Paul put away the knife and redrew the gun as he waited for the fit of pain to stop. The man lay there, sweating and trying to catch his breath. Paul put the soul back into his pocket with the knife.
With that, Paul lifted the gun so it aimed at the fat mans head and pulled the trigger. The large calibre of the gun made sure the man died quickly. The young woman shrieked at the sudden sound of the gun and smell of cordite. Paul re-holstered his gun and waited for a moment to make sure of things. He then turned to leave.
“Um....” Paul heard behind him.
He turned back around to see the young woman now standing, the sheet around her like a cape, but she was silhouetted against the large windows, so Paul couldn’t really see her expression properly. “Yes?”
“What are you going to do to me?” She asked in a small timid voice.
“At the moment, the plan is to leave you here. I am going down to my car and leave you behind. Though I would take it as an act of kindness if you didn’t call the police for about ten minutes.” Paul answered, reaching for the door handle.
“Can I come with you?” She asked
“You what?” Paul asked incredulously, turning back toward her. He had heard of people doing strange things in shock...
“I want to go with you.”
“No you don’t, girl.” With that he was out the door and had it firmly closed before she could say anything more.
He went back down stairs, found the kitchen, looked in the fridge and found a small container of orange juice which he took with him.
It was after he climbed into his car and had his seat belt on, he looked up and saw the young woman had pulled on a shirt and a short dress and was running out of the front door, with a bag in one hand and shoes in the other. She saw him looking at her and started toward the car. He was never sure what made him stop pulling away at that moment and let her in the car. She was in the passenger seat soon enough with her bag and shoes on the floor beside her feet.
Paul didn’t speak as he turned on the police two way radio and reversed down the drive way. Listening to see if she had reported the murder. There seemed to be nothing about it yet.
They drove in silence for a while, when she asked, finally, “What are you going to do with me?”
“I am not too sure.” Paul answered. “I am not going to kill you, that would be....un-justified and un-warranted...”
“You kill him in cold blood but I am an unjustified death?”she asked with her voice raising slightly in hysteria.
“Yes, the worst thing you could have done was call the police and describe me to them.” Paul lapsed into silence it took a while for the comment to sink through the woman’s mind.
“Right now I have more important things to consider. Like why the hell you decided not to call the police, why you decided to pull on some clothes and chase after me and climb into the car with the man who you know is a murderer. We have just driven past three police pursuit vehicles, and not once did you try to get their attention. So right now, you are presenting more of a problem than a mere phone call to the police.” By this stage they had pulled up to a set of lights, Paul finally looked at her directly, scratched the back of his head, and then asked, “Any ideas as to why? Was anything passing through your noggin or was it just impulse?”
Her mouth opened and closed several times, as the lights finally turned green and Paul took the car around the corner. “I don’t know” she finally managed, “I didn’t really think about it. Maybe I could have gotten your number plates, then it turned into perhaps finding out where you live or something else....”
As Paul slowed the car down to pull up to his house, he said, “In my line of work, you find out there is more to such things as fate, or chance or whatever else. There is more to it than that.” He pulled up into the drive and stopped the car. For a moment he drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. “I need time to think. Come on.”
He didn’t look to see if he was being followed, he walked around the car and up along the path and finally noticed she was sitting in the car. He turned to her and asked, “Are you coming or not?”
In not knowing what else to do, she thought to herself that a shower in a strangers house seemed no more out of the ordinary than some of the other things that had happened over the last day or two. She closed the door and locked it behind herself for some reason. She couldn’t think of why, if that strange looking man had it in his mind to do anything to her, he would have done it by now. She leant back against the door and took a look at the bathroom, there was a washing machine in a corner with a wall mounted dryer above it, a small wooden cabinet, a large shower cubicle in another corner and a long cast iron bath with lion paws ran along one wall. The room was spotlessly clean and smelt of home. There was the fragrance of soap and shampoo, with a small smell of lavender from the washing powder. For some reason it made her miss being home, and thought of being young again, of coming home after playing out in the cold winters rain to a hot bath....
She shakily walked to the shower and turned on the hot water, she sat on the toilet while she waited for the water to heat up. She sat and stared for a while without thinking, staring into the middle distance. She felt as though something had happened. Something had been...disconnected within her.
With her father being a police detective, she knew some of the strange things people did when in shock, she very well knew that she was in shock, but there was something else. The moment when her lover had that....fit on the bed. She felt something move then. A slight disconnection, a moment of unbalance, like expecting one more stair at the top of a flight.
The bathroom started to fill up with steam, she stood up, took off her clothes, dumped them next to her small bag she had clutched to her through the house as some sort of protection, adjusted the cold water and stepped in. It wasn’t until the moment the water was running through her hair that it all came crushing in on her. That the grossly fat ugly man used her for all his sexual desires. Oh! The things he had her do! It all seemed so reasonable, that there was no reason why she shouldn’t have done it. If it were anybody else asking, she would have said no without even considering the request.
She found herself huddling in the bottom of the shower, weeping to herself, oh how dirty she felt! Then the images and sounds of him being shot came to her mind, the scene of his brain splattering across the wall, the smell of cordite, the wail when that man put that knife between that gem and the fat man... It all came crashing in at once. The shock wore off. She heaved big sobs, and for the first time since being a baby, she actually wailed. She didn’t know how long she cried for, but she did remember retching up. She finally felt she had it all out, she sat curled up in the corner of the shower for a while longer, letting the hot water run over her. When she felt herself stop shaking, she stood and finally washed herself with the soap she found. She scrubbed her hair twice with the shampoo.
She dried herself off, and felt bad for putting the wet towel in the washing machine so she hung it over the towel rail to dry. In not knowing what else to do, she pulled on her clothes and opened the door to find a pair of pants and a huge shirt on the floor. A note on top, written in a shaky script said, “Use these. They will be too big, but clean.”
Picking up the clothes she stepped back into the bathroom and quickly changed. The pants weren’t too big a fit to cause problems without a belt, but the shirt was far too large. She opened the door again and heard music floating along the corridor, when she heard a clatter from toward the front of the house, she decided to venture that way. Her bare feet making no noise on the thick carpet, she padded toward the front of the house.
From a door in the corridor she looked into the kitchen, seeing the man at the sink with his back to her, he seemed to have something tied around his waist. Without looking around he asked “Feeling better?”
“Yes thanks,” she answered in a small voice. She was sure she heard him mutter something under his breath about no wonder there were water shortages going on.
It was then he turned around, a small smile flittered across her face when she saw that it was an apron he was wearing, it was pink, and had frills. “Sorry, but they are the only clothes I had. The pants are my sister in laws, the shirt is mine” He put the dishcloth that was in his hand down and indicated the kitchen bench after drying his hands on the apron, “Please eat, if you are like me, you haven’t eaten in a while...”
It was then she noticed some fruit and cheese on a cutting board, and the sight of the food made her stomach growl slightly. “Thus the gods remind us that we are mortal.” He said.
She stood were she was, unable to move, she wanted to sit and eat, but she was wary and cautious as well. She could not put her finger on why she felt safe here, probably as safe here as any where she felt in years.
He saw that she hesitated, but said nothing, just leant back against the sink, with his hands beside him on the bench. She looked at him, he was shorter than she was, but not by much, his dark eyes were lined though patient, and seemed to be able to smile easily but had seen things far worse than anything possible that she could do to him. Some grey hairs were showing in his trimmed goatee, but none were in his short dark hair. She decided that he was quite ugly.
He quickly looked her over, seemed to take in much more in one quick glance than what she took of him in the same time. He saw that she had the build of someone who either did a lot of running or swimming, she had the skin of someone who spent a lot of time outside. A few, very faint, freckles dusted her small nose. Her hair was sun bleached in places, and a dark a brown as his own, which was almost dark brown enough to be black. Her hair came just past her shoulders and hang limp, still wet from the shower.
They stood there, studying each other for some moments before her stomach growled again, this time more insistently. “If you do not eat now, girl, I will be forced to do something to stop that growling more than anything else.” He said, breaking the silence.
She nodded, walked to the opposite side of the bench and sat on one of the stools, putting her dirty clothes and bag on the stool beside her. She took an apple and started to bite into it. “I am sorry it is not much of a fair to offer you, but I have only gotten out of hospital this morning, and haven’t had the chance to do any shopping for a while...”
There were many questions she wanted to ask, but it seemed like a good place as any to start, it helped her to get talking. “What were you in hospital for?”
He seemed to hesitate a little, before answering, “An industrial accident that comes with the field of work.”
She selected a piece of orange and nibbled on it. He was silent, waiting for her to make the next move, trying to gather as much information as he could to find out who this woman was so he could decide on what to do with her.
“Earlier, before you...” she blanched, “..when you were talking to him, you mentioned something about selling souls and stuff...”
Another note in his mind was made, she is very young, remember that, she couldn’t be more than eighteen or nineteen. “Yes.”
“What did you mean by that...?”She was trying to approach this from many directions, many things happened that morning, she was trying to stretch her mind around it all.
He stood there, realising this, and trying to figure the best way to answer the question. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Do you know his name? The man you were....in bed with this morning, can you tell me his name?”
This made her brow wrinkle in concentration, what a strange question to ask. Her mind went blank, she couldn’t think the man’s name now. How could she forget?
Suddenly, she noticed his look, he started to move around the bench, but he wasn’t fast enough, it came on much more suddenly than it ever had before, were the warning signs there but she hadn’t noticed them before?
“No...Not now” She said as her vision darkened, she tried to stand up but a waive upon waive of dizziness struck her hard, and her feet got caught up in the stool, she stumbled, falling hard and as she fell her head struck the bench, right on her temple.
Paul came around next to her as fast as he could, throwing the stools out of the way. He felt her neck for a pulse, it was fluttery and light, her breathing came shallow and fast. It only took him a moment to figure out what to do.