Excerpt From Night Whispers
The sound of a key sliding into the front door lock jolted him out of semi-consciousness. The musty smell of old perfume whispered in his mind, reminding him that he’d been waiting for hours. His feet ached. He strained to see more, but the closet remained shrouded in darkness. Razor thin silver light shone through the door leaving a slice of moonlight across the clothes hanging in front of him.
Disoriented at first, he gradually remembered what he had to do. Part of him didn’t want to go through with it, but the voice wouldn’t allow him to think of anything else.
As if in answer to his thoughts, it whispered in his mind. Remain silent, it hissed. Do not move. You mustn’t be found. Breathe slow. Deep. In measured breaths. You are the divine instrument of God’s will. His hand will guide yours. Sweaty fingers slid over the handle of the sickle at his side.
His back felt stiff. His legs shook. He longed to move, but the sounds from the hall outside the bedroom told him that to do so would mean discovery.
The bedroom light clicked on and a slash of gold stabbed through the crack in the door, stopping inches from his face. He cringed, catching his breath. She came straight toward him. He held his breath, tightening his grip on the sickle. The pretty blonde stopped with her hand on the door as if lost in thought, then turned away and began undressing.
He exhaled slow, studying her through the opening. Cascading blonde hair and smooth curves. When she pulled an angora sweater over her head he saw firm breasts and smooth, delicate shoulders. He nearly gasped when she unzipped her jeans and wiggled out of them. Her panties followed. Seeing her in this intimate way sparked long atrophied desires.
That’s not why you’re here, the voice admonished. Put those filthy thoughts out of your mind. The harsh words made him feel hot and prickly; the way he felt when his mother used to scold him.
She turned toward him again and stared. He tensed, then remembered the mirror on the closet door. She cupped her breasts and turned from side to side, examining herself. His gaze darted between her breasts and the honeyed patch of pubic hair that graced her smooth, toned thighs. If not for the voice, he might have gone for her then, but fear kept him in check.
When he reached the limits of control, she turned and disappeared from view. The sound of running water came from the bathroom, then the toilet flushed. When she passed the closet again he saw that she put on a nightgown, then the light went out.
The dull glimmer of moonlight filled his consciousness once more, followed by the creak of bedsprings and the beeping sound of her cell phone.
“Ken?” She said softly. “Yes, babe, I’m home, tucked in and thinking about you.” A pause. “I know. I miss you too. We’ll spend tomorrow night together. All night.” Another pause. “I’m sorry too. I love you.” Pause. “Goodnight, babe.”
More creaking came from the bedsprings, then the sound of her breathing, strong and regular at first, then slowing.
Soon, the voice said. When the silence nears perfection. God will guide your hand.
He drifted with the voice, trusting it as it strengthened him; an old, reliable friend. He couldn’t remember when he first heard it, only that it gave meaning to his life and promised him happiness and fulfillment. Tonight he would give in to its insistence and it would reward him.
He remained still until no other sound came except her breathing.
Slow and even.
Moving with the patience of a snake stalking prey, his hand glided forward, fingers touching the smooth door, stopping when his hand made full contact. He applied pressure until the closet door swung open noiselessly. The voice had seen to it that he oiled the hinges before settling in to wait.
He inched forward, slipping between her clothes, once again catching the lingering scent of her perfume, extricating himself from the confines of the closet, emerging into the full glory of the moonlight.
Fear, love, frustration, and unbearable longing held him immobile when he beheld the graceful curves of the girl beneath the sheets. If only…
He froze while she rolled onto her back and licked her lips, mumbling something before slipping back into peaceful slumber. He moved closer, pausing again to admire the childlike innocence of her face, stifling the urge to stroke her hair.
Do it! the voice commanded.
He flinched, then raised the sickle, momentarily fascinated at the silver glinting off its blade.
Her eyes snapped open. Wide. A sharp intake of breath. Her mouth opened forming an “O” before the tip of the sickle plunged down, turning what might have been a scream into a raspy gurgle. The stark fear in her eyes dulled as he pulled the sickle out, dimming further with each successive strike.
Matthew J. Pallamary’s historical novel Land Without Evil, received rave reviews along with a San Diego Book Award for mainstream fiction and was adapted into a stage and sky show directed by Agent Red, and was the subject of an EMMY nominated episode of a PBS series, Arts in Context.
He has taught a Phantastic Fiction workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, and at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference for twenty five years, and is presently Editor in Chief of Mystic Ink Publishing.
His memoir Spirit Matters took first place in the San Diego Book Awards Spiritual Book Category, and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category of the National Best Book Awards. He frequently visits the jungles, mountains, and deserts of North, Central, and South America pursuing his studies of shamanism and ancient cultures.
San Diego, CA
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