Disclaimer: I do not own Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. I do not make any money from this endeavor. This story is posted strictly for readers' enjoyment.
The spring wind tugged at his hat. He pulled it down and turned up the collar of his long black overcoat.
The cemetery was small. But then, the town of River Heights was small, only 50,000 citizens. Not exactly a thriving metropolis.
He wandered through the cemetery scanning the headstones. An elderly couple stared at him and he lowered his head. The woman was stooped and frail; the man as thin as a stick. What had brought them here on such a blustery day? Truthfully, the man didn't care. He wasn't a social person and preferred to distance himself from other people.
The couple's presence angered him. A hot knot of rage formed in his stomach. He'd hoped to be alone today. Today was special. He'd bought a white rose to commemorate the occasion. Distracted now, he almost missed the headstone. But there it was. He stopped in front of it and pulled the white rose from his coat pocket. His heartbeat hammered in his ears.
The sound of a car door caused him to freeze.
Another visitor. Another irritation.
He moved away from the grave, the rose clutched in his gloved hand. He spotted a stone bench and sat down. He would sit and wait, wait until everyone left. How busy could a cemetery get?
The new visitor was a young woman. Late twenties, he figured. She buttoned her coat, bowed her head into the wind, and walked through a row of headstones.
He watched her from behind dark glasses and flinched when she stopped at the same grave he'd come to visit. The very one he'd stood in front of moments ago.
The wind tossed her long hair about her shoulders as she placed a small bouquet on the ground. He thought of the rose in his hand.
The older couple were on their way to the parking lot. Leaving. Going home. Good.
Back to the young woman. He liked her shiny blonde hair with vibrant touches of red. She must be the daughter of the poor soul resting in the grave. The poor soul he'd come to visit.
Another car arrived. This one contained an older, dark-haired gentleman. He joined the blonde. Her father, the man in the overcoat assumed. He watched as father and daughter embraced. An emotional reunion for them. They quietly and reverently viewed the grave. Even from this distance, the man in the overcoat felt their sorrow and pain. The girl wiped tears from her eyes and the older man hugged her again, tighter this time.
The wind picked up and the blonde and her father soon left.
The man in the overcoat watched their cars leave the parking lot. He waited several minutes to make sure neither returned. When they did not, he finally approached the grave. He glanced around, made sure there were no other visitors, and knelt beside the headstone.
His voice was low and raspy when he spoke, "It's been twenty years. Twenty long years."
The wind ruffled the small bouquet left by the blonde.
He glanced around again. What he had to say was intended only for the person resting beneath the ground. "You were my first. My first kill."
Adrenaline coursed through his body as he remembered that day twenty years ago. He laid the white rose on the grassy mound next to the bouquet. His hand trembled slightly.
"I've come back to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of my first kill. Over the last twenty years I've killed many … many young women, just like you, all across the country. There was a five year prison sentence for attempted rape. That slowed me down, but I was happy with the five years. It beat twenty-five years . . . or life, or . . . death."
He stood and smoothed down his coat. "Well, as I was saying, I've come back to celebrate. I'm here to celebrate twenty years and complete the circle. The circle that began in this town with you."
He licked his dry lips. "I was thinking another murder in this town, twenty years later would be the perfect ending to a perfect story."
A hideous grin spread across his face. "I've already found my victim. She was here today … visiting you. I'm guessing she's your daughter." The grin grew and the corners of his eyes crinkled as his eyes narrowed. "Fate brought her to me. I got her license plate number and I know what she looks like."
The wind tugged at his hat and coat collar. "All I have to do is find out where she lives."
The petals of the rose fluttered in the wind as he walked away.
A/N: This story was posted six years ago. I removed it and edited it. It has no relationship to my other stories. This was my first ND/FH story and my first attempt at a murder mystery.