By Jess Charle
I enter a dark alley in the heart of Little Italy. Rats the size of small cats skitter away from my footsteps as the echoes of the happy crowd behind become distant. I see a figure behind a dumpster, full black trash bags cast the man in shadow. I reach him and notice he’s standing beside an old metal chair once upholstered in cheap fake leather, but the material is now cracked and peeling. A red cooler is on the ground opened. Ice fills it.
With a heavy accent the man tells me to sit. I squint up into his face but his features are warped by darkness. As he passes me a fifth of whiskey, he tells me that living with one kidney is “totally ok.” He snorts, the noise like sandpaper in his sinuses. His accent is difficult to understand but I hear him describe harvesting my eggs as I take another deep swig of the cheap liquor. “Eggs are good, very good.” He says. He sounds eastern European. Possibly Russian. “To sell to rich sterile people and the gays.” He snorts again and brings a syringe to my neck, the sharp pain immediate and deep. The alley around me dissolves and I feel a sensation of falling backwards.
And then nothing.
I wake the next day in a bathtub of ice. Scared, confused, and alone. I struggle to get out, my abdomen screaming in pain. I look down to see rough uneven stitches barely holding my lower stomach together, preventing my insides from spilling forth in a grotesque waterfall of viscera. A sob of fear and pain escapes me as I hold myself up using the cold iron sides of the tub. My arms shake weakly with the effort. My vision is blurry but I’m able to focus slightly on a the old dirty tiled floor.
My heart leaps at the sight of my phone. With a sudden burst of energy, I lunge at it. My stitches hit the side of the tub with a sharpness that brings bile to my throat, but I swallow it.
One new text. I recognize the number instantly from a week of sick twisted games. Games of blackmail and threats of scandal. All over now. I open it to see an address. My sob turns into one of relief. Sara.
I fall back into the tub, the stress of the past week washing away from me in waves. Finally, I know. I know where Sara is. My body shakes with pain and relief. It’s almost over.
I forward the message to my husband and press send. Tears of relief warm my face as I drop the phone on the floor with a harsh plastic crash.
It was all worth it. Henry would find her. He would dispose of the body and the cops will never connect her murder to us.