stuffed toy cat her grand ma-ma made from quilt fabric, named Patches! Its her favorite, and its not here!"

 

"Thank you Mrs. Beaufort." The Inspector turned to leave the room and headed down the stairs. Mrs. Beaufort followed closely behind. Her husband was standing at the foot of the stairs, waiting eagerly for them to descend.

 

"Will you be able to find her?" He asked.

 

Inspector Tzedek returned to the living room. "We will do the best we can."

 

"Frankie-" the wife said to her husband. "Tell him about Frankie."

 

"Ok, tell me about Frankie." said the Inspector, resuming his seat.

 

"Frankie is our gardener, or landscaper. He is mentally ; what is the word?" He asked.

 

"Retarded." his wife said.

 

"No, they don’t say that now, they say something else", he replied.

 

"Mentally challenged?" suggested his wife.

 

"Yes, that’s it; challenged. Life is a challenge for him." the husband continued. He said in a slightly softer voice, "A challenge for his mind", as if to prevent unknown others from overhearing.

 

The Inspector asked, "What is Frankie’s last name?"

 

The wife answered. "He doesn't have one. He is one of the unclaimed."

 

The unclaimed are orphans, runaways, mentally and emotionally ill, and other people with no family to claim them. Often other extended family members disavow responsibility for them, so their last names are legally removed.

 

"He lives in a group home with other unclaimed young men." added the husband.

 

"Do you have the address?" asked the Inspector.

 

McNair handed him a piece of paper. "I have it."

 

After parting pleasantries Inspector Tzedek got up to leave, and Chief McNair came with him. At the doorway he said, "This is a very delicate case, Kalev. They are a diplomat’s family. Mrs. Beaufort is the daughter of the Southern Confederacy’s Ambassador to the California Republic, and they both work at the embassy. We don’t want an international incident. The President is still frazzled over the border skirmishes with the Republic of Texas."

 

Chief McNair was concerned with keeping this wealthy couple and their wealthy families happy. He was not a bad guy, but he values political connections and power more than justice. In his mind the bigger picture was getting those rich people to make the donations that keep the department functioning.

 

Inspector Tzedek was insulted by the suggestion that he needs to put more effort into a child abduction case because the family has money and power, as if he would put in less effort if they had neither; but he understood McNair’s position, and his frustration. McNair has to deal with the financial aspects that Inspectors don't; including having to hand victims of crimes a bill for police services, even when they are poor. More money coming into the department means more cases for the poor can be pro-bono.

 

The Inspector simply glared at McNair, and said, "I will do my job."

 

McNair was apologetic. "Of course, I know, and you are the best, that was why I requested you for the case. I will give them a standard one-week time estimate for a kidnapping of a minor, billed at the standard rate for one Inspector and you can have two uniforms and one CSI on an as needed basis. If something changes, we can adjust the invoice with another estimate."

Kalev Tzedek & Vance Tzedek

Inspector Kalev Tzedek opened the front door slowly and quietly. He removed his shoes and placed them on the rack in the front hall. He stepped gingerly to the kitchen, and found a plastic container in the fridge. It had a post-it on top that said, "three minutes in the microwave", followed by little hearts. Kalev had a feeling the assistant wrote the note, hearts and all.

 

He heated it up, washed it down with a beer, and continued down the hall to the bedroom. He undressed as quietly as he could.

 

Vance rolled over to face Kalev. "You know I can always hear you come home. I hope you are quieter than that when you are sneaking around a crime scene."

 

Kalev got into bed. "Well, at a crime scene, I am usually not getting undressed."

 

Vance propped himself up on one elbow. "That would be an interesting case if you were!"

 

Kalev leaned forward and kissed Vance. Vance held him close, indicating he wanted far more than just a kiss. Kalev told him he needs his sleep because has to be at his desk in five hours. Vance simply accepted this rather common end to a rather common day. Kalev rolled over to face away from Vance, who then spooned him from behind.

 

In the morning, Vance was awake before Kalev, but still lying in bed.

 

"So, tell me about this urgent case that is eating into our otherwise stellar love life." As Vance said that, he tossed the top sheet aside, fully exposing his nude physique. Vance was seven years younger than Kalev, and had a perpetually youthful glow. His torso was firm and deeply defined, without the slightest bit of fat. His chest and arms were well toned, while his legs were slender. Kalev’s hair had begun the battle of salt versus pepper, or rather sugar versus cinnamon, while Vance’s hair remains uniformly golden brown with professionally hand-painted honey highlights. "So?" said Vance, trying to be humorously tantalizing.

 

"Don’t be like that", said Kalev, as he sat up on the edge of the bed.

 

"OK, I’m only teasing. Or not. You never know with me. I never know with me", Vance quipped, "but tell me about your case anyway."

 

Kalev walked to the dresser, and grabbed two pairs of underwear. "Its a missing girl. Five years old. Possible kidnapping, possible runaway. Wealthy family, in Verdant Estates. The couple are odd."

 

He slipped one pair of underwear on, and walked to the foot of the bed and started putting the second pair on Vance. He pulled them up to knee level, and Vance continued the rest of the way.

 

Vance adjusted himself in his underwear. "Odd you say? Did you notice something about them, or just your super-cop super-senses tingling?"

 

Kalev walked over to the dresser. A pair of navy slacks for him, and brown cotton elastic pants for Vance. "A bit of both perhaps. They seem like they are putting on an act. Perfect plastic people. Like there is something they are not telling me."

 

"If you want my professional opinion, and you are getting it if you want it or not, those parents sound like they wanted her gone. Not the brown ones, the light blue. I have encountered many parents who pretend to love their kids because that was what people expect of them, but actually wish they never existed." Kalev exchanged the pants, and slipped the light blue elastic pants on Vance’s legs. "The little monsters can suck the life out of you, you know."

 

"That’s a healthy attitude for a child psychologist", teased Kalev.

 

Vance replied, "as I said, its my expert opinion", with an obviously joking tone.

 

Kalev continued describing the case. "There is a gardener. Frankie. An unclaimed mentally handicapped young man. He is also missing. He is on top of the suspect list."

 

He tossed Vance a shirt, then put on his own clothes. When Kalev was dressed, he helped lift Vance into his wheelchair. Vance didn't put the shirt on right away, he placed it hanging out of the right arm pouch, as he wheeled himself towards the bathroom door.

 

Vance is a child and family psychologist. He only sees patients in his home office now. He used to do family visitations but not since the incident last year that put him in the chair. Vance was called to a domestic dispute, where a man was beating his wife. He had managed to calm him down on previous occasions, and it was working again, and he was able to have a rational discussion. Then there was a gunshot. Their seven-year-old son found his father’s gun, and wanted to stop him from hurting his mother. The boy accidentally shot Vance instead, in the lower spine. The doctors say he will never walk again. Vance had always had a naturally positive attitude, but since the accident he has gained a cynical and sarcastic tone.

 

Vance asked, "When you say the unclaimed boy is on the top of the suspect list, do you mean your suspect list, or some generic suspect list?"

 

Kalev was putting on his tie. "I guess the generic suspect list. I don't feel its him. The parents are strange, but they would probably not kill their own kid, and then call the police. That pretty much leaves the gardener."

 

"The butler did it with the candlestick in the library! When in doubt, blame the help!" Vance said that with a hand flourish, as he opened to bathroom door and made his exit. "Especially when its one of the unclaimed. There but for the grace of the gods... "

 

"Don't be like that", said Kalev. "The gardener is a valid suspect. Besides, I’m not ruling out the parents, but I have to follow all leads, even if its an unclaimed."

 

Vance said, in a slightly melodramatic voice, "In a way, I’m unclaimed. My parents never accepted me."

 

"You are 35, married, gainfully employed, and your father still makes weekly deposits into your bank account. You are not unclaimed." said Kalev, dryly.

 

"Its the emotional claim that counts", pouted Vance.

 

Vance’s father was wealthy, and he paid for the entire bathroom to be redone after Vance’s accident. It had huge shower with a seat in it, and two sinks; one low like a desk for Vance, and the other standard height for Kalev. He also paid for the construction of the home office attached as the house’s east wing. Now they have the only house in their middle-class neighborhood with a "wing".

 

"I don’t have time for breakfast this morning", said Kalev to the bathroom door.

 

"OK", said the bathroom door. "Continuing what I said about the butler; do they have one? A housekeeper, cook, personal trainer, eyebrow plucker? Any kind of household servant?"

 

"No." Kalev said, "just the gardener."

 

"You did say they live in Verdant Estates, right? Who there does not have a housekeeper? Its not like rich people can clean themselves."

 

"On that note, is your assistant Ernesto coming over today?" said Kalev. Vance’s assistant was a former patient named Ernesto Ramirez that he treated for more than ten years, since he was seven years old. Ernesto was sixteen and in high school when Vance got shot. He started working for Vance as his assistant part time; mostly office work, but he does also cook and clean.

 

"Yes, he is coming over same as always, and his name is Ernie, same as always", said Vance, "and an assistant is not the same thing as a servant! We are middle class, and proud of it!" Vance said from behind the bathroom door. "I love you." said Vance.

 

"Same as always." said Kalev, although it was muffled by the sound of running water.

 

Kalev left to see the house where Frankie the gardener lived.

Frankie Unclaimed

Inspector Tzedek knocked on the door of the group home. It was a house in obvious disrepair, with assorted rusting junk strewn across the weed-infested patchy front lawn. A white man, mid 60's, skinny, in a soiled tank top answered the door. The Inspector flashed his badge, and the man said, "Which one of them was it this time?"

 

"Frankie." The Inspector said, as he looked around the living room. There were four young men sitting on the sofa watching the TV. Two men were in the kitchen. There were noises upstairs indicating even more, all in this small three-bedroom house.

 

"Frankie?" The man said. "Frankie's a good kid, touched in the head, but a gentle giant. If he did anything wrong, he didn't mean it."

 

"When was the last time you saw Frankie?" the Inspector asked.

 

The man stared blankly, and turned to the boys on the sofa. "When was the last time you saw Frankie?"

 

"I don't know, maybe two days ago?" one of them replied.

 

The man scolded them, "He was gone that long and you didn't tell me?"

 

"Is it my job to look after you, or your job to look after us?" said the boy on the sofa.

 

The old man returned his gaze to Tzedek. "I’m sorry Inspector. I don't know where he is."

 

The Inspector turned his attention to the boys. "Has Frankie ever talked about his job?"

 

"Mowing lawns and shit? What's to talk about?"

 

The inspector asked, "The little girl, Desiree Beaufort."

 

The boys were quiet, and looked back and forth at each other.

 

"Look, if you know anything, you need to tell me right now. Both the girl and Frankie are missing, and he is the prime suspect in her kidnapping."

 

"It could be the other way around." said the boy on the end of the sofa. the one next to him elbowed him in the ribs.

 

"What do you mean by that?" asked the Inspector.

 

"Frankie said the whole family creeps him out. The parents act weird, the girl acts weird."

 

The Inspector asked "What do you mean 'weird'?"

 

One of the other boys spoke up. "Last week Frankie ran in the door crying. He said he was afraid they were going to fire him, or send him to prison. I asked why. He said the little girl grabbed his junk."

 

"His junk?"

 

You know, his dick. He fell asleep on a patio chair, and when he woke up, the girl had pulled down his shorts and was playing with it. He screamed, knocked over the chair, and ran home."

 

Another boy interjected. "He ran to the bus stop, then rode the bus, then ran home".

 

"Yeah, whatever." replied the first boy.

 

"Hey, he's a cop. Be clear. he didn't run from rich town to poor town on foot."

 

"OK, well he was afraid they could arrest him for that. I told him they arrest adults for touching kids, not for being touched by a kid. I told him that she would not have even known what it was, or that its wrong, so she will just forget she ever did it. She would probably just remember it as the day she made him jump and run away."

 

"May I see Frankie's room?"

 

One of the boys stood up. "He doesn't have his own room, but I can show you his bed and his junk; I mean his stuff, not his dick."

 

The boy led the Inspector upstairs, to the room on the left of the hallway. It had three bunk beds, allowing for six young men to sleep in a bedroom designed for one child.

 

The boy pointed to one of the lower bunks.

 

"Frankie slept down here, and this is his box."

 

There was a large plastic storage container at the foot of the bed, with what must be all of Frankie's worldly possessions. It had some clothing, some nail clippers, a stuffed bear, and a copy of the velveteen rabbit. There was also a small photo album. It contained photos of him when he was very young, and who the Inspector assumed were his mother and father. From what the other boy said, the Inspector assumed correctly.

 

"That’s his mom and dad. They died when he was eight or so. I think his brain stopped growing then too. They went nuts, left him home alone, drove high up a mountain road, and then right off the edge."

 

The fact that these belongings, both meager and precious, were still here suggests that he was planning on returning; or never really planned to leave. In contrast, the fact that the girl's toy cat was not at home suggested she knew she was leaving.

 

"Thank you." said Inspector Tzedek. "I think I have what I came for." He returned home, only to receive a call late that night.

Desiree Beaufort

It was 2:00 AM, and two police cars, with their sirens and lights off, pulled into the Caupona Hotel off of the highway. Inspector Kalev Tzedek pulled up less than a minute later.

 

The motel owner recognized Desiree from the news reports and notified the police.

 

The officers approached the room, quietly. Each room had only one way in or out, the front door. They heard a girl screaming from inside. She yelled "He's got a gun! Save me!"

 

The police knocked down the door. Desiree was on the floor, crying. Frankie was standing over her, holding a gun. He stared waving it around, frantically.

 

"Put the gun down now! Put the gun down now!"

 

Frankie extended his arms, with the gun pointed at one of the officers. Both officers fired. Frankie died on the scene.

 

Desiree quickly got up and ran to the first police officer. When she saw Inspector Kalev, she ran to him instead, hugged his leg, and asked him to take her home.

 

They walked to his car together. Desiree stood in front of the back door, waiting for the Inspector to open it for her. He did, and then she extended her hand for him to hold it as she entered the car, sat, smoothed out her dress, and smiled at the Inspector. He then closed the door and returned to the driver's side and got in. During the whole ride, the girl was smiling and swinging her feet. She was kidnapped, and then witnessed her kidnapper shot right in front of her, but now she was smiling and humming a little tune to herself.

 

Whenever the Inspector glanced into the rearview mirror, instantly she glanced back. She was like that, smiling and humming, the whole way back home.

 

Inspector Tzedek pulled into the Beaufort driveway and got out of the car. Desiree sat there, waiting for him to walk around and open the car door for her. She then extended her hand, so he could hold it as she stepped out of the car.

 

She walked right up to the door, with the Inspector walking two steps behind. She rang the bell. Mrs. Beaufort answered.

 

Desiree said, "Hi Mommy!" in a sweet perky voice.

 

At first Mrs. Beaufort's face was pale with shock. Then she noticed Inspector Tzedek behind her daughter, so she smiled, picked up Desiree and hugged her. Desiree seemed to whisper something to her that the Inspector could not hear.

 

Mrs. Beaufort put her down nervously.

 

"Thank you so much Inspector. We will be glad to pay the bill as soon as it arrives. Thank you." She retreated back inside and closed the door.

 

Odd, the Inspector thought to himself. No invitation for Mint Juleps on the veranda? Not that he felt an emotional need to come inside, but usually parents would feel celebratory and wish to know the details of what transpired.

 

Inspector Tzedek returned to the Beaufort home the next morning to have them sign off on the completion of the case. McNair needs an official sign off to begin the billing process. Normally McNair does this himself, but Tzedek wanted to return to the Beaufort home because he felt deep in his gut that something was off.

 

He pulled into the Beaufort's driveway and parked his car. He walked up to the front door and was going to ring the bell when he noticed the door was unlocked and slightly open. He drew his gun and slowly entered the front door.

 

"This is Inspector Kalev Tzedek, Sonoma PD. Anyone in this house drop all weapons and identify yourself."

 

He walked from the front hallway to the living room. The lights were all on. Mrs. Beaufort was lying on the living room floor. Her throat was slit, and blood was pooled all around her head. Inspector Tzedek does not have the education of a CSI, but from his experience, she looked like she was dead only a few hours.

 

He continued walking down the side hallway. Mr. Beaufort was there, in a pile on the floor at the base of the stairs, covered in his own blood, slit across the throat so severely that his head was barely attached.

 

Inspector Tzedek called it in and then proceeded up the stairs. He entered Desiree's bedroom. There was a large circle painted on the floor, around her princess canopy bed. The circle appeared to be painted in blood. There was a series of letter-like symbols both inside and outside the circle. There were leather restraints attached to the bed. Those were not even the most notable additions to the decor; there were two more dead bodies. One lying on the floor in front of the bed, the other still sitting on an adult-sized office chair at her child size desk.

 

The one on the floor was a white man in his early 60's, and the one in the chair was a black man in his late 30's. Both of them were dressed as priests, in long blue tunics. Both of them were gutted, with their intestines lying in a lump in front of them, like they were pulled out.

 

The Inspector stepped over the older priest to approach the desk. On it were some old leather-bound volumes, with names like "The Book of Soyga", "Rituale Romanum", and "De Occulta Philosophia". There were also drawings of the circle.

 

The Inspector examined the bodies. No money, no driver's licenses. They each only had a single plastic card, with a solid blue background. On the front of the card was just a simple logo; the optical illusion of two faces and a goblet, with the word "Chalice" underneath. The back of each had a magnetic strip, a computer chip, a number on it like a credit card, and their names; Rosen and Guilden. Kalev took the cards.

 

The Inspector noticed there are security cameras on the ceiling of the child's room. There was no monitor for viewing the video, so that must be somewhere else. He returned downstairs, just as two police officers, some EMTs and a CSI arrived at the house.

 

"There are two more bodies in the child's bedroom. Priests. And a whole setup right out of a horror movie."

 

The Inspector recognized the CSI from when this case began, and realized she would know the layout of the house.

 

"Do you know where the security room is?"

 

The CSI nodded, and walked him down the hall. They went into a small room with a desk, a computer, and an array of monitors. The CSI sat down at the computer, turned it on, and worked the controls. "What time, and what room?" she asked.

 

"The child's room, a few hours before we got here. I guess about six a.m."

 

The monitors showed the two priests performing what appeared to be an exorcism ritual on the girl while she was bound in the bed. They were chanting while walking around the outer perimeter of the circle and splashing her with water. As they walked the elder priest misstepped, his foot crossing the circle, and he fell towards the bed. The girl used this as an opportunity to act. She had a large knife hidden on the bed under her. Her restraints were already cut, she was just pretending to be held down. She jumped on the elder priest, slicing his abdomen open with one stroke, and began tossing his internal organs about like she was eagerly tearing the wrapping paper off of a birthday present.

 

The younger priest at first sat there in shock, and then tried to douse her with his holy water. She knocked it out of his hand, and disemboweled him as easily as she did the older man.

 

She then left the bedroom, with her face, arms, and little lace pinafore covered in blood.

 

The CSI was trying to absorb what she just saw.

 

Kalev needed her to regain her focus. "Hey; switch to the other cameras. Follow her."

 

The hall camera showed Desiree walking down the hallway calmly, with blood dripping from her knife. She headed down stairs, and the CSI switched cameras to the one at the foot of the stairway.

 

Her father was standing there. There was no audio, but he appeared to be pleading with her. He then started to turn and run away. She leaped like a panther, and slit his throat with her knife. As with the priests, she did not stop there; she reached inside the wound and pulled out the esophagus, trachea, and voice box. She walked to the living room and dispatched her mother just as quickly and efficiently. She had no hesitation as she gutted her. There were no wavering doubts detectable about killing her parents. Nothing in her demeanor even slightly suggested these were anything but precise, planned actions.

 

But why gut them? Kalev asked himself. It seemed to be literal overkill.

 

She then washed up in the kitchen. She showed no emotion over what she had just done. She just looked like a little girl, washing her hands and face.

 

She returned to the living room and gave her mother a small kick as if to make sure she was dead. She looked right up into the camera. She waved, and drew her index finger across her neck, and then pointed at us, through the camera.

 

She then pranced down the hall, to a small room. The security camera room. This room. In that instant, the CSI blurted, and fell to the ground, her throat cut, then Desiree jumped at Kalev. Luckily, he still had his gun in his hand, index finger on the trigger the whole time. He had not holstered it even after the officers arrived, almost as if he knew this might happen. He shot her, point blank in the head at incredibly close range. She fell to the ground. She had a bizarre twisted smile on her face with wide open bloodshot eyes. Her right hand remained clenched around the hilt of the blade.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

My name is Nick Lilavois, and I had this book inside me fighting to get out for many decades. Now that it has ripped its way out of me, I hope it digs into you and makes itself at home there.

Q. This book is part of a series, tell us about your series.
A.
Detective Kalev Tzedek and his partner Professor Reynard Cadno-Lowrie will investigate assorted paranormal occurrences involving purple-eyed people, secret societies, fairies, and aliens for the Illuminati; all while figuring out if they hate each other or love each other.
Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
Conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and other secret societies, myths of ancient aliens, Tarot card symbolism, myths of fairies and elves, and the desire to combine them all in one world with LGBT characters, specifically a gay detective and an omnisexual professor as central characters.
Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A.
One is Anekantavada, which means the same thing can be seen differently by different people, such as the blind men and the elephant. The second is the Butterfly Effect. Actions have an impact on others including unforseen consequences, through a deterministic chain of events.

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