The Man in the Moon is the first Lindsey Scott Thrillstery--a suspense series written and published by Tom Tancin. It is available for purchase as a paperback and eBook at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and more.
The room was painted black and scattered with glow-in-the-dark stars. A light bulb on the ceiling was covered by a shade designed as a moon—giving the room the appearance of a night sky illuminated by a full moon. A tea kettle heated on a stove in the adjacent kitchen. A man, sitting in a recliner, entered a flashback.
The light of the full moon above, and the campfire on site, provided just enough illumination for the college kids to see each other. The group setup a nice little campsite in the middle of the woods just outside Pocono, Pennsylvania. Students from the local university, they were looking for a nice relaxing night without studying.
Three college students, a couple and an odd man out, sat around the fire. The odd man out was in love with the woman that sat across from him. The girl's boyfriend was a friend of his—one of his only friends—but that didn't stop him from making his
“Want to hear a song I wrote?” the young man asked the couple. They immediately knew who the song was about because he'd written many songs, poems, and love letters for her in the past.
“Let's hear it,” his friend replied.
The young man knew that his friend wanted to hear the song just so he could rub in the fact that he had the girl and not the song. But he decided to sing part of it anyway.
“ Let me be the one to hold you
Let me be the one to know you
The one that you come home to
When life didn’t treat you fair
Let me be the one to console you
The one that doesn’t judge you
and shows you that he cares
Why don’t you stop looking…
And let me be the one
Let me be the rain
That washes away your pain
Let me be your shining star
That chases away the dark
Let me be the man in the moon
Hoping you come to me soon
And let me be the sun
That watches over your fun
Why don’t you stop looking
And let me be the one”
The boy across from him laughed as he wrapped his arms tighter around his girlfriend. “That was pathetic.”
“I thought it was very good,” the girl replied, not wanting to hurt her friend's feelings.
“The man in the moon,” the friend continued to laugh. “That's all you are to her. That's all you'll ever be. All you'll ever be is the man in the moon hoping she comes to you soon.”
“Stop it,” the girl reprimanded her boyfriend. “He did a nice job with the song.”
“Yeah,” the guy continued to laugh, “real nice job. I just have a suggestion, don't quit school to write music.”
“Don't listen to him,” the girl said.
But her boyfriend wasn't through rubbing it in. He got up and pulled his girlfriend toward the tent. She followed, almost reluctantly and the young man watched as the couple entered the tent and zipped it up tight. Staring at the tent, knowing what was happening inside, his heart raced. His blood pumped violently through his body.
“That's all you'll ever be,” an echo ran through his mind. “The man in the moon hoping she comes to you soon.” He looked up at the moon and took comfort in the familiar face. He wasn't alone. He had the man in the moon with him—watching over him.
That's when the idea hit him. The idea that would change his life forever. He grabbed a large branch from the pile of firewood and put one end of it in the fire. After pulling the branch out of the fire, he picked up a knife that had been sitting on the ground. He walked slowly and quietly toward the tent, listening to the rustling from inside. Outside the tent, he stared at it for a moment. The movement and moans; they fueled his anger.
Placing the flame against the fabric, he lit the tent on fire and then dropped the branch. He gripped the knife tighter as he watched the struggle with the zipper. Listened to the screams for help. A smile took over his face; a feeling of accomplishment over his body.
The tent finally opened, the girl, barely dressed, ran out first. The young man pushed her to the ground and she fell hard. Her boyfriend followed, in only his briefs. The young man drove the knife into the chest of the one who had mocked him. Then he threw him backwards onto the burning tent—the flames engulfing him. Running his fingers along the wet blade, he listened to the music of the screams until they stopped.
The girl climbed to her feet. “Please,” she begged, “don't hurt me.”
“I love you,” he said as he stared at her. He continued rubbing his fingers over the blood covered knife. “But you don't love me. You left me alone out here with the man in the moon.” The girl ran but he quickly caught her by the hair. He pulled her head back, exposing her neck and sliced it. He kissed her once before letting go.
The whistling of the tea pot brought the man back to reality. Singing, he walked to the kitchen. “Let me be the rain that washes away your pain. Let me be your shining star that chases away the dark. Let me be the man in the moon hoping you come to me soon. And let me be the sun that watches over your fun. Why don’t you stop looking and let me be the one? Oh, let me be the man in the moon, the man in the moon, hoping you come to me soon.”
The man continued to sing that verse over and over as he turned the stove off and poured the hot water from the tea kettle into a large container. He dipped a plant, with the roots intact, into the container of hot water. He let the plant sit in the water and went on to sit at the table, still singing.
He stared at a calendar on the table, focused on the dates he had circled in red. After jotting down a few notes, he pulled the astronomy book, that was sitting on the edge of the table, closer to him. Paging through, he stopped a few times to write some notes down on the paper. He closed the book and picked up a brochure that was sitting on the table.
“Pocono University,” the man said, “my alma mater.” He remembered the plant soaking in the hot water and quickly made his way to the seeping tea. He pulled the plant out and laid it on the counter. After covering the container with the lid, he washed his hands, and then returned to the table to look at the brochure—concentrating on the map of the campus and surrounding town.
“Let me be the rain that washes away your pain. Let me be your shining star that chases away the dark. Let me be the man in the moon hoping you come to me soon. And let me be the sun that watches over your fun. Why don’t you stop looking and let me be the one? Oh, let me be the man in the moon, the man in the moon, that's coming to get you soon.”
August 5, 2006
Lindsey Scott entered the bustling room—conversations coming from all directions. She tried to decide which one to join. Familiar faces were scattered throughout the crowd. Her supervisor was conversing with a small group so Lindsey made her way toward them.
“Lindsey,” her boss said, “I'm glad you're here.” The man before her was in his early sixties. Robert Freidman had given more of himself to catching criminals than anyone she knew. She admired and respected him for his dedication. His gray hair and wrinkled face proved that stress and time do take their toll on the human body. But his mind was as sharp as it was forty years ago. “We need your help solving a problem.”
Lindsey rolled her eyes. “What is it?”
“We're trying to figure out which of the criminals we busted
was the hardest to catch,” Robert told her.
“I'm thinking it was the Salt Lake serial killer,” a woman replied. She had blond hair to her shoulders. Her blue eyes flirted with a man across from her. Lindsey knew both participants in the flirt game. The woman was Sandra Miller—a dispatcher, she was good at communication. Real good at communication—Lindsey laughed a little inside. Sandra was known for sleeping around with the men from the various cases. And since she worked for the FBI, she met men from all across the nation and world.
The man was Anthony Rios—a dedicated officer from Salt Lake City. He was on the local force and was a key ingredient in catching the Salt Lake serial killer. Tall, dark, and handsome, he was also a dedicated ladies man.
“I don't agree,” Anthony responded. “Although it was my case, I think that Lindsey had some of the hardest cases in history. Take for example the Bat of '95.”
The words brought back haunting memories for Lindsey. Nicknamed the Bat, Steve Nachtmann was one of the most frightening men she'd ever had the unfortunate duty of chasing. His nickname came from the fact that he'd stalk his victims in the night and then drag them to a cave to murder them and then hang them upside down from the roof. It was only after Lindsey discovered that he was a Batman fan that she was able to lure him in.
“It did take Lindsey numerous months to catch that psycho,” Sandra said. “But he didn't kill as many people as the Salt Lake serial killer—who was responsible for nearly sixty deaths.”
“What do you think, Lindsey?” her boss asked.
“I think this is supposed to be a party,” Lindsey answered. “Why are we talking about our jobs?”
“It was just a conversation that came up,” Anthony said. His eyes met hers, trying to pull her in. Lindsey broke eye contact and turned her attention back to the other people in the room. Once was enough with Anthony.
“Well I think it was the Frozen Slumber case that was the hardest to solve,” the most experienced man in the group revealed. Lindsey turned to her boss, her eyes piercing through him.
“Don't bring that case up,” Lindsey said with anger. “I don't need to talk about it. We shouldn't even think about it.” She quickly turned away from the group and walked to the bar.
“What happened in the case?” James asked.
“Rookies,” Anthony hissed. James looked afraid, like he regretted asking the question.
“He doesn't know about it,” Sandra defended him. “He's new.” She smiled innocently at James. Being a new guy on the force, James wasn't welcome by anyone—except Sandra. Sandra liked younger men, fresh, just out of college.
“The Frozen Slumber case was a national media frenzy,” Sandra said. “A man killed college girls by tying them up deep in the woods of northern Canada and letting them freeze to death. He said they were in a 'frozen slumber' which is how the case got its name.”
“But if it was in Canada, why doesn't Lindsey want to discuss it?” James asked.
“The killer targeted both American and Canadian girls. But what really bothers Lindsey is that one of his victims was her niece. Her niece was like a daughter to her and, when she was murdered, Lindsey took it really hard. She never discussed the case again. She even threatened to walk away from the field.”
“That's horrible,” James exclaimed.
“But it's part of the field,” Sandra said. “The killers target family members of the people hunting them. Lindsey has been connected to a few cases personally. And I'm sure she'll face that same problem in the future.”
“Excuse me,” Anthony said before he walked away. He made his way to Lindsey, who now sat at the bar drinking a martini. He couldn't help but be awed by her. Her ageless face hid the fact that she was in her late thirties. Her dirty blond hair, her smile, her eyes; everything about her was perfect. Plus, she was the best crime solver in the nation. And divorced.
Having a previous relationship with Lindsey, he knew she was a great lover. Sure she wasn't very dedicated to relationships—but overall she was the kind of woman he wanted. He didn't have time for dedication either.
Anthony sat down on the stool to Lindsey's left. “I can't stand rookies”. Lindsey took another sip of her martini, ignoring him. “Listen, I know that you don't want to be hit on but I just want to talk.”
Lindsey knew Anthony too well to believe that. She knew that he was never interested in just talking. That's how she hooked up with him years ago. She took another sip of her martini. She didn't want to go down that road again.
“How're the kids?” Anthony asked.
“Ok,” Lindsey answered. “I guess.”
“I don't see them that often.”
“How old are they now?”
“Ty's fourteen and Ryann is twelve.”
“Wow! I can't believe that.”
Lindsey rolled her eyes—Anthony was talking as if he knew her children even though he'd never met them.
“What can I getcha'?” the bartender asked Anthony.
The bartender went to get the beer.
Anthony turned to Lindsey. “You're a good mother. So you don't have a lot of time to spend with your kids, you provided them with everything they've ever wanted. If you didn't work as much as you do, they wouldn't have all that they have.”
Lindsey pushed her empty glass toward the edge of the bar. The bartender gave Anthony his beer and then took Lindsey's empty glass. Lindsey threw money on the counter and got up.
“How's Brian?” Anthony tried again.
“Look, I don't need you telling me that I'm a good mother,” Lindsey cut him short. “I know that I'm not. And I know you don't care about my ex-husband.” She paused a moment and then flashed a fake smile. “It was nice talking with you.” She left the bar.