By the Light of the Moon

by Djinn

It's a calm night to be on the water. The moon is full, and the boat floats gently as I sit back. The breeze is a northern one-not warm like Miami, but not cold yet. When it gets too cold here to be on the water, I'll find a new, warmer port in the storm.

There will always be new ones. Always places to wander.

But for tonight, I'm here. And I close my eyes and remember Dexter and that night, and how it felt to let go of Jordan Chase.

Only...I never have. Because his words ring in my ears even if I silenced his voice with one deep strike of the blade.

I've been transformed. I'm strong.

But I'm still me. Still Lumen Pierce. Still the girl who ran out on her fiancé, on domesticity, on being trapped in a life in Minneapolis that I didn't want.

Dexter actually believed that I was rejecting him for who he was. For the dark part of who he was. He never understood that I could have held onto the nights forever. I could have made love to him with the memory of blood on my blade and never blinked.

But be a mother? Be a wife? Be...domesticated?

It's ironic, I guess. I ran from Owen and ended up here. They found me, Jordan and his wannabes, and they took me and they broke me a hundred times over.

And then Dexter put me back together. And during that time, during that quiet, dark time of hiding out and being anything but a normal girl, I found myself again.

And then it was over and Dexter was talking about pancakes and Cody and Astor with us all summer, and I could feel the weight of his old life, his life with Rita and the kids and his friends and his sister falling over me.

He wears that life like a veil. It's light and it connects him with the world. To me, it felt like the lead apron they put over your belly during an x-ray. Or like dirt, pouring onto the casket of my life. Sealing me in, holding me down.

I loved him, though. I loved him, the dark him. I lied when I said the need was gone. I lied when I said I couldn't do it.

I'd have stabbed and cut and rolled and dumped and sailed into the moonswept wind forever with him.

But that's not his life. That's his hobby.

It's not my hobby. It's my life. And I'm not always concerned with proof, with evidence, with beyond a reasonable doubt. It has crossed my mind that if Dexter ever finds out what I'm doing, I could be the one on his table.

Which is why I make it a point never to go farther south than the Carolinas. I love him. I miss him. I think about him when I touch myself.

But I don't want to end up on his table.

The boat rocks a bit more, and I shift to get comfortable. My foot touches the bags waiting to be dumped. This man was pushing his girlfriend around. "Dumb whore," he called her. She looked a little bit broken. Like Emily. Like those other girls who must have turned into Emily at the end of the ordeal.

There were five barrel girls, twelve locks of hair, and thirteen DVDs. I should have been the thirteenth lock of hair. I should have been the sixth barrel girl.

Dexter never asked about the other seven. Dexter never asked me why my first question to him was not if he was going to kill me, or hurt me, or rape me, or even help me.

It was if he was going to sell me.

I never told him that part. That the girls, the seven poor girls, who didn't break just a little but all the goddamned way, were sold. They must have ended up like Emily. Eager to please. Eager to do anything to avoid what had happened.

To earn the good things again. To have some kind of life, even if it meant being the property of an asshole who hated women.

I never told Dexter I knew those seven weren't dead.

I'll never tell him I've already found two of them.

I tried to save them. I killed the men who'd bought them. I took them away, was gentle with them the way Dexter was with me. The second one I even tried to love, tried to bring back with something more than just pity and empathy and shared horror. Tried to help her with a body that had felt the same pain, known the same humiliations.

They were beyond broken. They were a liability.

The sea welcomed them.

I've stopped looking for the rest. They're innocents in this, and I don't want to kill victims. I want to kill men who think it's okay to hurt a woman.

I pick up the first bag, hold it over the water, and let it slip away. Barely a splash. I wonder if in Miami, Dexter is doing the same thing. If he's on the Slice of Life, under this same incredible moon, making the world a little safer, one psychotic asshole at a time.

I still see him hurl those plates. I know he doesn't react that way normally, that he's not prone to temper. He's controlled-dead, some might say.

But he loved me. And I hurt him. And I let him think it was for all the wrong reasons. And I did it even though I loved him. Even though I've never felt so connected to anyone.

If only he were just the dark passenger, as he called it.

We could have lasted. We could have roamed the world together. We could have made wrong things right.

If only.