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Without A Trace - Third Free Sample

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“What have we this time, Doctor?” Reid asked as he came into the garden.

“Female, mid-forties.”

“What’s the cause of death?” Reid asked. He then stepped behind the doctor and saw for himself. “Ah,” he said simply.

“That is exactly what I said,” the doctor muttered. “From the look and size of these wounds, I think this is the same killer who got Ms Nichols.”

“Hmm,” Reid mused. “That is indeed worrying news.”

“There are two strange things about this body though, Sir,” the doctor said. He indicated the scarf tightened around the woman’s neck and explained, “The first is that this wasn’t put here after the neck was cut.”

“Do you mean they cut through the scarf?”

“It’s completely undamaged,” the doctor noted, shaking his head. He then gently pulled the scarf upwards and showed Reid what was underneath. Reid gagged and looked away instantly. The throat had been severed almost in two, the cut reaching nearly all the way round the neck. Reid looked back, keeping his hand to his stomach.

“What is the other strange thing?” he asked.

“Look at her,” the doctor ordered. “Her head and neck are both swollen, as is her tongue. It protrudes beyond her teeth but not beyond her lips.”

“What could have caused it?” Reid asked, more comfortable now he couldn’t see the bloody throat.

“I don’t know.” The doctor shook his head again. “Perhaps some kind of poison but none that I know of.”

“Would you be able to find out more in a laboratory?”


“Get it done,” Reid ordered. He looked around and saw blood on the fence. He could imagine the killer standing above the woman and drawing the knife over her throat. The blood fitted. It was caused by the action. “Smith!” he shouted. “Get out here.”

A police officer ran out of the building and said, “Yes, Inspector?”

“Get this cleaned up,” Reid ordered, pointing at the blood. “Then get this body to the morgue. I’ll start trying to find someone who saw her before she died.”

After Smith had disappeared to get a bucket, the doctor turned to Reid and asked, “Are you going to inform everyone that this was Nichols’ killer?”

“I will tell my superiors,” Reid said. “Everyone else will find out by themselves eventually.”


15th September 1888

Jacob washed his face one last time and then looked in the mirror. He had been having the strangest dream.

He had been sitting outside, on a bench, just looking at the stars. It had been completely silent and no one else had been around. It had just been very peaceful. He had sat there until the sun was starting to rise and then had got up and walked down the road, whistling. Still no one appeared, even as the sun came up. Still it was deathly quiet. It had frightened him a little. Whitechapel was a busy place with a lot of people. Surely someone had to be awake past dawn. He’d turned around as he walked up the road to see if anyone was behind him. No one. When he had spun back around again, his cousin was standing in front of him.

That had been enough to wake Jacob up. As he now stared into the mirror, he looked at his blood-shot eyes.

“What is wrong?” Sarah asked, appearing behind him.

“Nothing,” he told her. “I was dreaming about Joseph.”

“Really?” she asked. “Was it a bad dream?”

“No. Only…odd. He appeared from nowhere, which is why I woke up.”

Sarah walked around him and looked into his eyes for a second.

“You look tired,” she told him. “Come back to bed.”

“I may look it but I’m not,” Jacob replied, staring into the mirror. “I feel very restless. I may go for a walk.”

“Jacob, it is barely dawn,” Sarah complained. “You cannot go walking around with a killer on the loose.”

News of the killer had spread quickly. Two women had died in eight days and the newspapers had said many times that it could have been the same person who had done it. The police were staying very quiet on the case, unable to find any evidence of who the killer, or killers, might be.

Jacob sighed and kissed Sarah on the head.

“I will come back to bed presently,” he said quietly.

“Good.” She paused and then slowly added, “Joseph may still talk to you again one day.”

“I don’t think so,” Jacob said as he lay back down on his sheets. “He couldn’t. Not after a year.”


30th September 1888

James Brown walked down Fairclough Street, tucking the bag containing his supper into his jacket to keep it warm. It certainly was a cold night. He looked up at the stars. Not a cloud in sight. He smiled, breathed in deeply and put his hands in his pockets, looking around the street.

On the other side of the road he saw a man in a long, black coat that reached his heels. There was a woman between him and the wall. His arm was against it, stopping her from leaving.

James would have been a little worried if he hadn’t seen what the woman was wearing. Multiple petticoats and a long, cloth skirt that didn’t quite reach her ankles. She looked like she knew what she was doing and James could make out her face –she was smiling.

As he walked past them, James heard her say, “No. Not tonight. Some other night.”

James saw the man push himself away from the wall and walk away from the woman, going about his business.

James went back to concentrating on getting home. It wasn’t his business.


Elizabeth watched the man walk away disappointed and chuckled, shaking her head. She started walking in the other direction, towards her home, taking a packet of cachous from her petticoat. It was very quiet on this side of Whitechapel. There was no one on this road. All the customers were still in the pubs or in their beds. It was too late to be working.

As she was walking past Dutfield’s Yard, the gate suddenly opened and a hand appeared out of the darkness. Elizabeth squealed as it grabbed her and pulled her violently to the right, into the yard.

“Hello, Elizabeth,” a cold voice said quietly.

“How dare you?” she shouted. The hand covered her mouth and another held her in position.

“Hush!” the voice warned. “You wouldn’t want to wake anyone.” Elizabeth continued to shout into the gloved hand. “Can you not hear me?” Elizabeth suddenly felt cold metal on her throat and she instantly stopped talking. “That’s better.” The hand let go of her mouth.

“I demand that you let me go!” Elizabeth hissed as soon as she could.

“You are in no position to demand anything.”

Elizabeth felt the metal draw across her throat. As her body hit the floor sideways and facing the wall, her left arm fell out in front of her. Before everything went black, she saw someone walk out into the street holding a long knife in their hand. The knife was gleaming red.


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