Emma woke up crying. Crying of happiness. She sat up, feeling embarrassed and dirty. She dreamt about David again. They were back together, and they made love. She shivered. Emma felt depressed. It was four in the morning, and she decided she might as well shower and go in to the station.
“Anything new on your one-eight-seven?”
Emma looked up at her supervisor, detective Branson. She considered explaining to him that Forensic Detective David Lang did it. That he was a violent psychopath, and that she had sex with him. And she considered telling him that he could forget it. She would never, ever sleep with him. She blushed as a particularly filthy thought crossed Branson’s mind.
“Nothing. Yet.” He turned without comment, and Emma slugged back into her chair. A little voice inside her mind kept telling her. It was time to take the law into her own hands.
Emma leaned against the wall outside her office. People were coming and going and across from her a youth was handcuffed to a chair, waiting for detective Aldridge to question and book him. On an impulse, she took her iPhone and dialed David’s number. No answer. She felt relieved, and just as she slipped the phone back into her back-pocket, it rang. She was startled, her heart beating faster. It was David!
“Hello, David?” Emma’s voice wavered a bit, and she could sense that David, that the predator in David, would not have missed this. “David?”
“So I was surprised to see you calling?”
“Were you not even a little happy to hear from me?” Emma tried her best to sound a bit girlish and a bit spontaneous, but she knew she failed. She sounded flustered and needy.
“Happy. I’m over the moon.” A silence followed, and the discomfort forced Emma to speak.
“Like I was wondering, maybe…can we see each other again. Nothing. Just, I was – we – it’s just that we haven’t spoken after that.”
“After I beat the crap out of that rabid dog?”
Emma felt cold all over. “Yes. Exactly. Maybe we can just have some wine, and talk?”
“I’d like that.” David suddenly sounded like a romantic beau again, the defiance of a second ago gone. Can you come to my place for dinner. I’ll make you something you’ll never forget.”
Emma sat in her car, shaking like a leaf. She had to run the car and keep the aircon going to stop her from sweating anxiously. She sent Beth a whatsapp, again.
‘Remember, its 621 Ross Drive 21, Santa Rosa. The Tuscan House with the apple orchard at the end of the dirt road. If I am not outside by eleven, you bring Brody and the cavalry.’
Emma felt relieved. The message went blue. Beth was on her post. Emma got out. Her blouse felt too tight and her denims cut into her. She was scared, but she was strangely aroused too. The thought of David? She paused. She knew he was dangerous.
She rang the bell at the gate, and to her surprise an old woman, a really old woman opened the gate.
“She has good bones this one. She will die slowly.”
“What?” Emma asked, shocked. What did you just say?
“She is all piss-and vinegar this one. She will last a long time this one. My back hurts. I must remember to put the powder into the glass with the green ring and not the red ring. I am tired. The gringo is el Diablo. I like to hear them scream.”
“You been with David a long time?” Emma tried to compose herself. This old bat planned to help David to murder her tonight.
“I was there when he was born. His mother died. I raised him.”
They sat down outside, in the apple orchard. The sweet smell of apples and freshly cut grass added to David at his deceptive best. He smiled, and she longed for his touch, even, she thought, if he is a reptile. He still smells pretty good.
The old woman brought their drinks. Emma felt gooseflesh creep over her skin. She took the big glass with the green ring and sniffed.
“Mmmh. Smells divine. David smiled intently, watching her. She pretended to take a small sip. My God this is good.” He smiled. Let me get you one of these delicious tortillas.
Emma emptied the glass onto the wet grass every time David turned. Then she pretended to fall asleep, and fell from her chair with great aplomb. .David kicked her, to see if she would wake up, and she had to hold her pose. Then he called the old woman. He picked her up and flung her over his shoulder. He was a monster, but she wanted so much to love him.
David threw her down on a cold cement floor. She almost complained loudly, but since she was out cold, she feigned unconsciousness. David said something to the old woman in a strange, foreign language.
“The spare keys are under the cardboard box. My boy needs to feed tonight. El Diablo calls.”
David locked the door behind him, and went towards the house. She could hear their footsteps disappearing. She opened her eyes and desperately searched for the box the old woman thought off. She lifted the box and found the spare keys. She stopped for a moment to catch her breath, and then she shrieked loudly.
On the workbench! A dead body of a decomposing woman lay there. Her head was smashed in and her belly was cut open and some of her organs were removed. The box was full of trophies, driver’s licenses and photographs of dead girls, dead women. David was so sure of the potency of whatever poison the old woman put into her glass, that he didn’t even remove her phone from her back pocket.
Emma texted Brody and Bethany. Then she waited, and what felt like less than five minutes, she could see the outline of the blue lights turning and she could hear the sirens, like hundreds of Crown Victoria’s chasing towards the Orchard.
Thank God for Beth. She went to Brody without my permission. She thought I was stark raving mad. Bless her. And she felt a tang of emotion when she thought of Brody. She heard David’s Crown Vic start, and he crashed through the front gate. Emma opened the steel door with the spare key and ran towards the house. She had unfinished business with the evil old woman.
When she reached the kitchen the old woman sat quietly on a kitchen chair. She had a white ring around her mouth, as if she just drained a glass of milk. El Diablo, she whispered, and pointed to a broken vial of white powder. You’ll never get me she said, and then she started foaming around the mouth before crashing to the floor.
Brody took her to the bridge. San Francisco was blocked off, and the Golden gate bridge was closed. Brody drove through the line, and took Emma to the spot where the Chief stopped him.
“Go to him. He’s threatening to jump, but we need him alive. God knows how many people he killed, how many cases we can close, how many people could finally get closure if he talks.”
Emma got out. Her legs felt rubbery, and she was cold. The fog was coming in over the Bay and she felt her hair getting wet and icy.
“Stay where you are. Don’t come closer!” David screamed. His voice was eerie, evil, metallic almost.
“Emma? What the fuck are you doing here. I should have beaten you to death in Calistoga.”
“You don’t mean that” Emma tried to calm him down.
“You don’t get it, you stupid, stupid woman. I felt nothing for you. Nothing.” David started laughing wildly.
“David, let’s talk, please, I’m coming over.”
The mist covered the bridge now, and the Chief ran to Emma. “Emma, stop! It’s too dangerous. Eyes on six-four, eyes on six four.”
Six burley SWOT officers appeared from the mist and literally picked her up and ran away with her. The mist cleared as fast as it came. David was gone. “Man over the rails, man over the rails. I can see him sir. I see his orange sweater. Its him, yes. He jumped. His dead sir.”
“Get the divers down there now.”
Emma was cloaked in a warm blanket again. “You okay? It was Brody, Emma smiled. He was not at all bad looking.