Heather North had felt as if someone was following her for a while now,
weeks to be exact. The sensation was driving her crazy. She lived in a
relatively safe area with a short walk from her parking spot to her
apartment, but the feeling was much stronger tonight and it made the
Behind the large SUV to the left of her car, a figure waited. He watched
Heather get her purse and sweater out of her car and lock the door. He
watched her look around nervously, checking her surroundings before
heading to her apartment.
The one thing that Heather really didn't like was that there was no
fence between the parking lot and the small wooded area next to it. Her
insecurity tonight made it feel even more ominous. A great horned owl
gave off three quick hoots making Heather jump and almost drop what she
was carrying. Before she had a chance to step away from her car, a
strong arm wrapped around her waist. Then a damp cloth was clamped
tightly over her mouth. She dropped her purse, keys and sweater and
everything went dark.
When Heather awoke, she felt groggy and very cold. She found she was
bound to the top of a cold steel table. Her arms and legs were stretched
apart, and she was naked. She was horribly cold but even more terrified.
Her heart beat hard against her chest like it was going to explode. The
room had a nasty, pungent smell, like animals. There was a door off to
Frantically, she looked around and saw that she was in a small dimly-lit
room with nothing in it except for the table she was lying on and
another small table, which was about six feet from where she lay bound.
On it she saw a small chain saw and some other things she couldn't make
out. Her stomach became a ball of fear, knotting tighter and tighter.
Except for the two tables, the room looked filthy. There was a bright
light hanging on the ceiling just above her. It was the only light in
the entire room.
From under the door she saw a stream of light and some movement behind
it. The room was so quiet. Even the movement behind the door was quiet,
except for the zipper sound she just heard.
“Who's there?” she called out in a trembling voice that didn't sound
like her own.
The light behind the door went out and the squeaking door opened slowly.
A man stood there and looked at her. He was wearing a total-body rain
suit, surgical cap and mask. Only his eyes were visible.
“Hello, Heather,” he said in a calm voice.
“What do you want? Why are you doing this? Who are you?” she blurted
“Now, now. I'm here to take you on an adventure. One that will allow
you to pay for all the misery you've caused to a lot of people,” he
said with his calm voice. “I'm going to make sure you'll never hurt
He turned and reached for a pile of what looked like fabric straps from
the table. They were four strips. He began applying one of them to each
of her limbs, tightly, like a tourniquet, a few inches from where her
extremities met her torso.
She became more terrified; the tourniquets hurt as he tightened them
around her legs and arms. This made her more frantic, not knowing what
he was going to do. She tried to think of something to say but all that
came out was, “Please, please don't hurt me.” Heather tried
desperately to think. What could she have done so wrong that she
deserved this? She wasn't that bad of a person. Sure, she knew she
pissed off some people but she only wanted what was best for her and her
kids. Was this monster hired by her ex-husband? Was it her ex-husband?
He was a bastard but he wouldn't do anything like this, would he? She
wondered if she was even thinking clearly.
“Now, now. This will be nothing compared to the grief and misery
you've caused six people, and two were even family,” he said in his
calm voice with just a slight inflection when he said family. She looked
into his eyes and that frightened her even more. His lifeless eyes were
so dark she felt as if she was falling into them. Once he finished with
the tourniquets he turned back to the table and picked up a small
electrical chain saw. “I won't lie to you, this is going to hurt,”
he said with a smile showing through the mask. He started the saw.
“Now just lie still. I'll be done in a second.”
The madman began to cut her left leg a couple of inches below the
tourniquet. Heather screamed. thrashing her body against the restraints
trying to get loose but to no avail. The pain was so excruciating
causing her to hyperventilate. He quickly finished cutting off her left
leg and stopped watching her breathing hard. She felt as if she were
going to vomit.
“Now just relax. We have four more to go.” His calm demeanor
terrorized her even more. “We don't want you passing out just yet.”
He stopped and waited for her to slow her breathing a little, even
though he knew it wouldn't get anywhere close to normal. “If you
breathe too hard you'll lose blood a lot quicker.”
She couldn't talk, she was in shock. All she could do was to stare at
him. He said he had four more to go. Four more? What four? He had only
tied on four tourniquets.
He saw her looking at him with wide-eyed terror. Her mouth moved but
nothing came out.
He walked around the foot of the table to her right leg.
“Remember what I said. This is going to hurt.” His voice was still
calm as he started the saw and proceeded to cut off the right leg.
Again, she started screaming, wishing she could pass out from the pain.
Her bladder and bowels emptied. His cut was quick but the pain was still
“I see we had a little accident,” he said, moving the leg away from
the excrement on the table. “I'll get to that in a little while.”
He checked his work on her right leg, and being satisfied, walked to her
“I'll let you rest for a while. Then we can get back to work,” he
said and took the severed leg to the other side of the table. She saw
him put it in a black trash bag and fasten the top. Then he took the
other leg and did the same. He looked at Heather and she could see the
smile behind the surgical mask.
“Now, I'll let you pick. Right arm or left arm?”
“Fuck you!” was all she could say in a weak, raspy voice. “Why
don't you just cut my head off and be done with it?”
“Oh, that's the encore my dear. We must get the limbs off first. Since
you have no preference, I'll start with this one,” he said as he
walked to her right arm. He turned on the saw and proceeded to cut off
her right arm.
Heather couldn't take the pain anymore. She was sure she was going to
pass out this time.
He stopped and shut off the saw. “Maybe I'll let you rest for a
minute. You're not looking well.”
“Fuck you,” she tried to say. She was getting weaker and colder.
Even with the tourniquets, she was losing blood. He took her detached
right arm and walked over to the table, carefully, almost reverently,
placing it in the bag and tying it shut. He looked over at Heather and
saw that she was still conscious and that made him happy.
She felt as if she were losing her mind. Is this a dream? A fucking
dream? The pain was so real. Then Heather saw him coming back to her
left side and he had the saw.
“Two to go,” his unruffled appearance made her more furious but she
was too weak to even speak anymore.
She closed her eyes when she heard the saw and the little energy she had
left allowed her one weak scream.
“Now I will put this in its bag and we can get on with the rest,” he
said and put the arm in the bag.
He picked up the saw and walked over to her again.
“The fun is just beginning. Aren't you excited?” he said sounding
genuinely enthusiastic. “Don't think you'll feel much. Maybe get
really, cold. Ready?”
Heather shook violently from fear and blood loss. What the hell could be
“Now, my favorite part,” he looked into her eyes and smiled. “Are
you ready?” He picked up the saw and turned it on. “I hope you
enjoy it as much as I do,” he said and brought it toward her head.
“No, no, no, please, no, no,” she could barely speak. She prayed
she'd pass out before he started to cut her neck. The terror worked
against this and she laid there, eyes opened wide and mouth trying to
He smiled sweetly and brought down the saw.
“Now, wasn't that the ... what's the saying? ‘The cat's meow?'” he
laughed hysterically and shut off the saw.
He walked to her side and released both tourniquets on her legs at the
same time, then her arms.
Blood flowed quickly and Heather's body began to convulse as the
remaining blood quickly poured onto the table and squirted the wall.
Some dripped down to the floor. He put the saw down on the small table,
then stroked her hair and closed her eyes.
He picked up her head and turned it around in his hands.
“So pretty, but such a bitch,” he said and put her head into its
Excerpted from "Midnight Owl (A Joe Leverette Mystery Book 1)" by Viv Drewa. Copyright © 2015 by Viv Drewa. 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.