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Authors: Ray Garton

Bestial (12 page)

BOOK: Bestial
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Bob and his family made their way into the sanctuary and seated themselves in a pew. They went through all the motions—praying, singing hymns, passing the offering plate, listening to the two little girls who sang a duet for special music. Finally, Pastor Edson began his sermon.

“‘And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,” he read from the bible, “and the glory of the Lord shone round about them—” Then his voice boomed through the sanctuary as he read, “‘
and they were sore afraid
.’” He looked out over the congregation a moment, letting the words sink in. “When angels appear in scripture, people get scared. They drop to their knees and hide their eyes in fear. These are not the angels we see on Hallmark cards. These are not the angels we see on Christmas trees. They are messengers of the Lord, and they are

Bob only half-heard Pastor Edson’s voice. He was pleased that his family had chosen to seat themselves in a location just happened to give him a good view of Vanessa in a pew across the aisle with the sheriff and the others. He watched her during the entire service, thinking about what it would be like to touch her hair... wondering how her skin tasted... imagining her without those clothes...


It was a sin, of course—Rochelle knew that and did not deny it. She was painfully aware of her weakness. But that awareness did not stop her.

“Angels are not cute,” Pastor Edson said, “because the Lord God is not cute. God is a force to be reckoned with, the creator of all things, the beginning and the end, and when he sends someone a message, it’s delivered by a being of his creation that will
get their attention

As Pastor Edson preached his sermon, she looked at her son and husband beside her in the pew, both of them staring off at nothing in particular, occupied with their own thoughts. They had no clue that they saw only one side of her—the side she thought of as Good Rochelle. The only people who ever saw Bad Rochelle were the men with whom she was bad. Those men knew a very different Rochelle than her family, different even than the Rochelle her husband saw in the privacy of their bedroom. The Rochelle Mike knew in their bedroom was still Good Rochelle—occasionally playful, willing to please him but not interested in anything
passionate or unconventional, though that seldom happened between them now, and it had been that way for years. She knew she could not show her bad side to anyone with whom she had a close relationship, certainly not to someone she lived with, like her husband of thirteen years. Bad Rochelle had always been with her, even when she was a little girl, and she showed no signs of going away.

She remembered the vibrator her mother massaged her neck with when Rochelle was a little girl. At the age of ten, Rochelle had been sitting on the couch after school one day, watching cartoons on TV. Dad was at work, Mom was in the kitchen, Bob was in his bedroom. Mom had left the vibrator on the couch, plugged into the wall socket. Rochelle picked it up, turned it on, massaged her neck awhile the way Mom did. Then she’d dropped it in her lap, and the resulting sensation made her mouth drop open and her eyes widen, as if she were screaming, but without a sound. That night, Mom’s vibrator disappeared. Mom never found it again.

Rochelle had developed quite a fixation on that vibrator, which she’d kept hidden away in a dresser drawer into which she’d built a false bottom. Her relationship with the vibrator had led to boys early on—none at the Seventh-day Adventist school she’d attended in nearby Fortuna, but boys from the local public school, all of whom she’d managed to see secretly, away from home, and without her family’s knowledge. Good Rochelle and Bad Rochelle remained entirely separate. Bad Rochelle was just as bad as Good Rochelle was good. By the time she married Mike, Rochelle had become expert at hiding what she thought of as “the naughty me,” and Mike had no inkling of his wife’s other side. She spent most of her time as Good Rochelle, but now and then, Bad Rochelle pushed at the walls of her cell, deep inside, and demanded to be let out to take in some air.

“Artists have shown us angels that are pleasing to the eye,” Pastor Edson went on. “But the bible shows us angels that make strong men tremble and drop to the ground, angels that grip hearts with fear.”

As Rochelle sat in church and watched Deputy Harry Cross—he was dark and handsome and so sexily aloof—she thought of the few minutes he and Bad Rochelle had spent together in Cross’s cruiser. They’d only made out like a couple of hormone-addled teenagers, nothing more. But she looked forward doing more with him. Much more. That very night, in fact. She pressed her thighs together hard as her thoughts became more vivid, and she felt herself becoming moist.

She was startled out of her reverie by the shrill chirping of a cell phone. A sign outside the sanctuary asked that everyone turn off their cell phones and other gadgets before entering, but someone had ignored it.

Seated in the same pew with Deputy Cross, Sheriff Taggart leaned forward and put a cell phone to his ear. Rochelle supposed that being the sheriff was a good excuse for ignoring the sign outside the sanctuary. She watched as Sheriff Taggart stood, scooted out of the pew, and left the sanctuary.


“All right,” Taggart said quietly into the cell phone as he stood in the empty foyer. “Go.”

“I’m in their motel room,” Jeremiah said. “I’ve found no identification here, but according to their reservation, their names are Gavin and Karen Keoph. Their reservations were made by Cornelius Incorporated in Los Angeles, which has also paid their bill.”

“Cornelius Incorporated,” Taggart repeated under his breath, making a mental note to look into it.

Jeremiah said, “Under the bed two suitcases containing two Uzis and a lot of ammunition.”

Taggart’s eyebrows huddled above the bridge of his nose. He whispered, “Uzis? Ammunition?”

“The ammunition is silver.”

Taggart’s eye narrowed and his chin jutted. “
,” he said in a breath. He was silent for a long moment. Finally, he whispered through his teeth, “Fargo. He’s got something to do with this. Whoever they are, they’re connected to Daniel Fargo. That son of a bitch is hounding me from the goddamned grave.”

“What would you like me to do?” Jeremiah said.

“Well, I sure as hell don’t want you to leave them there. Take the Uzis and the ammo. Then go into Old Town. To the book store. Talk to that little pillow-biter who called earlier—what’s his name again?”

“Cecil Canby.”

“Find out which way they went when they left. Then question any other friendlies we have down there in Old Town. See if you can trace the steps of these two and find them. And when you do, don’t let them out of your sight.”

“All right.”

“I don’t know what I’d do without you, Jeremiah,” Taggart said with a slight smile. “You sure you don’t miss your old job?”

Jeremiah’s chuckle sounded like twigs snapping. “Working for you is far more enjoyable than staring into people’s mouths all day, Sheriff.”

“Glad to hear it. Let me know when you find those two.”


Bob had been surreptitiously eyeing Vanessa all through the pot luck lunch, but she finally caught him in the act as he was finishing his meal. Long banquet tables had been set up in the multi-purpose room, and Vanessa sat two tables over from Bob next to Sheriff Taggart. The moment she looked up and caught Bob watching her, Taggart looked up and caught him, too. With an icy splash of embarrassment in his chest and heat on his neck and face, Bob quickly looked down at his plate. It took almost a full minute to muster the courage to look up again. Vanessa and Taggart were leaning close, the sheriff talking into her ear, Vanessa smirking. They were both looking at him. Bob looked down at his white paper plate again.

There was still some food left on his plate, but he was full. Before anyone else left a table, Bob stood, took his plate, napkin, and plastic knife and fork to a nearby garbage can and dumped them. He took a stick of Juicy Fruit from his pocket, unwrapped it, popped it into his mouth, then went into the kitchen to begin to clean up. The elderly church ladies who always gravitated to the kitchen when they finally finished eating and talking were always very impressed by the fact that Bob usually had most of the kitchen cleaned up before they got there. It came naturally to him—he was accustomed to cleaning up after everyone at home and cleaning and working around the church, so tidying up the kitchen after pot-luck lunch only seemed an extension of his part-time job, although he did not get paid for anything he did on the Sabbath.

As soon as he stepped into the kitchen, he came to an abrupt stop. He was met by a warm, pungent smell. His alarm came before he identified the odor, but that followed an instant later. Gas. His eyes went to the gas stove. He did not see the familiar ring of blue pearl-like flames glowing beneath any of the black burners, but he noticed one of the knobs on the front was turned. Someone had not quite turned off the gas. He quickly went to the stove and turned the knob. Most likely one of the old ladies had warmed something on the stovetop, then had neglected to turn the knob all the way off. It hadn’t happened long ago because the smell had not gone beyond the kitchen. He went to the window over the sink and slid it open to air out the room.

He washed some empty bowls and casserole dishes, serving spoons and pie cutters. Some of the food remained and he put the containers in the large stainless-steel industrial refrigerator. All the containers were labeled with tape to identify the owners, who would pick them up on their way out.

Bob stood in the chill that radiated from the refrigerator, the large open door concealing him from the serving window that looked out on the crowded multi-purpose room, and arranged shelf space for a couple of large bowls. He turned to get more unfinished food and ran straight into someone standing directly behind him. He inhaled a heady muskiness as he stepped back.

It was Vanessa. She smiled at him, her right arm up, hand resting on the open refrigerator door.

Bob had never stood this close to her, never close enough to smell her perfume so strongly, to see the small mole on the left side of her neck, to see the texture of her cascading auburn hair and the tiny creases in her full lips. He realized his mouth hung open and he snapped it shut.

“You’ve been watching me,” she said, her voice low and husky, just above a whisper. “You don’t think I’ve noticed, but I have. You’ve been watching me a lot. Haven’t you?”

“I-I-I... I-yuh... “

She smiled and tipped her head forward a bit, looked up at him through thick eyelashes. “You must like what you see, otherwise you wouldn’t keep staring so much, would you?” she said. “Bob.”

He blinked when she said his name.

“I looked you up in the church directory. Bob Berens.” She narrowed one eye and cocked her head. “I think I prefer
. You’re too mature for
. I hope you don’t mind if I call you Robert. Do you? Robert?”

He opened his mouth again, but his throat closed. His gum almost fell out. He shut his mouth and shook his head back and forth slowly.

“So,” she said, “
you like what you see, Robert? You certainly watch me enough.”

He could not think of a response, and even if he could, he knew he’d be unable to utter it.

“I haven’t been able to tell exactly,” she said curiously, touching the tip of her forefinger thoughtfully to her bottom lip. “What do you enjoy watching the most, Robert? Huh? What part of... me?”

He simply stared at her as his face burned.

Her smile broadened. “That’s sweet, you’re blushing. You’re too old to blush, Robert. I think you’ve been spending too much time in this church. I hear you clean it. Is that right?”

A single nod.

“We need to get together someplace other than—” Her eyes rolled around to take in their surroundings. “—
. You’re on Belmont Avenue.”

He blinked again.

“Your address is in the directory, too.” Without taking her eyes from his, she lowered her right arm from the refrigerator door and reached down. Bob gasped when she ran her thumbnail up the zipper of his pants, pressing as she did so, and the vibration again his cock made him grow immediately hard. “I’ll be seeing you, Robert,” she said. Then she turned and left the kitchen.

He stood there for a long time, the refrigerated air cold on the hot skin at the back of his neck, lips parted, eyes wide. He forgot to breathe for a long time, then finally sucked in a breath with a loud gasp. He felt as if someone had just hit him in the back of the head with a shovel.

Did that just happen?
he thought.

He knew it did. He could still feel the staticky purr of her thumbnail against his zipper, against his erection. Bob closed the refrigerator and left the kitchen by the back door. He hurried down the corridor to the restroom, went to the back stall, closed and locked it, then dropped his pants and sat on the toilet. He’d masturbated in the church restroom before—always with feelings of deep and disturbing guilt—but never to such a powerful, explosive orgasm.







Shadows and Schemes



The second time Karen saw him on Saturday afternoon, the tall, gaunt, bald man was wandering through the crowd at the Pine County Fairgrounds, which became the Big Rock Flea Market every Saturday and Sunday, except for the week in June when the Pine County Fair was held. It wasn’t very busy this weekend. Earlier, someone had told Karen and Gavin that normally there were twice as many people at the flea market, but the crowds had been steadily shrinking in the last few months. It had been a talkative elderly man with a hearing aid.

BOOK: Bestial
8.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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