The Case of the Russian Maids
By John Koehler
Koehler Books Copyright © 2013 John Koehler
All right reserved. ISBN: 9781938467103
June 22 10:34 p.m.
Oceanfront, Virginia Beach
Alley between 23rd and 24th Street
Tonya was running hard down the boardwalk like a tigress of pure power, while George sat poised and taut upon his steel chariot, stalking her from the shadows. Like so many times before, he wished he were running along side her. But that would never happen, so tonight he would take her down and teach her the lesson she needed to learn. Here where the seagulls flew and competed with the oceanfront sounds; people laughing, waves crashing and the drumbeat of his target’s footfalls, rapidly approaching.
He had watched her for several nights now as she ran down the boardwalk after her shift ended. Never once a variation or change in her schedule; she was making it so easy for him. George knew all about her by now, after months of study; she the book, he the pupil. He knew about her loneliness and wished he could be the cure for it, the man who would be her one and only.
He watched her running, mesmerized by the sight of her. Her sports bra notwithstanding, her breasts bounced and beckoned in the moonlight and the glow from the many tall lamps posted along the boardwalk. He had seen men lust after her—how could they not?—but tonight she belonged only to him.
The boardwalk was still bustling with tourists, and the meandering people were a constant distraction as they made their way back from the bars and headed to their cars and hotel rooms. Noisy families laughed and played together, talking and shouting about the day and about what they would do tomorrow. He could easily listen in to their conversations (and did). These out of towners hadn’t a care in the world about what they said—and often about what they did. They were here to have fun and fun they would have. He couldn’t help but be amused by some of their antics, while also wishing they’d get the hell out of his way.
George grudgingly tolerated the whispers and giggles of the sauntering couples headed for their rooms, and sighed with regret as they passed him, for he knew they would share something that he would never have, as they wrapped their legs around each other and danced under sweat-filled sheets.
Regret pushed him farther into the darkness of his hiding place. He remembered the day his life froze in the desert of Afghanistan; the hurtling explosion and pain of the IED, the moment he was transformed into a broken creature. Fortunately his hydraulics still worked just fine, but he wasn’t interested in women anymore, except for the one angel who could change his mind and his life and make him whole again.
His mind snapped back to the mission at hand, and he again became the lion he had been. He had done this before, on the hot sands of another place. His senses heightened to the point of supernatural overload as he watched her run north toward his position. He knew she was a creature of habit, and would turn and run through the narrow alley to cross over to the Jungle Golf lot where her car was parked.
He clenched the steel wheels that had become his legs and thought about the medals he had been given at his discharge ceremony. He had not placed them on his mantel or hidden them under his bed. They were beneath him, embedded in the seat of his wheelchair.
As she passed 22nd Street, Tonya picked up her pace and kicked harder against the concrete. Her stride majestic, she was closer now, so George slowly rolled back and tucked himself into the shadows of the dumpster enclosure in the alleyway between two hotels. The smell of rotting trash enveloped him, reminding him of the sick sweet smells of death, the smells of Afghanistan and the treachery, horror and brutality of his past.
With his black clothes, black chair and dark skin, he was a man of stealth, completely camouflaged and impossible to see, even for an experienced cop like Tonya Jackson, a decorated member of the Virginia Beach Police Department’s Special Victims Unit.
She turned left—away from the ocean—and raced straight towards him, just like he knew she would. Once again he gave thanks to his God, the same God who took his legs and now was about to deliver an angel. Continues...
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