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Heart of a Spider by Mark Stewart
Crime fiction

Genre/Category: Crime, Thriller, Mystery
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Heart of a Spider by Mark Stewart
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Detective Kendal is on the trail of a patient who has escaped the mental institution and wants to sever Kendal’s lifeline. The chase is complicated by the visitation of a ghost and the appearance of a supposed vigilante. Kendal doesn’t believe in ghosts, but finds himself having a conversation as he stares at one. His partner, Claire Ambroso has to fight for her life when Kendal is told to meet GP at the wharf when the moon is at the highest point in the night sky.

Confusion sets in at a local supermarket when a robbery goes wrong and someone in Kendal’s family is shot. The trap is set for the person who masterminded the escape. A final shoot out at the hospital reveals amazing results that astounds even Kendal.

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The Judge brought the gavel down. His evil laugh echoed off the walls of the large derelict Courthouse. The terrified human kneeling before him cowered away.
The temperature plummeted. The doors shook. The glass in the windows rattled. The scales of life tilted sharply downwards. A ruckus erupted from the thousands of charcoal coloured demons, darker than the midnight hour. They were jostling each other, waiting to pounce on the trembling man. Each one wore the same smug expression.
The Judge, dressed in black, leaned forward in his chair staring at the offender as if he was transparent. “Do you wish to say something in your defense before I pass on to the court your sentence?” His voice sounded strong, convincing, accusing and full of hatred. He lifted his hand to silence the onlookers.
A hush descended in the court. The eyes of the demons bore into the man waiting to hear any feeble excuse.
“Look around, your torment is at hand,” boomed the Judge, taunting the man into saying something.
The man gave the black figures a cursory glance before lowering his gaze again to his feet.
“Look at me,” jeered the Judge. “The last four words must be spoken whilst you are staring into my eyes.”
The legion of demons watched the mortal squirm. The wretched man’s Adam’s apple bobbed sharply up and down. For a last desperate bid for clemency the man slowly lifted his gaze and stared directly into the black figure’s hellish eyes. The worthless man looked half out of his mind. The mortal man’s trembling intensified. When he finally spoke, his voice sounded no stronger than a weak croak.
“I need a chance to redeem myself.” The second he finished talking he lowered his eyes to the floor as if surrendering his soul.
“Not possible,” boomed the Judge. Raising the gavel to full height over his head, his grin widened. His eyes looked hungry for another soul.
“I beg you to reconsider. You have the power.” The man needed to yell over the ruckus from the balconies. “Surely there’s a way to halt my eternal torment?”
The Judge slowly lowered the gavel, placing it gently on the bench. He raised his hand to silence the crowd. He pushed back in his chair. In the long pause he sat wearing a confident smirk.
The mortal stood half bent in the uncomfortable silence.
“I’ve considered your request. Very well, you have one chance. Time is not your friend. The final four words, ‘You belong to me,’ can wait for when you return.”