Authors: Mike Sullivan
Tags: #9781615729852, #Damnation Books, #dark, #suspense, #dead, #girl, #beach, #Mike Sullivan, #Exotic, #Thailand. Gruesome, #needlefish, #love, #story, #contrast, #conflict, #worlds, #lifestyles, #Hong Kong, #mafia, #Contract killing, #Corruption, #crooked cops, #Strange, #female, #serial killer, #Eerie, #chilling, #murders, #tropical, #island, #paradise
Damnation Books, LLC.
P.O. Box 3931
Santa Rosa, CA 95402-9998
Dead Girl Beach
Book 1 of the Sam Seabury Series
by Mike Sullivan
Print ISBN: 978-1-61572-986-9
Cover art by: DawnÃ© Dominique
Edited by: Juanita Kees
Copyright 2013 Mike Sullivan
Printed in the United States of America
Worldwide Electronic & Digital Rights
Worldwide English Language Print Rights
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any form, including digital and electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written consent of the Publisher, except for brief quotes for use in reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Dead Girl BeachÂ
and Mike Sullivan
“I liked the book. It was intense and scary. I want to read more Seabury novels.”
âNujoy Promsorn.â¦Bangkok, Thailand
“ A haunting cover. An intense, action packed, suspense story.
“Sam Seabury is a fresh new face on the international thriller scene. “
“I can't wait for the book to reach movieland.”
âGladys Thurman/ Philippines
“A clever, pulse-pounding yarn about a type of fish more dangerous than sharks.”
âDee Dee Rayfield/ California USA
Sothara:Â Thanks for your love and patience.Â
To the staff at Damnation/Eternal Books. You are too numerous to mention, but you know who you are, and I would like to thank you.
Kontee, Thailand, June 2012
The blonde woman stood without moving. She couldn't keep her eyes off the tall girl, the one who teased her friend. The two American backpackers, both in their early twenties, had stopped along a hiking trail two miles north of the beach at Kontee.
The woman stood silently. She was no amateur. She knew what she was doing. Not a native Thai or a tribal villager, she was nonetheless at home in the jungle forest. She was familiar with hidden trails, steep mountains, and rugged coastal wetlands. She knew the forest's dark secrets, past mysteries, lies, and cover-ups.
Very soon, she would leap out, using her size to intimidate and capture them. She stared straight ahead, her body erect, tenseâset in the sleek, predatory pose of a female jaguar. Laughter echoed in her head.
I'm coming soon
. She grinned, not moving, barely breathing, nowâ¦watchingâ¦waiting.
The taller of the girls pointed to the sign. “Of course the creature unnerves me, but why let it bother you? We're not going anywhere near it.”
“Unnerves?” the shorter girl fired back. “That's a pretty weak word. It's a question of levels of fear. I'm not a timid person, but this thing scares the pants off me. I get the willies just looking at it.”
The creature loomed from the middle of the sign.
“I see what you mean,” her friend finally admitted. She wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “Yuck, it's gross and slimy. Look at that eyeâthe way it's staringâand the black, squiggly spot in the middle of the head. My God, that fish is scary. It looks absolutely
The silvery blue devil was half the size of a barracuda and just as dangerous and ferocious looking. Its long, narrow head fused into a single, lethal, steel-tipped beak. Inside the beak were sharp, razor-like teeth. The creature's profile, framed inside a dark circle, had a warning scrawled below in bright red letters.
DANGER! AVOID THIS FISH!
The fish took up half the sign, and its dull, dead eye stared straight through them.
The two girls exchanged glances and stepped back. The small one, hunched over and still shivering, said, “Wow! I wouldn't be caught dead in the water with that thing.”
“That says it all,” the tall one said.
“What d'you mean?”
“You'd be dead instantlyâthat's what I mean. So, let's play it smart. We avoid the lagoon altogether. Agreed?”
The short girl nodded.
“Come on.” Her companion turned away. “Let's get out of here.”
They hiked a steady descent on the trail in and climbed up to the top of a steep hill. Their shadows rippled through the narrow bands of sunlight slanting across tall stands of white pine, bamboo, and tamarind bordering the trail as they made their way down the other side.
At the edge of the forest, the blonde woman continued to jog along the deer trail, heading their way. Her brisk footsteps in the underbrushâcushioned by a soundless strideâpowered her along. She kept a low, military crouch and scurried across the ground. Tangled vines and thick, thorny bushes caught at the denim legs of her jeans. They bristled and cracked as she raced ahead, barely breathing hard and focused on her quarry. In a sustained burst of energy, she kept going. A wicked, blue light glinted like a jagged star in the center of her wild, oversized eyes.
“What the heck?” The tall girl stopped on the trail and looked straight ahead. A handgun appeared through the bush a few feet in front of her.
“Stop,” the husky voice commanded, and the girls froze, terror alive in their eyes.
With a 9 millimeter Beretta in her hand, the blonde woman stepped from the shadows in two quick strides and stood in front of the girls. She leaned forward. Her rangy, Amazonian figure towered over them in the frightening pose of a large river crane.
“Down there, to the lagoon.”
She switched the gun back and forth at their backsâgetting them out of the woods, onto the beach below, and up to the edge of a small, circular lagoon.
“Hey.” A hulking, bald brute moved out from shadows of the trees. “Good huntin', Greta.”
She ignored him and told the girls to undress. The man eyed their slim, naked bodies hungrily as their clothes came off. He tied their hands behind their backs and strapped each girl to a separate tree. He worked feverishly, his eyes narrowed and crazed, with saliva dripping down the sides of his mouth.
“Don't get no crazy ideas until I say it's time, hear?” The blonde woman warned the guy and for emphasis stuck the gun in his face.
He backed off like an aging mongrel dog, stood to the side, and watched while the blonde woman blindfolded the girls. They were sobbing, begging for their lives, and shaking in terror. She put a thick layer of red lipstick over their mouths and kissed them hard, laughing out loud as each girl struggled wildly to avoid her.
She let the man go to work. He drove his swollen member up inside each girl, rushing back and forth between them in a heated surge of grunts and spasms. Eyes rolling back in his large head, his hips rocked back and forth, and his big body shook and shivered inside the tiny backpacker. Loud, guttural sounds sprang from his lungs. He arched, sputtered, and screamed out loud as he moved toward a howling orgasm that shattered the late afternoon silence and sent birds winging from the trees.
The woman got out the bleach. She sponged and swabbed each girl inside and out. Finished, she ordered the man over and watched the girls thrash and scream. His knife blade glinted in the sunlight. The man smiled evilly and allowed the Bowie knife with its sharp razor edge to work its brutal magic.
In a tiny compartment inside the cooler next to their tent, the woman found the garish creaturesâtwo silvery blue needlefish, well preserved in their icy home. She got them out and strolled over. Wearing latex gloves, she plunged the fish's long, steel-tipped beaks through the right eye of each dead girl. Grinning, she stepped back next to the man and admired her work. The gruesome crime signature would disturb and baffle the police on the island for months to come.
A bolt of fiendish laughter tore from her lungs and vanished into the trees. A while later, she powered her outboard into the lagoon, and with the man's help, they dumped the bodies overboard.
On a moonlit night, five months later on the deserted lagoon, Greta Langer stared through the murky darkness at the girl. She spoke from the shadows of the outboard in a low, chilling whisper laced with the fumes of two cold beers consumed earlier. “Can you hear me?”
“Okay. Listen. I need to retie you.”
“Let me goâ¦please,” the girl begged.
“I told you to stop, didn't I?”
The girl sniffled. Her face was dirty with tear tracks etching her cheeks.
“Please, I won't tell anyone. Honest.”
The girl's voice came from a distant placeâa bleak, insignificant murmur that Greta Langer heard but chose to ignore. The dark force was there, now. Dominant. Overpowering. It rose from the embers of a dying fire and sprang to life in the blistering heat of her remorseless heart. The need to kill again consumed her. She stood back and watched the girl. Dao Suttikul, a slender Thai office manager with daunting cheekbones and the eyes of a startled bird, drooped over in a cocoon of sagging rope and struggled on the outboard's hard, wooden seat.
Greta came closer, shaking her head. “I've miscalculated.” She rubbed her firm, square jaw and thought for a moment. “Hmmm, I knew it.” She swished a finger in the air. “You need to be propped up. You can't be falling over.”
In the silence and darkness of the boat, Greta realized her mistake. She should have fastened rope across the width of the boat to suspend Dao's upper body in the air instead of tying rope around the waist of her frilly, red sundress and lashing her to the seat. Now, she leaned to the sideâdammitâand kept falling over.
Moving quickly into a sprig of moonlight that layered the boat, she left the cocoon of rope in place and looped two new strands around Dao's chest. She poked the loose ends through eyehooks on each side of the boat and then jerked back hard on the rope until Dao's frail, listless body, strung up in a taut bowstring one inch above the seat. Next, cinching her waist front and back, Greta pulled the loose ends through metal sprockets on the floor of the boat until Dao was sitting straight up in the middle of the seat.
Finished, Greta wiped her brow on the back of her hand and sighed. “There. That'll do âer.” The slow, easy drawl of east Texas filtered through her words. The heat, the bright night filled with billions of glittering stars, swirled around her.
More soundsâwaves splashing, fish feeding, the winged flight of bats overhead, and “Humph, humph, humph!” Grunting noises. Dao squirmed, twisting back and forth, up and down, side-to-side, tethered to the seat.
“You're not getting looseânot this time. So, stop trying.'” Greta shrugged. “Besides, I've got work to do. I can't be worried âbout you. Better be good or else.” She pointed to Dao's broken nose leaking blood and the huckleberry-colored bruise above her left eye. “Want more of that? Huh, lady?”
Ignoring her, Dao kept on trying to break free. Greta Langer decided against pummeling her again and instead rummaged through a rucksack at the bottom of the boat. A large Pelican lantern, laid on top of her other junk, came out first. She went back for masking tape, which she brought out, tore into long, uneven pieces, and stuck them to the edge of the seat. She rushed around getting ready. There wasn't much time.
Dao, in a scarecrow pose, watched her. Gasping, she pulled air into her lungs. The wet, coppery taste of blood soured her mouth. Gagging, she lunged forward, every fiber of her tired body wrestling to get free.
At the front of the boat now, Greta switched on the lantern. As she swung the light back and forth across the water in a night watchman's slow-moving arch, she lifted her head and sniffed the air.
“Arrowsâthat's what's coming.” She turned back to Dao. “You'll see.”
Greta began to cackle. The sound rumbled out of her lungs and rolled back into the night with the same spine-chilling glee of someone diagnosed as criminally insane. Dao cringed in fear and looked on, her body shocked and shivering. When Greta came over moments later, Dao had stopped struggling.
“Better.” She cracked a smile. “You can't get away, so it's no use trying.”
Moving like a cat burglar through an unlocked door, Greta darted back to the front of the boat and searched the distance. Gradually, bits and pieces of the reef appeared in her vision. Moonlight hugged the jagged edges of black, volcanic rock silhouetted against a charcoal sky. Below her, a pool of bright light flooded the dark water and rippled across the surface where the fish were feeding.
Greta Langer knew she was in Heaven. God damn it, she knew it. Light on the water attracted fish, and the needlefish would come and kill the girl. It was an entirely new creative twist on how to commit murder. She'd discovered it after she grew tired of bondage and having her husband kill the girls with his deadly Bowie knife. You had to be innovative or else run the risk of getting bored, bored, bored when you killed somebody. Everyone had their strange little quirks, and she had hers.
All around her now, the water carried the scent of death. Dark, grotesque shapes swam below her. White, frothy foam carrying dirt, twigs, and specks of black insect larva swirled by. Further out, wide circles of water churned and bubbled below the surface from a fierce undercurrent.
Putting the lantern down, Greta slipped into the back seat of the outboard. She powered around the undertow to a calmer place, cut the engine, and let the boat drift to within fifty yards of the reef. It was necessary to keep the bow angled forward at that distance for the operation to be successful. As she stared ahead, she noticed Dao's shoulders had slumped forward, but she was still sitting straight up in the seat.
Hurrying toward the front of the boat, Greta picked up the lantern. Using the wide pieces of masking tape, she fused the lantern's bulky bottom to the front seat near the bow. Working quickly, she strung the tape up one side of the lantern and down the other. Stiff fingers worked hard, pressing and poking along the seat. Flat hands rubbed the tape onto the wood. At last, the lantern stood firmly in place. Wind blew across the water.
A restless expectation seized Greta's heart. It buoyed her, pumped her up. Blood coursed through her veins, and a wicked light glinted in her eyes. The girl was no longer moving. The lantern spread a pool of light over the water. Everything was ready.
Across the lagoon, Greta saw the fish turn. Thousands of them streaked across the water and leapt above the surface, attracted by the light. A dark, ominous wall of steel-tipped arrows hurled toward them in the fierce, audible roar of a violent storm. They swept forward in a wild, restless fury, getting closer and closer. Greta clamped swimming goggles over her eyes and wiggled into a heavy, winter coat. Satisfied, she dropped below into the belly of the boat and waited for the needlefish. Greta listened. Arrows struck the boat.
One month after Dao Suttikul went missing, the obituary notice read:
Dao âJip' Suttikul. Tragically taken from us much too early in life, on 11/ 08/ 12. The late Dao Suttikul, Chumphon, beautiful, and loving daughter of Apirak and Amporn, sister of Boy and Pom. You gone before we have chance to say goodbye. Find peace and happiness in your new home in Heaven. We miss you so muchâKoh Phangan Island Gazette, Thailand