Книга Sense Of Evil. Содержание - 1
Sense Of Evil
The third book in the Evil series
This one is for Jeff and Tommy,
my shopping buddies.
Mostly because they didn’t believe
I’d put them in a book.
THE VOICES WOULDN’T leave him alone.
Neither would the nightmares.
He threw back the covers and stumbled from the bed. A full moon beamed enough light into the house for him to find his way to the sink in the bathroom.
He carefully avoided looking into the mirror but was highly conscious of his shadowy reflection as he fumbled for a drinking cup and turned on the tap. He drank three cups of water, vaguely surprised that he was so thirsty and yet… not.
He was usually thirsty these days.
It was part of the change.
He splashed his face with the cold water, again and again, not caring about the mess he was making. By the third splash, he realized he was crying.
Wimp. Spineless coward.
“I’m not,” he muttered, sending the next handful of water to wet his aching head.
You’re afraid. Pissing-in-your-pants afraid.
Half-consciously, he pressed his thighs together. “I’m not. I can do it. I told you I could do it.”
Then do it now.
He froze, bent over the sink, water dribbling from his cupped hands. “Now?”
“But… it’s not ready yet. If I do it now-”
Coward. I should have known you couldn’t go through with it. I should have known you’d fail me.
He straightened slowly, this time looking deliberately into the dim mirror. Even with moonlight, all he could make out was the shadowy shape of his head, dark blurs of features, faint gleam of eyes. The murky outline of a stranger.
What choice did he have?
Just look at yourself. Wimp. Spineless coward. You’ll never be a real man, will you?
He could feel water dripping off his chin. Or maybe it was the last of the tears. He sucked in air, so deep his chest hurt, then let it out slowly.
Maybe you can buy a backbone-
“I’m ready,” he said. “I’m ready to do it.”
I don’t believe you.
He turned off the taps and walked out of the bathroom. Went back to his bedroom, where the moonlight spilled through the big window to spotlight the old steamer trunk set against the wall beneath it. He knelt down and carefully opened it.
The raised lid blocked off some of the moonlight, but he didn’t need light for this. He reached inside, let his fingers search gingerly until they felt the cold steel. He lifted the knife and held it in the light, turning it this way and that, fascinated by the gleam of the razor-sharp, serrated edge.
“I’m ready,” he murmured. “I’m ready to kill her.”
The voices wouldn’t leave her alone.
Neither would the nightmares.
She had drawn the drapes before going to bed in an effort to close out the moonlight, but even though the room was dark, she was very conscious of that huge moon painting everything on the other side of her window with the stark, eerie light that made her feel so uneasy.
She hated full moons.
The clock on her nightstand told her it was nearly five in the morning. The hot, sandpapery feel of her eyelids told her she really needed to try to go back to sleep. But the whisper of the voices in her head told her that even trying would be useless, at least for a while.
She pushed back the covers and slid from her bed. She didn’t need light to show her the way to the kitchen, but once there she turned on the light over the stove so she wouldn’t burn herself. Hot chocolate, that was the ticket.
And if that didn’t work, there was an emergency bottle of whiskey in the back of the pantry for just such a night as this. It was probably two-thirds empty by now.
There had been a few nights like this, especially in the last year or so.
She got what she needed and heated the pan of milk slowly, stirring the liquid so it wouldn’t stick. Adding in chocolate syrup while the milk heated, because that was the way she liked to make her hot chocolate. In the silence of the house, with no other sounds to distract her, it was difficult to keep her own mind quiet. She didn’t want to listen to the whispering there, but it was like catching a word or two of an overheard conversation and knowing you needed to listen more closely because they were talking about you.
Of course, some people would call that paranoia. Had called it. And at least part of the time, maybe they weren’t wrong.
But only part of the time.
She was tired. It got harder and harder, as time went on, to bounce back. Harder for her body to recover. Harder for her mind to heal.
Given her druthers, she would put off tuning in to the voices until tomorrow. Or the next day, maybe.
The hot chocolate was ready. She turned off the burner and poured the steaming liquid into a mug. She put the pan in the sink, then picked up her mug and carried it toward the little round table in the breakfast nook.
Almost there, she was stopped in her tracks by a wave of red-hot pain that washed over her body with the suddenness of a blow. Her mug crashed to the floor, landing unbroken but spattering her bare legs with hot chocolate.
She barely felt that pain.
Eyes closed, sucked into the red and screaming maelstrom of someone else’s agony, she tried to keep breathing despite the repeated blows that splintered bones and shredded lungs. She could taste blood, feel it bubbling up in her mouth. She could feel the wet heat of it soaking her blouse and running down her arms as she lifted her hands in a pitiful attempt to ward off the attack.
I know what you did. I know. I know. You bitch, I know what you did-
She jerked and cried out as a more powerful thrust than all the rest drove the serrated knife into her chest, penetrating her heart with such force she knew the only thing that stopped it going deeper still was the hilt. Her hands fumbled, touching what felt like blood-wet gloved hands, large and strong. The hands retreated immediately to leave her weakly holding the handle of the knife impaling her heart. She felt a single agonized throb of her heart that forced more blood to bubble, hot and thick, into her mouth, and then it was over.
She opened her eyes and found herself bending over the table, her hands flat on the pale, polished surface. Both hands were covered with blood, and between them, scrawled in her own handwriting across the table, was a single bloody word.
She straightened slowly, her entire body aching, and held her hands out in front of her, watching as the blood slowly faded until it was gone. Her hands were clean and unmarked. When she looked at the table again, there was no sign, now, of a word written there in blood.
“ Hastings,” she murmured. “Well, shit.”