Mary Beth managed to reach the doorway before the gun discharged again. She slapped the gun aside, simultaneously aiming a shoulder at the predator's chest with her momentum propelling her forward. Caught off guard by the suddenness and ferocity of Mary Beth's counter-attack, the predator was slammed back against the wall and the revolver thudded to the floor. Having never been in a fight in her life and seeing the gun on the floor, Mary Beth immediately pivoted from fight to flight and ran down the hallway toward the stairs. The predator paused only long enough to scoop up the dropped pistol and then gave chase.
Mary Beth stumbled down the stairs and headed straight for the front door. She frantically turned the lock and tried to release the deadbolt. She almost made it.
Arriving at the bottom of the stairs only steps behind her, the predator spied a heavy silver vase on a wooden stand positioned beside the landing, grabbed it up on the way to the door and bashed Mary Beth in the head with it. The blow stunned her, but she didn't go down. She turned to face her attacker and tried to get her hands up to protect herself. But the vase was already coming down again, and the predator smashed it into the left side of her face causing a laceration above her left eye. Faint and dizzy, Mary Beth did the only the thing that came to mind. She wrapped both arms around her attacker's neck, twisted, and used her weight to pull them both to the floor on the tiled entryway. The predator again lost hold of the gun and the vase skittered away across the tile.
Fueled by pure terror and adrenaline, Mary Beth maintained a death grip with her arms wrapped tightly around the predator's neck as they rolled and struggled on the floor for several minutes. In desperation, the predator viciously bit Mary Beth's exposed upper left upper arm and feeling the arm relax slightly, followed up by driving an elbow under Mary Beth's chin breaking her grip.
The predator rolled away, got to a crouch, and stumbled to the lost pistol. Grabbing up the weapon, the predator spun and aimed just as Mary Beth got shakily to her feet. Time seemed to move in slow motion. Just as she started to turn to run towards the dining room, the predator fired. The bullet struck Mary Beth in the chest just above her left breast. While she wasn't completely aware she had just been shot; her legs lost feeling and her knees buckled. The room started to go dark. She collapsed to the floor on her left side. The bullet had punched through the skin and underlying subcutaneous tissue before entering the chest cavity. It then passed catastrophically through the descending thoracic aorta before lodging in Mary Beth's spine. Her last conscious thought was a feeling of regret that she hadn't gone to work that morning as usual.
The predator approached Mary Beth warily, ready to fire again. Mary Beth's eyes were open. Her bruised and bloody face frozen in a look of surprise. There was no movement, but the predator wanted to be sure and fired two more bullets into Mary Beth's chest from point blank range. Mary Beth Anderson didn't feel a thing. Her heart had already stopped. She was already dead.
The predator couldn't believe how fast things had spun completely out of control. Mary Beth's quick reaction and decision to fight back upstairs had been completely unexpected. Neighbors might have heard the gunshots. The police might already be responding. But the predator fought the nearly irresistible urge to get out of the house immediately and flee. Some damage control was necessary first. The scene had to be staged to camouflage what had happened.
After glancing about the room a quick plan was formed. The predator moved quickly to the entertainment center against the far wall. After ripping out the electrical cords, the VCR and DVD player were swept off the shelves, stacked, and placed beside the door to the garage. On the way, a set of car keys hanging from one of the wall hooks beside the door was noticed and grabbed. The getaway plan was greatly simplified.
After stepping out the door into the garage, the predator punched the button on the wall beside the door. While the garage door was going up the predator hustled into the Audi, put the key in the ignition, and started the engine. There was no need to take the electronics. Leaving them stacked beside an exit door should be enough.
Nothing had gone according to plan that morning, but the predator was satisfied with the result. There certainly were no feelings of remorse. The bitch had got what she deserved. Reversing the Audi out of the garage and down the driveway, the predator spun the wheel, shifted the gear selector, and drove away.
For several reasons, long years would pass before anyone came even remotely close to solving the murder of Mary Beth Anderson.
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