Authors: Rayven T. Hill
Tags: #Mystery, #Thriller, #Suspense
When sixteen-year-old Jenny James goes missing, and the local police are unable to find her, the girl's frantic mother hires private investigators Jake and Annie Lincoln to search for her daughter.
When the body of Jenny's boyfriend is discovered, the mystery of her disappearance deepens. Shaken out of their comfort zone of Internet searches and poring over public records, the couple soon find themselves facing the frightening possibility they are looking for the latest victim of a serial killer.
As more bodies pile up, the town is gripped with fear. It seems no one is safe, and the Lincolns race to solve an impossible puzzle before they become the killer's next victims.
BLOOD and JUSTICE
Rayven T. Hill
Ray of Joy Publishing
Thanks to Merry Jones for her hours of editing and proofreading. Many thanks to my beta readers, whose comments, suggestions, and insight, have helped streamline this story and smooth out a few bumps. And not least, thanks to my wife for her patience. (1031)
Even though this book has been thoroughly edited, typos or factual errors may have been missed. Please eMail me if you find any errors.
Personal Justice (Coming Next)
Table of Contents
Eight Years Ago
THE REASON his plan was so good was because it was so simple. He was counting on one fact. Joey was stupid. Not really stupid like, stupid stupid, just dumb.
When Jeremy had told Joey he’d found a hidden cache of money and jewels in the woods, probably hidden there by a robber of some kind, Joey was dumb enough to believe him.
He laughed out loud at the thought.
He looked down, aimed his father’s old H&R 22-caliber revolver and took another shot, this time in the head. The boy on the ground stopped his pathetic whining, crying and pleading and remained silent and still.
The deed was done; someone had to take care of this. He knew no one else would understand. Certainly not his mother, or the police, but Jeremy knew all too well it had been necessary.
Shoving the weapon in his belt Jeremy Spencer looked around. Except for a couple of birds breaking the stillness, the forest was dim and quiet.
He crouched down and examined the body. The first bullet had entered his stomach. The blood had flowed from the wound and darkened the hue of the already red and brown autumn leaves beneath the fresh corpse.
The second bullet entered just below Joey’s left eye. Blood had trickled down, following the path of his cheekbone, and then to his neck, and finally dripped like dew onto the forest floor.
Drip, drip, drip.
He reached out and with his finger, touched the wound beneath Joey’s eye. It felt warm. He looked at the crimson on his finger and gently touched it to his tongue. It tasted sweet and thick. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back. The taste of the blood on his tongue somehow made him feel pure, whole and righteous.
He was filled with a feeling of euphoria, breathing rapidly, his heart racing, excited. He knew at that moment, what he’d done was fully justified.
He remained still for several minutes, contemplating. He thought about his father. Father would approve.
Finally, he stood, straightened his back and took a deep breath. He bent over and grabbing the bloody corpse by the leg he dragged it to the hole he’d previously prepared. A fierce shove with his foot sent the body tumbling over, and then down, finally landing with a thud at the bottom of the waiting grave. He picked up the shovel and set about filling in the hole.
He labored for some time, humming to himself as he worked. Finally, he tossed the last shovel full of dirt, covered the area with twigs, branches, and dead leaves, and stood back.
“That should do it,” he said aloud.
He contemplated a moment longer, and then resting the shovel on his shoulder, he turned and hurried for home.
He was expected to be there by five o’clock. Best not keep his mother waiting.
Sunday, August 7th, 6:00 PM, Now
JAKE DRAGGED another piece of piping hot apple pie onto his plate. His wife was the best cook he’d ever known.
“Next time honey, I’d appreciate if you would let me do the talking. Especially with something so sensitive.”
Jake looked at his wife. “Sorry,” he said, barely intelligible through his bulging mouth.
His wife was right of course. He’d almost bungled their last task, as simple as it was. They were hired to find a man’s missing son. No problem there. A few minutes online, and it was done. But going off half-cocked, Jake had made a call and demanded he contact his father. The boy almost hung up on him, and it was only when the more sympathetic Annie got involved, that she was able to convince the boy to contact his father. There was ultimately a satisfactory outcome for all.
“Well, no harm done,” she said, with a smile that made Jake wilt. She knew how to tell him off without making him feel too bad. She knew he was a bit impetuous. Sometimes that was good, sometimes not so good.
“I’ll let you handle things like that next time.”
Jake helped Annie clean up the table and put the dishes in the sink. He sighed. “It’s been awhile since we had a real case,” he said. “I’m tired of barely making ends meet.”
“We’re doing ok. Just let me handle the finances.”
Jake grunted. She was better at that too. She was better at a lot of things than him. What would he ever do without her? He took a sideways look at his wife. At just over five feet four inches, she was still about the prettiest thing he’d ever seen. Her mid-length golden hair, and the trim figure she’d kept all the years since he’d known her, made his heart melt and his spirit soar. No wonder he thought the world of her. She was his motivating force.
The phone jangling on the counter interrupted his thoughts. Jake leaned back in his chair and scooped it up. “Lincoln Investigations. This is Jake.” Silence for a few moments. “Yeah, hold on Chrissy. She’s right here.” Jake handed the phone to Annie.
“Hi Chrissy, how’s everything?”
Annie and Chrissy had been friends forever. Seems like they were always yakking, Jake thought as he wandered into the living room. Grabbing the remote, he switched on the TV. Just some stupid sitcom. He flicked through the channels, eventually gave up, and flicked it off again. He tossed the remote back where he found it, and stretched out on the couch.
A rocket the size of an eight-year-old boy suddenly landed on his chest. The rocket’s name was Matty, a bundle of energy, and ready to wrestle his father into submission. The battle soon took to the floor, but before long Jake surrendered, pinned down, and seemingly helpless.
From the kitchen came a warning, “Don’t you guys break anything in there.”
Annie finished cleaning up in the kitchen, went to the makeshift office, and dropped into the swivel chair behind the desk. The office, formerly an unused bedroom, was sparse. A couple of bookcases lined one wall, filled with read and unread novels, several books on law, a few that looked like manuals of some sort, and a row of rarely used and obsolete encyclopedias. A few prints hanging on the wall and a well-worn carpet completed the look.
She opened the top drawer of the desk they’d rescued from the thrift store and pulled out the accounting ledger. Jake was right. Money was a bit tight. That new camera equipment had set them back a bit, but it had been useful when they were hired to evaluate the honesty of a department store employee by posing as a customer. The camera had caught him red-handed in the act of loading some expensive computer equipment into a waiting van.
Lincoln Investigations had only existed a few months, and Annie realized it would take some time to land steady business. The ad in the Richmond Hill Daily Times was pulling in a few clients, and Annie was confident in the future of their agency.
Prior to starting their current undertaking, Annie had been doing part time work as a research assistant for a fortune 500 firm. The crunch came when Jake had been let go from his job as a construction engineer at one of Canada’s largest land developers, due to downsizing. But now, starting as a freelance researcher, and then moving full-time into a detective agency, things were looking up.