"Like black ink on snow," Eva thought as she regarded the bruises on her throat in the mirror. Her pale skin showed telltale signs of abuse. Scrapes and bruises illustrated her delicate body, and scars of pain danced not just on the surface but also ran deep into her heart. She could never understand why he did it, why he hit her with such recklessness, with such hatred and force. It ripped her apart inside, but truthfully it was the yelling, the name calling and the putdowns that hurt even more. Eva wished that she could get away from him, but she also knew that if he were to find her, it wouldn’t end well. At the same time, she’d grown attached to him more than she’d ever planned to and doubted she could ever live without him.
Just as Eva was turning away from the mirror and was about to leave the bathroom there was a knock at the front door. She hurried down the hall and peered through the peep-hole, hoping it would be Jenn and not Carter. Eva opened the door quickly to see her best friend standing on the porch with a newspaper under her arm.
"Took ya long enough, don’t ya think?!" Jenny said jokingly, as she handed Eva the rolled up newspaper she’d found lying in the driveway.
"Ha ha. Very funny Jenn! I’m very glad to see you though. I’ve had a rough week," she replied, with more lightness than she actually felt.
Eva looked down at the paper that had just been handed to her, and her stomach began to lurch at the bolded headline. She must have made a face that reflected the way she felt because Jenn reached over and turned the article so she could read it too.
An elderly woman reported hearing murderous shrieks coming from her neighbours house at 1:00 A.M yesterday morning. According to the source, who asked to remain nameless, the screaming and sounds of struggle abruptly stopped just before a male friend of the resident left the house carrying a large duffle bag.
When police arrived at the house just minutes later, there was nobody home and no signs of any foul play were to be found. Three hours later, however a concerned jogger phoned 911 after spotting a dead body near the river just below Central Bridge on his morning run. Police identified the body as the female resident of the house they had searched earlier that morning. Cause of death has been determined to be blunt force trauma to the head, most likely the result of being hit with a heavy object, but forensics experts, also discovered thirty-six deep gashes running from the victims chest to her face, resulting in a mutilation her mouth and breasts. The same as the last killing. "
Both girls seemed to finish reading the article at the same time. As they looked up at each other in unison, each with the same look of absolute horror painted on her face. Neither one could even muster up a response. How could another woman get killed in the exact same way?
"How could someone even do that?!" Jenn exclaimed with desperation flooding her voice as she looked at Eva as though she had the answer.
The only reply that Eva could muster up involved "I.. uh.. I dunno, Jenn." So many things were rushing through her mind at once her sentence forming capabilities were failing her. The whole time she had been reading the article, Carter had been in her thoughts. He had been gone that night and also the night of the other identical murder. The first night seemed like a coincidence. Many people had probably been out that night, but Carter having been out on the night of both was just a little weird, especially considering his cruel manner towards women. The first woman killed had just so happened to be an old friend of Eva’s, and they hadn’t yet released the name of the most recent victim, so she couldn’t help but wonder. Jenny grabbed Eva by the shoulders and shook her slightly, kicking Eva off her train of thought. Apparently, Jenn had been talking the whole time she had been imagining Carter as the cold-blooded killer, who was running loose through the town. "Eva?! Eva?! What in God’s name is going on with you lately? It’s like you’re in your own little world! What’s wrong? I’m getting really worried about you!" Jenn said so quickly and with such a prying force that Eva took a step back and just stared at her friend in bewilderment. "Jenn," Eva began, not quite knowing how to respond to such a concerned speech or even where to start, "I told you, I haven’t really had the best week..." "It’s Carter again isn’t it?" Jenn cut in before Eva could even finish. "I’m going to kill him. I told you I would the next time he laid a hand on you!" Again Eva was taken aback by her best friend’s almost terrifying concern for her. Sure, she’d threatened to kill him before, but never with such sincerity and passion. "Well... it wasn’t all Carter’s fault. Work’s been stressful too. But he didn’t make matters any better either..." "And I also suppose that those bruises all over you are just from falling again, aren’t they? How much longer are you going to put up with this? It kills me to watch my best friend be mistreated to such an extent of constant bruising I mean, he broke your wrist last month, Eva! What’s going to be next?" This time, it wasn’t just concern that was spilling from Jenn’s lips but a sort of desperation that really sunk into Eva’s mind. A sudden realisation washed over Eva that she had never felt before- her life was seriously on the line. The severity of Carter’s actions had never really occurred to her. She had always taken his abuse as him simply having had a rough day or as her doing something wrong. Even though gender equality was always something she stood for, she hadn’t seen the way he treated her as abuse to a woman. For some reason, she had seen it as him releasing the tension he was feeling. Jenn noticed the grim look that had appeared on Eva’s face and quickly regretted the brutality of how she’d phrased her rant. With a long, almost gasping sigh, she apologised, wishing she would have taken her friend’s feelings into consideration a little more. She was just so sick and tired of seeing Eva get hurt by Carter. Eva still hadn’t replied when the telephone rang. The two entered the house, and Jenn seated herself in the living room, which was just inside the front hall on the left, while Eva took the call. When Eva got off the telephone she joined her friend on the couch and still said nothing, which frightened Jenn. The news she had just received was even more of a reality check than her best friend’s words the moment before. Silence filled the air as they sat motionless, starring at the wall opposite the couch not knowing what to say to one another until Eva cracked, tears spurting from her eyes and an almost shriek breaking through the quietness. Jenn jumped off the couch and knelt in front of her traumatized best friend, looking up at her in complete uncertainty of what had happened, but, with a damn good guess based on the pitch of Eva’s screech, she could only imagine who had been on the line. After Eva had cried for almost an hour, she finally gained the strength to tell Jenn what had happened. "On the telephone, Carter told me that he wouldn’t be home for a while. He said that things had been too stressful, that he needed to get away for a bit, but he assured me he’d come home ‘eventually’, that, he’d come back to the house to pack some clothes for his little vacation away from home. He told me not to try to stop him when he gets here because he doesn’t want me to cause a scene like I apparently do all the time," she said so quickly and with such a wavering voice that she collapsed back into tears. Jenn hadn’t been totally right with her guess at who had been on the phone and what had been said, but she was half correct. Carter was the one who’d called; only he could make her cry this way, and Jenn hated it! She didn’t understand why he was leaving though. All she knew is that it was probably just some part of his elaborate scheme to ensure Eva would never find out what he’d been doing in his spare time lately, and God only knew what that actually was! Jenn decided it would be a good idea to stay the night and make sure that everything went okay when Carter came to get his stuff. She didn’t want there to be a third girl found dead, let alone the girl she considered to be her sister. Hours passed, and the girls still sat in the livingroom, on the couch. They talked about things, cried about things, laughed about things and cried some more! Eva thought it was a good idea for Jenn to stay with her. After everything that had gone through her mind earlier she was more scared now than she had been when she was seven and stayed up late with her babysitter to watch the first scary film she’d ever seen. If Jenn didn’t stay, the night would probably end the exact same way that scary movie had; lots of blood and a crumpled corpse lying on the hardwood floor with the killer nowhere to be found. This thought made the hairs on the back of her neck stand straight on end! The sun was beginning to set when the girls got up off the couch and ventured into the kitchen to make some dinner. The day’s drama caused quite the hunger for the two of them! Jenn quickly ran to the corner store when they noticed how scarcely low they were on spaghetti sauce, leaving Eva home to prepare the noodles and chop the fresh herbs. Just as the water on stove began to boil and Eva was about to add the noodles, the front door flew open, startling her and making her drop the pasta all over the floor. When Carter came around the corner and saw his girlfriend crouched down on the floor retrieving the spilled food, he instantly snapped. He grabbed her by the back of her shirt and hauled her to her feet. She whimpered when he touched her and stiffened in his grasp. She knew what was coming and was trying her best to brace herself for it. "Spilling things again, are we, babe?" he said in a tone that was so acidic it could peel flesh right off the bone. "The... the door opening made me jump... I... I’m sorry?" Eva squeaked cowering. "Ya know, darling, I love how you fear me. Your inferiority amuses me greatly," Carter boasted, a grin appearing on his smug face. "Why couldn’t all of you have been so easy?" Eva’s heart began to beat so hard she was sure he could hear it. "What are you talking about Carter? You’re really starting to scare me..." "Oh, I know..." his grin turning to a crooked smile, "and I am truly enjoying every minute of it," he said as he ran the finger tips of his left hand under Eva’s chin lightly. "Why are you doing this to me?" she demanded through tears that had begun to well up in her eyes. "Well, baby, what makes you think you are any better than the other two?" "What do you mean?" She was still partially in denial that he was the killer, but now she knew the truth, though she couldn’t help but ask. "I know you know the truth, baby girl. You must have put the pieces together. I know you aren’t the sharpest one out there, but I didn’t realise you were stupid enough not to figure it out! If I would have known, I wouldn’t have blown my cover and might have left you alive. Well, at least until someone helped you figure it out that is..." The tears had begun to stream down her now rosy cheeks. "But I still don’t understand, baby. Why are you going to kill me? You told me you loved me!" she protested. "And what makes you think that I didn’t tell them that too? I’ve never actually had a job this whole time, you fool! When I go out, I go see my other girls and, unlike you, they don’t make such a mess!" With his hand clasped around the back of her neck, he thrust her head downward towards the broken pasta that lay strewn across the floor. Eva couldn’t believe her ears. How could he have been cheating on her the entire time? What did she ever do to deserve any of it? "Why did you kill them? What did they ever do to you?" She couldn’t understand any of it. "They found out about each other, and they were going to come and tell you next. I couldn’t let that happen, so I offed them while I had the chance. But then it was all over the news, and I realised you’d find out I had killed them soon enough. Then I knew you’d go to the police, being the spineless little bitch you are! Not once did you ever stand up to me. That would have been interesting, wouldn’t it have been?" "Well I’m going to now!" cried Eva and, with a sharp thrust of the elbow that connected perfectly with Carter’s Adam’s apple, his grip loosened just enough that she managed to wrangle free, but not quickly enough. Before she was out of his reach, he grabbed her by the upper arm and threw her forcefully to the floor, pasta crunching beneath her. As her head reached the floor, it made a thunderous smashing sound that radiated through her ear drums, causing her vision to blur and skull to pulsate. She could still hear his wicked cackle and see him leaning closer. He straddled her legs and let his face hover just inches above hers, all the while restraining her arms. His breath was warm against her face and made her want to scream, but she knew there was no one there to hear it even if she did. Carter let his lips graze her cheek as he whispered, "Any last words, beautiful?" against her smooth face."Why?" she screamed louder than she knew her voice could even go, making her head throb harder. He seemed just as startled by the volume of her voice but didn’t loosen his hold on her arms at all. Slowly, he shifted his weight, now holding her left arm down with his right leg so he could retrieve the knife from his back pocket. Eva began to squirm, twist, thrust, toss, wriggle, anything to get free. "Wanna know a secret?" he started. "When I tore those girls apart, I did it before they died. Then I made sure to crack their skulls. I didn’t want my little secret getting out...but you’re next, so I didn’t mind sharing it with you." He removed the knife from it’s sheath. It glinted in the fading sunlight. "Where on earth is Jenn," thought Eva, She must have gone to the grocery store. The convenient store rarely carries the sauce we like. Carter took the blade and lightly dragged it from her top lip down to her bottom lip and down her chin to her throat. From her throat, he began to cut he buttons off her shirt and drag the knife between her breasts, pressing harder when he was going over her heart. Suddenly, the front door opened again, and in sauntered in Jenn, paper bag under her arm. She stopped dead in her tracks when she entered the kitchen, dropping the paper bag that was tucked under her arm. The glass sauce jar shattered, and red sauce exploded across the floor. "What is it with you women and your God damned messes?" Carter yelled. "And what is it with you men and your chauvinism?" Jenn retorted. He buried the knife a little deeper into Eva’s chest, and she let out a yelp, a plea of help. "Let her go!" Jenn cried, running towards him while running her hand along the small island that sat in the centre of the kitchen. "Awe, but Jenn... third time’s the charm" His evil grin reappeared on his face. "Yeah, well I heard that the first one is too!" Jenn exclaimed as she plunged the knife with which Eva had been chopping herbs between Carter’s shoulder blades. He collapsed to the floor next to Eva and curled up into a ball as blood bubbled from his lips. The linoleum was now not only stained with pasta sauce but also Carter’s foul blood. After helping Eva up off the floor and holding her while she wept Jenn called 911, where police, ambulance and fire and rescue all arriving at the scene. Shortly there after Eva went to the hospital in the ambulance where she was treated for a serious concussion and cuts requiring fifteen stitches. While there she was also commended for having such an incredible best friend who had saved her life. She remained in intensive care for one month where they tended to her concussion and traumas.Jenn, two weeks later, appeared in court but was acquitted. Though her act was considered manslaughter, the court understood the predicament she had faced and knew that there would have been no other way for the innocent persons involved to get out alive. When Eva was released from the hospital, she decided that it would be a good idea to lay low for a while and recover fully before venturing out again. Jenn, graciously, let Eva move into her small, two bedroom apartment and said she wished it would have been like this all along!