Murder on the Rue Dauphine
New Orleans — March 25, 1998
The killer was bleeding when he fled the fifth-floor hotel room. He left a trail of blood from the room to the stairwell, and then down the steps to the ground floor. During the struggle he'd somehow cut his knee. It wasn't bad. Little more than a scratch.
The killer slipped out of the building and into the early morning darkness. No one saw him leave and no security camera captured his image. He was a creature of the night and he knew the French Quarter well. The darkness would protect him. He was safe.
As the killer glided down Dauphine Street, he fished through the wallet he'd taken from the dead man on the fifth floor of the Chateau Le Moyne Hotel. The man had called himself "Mike," but the identification and credit cards in the wallet were in a different name. There was also $300, give or take. The killer pocketed the money and tossed the wallet and everything else in it into a storm drain.
The bloody, double-edged knife he kept.
The killer had more cash on him now than he'd had in a long time. He was one block from Bourbon Street. Up ahead, the post-midnight mob of revelers stumbled along, ducking in and out of the bars, strip joints, and sex shops. The French Quarterthe most decadent 70 square blocks in the country, perhaps the worldbeckoned.