Come The Darkness: The Hunters Rising Series
Present Day“Dude, have you seen this morning’s paper? Its nuts, man!”
With a sigh of frustration, Alec Gray continued to read his newest case file, trying his damndest to ignore the outburst of his partner, Devon Michaels.
“No, Dev.” He said without looking up from the pages in his hand. “Some of us are too busy trying to work to spend all our time reading the gossip section.”
With a snort at his partner’s smartass remark, Devon tossed the Savannah Times on top of the file Alec was trying to read.
“I’m not talking about the gossip column, you jackass. I’m talking the front page article about the murder that happened last night. Our serial killer struck again.”
Glaring at his partner, Alec put down the pile of papers and then focused his attention on the front page of the paper. The morning headline said it all. Eighth Victim Found Dead, Savannah Slayer Still At Large!
“Oh, that’s got to have the bosses pissed off.” Alec said as he continued to read the article.
Devon chuckled. “You know it does. They are not happy that the press has named our little friend, whoever he may be. The think it’ll give him a sense of celebrity or something.”
Alec nodded, his gaze not leaving the paper and Devon smiled at the intense concentration on his partners’ face. After transferring in to the Savannah P.D. from his old home in Chicago, Devon had been partnered with Alec Gray, a seven year veteran officer who had rapidly climbed the ladder from fresh-faced beat cop to one of the force’s best homicide detectives. Alec’s intelligence and eye for details no one else could seem to see had helped him to close more cases in his seven years on the force than Devon had seen some of the oldest detectives manage in their whole lives. It’s what made working with Alec both a pleasure and a pain in the ass. The man didn’t know how to quit and when he had his nose on the trail of a case, he was worse than a bloodhound on a hunt.
“Hey, man, Jude wants you to come over for dinner sometime this week. She said to tell you she’s making you her famous enchiladas and isn’t taking no for an answer this time.”
Alec looked up from the paper and Devon grinned at the hungry look in his partners dark blue eyes.
“I knew that’d get your attention!” Devon said with a chuckle.
Alec glared at his partner and then tossed the paper at him.
“Don’t you know not to tease a man with the promise of your wife’s cooking?” he said and then grinned. “That’s enough to earn you a beat down, Dev.”
Laughing, Devon sat in the chair across from Alec’s desk and indicated the paper with a wave of one hand. “So what do you think? We really got a serial killer on the loose, or is the media just going nuts on us again?”
“I’m not too sure, to be honest with you.” Alec said with a frown. “From what I’ve been seeing in the case file it looks like...”
“Case file?” Devon interrupted, sitting up straight in his chair and looking at the file Alec had been reading when he’d come in. “You telling me that the bosses want us on this one?”
Alec grinned, his smile revealing a set of dimples that Devon’s wife, Jude, had told him made the handsome twenty nine year old look “hotter than Hugh Jackman when he’s shirtless!” Women. What was it with that Hugh Jackman guy?
“I’m not quite sure what got them to do it.” Alec said, oblivious to his partner’s wandering train of thought. “The chief called me last night and told me that we were being handed the case.” He shook his blond head as he continued. “Next thing I know, there’s a knock on my apartment door and one of the guys from the precinct drops off the box full of case files from each of the last seven murders.”
Holding up his hands, Devon signaled for a time out. “So wait a minute.” He said with a frown. “So when did you get the files, and did the chief already know about the eighth victim that the paper’s talking about?” He reached for the paper in front of him. “The body was found when?”
Sitting back, Alec answered his partner’s questions with a frown of his own. “According to the paper, the latest victim was found around one thirty this morning, which means that the chief probably had no clue about it when he had everything brought to me yesterday.”
Devon’s frown deepened. “Where the hell does it say...”
“Third paragraph down, second sentence” Alec said. “Right after it lists her name.”
Devon paused in his reading to look up at Alec, meeting the other man’s gaze. “Dude, you know that shit’s just plain creepy sometimes, right?”
Shrugging, Alec looked back to the file sitting on his desk. “Creepy it may be, but you don’t bitch when I remind you of all the important dates and facts that you can’t remember and your wife would beat you for if she knew you had forgot.”
“Aw, now that’s just wrong.” Devon said as he tossed the paper back down. “Why you gotta go there? If you’re going to be running around with one of them freaky never-forget-anything-memories, can you blame a guy for putting your superpower to use for the common good of man?”
Arching a blonde brow, Alec looked at his partner curiously. “How is my remembering your mother-in-law’s favorite color of flower for the common good of man?”
“Have you seen my mother-in-law when she’s angry?” Devon said seriously. “The Devil himself would run screaming from that woman.”
Rolling his eyes, Alec pointed to the case file in front of him.
“From looking at the files of the previous seven victims, the only pattern I can seem to find is the general location where all the bodies were found. Looks to me like the killer has a thing for the woods, all the victims were found about thirty miles east, outside of town scattered through the woods. None were in the same location, and there’s not much out there besides the occasional subdivision and...”
“Isn’t that where that new nightclub opened up about two years ago?” Devon broke in as he leaned over to grab the case file of the seventh victim. “You know that real huge place that keeps getting all the rave reviews in the paper? Jude’s been trying to get me to take her there for the past year, I swear.”
“Nightclub?” Alec said with a frown. “What the hell are you talking about? They put a club out in the middle of the freaking woods? Who does that?”
Devon shrugged. “I don’t know, man, but whoever it is they’re apparently a freakin' genius. That place has been raking in the money from what I remember hearing. Even the big-name bands come out to play there.”
“What’s the name of it?”
Devon paused to think and then frowned. “Umm…”
“It’s called Darkness, gentlemen” said a voice from the doorway. “And you boys are going to be heading out that way to check it out this evening.”
Alec and Devon both stood when they saw the Chief of Police standing in the doorway of their office. Both gave him a surprised look. A forty year veteran of the Savannah Police, Chief Tom Wilson rarely left his office. It had been enough of a shock to Alec when the chief had called him personally to assign him and Devon to the murder cases, but to actually come see them in person?
That was positively scary.
“Darkness, sir?” Alec asked the older man with a frown.
The older man nodded and came into the office, taking the chair Devon had been sitting in before looking at both men and speaking in a tired voice.
“You heard me, gentlemen. The name of the nightclub is Darkness.” He looked to both Alec and Devon and then continued. “I spoke to the club’s co-owner earlier, after I realized that the bodies were all found relatively near to the club itself, and arranged for you boys to go out there tonight and meet with the club’s owner personally. I’ve been assured that the owner is more than happy to help us in any way possible.”
Devon’s reaction was a snort of derision. “Because nobody wants to have their nightclub tied to a possible serial killer, right?”
“Sir” Alec said to the chief, ignoring his partner and his mumbling. “Exactly what do you mean by ‘relatively near the club’?”
With a sigh, the old man leaned his head back against the headrest of Devon’s chair. “I mean that when you look at a map, and put the club on it, all of the victims were found within a ten mile radius of the club.”
“Put the club on it?” Devon asked, eyebrows arching.
“City maps and those of the surrounding area are only updated every time there’s a census.” Alec answered. “Since the club has only been there for two years it wouldn’t be on any of the maps yet. Those aren’t due to be updated for another...”
“Alec.” Chief Wilson interrupted with a small smile, never opening his eyes. “I don’t need an update on how the Census Bureau does its job, son. I need the two of you to get out there and see if that club has any connections to these damn murders and, if it does, find and stop the sick bastard who’s killing these girls before he does it again.”
Alec nodded. “Yes sir but…Why wait until this evening? If you spoke to the owner and he’s expecting us, why not just go now?”
“I’m with Alec, Chief.” Devon said with a frown. “If this club owner hasn’t got anything to hide, why make us wait until later to tell us what we need to know?”
The chief shook his head and opened his eyes to look at first one man then the other. His best detectives, it seemed, had missed something for once.
“I didn’t say I talked to the owner, boys. I spoke to the club’s co-owner. The actual owner wasn’t there when I called and apparently this guy, whoever he is, is unreachable until this evening.”
With a shrug, Chief Wilson stood and headed back toward the doorway. “But the guy I talked to assures me that the owner will meet with you two tonight after the club opens and will give you full disclosure and cooperation. They don’t want their club tied to these murders in any way whatsoever.”
“Typical.” Devon muttered. “Save your own ass and keep your business looking all shiny and neat.”
“Do we have any reason to believe that someone who works at the club or frequents it could be the serial killer, sir?” Alec asked, ignoring his partner.
The police chief shook his head again.
“I’ve had plain-clothed officers out there every night for the past two weeks. They tell me that the club is run tight as a ship and that the security is firm in their rules; no weapons, no drugs, no violence of any kind. You cause trouble and you’re on your ass outside the door.” With a shrug the old man looked at Alec. “From what we can tell, it’s likely not one of the people who work there.”
“So a club-goer then?” Devon said with a frown. “Of one of the most popular nightclubs in the state of Georgia. Well that narrows it down to a couple damned thousand!”
“Who’s the owner?” Alec asked Chief Wilson who was grinning at Devon’s outburst. “Do we have this guy’s name for when we get there?”
The chief looked at Alec and offered him another shrug.
“Apparently the owner keeps a low profile. Even though the club is owned by this person, all paperwork is in the co-owner’s name. But that guy made it clear that he’s not really the one in charge. All he’d tell me was that he’d talk to the ‘real owner’ and that he’d make sure ‘D’ was there to see you tonight.”
“D?” Devon asked with raised eyebrows. “You’re not serious. D?”
Chief Wilson nodded and then turned to walk out of the office, speaking to them as he walked away. “That’s the name the co-owner gave me. Just plain old ‘D’, he said.”
“Great.” Devon muttered as the chief walked away, and then turned to look at Alec with a disgusted look on his face. “We’re stuck going to a club and talking to a guy who thinks he’s too good for a real name. Just great.” He snorted and walked off up the hall way, thinking about how pissed his wife would be that he was going to the night club she’d been hoping to visit…and she wasn’t going to be allowed to go anywhere near it with him.
Alec stood in the office and watched his partner walked away before he looked back down to the newspaper and case file that lay on his desk. With a sigh, he sat back down and put his head in his hands.
“Sometimes I hate this job.”
Get your copies of Come The Darkness, the first installment of Crystal Lea's amazing Hunters Rising series, by clicking the links below!
Come The Darkness- Paperback
Come The Darkness- eBook
PRAISE FOR COME THE DARKNESS