While I work on finishing up "War Angel III: Catalina," here's another sample chapter from the very first "War Angel" novel. Enjoy!
armen stood naked in the bathroom as the water from the hot shower still dripped from her wet skin. As age and time had cruelly crept up on her, she spent fewer and fewer moments looking at her own body. In her youth, she had loved mirrors but now, they all seemed to mock her with the same mean joke. Even her husband’s interest in her sexually died long before he had. The deep wounds of his disinterest were still raw and she wondered if she would ever be rid of the sting of them. As she stood in front of the full-length mirror, the normal ebb and flow of time seemed to stop, trapping her like an insect in amber. Her reflection was a stranger staring back at her. People always saw themselves as they had been in their prime until something like the unapologetic truth of a photo bluntly reminded them that they were well beyond those days.
As a fashionably sensible woman, she took pride in knowing how the right clothing concealed the imperfections that were the unwanted gifts of age and years gone by. Stripped out of carefully-cut garments, naked as the day she was born, only reality looked back at her with cold, hard, stare. Carmen slowly studied each part of her that had changed. It was a wicked tease that enough physical remnants of her youthful frame remained to remind her of how she had been before the passing of a few decades tainted her beauty. She touched herself and found that her skin wasn’t as tight as it used to be. Her curves were still impressive but she wasn’t as firm in certain places anymore. She wondered if losing her looks completely wouldn’t have been less cruel. Seeing her daughter earlier had also served as a painful reminder of what she had been and was not anymore. Looking at Jahaira was like looking at a version of herself from the past which didn’t help her self-esteem at all. Nothing lasts forever, she thought, on the brink of tears. Even the pigment of the bright, rainbowcolored butterfly tattoo above her bellybutton had faded, just as she had. She remembered how Caesar used to kiss its gossamer wings.
The doorbell snapped her back to the present and thoughts of the past faded like the details of a dream that escaped you just after waking up. Carmen quickly grabbed the first towel she touched and hurried downstairs to answer the door.
“So, you understand what you’re supposed to do?” Carmen asked Lenox who was still determined to stand in the doorway of her bedroom despite her attempts to get him to step inside and shut the door behind him.
“Yes, it’s weird but I got it,” he said, annoyed that she had answered the door in nothing but a skimpy bath towel and then insisted that he follow her upstairs.
He kept his arms folded and his eyes on the floor while she searched her dresser drawer for underwear. When she finally found a bra and panty set that she liked, she held them up triumphantly before putting them down neatly on her bed.
“Did you see the news about the district attorney’s daughter?” she asked.
“Yeah, I did,” he answered, remembering the tears he had shed that morning for the girl that had taken her own life because he knew that he was partially responsible.
“I’m sorry about the girl. Hector wasn’t supposed to kill the young man. If he hadn’t, she wouldn’t have done what she did,” said Carmen.
“You mean to say, a young girl wouldn’t have killed herself,” he stated, wanting to hear her repeat it so that maybe she might see the consequences of what she had set in motion.
“Yes, the poor thing would still be alive,” she said. “Now, come inside and shut the door before I catch a cold from the draft.”
Lenox didn’t budge. He felt that whatever discussion she wanted to have could have taken place downstairs, somewhere more appropriate. When Carmen saw that he wasn’t going to willingly do what she asked, she walked over to him, pulled him inside the bedroom and shut the door herself. As Carmen walked away from the door she had just locked, she let the tiny towel that had been barely covering her naked body fall to the floor on her way back to the bed. Behind her, she heard Lenox gasp in shock.
“Oh please,” she giggled. “I don’t have anything that you haven’t seen before.”
“What are you doing?” he asked as she turned around boldly to face him, fully nude and unashamed.
Lenox’s conscience forced him to quickly look away which made Carmen laugh out loud.
“I didn’t figure you for the shy type,” she said.
Slowly, Lenox raised his eyes to look at her. She stood with her hands on her hips as if she was modeling for him. Her husband hadn’t shown much interest in her for a very long time so she couldn’t help but become excited with a different man’s eyes on her. An odd, perverse, curiosity kept Lenox from looking away. He wasn’t aroused but to his own surprise, he wasn’t disgusted either. She was shaped just like her daughter except for the tell-tale signs of age. The sudden shock of seeing her naked had hypnotized him momentarily. Then, the sickening realization that his eyes were glued to Jahaira’s mother hit him.
“I shouldn’t be here. You already gave me the information for what I have to do next. I should go,” he said.
“You sure?” she asked, squeezing her own nipple with one hands while slipping her other hand between her legs.
She was shaved, smooth and slick with wet anticipation. She licked the fingers that had just been between her thighs and started to walk towards him.
“I’m leaving,” Lenox said, turning away before she got any closer to him.
By the time he put his hand on the doorknob, Carmen was right behind him with her D-cup breasts pressed hard against his back.
“I need you to do something for me,” she whispered in his ear as she firmly gripped both of his shoulders.
“I love Jahaira. I’m in love with your daughter,” he answered before she could even ask her question.
It was easy enough for him to guess what she wanted and he had no intentions of obliging her. She turned him around to face her. They stared at each other and somewhere hidden underneath the burning lust in her eyes, he saw powerful, smoldering anger as well.
“Are you saying that if you didn’t love her that you would do this? I’m not asking you to love me,” Carmen said as she got down on her knees in front of him. “I’m asking you to fuck me,” she told him, ravenously reaching for the buckle on his belt before he slapped her hands away.
“Why the fuck are you doing this?” he yelled, looking down into her face.
Whatever immoral curiosity that caused his brief fascination suddenly left him, only to be replaced by pity and disgust. She read the look on his face and her anger turned to hatred. Strangely enough, that hate wasn’t directed at Lenox, the man who was refusing her with scorn. She hated her daughter for having something that she didn’t; something she had lost a very long time ago.
“I’m doing this because I want to…because I can!” she yelled.
“I can’t and I won’t,” he answered before he turned to leave again. “I’ve done things against my will that have bound me to you…made me your prisoner. I accept that. I’ll do your dirty work because I have to but, I won’t do this.”
Carmen didn’t bother to argue. She knew that the right, properly placed threats would have eventually leveraged him to do as she asked but she still held on to some measure of pride.
“Make sure you take care of the job I gave you. Come and see me when it’s done,” she said as she got up from her knees.
He opened the door and was about to leave but before he did, he was compelled to say something to her that had been on his mind for weeks.
“These people come to you with their problems and beg you to solve them. It makes you feel important…powerful…doesn’t it? But you’re not God,” he told her.
“No, I’m not…but I get the job done don’t I?”
“By using me,” he answered.
“Of course. You’re my avenging angel. Sometimes you’re my angel of death too.”
“For now. Nothing lasts forever. I’ll let myself out,” said Lenox as he walked out of the room.
Once she was alone, Carmen covered her private parts with her hands, suddenly ashamed.
“So, Mr. Faithful didn’t bite huh?” asked Hector from Carmen’s bedroom doorway as he watched her slip into her panties.
“Staring through peepholes again? Somebody’s gonna black your eye for that one of these days. And for your information, Mr. Faithful liked what he saw. He’s probably on his way home to screw my daughter instead,” Carmen answered.
“If you say so. I can see how mad you are that he didn’t take what you were offering and like they say…Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned…nor Hell a fury like a woman scorned,” said Hector as poetically as she had ever heard him speak.
“Well, that’s a fancy way to say it. I’ve never heard that quote phrased like that,” she said.
“That’s because it’s always misquoted. People prefer to paraphrase it. It’s easier to remember it the other way. The original quote is from Williams Congreve, an English playwright born in the sixteen hundreds,” Hector explained.
“Wow. You’re just a wealth of knowledge…and here I was, for all these years, mistaking you for an uneducated, ignorant, brute,” she said, walking over and hugging him.
“I am a brute,” he answered. “Your husband taught me that quote.”
“I’m even more shocked. I never knew Caesar was so well-read,” she said before she kissed him.
“He wasn’t. He believed that he had private conversations with the man’s ghost,” Hector told her.
“Knowing my husband and his gifts, I’m sure he did,” she said as she put her hands down his pants.
She licked his neck and bit him playfully as he grabbed her ass.
“I see the way you flirt with him,” he whispered in her ear, referring to Lenox.
“I lost a lot of things for the sake of the love I had for my husband. Now he’s gone. I guess all that’s left to me is envy and lust for things I shouldn’t have,” she answered.
Copyright © 2013 Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.