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Authors: BILLIE SUE MOSIMAN

WIDOW

BOOK: WIDOW
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WIDOW

 

 

 

 

By Billie Sue Mosiman

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2010 Billie Sue Mosiman, All right reserved

 

 

 

This book was recreated from scans & copy-edited by David Dodd

 

Previously published in print by Jove/Bantam, 1992

 

Nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Novel

 

 

LICENSE NOTES:

 

 

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with.  If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to your vendor of choice and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author

 

 

MORE BY BILLIE-SUE MOSIMAN

 

Banished
Wireman
Unidentified
Bad Trip South
Gold Rush Dream
Horror Tales
Horror Tales 2
From a High Window, A Travel Memoir  
Life Near the Bone
Angelique
Slice
Deadly Affections
Scrolls of the Dead
Interview with a Psycho

 

Bad Trip South

 

 

 

Jay and Carrie Anderson are in a troubled marriage. Jay is a police officer in a small town and Carrie, a school teacher. Carrie has a decision to make. Either she stays with Jay and takes his abuse, allowing their ten-year-old daughter, Emily, a glimpse of what marriage is not supposed to be like, or she leaves him. Emily, who isn't like other children, is telepathic, and can hear the thoughts of those around her. While on vacation, an escaped convict and his accomplice kidnap the Andersons, needing a way to make it south . . . to the border of Mexico. Jay battles with himself, fighting the urge to go over to the dark side, forsaking his vows with his wife and those of a police officer. Carrie searches for the strength to face the truth about herself and her marriage. And Emily, beset by the thoughts of her captors, tries to keep her family together and safe. All in all it's going to be one bad trip south.
 
The Vampire Nations Chronicles

 

 

 

LEGIONS OF THE DARK: Della Cambian was a senior in high school when she was struck by the family curse; vampirism. With the aid of the ancient known as Mentor, and harried by an aging millionaire with dreams of immortality, Del must find a way to prevent an evil that could endanger every "natural" vampire on Earth.
 
RISE OF THE LEGEND: As a very young child, Malachi was lost in a nightmare, held captive by the will of the terrifying Master of the Predator vampires and marked for a destiny he would not remember when he awoke. He faced many dangers, but none more deadly was the mortal "made" vampire, Charles Upton, imprisoned for long years by Mentor in a monastery in Thailand, who is bent on seizing control of all vampires.
 
HUNTER OF THE DEAD: His name was Malachi and he was that rarest of beings, the child of a mortal and a vampire. Raised on an isolated Texas ranch, Malachi grew into his powers safe from discovery. For though himself a mortal, he was gifted with many of the abilities of his vampire mother. And though he chose to follow his mortal destiny, there were those among the vampires known as Predators who had sworn to seek him out and kill him, or change him forever.
 

 

For Matt Bialer, who is always on my side, and Melinda Metz, who encourages me to follow my obsessions.
 

 

Prologue

 

 

 
Perfection was the key. If she could manage to create a flawless environment it might prevent any further descent into the chaos that had intruded itself into Kay Mandel's life.
The flowers were arranged with Japanese economy in the black vase on the entry-hall table. The tablecloth on the gleaming dining table was freshly ironed, precisely centered, the china and silverware for two placed opposite each other. Dinner was her husband's favorite. Rib-eye steaks broiled to medium rare, scalloped potatoes, artichoke-heart salad.
The children—Gabriel, two years old, and Stevie, four—had been bathed earlier, fed their dinners, and now sat playing with plastic blocks on the floor of the immaculately clean den. They were quiet, always eager to please their mother. Good children. Perfect sons.
Kay checked her hair in the mirror on the living room wall. She patted a stray black strand into place just above her right brow. Did her eyebrows need plucking? They were all right. She looked her best in the white summer dress and the sandals with little heels. The white offset her naturally dark olive complexion. The sandals brought attention to the lovely curves of her legs. She knew her legs were good because Scott told her so. He preferred mini-skirts on her for that very reason.
She wet her lips nervously, frowned. Was he late? Late meant he might come home in a foul mood. She glanced at her watch. Ten after six. Just ten minutes late, it didn't mean anything. Not yet.
His moods had been swinging violently between euphoria and depression for over four months. He might come home ecstatic over something she didn't understand at work. Or he might enter the front door wearing a pained look, unable to speak except in monosyllables. Yes, no, not now, stop, go away.
When it all began—suddenly, inexplicably, without any cause that she could discover—she had searched for meaning. Was it his job? It was not, he claimed. Was it her, something she had done or left undone that upset him? Or was it the children, the routine of married life, some sort of midlife crisis? Not likely, he told her, I'm too young to be middle-aged. Then what? What could be wrong? Would a massage work, more frequent sex, a hot bath, another drink?
Nothing helped. At her wit's end, she suggested he see someone.
“Me? See someone? Why don't you see someone,” he'd screamed that night, frightening the children so that she hurried them into their pajamas and into bed.
Stevie asked, “What's wrong with Daddy?”
Kay couldn't answer her son. She tucked the covers beneath his arms, leaned down to kiss his forehead. “Go to sleep now. Tomorrow's another day.” Yes, it was. Tomorrow Scott might feel better. Tomorrow it was possible her children would not have to ask her unanswerable questions.
“What do you think is so wrong with me I need to see someone?” he asked upon her return to the den. “I know what that means. It means you think I'm going crazy. Well, I'm not. Do you hear me? I'M NOT.”
But all evidence pointed to the conclusion that he was.
What about the nights he argued with her over nothing, then slammed the bedroom door in her face and, when she entered anyway, she'd find him sitting on the side of the bed loading and unloading the Smith and Wesson .38? He had bought the gun for protection against burglars, he told her. There had been a rash of break-ins in the neighborhood the year before. In some other neighborhoods a plague of ‘kick burglaries' were becoming commonplace. Two or three young men wearing ski masks or hoods kicked in the front doors even when families were at home, and proceeded to loot and pillage.
Yet Scott wouldn't let her touch the gun. He didn't really approve of guns, he said, they simply should have one on hand. Just in case.
“What are you doing?” Kay asked when she found him with the gun and the ammunition box lying open on the comforter, shiny brass cartridges scattered around, ominous signposts she could not decipher.
His stare was one she did not recognize. His eyes didn't reflect any emotion she had ever seen before. They were hateful and suspicious, callously weighing thoughts she was not privy to. The look chilled her so that she wrapped her arms around herself to keep from shivering. When he had no answer forthcoming, when he continued to stare at her with those cold, reptilian eyes, she backed from the room and slept on the sofa, an afghan thrown over her legs, tossing and turning throughout the night, wondering if he was still loading and unloading the gun in the other room.
She didn't know what to do. She didn't have any women friends to ask about the behavioral change. She had dedicated herself to being the best wife, mother, and housekeeper she knew how to be. She didn't make friends easily, didn't feel she needed them. Her own family was enough.
It was an archaic way of life these days, no one even called herself a housewife anymore, but Kay liked the title, and didn't much care what the new feminists thought of her. She had married Scott Mandel after one failed miserable marriage when she was too young to have been married at all. She had never had ambition for a career of her own—despite the two years she had been a club dancer—other than motherhood. Even that took a while. She was twenty-four before she conceived and twenty-five when she gave birth to Stevie. It was all perfect. There was love. There were children and a nice home and shopping and caring for the family. It was idyllic.
Until now.
~*~

 

At six-thirty Scott came through the front door. From the way he walked and the determined look on his face, she knew he had slipped into another mood. Not euphoric or depressed, those moods she had grown used to, but something else, something new she intuitively feared.
He headed directly for their bedroom. She paced herself behind him, unconsciously wringing her hands. “Dinner's ready. Are you hungry? Would you like a drink first? Scott?”
He opened the clothes-closet door and walked into the spacious dressing area. She came to the doorway and watched as he felt along the top shelf between shoe boxes and extra pillows for the gun. She was somewhat relieved to see he did not haul down the cartridge box. She had contemplated doing away with the weapon entirely, but was afraid of the fight that would ensue if she did.
Just the week before she had called a telephone hotline and anonymously stated the situation she now found herself in. She was referred to another number, another agency, but she did not make a second call. The first one had left her shaky and feeling stupid. Couldn't she control the atmosphere in her own home? Didn't she have the wherewithal to make her husband happy again without outside interference?
“I've made your favorite . . .”
He turned on her, the gun in his hand, the barrel pointing toward her belly. She flinched, ground the knuckles of one hand within the grip of the other. “Back away,” he said. “I'm going to end all this.”
“End what? What are you talking about?” Blood exploded in her brain, trampling through the veins in her temples like mad horses. The initial pain of a migraine headache made her wince. “Scott, put the gun back.”
“Get out of my way or you'll be first. I don't really want to hurt you. I think you ought to stay behind to handle all the arrangements. It's not in your blood.”
He pushed past her and left the bedroom, leaving Kay to trail him. Not in her blood? What could he mean? What arrangements?
He paused to look around the perfect living room, the vacuumed silver-gray carpet, the sofa and easy chair a soft shade of mauve, the accent pillows plumped just so, the paintings they had picked out together for the walls. She came to his side, her eyes pleading with him, praying he would listen.
“Scott, what do you mean not in my. . .”
He moved away from her as if he hadn't heard, moved purposefully down the hallway to the back of the house, toward the den.
Where the children played.
Now panic caused clarion bells to gong and clang in Kay's head. Gabriel. Stevie. NO.
“Wait, Scott, stop . . .” She hurried behind him, hands outstretched.
He stepped into the den and strode directly to where the boys sat together on the carpet, gaily colored blocks scattered about their feet. They looked up, interested in the gun in their father's hand. Was it a toy for them? Stevie started to rise to his feet and Scott pushed him down again. He put up the palm of his free hand in a gesture of “stay.” He turned to point the gun at Kay. “Don't come any closer.”
“What do you want, Scott? Please don't scare the boys this way. Let's go back to the bedroom and talk about it. Let's try to . . .”
“Too late for talk, Kay. Too late for everything. I have to do this. Don't you see? I have to. It has to end here, with me.” He gestured at the children with his gun hand. “And with them.”
He turned the barrel of the revolver toward Stevie's confused face and pulled the trigger. Brain matter spread over and stained the carpet with streaks of red. Stevie fell backwards to the floor with a thump.
Baby! Her baby! What had Scott . . . ? What was he . . . ? Kay screamed and rushed the remaining few feet to grab at her husband's hand.
BOOK: WIDOW
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