It was dark in the hallway of the house. She made no sound as she moved up the stairs, gliding noiselessly as a wisp of smoke. She didn’t feel fear, anger, or impatience, she just felt a sense of purpose. She had felt this purpose dragging her forwards since she clawed her way out of that grave, but it hadn’t become clear until she had seen his face. She had told the boy to wait in the car and had gotten the distinct impression that he would listen to her this time. She knew that she scared him now, but that was probably best.
She turned right at the top of the stairs and continued to the front of the house. The only light was coming from a door at the end of the hallway that was slightly ajar where she could hear low voices, whispering and giggling. She didn’t pause; she pushed the door open with the barrel of the gun in her right hand. It swung slowly inwards on silent hinges.
Candles illuminated the room in a soft luminescence that made the shadows of the furniture flicker. A king sized bed faced her. He lay on his back in the middle of the bed as a woman straddled him in nothing but a black negligee. She watched for just a second, fascinated by the feeling of her stomach turning. “How romantic.” She exclaimed quietly.
The atmosphere turned rapidly from lust to terror. They both jumped, the woman scrambling back to the head board and trying to cover herself in the blanket while he sat straight up in the bed, frozen. His eyes were wide, his face pale. The woman opened her mouth to scream but was rendered mute as her eyes fell on the gun now pointed at her face. “If you scream, you get the first bullet. Understand.” She choked down her shriek and partially hid her face behind the blanket. Pity it wasn’t made of Kevlar. The attention of their intruder was now turned, accompanied by the gun, to the main offender. She moved further into the room, making sure to stay directly in his line of sight. He seemed unable to look at her face; his eyes were fixed on the dirty train of her wedding gown.
“Do you remember me?” She asked. He didn’t answer. The only sound was of the woman whimpering into her woefully inadequate shield. There was a chair by the window to her right; without lowering the gun an inch, she grabbed it, dragged it across the floor and sat facing him. She placed the gun on her knee, pointing straight between his legs, and laid her hand carefully on top of it, her finger lightly resting on the trigger. His eyes flickered to the gun and he swallowed hard.
She kept her voice low as she continued. “The truth is, I think you both remember me.” She glanced from one to the other. She felt a dark pleasure arise from watching the fear grow in intensity in the man’s eyes.
She glanced around the room. It was cheap and badly decorated; the furniture was too big for the cramped interior and nothing seemed to match. The flickering of the candles only made it seem gloomier. It was nothing like the luxurious house she had just left.
“I don’t get it you know. You gave it all up for this?” She gestured with her free hand at the décor. The woman flinched at being addressed. The man made a noise as if to answer and she snapped the gun up to his face. “I wasn’t talking to you.” He clamped his mouth shut and continued to stare at the gun, his breathing becoming faster. A bead of sweat ran down his face. She lowered the gun again.
“Why did you leave a good man and a beautiful home for this?” She shot him a venomous look of disgust as she spoke. Still only silence sobbing her ears. “I suggest you answer me, and I suggest you look at me while you do.” She suggested forcefully. The woman was trembling so hard she could hardly keep a hold of the blanket, but she just managed to raise her eyes.
“Karen, isn’t it?” She repeated the name she had seen on the gravestone.
She nodded frantically.
“Why did you do it?” She asked again.
“I love him.” She moaned.
“So why fake your own death?”
Karen shook her head violently. “He- he wouldn’t have understood!”
She nodded understandingly. “Yes. It’s hard finding out that the person you love is not who you thought they were. Like you for example.” A cold smile crept onto her face. “It must be very hard knowing that the person you love is a murdering rapist.” She gave a mirthless laugh. “I can only imagine. There was a slight hiccup in Karen’s crying but she didn’t say anything.
She noticed a pair of handcuffs on the floor by her foot. She picked them up and held them out so Karen could see them. “Does he tie you up?” She asked. She looked straight at him, and he turned his face away and closed his eyes. “He tied me up to. Did he tell you that? I don’t suppose he told you he raped or killed me either, did he?” Karen clamped her hands over her ears and moaned louder. She stood up and moved to the chest of drawers. She knew exactly what she was looking for when she reached behind it and ripped out a small tin box that had been taped behind it. She tossed it onto the bed in front of Karen, making her jump. “Open it.” She commanded. Karen didn’t move. She stood beside her now, held the gun to her head, and repeated the command slowly.
Karen, sobbing uncontrollably and shaking violently, eventually opened the little box. Her hands were shaking so violently that the contents spilled out onto the bed, which only made the scene more grotesque. Karen turned to gulping breaths as she picked up each photograph one by one. She moved back to her seat. “He likes to tie us up. He also liked to cut us, burn us, anything that would leave his mark. He liked the pictures the most though, I think.” Karen was barely breathing now as she stared in disbelief at what she held in her hands. They were all of young girls and women, all of them gagged, crying, bloody….naked. Terror was evident in their eyes. She felt sick, panicked. He was in them too, smiling beside them as if it were some twisted holiday album. She had never seen him smile like that before. Her hand shook more violently as she picked up a picture of the girl sat at the end of the bed. Just as bloody and scared as the rest. He was kissing her on the cheek as he took the picture, her eyes glassy and staring out of frame.
“Why?” She asked weakly. “Why did you do this?” Her voice became more frantic. Both women stared at him. He said nothing.
“Answer her.” The command was accompanied by a cold gun barrel to the forehead. His eyes met Karen’s as the tears spilled but again he didn’t speak. “He grabbed me on my way home. Hit me from behind and threw me in his car. I can still hear him humming along to the radio even now. He kept me for three days, tied to this bed and told me if I didn’t make any noise ashe sliced my legs open, he would let me go.” She pressed the gun in harder. “On the third day he suffocated me.” Her eyes snapped up to Karen’s face. “He said it was exactly how he wanted to kill Karen.”
Karen let out a strangled sob as he moved towards her, begging her to forgive him, assuring her that he would never hurt her. Karen jumped off the bed in disgust and pressed herself against the wall. The pictures scattered on the floor, all eyes staring up at her. “What have I done?” She whispered.
He lay there sobbing in the evidence of his crimes. Karen clutched her chest and winced when her arm was grabbed by a cold grip, a loaded gun placed in her shaking hand. “He will do it again.” Was the lingering whisper in her ear that echoed through her mind like a siren.
Karen shut her eyes but the images wouldn’t leave her. They never would. When she opened her eyes he was the only one in the room.
She paused momentarily at the bottom of the stairs when she heard the first gunshot, and a few seconds later, another. The front door was flung open and the boy ran in flustered. “Are you okay?” He asked, flustered.
“Yes.” She answered calmly, and walked past him out the front door.
“Did you shoot him?” The terror was unmistakable in his voice.
“No. Karen did.”
The boy glanced back at the stairs, his throat tightening. “Did you shoot Karen?”
She turned and looked at him with sympathy. “Karen did that too.”