Fran was less than a foot away from the warmth and security of her Jaguar when she made an about-face and went back to finish her confrontation with Megan. And, this time, she was not leaving until the matter was settled to her liking. She had to save Jeremy from himself. He could thank her later, and she knew exactly how. Their night together had been blissful, and even if Jeremy weren’t ready or able to admit it, his marriage was kaput. Fran sprinted up the semicircular steps. She reached for the knocker, but decided instead to ring the doorbell. That’s when she heard a scream – a bloodcurdling, wailing, harrowing scream. “Help me! Please! Somebody! Help me!”
Overwhelmed with panic, Fran fled down the steps out into the yard, not questioning who was screaming, but what she should do? What could she possibly do?
“Somebody help me! Please!” Megan let loose another spine-chilling scream. “He’s going to kill me!”
Fran had to do something and fast. But there was no time to go for help. She ran around the side of the house, searching for an open window. There was none. She ran to the back of the house, kicked off her shoes, and raced up the steps to the balcony. She tried to enter through the French double doors. The right door was locked. The left door opened. Fran reached inside her purse and clutched the .22 caliber pistol she purchased right after the hearing. Her intention was to give it to Jeremy for his protection since no one knew the whereabouts of Reginald Douglas. But now Fran was certain she knew where he had been hiding, waiting to exact revenge on Megan, and on Jeremy had he been there.
Fran crept onto the encased porch and eased into the kitchen. She slipped the phone from its cradle to her ear. The phone was dead. She tiptoed to the edge of the hallway. Megan’s desperate screams of horror grew louder, more frightening, almost unbearable to hear. Then came a loud, dull thud. Megan’s wrenching screams gave way to a deafening silence. Clinging close to the wall, Fran peeked into the hallway. She spotted Reginald Douglas dragging Megan’s limp body. Still clinging close to the wall, her finger loosely on the trigger, Fran raised the .22 caliber pistol, aimed for his chest, and began to slowly squeeze. Reginald Douglas disappeared into the den, dragging Megan along. Fran slid stealthily along the wall to the entryway of the den. She listened for any sound, any movement. Reginald Douglas started to talk – loud, insane babbling. Fran cautiously peeked into the den. She spied Megan lying motionless on the couch. There was no sign of Reginald Douglas. Then he suddenly reappeared holding a bottle of white wine. He popped open the bottle, leaned over Megan, and poured the wine on her face. Megan moaned, the first sign for Fran that she was alive.
“Now that’s the way I like it,” Reginald Douglas said, roaring with bellyaching laughter. “It wouldn’t be any fun if you were asleep. I want you to feel every inch of me.” He licked his wet tongue across her lips. “How do you like your wine? Taste good?” He tore off her lingerie and wallowed his face in her bare breasts.
“Please. Please. Don’t do this.” Megan begged, straining to talk, slurring her words. “I promise, I won’t…I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
“Son, women are liars. Never give them a second chance. When the chase is over, it’s yours for the taking. Let them know whose The Man.” Reginald Douglas looked toward the heavens and nodded his head in agreement. “Yeah, Daddy. Yeah, you’re right. Look at her. So innocent. So naïve.” He began to cry – a baby whimpering cry. “You’re a liar!” Reginald Douglas growled like a sick animal. “A slimy, wormy, rotten liar! How can someone this beautiful be so useless?” His sudden burst of laughter echoed in the room. “Funny isn’t it, Daddy? I’m just like you and she’s just like Mama. You let Mama play you again, and again, and again. And I let Megan play me.” His voice abruptly became childlike, whimpering, near tears. “But Daddy, I still want her,” he said, and looked toward the heavens. “What do I do now?”
“Son, women are like hot fudge sundaes. They look good. They taste delicious. But underneath they’re all the same. Have your fun, son, then move on to the next one, and the next one, and the next one, and the next one.” A menacing grin lit up his face. “Yeah, time for me to move on, Daddy. I’m going to have a little fun, first, okay? Okay, Daddy? Then I promise, I’ll move on.” His mouth crushed Megan’s with a bruising kiss to her lips, her neck, her breasts. He clamped his large hands around her neck and lifted her limp body until their faces touched. “I’ll make you an offer, lovely lady. If you make it real good, the debt will be paid in full. If you make it extra good, I’ll let you live to tell about it.”
Megan, her eyes screaming with fear, tears streaming down her cheeks, began to fight for her life – hitting, clawing, kicking, scratching, desperate to break free from a man who had completely lost touch with reality. Reginald Douglas straddled Megan, pinning her under his weight. She thrashed her head from side-to-side. It was all she could do. She was no match for him. He was as strong as he was insane. She stopped fighting. She prayed. She prepared herself to die. Then she saw a weak spot; and, with every ounce of energy left in her body, Megan bore her teeth into his bare wrist, biting, gnashing, ripping, tearing apart his skin. Blood squirted.
“Dammit!” Reginald Douglas yelped, examined his injured arm, clenched his large fist, reared back, and swung with animal force. Megan collapsed. Her head slumped to one side. “What about that, Daddy? Am I being tough enough?” Reginald Douglas spoke in a childlike voice, and looked toward the heavens as if expecting a sign of approval. “See, Daddy, I said what I meant and I did what I said. Just like you. Am I The Man, now?” His wild eyes remained glued toward the heavens as if waiting for an answer. “When you know how to put a