Tainted Bodies

By: Sarah Robinson

Part One of The Photographer Trilogy


PROLOGUE





Kate Jackson was never a natural public speaker and so standing on the side of the stage waiting for her entrance was causing knots to start clutching at her stomach. She smoothed her skirt and tossed her hair behind her shoulder, letting out a deep breath, hoping to calm herself when she heard her name being said as the audience burst into applause. Throwing on her least nervous smile, she stepped out from behind the curtain and walked to the center of the stage, waving to the crowd.

“We are so excited to have you here.” The woman who introduced her said, shaking her hand.

“Thanks so much,” Kate said, as she took the podium and looked out over the audience. She cleared her throat and steadied herself as she began,

“If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever be standing in front of a room of law enforcement giving a speech, I would have called you crazy. But since then I have had the fortune, but also the horror, of experiencing a unique case study that police departments from all over the country have inquired about.

My case reaches much further than me and it is possible we will never know the extent to where his influences reached.” Kate took another deep breath, a bit nervous still but slowly calming herself. She had never liked public speaking so this certainly was not a walk in the park for her. All of the faces in front of her looked eager and fascinated which began to give her more confidence.

This was her stage now, he had held the spotlight long enough.





CHAPTER ONE





Kate Jackson stepped onto the metro car around 8am, heading for work in her usual morning routine on a crisp Thursday morning. She had been working in a sales position for a large company that sold office furniture to companies all over the country for quite some time even though it was unrelated to what she had gone to school for. She had graduated in the top ten percent of her class from the University of Maryland with a psychology degree, so sales was not her dream job, but at least it was a job.

The metro car roughly slammed from side to side as Kate held onto the railing above her and tried not to fall on the people around her. It was not proving to be the simplest task.

Probably not the best day to have worn these heels, she thought, as she warily watched the homeless man behind her eyeing her rear end. Finally, the operator announced her stop and Kate fought her way for the doors before they closed, as everyone else on the car seemed to be doing the same thing in fifteen different directions. Squeezing through, she slid past the crowd and snaked her way to the escalators, then up and out of the ground, onto the street.

She never looked forward to going to work in the mornings even though she appreciated the pay check. The tough economy had made the job market cut throat and Kate felt lucky to at least have found anything to pay her bills. She had been gifted the job from a friend of her late father, who pitied her situation and owned the company. Lenny had become a great father figure for her and her sister since their father had passed away and had helped them out of many difficult situations over the years.

Sighing with relief, Kate spotted her favorite hole-in-the-wall coffee shop, and looking at her watch, she decided to reward herself for her timing by stopping in for a tall vanilla latte. She opened the door to be greeted by the delicious smell of coffee beans and her favorite smiling barista. The Java Jolt was a morning must-have for her and she felt her spirit lifting every time she walked through those front doors.

“Miss Kate, good to see you this morning, would you like your usual?” asked Jimmy, a high-school student whose favorite days at work were the days that Kate comes in.

Kate was always surprised at the attention she received from men regarding her looks. At five foot six inches, she wasn’t particularly tall. She was far from stick thin, instead probably a few pounds over what she should be. She had dark brown, curly hair that hung all the way down her back and jumped about in any way it pleased, regardless of what she wanted.

Her pale skin contrasted her dark, piercing brown eyes, brunette hair color, and ruby red lips causing an almost doll-like look to her. She dressed simply but professionally, going for comfort more than glamour, if you didn’t count her high heel shoes. But even with her striking features, Kate often thought of herself as plain, which made her oblivious to the hints and attempts at flirting from the young barista.

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