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       Purgatory, p.1

           Laura Payeur
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  by Laura Payeur

  Copyright @ 2012 by Laura Payeur

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events are solely the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The use of some licensed products have been used without permission, however, not in any defamatory manner. Any resemblances to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, places or events is entirely coincidental.


  "Where are you?"

  "It doesn't matter."

  "Macey, I can't help you if you won't tell me what's going on." She could hear the frustration in Carline's voice, but how could she tell her sister she was staying in a motel turning tricks while hiding from a loan shark who was going to do worse to her than simply break her legs. Broken legs would be a blessing.

  "Right now I just need you to listen, Carly." Macey dropped two more quarters into the pay phone. "Can you do that?"

  "Sure. Sure." A whisper of wind blew into the phone, Carly sighing.

  "I sent you a package," Macey explained. "There's a key and some instructions. Just follow the instructions I sent. Okay?"

  "What kind of instructions?"

  "Its all in the package." Macey shifted from foot to foot, the ankle boots were tough to stand in. A cold October breeze was blowing up her shiny black skirt. Carly wasn't an easy person to talk. Never was. She took the big sister bit a little too far sometimes. Macey liked to believe it was out of love, but, she thought, it was more likely out of obligation.

  "Mace, it would be a lot easier if you just explained to me what's going on." Carly was going with the motherly tone now.

  "Its all in the letter, Carly." She flipped the remaining quarters in her hand. "Look, I'm out of quarters. I'll have to call you back."

  She didn't wait for Carly to respond, but simply hung up the phone, glad that she hadn't given in to buying a cell phone. Even a prepaid. Everything her sister needed to know was in the package she'd sent her. Hopefully Carly would follow her instructions. Outside of hoping, there wasn't much more she could do.

  Bullshit, her inner voice told her, you can get your ass on a bus and go there yourself.

  Yeah, that wasn't going to happen. She pulled her faux rabbit fur jacket tighter around her and hurried back to room 133 at The Limestone Inn. A helluva dive, her daddy would have said. Of course that was mild to the language he would have used had he known what she was doing at The Limestone Inn.

  The room reeked of sex and smoke. Under different circumstances it might have been pleasant. Even arousing. Instead it made her want to retch. Locking the door, she tossed her jacket and handbag on the bed and headed for the shower. She couldn't do that enough.


  "What was that all about?" Lucien slapped his briefcase on the kitchen table.

  "My flake of a sister." Carly looked down at the phone still in her hand.

  "Oh?" He grimaced. "What'd she... up to?"

  Carly knew what his question had been before he gave it a second thought. What'd she want? Not that she blamed him. It was usually the only reason she heard from Macey... she wanted something. Only this time, Carly wasn't sure what it was. Her sister had come off as mysterious, however Carly had her suspicions.

  "I'm not really sure," she answered her husband's question.

  He placed his hand on her shoulder, leaning down to kiss her cheek. "Well, is everything all right?"

  "I have a feeling its not." She placed her hand over his, running her finger over his wedding band. It was a comfort for her. Like it meant he was always going to be there forever. He gently squeezed her shoulder.

  "What did she say?"

  "Not much, really." She shook her head and smiled. "Its not important. How was your day?"

  "Stressful, as usual." He picked a grape from the bowl on the table and popped it in his mouth. "Son of a bitch won't plead out."

  "Sorry to hear that." She didn't need to ask who he was talking about. Lucien was prosecuting a rape case. He left off most of the details, which she was grateful for, but had given her a rough idea of the kind of man Jackson Reed Moore was. "I suppose he's gotten himself a descent lawyer?"

  "Public defender."

  "Won't that make it easier?"

  "Not if the guy is looking to make his bones."

  "Oh." Carly's mind was still on her sister.

  "How's the little guy?"



  Colorado (not her real name) must have had a boisterous John. The headboard was knocking against the wall and there were some interesting noises coming from next door.

  "Everything okay, babe?" Willy, as least that what he asked her to call him, was tying his three hundred dollar dress shoes. He wasn't bad looking. That helped. Thick, dark gray hair. Well built. Although it made her wonder why he needed her services.

  She smiled, pulling the tainted sheet up over her bare breasts. "Absolutely fine."

  He nodded, taking the wallet from his back pocket. "You said a bill, right?"

  "Yeah." Her stomach lurched. There was no pride in her job. She hardly thought of it as a service at all.

  "Tell you what," he took two bills from his wallet, "I think you're worth more than that." He handed her two one hundred dollar bills, flashing her a slightly lop-sided smile.

  She quickly snatched up the bills. "Thanks."

  He leaned over and kissed her cheek. Macey's stomach lurched again.

  "I'd like to say I'll see you soon, but..." He hunched his shoulders as he turned up his palms. "I just don't think... well..."

  Macey held up her hand. "No need to say more." What she was thinking was... Please don't say anymore. Just leave. "I understand."

  "" He grabbed his jacket from the chair by the door. "Bye."

  Macey waved as he walked out the door, letting out a long breath as he closed it. She tossed the bills on the nightstand, got up, locked the door, latched the chain, and then slipped a chair under the doorknob before she went to take another shower. Never clean enough.

  The hot water poured over her, scalding her skin slightly and turning it a bright red. Macey scrubbed at her body, focusing on her most private of parts, with a rough coral sponge. Two years on the job and she hadn't yet gotten used to the feeling. It went far beyond dirty.

  Time to get out of this profession, the inner voice told her.

  "If only it was that easy," she said a loud.

  It is. And you know it.

  "No, its not." Macey scrubbed at her face for the third time. "Its not."

  She stepped out of the shower, after thirty minutes of soaking. Thump, thump, thump. Someone was knocking on her door. Wrapping a towel around her, she padded through the room. Removing the chair, she unlocked the door, leaving the chain intact. She pulled open the door, peering through the three inch opening. Max, the elderly Asian manager, stood on the other side.

  "Yes?" she said.

  "Cops are here. They need to talk to you."

  "What?" She felt her breath catch in her throat. "" Her mind spun. She wouldn't fit through the bathroom window. It didn't open far enough. Where would she go if she did?

  Max jerked his left thumb over his shoulder. "Been a murder."

  "Huh?" She knew nothing about a murder. Nor did she want to.

  "132." Colorado's room.

  "I just got out of the shower," she said. "I have to get dressed."

  "All right." His brown eyes widened. "Hurry it up, girl."

  "Be right out."

  He gave her a quick nod.

  Macey closed the door. She shuffled through her drawers looking for her least obvious outfit. She found a pale pink sweatsuit. Forgoing undergarments, she pulled them onto her damp body. She wrapped up her auburn hair, securing it
with a white pearl clip, hoping to hide her maroon highlights. Red and blue flashing lights lit up the walls of her room. Digging through her oversized handbag, Macey took out her I.D. Tonight she would be Margaret Haversmith.


  Carly tossed and turned. No position was comfortable. Lucien sighed quietly in his sleep. Macey was in trouble. She knew it. Only she didn't know how to help her this time. How could she if she didn't know what was wrong? She wondered what was in the package that she should be expecting. Not drugs, she hoped. She couldn't handle that. Lucien didn't need it. Macey had to be smarter than that, she reasoned. Lucien rolled over and wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer. His breath was warm on the back of her neck. Maybe she could get some sleep now.


  Stepping outside into the bright lights, Macey approached a uniformed officer. He was dressed in black or dark blue. She couldn't tell which.

  "What's going on?" she asked.

  "So sorry to disturb you, Mmm..." He was momentarily tongue-tied. At twenty-nine, Macey hovered between "Miss" and "Ma'am".

  "Maggie." She smiled, offering a trembling hand. "Haversmith."

  He took her hand, furrowing his
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