Detective Billy Clark sat in the dark with a huge fluffy German Shepherd named Bootsy laid in his lap. When he heard the soft snap of the safety on an automatic pistol he smiled.
“That’s my girl.”
The light flicked on and the woman in the doorway held her piece down.
“God damn it Billy. Next time I’m shooting you in the knee.”
Bootsy looked up at her with pleasure bright brown eyes. Billy grinned.
“Look in the bag on the table in the kitchen.”
She passed by grumbling and paused to touch the detective’s thinning gray hair. He closed his eyes and listened to her open the bag and gasp.
He walked in after moving the dog and held her from behind with one thick arm, with the other he stroked the thick scar on her soft brown cheek.
“It’s over. I got him.”
She held a knife in her hands, her body began to tremble. He felt the tears and the trembling, he said nothing.
“Tell me that mother fucker suffered.”
He smiled against her cornrows.
“He begged. He screamed. He knew why it happened. And nobody will ever ID him. It’s over. ”
She put the knife down and turned in his arms. She tried to speak and sobbed instead. Twenty years of terror and rage poured out of her. Billy carried her to bed and undressed her while she cried, he tucked the lilac comforter around her and gave her some space.
He walked Bootsy and when Billy went back inside she had washed her face and lay tucked into bed waiting for him.
In the dark, he told her everything. Every scream. Every sob. Everything.
The next day dawned bright and he woke to find her staring at him.
“Billy, you are the baddest mother fucker I ever met. I love you.”
They kissed and she lay on his chest and slept the peaceful sleep of a woman cleansed of terror by the blood of the man who terrorized her.
“I love you too baby.”
Billy kissed the top of her head and sighed deeply. His back hurt, his ribs hurt, but his heart and soul was clean.
While she slept Billy stroked her back and began to plan his retirement, as he drifted off to sleep, he heard the last word from the man who had hurt her so many years ago,
“I’m sorry man, just tell her I’m sorry.”