For Zoe Stryd. Happy Birthday…
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The smell of piss and alcohol filled the alleyway – something Zoe had gotten used to. Her heels clicked against the concrete as she walked the familiar path between dumpsters.
Just weeks ago, the place was alive and filled with the buzz of people – a meeting place for the area’s homeless and those down on their luck. They shared food, built fires and told stories. It was a place where they could take comfort in each others company. It was safe. Tonight, there was just one man. He sat quietly between two dumpsters.
The echo of her heels stopped as Zoe stood in front of him. Flies buzzed noisily around the hunched man but he didn’t seem to notice. The garbage was piled high in the dumpsters on either side of him, casting shadows over his body which masked most of his features. He was looking down at his feet with his knees pulled tightly to his chest and an empty whiskey bottle laying at his side.
Tiny tear drops fell from his face and onto the ground. She frowned at him but he didn’t acknowledge her presence. She put her hand to her mouth and cleared her throat loudly. Nothing.
She extended her leg and tapped the glass bottle with the toe of her black pumps. The glass scraped against the cement and gravel as it rolled away.
The man jumped at the sound and his sobbing immediately stopped. He snorted and quickly wiped at his dirty nose with his even dirtier hand before turning his attention to Zoe. He slowly ran his eyes up her bare legs and paused a moment at the hem of her short, black skirt. His eyes bypassed the rest of her and moved directly to her face.
Zoe flashed a smile, exposing her teeth. His face was unfamiliar. She suspected he was new to the area which explained why he was still there while the others had moved on.
Hard lines creased his forehead and around his eyes. His hair was long, grey and thick with grease. He wore a brown, wool jacket that bunched underneath him.
“Hi,” She said cheerfully.
“Spare some…” He tried to speak but his throat was horse and thick with mucus. Drool trickled from his lips and down his chin.
“Change?” Zoe asked.
The man nodded at her. He cupped his hands and held them out to her. “For something to eat.”
“I don’t have any change,” she said. He eyed her fingers as she ran them along her tight skirt. “No pockets.” She smiled at him again. “But I can do much better than a few quarters.”
The man stared back at her and slowly licked his lips.
“I’m Zoe,” she said. Her eyes sparkled as she outstretched her arm. The man wrapped his fingers around her hand.
“Gord,” he said.
Gord howled as he pulled himself along the floor of Zoe’s garage on his stomach. The bloody stumps that used to be his legs thrashed wildly and left a thick red trail on the clean cement.
Zoe’s eyes followed him around the room and she grinned wickedly at the sounds he made. Each blood-curdling scream filled her body with a surge of power and adrenaline. She felt alive.
A few strands of hair had broken loose from her blonde ponytail. She brushed them away from her face and tucked them behind her ear. Her fingers were covered in the same blood that soaked her skirt and blouse. Gord’s blood. Her eyes sparkled as his screams grew louder.
“Gord,” she said lightheartedly. She put her finger to her lips playfully. “Shh… You’ll wake the neighbours.”
Her smile faltered a little when Gord went silent and collapsed to the floor.
“Gord?” she asked. Her voice shook a little. “Gordy? Are you dead?” Her smile was gone now and her bottom lip was pushed forward in a pout. He wasn’t allowed to die. She wasn’t done yet.
Zoe slowly took a few steps towards him, dragging a heavy axe behind her. The blade scraped against the cement floor. Gord’s body jerked to life at the sound and he frantically tried to push himself away from her.
Zoe squealed with laughter and danced towards him.
“Welcome back, Gordy.”
“Leave me alone,” he pleaded. Thick blood oozed from his lips and drizzled down his chin. “Please.”
“Soon,” she said. “But, not yet. I’m having too much fun.” She heaved the heavy axe onto her shoulder and rested it there.
She was enjoying the whole thing too much and she knew it. She’d always taken pleasure in what she did but lately it had become almost orgasmic. An addiction. First it was once every few months. Then it became monthly and now she could barely get through the week without luring someone back to her garage and playing with them.
Men like Gord were easy. Homeless. Nobody to notice their absence. Nobody cared. All she needed to do was show a little skin and promise them a bottle of booze and they’d follow her into hell.
Zoe paused when she felt something warm and wet touch the tip of her toes. She glanced down at her expensive, open-toed shoes. She was standing in a thick puddle of blood.
“Gord,” she screamed.
Gord howled and pulled himself into the corner of the room where he collapsed to the floor again and wept.
“Your blood is all over my shoes.” She sighed loudly and attempted to shake the red blotches from her feet. “Now I’ll have to wear something else to the party tonight.”
“I’m sorry,” Gord mumbled through his sobs.
Zoe exploded in laughter. “You’re sorry?” Her eyes sparkled in amusement. “Awe. You’re sweet. I think you may be my favourite.”
She lifted the axe from her shoulder and held it at her side – her fingers wrapped around the top of the handle, near the head. She glanced at the watch on her left wrist. 8:45. She was running out of playtime.
She bit her lower lip in anticipation and skipped towards the crying man. She reached down and grabbed him by his bleeding stump and dragged him out of the corner. His arms thrashed wildly as he attempted to grab onto something.
“Come on, Gordy,” she said with a grunt. “It looks like we’re out of time.”
“No please,” he begged. “Just let me go.”
“No, no. It’s time to die.”
Zoe lifted the heavy axe over her head and slammed the blade into Gord’s stomach. He screamed in pain and blood shot from his mouth – sprinkling his cheeks.
She struggled to pull the axe from his stomach but it wouldn’t budge.
“Gord.” She put her hands on her hips while the axe rested in his stomach. “My axe is stuck.”
“Oh, God,” Gord moaned. Blood poured from his lips and he writhed in pain. “Please, God, help…”
Zoe slammed her foot into his stomach and cut him off. She held his body to the floor with her foot and tugged on the axe. Gord screamed as the axe broke free and blood sprayed onto Zoe’s face.
“Yuck.” Zoe scrunched her nose and blood dripped from the tip. She lifted the axe over her head and, once again, slammed it into his stomach. Gord’s screams stopped. His lips slowly opened and closed like a fish near death.
Glazed eyes stared back at Zoe as she pulled the axe out and struck him again.
Classical music played softly in the background. Zoe watched as suits and dresses glided along the dance floor. She scanned their faces in hopes of finding her date but Phil was nowhere to be found. She sighed in aggravation and lowered her eyes.
Her fingers were intertwined around a tall champagne glass that she held in both hands. Bubbles floated to the top and vanished at the surface. She was bored. Beyond bored. She’d wished Phil was there to help her focus. To get her mind off of the thoughts that were swimming through her head. He was the only one who could bring her back to the real world. He was her anchor.
It had only been a few hours since she’d cleaned Gord’s remains from the floor of her garage but she was already itching for a new target.
Her grip tightened on the glass in frustration. She admired her fingernails. She hadn’t had time to clean the blood out from underneath them so she’d been forced to cover it up with red nail polish. The thought warmed her and brought a small smile to her face. Her own terrible secret hidden under a thin layer of polish.
Where was Phil? She chewed on her bottom lip as her eyes drifted back to the people around her. There were dozens of them. Her gaze moved from person to person as she imagined storming the dance floor with her axe. She delighted in the thought of dancing in their blood as their bodies crawled along the floor, their screams filling the room as they begged for their lives.
An older couple moved out of her sight and behind them Zoe saw herself. The wall was a giant mirror that showed her what everyone else saw. She was wearing a tight-fitted black dress and her blonde hair hung past her shoulders in ringlets. She wore dark eye makeup and bright red lipstick. An insecure shell that masked the monster she really was.
Her breath caught in her throat as she spied the reflection of a girl leaning against the wall behind her. She was alone and sipping on a glass much like Zoe’s only with a small smudge of pink lipstick on the rim. She wore a short, pink dress with matching shoes. Her raven black hair hung past her shoulders and loose strands covered her full chest. She appeared to be too young to be there and her nervousness was shining through.
Zoe turned from the mirror and faced her. She watched her as she ran her pink fingernail along the rim of her glass. The girl watched the room with wide, dark eyes as if looking for something. She was beautiful. And vulnerable. Zoe drained her glass of champagne and took a step towards her.
Zoe froze in place and turned to face the voice behind her.
Mark stood in front of her, sipping on his glass of Scotch. The ice cubes clinked as he tipped the glass. He was wearing a black, silk suit with a red shirt underneath that stretched over his broad frame. Dark tattoos pushed past his sleeves and onto the backs of his hands.
Mark was a writer and a really nice guy. She’d met him through Phil and their friendship had grown quickly. Other than Phil, Mark was the only person in the room that she didn’t want to kill. He had no idea that his timing may have saved that young girl’s life.
“Hey back,” she said. She tried to hide the annoyance in her voice but the look on his face showed she hadn’t done a very good job.
“Something wrong?” he asked.
“No.” She sighed and glanced briefly at the empty glass in her hand before meeting his eyes and forcing a smile. “Sorry, I’m just a little restless.”
Zoe placed her empty glass on a small table next to her. Her hand trembled as she did and the glass toppled to the white tablecloth. She quickly placed it upright and caught Mark staring at her with a look of worry on his face. She averted her eyes and folded her hands in front of her.
“Have you seen Phil?” she asked.
“No. Not since I got here.” He sipped his Scotch and condensation dripped from the glass to the floor. “Typical Phil. He talks me into coming to this thing and leaves me to fend for myself.”
“You aren’t having a good time?” Zoe asked with a smile. She knew Mark wasn’t the party type. Especially when that party was filled with ‘pretentious musicians and record producers who turned their noses at anyone who didn’t know the difference between a Gibson and a Les Paul’. “At least it’s an open bar, right?”
“Yeah, but the Scotch is terrible.” He swallowed the rest of his cold drink and started at the ice in the glass. “You’d think that with the amount of money floating around this place, they’d be able to afford something that didn’t taste like hobo piss.”
Zoe felt herself loosening up but her attention slowly drifted back towards girl by the wall. Her glass was empty now and she appeared to sigh as she placed it on the drink tray of a waiter passing by.
“Mark?” Zoe asked. Her gaze didn’t leave the young girl. She nodded her head towards her. “Who’s that?”
Mark let an ice cube slide from his glass into his mouth before turning his head to look at the girl behind him. “Oh,” he said. “That’s Dani.”
“She’s very pretty,” Zoe said. “I’ve never seen her before.”
“Yeah, you won’t find her at the bars Phil usually plays at.” Mark chuckled. “Don’t let her appearance fool you, though. She’s not as innocent as she looks.”
“Oh?” Zoe swallowed nervously. “What do you mean?”
“She’s a singer. Or, at least, she tries to be. It’s never gotten her anywhere though. She’s got all of the looks but none of the talent.” Mark shrugged.
“Lately, she’s been trying a new approach. Sleeping her way to the top. I can bet she’s slept with the majority of people in this room already.” Mark slid another ice cube into his mouth. It crunched loudly as he bit into it. “Jesus, she’d probably even sleep with me if I told her I could get her a record deal. No questions asked.”
“Really?” Zoe smiled to herself. “Her name’s Dani?”
“Yeah.” Mark eyed Zoe suspiciously. “What? You got a crush on her or something?” he said with a smirk.
“Something like that.”
“Well, you’re in luck. I hear she doesn’t discriminate against women,” Mark said. “If you know what I mean.”
“Excuse me.” Zoe walked past Mark without so much as glancing at him.
“Right,” she heard Mark say behind her. “I’m just going to grab some more of this shitty Scotch.”
Zoe slowly crossed the dance floor. She kept her eyes on Dani’s as she did, like a lion stalking her prey. She pushed her way through the crowd of people, making sure she didn’t lose sight of Dani. Everyone else was a blur – shadows standing in her way.
Zoe stopped. Dani’s eyes had found hers and she found herself locked in place. Dani’s lips parted into an adorable smile that showed a flash of beautiful, porcelain teeth. Zoe’s heart slammed into her chest with every beat.
What was she doing? She’d felt like she did in high school when she’d catch a cute boy eyeing her across the lunchroom table. A shy hesitation. Self consciousness. She had to get a grip. This was nothing like high school.
Still, she needed her. She needed to take her. To destroy something so beautiful. So precious. Something better than a homeless man that smelled like piss and booze. She needed Dani and she needed her axe.
Zoe took a deep breath before taking a step forward. So many things went through her mind at once. What would she say? She needed to charm her, win her over and somehow take her away from here.
She stopped as a hand tightened around her wrist and spun her into a soft mass that smelled of her favourite cologne. Her mouth was quickly covered by a pair of familiar lips. She smiled as she returned the kiss passionately.
“Hey, babe,” Phil said after pulling his lips from hers.
“Hey,” she said.
She felt breathless and dizzy, a usual side effect to kissing the man she loved. She grabbed at the collar of his black suit and buried her face into his chest. She took in his scent and everyone in the room disappeared. The itch was gone along with any thought she had of Dani. There was only the two of them.
“Where have you been?” she asked. She looked up at his face and stared into his eyes. His brown hair was freshly cut short and his beard trimmed close to his face. She pouted. “I’ve been looking for you all night.”
“I’m sorry, baby,” he said. “I’ve been meeting with producers and musicians all night. It’s been great. I’ve made so many connections and I’ve even gotten the band a couple of gigs for next month. I’ve tried to find you but you know how it is.”
She sighed and looked at his black tie as she played with it. “Yeah, I know. Business first.”
Phil put his hand under her chin and tilted her head until her eyes met his. “I love you,” he said before kissing her lightly on the lips.
She smiled against his mouth. “I love you too.”
“Are you sure?” he asked.
Zoe furrowed her brow. “Of course.”
“Good, because I kind of have to leave you alone for a while.” Phil smiled and backed off a little, ready to defend himself against the lashing he was about to get.
“What?” Zoe slapped at his chest and missed. “Where are you going?”
“The guys from The Roundstanders band want me to come to their party. They just canned their bass player and are looking for a replacement. This is my chance to get in. It’s not something I can say no to.”
“Well why can’t I go with you?” Zoe huffed.
“There’s going to be a lot of stuff going down there. Drugs and whatnot. I really don’t want you being around that. I won’t touch the stuff, you know that, but I need to be there if I’m going to get into the band.” He took her hands in his. “You understand, right?”
Zoe sighed. “Fine.” She didn’t try to hide her frustration.
“Stay and enjoy the party. Mark can help you get home. Try and have fun, OK?”
Zoe glanced over her shoulder. Dani was still standing there watching them with interest.
“I’m sure I can find something to do,” she said with a smile.
Phil gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”
She watched him as he walked past her. A bunch of guys with beards and wrinkled suits were waving him over and he waved back. He walked by Dani and she followed him with her eyes before bringing her attention back to Zoe.
Zoe smiled at her and walked to her with her hand outstretched. “I’m Zoe,” she said. She smiled wide as Dani took her hand.
Zoe ran her thumb along Dani’s knuckles. “Can I get you another drink, Dani?”
“Why are we in your garage?” Dani asked. Her words were slurred and she struggled to keep her balance.
Zoe entered the garage behind her and pressed the button on the wall. The large door closed noisily behind her.
“Well, you made it quite clear at the party that you wanted to go somewhere private.” Zoe folded her hands behind her back and backed away from Dani, keeping her eyes locked with hers as she smiled sheepishly.
Dani struggled to take off her pink stilettos and fell on her ass in the process. Her clutch crashed to the floor next to her, spilling its contents. She finally removed her shoes and stared at Zoe through the strands of hair that hung over her face.
“I meant your bedroom, Chloe,” she said with a goofy grin.
Zoe ignored the fact that Dani had called her by the wrong name. “Now where’s the fun in that?” she said with a wide grin. She turned her back on Dani and skipped to the back of the garage.
Dani sighed and flopped onto her back with her arms and legs sprawled on each side of her. “I don’t feel well.”
“Awe, pumpkin,” Zoe said. She combed the back wall of the garage until she found her axe hanging from its holster. “Don’t worry. Chloe is going to make it all better.” She grinned to herself as she ran her finger along the sharp blade.
Zoe turned to face Dani. She couldn’t wait any longer. She had waited the entire night like a boy at prom, waiting anxiously for the dance to end so he could lose his virginity. She had no patience for foreplay, not this time.
Dani quickly sat upright. Her skin had paled and her eyes were wide but they stared blankly as if Zoe wasn’t even in the room.
“I think…” Dani swallowed and wiped the sweat from her brow. “I think I’m going to throw up.”
Zoe readied her axe and stomped towards Dani in long, quick strides. Her smiled broadened until she felt the skin of her lips begin to tear.
She swung the axe low like a baseball player hitting the game-winning home run. At the same time, Dani jerked forward with a loud groan. The axe pierced the stream of vomit that erupted from Dani’s mouth and slid between her lips, severing her lower jaw and wedging itself in the back of Dani’s mouth.
A mixture of blood and puke covered Zoe’s shoes as Dani arched her head back and away from the axe’s blade. Her eyes were wide and a sickening noise erupted from her mutilated mouth as she fell to the floor.
Zoe squealed with excitement and bounced as she watched Dani struggle to push herself to her feet. Blood poured from her face and she slipped on the pool that had formed under her.
“You’re making an awfully big mess, Dani.” Zoe said. She tried to frown but her smile kept forcing its way back.
Dani turned and stared up at her from her hands and knees. Her face was twisted in pain and horror which caused Zoe to erupt in laughter. Dani fell to her stomach and buried her face in her arms.
Zoe tip-toed over to her and poked her with the tip of her shoe. Dani didn’t move. Her back rose and fell with shallow breaths.
“Hey. Aren’t ya going to crawl?” Zoe asked. “You know, try and get away or whatever.”
Dani didn’t respond, she didn’t move. Zoe placed the axe down on the floor and rolled her over. Her body moved like a doll. Her eyes were closed but Zoe could see her chest rising. She’d must have blacked out from the pain.
“Well, poo,” Zoe said with a pout. “This isn’t fun.”
She picked the axe up from the floor and lifted it above her head with a heavy sigh. She brought it down swiftly onto Dani’s throat. Her neck made a loud crunching noise as the bones broke under the weight. Blood sprayed from the wound on the throat and the torn muscle and flesh that used to be Dani’s mouth. Zoe joylessly struck her again, severing her head from the rest of her body.
Zoe picked up the contents of Dani’s purse from the wet floor. She’d washed the blood away with a garden hose after disposing of Dani’s body. She filled the bloody purse with makeup and a few loose condoms before grabbing Dani’s cell phone.
The screen was bright with an alert window floating in the middle. The window said that there was one missed call and three new text messages. The name by the missed call almost caused Zoe to drop the phone. “Phil Bell.”
Why did Dani have Phil stored on her phone? And why was he calling her? She quickly bypassed the phone’s lock screen and opened up the text messages. They were also from Phil.
The first one said “Almost done here, still up for meeting?”
Zoe’s jaw dropped and she quickly read the next two messages.
“Taking that as a ‘yes’. Heading to hotel now.”
“Waiting for you. Starting to think you aren’t coming.”
Tears flowed down Zoe’s cheeks. How could he? Her hands trembled as she dropped the phone into the purse.
She yelped as arms wrapped around her waist from behind. She quickly broke free of them and spun around to see Phil standing in front of her smiling.
“Hey, Zoe,” he said. He smiled warmly at her. “Sorry I’m late. The party went on a little longer than I’d expected.”
Zoe wiped the tears from her face and stared at him. She couldn’t say anything.
“Is something wrong?” he asked.
Zoe simply shook her head and hid the purse behind her back.
Phil wrapped his hands around her shoulders and kissed her on the forehead. “Come to bed, baby. I owe you for leaving you alone at the party.” He kissed her neck before turning his back and walking into the house.
Zoe watched him disappear silently. When he was gone, she fell to her knees and cried.
Zoe stood in front of the sink, staring at herself in the bathroom mirror. She’d finally stopped crying. Her cheeks were red and her eyes were puffy.
How did this happen? She was always there for him – through his ups and downs. She was there when the money wasn’t, when he could barely make rent. She was there when nobody else was.
She never asked for anything in return. She didn’t need anything. All she needed was for him to be around. To show her he loved her. To keep her grounded.
She thought he was different. He wasn’t. He was just like the others. The ones who left her behind. Just another man to use her until he was sick of her and then toss her aside like an old porno magazine.
She was so desperate to have someone around that she’d ignored the signs. The late nights, the phone calls, the perfume smells on his clothes.
She slammed her fist into the mirror. The glass broke and her knuckles immediately started to bleed. She winced from the pain and grabbed a towel from the rack behind her. She wrapped it around her battered hand and watched as the blood soaked through the white fabric.
Why did she keep doing this to herself? Why was she so convinced that she needed someone? Someone to keep her in check. To pretend that she could be normal, live a normal life. Even if it was for only a few hours a day.
The thought made her laugh out loud. Normal? She’d killed two people that day. Two. She was nowhere close to normal. She looked away from the blood-soaked towel and stared at her reflection. There was a long crack in the glass that extended from the small, shattered area that she’d hit. Her reflection was distorted and she watched as her mouth slowly twisted into a grin.
“Two people?” she said. “Let’s make it three.”
Zoe opened the medicine cabinet in front of her and pulled out her toothbrush and the tube of toothpaste. She heard footsteps in the hallway as she began brushing her teeth.
“Baby?” It was Phil. “Is everything OK? I thought I heard something break.”
Zoe spat the toothpaste into the sink. “It’s nothing,” she said. She tore off a square of toilet paper from the roll by the toilet and wiped the smudged mascara from her face. She pulled out her makeup case from the drawer under the sink.
“Well, are you coming to bed soon?” Phil asked. “I’m waiting for you.”
His words were slurred and she could here him staggering, struggling to keep his balance. She started reapplying her makeup.
“Just a second,” she said with a smile. “I’m getting ready for you. Just lay down, I’ll be there soon.” She used her most seductive voice.
She heard Phil walk away from the door and towards the bedroom, his hand brushing along the wall to guide him.
Zoe finished applying a coat of lipstick and fixed her hair in front of the mirror. When she was satisfied, she leaned in and kissed her distorted reflection, leaving a red smudge on the glass. She unwrapped the towel from her hand and tossed it onto the counter before leaving the room.
The bedroom door creaked as she slowly pushed it open. The only light source was from a small lamp on the bedside table. Next to it was an empty bottle of Johnny Walker whiskey. She could smell the booze as she entered the room.
Phil stared at her with a goofy grin on his face. He was laying on his back wearing nothing but grey boxer shorts. She slowly walked towards him with her eyes locked on his. She bit her lower lip as she slid the straps of her dress down her shoulders. The top of the dress dropped to her waist and she stopped at the foot of the bed to pull the dress down and off, leaving her in her underwear.
She climbed onto the bed and crawled towards Phil on her hands and knees. He sat up to greet her and she positioned herself over him with her hands on the bed near his waist.
“Is that blood?” he asked.
Zoe looked down and saw the red stains on her stomach. Dani’s blood. It must have splattered onto the dress in the garage.
Zoe said nothing. She placed her hands on Phil’s shoulders and pushed him to the bed.
“No talking,” she said.
She leaned in and kissed him deeply. She could taste the whiskey on his tongue. She sat down onto his lap and moved her lips from his mouth to his neck. Phil closed his eyes and tilted his head backwards.
She pressed her chest against his as she ran her fingers down his body. She started at his shoulders, then down his arms and stopped at his wrists. She intertwined her fingers with his as she moved her mouth to his shoulder.
She paused when she felt his hands squeeze hers. She squeezed them back and felt a tear run down her cheek.
Phil’s breathing turned heavy. “Oh, Dani,” he said between breaths.
The tears stopped and Zoe moved Phil’s wrists underneath her legs, pinning them to the bed. She moved her mouth to his ear. Her left hand reached out and her fingers wrapped around the neck of the heavy bottle on the table.
“No, sweety,” she said. “Dani’s dead.”
Phil’s eyes shot open and he tried to pull his hands free. Zoe slammed the whiskey bottle into his face. The thick bottom hit his nose with a sickening crunch and blood erupted from his nostrils.
Phil opened his mouth to scream but Zoe struck him again, this time catching his front teeth. They broke loose and blood shot from his mouth. His head twisted to the side as Zoe struck him above the right eye with another bone-breaking crunch. When she pulled the bottle away, his eye was sunk into his head.
She struck him again and again, his face becoming more distorted as she did. He struggled to scream but he could only make the slightest sound before he was hit with another blow.
After minutes of swinging, her arms weakened and she dropped the bottle and collapsed into his chest.
“The police are looking for him,” Mark said.
Zoe watched him across the coffee shop table as he sipped a cup of tea. He was wearing a black leather jacket with a black t-shirt underneath. A black notebook rested on the table next to his cup. “It’s only been a few days. They say they’re still hopeful.”
They weren’t going to find him. His mangled body was in the same place as the others. Nobody would ever find them. Zoe stared at her cup of hot cocoa. There was nothing for her to say. Nothing she could say.
“They’re questioning the guys from The Roundstanders band,” he continued. “They were the last ones to see him.”
“He told me there was going to be a lot of drugs at the party,” she said. “I’m almost certain that had something to do with it.”
“Phil never touched the stuff. He never would.”
“People can surprise you,” she said in a whisper.
“I’m sorry, Zoe,” Mark said. “Are you holding up alright?”
Zoe paused to think about the question. She’d killed him. She’d killed the only thing that held her back – the only thing that kept her from doing what she really wanted to do. What she needed to do. She felt amazing. Like a ship without an anchor, free to roam the seas. There was nothing to stop her. She was happy.
“I’m managing somehow.” She smiled at Mark and tucked back the hair that had escaped her ponytail.
“Take me home,” she said. “I’m getting restless.”