The grey sinewy tendrils of winter’s claws scratched through the late October billowing blue sky causing goose bumps atop Leanne’s exposed legs and along the plunging neckline of her cotton blouse. Others who passed through the small tree lined park in the middle of the bustling city were bundled warmly, tucking their faces into their upturned collars. Leanne steadfastly refused to succumb to the chill; she wore light clothing that draped her body rather than blanket it. She could have dressed for the cooler breezes of autumn, but Leanne felt overly claustrophobic being tightly bound within the fabric. Twelve years of judicial confinement had left her loathe of being restricted in even the smallest of distinction. It was for this reason that she had chosen to eat her lunch in the openness of the park across from the office building she worked in over the warmth of the lunchroom, that the whispers that burned through the protective layer of long dull blonde hair that covered her ears of those who tried to place where they had seen her before; it would not be long until she would change jobs when too many of those whispers of uncertainty became adamant in the identification. No matter how often she could point to her service representative pin with the name “Tracy” on it, Leanne would be discovered.
She would never admit it but Leanne relished in gradually awakening† the public’s consciousness of her notoriety. She could have altered her looks to but a shade of what had been splashed over the media all those years ago. A dye job, coloured contact lenses, a frumpier clothing style and there had been offers of cosmetic surgery, and most of all discarding the locket with her real name inscribed on the back of it. There had to be thousands of images in the news archives with that silver locket that still hung around her lithe neckline to nestle in her cleavage. Leanne just could not do it: it had been a gift from her sister that had been four years her junior. It was not an expensive cameo locket, in the thin flower etches of the oval border Leanne could see the silver paint flaking on the day she had gotten it. Leanne remembered her sister’s face scrunching up as she carefully picked and cut her picture to fit inside its shallow innards.
It was not as if it was much of a hassle to her when the embers of her past would flare from the ashes, it was the justice department that paid for the change of all the legal documents and identification. Such a benevolent court had it been, twelve years in minimum security to point her finger at her husband for the drugging, rape and murder of three girls, plus protection when she was released. All the court required was for her to play the battered spouse card; that she had no choice but aid and abet her psychopathic husband lest it would have been her that ended up under the loose dirt.
Leanne had not been aware that she had clasped her hand around the locket, warming its cold shell. She let it go to fall back onto her cleavage, the warmth of her palm pulsated from the area of skin to form an oasis of smoothness over the desert of goose bumps. Her mediation on the locket’s warmth was broken as the sound of shrilly giggling rushed past. Leanne looked up just as a girl, perhaps twelve, Leanne thought, breezed past her.
“Mandy!” a young woman, around her late teens yelled half running, half walking.
The woman noticed Leanne watching her. “Ugh, little sisters can be such pains.”
“For sure,” Leanne said. “From one big sister to another, take a load off and let some of the breeze leave her sails.”
The teen shrugged and sat down beside Leanne. The two sat in silence watching the twelve year old run around the trees close by erratically, occasionally stopping to catch her breath and taunt her sister to get off the bench. Leanne remembered similar silly confrontations with her sister. The last confrontation they had just over thirteen years ago had been anything but silly; it had shown Leanne the true nature of little sisters.
Mom would have a shit fit if she found out about this, Leanne giggled to herself as she finished off the last bottle of her six pack of beer, Her eyes dancing along her husband’s strong sweat bathed form through the brown glass, but damn is he ever fucking hot. It was mesmerizing for her to watch his shoulder blades move rhythmically, her hands matching his tempo as her hands plunged in her wetness as he in another. Leanne watched as her husband’s motions became more hurried and erratic and she matched it; when his back arched and locked, his buttocks dimpling with deep release Leanne could feel her own warming the skin past her wrist. The satisfied chuckle that Ken gave as he withdrew took Leanne back to the first time she had seen the man who would become her husband.
It had been a warm spring night four years ago, half drunk, stumbling home from a high school party, Leanne had opted to cut through the small trail that ran along the river bank that paralleled the windy road. The spruce trees that lined either side of the trail looked thin in the light of day yet in the backdrop of the night did not permit the street lights revealing bulbs to permeate the moss covered rocks. She heard noises ahead of her, branches snapping, grunts. Leanne slowed her stumble as the noises grew, quietly moving herself behind one of the spruce’s when she could make out the moonlight outlines of two people, a man and a woman just ahead of her in one of the many grassy knolls that polka dotted the river bank side of the trail.
At first Leanne had thought she had almost gotten herself in the middle of a lover’s quarrel, but she quickly realized as the man took out a knife and held it to the woman’s throat it was something far more sinister.
Leanne thought that maybe she should back track to one of the entrances to the trail to the road, to tell someone what was going on behind the tree line – just as she had been taught to by her parents, teachers and community safety announcements – but her seventeen year old eyes could not take her eyes off the scene before her. She let a whispered moan escape; she had not been aware that her hand had slipped down the front of her jeans as she watched the man violate the woman. She knew she had fallen in love the moment the moonlight cast a shadow that outlined the buttock dimples of excitement released. Leanne watched the man pull his pants back up, give one final warning to the sobbing half naked girl on the grass then walk briskly toward her hiding spot.
She followed him, she found where he lived and proceeded over the next few days to find out as much information about the man as possible. Ken was a year senior in her school and for two months afterward Leanne would hide in the shadows during the weekend following his every move, and another rape, before she arranged to bump into Ken in the school cafeteria. They had dated for almost a year and a half that Leanne would inform Ken that she knew about his little hobby. She told him that if he wanted their relationship to be serious then he had better start taking his perversion seriously; he was far too careless and spontaneous, he would be caught sooner than later. They had married the same year Leanne graduated from high school and enrolled in a collage course for animal sciences that quickly changed to pharmaceutical assistant when the concession Ken had made of having sex with a willing in front of her lacked the excitement both he and Leanne craved. The night that Leanne received her certificate was the first night that she joined Ken in the hunt. It would not be long before long that her passive action of observing Ken’s sex plays with the drugged – her drugged victims – would not be enough. She made it clear to Ken that she would have first dibs on their human toys.
Leanne had made an exception for this young girl; she had let Ken have her first, after all, she reasoned this was his anniversary present from her. Leanne had experienced powerful orgasms watching Ken have his with the girls they had grabbed off the streets, but this time the waves of electricity sending waves of pleasure to her mind were more intense, more personal – Ken was in the process of consuming Dawn’s, her little sister, virginity. Ken had mentioned a couple of times how Leanne’s little sister had started to show the woman she would be then joking that wasn’t it one of those sisterly things to share?
Leanne had sent Ken out to the grocery store just before the time she had asked Dawn to come over to help prepare a special dinner for Ken. To show how appreciative she was that her little sister had been willing to assist in her wifely duties, Leanne pour a large glass of wine to drink while she cut vegetables for a salad that would later turn brown, forgotten on the kitchen table. Leanne had laced the wine with a generous dose of diazepam so she was easily able to manoeuvre the stumbling girl towards the bedroom and undress the barely conscious girl before Ken arrived back.
Leanne leaned against the kitchen table wearing only a thin lacy apron with a tipped bottle opener and cold beer in her hand. She popped the cap off the beer and handed it to her husband.
“Happy anniversary, babe, I hope you’re hungry because I have a delicious treat for you,” Leanne said.
Ken smiled as he took the beer and with the tips of his fingers brushed back the apron hem.
“Uh uh,” Leanne said, grabbing the remainder of the six pack on the table. She motioned for Ken to follow her to the bedroom. The look on Ken’s face had made the effort worth it for Leanne, the look of love, the glare of lust as he looked on the bed to find Dawn’s nude body with the exception for the Dollar Store bow sitting atop the thin curls of her blossoming womanhood. Leanne beamed as she popped the cap off one of the beers and sat on the edge of the bed as Dawn began to whimper in her sleep from the weight of Ken’s body atop of her. It would not be until Ken’s second time mounting Dawn that the girl would regain consciousness and began to resist. Leanne, who had moved from the edge of the bed to the padded chair just off center of the bed so that she could enjoy her husband in action, opened another beer as her sister cried out for her to help her.
“C’mon Dawn, you know this is what you want, baby, you know it,” Ken said after he removed himself from the girl. He looked over at the dresser, frowning for a second as he saw that Leanne had drunk the last beer. Leanne shrugged her shoulders and stuck her tongue out playfully at her husband. If there had been a beer Ken perhaps would not have heard, or cared, when through thick sobs Dawn gave a counter statement of her desires than he had just smugly assured the girl.
Ken’s blue eyes had turned to steel; he grabbed the bottle opener that had been sitting on the dresser. He bounced on the sobbing and coughing girl, puncturing the thin flesh of her cheek with the bottle opener’s sharp tip. Leanne slammed her hands against her ears hard to shield herself from becoming deaf from the piercing scream that hurricaned from her sister’s vocal chords. With his other arm bracing the head from moving, Ken forced the can opener to slice through the tender skin, carving a crude quarter sized heart. The meaty cheek flesh fell into Dawn’s mouth to the base of throat, causing the shrill cries to become choked gasps for air.
Ken jammed his fingers into the gaping hole, tearing the outline he had done to unrecognizable shreds of meat and pulled out the pinkish-red cheek heart. He stood up, commanding the girl to look at him with a callous bunt of her chin with his foot.
“Listen closely, bitch, real close,” Ken hissed from clenched teeth. “See this? This is a piece of you – and wouldn’t you fucking know it, it’s a heart – your fucking heart, got it!?!”
Ken tossed the piece of flesh onto the floor beside the bed then grabbed Dawn by the hair and flung her off the covers to the floor.
“Now give me your heart,” Ken bade in a soft voice, “Give me your heart.”
Leanne had taken her hands from her ears and observed with keen interest at the gaping wound in her sister’s face; there was something hypnotic about how the whiteness of the teeth would disappear for a moment in a deluge of blood only to reappear as the motions of her sobbing sister’s tongue would force a miniature geyser of red spittle from the wound.
“Give your heart,” Ken demanded impatiently.
Dawn pulled herself into a foetal position and began to rock back and forth, sobbing.
“BITCH” Ken screamed at the woman on the floor before stomping into the adjoining washroom, slamming the door behind him. He came out of the bathroom a few minutes later, washed and smelling heavily of cologne and began getting dressed. Leanne stood up and walked over to him.
“I’m going to go get some more beer – want anything?” he said gruffly.
“Uhm…..let me think,” Leanne said with a predatory gleam in her glazed eyes as she put her arms around his neck and ground her pelvis into his. Ken pushed her away. Leanne scowled for a moment then put on her widest smile. “I guess a Big Mac would be nice.” Ken grunted with a nod, told Leanne to clean her sister up and walked out of the bedroom, leaving Leanne standing in the spot that he had pushed her to. She stood there staring at the doorway until she had heard the door of the condo unit open and close.
Did he just reject her?
Leanne turned her head at her shivering and moaning sister on the floor.
Leanne began to think back, the innocent talks she and Dawn had when Leanne had just started dating Ken, the shy admission by her little sister that she really liked her man. She thought of how Dawn was always so willing to come over and help out around the house – all those times that Leanne had foolishly thought that Dawn was doing it for her…but it was for him. The little bitch was trying to show that Ken that she was far more useful than Leanne, that she could…that fucking manipulative little bitch – she planned all of this. She was going to take Ken away from her, and dumb ol Leanne had been her dull accomplice! To think that she was going to show Dawn how much Leanne loved her in the most intimate way that only lover’s could…
Leanne walked over to the where Dawn and the mutilated piece of her flesh lay. Leanne grabbed the bloodied piece of cheek from the floor, opened the snap on her locket and squished it against Dawn’s picture, closing the locket with the making of a fist.
“Your heart should belong to me, you filthy slut,” she said through tears, “Isn’t that what being sisters is about?” Leanne pushed Dawn onto her back with her foot and straddled the girl, her hands pushing against Dawn’s shoulders. “Well, guess what, BITCH? YOU AIN’T GONNA TAKE MY MAN!!!”
Leanne stretched her bottom downward until her own womanly curls could have been woven like a pubic blanket into Dawn’s.
“YOU CAN’T HAVE ANY OF MY MAN, GOT THAT, BITCH,” Leanne hissed as she began to grind her pelvis roughly against the other woman’s. Leanne could feel Ken’s stickiness, still warm, coating her sexual plumpness. “NONE…” Leanne growled when she thought she could feel the last of her husband’s seminal tracings being absorbed then moved herself and brought her knee up forcibly between Dawn’s legs, causing the girl’s eye’s to roll as the pain arced from her pelvis up her spinal cord, “…OF HIM!!” Four more times Leanne would grind herself into Dawn. Four more times she would bring her knee to Dawn’s sexual center, each time increasing the amount of pressure she exerted. She would not have stopped even then if the blood spurting from her sister’s coughs through her mouth, nose and the savagely shredded cheek began to drip from Leanne’s hair as if she had been caught in a cloud burst. She had to look good for her man.
Leanne got off her sister, walked over to the dresser, took out a pair of handcuffs, attaching one cuff to Dawn’s wrist and the other to the bed post. She then went to the washroom to shower, brusquely tossing a wet towel at Dawn, ordering her to clean herself up, she was a disgrace.
Leanne let Ken have one last moment with Dawn, but as he lay beside her sister napping, Leanne slipped Dawn enough diazepam that after that night, the only thing slipping anything into her would be worms and maggots.† Leanne was brought back to park by the woman shouting.
“Mandy! Stick close, you little shit!” She then lowered her voice and said conspiratorially to Leanne, “You can’t let them see that you actually love them, can you?”
“Oh, I think it’s never a bad thing to show them love,” Leanne answered which was rewarded by the teenager rolling her eyes with her cheeks momentarily turning a tinge of rose.
This poor girl, Leanne thought to herself, she really does love her sister. The newspapers had called Leanne and Ken’s story “The Beauty and the Beast”. The shy pretty girl with the purest of hearts had gotten mixed up with a monster. It had not been until the papers of her plea bargain had been inked and set in judicial stone that investigators would realize in this version of Beauty and the Beast, perhaps it had not been Beauty that they had made the deal with. The damning video tapes that the public would never see taken by her husband as Leanne talked to the camera about the drugs she used on the unconscious girls that she sat on bed with, naked, undressing the girls, taking draughts of the forced passion before taking the camera away to film Ken having his turn after she had been sated. It amused Leanne that considering she had used her knowledge of pharmaceuticals in the commissions of the crimes that sent her husband to prison until the day he would die that the jobs the courts would arrange, while low level entry positions, still gave her access to those same drugs. Leanne’s interment had changed her though; she had seen the error in abusing her knowledge for her own means. As the police observations of her activities had dwindled she came to realize that it was within her power to save others who could be hurt by their younger siblings. She had the strength to handle the onus of crushing disappointment that haunts a person for the span of their lifetime so that others would not have to.
Leanne knew that she had to save this girl. She slipped her hand into the beige carry-all that sat on the ground beside the park bench, pulling out the small syringe that she kept primed for just these kinds of emergencies. She leaned over, putting her hand on the teenager’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry, honey, I used to have a little sister to,” she told the teenager as the syringe plunged through the teenager’s jacket and shirt just underneath the rib cage.
“You’re welcome,” whispered Leanne as she looked into the teenager’s eyes as she gripped her shoulder to ensure the teenager could not squirm too quickly away before the plunger had exhausted the contents of the vial.
There was not the slightest hint of the sudden cessation of life; the little curls of warm exhale that slightly shadowed in the autumn air simply dissipated. Leanne propped the slumping teenager so that her head rested on the edge of back of the bench, the bench’s metal arm against the girl’s side resisted gravity’s insistence that the earth should reclaim the basic molecular components immediately.
Leanne stood up, straightening her skirt, looking at the girl kicking at the rumpled piles of leaves that littered the park under its trees. She strode over to the girl and introduced herself, telling the girl that her sister had asked her to take the girl home so she could go hang out with some friends and held out her hand. The little girl was confused for a moment, hesitant, but after peeking at her sister sitting on the bench and saw no movement to stop or hinder the woman, chose to accept the outstretched hand. After all, what kind of person would let anything bad happen to their little sister?
It would be hours before day would turn to night when in the crispness the trickle of urine that had vacated the teenager’s bladder would freeze the bottom of her thighs to the wooden slats of the park bench. Hours more when a street social worker would gently shake the corpse thinking it was another unfortunate soul who had become a victim of today’s economy and ended up without a warm place to lay their head. It would take over half a day before the police would be called, identifying who the woman and notifying her family. It would be over half a day before the question would be asked where the woman’s little sister was. It would be over half a day that “Tracy” would suddenly become ill and call the office up to tell them that she was going home. It would be over half a day that Leanne would have a little sister. It would be two days before the blackened shrivelled heart within the locket would be replaced by another heart once more being pink and vibrant in tribute to the betrayal of a sister.