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When a small town sheriff's wife is found murdered in their home a town is torn apart. But when all the evidence puts the Sheriff himself on the top of the suspect list he vows revenge and swears he will find the real killer. After eight long years the Sheriff is cleared and the case goes cold.
When a stranger moves to town the case immediately heats up and when the truth is eventually revealed the town of Laurel Ridge will never be the same.
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Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Submitted:Mar 26, 2007    Reads: 686    Comments: 62    Likes: 2   


LAUREL RIDGE

CHAPTER ONE

Mother Nature and all her cruel beauty was without a doubt forthcoming. What were only moments ago fluffy white clouds, were now multiple shades of gray dancing mysteriously in the heavens above churning like witches brew, each wicked swirl more menacing than the last.

It was nearly two months ago in August, that century old oaks and extreme maples scattering the acreage were heavily clothed in a brilliant foliage. Now raped of shield and color, they were nothing more than skeletal statues waving teasingly while silent breaths of bone-chilled air leisurely passed through each naked limb.

Kasey poured herself a second cup of coffee, added cream and sugar then took a seat at the oak table and glared through the large bay window looking out into a cleared pasture. She hugged her knees to her chest and watched the sky deliver its first flake of Winter, sending a slight chill up her spine. While she hated the abandonment of Wintertime, it was the Summers that kept her planted in Laurel Ridge.

###############

He could see her clearly from where he was crouched. Always the same routine he thought, sipping coffee and hugging her knees. God, she was so predictable!

Just thinking of what he would soon do to her had his own heartbeat pounding loud in his ears. It had been nearly five years since his last kill. Far too long. But this one he knew, would be well worth the wait.

"Its just a shame your going to be so well missed." He said.

"Being married to the Sheriff and all. You are pretty well liked in this town, aren't you little one?" He knew she couldn't hear him, he only grinned.

He was well hidden in the thicket of pines next to the storage shed. Its branches sagged endlessly to the ground, and did a fairly good job he thought, of keeping the icy chill out.

Snow was beginning to fall harder and experience told him the earth would be a blanket of white in only a short period of time. He backed out from under the low branches and stepped quickly behind the shed.

"I'll be back." He promised.

Smiling, he draped his hood over his head then disappeared into the woods.

###############

She could feel the warmth of a recent shower on his face as he bent to kiss her, as well as the point of his badge in her shoulder.

" Be home early?" She asked.

Smiling, she turned her head to greet his lips then nearly jumped out of her chair when she heard the crash on the back deck.

Gil draped her shoulders with protective hands and assured her it was only the winter winds blowing in. He kissed her lightly on the cheek and gave her a slight massage.

"Probably earlier than normal." He laughed, stepping away from her. He walked over to the window and looked out. He ran his hand through his hair while releasing a breath. Snow was coming at an alarming speed and winds were beginning to gust beyond control.

"Looks like winters coming early this year." He said.

"I could probably be back in a couple of hours... tell ya what," He continued, then turned and walked back to where she was seated and clasped her hands. He gently raised her to face him.

"Let me drive up to the station and take care of what needs to be done. It shouldn't take more than a few hours." He placed a hand on either side of her face. "Then when I get home..." He continued with a naughty grin "We'll have us a fire and watch the snow fall."

"You know how much I love you?" She smiled. Her arms instantly went around his middle.

"No more than I love you." When their lips met, a deep passion followed.

###############

Just thinking about her made his skin crawl with excitement.

God, she was so damn beautiful.

It saddened him to have to kill her.

His blood raced just thinking about that initial first cut. It wouldn't be fatal by any means. His need to torture would be greater than the slaughter itself. Then when he was finished playing, he would look deep into her jade green eyes and deliver that final blow and watch intensely while every ounce of life drains away.

He put the necessary items in the inside pockets of the heated parka then zipped and tied it against the cold.

Whistling a tune, he broke out into the walls of snow and biting cold and fighting the frigid winds headed towards the Sheriff's house.

He knew she would be showering soon.

"Showtime!" He said and disappeared into the white.

###############

It was exactly what she had needed to chase away the chill.

Kasey could feel the heat of steam penetrate her skin before opening the glass doors. Dropping her towel, she stepped into to cascading flow and winced as the first bite of hot water stung her bare skin.

Its heat was needle sharp and deeply penetrating as it confronted then embraced her.

She chose a soft scented wash of Lavender, and taking her time, began clothing herself in the surf of foam.

###############

Snow was falling and blowing at an alarming speed making his vision blurred.

He would be better off waiting out the downpour in the confines of his pine makeshift he'd concluded, then carefully eased his way into the sagging opening positioning himself in the best place possible to keep clear from the vengeance surrounding him. After comforting himself the best he could he brushed the growing snow from his shoulders and smiled.

Now he could only wait.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed since taking his mount. Along with a slight numbness in both his hands and feet, the snow he noticed had also let up slightly. At least well enough to lead him to the back door he knew was rarely locked.

He crawled out from the underbrush and once he stood up quickly darted to the back of the shed. After catching his breath and kneading his hands he sprinted quick as lightning from the shed the short distance to the side of the house where he knew he couldn't be seen from any window looking out. After taking the time to once again retrieve his breath, he cemented his back to the stone wall and inched his way around the west side of the house towards the back door.

After cautiously peering through the square paneled glass, he was assured the small room was empty. He took his hand from the snow dampened glove then reached for the doorknob and turned.

"Shit!...Shit!...Shit!"

The door was locked. He could feel the pressure rising, threatening to explode. He grabbed the doorknob viscously, turned and yanked, yanked and turned.

"You Bitch!" His scream sliced the air. His howl was feral.

He clawed at the scarf he'd earlier tied around his head and neck then tore at it with brutal force, exposing him to the icy elements. With his blood boiling he wrapped his hand around the cloth and smashed through the small window spraying shards of glass on either side.

With blood dripping from his pierced hand he reached inside the shattered pane and released the latch, leaving spots of crimson below on the cemented floor.

###############

Kasey heard the crash the moment she turned off the jets of water. Panicking she nearly slipped getting out of the stall. Her heart pounded frantically in her ears. The roar of it making it impossible to think.

Her hand trembled while she fumbled for the robe that hung limply on the backside of the bathroom door. Without drying off she wrapped herself tightly. While her heart still thundered and her limbs still quaked, she reached for the knob and slowly turned.

She cautiously peeked around the bathroom door and looked down the length of the hallway pleading for the roar to stop in her ears. With each careful step Kasey listened intently to any sound below her. She could hear the winds whistling and gusting outside, and also droplets of ice slapping at windows and rooftop.

"Just the storm." She reassured herself, although she was still somewhat uneasy. "Just the damn wind knocking over the patio furniture."

At the top of the staircase, Kasey peered below into the roomy living room, and stood frozen in her tracks.

The fireplace tools had been scattered on the floor below the stone hearth, leaving a ransacked look. The window on the left side of the fireplace was shattered. A large branch lay across the break like a disfigured arm.

"Son of a bitch!" She raved, then hurriedly ran to the bottom of the stairs realizing what had happened. Within moments sheer panic turned to insane madness, and after what seemed like an eternity she was finally able to block the shattered window, then laugh at her own antics of being a wimp. Satisfied with her accomplishment she grinned a look of satisfaction and wiped her hands on the butt of her robe then turned towards the kitchen area to fetch the vacuum from the utility room.

She could feel the intrusion rather than see it. The terror behind her had a face she was blind to. She was unable to think or move. Her voice failed her when she tried to scream out. Her own fear had her nailed firmly to the floor.

"Move and I'll kill you!" He warned her.

Kasey suddenly felt the tip of something sharp pierce her throat then the warmth of blood trickle down her neck.

"Please...don't..." Her voice was barely a whisper.

"Shut up!" He spun her around then violently slammed her backside against the wall. Hearing the crack of bone as she hit, he laughed out loud.

Pain speared her body as she lay crumpled on the floor, barely able to catch her breath.

"Please God..." She silently begged. "Please God don't let me die." A silent tear slid down her cheek. Darkness followed.

She wasn't sure how long she had been unconscious. She woke naked and bound to her bed unable to move. Intense fear struck her open handed like a slap to the face. She wasn't going to die like this dammit! She wasn't going to let this bastard have his way with her she determined and did the only think she could think of and let out an ear piecing scream.

He was on top of her in a flash cutting off her scream as it began. Rage boiled in him causing anger even he wasn't aware he carried. His hands shook uncontrollably. His face colored.

She looked into his face, into those eyes...eyes that had no feeling, no color and was unable to stop the flow of tears that followed.

She knew she was going to die.

Unable to take her eyes off of him she was still entranced when the claw of a hammer struck her in the side of her head.

"This isn't the way its suppose to be dammit!" He screamed like a tempered child, dropping his hammer again and again. Blood spattered his face and chest. "This is your fault dammit...your fault! If only you hadn't screamed...you stupid bitch!" He brought the hammer down a final time where it remained buried deep in her skull.

"If only you hadn't looked at me." His voice was controlled and quiet now.

He climbed off her bloodied body breathless, and only stared at the destruction below him.

His destruction.

A single tear fell from his cheek.

He took the hunting knife from his back pocket and straddled her a second time. He stared into what was left of her battered face and brought the knife down deep into her chest. For what he started had just begun.

"Father, forgive me for I have sinned."





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