The more she thought about it the more she felt sure that he was the right man for her. She’d always longed to meet Mr Right and she’d held on to the belief that one day she would. There had been imposters, of course; men who had turned out to be duplicitous, selfish bastards, men who had broken her heart; but despite the pain of those occasions she’d grown stronger over the years, rising above their petty selfishness and callous unkindness.
She spared a moment to recall them: well, the ones she could recall, starting with Kane – her first real lover. But now it was different: Todd was her real Mr Right, she’d known it the moment she’d seen his smiling face and looked into his deep-brown eyes.
Tonight was going to be important – it was Halloween and they had a date. She was sure he was going to ‘pop the question’. She already knew what her answer would be: Yes, yes, yes…. Then there’d be the pleasure of choosing a wedding dress and arranging the venue and inviting their friends – there’d be no expense spared to ensure a grand wedding.
She examined her wardrobe and frowned. None of the expensive and exquisite dresses looked just right. She drew one of them on and headed downtown to search for the perfect outfit. She avoided the big department stores and went to the smaller, specialist shops in the narrow back-streets – this had to be a one-off, no matter what the cost.
One small, rather dark shop caught her eye. The dresses in the window were unusual, tight-fitted bodices and flared skirts in rich, dark fabrics scattered with sequins and rhinestones that caught the light. She ducked inside and with a smile at the proprietor, started rifling through the dresses on the rail.
It was buried in the middle of the rail – the perfect dress. Rich red velvet with random threads of silver, green and gold woven into it.
The proprietor explained that the dress was a vintage one that she had recently bought from a dealer who specialised in pre-worn clothes, and assured her that it had been thoroughly cleaned and repaired before going on sale.
She imagined it being worn by a beautiful woman, perhaps on a day that echoed the importance of this day for her. She prayed it would be the right size and hurried into the small curtained-off area to try it on.
It was as if it had been made for her: it clung to her body and hung in elegant folds from her hips to mid-calf. The neckline was shaped so that it revealed just a hint of cleavage and led the eyes down to the full breasts below. The fitted waist showed her slender frame and wide hips to their best advantage. There was no way she could not buy this dress.
The proprietor was fulsome in her comments about the way she looked and sensing a sale, agreed that there was no problem in her wearing the dress out of the shop. She even drew her attention to some dark-red shoes and a matching clutch-bag that completed the outfit to perfection. Agreeing to dispose of her old dress and accessories, the proprietor pocketed the cash with a grateful smile.
Walking down the street in her new outfit she knew she was attracting admiring glances from the passers-by and her confidence grew. Todd was going to be bowled over and the recollection of how she’d looked on the day he proposed to her would remain with him forever as a cherished memory. Her heart sang…
As she reached the main street, her eyes caught the evening’s news headlines on neon banners along the shopfronts: Another random murder – man slashed outside car showroom yesterday dies. Police warn public to remain vigilant. She dismissed it from her mind – nothing must disturb the serenity of this special day.
Along the street she saw Todd emerging from an expensive jewellery shop. Her heart leapt in excitement: he had been buying the ring! She hurried towards him.
Todd turned and smiled vaguely. “I’m sorry, are you speaking to me?”
“Oh Todd, don’t tease! I saw you coming out of the shop, darling, so you don’t have to pretend.”
“I’m sorry, miss, but I think you have the wrong person. My name isn’t Todd, it’s Paul.”
“Darling, you’re such a tease, but please, just for tonight, let’s be serious with each other. I love you, Todd darling, and I will be your wife!”
The man looked confused and rather alarmed. “I’m really sorry, but I am not Todd. I’m Paul Metcalfe and although I appreciate your offer to marry me, I’m already engaged to someone else.”
“Darling, what do you mean? Oh, Todd, how could you say that? We mean so much to each other.”
“Please, lady; I’m sure Todd is around here somewhere and he’ll be delighted to see you. Right now, I have to go. My friend’s waiting for me across the road.” He raised his arm to gesture to where a red-headed woman was waiting inside a car. “I hope Todd turns up soon…”
He started to walk away.
A red mist of rage swept over her and, as she reached into her bag, her fingers closed on the handle of a long-bladed kitchen knife. She drew it out.
“If I can’t have you, Todd, then nobody can!”
She thrust the knife into his side and buried it deep in his heart.
Drawing it out as he staggered forward, blood already frothing on his lips, she slashed at his neck and face with a savagery born of immeasurable hate for the man who had rejected her.
The man was on his knees; unprepared for the ferocity of her attack, he’d been unable to defend himself. He turned his face towards her in incomprehension and bewilderment and, for the first time she noticed that his eyes were a deep blue and his hair black.
Todd had brown eyes and his hair was a wonderful, rich reddish-brown.
She dropped the knife. Then swooped to pick it up and turned to flee the scene before anyone noticed her. She darted into a side alley and stood for a moment looking at the blood dripping from the knife onto the blood-red dress.
How fortunate that the blood won’t show… the thought surprised her. She wiped the blade on the skirt and slipped it back into her bag. For one moment there was a flash of green from her eyes and a rather wolfish smile on her lips. Then she turned and walked demurely out of the alley away from the melee of people surrounding the dying man on the pavement outside the key-cutting and shoe repair shop.
In the distance she could hear the wailing sirens of the approaching emergency services.
I’ll go back to my apartment, have a quick shower and something to eat… then I’ll go looking for Todd – he has to be around here somewhere… Tomorrow I’ll sell this dress on to another dealer; I couldn’t bear to wear it again.
Halloween – already? I’d never missed a Halloween Challenge yet, so I had to do something. I hope you enjoyed it.
Many thanks, as ever, to the tireless Hazel Köhler, without whom so much would never get written to a standard worthy of being posted. If only she’d devote as much of her time to writing her own stories as she does to beta-reading other author’s works we’d all be delighted! (Hint) However, as I am sure you’ll have realised, any mistakes are all my own work…
Thanks (and ‘nice to see you again!’) to Chris Bishop for her wonderful website and her marvellous fiction. She enriches the lives of all who are lucky enough to know her!
Thanks to the creators of Captain Scarlet, without whom I would never have played for so long in their fascinating Anderverse or have made such wonderful friends while doing so…
22 October 2015
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