Attorney Donna Bosque finds her life turned upside down when an attractive associate at her firm becomes convinced the Eastbank Killer, who has been terrifying Portland, is directly linked to their law firm.
If it wasn’t for the cream-colored blouse unbuttoned an eighth of an inch lower than office decorum demanded, Astrid Merington would have reminded her boss, Donna Bosque, of a teenage boy telling campfire ghost stories.
Merington leaned back, one boot kicked up against the wall behind her, her face in shadow. It just after 5 PM, but the winter rain clouds had turned the sky black, and the halls of Pesher, Andrews, and Bosque were dark. The interns from Lewis and Clark Law School clustered around Merington, transfixed. Tony “my father is the DA so I know law” Peterson was openly leering. Twenty-two year old Barbara blushed when Merington looked at her. Even Aubrey, the Latter Day Saint poster child, seemed to be half in love with the new associate who was in the process of regaling them with details from the latest Eastbank killing.
“You know he doesn’t set them on fire on the Eastbank. He mounts an incendiary device on a timer on the raft, so they light up just as they reach the Hawthorne Bridge.”
It wasn’t anything that the Oregonian had not covered, but apparently the interns didn’t have time to read the newspaper on their fast track from K through JD.
“The police think he stands on the Hawthorne Bridge and watches them go under. Then he scrapes a pentacle in the paint on the guardrail. One for each victim. I have a friend who saw him do it. She’s almost certain. It was before the first murder. She never got a look at his face. He was just hunched over the railing as she drove by. The next day she heard that a burnt body had washed up on one of the pilings.”
Merington caught Donna’s eye through the open door of Donna’s office and cocked a smile in her direction.
I know you disapprove, her smile said.
You like me anyway.
Donna looked back at her computer screen. They were about the same age, but Merington was an associate, and Donna was managing partner.
In the hallway, Merington leaned in to her audience.
“But there is something the police haven’t figure out yet, something only we know.”
“We do?” Aubrey whispered, a thick stack of briefs clutched to her chest.
Donna shook her head, smiling. This was when the ghost story teller told the campers they were, at that very moment, sitting on the burial ground of Native Americans slaughtered by the campers very own great grandparents. She kept a flashlight in her desk after the recent power outages. Now she picked it up and held it under her chin.
Like this, she mouthed.
Merington’s face remained serious.
“I’ve discovered that every victim had a connection to this law office,” she intoned. “This office, Pesher, Andrews, and Bosque, is the Eastbank Killer’s feeding ground. It’s just a matter of time.”
Next installment: October 3, 2013.
For more fiction by Karelia click here.
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