THE ALTER: A Psychological Crime Thriller

THE ALTER: A Psychological Crime Thriller by EJ Nesbeth Read Free Book Online

Book: THE ALTER: A Psychological Crime Thriller by EJ Nesbeth Read Free Book Online
Authors: EJ Nesbeth
these?” he asked. He could not deny the images, but only knew the circumstances were not as they appeared.
    Alice’s disappointment was all too evident and her condemning look cut like a knife.
    “Alice, please listen to me. It’s not what it looks like,” he said.
    “But you’re not listening to me,” she complained.
    She broke down in tears and sat on the floor weeping. Ryan instinctively stepped towards her, but hesitated. He had to be strong, he thought. For a little while he did not know what to do, whether to console her, or justify himself.
    After a little while Alice stopped weeping and stood looking at him. He knew that look. It was one of stubborn resolve. Whatever had transpired between them was about to get worse.
    “I love you Ryan, but all you do is push me away, even when my own life is involved. You need some time to figure yourself out, to figure out your priorities. When you do, you know where to find me. But I’m not going to sit here and wait for the syndicate while you make up your mind,” she said.
    Ryan’s heart broke. He stood there with tears streaming down his face. He needed to be strong, but the stakes were too high. He loved her deeply, but could not risk being manipulated or taken from granted. Still he had other reasons. Maybe she was right. Maybe this was the only way he could keep her safe. He would never forgive himself if harm ever came to her.
    The next morning Alice was gone. Her mother lived across state and was always happy to welcome her. Ryan sat in the bedroom the whole time. He did not watch her walk out. He sat in the company of his thoughts and mounting problems. How he wished these would leave like she just did. How he wanted to stop her. How he wanted to make her to stay.

    It was a cold, rainy day, one as dark and gloomy as the occasion for which those mourning the death of Albert Simpson had gathered.  They stood patiently by the graveside beneath umbrellas as the priest issued last rites. Poor Albert, they thought. He was a dedicated cop who served his community and certainly did not deserve such an untimely and brutal end.
    Ryan looked across at Albert’s grieving family. His wife stood beneath a wide umbrella with her thin frame clothed in black. She sobbed quietly as she embraced the shoulders of a pre-teen boy whose chubby appearance and thick glasses seemed a close reflection of what Albert might have looked like at his age. The boy stood motionless with a lost expression, leaving Ryan to wonder just how much he understood. Perhaps it was better this way, he thought.
    He looked at Bret standing a few feet beside them wearing his trademark hat and a rain coat. His imagination ran wild and he wondered if Alice had been sneaking around with. He definitely seemed adventurous enough and part of him wanted to ask. A more sensible part of him prevented him from doing so. His free-spiritedness aside, he was definitely not her type.
    Bret stood quietly by the graveside. He didn't seem to mind the streams of water running down his face and dripping from his beard. His head roved about busily among the attendees and surroundings. Occasionally he would look across at Ryan as if trying to get his attention, but Ryan avoided eye contact. He hardly seemed grieved and Ryan became even more suspicious of his involvement. Was Bret Dr. Williams’ murderous successor? Or was he behind those killings in the first place? Ryan lingered in wonder.
    The mayor stood on the other side of the grave beside the chief of police. His umbrella hovered low over his head and prevented him from competing for airspace. It barely revealed his face to anyone much taller than he was, but his mouth could be seen circling in a chewing motion. It hardly seemed appropriate and Ryan felt a little irritated.
    Ryan glanced at Ava standing a few feet to his right and remembered her words about the deal Mayor Richards allegedly struck with Alverez to hand over

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