Page 63

WHEN LEROY WAKES UP, he does so with remarkable noise. He’s all grunts and moaning as he rises from his drug-induced sleep—ground Ambien and a handful of generic sleeping pills I tossed into his breakfast cocktail. I watch raptly, hungry for his reaction. I feel like a child, eager to see if my experiment with a comb and light bulb has generated a charge. Leroy lies still for the moment, gagged with one of his own sweat-stained T-shirts, and spread eagle on the bed, his limbs secured to the posts with flexicuffs. He looks like a pitiful human sacrifice, one that the gods would find inadequate. The ache in my shoulders and back brag dully, after dragging two hundred and fifty pounds of Leroy Ashley across the room and onto the bed. Even now, as I gaze down at his body, which is trembling in shock, the small half-smile on my lips, I feel euphoric. I succeeded. I have brought another criminal to my version of the electric chair. I sigh contentedly and lift my arms above my head in a stretch, while Leroy begins to fight against his gag.

It looks like he’s choking, but I don’t care. I let him struggle, his head rocking from side to side. His penis hangs limply between his legs, a shriveled mushroom of a thing. The sight of it revolts me. How can something that looks so harmless ruin the lives of so many women? I bring my hand down and touch his ankle to alert him to my presence. It’s vile, touching him. I immediately feel the need to scour my skin with hot water. His eyes, which are two black marbles, search the room for me. When he sees me, he yells something around his gag and yanks at the flexi-cuffs until bright welts appear on his wrists. I laugh.

“Hello,” I say. “You took a very long nap.”

He can’t see my face. He tilts his head this way and that while I hide momentarily in the shadows, buying a few more seconds until my big reveal. Leroy struggles, his solid belly jiggling in the dim light. I walk my fingers up his leg, and he watches me with wide-eyed terror. When I reach the junction of his thick, sweaty thighs, I grab his penis; I grab it hard, squeezing it in my fist, digging in my nails. His eyes flare open, and he screams in pain.

“What?!” I say in mock surprise. “You don’t like it when someone roughs up your junk? I thought you were into that sort of thing.” With tears of pain pooling down his cheeks, he stills to look at me. Really look at me.

I step out of the shadows, stand where he can see me. Leroy looks genuinely surprised. He doesn’t recognize my face—I was too careful for that—but he recognizes my womanhood. He heard my voice, perhaps didn’t believe it, but here I am, standing five feet six inches tall. A woman who drugged him, tied him to his own bed, and is now hurting him. He roars.

“What? You think you’re the only one who stalks people?”

His nostrils flare in response. I am enjoying this. Though I don’t have time to dwell on the worry of why. I am standing in this rapist’s house, towering over his trembling body, and all I can feel is … power. I have the power. I am the power. Margo the Murderess.

“How many women have you raped?” I ask. He narrows his eyes, and I see the full extent of his hatred. He hates women, I think. Women with brown hair.

“How many?”

When he makes no move to answer me, I pull out my knife and run it along his shin.

“What? Did your mommy do you wrong? Is that what turned you into a filthy pig? Was she a brunette, Leroy?”

Still nothing.

“My mommy did me wrong, too,” I say with false cheerfulness. “I guess that’s why we’re both here!”

I set the knife down and pick up the pink lighter instead, which I had placed on his nightstand after hauling his heavy ass onto the bed. I have been reading the old Seattle Times; I’ve scrolled back ten years, searching the archives for rape stories. What I found was Leroy Ashley. His ability to get away with the crime, but he still left marks, followed patterns. The police couldn’t find him because he wasn’t in the system. He remained undetected, unseen. A true and accomplished stalker.

I crack my neck. I feel good. I feel so damn good. This, I think, is what cocaine must feel like. Murder, the upper of uppers.

“I know you know what it feels like to hurt someone. I know you like it. Just so you know, I like it too. So I’m going to take my time.”

I flick the wheel of the lighter, and a small flame pops out. I lower the flame to the underside of Leroy’s arm and hold it there. He roars so loudly that I’m sure the entire street can hear him. When he opens his eyes, I see tears of either pain or rage trickling down his cheeks.

“Are you afraid of this little, pink Zippo, Leroy?” I say, holding it up. It’s about the size of your little, pink dick. I like for weapons to be of equal proportions. Is that all right?”

He looks at me like I’m mental. Me. I feel sudden rage. I spin the wheel of the lighter and hold it to his rib cage. His skin bubbles under the flame. He thrashes so wildly that he knocks the lighter right out of my hand. It skids across the wooden floor coming to rest in the far corner. I yank the bandana from his mouth, and then pull back my hand and slap him. His head jerks to the side. He slowly straightens it back to look at me, his usually dead eyes lit up with anger.

“You cunt bitch!” he snarls. Spittle flies from his lips, his bared teeth are yellowing and crooked. If you’re going to smoke all of those cigarettes, you should really make an effort to whiten your teeth, I think impassively. I feel slightly better about his rage; his silence bored me. I pick up the lighter and begin again. Leroy does not cry or beg. I was expecting him to—the sniveling pig that he is. Instead, he takes it, and flings obscenities at me while he thrashes in anger, the corner of his mouth frothy with spit. I urge him in a patient, calm voice to confess.

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