When love is betrayed, there is nothing to contain the demons.
San Antonio, Texas
Sunday, November 26, 12:35 a.m.
He’d been following her for weeks. Watching. Observing. Loving the chase. The hunt. But he wasn’t a monster, nor was he evil. He was a man with a narrowly focused plan that gave his life purpose and structure. Some doubted he had the backbone to see this new plan through. Some didn’t think he had the balls. The commitment. But he did. He sure as shit did.
He waited in the shadows and watched as the silver four door pulled into the convenience store lot. Closed car windows barely muffled “Amor Prohibido” blasting on the radio as the woman in the driver’s seat swayed, tapping her finger on the steering wheel.
When the song ended, she rose out of the car, moving to the pump and inserting the nozzle into the gas tank. This evening she’d chosen a black swing skirt, white silk blouse, and booted high heels. Her accessories were gold hoop earrings, a twenty-inch pearl necklace that nestled between her full breasts, bracelets on her wrists, and of course, her five-carat engagement ring.
She scanned the dark lot as if she sensed his gaze on her. She rubbed her hands over her arms, and then grabbing her purse, headed inside the convenience store.
She waved to the clerk behind the checkout counter. She’d seen him dozens of times before. His name was Tomas, and he owned the place. He had big dreams of building his business. She disappeared into the ladies’ room.
He grabbed his kit from the stolen van’s front seat and opened the door. The now-disabled dome light didn’t click on, leaving him shrouded in the safety of shadows as he left the door ajar. Nerves gripping his gut, he jogged across the lot.
Kneeling at her back tire, he removed an ice pick from his kit. He tightened his grip around the wooden handle and jabbed the tip into the tire’s tread, wiggling it side to side. When he pulled the pick free, the air slowly hissed out. She had maybe five to ten miles before the tire went flat and she would have to pull over. At this time of night, those extra miles on I-35 would put her farther south in a more isolated stretch of road, creating the perfect trap.
Light-headed with anticipation, he dashed not toward his van but toward the dumpster so he could blend into the shadows and watch as she emerged from the restroom into the glaring light of the convenience store. She had touched up her lipstick and fluffed her hair, and she was smiling as she paused by a display of chocolates. She never bought candy, only black coffee, but tonight she picked up a small bag of candies and clutched them close as if she were breaking a long-standing rule. She filled a to-go cup with her customary black coffee, paid as she joked with Tomas, and dumped several bills in a tip jar.
Outside, she ran long fingers through her dark hair. Gold bracelets, glistening in the gas station’s lights, dangled from her wrist.
After replacing the gas nozzle and the cap, she slid behind the wheel, started the engine, and turned up the radio. Instead of driving off as she always did, she ripped open the bag of candy and dug out a thick piece of chocolate. The beat of Latin music pulsated as she sat for several minutes simply eating. Finally she put the car in gear.
His attraction to this woman had nothing to do with the gentle sway of her hips or the tilt of her head. He wasn’t drawn to the shape of her ass in the dark skirt, the curve of her breasts in the white silk blouse, or the slender line of her calves.
That was all nice. But what made him really hard was the awareness that he was going to kill her.
Thoughts of leveling his gun at her heart made his erection pulse. He was in control of the last minutes of her life.
The power was intoxicating.
Her taillights clicked on, and she drove toward the I-35 south ramp. He dashed back to his van and followed, lights off until he reached the interstate ramp. He gripped the wheel as he trailed her, careful to remain several car lengths behind.
It was an unseasonably warm night, nearly moonless, and the stars were bright and clear. He turned on a country-western tune and rolled down his window, savoring the breeze on his face.