Excerpt: 'Green River Serial Killer'

As Judith passed through the bedroom door and into the hallway, she turned her head over her shoulder and took a wide, sweeping look around the room. This room is so pretty. Plants, jewelry boxes, fancy pillows, collectibles, candles, and photos in frames remained as evidence of the feminine fingerprint Judith had stamped on this room.

Gotta get downstairs. Time for the Regis show! Judith hurried herself along.

Judith moved from the master bedroom to the hallway landing at the top level of the tri-level home. Another bedroom door joined this hallway. She went down a short flight of stairs and entered the main floor. The foyer stemming from the front door, the dining room and kitchen, laundry room, and living room all shared this floor. Another short flight of stairs from the dining room went down to the bottom floor that hosted two small bedrooms, a second bathroom, and a recreation room. The garage could be accessed through a door off the recreation room.

Judith settled in to enjoy the morning on the main floor. She entered the living room and switched on the television, a 27" color television on one shelf of the oak colored entertainment center, the first piece of furniture she had purchased on her own after her first marriage ended. She raised the volume on the television with the remote control so that she could listen to her favorite morning television host, Regis Philbin, while she went in the kitchen and poured the cup of coffee Gary had left for her in the fancy coffee maker. A tall, brick fireplace formed a barrier between the living room and kitchen. But it was open on both sides with screens as doors, and, if the television volume was high enough, she could easily listen to her favorite morning show while shuffling around in the kitchen. The two Siamese cats of the Ridgway household suddenly appeared in the kitchen. They tunneled between her feet, rubbing and arching their backs against her legs. "Hello my sweet kitties," Judith gently crooned.

"You want your breakfast now, don't you?" Smiling, she bent down and gave the brother and sister adult cats equal petting time, noting the thicker winter fur increasing on their bodies. Winter was coming. The cats pressed the flat tops of their heads harder and harder into her petting hand, each cat trying to wedge in closer to their mistress. But she admitted to herself that she could not love these cats, or any other animal for that matter, as much as she had loved her poodle, Oscar. Would she ever get over the loss? The dog that she and Gary had raised from a pup and had loved like it was their own child had died only four months prior, and the painful grieving had not lessened. She missed him every day.

And, as if that were not enough pain for her to endure, Gary's mother had passed away just one month after Oscar in August! Tears were forming in her eyes now, and her nose began to drip. She reached for a tissue and quietly blew her nose, releasing a bit of her aching sadness. You know, bad things happen in threes. One was my poor Oscar dying. Then my beautiful mother-in-law passed. Dear heavens, what will the third be? She accepted as stone-cold fact that the third, awful event could hit them at any time. The acceptance gave her gooseflesh.

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