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Home > Tell Me Your Dreams(13)

Tell Me Your Dreams(13)
Author: Sidney Sheldon

"No!" She could not let him see her like this. "I'll -  I'll go to my apartment to change."

"All right. I'll come down and meet you for dinner. You can tell me all about it then."

"Thank you, Father. Thank you."

On the plane going home, Ashley thought about the unforgivable thing Dennis Tibble had done to her. I'm going to have to go to the police, she decided. I can't let him get away with this. How many other women has he done this to?

When Ashley got back to her apartment, she felt as though she had returned to a sanctuary. She could not wait to get out of the tacky outfit she was wearing. She stripped it off as quickly as she could. She felt as though she needed another shower before she met her father. She started to walk over to her closet and stopped. In front of her, on the dressing table, was a burned cigarette butt.

*   *    *

They were seated at a corner table in a restaurant at The Oaks. Ashley's father was studying her, concerned. "What were you doing in Chicago?"

"I - I don't know."

He looked at her, puzzled. "You don't know?" Ashley hesitated, trying to make up her mind whether to tell him what had happened. Perhaps he could give her some advice.

She said carefully, "Dennis Tibble asked me up to his apartment to help him with a problem...."

"Dennis Tibble? That snake?" Long ago, Ashley had introduced her father to the people she worked with. "How could you have anything to do with him?"

Ashley knew instantly that she had made a mistake. Her father had always overreacted to any problems she had. Especially when it involved a man.

"If I ever see you around here again, Cleary. I'll break every bone in your body."

"It's not important," Ashley said. "I want to hear it."

Ashley sat still for a moment, filled with a sense of foreboding. "Well, I had a drink at Dennis's apartment and..."

As she talked, she watched her father's face grow grim. There was a look in his eyes that frightened her. She tried to cut the story short. "No," her father insisted. "I want to hear it all...."

Ashley lay in bed that night, too drained to sleep, her thoughts chaotic. If what Dennis did to me becomes public, it will be humiliating. Everyone at work will know what happened. But I can't let him do this to anyone else. I have to tell the police.

People had tried to warn her that Dennis was obsessed with her, but she had ignored them. Now, looking back ID it, she could see all the signs: Dennis had hated to see anyone else talking to her; he was constantly begging her for dates; he was always eavesdropping...

At least I know who the stalker is, Ashley thought.

At 8:30 in the morning, as Ashley was getting ready to leave for work, the telephone rang. She picked it up. "Hello."

"Ashley, it's Shane. Have you heard the news?"

"What news?"

"It's on television. They just found Dennis Tibble's body."

For an instant the earth seemed to shift. "Oh, my God! What happened?"

"According to the sheriff's office, somebody stabbed him to death and then castrated him."

Chapter Six

DEPUTY Sam Blake had earned his position in the Cupertino Sheriff's Office the hard way: He had married the sheriff's sister, Serena Dowling, a virago with a tongue sharp enough to fell the forests of Oregon. Sam Blake was the only man Serena had ever met who was able to handle her. He was a short, gentle, mild-mannered person with the patience of a saint. No matter how outrageous Serena's behavior, he would wait until she had calmed down and then have a quiet talk with her.

Blake had joined the sheriff's department because Sheriff Matt Dowling was his best friend. They had gone to school together and grown up together. Blake enjoyed police work and was exceedingly good at it. He had a keen, inquiring intelligence and a stubborn tenacity. The combination made him the best detective on the force.

*  *  *

Earlier that morning, Sam Blake and Sheriff Dowling were having coffee together.

Sheriff Dowling said, "I hear my sister gave you a bad time last night. We got half a dozen calls from the neighbors complaining about the noise. Serena's a champion screamer, all right."

Sam shrugged. "I finally got her calmed down, Matt."

"Thank God she's not living with me anymore, Sam. I don't know what gets into her. Her temper tantrums - "

Their conversation was interrupted. "Sheriff, we just got a 911. There's been a murder over on Sunnyvale Avenue."

Sheriff Dowling looked at Sam Blake.

Blake nodded. "I'll catch it."

Fifteen minutes later. Deputy Blake was walking into Dennis Tibble's apartment. A patrolman in the living room was talking to the building superintendent.

"Where's the body?" Blake asked.

The patrolman nodded toward the bedroom. "In there, sir." He looked pale.

Blake walked to the bedroom and stopped, in shock. A man's naked body was sprawled across the bed, and Blake's first impression was that the room was soaked in blood. As he stepped closer to the bed, he saw where the blood had come from. The ragged edge of a broken bottle had punctured the victim's back, over and over again, and there were shards of glass in his body. The victim's testicles had been slashed off.

Looking at it, Blake felt a pain in his groin. "How the hell could a human being do a thing like this?" he said aloud. There was no sign of the weapon, but they would make a thorough search.

Deputy Blake went back into the living room to talk to the building superintendent. "Did you know the deceased?"

"Yes, sir. This is his apartment."

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