The first time I saw Simone, she was taking my photograph. The flash blinded me. When the sparkles faded, I saw her sitting at my table. Her mouth smiled but her pale eyes never stopped probing. They were hungry eyes, the kind that were too curious to be self-conscious.
Heat from the sergeant’s charging rifle shimmered the air, and when the colonel raised his own, it gleamed with an oily seep. I carried a revolver loaded with jacketed hollow points. The load gave good expansion without excessive recoil and, more importantly, it avoided extensive meat damage. Like all Patriots, I might have been mistaken for an Old West gunfighter, complete with leather boots, a black blazer, and a lawless revolver holstered on one hip. That is, if a woman had ever ravaged the American frontier.
The only son of an overburdened widow, Charles wanted to help people because he had never been able to help those he loved most. He needed to be needed, which is why he had devoted two decades of his life to the Church, and why Raphael happily received the task of answering the hidden prayer he tried so hard to deny.
Her body began to tremble. She touched her lips, still bruised and swollen. She told herself she wasn’t afraid. After a few deep breaths and a moment to think, she decided she didn’t want to think. She wanted to believe everything would be all right. Only Watts allowed her that. That’s why she had opened her door to him when she was alive. He seemed to have all the answers. Sociopaths were like that.
In the lulling hours of late afternoon, when my sons are with their tutor and my husband is at his office, I usually take tea and sit with my daughter watching the birds along the lake shore. But not today. Today, my daughter is dancing with other well-groomed girls at the Haverton Society, and a woman lies naked in my bed.