Deleted Scene 3

This deleted scene is really just in rough draft. Detective Eccheli is at the morgue and Dr. Hayes has had a vehicle accident which delayed the autopsy. Again, it may or may not be used in a future novel.

Truth to be told, Eccheli was more than a little nervous around Gideon Hayes.

The doctor bore scars on his knuckles from his weekend obsession, boxing. Though fat, he was quick and many had found themselves flat on the mat wondering who they’d gotten there. Rumore had it, hayes also was a star in the bare knuckles games, too, his fury often erupting into a blinding rage.

Most people in the know believed he was trying to exorcise demons from when he was in the army and sniper skinny.

Everyone avoided him and he seemed to prefer it that way. He’d even painted a line on the autopsy room floor, behind which the viewing police officers were to stand until beckoned forward to be shown something.

It was here that Eccheli patiently waited while Hayes spoke in a monotone into the ceiling-mounted recorder. His new assistant, the fourth of that year, quietly buzzed around him like a fly, fetching items called for by his elephantine boss.

Blaisdale’s body lay naked in the center of the room while Hayes prepared the neck wound for viewing, hampered by a cast on his right wrist.

The doctor paused in his monotone, glanced at Eccheli and said, “I’ve hung the photos of those cuts done by the Slayer for comparison, but first you may approach the table.” He sniffed.

Just like royalty. Eccheli ground his jaw together, and then moved to where indicated.

Hayes picked up a pointer with his good hand. “I will be speaking in layman’s terms, so you will understand. As you can see by comparing the wound with that of the Slayer, it exhibits a certain amount of similarity on the initial inspection. Note the initial angle, the halt and dip following, and the upward curve. They are the same in all these cases. This is the work of the Silver Slayer. However, this wound presents some interesting aspects which differ distinctly from those of the other killings.”

He moved the tip of the pointed back and forth over the cut. “The length, for one. By itself, this indicates a certainty within the killer. He wanted this man dead. Certainly this is in part from a natural progression from hesitant beginner to practiced killer. However, this is a radical step up from his last victim, the wound increasing exponentially in size from the last victim.”

He inserted the tip of the pointer straight down into the cut. “The depth is the telling point. You may come in for a closer look.”

Eccheli bit back the rising sarcasm and obediently leaned in.

The smell of death is unmistakable, no matter how the killing. Eccheli had learned this over many years on the force. It was like the unstopping of a bottle. That was the closest description he could give it. With the vital force gone, all that’s left is the decay. Blaisdale’s body was fresher than most, so the decay was at a minimum, still, the odor of absent-vital-force remained.

The lips of the wound were pulled back and he could see the tip of Hayes’s pointer resting against the back of the throat. The trailing end of the cut was also deep, shearing through white ribs of cartilage and thick cords of muscle. The sliced ends of veins hung free.

He nodded, unsure of what Hayes wanted him to say. “Deep.”

“The tip of the killer’s blade, in fact, cut into the front of the spine.”

Eccheli nodded again, as he knew he should, but for the life of him he couldn’t piece the puzzle together. It seemed it should be obvious to him.

Hayes said, “The depth and the length coupled together are seen in crimes of passion. Basically –”

“He cared about this one. It was personal.” A hot, red flash of excitement raced through Eccheli. This was how they were going to catch the Silver Slayer. Through this body. He knew it.

Hayes stared at him for a long moment, anger at the rude interruption clear on his face.

Eccheli’s excitement wouldn’t let him shut up, though he risked alienating the doctor even more. “We know from the video that he knew this man. But it was more than that. He felt he’d been done wrong by him.” He bobbed his head, lost in the trail of his thoughts. He turned to leave, without being told they were finished, and flipped his hand in a goodbye.

Then he remembered Hayes. Or more specifically, his station. He had to smooth this over or he was sunk for the forseeable future.

He turned back at the door to discover the medical examiner still standing where he’d left him, staring with ice cold eyes. He took a step back into the room. “I’m sorry for your accident. How’s the wrist? Will it be all right? Do you need anything?”

Hayes took his time responding. Then he said, “Thank you for your concern. It will mend.” He sniffed and returned to his work.

Minor Change to On The Sly

Made another change to On The Sly. Yes, it’s really going to be done soon. I promise.

It’s just that there was too much happening on the last two days. In real life, you and I know that scary crazy hectic days happen. But fiction is larger than life, so sometimes it needs to be toned down a bit.

Took two days and split it into three. That’s all. Fixing the repercussions now.

Coming along nicely.

I’ll have another deleted scene posted later this week.


Deleted Scene 2

Warning, this isn’t for minor consumption. It may or may not end up in another book.

A hush swelled in the dark halls of the nursing home as if holding its breath. A dark shadow tiptoed soft as a mouse’s breath down the hall. In the third room on the right, an old woman snored. She had been a big woman in her youth: tall, strong, statuesque. Not so much now.

Lee Garett slipped into the room, a dark shadow, and leaned over the bed waiting for something he didn’t quite understand yet. Still, the patient snored, unknowing she was being visited by Death, itself.

When the fullness of time was reached, the dark figure placed the tip of his knife against the woman’s throat and pushed it in, pulling to the side. It didn’t go smoothly, like he thought it would. In fact, the patient woke and began thrashing, trying to push Death’s hand away, trying to break free. He had to use both hands to saw back and forth on the thick cartilage while pushing her hands away with his elbows. Blood pulsed everywhere.

Garett stared into the eyes of the dying woman. Watched as the spark faded off. Like a computer, actually.

He smiled at that.

He’d been testing for the weapon to use and decided the knife was the right way to go. It made the killing a personal way of introduction. He liked the heat of the blood flowing over his hands, the feel of the knife working through muscle, sinew, and cartilage, and the smell of slow death that filled the room.

He took his tools from his fanny bag and cleaned the woman’s fingernails. Next, he used his magnifying glass to inspect the bed clothes and nightdress for any tiny trace that might have worked loose from his body: hair, eyelash, fingernail, dermal residue.  He could change his appearance, even his fingerprints, basically become a new person, but he couldn’t change his DNA.

When finished, he surveyed the neck wound critically. More practice was needed. His final destination was big and not bed bound. Next up would be a moving target.

Deleted Scene

This is one of the scenes I cut from my novel in progress. It may or may not end up in another book. Or maybe even back in this book later. But not by my own decision (read editor or publisher demands here). This was from very early in the book. Enjoy.

“You going to eat those?”

Nick Eccheli glanced away from the traffic that streamed on either side of the park to his wife. She pointed at the remains of his french fries. He shook his head. She snatched up the fries, two at a time, and crammed them into her mouth. Never enough time for lunch. After every bite, she paused to lick the salt off her dark, elegant fingers.

He smiled, studying her. Her father was Italian and her mother, a stunning woman in her own right, was African American. Their only daughter had inherited the best of both races: wide, high cheekbones, moist dark skin, thick sweeping eyelashes, and eyes to rival the luster of black pearls. He let his gaze rove her smooth muscular skin and fine cheekbones. It was fitting her parents had named her Cleopatra, shortened to Chloe. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He’d been in love with her since the moment they’d met.

They were sitting under the trees on the beautiful Memorial Plaza, with fountains, benches, and statues. Chestnut street was on the other side of that, effectively making the Plaza an island between the two thoroughfares. On the south of Market were such landmark buildings as Union Station, the Enterprise Center, and the old City Hall. Market’s east end culminated at the Arch and the Old Courthouse. Much of downtown had been built to work in concert with those two historic markers to create a memorable beauty; high curved arches, stepped domes, and mirrored glass were everywhere.

The sun boiled heat down around them, but there in the shade was a breeze like a blessing from above. The trees and grass in the background were all in opulent shades of green swimming in heat waves. For a moment, it was as if they were on a tropical island, instead of in the middle of a Midwestern city. Someone nearby was even playing reggae. Perhaps he’d take his wife on a tropical vacation. It had been a long time since they’d done anything like that.

“What?” She asked, her intelligent eyes now onyx black under the shade of her furrowed brow.

He shook his head and smiled. “Nothing. Just admiring the beauty.”

She hissed through her teeth at him, but blushed and grinned. Then, she was all business. “Any news on the jogger?”

The jogger, who had also been a stunning African American, had been found near Forest Park in the early hours near dawn a couple weeks ago. She’d been the victim of a stabbing frenzy. He said, “Nobody saw anything. No leads. Nothing in the system. Still a Jane Doe. Nothing in missing persons. I’ve got a sketch going on the news.”

A car horn blared on the north side of the plaza, followed quickly by the squeal of brakes and more horns from various vehicles. Both Eccheli and his wife whipped their attention to the scene. They even stood to try to get a better view. A red SUV was stopped in the middle of the street. The angry driver yelled out the window at a yellow VW bug that had apparently pulled out of its parking space right in front of him. It didn’t look to be a fender bender and the traffic picked up again.

Eccheli and his wife sat again. She said, “Someone’s bound to recognize her.”

He nodded. “Let’s hope so.”

“Anything else exciting?”

“Couple shootings.”

“Nothing new. Too many of those these days,” she said. Missouri had relaxed the gun laws a few years ago, and the shooting rate had nearly doubled overnight. Now St. Louis was steadily climbing toward becoming the murder capital of the nation. The current city mayor was lobbying to reinstate the gun laws, but hadn’t had any success yet.

His phone chimed. He’d taken off his suit jacket and had to lean over to fetch it from behind his wife. It was all folded wrong, shoved into a pile when the shade hadn’t been enough and she’d decided to move to the other side of him, where he’d laid the jacket. He rifled through it to find the inner pocket, took out the phone, listened a moment, and then put it away again.

Eccheli stood. “Body at Smugglers. Gotta go.”

“Is that the cop bar down the street?”

He nodded slowly, watching her. Calculating what her next words might be.

She held his gaze a moment, and then shrugged. “It might not be a cop.”

“Probably not. The desk sergeant said it sounded like a robbery gone bad.”

She stood, picked up their sandwich leavings and walked to dump them in the trash. Returning, she said, “I’ll be at my desk if I’m needed.”

He walked her across the street to her car, amidst the brief beeps of cars. They pecked a goodbye, and she glanced over her shoulder at him and winked just before she drove away. With a deep sigh at the interruption of their lunch, he turned for his own car half a block away.

Maybe they’d go to Fiji this winter. Or the Bahamas.

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