“Please . . .,” she whispered.
Gavin McAllister rolled over and flipped on the bedside lamp. Sitting up he ran a hand through his thick black hair and sighed heavily. He hated the nightmares. For the past three years he’d been forced to live with the Mother’s Day killer haunting his dreams. Now, if the dreams were right--and they were always right--evil had claimed another victim.
It was only four a.m., but the night was over for him. Rising he walked to the window, parted the drapes and stood looking out over the silent streets of Richmond. It was quiet now, but soon traffic would be moving. A cacophony of horns, voices mumbling platitudes or shouting curses would rise from the streets as thousands of people rushed frantically to get to the very last place they really wanted to be. Jobs they hated. Or perhaps returning to bleak, empty structures of houses that were no longer homes.
The girl was already dead. He knew that in his heart. Still, there was something she wanted. Something she needed from him. He closed his eyes, seeing her, hearing the whispered plea for life. The sound of prayer in the dark still night.
His fingers curled inward, tightening into fists. What good were his dreams if he couldn’t save her? Couldn’t save any of them. Occasionally he could find and put an end to the evil. But it never ended. For each one brought to justice something more vile took its place. Something bolder. Stronger.
Kahil Gibran had said, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”
Gavin’s mirthless laugh broke the silence of the early morning hour. If that quote were true then Jacody Ives must be one of the most massive characters ever created.
Gavin turned to gaze at the finished manuscript, “Pool of Tears”. Not his best work, but the character, Jacody Ives, bore fresh scars. Constant reminders that justice came with a price.
Letting the drapes fall back into place Gavin turned on the light and headed for the kitchen. The thing he needed most was thick black coffee. The one thing he didn’t need was to dwell on Jacody Ives. That would only pull him into the shadows of his own fractured psyche. His own evil.
His readers believed that Jacody Ives was merely a fictional character. But Gavin and those closest to him knew that wasn’t true. Jacody was always close, vigilant for a sign of weakness. A moment when the darkness overcame Gavin. The pain cut to the core.
Rob had told him the differences were subtle. Evil was like that. It wasn’t something you could see. It was soulless. The greatest magician. True master of disguise. Lying hidden in the murky depths of secrets buried in the cavernous trenches of the psyche.
Silence. Secrets. Wasn’t that what had created Jacody in the first place? His silence. His secret.
“Please . . .,” she whispered.
Wounds opened. Gavin gripped the sink, struggling to control the memories as his body trembled with rage.
A ragged sound escaped his lips as his body jerked in spasms of emotional pain. He’d kept the memories buried. Caged. But now his tormentor stood outside that cage, laughing as Gavin twisted away from the jagged spears--only to find there was nowhere to go. No place he could escape the memories. The soft delicate sound of her laughter. The flashing beauty of her smile. The limpid pools of her deep green eyes, darkened in passion. The way light played on her auburn curls.
Her still lifeless body. Bloody, battered and broken.
The keening wail of a dying animal filled the room as the darkness won, pulling Gavin beneath the surface to the very pits of his own hell.
Jacody Ives smiled, flexed the fingers still gripping the sink. Evil attracts evil. He’d heard its call in the nightmare. He would answer. There’d never been any other choice for him. Evil knew his name.
Sacred Secrets, A Jacody Ives Mystery