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.
Jerry Pesher’s footsteps kept time with the blood pounding in Donna’s ears. She careened down the hall.
“What the hell’s gotten into you, Bosque?” Pesher called out.
He was closer than she realized. She felt him swipe the air behind her.
He was her boss, the senior partner. She had known him for years, eaten his wife’s quiche, bought his sons’ Christmas gifts. But she wasn’t thinking. She was following the edict of her blood which said run.
She reached the elevator, but he was too close. She couldn’t wait. She could smell his cologne, his sweat. There was no time. There was no air. She veered left toward the stairs, colliding with the door, and stumbling down the stairs.
A moment later she exploded onto the street. It was after midnight. The rain hit her like an icy wave.
The law firm rented space in a parking garage several blocks away where the patina of the Pearl District gave way to the genuine grime of the NW Industrial District.
She sprinted, cursing the pumps that threatened to twist her ankle with every step. By the time she reached the garage she was soaked. Her hair plastered to her face. Her blazer felt like a lead vest.
At the base of the garage stairs, she paused for a second, pulling off her shoes, then she began to climb. The stairs spiraled upward, allowing her a glimpse of the empty street every time she circled around.
She was dizzy by the time she reached the fifth floor where her Lexus was parked. But it didn’t matter. She felt a surge of affection for the silver car, its warm interior, its solid locks.
Somewhere in the garage below, an engine revved to life.
She clutched the driver’s side handle. Fear had blotted the obvious from her mind: her keys, phone, and wallet were in her desk at the law firm.
The engine that had rumbled to life on the floor below was getting louder. Someone was driving up the ramp. She ducked behind a cement column, her heart pounding. As she watched, a navy sedan crested the 5th floor and slowly made its way up the garage bypassing the vacant parking spots, bypassing the downward spiral that led to the exit. Lights off. Searching.
Behind the wheel, Jerry Pesher glared out at the empty garage, his hands tight on the wheel.
As soon as he was out of sight, Donna fled the way she had come.
The temperature had held at 33 degrees for days now, and the rain felt colder than snow. She looked around. She couldn’t remember which street led to the Industrial District and which led to the safety of the Pearl. Burnside was only twelve blocks away, but in what direction? She ducked behind the shadow of a loading dock.
A car passed by. In the flickering street light she could not tell if it was black or navy. She could not see the driver. It moved slowly down the street. Donna pressed herself into the shadow of the loading dock.
She remained there for several minutes. Two more cars drove by, or perhaps it was the same car over and over. When she finally stepped away from the wall, she could not remember from which direction she had come. She tried to remember a high school first aid lesson. What were the signs of hypothermia? Disorientation? The cold in her feet had turned to pain. Her teeth were rattling uncontrollably. A swallow of salt told her she had bitten her tongue.
The only land mark she could make out – suddenly, through the rain – was the Vaughn Condominium building, its brushed steel siding rising above the warehouses, Merrington’s building, a warm, lamplight glow emanating from the windows.
She looked behind her. A flash of headlights illuminated the road behind her.
Next installment: November 28, 2013.
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