Filthy Hands (Chapter Three)

It is already late at night, but one could hardly see the stars for all the smog and haze emanating from the numerous vehicles still clogging the streets. Agnes was busy chatting with the other call girls as Monique hurried up to her.

“Agnes, there you are! I’ve been looking all over for you. Have I got the biggest news ever! I’m in love!” Monique squealed as she shook her friend’s shoulders.

Agnes shoved Monique away and looked at her with scorn. Letting out a low, mocking laugh. Agnes retorted, “Silly! You? In love? Since when did you learn to fall in love? People like us don’t have any right to fall in love. Love is not even in our vocabulary, it’s just a hindrance in this kind of job.”

Monique stared at the air dreamily ignoring her friend’s remarks. “All people have the right to fall in love, and this time I know it’s for real.”

Agnes abruptly looked at Monique and slowly shook her head. “Hello?! Are you alright? What are you talking about? I’ve heard that line a hundred times already.” Then letting out a big sigh, Agnes stared at Monique wide-eyed and sarcastically asked. “Whatever! I just don’t want you to be hurt again. So, who’s the poor guy?”

Monique looks at Agnes, eyes beaming with happiness, like a teenaged girl going out on her first date, and spills the beans to her friend. “Mike…Mike Delos Santos”

“Mike Delos Santos?” Agnes repeats, as if trying to recall something. “Isn’t he the cute guy who’s been hanging around you these past few days?”

“Yes, that’s him!” Monique replies dreamily. “And you know what, when we did it, I really felt love. It’s so different, the feeling is inexplicable.”

“Yeah right!” Agnes rolls her eyes and walks towards a car parked on the other side of the road. “I think you better start working now, okay?” Agnes snorts back at her friend.

~0~
The house was pitch black, and a loud knocking can be heard. Suddenly, the front door pulls open revealing a shadow of a man, Mike.

“Monique, Monique, Monique…” Mike calls upon entering Monique’s home. Realizing that no one’s around, Mike decides to sit down and switch on the tiny lampshade beside the couch. The lamp switch echoed through the silent apartment, the dim light doing little to dispel the creepiness permeating the room.

After starring in space for a couple of minutes, Mike notices an album lying under the center table. He opens the album, which looked like it hand’t been opened for ages. Mike blows away the thick layer of dust covering the album as he carefully turns the pages, eyes squinting in the dim light.

Staring at a family photo of Monique, he wonders out aloud “Hmmm…I wonder who this girl is?” Mike stands up and walks closer towards the light to get a better view. “I thought she was an only child…”

Deep in his own thoughts, Mike suddenly hears footsteps and a crash. Initially surprised, he decides to ignore the noise and radio his colleagues. “This is Mike, can you hear me?” Mike speaks into the little radio transmitter he retrieved from his back pocket, all the while keeping an eye on the room from which the noise seemed to come from.

He continues to skim through the album, failing to notice the shadowy figure of a girl approaching silently. The girl, with long wavy hair and a slim figure, appears to be in her late teens. She seems to be out of her wits, looking jerkily from left to right, as if checking to see if anybody else was around.

The girl was inches away from Mike, when sensing something, he looks up and is startled to see a young girl in front of him.

“Who...who are you?!” Mike stammers loudly, as he draws his gun and points it at the strange girl.
“No! No! Don’t hurt me, please! I’m not the killer!” The girl cries out, as she attempts to cover herself with her arms.

A look of astonishment crosses Mike’s face. “What do you mean? Do you know something about the killings?” Mike responds in a calm voice, and slowly puts away his gun.

Seeing that Mike has calmed down, the girl lowers her hands and quietly responds. “Ahhh… yeah, I do! But I’m not the killer, it wasn’t me, I swear!” The girl starts to cry, a scared look on her face.

Mike approaches the crying girl. “Yeah, I know…But do you know who it is?” He asks, a mixture of concern and curiosity on his face.

“It’s...it’s Monique! Yes, Monique, my sister, she’s the killer!” The girl cries and buries her face in Mike’s shoulders, as if trying to hide from someone. “She’s the one who killed all those men, she’s the killer!!!”

Mike is stunned by what he just heard. He pushes the girl slowly away from him. “Monique? Your sister? She’s your sister?!”

The girl wipes away her tears, and innocently looks at him. “Yes…she is…”

Mike’s expression suddenly turns sour. “But she’s never mentioned you to me…and this is the first time I’ve ever seen you.”

“That’s because she keeps me locked me up in that room!” The girl replies defensively, pointing at a secluded room. “She locks me up so I wouldn’t be able to tell anybody about the killings! Look, she even keeps tied me up. It’s only now that I’m able to escape.” Angst fills the girl’s every word, as she shows Mike the pieces of rope still binding her hands. Something Mike failed to notice until now.

The girl was in the middle of narrating to Mike how she escaped, when Monique suddenly appears in the doorway, holding a plastic bag full of groceries. Upon seeing Mike and the girl, she drops her groceries.

“What’s the meaning of this!? Mike...Why are you here? Salve?” Monique asked, as she nervously looked from Mike to Salve, and back.

Salve suddenly gets all hysterical and hides behind Mike, crying out. “She’s the killer! Catch her! She’s the one! She’s the killer!”

“Monique, when I was asked to be assigned to this case, I was so sure that you were the killer. But then as I got to know you I began having my doubts. My intuition was still telling me that you were guilty, but I tried to brush it aside, because in that short span of time that I’ve known you, I’ve already learned to love you.” Mike shook his head and looked forlornly at Monique. “But apparently, my intuition was right, I should’ve –“

“But Mike, you don’t understand! She’s lying! What killer are you talking about? I’m not a killer!” Monique cried as she pleaded with Mike.

“Yes you are! She’s the one who’s lying,” shouted Salve, as she continued to cower behind Mike.
“Salve stop! I am not a Liar! Mike, please believe me!”

“And you expect me to believe you, after lying to me? Why didn’t you tell me that you have a sister? And if you’re not guilty, why have you been keeping her tied and locked up all this time? What kind of animal are you?” A look of foreboding and anger slowly growing on Mike’s handsome face.

“Because I was afraid that you might leave me if you found out I had a crazy sister. And she’s very dangerous Mike, that’s why I keep her locked up.” Beseeched Monique.

“Crazy?! Don’t change the subject! If there’s someone who’s crazy here, it’s you! Don’t believe him Mike, she’s just pretending!” Salve shrieked while pulling Mike’s sleeves, like a little girl asking her dad to reprimand her naughty playmate.

“Mike, please!!!” Monique slowly walks towards Mike, her voice quivering. “I’m not the killer! Why won’t you believe me, I love you Mike and I wouldn’t lie to you”! With that, Monique breaks down and starts to cry, tears streaming down her face.

Mike, overcome by his love for Monique, walks slowly towards her to help her get up.
Suddenly, a look of pure evil and loathing crosses Salve’s face, and grabbing a knife lying on the nearby kitchen counter, she stabs Mike on the back. Mike lets out a gasp and crumples to the ground.

“Nooo!!!” Monique screams as she hugs her lover’s lifeless body.

Salve starts laughing at the top of her lungs. “Hahaha!!! Love???!!! What a touching scene! Now where’s your love”? She scoffs at Monique as she slowly dances around the tragic pair.

“Salve, why are you doing this to me? What have I done to you, for you to treat me, like this?” Monique stands up crying.

“What have you done wrong? Sister dear, you’re not that old yet to forget…” Salve crows, a twisted look of malevolence in her face. “No! Mom, Monique! Don’t leave me here, I wanna come with you, please!!” “I was always the outcast, isolated!” Tears begin to stream down Salves face, as she continues to circle around Monique.

“Wow! Is this really for me mom? Oh, it’s so beautiful, how about Salve?” Salve sneers. “You always had the best things. What Monique wants, Monique gets! And me…I was never mom’s favorite! It was always you! You! You!!!” Salve screamed as she covered her ears, as if trying to block out some terrible noise only she could hear.

“Now tell me...what… have… you… done… wrong.” She utters calmly, a pale deadly look on her face as she raises the knife once more, brandishing it slowly in front of Monique’s face.
Monique opened her mouth to speak, when Salve suddenly interjected, “Stop! Sshhh! Do you hear something? What’s that?” Salve still holding the knife, looks wildly around, as if searching for someone.

Seizing the moment, Monique pushes her sister and makes a break for the front door.

“Ooops! Not so fast!” Salve hisses as she blocks Monique’s path.

“Salve, please, let me go!”

“Why? Are you scared sister dear? Don’t worry, I won’t kill you like what I did to your customers.” Salve spits out the words, full of guile and malevolence.

“You! You were the one who killed them?!” Monique yells, the surprised look on her face slowly being replaced by an expression of understanding and terror.

“Of course! Who else?! My, you are slow”

“But how? I locked you up...”

“Hahaha!” Salve cackles as she proceeds to tell Monique how she managed to fool her into thinking that she was still tied up. “You’re such a fool! Just like your customers, wanna join them?!!” Salve shrieks with glee as she aims the knife at Monique. But at the last minute, her hand turns and the knife hits the table. “Hahaha! Just kidding!!! Are you scared now? You know what? In spite of all the pain you’ve caused me, I still love you, look I have a present for you!” Salve crooned in a singsong voice, her hands excitedly digging in her pocket.

“Ahhh!!! Noo!!!” Monique gasps in horror.

“Why? Aren’t they cute? I bet you didn’t like them…” the excited look on Salve’s face slowly turning into disappointment. “See how much I love you sister...I killed those people who fooled you. They don’t love you. They’ll just make you cry. They’ll never make you happy…and I wont let anyone make you happy!!! No one!” Salve utters as her face fills with a fierce look. “But hey… you can still have these.” She holds out her hands, slowly giving the bloody fingers to Monique. “Even if you don’t get to marry them, you can still have their filthy little ring fingers. Filthy fingers from filthy hands. Hahaha…here!!!”

“No!” Monique says, as she shoves Salve’s hand away. “Stay away from me!”
Monique pushes Salve away with all her might and runs towards the kitchen. Grabbing everything in sight as she attempts to block Salve from pursuing her. Salve catches up with her quickly and grabs Monique’s legs.

In the struggle, Monique manages to kick Salve in the face and manages to momentarily gain her freedom. She runs off with a limp but Salve quickly grabs her hand and slices her left arm with the knife.

The door then bursts open and Mike’s colleagues from the NBI steam in. They take one look at the scene and immediately grab Salve and restrain her with handcuffs.

“Hey! What are you doing?! I am not the killer! She’s the killer, she’s the one who killed Mike! I was just defending myself because she was gonna kill me too!” Salve sputters as she struggles to get out of the cop’s grip. “Lemme go! Lemme go! Look, there are the fingers, she’s the one who killed her customers. Not meehhh!!!”

~0~

It was the usual night for the pimps and call girls. A few fresh faces can be seen. A girl in her late teens, with wavy long hair and a perfect figure is the hottest and best buy of all.

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