Bleed for Me (Joseph O'Loughlin)
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She's standing at the front door. Covered in blood. Is she the victim of a crime? Or the perpetrator?
When Sienna Hegarty, a troubled friend of his daughter, comes to Joe O'Loughlin's door terrorized, incoherent, and covered in blood, he vows to unearth the dark secrets her mind has buried. The police find a major piece of the puzzle at Sienna's house: her father, a retired cop, murdered.
Tests confirm that it's Mr. Herharty's blood on Sienna. She says she remembers nothing. Investigators take aim at Sienna. O'Loughlin senses something different is happening, something subterranean and terrifying to Sienna. It may be something in her mind. Or it may be something real. Someone real. Someone capable of the most grim and gruesome murder, and willing to kill again if anyone gets too close.
spike of bone jammed into a wall. The skin on his face has been peeled away and one eye is a bloody hole. I look at his chest, which has been crushed by the blast. He’s dying. He can go in seconds or a few hours, but he’s going. I tell him to hold on, the paramedics are coming, a helicopter . . . His one good eye is staring at me and words bubble in his throat. ‘You have a fatal curiosity.’ ‘I’m not the one who’s dying.’ His tongue appears, licking at the blood on his lips. Can he taste
Cray opens the door. Helen Hegarty is sitting beside Sienna’s bed, holding her daughter’s hand. Tight-lipped and tired, she’s dressed in her nurse’s uniform with the pockets of her cardigan stretched out of shape. Her dyed hair is falling out of a kind of topknot and occasionally she reaches up and pats it with her hand. The detective motions her outside. Helen kisses Sienna’s forehead, telling her she won’t be long. ‘Mrs Hegarty, I’m Detective Chief Inspector Cray. We’ve met once or twice
He’s blind.’ The vet falls silent. ‘Are you still there?’ ‘What’s your address?’ Dr Bradley is on his way. I lean my head back on the door and wait, feeling for Gunsmoke’s heartbeat. Slow. Unsteady. He’s in so much pain. I should put him down, end his misery. How? I couldn’t . . . Growing up I was never allowed to have a dog. I was away at boarding school most of the time so my parents couldn’t see the point. I remember one summer finding a Jack Russell cross trapped on a ledge above the
approach either of them at their home or their places of work . . .’ Unshaven and exhausted, I can barely keep up with the arguments and feel no emotion other than abject humiliation. Eddie Barrett is waxing lyrical, describing me as a fine, upstanding member of the community, a university professor, married with two daughters . . . an unblemished record . . . close ties to the community . . . a history of public service . . . blah, blah, blah. No mention of the separation. ‘This is a case of
if I’d have the courage or the conviction. Somebody still had to find his body and retrieve it - strangers who didn’t deserve a shitty day. I used to think I wouldn’t care about losing control of my body, as long as my mind remained strong. A psychologist losing his mind is like a painter losing his sight or a composer his hearing. You could call it a tragic irony, but only if you believe in fate or that God has a sick sense of humour. Right now I feel as though my mind is slipping. My emotions