The Cryptic Killer

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Chapter 22

The handsome driver slowed along First Avenue, before turning right into 20th Avenue, heading toward the East River. He looked across at Nikki and smiled. ‘We’re nearly there,’ His smile was reassuring.

Unbeknownst to him, she knew exactly where they were. His choice of location was the riverside directly across from her apartment building. This was her neighborhood, but it was Emma’s not Nikki’s. Her apartment building was located in a large estate of twenty-one multi-story apartment buildings beside the river.

Her estate was bordered by First Avenue to the west, East 23rd Street to the north, 20th Avenue to the south, with Avenue C running along the river side of the estate.

The driver crossed Avenue C and continued under the elevated FDR freeway, to a vacant car parking area adjacent to the East River. He parked the vehicle horizontally across two parking bays adjoining a riverside park. Even on an overcast and moonless night the outlook across the river was tranquil.

The man-made sanctuary adjacent to the river was a popular park area for visitors to escape in nature’s scenic respite from the otherwise concrete jungle. Picnic areas and lush lawns with ample trees spreading natural awnings over the many outdoor barbecues and picnic tables, all contributed to create the perfect riverside setting.

The area was a popular location during the day, especially at lunchtimes and on weekends, but tonight it was deserted. All that could be heard was the wind whistling up the river and the dull hum of the traffic overhead on the freeway.

Under the darkness of night the vibrant green foliage and lawns had assumed dreary shades of gray, while the reflection off the river resembled a mass of molten pewter under the moonlit night sky.

‘He we are,’ he announced. He looked towards Nikki. She smiled. A moment of awkward silence passed.

‘So how do you want to do this?’ she asked.

The driver alighted from the vehicle and walked around to the passenger side of the car. She noticed as he passed across the front of the vehicle he was very tall and quite solidly built.

After arriving at her door he opened it and extended a chivalrous hand, in a gesture from eras gone by, to help her alight from the car.

’Why don’t I sit in your seat,’ he said gently assisting her out of the car to her feet. He then sat in the passenger seat, keeping his feet on the ground outside the car. He pointed to the ground between his legs. ‘You can kneel down there…It should place you at just the right height,’ he added. ’Do you want anything for your knees? He asked.

Nikki lowered herself onto her knees. ‘No I’ll be OK…Thigh-high boots come in handy sometimes,’ she joked.

She reached in to the vehicle and lifted her hand bag from the passenger side foot well and placed it on the ground beside her. Following a brief search of the contents she removed a condom.

When she lifted her focus back to the driver he had already removed his penis through his unzipped fly. He was ready to go. She placed the condom over his erect penis while maintaining seductive eye contact with him as she did so.

Nikki took hold of his penis and began to stroke it as she lifted her eyes back up at him. ‘Ready…?’

‘Let’s do this,’ he said with a smile.

Nikki adjusted her position, moving in closer to the vehicle so she could comfortably reach him. When she was in the right position she lowered her head taking him fully in her mouth. Her skillful combination of hand and mouth stimulation caused his penis to swell further in her mouth.

She felt the weight of his hands on the back of her head, guiding her head up and down with her movements. She concentrated on trying to finish him off quickly and didn’t notice he had moved one of his hands from the top of her head down to her chin. The hand on her chin exerted considerable pressure, causing her head to tilt sideways slightly. It was uncomfortable and difficult to slide her mouth over his penis.

Nikki winced when he clamped his hands tighter on her head. His hands caused her discomfort. He dragged her head upwards like he was trying to lift her mouth clear of his penis, but she offered resistance, thinking he was close to finishing.

When he jerked her head even harder she stopped sucking to verbally protest at what he was doing. But before she could speak, a sudden sharp and intense pain stabbed up into the base of her skull. For reasons unknown to her, her head was now at right angles and her vision was impaired. Everything was black.

The pressure from his hands on her head suddenly released to the sound of a piercing shriek. Her male client forcefully pushed her head away from his groin.

‘You fucking bitch,’ he screamed. The once calm and reassuring voice now gurgled with anger. Why was he abusing her? What was so offensive?

It took a few seconds in the confusion of temporary darkness before she realized that her wig had somehow twisted around on her head and covered her face and eyes.

After she replaced the wig, Nikki sat back on her legs. Her John was examining his groin. There was some blood pooling inside the condom. She watched his face grimace in pain as he carefully peeled the condom off to reveal a large angled cut on the shaft of his penis, about one inch below his glans. Blood trickled freely from the cut down into his groin.

Nikki cringed at what she saw. She watched in stunned silence, horrified that she could have done that to a client. His face distorted and contorted with the pain. He applied pressure to his penis with one hand while he reached into his pocket and removed a neatly folded handkerchief, shook it open and wrapped it around his penis to try and stem the blood flow.

Nikki watched in horror at what she had done. Then, it suddenly occurred to her. It wasn’t her fault. The sudden jolting of her head to the side while her mouth was still enveloping his penis caused one of her over sized eye teeth to slice though the soft skin on the shaft of his penis, opening up a gaping wound.

But why did he turn her head so sharply? Was this some kind of kinky ritual he followed before ejaculation? Her initial thoughts were a mixture of confusion and sympathy towards her John.

She continued watching with genuine concern as he performed first aid to his groin. Nikki’s faced tightened. Her mouth shortened and eyes widened. Suddenly everything fell into perspective. She had an awakening. She realized exactly what had happened. The concern on her face was replaced with alarm.

Nikki knelt upright. Her wide-eyed stare locked onto her client like a deer caught in a car’s headlights. A chill ran down her spine. The hairs on her neck stood upright. He had just tried to kill her, but her mouth hadn’t fully cleared his penis when he jolted her neck. Having his penis in her mouth actually saved her life.

‘Fuck,’ she shouted as she sprung backwards up to her feet. The John lunged at her with his free hand and tried to grab her, but Nikki arched her hips back and shuffled out of his reach.

Adrenaline now coursed through her veins. He started to adjust himself in the seat to pursue her. Before he could move, she forcefully kicked at him, firmly jabbing the six inch heel of her boot into his chest. The driver grunted as he collapsed back into the vehicle, his freehand now pressing on his chest.

Her fear now escalated along with her heart rate. Her fight or flight instincts told her to run. But could she out run him in these boots? Where would she be safe? She fled towards the rear of the car, stopping suddenly . My handbag. It’s got my ID; My address; my apartment keys – Shit.

She turned and ran back to the open door and scooped up her hand bag in one motion before turning and fleeing. The driver sat with his head bowed examining his wound.

He screamed to the fleeing Nikki, ‘Yeah, you better run bitch…you’re fucking dead when I catch you.’

Her instincts led her across Avenue C towards the grounds of her apartment building. She didn’t want to look back to see if he was pursuing her. She just put her head down and ran. Her spike heels and thigh-high boots restricted her normal fluent loping running style into short careful steps.

Her heart raced. Her mouth was dry. She could hear the heavy plodding of his large feet behind her. His large strides were closing in on her with every step. Her heart pounded in her chest. The pit of her stomach was heavy. She knew he would tackle to the ground at any stage. Her legs were weak from fear. She could hear him breathing heavily as he pursued her. He must be close, but she willed herself to keep pushing forward.

Nikki sprinted through the gate of her estate and ran straight up the sealed path and into the gardens where the depths of the darkness wrapped around her and swallowed her up from view.

In the temporary sanctuary of the shadows from the estate’s many trees she stopped to look back behind her. She frowned. There was no-one there. Where the hell did he go? Her darting eyes scanned the darkness. Her heart battered against her ribs and the blood in her ears pounded as she stood, hands on knees, mouth wide open sucking whatever air she could into her aching lungs.

Did he double around to the front to ambush me? Her head scanned the grounds. Her eyes squinted into the darkness, listening to any sound foreign to the gardens.

The grounds of her estate consisted of several apartment buildings towering over a forest of majestic trees throughout, with manicured lawns bordered by meticulously maintained garden beds that flank sealed pathways. Six-foot high square shaped tree hedges softened the base of each building and provided privacy screening for the building entrances.

Nikki was now back in Emma’s world. She couldn't see him. She quickly moved off the sealed pathway and onto the lawn. The damp ground squelched as it swallowed the heels of her boots with each step. She sought refuge behind a lush hedge adjacent to her building. The ground on her bare skin was cold as she sat down under the blanket of darkness to gather her thoughts.

The blood in her ears continued to pound. Her pulse raced. She felt sick in her stomach. Her eyes darted through the darkness. Where is he?

From her vantage point she listened for footsteps, or any discerning sounds that suggested the presence of her attacker. There was nothing. As she calmed she realized he wasn’t closely pursuing her. She must’ve imagined it in her fleeing terror.

After a brief pause she peered through a small aperture in the foliage, towards the estate gateway. She held her breath to control the sound of her labored breathing. There was no sign of him. She squinted into the darkness as she carefully scanned the gardens looking for her hunter.

The picturesque gardens with their abundant green tones had transformed to dreary shades of gray under the darkened skies. The prevailing shadows now provided multitudes of darkened hiding places scattered throughout the estate.

Had he moved to one of those black voids waiting to pounce? Where the fuck is he?

The Adrenalin that coursed through her veins caused her to tremor. Her darting eyes scanned her surrounds. Would he suddenly strike unexpectedly?

Despite the cool temperatures, beads of perspiration formed on her forehead. Tears rolled freely down her cheeks as she panted uncontrollably.

If she ran to her building she could risk leading him straight to her apartment. But she had to do something. If she remained where she was it would only be a matter of time before his systematic search of the grounds located her cowering behind the hedge.

She remembered her mobile phone. She could call the police. But what would she tell them? She was an illegal street Hooker. She rationalized her predicament. ‘Shit’ she blurted under her breath.

She listened a little longer in the silence for any discernible sounds. There was nothing. She slowly peered around the hedge. She squinted back towards the gateway and across the road. His car was still parked in the parking lot. She strained her eyes further. The car’s interior light was on, but the car appeared to be empty. Where is he? She quickly scanned the grounds. Her focus returned to the car. Her heart rate started to climb causing her temples to throb.

There. In the darkness she saw him round the rear of the vehicle. He walked towards her grounds. She froze. Her muscles locked with terror. He was coming for her, but at least she could now see him.

Her survival instincts kicked in. She still had time. While continuing to monitor him as he approached, she unzipped both her boots and removed them, followed by her hat. She had to guide him away from her apartment building. Fortunately for her, he had no idea she would know this area so well.

Keeping low and close to the building, moving under the veil of darkness, she moved to a nearby fork in the pathway. To the right the path snaked further into the estate and towards her building. To the left the path eventually made its way out of the estate onto 20th Avenue.

After a quick check of her pursuer’s progress, she kept low as she ran up the left fork and dropped her first thigh-high boot onto the path, just past the fork. She then quickly moved forward five or six yards and dropped the second boot so it lay conspicuously across the path. Moving a further three yards on she placed her upturned leather bolero hat on the grass, immediately beside the path. She kept her black wig on to help conceal her fair hair against the dark voids in which she cowered.

She moved from hedge to hedge with ninja-like stealth, as she skulked her way to a position where she could monitor both the estate gate and the fork in the path. She checked his progress once again.

She inhaled when she noticed his large silhouetted frame standing motionless at the Estate gate. She squeezed her nose and lips to suppress a scream when she saw him so close. He now hunted her.

She watched as he slowly and methodically walked up the path. His head turned left to right. He was listening for any sounds that would disclose her location.

As he approached her position she held her breath and froze, watching him through the hedge foliage. Her eyes flared when she noticed he now wore latex gloves. She watched as he reached the fork in the path and stopped. He slowly pirouetted around as his eyes scanned the grounds for movement or evidence of her. He was now only yards away from her flimsy leafy shelter.

She inhaled quickly as he started to walk along the right fork directly towards where she cowered. Her ploy had failed. She bit down on her lip and held her breath. The blood thumping in her ears was deafening. Her chest felt like it would explode. Should she make a run for it? She was fit and could probably out run him? But her legs felt like jelly. She felt weak and sick with fear. The salty bitterness of bile filled her mouth as she fought back the urge to vomit.

He suddenly stopped walking and turned. He looked back in the direction from which he had just walked. He turned and quickly walked directly towards the thigh-high boot she strategically placed on the path.

He lifted the first of her planted boots and examined it briefly before scanning the immediate area. He then noticed the second of her boots and moved towards it and picked it up. His gaze was now ahead of him along the path.

He continued to move away from her in the direction her ruse had intended. He veered across the path and scooped up her hat without breaking stride. She watched as he walked along the path and into the darkness and out of her view.

Emma exhaled slowly, trying to keep her breathing under control. She waited and watched, frozen to her position behind the hedge. He would come back soon. He had to, his car was in the car park across the road.

She had no idea how long she had been crouching behind he hedge. One minute felt like an eternity. Her sparse clothing provided little resistance to the icy morning temperatures and the unforgiving ground sucked what little heat she had left from her body.

She was freezing. She could feel the muscles in her arms and legs start to stiffen. She could try running to her apartment building, but she would have to cross the path and risk detection.

In what seemed like an extended period of time, but in reality was only minutes, her attacker emerged from the darkness, walking back towards her along the left path. He carried her boots and cap. At the fork in the pathway he stopped and stared in her direction, as if a sound alerted him. She froze, holding her breath, wondering if her light skin tone contrasted against the darkness around her. After a brief pause he looked at his watch then continued down the path and out the exit gate onto Avenue C.

Nikki sat in silence as she watched him walk out the gate and across the road towards his vehicle. Her hand covered her mouth. A short time later the car’s revving engine started up. She saw the car’s headlights illuminate before the vehicle executed a U-turn and drove to her right and momentarily out of sight.

She quickly jumped from her hiding place and ran towards the Estate’s gate, keeping under the shadows of darkness. Her bare feet squelched in the damp lawns as her unimpeded strides were now long and flowing.

When she arrived at the outer gate she hugged herself close to the tall boundary hedge and slowly peered around to her right, into Avenue C. His vehicle exited the river side parking lot 100 yards along, before proceeding west into 20th Avenue.

In the still of the night she could hear the acceleration of the engine and eventually, it faded in the distance. He was gone.

Emma cupped her face in her hands as she burst into tears. Her hands trembled and her legs shook. She suddenly jerked to her side and vomited onto the garden bed beside her. She stood crouched over with her hands on her knees, spitting and coughing as she experienced three more violent surges before it would pass.

Emma inhaled deeply to control her emotions as she made her way up to her apartment. Once inside she quickly secured the door behind her. Despite being comforted in the knowledge that she watched him driving away down 20th Avenue, she still paused to look through the door’s peephole, just to make sure she wasn’t followed.

She poured herself a shaky glass of wine and sat on her sofa, hugging her knees tightly up to her chest while she reflected on what had just occurred. The reality of what happened was stating to resonate. He had just tried to kill her. Her stomach churned at the thought. Her hand shook as she took a sip.

What should she do? Her pondering eyes darted. She decided to call the police. She jumped up and grabbed her telephone handset and returned to her sofa. Her shaky finger pressed 9-1, then she paused with her finger hovering over the number one button. But what would she tell the police? Would they be sympathetic? She hit the “End Call” button to disconnect the line.

For the next few seconds Emma gently tapped the phone on her chin, staring blankly while she considered her options. She then turned the phone display to towards her and again dialed 9-1. Her finger again hovered over the number one button, while she reasoned with her conscious mind.

Wait…I would have to explain to the police I am a Street Hooker. How would that affect my law career? What if the TV and newspapers become involved? The parallel lives she worked so hard to keep apart would suddenly collide. She would be exposed. What would her Mom think about her nocturnal activities?

She then started to justify to herself why it wasn’t necessary to call the police. All the justifications raced through her mind. He didn’t physically hurt me. He scared the shit out of me, but he didn’t hurt me. I am safe now. He is gone. He doesn’t know where I live. He’s the one that was hurt, not me.

Emma brushed her fringe from her eyes with the back of her hand as she stared at the phone in her hand. She wanted to call the police but the unknown consequences were too much for her to risk. She pressed the “End Call” button on the phone to disconnect the line. She gently lobbed the phone onto the sofa beside her. She reached for her glass and emptied it in one quick motion before re-filling it and repeating the action.

The over sized railroad station clock, which hung as a prominent feature on her lounge wall, showed it was 2.20am. She started to feel dirty. The thought of her John made her skin crawl and she shuddered. She needed a hot shower to warm up and to cleanse herself of him.

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