Friday's Chapter

REDEMPTION
Chapter 1

Abigail wasn’t her real name, but she liked it, so it was the name she used on the marriage license two months ago. She lay in bed next to her new husband wondering how her real name would affect him if he ever discovered it.  Perhaps he would like it.  It was possible. But even if he loved it he’d want to know why she lied to him in the first place.


                Abigail wanted to be totally honest with Michael. And she was, in almost every way, but there were some things he simply wasn’t ready to know. She had never loved another human being in her life, not the way she loved Michael. The day would come she would confess everything to him. He would have to know the truth. But tonight was not that time.


                Michael’s breathing had been regular for almost a half an hour. She really didn’t want to leave his embrace. She felt oddly safe with his arm around her. And his touch did more than just make her feel safe. It made her feel girlish, and excited in ways she had never felt before. Though she knew she would get no sleep this night, she would have been content to lie here at his side until sunrise as long as his arm right stayed where it was.


                Unfortunately she couldn’t indulge in anything so wonderful tonight. She had something important to do.


                Rolling smoothly from beneath his arm Abigail was at the side of the bed within a second, gazing back down on the man she loved. His dark curls splayed over his olive skin and covered his right eye which was barely visible above the pillow in which his face was buried.  If only she could explain everything to him this burden would be lifted. But I can’t, she thought. He has already adjusted to so much for me; there’s no way I can add more to that. Not now. If only there was a way to avoid telling him all together. But she knew he would have to know eventually.


Sadly she turned away from his glorious form on the bed, grabbed her running shoes and slipped into the hallway.


                When she needed to, Abigail could move very quietly through any dark dwelling.  She had excellent night vision.  She’d been told her eyes were cat-like. This was because they shined like a cat’s – though her pupils were not oblong like that of a feline. Even under normal lighting conditions there was a shine or gleam to her eyes that people couldn’t help commenting on. They’d even been called “jewels” by people who could come up with no better comparison for the light that glinted there.


                Moving like a cat, both by vision and stealth, she escaped the bedroom and descended the stairs without making a sound. Even the floors beneath her feet were in league with her by remaining soundless as she swept across them. In order to make the least amount of noise possible, she opened the door quickly, locked it and closed it behind her. In just a few seconds she had left her bed and now stood in the quiet, clear night of her home in Woodland Hills.


                She enjoyed walking around the neighborhood at night. Prior to meeting Michael she spent a lot of time roaming the city while the world slept around her. There was a quiet anticipation about the night that made her feel both comfortable, and slightly excited, as if something was about to happen. There were infinite possibilities in the dark, all on the verge of happening. And tonight, she was going be happening. She was going to cause something to take place that was exciting, and a bit dangerous.


                Abigail wandered through the neighborhood enjoying the cool air. Woodland Hills didn’t get very cold at night during the month of July. She had been wearing a t-shirt and shorts when she lied down with Michael. She was perfectly comfortable in them now.  As she left the neighborhood and came out onto the busier street of Mulholland Drive she picked up the pace and started running west. She had a long way to go.


                The air brushed against her skin and lifted her long auburn hair so that it blew behind her. It felt marvelous at this time of night. She flew past a strip mall where a grocery store and an electronics shop were still open. Few people frequented them, however at two-thirty in the morning. She cut down Cavalleri heading south until she came to an all night gas station with a market that sold snacks and other sundries items that a person up at two in the morning must have or their lives would over.


                As it turned out, that was sort of true in Abigail’s case. There were a few items she needed to pick up before her rendezvous with Eli Trayhorne.


                “Evening,” the big man behind the counter said, looking up from his television when Abigail entered, causing a chime behind the counter to ring.


The big man looked back at his television, then did a double-take and glanced back at her. Abigail was used to this reaction. She knew she had a different look, but she also knew men found her attractive and were drawn to her on sight sometimes. She figured this was what some movie stars went through when they entered stores and the clerk realized who they were. Abigail had no desire to be a movie star or to compare herself to one, but this kind of reaction happened to her almost everywhere she went.


She felt the man’s eyes on her as she went up and down the aisles looking for what she needed.   The screw drivers were located with the other few hardware items they sold there. She grabbed two Philips heads then continued her search. She found what she was looking for at the end of the next aisle over, on the bottom shelf: a box of black plastic garbage bags. She picked it up and returned to the man who had been watching her the whole time without realizing he was staring.


The burly clerk smiled as he took the screw drivers and box of garbage bags from her and rang them up. He managed to somehow do this without looking at the cash register. He just continued to stare at her. For a moment she wanted to say, “Blink, or your eyes will dry out,” but instead she just smiled and looked down shyly. 


For some reason this broke the man’s trance and he spluttered, “Excuse me ma’am, are you single?”


Abigail had already seen the gold band on the man’s left ring finger, but allowed her full lips to rise into another playful grin. She lifted her left hand and showed him the diamond ring that sparkled from her own finger. “Sorry,” she replied. “How much do I owe you?”


He shook his head as if confused, then glanced over at the register. “Uh, $16.27.”  As she pulled some cash from her short’s pocket the man shook his head again. Abigail had seen this before as well. She knew that inside his head he was feeling like he’d just awakened from a dream. Then, he was realizing he’d just asked if she was single.  Sure enough as she slid the cash across the counter to him his face began turning a bright red. Poor men, she thought.


He quickly dropped the change into her hand and thanked her. With what seemed great will-power he turned his attention back to the television.


Abigail sauntered out the door and into the night. As she passed under the glow of the fluorescent lights that shined over the gas pumps she could feel his eyes on her back. He was a nice enough man, no doubt, but he was still a man.


She took one dark garbage bag from the box and threw the rest away. With her purchases in hand she started running off in the direction of Malibu. It was here she was going to find Eli Trayhorne, the last man on her list.


Ten years ago this despicable human being inherited more than $500 million dollars from his father, who had developed a revolutionary method of processing rubber during the 1990s. With this wealth Eli Trayhorne had traveled the world, broadening his horizons and partying with the rich and famous.


After several years of being on the A-list of the best and brightest in Hollywood and later on that of a certain Arabian Prince of roughly the same age, Eli Trayhorne grew bored. He was soon finding greater entertainment through experimentation with a brand of illegal drugs only those with a great deal of money could acquire. His friend, the “Prince,” encouraged him along the way as he discovered more exotic ways to get high and fry his swiftly disintegrating brain.


One summer afternoon, the Prince invited him to try a new experience, which had Eli not been high on blue acid, he might not have tried, nor found particularly palatable.  However, as it turned out, Eli developed a taste for this kind of deplorable activity that generally involved young boys kidnapped off the streets of Moscow, Bucharest or Berlin.


As it turned out his desire for young boys, preferable around the age of 10, became so acute he had difficulty controlling it. A psychiatrist might have found this due to how his father had ignored him only showing attention by rewarding him with money when he remembered he had a son. But Eli suspected it had more to do with a voracious need to feel adrenaline and endorphins which only flooded his system when he was destroying the innocence of another human being.  


It didn’t take long for him to discover that killing the child when he was done with it was even more satisfying than anything he had tried yet. With his connections and money this became an outlet which he made use of more and more, to the point that he could barely go a week without following this pattern. He had employed several underworld thugs who could provide him with children and then later dispose of them for him.


The lights from the city obscured the stars, but Abigail could imagine them lighting her way to her destination, silent omens encouraging her to finish a divine quest.  Though she was going about what others might consider a mission, to her it had become a need. The moon was but a sliver when she crossed the Pacific Coast Highway and ran toward the sea. Though it was a dark night, the sound of the water lapping up the shoreline reached her ears long before she got there. She slowed her running pace and walked along the solitary beach, looking up at the multimillion dollar beach houses.


Eli lived in magnificent Spanish villa situated on nearly an acre of the Encinal bluffs that over looked the Pacific. Abigail turned from the beach and like a wraith in the night skirted up a wooden staircase that led directly to the backyard of Eli’s spacious home.


Abigail could clearly see the beautiful flagstone path that led to several large expansive patios. A fountain and a two-level infinity pool graced the meticulously laid out area. Palms, ferns and other exotic plants grew around the patios and climbed the stone arches and draped over the balcony that over looked the grounds. A burnished wrought iron balustrade grew from the stone work of the upper level, emphasizing the detailed and tasteful design of the metal work.


To the side of the patio stretched a curved stone staircase. Bougainvillea graced the balusters. Abigail took time to appreciate their colorful display as she silently mounted the stairs to the balcony above. She turned away from the French doors that opened onto the master bedroom and gazed out over the Pacific Ocean. The view was arresting, even stirring in its grandeur. She could imagine the terrible power of that sea rising up in a tremendous wave and crashing down on her and this beautiful home, powerless to resist such unimaginable strength.


A thrill shot through her and she quivered. Quickly she removed the black garbage bag from her pocket and cut a hole in the top and two others in the side for her arms. She slipped into the improvised poncho. The bag’s opening fell to her shins.  She looked down at her expensive running shoes and decided to remove them. She wasn’t going to get blood on them.


She held the two Phillips screw drivers in her left hand but held them behind her so they couldn’t be seen as she moved to the doors. It was dark inside, but the sleeping form of Eli on a King-size bed was quite visible to her. Fortunately he was alone.


She smiled and rapped on the glass door with her right hand.  The man inside stirred a little but turned over and continued sleeping.  She knocked again, harder this time. The man’s head jerked then he turned and faced the door. Confusion and a bit of alarm spread across his face. As he stared at her through the door, Abigail couldn’t help but think for a man of 35 he could easily pass for much older.


Abigail gave her most glorious smile and motioned for him to open the door and let her in.  The monster’s puzzled expression melted as he looked from side to side. He was wondering if this was some joke was being played on him. He wasn’t used to strange women wearing garbage sacks knocking on his bedroom door in the middle of the night. Still wary he moved across the bed and climbed out. He was only wearing a pair of silk boxers and his slight gut was just beginning to fold over them.


“Can I come in?” Abigail asked through the door.


As he gazed at her it was obvious he was still confused, but her beauty was beginning to register on his face. His pupils dilated as he took her in. His breathing also increased. She could see these reactions as she continued to motion for him to open the door.


His mouth went a little slack as he approached. Abigail was glad to see the reaction but doubted he was under her spell quite as powerfully as the clerk at the gas station. There was still wariness in his eyes. No doubt his lifestyle had taught him to be careful and never trust people – no matter how appealing they might be.


“Who are you?” His hand was on the knob, but he made no move to unlock it.


“This is 32637 Pacific Coast Highway isn’t it?”


“That’s my address. That doesn’t tell me who you are.” Her powers of attraction were giving way to caution.


Playing her last card she said, “Abdullah bin Abdul-Rahman Al Saud sent me.”


The man’s eyes grew wide at the mention of the name. He looked beyond her to see if anyone else was around. He undid the lock and opened the door. He turned from the door and headed back toward the bed. He looked back at her, but she remained in the doorway.


“What are you doing?” he asked. “Get in here and shut the door.”


Abigail obeyed, steeling herself for what she was about to do. There was no way the man could know that she had exceptional fighting skills. She was extremely fast and would be able to take him down and kill him in a matter of seconds.


“So, why did the Prince send you? And why this dramatic entrance? You could have come to the front door. You could have called first, or for that matter waited until morning. And what are you wearing?” He sat down on the edge of bed and waited for her reply.


“Do you remember Kadir Rassay? How about Adrian Pintér?”


Eli looked at her completely perplexed. “Who?”


“How about Dimitrie Kovách, do you remember what you did to him?”


Eli’s face suddenly drained of blood.  “Who are you? What do you want?”


Moving slowly toward him, Abigail continued, “Perhaps you’ll recall Niklas Fleischer, a cute blond haired boy. He was nine and half when you sliced his throat.”


“The Prince didn’t send you!”


“There was Patrik Miklós, Brendon Sebestyén, and Simon Bencze; all killed by you, after you completely destroyed their souls.”


Quicker than Abigail would have thought possible, Eli pulled open a drawer of the bedside table and brandished a Smith and Wesson Remington Magnum at her. She knew this gun. Just like Dirty Harry warned everyone about in the 1970’s; it was the most powerful handgun in the world. If he was using hollow point shells it could easily rip a hole in her roughly the size of softball.

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