Saturday, July 29 – Dallas
Dusty stairs, shrouded in shadows, groaned in protest under his weight.
Fourteen steps to the top. Six more to go.
His right hand slid across the rough, peeling banister and the harsh rattling in his chest faded, replaced by a tremble of apprehension.
What if someone else has been here since…
Forcing his mind to blank out that possibility, he opened the door and smiled. The room was exactly as he’d left it.
The intruding streetlight cast eerie ghost-like slashes across her bare form and the dancing quality of the light mesmerized him. Against his will, his gaze was held then transported back to the grisly scene that had played only twenty-four hours before with him in the lead…
He had been participant and spectator alike, until his brain seethed with a terrible hatred that jangled the very bones of his massive skull. His hands tore into soft flesh as he repeatedly slammed her limp body to the floor. Then her neck snapped with an audible crack When the body gave its final death twitch, he relaxed his fingers. Trembling hands wiped a river of sweat and tears across his face as he gazed at her. Madness filmed eyes didn’t see the horrid death mask.
“You really are so beautiful.” He ran his fingers through long chestnut hair, stroking it into some semblance of neatness. “There. That’s better, isn’t it?”
He hunched over the body, his mind switching crazily between reality and a foggy area of fantasy. Suddenly, a voice wailed at him. It seemed to come from the face in front of him: a face that no longer held any beauty but loomed like a buzzard waiting for its share of the spoils. It released a vile gush of abuse, damning him, mocking him, and castrating him.
He covered his ears in a vain attempt to block the voice, but it didn’t stop. “You weren’t even worth the moment it took to make you…”
“Noooo!” He cried, staggering into the fetid bathroom where the dank, dirty walls echoed his misery. “It’s not my fault. I never meant for anything bad to happen. Ever.”
As suddenly as it had come, the anger subsided, leaving him in a state of deathly calm. It was the only right and just thing he could have done.
He splashed cold water on his face and methodically dried himself with a well-used towel, careful to avoid the dark brown stains embedded in the cloth.
Closing the bathroom door softly, he stole one last look at the woman’s body, now mottled in death. “You look lovely in yellow,” he said.