Voided Ch. 02bymayeliza©
Voided II --- HomeComing
Taking the two million for Marcus, I went home. I got in my car and drove out of California. I headed south along the coast, hoping to get rid of the despair that was clutching at my heart, and then east towards Texas. I spent that night in a small, dingy motel in the middle of New Mexico. I used Jonathan’s cash to pay for it.
The room itself was nondescript; it looked like a cheap motel room with a bed, an end table, a television, and a cheap print on the wall. All of them screwed down to keep desperate people from taking them. I doubted anyone would be that desperate. I’d been in better rooms, but I’ve also spent countless nights in much worse. I only slept a couple of hours; I took a quick shower in the dirty bathroom, and left the motel before the first rays of dawn.
Entering Texas a midmorning, I once again headed south. Careful not to go too much over the speed limit, I made good time. I got to San Antonio early in the afternoon and stopped for lunch. I went into the first fast food restaurant I came to and ordered a burger, fries and a diet coke. I sat in one of the colorful booths near the rear wall and watched people come in and out of the restaurant for an hour before throwing away the meal I had been unable to eat.
Once more in my car and going southward, I let my mind wander. I knew it was only a matter of time before Sandoval started hunting me. I knew he would; I had done nothing to cover my tracks. I wanted him to come after me. I was tired. The only thing I wanted him to do was kill me in my own territory. I wanted to save my parents the trouble of having to fly to California for my funeral. Maybe I was afraid that they wouldn’t. I thought it would be justice for Sandoval to kill me; I had taken away his only son.
I entered the southern part of Texas, called the Rio Grande Valley, at dusk. The hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach confirmed that I was nearing home. I drove on the interstate until it ended; five minutes before hitting the northern part of Mexico, and turned towards home. I was only about three miles from the front door of my childhood home when I heard the sirens behind me.
Cursing softly under my breath, I pulled over. I was just my luck to have gotten so far without mishap only to be thrown into prison by a traffic cop because I was unable to drive under the speed limit. The cop sat a couple of minutes in his car, running the license plates; they were clean. I lowered my window and handed over my license and proof on insurance before he asked.
He went towards the rear of my car to write out the ticket. I closed my eyes thinking what a laugh Jonathan would have over this. Here I was in my hometown with two million dollars of mob money in my trunk and two loaded guns in my glove compartment. One of them the murder weapon in a recent homicide and the other with the victims fingerprints. Jonathan would have laughed his ass off. God sure had a wicked sense of humor.
Officer Garcia came back to the driver’s side and handed my license and insurance back.
“You’re a long way from California,” he said conversationally as he finished filling out the ticket.
I nodded; not really wanting to talk to the cop, afraid I would start laughing at the entire situation.
“So, what are you doing all the way in South Texas?”
I looked up at him and put on my best innocent girl face, “I’m visiting my parents.”
He handed me the ticket to sign. I had to look at the name he wrote, to make sure I didn’t sign the wrong alias on the ticket. Handing it and his pen back I waited patiently as cars drove by, people staring, glad it wasn’t them pulled over. The officer gave me my copy of the ticket with the usual instructions and warnings, before he nodded and ambled back to his cruiser.
I waited for him to drive away before scrunching up the ticket and throwing it out the window. My death was imminent; I didn’t have the time or inclination to worry about a speeding ticket.
I arrived at my parent’s house a little before eight o’clock. I walked slowly up to the front door trying to decide whether to knock or just walk in when the door opened. My mother stood there, unsmiling
“Ariana, what the hell are you doing here?”
“It’s good to see you, too, Mami,” I replied softly walking forward. “I came to visit.”
My mother moved away from the door letting me enter the house. It looked exactly as it had the last time I’d been inside, almost ten years earlier. I had been eighteen; two days out of high school and I’d left with only a small bag and no money, promising never to return. The walls were a soft blue, more from age than actual design; the furniture was a darker blue, clean, uninviting. The television in the corner was on; I wondered if it had been turned off at all in the last ten years.
“How long are you staying?” my mother asked suspiciously. “Are you planning on staying here?”
I smiled sadly, “Don’t worry about it, Mom. I just came by to say hello. I’ll go to a hotel and stay out of your sight while I’m in town.”
“Don’t be silly,” my dad’s voice boomed from the kitchen. Walking into the room, drying his hands, “You’ll stay here.”
My mother started to say something, and then shook her head. She hugged me tightly, “Of course you’ll stay here. We haven’t seen you in ten years. Those phone calls really weren’t enough.”
I hugged my mother back. Then, went and hugged my father. I had missed them the last ten years, and it was good to be back home.
My mother walked me up to my old bedroom. It was exactly as I had left it. The walls were still a nauseating pale pink, the bed was made with my old black comforter, the computer looked obsolete and clean, my pens and notepads on the purple desk, and a set of tarot cards fanned dramatically on an end table. Nothing had been moved, the room was cleaner than I ever had it but still the same.
“We wanted you to come back,” my mother whispered behind me. “When you first left, you were so angry. Your father and I thought you needed time to calm down and then you would come home. But you didn’t. You didn’t even call that first year. I had no idea where you were or even if you were alive. When you finally called, I was so happy; I cried.”
I smiled at my mom, “I’m sorry, Mom, but that first year was unreal; I couldn’t call. I should’ve called more often. I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
My mom looked at me, questions she wasn’t sure she wanted the answers to in her eyes. I shook my head and turned away from her.
“Are you hungry?”
“No, I ate on the road. Don’t worry. I’m not here to kill anyone. I just wanted to come home.”
My mother sighed, “I didn’t tell anyone what you did for a living. Not even your father. They still think that you’re a lawyer.” My mom walked out of the room closing the door behind her.
Whenever I had called home and my parents had questioned what I was doing, I had told them that I was studying law. Not a complete fabrication, I had been studying laws and all the ways to break them. I even had a law degree from Harvard; it was a fake, but able to stand up any investigation.
I lay down on my old bed staring up at the ceiling thinking back at the last ten years.
I had left my parent’s home early in the evening; I got in my old, beat-up Nissan Maxima and started driving. Now, I don’t remember what the argument had been about; it had simply been another argument in a long string of them. I drove all night, not paying attention to the direction I was heading. I ran out of money and gas somewhere in Nevada late the next afternoon. I pulled on to the side of the road and looked around. There was nothing. I kicked my car a couple of times out of frustration, sat down on the side of the road, pulled my legs close to my chest, and started crying.
Jonathan found me the following morning. I was still on the side of the road; the tears had long dried. Not really caring if Jonathan was a homicidal maniac intent on rape and murder, I got in his car. Then, he was driving a dark blue Jag. Jonathan didn’t ask me any questions, not even my name. I also kept my thoughts and words to myself. In silence we drove through Nevada and into California.
At nightfall we pulled into an apartment building and rode the elevator up to the penthouse. Jonathan fed me and led me to a guest room. After a quick shower, I fell asleep on top of the covers. I woke up in the middle of the night frightened of being in a strange bed not exactly sure how I had ended up there. I made my way quietly to the front of the apartment hoping to leave and go anywhere else. Jonathan was sitting in a large recliner in the living room, all the lights off except a small lamp at his side. He was cleaning his gun. I sat on the sofa and watched him. He looked to be in his late twenties, had black hair, cut short to his scalp, and dark violet eyes. He was wearing jeans and nothing else. I thought he was beautiful. I was content to just sit and stare at him. When he turned to look at me, a shiver ran up and down my spine.
We talked through the night; actually, I talked and he just listened. For the first time in my short life someone just listened without passing judgment or giving advice. He seemed perfect. Jonathan and I became lovers and I blossomed in the freedom of being myself without having to censure my thoughts or actions. I stayed in the penthouse, I took classes at the local college, and at night I slowly fell in love with Jonathan. It took me a couple of months to actually figure out that he was a glorified hit man for the mob, but even that was thrilling. Here I was a small town girl shacking up with a hired gun; it seemed like something out of a movie or a badly scripted soap opera.
Soon, that wasn’t enough. I asked Jonathan to teach me. He did. He taught me how to shoot a gun, how to wield a knife, how to fight, how to tolerate and inflict pain, and most importantly how to keep it all separate so that it wouldn’t affect me. By the end of that first year, Jonathan and I were no longer lovers, we had moved beyond that. He was my friend, my mentor, my teacher. I was an eager student. There was something inside me that wanted to be able to snuff out a life and still remain detached, aloof, and cold.
A year after having picked me up from the side of the road, Jonathan gave me my first assignment.
Her name was Molly Richards, she was thirty-two, had a two year old daughter, and a six year marriage. She worked at a law office as a clerk. The all-American girl with nothing more serious than a parking fine to her name had been unfortunate enough to witness a murder. She had also been all-American enough to go straight to the police to report what she had seen. She was their only witness; their only clue.
Molly had been walking to her car after a long day on a Thursday evening when a noise turned her attention to the back of the garage. She saw two men; a senior partner of her law firm down on his knees, and the other one pointing a gun at his temple. She watched silently as the gun was fired and the partner fell forward to the ground. Without so much as a glance back she had left and gone straight to the police. Jonathan wanted me to slit her throat.
Molly was no longer working. She stayed home with her daughter. There were cops constantly in and out of her house, questioning her; hoping she would remember something to help them catch the killer. For a week I watched the activity in her house. Jonathan’s most important lesson had been patience. So for a week I waited. And in that week I talked myself out of the job a thousand times. I would go home ready to tell Jonathan that I couldn’t and wouldn’t take another life. But I would get home and Jonathan would look at me with violet eyes more beautiful than anything else on earth, and I would say nothing. At that time I was more terrified of the coldness in Jonathan’s eyes than I was of my own uncertainty. So I kept quiet, debated with myself, and waited.
On a Tuesday afternoon I watched Molly walk into her house with her daughter after having gone to the local market to pick up groceries for lunch. The neighborhood was quiet. People were at their jobs; children at school or daycare. There were no other cars around, and for the first time that week no police officers holding court in her living room. I took a deep breath, got out of my car and walked slowly towards the front door.
I looked exactly like what I was, a college student. My dark brown hair was pulled up in a pony-tail; my brown eyes were shaded from the harsh September sun by a pair of glasses. I was wearing tight black jeans, a short sleeve black t-shirt, sneakers, and a thin pair of surgical gloves. I had a gun clipped to the back of the jeans and a knife slipped into my front pocket. Both the gun and the knife had been gifts from Jonathan. I got to the front door and rang the bell, as I waited I slipped my hands into the pockets of my jeans.
I smiled as the door opened, “Hi.”
“Hello,” Molly smiled back slowly. “How may I help you?”
Even then I had my innocent look down pat. “This is so embarrassing,” I stammered out. “My car broke down just down the street,” I turned pointing towards the black Honda Civic Jonathan had borrowed for me. “I was wondering if I could use your phone to call my dad so he could come pick me up, and hopefully fix the car, again.”
Molly looked at me again then opened the door widely. “Sure, the phone’s this way.”
As she walked in front of me, I took my hands out of my pockets and grasped the handle of the knife tightly. She led me to the back of the house to the kitchen. Her cute blonde daughter was sitting in her high chair making a mess out of lunch. Before she got more than a step inside the kitchen, I grabbed her hair and pulled her head back towards me. At 5’6”, I was a couple of inches shorter than she was so I knew the position I had her in was painful.
I looked into her eyes; they were terrified. Her mouth opened and closed several times, but no sounds came out. Her eyes darted from side to side before landing on her daughter. She started struggling; her mother’s protective instincts kicking in. I twisted my hand into her hair, exposing her neck. I quickly ran the knife from one end of her neck to the other; she fell to the ground as the blood started flowing from the wound. Her eyes were wide open and looking at me. I watched her until she stopped fighting against death. Looking up I saw the little girl, her own eyes wide open. I moved towards her, smiling at her, picked up her bib, and cleaned my knife on it. I walked back out through the front door; the neighborhood was still quiet. The sun was high in the sky. I walked quickly towards my car and drove away. I called my mother later that evening told her I was fine and that I had decided to study law.
Jonathan gave me one hundred thousand dollars that night. I moved out the next morning. For the next couple of years all the jobs I did were through Jonathan. He would set them up, and pay me. He taught me everything I needed to know. I would spend most of my time with him learning by simply watching. Eventually I started to move away from Jonathan, I stopped needing him. We still kept in touch, but I never again took another job from him, at least not until Marcus.
The sounds coming from downstairs woke me up from my memories. My mother and father were arguing. The sound of broken glass floated up to my room, I took a deep breathe, closed my eyes and whispered, “Welcome home.”
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