A chilled breeze slithers among the trees, the buildings. Its touch on his skin, like that of a corpse long since devoid of living warmth, promises a deep, bitter cold night. Detective Ryan Eckelson pulls his jacket closer, a futile effort, the frigid air seeming to pass through his clothes and body to grip his heart. Or maybe it's just his thoughts freezing him to the bone, he muses darkly. He casts a quick glance around the street of his small, mountain town community. One of the main roads should be showing signs of life, even at this hour. But there is no one, not even the few wandering vagrants dare spend nights alone anymore. The murders have driven everyone inside, to seek safety in numbers. Not that that's been helping anyone much. The deaths keep piling up.
The detective swears to himself at the thought and quickens his pace, longing to get away from this deathly cold as swift as possible. Nine deaths so far. Brutal and horrific crime scenes, the tortured victims obviously died slowly and painfully. But no evidence could be found, no witnesses could be located, despite signs that the people had screamed themselves dry at the time of their deaths. At thirty-one years old, Detective Eckelson is quite young for his position. He has risen quickly, however, due to his uncanny ability to get inside the psychology of those criminals whom he hunted. Sometimes too deeply, he thinks angrily, shoving unwanted memories from his mind. His dark hair, combined with strikingly deep, almost black, brown eyes, exudes a quiet, yet forceful, charisma, that invariably wrung confessions from those who found themselves caught after relentless pursuit.
This case has stonewalled him though, just as it has every other detective, specialist, beat cop and private investigator who has been called in to find a solution. Nine different people, no visible similarities, different times, with absolutely no criminal evidence left behind. Almost none, he thinks, although most of his fellow investigators have dismissed it. A seemingly inane bit of information, yet it is presented by at least one person questioned after the murders, every time. A tune. A strange, quiet song, heard during the night of the murder. None of the people questioned can ever remember it, really. Just that it is slow, that it caused an inexplicable uneasiness. That's all. Pointless, he thinks, as he finally reaches the police station and begins climbing the stairs to its wide double doors. Yet it sticks in his mind, like a thorn he can't remove.
Pausing at the entrance, he turns and looks out over the quiet, fearful town. A strange feeling begins to wash over him. An uncertainty that freezes him to the spot and makes his bowels feel like lead in his body. Something is happening here, something big. Events, vast and terrible, are beginning to move forward through the darkness and we are powerless to stop them.... We'd all be better off turning and fleeing for our lives. Shaking his head, he turns and enters the police building, slamming the door against the incessant, moaning wind. It is only his imagination and lack of sleep, he thinks, that caused the passing air to have such a disturbing, malicious edge...