In the downslope of evening dusk, which leaves a cut of blood on the horizon like a knife wound, she starts awake from the nauseous scene in her mind and the clangor of the nightmare weapon. The floor that her contused cheekbone lies on is scented with kitchen rag mildew and dried piss. Her heart still limps to right itself, but she’s awake now lying on a warm floor in a pool of her saliva and coagulated blood. Fully awake and here, where ever here is, with it’s sheer, colorless curtains stained from being used as napkins swaying with a tender, curious breeze slithering in from outside, shapeless dark and grainy figures as furniture that her eyes aren’t ready to discern in their widespread shock of regaining sight so suddenly.
I have a sickness, a man’s voice says with sediment in the throat and whining in the tone, the fortune teller said that I’d marry somebody named Lisa or Elizabeth, but she was wrong, she was fucking wrong and it was supposed to be Miranda, and Miranda got married.
The detective remains unmoved, quiet; breathes in as silently as she can, deep as she can without being overt in an attempt to steady the pulse that’s hammering in her left ear.
There’s no light on, but she can see the broad-shouldered figure in a trucker hat leaning over his knees, face buried in his hands as he bitterly weeps. There’s another figure sitting on the couch and when the moon, full and white, becomes the only light inside the small trailer, she recognizes him. I’m a good Christian man, the words repeat, and repeat, and repeat, ricocheting inside of her mind. It’s that old man, but who’s the one sobbing?
Boy, the daddy says, you better know where to put her body. She’s a cop. None of that fruity ritual shit from the bible like that other whore.
I know, I know daddy, the other one says, I know just where…
Can’t be stupid like Miranda, boy! The old man speaks rigidly, strictly yet underneath that, fearfully, spitting the muddy pool of his grizzly wintergreen dip into the carapace of an empty coca-cola can with a loathsome squirting sound.
It doesn’t have to be like this. You can let me go, the detective says, you can untie me, you still have time.
She’s lyin’, don’t listen to ‘er, daddy says to his son. He slaps his kneecap hard as he can to let out his frustrations, stamps his foot to let it out, too, as if it had traveled down the shin and got stuck in the tendons. She’s a DAMN liar! You let her go and she’ll run ‘n tell all her little piggy friends who you is and what you done! She’ll throw that ass of yours in a cage and they’ll strap you straight into an electric chair!
There was a distant howling outside and the detective shifted from the bruised bone of her hip onto her back and stared outside at the impending dark. She suddenly felt calm.
You still have a chance, I’m not lying, the detective says.
The man sitting down ejects himself so quickly out of the creaky folding chair he’d been pathetically nesting in and sobbing that it flies back, teeters and scrapes its heels before it collapses stiffly onto its side like a bloated deer on the shoulder of a highway. He throws the obstacles between he and the detective out of the way with a growl as he rushes to her, repeating the phrase, shut up shut up shut up through gnashed teeth, stomping toward her theatrically like a child.
You’re a damn liar! He shouts a mere inch from her tight-lipped face when he harshly genuflects beside her. She can smell his filthy hair and coors light, conceals a gag and scoffs, shuts her eyes. The drizzle of his rage-spit from shouting freckles her eyelids.
You’re right, I am. You’re all outta chances, the detective says, opening her eyes. And the man stares down with his mouth dumbly agape searching for the human quality of her formerly big brown eyes in the dark, but he finds nothing gawking back but a preternatural yellow and though the trailer was the stuffiest, most humid nook shoved into the back of the mouth of these woods he felt a chill like fingers hiking up his spine when he gazed into them, when the wolf fur began to sprout and the unexpected strength ripped through the plastic ties they’d bound her with.
It all happened very fast.
To be concluded tomorrow…