Ralph reclined back into the sofa and sighed. All of Bokor’s planning had made him feel somewhat normal again. The steak dinner had been perfect. Candles glowed on various tables and the scent of lavender filled the room. The radio played soft music.
He took a sip of wine and watched as Maggie got up from the dinner table and came up to him. Slowly she untied her robe and let it flow open. She was wearing the black lace negligee that she had brought down just in case she had an opportunity to be private with Ralph – and tonight was it. Her full breasts overflowed out of the flimsy material, which came up to just above the areolas of her nipples. She was moving languidly, taking her time to approach him. Normally a secure and happy girl, she had been grappling with the unfamiliar feelings of insecurity for the last few days. There had been an oppressive air pulling them all down. But it was over now…
With supple movements began pulling down the string that comprised the underwear part of the outfit. The negligee’s skirt was short, but still covered enough to leave a little to the imagination.
Not that he needed his imagination. His eyes locked with hers as he reached long fingers down to his belt. He felt a moment of pain as some hair on the back of his finger got caught in the buckle. Damn it. He hadn’t noticed his hair getting so long on his hands. But there were more important sensations to be had in the immediate future and the pain was soon forgotten.
Jon was bored. Behind him, Bokor’s firm footsteps crunched on the leaves of the path, forcing him to continue forward. He was not listening to the guide’s boring drone on the many and fascinating reasons why tree frogs came out at night. They were on one of the many trails of the rainforest that abutted the beach. This area was famous for its nighttime tours of nocturnal life. But Jon had only come here to surf. Unfortunately, his one attempt to surf at night had failed miserably. So until now he had spent his nights talking to Ralph and Mike. But Mike had gone home and Ralph was acting strangely. And tonight Bokor was on a mission to keep him away from the house. Jon sighed and looked back at her.
“Watch out for that spider’s web.” Bokor said. Jon screamed.
Zoya opened the front door and stepped into the room. The voiceless grunt that escaped her throat when she saw movement on the sofa startled the two lovers. Maggie scrambled around for something to cover herself up. Ralph pushed her the rest of the way off his lap and stood up.
“Zoya…” Maggie’s concern for her modesty was overridden by sharp anger at the plaintive tone in Ralph’s voice. Her fury only increased as he stepped toward the door. But Zoya was gone.
“Ralph!” Maggie grabbed his arm.
He looked at her, jerked his arm away, yawned and started walking back to their assigned bedroom. The interruption had not allowed his physical desire to peak, but he was certain that Zoya had been drawn in by what he vaguely called ‘female jealousy’ and he was sure that she would soon come to him.
Maggie got dressed, her face set in stone. Without looking back at her lover, she went out the front door. Once she was outside she looked for the slight figure of a girl with puffy blonde hair. Her eyes strained in the dark and were rewarded for their efforts when they caught movement behind a palm tree to Maggie’s left. She followed it, her chest heaving with angry indignation.
“Zoya you bitch,” She called out, “stop hiding like a coward. I want to talk to you.”
Marilu heard the faint sound of Maggie calling out for Zoya. She was tired and dirty after burying the students’ bodies. She just wanted to go home, but she needed to talk to Bokor first. She rounded the dirt path to the house just in time to see Zoya limp toward Maggie. The hairs on Marilu’s arms stood on end. Something about Zoya’s approach toward the other girl made Marilu feel fearful. Marilu remembered the odd reaction that she and Maria had toward Zoya when she had come in to buy paints. There was something not quite right about that girl…
Maggie must have sensed it too. She screamed. Marilu ran. She got to Maggie just as Zoya did.
“Stop,” Marilu called.
Zoya turned an empty gaze on the space above Marilu’s head. Then she turned and ambled down the path toward the beach.
“What is wrong with that girl?” Marilu said, going up to Maggie and putting her arm around her shoulders.
Maggie pushed her away. “Whatever. I don’t need your help. I will take care of Zoya myself. She won’t get Ralph.”
Marilu evaded the girl’s attempt to get away from her. She grabbed Maggie’s arms so that their faces were close together. “You don’t understand, girl. I think that you are going to need my help more than you realize.”
The little, deserted outhouse building with the half-moon on the door was the perfect place to store her paints now that she had a closet for a room in the new, much smaller house. Zoya pulled out her supplies with uncharacteristically savage jerks of her arms. Impulsively she threw the canvas away from her and it landed with a thump on the rocky edge of the beach, sliding onto the sand before it came to a stop.
Half an hour later Jon took a hasty leave of Bokor with a quick, ungrateful ‘thank you for the tour’ at the entrance to the path leading toward the house. Bokor turned and scanned the area. She walked up behind Zoya quietly. The canvas had a couple of holes in it. Blended oil paints mixed together to portray a liquefied nude dripping into one of the holes. Floating on top of the viscous, bloody puddle that had once been human was a man’s belt buckle.
“Your art is improving all the time, Zoya.” Bokor said, chuckling.
Next Week: Planning…