The words clang like old bells in the deathly stillness of the old church. My dark passenger screams silently, enraged by this interruption at the culmination of its desires. The serenity that flowed from our ritual is shattered and my giddy euphoria evaporates leaving me reeling, shell-shocked by the loss. Our dark fantasy, played out so many times before, has morphed into the one thing I have dreaded most since our journey began.
Deb has found me. Deb has seen me.
Stupefied, I can't move. Neither of us are breathing. I don't have to look down to know that Travis isn't breathing, but his lack of respiration is hardly surprising considering the eight inch blade I deftly slipped between his ribs. In the silken depths my dark passenger preens midnight feathers, proud of a job well done.
Unmoving and unblinking, Deb is transfixed by my gruesome tableaux, her face branded with incoherent horror. Standing over Travis' slowly cooling corpse, gripping the hilt protruding from his chest, I realise that to her I must seem like the hellspawn beast from Travis' last painting. Dear demonic Dexter - brother and butcher. I have no desire to traumatise my poor sister further; so whether stupefied, or just plain stupid, I pull the blade free. The slick wet sound as it leaves its fleshy sheath is deafening in the silence and the sight of the bloodied blade breaks the spell that had held her immobile.
All hell breaks loose.
A choking noise dragged itself from Deb's unwilling throat as she collapsed bonelessly to the cold stones. Back pressed against the wall, she drew up her legs and wrapped her arms around them, white knuckled hands gripping her knees as though trying to hold herself together. I could only surmise that it didn't work as she began keening, lamenting the myriad betrayals she has been forced to endure. My humiliation at being discovered, in flagrante, is rapidly replaced with the nauseating knowledge that my own deception cut her the deepest; indomitable Deb finally conquered by none other than duplicitous Dexter. Amplified by the ecclesiastical acoustics her wailing all but drowns out the sound of the knife, which I had been clutching like a gory talisman, slip from my nerveless fingers and clatter to the floor.
A few quick paces covered the space between us and I squatted beside her, desperate to lessen her pain. I cupped her face in my hands; she was conscious but non-responsive. Impotent in my shame, all I can do is say her name, like a mantra, over and over.
Aeons passed before she began to respond and her eyes focussed on me. I chanced a half-smile but my hopes she had calmed are shattered when she pushes herself to her knees and begins flailing at me. Impassioned but ineffective her hands flapped around me like angry birds and my dark passenger ruffled its own feathers, aroused by the onslaught. Forced to raise my arms to shield my head, it was not her the barrage of blows which bothered me, it was her language; or rather, the lack thereof. Her blows acted as staccato punctuation as she abused and accused me, but in everything she said there was a most un-Deblike absence of obscenity.
That was when I really started to worry.
Concern for my sister precluded a gentle response and I grabbed her wrists to control her, well aware that that my grip would leave bruises. The modest pain was enough to distract her from her vitriol and after one last desperate attempt to get free she ssubsided. Tears streamed over her cheeks, and the eyes that stared back at me were wild, bordering on feral.
Then she kissed me.
The shock literally knocked me literally and figuratively on my arse. Deb followed me down and all I could taste was salt and desperation. My back slammed against the flagstones, knocking the wind from me and she straddled me, hips grinding, lips trailing fire over my face and neck. She wrenched her arms free from my flaccid grip and shredded my shirt, clawed hands scoring red welts across my chest. Flustered, my dark passenger's sable claws glinted in the dark as it stretched and flexed in hopeful preparation. Mind reeling, it took me longer than it should have to react to her offensive. Her tongue was flicking over my nipple before I finally managed to motivate myself to grab her shoulders and push her an arms length away.
She hovered above me, expression as fragile as blown glass.
There was only one thing I could say, "Oh God..."