by Jessica Cargill © 2001

The man didn't really want to spare her life, but it seemed to him prudent, since the only thing that was saving her sanity was the fact that she had come to him, begging for death. The parking garage was silent, the orange lights beating down on iron grey concrete. Of course, the woman didn't know that she had come to him for death, but that was just the way people were, deluding themselves into thinking other than their heart declared. He didn't care. Truth came in many forms, and he was one that could smell the slightest lie. The woman was living a lie.

The sound of her footsteps on three inch black pumps echoed across the garage with a metallic sound, steady and economical steps in those black pumps where panty-hosed feet turned a taffy tan color by the thin material slipped into and legs made shiny and attractive by the color that hid the tiny imperfections on the skin and stubble of hair left unshaved for two days. The flat black business skirt hid thighs that had started to plumpen, and the vest hid a stomach that was more round than she would have it. But the biggest lie was the woman's face, calm, collected, made up prettily with paints and powders, and lips rouged red. Only her eyes told true.

The eyes were dark with despair, blue depths clouded with sorrow and capitulation to the fact that she would never be what she really wanted to be. The edge of moisture that indicated tears high on her eyes, the cast of them toward the ground, not bothering to look at the beauty of the world, even smothered under concrete and electricity, that lay before her.

As she pulled out her car keys and thumbed the button that made her small white Eclipse squawk, the man moved forward a bit, as if to go to her. The woman's death lay in his hands, her life as fragile as a butterfly's wing, but he stopped, a slow smile coming across a face too pale and eyes too intense, a smile that could stop hearts in wonder or in fear.

But no. Not this time. He would leave her to her own fate as it was.

The Eclipse pulled slowly out of the parking space and the woman glanced briefly to see a man in her rear view mirror, with high cheekbones and black eyes, hair as pale as ice and hands hanging by his side staring at her with those dark eyes, and eerie and unsettling smile on his face, one that seemed strange by the set of teeth that were too long. The gaze seemed to bore into hers until she could not bear it any longer. The car halted and she undid the seat buckle, but when she looked back, there was no man in the rear view mirror. She buckled back up, fear settling in the pit of her stomach, and drove out of the garage and into the night.

The man knew that she would eventually be his, one way or another. It was just a matter of time.

x x x

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