Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 12)

Bruce returned to Lexie’s apartment around ten that night.

“Bruce, what happened?”

“We got him, Lexie.  He’s in jail for now.”

“For now?”

“Until the arraignment where the judge will set the bail, and then Bigler may or may not get out on bail until the trial.  It depends on whether or not he is determined a flight risk or whether or not he can afford bail.  I’m sure after trial he’ll be going away for a long time with the evidence we have against him.”

Bruce didn’t want to tell Lexie about Candy.  He was sure she’d feel responsible.  “Can we talk about more pleasant things than my job now?”

Lexie smiled and Brad and Patty took that as their cue to leave.  Brad thanked Bruce for protecting Lexie and making the bust, and he and Patty both hugged Lexie and promised to talk to her early next week.

Bruce and Lexie sat on the sofa.  Bruce put his arm around Lexie and she snuggled into his side.

“I could get used to this,” said Bruce.

“What do you mean?”

“Coming home from a long day at work to the woman I love instead of to an empty apartment.”

“Oh, I don’t know.  I like coming home to peace and quiet and just Bo, who loves me without saying a word.”

“What?”  Bruce turned and saw the impish grin on Lexie’s face and then she began to giggle.

“You little tease.”  Bruce said, and then he was kissing her.

“What are we going to do this weekend?”

Lexie looked up at him questioningly.

“Since we wrapped up this case, I have the weekend off.”

“Can we go to the beach tomorrow and ride bike on the boardwalk, lay in the sun and swim in the waves?  And then walk hand-in-hand on the beach as we watch the sunset and wind it all up with a seafood dinner?”

“Sounds like a plan.”


Everything went as expected with the Kurt Bigler case, and when the trial ended, he was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

Bruce and Lexie spent every possible minute together.  Then one Friday evening Bruce took Lexie to a beautiful, romantic ocean front restaurant for dinner.  After dinner, they walked hand-in-hand on the beach.  As the sun began to set, Bruce took a tiny box from his pocket and handed it to Lexie.

When she opened the box and saw the beautiful diamond with a brilliant yellow beryl gem shining on the diamond like the sun, her eyes filled with tears.  Bruce got down on one knee before her.

“Lexie, I am deeply in love with you and have been for a long time.  You are the sunshine of my life, and if you will do me the honor of becoming my wife, I will love you, take care of you and protect you for as long as I live.  Lexie, will you marry me?”

Lexie smiled as tears streamed down her face, and she said, “Nothing would make me happier.”

Bruce place the ring on Lexie’s finger and let out a whoop of happiness.  He picked Lexie up and spun her around, and then, he kissed her.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 11)

Bruce, Officer Watts, Officer Burke and one other officer arrived at apartment C without blaring sirens.  Bruce didn’t want Kurt Bigler to have a chance to run.  Bruce sent Officer Watts and the other officer around the back of the apartment building, while he and Officer Burke went to the front door.  Bruce rang the doorbell and pounded on the door with his fist while yelling, “Police, open up!”

After a few minutes with no response, Bruce nodded to Officer Burke, who tried the doorknob and found it locked, so he gave the door a good kick at the latch area, and the door burst open.  They proceeded up the stairs, one behind the other, one against the left wall and one against the right, guns drawn.

When they reached the top of the stairs, they found themselves in the living room.  They could see the kitchen and the hallway.  No one was in sight, but they heard whimpering coming from one of the rooms off of the hall.

Bruce made a couple of motions with his hand.  Officer Burke nodded and led the way into the hall.  They passed the first door on the right.  It was empty.  The whimpering was coming from the first door on the left.  Officer Burke opened the door quietly.  He moved to the right so that Bruce could enter, and Officer Burke held his gun on Kurt Bigler, whose back was to them.

“Kurt Bigler, you are under arrest.”

Kurt turned around, a shocked expression on his face and his pants hanging open.  It was obvious that they had caught him in the act of raping this young lady.  Officer Burke moved toward Kurt Bigler, ordered him to close his pants and then get down on the floor with his hands behind his head.

Bruce spotted a blanket on a chair near the doorway and grabbed it.  He opened the blanket and tossed it over the young lady, whose blouse was torn and there were the beginning discolorations of bruises forming on her breasts.  There was dried blood at the right corner of her mouth.

Bruce spoke softly and gently, “Miss, I’m Detective Bruce Rivers.  I’m with the local police department.”

The young lady began to cry and talk at the same time.  “He grabbed me outside the college library and forced me into his car.  He brought me here and he was . . . was forcing himself on me when you came in.  He hurt me.”

“I’m so sorry, but he won’t hurt you anymore.  What’s your name?”

“Candy Jamison.”

Just then, the only female officer on the force, Officer Tina Johnson, came into the room.

“Well, Candy Jamison, I’d like you to meet Officer Tina Johnson.  She’ll ride with you to the hospital and stay with you during the exam.  She’ll also ask you for details about what happened.  I know it will be hard to talk about, but we need you to try because we want to be sure this guy goes to jail for a long time, so he can’t hurt anyone else.”

“Okay.  Thank you for saving me.  I thought he was going to kill me.”

“You’re welcome, Candy.”  Bruce squeezed her hand gently as he helped her down from the table Kurt Bigler had forced her upon.  Officer Johnson put her arm across Candy’s neck and shoulders and led her out to the waiting ambulance.

“Officer Burke already took Bigler to the station.”  Officer Watts informed Bruce.  “Take a look at what I found in a desk drawer in the living room.”

Bruce looked as Officer Watts held up a large plastic bag that held a spiral bound notebook.  “What is it?”

“It’s Kevin’s journal.  There’s a little information about the relationships he had with the six girls he killed, but there’s a lot about him and Lexie.  That’s how Bigler knew so much.”

“How did Kurt Bigler get his hands on that?”

“I figure he must have found it hidden somewhere in this apartment.”

“Looks like we’ve got enough for a good prosecuting attorney to use to get a conviction on this guy.  Let’s wrap it up.”

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 10)

Friday evening Lexie was feeling a bit apprehensive.  She almost wished she would have agreed to Bruce’s plan because she just wanted this to be over.  She was eagerly anticipating moving forward with her life with the possibility of having someone to love and to love her, after eight lonely years.  She was glad that Bruce, Office Watts, Brad and Patty were all there, and she insisted on making dinner without any help from Patty.  It helped to keep busy doing something.

When they sat down to chicken and shrimp fettuccine alfredo with a salad and fresh homemade garlic bread, everyone was impressed with Lexie’s cooking abilities, and though they were all a bit tense, they ate with hearty appetites.  Then Lexie presented the grand finale.  Dessert was tiramisu that Lexie had made.

As they were devouring their dessert, the telephone rang.  Officer Watts took his place at the tracing machine, Bruce gave Lexie’s hand an encouraging squeeze, and Bo let out a whimper as he followed Lexie to the kitchen.

“Hello?”  Lexie answered the phone.

“I thought we had a dinner date,” replied the raspy whisper.

“Yes, well, I changed my mind.  I know you’re not Kevin.  Kevin’s dead.  So why don’t you talk in your normal voice and tell me your real name?”

Brad stood with his mouth agape, and Bruce was grinning.

There were several minutes of silence on the other end of the phone, then the raspy whisper spoke again, “You sound very sure of yourself, and you sound different this evening than the last few times I’ve spoken with you.”

“That’s because I have decided not to allow someone like you to intimidate and frighten me anymore.  So why don’t you cut the crap and come clean?  Who are you really, and what do you want?”

“I want you spending weekends with me, Kitten . . .”

“Don’t call me Kitten, Kurt.”

“What did you just call me?”  Suddenly the raspy whisper was gone.

“Kurt.  That is your name, isn’t it?  Kurt Bigler?”

Click.  The line went dead.

Lexie turned toward Bruce, a look of triumph quickly turning to a look of concern.  “I didn’t ruin your chances of arresting him, did I?”

“I’m sure we’ll still find a way.”  Bruce gave her a hug and a quick kiss on the lips.

“What did I miss here?”  Brad asked.

“Got him!”

“What?”  Bruce turned to Officer Watts.

“Because of Lexie’s shock factor during the conversation, he hesitated several minutes, and he ended up on the line just long enough for the trace to go through.  The call came from the library at Grater College.”

They all shared high fives.  Then Lexie said, “Brad, Patty, why don’t we sit in the living room and I’ll tell you about last night?”

They all moved to the living room and Lexie explained to Brad and Patty how she had finished reading the Book of John and how she had spoken with Bruce last night about Christ, and how she had shared about her past.  She told them how she had prayed and was now saved.

Bruce’s cell phone rang before Lexie was finished.  He moved to the kitchen to take the call.

“Detective Rivers, this is Officer Burke.  I just received a call, here at the station, from a young lady named Sabrina Duncan.  She said she needed to talk to you immediately.  She said it was urgent.  I promised I’d have you call her right back.  She sounded frantic.”

“Thanks, Officer Burke, I’ll get right on it.”

Bruce ended the call with Officer Burke and immediately dialed Sabrina Duncan’s apartment.  Sabrina answered on the first ring.  “Detective Rivers, you’ve got to get over here with some cops right away.  The wacko in apartment C drug some girl out of his car and into his apartment about twenty minutes ago.  She was struggling and trying to put up a fight, but she’s not much of a match for him.  I heard her scream and heard some loud thuds coming from the apartment, but it’s been quiet for the past five minutes.  Please hurry!”

“I’m on my way.”

Everyone was looking at Bruce in silence.

“Watts, let’s go.  We’ll be back later for the tracing equipment.  No time for explanations.”

After a few moments of stunned silence, Lexie said, “Well, that will take some getting used to.”

Brad and Patty looked at her quizzically.

“Let me finish my story.  I believe the strength I had during that phone call came from the Lord.  I’m sure he’s the one who took my fear away.”

“Lexie, I am so happy that you answered the Lord’s call.  It’s wonderful to catch a glimpse of the old Lexie again.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of her.”

“Thanks, Brad.  It’s such a relief to not have to carry the burden of my past sins on my shoulders anymore.  I also want you to know that I’m going to give Bruce a chance.”

“A chance for what?” Bruce asked, and Patty smiled knowingly.

“A chance at building a relationship with me.  He’s caring, tender and protective.  I am comfortable with him.  I can talk to him, and I feel safe with him.  He can make me laugh too.”

Brad hugged his little sister.  “Welcome back to life, Sis.”  Lexie smiled and hugged him back.  Then she hugged Patty too.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 9)

When they got back to Lexie’s apartment, Lexie made them each a cup of hot chocolate and they sat in the living room.  For a while they sat in a comfortable silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

Bruce finally broke the silence, “Lexie, I hope when this is all over you won’t shut me out again.  I know that eight years ago things were different and you needed help when it all ended, but . . .”

“Bruce, you’re right, things were different and I was too young, and yes, I needed medication and counseling for quite some time.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking since we talked on Tuesday evening.  I also finished reading the Book of John.  I believe Jesus is real and I want to learn to talk to him.  I want to ask for his forgiveness, and I would like you to help me seek his forgiveness.  Besides, there are things you need to know before you decide that you want to pursue a serious relationship with me.”

“Do you want me to help you seek forgiveness from the Lord now?”

“No, I need to tell you everything first, while I think I’ve gathered enough courage to do so.  My sins are the worst kind because they were sins against others and against myself.  They are all sexual sins, and the first one is the most horrifying.  I was fifteen years old and my mother died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver.  Dad, Brad and I all took it hard.  We had always been a close family.  The night after the funeral, Brad had gone out with some friends, dealing with his grief by trying to forget it.

I was in the dining room looking through old family photo albums.  I heard my dad sobbing heart wrenching sobs so I went to try to comfort him.  He was in his bed.  I stroked his hair and spoke softly to him, telling him it would be all right, and he fell asleep.  I sat in the chair by his bed, and I must have dozed off, and I was jolted awake by Dad calling mom’s name.  I reached out and touched his arm and told him that mom was gone.  He was so distraught and filled with grief.  I’m sure he wasn’t in his right mind and he thought I was my mother.  I look very much like her.  He called me by my mom’s name and he held me for a long time, but then he started kissing me, and, at first, I tried to stop him and I kept calling him ‘Daddy’ and telling him it was me, Lexie.  I was scared and I was hurting and grieving for my mom.  I was in need of comfort too, and I didn’t have the strength to stop him.

I got up and went to my own room after he fell asleep, but hadn’t stopped to grab my jeans, and in the morning he asked me why my jeans were in his room.  I was afraid to answer him, but he came to the realization of what had happened without my having to say anything, and he was horrified.  He told me to take a hot shower and scrub myself as hard as I could.  He kept apologizing and saying what an awful thing he had done, and he kept telling me it wasn’t my fault.  Then he took a hot shower, dressed and left the house.

He returned a while later.  He had purchased a deadbolt lock, and he installed it on my bedroom door.  He gave me both of the keys that came with it and made me promise that from then on I would lock myself in my bedroom every night.  Then my dad started drinking heavily.  He became an alcoholic, and he died five years ago.  Brad never knew what happened that night.  He thought Dad drank because he couldn’t get over the loss of mom, and I’m sure that also had something to do with it.  I don’t want Brad to ever know about this.

After that night, I realized how deeply my Dad loved my mom, and I felt disgusted with myself because what happened should have been repulsive to me, but instead I thought it was beautiful, because in Dad’s mind he had been loving his wife, and I wanted a love that amazing for myself.

That’s when I started sleeping with any guy who got romantic with me.  Most of them didn’t last long after they had their way with me.  Then I met Kevin.  He was a college man, no more of those stupid high school boys for me, and he was extremely handsome, and he talked to me.  He wanted to know what I was interested in, what I liked to do.  He held my hand, wouldn’t even kiss me good night on our first date.  We went on bike rides, he took me hiking in the woods.  We went for walks on the beach, roller skating, and he took me sailing on his boat.  That was the first time we slept together — in the sailboat’s cabin while rocking on the water.  I was so sure he was THE One.

I spent every weekend with him for six months before I had to sneak a peek in the only room in the apartment that always had its door closed.

Imagine my horror as I saw six dead young women dressed in fancy gowns sitting at a fancy dinner table where there was one chair, at the head of the table, that remained empty.  And suddenly he was right behind me and he whispered in my ear, ‘You shouldn’t have opened that door, Kitten.’

I turned toward him and he was smiling down at me.  He said, ‘You’re the special one, Kitten, lucky number seven.  I’ve been enjoying you so much more than the first six.  I was beginning to wonder if I’d have to change my plans, but now that you know, I won’t have to.  You will get to be the queen of my ladies and take your place of honor at the head of the table.’

I was terrified and the door to the apartment was behind him, so I turned and ran for the bedroom because there was a fire escape outside the one window.  Kevin grabbed me as I opened the window.  I screamed, ‘someone help me!  He’s going to kill me.’ He threw me to the floor and in a menacing voice told me not to scream anymore.  I scrambled to my feet and ran for the apartment door, but he caught up with me before I got there.  He tied me to a chair and gagged me.  He told me he’d be back, said he needed to get my gown and jewelry and then he’d be back.

He left the apartment and I managed to maneuver the chair I was tied to, over to a wall and I kept rocking the chair so that the back of it kept hitting the wall.  It accomplished my goal, as the neighbor was annoyed and called the police, but Kevin got back before the police arrived.  He found me against the wall and said, ‘You’ve been a naughty girl, Kitten.  I will have to punish you.’  He pulled my hair and yanked my head back against the wall, pulled the gag from my mouth and kissed me hard and rough.  He was rough with a few other body parts, but nothing that would show visible bruises in the stupid gown.

Finally, you arrived with a couple of police officers.  We heard you speak through the bullhorn, commanding Kevin to come out with his hands up, and Kevin grew more agitated.  He untied me and twisted one arm behind my back.  He led me to the kitchen and grabbed a large butcher knife.  He held it to my throat and pushed me out the door in front of him.  You know the rest.”

“Yes, he tried to tell us it was a domestic disturbance and that we didn’t belong there, that he would work things out with you alone.  I told him to drop the knife, but instead, he put the point of the knife right against your throat.  Then, you stomped on his foot, loosening his hold on you just long enough for you to get away from him and I shot him.”

“He died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, and I was in shock.  When I came out of the shock, I had a breakdown.”  Lexie had gotten up and was looking out the window.

Bruce walked over and wrapped his arms around her waist from behind.  He whispered in her ear, “Lexie, you were a victim, with your father and with Kevin.”

Her voice was hoarse when she responded, “I chose to have sex with many guys and the last one was a serial killer.  How did I not know?”

“Lexie, it’s typical that the people closest to serial killers don’t know what monsters they are.  The people closest to them are always shocked the most when the truth comes out.”

Lexie turned and looked into Bruce’s eyes.  “Now you know the horrors of my past.  Do you still think I can be forgiven?”

“I’m certain Christ has forgiven worse things.”

Tears were streaming down Lexie’s cheeks as they got down on their knees at the sofa and Lexie confessed her sins to the Lord and asked him to forgive her and to help her forgive herself.  She asked for strength and guidance for her life.

When her prayer was finished, they stood up, and again, Lexie looked into Bruce’s eyes.  “What about you?  You still think you want to have a relationship with someone like me?”

Bruce leaned close to her face, so close she thought he was simply going to kiss her, but he whispered, “Absolutely”, and then he kissed her softly and tenderly.

“You were right, you know,” said Lexie.

“About what?”

“I feel light as a feather.  God has surely lifted my burden.”  Lexie smiled and the smile reached her eyes for the first time in eight years.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 8)

All day Wednesday, Lexie’s thoughts swung back and forth between the hope of forgiveness and thoughts of Bruce.  She found herself eagerly anticipating the next time she’d see Bruce, and her mind kept replaying his sweet kisses.  Yet she was afraid to dream of a future with him.  Could she really find forgiveness and move forward, leaving her past behind her?

She didn’t see Bruce Wednesday evening though.  Wednesday evening was quiet.  It was just her, Bo and Officer Watts, and the phone never rang.

Thursday was very similar to Wednesday, except that Thursday evening Lexie went over to Brad and Patty’s for dinner.  They had just sat down to dinner when the doorbell rang.  Brad went to the door and returned with Bruce.  It was obvious that Bruce was forcing pleasantries because he didn’t want to disturb dinner.  Patty quickly set a place for him across from Lexie.

Dinner conversation consisted of superficial small talk, and as soon as the dishes were cleared, Brad looked at Bruce and said, “What’s the problem?”

“We struck out with the phone records.  The calls to Lexie’s apartment weren’t made from Kurt Bigler’s apartment, so either he used a cell phone or he made the calls from another location.”

“So what now?”

“I have an idea, but you’re not going to like it.”

Brad’s gaze met Bruce’s as he waited for Bruce to continue.

“Tomorrow’s Friday.  He invited Lexie to come to his apartment.  I was thinking that we put a wire on her and she goes.  We’ll hear everything and bust through the door at the first sign of trouble.”

“Are you crazy?  Send Lexie back into the same apartment that Kevin lived in to meet some other psycho?  No way!  I won’t allow it!  That would cause her to relive the whole thing again, if not in every action, certainly, in her mind.”

“It would be a sure way of making an arrest that will stick.”

Brad had stood from the table upon hearing Bruce’s suggestion.  Now he began to pace back and forth.  He ran his hands through his hair.  No one spoke for several minutes and the air in the room was thick with tension.

Finally Brad spoke, “So this guy’s expecting her tomorrow night.  What if she doesn’t show?  He’ll probably call again, right?”

“Brad, he could call a million times and it wouldn’t lead to an arrest.  Not as long as he’s using a cell phone or calling from somewhere other than his apartment.  He’s smart.  He doesn’t stay on the line long enough for our tracer to pinpoint his location.”

“Yeah, but what if Lexie could get him to agree to meet her somewhere public?  She could still wear a wire and ask him questions that would get information that could lead to an arrest.”

Lexie’s fear-filled expression had been glued to Bruce, but now she turned it to Brad.

“Lexie, don’t worry.  I would never let anything happen to you.  Just hear me out.  I know you met Kevin at some college party, but didn’t the two of you go to a restaurant once or twice before you started going to his place?”

Lexie thought for a minute.  “Oh, yes.  We used to like to go to Finnigan’s.  It was like a real Irish Pub and the food was really good.”

“Do you know if Finnigan’s is still in business?”

“It is,” Bruce said, “Some of the police officers like to go there on Friday nights.”

“So Lexie sets up to meet him at Finnigans the next time he calls, and Patty and I will be there at a table nearby where I can keep an eye on Lexie, and you and your officers can be outside listening and either come in or arrest him on the way out.”

“Okay.  We’ll try your plan first, Brad.”

“Thank you.”

Bruce followed Lexie to her apartment.  Bo greeted them at the door, and Lexie grabbed his leash and they went for a walk.

“Are you okay with Brad’s plan?”

“It’s better than yours.  Did you really expect me to go into that apartment?”

“It was the only idea I could come up with.  I just want to get this guy.”

“Do you think this guy is a serial killer or just a wannabe?”

“I don’t think he’s a serial killer.  We don’t have any missing women with connections in their cases right now.  I think this guy studied Kevin and admires him.  I think he just started where Kevin left off — with you.  I don’t believe he’s made a kill yet, and maybe he doesn’t have the stomach for it, but if he does, you’re his first target, and I have no intention of giving him that opportunity.”

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 7)

Tuesday evening Brad and Patty went to Lexie’s and Patty and Lexie prepared dinner for the three of them and for Bruce and Officer Watts as well.  During dinner, Bruce filled them in about the last two days of the investigation.  He also informed them that earlier that day he had obtained a warrant for the phone records of Kurt Bigler, as he was the one that was renting Kevin’s old apartment.  Bruce explained that if he could find the calls to Lexie’s apartment on Kurt Bigler’s phone bill, he would have enough evidence to arrest him for harassment and stalking.

Lexie couldn’t believe how quickly and easily this case seemed to be going.  It had been so much worse with Kevin, but then, she had been involved with Kevin before anyone even knew he was a serial killer.  She was relieved that this would soon be over.

After dinner, they went to the living room.  Brad and Patty sat on the love seat and Lexie and Bruce sat on the sofa with Bo at their feet.  Officer Watts sat on the recliner.  Halfway through “With Six You Get Egg Roll”, Officer Watts was snoring gently and Bruce slipped his arm around Lexie’s shoulders.  He felt her grow tense for a few seconds, but then she slowly relaxed.

Lexie considered telling Bruce to remove his arm from around her, but it felt warm, comforting and safe, feelings she hadn’t felt for weeks.  By the end of the movie she had snuggled closer to Bruce and had fallen asleep.  Brad and Patty got up to leave, being as quiet as possible so as not to awaken Lexie.  Brad gently woke Officer Watts and the three of them left Bruce and Lexie sitting on the sofa.

Bruce watched Lexie sleep for a few minutes, then reached out and tenderly brushed some auburn curls from her cheek.  He gently kissed her forehead and she stirred and opened her eyes.  She looked around and realized that they were alone.

“I guess I must have drifted off,” she said.  “Why didn’t anyone wake me?”

“We figured you needed your sleep.  We all know you haven’t been sleeping well lately, and you seemed to be sleeping so peacefully, we didn’t want to disturb you.”

Lexie smiled up at him, and Bruce couldn’t resist.  He leaned down and placed a short, tender kiss gently on her lips.  He waited a few seconds, and when she didn’t pull away or protest, he kissed her again, longer, slower and tenderly.

The first kiss had caught her off guard, but when Bruce place his lips on hers a second time and lingered longer, she pulled away.  It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy his kisses.  She did, a little too much, but she couldn’t do this.

“Lexie, why won’t you allow yourself to love or be loved?”

“Bruce, I am so unclean and unworthy of the love of a good man.”

“Whatever your past sins are, Lexie, you don’t have to carry them around for the rest of your life.”

“Brad tries to tell me the same thing, and so did that Pastor David.  I’ve been reading the Book of John in the Bible, and I sure wish that Jesus were here today so he could touch me and cleanse me and forgive me.”

“He is here, Lexie.  Not like he was in the Bible when he walked among men, but he is still here and he still cleanses, and he forgave you when he died on the cross and rose again.”

“How can I talk to him?  I can’t see him.”

“That’s what faith is — believing in something you cannot see.  You believe the wind is real, don’t you?  Yet, you cannot see it.  You can see its effects as leaves rustle or a piece of paper blows down the street, and you can feel it blow your curls about but you can’t really see the wind.  It’s like that with Jesus, too.  When you have the faith to believe in him, you will be able to feel his presence.  You can see him in all of nature’s beauty.  you can talk to him just like you talk to me or Brad.  In the beginning, it helps to close your eyes while you talk to him.  It helps you to be able to focus and not to feel embarrassed or self-conscious.”

“I’m going to have to give it some more thought, but not tonight.  I’m tired.  Do you need anything before I turn in?”

“No, thank you.  I’ll be here on the couch if you need me.”

“Okay then, come on, Bo.  Good night, Bruce.”

“Good night, Lexie.”

Bruce spent the next hour in prayer, asking God to bring Lexie to the saving knowledge of the Lord, asking God to help him wrap this case up soon, and asking God to allow him to have Lexie as his wife.  Then he finally went to sleep.

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 6)

     Bruce got the finished sketch from the police department sketch artist on Monday morning.

     Saturday morning Bruce went to the apartment building where Kevin lived eight years ago.  He sat in his car in the parking lot and observed any activity in or out of any of the apartments.  When he saw a young woman coming out of the apartment right next door to Kevin’s, Bruce got out of his car and approached her.

     “Excuse me, Miss.  My name is Bruce Rivers.  I’m a detective with the police department.  Would you mind answering a few questions?”

     The young girl stuck her right hand in her jacket pocket, and said, “I guess so.”

     “Is the apartment next to yours occupied?”

     “Which side, A or C?”

     “Apartment C.”

     “Yeah.  Some creepy guy lives there.  Moved in about three months ago.  Guess nobody but a creepy guy would want to live there.”

     “What do you mean?”

     “Everyone in this apartment complex knows the story of that apartment.  I’m not thrilled about living right beside it, and I avoid the guy that lives there at all costs.”

     “What makes you think he’s creepy?”

     “First of all, he seemed eager to rent that apartment, and he leers at me.  You know, almost like he’s looking right through my clothes?  That’s why I carry this.”  She pulled her right hand out of her jacket.  In it, she was holding a taser.”

     “You carry a taser?”

     “You bet.  No creep’s gonna get the chance to kidnap, rape and murder me.”

     Bruce took the artist’s sketch out and showed it to the young lady.  “Have you ever seen this young man?”

     “No and that’s not the guy that lives next door.  The guy next door has dark hair and dark brown eyes.  He goes to the college down the street, and someone said he works at the coffee shop on campus.”

     “Thank you, Miss, uh . . .”

     “Sabrina.  Sabrina Duncan.”

     “Do you go to the college, Miss Duncan?”

     “No.  I graduated last year.  I’m working for Delmar Technologies down on Orange Street.”

     “One last question, Miss Duncan.  Do you know your neighbor’s name?”

     “All I know is his first name is Kurt or Keith, something like that.  Like I said, I try to avoid him.  Is he in trouble?”

     “Maybe.  Thank you again, Miss Duncan, you’ve been very helpful.”

     Bruce’s next stop was Grater College.  He went to admissions, showed the artist’s sketch and was told the young man’s name was Mitch Wakefield.  The lady checked his schedule and told Bruce that Mitch was currently in chemistry class and the class would be over in forty minutes.  Bruce asked for directions to the classroom as well as to the campus coffee shop.

     Bruce headed to the coffee shop.  He ordered a cup of coffee and noticed the young man’s name tag said “Keith”, but he had red hair and freckles.  He asked if there was a Kurt or another Keith that worked at the coffee shop.

     “I’m the only Keith, but there are two Kurts, Kurt Rathman and Kurt Bigler.”

     “Do either of them have dark hair and dark brown eyes?”  Bruce asked.

     “They both have dark hair.  I couldn’t tell you the color of their eyes.  I don’t pay that close attention to a guy’s appearance.”

     “Right.  Well, thanks, Keith.  Can you tell me when either of the Kurts are scheduled to work?”

     “Sure.  I’ll go check the schedule.”

     Keith went into the back and returned in a few minutes.  “Kurt Rathman works from 2 til 6 this afternoon, and Kurt Bigler works tomorrow morning from 7 til 11.”

     “Thanks, Keith.  Have a good day.”

     “No problem.”

     Bruce got to the chemistry classroom just as class was leaving out.  Mitch came out with a couple of girls.  “Excuse me, Mitch Wakefield?  May I speak with you for a few minutes?”

     Mitch looked at Bruce.  “Who are you?”  

     The girls kept walking and called “see ya later” to Mitch.  Mitch wasn’t happy about staying behind.

     “I’m Detective Bruce Rivers and I have a couple of questions for you.”

     “About what?”

     “You made a purchase at Pretty Posies Flower Shop last week, but the flowers weren’t from you, were they?”

     “Is it a crime to run an errand for someone now, Detective?”

     Bruce didn’t like this kid’s cocky attitude.  “That all depends.  Who did you run the errand for?”

     “Some guy.  He approached me in the cafeteria and asked me if I’d like to make some easy money, and of course, I was all ears.”

     “What’s the guy’s name?”

     “I never asked, and he never said.”

     “Didn’t you think it was odd that he wouldn’t make the purchase himself?”

     “Naw, he said he was doing a secret admirer thing, and he didn’t want to take a chance on the lady finding out who he was before he was ready to reveal his identity.  He gave me cash to make the purchase, plus fifty bucks cash for doing him the favor, so I wasn’t going to pry.”

     “Thank you, Mr. Wakefield.”  Bruce turned to go.

     “So, what’s the problem, Detective?”

     “Maybe nothing.  Just a routine investigation.”

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 5)

     After dinner, they played a game of Parcheesi in an attempt to relax a little.  Brad could tell that Lexie was very tired, so when he took his last piece into home and won the game, he suggested that he and Patty go home.  They both hugged Lexie, and Brad told her to get some rest.

     Lexie and Bruce moved to the living room.  They sat at opposite ends of the sofa and Bo lay on the floor between them.  

     “So eight years ago, you were a rookie on the police force.  Now you’re a detective.  Detectives don’t usually pull the babysitting jobs, do they?”

     Bruce grinned and said, “No, but I made the request and reminded the captain that the original case involving Kevin was the first big case I was involved in, and the captain is unaware of my feelings for you, so he granted the request.”

     Lexie’s cheeks grew pink and she shifted in her seat.

     “Don’t you mean past feelings?”

     “No, Lexie.  In eight years, I’ve never gotten over you.  I never met another woman who captured and held my attention like you do.  I’ve thought about you often and wanted to look you up, but . . .”  Bruce’s voice was husky and it grew softer and faded out on the last sentence.

     “But we don’t even know each other.  You just met me on that last night — the night Kevin’s secret came out and everything exploded.  You saw me fall into a place that I couldn’t get out of without the help of medicines and an institution.  You never knew the real me then, and you don’t know me now.”

     “I want to.  I know you feel something when our eyes meet and the electricity that happens when I merely touch your hand.  I’ve seen you react to both.”

     “I’ll admit that there is a physical attraction between us, but I haven’t allowed myself to dwell or act on feelings of physical attraction since . . . since Kevin.”

     “Living like that must be lonely and sad.  Don’t you think it’s time to take a chance again?”

     “I don’t know.  Maybe this is the only life I deserve after my past sins.”

     “You do know that your sins have been forgiven, don’t you?  But, you have to be able to forgive yourself, and if Christ loved you enough to die for your sins, who are you to continue punishing yourself for them?”

     “Are you a Christian?  Do you read the Bible and go to church?”

     “Yes, Lexie, I am a Christian.  I try to read my Bible daily, and I go to church most every Sunday, except for the ones I have to miss for my job.”

     “Brad and Patty do too.  As a matter of fact, Brad tried to set me up with the associate pastor of their church just a couple of weeks ago.  That’s probably why Brad wasn’t happy about you making a move.  I think Brad considers Pastor David what I need.”

     Before Bruce could respond, the telephone rang.  Lexie jumped and looked fearfully at Bruce.

     Bruce said, “It’s okay, Lexie.  I’ll turn on the tracer and then you answer the phone.  If it’s him, try to keep him talking for at least three minutes.”

     “I don’t know if I can do that.”

     “Yes, you can, Lexie.  You’re stronger than you think you are.”

     They arose from the sofa and Bruce went to the tracer equipment while Lexie moved to the kitchen phone with Bo right on her heels.  Bruce put on the headphones and flipped a switch, and Lexie picked up the phone.


     “Hi Kitten.  Did you like the flowers?  Were you surprised that I remembered?”

     Lexie’s hands were shaking, and when she spoke she could hear the quiver in her voice.  “The flowers certainly were a surprise.”

     “I miss you, Kitten.  Will you bring flowers and make dinner for us next Friday night?”


     “You know the place.  You used to come every Friday eight years ago.  I can’t wait to hold you and kiss you again Kitten.  The yearning is growing unbearable.”

     “Please, tell me who you are and why you are doing this.”

     “Kitten, it’s me, Kevin.  Don’t say you’ve forgotten me, and remember, you are to be the queen at my table of ladies because you are my favorite and the most beautiful.”

     Lexie hung up the phone.  She was trembling all over and she began to cry.

     Bruce went and put his arm around her shoulders and led her back to the sofa.  When her crying reduced to sniffling, she asked, “Was that long enough?  Did you get it?”

     Bruce shook his head regretfully.  “But he asked you to meet him at the same apartment.  Could this guy really be stupid enough to use the same location?”

Out of the Pit (Short Story, Maybe — Day 4)

Detective Bruce Rivers and Officer Jerry Watts arrived about an hour later.  Bo greeted them at the door.  Bruce reached down and gave Bo a friendly scratch behind the ears.  “You have grown quite a bit since the last time I saw you.”

Bruce’s eyes met Lexie’s and he felt that familiar electrical spark shoot through him.  She was even more beautiful than he remembered from eight years ago.  He knew he had never gotten over her, but seeing her now, awakened all the old feelings:  love, desire, including the desire to protect her.  His arms ached with the desire to hold her and assure her that everything would be all right.

Lexie felt the connection and the electrical current between them as well.  The attraction was as strong as ever.  Bruce didn’t look much different than she remembered, though he had, obviously, built more muscle.  There was no doubt he was strong and physically fit.  Having him here brought all of the memories flooding back, memories that could push her over the edge again, and she didn’t want that to happen.  She was afraid that if she went over that edge again, she wouldn’t be able to find her way back.

Officer Watts went to work at setting up the phone tracing equipment, and Bruce approached Lexie, who was seated on the couch where Bo had returned to lay with his head in her lap.

“Lexie, it’s so good to see you again, though I wish it was under much happier circumstances.  Looks like this brute had been taking good care of you.”  Bruce grinned and patted Bo on the head.

“He’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  I still remember how you showed up that day with him in your jacket, and he wouldn’t quit squirming and yipping until you pulled him out and placed him in my arms.”  Lexie smiled at the memory.

Bruce’s expression grew serious.  “Brad tells me someone’s frightening you with some strange phone calls.”

Lexie’s eyes never left his when she said, “Bruce, I know Kevin is dead, but whoever this caller is seems to know all about it.  He called me ‘Kitten’, said he misses me and said that eight years is a long time.  That’s the part that Brad heard.  I was glad that Brad was here to answer the second call because now he knows I’m telling the truth and not imagining things.”

Bruce reached out and covered one of her hands with one of his, and both he and Lexie were aware of the electricity in that touch.  “Lexie, whoever this creep is, we’re going to find him, I promise.”

Bruce then introduced Lexie to Officer Watts, and Officer Watts explained how the phone tracing equipment worked while Bruce spoke quietly with Brad.

Bruce and Brad both left around 2 a.m., and Lexie and Bo went to the bedroom to try to get some sleep.  Officer Watts bedded down on the couch.  He’d be a permanent fixture for a while as they waited to see if there would be any more strange phone calls.


Three days passed without incident and Lexie began to relax a little, until Tuesday afternoon.  A floral delivery person came into the bakery just before closing time and asked for Lexie Whitman.  He handed Lexie a bouquet of flowers, said, “Have a nice day,” and left.

Lexie unwrapped the bouquet and when she saw it, her hands began to shake.  It was a bouquet of eight white daisies and six yellow carnations with a single rose in the middle.  There was a card in an envelope.  Lexie was afraid to open it.

After a few minutes, she gathered her courage and tore the envelope open.  The card had been typed.  It read, “Kitten, it is time for you to take your rightful place, at the table, as the queen of my ladies.  I’ll be seeing you soon.  Love, Kevin”  Lexie fainted.

Someone was waving something with a strong odor under her nose and Lexie opened her eyes to find Brad, Patty and Bruce hovering over her.  “Lexie, are you okay?”

“I think so,” she said as she sat up.  “Who would want to do this to me?  That card was signed ‘Love, Kevin’, but I know Kevin is dead. Who else could know all of these details.”

“Is there a significance to the flowers?”  Bruce asked.

“I used to take a bouquet exactly like that to Kevin’s every Friday night to put in the center of the dining room table.”

“I’m going to the flower shop to ask some questions.  I’ll see you later, Lexie.”

“Okay, Bruce.”

Brad and Patty took Lexie home, and Brad called and ordered pizza delivery for dinner.

“Lexie, did Kevin have any close friends?”

“Not that I know of.  He was a loner except for the young women he chose.  That’s why he had his own apartment off campus.”

“What about siblings?”

“No, he was an only child.  His parents are rich.  His dad is a doctor and his mom is an artist.  The only time they spent with Kevin was once a year when they took extravagant family vacations.  The rest of the time Kevin was in boarding schools until he went away to college.”

“Well, those would be the most obvious possibilities.  I hope Bruce will have more ideas.”

“Where’s Officer Watts?  He’s usually waiting for me in the driveway when I get home from work.  He’s never been late.”

Someone knocked and Bo ran to the door, barking.

“That’s probably him now.  It’s too soon to be the pizza,” said Brad, who opened the door to find Bruce instead of Officer Watts.

“Lexie was just wondering where Officer Watts is.”

“I gave him the night off.  I’ll be staying tonight instead.”

Brad gave him a disapproving look.

“What?  It’s strictly in a professional capacity.  Don’t worry.”

“Sis, you okay with that?”

The thought of being alone with Bruce made Lexie’s pulse race, her palms sweat and caused butterflies to flutter in her stomach, but she knew Bruce took his job seriously.  “Yes, Brad.  I’ll be fine.”

The pizza arrived and they sat down to eat.  Brad told Bruce about the conversation he and Lexie had before Bruce arrived, and Bruce informed them that he might have a possible lead from what he found out at the flower shop.

“The clerk at the flower shop said a young man, about college age, made the purchase.  She said he paid cash, so there’s no credit card trail to follow, and he already had the card ready and in the envelope.  So I figure the creep making the phone calls got the kid to do his dirty work.  She had a pretty good description of the kid, which I gave to our sketch artist.  I’m hoping I can track the kid down and get some information from him, but it’s a long shot.”

Out of the Pit (Short Story — Day 3)

A week later Lexie was surprised when she was waiting on customers at the counter and David walked in the door.  He smiled when he saw her and she offered a small smile in return.

When it was his turn at the counter, David asked, “What would you recommend?”

“Well, if you like chocolate and peanut butter, the chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter creme filling and peanut butter icing are delicious.”

“I’ll take two with two cups of coffee, if you can join me for a few minutes.”

Lexie was due for a break, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to spend it with David.  She finally decided it would be a good opportunity to let him off the hook, so she said, “Okay.  I can take ten minutes.”

She gave David the cupcakes and one cup of coffee, collected his money,  grabbed a cup of coffee for herself and joined him at a small table in the back.

“I wanted to come by and check out the bakery since I’d never been here, and it gave me a good excuse to see you.”

“Look, David, you don’t have to pretend you’re interested in me and keep trying.  Brad will understand.  He knows that none of the guys he tries to set me up with ever work out.”

“Lexie, I’m not pretending.  You are a beautiful young woman, and after the discussion last week, I thought maybe you’d like to talk some more.  Maybe I could answer some more questions for you.”

“Didn’t your mother ever teach you that beauty is only skin deep?  You’re a nice guy but I don’t think we have much in common, and I really don’t think your Jesus is for me.”

“I think we may have more in common than you think. We may discover quite a bit, if we take the time to get to know one another.  We already share a love of dogs.  Why don’t we have dinner tonight?  You choose the place.”

“I’m really sorry, David, but I don’t think so.  Even if we found that we have a lot in common, you deserve better than me.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work.”

That evening after Lexie had finished her dinner, she dug in her closet until she found the Bible her mother had given her when she was about ten years old.  She took it to the living room, put it on the coffee table and sat down and stared at it.  Bo sat next to her feet and looked at her quizzically.

“Don’t look at me like that.  It’s not like other books and I have no idea where I should start reading.”

She went to the kitchen and picked up the phone.


“Hi Brad.”

“Lexie, how are you?”

“I’m fine.  I was just wondering, if I were to start reading the Bible, where’s the best place to start?”

The line was silent for so long that Lexie said, “Brad, are you still there?”

“Yes, yes, sorry Lex, I’m still here.  I would suggest you start with the book of John.  That book will explain what David talked about last week.”

“Okay.  Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.  Love you, Sis.”

“Love you, too.  Bye.”

“Bye.”  Brad hung up the phone, told Patty about the conversation, and they bowed their heads in prayer.


Lexie read from the Book of John every evening for the next week.  That Friday evening a thunderstorm hit the area.  Lexie sat on the sofa reading from the Book of John with Bo’s head in her lap, when the telephone rang.


“Hi, Kitten.  It’s been a long time and I miss you.”  It was a raspy whisper.

Lexie slammed the phone down and began to tremble violently.  She picked the phone back up and struggled to keep it in her grip and dial the number.  Her hands were shaking so badly.


“Brad, he’s coming for me.”  She was sobbing uncontrollably and the words were unintelligible.

“Lexie, is that you?  Honey, calm down.  I can’t understand you.”

Lexie’s sobs just grew more intense until they sounded like bad hiccups.

“Lexie, I’m coming over.”

Lexie clung to the phone even though the connection was broken.  She slid to the floor and hugged her knees to her chest.  Bo lay down beside her, whining.

Brad drove as quickly as he could in the storm.  His gut was clenched in a tight fist of fear.  He didn’t know why, but his sister was terrified and he knew it was more than the storm.  He prayed that God would protect her, as he drove through the pouring rain.

Brad arrived at Lexie’s door twenty minutes after receiving her call.  He knocked but got no response.  The only sound coming from inside was Bo barking.

“Lexie, it’s Brad.  I’m coming in, honey.”  He used his key to quickly let himself in.  Bo greeted him at the door and turned to run toward the kitchen, stopping, turning and barking for Brad to follow him.

Brad found Lexie sitting on the floor in the corner of the kitchen.  She was hugging her knees and trembling.  She was no longer sobbing but was staring without really seeing.  Brad squatted down in front of her.

“Lexie, it’s me, Brad.”

After a few seconds, her eyes seemed to focus.  “Oh, Brad!”  She threw herself into his arms and clung to him.

“It’s okay, Lexie, I’m here.  Can you tell me what happened?”

He held her for a long time until he could feel the trembling dissipate.  Then she pulled away from him just far enough to look in his face, but still clinging to his hands.

“It’s Kevin.  He’s back.  He called and said he misses me.”

Brad sat looking at her for a long time trying to determine whether or not Lexie was in her right mind.

“I know it sounds crazy, but the phone rang and when I answered, it was him.  he called me ‘Kitten’.”

“You recognized his voice?”

“No.  He spoke in a raspy whisper.”

Anger suddenly welled up inside of him.  Someone was playing a cruel joke on his sister, or was it something more?

“Lexie, it couldn’t be Kevin.  Kevin’s dead, remember?”

“But no one else ever called me Kitten.”

“He must have called you that around other people.  It can’t be Kevin.”

Lexie just looked at him with fear and tears in her eyes.

The phone rang and Lexie’s eyes grew larger in fear.  Brad picked up the phone but said nothing.

“Why’d you hang up on me, Kitten?  Haven’t you missed me?  It’s been eight long years.”

“Who is this?”  Brad demanded, and then he heard a click as the person on the other end hung up.

Lexie looked at Brad questioningly.

“It was that creep again.  I don’t know who it is but there’s no way it’s Kevin.  Kevin’s dead.”

Lexie wondered if he was trying to convince her or himself.

“What are we going to do, Brad?”

“I’m going to call Bruce.  Then I have to call Patty and let her know that I am here and that you are okay physically.”

Brad dialed a number.

“Detective Bruce Rivers please.”

A few minutes passed and then Brad said, “Bruce, it’s Brad, Brad Williams.  Yeah, I know, it’s been too long.  This should be a social call, but it’s not.  I’m with my sister right now.  She’s just received two calls from some creep acting as though he were Kevin.”

“Yeah, that Kevin.  These weren’t simple prank calls.  Do you think you could stop by in the morning?  I’ll stay here for the night.”

“Oh, okay.  See you soon then.”

Brad hung up the phone.

“He doesn’t want to wait until the morning.  He’ll be here with an officer and equipment to set up a tracer on your phone in about an hour.”