Preacher:Sons of Sangue

By: Patricia A. Rasey

Tena wiped the moisture from her face and looked at her coworker. He pulled a tissue from the side table box and handed it to her. She took it to her nose and blew, needing to get a handle on herself. They had yet to call the police.

“What if…” Tena gasped, jumped up, and ran to the door. “Call 911, Chad.”

Sliding open the patio door, Tena ran across the short distance and dropped to her knees, landing in the congealing blood pooling by the man. Sightless eyes stared heavenward. Her fingers trembling, she reached out and touched the pulse point of his wrist. Her entire body shook and her stomach threatened to heave again. Tena jerked back her hand and scooted away from the dead body.

Chad stepped outside, his cell dangling from his hand. “Jesus … Is he?”

Tena nodded, scrubbing her hands vigorously on her bloodied pajama bottoms. “I couldn’t get a pulse. Did you call the police?”

“I did.” Chad stared at the bloodied corpse laying inches from her knees. “What the hell happened?”

Tena shook her head again and swallowed, trying damn hard to calm her roiling stomach. “I have no clue, but it looks like someone or something took a huge chunk from his neck.”

Sirens sounded in the distance. Tena stood and backed up, her gaze frozen on the dead man. Not like he was about to get up and walk away. She rubbed her hands on her arms, attempting to ward off the chill. She wanted nothing more than to step beneath a showerhead and let the hot water wash away the events. Not that it would help. The night would be forever burned into her memory.

A sliver of moonlight glinted on a metal object near the man’s feet. Tena moved closer to get a better look, her hands now tucked under her arms. What looked to be a fishing knife, with a long serrated blade and green rubber handle, laid at his feet. Tena knew better than to touch it, just in case it was used in the murder of the man.

She thought about the man she’d seen running off. The murderer was out there somewhere. Her gaze flitted about the backyard, unable to see anything beyond the line of shrubs. Her heart slammed against her ribs. The hair at her nape rose and goose flesh popped out on her skin.

“Get back inside, Chad.”

“What? The cops are almost here.”

Tena backed up, her eyes trained on the corner of the bushes. “Just do as I say.”

Chad stepped into the small rental, followed quickly by Tena. She turned the lock, then stood back from the glass on the door, keeping her gaze trained on the bushes.

“What the hell, Tena?”

“What if the killer is still out there? I can’t see beyond the hedge to the beach. For all we know, he could’ve been standing there watching us.”

“Well, I would think with the approaching sirens, he’d be long gone by now if that were the case.”

Even though Chad was doubtlessly correct, Tena couldn’t pull her gaze away from the locked door, looking for any kind of movement beyond the glass doors. When the first police officer arrived on the scene and knocked on the glass, Tena damn near jumped from her skin. She quickly walked to the door, turned the lock and opened the door. While one officer stood before her, she noted another checking out the body. He knelt down, careful not to step in anything, and appeared to check for a pulse. He stood, stepped back, then started to walk the perimeter, obviously mindful of where he stepped.

The whole night seemed surreal, from the questions, to the crime scene unit now securing the backyard, to the coroner’s office hauling off the corpse. Tena felt as if she had somehow stepped into a glass bubble. Her ears buzzed and exhaustion blanketed her. If she were allowed, she would’ve laid down and easily slept well into the next day. Instead, she was told they needed her to go to the police station for further questions and to preserve evidence. She wasn’t allowed to change clothes or shower, said evidence. Chad, however, could bring a change of clothes to the station for her to change into, but her pajamas would be confiscated.

How the hell had her impromptu trip east turned into such a nightmare?

Tena had no clue what else she might have to tell the police. They had been sleeping and whatever had occurred before she stepped foot onto the back patio was unclear. Yes, she thought she had seen another man, and yes, it seemed as if he had picked up something. She couldn’t be sure it was another body. The six-foot hedge had kept the moonlight from illuminating the back portion of the yard.

It had happened all so fast.

The dead body she had definitely laid witnessed to.

And touched.

Shivers wracked her body as the kind police officer, who had questioned both her and Chad, escorted her to the police cruiser. They would conduct a formal interview on video at the station. Once that was completed, and her pajamas were handed over, she’d then be free to go. This was Tena’s first trip in the backseat of a cop car, as well as her first time stepping foot into a police station. She certainly wasn’t overenthusiastic about it. If she could just turn back time and stay in her damn bed when the noise in her backyard had awakened her.

Realizing this was all a bad dream would certainly be preferable.

Chad would bring her a clean set of clothes to the station, but she’d bet the police wouldn’t allow her to see him until they had completed their interview. He hadn’t seen anything, other than the aftermath, nor did he have the victim’s blood all over him. Chad had been free to come to the station on his own accord, while Tena, on the other hand, needed to be escorted.