I drive my Audi out of the driveway for the very last time. I don’t look back. My favourite gowns, lingerie, shoes, exercise outfits, and beauty products are in the back of my car. I have a sharpened and sheathed knife in my purse. I also brought along all my expensive jewelry to sell later. I am leaving everything else behind, because I hate packing.
My dog sits in the passenger seat happily looking out the window. It occurs to me that I haven’t thought about killing Corey once all day. I just want to get away and begin a new life. Maybe I don’t need to kill in order to start over again.
The first place I stop at is the bank. I withdraw everything out of my chequing account in cash so my husband can’t freeze my funds when he finds out I left. I settle the teller’s concerns about draining my account by telling him about my plight as an abused and lonely wife. It works.
I have one hundred thousand dollars in my possession which will last me all of one year if I’m not careful. I’ll need to find another income source soon, but that’s not important in the moment. I just need to drive far away without being caught.
I look over at my golden-furred companion and decide that I will keep him with me no matter what happens.
“What should I call you?” I ask.
He perks up at the sound of my voice. I feel the corners of my mouth pull upward into a smile. I can’t recall the last time someone made me smile. He is my hero. I don’t know what I would have done out there in the dark woods by the river with the wolves so close without him there. His presence grounded me when I went through one of the most horrific experiences of my adult life.
“Hero,” I say. “That will be your name.”
His ears perk up. I think he likes it.
I recall the group home that Alex lives in since I am in his neck of the woods. Out of curiosity, I pull up to the building. I shudder involuntarily and ask myself why my body is reacting this way. Feeling for other people is so strange. I can’t say I like it, but I don’t think there is anything I can do to stop it. I get out of the car and take my purse. Hero yelps at me.
“I’ll be back soon,” I say, tapping the window in hopes of settling him down. “Be a good boy, Hero.”
I feel the strangest dull ache in my stomach as I walk away from the car and hear him yelping again. I just want to walk up to the foster home of Brad’s little brother before I leave the city behind forever.
Sharp voices draw my attention away from my thoughts. I round the corner and the two people that I see ahead cause me to stop in my tracks. Steve and Alex are both standing outside talking to one another. Their conversation sounds heated; it looks like their fight will soon escalate to something physical.
Steve shoves Alex into the brick wall. Not cool. I unsheathe my knife. They don’t see me yet as they stare intently at one another.
“I warned you to stay out of this, kid, but you didn’t listen. Marie’s mutt could have caught you and then what would have happened? You would have jeopardized yourself once Marie caught up with you which would then incriminate me,” says Steve in a patronizing tone. “Now I have to do what needs to be done.”
So, it was Alex. I should have known.
“You asshole!” yells Alex, trying to fight back. “You’re the one who contacted me!”
Steve shoves him into the brick wall again. I shouldn’t care. This doesn’t concern me. Still, as I watch Steve encircle Alex’s neck with his hand I want to wipe that cruel smile off his face. Maybe the world needs to be rid of him. He is the sort to go out seeking drama. At least when I’ve killed in the past it was to erase drama. I step noiselessly toward them as Steve uses his superior strength to restrain his young victim.
I break into a sprint toward them. My eyes are fixed on Steve. I drive my knife into his side, but he leaps away from me, so the stab isn’t deep enough. He bares his teeth as a dark red spot forms on the right side of his shirt.
“Stupid bitch!” he yells.
He draws his own knife as his mouth lifts in a wicked grin.
“You want to die, I see,” he sneers.
Alex is leaning back into the building watching us in perplexed silence. He’ll be safe for the time being.
Steve lunges for me, but I block him with a quick kick to his forearm, knocking him off balance. I spin around and drive my knife into his back, leaping away as his knife grazes my upper arm. I grit my teeth and focus past the pain, determined to see him fall. I know I can do this.
We glare at one another like two wolves fighting over their territory. I am no better than he is. I have killed without blinking, but I can’t let him kill Alex.
“What has happened to you?” asks Steve as we circle each other. “You have lost your mind, Marie.”
I swallow past a painful lump in my throat. I don’t reply.
He smiles cruelly. “Oh, I see it now. You can feel things. How precious.”
“Yeah. Something like that.”
He frowns. “That’s very disappointing. You could have run off with all your husband’s money and started fresh and I could have used you as a contact down the road. I hoped we could fuck sometimes. Now I have to kill you. I thought you were so much smarter than this.”
“Or maybe I’ll kill you!” I shout.
I take a run at him and try to knife him in the stomach, but he kicks me hard in the abdomen. Unexpecting the rapid kick, I fall backward and land on my ass. He doesn’t hesitate to leap on me and bring the cold, sharp metal of his weapon to my throat. My warm blood drips down my neck and trickles onto the pavement.
“You’ve been caught, Marie,” he whispers in my ear. “You played the game so well until you killed that pool boy. What’s the matter? Is his ghost haunting you now?”
“I regret killing him,” I reply, realizing there’s no way out of his strong grasp.
He has me pinned against the cement. What will happen to Hero? I hope he’ll bolt if Steve opens the car door. I shudder at the thought of my new friend being alone in the world all over again, but it would be better than being at the mercy of this asshole.
“Oh, this has been fun,” he says softly, caressing my cheek with his other hand. “But now it’s time for me to get on with the rest of my day.”
I don’t struggle. I don’t move. He presses the knife a little harder against my neck. I gaze up at the blue sky, regretting how often I took it for granted. If there is a hell, I know I am going there. It amazes me how little I’ve cared about life in general until last night.
“Any last words?” he rasps into my ear.
“I just wish …”
“Ah!” shouts Steve, suddenly tumbling off me.
…. to be continued