Dance With The Devil (59)

Edmund entered the room, full of intention, full of courage but as soon as he took in the macabre scene that was laid out before him, it all evaporated. It was as if he had walked into hell and Carlo Liuzzi was presiding proudly over it – the very picture of Lucifer himself.

Ava’s words suddenly came rushing back to Edmund, ‘I think Daddy Carlo’s the devil’, she had said, and now he did not doubt her for a second.

Edmund’s face drained of colour as he looked about him. A young man’s corpse lay close to where he stood, one side of his face blown completely off. Another body lay further away, mutilated and ruined beyond all recognition. Blood was everywhere, masses of it, in pools and in spatters.

He then saw Mildred; dishevelled, tear-stained and clearly in pain. Blood was pouring from her hand and he was convinced that she, too, was about to die. She looked at him, imploringly, begging him to save her, clinging to the slightest hope that Edmund, the good man she had once loved yet so readily discarded, would come to her rescue.

As Edmund stared at her; filthy, bedraggled and desperate, suddenly the years of resentment melted away. He saw once again the beautiful girl from Iowa he had married and the mother of his darling daughter. Any ill feeling he had towards her vanished, instantly replaced by pity and compassion. She needed him now again. More so than she ever had before and he had to save her.

Without thought or care for himself he rushed forward, focused only on her and blind to Liuzzi who had turned to face him, the curved dagger in his hand.

Edmund did not feel the knife enter his stomach, only Liuzzi’s arm upon him as he tried to prevent him from reaching his wife. He heard Mildred scream and briefly registered the utter shock on her face as his body went cold and he sank to his knees. He could not comprehend why his legs and arms would not respond as he desperately tried to struggle forward to save Mildred.

Only when he was laying on his back, looking up at the blurred image of Carlo Liuzzi standing over him, the dagger dripping blood in his hand and the sound of Mildred crying in the background did Edmund finally understand.

“Oh, my poor Ava,” he whispered with his last dying breath.

Continues tomorrow or download the complete novel here

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