New York City
On the last day of her life she was on a photo shoot for Vogue. Fronting the French provincial motif of the Waldorf Astoria’s Presidential Suite, Natasha Kasabian tilted her chin slightly upward, profiling the look that marked her fame on the covers of the world’s haute couture magazines.
That day the exotic beauty was wearing a spring offering from the season’s most hyped Paris designer, a black silk shift, its neckline plunging from her tawny shoulders to her inverted navel.
“A little more gaiety, Tasha,” said Claude Le Fleur, kneeling to her front, canting his camera one way, then another. “Come on, let’s see that enigmatic smile.”
The photographer could see she was trying. Rail thin and statuesque, she had raven hair that tumbled in wavy curls down the middle of her back. Her high cheekbones and almond-shaped eyes were evidence of her Eurasian ancestry. Claude anticipated her features transforming into that image that others tried to mimic, but never seemed to achieve.
She had been just like all the others ten years ago, a struggling eighteen-year-old in an industry that chewed you up and discarded you by the age of twenty. With her vacant face and lissome body, she had bounced around between New York, Paris and Milan, living the fast life—jet travel, champagne, coke, and heroin. Claude knew part of that scene was being pawed at by European fops, dispossessed royalty, Arab sheiks, and the ever-smiling oriental businessmen. Natasha had been simply another beautiful face—until one spring she had inexplicably broken from the pack and skyrocketed to the top of the modeling world.
“I’m not seeing that spark today, baby,” Claude said, rising from one knee and coming closer. “What’s the matter?” Very gently, he tried stroking her arm, but instantly jerked his hand away from her goose-flesh. “Your skin is ice. Aren’t you feeling well?”
“I’m sorry, Claude,” she said, and suddenly brushed past him, rushing for the door.
Patience exhausted, he shouted, “You bitch!”
Natasha flung open the suite’s doors and fled down the hallway.
“The agency’s going to hear about this,” Claude’s voice echoed down the corridor. “That’s a twenty thousand dollar dress you’re wearing. You’ll never work again!”
She hurried toward the elevator bank. The moment she rounded the corner, the elevator doors opened. Two of her closest competitors emerged from the car, both shocked at the anguish painted on their idol’s face.
“Tasha, honey!” said Wendy Brooks.
Natasha pushed through them like they weren’t even there.
“What did that asshole Claude say?” asked Cindy Sloan.
Without acknowledging them, Natasha frantically pressed the lobby button until the doors closed.
The two models glanced at each other. Wendy shrugged and turned to Cindy. Both sashayed down the corridor for their segment of the photo shoot.
“Bitch is finally losing it,” Wendy said with a wry smile.
“Yeah,” Cindy said, “and I don’t think it was Claude.”
When the elevator opened on the main lobby, witnesses saw Natasha bolt from its confines. Tall and appealing, she quickly moved through the throng of businessmen and conventioneers as though hurrying down a high fashion runway. Some thought they saw something in her face, but most merely observed her maneuvering through the commonplace toward the hotel’s lobby exit.
Seeing her emerge under the Waldorf’s canopied entrance, the doorman asked, “Can I call your limo, Miss Kasabian?”
Looking agitated, her eyes frantically searching up and down Park Avenue, Natasha shook her head no.
“Cab, then?” he said.
“No, no, no,” she said, rubbing her arms against the thirty-degree temperature. Then she seemed to notice the spires rising up between the city’s concrete canyons.
To the bemused expression of the doorman and other onlookers, one of the ten most beautiful women in the world shoved through crowded rush hour sidewalks toward the church. Normally stoic New Yorkers said it was on of the strangest sights they had ever seen.
The few worshipers inside that late afternoon were shocked to see the gorgeous woman with the famous face, dressed in the skimpy evening gown, walk hesitantly up the aisle, genuflect before the Lord Jesus, kneel, and pray before him. Natasha lit three candles, which witnesses claimed represented the Holy Trinity, and hesitantly made her way to the confessional.
Due to the sanctity of the rite, it might never be known what Natasha Kasabian confessed. Witnesses reported that it was an unusually long confession, lasting nearly forty-five minutes. When she exited, Natasha looked more terrified than when she had entered.
Father James Garretty emerged moments later, looking grave. The priest went directly to the altar, fell to his knees and prayed. Tears streamed down his cheeks.
By the time Natasha had left the church, reports of her strange behavior at the church had spread to the tabloid press. Camera strobes flashed as the model stumbled down its front steps. Her limousine service having been notified of her whereabouts had a car waiting at the curb. Pushing through the paparazzi, Natasha made her way to the limo with the help of its driver, Eddie Malone.
As the stretch Cadillac sped away toward her Park Avenue co-op, Malone tried to make conversation with his fare, but Natasha merely trembled, forcing herself into the back seat’s corner like the very air she breathed was threatening. Malone noticed the far-off look in her eyes and reported that she kept reciting the Lord’s Prayer as though it were a vaccination against evil.
When they arrived at her fashionable address across from Central Park, both thought it odd that Milton, the building’s doorman, was nowhere in sight. Photographers and cameramen had already arrived and pressed against the car. Malone offered to escort Natasha up to her apartment. As though broken from a trance, she thanked the driver, but declined, and shoved through camera lenses and flashing strobes into her building.
Her assailant waited in the darkness of her apartment. From the now infamous video her killer recorded, we know that the following transpired as she entered her elegant home.
Natasha flung off her dress in the middle of her spacious, glass-walled living room. Now nude, she opened a drawer in a modern end table and retrieved a syringe along with a baggy containing China White. Wrapping a tourniquet below her right knee, she then placed the heroin into a silver spoon and melted the narcotic with a gold-plated butane lighter. Once she had loaded liquefied drug was loaded into the syringe, Natasha injected it between her toes.
The instant the heroin hit her bloodstream, Natasha’s tense, naked body relaxed. Leaning her head back, shaking her mane of raven hair against the stark white of her plush sofa, it was as though Natasha had temporarily entered a world free from a horror haunting her.
She kept repeating, “Sorry, Jesus ... so sorry ...”
Consumed by the drug, she didn’t notice her assailant approach.
The camera’s focus bobbed slightly as he did.
Interrupting her regretful soliloquy, a voice from behind the camera said, “They are very displeased.”
Natasha’s face contorted in terror.
Setting the video camera down, its focus turned away from Natasha, her assailant attacked.
* * *
At 6:45 P.M. the headless torso of a naked female plummeted thirteen floors to the street below. Witnessing the gruesome scene were three stalwart paparazzi camping out.
Their patience had been rewarded. Exclusive photos of the model’s naked, headless body made the news at eleven and the front pages of the next morning’s tabloids.
Excerpted from Satan’s Angel, a True Crime Book by Edwin Fairchild
Excerpted from "Black Karma (Mike Gage Thrillers) (Volume 2)" by William G. Davis. Copyright © 0 by William G. Davis. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.