Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery, Book 1)

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Amy Lang bundled up for her morning walk with her German Shepherd mix, Bud. It was a cold Michigan March and she couldn’t wait for spring. She was grateful for the time change though, since it wasn’t quite as dark as it would have been. The lights that were there also helped a little but it was still pretty dark.

The county had made a bike and jogging path near the Black River, on the other side of Strawberry Lane where she lived. This made it much easier to take Bud out, and for her to get some exercise before going in to work. In the summer it was lovely. The trees and bushes were in bloom and the river gently flowed, following the path.

They headed out and Amy looked at the barren trees wishing they still had their leaves. The few pines just weren’t enough to make it a pretty walk. Even though she was dressed warmly, she shivered at the cold. But for some reason it didn’t really feel like that kind of cold.

About fifteen yards from where they started walking, Bud started to whimper and pull her toward some dead brush. Amy noticed something black and red poking up through the water’s edge, caught in the dead brush along the bank. It was up against the bank and surrounded by pieces of ice that were just starting to melt.

Bud got more agitated the closer they came, and pulled even harder. She heard a growl come from deep within his throat.

“It’s okay boy. Let’s have a look,” Amy said as she let Bud lead her. He started barking and pulling her closer.

“Oh my god!” Amy screamed. The black was a trash bag and the red she saw were the painted toe nails that were poking through. She started to shake and back away, trying to pull Bud with her. He resisted but eventually let up.

She was frozen for a moment, trying to understand what she was seeing. Amy’s heart was in her throat and with a trembling hand she reached into her coat pocket and pulled out her cell phone.

“Port Huron Police, what is the nature of your emergency?” a calm voice asked.

“I think, I...” Amy didn’t know what to say.

“Miss, are you all right?”

“I, I, I think there’s a woman’s leg,” Amy felt like she was going to faint.

“Where are you?”

“Oh my god,”


“I’m on the bike path off Strawberry Lane,” Amy finally said. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

“We’ll have someone there in a few minutes. Stay on the phone with me until they get there,” the woman said.

“Yeah, yeah,” was all Amy said before she vomited. There were a few benches nearby and she went to sit down.

“Are you all right,” the voice asked.

“I think so,” Amy said as she sat on the bench keeping Bud close.

“They should be there shortly. Are you in any danger?” the voice asked.

“No. I don’t think so,” Amy said. “I don’t see anyone else out here.”

Sirens screamed in the early morning air. In a matter of minutes a police cruiser turned on Strawberry Lane, driving slowly until the officer saw her. He shut down the siren and pulled to the curb to park.

Once he’d spotted Amy and her dog sitting on the bench, he called dispatch.

“I see her,” he said just as another patrol car pulled up.

“I’ll hang up with her now,” the dispatcher said to the officer.

“Miss, the officer is there now,” the voice came over Amy’s cell phone.

“Okay. Thank you,” Amy said and hung up the phone.

“I’m Officer Mitchell,” the young man said, as the second officer approached and nodded hello. “This is Officer Miller. Can you tell us what happened?”

“I was walking my dog and he got upset. He pulled me over there,” Amy said, and with a shaky finger, pointed to the black mass at the shore. “When I got to it, I saw it was a woman’s leg.”

Miller walked to the bag and shook his head. He looked it over without touching it, or anything around it. Then he headed over to Mitchell.

“It’s a leg, probably female because the toenails are painted,” he said.

“You didn’t notice anyone else here,” Mitchell asked Amy.

“No. I never do,” Amy said. “I come out every morning around this time to walk Bud and get some exercise before I have to get ready for work.”

“Okay,” was all Mitchell said. Then he got on his radio to call the chief.

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