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deLuca, Sandy - The Hunter's Moon

By Terry Martinez,2014-06-12 23:52
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deLuca, Sandy - The Hunter's Moon

The Hunter's Moon

    by

    Sandy deLuca

So you want to know how it all started?

    I’m crashing from the speed—still confused about what went down.

    I see their faces gray and filled with terror. Death hovers close by. I hallucinate a lot these days.

    Pour me another cup of that coffeeplease.

    Do I have to wear these handcuffs? I’m not going to run away. You’re two big strong cops and I only weigh about a hundred and ten pounds. Fine, have it your way.

    Could you just put another lump of sugar in my cup? Stir it real good. I’ll talk now—even if you can’t promise to let me see Andra before you lock me up again.

    *

    In some ways Andra and me were like most other girls our age. We liked pretty clothes, foxy guys and going out dancing. But our childhoods were different. Not like normal kids.

    Dysfunctional. That’s what the shrinks call it.

    Andra’s Dad was in prison. Life. For killing her mother.

    Her mom liked to fool around. She was prettylike Andraand guys crowded

    around her like pathetic dogs. She particularly liked this gas station attendant over at Elmwood Full Service.

    Andra and me used to take the shortcut home from school and we’d see them making out in his car, parked in back of the garage. It was always the same: Bare legs wrapped tight around the kid’s back,

    hands tugging at his hair, head thrown back. Ruby lipstick smeared on her chin, sweat dripping from red curls.

    Andra’s mother saw us once. She peered at us through slitted eyes—like

    Mrs. Altieri’s cat when she watched the birds out on the lawn.

    A look of sheer happiness passed over her face at that moment, like she was thrilled that her daughter had caught her cheating. Like she was saying, "See, I am a woman, not the piece of trash your father makes me out to be."

    Andra didn’t say much about the incident, but not long after that she started giving out to some of the older guys at the high school. Andra was twelve the first time she got laid.

    Before long love in the back seat of an old Lincoln wasn’t enough for Andra’s mom. She started taking the kid home.

    Andra’s Dad found them in bed one afternoon when he came home early from work. He carried around a 38 Special. He shot them both before they knew he’d seen them.

    Andra didn’t cry.

    After that her grandmother took her in. The old lady liked to drink and never really noticed what Andra did or where she went. My dad had a drinking problem too. It got worst after he hurt his back at the textile mill.

    My Mom left him when I was thirteen. She was a waitress next to the hotel downtown. Some guy who came from New York City promised her a better life in Manhattan.

    She left with him on Christmas day.

    She never said goodbye to me.

    She called my Dad one night in March, said the guy had beat her because she wasn’t taking in as much money as the other girls.

    She called every night for a whole week, begging to come home. My Dad sent her half his disability check for the bus and some food. Mom never made it home.

    About a month later Dad said they found her body floating in the East River.

    I asked if I could have the gold ring she’d left behind. Dad slapped me, then scooped up all the whiskey bottles in the cupboard. He didn’t come out of his room for three days.

    Dysfunctional.

    Andra and I liked to go to the clubs. We practically lived at them. We didn’t have wheels and we had to bum rides.

    We called ourselves hunters right from the startgirls on the prowl,

    looking for a good time.

    We weren’t scared of much.

    Andra tucked a switchblade in her boot.

    I stole my Dad’s old Colt. You must have found it in my bag when you

    went through my stuff.

    Dad never noticed the gun was gone.

    I guess you found the pot too. Is possession still a misdemeanor? I guess it doesn’t matter under the circumstances.

    *

    Andra and I had jobs at the Outlet Company in Providence. We worked the day shift, except for Thursday when the store stayed opened late. That’s when we had to go in from one to nine. Every other night we were free to party.

    I worked in the junior department. It was easy to steal when my supervisor was at lunch. Andra and I had the funkiest outfits and we never spent a dime.

    We’d primp and change outfits until we were satisfied with the way we looked. Then we’d make our way to the street, knowing that the guys hanging out at the pool hall were checking us out. And dirty old Mr. Renfield next door was peeking at us through the blinds. We felt like movie starsbeautiful, skinny, dressed in slinky shorts

    with matching halters or low-cut dresses with bare backs. We’d stroll down Elmwood, thumbs stuck out and heels clicking on

    pavement.

    We sang Brown Sugar to each other.

    In the beginning all we wanted was a ride downtown. Later on if a guy was willing to pay us a few bucks for some extra fun we didn’t object.

    If we knew it was going to be a slow night at the clubs, we’d make them

    drive us out to the suburbs, past Warwick and deep into Coventry, where they were building condos.

    We’d take turns riding solo pickups, give them their money’s worth. If there were two of them I’d stay in the car with one guy while Andra

    took the other into the thick woods.

    One night Andra ran her knife across a guy’s neck. She didn’t cut him or anything like thatjust scared him real good and made him hand over his wallet.

    He was one of those geeky types.

    Three nights later we saw him sitting in a window booth at Spencer’s coffee shop.

    A red Cadillac breezed by a minute before. It stopped at the next corner, backed up a bit, as if the driver was looking at us in the rear view mirror.

    The guy in the coffee shop window shook his fist at us, pointed to a cop who drank coffee and ate a cinnamon donut at the counter. Andra went to the window and glared at the guy.

    She used to get this real weird look in her eyesa look that could scare

    you if you were the whimpy type.

    We never saw the guy after that, but we’d see that red Caddie every time we walked down Elmwood.

    Andra talked about going to Boston or New York, traveling across the country and making scores on people like the geek in the coffee shop. "We’re growing up, Lucy. We need to get more sophisticated."

    I’d say, "Yeah, whatever."

    I was still a kid who just wanted to have fun.

    *

    You said you wanted to know about the first time?

    I could use a cigarette about now.

    It was last Octoberjust a year agoa warm Indian Summer night. People liked to drive to the beach on nights like thatcatch the last remnants

    of warmth before a New England winter came to call.

    We knew nothing much would be going on at Mortuary’s—the hottest club

    in downtown Providence. We figured we could find a good time anyway. We were walking along Elmwood. I wore a yellow mini and black heels. Andra was wearing a bright red short set and high black boots. I was closest to the street and held out my thumb as traffic flew past.

    The red Caddie cruised by, turned into Solitro Brothers parking lot and waited until we got to the corner.

    The door on the driver’s side opened. A woman got out, stood on the sidewalk and watched ushands on hips, smiling.

    She was something elseabout six feet tall, skin the color of chestnuts and wild burgundy hair. She wore a silk dress. I’d seen it in the exclusives section of Gazebo’s. It cost four hundred bucks. It was hiked high on her hips.

    She was dripping in goldears, neck fingers and ankles. A skinny cigar was stuck in between white teethfang-like teethand her lips were

    painted with purple gloss.

    "You working girls?" she asked as she plucked her cigar out of her mouth. Dark tendrils of smoke curled around her head.

    "Looks like some bucks there," Andra said nudging me.

    "Its a chick. I don’t do chicks."

    "We don’t have to do her. We’ll get her out to the construction site and I’ll pull the gun before anything happens."

    Andra had that look in her eyes.

    "A gun stops anything, don’t worry."

    "Hey, I don’t know. We ain’t never did"

    "Don’t be a chicken, Lucy. Something like this had to happen sooner or later. We’ve just been moving up to it real fast and steady."

    "Somebody like that will turn us in. We’ll never be able to hitch rides on this strip again"

    "So what. This stuff is getting old anyway. We need to move on." "I don"

    "You girls want to go for a ride?" The woman’s voice was husky.

    Andra smiled wide. "Yeah, sounds like fun."

    "I know where you go," the woman said as I slid into the car beside her"I followed you last night."

    I wanted to split, bolt out of the car, but Andra had already gotten in, squeezed up close to me and shut the door. She slipped my bag off my shoulders and stuck it between her feet.

    I had a real bad feeling.

    We drove to the site. We were silent until the woman pulled into the lot.

    Half-finished skeletal buildings loomed in the distance and above the moon hung full and round. I remember thinking that it looked sickly yellow. Later Andra told me it was the Hunter’s Moon—the full moon in

    October.

    The woman shut off the engine, undid the buttons on her dress and stroked my face. I felt Andra move closer. The woman’s teeth flashed.

    "You first, come on a bit closer."

    I heard rustling behind me, vinyl crinkling, and then Andra’s hand shot

past my head, her full weight was against my back.

    The Colt was pressed against the woman’s head.

    Her pretty chestnut complexion turned white, her mouth went slack and she started twitching.

    I turned, looked at Andra. With that weird look in her eyes she said, "Take your jewelry off and throw it in this bag. Then give us all your cash. When you’re finished get out of the car and start walking towards those buildings up ahead."

    The woman nodded, removed her ringsall except for the a big diamond

    on her left index fingerunclipped her earrings and reached over to throw them in the bag.

    The gun was still at the woman’s head.

    I was sandwiched in between her and Andra, sweat stuck to my clothes. "Give us the diamond too," Andra said.

    "No, not that one. It’s got sentimental value. How can you be so heartless?"

    "Look, bitch. You can buy another. We want that onegive it here."

    "I can’t—"

    "Well, then go to hell."

    The shot still echoes in my head.

    She didn’t die right away—despite the damage the bullet had done to her head and face.

    She jumped and quivered for a while.

    The moon—the Hunter’s Moon—reflected in her eyes. Somebody would find her before long and I wondered if the moon’s image would remain in her eyes when they took her awaywhen they buried her.

    She laid there cold and quiet. Life draining from her slowly. I won’t forget that part.

    I thought about it a lot.

    I wanted to see it happen again.

    We dragged the woman out onto the damp ground and covered her with some leaves. They scattered as the wind picked up and a light rain started to fall.

    "We’ll be far away from here by the time they find her."

    "Yeah, I guess we have no choice now."

    "I want to wear the diamond for a while," Andra said holding her hand up to the moon. Moon beams danced on metal. "You get to wear it tomorrow." "Deal, but I want the gold hoop earrings for now."

    "Deal."

    I took the cash from the woman’s bag—there was a little less than a

    thousand dollars.

    Andra shook her head, looking at the silk dress. "Too bad it got messed up with blood and stuff. It’s really good silk."

    We were in New York City by midnight.

    We left the Caddie parked near the Metropolitan Museum of Art and started walking. It wasn’t long before a guy in a gold BMW pulled up and offered us a ride.

    He didn’t have much money on him—only about two hundred dollarsbut

    he was wearing a Rolex and a solid gold chain.

    I had to wipe the blood off the chain after I cut his throat. I hung it around my neck, Andra strapped the Rolex on her wrist. We hopped into the BMW and headed South.

    We stayed in New Jersey for a couple of weeksall because of Moe.

    We were heading for Philly, driving through Camden, when we spotted a bunch of guys hanging around outside a strip club.

    "You thirsty," Andra said. She had that look in her eyes. "Sure, we both could use a break."

    We took seats at the bar, ordered draft beer and lighted cigarettes. The bartender made small talk with us. He was about thirty, had dark waist length hair and a diamond stud in his left ear. His front teeth were crooked and his nose a bit too large, but there was something really sexy about him.

    "So where you girls from?"

    "A ways up North," I said as he poured us both another drink. He put his hand to his chin, looking back and forth at both of us. "So where’d you girls get all that fancy jewelry—and that Rolex?"

    "Our Daddies are rich," giggled Andra raising her glass in a mock toast. His eyes narrowed. "Don’t give me no lines. I’ve seen a lot—especially

    here."

    He waved his handlike a magicianand I saw a young girl half-naked

    on the stage, several others gyrating on table tops, pimps and dealers moving in and out the crowd.

    Moe leaned over the bar. "So you girls selling or trading?" It turned out that he bought and sold stolen goods. Before the sun rose Moe had given us a fair amount of cash in exchange for our jewelry. We partied hard all the next day at Moe’s place, a small apartment over the topless bar. He had some good pot, lots of food in his refrigerator and he knew how to please his women.

    Over the next few weeks we were either stoned, sleeping or hanging out with Moe.

    I guess we stuck with him for so long cause he never asked questions and was willing to help ussort of the same way we stuck with Byron later on.

    We ditched the BMW and bought a 1985 Camaro. Moe helped us get plates and with all the details that come with owning a car.

    I felt bad saying goodbye to him. He looked so awful when we left him in his apartment, lying on his coucha bullet in his chest.

    It goes without saying that we got to take the jewelry backand a little

extra to boot.

    *

    After that we headed further South and then West. We claimed other lives before we ended up in Denver almost a year later; among them a young business man in Washington D. C. He had a Mercedes that we were just itching to drive.

    He kissed real good.

    He died real slow.

    There was an old lady in Jacksonville. We followed her home after she’d made a withdrawal from the bank. She begged us not to take the money. It was supposed to be for her grandson’s first semester at college.

    We didn’t believe in higher education.

    I wondered if her grandson found her body. She said he’d be by later that day.

    I used to dream about the people we’d killed. They’d be lying in the shallow graves we’d dug—waiting to be buried—and the Hunter’s Moon

    shined in their eyes.

    By summerlate August to be exact we landed in Denver. The day we got there we rented a room at some fancy hotel downtown—I can’t remember

    the name, but it cost us a hundred fifty bucks. We didn’t care. We had

    a few thousand in cash and more in stolen jewelry.

    We spread the money on the bed and counted it as we sipped Champaign and smoked grass.

    Life was good.

    We got hungry around supper time and went downstairs to have a burger and beer.

    That’s where we met Byron Jasper.

    It seems as though people of like minds were always drawn to usthey

    seemed to smell us and what we were all aboutother hunters on the prowl.

    We were sitting in a booth, eating, laughing and drinking. This guy with dark hair, tattoos on his arms and a scar over his right eye sat across from us at a table.

    He kept looking at us. He smiled and a minute later the waitress brought over a couple of glasses of burgundy with his compliments. Before we knew it he was sitting with us. He looked at Andra like she was some kind of movie star. As if I wasn’t even there.

    He took us on a tour of Denver that night, then he came back to our hotel room.

    Later that night I heard Byron and Andra getting it on. I was pissed cause I wanted him too. This time Andra didn’t want to share—not like

    with Moe.

    Byron let us stay in the basement apartment he rented in the wretched part of the city. He was happy as long as Andra gave him sex. Sometimes it seemed like I was invisible.

Andra and me never talked about itbut she knew what I was feelingshe

    knew.

    Over the next few weeks we learned that Byron liked to huntto kill

    for the pleasure of it. He didn’t give a shit about stealing his victim’s money, or taking their cars. He just liked to watch their faces as they died.

    It got him hot and later he always got in the sack with Andra. One night we picked up two college girls from a bar downtown, brought them home. Byron sliced them uptaking his timewatching their

    expressions as they begged him to stop.

    I knelt beside them, awed at how their eyes filled up, the way their bodies twitched and how quickly or slowly the blood flowed from the different places Byron had cut them.

    He let Andra finish them up. She slit their throats nice and slow. Andra and Byron did it right next to the bodies that night. Later we put the dead chicks in plastic garbage bags, along with the bloody sheets and blankets. We drove high into the mountains and left them there.

    One night Andra asked Byron if she could borrow his car, go for a drive. She said that she needed to clear her head.

    Andra and me didn’t talk much anymore, but I could tell something was bugging her.

    He gave her the keys. She kissed him on the cheek before she left. She didn’t say a word to me.

    *

    "Want a drink?" he asked as he watched the car’s lights disappear around the curve.

    "I can get it myself."

    I got a can of beer from the frig. When I turned around Byron was behind me. He slipped his hands on my waist and spun me around. He kissed me hard.

    Before I knew it was I lying beneath him, doing what I’d yearned for.

    "I thought Andra was somebody different at first," he said as he lifted me gently and kissed me. "She can be a self-centered bitch." He turned to me and said real soft, "I’m learning she’s not right for me."

    I slid into my jeans, thinking about what I felt for Byronespecially

    nowand how me and Andra were like partners in crimetogether all this

    time.

    *

    None of us talked much for the next few days, but Byron and me had an understanding. I could tell when he looked at me, nodded his head when Andra wasn’t looking

    Byron slept on the couch and Andra slept in his bed. I crashed on a

futon in the corner of the living roomlike always.

    One night in mid-October Byron announced that he wanted to have some fun. "I say we hit some downtown barscause some trouble. Shit, they

    stopped talking about the missing college girls. I say we add some excitement to the newstonight."

    I remember walking out into the chilly October night, looking up at the full moon and thinking that it was the same moon as the night me and Andra left Rhode Island—the Hunter’s Moon was back—shining down

    on us.

    Andra got in the car first, moved up close to Byron. He kissed her and I thought that maybe he’d changed his mind about him and me.

    He drove around the city for a while, then pulled into an alley in between some deserted buildings.

    "What’s this?" Andra said. "There’s no clubs around here."

    Byron chuckled and then his hands were around her neck. She kicked. Her arms flailed. He dragged her out of the car.

    "Lucy, come here," he said still holding her neck with both hands. She looked at me, her eyes pleading.

    I stood near him, pulled a knife out of his jean jacket and plunged it into her heart without a second thought. All that crap about being partners in crime had drained out of me, I wanted Byron more than anything and I wanted to watch her die.

    We stood over her as life faded from her eyesbut something else was

    theresomething yellow and sickly.

    Byron kissed me. "It’ll be okay now. We’ll leave here, maybe go back East."

    Byron opened the car door and then you guys sped around the corner. He pulled a .45 out of his pocket. He wouldn’t put it down when you asked.

    You both fired at the same time.

    That’s my storybut I suppose you want to know more about the killings Andra and me did across the country.

    I’ll tell you more, but I want you to take me to the morgue. I have to see Andra’s body one more time.

    You see, I could have sworn the moon was shining in her eyes when she died.

    I have to see if the Hunter’s Moon is still there.

    I have to know if she took it with her to Hell.

    Sandy DeLuca's short stories have appeared in many small press publications over the past two years including such places as: THE EDGE, WHISPERS FROM THE SHATTERED FORUM, WELCOME TO NOD, REDSINE, TWILIGHT SHOWCASE and PARCHMENT SYMBOLS. She is also a poet and her chapbook BURIAL PLOT IN SAGITTARIUS has just been nominated for the BRAM STOKER

    FOR POETRY award. Her large scale artwork has appeared in galleries her small illustrations have appeared in magazines. She is the editor of DECEMBER GIRL PUBLICATIONS (formally GODDESS OF THE BAY) and is about to launch a new mystery/crime anthology called CRIME SPREE.

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