The Drowning Man

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A mysterious woman with a troubled past. An ex-soldier out to avenge the death of a childhood friend. Both are on the hunt for a man stalking the Florida coast a man who kills his victims by drowning them. Now these two must find this killer and stop him before he strikes again.

Mystery / Thriller
J. A. Proctor
Age Rating:

Chapter One

“Damn,” I curse when I see the flashing red and blue lights in my rear-view mirror. I wonder what I had done to get their attention, considering what I had in the trunk of my car talking to the police was less than ideal, but I doubted the vehicle I was driving could handle a high-speed chase. I slowly pulled over to the side of the lonely country road I was driving on, put the car in park, and rolled down my window. The policeman climbed out of his squad car. He was short with a potbelly. He walked over to my car and peered inside. His eyes go up and down over my body paying attention to my chest and the short skirt of the party dress I was wearing. “Perfect a horn dog,” I thought to myself, but maybe I could use it to my advantage, so I coyly look up at the officer. “Is there a problem officer.? I ask in my most flirty tone.

He smiled at me, “Yes, Miss, I noticed that your left back light is out.”

I glanced back, “Oh is it I didn’t know.” I said trying to sound contrite.

The officer placed a hand on my shoulder, and it takes all my self-control not to break his fingers. “Now don’t worry your pretty little head about it. Just get your mechanic to fix it next time you see him.”

God could he sound any more condescending, but all I do is smile at him and agree that I would do what he says.

“Oh, but before I let you go with just a warning could I see your driver’s license just to make it official.”

I reach over to grab my purse and pull out the fake ID I’m carrying and hand it over to him.

“Alright Ms. Andersen, you just remember what I told you.”

“Yes sir,” I said as he handed the license back to me.

I watch carefully as he walked back to his squad car and drove off. I let out a sigh of relief and continue my drive to my location, a lonely stretch of land I had picked out earlier in the week. Once I got there I park and turn off the engine, then I reach into the back seat and pull out a gym bag that had my change of clothes in. I got out of the car and proceeded to change out of the party dress and high heel dress shoes into jeans, sweatshirt, and hiking boots. I walk over to the trunk of the car, open it, and look down at the tarp or more precisely the dead body wrapped in the tarp. Reaching down I pull it out of the trunk and drag it over to the hole I had dug earlier in the day. I push the body in, I look down at him. Carl West was his name and just earlier this evening he was alive. When he met me in that nightclub he probably thought he was in store for a fun evening, little did he know he would end up dead, his neck broken. I had first spotted him two weeks ago in the same nightclub feeling up some underage girl. I knew he would be my target, so I followed him around for those two weeks and what I saw confirmed my suspicion. He deserved to die. I watched as he lured teenage girl after teenage girl getting them drunk and taking advantage of them. After I confirmed my suspicions and I was taught to always confirm my suspicions before I take out a target, I cleaned myself up got dressed up all sexy. I’m twenty-seven but good genetics leave me looking a lot younger. I also know how to trick people into thinking I’m drunk, but I’m discreetly getting rid of the drinks. After that, it was easy to lure him outside and to get him to the car. Which brings us back to here with him dead in a hole. I tossed the party clothes in the hole with the body then I remembered that I was wearing a wig, so I pulled it off and went from a long-haired blonde to a short-haired redhead. I toss the wig into the hole along with everything else, grabbing a shovel and proceeded to fill in the hole.

When I was done, I got back into the car and drove to my second secret spot the spot where I had hidden my actual car, a jeep, much different than the sporty car I was driving. If that idiot cop had bothered to run the plates, he would have seen that this car was stolen, but he wasn’t thinking with his brain, lucky for me. After getting out of the car I changed into a pair of overalls and put on rubber gloves. I proceeded to clean the car, making sure to destroy every bit of DNA, fingerprints, and fibers I may have left in the car. Leave no evidence was also something I was taught. Once everything was done, I got into my jeep and drove off. I live very far away. Never kill close to where you live is another thing I was taught.

It is about eight in the morning as I pull into my driveway. Exhausted, all I want to do is to climb into bed and sleep, but as I walk into my house, I remember that I had a ritual to do. One I do every time I kill a sexual predator. I look at two pictures hanging on my wall. One is a picture of a family; a mom, a dad, a little boy, and two little girls. I pay attention to the youngest girl, five years old, the girl who hadn’t seen her family in twenty-two years. Right next to that picture was one of a man, unlike the family portrait, this one was not posed, but taken in the spur of the moment. The man was standing in the woods when I took it. I was eighteen years old I think, he was very special to me. He was the man who took me from my family when I was five years old and turned me into the killer that I am today.

It is around 4:00 PM when I finally wake up, luckily for me it is Sunday, so I have no work. Monday-Friday I work as an administrative assistant at a local middle school. Boring work, but it pays the bills. I get out of bed and stretch all the kinks out then I head out of the bedroom to the bathroom. After I take care of some business, I go to the kitchen and make myself some breakfast; a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter and a glass of apple juice. After breakfast, I changed into my workout clothes and went out for a run. I live in a small town which I picked out because people here seem to mind their own business. They don’t ask too many questions like “Where you from?” “Tell us about your past.” That kind of thing.

Lucky for me because my past is off-limits to everybody, but two people, myself and the man who to this day whom I still don’t know his name. He never told me even though I was with him for twenty years from five to twenty-five and he never told me his name, so I just called him Mister. After my run is over, I return home taking a quick shower, I head down to the basement where I keep my planning room. Everything I have on every local sexual predator. Now I know earlier I mentioned never kill close to where you live, but I like to have the option if I ever decide to break that rule. There are some scum bags that live close to me I would love to kill, but so far, I refrain. After spending half an hour imaging how I would kill these various people I walk back upstairs and select a book to read. I have no TV. I haven’t watched one since I was five. There wasn’t one where I grew up, but there were lots of books. My go-to mode of entertaining myself will always be books. When I get done reading, I wonder what to do next. It is so boring when I’m not killing somebody or planning how to kill somebody. I hate being bored. When I get bored my mind starts to wander and I start to think about my family. I wonder how they are doing. I try to picture what they would look like. Dad was thirty-seven, Mom was thirty-two, my older brother Alex was ten, and my older sister was eight when I was taken. Now they are fifty-nine, fifty-four, thirty-two, and thirty years old. What kind of lives do they have now? Did they ever get over my kidnapping or are they still grieving for me?

There are times I am tempted to go see them, but something inside always makes me stop. Mainly the fact that I doubt they would approve of my killing people. They would probably send me, if not to jail, then to the nuthouse. No thank you. Another thing I was taught, no personal connections. Never make any friends, and besides the occasional one-night stand, no dating that way if I ever have to leave a place there will be nobody to keep me there.

“Shit,” I curse. I better stop before I start crying. I need to take my mind off these negative thoughts, so I go into my training room, put on a pair of boxing gloves, and start punching the heavy bag. I go through my martial arts exercises and finally I practice with my throwing knives, flinging them at the target with deadly accuracy. When I am finished training, I get on the computer to check out any crimes, that not only pique my interest but also take place far away from where I live. Most where of the mundane quality. Hardly worth my time looking at, but I did see one that showed promise. It was a small news article from Florida.

Woman Found Drown off the Florida coast

By Carrol Bakker

The body of Sandra Mason from Apalachicola, Florida was found drowned in waters of Apalachee Bay just south of Tallahassee. Miss Mason on vacation was found wearing a bathing suit and swim goggles and she was known by her neighbors as being an avid swimmer. The police were not available to say whether the woman’s death was accidental or not but sources from inside the coroner’s office told this reporter that the body had strange marks on it. So far, the case remains open.

Now, this might be nothing. Just the one-off murder of a single woman, but I was taught how to think like a predator and how to read between the lines. This murder seemed to me to be just the tip of the iceberg. There will be more, but that would have to wait tomorrow. I have work and it would just ruin my carefully crafted image if I suddenly didn’t show up. Better to work one week then I will tell everyone I need a vacation. Avoid rousing suspicion at all cost, that was another thing I was taught. You know now that I think about it, I was taught a lot, but each thing I have learned has helped me survived in some way.

Monday, I arrive at work where I use another false identity, a mask I wear to fool the people I work with that I’m just like them, but, they, along with the students, are just a means to an end. A cover so I can hide and make money. Today I have an extra duty. I need to show a substitute teacher around. I greet her at the door. She is short about five feet three inches tall, with blonde hair and glasses. I would put her age in the upper forties though she could be older. We talk on the way to her classroom. She is here to teach special education. I respond the way normal people are supposed to respond. Once we get to her room, I leave her and return to the front office. I set my plans in motion. I make mention of my plans to take a vacation next week and that I will be out of town. I also tell them the name of a fake city I will be going to. In the meantime at home, I occupied myself with training and using the internet to keep track of any news related to the killer. So far it looks like he had killed two more women, both by drowning and in different areas off the coast of Florida.

Finally, the day had arrived I was leaving. I had only two weeks to go to Florida, track down a murderer, and kill him. Now I prefer to drive, airports have too much security, and I would be unable to travel with my, let’s just call them the tools of my trade, so the morning of my trip I packed everything I thought I would need and loaded up my car, an average tan color car, perfect not to draw attention. I won’t tell you how long it took me to drive to Florida, that way you won’t be able to figure out where I live. Let’s just say that it was early evening when I drove into Florida. Now the question was where to go next.

The killer was mobile and tracking him would be difficult. The only thing I could do was investigate the areas where he had struck and hoped that it would lead me to some clue to where he would strike next. The first place I went to was Apalachee Bay, the site of the first murder and since the murder happened in the water the best place to investigate would be the areas around it. I arrived at Apalachee Bay at a little after 5:00 PM. According to what I read about the area it is most popular as a wildlife area, but people still use it to swim. Sadly, my investigation yielded no results. Neither did the area of the second murder, Jacksonville Beach. The only thing they did reveal is that the killer would travel across the state to kill his victims and he preferred to drown his victims in the ocean never a river or a lake.

This told me that the ocean probably had some sort of significance to him and the fact that he drowned the girls instead was also important, but my psychoanalyzing him would have to wait. Continuing my travels, I was now arriving at Vero Beach the site of the third and most recent murder. It was late evening when I arrived, so I made the decision to get a motel room to rest up and start fresh in the morning. I rented a room using one of my false credit cards tied to the identity I chose to use on this trip.

Right now, my name is Andrea O’Connell just another twenty-something here in Florida to have a good time. After I get my room and move all my bags in, I lock the door, draw the shades, and proceed to go over my equipment. This is also one of the many things I was taught, to always make sure any tool you chose to use on the job is in good shape and working order. The first thing I check after unlocking my suitcase is my daggers. They are razor-sharp and perfectly balanced. Next, I check my guns and make sure they are clean. While going through everything I couldn’t help but remember all the training I had to go through for each tool. That’s what a gun and a dagger were, a tool completely inert until someone picks them up and decides to use them. I can still remember the endless drills with using the daggers, throwing at targets for hours until my arms hurt and practicing slicing and cutting on pig carcasses until I knew exactly how to perfectly slice up a human being in the most efficient and deadly way. With the guns, it was target practice with revolvers, rifles, and shotguns until I could hit the target dead center every time. After that, it was taking apart the guns and putting them back together until I could do it blindfolded. After I finish checking my equipment, I do a few exercises to loosen myself up. I climb into bed, set the alarm on my phone, and go to sleep.

I wake up one second before my alarm goes off after my morning exercises and a shower, I began to formulate my plan. The first thing I would do was try to retrace the last victim’s steps and try to see if I could find out where she met the killer. The girl, whose name was Victoria King, is so far, the youngest at twenty-one years of age. She was a local girl meaning she had lots of friends and places she likes to hang out at. I decided to use my fake private investigator ID and pretend that one the families of a previous victim had hired me. This allowed me to go around and ask Victoria’s family and friends questions about how she spent her last day, which is how I ended up at a rather sleazy bar.

Apparently, not too long after becoming legal age, the bar was where she had her first alcoholic drink and now it was her go-to bar. It was early evening as I stepped inside and immediately could tell That in my blue jeans and a black t-shirt, I was over dressed. Most of the female patrons seemed to dress in a way to attract the male eye. I soon found myself drawing male attention. One person even had the boldness to pinch my rear. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was there to gather information and had to not draw attention to myself, I would have broken that guy’s fingers. So, I just ignored him and walked over to the other side of the bar and continued chatting up anyone I felt could help me gather information. Eventually, my searching led me to one of the waitresses. “I heard you waited on Victoria King the last time she was here,” I said.

She looked first around the bar then at me. “Are you a cop or something?” she asked.

I pulled out one of my false IDs, the one stating I was a private investigator. “Andrea O’Connell. I was hired by the family of one of the other murdered women,” I said.

The waitress thought this over before responding, “So, what can I do to help?”

“What can you tell me about Victoria’s last day here?”

“Well, not much. You see it was a rather busy night and I’m afraid I didn’t pay that much attention to her.” Then a look of concentration appeared on her face. “But I do remember one of the few times I did see her she was hanging with Bobby Ward.”

“And who is Bobby Ward?” I asked.

“One of our regulars. Comes here to hit on women. Thinks he’s a real player, but nine times out of ten he goes home alone.”

“And can you tell me what this Bobby Ward looks like?”

“Actually, he’s here right now.” She said looking over my shoulder.

I turned around and saw a group of men talking loudly at the other end of the bar. “Which one is Bobby Ward?” I asked.

She pointed, “The tall one in the middle.”

I looked. Oh great! It was the guy who had earlier pinched my rear. Now I would have to go over and act all flirty to gather any information he may or may not have. I thanked the waitress and putting a smile on my face slowly walked over to where Bobby Ward and his cronies were hanging out. “Hello,” I said.

“Hey, baby! I knew you couldn’t stay away from Big Bobby. No girl can resist my charm.”

I stifled the urge to vomit and moved in closer to him. “Oh yeah! Sorry, I ignored you earlier. I just had to take care of some business, but I’m all yours now.”

“Well relax and have a seat.” He indicated his lap. I took a deep breath and sat down.

“Now sweet cheeks, what can Big Bobby do for you?” he asked.

I snuggled in close and playfully rubbed his well-muscled chest. “Actually, I am wondering if there was a place, we could be alone?” I asked.

But before he could answer one of his drunk friends stumbled over to where we were sitting. “Hey Bobby, no fair hogging this hottie all to yourself.” He proceeded to reach over and grab one of my breasts. I, acting completely on instinct, jumped up and punched him right in his face. He fell back blood pouring out his nose.

“Dat dweesh dwoke by nobs,” he cried out. I looked around Bobby and the rest of his friends were now standing up and were looking at me angrily. “Hey! Just what do you think you are doing?” one said as he rushed towards me, fist swinging.

I dodged his punches and gave him a good kick in the groin. He went down fast, but he gave his buddies enough time to surround me. Okay, I assessed the situation. I had several advantages over them. I was sober while they were drunk and I years of training in hand-to-hand combat and several martial arts. Advantages they had over me, they outnumbered me five of them and one of me. They all rushed in at once. I grabbed the one closest to me and put him in a wrist lock while simultaneously delivered a hard kick to the stomach to the guy coming from my right side. I then jumped away before the rest could get me. In doing so meant I had to let go of the guy I had in the wrist lock. He fell to the floor and crawled away.

The rest were not about to give up. I had humiliated them and bruised their egos. I glanced around and saw that the other bar patrons had moved to the other side of the bar, some were even cheering us. I guess they had lots of fights here for everybody to be so blasé about it. But now I was more concerned with how I was going to get out of this hopefully without getting seriously injured or getting arrested by the police. I really didn’t want to test my false IDs under police scrutiny. I better focus on what was happening right at this moment.

The fight continued, I am proud to say, I was holding my own, but I failed one of the most important aspects. When in a fight against multiple attackers always make sure when you put a person down make sure they stay down. I failed to notice, until the last minute, the guy I had wristed locked earlier coming up from behind me. I spun around and even though I managed to move my head slightly out of the way, the beer bottle still managed to graze my skull and disorient me. The floor came rushing up at me as I fell to the ground in a daze. I reached up. My forehead was wet. I tried to look at my fingers, but my vision was all blurry. I couldn’t let one head injury stop me from protecting myself. I tried to get to my feet when I heard a male voice cry out, “Hey leave her alone.”

The next thing I heard was someone rushing over. The fight continued, but this time without me. It didn’t last long because the next thing I knew was that somebody was kneeling next to me. My vision was still too blurry to see who it was I was prepared for the worst. “Are you okay?” the voice asked.

I was relieved it was the same voice from earlier the one who had rushed to my rescue. “Please get me out of here,” I pleaded.

I felt two strong hands grab me and pick me up, carrying me outside. I felt him put me in a car. I hope I didn’t make a mistake, but I then chose that moment to lose consciousness. The next thing I knew was waking up in a strange bed. At first, I thought I was more injured then I realized. It felt like the room was rocking. My vision cleared, so I looked around I was in a small room and that the bed was actually some kind of bunk. Just at that moment, the door opened, my rescuer walked in. He was short. I would say about five feet five inches tall. In my bare feet, I stood about five feet eight inches tall. He was well-muscled and looked like he could take care of himself. I had to admit was quite good looking in an unconventional sort of way. “Oh, I’m glad to see you’re awake.”

“Where am I?” I asked.

“On, my boat,” he said. Well, that explained the rocking. “And may I ask who I have the honoring of rescuing?” he asked me.

“Andrea O’Connell,” I said holding out my hand

He grasped it and shook, “Well, Andrea O’Connell my name is Seymour Jones and I am pleased to meet you. I just wish it was under better circumstances.” He leaned over to look at my forehead I reached up and felt a bandage. “Now you should really have this injury checked out at the hospital, but from what I can see you have a slight laceration and some bruising. I think you should go and have a head CT.”

“Maybe later,” I said.

He shrugged and replied, “Hey, it’s your life.”

“You seem to know what you are doing.”

“Well, I’m studying to be a nurse, so I better know some of this.”

“So, can I get out of bed?” I asked.

“Just take it slow.” I slowly got out of bed and let him escort me out of the room to a bigger room which I guess was the living area. He sat me down on the couch. I looked around the room. On one side of the room was the kitchen. I could see a table and chair with some textbooks on it. Next to it was a mini-fridge and on top of that was a hotplate. On the walls there were cabinets. Looking around to the other side of the room, I could see pictures hanging on the wall some were of Mr. Jones and others were, I guess his family. I also noticed a few pictures of him in a U.S. Marine Corps uniform, so Mr. Jones was a Marine.

“So, I see you are or were a Marine.”

“I was. I did my four years and then decided to get my degree in nursing.”

“So, what happened?” I asked.

“Well, at first I thought you were going to win the fight, but I didn’t see that piece of shit come up and clip you with that beer bottle. After that happened, I decided to step in and help you.”

“Well, I’m glad you did.”

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Further Recommendations

lbs213: Good story line moving on to the next one!

DanMc: I absolutely loved this story, could not get enough of it.

Nimisha Pande: I like story very much ,l feel sympathy for sweet little Elina,how her father used her for his benefits.ilike Vel also he is ruthless cruel because his father made him this type ,but in his heart a soft corner is also there.every chapter made curiosity for next chapter,.

Belinda Geter: So good very sexual read. Cant wait to finish

Kari Clark: I've mentioned the misspellings a couple chapters ago. Some sentence structure issues, the aren't very bad. Love reading your books Thank you!

lenka: I like the plot it’s a great reading. Only thing what is bothering me is the spelling. Too many misspelled words

onlyumie002: love itt everythibg so great and tge plot is good

Lisa Dickerson: Great story

janemoniq07: A fabulous mini series... i loved reading them all. Its simply amazing. You are a wonderful writer. Keep on the great work 😍😍😍

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madeleinepercival: This is such a great read! It’s funny, romantic, enthralling, cute and at the same time relatable. It’s everything you’d want in a story and it’s brilliantly written. Many thanks to the amazing writer who decided to share this story with us!

Samantha: This book is amazing though I would have been happier if it wasn't so short and get more drama from Luke n his twin. Also see how their blend over as years go by with more fiction. It a very NYC mafia short story that lives u with a lot of unanswered questions.

richa: V very nice story e keeps The curiosity of the mystery man who is helping Fox

Stormie Stafford: Never a dull moment. The characters are amazing and realistic.One of the best stories I've read.

Jason Huskey: This book brings some amazing twists into the series that really help the series grow. Love the characters and how they continue to develop.

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