Page 3 of Hush Now Love

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We’ve had a serial killer on our hands for some time now. Two years and four victims and I stare at their photos on the wall. They’re all young women in their twenties and they’re all beautiful. But that’s where the similarities end.

They’re of different height and weight, eye color and hair color. The only thing they all have in common is that all of them are named Juliet. Three of them are dead. The forth one has been missing for six days and I stare at her photo, something twisting in my gut every time I look at her.

Hazel hair falling long below her collarbones, smoke colored eyes that are both somber and playful. A voluptuous mouth that makes a man want to play rough and she’s got the figure of a little pagan.

The kind of girl that doesn’t mind dancing naked in the rain or pick a fight with people bigger than her size. That missing. She’s in the hands of that Womanizer psychopath and I can’t do anything about it.

We have no leads, the trail has gone cold and we’ve been stomping water for months. He always seems to be laying a step ahead of us, always able to foretell our next move. We’ve already failed two women; we can’t fail the forth one too.

She lives (not lived because I have to believe that she is still alive) on a small, quiet street where the neighbors mostly consist of senior citizens. It was the neighbors who reported her missing, called in and said that they had found her front door wide open but when they walked inside, she was nowhere to be found.

It probably means that the perpetrator somehow had lured her out, kidnapped her there, then took her somewhere where he is now keeping her...

My fists clench in anger and unable to control myself I lash out with my hand, causing books and papers to fly everywhere and some of my colleagues gasp and turn around, looking at me in shock.

I scowl, until they turn back and I rub my eyes again. I am handling this badly but there is just something about the girl that makes this feel personal. The girl is only 5.5, doesn’t weigh much and it kills me when thinking about how afraid she must be.

Those eyes of hers seem to stare right at me, as if she knows me and sometimes when staying late in the office it can feel as if she’s going to walk out of her photo. She feels so real to me that I dream about her, see her in the doorway of my bedroom and in my dreams her body is always without a single thread.

In my dreams she isn’t missing and afraid. In my dreams she’s safe, alive and well. And above all, mine.

“Byrne, you’re starting to look your age,” Racket says, turning away from his computer, “you want me to get you some coffee?”

“Aye,” I reply, “make it a double.”

“Roger,” Racket yawns, getting up and walks over to the coffee machine while I thoughtfully stare out the window. Bad weather is brewing and rain is hanging in the air and I throw a glance at the clock. Three hours more, until my shift is over but I wouldn’t mind working the whole night if it means finding the missing girl.

But we would need something to go on in order to do that. As of now we got nothing.

“Here you go,” Racket says, putting the paper cup on my desk and I clasp it, barely registering the warmth seeping into my palm.

“Thanks,” I mutter, taking a sip and most people would probably find the cheap taste revolting, but I have learned to enjoy it. I’m not much for luxury, wasn’t used to it growing up in Ireland with a criminal father and a stay at home mum.

My mother remarried when I still was a kid and we moved to a small town called Fates Falls here in the U.S. She’s not around anymore and neither is my stepfather. When I was a boy everyone thought I would grow up to become a criminal just like my biological father but crime didn’t appeal to me.

Instead I went to Ireland, worked for a couple of years for the Garda then came back to the U.S not too long ago and rose to the ranks of a detective. Haven’t regretted my decision ever since.

Other than on days like these, when pretty girls are missing and it makes a man feel like he has a hole in his chest.

Putting the cup down, I let out a silent curse. “We should have done it,” I say, “we should have mentioned that the killer chooses his victims based on their names.”

Racket snorts, clearly not agreeing. “And caused panic among every single woman, girl and child named Juliet?”

“If it would have kept them safe, then yes.”

Shaking his head, Racket mutters, “We couldn’t know for sure that’s what it was. He only had three victims. And now the forth...”

“Now the forth one is missing and now it is too late,” I snap, rubbing a hand down my face and I stand up. “Come on, let’s go.”

“Where?” Racket yaps, looking horrified and he throws a look out the window. “It’s raining.”

Kicking his chair, I say, “Are you a fecking cop or not? Get up, we have work to do.”

Sneering, Racket grabs his short jacket, muttering to himself about what a tyrant I am but then he grins because my partner can’t stay mad for long. Walking down the hallway, we pass a couple of people taken in for interrogation and they all stare at me.

My face is not pretty. Look too long and the uglier it gets.

Most women are appalled by it, most men know that my face says it’s better that they stay away and children...well, they cry. But I don’t hide and I am not ashamed of it. I have learned to accept the scars.

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