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Smashwords Edition

Copyright © 2013 by James Hampton

All rights reserved.


Chapter One

After ten years on the police force Officer Kent Jacoby figured he had seen it all, though he never said so out loud. Fate might interpret his statement as a challenge and try to one-up him, so he kept the thought to himself. Still, in the past decade, he had witnessed enough of human evil and human error to believe that, whatever grisly scene awaited him at the fashionable home of the apparently now-deceased Winston and Eleanor Fleming, he could handle it. And Officer Jacoby—who, with his commanding height, close-cropped dark hair, and chiseled features looked every bit the Hollywood ideal of the job he performed—would be proven correct today, but by a much narrower margin than he might have liked.

An ambulance was en route to the Fleming residence, but Officer Jacoby had been nearby when word came in and would easily beat them there. The couple's housekeeper, a Mrs. Myrtle Sibley, had placed the 9-1-1 call. She had been near hysteria while talking to the dispatcher, but composed enough to remain adamant on at least two points: first, even though she felt sure the Flemings were dead, she could not begin to speculate as to what had killed them; and, secondly, the first responders would need to bring a ladder to, in her words, "get them down."

That phrase had stuck with Officer Jacoby. "Get them down." The dispatcher had probed for more details. Get them down from where? But Myrtle couldn't say. She had been too upset—or too bewildered—to give a proper answer.

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