The Eastbank Killer – A Serial Novella
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.
Donna Bosque had been pouring over the post-collision automobile inspection Pesher had ordered for the Pinker case—a hundred pages of made-to-order testimony regarding faulty brakes, bearings, steering core, and tires. It was surprising Regan Pinker’s truck had run at all. She flipped over another page.
A printed email with Astrid Merington’s name caught her eye.
Dear Ms. Wentworth, Merington had written to the attorney defending the manufacturer. “I too agree that the child, Becky Pinker, is too young to give reliable testimony, and that asking her to take the stand after her father’s death would be injurious to the child without shedding light on the facts of the case.”
“Merington!” Donna said out loud, leaning back in her chair. “Pesher is going to kill you.”
Pinker had been pickled on Pendleton whiskey. The only way they would win a wrongful death suit would be to drag his weeping daughter onto the stand, preferably silhouetted against a photograph of the crash, preferably in front of a jury composed of nursing mothers.
In was after midnight. The office was empty.
Donna glanced out her window. Three blocks up the hill from the firm, on the fourth floor of the glass and brushed-steel Vaughn Condominium building a light was on. Astrid Merington, the new associate, was awake. She was the perfect Portlander, reducing her carbon footprint by living close to work.
Donna shook her head.
“You’ll never make it in personal injury.”
A chime sounded on Donna’s cell phone and she jumped. As if summoned by Donna’s gaze, Merington’s name appeared on the screen above the text.
You should go home.
I will, she wrote back.
It’s not safe out there.
On a chair by her desk, the Oregonian screamed the latest headline: Eastbank Killer’s fifth victim. The woman’s smiling face was splayed across the front page beside a photograph of the piling that had caught her burnt remains. Wendy Price. Twenty seven. Single. Blond. Abducted in Mount Tabour park. Identifiable only by her dental records.
The city was alive with her death. It was on every channel, in every conversation. At lunch, every restaurant in the Pearl District buzzed with her murder. How did he select them? From what dock or shoal did he launch their remains unseen by fishermen, freights ships, and police? How did he arrange it so their bodies burst into flames as they passed beneath the Hawthorne Bridge? And why?
Merington had told the interns that the murders were all connected to the Pesher, Andrews and Bosque firm. It was a ghost story, a boogie man tale. The interns had listened rapt, and Donna had rolled her eyes.
On a whim, Donna typed “Wendy Price” into the firm’s database.
I don’t scare that easily, Donna wrote back.
She started another text. Why aren’t you putting Becky Pinker on the stand?
She deleted the message before sending. It could wait.
She picked up the stack of files she had finished reviewing and carried them into Merington’s office. She was about to return to her desk when something stopped her. The office was silent, yet it felt like someone was there. The air had changed. She listened.
Next installment: October 31, 2013.
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