The stove’s clock changed to 10:52 silently. The flat was dark, except for the dim light that shined in from outside. Sonia sat at the dining room table, spinning her 3rd glass of cognac between her fingers. The last 6 years had been the same: her husband would walk out the door for work and manage to find his way between the legs of a young co-ed. Marcus was beautiful and charming in the beginning. He’d lavished her with gifts and trips, promising that she was the only woman he’d ever loved. They consummated their relationship in the balmy waters of Santorini & they were inseparable from then on. The first year they were married was everything she’d hoped. He spoiled her, prompting to her to quit the measly desk work she’d believed was her career. He helped her mother & sister move to a better home in a better community and doted on his wife, loving her as largely as he could.
I let him sin for me.
I let him roll up the joints we shared, allowed him to feel the sticky green and taste the honey flavored papers on his tongue. His fingers were deft at tucking and twisting, his lips wrapping along the seal. The drinks would always flow, until we were blurry from the cognac and the laughter suffocated the room. I granted him access to my body, relented my control so that he could bend me over and bury himself inside of me. I rose and I fell with him. He wallowed in the murk with me. He sated his deviance within me. I was at his bend and beckon. I was his relief, his private island away from the man he was supposed to be.
I would visit the church often. I would sit in the back, away from the prying eyes of the parishioners and I would behold him, tall and commanding, his coal black skin commanding the audience beneath him. The women were under his trance as he spoke, waves of glistening bosoms and pressed thighs before him. Any one of them would discard her chastity for a moment on her knees for him. He would see me and his voice would soften, momentarily, as he tried to collect himself and block out the memories of nights he spent within my garden. His flock would gasp if they knew the filthy things he whispered in my ears. His fiancé would be devastated to learn of his twisted yearnings.
I knew he would be at my door when he saw me. I made him wait on the nights I wanted to be ravished. At times, I felt as though my skin was burn and melt from the fire that burned within his belly. In a moment, he was wrapped around me, urging the heat between us to spread and consume us both. He kissed me slowly, puckering and sucking the air over my skin, igniting the goosebumps beneath my flesh. He undressed me, fingers and lips and tongue hovering above my tenderness. Before he even began, I was heaving, ready to pitch headfirst into him, ready to turn myself over and sate his desire. I knew I could not have all of him. A part of him would always belong to God, belong to the flock left in his care. He would always try to go to Heaven, always send whispers to his Father for forgiveness and strength. I knew there would be a wedding, children, a life away from me. Every visit was his last, until the sin returned to swallow me whole.
Andrew preferred to work solo until his partner was found. He hoped daily that his departure was voluntary, that he didn’t go rogue and got caught in a fatal situation. The day was unusually slow and he was about to call it when he got the call. “Desiree” flashed across his screen and his heart quickened. He hadn’t spoken to her since the night he went over, even though he desperately wanted to apologize. He took a deep breath before accepting the call. “Hey,” he said, trying to sound cheery. “Andrew…”
“Yeah, Dee, I gotta apologize for the other night. I was way outta line…”
“Andrew…Someone’s here,” she whispered.
“I don’t know. He kicked in the door. I’m hiding upstairs.”
“Can you make it to the back door?”
“No. He’s coming up the stairs.” Andrew stood up from his desk. “Dee, listen, you need to open the window and…” Before he could finish his instructions, he heard a struggle and Desiree swear. “Dee? Desiree!” he yelled, before the line disconnected. He slammed the phone down on his desk and covered his mouth. He took half a second to collect himself before he kicked the chair and strode across the room. Detective Shondra Miller sat a few feet away from him, typing up her notes on a current closed case. Andrew’s large stature cast a shadow across her, slightly startling her. “Jordan, what’s up?” she asked, reading the worry lines in his face. He grabbed a Post-It note from her desk and began scribbling an address. “If I don’t call you in an hour, I need you to bring back-up to this address,” he said, lifting the note to her eye level and dropping it back on the desk, before jogging out of the squad room. “Wait, what’s going on?!” she yelled at his back but he was already gone.
The street was quiet and the gallery was dark. Andrew parked closer to the curb and shut off his lights. He reached under his seat and produced his weapon, which he slipped into the holster under his arm. He leaned down and double checked the pistol strapped to his ankle. Armed for bear, he got out of his car and rounded the block. He needed the element of surprise and he knew that the back entrance would be ideal. As he crept down the alley, he saw the large, gray service door was already slightly propped open, the latch never catching from its previous use. Andrew unholstered his weapon and pulled the door open slowly before slipping inside. The space was foreign from this side of her makeshift wall: the storage area for her supplies had been disrupted, as if a struggle had ensued. As he stepped over paint brushes and eisels, he steadied himself for what he might witness behind the wall. He never saw the hulking man in the corner, until he clobbered him with something heavy, rendering him unconscious.
Alice skipped over her criminal past and the scar tissue on her uterus. She told Andrew everything else, just as she promised: the miscarriage, the depression, the pain, how she wound up in Jackie’s arms. Every feeling and thought she’d had over the past 11 months, she laid bear for her husband. An hour had gone by when she finally stopped talking. Andrew struggled to maintain his composure but he could not hold back the tears. He was genuinely heart broken, the first time since Monique LaSalle, whom dumped him 3rd French in high school.
I need you.
The text was vague, especially after all that had happened. Andrew was still concerned. The heart-to-heart with Desiree gave him all the insight he needed. He wanted to make it work with his wife. He began his own message when another blue bubble appeared.
At the station.
His U-turn was sharp and wide as he flipped on his siren and barrelled down the street in the direction of his job. He felt his heart skip a beat when he pulled in 8 minutes later. He asked a few officers about his wife as he sped through the building, leading him to the homicide squad room. Alice sat next to Detective Foreman’s desk, shaken with tears falling down her face. “Babe, hey, what happened?” he said, kneeling in front of her. She wrapped her arms around him and sobbed uncontrollably.
The place was quiet, outside of his shallowing breathing, perfect for what they needed to accomplish. The giant stood nearby, preparing himself for the next round of punishment.
Martin was fading in and out of consciousnes. He had been their hostage for about 8 or 9 hours and he was ready for them to kill him. The man that worked him over never said a word to him; just constant torture. He used his ribcage as a punching bag, broke bones, and even sliced into his skin with a surgical scalpel. Begging and pleading fell upon deaf ears: he wasn’t the person in charge.
The neighborhood hadn’t changed, except for being buoyant and lively, many of the homes were empty shells of their former glory. Roman stopped his car in front of one of the lots, few signs of a house’s existence there. He put the car in park on the curb and got out. He stuck his hands into his pockets and stared. So much history on this very spot. He’d been gone long enough and he was back to claim what was his.