By the time he’d finished the story about how Marie and Jill had mistakenly fallen into his clutches, Angela’s eyes were misty. Those poor women, they did absolutely nothing yet they ended up hacked to bits because he was overwhelmed by his own guilt and rage, Angela thought. He knew it was wrong but he thinks it was worse that he went against his own rules— the freak! Her heart ached for the torture they’d endured but also feared for her own safety. He was staring at her like a starving man at a buffet. She’d seen his victims in the morgue. Everyone knew he was eating select cuts from his captives. To her surprise, he rose and headed for the door.
“You look tired … you should get some sleep. Tomorrow will be a big day for both of us and I want you to get your beauty rest. Good night.”
Before Angela could say a word, the lights clicked off and she with swallowed up in complete darkness. The door closed but she had no way of knowing if he had left or if he was plotting to end her life right then. A moment later she heard his footfalls heading upstairs. Alone in the dark, her tears flowed freely until her body succumbed to the exhaustion and slept.
Seth felt the weight of another body pressing down on his chest. A sleepy smile tugged at his lips; believing Melanie was feeling frisky the rest of his body responded. That is, until a stinging slap connected with his cheek. Shocked, his eyes snapped open but it wasn’t Mel straddling his chest. Kim hovered over him with a butcher knife pressed to his throat. One hand held the knife in place while the other rose as she placed her index finger to her lips.
“Shhh,” she hissed.
Without moving his head, he looked to his left but Melanie was gone. Oh God, what did she do to Mel? Seth’s heart hammered out a quick staccato beat. Before he could attempt to ask, his wife’s head appeared just behind Kim’s.
“See, I told you he was a dedicated husband … never suspected me for a second. He probably didn’t suspect you either, Kim.”
Melanie and Kim’s laughter mingled like a sitcom laugh-track making Seth’s head spin. He squeezed his eyes closed in a childlike attempt to shut out the unpleasantness.
“I sure hope I wasn’t a suspect,” a deeper voice uttered.
Against his will, Seth’s one eye opened just a slit to see who else was there to torment him. To mock him, Bill winked before speaking again.
“I know who you wanted to pin this one on … somebody’s jealous ole Dick is puttin’ the moves on his wife, huh? Can’t say I blame you.”
“Well, I can!” Agent Dictator bellowed. “What on Earth have you ever done to deserve a woman like Melanie? You ignore her and spend all your time at the morgue. I’d keep her safe and spend every spare minute with her, unlike you. Even your dog likes me better because I give him delicious little treats.”
What the hell? Why are all these people in my bedroom? Who let them in? Seth’s inner voice screamed in protest. Knife at his throat or not, he was going to set the record straight but just then, Seth’s least favorite FBI agent leaned over and kissed Melanie’s cheek, making her giggle like a lovesick teenager. For good measure, Kim pressed harder on the blade over Seth’s throat so that he wouldn’t move.
“Don’t do anything stupid, Seth. I like you but I can’t have you ruining our plan,” Kim ordered.
“How could you do this?” Seth moaned. “What about Angela? She was your partner.”
“What do you mean … was?” Angela entered the room and knelt down beside the bed. “I’m perfectly fine but I’m afraid you’re in trouble. He wants to punish you.”
Seth’s stomach heaved as he started to hyperventilate.
“Why would anyone want to kill me?” He whimpered.
“Because you still haven’t finished your damn novel,” his agent Ethan’s voice growled in Seth’s ear. “It’s time to go. Did you hear me? I said it’s time for me to go.”
Seth woke with a start. Sweat poured down his neck as his chest heaved.
“Sorry to wake you, babe.” Mel cooed before placing a kiss on his cheek. “It’s time for me to go … to work. I was thinking about picking up Chinese takeout for dinner. Is that okay?”
Still unable to speak, Seth nodded. His eyes darted around the room scanning for would be killers. Mel blew him a kiss before leaving. Malachi jumped onto the bed and gave his startled human a kiss. It was that moment of normalcy that calmed his jagged nerves. Seth let out a sigh of relief as he eased back onto his pillow. From his nightstand, the vibrating rumble of his cell phone broke the calm. He rolled over to look at the screen:
Missed Message: 1
Kim Miller: I need to see you but not alone. Meet me at the coffee shop.