Deathscape

Deathscape by Dana Marton

Book: Deathscape by Dana Marton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dana Marton
to be.
    What did he know about her for sure?
    She painted the dead.
    People who died violently, to be more specific. Ashley Price, an untimely death, and geographical proximity were all the victims in her paintings had in common. Somebody coming in fresh and looking at those facts would have theorized that she was one of the rare female serial killers.
    Except, he’d met her, and she wasn’t a killer. She was a mess. And she hadn’t been the one who’d put him into the grave.
    But she was the one who’d dug him up.
    He’d be damned if he knew what that meant.
    He was almost puzzled enough to seriously consider her psychic tale. Almost.
    Punch, right, left. Forearms, right, left. Elbows, right, left. Knees, right, left.
    Maybe the FBI could make more sense of her. The four agents who’d arrived had taken over the single conference room at the police station and one of the offices. Bing wouldn’t let Jack near them. But even if he had, Jack wouldn’t have handed over the paintings. Ashley was his lead. He wanted to be the one who found Blackwell, dammit.
    He danced around the bag, working it over as it swung on the chain. Left, right, back, forth. Everything hurt. He thought he’d learned long ago to shut out pain, both emotional and physical. Not quite.
    Time to burn that pain out of his muscles. With every hit, he imagined Blackwell, let himself feel just enough to create a controlled flame burning in the dark. The sick bastard had left him alive even as he’d buried him, left him to die slowly so he would have time to think about how badly he’d failed.
    The faces of Blackwell’s other known victims played through his mind like a film on an endless loop, each one of the eighteen crying out for revenge. North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Long Island, Connecticut. He’d made it his career to follow Blackwell up and down the East Coast, transferring from department to department over the years.
    After a triple murder in Baltimore, he’d picked up on something in a forensics report the FBI had missed—spores at a crime scene, from some gourmet mushroom produced in only a half-dozen places in the country. He’d put six brown pins in the map on his wall at his rental, one for each location.
    The line of eighteen red pins that marked the victims all concentrated in the middle section of the East Coast. The six brown ones were distributed randomly over the US, only one on the East Coast, Broslin, PA, in the middle of all the red. A state surrounded by victim states but where no victim had been taken.
    Why? Because it would have hit too close to home for Blackwell?
    So Jack took the first police job that came up in Broslin and had been damn proud of himself for getting another step closer. Except now it seemed Blackwell had caught on. The bastard had trapped him and nearly killed him.
    Nearly .
    His turn. But he couldn’t let his revenge blind him. Every move had to be carefully calculated. They were in the endgame.
    Jab. Cross. Elbow. Uppercut. Jack let the force of his legs explode through his hips, torso, and shoulders, sent the energy through his arms and into the bag.
    Only when he was completely spent, covered in sweat, did he let himself drop to the mat. But even then, he couldn’t rest. He reached for his phone and shuffled through the photos he’d taken of Ashley’s bizarre paintings. He paused the screen at the painting of himself in the grave, eyes open but unseeing.
    Blackwell’s other known victims hadn’t been buried alive. They’d been buried in pieces. The FBI had never done a full recovery. The bastard was keeping trophies.
    But he hadn’t cut Jack. Why? Why bury him alive?
    He pushed back his rising anger. You go into a fight hot, you've already lost—one of the fundamental rules of combat he’d learned early on. He withdrew to the darkroom in his mind, as always when emotions threatened to get in his way. He liked the black, hollow space that let in no light. Except

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