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CHAPTER 17 <
CHAPTER 18 <
CHAPTER 19 <
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CHAPTER 21 <
CHAPTER 22 <
CHAPTER 23 <
CHAPTER 24 <
CHAPTER 25 <
CHAPTER 26 <
CHAPTER 27 <
Once home at 2:30, naked, she went through her daily aerobic routine, sweat pouring from her body as she finished. She wouldn't shower. Not yet. The rancid smell of her body was cleansing in a perverse sense. The filth of the city, the mingling of bodies in the elevator, and the eyes that pursued her night and day poisoned her to the core. The mindless exercise released the demons from within; the pungent odor a reminder of the dry rot that could only be expunged by destroying the prying eyes.
A daily ritual, she flipped on her CD player and Tina Turner's "Private Dancer," the only recording she owned, filled the room.
"Well the men come in these places And the men are all the same." With the music, she was ten again, with memories of Shara flooding back, bringing fresh tears. Her faked suicide. Running off to Philadelphia, living in the streets that horribly liberating summer thirteen years before. Free from the daily scrutiny, the thinly veiled looks, teasing and taunting of her peers, whispered conversations of neighbors and strangers . . . .
"That's the girl who... "
"What a terrible same..."
"She must have brought it on herself..."
". . . nice enough, but I don't know if I want her around my..."
She'd wandered the streets, steered clear of shelters and their probing questions. Never laid claim to a corner, alley or park bench for fear of some cop becoming overly inquisitive. Fearing the night for both the hungry eyes she couldn't evade and the real-life dangers a ten-year old, going on eleven, could attract. Meeting Shara, a runaway herself, now sixteen, who'd somehow managed to scrimp and save to rent a place of her own.
Shara, who'd taken her in without question. Shara, who'd become a mother and eventually her lover, her only lover. Shara, who worked at a topless bar, so they'd have a roof over their head.
"You don't look at their faces And you don't ask their names"
Shara who had introduced Renee to the wonderful world of computers and computer hacking. It was the one luxury they enjoyed, and no matter how desperate they might be for money, they never entertained the thought of pawning their computer. Hard times to be sure, but Renee had never been happier.
Shara, who had known all along who she was, but hadn't broached the subject until Renee was ready to confide in her.
Six years of bliss shattered when Shara was savagely beaten by a customer who wanted to do more than look, and wouldn't take no for an answer.
"You don't look at them as human You don't think of them at all. You keep your mind on the money Keeping your eyes on the wall."
Caring for Shara, who refused to go to the hospital: the money she couldn't afford, the questions she wouldn't answer, the fear they'd find out she was a runaway, and call her parents. No, a fatalist to the end, she had put herself in Renee's hands whatever the outcome. Three days later she'd died in Renee's arms. From that day on she had become Shara. Renee no longer existed. Though underage, the club owner, feeling responsible for what had happened gave her work; first in the kitchen, later as one of the dancers.
"I'm your private dancer A dancer for money I'll do what you want me to do. A private dancer A dancer for money Any old music would do."
The song played over and over again, with Shara preening before the mirrors that surrounded her. The eight eyes that adorned her breasts holding no fear, for they were dead eyes.
She was snapped out of her reverie by her alarm. Three-thirty. She'd had to set the alarm for when it was time to begin her surveillance. Otherwise, she could literally lose herself for hours in the music and the dancing.
As she showered she planned the rest of her day. Like her room, each wall of the shower was a mirror. Whenever she turned she could peer at the eyes that caressed her breasts; assure herself they were indeed dead. She turned on only the cold water and allowed her mind to wander.
A cat nap, no more than half-an-hour was all she would need to recharge her batteries. The tattoo; Walt Grimes' eyes would be next. Then follow Robert Chattaway from work. His activities would determine her evening. And finally, a chat with Deidre. Maybe at one in the morning, possibly as late as three or four; whenever she got home. By now Deidre must surely have found the folder. At the thought her nipples hardened, water cascading over her body. She could imagine the shock. Deidre had been at arms length with her quarry.
--she massaged the tattoos on her breasts.
What had she done? Gone to the cop, whatshisname, who was in charge of the case?
---her hand roved down her body, past her stomach to her pubic hair. She gently massaged her genitals.
No, theirs' was to be a cat and mouse game played without interlopers. Deidre wasn't the impulsive sort. She was angry to be sure.
--she inserted a finger ever so gently into her vagina.
Humiliated at being duped.
--she probed deeper, a sigh escaping from deep within.
But she'd bet her life -- actually had already done so -- that Deidre would play fair. That had always been her shortcoming. Deidre had integrity, a deep sense of morality and compassion that did not allow for duplicity. It was why she'd ultimately fail in her quest to trap the child who had now become a woman; and the woman a killer.
--she climaxed, her body shuddering. Her fingers still probing her genitals, she slid down in the shower until she was seated, watching the dead eyes watching her. Laughter welled within and burst out like molten lava, as she thought of the men whose eyes had sought out women and children to rape and sodomize. Eyes that now would have to be content with watching her play with herself.
With Robert Chattaway, she would finally rid herself of the hungry eyes that tormented her dreams.
and to learn more about Barry Hoffman and his writings
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