Home>>read Tormentor Mine free online

Tormentor Mine(14)

By:Anna Zaires

“I’ll just leave you his card,” Karen says, stepping up to the bed, and I see her give the beeping monitors a worried glance. I don’t need to look at them to know that my heart rate is spiking again, my body going into an unnecessary fight-or-flight mode.

My lizard brain doesn’t know that the memories can’t hurt me, that the worst has already happened. Unless—

“Will I have to disappear?” I gasp out through a tightening throat. “Do you think he’ll—”

“No,” Ryson says, immediately understanding my fear. “He won’t come for you again. He got what he wanted from you; there’s no reason for him to return. If you’d like, we can still look into relocating you, but—”

“Shut it, Ryson. Can’t you see she’s hyperventilating?” Karen says sharply, gripping my arm. “Breathe, Sara,” she tells me in a soothing tone. “Come on, honey, just take that deep breath. And one more. There you go…”

I follow along with her voice until my heart rate steadies again, and the worst of the memories are locked behind the mental wall. I’m still trembling, however, so Karen wraps a blanket around me and sits next to me on the bed, hugging me tight.

“It’ll be okay, Sara,” she murmurs as the pain overflows and I begin to cry, the tears like streaks of lava on my cheeks. “It’s over. You’ll be okay. He’s gone, and he will never hurt you again.”



* * *

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…”

The priest’s droning voice reaches my ears, and I tune him out as I scan the crowd of mourners. There are over two hundred people here, all wearing dark clothes and somber expressions. Under the sea of black umbrellas, many eyes are red-rimmed and swollen, and some women are audibly crying.

George Cobakis was popular during his lifetime.

The thought should anger me, but it doesn’t. I don’t feel anything when I think of him, not even the satisfaction that he’s dead. The rage that’s consumed me for years has quieted for the moment, leaving me strangely empty.

I stand at the back of the crowd, my black coat and umbrella like those of the other mourners. A light brown wig and a thin mustache disguise my appearance, as do my slouched posture and the flat pillow padding my midsection.

I don’t know why I’m here. I’ve never attended any of the funerals before. Once a name is crossed off my list, my team and I move on to the next one, coldly and methodically. I’m a wanted man; it makes no sense to linger here, in this little suburban town, yet I can’t make myself leave.

Not without seeing her again.

My gaze travels from person to person, searching for a slender figure, and finally I see her, all the way at the front as befits the wife of the deceased. She’s standing next to an elderly couple, holding a big umbrella over the three of them, and even in a crowd, she manages to look remote, somehow distant from everyone.

It’s like she exists on a different plane, like me.

I recognize her by the chestnut waves visible under her small black hat. She left her hair down today, and despite the grayness of the rainy sky, I see the reddish glints in the dark brown mass that falls a few centimeters past her shoulders. I can’t see much else—there are too many people and umbrellas between us—but I watch her anyway, like I’ve been watching her for the past month. Only my interest in her is different now, infinitely more personal.

Collateral damage. That’s how I thought of her initially. She wasn’t a person to me, but an extension of her husband. A smart and pretty extension, sure, but that didn’t matter to me. I didn’t particularly want to kill her, but I would’ve done what was necessary to achieve my goal.

I did do what was necessary.

She froze in terror when I grabbed her, her reaction the response of the untrained, the primitive instinct of incapacitated prey. It should’ve been easy at that point—a couple of shallow cuts and done. That she didn’t crack instantly under my blade was both impressive and annoying; I’d had seasoned killers piss themselves and start singing with less incentive.

I could’ve done more to her at that point, worked her over with my knife for real, but instead, I went with a less damaging interrogation technique.

I put her under the faucet.

It worked like a charm—and that’s when I made a mistake. She was shaking and sobbing so hard after the first session that I took her down to the floor and wrapped my arms around her, restraining her and calming her at the same time. I did it so she’d be able to talk, but I didn’t count on my response to her.