Grave Situation
hear the blood bubbling on the man’s parted
    “You should’ve left me alone,”
Herb whispered.
    He saw the guard’s stricken gaze
turn toward the sound of his voice. His legs no longer pedaled.
Instead, they just made slight spastic movements.
    Herb placed one fist on the guard’s
shoulder for support and reached for the knife. Through the handle,
he could feel the blade throb, as if with its own life. With one
powerful tug, he wrenched it free.
    The guard let out a moan so low it
was barely audible. A gush of blood flowed from his mouth and then
he lay still. Expressionless, Herb stared as the guard died in
front of him. He felt no pity. The guard had only meant to destroy
him and to possibly reap the accolades for doing so.
    Herb wiped the blade off on the
guard’s jacket and stood up. Without looking back, he walked to his
truck, got inside. The engine started. Headlights off, he turned
around. When he reached the corner of Lower Water Street, he took a
left and turned the lights on.
    The guard had changed his escape
route. Herb realized someone would soon discover the body. He
imagined police vehicles swarming the waterfront, the shrill cry of
sirens splitting the air, the incessant blue and red strobe
reflecting off the buildings. He knew that he couldn’t go back over
the MacDonald Bridge. The guards at the tollbooths might remember
him—a lone man who perhaps looked out-of-place, in a hurry to get
somewhere at such an early morning hour. There could be no
    Herb was now unsure of how to get
out of Halifax. The streets and lights seemed to close in on him. A
maze that both trapped and confused him. Signs had no meaning. The
refuge of his farmhouse in Acresville felt like a thousand miles
    Near panic, he stopped at the curb
past Historic Properties on Upper Water Street to check his map. He
found a route leading into Bedford and then to the 102 Highway. By
memory, he drove toward it. Blocks passed without notice. His
thoughts were filled with images of the hooker drowning in the
harbor and the guard twitching on the pavement.
    Get a
grip, he told himself. That’s the key to survival. Don’t lose it. Just be
    Up ahead, signs directed where he
should go. Within minutes he skirted the Bedford Basin and left
Halifax behind.
    On the horizon the first light of
dawn touched the sky.

    Halifax, May 9
    6:18 a.m.
    Can a civilized
society ever exist? Allan
    In a job where he had seen the true
detritus of man’s morality, he didn’t think it possible. There were
simply too many disturbed people in the world living on the fringe
of ethical judgment, poisoned by greed, hatred, and
    Beyond the crime scene, the early
sun spread across the harbor water. The location was a paved lot
that served as a convenient parking facility for customers of many
waterfront merchants. On this day it was the site of mindless
carnage, of man’s unbridled brutality against another.
    In the solitude of his car, Allan
marked down his arrival time in his spiral notebook: 6:18 a.m. Only
twelve minutes earlier Sergeant Malone had paged him about this
    Parked close
enough to view the general outline of the scene, yet far enough
away to not disturb it, Allan watched those already at work. He saw
familiar faces of uniformed officers in the swirl of red and blue
lights as they busied themselves stringing up barrier tape around
the perimeter of the lot. Black on yellow repeated the
words, Police Line. Do Not Cross. The Special Identification Unit van sat across
the street in front of Alexander Keith’s Brewery. Two figures,
sheathed in full Tyvek coveralls, pulled equipment out of the back.
Several yards from the body, Sergeant Malone talked to a uniformed
officer. In the sergeant’s hand, he held a clipboard. Close-by,
another man watched all the activity around him with intense
interest. He was heavy-set with a pushed in face. Allan noted the
radio clipped to his belt, the shoulder

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