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Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

She's a brick ... house ... Mighty, mighty, just lettin' it all hang out.

The cell phone blared at its highest level. Stevie rolled across the bed and grabbed it. "Mmmf, hello?"

"Stevie, it's Craig, there's been another one."

"Where?" Stevie asked, scooting herself to the edge of the bed.

"Foster Park. Near the clubhouse. How long until you can get there?" Craig asked.

"I'm getting ready now. No more than 20 minutes."

Stevie hung up the phone and looked at the clock: 2 a.m. She had only been in bed an hour.

As the night cops reporter at The Journal Gazette, she had to wait until the paper was put to bed before she could leave.

Craig Klugman is the newspaper's editor. Stevie always thought he looked like the actor Sean Connery. She could even imagine him spouting one of Connery's famous lines in "The Untouchables": "You wanna get Capone? Here's how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That's the Chicago way. And that's how you get Capone!"

Craig is a seasoned newspaper man and worked in Chicago. He expects his reporters to cover their beats just like Connery's James Malone: Always one step ahead of the other guy.

The pants she had on earlier that evening were slung across a chair. She slipped them on, along with a T-shirt, and went to brush her teeth.

Stevie wasn't sure she could keep up with this story, especially since someone else seemed to be calling the shots. She couldn't get a break in the case.

The evening had been so quiet; not even a car crash. Why now?

She spit, rinsed and then gave herself a look in the mirror. No makeup. She thought about running a brush through her long brown hair, but decided against it. No time. I've got to go.

Stevie grabbed her bag and was just about to leave when she remembered her jacket. Although it was spring, the night air here stays chilly.

She's a brick ... house ... Mighty, mighty, just lettin' it all hang out.

"Hello?"

"Stevie, where are you?" It was James, one of the newspaper's photographers.

"I'm leaving now. I'll be there in a few minutes."

She lived in West Central, so Foster Park was a straight shot down Broadway.

Although she had the heat on in her car, Stevie had a cold chill she just couldn't shake.

This was the third murder in three months. All women. All not from Fort Wayne. The strangest part, all of the tips to the murders were coming in to the newspaper – not the police.

The police had been going crazy trying to figure out who'd been doing it. The last victim was from Ohio, just across the Indiana line.

Stevie pulled into Foster Park and headed back toward the clubhouse. Police cars lined both sides of the narrow road and people in uniforms were everywhere. Portable floodlights had been positioned near the clubhouse, which provided a little light to the dark park. Stevie got out of the car and looked for James. She found him dutifully snapping photos from behind yellow police tape.

She scanned the crowd, looking for someone official who could give her information about the latest victim. A few hundred yards inside the area cordoned off by police, another photographer caught her eye. He was freely taking photos of the crime scene. He didn't appear to be from the media, at least not anyone Stevie had seen before.

His short, dark hair was disheveled and matched the dark shirt that clung to his muscled arms, which grew taut as he lifted the camera to his face. But what Stevie found herself admiring most was how his jeans perfectly framed the lower half of his body as he crouched.

"Who's that?" she asked James.

"Never seen him before," he replied without pulling the camera from his own face.

Stevie continued to watch the man as he examined the area, taking detailed shots of the building, trees and ground. She hadn't found herself this physically attracted to a guy in a long time.

She worked most of the time. Her last real date was a year ago with a copy editor, who'd spent only six months at the paper. One of his hobbies was taking pictures of grammatically incorrect road signs. It wasn't a surprise that one dinner convinced her that dating co-workers was not a good idea. It was the same for people you write about. Don't crap where you eat, the saying goes.

But she found herself unable to stop staring, especially when the mystery photographer turned his attention to the crowd.

He used his camera to scan the faces that had found their way to the park to see what was going on. Stevie was amazed at the small crowd that had gathered at such a late hour.

When the photographer got to where Stevie was standing with James, he stopped and lowered his camera.

Stevie's heart skipped as he looked into the camera lens once again and seemed to be focusing on her. Although the night air was cool, she began to sweat.

By Terri Richardson, assistant managing editor for features.

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