Monday, 3 March 2014

Decisions



I had not had a date in six months. To make matters worse the last few had been duds.


Some of my girlfriends had tried dating services and a few had connected. I filled out the questionnaire as honestly as I could. I refused to say I enjoyed long romantic walks and candlelight dinners.

I said I like sports, windsurfing and long hikes in rough terrain. When I did exercise, I like to make it worthwhile and to sweat for a few hours in the workout. I did not add that to my bio though. Or that I came first in my class at the shooting range. After reading it over changing a few things, I pressed send and went to bed.


My Sundays are usually sitting out on my patio reading the newspaper drinking coffee and having a leisurely breakfast. As I finished my second cup my computer chirped and viola there were three messages. Opening the first one was a picture of a grey haired man who must have been over seventy with a paunch and double chin. He told me he would love to meet for a drink and discuss where to go from here. I just could not picture him hiking or windsurfing, but he did say he had season tickets for hockey and football.
Hmm.


Next came a skinny balding man, I could picture him holding on for dear life as the wind swept him and his surfboard away into the sunset. As I went to click on the next one three more chirps sounded. So cautiously opening the third, a pair of handsome dark eyes stared back with the sexiest grin I had witnessed in a long time. I left the other three without opening them, those piercing slate dark grey eyes intrigued me.


His bio read like a self-confident man, he had a boat, loved to water ski, had a summer place in the mountains on a lake with challenging trails to explore and was an ex basketball player. Sounding too good to be true but I answered back and suggested we meet for a coffee in the local village. He answered quickly, suggesting later on that afternoon. I did not want to seem to have no plans on a Sunday so suggested next Saturday afternoon. He answered yes that would be just fine.


My week was hectic with work so the time flew past. As I dressed to meet him, my stomach felt like I was a teenager going out on my first date. I wore a casual summer dress that I had bought for the occasion. Simple but did show my well-tanned skin and figure off. I applied little makeup and let my hair flow down my back.


When I arrived, he was sitting with his coffee talking to the server, when he saw me he smiled and got up to meet me. He was as handsome as his picture and his eyes bore right through me. We talked what seemed like hours when he looked down at his watch and suggested we walk over to the pub and have a drink, as he had to leave in an hour.

I was disappointed as I thought we might spend some more time as we seemed to be hitting it off. He apologized saying he had a previous engagement that he could not get out of but could we meet tomorrow and drive up to the mountains for a hike by his cabin? And he would bring a picnic to have after our hike. I hesitated. 
Did I want to go with this stranger before I had gotten to know more about him? He laughed at my hesitation and promised he was a trustworthy person. I could even phone his mother and ask her. So I said yes and he told me he would pick me up at nine in the morning and he was gone without our drink at the pub.


Looking around for the waitress to fill my cup she must have gone off duty as a young man came towards me with a refill. I enjoyed the late sun and then headed home.


I was awake at six sitting enjoying the Sunday Times with my second cup reading about a women found dead less than twenty miles away. She was raped, strangled with her blouse, her body slashed with knife wounds. Police had not identified her yet. As I looked at her picture, my first reaction was to think I had seen her before.


Mike was right on time. I had my hiking backpack ready and put it in his back seat. He had the top down and two coffees sitting between us. As we headed out on to the highway, I noticed he had a bandage on his right wrist that had not been there yesterday. He saw me look at it and laughing he told me he had been cooking for his Mom last night and had cut it slicing the roast.


The breeze was cooling some as we came closer to the mountains. He parked beside a cabin nestled between pine trees and I could see a beautiful blue, green lake with a wharf and a small speedboat swaying in the gentle wind. It was so serene and tranquil, I was glad I had accepted his invitation.

  
We headed off after he had taken the ice chest inside. Mike thought of everything as he helped me with my backpack, offering to carry them both. I adjusted mine and headed off at a fast pace, him close behind. We had walked chatting for over an hour until we started to climb a steep grade for the next half hour or so. As we reached the top of a peak the vista was surreal, so many shades of green yellow and orange. 
I had to take some pictures. I clicked away and went to take one of him as he turned away just as I clicked. Saying we, should head back before we starved to death! The climb down was much easier and as we came towards the cabin, I thought I saw an animal on the porch diving under the brush, as we got closer. Mike said the raccoons were many in these parts.


As we ate our lunch, he mentioned that he had never been so taken by anyone as much as he was with me. He asked many questions about my life and my friends. He wanted to know everything about me. When I asked about him he just said he lead a boring life.


I was clearing up the last of lunch when he went to fill my glass with more wine, I went to put my hand over saying I had enough. It was suddenly as if he was a different person, telling me he would say when I had enough and told me to drink up. His eyes seemed to go darker and fill with rage. I was shocked at his instant change. I picked up my bag and asked where the bathroom was, trying not to show any fear even though it had started to seethe through my being. When I locked the door, I was shaking wondering how I was going to get out of here.


Mike was sitting on the couch when I opened the door, he told me to come sit beside him, I was looking at a different man. I suggested we head for home as it was getting late. He grabbed me, throwing me on the couch and told me to shut up and listen. Holding me down with strong arms. He told me he had been taken by my beauty from the first time he saw my picture. It usually took him longer to pick women and to want them as badly as he wanted me so soon after his last conquest. Making it clear I was his next prey.


Then it hit me, the girl in the paper was the waitress who had served us coffee. Had he done this to her? I slowly squirmed around to face him on the couch, wriggling my fingers into my bag and positioning myself  to spring backward as I sunk my knife deep into his leg. He let out a scream as blood flowed down his bare leg. He tried to grab me as I jumped up, yelling and ranting. Following me out the door. My backpack swinging with the door as I ran. No keys in his car.


I sprinted into the bush and kept running. I stopped to grab something out of my bag then threw it into the bush as not to hold me back. I could hear branches being broken and zigzagged to throw him off from the direction that I was going.


He was swearing at me, yelling that when he caught me, I would regret using a knife on him as he had a larger one to use on me. Nobody even my family would recognize me after he was finished. And no one heard anything in these woods! He seemed to be gaining, looking around to see how close he was I tripped and fell, jumped up and dived into a maze of fallen branches near a dead tree that was covered by hanging mosses. I shrunk into a ball.


Waiting for his footsteps. I held my breath and to my surprise, none came. He was listening for me. Then the sound of a branch breaking, he was very near moving slowly as if he knew I was hiding. Should I out wait him? Would he pass without finding me or should I run like hell hoping he could not keep up. His leg must be bleeding and hurting as I had plunged the knife deep hoping I had hit a vital spot.


I heard him as he pounced missing my head with his knife by inches. It was a huge hunting knife. I rolled kicking at his face splitting his eye open then he was on top of me as I let out a scream and my gun went off. His face contorted with surprise and he rolled into the undergrowth. I had hit him dead center in his heart.


I went through his pockets finding his car keys and headed back towards the cabin picking up my backpack on the way. There was no phone reception so I climbed into his car and heading home, trying to calm myself as I drove. I phoned the police and told them where they could find the man that had killed the girl and what had happened to me.


The older paunchy man with the season’s tickets was a safer bet for now.  Hockey and hot dogs with a septuagenarian didn't seem threatening at all.


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