How much would you risk to avenge the ultimate wrong. She was about to find out.
They should discover the murder at seven. That’s when Gil Caster’s assistant, Marie, will arrive at this ten-bedroom mansion to help him prepare for the morning’s appointments.
I watch from my high vantage spot as the night sky lightens from black to a dark blue hue. Slowly, light-blue spreads from the eastern horizon. Soon it will be time for Marie. Seven o'clock comes and goes. Gil’s assistant is a no-show.
The sun peeks over the horizon by the time two police vehicles arrive, sirens off. I should leave before they discover me, but something compels me to wait a little longer to witness the big discovery.
Three of the officers disappear through the open front door below me, the fourth remains leaning against the hood of a car. The whine of sirens attracts my attention. Red and white flashes cross the shrubbery gaps as an ambulance pulls up the long, secluded drive and stops beside the police cars.
The ambulance driver and EMT get out and chat with the policeman, who lights a cigarette. I wonder what they discuss. Something about the millionaire Mr. Gil Caster, I think cynically. The magnificent Gil Caster, philanthropist and political mover and shaker. The power behind the governor’s throne. The swine Gil Caster who raped me when I was fifteen.
It took twenty-five years to re-awaken what he did. Twenty-five years to see it's not my fault I couldn't stop him, that I didn’t invite him to defile me. He deserves to die, and I am one of many who deserve to kill him.
He stood in his kitchen preparing his breakfast when I confronted him. The sixty-year-old bastard didn’t even remember my name; one of many girls that came for help with a school project. I was surprised when he agreed to help all those years ago. He even suggested we meet at a quiet place in the late afternoon, after school.
For years I suppressed the memory, but when my daughter was fifteen the recollection came bubbling up like stomach acid. Yesterday I read about tonight’s Governor’s Ball. How could I face my family and my life while this animal continued to walk the earth?
An hour ago, he stood by the open refrigerator, its light revealing half his pale flaccid face as I pointed my gun at him. He appealed to me, said I was wrong about him. But I shot him anyway. Then I stepped to his body and shot him again. I watched as his blood spread over the black marble tiles and covered the quartz chips that reflected the light.
Now I watch the first responders standing outside the great Gil Caster’s mansion. Judging by the view below me I must be watching from the balcony over the columned entrance, though I don’t recall how I got here.
When the ambulance crew goes inside, I remain. When the press show up, I remain. Watching, waiting for them to drag the devil’s body out. When they wheel out the body bag, I smile. The reporters crowd around the gurney snapping pictures all the way to the ambulance.
Unexpectedly, the ambulance crew return to the house and an anxious calm falls again. Ten minutes later they come out with a second body bag. More pictures as they wheel it to the ambulance and load it efficiently into the back. The ambulance doors close, and it pulls away quietly with lights flashing. I wonder who is in that second body bag.
I go over the confrontation in my mind. Gil stands in front of the refrigerator with his crescent moon face. He is saying something about me. Telling me I imagined it all, when in fact every detail is seared into my mind. The smell of the fresh cut grass, the heat of the sun in the cloudless sky. I remember every second of it now.
Then she came in, dressed in a pale-yellow bathrobe that barely covered her backside. Marie couldn’t have been more than sixteen. I wondered how long she’d been with him; how old she was when he first seduced her.
I see my daughter in Marie and so I shoot Gil Caster, once then twice, before dropping my gun. I walk away, I'd done what I had to do.
I remember Marie screaming. I turn back, she has my gun pointed at me.
That’s the last thing I remember before standing on this balcony.
I see Marie leave the house with the police. She wears a gray-brown raincoat with her hands cuffed behind her back. I watch as they lead her to their car and gently ease her into the back seat. From this high vantage spot, I cannot see inside the car.