When a serial killer strikes New York, Detective Frank Sage finds himself pursuing the ruthless madman called 'Phoenix'. With his family torn by divorce, Sage battles his own private demons. Racism and a sense of uselessness torment him, and Phoenix evades capture at every turn. Sage's involvement in the case threatens to shatter his already fragile mental state. With all of his skills put to the test, sage has to pull himself out of his own personal hell and that means facing the cold reality of who he really is.
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"You know I've never asked you this, but why do you call yourself Phoenix?" Phoenix looked at the first young woman and smiled. "Well...," he said popping his tongue to the roof of his mouth, "Well, the phoenix is a legendary bird, babe. Held to live for hundreds of years and then burn itself to death and rise fresh and young from the ashes." The second of the two women giggled as she placed the stem of the crack pipe in her mouth and pushed the bulb over the flame from the lighter. The liquid turned into the precious smoke that would send her to her temporary heaven. She leaned back and exhaled as her mind prepared itself for the roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
Phoenix rested his chin in the palm of his hand and watched the two women solemnly. He had courted them many times. These were high-class whores. Their bodies said it all. Their performances for his sadistic and twisted mind were no longer enjoyable. Priscilla was losing weight and Clarise was becoming lazy. No longer had the desire to striptease for him. Their skin was becoming blotched and bruised. Their hair unkempt, Phoenix sighed to himself as he slid his finger through the opening of the duffel bag he'd brought with him. The handcuffs he'd so often had them slide over his pale thin wrists felt like ice to his sensitive touch. He looked at the two women who leaned back on the hotel room bed with their eyes closed, in la-la land. Phoenix was disappointed that he had to do it, but life always went on. No one would be concerned over two worthless dead prostitutes.
He slipped his rubber gloves over his hands and pulled the duct tape out of the bag. He sat it on the floor and pulled the nine-millimeter Glock from the waistband of his pants and casually screwed the silencer on. He heard laughter emanating from outside the hotel room door as two shadows slipped by from the light under the door in the dim room. The rumble of a train increased as it's horn blew in the distance. He heard laughter from the dark one as she slipped her finger down the front of her jeans and began to masturbate. He watched them curiously. The dope always made them want to screw each other. They began to kiss, their tongues probing and searching each other. A red silk blouse slipped to the floor. Phoenix watched, feeling his penis become stiff with excitement. He stowed the gun in the duffel bag and stood up. Priscilla looked up at him and smiled. She reached over and caressed the front of his jeans with her hand as Clarise continued to suck her nipples. Phoenix instantly felt repulsed when she touched him. He drew back and she giggled.
"What's wrong, babe?" she asked, as she ran her fingers through Clarise's hair while her head slowly slipped past her navel and burrowing her face between Priscilla's legs. Phoenix felt himself soften and silently became enraged. He reached down and lifted the duct tape from the floor and tossed it onto the bed. The black female giggled, "You want control tonight, hunh?" she asked and picked up the tape.
She pulled the grey sticky tape from the roll and extended it to Phoenix. He took it as she closed her eyes and stuck her hands out behind her. He held her wrists and wrapped the tape around her wrists, slowly layer after layer. He felt himself start to stiffen again, as Clarise lifted her head from between Priscilla's legs she noticed the bulge in his pants, smiling she reached over to unzip his pants as he watched her. She looked like his sister who had occasionally gave him these favors as they grew up in Mt. Vernon, New York. He caressed the two scars he had gotten behind his right ear when his father had somehow walked in on him and his sister as he performed orally on her. His father was furious and nearly beat him to death. The two scars came from the tail end of a hammer his father had thrown at him knocking him unconscious. "What's the problem? Father couldn't stand the fact that I was banging Julie, too?" Priscilla opened her eyes. "What did you say?" she asked Phoenix. She giggled. He had his eyes closed and his chest heaved. Clarise added more pressure as she sucked him. Soon, he would want her to bite him, until blood trickled from his shaft.
"No", Phoenix cried as his father laughed. "Enjoy screwing your sister, huh?" He said. "No, father please." "Gonna teach you a lesson, boy," his father growled and pressed his lit cigarette hard onto Phoenix's now limp penis.
"No!" Phoenix shouted "No." He looked down at his bleeding shaft and screamed. He swung wildly and slammed a crushing blow to his father's jaw, knocking him unconscious. His sister started to scream. He quickly grabbed her by the throat.
"Shut up!" he snarled as air quickly left her body. He released his grip, and snatched up the duct tape. He wrapped layer after layer around their hands and mouths. Julie watched as he did the same thing to their father as he'd done to him.
Phoenix laughed aloud. His sister pleaded with her eyes as he sodomized his own father, ramming himself deep into him. He then pushed his father hard against the wall and flipped Julie over onto her back, first pounding furiously into her, then turning her over onto her knees so his father could watch him sodomize her.
"You asked for this. Isn't this what you wanted?" he taunted. His father moaned and shook his head wildly. "Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!" Phoenix yelled, jerking himself from his sister. She fell to the bed, crying and limp. He reached into the duffel bag on the floor and yanked out the gun. They began screaming, but no sound came out, only moans and grunts for the duct tape muted their screams. Tears streamed down Phoenix's face, his father had to go first.
He walked over to the pitiful slump that sat limply in the corner unable to move or scream. Only his eyes jerked side-to-side. Phoenix leaned over and kissed him softly on the forehead. Then he stood up and backhanded him hard across the face. Blood flew from his nose and splattered the wall. He mockingly lifted the gun and pointed it at his father's head. He pulled the trigger twice, the silencer cutting a low whine as the bullets left the safety of the clip and lodged themselves in his father's head. The head snapped back as his body twitched; the nerves and brain sending messages to his body to shut down. He became still.
Phoenix turned to Julie who lay across the bed watching as her father died, terrified, but unable to speak. Her eyes kept darting towards the door, as if someone had entered the room and she was begging them to help her. "There's no help for you, baby," Phoenix teased and lifted the gun. He felt himself stiffening again. Her fear made his erection stiffer. He flipped her over on her stomach and dumped two rounds into her head. He pulled her still warm corpse back to the edge of the bed and again plunged deep into her. He would be satiated in a matter of minutes.
When he was done, Phoenix delicately washed their bodies and squeezed the contents of a douche bottle into them both to kill any seminal fluids that may have escaped his cleansing. He did learn one thing in college and from his father, how to clean up after himself. He peered emotionless at the two dead prostitutes as he stuffed their clothes in the duffel bag. He'd cut the rest off that they hadn't already removed with scissors, then burn the bloody clothes later. He looked over his work one more time and then slipped out the door of the hotel room. He walked past a couple and disappeared into the night. The Phoenix had once again emerged from the ashes.
"Well, that's very melodramatic, Frank," the woman said, sarcastically rolling her eyes as she dug through a small wicker basket. Frank sighed and leaned back on his elbows that were casually pressed into the thin blue sheet placed on the well-manicured lawn of Central Park in New York City directly facing the large pond and its many fountains.
He chuckled at his weak attempt at humor. The woman pulled a bundle of white grapes from the basket and plucked one off, popping it into her mouth. "Oh, so you're not going to offer me any?" "You got anymore lame Japanese jokes?" she asked sarcastically. Frank just stared at her, probing her facial expression. There was silent contempt and frustration intermingled with her unyielding love for him, even if he could be a smart ass at times.
"Thai, I was just kidding, you know that. Can I make it up to you tonight?" he pleaded sheepishly. She sighed pulled off another grape and tossed it at him. He caught it in his mouth and began chewing it. She giggled and leaned forward with her arm extended. She crawled over atop of him and began circulating another grape around his lips.
"Know how you can make it up, Frank?" she purred softly, still swirling the grape around his lips. "By sleeping on the couch." She playfully crushed the grape in the center of his forehead and tried to jump up and run away. Frank laughed and yanked her back by the arm, tackling her onto the ground and falling atop her. He pinned her arms down by the wrists and stared down at her. Thai was Chinese, her large black eyes looked back at him almost grey, from behind thick, almost unnatural eyelashes. Her hair sprawled out long behind her on the soft grass. Her thin lips quivered with lust."You are so beautiful, Thai." Frank whispered lovingly and leaned down to kiss her. Their lips collided and her lips parted to invite Frank's tongue in and they kissed Longingly.
When their lips parted, Frank rolled over beside her and sat looking up at the cloudy sky. The day was a beautiful day. Red breasted robins skittered from one maple tree to another, chirping and singing. The wind blew slightly and the soft smell of perfume and cologne lingered in the air. People jogged and threw breadcrumbs to the countless pigeons. Parents led their curious children here and there. Music bumped from the radios of a couple of black youths as they walked along the concrete sidewalk, laughing and talking. The radio hoisted up on one of the kids shoulders.
Thai rolled over on one side and propped her chin on the palm off her hand and studied Frank. "Haven't you noticed the change in the atmosphere at the department since you made that big drug bust, Frank?" Frank nodded, she had been just as receptive as he was. Anytime someone encounters success there was bound to be some envy. Even in the NYPD where success in moving up was a combination of hard work and who you knew. If you were just some street cop, you were always tagged with the outhouse jobs and backlogging your way to the offices and desks. Not Frank, Frank was a detective with the drug enforcement unit and had been for the last eight years. His girlfriend, Thai, had been yanked up by the homicide bureau and had been a detective for the last three years. Even though fraternizing with co-workers was looked down upon by the hierarchy, no one said anything about the two of them. The department respected Frank, and Thai was a rising sensation. She was one of the detectives who had brought the 'Blue Marders' down and it's culprits to justice. She was showing too much potential.
"They'll get over it," Frank said as Thai stroked his well shaven face. "Anderson's afraid if you keep it up you'll have his job." Frank threw his eyebrows up in satisfaction.
"That would mean a pay raise and a better office." They both giggled. "You should at least try and be friendly with him Frank, you know he carries a lot of clout in the department, especially with Chief White." Frank shrugged his shoulders noncommittally. "I just don't see any point in trying to be friendly with him, he obviously dislikes me for God knows what reason." He stopped talking. Thai frowned at him. "Never mind, Thai. We just can't get along. He wants you and can't stand the fact that we're together."Thai sighed, "Enough said." She bounced up and brushed off her jeans. "You're gaining weight." Frank teased. "Really," Thai said amused, throwing her hands on her hips and looking down at herself. Frank liked that she had begun to fill out her jeans in all the most provocative places. "So what do you want me to do about it?" she said, still examining her butt. "Nothing, keep doing whatever it is that you're doing." She smiled. "I'll think about it."
Frank pulled his black Mustang into the driveway of his apartment. The building was a yellow three story Victorian with two huge oak trees in the front. His neighbor's car was nowhere in sight. Mrs. Jennings, his landlord, who'd rented the place out to him (when he was going through the divorce with his wife) was a real nosy but good-natured woman. He saw her peeking through her curtains and waved. She nodded and disappeared. The car doors shut and Thai looked back at him as she crossed the lawn to the front door. Frank followed just as a car's horn honked. He turned and waved at the passerby, unable to tell for sure who it was.
Thai opened the front door and went in. He went in and shut the door behind him. He had taken two steps up the flight of stairs when Mrs. Jennings door popped open and her shower-capped head popped out. She had a long cigarette in her mouth, Virginia Slims, possibly Benson & Hedges. She blew smoke into the air. As she gazed up at Frank, who'd turned to face her. "Had a visitor, Frank. Some good old boy from the department named Hardy. Told me to tell you he stopped by." She squinted her eyes and took a long drag from her cigarette, then stared at Frank. Mrs. Jennings was in her late forties and was beginning to wrinkle around the eyes. The signs of the tobacco and alcohol abuse that were slowly killing her were showing up steadily.
"Been a long time. Frank, a long time." she said huskily, pulling another drag from her cigarette and looking at Frank's crotch suggestively. Frank smiled, he was used to her comments and insinuations. He had been tempted at least twice before to give her what she wanted, to pacify the old crone, but he'd never been drunk enough. In the silence they heard Thai open the door and go into the apartment. He then looked at Mrs. Jennings seriously. "You know that smoking is bad for your health, Mrs. Jennings." She rolled her eyes. "Gimme a break, Frank. Good night." she said and ducked her head back through the doorway, shutting the door without so much as a second glance. Frank shook his head and smiled as he climbed the stairs to his apartment.
As an officer, Frank had been to a lot of cheap boarding houses and transient apartments, which was common for a lot of single men in the city. However, his apartment suffered dramatically from a lack of idiosyncrasy that he knew all too well. Thai constantly pointed it out. He had a plain sofa in the middle of his living room that faced a 25- inch Zenith color TV with a DVD player. There was a coffee table in the center with a pile of magazines on top. A laptop sat on a small desk near the window that showed the street. All he had to do was look out and the two looming oaks obscured the view of the city. It was a one-bedroom apartment. His kitchen, small that it is, was just as plain as the rest but it suited him just fine.
He shut the door behind him as he entered the house. He heard Thai fumbling around in the kitchen and listened to the shutting of the refrigerator door. The sound of two bottles clinking came with her footsteps as he kicked off his shoes and plopped down on the couch. Thai handed him a beer and curled up on the couch next to him. He took a swallow and picked up the remote and turned the TV on. The sun was setting outside and Mayor Bloomberg's face popped up on the screen. The mayor was holding a press conference outside City Hall. "They just don't know how to let anything die, do they?" Frank said, flicking through the stations. "Of course not, Frank. Especially when he's taking all the credit for the work that you did on that case."
Frank remembered how the reporters and news stations hailed Chief White and the department head of drug enforcement as the heroes in that bust. There were 150 kilos of phencyclidine, grade A PCP or angel dust, bucket loads of anabolic steroids, methamphetamines, and over 50,000 MDMA pills, or ecstasy, as it's known on the streets. It was the biggest drug bust in New York history and all Frank got was a small section in the USA Today from some unknown reporter. He sighed. Forget the fame as long as the drugs will never touch the streets.
Thai pulled herself up from the couch after she finished her beer and stretched. "I'm about to take a shower, you want to wash my back for me, big guy?" she asked seductively, batting her eyelashes. Frank knocked down the rest of his beer and shut off the TV in disgust. He followed her to the bathroom. If nothing else eased his mind, being with Thai certainly would.