Yes, I’ve been slacking a bit with my writing. I intended to release this much sooner, but got distracted with other projects. It’s finally happening, though. This is the preview for the sequel to Her Eyes Underwater.
Since people who haven’t read the first book might come across this post, I’ll explain what this series is about. The series is called The Bowman Case Files. It’s a series about a Ted-Bundy-esque serial killer and the case that surrounds him. I wanted this series to be sort of like an insider view of things most of us only see on the news or in history books. Of course, this isn’t meant to be a documentary. It was inspired by real killers and cases, but I will be making up my own characters and scenarios. The first book introduced some characters and a scenario. We met a woman who fell for a dangerous man and got a peek inside the man’s mind. Book 2 will be expanding the scenario. You’ll get to see what other characters think of a certain killer and his impact on the people in Missoula, Montana. You’ll also see that some ‘alternative lifestyles’ have their drawbacks.
Below is a portion of the first chapter of book 2 in the series. The book will be titled Tell It To My Dark Side. The characters from the first book will be back, but there’s also some new folks for you to meet. Just a little disclaimer: This preview hasn’t been through a final proofread, so it’s still a little raw. I apologize for any errors. This preview is all copyrighted material. Enjoy.
Chapter 1 – Little Tree of Misery
Early Spring, 1975
Officer Darryl Barry knew there was something inherently despicable about viewing a cache of bodies as a means to expedite his career. He tried to rid his mind of such thoughts, but they crept back each time. Eventually, he settled with himself, as he knew this wasn’t his only thought. He did mourn for the dead and their families, but there was no denying that participating in a case of that magnitude would look good on a resume.
He looked over at Detective Hart and wondered if he felt the same disorienting mix of concern and morbid anticipation. He doubted it. The man was painfully practical. Regardless, Barry was grateful for Hart’s endless patience and the impromptu lessons he wasn’t required to entertain. His only wish was that he could come up with a helpful anecdote to impress his colleague at least once before they parted ways. Hart seemed to be forever on an even keel and gave no indication either way as to Barry’s competence.
“I wish I had been on shift when those first calls came in for this place. I like to think I would have noticed something wasn’t right,” he said to make conversation. The officers had been riding together for over an hour with only a few words spoken between them. Hart just nodded at this latest attempt.
Hart was clearly stressed out and Barry assumed it had something to do with the dismissive attitudes of the rest of the police force. It was only recently that Hart’s theories had garnered any attention at all. Barry, of course, had been one of the first to pay attention. The idea of a single predator stalking the area had excited him more than he cared to admit.
Oh, to be the cop that defeats a criminal like that.
“Who did you say found the remains? I forgot the name.”
“I believe his name was Stein. He worked the night shift. He’s meeting us there, so you’ll get to see him.”
“He must be new.”
“I think so.”
How unfortunate, Barry thought. He had been so close to being the patrolman sent on that call. Hart made no further comments, so he watched the trees rush past the vehicle. It was the early morning and a mist snuck through the trees before settling near the sporadic melt waters left by winter. He hoped they wouldn’t be hiking any great distances since there was still ice clinging to the air despite a wave of unseasonable warmth.
“Here we are,” said Hart.
They met a red mailbox and turned down a dirt road. He could see a patrol car and a gathering of five officers. His budding anticipation met its end when he saw their faces.
They were all so sombre that he felt an immediate need to check his expression. Between the mist, the dreary browns and greys of the scene and their penchant for a grim countenance, he felt guilty once again for his earlier thoughts. The mood of everything past the mailbox was oppressive. What had happened here?
As they exited the vehicle, a short and gentle-looking young man came forward to greet them.
“Detective Hart, I’m Rick Stein.” He shook Hart’s hand.
“Hello. Sorry we had to meet under these circumstances. This is Darryl Barry,” he said as he pointed to Barry. Stein shook his hand as well.
“Thanks for coming so quickly. What do you want to see first? I’m not sure what your preferred process is.”
“You can show me the pond first,” Hart replied. Stein nodded.
As they walked through the yard past one weathered cabin, Barry heard someone yelling. He tried to hear what was being shouted as they trudged through spongy, moist ground in the midst of a premature thaw. A couple of crows flew overhead and he watched them until they disappeared. He had begun to feel affected by the same emotional bankruptcy as the others. This was not a good place.
They reached the lowest point of the pond. The bulk of the water had dried up, leaving only a small and murky pool in the center of a dark, greenish-brown slick of algal debris. At one point, Barry lost his footing and slid toward the water. When he righted himself, he found the source of the yelling. Another officer was fending off crows that were attracted to the leftovers of a life nature was eager to reclaim. Near the river mouth that had abandoned the pond, thanks in part to beavers and the impending summer, there was a spindly, young tree. Beneath it, the dead clustered in decay.
One could never be prepared for the smell. That much was true. He gagged a little and covered his nose. Hart patted him on the back, but said nothing. The crows continued circling above and he wished he, too, could fly away.
Someone’s children had come to rest under a tiny, pathetic tree. They were adults, of course, but looked much smaller now and he was sure their mothers would still fuss over them like his mother fussed over him even now. They lay on their sides, as if settled in for the longest sleep of their lives. Overall, they were the same greenish-brown color as the surrounding debris that had blanketed them, but scattered sections of rotting flesh hung off the bones in sheltered places. The skin on their ribs was leathery and clung to the bones like tissue paper. They had no eyes left and their black voids were fixed in the direction of the cabin. Despite the foul odor, he moved closer. He had to look into the voids. He didn’t know why. Maybe he thought he would see something of their former glory in the black, but he wasn’t sure. He walked through the muck and stared. Miles and miles of black.
“Barry, don’t muddle the crime scene,” said Hart. He jumped back. He had forgotten their purpose entirely. He mumbled his apologies and became lost again almost instantaneously.
“Do you think anyone was waiting for them on the other side?” he said without thought.
“People are still waiting for them here, Barry, and we’re the ones who get to tell them they’ve been waiting for a corpse.”
The whole scene was unexpectedly fractured by a jaunty sixties tune blaring from an approaching vehicle. The group of policemen turned in tandem as the vehicle thundered to a stop on the high point of land before the dip towards the pond. Their chief of police exited, leaving his music playing and his door ajar as he did do. The crows squawked and flapped around him as his officers looked on with pale, grave faces. He focused on Detective Hart.
“So, let me guess: you think these deaths are somehow related to your monster?” he called down to the men at the pond.
“I’m not sure yet, Sir.”
“Well, I’ll be waiting with bated breath.” With that, he climbed back inside his vehicle.
Barry opened his mouth to give Hart some reassuring words, but he held up his hand to thwart him. “Don’t worry about it, Barry. I don’t let anything distract me from my crime scenes. I’ll deal with him later.”
Barry looked back to the miserable trio beneath the impish tree. It made him question the phrase ‘rest in peace.’ Maybe some people looked peaceful in death, such as those who were fortunate enough to be made presentable at a funeral parlor, but these three did not. They looked distraught. They were twisted and warped and he knew they did not go quietly. He kept waiting for them to howl in anguish and interrupt the misplaced radio beats that still sounded into the mist. He noted two things that made his skin crawl: None of them had been found with any clothing and all of them had holes in their skulls too large for a bullet. Someone’s daughter, sister, mother or friend had floated in an ice pond with no clothes and a deformed skull. This was the end of their story. Hopes, dreams and parents beware for this is where your daughters lie. He shuddered and struggled to remember why he’d insisted on being part of this.