Read Part 1 – Watched
Read Part 2 – Watcher
Read Part 3 – Harmless
Read Part 4 – Caught
She didn’t dance any longer. She couldn’t. Not after what Liz had done. That last, violent confrontation. A hotel maid had found her hours later, unconscious, in a pool of her own blood. Liz was long gone. Marley told the authorities the whole story once she recovered, but it was too late. Liz seemed to have disappeared.
At first, it was easy to forget. There was a flurry of activity around her. The ballet dedicated a performance to her, honoring her onstage at the end with an award and a gorgeous bouquet of white lilies, which used to be her favorite. She never told anyone that Liz used to send those to her too, always with a hidden, hateful message enclosed. Friends invited her out, threw parties in her honor, her phone rang day and night. But seasons change and people are fickle. Marley had nothing to offer the world any longer, now that the one thing that set her apart was gone. The attention faded, and she became something she’d never been in her entire life. Ordinary.
She spent hours alone in her stuffy apartment, the sickly sweet smell of those dead flowers she couldn’t bring herself to throw out for some reason suffocating her. Liz Randall. That name swam in the darkness before her when she closed her eyes. It had taken her a year. A year of her slowly descending, retreating, hiding. But she’d found her.
The door was open. Liz was confident she would never be found. Or just stupid. Marley stepped into the tiny, squalid house, the oppressive heat and the stench of rotting garbage and animal waste bearing down on her. Liz was sitting in a beat up metal chair, facing the window, her back to the front door. She turned when she heard Marley’s footsteps. Her mud brown hair was matted and filthy, a dribble of red sauce, from the pizza she’d just consumed Marley deduced from the greasy box on the kitchen floor, ran down her chubby chin. There was no surprise on her face as Marley approached. She just closed her tiny, dark eyes as Marley raised the gun, knowing it would all be over soon.
Speeding home on a meticulously plotted route, Marley felt lighter than the breeze blowing through her hair. She was finally free. Somehow, she knew she would find a way to dance again.