CHAPTER FOURTEENShe left him while he was sleeping, sprawled naked and stinking on top of the hotel sheets.She vomited quietly into the toilet. Once. Twice. Then she slipped her clothes on and crept out of the door.Marie held her body far too carefully. She was tired, and sore, and disgusted, and so, so jubilant. When she stepped into the lobby that she had only been in a few hours before, the man behind the desk raised one eye at her.GLENN, his nametag read.“Hello, Glenn. Would you call a cab for me? Please?”“Certainly.”Glenn the Polite spoke quickly and quietly on the phone. Marie leaned against the desk, aware that her eyes were starting to blacken and her face was swollen. “Is there anything else I can do for you, Miss?” Glenn asked her. His words were professional, but his tone said so much more. Sweet, kind Glenn. A lamb working at the desk, unknowingly serving a wolf.She looked him deeper in the eyes, then, and realized that he knew. That there was a weariness
CHAPTER FIFTEENShe walked into the police station. Officer Will took one look at her and leapt up from his desk.“Marie!”“Don’t touch me. I have DNA. Lot of it.”“Marie, what did you do?”He reached out to touch her but she pulled back.“Please. Could you take me to the hospital? Is that what I need to do?”The officer’s face changed. Anger and concern, yes. A little bit of hope. Something that looked like sorrow, but she couldn’t be certain. But underneath, something primordial and snake-like roiled to the surface. Hatred and revenge.“He assaulted you?” he asked. “I can’t believe he would be so stupid. Where is he?”“It wasn’t like that at all. He didn’t do anything that I didn’t ask him to do.”Marie didn’t realize another person could look so stricken. His concern was making her lose her nerve.“Please,” she said. “The hospital. Because after this is done, I really want to take a shower more than anything else on earth.”“Marie.”He reached into his desk for his ke
CHAPTER SIXTEENOfficer Will’s wife met her at the hospital.“Thank you for coming,” Marie sobbed. “Thank you so much.”“Of course I’d come,” Winnie said. She sat in the corner of the room while the nurses scrubbed and swabbed and collected everything they could. It was like being violated all over again, except with soft voices and lighter touches.The worst, Marie thought, was when she exposed her breasts. Bite marks everywhere. On her nipple and ribs and on her stomach.“I hope it helps,” she whispered to nobody in particular. “I hope it helps my baby.”They didn’t understand and she didn’t bother to explain, but pictures were taken. Bites were measured. Details were taken and carefully written down.It seemed to last for hours. At last they said she could go home.“I’ll drive you,” Winnie offered, and Marie nodded wearily.The car ride was silent for a long time. Marie leaned her head back against the seat and stared at the dark sky.“Thank you for coming today,” she sa
CHAPTER SEVENTEENThe test results came back. This wasn’t The Wolf. Neither the DNA nor the bite marks were a match.She had done it, but it wasn’t worth it. Not at all.
CHAPTER EIGHTEENOfficer Will took the call with sorrow. Grim Marie had taken her own life. She was found in the bath with expensive-smelling bubbles and a candle. She had used a razor.He wished this hadn’t surprised him.His heart felt heavy, but he tried to convince himself that at least she was at peace now, enfolded in the arms of her mother and her daughter. A third little urn lined up on the shelf, perhaps. At least the pain and misery of her hunt for The Wolf was over.He sighed.“I’m responsible,” he said aloud, and the words pierced. They twisted up inside of him like a jangle of knives and sharpened bones and Dead Marie’s razor blades.He had sent her after the man she believed to be her daughter’s killer. Told her to keep an eye out for any DNA he might drop. He hadn’t believed this man was The Wolf, but it didn’t matter. It gave her something to do. Gave her something to throw her heart and soul into, since she had little heart and no soul left. Picking up a littered