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SAMANTHA PRINCE WATCHED the buzzing crowd through her window with interest that early morning.

There were several police officers and paramedics about on the street, squad cars and an ambulance as well. A number of the officers could be seen on the terrace and front porches of the houses around, speaking with the neighbors and passers-by.

Samantha stopped for a moment, staring in perplexity at the scene, noting that whatever was going on, it didn’t look good. She felt a subtle chill crawl up her body, but decided nonetheless to venture outside to find out what was happening.

The cold air curdled her as she went forward on light toes, thin blanket wrapped around her slender body. Everything seemed to be happening in slow mode; the curious onlookers moving around, a few eyes looking in her direction as she came through, and the atmospheric sounds drowned by the voices in her head.

Then as Samantha neared the thickness of the crowd, the words in her head got louder and deafening, then died out altogether. Now she could decipher the voices, hear what they were speaking clearly:

“…Brutally murdered, both of them,” said an old, stern looking woman.

“Oh, it’s such an awful sight…Poor officers!”

“I wonder what’s happening in this town.”

Samantha looked up and saw one of the detectives on ground walking towards her. She looked at him quietly. When he got to her, she grinned uncertainly, nodded and said, “Detective Davies; is there a problem?”

Davies looked at her coolly. “Mrs. Prince,” he said, through tight lips. He seemed quite upset.

Samantha was tensed. “What happened here, Detective?”

Davies paused, seeming to study her composure. Then he said, “There have been two murders out here. It happened over night, or early this morning; we’re not sure yet, until preliminary autopsy results are in.”

Samantha gasped anxiously. “I’m sorry to hear that, Detective. “

“Yeah, sure,” he said quietly, clenched his lips again.

She looked at him, said nothing. Then sighing gently, she started to turn to go back to her house when he spoke again.

“May I speak with you for a moment, Mrs. Prince?”

Samantha stopped. “Sure, Detective,” she answered. “What about?”

“I’d like to know if you saw or heard anything over the night; something that might be helpful.” He spoke slowly, fixing his gaze on her in a manner that she found mildly unsettling.

“But…Why are you asking me this?” said Samantha, looking at him nervously.

“Come,” he said, “I want to show you something.”

Samantha hesitated. Then she followed him to the other side of the street where a body lay covered on a stretcher beside two young paramedics and the ambulance that was to convey it to the morgue. Davies asked the men to hold on as he pulled back the sheet a little to reveal the petrified expression on the face of the dead policeman.

Samantha shrank back in horror when she saw the dark, hideous look in the eyes of Colton Rogers; the blackness in his grotesquely twisted mouth hanging open in frozen shock, the pale, taut skin and the etches of veins webbed across his face and neck. It was a sickening and otherworldly expression that would always haunt her.

Lee Davies stared at her for a moment. “That’s why I have to speak with you, Mrs. Prince,” he told her.

“What happened to him?” Samantha asked dryly, her voice just barely audible.

“I was hoping you might have something to tell me,” said Davies.

She stared at him uncertainly, fidgeted. She seemed thoroughly shaken. “I don’t underst…”

“Apologies, Mrs. Prince,” he cut in politely, “but that’s exactly the way your husband looked when he died.”

Samantha gasped and lowered her face. Then she turned around quietly and started walking back to her house.

“Please, Mrs. Prince,” continued Detective Davies, following her. “Please, just tell me what you know.”

“But I don’t know anything.”

Lee Davies sighed hopelessly, imploring her with the look in his eyes to reconsider. But she shook her head and turned away again. He didn’t go after her as before. He only stood there, staring after her with a feeling of frustration brewing on his inside.

However, Samantha stopped after taking a few more meters, turned and looked at him with a forlorn countenance. Then she nodded subtly.

Davies heaved a sigh of relief, before walking up to meet her.

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