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A Circle Of Souls
A new kind of psychological murder mystery thriller.
The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town’s top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.
Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury’s hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven-year-old Naya Hastings’s devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya’s parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.
The situations confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgment, Leia explores the clues in Naya’s crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.
In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear, and murder.
The slaaf stumbled along the shore of Willow Lake. The
ground was soft from the previous night’s rain, and wet leaves
made a slippery carpet under his feet. His arms ached from
struggling to contain the animal he carried in a coarse gunnysack
across his shoulder. The sedative had worn off, and the
animal thrashed more and more violently as the slaaf approached
the faded red boathouse. Finally, in front of the peeling door, he
dropped the squirming sack. The creature inside yelped as the
bag hit the ground. The slaaf found the key on his large metal
ring, unlocked the padlock, and slipped inside.
He lifted the sack onto a long, wooden workbench near the
back of the boathouse, where its contents lay still for a moment. He
wiped his sweaty forehead with his arm, while with his other hand,
he fingered the small bag of white powder inside the front pocket
of his jeans. He sat carefully in a creaky wooden chair against the
wall. He wanted to wait, knowing it would be over so quickly . . .
but his hand moved against his will, pulled out the bag, reached
in, and took a pinch. He placed the white powder in the palm of
his other hand. He snorted it, and his head came alive.
Yes, yes, he thought. He cast his euphoric mind into the ether,
searching for his master. Would he come?
But the euphoria didn’t last long, and the slaaf, having felt no trace of his master’s presence, found himself slammed back
into his body. His hands were gripping the arms of the wooden
chair. The muscles in his legs had tensed so rigidly that he wondered
if he would be able to stand.
“I hate you! I hate you!” he screamed at the top of his lungs.
The sound of his panting was interrupted by a low whine from
the sack on the workbench. The slaaf snorted more of the cocaine
and tried again to reach his master, whom he was certain was
toying with him. Again, he failed. It took more and more of
the cocaine to reach the ecstatic state he needed to summon his
master. And now, the little bag was empty.
His heart raced, and sweat trickled down his spine. He
stomped on the wooden floor in frustration.
On the bench, the creature in the sack whimpered again,
more loudly this time. “Shut up,” the slaaf shouted. His anxiety
was immense, unbearable. He seized a long, serrated knife from
a rack near the table—and, with all his might, drove it through
the sack. Moaning unintelligibly, he plunged the knife through
the sack over and over again. The burlap darkened as thick blood
seeped out through the holes the slaaf had created.
Finally, he stopped. The silence in the boathouse was almost
too much to bear. “Oh, no,” the slaaf sobbed.
He had trapped the young coyote the previous night, expecting
to catch a smaller animal—a rabbit or a raccoon—to give to
his master. Now his plan was ruined. The animal was dead, and
his master had abandoned him. His chance at redemption, however
temporary, had passed.
Then, just when he thought all hope was lost, a voice called
out to him from the doorway of the boathouse. The door had
been pushed ajar, and the light coming through the narrow
opening blinded the slaaf with the radiance of a god. His master
was here. His master told him to crouch down under the bench
and wait patiently. The slaaf’s heart raced. Had his master come
to punish or redeem him?