At the Robin’s Egg “SYWBASK” [FICTION]

PHILLIP POV

Amanda. Silhouetted against the florescent lights of the Robin’s Egg, I pegged her for a lost sixteen-year-old looking for money to get home after having made one of those mistakes you don’t run home and tell to Momma. Then she introduced herself.

Lawson. I hadn’t killed anyone by the last name Lawson. I visualized the pages in my book and nothing popped out. Still, looking at her face, she seemed familiar. A clipping floated in my vision. Freeman. Amanda Freeman. Courageous Ten Year Old Escapes Slayer. Of course, she was much younger in the picture, but it was her watching me intently as she waited for my response. It hadn’t been three seconds.

“And how does that help you?” I asked.

Her face was not one I had come to associate with those grieving the dearly departed. Survivors of my victims burst into tears in my presence and cursed liberally the system denying them justice. Amanda instead was sizing me up. Not quite in a predator versus predator way, but far closer to that than predator versus prey.

Around us, the rain continued its droning and drowning of the parking lot. My car, two rows from the door and facing it, awaited me. I had no plans, though some always formed when I was aimless. Sometimes they were to see a movie. Sometimes they were to see someone’s insides. I rarely knew which ahead of time.

She didn’t answer my question. Her eyes darted out to the parking lot as a car, headlights blaring yellow, rolled by to park at the end of the row closest to the diner. I studied the curve of her brown neck and fall of her black hair. Amanda, the one who got away. Or at least, that’s what the papers said. I hadn’t even known she was there until she was gone. Yet they made it seem as if she had confronted me and escaped but only by a hair. Now here she was again, older, perhaps wiser, but certainly with an agenda.

Was it closure?

Those who begged for closure also begged for an explanation. Why did I kill their relative, their friend, their love, their child? As if I knew and could speak it in words for them to understand. I do know, of course, but I also know nothing I say will give them the panacea they seek. Why do I kill? For pleasure. Who do I choose? Whoever catches my fancy. The only rhyme or reason is the artist’s eye within me and it does not negotiate or deviate. Once it chooses, it will have satisfaction.

“We need to leave.”

A minute had passed since the last time Amanda spoke. She looked at me again, her eyes brown-green and certain.

“We?” I asked and popped open my umbrella to shelter us from the unrelenting rain. There was nothing I could do about our shoes.

“Yes. We need to talk.”

Four words which often struck fear in the heart of man. I smiled.

“This way.”

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