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 looked up and down the empty street. At the corner, a motion sensitive streetlight blinked off. Then she ran. Her stocking feet pounded the cement. She clutched her pumps in one hand, not because she cared about the shoes but because, suddenly, the Eastbank Killer was everywhere. If she dropped the shoes she felt certain he would find them. He would use them to track her. He would see a splash of color, burnt sienna, on the gray street, and then he would kill her.
All the news reports agreed. He was exceptionally strong and smart. He drugged his victims with a cocktail of sedatives the police had never seen before, but that was just an afterthought. They went with him willingly. The police guessed he either knew his victims or presented as a respectable citizen. They did not struggle in their homes or cars or offices, only when he tied them to the raft, a few hours before the end.
A voice in the back of Donna’s mind dethatched itself and floated into its own silence like the voice of the DA speaking to an empty courtroom.
“Had she dropped her shoes, they would have provided a clue to police officers, possibly speeding her discovery and preventing her death. As it was, Jerry Pesher, known to Portland as the Eastbank Killer…”
“…drugged her and tied her to a raft made of empty water cooler jugs. Medical examiners suggest she woke minutes before the incendiary device…”
The shoes, she thought as she ran. Maybe she should drop them. Maybe they would save her. She tried to let go, but her hand had frozen into a fist around the delicate straps.
The icy rain hit her face. She blinked. The street before her suddenly illuminated by headlights. Someone had turned onto the road and was driving toward her. She darted down an alley, still racing toward the Vaughn Condominium Building.
A second later, she slammed against the mirrored glass door, gasping for breath and quietly blessing the management company that had engraved the owners’ names on bronze plaques. She pressed Astrid Merington’s call button.
“Yes?” Merington’s voice crackled through the intercom. “Who’s this?”
“Merington, it’s Donna Bosque. You have to let me in.”
Behind her, Donna heard an engine. Headlights reflected on the door in front of her.
“Please. Now. You have to hurry.”
A buzzer sounded.
Donna clutched the door with her free hand.
Through the intercom she heard Merrington say “Fourth floor.”
The door closed very slowly behind Donna, but finally she heard it click into place. Headlights washed the silver surface. She did not wait to see Jerry Pesher press his face against the glass. She raced for the brushed-steel stairs at the end of the foyer. On the fourth floor, Merington was standing in the hall, dressed in black silk pajamas.
“Donna?” A frown creased her forehead. “God, what happened? Come in.”
Donna was vaguely aware of Merington’s arm on her shoulder guiding her inside. The apartment was spacious and warm, but it was all windows. A thousand eyes looked in. Donna slid to the floor, her back against the door. She couldn’t let him see her.
“Close the blinds,” she gasped.
Did apartments like this even have blinds?
She heard an intercom buzz.
“Yes?” Merington said again.
“Merington!” Their boss’s voice barked through the line. “It’s Pesher. Is Bosque with you?”
Next installment: December 12, 2013.
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