Here is my 322 word excerpt from BEST OF ENEMIES for this Friday's Romantic Challenge:
How much can a mind take before it descends into madness?
Here in the haunted jazz club, Meilori's, I look at the two girls I hold to blame for Victor's death. I would hate them if they did not hate themselves for their actions.
We are dressed similarly. A maniac killer is stalking the already death-laden streets of the French Quarter. Katrina's devastation has rendered the night devoid of light and police.
The victims are always female. They are always young. They are always prostitutes.
We three have decided to lure in a killer. Despite how young we look, we are quite accomplished killers.
I look into the hopeful eyes of Becca and Trish. Yes, hopeful. If we find the killer, and he kills us, it will all be over for us. If we kill him or it, no more girls will die in grotesque ways.
I look at Trish and Becca, and it is like looking into a store's compartmentalized mirror. I smile. It feels like an open wound. If Victor were here, he would tease me about the odd way I label modern items.
Having been born in 1840 and spending most of the following years in the shadows, I am ignorant of so much in today's society. I fight back a sob. I am ignorant of so much.
As I was ignorant about the grief of lost love ... until Victor died.
They never tell you how much grief is like fear. The same yawning emptiness in the chest, the same restlessness, the same silent scream in your head for it all to just go away.
"Let us go hunt the hunter," Becca says low.
Trish's lower lip trembles, "I-It won't bring Victor back."
I think of being the killer's next victim. "But it might bring us to Victor."
We go out into the shadows. The silence is so heavy that I can taste it. The darkness so utter that it cuts.
I do not mind. It is where I now live.