PROLOGUE <

CHAPTER 01 <
CHAPTER 02 <
CHAPTER 03 <
CHAPTER 04 <
CHAPTER 05 <
CHAPTER 06 <
CHAPTER 07 <
CHAPTER 08 <
CHAPTER 09 <
CHAPTER 10 <
CHAPTER 11 <
CHAPTER 12 <
CHAPTER 13 <
CHAPTER 14 <
CHAPTER 15 <
CHAPTER 16 <
CHAPTER 17 <
CHAPTER 18 <
CHAPTER 19 <
CHAPTER 20 <
CHAPTER 21 <
CHAPTER 22 <
CHAPTER 23 <
CHAPTER 24 <
CHAPTER 25 <
CHAPTER 26 <
CHAPTER 27 <

EPILOGUE <






Barry Hoffman's HUNGRY EYES

Chapter Nineteen

The anger Shara had felt when she had called Deidre had dissipated. She didn't regret for a moment breaking into Deidre's apartment. She was in control, and had wanted Deidre to know how vulnerable she was. Not that she planned on harming Deidre. The reporter was her window to the world, after all. Her spokeswoman. Her mouthpiece. She had only wanted her to think twice about running those bogus stories about her abduction.

But Deidre was right. There had been no reason to kill the fish . . . Leon. It was totally out of character. She wasn't one of those wackos who in their youth burned cats or tossed dogs onto highways.

She'd been rearranging the furniture, and the damned fish kept watching at her. Its eyes. Hungry eyes. So she had removed the fish from its bowl -- to rid herself of its piercing eyes. Then had forgotten about it, finished her work and left.

Well, she had wanted to scare Deidre, and she had -- more than she'd planned, though not by design. Still, why did she feel like such a shit?

# # # #

She was dancing to her music, the episode slowly receding into her memory, when the phone rang. On the fourth ring, the answering machine kicked in. She seldom got phone calls; a wrong number here and there. With an unlisted number there were no nuisance phone solicitations. There were the occasional calls from work, though. Someone calling in sick, Shara being called to see if she could work an extra shift.

The previous tenant of her flat, a college student, had left an answering machine, and Shara kept the generic message. "Sorry, I'm not in right now. Leave your name, number and time of your call at the beep and I'll get back to you."

The call must have been a wrong number, as the party hung up without leaving a message.

She set her alarm for three in the morning. The fish forgotten, she was still furious with Deidre, and she would pay with a rude wakeup call. She not only wanted to keep Deidre off guard, she wanted to dull her senses. Random calls, in the middle of the night, not only jolted her from a comfortable sleep, but once completed, Deidre would chew on its contents for another hour. Sapped of energy, at some crucial time, it would all catch up with her. Later, she would wonder how she had missed the obvious, but then it would be too late. And, having already called earlier, she'd be taken completely by surprise by a second call.

Twelve-thirty. Silence of the Lambs was on HBO. Delicious, she thought. She'd seen it a dozen times. It was now like background music. She'd exercise, rid her body of the tension of the evening, and possibly drift off, not quite falling asleep before it was time to wake Deidre.

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