Trigger warning: rape
He was tall and handsome and his hairstyle was similar to the one Rob Lowe sported in 'St. Elmo's Fire.' He wore an earring on his left ear and always donned washed out jeans and shirts with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He had an I.D badge fastened to the flap of his pocket that bore his name, Steven Fox. He was a reporter who worked for a popular New York newspaper. Amy took eyefuls of him as he moved his stuff upstairs and wondered what was he doing moving into this low rent neighborhood. He waved at her once but all she see was the black, gleaming pools that he had for eyes, combined with the unnerving ability to cause trenchant heartache. Maybe it was the early loss of her father that had her in this vulnerable state of 'lovelorness.' Steven was well into his thirties but yet she wanted to be in his presence day and night, despite her seventeen year old status.
Amy recalled as a child, her father cradling her to his chest and carefully holding her head against it. He would gently rock her to sleep while whispering made up songs to her. She would hold on to him for dear life, not wanting their deified moment to come to an end. Even today, those occasions remained fresh in her mind. The warmth of his chest was the most poignant of her memories of him. Being nestled in his bosom was compared to losing herself in the celestial vastness of the Eagle's Nebula. In it she would soar through and above the pillars of embryonic stars while being engulfed in stardust and light. But then he died and everything died with him. A light went out and Amy felt as if she was violently pushed off a moving carousel and after four years, still haven't found her footing.
She laid on her bed in her small bedroom and watched as the first snow of winter began to fall and in no time, piled up like a mountain range against the window sill. Kenny would be home anytime now and she cringed at the thought. She pulled the covers over her head and put on her headphones. She pressed 'play' on her walkman that already had a 'Simple Minds' cassette inside it and lost herself to the enlightening sound. Her mother, a former teacher who loved long walks and made elaborate dinners at one time, was at home. But being affected by the sad disease, she slept all day. Over the din of the music she could hear raised voices and knew that he had come home. He was probably complaining about the lack of diner and with slow, dragging steps, her harried mother would make her way to the kitchen and minutes later, the smell of a frying steak pervaded the apartment as the raised voices continued, interspersed with curses and insults.
The steaks were reserved for the high and mighty Kenny Sommers and her mother would steadfastly stock up on them and used them to placate his infernal rage. Amy would go dinnerless on many occasions but thank god for t.v dinners and the burger joint across the street. Oliver Fishman, her father was a good and generous man and her mother's thinking ability dissipated the minute he left the earth. Kenny was his father's childhood friend who had infiltrated the family after their loss with kind words and gracious acts that made her mother's head spin. Some months later they were married not caring whether people and family members were whispering behind their backs about them carrying on an affair while her father was alive. Amy knew it wasn't true but she did know that her mother hated being alone. An argument over how to make his eggs became an heated issue one morning and when his fist came down hard on the table, almost splitting it in two and spilling everything, thirteen year old Amy knew she had to protect herself.
She could hear him forcing himself on her mother and her mind was thrown back to last weeks murders of two young girls. Both were teenagers like she was and were raped and strangled and their young bodies were found in the vicinity of her apartment building; one of them in an old house, the other in an alley that led to her school. No progress had been made in the investigation so far. Kenny left for work early the next morning, he worked at a car assembly plant not far from the apartment. As soon as he was gone Amy got up, made breakfast for her mother and left for school. She walked to school, using the same route each day. It must have snowed heavily last night for the snow was thick on the ground but she was prepared for it. She wore her her sweater and her boots with her jeans tucked inside. Her shoulder length chestnut hair was covered in a colorful knitted hat and she had her backpack on her back. She wore her headphones like she usually would and this morning the sound of 'Bon Jovi,' graced her ears. Amy was about to turn into the alley that led to her school, the very one they had found that poor girl's body in, when a car pulled up behind her.
She stepped aside and pulled off her headphones. It was a steel gray sedan being driven by her upstairs neighbor, Steven Fox, "need a lift?"
Amy's heart was pounding in her chest, "I'm almost there," she said nonchalantly.
"Didn't they find a body here last week. Looks like the perfect roost for a serial killer if asked me."
" It takes one to know one," she retorted and kept on walking.
Steven just grinned at her as he kept on driving beside her.
"Let's wait and see, if the murder rate goes up we'll know for sure."
Amy just shook her head and smiled a wry smile.
"Be aware of your surroundings, my sweet."
"Well thank you, Mr. Fox but as you can see, I'm late for school."
"Have a good day at school now!" He said and drove off.
Amy smiled in his wake.
It was late when she was jolted from her sleep by a wayward noise. It was quiet in the apartment tonight. Kenny must be sated, a good steak and forced sex, what could beat back that duo? As the noise continued, she realized that it was her upstairs neighbor moving about. Wearing only a t-shirt and a pair of pajama bottoms, Amy snuck out of the apartment and made her way up the creaky, wooden steps to the floor above her. On reaching his apartment, she gave his door a brisk knock as her eyes nervously ran the length of the long, dark corridor. No one responded. She raised her hand to knock once more, but it flew opened and there was staggering beauty staring her in the face. He wore a 'v' necked t-shirt and looked sweaty as his dark hair clung to his skin. He leant forward, his face now inches away from hers. Amy could see a day's stubble covering his glorious visage. One was arm propped against the door frame and hung over his head while it supported his leaning body; his eyes fondling hers.
"What are you doing up here at this ungodly hour of the night, Ms.....er," he inquired and studied her with unabashed delirium, "...... barefoot?"
"Oh," she said, looking down at her feet.
" These floors are a breeding ground for bacteria, don't you know that, Ms. Barefoot."
"The name's Amy."
"I'll sick to Ms. Barefoot for now. Look, do you want to come inside?'
His words were heavy with persuasion and mindlessly her feet led her into his lair. Gently he closed the door behind them.
Feverishly she scanned the apartment and realized that his things were still unpacked and there were papers and books strewn haphazardously throughout the floor, "what do you do in here? It sounded like you were wrestling with someone."
"I moonwalk," his admittance was laconic.
"It's how I think. The floors are wooden, so it sounds louder."
All this time her eyes were prying into the pile of books on the coffee table and the ones scattered on the couch.
"Your reading materials are quite morbid. 'How to use a garotte' and autopsies.....wow!"
"For what, the Spanish inquisition?"
Amy felt a chill run down her spine, "I better go."
"Why did you come in the first place?"
In her haste to leave the apartment she turned and collided with his sturdy chest and it was intimate enough for her to smell the dreaminess of his cologne and his heat.
"You have the most shiny hair," he murmured, his chin almost a foot above her head. Tentatively she raised her head to stare into his face and his mouth came down hard upon hers, consuming it. Amy staggered back, grappling for support but found only his body to hold on to. Soon she found herself responding in kind to the ferocity of his kiss. But then she broke free and made for the door.
"I'm sorry," he whispered in her wake.
Her attraction for him was as hot as a nuclear blast but the fear she felt was ungiving as he now gave off a vibe like vinegar. Deep down, Amy knew who he really was. She saw no duct tape or rope lying around , the understood paraphernalia of a serial killer, but the cops might. The books however were strong evidence of a dark and twisted mind. But Amy was drawn to him as if by hypnosis. Exposing him will be tantamount to betrayal. For her own carnal gain and maybe a warped shot at happiness, she would excuse him. She stood outside his door and thought to herself that she would take the chance to be with this monster, a glorious monster who would love her and eviscerate her at the same time. She would direct the cops' attention to Kenny.