Heart of Madness
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by Rob Seyk
Description: How clean is your soul? Detective Neal Patterson is thrust into investigating a recent wave of suicides in the normally quiet Volusia County Florida. As Detective Patterson begins to peel back the layers of each new suicide he becomes aware of a pattern linking one dead with another. However, when the random suicide investigations turn into grisly murder, Detective Patterson is forced into the world of an unyielding killer with an unimaginable gift. The punishment the killer inflicts on his victims' bodies is nothing compared to the destruction he unleashes when he enters their souls. For Detective Patterson to put an end to the reign of terror in the small tourist town, he must be able to look deep within himself to avoid the killer's Heart of Madness.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2012
eBookwise Release Date: June 2012
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [391 KB]
Reading time: 258-362 min.
When the weight of the world crashes down on a person, they seldom have a chance to escape its deadly path. For John Knightly, he made a conscious and continual effort to ignore the anchoring weight that had been dropped on him. He lived in a fictitious world filled with delusions of grandeur. He was untouchable, the best car salesman the greater San Francisco Bay Area had ever known. He catapulted his way through the ranks, soared to the financial manager position and did everything possible to keep the life style he desired.
Even John couldn't see the illusion that surrounded his life. His sixty-hour workweeks were a small sacrifice for the big house, newest Mercedes Benz, and endless amounts of expendable cash. Surrounded with riches most peopled envied, his nightly ritual included a stop at his habitual haunt, Gallagher's Pub. Gallagher's wasn't a bar someone just bumped into or went looking for, Gallagher's found you. Everyone in the place had the same down-trodden look on their faces and the same irreparable story behind them. Occasionally, a group of people would wander into the place looking for a watering hole for the evening but wouldn't stay long and seldom returned. Dimly lit, depressingly quiet and socially crippled, the atmosphere was miseries Mecca, repelling anyone looking for a good time. Tucked behind a failing strip mall, the bar was only for the professional drinker who viewed their profession as a solo act. Gallagher's didn't have a happy hour. It didn't even have a happy moment.
I have everything, but still end up here on a nightly basis.
Shoulders hunched from the exhausting workday, John stared lifelessly into his golden liquid of temporary relief. His choice of poison was Hennessy Whiskey, not the best but not the worst. Unlike most of the bar's regulars, John had more gadgets and toys than he knew what to do with, but lived with the same empty feeling of failure. The smiling, joking demeanor that emanated from him during working hours dissipated the moment he walked through Gallagher's thick wooden door. John didn't use Gallagher's to blindly search for answers to his depression, he went there out of habit. The greatest fuel for the fire of depression is denial and John was undeniably drowning in denial. Further, he was helpless to avoid the lit match heading his way.
The patrons of Gallagher's were often as listless as the alcohol floating in John's glass, but on this night a voice entered John's isolated bubble.
"Buy you a drink," a raspy voice emanated from behind John. Normally, the man's words would have been drowned out by the loud obnoxious jukebox music but he had strategically timed his words between songs. John put his hand up as to say "no thanks" but it seemed to have little effect on the man.
"Life can be so cruel sometimes," the man continued, ignoring John's adverse response. John sensed the man wasn't going away despite any effort on his part to dissuade the camaraderie.
"Life's just fine, pal," John replied in a deep tone, "but if you want to buy me a drink it's your dime. Just to let you know, I'm no pole smoker."
John knew Gallagher's wasn't the ideal place for the gay culture but he had to make his reason for exception clear.
"Oh, I know that just as I know the reason you are here. It's much deeper than which side of the plate you bat," the man said with a slight chuckle to his voice. "Life's rough."
"I told you. My life's just fine," John said, annoyed with the man's persistence.
"I don't think it is, John," the man's stern voice responded. A chill shot throughout John's body. Even though he was a regular, he never told anyone his name. He never spoke to anyone unless it was to order a drink.
"How the fuck do you know my name?" John snapped, as he spun around in his seat.
"How rude of me," the man said," I know your name but you don't know mine. The name's Terror and I'm here to help you."
The lighted match ignited the fuel.