Jack Parker sat on the sloping grass hill in front of the shore of Lake Michigan, as a cool breeze slapped his pale face. His eyes stayed focused on a young woman with long blond hair, and a body that any man would love to hold next to them. The way she wore the skintight jogging shorts and string bikini top made her even more alluring to the eye. Even Jack found it difficult to push away the lustful thoughts, which came forth when he looked at her. But she was his client, and that was all it could be. He hated using her as bait, but it was the only way to flush out this pervert. The one who had been stalking her for the last month and a half? When this man would show his face, Jack would be ready for him. He wasn’t going to take any chances that were why he put a wireless microphone in a flower that she wore in her hair. Inside his black leather jacket he had a mini tape recorder connected to the receiver. That way he would have evidence if it went to court. Which most of his cases never do?
“Come on punk, where are you?” Jack muttered under his breath.
It was then he noticed a man with greasy black hair coming up to her. The man’s hands stayed rested in the pockets of his dirty blue windbreaker. Jack kept his eyes on him, as he listened to what was being said. The whole time, his hand reached into his leather jacket and held onto the handle of his .38. From the corner of his eyes he noticed a woman in a black cloak, with long flowing amber hair. There was something about this woman that drew his attention to her. The only thing was, he couldn’t figure out what it could be.
“What do you want from me?” the blond asked with slight fear in her voice.
“You know what I want Susan. And I am going to get it. There is nothing you can do to stop me.” The man said as his hands reached out and touched her breasts. Just from his touch, her body stiffened on such terror. She tried to ignore the sensation, which his hands were bringing, even though it had been so long since a man touched her that way.
“Stop. Please stop.” She begged as a tear ran down her cheek.
“No, not yet. The fun has only started to begin.” He said in a wicked tone.
She could feel his one hand moving down her firm stomach, outside her running shorts, till his fingers arrived in between her legs. The touch of his fingers there made her gasp suddenly. Stroking it in such a gentle, easy motions, as he turned then facing the lake. So that way no one would see what he or she was doing. But Jack knew exactly what was happening, as he made his way toward them. His .38 pulled from its holster and held by his side. His eyes burned with such rage, knowing he wouldn’t let this pervert get away from him.
“I can’t stand it anymore. Get away from me! She yelled as she felt his fingers on her flesh.
“Alright jerk, get away from the woman now!” Jack demanded as he pointed his .38 at him.
The crazed look in his eyes would have scared anyone. But Jack had seen it so many times, that it didn’t phase him anymore. All he wanted was for this asshole to give him a reason to him. The man reached for the inside of his jacket, then pulled out a .44. Before he could say a thing a look of sharp pain appeared on his face, his free hand grasped her bikini top and ripped it off of her. Jack fired, the bullet embedding into his forehead. The man fell backwards into the cool waters of Lake Michigan, as Jack watched the body submerge into its murky depths.
Then he turned to Susan, her firm, bare breasts in full view for anyone who wanted to see. Instantly, she rushed into his arms, as she started to sob in such fear. Feeling her breasts being crushed against his chest brought about a temptation that he had to ignore. Jack looked to his side, seeing the woman in the black cloak, smiling at him. He needed to know who she was, and why she had helped him. For it was obvious she did something to avoid that maniac from shooting him. But as she walked away, Jack knew those answers would not come now. Not until he found her again.
When the police finally showed up, Jack knew that he would have a lot of explaining to do. The only thing, which he could do, was to tell them exactly what had happened. And he knew out of all the cops in Chicago that detective Travis would be the one to talk to him. For he was the only one who always tried to give Jack a hard time. But each time they would meet, Jack never gave him that privilege.
It had been three months since he had first seen her and he was determined to find her. There had been a sudden rush of men being murdered within the downtown area of Chicago, yet no one knew who the murderer could be. That was why he had to find this mysterious woman from the lake. It seemed that all the victims had been last seen on the north side of Chicago, in either some fancy club or bar. Jack had went to almost every tavern, nightclub and private clubs in the Chicago area, but he always ended up one or two steps behind her. Anyone else would have given up and continued on with their own lives. But Jack was determined to find her, just to see if she was the culprit of these murders. In a way though, he hoped that she wasn’t.
On one Friday night he found himself sitting at the counter of an elegant martini bar. The room was dimly lit with the sound of smooth Jazz coming from the speakers. His eyes gazed at the mirror behind the back counter, while he started to wonder if he was on a wild goose chase. Still, there was something in his gut that made him continue his search. It was almost as if he knew that she was close. The only thing he wasn’t sure about was when or if she would appear. Yet, the feeling that she would come to him lingered inside him.
Around him were the rich and well to do people of the north side, the type of people who would look down at the middle class with such disgust. Believing that they were so superior over everyone else. Listening to the trivial problems they have, which they believed were so drastic. But to Jack it was nothing more than just idle chatter.
“Take a walk in my shoes. You’ll see what real problem are.” Jack thought as he looked around him.
Jack had no idea why he was there for he was not the type of person for these surroundings. And some of the people in the club knew it. Yet, they weren’t the type to start a fight or create a scene. For to their social class, that would be so degrading. When he looked down at the end of the counter, he saw her sitting there net to a young man in a navy blue suit. Her eyes looking at him with such interest and lustfulness. She wasn’t wearing the black cloak like before at the lakefront. Now she was wearing a tight black dress with a revealing neckline. The ultimate image of seduction to any man’s eyes. Within a couple seconds, she looked directly at Jack with a playful smile on her lips. Jack knew she was trying to play a game with him, and he was willing to play along with her. That was as long as he got the information, which he needed, from this woman. When the man noticed her looking at Jack, his eyes glared at him with such hatred. Common jealousy of a man who was afraid of losing a woman he worked so hard to impress, just to be taken away by another man. But Jack’s expression was as cold as ice. Showing no emotions or expressions. Because of it, Jack could see the fear starting to appear on the man’s face. Then he turned back to the woman with the amber hair, who was hiding behind a fake smile.
Jack turned his attention away from them, as he looked back at the reflection of himself in the mirror once more. Still, he could feel her stare burning through his flesh. Normally, when a woman looked at him, his emotions were numb. Whoever this woman was, she was different than any other woman he had encountered. At least so far.
When the bartender came over and refilled his drink, Jack knew he had to find out about this woman. No matter what information he could get would be better than none.
“Excuse me, do you know the woman at the end of the bar? The one with the long brown hair, wearing the low cut black dress.” Jack asked.
“Oh, you mean Angel? Yeah, she shows up here almost every weekend. And every time she always walks out with someone.” The bartender said, then hesitated, “ It looks like she has her eyes on you.”
When the bartender said that, Jack’s eyes turned back to Angel. Seeing her staring at him, as if she knew what they were talking about. There was something about the way she looked at him, which brought about a sense of danger. Yet to Jack, it was like a rush to a drug addict. It was the thrill of the challenge of that which was unknown. So far he survived by his street smarts and the .38 that rested in his holster. Those were the only things, which he counted on, considering he was raised in the streets.
“What’s Angel’s story?” Jack asked the bartender.
“Not sure. She is one of those women who keeps her life so private. No one really knows anything about her, except her name.” The bartender replied.
In a way Jack already knew that she was the type of woman who kept her life private. But why was she interested in him. Especially when she had high-ranking executive types who could give her more than he could. Still, there was something about this woman, about Angel that drew Jack’s attention to her. The only way he would know for sure about his doubts would be to follow her. That was the only thing, which could bring the truth into the light. His eyes glanced back at her, waiting to see what move she would make. Her eyes looked at him with such stern arrogance, almost as if she was trying to read his mind. But of course, Jack didn’t believe in the type of bullshit. There was a sense of dread and death that hung heavy in the air. Pressing against his flesh with such intensity. Jack had no idea what to do, for his mind became clouded with such illusions. Mainly because of how much he had to drink. Or at least that was what he was willing to believe. No matter what he had to follow her, to find out where she would go.
Slowly he turned his attention away from her, for he had a feeling that soon she would come to him. Even though it was only a shot in the dark, his gut feeling never steered him wrong before. And now it was stronger than ever.
He watched the wide screen television, which hung on the wall behind the bar, at the latest newscast about another mysterious murder. This time it was a forty-year-old executive from some banking firm who was found in a motel room with several knife wounds to the chest. Jack knew right away that this was the same woman who had done the others. He had got information about the killings from a female detective who worked in homicide. Her name was Sandy Billingsly, who a couple years ago had a thing for him. Which of course he had to ignore. But she was the type of woman who always tried to prove herself. And from what Jack heard she was doing just that. Somehow being the first one on the scene when a new body was found. She even confirmed that it was a woman who had done the killings. And if his suspicions were right, it was the woman who he had seen at the lakefront three months ago.
"Where are you going to strike next?" Jack said under his breath. "That's all I need to know to find you."
It was then he heard the sound of a woman's voice coming from the side of him. So innocent and tender, like that of a child's almost. When he turned to his side, he saw Angel standing next to him. She smiled as she leaned forward on the bar.
"Pardon me?" Jack asked, acting as if he hadn't heard what she said.
"I was just wondering if this seat was taken."
"It is if you sit down."
Jack reply was cocky and yet he really didn't care. For he knew to well that she was about to make her move on him. Without her saying another word she sat down, as her eyes stayed focused on him. There was something about her, which Jack could feel was a threat, yet he had no idea what it could be. The only thing, which he could do, was to wait for her to make the next move. He continued to watch her as she ran her hand through her long amber hair, as a devilish smile formed on her lips. The cleavage of her dress revealed the soft tanned flesh above her breasts along with the head of an Oriental dragon tattoo poking out. Normally, Jack wouldn't think anything about it, for he had seen his share of oddities on the back streets of the city. But for some reason, that image seemed to stay focused on his mind.
"So, what do you do?" she asked as she moved closer to him.
"A little of this and a little of that. Nothing to interesting."
"If it's not so interesting, then why are you being so evasive with me?" she asked as her hand reached out and touched his.
"I'm not. I just believe that it's nobody's business what I do or who I am. That is unless I want them to know." Jack said, then thought. "And the less you know about me, the better your chances will be if my enemies come calling."
For a moment she just sat there staring at him, as if she was trying to figure him out. Of course Jack knew that she could try all she wanted, but she never would. Still, he had to find out what he could about her that was if she was willing to reveal anything. There was something about Angel though which he couldn't figure out. It was as if he knew her from somewhere else, besides when he had seen her at the lakefront. That was, if she had been the cloaked figure he had seen there.
"So, what about you?" Jack asked.
"What do you want to know? All you have to do is ask, I have nothing to hide."
The way she looked at him with such seriousness was as if she was trying to see if he could catch her in a lie. He sat there in silence for a moment, wondering what he should ask her. Even though he knew the questions, which he wanted to say, he had to figure out a way to make them seem subtle. Which of course was the one thing, which he was never good at.
"Tell me anything you want. It really doesn't matter to me." Jack replied.
"Alright. I work in a new age bookstore, do tarot cards on the side. And to some of my very close friends I am known and the Dragon Queen." she said bluntly, as she watched him closely.
Jack could tell that she was searching for some sort of response from him that would seem like shock. But he had heard things about people that were a lot worse than that. Things which normal society really didn't want to know about, even if it was on the news.
"That's why you have that dragon tattoo right above your chest?"
"I didn't think it was that noticeable. I can tell that you are very observant which is something I like in a man."
"I could only see the head of it, nothing else. But I know the image from the time I had spent in China town." he replied.
Angel quickly looked over at the man at the end of the bar, who she had been with, then back to Jack. The smile on her face became as playful as a child, as she leaned forward to him. He had no idea what she was going to say next, but he was ready for anything.
"Well, you aren't going to be able to see the rest of it, at least not tonight. But maybe you can get lucky some other time. Who knows what the future has in store for you." she said, then gave him a wink.
"You know, you better be careful. You don't want to get your boyfriend over there jealous. Who knows what he might do." Jack replied.
Angel laughed slightly as she sat back on the stood. But Jack just looked at her with such a cold and serious expression on his face.
"That guy is someone I just picked up a short time ago. And if he has a problem with me talking to someone else, then he could hit the road." she said, then stood up. "I'll see you around stranger."
"Not if I see you first." Jack replied as he took a drag from his cigarette.
She smiled and then made her way back to the other end of the bar. His eyes watched her closely, wondering what it could be that she was into. In a way she seemed almost innocent. Just a normal woman who flirted for men for attention and maybe a night of affection. But there was still that unsettling feeling in his soul that she was hiding something. Something, which he knew, he had to find out. When his attention went to the man across the room, the one Angel went to, he tried to remember the face. For he had a feeling that this man might end up being the next victim of the murderer which the cops were looking for.
"Yeah, I'll definitely be seeing you again, Angel. You can count on that." he said under his breath.
Jack knew he could find out all that he needed about Angel from his contacts around the city, especially in the police department. Even though many of the cops didn't like him, they always were willing to help. That was as long as they were involved with making the arrest. It was then that his cell phone rang, which only meant that a new client was about to come around. The only thing was, he never got any message about it from his secretary. That was before she had left because some psycho had threatened her life. When he looked down at the screen it didn't show any type of number at all. It had to be someone using a pay phone from somewhere. At least that was what he thought. He answered it, listening to the sound of a low, angered man's voice on the other end.
"Who is this and how did you get this number?" Jack said.
"That's not important. What is, is that I have information about the woman you are looking for. The one that you had seen at the lakefront three months ago?" the voice said.
"Fine, tell me what you got."
For a brief instant there was silence as if this guy was thinking it over. Or maybe he was trying to make sure that no one would overhear him. The only sound, which Jack could hear, was his low, rhythmic breathing.
"The woman you are looking for is dangerous. She has killed before and probably has done it a few times more already. Don't underestimate her, for it will be your undoing." the voice said.
"Who is she? Tell me that?" Jack said as he felt himself starting to become annoyed by this man's way of avoiding the truth.
"She goes by many names. So it really doesn't matter what her identity is now, does it."
"Oh great, a lunatic. That's all I need right now. But maybe I can trick him into saying what I need to hear." Jack thought, then said. "Yeah, for all you know she could be going by the name of the Dragon Queen."
There was silence again, this time longer than before and Jack knew right away that he struck a cord with this man. Now all he had to do was to find out who he really was and how he knew about this.
"How do you know her? That…, that doesn't matter now. The only thing that does is that your life is in danger. She can not be trusted." the voice said in a frantic tone.
"Who is this?" Jack asked in a more demanding tone.
"A friend. Just a friend." the voice said, then the line went dead.
Jack found himself wondering about what this anonymous caller had said and wondered if it could be true. The only way he could find out was to follow Angel and see what would happen. But it seemed to easy, as if everything was falling into place to quick, in a nice, neat package. That was the one thing, which made him not able to trust it. Still, it was something, which he had to look into. It was the only what he would be able to know what was really going on.
Hours later, Jack had followed Angel and her male companion back to a motel on the outskirts of town. It was obvious that they didn't want anyone to see them together for some reason, which he would probably find out later on. As Jack watched them go into the room, his hands gripped the steering wheel tightly. Was this the killer that the police were looking for? Had he been able to do what no one else could? (Even though he had solved cases before the police had any clue of it). He wanted to believe that it was; yet there was something, which seemed so wrong about the whole thing. For all he knew he could be walking into a trap. The only thing was, Jack couldn't get Angel out of his mind. Especially the way she flirted with him, like a cat toying with a mouse. She knew more than she was letting on, and he was going to find out what it was.
As he sat in the parking lot, his eyes staring at the motel room, which they went into, he tried to figure out what it could be that made Angel seem different than the other women he had encountered in the past. It was then he noticed that the motel room door open slightly, then the sound of a man screaming came from inside. It wasn't only that, but a sound which Jack had never heard before. In a way it reminded him of some sort of wild animal. And from the tone of it, it was pretty big. Jack instantly got out of his car and made his way toward the motel room door. His hand reaching inside his jacket and pulled out his 38. With each step he took, he could feel his heart racing wildly as the adrenaline pulsed through his veins. He had no idea what to expect when he got inside, but knew there was no way he could ignore it. For a brief second he stood in front of the door, a strange odor coming from inside, as he started to question if he should go in or not. But he knew to well he couldn't let Angel get away.
"Alright Angel, now I have you." Jack said in an angered tone.
Then he pushed the door open and made his way inside. The odor he smelled had been that of burnt wood, which was from the wall behind the bed. The image of a Chinese dragon had been burnt into the surface of the wall. While lying naked on the bed was the man Angel had picked up. The man's body had knife wounds in his chest and the frozen expression of fear on his face. He couldn't figure out how in such a short time she was able to do all this. That and the fact that Angel was not in the room or bathroom. The only way in or out of the room was the one door, and he would have seen her leave. So where could she have gone? That was the one question, which haunted his mind. The one that seemed to have no answer to. Jack slowly made his way out of the room, knowing that the police would soon arrive. If he were to stay there, he would have to answer so many questions, which he didn't have the answers to. Either that or they would think he did it. Believing that after so many years of dealing with the depraved people of the streets, he finally snapped. But that wasn't the case, he knew that for a fact. And once he found Angel he would be able to make sense of this whole thing.
Once he got back into he car, he drove off as casually as he could. But in the back of his mind, the image of that man stayed trapped there. The frozen expression of terror on his face, the blood, which flowed from the wounds and soaked into the sheets which the corpse, lay upon. It all seemed like some sort of twisted joke that he was thrown into. One which he had no idea about, at least not yet. As he drove down the dark and silent street, his thoughts stayed on Angel. Wondering where it could be she had gone. And what reason she would have for murdering that man? He hoped he would get the chance to ask her, face to face. So that way he could make her pay for what she had done.
Later that night, Jack made it back to his apartment, then sat down on the sofa. The whole time he drove he thought about the dead man's body he found, of Angel, and of the reports he had heard about all the other murders which had happened. Wondering if there was some sort of connection to them all. That was, besides the way the victims were murdered. Jack had no way of finding out himself, because that would be in the police files. And they wouldn't just let him walk into the station and look them over, even though they knew who he was. But maybe…he could find someone that would be able to do it. Jack figured he would call Sandy to find more information about the murders, something, which he was missing . It was a long shot, but it was the only thing, which he could do right now. He knew that she owed him a favor or two for his services, and now he was going to collect. Jack figured he would call her in the morning and see if she could find out anything that would be useful to him. He wasn't going to mention about Angel, because she might not be the one who was responsible. But Jack wasn't going to turn his attention away from her that easily. For now, he figured he would have a drink, light up a cigarette, then get some sleep. Forgetting about everything, which he had witnessed for a moment or two, so that way he could think straight. Which of course, was something that doesn't happen that much to him. He poured himself a glass of whiskey, sat back on the couch and stared off into the light gray shadows of the room. The silence around him was almost deafening, but he had gotten used to it after a while.
"Here's to you Angel, where ever you are. I know that I'll find you, and when I do you'll have a lot of explaining to do." he said out loud, then took a drink.
When he finally went to sleep, he dreamed about Angel. Which seemed odd to him, because he usually never had dreams before. Or at least he wouldn't ever remember them. This time though they were crystal clear, almost as if he was really going through it for real. He found himself walking down the streets of some suburban town, making his way through the emptiness of the night. He had no idea where he was going, only that he had to keep moving. As if someone or something was closing in on him. All around him was nothing but silence and a cold breeze, which slapped his pale face. Every few seconds he would look around him, to make sure no one was trailing him. Each time he had the reassurance that he was alone. Or at least that was what he thought.
Jack stopped at the corner of the block, reached into his pocket for a cigarette. The flame of the lighter touched the tip of it, as he started to wonder where he could be. For some reason the area seemed familiar to him, yet he couldn't place it. He had hardly ever went into the suburbs, that was unless he was following someone. But now, he couldn't figure out the reason why he was there. The more he stood there, the more he could feel a strange presence moving in on him. One which brought about an uneasy feeling to him. But why? That was the one thing he wasn't sure about.
The next thing he knew, he felt the touch of someone's hand on the back of his shoulder. Instantly, he turned around, to see Angel standing before him. She was wearing a long black robe, which was slightly opened in the front. Showing a brief view of the soft flesh of her well-rounded breasts, and that dragon tattoo seemed to be even more evident now. She looked at him with such a devilish grin, making it so evident that she was hiding something.
"What are you doing here?" Jack asked.
"I was going to ask you the same thing. But I have a feeling that you're looking for me." she said in a playful tone.
Jack stood there; knowing what she said was true. Yet, in a way he didn't want to admit it to her yet. Even though it might be the truth, it seem like the right thing to do.
"I guess I am. There are a lot of unanswered questions which you could answer."
Angel gave him a pleasant surprised look, as if she knew exactly what he was talking about. The only thing, which he could do, was to wait for her to do something.
"I want to show you something. That is probably why you came here, so that you can see the truth. And once you do, you will understand everything." she said as she held out her hand to him.
Jack reached his hand out to hers, and then she grabbed onto it. She led him into the shadows of the street, or at least that was what he thought it was. The shadows were so thick, that he couldn't even see the street or even a single house any more. He had no idea where she was taking him, but it had to be better than him wandering aimlessly around. Still, he had to figure out what it was that she would show him. In a way, Jack was hoping that it would have to do with the unexplained murders. The emptiness of the night engulfed them, as Jack found himself unable to see anything. But he could feel her hand gripping his, pulling him even deeper into it. Where could she be taking him? And why was it he couldn't see anything? It seemed as if she had brought him into some sort of cave, blocking out all light and sound. That was except for the sound of her laughter, as they continued to move. Then they stopped and so did her laughter. When the darkness finally lifted, he saw Angel standing a couple feel in front of him. They were in some sort of large loft; the walls were a pale white with no windows to be seen. The one thing, which Jack noticed was the large image of a dragon, painted on the wall, in front of her.
"What is all this? What is going on here Angel?" Jack asked.
"I'm not Angel… my name is the Dragon Queen! An ancient spirit, here to avenge the evil that men have been doing to women for centuries." she said as her voice changed suddenly.
It was then that she loosened her robe and let it fall to the ground. Standing there naked, her back still facing him, as her arms raised up over her head. On her back was the rest of the tattoo of the dragon. The body of the dragon formed in the middle of her back and the neck rising up and going around her side, under her right arm. It was then that he heard her say something, which Jack knew he would never forget. Even though it was in a language that he couldn't understand. Her voice echoed through -out the room, like thunder in a storm. Dragon spirit destroy the lecherous lies of man! It was then that the image of the dragon on the wall came to life. Moving back and forth along the surface of the surface of the wall. Each time it turned, its blood red colored eyes stared directly at him. As if it was waiting for the right moment to strike.
"What the hell is going on here?" Jack said in a scared voice.
It was then that she spoke again within that bizarre language. This time her voice was louder and demanding. Give me your power! I , your servant, the Dragon Queen! Right when she said that, the image of her had changed. Her amber hair had turned to a golden blond, as her pale flesh had suddenly turned tanned and firmer than before. Then she turned to Jack, her eyes illuminating with such fiery contempt.
"You're not going to get away from me, Dragon Queen! I know what you have been up to." Jack said.
It was then the dragon on the wall came out and flew towards him. Something, which had at first only been two dimensional, and now, became real. Letting out its loud, horrid shrieks. Jack started to back away, tripping and then falling backwards.
Jack sat up in bed, his heart pounding so hard that he thought it would burst right through his chest. The sweat rolled down the back of his neck as he realized that he was back within his bedroom. Slowly, he tried to get his body to relax, even though it seemed like something, which probably wouldn't happen.
"It was a dream. Nothing more than a dream." he whispered to himself.
The next day Jack called Detective Sandy Billingsly , so he could find out if his hunch was right. He knew there had to be something more, which the case files, had, that they didn't want to mention. Of course, he couldn't let anyone know about Angel and what he suspected. For if he did, they would have her in lock-up within a couple hours then. And Jack wanted to be the one who would reveal her for what she was. A cold-blooded killer. When she got on the line he asked her about the string of murders and if there were any leads yet to them. But when he mentioned it, there was a moment of silence on the other end. Jack knew that she was still on the line, because he would hear her breathing.
"What do you want me to look for?" she finally asked.
"Just see if there was anything on the walls or floors. You know, writing, symbols or images which was found at each crime scene. If there is get back to me."
"Something which would make it known that this killer was responsible? You know I could get in serious trouble if anyone finds out."
"I know, but I would appreciate it."
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