Yesterday I wrote a short story based on this picture and the word ‘Sultry’ in response to the challenge set by Laura M Bailey on her blog – See the link below:
I had a few very encouraging comments from my blogging friends that they wanted to hear a bit more of the story, and so here is the sequel.
I hope you enjoy it:
The Singer – Part Two
He pulled on his raincoat as he stepped out of the nightclub. It was still raining heavily, so he turned up his collar and stood with his back against the brick wall. The guttering provided enough of a shelter from the rain for him to light his cigarette. He could still hear her voice, slightly muffled, from inside the building. She was singing another old classic, “That’ Old Black Magic”. It reminded him of the spell she had cast over him when he’d first laid eyes on her.
‘How many years had it been?’ he pondered as he took a puff of the cigarette. ‘Must be ten years ago now.’
Her hair had been shorter then, and blonde. She wore less makeup back then too.
It had been at his local fair. He’d gone along because he’d had nothing better to do and there were usually opportunities to be had whenever crowds gathered. His ordinary appearance became a camouflage in those sorts of places and he enjoyed the anonymity and the advantages that gave.
She’d been singing then too. A Cole Porter song “I’ve got you under my Skin”. He felt her reach across that crowd to him. She was singing to him and him alone. He fell instantly in love with her. She had won his heart.
He had found out a little bit about her. She was a local girl who loved to sing. He sent her flowers and chocolates. He even sent her a valentine card. They even went on a date to an Italian restaurant. Then she turned cold toward him, sent back his letters and refused to see him when he turned up at the bar she worked at. How could she entice him one minute then reject him the next? He couldn’t take that rejection. She even went so far as to go to the police and get a court injunction on him. He wasn’t going to give up that easily. He managed to get into her apartment one night. He only wanted to talk, just to explain himself, he loved her. She had to understand that. He wouldn’t have hit her if she hadn’t screamed.
So he spent a few weeks in jail. That didn’t bother him, it wasn’t his first stint, but when he came out she’d gone. Moved away. He had been hunting for her ever since.
Now, he’d found her, at last.
He took the cigarette end out of his mouth and threw it on the floor then crushed it to pieces with his heel.
He walked down the alley behind the club and found the rear entrance unlocked. No one was around. He jumped when a metal trashcan fell making a loud clang that echoed in that narrow alley, but it was just an alley cat. Like him, really, he smiled at that though.
He opened the door into a dark space that was clearly used for storage. There was a room with a gold star on it with ‘Claudia Van Horn’ emblazoned across it.
He could hear her still singing on stage. Her rich, throaty voice was belting out the finale of her final number. Carefully he crouched down behind a large crate of beer to wait patiently for her to finish.
It wasn’t long before he heard the roar of the audience, giving her a standing ovation and saw her stumble rather listlessly back to her dressing room, closing the door behind her.
Like a panther, he leapt from the shadows and within moments had slipped into her room. The nightclub was closing and the customers were making a racket as they finished their drinks. Some of the crowd were attempting to copy the songs they’d heard. It was a raucous din, but it played into his hands.
She was seated in her chair in front of the mirror and hadn’t heard him open the door but when it clicked shut she turned around.
He stood there with the belt from his raincoat in his hands and just stared.
This close he realised the makeup was even heavier than he thought. The years had changed her face slightly; her features were no longer quite as fine, still attractive, but not as youthful as they once had been.
Her mouth fell open and she gasped his name “Joe?”
“That’s right honey, it’s Joe. It’s so nice to see you after all this time, Christina. You thought by changing your name you could escape me? We were meant to be. When will you accept that?”
She tensed as he started walking towards her pulling his belt tightly between his fists.
“What are you going to do Joe?” she said, quietly. He knew he didn’t have long before she would scream. He had to act quickly.
“I can’t bear the thought of you running away from me again. You won’t run away this time” He said and pounced.
Her leg came up hard and caught him between the legs.
He screamed and fell to the floor and then the dressing room door slammed open and a female police officer stood there with a gun pointed at him. “Freeze” She shouted.
Then Christina laughed coarsely and reached up and grabbed her long red hair. It came off in her hands. It was a wig.
He realised that he had been wrong, it wasn’t Christina at all.
The policewoman kept her gun pointed at him with her right hand and with her left removed her cap, revealing short blonde hair and the face that was etched in his dreams, this was Christina.
“You didn’t know I had a younger brother? Meet Clay, he’s a drag artist. Oh, and I’m a police officer now. I knew you’d be after me again someday and I decided that rather keep running in fear, I was going to get you. I joined the police to help save other women from people like you and I knew one day I would see you again and I wanted to make damn sure I was ready. I reckon that’s Strike Three.” She turned to two other police officers standing outside and said: “Book him boys”.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 13/November/2018
Valentine, heart, fair