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Authors: Marla Madison

She's Not There

BOOK: She's Not There
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She's Not There

Marla Madison

She's Not There


Copyright © 2011 by Marla Madison


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author.


This book is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogue are drawn from the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely accidental.


Published by Marla Madison.


Copyright 2011 Marla Madison


All rights reserved.


Cover art by Aric Zabel.


Edited by Red Pen Proofreading and Editing


ISBN 13: 978-1-4681-9595-8 (print)
ISBN 10: 1-4681-9595-6(print)


This novel in no way attempts to duplicate the police procedures or actual police departments in the cities of Milwaukee, Brookfield, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee and Waukesha. Any discrepancies in procedure, locations, or fact, may be attributed to the author's creativity.


I would like to thank the members of my writer’s group for taking this journey with me and encouraging me to keep writing even when I believed an outcome would be impossible; their support and instruction have been invaluable. Donna Glaser, Helen Block, Marjorie Doering, April Solberg, Gail Francis, Darren Kirby, and the dearly departed Bob Stokes you’ve each helped me in your own individual way.

Thanks to Terry Lee, my significant other, and my dear pets, Skygge and Poncho, for staying away when I was in the middle of an important chapter and encouraging me when I wasn’t.

Interested readers, please contact me at [email protected] or on my blog at I would love to hear from you. All emails will be answered as soon as possible.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Chapter 55

Chapter 56

Chapter 57

Chapter 58

Chapter 59

Chapter 60

Chapter 61

Chapter 62

Chapter 63

Chapter 64

Chapter 65

Chapter 66

Chapter 67

Chapter 68

Chapter 69

Chapter 70

Chapter 71

Chapter 72

Chapter 73

Chapter 74

Chapter 75

Chapter 76

Chapter 77

Chapter 78

Chapter 79

Chapter 80

Chapter 81

Chapter 82

Chapter 83

Chapter 84

Chapter 85

Chapter 86

Chapter 87

Chapter 88

Chapter 89

Chapter 90

Chapter 91

Chapter 92

Chapter 93

Chapter 94

Chapter 95

Chapter 96

Chapter 97

Chapter 98

Chapter 99

Chapter 100

Chapter 101

Chapter 102

Chapter 103

Chapter 104

Chapter 105

Chapter 106

Chapter 107

Chapter 108

Chapter 109

Chapter 110

Chapter 111

Chapter 112

Chapter 113

Chapter 114

Chapter 115

Chapter 116

Chapter 117

Chapter 118

Chapter 119

Chapter 120

Chapter 121

Chapter 122

Chapter 123


She’s Not There

No one told me about her, the way she lied.
Well, no one told me about her, how many people cried.
But it’s too late to say you’re sorry.
How would I know, why should I care?
Please, don’t bother tryin’ to find her,
she’s not there.

Ooh, nobody told me about her. What could I do?
Well, no one told me about her though they all knew.
But it’s too late to say you’re sorry.
How would I know, why should I care?
Please, don’t bother tryin’ to find her,
she’s not there.

Well, let me tell you ‘bout the way she looks,
the way she acts and the color of her hair.
Her voice was soft and cool,
her eyes were clear and bright but she’s no there.
But it’s too late to say you’re sorry.
How would I know, why should I care?
Please, don’t bother tryin’ to find her,
she’s not there.

Well, let me tell you ‘bout the way she looks,
the way she acted, the color of her hair.
Her voice was soft and cool,
her eyes were clear and bright, but she’s not there.

Words and music by Rod Argent

(c) 1965 Marquis Songs USA BMI (Marquis Music LTD PRS)

Eight years earlier

A black pickup raced along a narrow road that twisted sharply left before crossing a bridge over a deep ravine, the river below marking the division between adjoining counties. Lit by the oncoming headlights, four pine crosses stood out in the ground fog shrouding the opposite riverbank. Faded to weather-beaten gray, they stood as a reminder of young lives foolishly lost, the flowers, candles and stuffed animals that were left in tribute, long gone.

Years back, four varsity football players from a nearby high school were killed when the car they were riding in left the road at an impossibly high speed in a mad attempt to cross the narrow river without traveling the bridge. The vehicle didn’t make it over the river. Airborne, the car wedged into the opposite bank, leaving no survivors. It was rumored that the same car had successfully completed the daredevil crossing many times before the deadly impact.

Imagining the impact of his vehicle against the riverbank, the driver of the pickup pressed hard on the accelerator as the truck approached the bridge. After tonight there would be five crosses on the riverbank. It was unlikely anyone would cover the fifth with sentimental memorabilia.

The driver’s last thoughts—and he was certain in that split second before the truck sailed over the river that they would be his last—were not of his life flashing before him. They were gratitude, rather, for a life ended.

Autumn Leaves, Women’s Getaway Weekend
UWM Campus, Milwaukee
Friday 7 p.m.

Lisa Rayburn had hardly been able to focus on her class. She and Tyler didn’t get together all that often, but when they did, the magic she found in his arms kept her smiling for days. Knowing she’d be with him soon, her senses tingled as she stuffed the leftover handouts into her briefcase. She’d had one eye on the clock since she’d walked into the room.

The annual Autumn Leaves event for women offered classes on everything from money management to how to handle a divorce. For the third year running, Lisa Rayburn’s class on How To Prevent Domestic Abuse was well received by her audience. It was one of many things Lisa did in an effort to get her message out to women—don’t stay in an abusive relationship. Better yet, avoid beginning one. The early signs weren’t difficult to spot. The hard part was walking away.

Lisa looked up to see a young woman standing in front of her wearing a brown dress that covered her thin body to the ankles. She had a manila file-folder clutched to her chest as if she were afraid someone would snatch it from her.

In a voice barely above a whisper, she said, ”My name is Jennifer Hansen. I’m gathering statistics for my thesis on abused women. I need to talk to you.”

Lisa motioned her to the student desks. The girl appeared upset, frightened even, her pale hands tightly clenching the folder. When they were seated, Jennifer handed Lisa a sheet of paper. “I wanted you to see this.”

Lisa scanned the page, her eyes stopping on a line highlighted in fluorescent yellow. It revealed a dramatic rise in the percentage of abused women who’d gone missing in Milwaukee and its neighboring counties.

The line seemed to levitate from the paper—the number far too high to be a statistical aberration. If accurate, what was happening? A predator—targeting abused women? There had to be another explanation.

Her eyes could not leave the number. Lisa whispered, “Abused women were the topic of my dissertation too.”

“I know. I read it. I thought you’d know what I should do.” Jennifer’s honey-brown eyes looked to Lisa for guidance. “What’s happening to them?”

Lisa reviewed the testing method for accuracy. Everything seemed to be in order. “There has to be a mistake somewhere. I’d recommend you recount your data and run the numbers again.”

When she looked up, the girl had vanished from the room as silently as she’d arrived. Lisa squirmed in her seat. She’d dressed in anticipation of meeting Tyler. The new, yellow lace lingerie she was wearing under her sedate, gray pantsuit wasn’t meant for sitting in plastic classroom chairs. What she’d just learned had her heart racing but no longer with anticipatory lust. It seemed that Jennifer Hansen had dumped the matter into Lisa’s hands. 

Pewaukee Lake
10:00 p.m.

A Dodge Magnum purred into a dark parking lot, its lowered chassis and darkened windows giving it a hearse-like appearance in the moonlight. A few yards downhill, Pewaukee Lake shimmered with the rays of the moon.

Across the parking lot, Jamie Denison eased slowly out of her sleek, red sports car, trying not to disturb a painful broken rib. She moved toward the door of the Sombrero Club, a popular bar and restaurant on the southwestern shore of Pewaukee Lake. The largest lake in Waukesha County, it was circled with expensive homes. The few remaining businesses clung to the edges of the small town of Pewaukee, located about twenty miles west of Milwaukee.

Jamie entered a large, noisy room with a country rock band playing loudly behind a crowded dance floor. Squeezing between a couple seated at the bar, Jamie ordered a glass of wine. While she sipped at the tart, fruity liquid, she watched the couples on the dance floor, remembering a time when she would have rejected every dance offer before she managed to entice the most attractive man in the place to her side. The lifestyle she’d enjoyed before she was married felt like it had been decades in the past. Coming here was probably a bad idea.

BOOK: She's Not There
10.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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