Excerpt for What Good is Evil? by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

What Good is Evil?

by

Sonya C. Dodd

Copyright © 2017 by Sonya C Dodd
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Other titles available by Sonya C. Dodd:

A Whisper in the Wind

Harbour of Dreams

Siren Call

Echo of a Siren

Affirmation of the Sirens

Brass Buttons

Dear Mother

2000 words: A collection of short stories

Black Tuesday

Don’t Tell Me You’re Sorry

The Root of All Evil

With Hindsight

Who’s Real?

No Man is an Island

Woodland Child

Woodland Children

A Kaleidoscope of Teardrops

For further details, please check out my website: sonyacdodd.com

Prologue

Luke stood up from the bed and grimaced. His lust might have been temporarily sated, but the sight of the whore lying between the red satin sheets with too much flesh showing, made him wonder whether he would have been better off tolerating his own frustration.

He could see she was pretending to sleep. Her eye lashes, painted thickly with black mascara, fluttered slightly. The black eye liner he had watched her carefully apply earlier was now smudged around her eyes making it appear as though she had been crying.

Clenching his fists tightly, Luke glanced down at his own body glistening with sweat. The heat in the room was almost unbearable. He couldn’t help but admire his own torso, lean and smooth, a contrast to hers; it was his tool for attracting any woman he wanted to his bed.

Luke didn’t know what had made him go for this one. She had been desperate to give herself to him as though he would be some kind of trophy for her to boast about to her friends. Maybe he had experienced a moment of weakness and actually felt sorry for her.

Casting his eyes down over the flabby curves of her body and her large buttocks, Luke turned away in disgust. He certainly felt nothing but loathing for her now.

Gratefully he stepped into the hot shower, allowing the pummelling water to wash away the scent of the fat cow who now occupied his bed. It would be too much to hope for that she would be gone by the time he walked back into his bedroom. No doubt she thought she could take up residence until he moved onto his next victim.

Rubbing the shower gel over his body, Luke felt his body’s response already stirring once more. They’d only had sex a short time ago but already new desire was coursing through his limbs.

It had definitely been a mistake; she would have to go. The problem was, as far as Luke saw it: he was bored. No woman in this place ever held his interest for longer than a short while and there was nothing else to do to pass the time.

Trapped here, there was nothing to fill his mind other than dreaming about his next conquest. A small smile crept onto his face. He would speak to his father. He needed to get out of here and take on some responsibility.

Luke was convinced that if he just had something else to occupy himself each day, then he would find his existence more tolerable.

That was it. Having settled on a way forward he threw his head back and ran his hands through his black hair as the water cascaded over him. Suddenly his heart felt much lighter.

The sound of the shower curtain sliding back behind him made Luke pause. He closed his eyes and felt his blood suddenly racing through his veins.

Feeling her hands move round his body as she reached for his cock, before she could touch him, Luke took hold of one of her wrists and began to squeeze as he turned to face her.

Already her face was beginning to contort with the pain she was experiencing. Enjoying the power he held so easily over her, Luke grinned as she collapsed onto her knees.

Her body was like a jellyfish, he decided as he watched her shake with fear. Her long, dark hair hung loosely, clinging to her chest and shoulders.

With a quick twist Luke broke her wrist and felt a surge of pleasure as a wail escaped from her throat and filled the steamy air around them.

Without loosening his grip on her arm, Luke pulled the woman to her feet. He saw her terror as he stared into her brown eyes, seeing horror written clearly in her face.

His own black eyes, he knew, were laughing at her because he was aware of what was coming next.

Letting her arm go, Luke raised his hands slowly and felt the softness of her wet cheeks. Now there were tears, as well as the water from the shower, spreading her eye makeup in streaks down her face. She looked like a clown, he decided.

The novelty of his power was quickly gone. He knew she deserved no mercy from him, and with the swiftest of movements Luke grabbed her neck and snapped it with ease as though it was the stem of a flower.

There was no sound from her lips, he had been too quick for that. However, her body landed on the floor of the shower cubicle with a deep thud when he let her go.

Luke turned off the water and stepped over the slumped body. He would get dressed and eat something, he decided, as he began to dry himself with a large, red towel, before he’d call for someone to take her away.

Holding the putter out towards his master, whilst clutching the heavy golf bag and flannel in his other hand, Marduk hesitantly put his question forward: “Are you sure you’re doing the right thing by letting Luke go?”

The speaker wore his hair long, it had long since turned a dark shade of grey with age and was pulled back into a single pony tail. He glanced from the ball nestled on the edge of the green towards his companion who stood rooted to the spot as he eyed up his next shot, ignoring the inclement weather racing towards them.

“What else can a father do?” he replied at last. “There is only so long you can hold a child back before you have to let them go out into the world to make their own mistakes.”

His voice sounded sad but resigned as he continued to step around the green, checking the line of his next shot.

“But Luke? Surely you can see he is one to be watched closely. He’s hot-headed, arrogant …”

He would have continued his list but his friend held up his hand and he fell silent in subservience. “I know my son well enough. No one needs to inform me of his faults; I know they are plentiful and I make no excuses for him.”

“But Lucifer, is the world really ready for such a lethal weapon as your son?”

A small smile crept onto Lucifer’s well-weathered face. Age had not been kind to him but there was evidence he had been a handsome man in his youth.

“I take your criticism as a compliment. No doubt my son will find some amusement, but he will grow bored and I am confident we will see his return in the near future.”

Marduk shrugged. There was no point saying anything further. It would only anger his friend and that could prove to be a very foolish move.

Chapter One

It had not taken her as long to realise he was no longer in his usual spot as it did for her to notice him that first time. Passing the place twice a day, firstly on her way down the hill on her way to work, then in the evening on her way back up the hill heading home, Rose had quickly become accustomed to seeing his face in the crowd.

There were always so many people around at those times, yet she never failed to see him. She had often wondered how long he had been in the same place before he first caught her attention; it couldn’t have been very long. Something about his appearance had captured her eye and now Rose found herself wondering why she couldn’t shake him from her mind.

The world’s population appeared to have the same journey and working hours as Rose, yet they all seemed to be able to spare the time to walk aimlessly as though there was a huge conspiracy going on to delay Rose Johnson reaching her destination on time.

Why couldn’t people manage to walk in a straight line? The question was usually playing on her mind as she walked along Gentleman’s Walk each day. The way everyone’s path weaved across hers just as she was picking up speed was a daily bug bear. The bobbing heads were like a river flowing down towards Exchange Street; the odd vendor peddling his wares in the centre of the walkway was like a rock interrupting the flow of water towards its goal.

The changing window displays of the shops which lined the street barely gained a glance from her. The colourful roofs of the market stalls didn’t even justify a look as Rose turned her eyes in the opposite direction as she came level with the grey, stone wall of the bank outside which she knew he should be sitting.

Rose didn’t know anything about living rough but it seemed this spot was his place as he was the only down and out who ever seemed to occupy this position.

She couldn’t recall when she had first noticed him but it was impossible for her now to think of a time when she hadn’t looked out for him as part of the routine of her daily trek. Whether it was the shine of his jet-black hair, his chiselled good looks, or his lean, muscular body: none of which were lost beneath the guise of a homeless guy, living on the streets, Rose couldn’t say what about him first captured her eye. It wasn’t that Rose made a habit of noticing vagrants on the streets of the city; in fact, she was probably the perfect example of one of the masses who acted as though they were invisible; this man though, his appearance seemed to leap out of the crowd at Rose, whenever she passed by him.

Although Rose would never have admitted it, she knew the moment he glanced up at her passing and returned her smile, a spring appeared in her step. From that moment on, it never mattered how many people thought to move into her path, the warmth inside her body had been ignited by that look and it would remain in place until the return journey at the end of her working day.

Rose Johnson was just twenty-four and had lived in Norwich all her life. Unlike many young people, Rose had never felt an inclination to leave her home city, instead she liked the security the familiar surroundings offered her.

After finishing her ‘A’ levels, she had still lacked any ambition towards any particular field or career and had fallen into the bank cashier’s job she still held after five years.

The role wasn’t particularly demanding but Rose liked the fact she could walk out of the office at 5pm each day, without any sense of responsibility weighing on her mind.

Rose felt life had been pretty kind to her so far and, as she strolled back down London Street, her mind flitted between what she should cook for dinner and wondering whether ‘he’ would be back in his usual place.

Having never dared speak to him, Rose was determined, if he was back, she would pluck up the courage to say something to him, no matter how trivial it was. She’d never had much confidence when it came to men but Rose knew there was something different about this guy who seemed to live as much inside her head as he did on the streets of the city, as though he was haunting her.

She was a romantic, she couldn’t help it. Rose dreamt of meeting Mr Right but had no idea how she’d ever manage it. Whenever she had met someone she liked, her mind would be telling her what to say, or do, but she always chickened out at the last minute, too scared of making a fool of herself and pre-empting his negative judgement of her.

This man though, really got under her skin. It was impossible for Rose to put her finger on what made him so different. He dressed the part of a tramp with his long, dark overcoat and dirty boots. However, he looked clean, and whilst she had been close enough on several occasions to put some coins into his unturned cap, she was positive he didn’t smell of that mustiness which crept out of the pores of most dossers she saw; on the contrary, something animalistic about his scent had her spell-bound.

Then there were his eyes. They appeared so dark she would have believed they were black. Yet they had drawn her gaze in his direction, time and time again, so that she was always forced to drag her eyes away from his first, embarrassed he would think she had been staring at him.

His skin was pale but clean-shaven. However, there was a ruggedness about him which had Rose dreaming about him in a way she knew she shouldn’t. She’d never seen him smoking or drinking aimlessly, in fact, he looked as though he could have been waiting for a bus, rather than having no purpose in his life.

Turning into Gentleman’s Walk for the upward climb towards St. Stephen’s Street on her way home, Rose sighed as she dodged quickly to avoid the lethal prongs of a shopping trolley being towed by an old woman, who was clearly oblivious to the number of ankles she was managing to swipe with her dangerous companion.

Glancing down, Rose was relieved the trolley had failed to ladder her black tights. Quickly she ducked to her left to avoid a collision with a tired mother, who looked as though she was in a race to get her small child and buggy to some unknown destination, before the church bell of St. Peter Mancroft chimed six o’clock.

Rose’s heart sunk as she drew level with Lloyds Bank. He wasn’t there. Realising she had stopped in her tracks, Rose moved to the side of the pedestrianised street. Her eyes scanned the scene in front of her.

The last of the day’s shoppers were carrying their brightly coloured carrier bags towards waiting vehicles, which would carry them home. Men and women in suits, carrying brief cases, walked with determination homewards, a combination of stress and relief visible in their expressions.

Many of the market stalls were now shuttered and empty. Shop assistants stood expectantly in doorways hoping to attract final customers before lights were extinguished and doors were locked for the night.

But there was no sign of him. Somewhere further along the street there was a busker; Rose could hear the strumming of a guitar and a loosely held tune being sung. But the shop fronts were clear. No one leant against the large panes of glass hoping for a few coins with which to pass a couple of hours, without an empty stomach, once the centre was bare.

Everyone, she could see, had a purpose to their step and was oblivious to her presence. No one noticed her eyes scanning their faces, or thought anything of her standing still, whilst they all hurried on their way.

Feeling foolish, yet disappointed beyond explanation, Rose forced her feet to move and slipped into the flowing crowd. Yet whilst her body appeared to be doing the same as everyone else, her mind was still filled by thoughts of him.

Wondering where he had gone and why, Rose shuddered at the thought he might have simply decided to move on and try his luck on the streets of another town or city.

By simply sitting in the same place day after day, he had changed her life. Where she had always been contented with the repetitive nature of her day to day existence, he had brought her a curiosity which accompanied dreams of the possibility of a different future.

It was crazy, she knew, to have any expectation of a relationship between them when they had never exchanged a word and their lives were so vastly different. But in her head, this stranger had planted a need for something more than she had previously been contented with.

Now it looked as though he had gone and Rose knew he would have left without any thought of her or what his absence would mean in her world.

Sighing, Rose fished in her handbag and pulled out the lead for her ear phones. Maybe some music would distract her from her disappointment, she thought.

Rose shared a small, terraced house with her older sister, Izzy. It was one of many in a row of identical roads. Its lack of individuality did not prevent Rose from loving their home. It belonged to her, well kind of, and together with Izzy they had added a feminine touch to each room so that it seemed to welcome them home at the end of another day at work.

Izzy worked in their local pub as a barmaid. It meant they didn’t get in each other’s way too much, with Izzy usually gone by the time Rose got home from work.

Mostly, Rose was in bed and asleep by the time Izzy got home from her shift, and Izzy’s door was always still shut when Rose left for work in the morning.

They had not deliberately planned things that way, but it worked well, and when Izzy did get a night off, the girls loved to catch up on any gossip.

Izzy was a stronger character than Rose and whilst Rose loved her sister dearly, she knew Izzy would take control of her life completely if they had worked similar hours and had been able to spend more time together.

As it was, Rose enjoyed being able to clean and potter around in the evenings and there were no battles for control of the television remote control.

Dropping her bag inside the front door as she shut the outside world out, Rose stepped out of her heeled shoes and peeled off her jacket.

For a moment, she stood in the silence and let the invisible coat of the city slip from her too. She loved the quietness. Occasionally she would arrive home and hear the tell-tale thump of Izzy’s music playing upstairs, telling her Izzy hadn’t wanted to face an evening of work, or that her sister was enjoying a rare night off.

But today Rose was relieved there was silence. Their neighbours on both sides were elderly, so apart from the odd evening when their televisions could be heard through the dividing walls, there was little noise.

Rose and Izzy had been eyed suspiciously when they had first moved in, no doubt it had been assumed, as their ages were younger than their neighbours by at least half a century, they were bound to bring trouble and corruption to the road, as it sunk into the bowels of young people’s standards and behaviour.

No doubt, they had been pleasantly surprised by the lack of change the girls’ presence brought to their lives, yet neither Rose nor Izzy ever received more than a cursory nod or smile when forced into any encounter with the other residents who lived in their row of houses.

Rose didn’t mind the lack of neighbourly love. The fact they were left alone, to live their lives without unexpected knocks on their front door, meant they must have been accepted as part of the local community, even if it was only begrudgingly.

Having always enjoyed a peaceful existence, quietly moving from one stage of her young life to the next without rebellion or angst, Rose was perfectly content with her lot.

Or she always had been. Now he had come into her life, even though he was probably unaware of the impact he had made, and having created such turmoil inside her, it now appeared he had vanished.

Her initial response was to think him selfish, but then on reflection even Rose could see that her present anxiety was caused by her and her alone.

With a heavy tread Rose went upstairs to her bedroom to change out of her work clothes and into something more comfortable. She flicked the switch of the radio on and peeled off her tights and dress. It was like removing a layer of skin, Rose always thought. The professional guise she greeted customers at work with was one of her identities, and in the comfort of her own home, she could slip into jogging bottoms and a loose-fitting top, which hid the curves Izzy was always telling her she should make more of.

She could smell him as he moved closer. As his lips parted slightly it took all her strength to prevent herself from fixing her own mouth upon his.

Hypnotic was the only way Rose could describe his close proximity. Incapable of dragging her eyes from his, Rose knew she was holding her breath in anticipation of what he had planned for her. Whatever it was it didn’t matter; any inhibitions had been cast off long ago as he’d weaved his invisible spell upon her.

A small smile played at the edge of his mouth and Rose wondered whether he was smiling at the effect he was able to hold so easily over her.

As his fingers reached out and she felt the light touch of his hand on the skin of her arm, it was like an electrical charge spreading up towards her shoulder. Her flesh tingled, and although she didn’t look down, Rose knew there were goose bumps on her skin.

Slowly, his fingers drew an invisible line along her arm until his hand rested for a moment on her shoulder. He took a step closer and Rose felt a magnetism drawing her towards his lips.

Automatically, closing her eyes, she raised her face towards his, his hand moved down until he cupped her breast.

Light poured in from somewhere and the sudden sound of laughter brought Rose harshly back into her sitting room.

The television was still on and she’d clearly dropped off to sleep during her film and now Izzy was standing over her with a smirk across her face.

“You must tell me all about him,” she began as Rose drew herself upright and Izzy dropped down by her side.

“Who?” Rose asked a little abruptly, annoyed by the pink flush she knew was already on her cheeks.

“The guy you were dreaming about just then.”

Rose scowled and folded her legs beneath her. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she declared.

Izzy giggled and Rose shot a glance at her sister.

“So those moans were purely innocent?”

Hearing the playful tone of Izzy’s question, Rose chose not to respond. Her heart was racing as the memory of her dream, which had played itself out so vividly in her mind, began to fade. It was probably just as well Izzy had come home at that moment, she decided.

“A busy night?” Rose asked.

Izzy threw her head back dramatically and gave a loud sigh. “Why do I do it?”

Rose smiled. “To pay the bills?” she suggested.

“Oh yeah, that’s it,” Izzy replied. “So how was your day?” she continued.

Rose shrugged. “Same as ever.”

Realising Izzy was watching her, Rose shifted in her seat so she could see her sister more clearly.

“You’re pre-occupied,” Izzy continued. “I know you. Your body might be sitting here, but your mind is elsewhere.”

Rose glanced up at the wall clock. “Bloody hell!” she exclaimed. “That’s why I’m only half here; it’s midnight; I’ve got work tomorrow.”

As she dragged herself off the sofa, Rose felt Izzy grab her hand.

“You sure you’re okay?”

Rose nodded and smiled. “Just tired.”

“Good night.” Izzy’s voice followed her out into the hallway.

As she changed into her pyjamas quickly, Rose forced her dream from her mind. How embarrassing had that been? Izzy had always been able to read her like a book and it would have been pretty cringe worthy if her sister had known what her dream had been about. The images and emotions had felt so vivid, and Rose knew her cheeks were still red as she climbed into bed.

The following morning, in spite of her optimism that he would have returned to his usual spot, Rose felt her heart drop when she saw the pavement was empty.

She knew it was crazy. How could a perfect stranger have infiltrated her mind and emotions so quickly? He was homeless. It should have bothered her, been an unclimbable barrier between them, yet Rose couldn’t convince her heart, no matter how many rational objections she managed to come up with, as to why she should just forget about this guy.

Although the grey paving slabs were bare, when Rose blinked it was easy to imagine him sitting on his coat and glancing up as she approached, as though there was some invisible connection between them.

The constant activity of her job meant the hours passed relatively quickly, and there was little opportunity for Rose to dwell on the conundrum of where her stranger had gone.

At the end of the day there was still no sign of him. It was a Friday evening and Rose knew, at her age, she should be looking forward to a fun-filled evening in the city with friends. Yet her mind was pre-occupied.

The guy had been in the same place, Monday to Friday for weeks. She’d never stopped to wonder whether he filled the same place at the weekend.

She felt the start of a smile on her lips as she resolved to go back into the city the following morning to see if he would have reappeared. Of course, it was possible he had simply moved to a different street and, with it being the weekend, Rose knew she could spare the time to enjoy a wander amongst the Saturday shoppers, to see if Mr Mysterious could be found.

She didn’t allow herself to think about what she would do, or say, if she did discover him. That bridge would have to be crossed if it arose. For now, Rose simply would enjoy the thought, that the following day might prove successful.

Rather than spend Friday night alone in front of the television, Rose strolled down to the King’s Head, where Izzy was working, to enjoy a quiet drink and to reassure her sister there was nothing she was missing out on in her life.

Smiling as she watched Izzy serving another customer, Rose envied her confidence.

Izzy was petite and, Rose thought, very pretty. However, Izzy never seemed content with her appearance, so her hair colour was constantly changing, it was currently a dark shade of red and pulled back from her face in a high pony tail.

A row of different ear rings hung from each ear lobe and her black vest top showed off the butterfly tattoos which adorned her slim arms.

Unable to comprehend her sister’s constant need to change her appearance or image, Rose knew Izzy found her lack of attention to her own appearance just as infuriating. From time to time Rose would allow Izzy to drag her around the boutiques to bring her wardrobe more up to date, but she had always managed to avoid Izzy’s desire to add some colour to her hair.

It wasn’t that Rose was particularly attached to her own mousy locks, she was just unwilling to get into a cycle of constantly having to have her roots done. Wearing only light make up, Rose tried to convince Izzy she preferred the ‘au naturel’ look for herself.

Although she shied away from tight-fitting or revealing clothes, Rose had to admit when Izzy got her into something a little more daring, she couldn’t help but admire the transformation she witnessed in the mirror.

Whilst their appearances might have been a contrast, the girls were close and Izzy’s confident, happy demeanour never failed to bring Rose out of a bad mood.

Rose had been fourteen when their parents had died in a car crash on the way home from an office party. The girls had both been devastated by the news of their parents’ deaths and it had brought them even closer together.

Initially, Izzy had taken care of everything, being fiercely independent, assuring the authorities she could take care of her sister without their interference.

Once Rose finished school, the girls moved from their suburban, childhood home into the smaller, terraced house they still occupied. Izzy had told Rose, their closer proximity to the city centre, would make life much easier.

After the house move, their roles slowly altered. Izzy immersed herself in her social life: staying out until the early hours, drinking heavily and flitting from one boyfriend to another.

Rose would remain at home, preferring to curl up on the sofa with a good book or the TV screen flickering. Listening to her sister stumbling up the stairs or throwing up into the toilet, Rose never craved the lifestyle her sister seemed to thrive on.

Gradually, Rose began to feel like the responsible sister, ensuring the bills were paid on time and making sure there was always food in the fridge. Once she started working in the bank, Rose’s identity as the sensible one, was securely established.

It wasn’t as if Izzy gave up all sense of responsibility, from time to time she would infuriate Rose with her sudden ideas about her sister’s life and needs.

But, at the centre of everything, the two girls loved each other. The unexpected deaths of their mum and dad had sealed the invisible bond between them which remained solid, whatever life decided to throw at them.

They’d spent their teenage years sharing their hopes and dreams; Rose had allowed Izzy to pass on her advice about boys and fashion. Whilst Rose had been content to let Izzy mother her, Rose had always been there to pick up the pieces when another one of Izzy’s relationships ended and she needed a shoulder to cry on.

Now, watching Izzy pulling a couple of pints for a pair of customers, who looked as though they were undressing Izzy with their eyes, whilst enjoying her light banter, Rose smiled as she allowed the atmosphere which surrounded Izzy to blow away the cobwebs of the disappointment over her missing mystery man.

“A penny for them?”

The sound of her sister’s voice brought Rose hurriedly back down to earth. She just gave a smile in response to Izzy’s inquisitive gaze, then watched as Izzy gathered up some empty glasses from the bar and began loading the dishwasher.

“You know you really should get out of the house more often,” Izzy told her.

“What makes you say that?” Rose asked.

“Well, look at you,” Izzy declared.

Rose glanced down at herself, wondering what was wrong with her appearance and then quickly glanced around the room as though there might be some more obvious clues amongst the customers or décor.

“You need to relax,” Izzy continued when Rose looked back at her. “Those guys were nice, just then; you should have come over, instead of cradling your drink on your own.”

Rose frowned. It sounded like one of Izzy’s lectures was about to begin, despite her best efforts of being here in the first place.

“You know I’m never any good at talking to strangers,” Rose stated. “People are drawn to your confidence and warmth; I just freeze and get all tongue-tied.”

Izzy gave a small chuckle. “It does take some effort, but if you gave yourself a chance, you might actually discover you enjoy it. I know we get a lot of losers in here, but those two were nice enough.”

Although she wanted to be annoyed with Izzy, Rose couldn’t help feeling guilty for her awkwardness. It would be great if she could be, at least a little, like her sister. In her own head, she could be confident and had dreamt up all sorts of conversations with the guy from the street. Yet she knew if she did ever find him again, it would take more courage than she possessed to ever utter a word to him.


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