Chapter Three: Red
The woman couldn’t have been any older than 40. She looked good, Dexter thought to himself as he cased her home.
Maybe, one day when all this bullshit was over, he thought, he could find himself a woman. If he was lucky, it’d be one like her; one that cared about her appearance. The dame did her sweating to the oldies in what looked like bike pants. Dexter pleaded with his loins to keep their mind on the job at hand. The house seemed good enough. He was too tired, too drowsy to look for an empty house. He had to act quickly if he was gonna find Bookie. He took one last look at her through the window, and ever so casually made his way to the front door.
The front lock was easy.
Suburbanites were a little too secure in consumer grade security systems. The world would shit a collective brick if it knew who really designed these things. People just like Dexter.
Sixty- eight seconds.
Not a world record, but pretty damn good considering his present condition. The lock never stood a chance. He quietly clicked the door closed behind him, and stood perfectly still. He could still hear her exercising in the rear of the house, which was good.
If she’d heard anything, she would have stopped. He released the deep breath, and started for the stairs. The picture on the telephone table, just before the stairs, offered up a brief family history. She had a husband. One that Dexter hoped, for the husband’s sake, was not at home. He tipped his way to the top of the stairs and waited again.
There was no sound.
The door across from the stairway was the bathroom; Dexter assumed the door at the end of the hall was the master bedroom. He began to make his way towards it.
The Businessman waited across the street from the house for at least ten minutes before he decided to see what Dexter was up to.
He had hid there in the bushes, waiting for Dexter to emerge from the house. Then for whatever reason his mind had convinced him of, he would squeeze the life from Dexter’s neck until he was dead. He charged across the street to the front door.
The Businessman noticed Dexter’s blood on the doorknob as he reached for it and this made him withdraw his hand.
He felt around in his inside pocket for a handkerchief.
The thought of getting someone else’s blood on his hands, when it wasn’t on purpose, was simply disgusting.
He walked into the kitchen and searched the drawers for a suitable weapon. He had guns on him, but guns were passé. Every wannabe tough guy in the world was using guns, and he wanted to rise above it. Then, there were the knives. Knives with serrated edges, knives for meat, knives for vegetables… but knives had all been done. The Businessman reached for the serving fork atop the counter and smiled as he wiped it on his pants. As he tipped from the kitchen, he heard the movement from the den. The Businessman slinked along the wall in the direction of the den, and peeked in through the crack in the door to see the exercising woman. She continued her routine, ignorant of the monster that was bearing its teeth not three feet away from her.
There wasn’t a particular dress she wanted to get into. She wanted to get into them all. This had gone on long enough, this weight problem of hers. She ate when she was upset; she ate when she was bored. She just loved to eat. And while others would contest the fact that she even needed to be on any sort of diet, she had to do this. She had stopped smoking three months ago and started her aerobics as a way to feel better about herself, about who she was.
This was all moot as soon as the Businessman burst through the door and buried the serving fork into the base of the woman’s skull. She then began the spastic dance he enjoyed so much as she tried to reach the fork that was implanted in the back of her neck.
Then there was the delightful look of shock as she turned and saw her killer. He loved it, the fact that her eyes, all their eyes always seem to say so much… what has just happened? Why has this happened? Who are you? Why did you do this to me? Am I going to die?
Uh-oh, this one was a fighter!
It happened; sometimes they tried to get revenge on you for killing them. They tried to fight back, in their final few minutes. She screamed, she gagged, she scratched at him, and she pulled at his hair.
As much as he wanted to play with her, he just had to get this over with.
He reached around and pulled the fork from her neck and pushed her away by her forehead.
When she finally let her fight die, she fell against the door and slammed it closed. Her syrupy red ran slowly underneath the door as she lay limp. The Businessman stood there and cocked slightly, examining his most recent work of art.
Again, a smile eased its way onto his face.
Dexter found a shirt in the closet that fit. Actually, it is the exact same shirt he was wearing.
Was this another one of fate cruel set ups? The delivery was more than likely a whole bunch of pain for Dexter before the night was through.
He had decided, though, that he’d give it as good as he got it, tonight especially.
He had to find Bookie.
The man pulled into the driveway of his home, set for a night of casual conversation, and if he was lucky enough, a little sexual attention from his wife. He had to admit, she was beginning to look a lot more like the woman he had married since she began her new health kick. He had been thinking about her all day, that smile of hers. The way she cooed whenever she’d walk past him.
He wanted her tonight more than he’d wanted her in a long time. As he stepped from his car, he noticed that the front door was slightly ajar.
Instantly, panic overcame him.
He approached the door carefully, quickly looking around him to make sure nothing was out of place in the yard. As he entered the door, he could hear the infernal sounds of badly synthesized music and nearly incoherent rambling of Richard Simmons that had been a staple in the home since the big health kick.
Once inside, the sight of blood flowing underneath the den doorway did not immediately catch his attention. Nothing seemed to be amiss. In fact, everything looked exactly as it had when he’d left for his flight three day’s earlier.
He called out to her in a loud whisper.
There was no answer.
He started for the doorway, one million scenarios filling his head, all of them the stuff of his worst nightmares; his wife was dead.
This was when he saw the blood.