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.
“Hello?” Donna called into the hallway of Pesher, Andrews, and Bosque.
The lights in the hallway buzzed. In another room, a fax came in. She thought she heard a footstep.
It was Astrid Merington’s fault for telling boogieman stories. Donna chided herself for being suggestible, even as she called out again.
No one answered.
She glanced around the office. A movement caught her eye, a flash behind the interns’ cubicles.
She was about to flee, when something stopped her.
It was the smell: a strong whiff of cologne mixed with cigar. Jerry Pesher’s signature scent: Eau de Personal Injury.
She marched toward the interns’ cubicles. Indeed, there he was, sitting in front of Tony Peterson’s computer, his enormous bulk swallowing up the office chair.
“You scared the shit out of me! What are you doing?”
“You should really be more careful in the office alone.” His voice edged between paternal and snide. “I walked right by your office, and you didn’t notice.”
“God damn it! Why didn’t you just say hello. What are you doing at Tony’s desk.” She glanced at her watch. “It’s after midnight.”
It was no way to talk to the founding partner, but Donna was sick of Pesher’s teaching moments, the little games he played with the interns—go away, no come back. And on Monday, if not sooner, she would have to tell him about Merington’s email.
He would call Merington into his office, smack his hand against his desk and tell the associate she’d have to grow a set or get the fuck out. Not once would he acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, Merington was right. Maybe the $150,000 the girl’s family stood to gain after legal fees was not worth dragging the child onto the stand.
Merington would leave his office chastened. The infinitesimal flirtation Donna and Merington had enjoyed would be over.
She heard Merington’s voice in her head. Every victim had a connection to this law office.
Donna’s hands went cold. Her heartbeat panicked in her ears.
Pesher rose. He stood at least six inches taller than Donna. He stepped toward her, arms outstretched. He wore black leather gloves and an overcoat, dark with rainwater.
“Don’t tell me you’re afraid of the Eastbank Killer. Merington scare you with her ghost stories?”
He came closer. His cologne stung her eyes. Behind that smell was another sour human smell, like sweat or bile.
Donna remembered all the psychologists she had interviewed on women and violence. Again and again, the experts concurred: women stayed in dangerous situations because they were worried about offending their assailant.
Pesher took another step forward.
It wasn’t hard for Donna Bosque’s life to flash before her eyes. This was it: late nights at Pesher, Andrews, and Bosque. She had never done anything more impulsive than shoot her attractive associate a wry smile which, it occurred to her now, a woman like Merington wouldn’t even recognize as flirtation.
“Don’t back away from me,” Pesher barked.
Donna was not ready to float down the Willamette on a burning Pyre, the victim of a serial killer and her own pathetic courtesy.
“Excuse me,” she gasped and ran for the door.
Next installment: November 14, 2013.
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