He was gone. Without as much as a word of rebuttal, the demon had disappeared. Even without looking, Caitlyn knew. She could feel it. Or perhaps, she could feel the lack of his presence. The room felt empty, almost cold despite the tropic heat. Wroth had gone without a trace, leaving her alone between the tousled sheets, in a room still fragrant with their carnal scent.
She had felt his anger and frustration at her words. Even as it had been left unspoken, she had still felt it in her chest, almost as if it had been her own. Frustration, swirled into a heady mixture with pain and regret, serving only to intensify those feelings of guilt within her. She had made Wroth cry. She had made a demon cry. How wicked did one have to be to achieve such a feat?
Caitlyn had regretted telling Wroth to leave almost the instant that he was gone. Yet, at the same time, she could not bear his presence. Their tryst had left her feeling confused, unsure of herself and of her feelings. During the act, she had felt... infinite. Without worry, lost in a world that seemed to exist entirely off just her and Wroth. He had been there, gentle and tender, the perfect, considerate lover. There were no words to describe the kind of connection they had shared for those moments. There had been nothing more she could've wished for. And yet, when passion had faded, panic had struck, born from fear and confusion. Despite her reserves, she had gone and done something she had told herself she would never do.
She didn't even know what was real any more. How could she even trust her own feelings, when Wroth could so easily play with her senses? Who knew what other tendrils beside lust he could control within her? Where those feelings she harboured for him real, or where they just another concoction of his demon ways?
But....he had cried. A human emotion if ever there was one. Surely, the care he had displayed had to be genuine then? Unless it all was one giant ploy …. for what? Even to her own ears, it sounded far-fetched. Technically, she had agreed to do anything for him that he would ask of her, so why would he need to play her emotions?
A sob broke through the heavy silence, soon followed by another. Hands clutched the sheets, the girl burying her face into them as she tried to quiet the noise. In the solace of the room, she felt horribly alone. Alone, despicable and dirty.
Forcing herself up, she moved to the bathroom, flesh still sticky and moist from their encounter. She needed to bathe, to cleanse the filth of her body. Perhaps it would clear her mind. Soon, the tap ran, the sound almost like rumbling thunder as the water poured from the spout at high pressure. Bathsalts were added, another scent to mask the odour of shame and sin. If only the bath could wash her memory clean.
As the bath filled, she once more made way for the den of the hotelroom, fishing out another bottle from the mini-bar. She did not care it was a bad decision. She already had one mortal sin down that day, what more was another? What did it matter? Either way, she'd probably end up in hell. Right now, the comfort and light-mindedness that the alcohol brought was needed and desired. For a moment, she paused there, briefly debating her decision before reaching for a second. What the hell. One probably wouldn't do the trick, but two perhaps would.
And so, she drank as she waited for the bath to fill, drank as she sat submerged in the water, miserably staring at her toes, trying once again to clear her mind. The bottle in hand brought a bemused thought to her mind, odd as it was. Around this time of day, she would never have thought to nurse a bottle. She'd be sat at home, drinking cocoa from her mug that once had so proudly proclaimed that “LIFE IS TOUGH- so put on your big girl panties and deal with it”. Perhaps it had been advice she ought to have followed. She dismissed the thought.
Eventually, she raised herself out of the bath, stumbling slightly around the bathroom to get herself towelled dry, before eventually collapsing on the bed in little more than a tshirt and a pair of shorts, too out-of-mind to deal with tangling herself in undergarments. And yet still, despite her weariness, she could not lay herself to rest, for the bedroom brought with it memories of Wroth and all that had transpired. Picking up the phone, she dialled reception, soon requesting a change of room. It was granted to her with little hassle, a busboy soon send up to help take luggage from one room to the next.
Settling herself down on the new hotel bed, Caitlyn brought the bottle of Beam to her lips, other hand reaching for the remote of the television. Some distraction would be nice. Anything to keep herself from thinking. It was cowardice at its best, but she just wanted to escape. It was, perhaps, her worst character trait by far. She always dodged the issues, tried to get around the problems rather than meeting them head-on to fix them. She hated confrontation.
Instantly, the screen came to life before her. Some local channel popped up, some lady chittering away in the local language. Switch. Weather. Switch. A children's program. Switch. Finally, after some clicking, she managed to tune in to what seemed to be an International Channel. What she saw had her drop the remote in shock as the newsreader finished her sentence. Her own image stared back at her from the screen, name in bold letters beneath.
The LAPD has requested the help of the public in locating this woman, wanted in relation to manslaughter . Information as to the location of this woman shown is sought in order that they are brought to justice. Members of the public must not approach the suspect, but should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111....” The woman waffled on.
For a moment, Caitlyn was dumbstruck. What had happened? How had her image made it to the news? And most of all, how had she gotten wanted status? Anxiously, she waited for the report to finish, hoping to find some sort of clue as to the why behind the strange occurrence. She didn't have to wait long, for a familiar face filled the screen, speaking into the microphones offered to him. She recognised him in an instant, his voice chilling her to the bone. A memory slipped into focus, that night, now so long ago... She had tried to forget, had tried to repress the memory. It came flooding back. The bloodstreaked streets. His silhouette, framed by the light of a streetlantern, looking down upon that body....
“We firmly believe this woman is strongly connected to the recent string of murders that have been plaguing our city. Her current whereabouts are unknown, but it is believed that she has fled states, using money gained through ill-gotten means. Any information concerning her whereabouts should be...”
Anger flooded Caitlyn's system, drowning out the man's voice as he droned on, detailing more and more about her alleged crimes. Murders, all women, all red-haired and of college-age, killed and then impersonated, bank accounts drained. The latest, a certain Catherine Flanders, had been overwhelmed on her way to the local homeless shelter, where the “saintly” woman who had overcome a harsh, unloving background had found her death. He called her killer a dangerous leech, a heartless identity thief who thrived on bloodlust. Pinning his murders upon Caitlyn.
That was enough. How much longer would she let everyone and anybody walk all over her and push her around? How much longer did he think she'd hide in silence? She had never spoken a word about what she had seen, had never implicated the man in any way but now, it seemed he had stepped up the manhunt for her. Perhaps her disappearance had made the man anxious. Either way, he seemed determined to have her found. If she'd fly back to the states, she would be a wanted woman. She would never be able to live quietly. Would never have a normal life.
She wasn't going to take it. The man had to be brought down. Maybe Wroth could not touch him, but something could. Something had to. She had to bring him down. She could not him win.
In her drunken anger, the consequences of her actions didn't even cross her mind. All she could think of was the injustice that she had suffered as she reached for the phone, intent on giving a few journalists the “scoop” of a lifetime. She would not stay silent any longer.