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“Margo, tell me what you did … also, you’re going really fast.”

I change lanes, then change again. I can see the tension in his upper body. I cut off a semi and the driver blares his horn.

“I killed Vola Fields and Lyndee Anthony. I killed a man in an alley who was trying to rape a girl.” I hesitate for a moment before I add, “And then I tried to kill Leroy Ashley.”

He’s quiet for a long time. Traffic gathers along my exit. I slow down, but I want to keep driving, keep going fast.

“Who is Leroy Ashley?”

“A rapist,” I say.

“But, you haven’t killed him yet?”

I glance at him, and he’s looking at me.


I see the relief.

“How do you know?”

“How do I know what, Judah?” I flick the hair out of my eyes, annoyed at his questions.

“That he’s a rapist!”

“It’s a long story,” I say. “But, I know.”

He’s rubbing his jawline, looking out the window then back to me. If he had working legs, I wonder if he’d already have asked to be let out of the car.

“Why, Margo? Why didn’t you go to the police?”

I laugh. “Are you kidding? After what happened with Lyndee? Judah, why are you even saying this to me?”

“Why did you have to kill them? You could’ve…” He’s focusing on the women, not Leroy. Maybe because I haven’t killed him yet.

“What? Sat them down and had a nice little chat with them about what they did?”

“Maybe … it seems more reasonable than taking someone’s life.”

I think about this. Possibly for the first time. Why did I have to kill them?

“I had no proof,” I say. “The police wouldn’t have done anything. I believe in swift justice.”

He slams his fist on the dash, and then keeps it clenched as he speaks to me through his teeth. “You are not the law. You do not get to administer your own brand of justice on humankind. How could you be so stupid?”

“Stupid?” I sound distant when I say it. My tongue is fat with the confessions I’ve just made. I never considered what I did to be stupid. I never considered what I did. I just … did what my body told me to do. I moved like a person who has cut ties with her mind and was relying on the guidance of some deeper force. A possession of sorts.

“Maybe…” I say. And even to me, my voice sounds noncommittal. Judah stirs at my words. Becomes angrier. His irises boil around his pupils, making him look like a cartoon version of himself. Eyes never lie. Not the emotions we convince ourselves to experience, or we convince others we are experiencing—the real ones. You can listen to words, or you can listen to a person’s eyes.

“Why are you so angry with me? You left me.”

But he’s not listening anymore. He’s putting things together.

“That’s why you were in the hospital,” he says. “You almost got yourself killed.”

“Go on,” I say. “Rail me with how stupid I am. How I should have told the police, left the punishment of criminals to the infallible law. But you and I both know how it really is. We lived in a world where children were not protected from their parents. Where you can hurt someone because someone once hurt you.”

It’s all true to my own ears. They lived in a form of ignorant hubris—Vola and Lyndee. At least Leroy knew what he was doing. He was looking to be caught. Even if he didn’t know it.

I want to execute my plan, and this time I am not acting on impulse. I will not make mistakes. I am, I think with little mortification, an evolving killer. We are at the airport. I help him out of the Jeep and into his chair. When I bend down to say goodbye, he’s teary-eyed.

“Why does it have to be like this, Margo?” he asks.

I kiss him on the forehead. “Baby, I’m crazy.”

I watch as the attendant pushes him away. He doesn’t look back at me, and I think this is a good thing. Maybe it’s over for good between us. I feel proud. Like maybe I am in control of my life, and I can walk away from Judah when I need to. Dr. Elgin thought he was bad for me. Someone I needed in order to cope with the bad things in my life. But, it isn’t true anymore. I am in control of my own life. I don’t need Judah. I just like that he is there. I dial her number as soon as I get home.

“I saw Judah,” I say. “He didn’t understand.” She asks me if I’ve been taking my medicine, then tells me to come in to see her right away.

Leroy thinks he’s won. Most men think they are born with a gold medal growing in their nut sack. Winner winner chicken dinner! That’s what Howard thought when he stole that little coffin from the eating house. I’m not done with Howard yet, and I’m not done with Leroy. Leroy Ashley doesn’t know I survived my little ordeal, and with stronger resolution. He’s run from me, but I will find him. If he knew my anger, he’d be preparing. Perhaps he’d buy a gun, or lay off the vodka cocktails he drank every morning for breakfast. He’d take a close look at the burn marks on his body and remember that his skin popped and crackled like bacon when I held my lighter to his flesh. I don’t need to watch him this time. I don’t need to spend hours planning. I know exactly what I’m going to do to him. An eye for an eye. And not for myself. I won’t take revenge for a thing that was done to me, but for each of the girls whose lives he ruined. Because you can’t just do that—knowingly ruin people’s lives. Something will eventually come for you.


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