Early summer nights, they’re mystical. On this night, the skyline of a high-end Baltimore City condominium complex folds into a plush apartment with a stylish, feminine touch. Inside the soft light and warm night air, the balmy water bathes the tanned, firm body of a beautiful young woman.
Sharon Bowling steps out of the shower and grabs a towel to tap dry her delicate skin in the steam and faint breeze from the open bathroom window.
She strolls down the hallway, answering her phone. “Yes. I’m just out of the shower,” she says.
The man’s raspy voice responds with anxious anticipation. “Good. Don’t get dressed. I want the blindfold, the red shoes, and nothing else,” he commands, his voice deep as the summer night.
Not long after, there is a light knock at the young woman’s door. Approaching the door with a mingling of desire and regret, she stops and breathes deep. Then, with a sigh of acquiescence, she pulls the blindfold down over her eyes. As she opens her door, their lust is realized as the thick air between them mixes her exquisite perfume with the restrained strength of his cologne.
The man, tall with dark hair and a muscular build, extends his right hand slowly to close the distance and push the blindfolded Sharon firmly to the wall just inside her door. Sliding his hand down the front of her short, black camisole, he slips it up underneath to touch the inside of her tender thighs, rising over her nipples to gently palm her soft breast. Giving her a strong kiss, he whispers, “Nothing else, I said.”
He bends slowly, going to his knees and throwing both her firm thighs over his shoulders, lifting her up in the air until she’s bracing herself against the low ceiling, relaxing her pelvis while moaning in pleasure. After a few moments, he slides her down, pressed close against the wall, and kisses her again. As she tastes her own essence, he slips deep inside her, providing the thick, muscular fuck their lust demanded.
Later, the young woman stares closely into her bathroom mirror, struggling to fix her hair and her lipstick as she hears a light knock at the door. Her eyes glance there, then back to the mirror. “One minute.”
Sharon opens the bathroom door as her lover steps just inside to take hold of her, caressing and exploring her as he leads her down the hall to the front door. She touches his face, exposing a rose tattoo on her hand. He gazes down her naked body to her red pumps.
“Nice shoes,” he says, putting his wedding ring back on. He gives a wry smile, another strong kiss, then leaves. Sharon closes the apartment door behind him and leans against the wall.
The apartment is completely quiet for a moment, and she stares expressionless as the silence is broken by a familiar voice.
“Hey, baby sis! Where are you? Where are my damn shoes? Call me!” The voice mail message ends with a laugh.
At the downstairs exit, Sharon’s lover leaves the apartment complex and goes out the front of the building. He glances at the mingling of young men looking disapprovingly at him as he walks to his car, the sleek, expensive lines out of place in this neighborhood. He presses the start button on his keychain, and the doors open as the car starts. He enters the vehicle and reaches to tune the radio to a smooth jazz station.
All the young men leave, except one who walks towards Sharon’s lover, still sitting in his car. As that young man gets closer, he slips a handgun from his pocket. Then, from the distant left, a second man, with labored breathing, begins drifting up behind the first young man, just out of the young man’s sight.
The heavy breather gradually moves to the side of the young man, who is pulling his gun on Sharon’s lover, in his car. With a twelve-gauge shotgun in his own hands, he steps to the side of the young man and blows the side of his head off. He stands still for a second, still aiming at the dead young man.
Stunned, Sharon’s lover tries to gather himself. Breathing heavier, the man glances over, then slowly shifts his shotgun, trains it on Sharon’s startled lover, then shoots him at point-blank range.
The second man takes a few more seconds to empty his victim’s pockets and remove his Rolex watch, then exhales before casually walking away. Sharon’s lover, a pool of blood staining his leather seats, twitches once, then is still.
A week later, Samantha Bowling-Vaccorro sits next to her sister, Sharon. She and other family members stare at a portrait of her husband, Jason Vaccorro. The casket is closed.
Her sister reaches out both hands to console Samantha, and Samantha smiles sadly. Samantha, wiping the tears that have already ruined her makeup, grabs her sister’s hand and brings it close to her face, exposing her sister’s rose tattoo as Sharon awkwardly tries to console her.
Three months later
A misty night air and light drizzle envelopes a small city park bordered by two streets on both sides. Across the small park, in the alley behind a stately museum, a vagrant is sleeping in a makeshift box-shelter. The park is quiet and dark.
John Talion, a thirty-eight-year-old ex-homicide detective, is working as a contract investigator. He lies on a park bench, rubbing his face and hair. He sits up, glances at the familiar vagrant, and mumbles to himself, “Well, it’s just you and
me, Old Bernie. The hell are we both doing here?
It’s the need that put us here. Well, I believe there’s honor in hard work. Now, I’m honorably sitting in the rain, looking into this window where a wife, someone else’s wife, is giving an unscheduled blowjob to her lover. My job is to film it and show it to the poor bastard who’s paying me to find out if she’s been unfaithful.” He releases a dispassionate exhale as he lifts his camera.
John focuses on the third-floor window of a row of Victorian buildings opposite the museum. He photographs a man and a woman kissing passionately. The woman leans back, then slowly descends to her knees into the silhouette of performing enthusiastic fellatio. Only the top of her head is visible from John’s park bench viewpoint. John stares at the couple, then looks down, indifference covering his face.
The area and alley around the museum are deserted, except for the handsome man and petite, beautiful woman walking hand in hand casually past the opening. The woman stops, smiles, then redirects their walk into the alley with a laugh. She stops again and leans against the wall, pulling the man in close while caressing his thick arms.
“Will you?” the man asks.
“Oh yes, I will,” the woman responds.
Glancing around for privacy, the man quickly has his hands all over her. He reaches into her open blouse to gently massage her breast as she pushes towards him. He gently strokes her hair with his other hand, then swiftly grips her throat, lifting her slowly off the ground, scraping and grinding the back of her head against the brick wall.
Her splintering fingernails scrape into the wall as she rises. He removes his other hand from her blouse, exposing one of her breasts, then reaches into his coat for a boning knife. He chuckles, slowly bringing her down to eye level while peering deeply into her bulging eyes. Pinning her by the neck against the wall, he leans into her and licks her whole face. The woman, now understanding that her companion is murdering her, strains to release one last muffled scream.
“No, please! Please!”
He smiles slightly, giving her a soft, slow kiss while slipping the knife into her ribs. His lips remain locked with his victim as small drops of blood spill into
Slowly, he stabs her over and over as she is lowered down to the ground, only then releasing his kiss of death. He kneels down, face speckled with blood, gazing into her eyes to determine the instant life leaves her body.
With a surgeon’s precision, the man continues to cut and slice her. Then, in mid-stab, he stops, removing the blood-soaked knife from her chest. Carefully he reaches down, taking her left hand and mechanically wrenching her pinky from its socket.
He stands, surveys his work, then starts slowly walking away. Increasing his pace, he races past the vagrant, Bernie, and out of the alley. His footsteps make almost no sound in the silent, warm night.
In the alley, the woman’s butchered body lays prone, her eyes wide open as a lone drop of blood drips off her eyelid. The destruction is absolute, her grimace of fear and sorrow the final testament to her last grasp on life.
Sprinting directly at John, the man makes one quiet, mechanical turn, gliding past John on the park bench. Sensing motion, John looks up quickly to see a lone figure almost a block away. He then turns toward the sound of a crash as the vagrant stumbles over a trashcan at the edge of the alley. The trashcan lid rolls into the street, where it’s hit by a passing car which continues straight on, unfazed. Silence reigns again, broken only by the insufficient mumblings of the vagrant struggling to form the words, “Murder, murder!”
John stands and gains his balance, moving towards the terrified man, who is pointing down the alley. Sprinting into the narrow passageway, John sees blood leaking into the drain water and a woman in a white blouse and skirt, turned red with blood.
She is laying face-up in complete submission, her blouse open and her entrails placed neatly outside the body. A pinkie finger in the center of the display stands like a gruesome candle on a death day cake.