It’s dark and no one around them. The star parks her car on the streets and Jerry takes her to the woods.
‘You want to be here. Are you sure? I was hoping something way more comfortable.’ She struts around like a drunk fool. Jerry grabs her by the arm.
‘Shut up and play your part, you little slut, or I’ll gut you down like an Easter bunny.’ Jerry squeezes her bosoms and then her buttocks. He licks her nose and then her cheeks. She relents.
‘All right. Don’t know where this is coming from. But I didn’t sign up for this.’ He tries to push him away.
‘You signed up for this when you went whoring which is boring. All of your kind deserves to pay your dues. I’m the devil and I’m here for you.’
The star struggles to breathe as Jerry sits on her and grasps her neck. Her airways are blocked. She looks into his eyes with awe asking to let her go. Her emotions are heightened and lips at work but words fail to come out. Her eyes pop out for one more look at the devil.
She lies motionless after Jerry gets up and stretches his limbs. He drags her up and mounts her on his shoulders. He takes her to a deserted place nearby and leaves a mark on her. He manages to leave her just the way he left the first victim. His finger marks around her neck lay shrouded by the mark of the claws. This time the mark left behind is prolonged indicating a softer neck. She indeed was the queen, Jerry thought. He looks at her gorgeous face and rocking body for one last time and leaves the scene with the coolness of a saint.
I’ll make my mark,
I’ll hurt some souls,
I’ll put them down one by one,
Still, I’ll play no role.
These are the words engraved on the trunk of a tree with his metal claws. He made them himself. He keeps them in the trunk of his car veiled by his yoga mat and his gym essentials. No one touches his car. No one will know. He knows it will be difficult to keep up this act for long. It will be a Herculean task keeping things from his family and friends. It’s always a big deal for him. A thing of such magnitude has to be kept a secret at all times. People are known to belch out secrets. Jerry can’t afford such a calamity. He will be the sole possessor of the key to this horrendous lock.
Jerry picks up a teenager who is working part-time in a club meant for gentlemen. She ties her shoes and puts up acts for nights at end. She gets paid handsomely. Much more than her peers who work at cafes and restaurants. She is called the queen of the night. She is the most sought after at the club.
Jerry goes to the club after his office hours and chooses her at the club.
‘I’m afraid, Sir. You’ll have to come back later and don’t forget to get an appointment,’ a server said.
‘She must be something,’ Jerry said. He goes ahead and takes an appointment for the next week. He finds the wait maddening and thinks about the things he’ll do to her. Instead of waiting for the star, he follows her at night after she leaves the club. He behaves like a lost guy and tricks her into a deal. A million to spend an hour with her. She agrees after he shows her the already signed cheque.
The next morning Jerry catches a headline on the front page of the newspaper – Claws made of steel. His interest is piqued. The article says:
A young and beautiful girl of eighteen was found near a trash dump on the outskirts of the city. The garbage man found her while he was at work. What he saw traumatized him? The eyes staring at him made him shriek and repel from the murder victim. A giant mark, possibly made by an animal’s claws, ran down her neck. No other signs were found. She bled to her death…
Jerry sips on his café thinking about the state of events that adventurous night. He knows that the police can’t trace this back to him. He puts the girl in a cab from the bar and asks her to get down a few blocks away. Then he takes her into the car. It was dark and no one was around. No one sees him with the girl. He leaves no trace behind. He puts on a glove right before he kills her. His act is as clear as one can be. He has a great ability to take in information. He was the best at whatever he did during his school days. He learnt the ropes of a successful murder within a week. He didn’t know that a sudden interest in this area would lead to some action. The star, bright as the morning one, shines day and night.
It’s all over the news the next day. Jerry catches people at his office talking about the sensational mystery. There’s a wolf in town who attacks at night. People were referring to the city as The Wolf Town.
She was clawed…Look at those marks…Must be a werewolf…Who does that…I think it’s a bear…Careful…Beware…Don’t go out at night…
‘Hey, you checked the news.’ Mary intercepts Jerry at the door upon his arrival at home. She whispers in his ears. ‘The kids know. They are afraid. I have turned off the television for tonight. You better not delay, start coming home earlier. The children need to see you before going to bed.’
Jerry hugs her and kisses her for a moment. He pulls down her pajamas with a swing of his arms.
‘Not here. The children…’ Mary whispered.
Jerry picks her up in his arms and throws her on the bed. He rips her clothes. A loud sound follows and other sounds fill up the room in no time.
‘It’s all right. It will be all right. There’s nothing out there. Don’t worry. I’ll protect you. I’ll protect the kids. I’ll take care. Nothing’s going to happen. Let us cherish this moment. Yes, that’s the part. I love it. Don’t stop. Almost there.’ Jerry helps Mary calm down. He thinks and he performs. He is playing his cards and winning each time. He gets pleasure wherever he wants either at home or outside. He found a home outside home.
Next morning, Jerry wakes up a rejuvenated man. He has satisfied his wife after a period of lull. Furthermore, he has satisfied himself. He went deep, looked for a path to enlightenment and found it with a little bit of bad mood along the way. He hoped for something different. Now, he found it. He embraces his new-found plaything with both arms like he did when he saw Ruby, his first-born child, at the hospital.
He feels his legs taking steps with a mission as if they have a brain of their own. They sense things, makes him efficient in his movement. He walks with a beat and a purpose. His rhythm takes a shift in a new direction. His family can feel it. His wife thinks it’s because of last night. She needs to engage more with him. She promises mutely and blows a virtual kiss towards him worrying the children may be affected if she gets physical in front of them
Jerry bids good day to his family and walks out of the house. He gets positive looks from his colleagues at the office. He smiles at everyone and greets them using their first names. Many were unaware he knew their names. Jerry’s been always good at names and he opens up a list in front of him. He checks out the profiles of all the teenagers in the vicinity. He sips on his morning cup of bliss and internalizes the names with the display pictures of all the targets he has in mind. He believes a targeted client deserves a targeted approach with a targeted outcome. He believes in client satisfaction he believes in himself being the best client these girls would meet in their lives.
Jerry takes three hours more than usual to return home. Mary and the kids were worried sick. Mary made the children go to bed saying their father is finishing up a project. He’s the Vice President now and that requires more effort, she said.
Mary hears footsteps approaching her bedroom.
‘Where were you? You didn’t receive my call Why was there no connection about an hour ago? What’s going on? You are drenched again. Did you see a doctor?’ She is relentlessly trying to get a word out of him. But Jerry is oblivious to her presence. He’s in his own world. He just had some magnificent time after office hours. This was a long time coming. But things didn’t go as expected. He is shaken to his core. He is nauseous from the experience which excited him to an extreme level. He’s on cloud nine. But how can he tell this to his wife? No one can know. No one will understand. Everything will be fine. He just needs time and space. He needs to act normal in front of others, especially his mistrusting wife and sensitive children. They shouldn’t sense any wrongdoing. Everything will be fine as long as he acts normal. Next, he wonders what normal is. His world just turned upside down. A strange thing happened. And he’s yet to make sense of it. But first, he must answer his wife. She needs to be pacified. She needs to be loved.
Jerry goes to a bar after his day at the office. He remembers coming to this dark and mysterious place five years ago. It has morphed into something else. The interiors have changed. The lights are dimmer. Girls look different and way younger. Are they even adults, he wondered. One sits beside him and asks for a light. Jerry sits still.
‘You’re not a smoker. I figure. How about you buy me a drink instead?’ the blonde said.
Jerry looks at her with no reply.
‘What does a girl like me have to do to get attention?’ She starts crying. Her makeup wears off. Jerry gives her a paper napkin. She signals for more by flapping her right arm. Next, she sits on Jerry’s left lap and lays a kiss on his cheek. Jerry slaps her. She cries again. And now, it’s his turn. He strokes her cheeks, licks her tears dry and bites her on the lips. He leaves a deep cut on the inside of her mouth. He rubs her thighs and reaches for her panties. He feels her wet panties and pulls them down.
‘Not here, Sir. You need to go inside or get a room somewhere,’ a man with big shoulders said.
Jerry makes the little girl slide down his lap and holds her down for a while. She looks up at him like a helpless little child. He grabs her arm and drives her away to the lake. He sees some young crowd partying. He finds a place among the trees away from the noise and watches the girl’s eyes losing shine in the moonlight.