Home > Dream Man(11)

Dream Man(11)
Author: Linda Howard

A short silence fell as she seemed to be bracing herself. Dane eyed her curiously. She was so tense, he could almost see her muscles tighten. There was something vaguely intriguing about her, something that kept him looking at her. She wasn’t a beauty, though she was even-featured and certainly not hard on the eyes, but she sure didn’t do anything to attract attention. She wore plain black flats, a narrow black denim skirt that came down to midcalf, and a sleeveless white blouse. She had nice, clean-looking dark hair, but it had been pulled back into one of those severe French twists. About thirty years old, he guessed, his policeman’s eye making an automatic assessment. Hard to tell with her sitting down, but probably average height, maybe a little less. A little slimmer than he liked, about a hundred and twenty pounds; he preferred a woman to be soft rather than bony.

Her hands were tightly clenched in her lap. He found himself watching them: slim, fine-boned hands, free of any jewelry, and a dead giveaway to her tension even if he hadn’t already noticed that her posture was stiff rather than still.

“I’m psychic,” she said baldly. He barely kept himself from snorting in derision. His eyes met Trammell’s in a lightning-quick glance of shared thought: Another one of the lieutenant’s weird California ideas!

“Last Friday night I was driving home from a late movie,” she continued in a flat little monotone that didn’t diminish the low, raspy quality of her voice. A smoker’s voice, he thought, except he’d bet the farm that she didn’t smoke. Uptight types like her seldom went in for the easy vices. “It was about eleven-thirty when I left the theater. I had just left the expressway when I began to have a vision of a murder that was taking place. The … visions are overwhelming. I managed to pull off the street.”

She paused, as if reluctant to continue, and Dane watched her hands twist together until they were bloodless. She took a deep breath.

“I see it through his eyes,” she said tunelessly. “He climbed in through a window.”

Dane stiffened, his attention shifting to her face. He didn’t have to look at Trammell to know that his partner’s attention had sharpened, too.

The recitation continued in a slow, evenly spaced cadence that felt oddly hypnotic. Her eyes were wide and unfocused, as if she were looking inward. “It’s dark in the room. He waits there until she’s alone. He can hear her in the kitchen, talking to her husband. The husband leaves. He waits until the husband’s car has pulled out of the driveway, then he opens the door and starts the stalk. He feels like a hunter after game.

“But she’s easy prey. She’s in the kitchen, just pouring a cup of coffee. He pulls a knife from the set that’s sitting there, waiting for him. She hears him and turns. She says, ‘Ansel?’but then she sees him and opens her mouth to scream.

“He’s too close. He’s already on her, his hand over her mouth, the knife at her throat.”

Marlie Keen stopped talking. Dane kept his concentration on her face. She was pale now, he noticed, colorless except for the full bloom of her lips. He could feel the hair on the back of his neck lifting in response to that eerie present tense she was using when she spoke, as if the murder were happening right now.

“Go on,” the lieutenant urged.

It was a moment before she resumed, and her tone was even flatter than before, as if she could thus distance herself from the words. “He makes her take off her nightgown. She’s crying, begging him not to hurt her. He likes that. He wants her to beg him. He wants her to think that she’ll be okay if she just does as he says. It’s more fun that way, when she realizes—”

She interrupted herself, leaving the sentence unfinished. After another moment she resumed. “He uses a condom. She’s grateful for that. She tells him thank you. He’s easy with her, almost gentle. She starts to relax, even though she’s still crying, because he isn’t hurting her and she thinks he’ll just leave when he’s finished. He knows how the stupid bitches think.

“When he’s through, he helps her to her feet. He holds her hand. He bends down and kisses her cheek. She just stands there, until she feels the knife. He keeps the first cut shallow, enough to let her know what’s going to happen, so he can see the look in her eyes when she panics, but the cut shouldn’t be so bad that it slows down the chase. There wouldn’t be any fun in that.

“She panics; she screams and tries to run, and the rage in him is let loose. He’s held it in check all this time, toying with her, enjoying her fear and humiliation, allowing her to hope, but now he can let it out. Now he can do what he came for. This is what he likes best, the complete terror he can see in her eyes, the feeling of invincibility. He can do anything he wants to her. He has total power over her, and he revels in it. He is her god; her life or death is his choice now, his decision. But it’s death, of course, because that’s what he enjoys most.

“She’s fighting, but the pain and loss of blood have slowed her down. She makes it into the bedroom and falls down. He’s disappointed; he wanted the fight to go on longer. It makes him angry that she’s so weak. He bends over to slice her throat, to finish it, and the bitch turns on him. She’s been faking it. She hits at him. He’d meant to make it quick, but now he’ll show her, she should never have tried to trick him. The rage is like a hot red balloon, swelling up and filling him. He slashes at her over and over, until he’s tired. No, not tired. He’s too powerful to be tired. Bored. It was over too soon; she’s learned her lesson. She hadn’t been as much fun as he’d hoped.”

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
» Fixed series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)
» Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels #1)
» Norse Mythology