Chapter 22

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"It was a stormy night, the loud sort that always scared the poor girl. The sort that would send her scrambling into our bed so that she could nestle between us. I cringe at the thoughts that flitted through my mind on those occasions.

"The woman told her to be a big girl so she stayed in her own bed and I, careful not to wake Carmen, snuck out of my cave and sought her out, hoping that she'd at least be drowsy from the pills I'd slipped in her drink during supper. Lamb chops, we had lamb chops and steamed rice with broccoli for supper. Sophia never ate the broccoli. She hated it. Her mother would get angry, but I saw it as only fair to give her an extra slice of cake, instead.

He paused, "So, the moment came. I found myself outside of her bedroom door, lightening flicking over our walls, thunder cracking. My palms were sweaty and I felt my heart thumping hard against my ribs at what I had to do because, of course, I had to do this. Living with her this long was complete and utter torture. But, it was an intensely great feeling, my eyes burned as if they couldn't quite believe what they saw when I opened the door: a feast before me, it was; she practically lay there just for me, lids closed, shorts tight against her bitty frame, shirt raised to expose the soft skin of her belly. I moved closer and wrestled with her bony ankles and limbs, snapped my fingers in front of her eyes, next to her ears. Nothing happened. Finally, after such a painful wait, I kissed her.

"I've never tasted lips so sweet. Yet, to my astonishment, she didn't so much as move. This was encouraging and so I took full advantage- I explored all her tiny summits until I was drained and exerted. The next afternoon, as Carmen and I prepared to drive to our respective offices, the girl wouldn't leave that damned room no matter how loud we called. No matter how hard I shook her or rubbed her skin, she wouldn't warm, she wouldn't open her eyes and look at me... Sophie had gone into epileptic shock that night-" he broke off.

"Maybe it was my doing, maybe some sort of divine intervention struck me down to the quick, maybe I just couldn't win this time. But, Carmen didn't see it. For all the evidence that lay at her feet, she stood there armed with denial. I couldn't bring myself to tell her, so I fled."

Never in my life had I met a man so sick.

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