“WHAT’S GOING ON down there?”
Danny Callaway heard the question, but couldn’t answer. His brain froze in the cold
February air as he stared at the broken rag doll that had once been his sister, Mary
In his sixteen years he’d never witnessed death first-hand. Until now.
Mary Alice’s still form lay sprawled against the alley’s cement. Her head stuck out at a
crazy angle like the girl in the
Exorcist movie.
Hoping against hope, he checked for a pulse at her neck. Nothing. He tried her wrist,
but got the same result.
His mind was all jumbled. All he could think of were stupid things, like how he’d heard
guys call Mary Alice a prude because she closed the top buttons on her blouse and
never wore mini-skirts.
She’d sure be embarrassed not to have anything on at all. Someone had to cover
her up and make her look presentable. Maybe Mom could help.
But how could he tell her? A sob tore through his throat. He clamped his mouth shut
to keep the bile from rushing out.
Through the shock and pain, one thing remained clear. Kevin would pay for this.

Chapter One

THE TRIAL BEGAN, yet it couldn’t be happening. Mary Alice couldn’t be dead. It had
been six months since Danny had discovered his sister’s still form on that cold
February night, yet he still couldn’t believe he’d never see her again. She was family,
a part of his life. It didn’t seem right being without her. If only she’d come back, but
that was impossible.
Slamming home that fact was the prosecutor, Bill Rosenberg, who held up a photo.
“With the court’s permission, may I present Exhibit One, a picture taken at the crime
No, Danny wanted to shout, knowing firsthand what the photo contained. His heart
beat fast as the picture made its rounds. He clenched his fingers to keep from
snatching it away. His sister’s memory was sacred, yet these people eyed her lying
exposed and defenseless.
He watched helplessly. Finally, the photograph reached the end of the jury box,
where a frail, bent-over lady cupped it in her palm. Her eyes filled with tears. Danny
blinked rapidly, reminding himself that men don’t cry. He turned his attention to his
parents. Mom had no such compunctions. Her shoulders shook. Tears streamed
down her face. Dad leaned over to comfort her.
Watching their anguish made matters worse, but Danny wouldn’t cave in. He’d never
break down in front of his sister’s killer. Stone-faced, he concentrated on what the
prosecutor was saying. “I’d like to call Officer Dugan.”
The officer testified that he’d been first on the scene.
“Can you describe the position of the body?”
...the body. Danny swallowed hard at the image conjured up in his mind.
The prosecutor bore on relentlessly, digging for details, inquiring about the state of
rigor mortis, the head wounds, the color of Mary Alice’s lips. The image deepened.
That’s my sister. She’s a person, not a thing, Danny wanted to shout.

Cover Art by Dirk A. Wolf