Two Lethal Lies

By: Annie Solomon


I’d like to thank Patrick McNally for his help with the legal system and Dr. Stewart Perlman, Dr. Jeanne Ballinger, and Dr. Peter Jelsma for their help with medical issues. I must extend my apologies to Dr. Perlman as well. He came up with several clever ways to do away with someone, none of which, alas, worked out for the book. All exaggerations, fictions, and mistakes are, of course, my own.

I’d also like to thank Beth Pattillo, who helped pull me out when I got myself stuck in the mud of plot and character. And to Larry, who always reminds me there is a way out, even if I swear there isn’t.


The man gazed down at the body stretched before him. She’d been a pretty thing. A bit scrawny, perhaps, but with the makeup removed and her face in sleep’s repose, she had the bare, otherworldly look of an angel.

Then again, he always saw his brides that way. Sisters of Mercy. Chaste, docile, patiently awaiting the intimate piercing that would join them forever.

He stroked her arm, caressing the limb from the shoulder all the way down to the wrist, watching the play of vein and artery below the soft skin. The sight thrilled him—as much for its own sake as for what he knew was coming.

He tried to prolong the moment, to control his breathing and the rising excitement. Before he’d learned to have power over his impulses, he’d squandered the precious fluid. Even now he could wait only a few seconds. Compelled, he found the blue vein still pulsing in her arm, gently, carefully squeezed the needle in, and began the ritual. As the bags filled with the deep claret blood, his heart filled with a fevered, zealous devotion. In that moment, he would have done almost anything for the creature in front of him.

He crooned a soft hymn as he drained her. Brushed the hair back from her pale, pale skin. Sweet child. Sweet, sacred child.

There would always be things in this world that could not be explained. Just as there would always be people who tried to explain them. A bad childhood. A bad set of genes. God’s will. He smiled. Or the Devil’s.

But the fact was, the most important things had no explanation. Life and death were true mysteries.

But as humans, we weren’t just empty bottles whipped down the road by the wind. We could take action. We could spurt seed into a fertile womb or steal air from healthy lungs.

In this way we became the myth ourselves. The Creator. The Destroyer. The One Who Acts.

Not because we hate or love, but because we can.

There was no better reason for doing what he did.

Because he could. Like God, the ultimate actor.

Just as it has pleased God throughout the ages to slaughter the innocent, it pleased him to watch the life seep out of his silent sacrifice.

When it was done, and her heart had stopped, he secured her gift in the cooler, dating it carefully.

Then he kissed her serene forehead and her bloodless lips, picked up the blade, and carved out her eyes.


Some men were born heroes. Mitch Turner wasn’t one of them. Heroes, even humble ones, drew the spotlight. And the last thing Mitch wanted was attention.

But when his pickup rumbled over the old wooden bridge that cut the town of Crossroads, Tennessee, in two, the universe had other ideas. So did the eleven-year-old beside him.

“Dad—wait! Look!”

He saw it at the same time. A small form on top of the bridge rail.

“What’s she doing?” Jules asked.

But it was obvious. He stopped the truck. “Wait here.”


He firmed up the order. “Wait here.” He dove out the door.

Julia Turner watched the girl on the bridge turn as Mitch raced toward her. For a minute, Julia stopped breathing. Then the air exploded out of her as the girl turned back to the river and did the unthinkable.

Flew into the air.

Julia gripped the dashboard, her mouth hanging open. Then her dad sailed over the rail after her.

Julia yanked off her seat belt and leaped out of the truck. In a heartbeat she was at the railing. There he was, bobbing in the water, turning in every direction. From where she was, Julia had the better view.

“Dad!” She pointed to her right, where several hundred yards away, long strands of scraggly red hair were sinking beneath the water.

In seconds, strong strokes took her dad there. He disappeared below the blackness, and for a few horrible moments it looked like he might not come back.

But he popped up at last, gasping for air and tugging something with him.

He did it! He actually did it!

Julia rushed back to the truck. The keys were still in it, but the engine was off. Just as she’d seen Mitch do a thousand times, she turned the key, and when the engine only coughed but didn’t start, she said the same thing she’d heard her dad say.

“Dammit, old girl, don’t do this to me.”

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