A combination of ignorance and nonchalance framed the bull’s eye she wore on her forehead. He’d advised her to leave home two days ago. They could handle legalities later but not if she lacked a pulse. Stubborn woman insisted on returning. Her late morning call today surprised him, finally ready to pack and leave. Failure to meet him at his office did not.
This woman needed help, even if she didn’t realize it. As a private investigator, he’d seen this scenario rehearsed many times. For reasons unknown, human nature’s broken record played out on the Mobius strip, fate having trapped him in the loop.
The steady slap and scrape of his windshield wipers whisked the few drops of rain from his windshield, evidence that heaven cried for its angels. He stomped the accelerator. His Mazda ate up the miles as he tried to focus his mind. The closer he got to her house, the more his mind screamed with recriminations…Too late. You should have come to her house this morning.
Stones skittered into the grass bordering her driveway as his car slid to a stop in front of her bungalow. The one with the front door ajar. Oh God, I am too late. Not again. He had little recollection of getting out of his car or running into her house. He knew in his gut, he’d failed. He’d promised her he’d help, and he failed. It didn’t matter that she’d ignored his advice.
In the middle of the living room floor, she lay face down, remnants of pain still etched in her expression. Naked, blood pooled under her abdomen in an ever-widening arc. Spatters of red adorned the surrounding wall cabinets, TV, and sofa. Her hair, burnt copper in the fading light streaming through the bay window, didn’t cover her wide staring eyes. His heart pounded in his chest, sweat beaded his forehead. With shaking fingers, he bent and touched her neck, a pulse, a weak one, fast and thready. She’ll never make it, his subconscious roared through his head as he snatched up his cell to dial nine one one.
The universe he bellowed his pain to felt colder than her body. The warmth of her soul flowed out, staining the carpet with wild abandon. He could smell the residue of gunpowder. The yapping of her ankle biter at his feet didn’t register in his mind until he saw its footprints surrounding the woman’s thin frame, written in her blood.