A priest is in the midst of a personal crisis when a killer lures him into a twisted world of moral corruption, cover-ups and revenge.
The Granite Mountain Sheriff's Department has converged on the home of Edward Pearce, discovering overwhelming evidence that he is the serial killer they have been seeking. Jana Burke, one of the homicide detectives, expresses her concern that the mole in the department has not yet been identified; and that a local newswoman, Danika Marten, may be able to access sensitive information.
Danika Marten waved a dismissive hand in her assistant's face. “I'm meeting someone for drinks, so I won't be needing you to remove my make-up. Just leave the hairspray over there,” she said, pointing to a corner of her make-up table, “and you can go.”
She tapped the soft tissue around her eyes in an attempt to reduce the puffiness of a long day sitting in one position under hot lights. Reaching into a drawer, she pulled out her personal stash of expensive eye cream and smeared a light layer beneath each eye.
“You'll get a rash if you leave that make-up on too long, Danika.” The jut of Jordan's chin and pursed lips telegraphed his annoyance.
“Let me worry about that. I've been wearing this crap for the better part of a decade, and I've never looked better.” She turned to where Jordan still hovered nearby, caressed his butt cheek and squeezed. “It's only drinks and, I hope, a hot lead. No reason to get jealous, Baby."
He pushed her hand away, but it was a half-hearted gesture and part of a familiar dance between the two. She unzipped his pants and found her target... stroking until Jordan's eyes closed and his face went slack. With a satisfied smile, she pulled away and sat back in the chair, noting the residual hardness of his member.
Jordan's eyes burned with three parts rage and one part desire. “You're such a twisted bitch, Danika. I do every nasty little thing you ask of me and this is how you treat me -- like some sort of sex slave? One of these days I'll make you sorry you ever met me!"
It wasn't the first time he'd threatened her. She never took him seriously, especially since he'd never acted on any of them. Just macho posturing, she reasoned. Besides he was well-endowed and able to keep up with her ravenous sexual appetite. But there was no way she was going to let the toady know it. Once she'd tired of him, plans were in place to send him to the equivalent of network Siberia. For now, though, he was useful.
Rubbing her foot along the inside of his thigh, Danika coaxed, “Don't be mad, Jordie. Give me an hour, then head over to my apartment. Get the place ready and don't forget to set up the video recorder this time.” She tried to grab his hand, but he moved out of reach.
“Go to hell. I've got better things to do than wait around for a lame fuck with you.”
Danika lunged forward in her chair and threatened, “Do I need to remind you that I can ruin you with one word to the right people?”
Jordan's smirk unhinged her. She rushed for him, nails bared and aiming to damage. He easily subdued her by pinning her arms against the wall.“I'm done with you,” he spat out. “I've had a better offer, and I'm taking it. Try to make trouble for me, and I'll send pictures of you and me doing the dirty to your competitor.”
“You arrogant asshole,” she hissed. Her knee came up, but he deflected the blow and gave it a vicious twist. Danika's other leg gave out and she slid down the wall. Black spots danced in front of her eyes. She remained still until she heard the door slam behind him.
Making her way to the couch at the end of the room, Danika collapsed onto it. She took a cigarette from the pack near her elbow and inhaled deeply. Her whole body shook. The thin blanket she used to cover herself could not warm her. Her knee ached like hell, but she would not let anything stop her from keeping her appointment. After a couple of puffs, a nicotine calm kicked in.
Pull yourself together, girl.
Danika's legs wobbled, but she pushed herself forward. After a quick repair of her hair and make-up, she grabbed her briefcase and hugged it to her chest. None would guess that being a network anchor was the sole reason Danika Marten got out of bed in the morning. She'd pull in some favors and see the muscle-bound turd eliminated before she'd go back to being a nobody. Bet your ass, I'll see you wiped off the face of this earth if you fuck with me, Jordan.
Before her fingers touched the doorknob, she watched in horror as it turned on its own with such force the door vibrated. Despite her resolve, she was terrified it was Jordan come back to finish the job. “Jordan, stop it!” she screeched. “Swear to God, I'll call the police.”
The doorknob stilled. Danika balked at touching its surface, but she was already late for her meeting. The metal was cool beneath her skin. She stuck her head through the doorway and scanned the entire hallway. It appeared empty for the moment. Must have been the janitor.
She closed and locked her dressing room door and hurried in the direction of the staircase leading down to the parking garage. Her only thought was to get out of the building. The red exit sign was the only source of illumination, her clicking heels the only sound.
It's too quiet. Where is everyone?
She passed a half dozen closed doors, which she found weird given there was always at least one person lounging about. Just short of the exit, she became certain someone was following right behind. A jolt of electricity slammed into her spine and she grunted in pain. What the hell...
In full panic mode, Danika pulled her phone from her bag. She whirled to face the stalker, but he'd apparently ducked out of sight. “You have five seconds to show yourself before I dial 911,” she challenged.
A dark shape materialized through the door in the middle of the hallway. Danika watched, transfixed, as it coalesced into a monstrous-sized dog. Its bulging eyes kept her rooted to the spot. She opened her mouth to scream, but there was only an incongruous sound – the animal rumbling with satisfaction. Her bladder let loose, and Danika felt a hot stream of urine running down her leg. Fear drummed the back of her eyeballs and she swallowed against the bitter bite of it. Her whimpering drew the creature closer and she cringed against its assault. Then it did something possible only in nightmares. It stopped at her feet, sat back on its haunches and spoke, “I've come to complete our bargain, Danika Marten - to make you famous and take your soul back to hell with me.”
No, no, no...
The dog shifted its gaze to something behind her. And even as she silently begged God to save her, a sharp prick at the back of her neck sent her diving into waves of all-encompassing blackness.
Edward Pearce hog-tied Danika Marten before dumping her into the back of his truck. He covered her body with tarp weighed down by cement bricks at each corner.
He wasn't surprised to see the dog waiting for him in the front seat. After he'd incapacitated the reporter, it had disappeared. Of course, now that he'd taken all the risks of getting caught, the damned thing would show up to continue bossing him around.
“We've gone too far. I don't know why I let you talk me into this.”
“The love of your life, or so you keep telling me, committed suicide thanks to scum like that woman back there. It was you that came up with the concept of making a statement, am I not correct?”
“I want simple revenge", Eddie said without taking his eyes from the road. "I don't give a fuck any longer about making any kind of statement. Luring the priest is one thing. I can see the sense of that. But getting the press involved this way? I think it's dangerous and crazy."
“Eddie, you're still a pansy little prick.”
The car veered towards a concrete wall as Eddie struggled to keep his hands steady. He gawked at the man he hadn't seen in twenty years, wearing the same ugly look on his face as the day his heart exploded.
“Go away. I prefer Satan to breathing the same air as you.”
“The road you're traveling on can only end one way, and it ain't gonna be with your Injun lover.”
Eddie pounded the wheel and screamed, “Liar! I've been assured that I will see Billy again if I do everything He says.”
“Boy, you're a damned fool. Should've drowned ya like I wanted to the minute you came out of your mother.”
Eddie lunged for his father, but he'd disappeared. He pulled to the side of the road and wept out his frustration. Finally, his brain cleared, and he realized where he was. Regaining control of himself, he pulled out into traffic, making sure he did not exceed the speed limit. Up ahead was the exit for the Sioux Reservation. He felt a pleasant anticipation of what he would do once he got there. His father's appearance was intended to scare him off. Instead, it gave him a new resolve.
He'd prove the bastard wrong once and for all.