Natalie Mercedes, worn out and dead to the world, entered her apartment and prepared to sleep like the dead. With no other leads to follow, she was back to square one. More time was needed to formulate a new game plan. She also had to call Tyrone and apologize for thrashing his informant. Suddenly, her sleepiness instantly vanished at the sight of her apartment left in shambles. Overturned furniture, scattered clothing, ripped-up papers, and her computer on the floor smashed to pieces. Natalie pulled out her gun and checked the other rooms. The kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom was untouched. She checked under her bed and found lingering dust balls. No footprints on the floor. No signs of forced entry. Two people came to mind as to who did this: a ninja she unknowingly arrested in Chinatown or the infamous Cat Strutter came to visit her. “She knows who I am,” she thought.
Natalie hurried to the armoire and pushed it aside. She unhinged the radiator cover behind it, showing off a traditional cast iron heater. It was cold as ice since she never used it for heat. Taped against the back of it was Martha’s original package. This must be what they were looking for. Destroying the copies on her computer must’ve made them think their mission was accomplished. With the contents intact, she stuffed it back in its hiding place and moved the furniture back to the way it was.
Hopeless and out of ideas, Natalie thought she was destined to lose this fight. They’ll be back for her. No time to rest, but she was so tired. Stressed. Lost. For the first time, she wanted to give up. From her bedroom window,
she leaned over the pane and gazed down at the city streets. Although activity seemed normal, she had this eerie feeling that squad cars will be racing toward
the front of her building at any minute. She had to get out of town while she had the chance.
Just then, an extreme chill came over her shoulder. Puffs of heavy air blew against her hair, followed by the sound of a growl that dragged for about a minute. As soon as she turned around, the devilish grip of Cat Strutter clutched her throat! She couldn’t grasp an ounce of oxygen. Yellow flashes flickered before her eyes. Her strength vastly weakened, overcome by wooziness.
Strutter smashed her through the window and hung her halfway off the windowpane, licking her snarling dry lips as she reached in her leather jacket and grabbed the handle of her deadly machete. Struggling to latch onto the frame, Natalie felt the broken glass scrape against her trench, cutting into her palm. Acting out of desperation, she snapped off the piece of glass and sliced it
across Strutter’s pasty face. Nothing happened, not even a flinch! Cat just smiled
while further tightening her grip.
With death seeming inevitable, Natalie let the glass cut deeper into her palm as she turned the pointy up and viciously stabbed Cat’s eye! Wailing in pain,
Cat stumbled backward and flipped over the bed. She fell into the wall, grasping onto her bleeding face as if it was falling off. Dark gunk spewed out from her eye socket, sticking to her face and leaking over her jaw.
Natalie collapsed on the rug, gasping for air. Being cut and stabbed by several pieces of glass made it hard for her to walk. As she crawled out to the hallway, seizing the moment to escape, an enraged Cat Strutter grabbed her
by the ankles and swung her against the wall. Blood coughed out like phlegm. Desperately, she leaped on the killer’s back and pummeled her face with left hooks. Cat reached back for a handful of brunette locks and threw the private eye across the room like a rag doll.
Natalie lied face-first on the floor, not moving whatsoever. Cat maniacally stalked her fallen prey, leaving a long scrape on the wall from her blade. Then unexpectedly, Natalie spun around with the 44 Magnum clamped in her hands. BAM!!! BAM!!! BAM!!! Several rounds got fired into Cat’s torso. Dark liquid splashed on the walls as she plunged to the ground. Is it over? Has the horror finally ended?
A weak smile curled on Natalie’s sweaty face, sliding against the wall
in exhaustion. Weakened. The punishment she took was severe. Where’s the phone? She had to contact Jill. Staggering to her feet, Natalie slowly walked to
the bedroom, perhaps expecting to die soon. She’d rather lay peacefully in her bed than be left sprawled out like an alley cat. She pushed the door open. No! Standing by the entranceway was Cat Strutter, angrier than ever.
She grabbed Natalie by her hair and drove the machete into her stomach! Excruciating pain burned through her body. As she watched her blood drip down to the floor, her mind went blank. Cat yanked out the blade and coldly dropped her victim. Natalie’s breathing stopped as her life slipped away. The last thing she saw was Martha’s killer cackling with enjoyment. Pure evil.