Logan flipped through the digital photos in his camera. Rachel at various angles and in various places. His favorites were the ones where her shoulder length hair blew in small loose strands around her chin. There were only two but they were the cream of the crop.
He printed an 8 x 10 and put it in a silver vase. He traced the curves of her face on the print with his finger. Rachel was his perfect flower. A thing of beauty that could withstand the harsh winters and grow in to a delicate bloom at the first hint of spring sun.
He laid a stack of 5x7 and 8x10s on the table by his photo album and crossed to a wooden bookshelf with three shelves. Across the bottom shelf were eleven white photo albums. Each of them were identical. He’d bought them for the other women but they’d betrayed him. After they were punished he-.
He looked at the large black Xs of electrical tape on the spines of those photo albums. Bad memories in those white books. Didn’t want to think about that any more.
At the end of the shelf was a wooden jewelry box. He sat on the floor and put the box on his lap. This was where he kept his special treasures. Trinkets from all the women he had loved before. Jenny had come the closest to fulfilling him. Memories stung him. Everyone betrayed him. None had been loyal. Not Aunt Tulla, Not Jenny not-.
He lifted Jen’s class ring and the lock of red-brown hair that he’d put in the box days before the ring. He rubbed them against his cheek. Despite their betrayal each had touched him in a special way. He picked a piece of lint out of the bottom of the box then placed the ring and lock of hair back. He lifted out the small diamond ring and held it up. Large hands squeezed his heart. Rachel would love him.
He put the ring in a black ring box then placed them on top of the other trinkets before closing the lid and sliding the box back on the shelf. Rachel was going to be different. She didn’t throw herself at him like other women did. There was a challenge to her. She was a mature woman who knew how to get what she wanted. He would give it to her all right. He walked to a bouquet of roses sitting on his table and slid a single white rose from the cluster.
The white rose was a sign of purity to many. A rose was a delicate thing of beauty that should be reserved for women who were both beautiful and pure. He picked up a black ribbon from the second bookshelf and began to tie it around the rose. Ten ribbons each cut exactly six inches long were stacked on the shelf. He stopped for a moment.
“Twelve.” He whispered.
He looked at the books. “Twelve women.”
Then back at the ribbons. “Twelve roses.”
Of course. He had known she was the one but now he understood why. There had to be others. He had to purify his perfect one through blood. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. Yes the Bible said that. Aunt Tulla had talked about the blood sacrifices in the Bible. Twelve was the perfect number. He sniffed the flower. His heart thudded in his chest.
He stopped and held up a single finger as if telling an invisible guest to be still for just a moment. “These things take time. They must be developed slowly.” He thought for a moment. “One, only one a week.” His excitement rekindled. “Yes, one rose a week. Make her want it. Build her desire to know me better.” It all made so much sense. Why hadn’t he seen it before? All the lies and betrayal of all the other women were leading to this moment. He walked to the close up of Rachel sitting on top of his stack of pictures and brushed the rose petals up and down the photograph.
“I know you’re anxious. but soon.”
You are reading A Face in the Shadow by Tiffany Colter.
Tiffany is a writer, speaker and writing career coach. She is a frequent contributor to print and online publications in addition to her regular marketing blog at www.WritingCareerCoach.com
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This story is copyright Tiffany Colter. 2007. It may not be copied, distributed, sold or included in any larger work without the expressed written permission of Tiffany Colter.
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