The perfect match.
After searching for six years, to have found the perfect match filled him with exhilaration. The matching of the other parts was simple. Eyes were different. Just that soft shade; off forest green like dark green mossed pools with golden flecks in them. Tiger eyes. Eyes that assessed and invited one into the soul. Perfect! Just perfect. He had almost been ready to give up his search. He had left it for a few years when he couldn’t reach his goal but now it was within his grasp.
Collecting the eyes would be more difficult. The owner of those eyes was not a dimwit or babe bewitched by modelling success. She was a cool professional who would not be hoodwinked easily. They say the eyes are the mirror of the soul. He had seen the intelligence behind those eyes, the sharp inquisitive mind.
It would be too easy to accidentally tip off and warn the person. He must constrain and capture that mind and bend it to his needs. He could not afford to let those orbs slip away. They would light up his masterpiece, bring it to life at last; make him a whole man at peace with himself, his quest finally over. He went to work thinking his next steps over. This would require careful planning.
Kate stood at the podium. She had been introduced and her future move to Aus outlined. She began her speech looking around the auditorium. She recognised few faces but fixed her eyes on the third row making eye contact. She felt less nervous that way when faced with an audience.
She moved her eyes later during the speech looking around the room. Defoe sat at the back and saw her eyes move and fix on someone in the fourth row. For a moment, she froze and stopped mid-speech but quickly regained her place and carried on as if she had not hesitated. He signalled to a cop who was at the back and that woman moved into a space in the fifth row.
Kate finished to a round of applause and the organiser of the conference wished her well in her new career. As the auditorium emptied the cop followed the woman out to the car park. She had orders to follow her home and take pictures of this woman to see if it was Ms Hilenko. The pictures they had of the killer were of a young woman of 24 after her graduation. She was now thirty-two but the pictures should identify her.
Defoe went to Kate. She was white but had recovered her composure. It had taken all her strength to carry on speaking with that woman’s eyes drilled into her. She felt denuded, the woman raking her eyes over her torso but then worse, they had focused on her eyes. Kate knew it was Hilenko. She felt it in her bones.
The woman wore a black wig and black glasses which disguised the colour of her eyes but her height and the masculinity and severity of her features drew Kate’s attention to her. There was no softness there, no womanliness. The woman wore her clothes as if she rejected any femininity, despised it; forsaking it for a masculine mantel she wore with pride. Kate guessed she despised women in her social and working life.
‘‘It was her, I’m sure of it,’’ said Kate.
‘Angie will find out. If it is her then she is hunting you like a predator, waiting for the right moment to trap you. We must be more careful now.’
‘You should have seen her when the organiser wished me well for my move to Aus. She looked at me as if she had lost a prize, as if something had been taken away from her.’
‘She had. You will be the final piece in this jigsaw that completes her happiness. You are necessary to her salvation. She needs you and cannot think of a future without you.’ He took her arm.’‘Come on, food and a stiff drink for you.’ She accepted his arm as he led her out. His strength enveloped her. She felt safe and protected and happy.
The woman from the fourth row hit the accelerator and shot forward nearly skidding. She could not believe what she had heard. Kate Masters was leaving the country. All her best made plans were crashing around her ears. She had watched her speech. This woman had changed since the last conference. There was an inner warmth, borne of contentment that had been missing earlier. The contentment was reflected in the softness of her eyes, the golden flecks warming up those dark green pools. She needed those eyes for Michael. The masterpiece would be finished and he would feel complete.
She could not lose her. She drove confidently and carefully made plans. All was not lost. The woman would leave in a month. She had time to catch her and use her. She knew where she lived and could trap her there. It would not take long for Michael to take those eyes.