Her Deliverance by Robin Billings.

Eileen stood behind a paper display in the parcel delivery and stationery store, stroking on a sample sheet of thick yellow paper while she watched the blonde girl.

In her plain-Jane khaki office uniform, the blonde girl worked extra hard to show off her come-hither hiney. Bending over with her ass-crack facing the men standing around her at the counter, the bunched-up skin at the top of her bottom was displayed for all to see. She may as well have been one of those monkeys in heat in the jungle showing off their red and engorged private parts.

Because after all, what was the difference? Display was display.

It was disgusting, spreading herself out with only a few thin pieces of the material in her shiny khaki slacks between the skin of her ass and a man who could reach out and stick his finger up her if he dared move the material out of the way, poking towards the promised land right there in front of other people.

Then he could be in her, feeling of her, wet and pulsing, and she’d feel it and it would feel good, even if she complained it didn’t. Just like that, she could be invaded.

Eileen made herself walk around the brightly lit store, listening to happy-sounding canned music, pretending to look at racks of computer magazines and USB ports and brightly colored specialty printer paper, while all the time she watched the blonde girl to see if she had any redeeming features.

But no, she was just the same as the rest of them, with their big smiles, the big, light, lilting laughs at the men’s stupid jokes, and the sashaying buttocks and the bending over, always the bending over, and the straightening back up and the flicking of their long hair out of their faces.

The open invitation.

What was this world coming to, that people no longer cared about staying intact?

The yellow paper felt so good in her hands. Even with her gloves on, Eileen could feel its substance.

And she could smell it, too. It smelled like a clean, fresh start, like fresh notebooks when school first started, back when she was a little girl. There were less people around then, and the ones who were around, they were a lot alike, and that was nice, having that polite way of being, and everyone the same.

With the bright lights inside the store and the music playing on and on and the people milling around behind the counter and out in the store, Eileen felt out of place. It was too busy here, too filled up. She couldn’t think straight or stay true to herself with so many people around. It clouded her up inside.

Oh, good Lord. The blonde girl was coming over. No no no. No talking. No talking.

Eileen began to turn away just as the girl walked up to her.

“Hi, ma’am,” she said to Eileen. “If you need any help today, just let me know…”

Eileen hurried toward the door, not running, but looking harassed for time. Busy. Yes, she did a good job of looking too busy to waste her time on frivolous things. And she’d remembered to keep her gloves on, too. And she’d remembered not to talk.

She should never have left her car. She was going to stay in her car from now on. She’d known when she saw the girl making deliveries earlier, down the street, that she was a useless tart. She hadn’t needed to follow her truck and walk inside the store to watch the girl to know all about that.

After Eileen peed at the McDonalds, she was going back to her car and lock her doors and feel under the seat for her gun and then watch for the girl to come out.

And follow her. That following part was fun.

The sky was clouding up. It looked like she might have good luck again with the rain.

The last one she’d killed, it’d rained like crazy all evening. People had hunkered down, stayed in. That last girl’s body hadn’t been found until the next morning, between two cars out in the back of the strip mall...

Two hours after Eileen’s fresh kill, she stood naked in her shower, inhaling the rising steam. She was strong enough to stand under the heat and the hard spray. She had a secret inner power that no one else could see. Standing under the shower with her eyes closed, she reached down between her legs and opened her folds, sliding her wet forefingers in a rhythmic up and down pattern so the water could reach her in special places. She was The One. Pure and anointed.

She hummed - long atonal sounds that she was sure were part of the human preconscious mind, older than time, sounds that were made before words started forming.

Eileen had allowed herself to find the ancient sounds. She wasn’t afraid to close her eyes and let the old sounds escape from the long dead past. She brought them to life again, and stroked herself some more, speaking the words with the water flowing, pressuring and stroking until she caught her breath and the release came.

Then she panted, washed and rinsed.

There now. There. All better.

Robin Billings is from Kentucky in the States but now lives in Greater London. (Yeah, it sounds like a mismatch, but there you go.) She has stories published in The Potomac Journal: http://thepotomacjournal.com/issue10/Fiction/Billings.html, in Wilderness House Literary Review: http://www.whlreview.com/no-4.3/fiction/RobinBillings.pdf, and in Thrillers Killers ‘n’ Chillers, http://thrillskillsnchills.blogspot.com/2011/05/convenient-by-robin-billings.html. She’s also done a drive-by as a guest blogger at Paul Brazill’s place: http://pdbrazill.blogspot.com/2011/04/guest-blog-underbelly-love-by-robin.html.


Paul D Brazill said...

Fantastic story.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It really does get to me sometimes. The thought of all these people we write about coming to life. Or are they already here. Anyway, so well done. And scary as hell.

Les Edgerton said...

Fantastic! Robin Billings has got "it." In spades. This is Kobe beef, cooked rare.

Sylvia said...

Scary as hell and yet looking just like the woman next door. Chilling. Excellent read.

Col Bury said...

Classy write, Robin!

Enticing, sensual, gripping, and cleverly built on a primal premise. Top job.


Thomas Pluck said...

Excellent story, Robin... the line about "staying intact" did it for me, spoke volumes.

JaneyV said...

Oh Robin - you scared the crap out of me with this. Eileen is so fractured, menacing and cold... awesome writing girl!!!

Graham Smith said...

A great depiction of primal urges getting the better of the character. Sensual and brutal at times but always excellently portrayed.

David Barber said...

This is a great piece, Robin, and a refreshing change having a female "serial killer". It's dark and brutal and perfect. I'm looking forward to reading more about Eileen.

Well done!

Robin Billings said...

Thanks, all - appreciate your comments!

And thanks for having me, David!

Lily Childs said...

Everyone's said it all already but this is a truly chilling tale. I felt I could see the suspicion and hatred on Eileen's face. I liked how we could tell from the outset how damaged she is and how her attitude and 'confession' revealed the worst about her. A superb write.

Rob Kitchin said...

Hooked from the first line. I like that for a short piece it works on a number of levels and has nice cadence and layering of prose. Excellent stuff.

Robin Billings said...

Thank you so much, Lily and Rob!

Whirlochre said...

I'm tempted to say you've hit the nail of raunch on the head but it's more like popping the cork on the butthole, leaving a nail and hammer spare for the next grim chapter in the saga.

Robin Billings said...

Ha! It's coming, Whirl!

AJ Hayes said...

Fanatics and serial killers walk always into a cool breeze with their eyes on the purity of the reasons for doing what they do. Scarey stuff, indeed. Cool!

Robin Billings said...

Glad you enjoyed it, AJ!

Benjamin Sobieck said...

Not going to forget this one.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Leaves me wanting to know more about your killer. Would love to see her backstory. Excellent!

Robin Billings said...

The best I could hope for is that this story stays with readers, Ben, so yay!

No worries, Sarah. Backstory is forthcoming, girl. Thanks!

Regi said...

I am so creeped out! I love the whole OCD-church
lady-vigilante-serial killer thing!

Regi said...

I am so creeped out! I love the whole OCD-church
lady-vigilante-serial killer thing!

Robin Billings said...

Glad you got that creepy feeling, Reg! Working on building on this now, for the novel version.