William Parker’s hands were covered in blood.
It will wash off, he told himself, half asleep.
He stared at his hands in the dim light and knew it wasn’t true. This was the kind of blood that woke him up in the middle of the night that pulled him out of bed soaked in sweat.
Parker had been raised on hunting. A deer shot on a cold November morning bled, but that blood washed off easily. The deer didn’t deserve to die. It didn’t have a name, but it did have a purpose. It provided food.
“Neither wound nor kill for no reason,” his father had said.
William Parker’s father had been killed aboard Pan Am flight 103. Taken by a terrorist’s bomb. The men who’d killed him deserved to die. Their blood washed off.
His new wife of only a few days had been killed when a maniac drove his car into a crowd. Another easy kill whose blood would wash off.
And there were so many others…. like the ones who’d taken his father and wife. The men who believed the innocent should die for some strange, irrational reason. The monster that somewhere, in its past, crossed the line. The quiet student in the back who used a line out of a religious text to authorized the slaughter of hundreds. Thousands. The one who initiated a search on the Internet for fertilizer and bomb-making materials.
What is his name? William Parker looked at his hands again. The blood was gone. It was dawn.
Somewhere, not far away, lurked a monster that sought to bloody its own hands. For now, it remained nameless. It waited, lurking, seeking its fame. It rose from the same bottomless muck. It would do whatever it took to kill for no purpose.
His bedroom remained cold in the summer only by virtue of its dark shades and air conditioning. By late afternoon, the heat would brew up black cells of storms painted red on the radar. The storm cells would churn up winds that could cut through neighborhoods like some horrific chainsaw.
Someone who will deserve to die is out there. He sat up in bed. The house was silent.
A red cell like the ones on the weather map when a bad storm’s coming. He felt it.
William Parker didn’t know where.
But it was coming.