So what do I know.
Stewert Gibbs is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has fallen from grace. When pressured to reveal the source of an investigative piece, he does so. This has caused his reputation to become tarnished in the journalism community. He wants it back.
When a killer begins a rampage through Phoenix, Arizona, Gibbs and his photographer Taylor believe they have the perfect story to launch Gibbs back to the limelight.
Gibbs doesn't realize that he is about to become the story and discover a past that he never knew he had...a past that may destroy him and everyone around him for good.
Merry Christmas to all of those who have supported me. As a gift, I give you Chapter one for your perusal. I hope you find it is fun ...and a little creepy.
I know I did...
Sitting at a small table, close to the window, the killer waits for everyone to die.
This is the killer's first time as a customer-if a customer is truly what he is- at the "Daily Brew' and it will be the last. He can't afford to get caught before he is finished. His works is only getting started. This has been a game for a very long time, longer than the killer can remember, like an ancient curse that has been put over him. It seems appropriate to think about it that way. Very appropriate indeed.
He doesn't want to take the chance of getting caught before he is ready, but can't help taking this one opportunity. He needs to be close to the kill. He needs to see the faces of these people dying in front of him. The anticipation of the kill, waiting for all of the customers of the coffeehouse to drop dead, is giving him a tingling feeling in his groin. From the vantage point of his table he can see the entire coffeehouse and every customer in it.
When he was in the coffeehouse the night before, after everything had closed down and the manager and the barista had gone home for the night, he spent some time casting a spell over the place using his new potion. He also licked the back of every chair. Now he consumes the power in the place without leaving his chair. He is in control. He is the master.
He feels power coursing through his body. He squirms in his seat slightly and looks around the room to see if anyone has noticed him. Everyone is so absorbed in their own lives that they hardly notice him. He smirks.
They'll wish they had noticed him.
He is a warlock god.
The killer squirms in his seat, watching the barista at the front counter-he saw her badge, Brandy-serving a reduced calorie mocha something or other to a man in a lavender Polo and khakis. The killer absently twirls a cardboard coffee cup with the plastic drip-proof cap. The killer does not take a sip and won't. He is just using the coffee purchase as a way to sit here in the coffeehouse and watch everyone die.
Oh my god, he can't wait for the festivities to begin.
The dark brown colors of the coffeeshop make him feel he is a warlock in a cavern, weaving his wicked spell over the village below. What a spell it is. He can't wait to see it happen. The anticipation is killing him and he can't wait for the kill. He is almost panting with the anticipation of seeing all of these unsuspecting folks gasp their last breath. They are totally not expecting that their death, the reason for it, is right in front of them pretending to drink coffee. The place has only just opened. It is early yet and it shouldn't take long for his spell to take effect.
For a moment he worries that it won't happen. It seems to be taking too long and the killer glances at his watch and realizes that The Daily Brew has only been open for fifteen minutes and he has only been sitting here for about ten. His heart, which had started trying to punch through his chest, is slowing down with the realization.
He doesn't have to wait for long. The environment physically seems to change. An unnatural calm permeates the establishment and he feels like he is floating through the room.
He senses it coming. A calm before the storm. The place goes quiet, like the building has been sucked free of oxygen
Suddenly, someone coughs. Just a cough.
Then someone else coughs too.
Now the entire place is a sing-song of rough hoarse coughing…gagging.
The customer at the table right in front of the killer grabs his own neck and the killer can see that the skin on the back of the fat man's neck is turning pale, then with a blue tint. The man’s keels over and his forehead strikes the table with a thump. The man stops gagging.
The killer smiles as he stares at the deceased man.
All around, the chaos of the coffeehouse, twenty -two customers in all, standing, crawling, gagging, coughing…the killer pretends to be one of them, gagging and falling onto his table top, his face spun toward the tableau, taking in the spell he has created.
The Brandy-bitch screams.
The killer watches her as slide-shuffles around the counter. The man on the corner of the counter is gagging and choking and he knocks his glass of water off the counter just as she comes around the corner of the counter. Brandy strikes the water with a heel and falls abruptly on her ass. Her squeal makes the killer chuckle quietly to himself. He tries hard to mask it with fake-gagging.
Brandy has disappeared behind the counter but the killer can hear her pushing backwards to the backroom, he imagines she is trying to crawl to safety, but he hears her scream and imagines that her manager is dead or dying right in front of her.
The rest of the coffeehouse has gone still. Everyone inside is dead.
The killer raises his head slowly, taking in the scene, careful to make sure that everyone is dead.
He has stayed long enough. Someone will eventually come in. He must go.
The killer crunches through the broken porcelain mugs and the smell of coffee and vomit. He steps over the arms of some of the collapsed patrons, careful not to leave footprints on anyone's arms. He supposed it didn't matter. He was going to burn these boots once he got home anyway.
It is everything that he can do to keep from whistling. He doesn't want Brandy to know that anyone is alive out here, although it would be nothing to take the knife from its sheath under his arm and cut a smile right through her pretty little neck. Silence that screaming once-and-for-all.
He saunters to the door and takes one last look at the spell he has weaved. This would make a beautiful painting. He could name it, Warlock Surveys His Creation. He likes the release that he has allowed himself. It is about time.
He walks out to his cherry Lincoln and steps into the car and starts the motor. Another car is pulling in and the killer is very careful to keep his license plate out of view. The woman inside doesn't even look his way and makes the job of concealing himself that much simpler. He exits the parking lot and slowly increases his speed once he hits the street. No sense attracting attention to himself.
By the time the woman in the black business suit makes it to the door of the Daily Brew and screams, he is already on the I-10 heading east.
The killer trembles as he is switches lanes on the interstate. This was only the beginning. This was his first spell . His first beautiful spell.
He hopes that Stewert Gibbs appreciates it.