The coastal sand of the side street is dappled in night shadow dark beneath the scrub pine and palm. Shadows cast that tell of compass headings before the fall of night. He stops occasionally in this darkness, listening and smelling. Distant ambient noise and a nightbird but no dogs. He doesn’t smell a human moving anywhere in the night breeze.
He hungers but not with the emptiness of the stomach nor the yearning of the heart. What he seeks dwells in serenity and peace and spurious sanctity and can be found in one of these houses behind their porous doors.
The lock is nothing to him. The lights are off and the house is asleep. He listens just inside the door and his senses quest for anything out of place. In the bedroom he hears the uneven breathing of one who is truly asleep. He steps inside, naked but for his shoes, and sees her sleeping. He touches her nightgown curiously and takes out the razor blade.
He gently slices the nightgown lengthwise until it parts then peels it back with his other hand. He is fully erect and filled not with desire or lust as we know it but with admiration and muted envy as he regards her white skin in the moonlight dappled by the blinds. He touches himself briefly and without pleasure, then tenderly replaces the halves of the sundered gown and relishes her once more.
She is still asleep and breathing deeply as he steps outside, still naked in the galled moonlight and silent as death. He locks the door politely behind him and walks back the way he came, up the sandy street.
Hours later in full daylight police cars line the sandy street. The bemused police listen to her hysterical harpiethroat wailing and the angry cursing of an enraged redneck husband. The neighbors stand in the street and gawk and point and stare but keep their distance from what unknown tragedy transpired in the night, a contagion they did not wish to share except vicariously in the riot of their hearts’ imaginings.
But by now he is gone.