Sandman(6)

By: Morgan Hannah MacDonald



That’s when she decided she was through with men. Godzilla would be the only male in her life from then on.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. Brad wouldn’t give up. He wasn’t the type of man who was used to hearing the word no. He sent cards, flowers and gifts, and she returned them all. Many times she’d come home to an answering machine full of messages from him.

At first, he pleaded with her. He would move out of the house. Buy a home on the beach for Meagan. They could get married. So on and so forth. The bullshit never let up.

One evening, while Meagan locked up the salon, she spotted him sitting in his car watching her. It was then that she realized that the salon was like a fish bowl once it became dark outside. She wondered how many evenings he had done that. It had given her an eerie feeling.

Then Meagan spotted Brad’s car parked on her street. His bright red Corvette didn’t exactly blend in with her neighborhood.

He was stalking her. Just how far would he go?

That’s when Meagan decided to get a dog. She added dead bolts to her doors. She kept her curtains closed at all times. She spent every evening huddled in her cocoon, wondering when he would come in after her.

Afraid of becoming a star in her own Lifetime movie, Meagan asked a client of hers who was a sheriff’s deputy about what she should do. He told her that legally there was nothing unless Brad threatened bodily harm. But, off the record, he could scare the living shit out of the guy if she wanted, he told her. Meagan laughed and thanked him, but declined.

Then one evening while she sat in her living room reading, the phone rang. Meagan had become accustomed to letting the machine screen all her calls. This time she became unnerved. Brad was leaving another of his endless messages, but this time his rant edged on insanity.

“Who the hell do you have in there, Meagan? I know you’re entertaining some man, there’s a strange car parked in front of your apartment. Who is he?” His amplified voice echoed throughout the room.

She stared at the machine in disbelief. Her fear quickly turned to rage. “Is he totally nuts? The entire street is lined with apartments. Who the hell would know if there was a strange car parked out there?” she screamed back at the machine.

Without thinking, Meagan jumped off the couch and ran to the phone. Anger seethed from every pore. She snatched up the handset and yelled, “Leave me alone, you lunatic, or I’m calling your wife!” She slammed the receiver and stared at the phone.

Silence.

Meagan turned off the lights, peeked out the window. His car was still out there. She spent the rest of the night cowering under a blanket on her couch with a knife in her hand. That had been three months ago, and she had heard no more from Brad. It couldn’t have been that easy. Could it?





FOUR



Thomas slipped his phone into his jacket pocket and walked to where Cheryl was busy bagging the hands on the corpse.

“Got TOD yet?”

“My best guesstimate would be between five and midnight,” Cheryl told him. “I’ll be able to narrow it down after I get her back to the morgue.”

“COD?”

“I can’t give you cause of death definitively, but she’s been strangled. You can tell by the bruising around her neck. Can’t exactly check the eyes here, but if she’s anything like the last victim, there will be petechial hemorrhaging. You know I hate to speculate, but if he’s keeping true to form, it will be exsanguination. The sick fuck.” Finished with the hands, Cheryl glanced up.

“That he is.” Thomas stared out at the ocean.

“Who knows,” Cheryl’s voice softened. “Maybe he got so carried away this time he ended up strangling her to death and had to remove her breasts postmortem.” Cheryl stood, slipped off her latex gloves, and brushed the sand from her pants.

“That would be some consolation, better than being alive while some psycho slices off your body parts then watches as you bleed to death.” He kept his gaze on the tumultuous sea. The sky, now blanketed with heavy dark clouds, looked as if it would open up at any moment.

“Okay, she’s ready to be bagged,” Cheryl said before she joined Thomas. He felt her hand on his arm and turned his attention to her.

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