I wrote this four months before premiere of the series finale. This was meant to be a free ebook available through my smashwords account. I decided to break up into a two parter and just release it here on my blog. Naturally it's free because it's fan fiction. But just maybe this will entice those who have never read my work to check some out! Part two coming soon, thanks for reading!
Dexter Dances in the Dark
Based on the Showtime Productions series and novel series by Jeff Lindsay
Rita Morgan turned on the light in the living room. Her son, Harrison, sat comfortably in between her slender body and strong right arm, she had a firm grip on him as she searched drawers near the kitchen. She lightly bounced him, maneuvering only the way a experienced mother of three could. Rita tossed papers about the kitchen counter. Flipped over envelopes. Harrison giggled, he cooed the way only a small child could. Rita refused to let her frustrations get in the way of fine parenting. She simply set Harrison in his play pen, stepped on a plastic train and bit her tongue to prevent from cursing.
“Rita, keep it together. Find your driver's license. Get back to the airport.” She said out loud to herself.
It was then Rita realized that the cab had been waiting. A task she thought would take three minutes was now going into overtime, the cabbies meter was running. She looked at Harrison who was chewing on a plastic block.
“Hang here a second, kiddo. Mommy has to ask the cabbie to wait for her on a Friday night with the meter off.” Rita sighed and brushed her golden blonde bangs from her eyes.
The cabbie smoked a cigar which he held out the drivers side window. He puffed lightly. Loud Reggae-tone squealed out of the cab's front speakers. He seemed relaxed, at peace. Rita felt bad to have to interrupt him.
“Excuse me? Sir?” She said into the parted passenger side window. If he heard her, he made to move or gesture to show he had. “Sir!” Rita shouted. The cabbie jumped a bit, spitting his cigar into his lap, he patted fiercely at the hot ash in his pants crotch.
“What the hell you crazy puta?! Why you gotta yell?”
“I'm sorry but you couldn't hear me.”
“Shit. Are you ready to go or what?”
“I need you to wait while I find my ID.”
“The meter is running Gringa.”
“Understandable, but I was hoping you might pause the meter while I look.” Rita said hopefully.
“I would laugh, but my pito burns. This ain't no DVD player. Call me when you find what you need.” The cabbie handed Rita a business card with a number and a name.
Rita went back into the house. Shut the door behind her. Went to her purse, it sat on a tall chair at the kitchen counter, she plucked her cell phone from it. It was the first time within the hour that she thought of Dexter, her husband. He was working hard lately and they had been under so much stress that it almost ruined their marriage. Now, they were going away. A vacation. It was perfect. But she still felt the need to call him, she loved Dexter very much, and when they weren't together Rita felt as though her heart might burst.
Rita clicked on Dexter's name, the phone rang. And rang. It went to voice mail.
“Hey sweetie, I'm a dope.” Rita said into the phone. “I was in such a rush getting Harrison organized I forgot my ID for the plane. So I zoomed home for it. It means we'll be on a later puddle jumper, but we'll still be there waiting for you. Oh, and I know you're not into this stuff, hmm, tonight is gonna be amazing. So take a moment, you deserve it. I love you, bye.” Rita hung up, sighed again.
Alright, Rita, find your License and get on a plane. Rita thought. It was then that she noticed the empty play pen. Harrison was gone. No trace.
Rita went cold before she panicked. She checked all the rooms, the closets. Sweat poured from her forehead as her heart raced.
No, no, no! Not my baby, not Harrison.
Back in the living room. Rita noticed the bathroom light. It was on. This didn't make sense. No one was home except her and Harrison. It was then that a wave of relief rushed over her.
Harrison must be in the bathroom.
The fact that Harrison was too small and not by any means tall enough to reach the light switch did not occur to her. She rushed into the bathroom. Harrison sat alone on the floor, a look of puzzlement upon his face.
Rita was so taken aback by the look on her son's face that she failed to see the man come up on her from behind the bathroom door. The man wrapped his left arm under her throat and used his right to lock her neck in place. Rita kicked, flailed about, swinging her arms at nothing. Harrison screamed out in tears. Hearing her child bellow made Rita fight back harder, the struggle leading the two in front of the sink mirror. It was then that Rita got a look at her attacker. His face seemed so familiar. Rita herself was tomato red.
His face! I have seen it! Some where... As Rita Morgan's consciousness slipped away into a blurry haze, three things came to her mind for brief seconds.
A church. He went to a church I went to so many years ago, before even knowing Dexter. This man attacking me, Mitchell, something Mitchell...Alan?...
Rita's world went black.
Light. Bright in eyes. Brighter than the sun. The brightness screams intrusion. It is necessary. All of it. The bad coffee, the cement hard sugar cookies, soaked useless sweetener packets. They say it is necessary. More importantly it is normal. The unnatural fluorescent lights sting my eyes at first, because outside the only light is the moon.
Ah, yes, the moon.
One must not be side tracked by minor details of lunar shadows. It is sharing time, time to share. Time to open up Dreaded Distraught Dexter. Go forth Dexter. Play normal.
I stand up, clear sour coffee from the back of my throat.
“My name is Dexter Morgan. My wife Rita was murdered. She was murdered by a serial killer they called the Trinity killer. Some of you may have heard of him. He ruined many lives, he almost ruined mine.” I pause.
The others in the room are understanding. They nod, some of them shed tears for my loss, but really they are thinking of their dead loved ones.
Would they all weep for my loss if they had known what fate bestowed Arthur Mitchell(aka Trinity Killer)? Would they still shed tears if they knew that he was at the bottom of the ocean in eight hefty trash bags? Would they so much as look me in the eye if they knew I had used the backside of a hammer to obliterate his skull?
The answer is no. If they knew I to was a serial killer they would not be sympathetic. This group would rally to have me hooked up to Old Sparky that very day. They would draw straws to see which of them would get to pull the switch.
I continue, “The reason my life was not ruined is because of my son and two step children.” I hold up a picture. In the picture are Astor and Cody. Harrison sits on Astor's lap while Cody puts two fingers behind her head making bunny ears. “Astor is my step daughter, Cody my step son. Harrison is my biological son. Rita was their mother. It's been hard without Rita but between my sister and nanny we manage just fine.” I smile at the group, the smile is fake but genuine. “My name is Dexter Morgan and I am a survivor of spousal sudden death.”
The group applauds. I sit back down. Some of the members break down in tears. All these people either lost a husband or wife through death resulting in a violent crime. These are my peers according to the world. So I blend in.
The group leader is a slender blonde. She's new this week. The old group leader, Lloyd, had a mental breakdown and now resides in a state mental facility. That was the story I heard when I got here tonight.
Lloyd couldn’t stop seeing images of his wife and two children. Not the happy way he remembered them at the breakfast table, but the way they were when he found them. Chopped into chunks of meat and floating in the bathtub. I work blood spatter for Miami Metro Homicide so I saw the handy work first hand. It was amateur, but there was still no leads after all these months.
Lloyd's family were not the first victims. There were two other families prior to his.
Don't worry Lloyd, Dumfounded Distraught Disciplined Dexter will find the dark one that did it, then the Dark Passenger and I will hold a trial consisting of twelve rolls of plastic sheets, shiny surgical steel knives, and plenty of duct tape. There are no mistrials on Dexter's Delicate Defensive Team. We always get our man.
I glance a look at my watch. 8:42PM. One of the other members is standing, sharing. Holding up a picture. The blonde group leader nods, then she shoots a look at me, as if I had committed some crime. Then I hear it. A squeaking chime sound. It's my pants.
I snatch the cellphone from my pocket fast. The caller ID says, Deb. I step outside the room into the hall of the community center. The very same community center where Astor once had Ballet lessons and Cody had Tiger Scouts.
I answer, “Deb, what's up?”
“Dex, where the fuck are you?!” Deb replies.
Deborah Morgan, foster sister, homicide lieutenant, only living family member of Dexter. She has been on edge ever since she walked in on me sticking a knife deep into the heart of serial killer Travis Marshall. Now I can't even go an hour without her checking on me.
“I'm at my meeting. You remember, the weekly meetings I have been attending since Rita...”
“Oh, fuck me! Right, I'm sorry, Dex. Just, fuck, you can't leave me in the dark about things anymore. I'll just assume you're out doing that thing you do.”
“There's more to me than just that, fair sister.” I say. But really there isn't very much to Old Dullard Dexter besides the Dark Passenger. Everything, even the parenting, it's just killing time until once again it is time to satisfy the thirst of my Dark Passenger.
“I'm at your place, I used my key to let myself in, just get here as soon as you're done. No fucking detours.” Deb says. Then the line is dead.
I go back into the meeting. It is over and everyone is scattered. Some nibble the awful sugar cookies, others stir coffee blankly. I quietly make my way back to the exit. The exit is blocked by the new blonde group leader.
“Hey.” She says. Her icy breathe is like peppermint.
“Hi, I'm sorry I interrupted the group, it was, you know, work.”
“I understand. I heard you're a cop.”
“No, actually, just forensics. It was just my lieutenant, I gotta get going.” I try to move past her. She locks me in with her gaze. There is something behind her green eyes. Something colder than frozen emeralds. There is a dry chuckle from the Dark Passenger.
She puts out her hand, “I'm Hannah,” She says. “Hannah McKay.” I shake her hand and it is surprisingly warm considering the cold vibrations I get from her.
“Yes, Dexter Morgan, so I've heard.” Hannah says with a smile that causes the darkness inside to stir.
“Good to meet you. I need to get to my lieutenant. I'll see you next week.” I say.
This time Hannah steps aside, I stroll away trying not to look back. Both me and the Passenger know she is staring at the back of our head. The question is why. I'll have to think it over later.
At my apartment Deb is waiting for me. She cuts into a thick steak and sips from a cold bottle of Tecate. I could use one those. I get a beer from the fridge. There's a juicy looking piece of steak on a plate set out for me. I join Deb at the kitchenette counter.
“We need to talk.” Deb says with a cheek full of beef.
“Alright.” I say. Cutting into the steak after a pull off my own beer.
I'm chewing steak when Deb says, “I found something while going through the evidence from Rita's murder.”
“Why were you going through evidence on a closed case?” I swallow steak, take another long pull of the beer.
“I was just checking everything, you know, double checking.” Deb says. She's chewing but not making eye contact.
I know what she was checking on. Now that Deb knows what I am she is seeing if there was anyway I could have been responsible for Rita's death. In so many ways I was.
“I didn't kill Rita, Deb.”
“What the fuck, Dex?!” Deb shouts.
“I know what you're thinking, you were thinking maybe I had something to do with it. The truth is...” I pause, finish my beer. “I did.”
“What are you saying?” Deb asks. She has that look, the one that shows she is preparing for the worst.
“Arthur Mitchell found out who I really was, he went after Rita before I could get to him.” I say.
“Dexter, are you Kyle Butler?” Deb asks, her eyes wide as dinner plates.
“I was, but I'm not anymore.” I say, then put more delicious steak into my mouth.
“Jesus.” Deb says.
“No, just Dexter.” I say.
“Don't you want to know what I found?” Deb asks.
“Sure, what'd you find?” I say.
“Not what I found exactly, but what was missing.” Deb says, then she gives me the interrogative cop stare.
“What was missing?” I say, playing dumb only the way Dexter can.
“A business card. Rita had with her the night she was killed.”
“O.K. Evidence gets misplaced all the time.”
“Do you know what happened to it?”
“No I do not, Deb. What are you implying?”
“No implications, brother, just asking.” Deb says.
The business card Deb refers to belonged to Juan Salazar, he was the cab driver that transported Rita and Harrison home from the airport. He left Rita. Unwilling to stop the meter and wait while she searched for her ID. I had a chat with him months ago, he since decided to go back to Cuba. I played nice and didn't kill him. He didn't meet the code anyhow.
Deb eats in silence, a look of disgust on her face. I hate that she knows who I really am. She may know that Delicate Daring Dexter is quite Dangerous, but she doesn't see the Dark Passenger. No one can truly see the Passenger, that is of course, except for our victims moments before they are put down for good.
“I need your help on something.” Deb says, breaking the silence.
“We got a possible lead on The Chopper.” Deb says.
The Chopper is a ever so clever handle given by Miami Metro. He is the one chopping families into tiny pieces and floating those pieces in bathtubs. He is also the same killer that sent poor Lloyd to the madhouse.
“Just tell me what you need, Debs, I'll handle it.” I say.
“Break into this woman's house and find out anything you can about her. Off the record, obviously.” Deb says.
She drops a mugshot photo of a woman on the table. Even without make up I recognize the woman as Hannah McKay, the girl with the peppermint breathe.
“Sure thing, lieutenant.” I say.
“Don't be a smart ass.” Deb says.
Sun. Glorious and victorious. Always seems like the sun has so much to say. So radiant you are. Mr. Sun says nothing to Old Dexter. It is the moon, my friend, Mr. Moon that speaks such volumes. Only Dexter and the Passenger hear Mr. Moon.
However, morning does harbor it's own necessary rituals. Doughnuts for example are one of the most crucial. Fuel for the day. A perfect little energy source. Whether in round or log form. Whether with sprinkles or plain.
I pick up a dozen on the way to the station. I sip black coffee with sweetener. If only the community center coffee could be as good as Fernando's coffee. Perhaps Dexter would have a reason to linger and even find a way into the lovely Hannah's home.
Strange. I don't think of women on the morning drive to work. Yet ever since the gentle scream of the alarm clock all I have had is visions of the peppermint girl Hannah McKay in my head. Maybe it's because Deb asked me to break into her home? Maybe it's because her breathe was very suspicious in smell? But probably it's because her smile caused the Dark Passenger to stir uneasily in the back seat.
What secrets did this Hannah Peppermint McKay harvest? And what of her DNA? How could any of this be related to The Chopper case?
Questions all to be answered once I arrive at work.
The station is a different circus today. All the detectives are up in arms over this Chopper case. If only they had a single lead. Deb has a possible lead, that is if I choose to break into Hannah's place. As far the rest of department goes they would be better off going door to door.
Of course, Dashing Detective Dexter has a theory of his own. I have been looking into a man, a young man by the name Blake Reynolds. Blake is a Sheriff's Deputy for Dade county. He witnessed the murder and of his mother and father at the age of seven. They were beaten to death then chopped into pieces while he watched from his hiding place under the bed.
Blake was then placed in foster care, as an only child his parents were all he had. He was then adopted by a nice couple. Sarah and Timothy Reynolds. They raised him from there. He was a smart cookie and a great athlete. Blake blew off sports scholarships to stay in Miami. Then he started work for the Sheriff's department.
The Chopper's crime scenes are spotless to the naked eye. Right away I assumed law enforcement. But the Dark Passenger spotted a slip up. Floating in one of the tubs amongst pieces of dead human meat, a single blue piece, the size of a grain of rice. I took the blue piece for myself and upon examination found it to belong to latex gloves. Not just any latex gloves, law enforcement grade latex. Specifically, Dade county Sheriff's department. They buy a specific kind because county budgets are so low for supplies. Once I researched all employees Blake Reynolds name went off like a siren in the night. Still, I need to find definitive proof that he is The Chopper. No better time then lunch time to do such a thing.
The door to my office flies open. I close the computer screen in so closing my personal research. I turn to see Deborah giving me a sour scowling look. This isn't necessarily new, especially since she now knows of Dark Dexter's Delinquent activities
“Deb, what?” I say.
Before I could ask another question Deb steps aside and Hannah McKay is standing behind her. Hannah wears a plastic visitor badge, she is smiling. I imagine if I had feelings or emotional reactions then my heart would skip a beat. The sight of Hannah's smile is not unpleasant or is it bad, for some reason my mouth turns to sandpaper.
“Hi, Dexter. Your lieutenant showed me to your office. I don't mean to intrude but I had a question for you.”
“Um, yeah, O.K.” I say.
This reminds me of high school. Those were the years I was truly able to hone the craft of pretending to be human. If I remember correctly the way to seem is flustered. An attractive woman shows up at your work to ask you a question, this is not common. Therefore, I act surprised.
Deb now scowls at Hannah.
“I'm really sorry, but I couldn't wait till next week to see you because the dance is in two days-”
“Dance?!” Deb blurts out
“Dance?” I say, surprised. Though in this case I really am.
“Well, yeah,” Hannah says, “It's a singles dance that the community center hosts. I thought I would invite some people from the group that I felt were ready to mingle.”
“Mingle?!” Deb says fiercely.
“Yeah, mingle.” Hannah says, smiling. That smile, it is one of reptiles. The Dark Passenger grimaces slightly.
I smell the peppermint of her breathe from where I'm sitting.
“It sounds like,” I pause. “Like I would have to think about it.”
“Oh no!” Hannah says. “I'm not asking to be my date. I wanted another member to chaperone, I know it sounds crazy-”
“No, no. It sounds great. Dexter would love to help out the group.” Deb says, she's smiling big.
“Deb, I-” I attempt to interject, but Deb already assures Hannah that I'll be there.
Hannah's smile makes me feel as uneasy as the hissing coming from the Dark Passenger.
Deb and Hannah leave my office. I tuned out after Deb volunteered me as a chaperone for a singles dance. Too many thoughts at once. I need to regroup. Luckily it's only an hour before lunch time.
At lunch Deb follows me out. She leads me over to the food truck. She buys me a pork sandwich and coffee. She gets herself the same. The only thing I want to be doing is eating this sandwich on the drive to Blake Reynolds house. With Deb on my case I can't do that, therefore the sandwich is tasteless.
“So you're going to that singles dance and you're going to mingle with Hannah.” Deb says with a mouthful of pork.
“Is that a question?” I say.
“No, smart ass. It's an order.”
“Considering that I'm doing you a favor by going to this dance, maybe you can be a little less agro.” I say. Mouth full of pickles and pork.
“What the fuck is agro?”
“Astor uses it all the time. I think it means to be like Aunt Deb.” I say.
“That's lieutenant Aunt Deb to you. And don't think I'm gonna let go of the fact that you failed to mention that Hannah fucking suspect McKay hosts your meetings.” Deb says, pickle juice drips from her mouth.
“She's new and we hadn't exactly formally met,” I lie. “Besides, it anonymous Debs.”
“Anonymous my ass.” Deb says, then finishes her coffee. “She's a suspect. Suspects carry no anonymity.”
“Thanks for lunch, always a pleasure.” I toss the last of the amazing sandwich in my mouth and chew. I chase it with the remaining coffee in my cup.
“Where are you headed off to?” Debs says in her best cop voice. I feel more like I am pulled over with a belly full of bourbon in a DUI checkpoint, less like trying to leave lunch with my foster sister.
“Oh, dear Debs, you're such a cop.” I say.
“Oh, Dexter, you're so not off the fucking hook. I know what you are. Despite the fact that I haven't turned you in does not mean I won't be watching you like a hawk. I love you like a brother, brother, but I can't trust you as far as I can fucking throw you and right now that's not a even an inch.”
“You can't throw me cause you haven't finished your sandwich, eat up and you shall find the strength mighty warrior.” I say, then shoot my Deepest Debonair smile.
Deb takes a mighty bite, eyes me like a serial killer that is getting away with murder, oh yeah.
I look at my watch.
If I duck away now I can make it to Reynolds' place in time to get the evidence I need. I will prove He is The Chopper. The Dark Passenger chuckles. We know our Chopper is a creature of darkness and he uses some choice tools of the trade on his victims.
What Dashing Daring Dexter suspects is that Blake Reynolds also Dares to Defy the laws of nature in using sharpened metal to chop his victims. If Dexter is right then Reynolds has a secret stash. In this stash is certainly a set of blades and saws that are perfect for chopping, slicing, cutting through bone, and all together breaking down the human form.
“Earth to Dexter!” Sharp shout. It's Debs.
“Huh?” I say uncharacteristically. There's that sound again. Cell phone.
“Why even have a phone if you don't use it?” Deb says.
It's part of pretending to be human, just another accessory to a Diligent Distinguished Disguise. I answer the call. From the deep female voice on the other end I know who it is. News from this voice is never good.
“Mr. Morgan?” The voice says.
“This is he.” I say, but me and the voice both know that I know who it is.
“This is Ms. Davenport, from Astor's school.” She gets quiet. “I hate to be a bother but it would appear that your daughter Astor has engaged in fisticuffs with another girl here at school.”
I'm a really clever guy. I'm charming and swarthy and have been called handsome on several occasions, but, “Excuse me, Ms. Davenport, fist-uh-what?”
In high school I had trouble being social. Harry, my foster father, made sure I had all the knowledge necessary to “fit in” and “socialize”. That meant our weekends were spent at malls and school football games. When your foster father is a cop he knows how to train his foster son to be the perfect Dark Defender. He taught me well, how not to get caught, how to look and act real.
Pretending to fit in was not easy for me. Having zero emotions, zero thoughts about things that are considered fun. Fun for Despondent Damaged Distant Dexter was something darker than anything the student body at my high school could imagine. One day on our many outings at the mall, I found something that interested me outside of Dark habits.
Werewolves. Zombies. Frankenstein. Dracula.
We had many things in common. Anti-social behaviors. Violent thoughts. Personality disorders. And we had killed. Of course at that point the Dark Passenger and I had only visited the aggressive, mangy stray dogs in the neighborhood. I didn't have a human kill at that point.
The savings of a teenaged sociopath is large. I had mowed many a lawn, cleaned out many gutters. I had cash to spend, but only to spend on social situations. There were no social situations. So when I entered the store with the horror movie posters. I had cash to spend. What I wanted was a Werewolf figurine, the Zombie figurine, and if I could swing it, the Dracula figurine. Harry left me alone, it was my test to try and be social.
I spent all my money on the Werewolf, Zombie, Dracula figurines, and two magazines called Fangoria. The magazine showcased horror films and upcoming horror events. I was excited when I returned to Harry with my results.
Harry sat at a booth in the food court eating a corn dog. He smiled when he saw me. I had bags from the store. I smiled Dumbly. Proud of my findings. I sat with Harry and opened the bags. I smiled and showed him my purchases.
Harry was not amused.
“Dexter! What's wrong with you?” Harry said. His face grave and intense.
“Dad, what?” I was confused.
“You can't be seen with this! People will suspect you.”
“What do you mean?”
“Dexter. People that are into horror memorabilia are considered outcasts.”
“What does that mean?” I asked. Very confused.
“Plain and simple! They are OUTCAST'S!” Harry whispered angrily. “We're taking these back, Dex.”
I followed Harry back to the store. He scolded the sixteen year old behind the counter. He claimed it was against our religion for me to own such things. She agreed to refund all the money from my purchases. Harry then seemed satisfied, the girl behind the counter seemed upset, she punched up the buttons on the register.
“Now we can put this money to good use.” Harry said. We walked back to the food court. He bought me a double cheeseburger, no onion, because onions make bad breathe which creates unsocial scenarios.
We sat. I ate my burger while Harry scoped areas around the food court with his eyes. He pointed to a girl trying on sunglasses in a store.
“Do you know her from school?” He asked.
“Yeah, that's Becky Lynn.” I said, chewing fast.
“How do you know her?”
“We have the same biology period.” I said.
“Do you talk? Laugh together ever?” Harry asked. I had no idea what he had in mind.
“No.” I said, taking another hearty bite.
“Hmm.” Harry stared. “What about her, Dex?”
“That's Samantha Tanner,” I said. “She laughs at everything anyone says. She's always smiling.”
“How do you know her? Has she laughed at your jokes?”
“I know her from just around campus. Yeah, Dad, she laughs at everybody.”
“She's perfect. She's happy. She's pretty.” Harry looked in a daze. Then he said something I never saw coming. “Dexter, I want you to ask her out on a date. To a movie.”
“Huh?” I said.
“Just what I said, Dex.”
“When should I do it? At school on Monday?”
“No. Right now.” Harry gave me the hardened cop stare.
“O.K.” I said.
As I was always adamant about listening to Harry's training. He was training me to not be a monster, it was something he would try his whole life to accomplish. With that said, Harry did his best, but he could not change what was inside. He could only do his best to make sure I masked what was hidden beneath.
I asked Samantha Tanner to the movies that day. She agreed happily and since it was Saturday we decided to go that night. This pleased Harry to no end. To see his monster of a foster son really blending in, looking normal. Going to a movie with a girl on a Saturday night in high school. Nothing could be more normal.
What to do with Astor? Astor stares out of the passenger side window, her face is not happy. If know human facial expressions and I like to consider myself an expert. Her face reads: Teen Angst.
She wants the world to feel sorry for her. No one understands. She is alone.
“I understand, Astor.” I say. This is a shot in the dark. But it may just work.
“Sure.” Astor says.
“No, really. I do.”
“Of course, Dexter. I'm not a stupid idiot.” Astor says, acid in her tone.
“I didn't say you were stupid or an idiot, Astor. But violence is not the answer.” I say. Very ironic and even hypocritical for me.
“I know you miss, Mom. I know it. But sometimes I just can't believe it.” Astor's eyes tear up.
“Mom? Astor of course I miss her.” She's talking about Rita. This throws me off. I'm now confused. What does she mean by she can't believe I miss Rita?
“You say you do now. But tonight you will sneak out of the house, dressed in dark clothes and not come back till morning. I don't know what you're up to, but I doubt it's being sad.”
“Why would you speak that way to me, Astor?” I say.
“Because I see you. I see you, Dexter. You leave home early in the morning and don't come back for hours. Cody and Harrison are too young to notice, but I do. I know you're seeing someone.” Astor is furious. But she is right. I go out at night to see many people. I do not go alone. The Dark Passenger is my backseat driver. I, however, did not know that Astor was aware of Daddy Dexter's Dark Delightful Disciplines.
A ring chimes. Not the cell phone this time. Gas gauge. Need to stop and refuel.
“We need gas. We need to stop, do you want a cheeseburger or burrito or anything?”
“No.” Astor is back to staring out the window.
Oh, the teen angst. It is always amplified by a death in the family. Although I miss Rita, there is something stronger inside me that prevents me from feeling anything. It's a dark hole where normal human emotion would be.
Did I love Rita? Of course. But I loved her in a way only a monster could. She was necessary for my cover. We made love and I was always able to become aroused. I liked when she smiled, I knew that she was happy and that was another thing that I knew was good. But I never had what they would call traditional love for her. There was a level of protection I always felt around Rita and my children. I know that I am their protector and they are my responsibility.
I park at a gas pump. I give Astor five dollars and tell her to get us some candy bars and a bottle of water. Astor huffs and puffs, but she goes inside the mini mart. While I pump gas, I call the Sheriff dispatch.
“Hi, this is Sheriff Gregory Hall, I need a twenty on the location of Deputy Blake Reynolds.” I say in my best Floridian Sheriff Voice.
“Please hold, Sheriff, while I pull up his location.” The voice says.
GPS is single handedly my favorite technology ever.
“According to the GPS he is at the Galleria Mall, Sheriff.”
“Thanks.” I say, then hang up. Astor stands in front of me holding a bottle of water and two chocolate bars.
“Here.” She tries to hand me the bottle.
“That's for you. I'll have one of the candy bars though.” I say, smiling. “We're going to the mall.”
“Why?” Astor says past the point of annoyed.
“Because I need new running shoes. You can get anything you like.” I say.
“You're gonna buy me stuff after I got sent home for fighting?”
“Yes I am. I'm sure you had a good reason.” I say.
“Whatever.” Astor gets back into the car.
Being at the mall reminds me of my date with Samantha Tanner. The smell of the mall is cool. A light breeze from the air conditioning vents above. It was just like inside the movie theater on that warm night.
Samantha had popcorn and a soda. I had bought them for her just like her admission ticket. I couldn't even remember what movie we saw. I watched Samantha from the corner of my eye. She laughed at all the right beats, she never stopped smiling. Occasionally she would glance over at me, in that moment I would fake a laugh or smile.
Samantha was having fun. I watched her like she was my prey. Every sip of soda seemed in slow motion as I watched it go down her slender throat. So fragile the human body is. All I could think is what it would be like to stick a knife into her throat. When she smiled I imagined what the opposite would look like. What would her face would be like at the sight of a blade headed straight for her carotid artery.
I knew Harry didn't like me to look at humans like meat or objects to be cut up. It was the hardest I ever had to focus in my life to not imagine killing Samantha Tanner. I laughed extra hard at funny parts, I snickered extra loud at smaller funny parts.
I over did it.
After the date Samantha didn't seem so happy. She looked like maybe something was on her mind. I walked her to her door and said good night. I went back to Harry's car and drove home. Harry asked me a so many questions, he was proud and thought the date was a good move.
On Monday morning word had got out that Dexter Morgan and Samantha Tanner went on a date. The word going around was that I, Dashing Disciplined Dark Dexter was a complete Doofus. Samantha told everybody I laughed and exaggerated the humor in the movie and that I never shut up. When it got back to me, the general consensus of the school was that “Dexter laughs at everything.”
Samantha took a thing she was known for and turned it around on me. She made me look like the one easily amused. I figured at that point I would never fit in. Then suddenly kids were coming to me all the time to tell any joke or anecdote just because they knew they would get a laugh. This was a perfect way for me to practice fitting in.
Astor tries on the eighth pair of pink sneakers. I already have mine bagged and ready to go. All the pink shoes look the same. But she insists the shades are all different. I'm trying to convince Astor to get a smoothie. One, because she can sit down and sip it while I scope the food court for Reynolds. Two, because Dexter's Divine theory is that Reynolds is in the food court stalking new prey. Now it is Dexter's turn to stalk.
Astor decides on pair number three that she previously tried on. It is time to go to the food court. I remind Astor of my high metabolism. I can eat for days and never gain a single ounce of fat.
“Fine. We can get a smoothie.” Astor says flatly.
“Thanks, Astor. But I'm getting a giant pretzel.” I say, “With extra mustard.” Astor makes a sour face and trots along to the smoothie counter as we approach the food court. It takes me under a minute to spot Reynolds. He's looking through his cell phone, occasionally looking around. This isn't the type of stalking The Chopper would do.
Could Blake Reynolds not be The Chopper?
Reynolds looks up and stands. He smiles like it's Christmas. I see what he is smiling at and the Dark Passenger hisses in the back seat. Hannah McKay hugs Blake Reynolds. Her blonde hair glows in the afternoon sun from the skylight windows above. I wonder why I'm noticing her hair.
The two engage in conversation. I am too far away to hear, but I remain afar to prevent Hannah from seeing me. There is something about their communication, it's different. It seems none romantic, yet still close. It's times like these I wish I could channel some level of human recognition.
“Where's your pretzel?”
Astor is staring at me. She holds a Styrofoam cup complete with straw.
“I don't have time, Aunt Debs called. I have to go back to work. I spoke with Ursula on the way to pick you up. She's agreed to keep an eye on you until I get out of work.” I say. We walk back to the parking lot.
“Whatever.” Astor says.
For the first time ever, I envy Astor. I wish I too could just mumble such a word and walk away. But with Deb suspicious of Hannah and me suspicious of Reynolds and the Dark Passenger in dying need to be let out, I can't walk away from this.
After all, Dashing Dapper Dexter has a Dance to go to, even if Dexter dances in the dark.
TO BE CONTINUED...