CHAPTER 01 <
CHAPTER 02 <
CHAPTER 03 <
CHAPTER 04 <
CHAPTER 05 <
CHAPTER 06 <
CHAPTER 07 <
CHAPTER 08 <
CHAPTER 09 <
CHAPTER 10 <
CHAPTER 11 <
CHAPTER 12 <
CHAPTER 13 <
CHAPTER 14 <
CHAPTER 15 <
CHAPTER 16 <
CHAPTER 17 <
CHAPTER 18 <
CHAPTER 19 <
CHAPTER 20 <
CHAPTER 21 <
CHAPTER 22 <
CHAPTER 23 <
CHAPTER 24 <
CHAPTER 25 <
CHAPTER 26 <
CHAPTER 27 <
What separated the two was she knew she'd gone off the deep end. Bobby, she felt, would go to his grave fervently denying any perversion.
Shara had followed him throughout the day. She'd noted the thick manilla envelope he carried as he left the rowhouse at noon, and watched him fixated on young teens at the playground. She donned her blond wig to watch him fawning over the teen at the laundromat. At nine that evening, he'd driven away; Shara guessing he was out to pick up another underaged girl for some sort of recreation. She'd have plenty of time to search his flat, and plant a bug before he returned.
Chattaway's lock was of the two-bit variety, and soon Shara was searching for the envelope which she was sure documented his atrocities. It took half-an-hour, but once she found the floorboard she was able to enter his world.
The full-length photos of the girl who'd been Chattaway's first conquest intrigued her to no end. But they were ancient history. Shara wanted to know what had caused his military discharge and what he'd done to the girl the night before.
It all lay before her. She cringed at the facial expression of the girl she'd glimpsed only briefly the night before. With no full-length shots, it was impossible to tell just what he'd done, but it was clear this child had gone through a gauntlet of emotions, all of which Bobby's camera had captured.
Replacing the photos, she planted a bug behind the bed, after noticing the leather thongs she assumed he used to tie his prey down.
Outside, in her car, she waited. She was at once exhilarated that soon she'd know Bobby's secret, yet sickened at the prospect of hearing a child's spirit irreparably broken. One look at the pictures, and it was obvious that what Bobby viewed as little more than a game had devastating effects on his victims.
In time she'd tell Deidre about Chattaway, and those she'd already killed; let her into the demented world of those who tortured, humiliated and destroyed the psyche of innocents, and mocked the efforts of the police and the courts who stood idly by.
At 12:45, Chattaway arrived with a diminutive brunette, Shara guessed was no more than thirteen. They walked hand in hand, and disappeared into his efficiency.
Shara's breathing quickened as the scene unfolded. Phrases stood out, and with each Shara saw one of the photos she'd imprinted on her memory.
"Take your clothes off. Now!"
--the girls' terrified pleas.
". . . your fault..."
" . . . off to a stranger's apartment..."
--the girls' sobbing.
" . . . do it for me?"
" . . . give me a blowjob?"
" . . . friends . . . do it for us all?"
Shara had curled up in a fetal position on the front seat of her car, silent tears flowing down her face, her hands ripping at her blouse, kneading, then scratching the sightless eyes that dotted her breasts. It was as if her self-inflicted pain would absorb that of the child in the flat above.
Then silence from within. She listened intently. There were faint sounds she attempted to identify. Not the sounds of bedsprings. No, Bobby was not raping the girl. Something flowing. Her mind searched. Water! The darkroom. He was developing the pictures he'd just taken. Then he was back in the room again, talking softly to the child.
"Scared you . . . "
"Don't deny it."
" . . . here in black and white..."
" . . . could have done it all. Should have."
Then his tone became harsh and commanding.
"Get dressed, bitch. Can't stand the sight of you. Should I throw you out to be raped by the trash on the streets? Would serve you right, you know."
--Sobbing from the child.
Blood dripped from Shara's breasts. Their blood; the blood of those who'd stolen the souls of others before snuffing out their lives. Better dead, she thought, than to relive the horror inflicted upon them night after night after night after . . . Better dead than to grow up forever scarred, as she had.
The slamming of the door pulled Shara from the past. Her past. Chattaway half-walked, half-carried the young girl at his side, his eyes darting right to left to assure they were alone. Then into his car. Gone.
Shara fished in the back of the car for a black sweatshirt. Her blouse was in ruins. She wasn't surprised. She'd instinctively attacked the eyes each time her prey feasted on his quarry. The first time, before the second kill, she'd looked down to find her white t-shirt covered with blood. As she often had to follow her prey or retrieve a bug, as she had to tonight, it would do no good to be seen with blood-soaked clothing. So, she kept a black sweatshirt in her car at all times. There wasn't a lot of blood; none of the scratches were deep. She'd be careful that none dripped on the floor when she went back to Bobbby's apartment to retrieve the bug.
Back in his efficiency, Shara could smell the girl's fear wafting within the room. She glanced into the darkroom and saw the drying prints suspended from a clothesline. Pictures no different than those she'd seen earlier, but with a life of their own, as she'd heard the pitiful pleas and tearful sobbing that evoked them. How she wished Deidre could have witnessed what she had. Would she then be so quick to condemn? Or would she rush headlong at Chattaway upon his return, her nails groping for his eyes?
Soon she'd play the tape for Deidre. Play all the tapes, but this one in particular. Try to make Deidre understand what drove her to kill.
Later, when she'd regained control, she'd plot Chattaway's death. She had her confirmation, next she'd have to learn his routine; determine when he'd be most vulnerable. Then she'd confront him.
Soon, now, his reign of terror would end. Sooner than with the others. An inner voice beckoned as never before. Bobby Chattaway had to be stopped before the following weekend or the hungry eyes would devour her, and he'd be free to plunder.
And plunder, again.
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