It was getting close to 4 p.m., and Clarissa Ross had finished filing a stack of results from a three-month testing symposium in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area. She received an email from Amora Rathbone’s regional director: “Ms. Rathbone did not show up, I went on without her. I tried reaching her several times, but got no response.”

The phone rang. She picked it up. “Clarissa, you might get a visit from Amora. Do not let her get into her office. If she comes through, press the button under your desk for security.”

Sounding confused and somewhat panicked, she asked, “Why are you so insistent on security?”

“She escaped from the Stress Ward at Community Hospital in Anderson. She’s dangerous, Clarissa. It’s official on her being the suspect of those 28 victims. Call me when security has her under custody,” Wesley said, laying out his insistence for Clarissa to be on the alert.

When Clarissa hung up, Amora showed up a few paces from the secretary’s desk. Clarissa’s heart rate accelerated as she was overcome by intense fear. Thinking quickly, she decided to treat Amora with warmth and a declaration of missing her.

“Ms. Rathbone, I’m so pleased you’re free from police custody. I’m surprised you’re here. Are those clothes the one you wore in the jail?”

“You could say that. I’m here to retrieve some important items from my office,” Amora answered Clarissa with an odd stare.

Clarissa stood up. “I can’t let you go in your office right now. I’m sorry, Amora.”

Amora moved in closer to Clarissa’s right side profile. Her secretary bent over to press the button to alert security. In a swift movement, Amora took hold of the sharp letter opener beside the desk computer monitor. With incredible force, Amora sliced Clarissa’s neck from ear to ear.

She raced into her office, still holding on to the bloodied letter opener. She got into the middle drawer on her desk to retrieve her car keys and a small purse. She failed to think about the bloodied marks she had made on the drawer.

Running out into the hallway outside of the research department, she was met with two uniformed guards. One of them asked her, “Ms. Rathbone, we received a red alert. What’s going on?”

The other guard got sight of the bloodied letter opener. “Ma’am, you better come with us.”

Amora pointed the letter opener to both of the guards with a command, “You will let me pass in order not to be in grave peril for your lives!”

They stood there frozen, not able to respond or move forward in any way. She smiled at their trancelike faces as she passed them. It was as if the guards were hypnotized. She was amused by the power she had over people’s minds enough so they could not move or speak. She was energized by the newfound power she possessed.


Wesley Thornton, instead of choosing to be on the alert for a possible visit from Amora, began preparing a gourmet dinner: red aspic and an entrée of breaded sweetbreads. As he finished preparing the aspic—a red jellied mixture of ground up chicken livers in the form of a bundt cake—Amora entered the large kitchen.

He heard her breathless voice, “I have a bone to pick with you and my father!”

He dared not to look into her face. With his back to her, he placed the perfectly set aspic in her direct gaze. “My sweet girl, while you were gone, I was on a perpetual vigil at Methodist Hospital. Your father suffered a stroke. I wasn’t aware where you were, I was so preoccupied with Master Ethan’s condition.”

“Is he all right?”

“He made it over the hump. He still can’t speak. The doctor is hopeful with his vitals stronger every day. I thought I would celebrate his coming out of the coma by preparing a gourmet favorite. And here you are to enjoy the dinner with me!” Wesley said in a soft, controlled tone. He put the pig pancreas on the island counter to begin breading it.

Amora stood there attempting to read his mind and his mood. His mind was preoccupied with a fond memory. She was unable to get anything of a negative nature from his thoughts. She sighed and said, “Looks like you’ve picked my favorites. Come to think of it, I’m starving!”

“You go to your quarters and freshen up. I will ring the bell when dinner is to be served,” Wesley said, glancing her way with a congenial smile.

She took him up on his suggestion, feeling not a bit of animosity towards him. Entering her elegant bedroom, she felt secure and content for the first time since she had been taken into custody. What brought the most pleasure was a hot bubbly bath in her green and cream marble tub. As the hot scented water of strawberries and cream poured gently over her shoulders and supple breasts, she entertained thoughts of how she could work to bring good relations back with her father.

She breathed in the lingering aroma of the delicious preparations of the sweetbreads filtering up from the kitchen to the stone staircase. She coiled her long, thick, black hair into an attractive sizable bun on the crown of her head. She dressed in one of her long, flowing silk lounging robes.

Hearing the dinner bell, she waltzed down the Tower staircase resembling a stunning lady of great prestige, not a cold-blooded killer who sliced her secretary’s throat 45 minutes ago. Wesley Thornton stood at the base of the staircase feeling conflicted, viewing such a vision of beauty would be a waste with her end coming so soon.

“Oh, before I forget, Wesley, you need to see about heating my Tower quarters as cold weather approaches.”

“By all means, I will get right on that.”

They took their seats at the elegantly decorated dining room table. Amora sat down admiring her appetizer of the red aspic in a large goblet and the aromatic four-piece breaded sweetbreads smelling of herbs and butter. Wesley sat down at the opposite end of the cherry wood table. This gave Amora the signal to begin.

Wesley ate his appetizer as well, only he chose to serve himself a tossed salad. Amora was enjoying her aspic so much she looked like she had not eaten in days. The well-prepared appetizer was so far afield of what she had to endure being in the women’s ward in the Anderson Jail.

She drank down a glass of wine, then moved on to the sweetbreads. She spoke up after realizing there was only two bites left of her entrée. “Forgive me, Wesley. I guess I missed good food so much, I lost myself in your expert preparation.

In a matter of five minutes, she stopped eating. Her eyes were filled with puzzlement, then she put her hands onto her stomach. Wesley looked up from his salad, “Miss Amora, is there something wrong? You look like you’re in pain.”

“What did you put in my food? I feel like I’ve eaten glass!” she shouted, struggling to get up from her seat.

All she wanted to do was make it to the end of the table and reach for Wesley’s neck. Her forward movement could be compared to someone trying to walk with weights attached to their ankles.

“Miss Amora, I lied about Master Ethan. When you had shapeshifted into your vile manifestation, you captured him and killed him by tearing your own father to pieces!” Wesley shouted out with self-satisfaction on his face.

He stood up. “This is justice. You would have done a world of harm to anyone who would have crossed your path.”

She reached for his throat, but her body could not stand any longer. As she descended in agony, her mind was fully active in a mode of revenge. Her mouth and teeth clamped onto Wesley’s left hand. He jerked and forced her off his hand. She collapsed onto the antique white carpet.

With a last bit of movement, her body jerked, with a large amount of blood oozing out from her nose and mouth onto the antique white carpet. Wesley watched her contorted, convulsing, messy end, going over in his mind what Luana Barba told him: “Before the sun comes up, dismember her, bury the parts overnight. In the morning light, dig them up and incinerate the body parts.”

He sighed, then sobbed for a few moments. Not from the pain of her bite, but he was overcome by the death of such a beautiful woman, the waste of it all. He shook his head, and in an instant, his whole mood changed. He took a white cloth napkin and wrapped his hand until he could clean and bandage it.

He went over to the dining room windows to see if the gardener Luis was still busy racking leaves around the front lawn circle. He had time to retrieve a tarp out of the backyard shed, then roll Amora’s body into the tarp and take it to the greenhouse. He knew Luis would be coming to the end of his work for the day. So much to do in so little time.

As Wesley walked to the shed, Luis waved him down. “Señor, do you need me tomorrow?”

Wesley yelled, “No, Luis, you can take the whole weekend off.”

Watching Luis walk towards the three-car garage, Wesley began the synchronized plan going over in his mind: get the tarp, roll her and get the covered body into the greenhouse. I have to get rid of my clothes, burn them, and get back into the house to begin cleaning up the blood, her quarters, and the kitchen. I have to do this by the time the detectives get here.

Luis had remembered to tell the butler one more thing before he got into his truck. He came walking around the front of the house to catch a naked butler putting his clothes into the rusted steel drum next to the backyard shed. Luis stopped and hid behind a bush until Wesley had walked back into the back of the house. He didn’t want the butler to see him due to the uneasy feeling he possessed seeing the butler naked burning a wad of clothing in the yard drum for some unknown reason.

He cleaned his wound, where he could see deep holes shaped like an open mouth. He used some antiseptic and wrapped it tight with gaze to stop the bleeding. His next move was to make a fast attempt to clean the blood from the dining room carpet. It was not totally gone, but would have to do. He cleared off the table, then ran up the stone staircase to hide any evidence of Amora being in the house. The stinging pricks of pain reminded him of Amora’s vengeful last act.

He had no time to worry about his hand now as he heard the buzzer. He knew the detectives were at the gate.


For all installments from The Islands Tell of It, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Chapter 1: The First Victim
  2. Chapter 2: Four Months Before October
  3. Chapter 3: Bobber’s Café
  4. Chapter 4: Heat Wave
  5. Chapter 5: Deep-End Dining
  6. Chapter 6: Rathbone Estate
  7. Chapter 7: Althea’s Run
  8. Chapter 8: Emergency Interrupts
  9. Chapter 9: Girls Talk Turkey
  10. Chapter 10: There Came a Lull
  11. Chapter 11: Dangerous Mind
  12. Chapter 12: Luana Barba
  13. Chapter 13: Trip to Milwaukee
  14. Chapter 14: Enough Killing
  15. Chapter 15: A Parking Lot Visitation
  16. Chapter 16: The Restaurant
  17. Chapter 17: Late-Night Work
  18. Chapter 18: Grandpa Pete
  19. Chapter 19: A Group is Formed
  20. Chapter 20: Rendezvous with Evil
  21. Chapter 21: The Upside-Down of it All
  22. Chapter 22: Two Ways to Fight
  23. Chapter 23: I Have to See Her
  24. Chapter 24: A Funeral
  25. Chapter 25: Unaware