BY SCOTT H. URBAN
About the author
"You," said Bleak. "You killed Roger."
"You really don't remember, do you?" Patty smiled, a thin smile with no humor to it. "If you remembered, you wouldn't have left me back at the house, Roger--if you really are Roger. I'm beginning to think this is some sort of trick, because you don't talk like Roger, and you certainly don't act like Roger." She stepped into the room and with a quick, snake-like movement, jerked the gun out of Bleak's hand.
"Roger was at your house, making love to you," Bleak stated.
Patty nodded. "Right, while my husband was here with this thug. You told me that night you'd had enough of sneaking around. You wanted to break it off with Dolores and confess everything to Phillip. I tried to talk you out of it, but you wouldn't listen. You were determined to come down here and see Phillip that very evening.
"You would have caught them together. You would have seen Phillip operating on Spike, and you would have gone to the police. It would have been all over the papers -- society wife wed to a man with mob connections. I just couldn't face that. Besides, although Phillip and I haven't loved each other for many years, he still provides me with what I want--all I have to do is ask. I don't think that would have continued if you and I had gotten together.
"I went down to Phillip's study. He's brought many strange drugs and chemicals home for his research. He's even imported some curare. Phillip showed it to me at one point. It's a South American drug. When it's injected in the bloodstream, it induces muscle paralysis. So I put some on the tip of a needle, came back into the bedroom, and jabbed you with it. You flailed around for a minute, then fell limp to the floor. After that I put a pillow over your face, long enough to know that I'd suffocated you. I apologize for the fact that it's not a pleasant way to go . . . but you have to understand I was making it up as I went along."
"Patty. . . . " Bleak held his hands out.
"Stay where you are!" Patty snapped. "Don't move! I know bullets can't stop you, but I wonder how you'll get around if I shoot your eyes out? And believe me, I'm a pretty good shot."
Bleak stepped back and dropped his arms.
"I think I'll have you douse yourself with some medicine. Then we'll set you--and the whole clinic--on fire. Bullets may not stop you, but I'll bet a fire will keep you from moving around too much. It'll be interesting to see what the police make of it as they sift through the ashes."
"Patty, it's not too late to turn yourself in."
"Shut up!" she barked. "In one evening, you've ruined my entire life."
"Roger McCutcheon forgives you, Patty," Bleak said calmly. "He hopes you'll realize there's no escape and you'll accept your fate."
Patty snickered, low, harshly. "You were weak, Roger; even when you were alive, you were weak. I never should have taken you into my house, let alone into my bed. Now I'm going to send you right back where you belong--back to Hell." She raised her gun and took aim at Bleak's right eye. "I hope you like being dead. . . . "
She started to squeeze the trigger. The whipcrack sound of a gunshot filled the small space. Bleak flinched. He saw a red blossom spread across the front of Patty's dress. She looked down at it in surprise, as if upset that she'd have to have it specially cleaned now--
And she crumpled to the floor, the gun spinning away from her hand.
Behind her, Phillip Easton, her husband, was holding Spike Salvatore's .45 handgun. He had listened to Patty in the last fleeting minutes of his life, had picked up the firearm, and administered his own retribution. Now he sank back to the floor, his face relaxing as his spirit ebbed away.
Bleak fell back against the wall. It felt as if he had just lost his sense of balance. Everyone, everyone is dead. . . , he thought. He seemed to be slipping underwater. Objects began to seem twisted, wavy. Darkness was rising from the floor, filling the surgery.
Patty was right about one thing, he thought before the blackness swallowed him. The police are going to have a devil of a time sorting out what they find here.
* * *
And in this instance, you have carried out my will. But your evil, Edward Bleak, is so immense that, should you find the guilty until the sun grows dim, you still will not have paid for your crimes. Now decide. Hell still awaits you . . . or you can become yet another victim, seeking your killer in the world.
Choose your destiny, Edward Bleak. . . .
Table of Contents
Bleak Lives is copyright Scott H. Urban. It may not be copied or
used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews.
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