Death In The Window
Kamlei stared at the plastic test kit in her hand. Her hands shook as she waited. She felt torn inside. When she missed her time of the month, nervous butterflies swarmed inside her. It was the second test she took, she had to make sure – there could be no doubt about the results. The blue plus sign told her all she needed to know.
Her heart raced as she paced through her large apartment. The soft carpet caressed the soles of her feet. Every part of her body was alive. Every sensation amplified. She looked at the leather couch and considered sitting down.
There was no way she could sit still right now.
She couldn’t wait to tell him. She ran her hands through her hair and then touched her belly. Would he be happy?
Kamlei stopped and stared at the painting on the wall. It was called, The Scream, and she hated it. The painting overwhelmed her senses. It made her afraid. It was a cartoon caricature of fear, giving her a sense of desolation. But he liked it. How could anyone like such a terrifying scene? Her stomach wanted to shrink and disappear when she stared at it too long. She looked away and glanced at the CCTV display of the lobby on the TV screen.
He was here, headed for the elevator.
She would be ready.
She thought about how he’d take her news. Would he be mad, or would he share in her excitement? She hoped he would see the joy in the amazing gift they were given. A gift she never expected, a surprise she could never have anticipated.
They were bringing a new life into the world.
Kamlei stood at the door and opened it. A kaleidoscope of butterflies swarmed inside her. Excitement and trepidation competed in her mind. She walked back and forth across the carpet. When she heard the elevator an anxious hope slipped through her.
She welcomed him as he walked in and smiled at her. Kamlei wanted to leap in his arms and share her news but restrained herself. Instead, she gave him a quick, warm kiss and turned around. There was lots of time to tell him.
She entered the kitchen and grabbed the drinks she’d poured, Scotch for him and tea for her. She wondered if he’d notice she wasn’t having wine. Would he realize why?
He took the scotch and looked right through her; his mind was somewhere else.
Her heart pounded. She wanted to scream. She wanted to cry.
I’m right here! And I’m having your baby.
The thoughts erupted inside, but she held back. Finally, he looked at her, really noticed her. Then he looked at her cup of tea. He raised his left eyebrow and set down his laptop on the table. The power cord was still in his hand.
He was so strong, so handsome. She badly wanted this to be right, for him to feel the joy bursting inside her. She kept silent, afraid he wouldn’t be happy, staring up into his eyes and trying to see into his mind. She longed to feel his heart. Somewhere inside, she knew he loved her. After ten years, there had to be something there.
When he stared back at her, she knew he could tell she was hiding something.
“Kamlei, my little boa boa. Why don’t you have wine? Why are you making me drink alone? Are you feeling all right?” His words broke the spell.
“I feel amazing, my love.” Kamlei smiled, put down her tea, and wrapped her arms around him. She pressed into him, wanting to share her heart, she held him tight.
“Mmm, yes, you are. Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t want any wine?”
“I am fine, my love.” Kamlei grabbed his glass of scotch from him and set it down. She took his hand and placed it over her heart, then stared into his eyes. “Do you feel my heart, my love? It’s beating just for you. Soon there will be two hearts inside, beating for you.” She held his eyes and smiled. She desperately wanted him to share her joy. She could tell right away, though, that he didn’t.
“What do you mean? Two hearts? What are you saying, Kamlei?” His frown was reflected in the tone of his voice.
“Yes, my love, I am pregnant. It’s as much a surprise to me as it is to you. But isn’t it wonderful? We are bringing another life into the world.”
“Pregnant! That was never part of the deal.” A dark look came over his face.
He held her wrist and squeezed hard. He pushed her away, and in one quick motion, had the laptop cord around her neck.
“Stop.” She gasped as the cord tightened. “You’re hurting me. I thought you would be happy—” She tried to pull away.
He held her firm and pulled the cord tighter.
Her eyes pleaded with him to stop, but he wasn’t stopping. It was as if he was possessed. His eyes were beyond reach. He was lost to her, and she couldn’t stop him.
He kept squeezing. She pushed at him with her hands. He was too strong. She’d never seen such rage in him. She tried to wriggle out of his embrace and tried to pull the cord away from her neck. If only she could reach his eyes and scratch them.
Who was this stranger stealing her life away? Where was the man she’d grown to love?
She fought harder, pushing at his chest. She tried to pull the cord away from her neck, but it was too tight.
How much longer could she hold on?
Kamlei swung her arms at him, but her hands were slippery with sweat. She kicked her foot, and the drinks flew off the table. For a split second, he stopped choking her. Then he glared at her and pulled tighter on the cord.
Her strength ebbed. Her vision blurred.
If he didn’t let go soon, it would be over. It would be too late.
She searched his face and pleaded with her eyes; an unspoken why hung in the air between them. All she saw was a stranger staring back at her. A madman full of rage.
She struggled for each ragged breath.
Her arms reached again, and she tried to scratch an eye, but she was too weak. There was nothing left as spots filled her vision.
Kamlei tried for one more breath.
She was too weak to fight, but she tried to squirm and get away right to the last second. He pushed her down on the couch, lifted his knee, and put it on her throat, crushing the last bit of life from her body.
All light faded as everything went black.
* * *
Larry Mullen glanced at his reflection in the window and saw himself holding the laptop power cord. He watched himself wrap it around the young woman’s neck. He saw himself lose all self-control. Anger took over—he was no longer controlling his actions.
He stared, horrified, as the cord carved a line into her beautiful throat. He pulled the cord tighter and tighter. He watched it happen in slow motion, dismayed by what he was doing.
Stop! his mind screamed.
His body didn’t listen.
Kamlei stared up at him. He looked into her eyes, fear and confusion echoing back at him.
He kept squeezing.
He wanted to stop, to let go. But it was out of his control. He saw the look again, a pleading look searching for a reason why.
Why? He kept asking himself that. But there was nothing he could do to stop.
She squirmed beneath him, but he held on and kept squeezing.
She thrashed and pushed his arms and tried to grab him. A wave of terror came over her face when she realized he wasn’t stopping. Her legs thrashed out and the drinks flew off the table.
He stopped for a second, trying to gain control. A feeling of remorse pulsed through him, but he kept on. Kept squeezing.
Her body twisted as she fought to live. She threw her hands forward and tried to claw his face, but she couldn’t reach. He pushed her onto the couch, towering over her. His knee pressed down on her throat. Her eyes glazed over, and he could tell she was letting go.
He wanted to stop. The stranger inside him kept going, kept squeezing. Kept pushing.
The light in her eyes faded.
A movement outside the window caught his attention. On the other side of the glass sat a man on some sort of swing. A bucket hung from the bottom of the seat, and he held a large suction cup in one hand. His hair fluttered in the breeze.
They stared at each other for a frozen moment.
The man in the window reached for the front of his harness and pulled some type of lever.
Then he was gone.
* * *
This is the first chapter of my upcoming thriller novel. I finished the first draft on March 23. Please leave a comment with any feedback.