“Ashes” – Sample Chapter

15.

          Deputy Sheriff Connor Raines watched the images flick past on the computer screen.
The first showed a medium-built man wearing jeans and a long-sleeve shirt walk into the First Bank of Hastings. The caption below the security image read “Thomas Marks”. A short list of prior offenses followed his name. The next image was of Marks talking with the bank teller, Marie Walker.
Connor Raines knew Walker, had spoken with her several times during the two years he had been with the Hastings Sheriff Department. Besides being one of the most naturally beautiful women in town, she was also one of the most genuine.
The next image slid onto the computer screen. Marie was following Thomas Marks out of the building. The next picture showed an empty teller booth.
“Do we have anything outside?” asked Connor.
The tech operating the slide-show rapidly clicked through twenty photographs of static. “Bank manager says the outside cameras have been broken for months.”
Connor sighed. Always when you need ‘em, he thought.
“Show me the rest,” he said. His throat was dry; it always happened after a murder.
The next few images showed Marie running back into bank, searching for a place to hide. Moments later, a large man broke open the door and crossed straight to her. In one of the pictures, Connor could tell Marie was praying.
Next was a still image of death: Marie’s broken body lying twisted on the floor, blood pooling from her neck. Her eyes were open.
“Damn,” said Connor.
“No I.D. on the big guy. Witness outside said he he left the bank and stole an S.U.V. before heading south. Same direction as Marks. He had a boy with him.”
“Who, the big guy?”
“No, Marks. His son, maybe. Or a hostage. No one got a good look.”
Raines stared at the grotesque image a moment longer and subconsciously made sure his gun was in its holster. He grabbed his keys from his desk and headed for the door. “I’m headed out there, gonna see if anyone had surveillance nearby.”
“You want me to send these to your car?” the tech asked.
“Yeah. Let me know if you find anything else.” Continue reading