She was a tall woman. Her boyishly cropped hair complimented her well defined features. Phillip immediately noticed the ugly scar that ran from her jaw bone down the side of her neck. Though very good looking, that ugly scar immediately drew attention away from her natural beauty. Dressed in a loose fitting sweater and a pair of drab, ill-fitted slacks, she made no attempt to garner a smile or appear in any way happy to be here. Her icy demeanor left no doubt in Phillips mind that she was here to tell him something, and be done with it. This encounter was cold and awkward.
“ I am Loryanne Banks.”
She looked straight at Phillip with eyes so dark and cold, it was hard to tell what colour they were. Phillip feigned a smile and stretched out his hand in a gesture of friendship.
She simply looked at his hand and continued.
“ I think you know perfectly well why we are all here tonight. I, personally, would rather be somewhere else but I made a deal and will keep my end of the bargain in the same way you will. While everyone inside is passing around pastries and sipping wine, trying to hide the fact that they all have a dark and sinister secret, with strict orders to try to make you feel comfortable and a part of our little clandestine group, I am stuck outside here with a guy who feels so bad at having killed the son of a bitch that destroyed his life.”
Phillip fell back a step at the tirade that spewed into his face from this cold and vicious person who had just blurted out his crime.
“ Oh don’t look so shocked Phillip. We all know what you did and we all agree with your final solution. So please spare me the look of anguish and surprise. Everyone back in there has murdered someone! Pretty little housewives and soccer coach Dads, they are all guilty of the same crime. Some simply choose to try to hide it more than others.”
Phillip couldn’t breathe, let alone respond to Loryanne’s matter of fact attitude towards the crime of murder. He simply stared back into her face seeking some sort of reprieve from her relentless onslaught of verbal destruction and abuse.
“ Nothing to say for yourself Phillip? Fine, then I will tell you my story, get back inside, finish my wine and say goodnight to all you losers!”
The initial shock wearing off quickly, a seething anger started to rise in Phillips gut. In spite of her beauty, what faced him in this place of languid calm and serenity was a very ugly person. He clenched his teeth as he thought to tell this Loryanne person to go to hell and get out of his face. He moved in closer to her, a look of anger contorting his features.
” Why the hell don’t you go tell your story to someone else lady? I don’t need yours or anyone’s bullshit!”
Loryanne smiled for the first time since they had met.
“ Well well. A tad angry are we big guy? Did you honestly believe we came here tonight to sip wine and eat pastries and honour you with the Man Of The year Award? I’m telling you my story because I made a promise to do so. Listen if you want or piss off if you don’t! One way or another, I’m here; I will say what I have to say; and then you will be done with me, and I with you. Fair enough?”
Phillip took a long sip from his glass of Scotch and drew hard on his cigarette, the acrid blue smoke mingling with his response.
“ If you must, then just say it and be the hell gone!”
“ Ok Phillip, I will make this as brief as possible. I was beaten, raped, had my throat cut and was left for dead in a pile of garbage!”
Phillips eyes widened.
“ Oh, spare me that look Phillip. I am a lawyer by trade and had just left the office after an evening preparing for a case that was to be heard the following day. As I stepped out of the elevator in the garage, I had a bad feeling; like eyes watching me; but I ignored the silliness and continued towards my car. Rounding the corner, I was struck in the back of the head by someone. Although not unconscious, I fell forward hard into the pavement. Lying there, I could feel the warmth of my own blood running down my face and puddling on the pavement and was convinced I was going to die. That’s when I was struck again, this time on the back of my shoulder. The pain was searing, but I couldn’t scream. I could feel my clothes being torn from by body as he punched and kicked me over and over again. I tried to fight back, but had no strength. He pulled apart my legs and shoved whatever he had hit me with viciously into me. He laughed and talked all the while he was doing this, telling me how much I must love this. The pain was too great and I passed out. I awoke two days later in the hospital.
Well Phillip, as I sat there with the news the Doctor gave me about my condition, I realized that my life and dreams were over. He had cut my throat but missed the jugular. I don’t know if that was a blessing or a curse because I now have to live with the consequences of that night for the rest of my life. I will never have a child. There was nothing left undamaged. They had to sew up my anus. I have a steel plate in my head as well as a rod and screws in my shoulder. The biggest joke was that the Police had a good idea of who this rapist and murderer was but because they had no other living victims to testify against him and no semen to match DNA, they were waiting for the chance to get him.
And so Phillip, without getting into too many details about whom or how, I was contacted and given certain information. And the same thoughts that were in your mind last night, were also in mine. I killed him. Not just killed him; I mutilated him and am not sorry one bit for having done so. As you have probably already guessed Phillip, our crimes are hidden by the very same people that are sworn to protect. We are all protected. We are simply doing a job that the police want done. And don’t you ever forget it! And one last thing Phillip? This scar that you seem to be so taken with? Well, I could have had plastic surgery to remove it, but I want to keep it. It reminds me every day of the ugliness and pain that fills our lives. That is my story. Someone will be contacting you soon. And that’s all I have to say!”
Phillip stood in stunned silence as Loryanne turned and went back inside, letting the screen door behind her slam hard. Moments passed as Phillip half mindedly stared at the screen door, trying to digest the angry words of Loryanne. He suddenly felt sick and tired. Opening the screen door, he quickly walked through the kitchen and into the foyer. Loryanne looked at him with a knowing smirk as he made his way to the front door.
“ Phillip, is something wrong?”
Melinda had a look of concern on her face as she gently touched his forearm. The touch startled Phillip and he recoiled as though having been touched by a leper.
“ This is all so wrong Melinda. I should have never come here tonight. Who are you people? Why are you doing this to me?”
Melinda withdrew her hand from Phillips arm and took a step back. As her eyes welled up with tears, she gave one last pleading look to Phillip.
“ Please Phillip, we want to help you. Please stay.”
Phillip would not be swayed by Melinda’s tears tonight. As he turned and threw open the front door, he again returned his gaze to a saddened Melinda with begging eyes. Then, without looking forward he rushed out stumbling into an impeccably dressed young police officer.
“ Good evening sir. You must be Phillip. My sister Melinda has told me about you!”