The moment was surreal. It was all that he had hoped for and more. The soft, white blanket that coated the ground sparkled as the moon's glow struck it. He marvelled at his surroundings. The previous chase had caused his heart to pound rapidly behind its cage of bone. He inhaled deeply, filling his chest, the cool air nipped at his dry throat. Holding it within for several seconds then exhaling slowly, steadying himself and his pulse. Beads of sweat snaked down from his brow, his cheeks felt the warmth from under his mask. Through small holes he peered at his prey, his vision slightly blurred from the hunt. He began placing his hands on his waist to stabilise his frame and open his chest to the air, stopping himself suddenly as if it offered a sign a weakness. He regained a powerful posture and admired his victim.
The moon remained full, its presence warming his now cold skin. He looked upon its beauty and flashbacks of the last ten minutes passed slowly through his mind, as if a slide show of the most memorable images were saved in the moment. He closed his eyes and in his mind’s eye he watched as the van crept to his desired location. The trees contained a darkness only found in nightmares. Gentle rays of light creeping through the small gaps from above, the snow illuminated at his feet. The rear doors open and displaying his victim. The girl shivered, wrapping the red cloak around her beaten and naked body. When ready, he let her run free into the mouth of the forest. He followed, senses sharpened by the rush of adrenalin as he gave chase. The moment he caught her, the slight orgasm he welcomed. The twinkling of small eyes observing the show, animals moving cautiously through the carpet of thick white powder.
He opened his eyes and smiled fondly with his success. The girl lay on her side, the cloak hiding her body from his view. He leaned into her, placing a large gloved hand onto her shoulder. Her body felt weak, brittle. He imagined her breaking into small fragments of flesh as he rolled the girl onto her back. Her tears twinkled under the moonlight. He displayed her bleeding body to the sky above, the cloak pulled open allowing the freezing air to numb her.
The time was right, the moment was perfect. He lowered to his knees, placing them either side of her torso, straddling his victim. The remaining energy she held was extinguished by her struggle to remove him. It failed. Her eyes fixed with his, they appeared sunken, deep behind the mask that looked upon her. The black and grey hair coated its face; the wind caused it to dance. The nose, long and hard, the teeth, large and prominent, stained with a yellow tint. He calmed and prepared himself. Leaning backwards and tilting the mask to the moon.
His arms rose over his head, offering the blade to the vastness above. The howl echoed through their surroundings, bouncing off the trees and filling the night. His appearance drove fear into the girl, her eyes wide and glazed over, her skin pale and numb. The trickle of salted tears froze to her cheeks. Her erratic breath escaped as plumes of mist, the warmth smothering his face under the mask.
The cold metal pierced her flesh, her warm blood escaping the wound. She choked, coughing lightly. The knife twisted and carved at her body. He watched as the life was taken from her, the soul expiring from within. He remained kneeling, her heart in the palm of his free hand. The brilliant white carpet absorbed her blood and intensified its colour.......the large pool forming below them. The arterial sprays blotted in several directions as the organ was removed. He raised it to the moon. The Wolf howled, yet again, filling his surroundings.
Nathan offered the chair and Jack Dawson accepted. They both sat, Jack with his back to the setting sun, the warmth soaked in by his skin. He shivered slightly. The warm tingle pulsed through him as he welcomed the heat. The bottle of beer felt cool in his hand and a sliver of water rested against his forefinger as it ran down from the neck.
‘Nice place you got here Nathan’ sipping on the cold liquid.
‘Jack, I don’t think you flew out here to admire my house, what’s up?’
Jack swallowed the mouth full and placed the beer down on to the brown wooden table. He watched as Nathan attempted to read him, the bottle raised to his lips and his eyes fixed on his guest.
‘You know me too well, but I also believe you already know why I’m here Nathan…………how much do you know?’
‘Just what I’ve seen on the internet, I tend to avoid the news now Jack, we like the peace and quiet’
Jack scanned his surroundings. The villa’s cream walls soaked in the sun’s rays and amplified the brightness. The ivy clung to one corner and snaked from left to right at the base of the roof, the decking where they sat was a dark brown wood. It supplied the occupants with a warm seating area and a breath taking view.
Jack imagined Nathan and Elle, his wife, enjoying a meal and sharing a bottle of wine whilst the sun decided to call it a day, the slow rhythm of the resting waves crashing upon the golden sand.
Nathan noticed his old friend pondering and admiring the building, ‘You should have called first!’ he distracted.
‘I know, but honestly, would Elle have been happy with me stopping by?’
‘Probably not no, but she has earned the right to intervene Jack, I hate to bring it up but last time I helped you on a case, I ended up with sixty four stitches and endless nightmares. Elle had to deal with it as well as me. It was hard Jack, for both of us!’
Jack nodded an acknowledgement to sympathise.
‘So, what have you got?’ he pushed
Jack removed a brown A4 envelope from his travel bag and placed it down upon the table, making sure to avoid the slow growing pool of water from his beer. Nathan noticed the crispness that the envelope still held. It had been stuck in that bag since Jack had left the office, man handled through customs at Heathrow Airport, squashed into an overhead storage cabinet on the plane and now sat, looking new, in front of him. Nathan reached forward and gripped the package with his thumb and forefinger.
‘Nathan, I’ll leave you with the information. It’s up to you if you take a look or not although I would appreciate it if you did, I have a feeling that we only have a short space of time to act before the next one is found’ Jack stood and poured the remaining beer down his throat, the bottle made a low thud as he placed it down again.
‘How long do I have Jack?’ staring at the envelope.
‘Tonight mate. I’m flying back tomorrow morning. You can get me on my mobile’, he gave Nathan a slip of paper with the contact information.
‘I’m staying at the hotel next to the airport’. He collected his bag from the floor and descended the wooden stairs onto the beach. Nathan sat still, his eyes closed. He could hear the waves as they struck the white sand. The roaring of a car engine and the high rev’s as Jack left in the rented vehicle, the gravel on the courtyard crunched under the strain of the wheels.
Elle poured another glass of red wine. She hadn’t answered Nathan’s question and he chose not to force her. They sipped quietly as the sky burned with an orange glow. He admired her beauty, her kind eyes glazing over as she thought about the recent proposition. Nathan stood and moved towards his wife, he ushered her forward with his hand and climbed onto the chair, slotting in behind her. She laid back, her hair sticking to his lips as her head rested against his shoulder.
‘I’m sorry babe’ he whispered
‘Good’ her reply holding a slight tint of forgiveness.
‘I won’t go. If you want me to stay then I won’t complain!’
‘I know. But you want to do this don’t you? If you don’t you’ll be wandering about the house, not knowing what to do and being an unsociable pain in the arse!’
She was right. Nathan knew it and so did Elle. It was in his nature to help, it was what he was good at. He had missed being part of the police force, the label it held and position he had reached. But the thing that played on both their minds was the result of the last offer from Jack. The days they spent in hospital, the months of nightmares they both endured and the time they spent apart. Nathan had promised her that he would stay put and