Home > I Am Death (Robert Hunter #7)(2)

I Am Death (Robert Hunter #7)(2)
Author: Chris Carter

He was dressed in what looked to be a brand new suit, very elegant. He also looked quite attractive.

‘I just got back from it about ten minutes ago,’ he continued. ‘And suddenly my stomach reminded me that I hadn’t had any food all day.’ He tilted his head to one side. ‘I can’t really eat when I get nervous. So I just came in for a quick sandwich and a glass of milk.’ His eyes moved to where he was sitting and he chuckled. ‘Which is now all over the table and starting to drip on to the floor.’

He picked up his chair and looked around for something to clean up the mess. He found a roll of paper towels next to a large fruit bowl on the kitchen counter.

‘I’m a little surprised that Audrey forgot to tell you I was staying over,’ Mark said as he began mopping up the milk from the floor.

‘Well, they were in a bit of a hurry,’ Nicole conceded, her posture not as tense as moments ago. ‘Ms. Bennett asked me if I could get here for eight o’clock, but the earliest I could make it was eight-thirty.’

‘Oh, OK. Is Josh still awake? I’d like to say goodnight if I could.’

Nicole shook her head. ‘No. He’s out like a light.’

‘He’s a great kid,’ Mark said, as he bundled up all the soaked paper towels and dumped them in the trashcan.

Nicole kept her full attention on him. ‘You know,’ she said, ‘you look a little familiar. Have I met you before?

‘No,’ Mark replied. ‘This is actually my first ever visit to LA. But it’s probably from the photographs in the TV room and in James’ study. I’m in two of them. Plus, Audrey and I have the same eyes.’

‘Oh . . . the photographs. That must be it,’ Nicole said, a hazy memory playing at the edge of her mind, but not quite materializing.

A distant cellphone ringtone broke the awkward silence that had followed.

‘Is that your phone?’ Mark asked.

Nicole nodded.

‘That’s probably Audrey calling to say that she forgot to tell you about me.’ He shrugged and smiled. ‘Too late.’

Nicole smiled back. ‘Let me go get that.’ She exited the kitchen and returned to the living room, where she retrieved her cellphone from her bag. The call was indeed from Audrey Bennett.

‘Hi Ms. Bennett, how’s the dinner party?’

‘Even more boring than I expected, Nicole. This is going to be a long night. Anyway, I’m just calling to check that everything is all right.’

‘Yes, everything is fine,’ Nicole replied.

‘Has Josh woken up at all?’

‘No, no. I just checked on him again a moment ago. He looks like he’s out for the count.’

‘Oh, that’s great.’

‘By the way, I just met Mark in the kitchen.’

There was some loud background noise coming from Audrey’s side.

‘Sorry, Nicole, what did you say?’

‘That I just met Mark, your cousin from Texas, who’s staying in the garage apartment. I walked in on him having a sandwich in the kitchen, and we scared the hell out of each other.’ She giggled.

There was a couple of seconds’ delay before Audrey replied.

‘Nicole, where’s he? Has he gone up to Josh’s room?’

‘No, he’s still in the kitchen.’

‘OK, Nicole, listen to me.’ Audrey’s voice was serious, but shaky at the same time. ‘As quietly and as quickly as you can, go get Josh and get out of the house. I’m calling the police right now.’


‘Nicole, I don’t have a cousin named Mark from Texas. We don’t have anyone staying in the garage apartment. Get out of the house . . . now. Do you underst—’




The line went dead.




Detective Robert Hunter of the LAPD Robbery Homicide Division pushed open the door to his small office on the fifth floor of the famous Police Administration Building in Downtown Los Angeles and stepped inside. The clock on the wall showed 2:43 p.m.

Hunter looked around the room slowly. It’d been exactly two weeks since he last entered his office, and he had been hoping to come back to it relaxed and with a golden tan, but instead he felt totally exhausted and he was sure that he’d never looked as pale as he did now.

Hunter was supposed to have gone on his first vacation in nearly seven years. His captain had demanded that he and his partner take a two-week break after their last investigation ended sixteen days ago. Hunter had planned to go to Hawaii, a place that he’d always wanted to visit, but on the day he was supposed to fly out, his close friend, Adrian Kennedy, who was also the director of the FBI’s National Center for the Analyses of Violent Crime, asked Hunter for his help in interviewing an apprehended suspect in a double homicide investigation. Hunter had found himself unable to say no, so instead of flying to Hawaii he ended up in Quantico, Virginia.

The interview was meant to take no more than just a couple of days, but Hunter had got sucked into an investigation that changed his life for ever.

He and the FBI had finally closed the case less than twenty-four hours ago. With the investigation concluded, Kennedy had tried one more time to convince the once prodigy kid to join the Bureau.

Hunter grew up as an only child to working-class parents in Compton, an underprivileged neighborhood of South Los Angeles. His mother lost her battle with cancer when he was only seven. His father never remarried and had to take on two jobs to cope with the demands of raising a child on his own.

From a very early age it was obvious to everyone that Hunter was different. He could figure things out faster than most. School bored and frustrated him. He’d finished all of his sixth-grade work in less than two months and, just for something to do, he sped through seventh-, eighth- and even ninth-grade books.

It was then that his principal decided to get in contact with the Los Angeles Board of Education. After a battery of exams and tests, at the age of twelve Hunter was given a scholarship to the Mirmam School for the Gifted.

By the age of fourteen he’d glided through Mirmam’s high school English, History, Math, Biology and Chemistry curriculums. Four years of high school were condensed into two and at fifteen he’d graduated with honors. With recommendations from all of his teachers, Hunter was accepted as a ‘special circumstances’ student at Stanford University.

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