The Furies – Serial #6

BP 2

She woke up to whispers. The girls, five-year-old twins. They were little chatter boxes. She could never get them to stop talking. They were all that she could handle, and now with the third on the way, a boy, she didn’t know how she’d manage. She looked at her clock just past 2 a.m. What in the world were the girls doing up? She lifted herself gingerly out of bed. Her protruding belly was a problem. She cursed at how ungainly it was. She’d never gotten used to it. She slowly waddled out of the bedroom, and down the hall. Continue reading “The Furies – Serial #6”

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The Furies – Serial #5

BP 2

Fifteen minutes to midnight. Just enough time to celebrate. The prosecutor had drawn his customary bath after yet another successful prosecution. Twelve to be exact; and he’d always been exact. He’d prosecuted countless more, but jury trials for capital crimes were the only ones that counted. A dozen guilty verdicts for Class A felons. He refused to call them defendants. These twelve were heinous criminals who had committed murders, brutal rapes, and other acts too horrific to speak of, and he had put them all away for good, all before the age of 33—just. He would celebrate that tomorrow. Tonight he’d drink his after-supper Opus One; a treat for such occasions.

Five minutes to midnight. Tonight he had uncorked his finest bottle, an Opus that had been crafted by the hands of the master himself, which now bled thickly into his glass. The prosecutor put the heavy-stemmed chalice on the wooden deck planks of his sauna’s claw-footed tub, and stepped in with deliberate care so as not to taint the porcelain. The television pantomimed silently as the prosecutor submerged beneath the bubbled water’s break.

Two minutes to midnight. He’d been waiting for this moment for three years now; ever since the sentencing. It had been his first capital felony trial; the most gruesome. The crime: the murders and rapes of a pastor and his family: a wife, a boy, and a baby girl. They’d been immolated in their parsonage. The criminal: a six-time loser who after seventeen years of sin, had decided to graduate to the big time on the night of his eighteenth birthday. No easier case for a virgin prosecutor to make his bones, though his more reasonable colleagues held to their doubts, as the courthouse corridors to their whispers. They were timid creatures needing iron-clad evidence to secure convictions. He didn’t have that luxury, but he’d found two witnesses: cellmates who testified in detail about the murders, the arson, and yes, the rapes; a fact that would have remained undiscovered but for their testimony.

The criminal had confessed to them there in his cell as he wept upon his knees—they swore. He had no alibi. He had recently been released from a boy’s home. He’d stumbled into the church that night where he slept. He was discovered at first-light prostrated at the altar. He’d helped himself to the Eucharist. Where he’d claimed hunger and thirst, the jury found sacrilege, and so his days were numbered. The criminal offered no words, no remorse, and strangely no appeals. He sought the comfort of swift justice.

One minute. The good people of the county had thanked the prosecutor with their votes. He’d thanked himself with the wine cellar to enjoy his guilty pleasure. The prosecutor opened his eyes to watch the television screen. The image of a man being strapped to a chair was blurred by the water’s refraction. Ten seconds. And then the chattering. It had always been there, resonating through the recesses since the wine cellar’s foundation had been laid. He’d been assured that it was settling; to be ignored. Yet now in the final moments, it grew into crescendo, and erupted from behind the television wall. The prosecutor rose through the water with a jolt. The rats had gotten their man.

© J. Manuel Writes

The Furies – Serial #4

BP 2

He’d been working too much lately. Yeah that was it. That was the reason that he couldn’t sleep anymore. The phones rang all day everyday. He’d become numb to them. That helped. Ten years in the call center did that, but even that last bastion had been relentlessly eroded by the din of the rings. He couldn’t handle them anymore. The phones. He heard them, even now as he lay on his cold mattress. His arms crossed on his chest. His legs stiff, aching from sitting all day. His heart pounded against his sternum at the pace of his racing thoughts. His heavy, burning eyes stared at the ceiling longing for sleep’s cool touch as his eyelids clashed against each other, and recoiled back to their neutral corners.

Over and over, they called, by the thousands. Wanting, needing, yelling, cursing, and threatening. It was his fault! He would get his!

He’d never wanted to pick up, but he had, and he did. He’d promised that he wouldn’t do it anymore, but he always found his way back to his desk, his chair, the phone. Tonight would be different. He peeled one arm from his chest and reached for his alarm clock. The witching hour pulsed back at him incessantly. He’d sleep in again today. No one seemed to care, if they noticed at all.

The ringing was louder now, piercing his eardrums, rattling his hammers, and stirrups. He rose from the unyielding slab that was his mattress, cupping his ears tightly against his head. Four pills hadn’t been enough. He hurried a few steps to his unlit bathroom and threw the switch. His eyes fought the flickering light, while the pain protruded deeper through his ear canal. He killed the lights with a cut of his hand, and waited for the pain to subside.

He looked into the darkened mirror. It returned his empty gaze. The two stared for a few moments until a blue glow emerged from the bedside behind him, and the ringing came with it. He whirled around and ran to his phone. Who the hell would be calling now? He grabbed it angrily and it stopped. He checked the call log, it glowed “Unknown” in the pale light. The phone buzzed suddenly in his hand and gave a solitary ring: a message. Then it came, as if on the cool night’s breeze that slipped through his bedroom window: a reprieve. Silence.

He shed a few tears. “Thank you, thank you,” he repeated as he closed his eyes and brought the phone to his forehead. It glowed at his touch then rang again, but there was no pain. It was a call from “Unknown” again, and he answered ready to yell, to curse, to give it back to someone else for a change, but there was no response. The line was dead, and he couldn’t hear the warning.

It was in the house.

 

© J. Manuel Writes

The Furies – Serial #3

BP 2

The warm sun’s rays shone through the living room window panes, kissing Luz’s cheeks with the novelty of a newfound lover. She smiled at its comforting, life-giving caress behind her shut eyelids, and yawned and stretched for a few moments careful not to wake anyone from their slumber. It was an easy Sunday morning. She couldn’t recall the last one she’d had. It was always rush, rush, rush, work, work, work with her, but today she was taking it slow. She owed it to herself. No one else mattered today.

Luz stretched one more time, yawning several more before she opened her eyes to the world. Sho, Ken’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had taken advantage of her once again and had buried himself between her legs. The poor thing had suffered from Syringomyelia which gave him seizures and caused great discomfort, but he lay still upon her lap at peace under her petting palm.

Ken lay curled up on the other end of the couch. He slept with his left arm cradling his head, his muscular arms framing it like a model in pose. She hadn’t seen him like this in a while. A white tee shirt and jeans, nothing more needed for a girl to get excited, but she wouldn’t bother him. He needed his rest today. There were plenty of football games to be played—fantasy, and the real ones, too. No, today she’d let him rest. She wouldn’t nag him like she always did. He hated that. Plus, today was her day anyways, though she didn’t have the slightest idea of how she’d spend it. Maybe a mani-pedi? Luz closed her eyes momentarily and smiled at the thought. Oh, and chocolate, there would be plenty of that—Ghirardelli, for sure!

Luz moved the stiff Sho from her lap and rose quietly so as not to disturb the serenity of the scene. Coffee! Ken would love some. She’d didn’t care for it, but she’d grown accustomed since she and Ken had been together. He was a drinker. She tiptoed to the kitchen and brewed some anyway, out of habit, and began to cook the eggs—over-easy, always over-easy. She always seemed to manage to mess them up even though they had been together for a year, next July 14th. Three months hardly seemed enough time to plan the anniversary. She rattled about in the kitchen for a moment, quickly peeking out to see if she’d disturbed anyone. No, thankfully everyone was still asleep. Good. She liked making Sunday breakfast. Ken liked a hearty meal before church. Sho always had to be fed and walked as well, but she was sure that they wouldn’t mind if she snuck out today.

Luz stepped back from the kitchen table after an hour, hands on her hips. She had outdone herself today. “Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!” Luz giggled and covered her mouth, almost ruining the surprise. Mani-pedi for sure! She had earned it. She untied her apron quickly and pulled it off with a snap. She hung it back on its hanger carefully, like so. Yup, just like that—she had to make sure.

Ken and Sho hadn’t budged from their comfy spots on the couch, though she could’ve sworn that the darned dog had buried itself deeper into the couch. Luz smirked and shook her head. What she put up with! Well, today wasn’t the day to question it. She had places to go, and well, maybe she’d see people, too.

She hurried silently down the hall to the bedroom and got changed. She’d wear her Sunday finest today; a midi-skirt, lace top, and a pushup bra and thong she’d kept from Ken. Well, it was going to be a surprise. Pumps? Sure. She smirked widely now. She was bold today. The sun gleamed through the bedroom windows against her bare, fare skin and she reveled in it. Satori, rubbed herself against her calves, startling Luz for a moment. Luz picked up the stray cat that she’d let in the house the night before. She purred to her and she purred back. Her sable fur tickled softly against Luz’s cheeks. “Shush. I’ll be back. Don’t worry,” Luz whispered as she put the mangy stray back into the closet where she’d kept her for the night.

Ken hated cats, but maybe he’d let her keep her. Sho marched in lockstep with his master, so he didn’t care much for them either.

Luz powdered up before she gathered her things. No sense in getting her hands and feet in order if the rest of her looked like Hell. She snuck back down the hall and gave a last look into the living room where man and his best friend lay. She blew them a quick kiss and walked out of the door.

It wasn’t until she reached the mall that someone noticed that Luz was covered in blood: Ken’s, Sho’s, and hers. The police would find two victims on the couch and the third in the bathroom.

© J. Manuel Writes