The limo pulled around the circular drive in front of the island house. Ana let herself out of the car.
Ana: I need a shower. You get the bags.
Najee: Death is a dirty thing, and get your own bags. I'll get hers, and
Ana: I know, get things ready. First, I really want to get this grunge off.
I stink from sweating out there. The smell of nature is repulsive! If it
hadn't taken the prima donna so long to die, I wouldn't have gotten
Najee carried Erin's bags to the door : You know what to do.
Ana: I'll put our things around to make it look as though we were
comfortable. I call the authorities and explain that she went for a walk,
and hasn't come back. Some officials will come here, ask a bunch of
questions, I'll say I have no idea where she went, or when, and I'll start
to cry. When they ask where I was I will say I was sleeping, and hand
them a note she left saying she went for a walk.
Najee opened the front door: You have the note ?
Ana: In my bag. Her prints are all over it, and wonderfully forged I might add.
Najee: Good. They'll find the body pretty fast, it's in an obvious place on
the trail, and they will look there first. Even if they don't it won't
matter. Might be better if they don't find her right away.
Ana: Why ?
Najee: The jungle will start to take her body. You know all the animals, the heat.
Nothing lasts long out there, and the less there is of her the better.
Ana: Why do they call this a paradise again ?
Najee: After they pick up the body there might be an autopsy, but doubtful.
The doctor will see the puncture wounds, they'll do a blood test, and that
will tell them what they want to know. Assuming there's anything left of
her that is. They will want to keep it accidental, and quiet. You will have to
identify her of course. Again, what's left of her.
Ana shrugged her shoulders : Easy enough, and I'll pour on the tears.
Najee: After you have been questioned and you are allowed to leave the island,
call the limo service, ask for me specifically, and I will take you to the
airport. It's imperative you ask for me. As he turned to leave he handed her
the key to the house, and put Erin's bags by the stairs. Remember, ask for
me, and stick to the script.
Ana: Anything that gets me out of here.
Najee: See you in a few days.
Ana closed the door, and looked around the house. Island get away ? Island dump, she thought. She looked at the bags. I have to shower first, then I'll start to get things ready for the greatest performance of my life. She walked up the stairs, "But officer, constable, whatever you are, you have to find her." She entered the master bathroom, "She's all I have", she turned on the shower. "I can't possibly imagine my life without her", and sob, sob, sob. She pulled the glass door closed, and began humming a song she heard in the limo on the way to the house.
She laughed as she mindlessly showered, never feeling a spark of remorse for anything she had ever done in her life.
Najee watched the lights in the upstairs of the house come on as he drove away. He didn't trust anyone in any situation, much less a situation involving murder, but he had to believe she would follow through with her end of the bargain. He knew she would want her money, he knew she didn't care about the woman they dumped in the middle of nowhere, and he knew she had no idea she would not be going to the airport in a few days.
He laughed at the thought that it didn't matter whether she held her end up or not, she has no idea what is in store for her. She thinks she is going to leave this island ? Comodo gave her to me. She's my lab rat.
The island officials will want to see her get on the plane as quickly as possible. They will be grateful there is no attention, that she doesn't threaten to sue them, or call the media. There will be a little noise from the strip club owner, but no one will listen. Who cares about a dead stripper, or two? He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a cell phone. He dialed ; it rang only once.
Najee: One down, one to go.
He could hear a slow exhale over the silence, a click, and the call was ended.
He tossed the phone in the passenger seat, and smiled. So easy, he thought. He glanced in the mirror and saw the house quickly fading in the distance. He turned on the radio, trying to find something other than island tourist music. Silence to him was a maddening trigger for his past. A past that was nothing less than a worst nightmare.
He pressed the scan button over and over, but there was nothing. The stifling calm began to creep in, allowing the images of that night to invade his head. Flashes of the burning house, the screams from inside. He opened the window, but the air was anything but healing. The hot, humid salty wind made it more difficult for him to take a breath. His thoughts began to wonder back to that night. The night it all went up in flames. It was not my fault, I tried to tell them, but it didn't matter. The shadow man made me do it. How many times did I have to tell them he was real, that he kept pushing and pushing me. It wasn't my fault, but they locked me away. Best thing that ever happened to me really, getting away from them.
He searched the radio again, and wiped a thin layer of sweat from his face. He popped a couple pills to try to get rid of the migraine that was ascending in his head, and chewed them quickly as the bitterness made its way down his throat. He ran his hand through his damp hair. He pushed the memories down for now, and obsessively deliberated over the plan.
He sped into the dusty drive of his unkempt yard, parked, and hesitated before going inside. Looking in the back seat he made sure any evidence of Erin was gone. Knowing it had to go perfectly, and no minuscule detail could be overlooked.
He went in the meticulously clean house to the sound of the TV that was always left on. He stopped inside the door looking around to make sure everything was still in the same place it had been when he left. He locked his door, hung his keys on the same hook, placed his coat on the same hanger, threw his dinner in the microwave, and did not give the deserted body or the next victim a second thought.