Home > The Last Sinner

The Last Sinner
Author: Lisa Jackson




October 2015

New Orleans, Louisiana




I run, moving quickly.

Through the sheeting rain.

Crossing city streets.

Hidden by the shadows of the night.


My heart’s pounding, blood pumping through my veins as I splash through puddles and blink against the slashing rain.

I smell the earthy, ever-present odor of the Mississippi River.

Familiar and dank.

With my poncho flapping, my boots slapping through puddles, I run along the alleys and streets of the French Quarter.


Streetlights are glowing, their illumination fuzzy in the rainfall, soft light reflecting off the hoods of a few scattered cars parked near Jackson Square, rainwater gurgling in the gutters, washing onto the street, and pooling in the potholes.

This city is, and always has been, my home.

And I loved it.

Until I didn’t.

Because of her.

My stomach clenches at the thought of what I’ve gone through, what I’ve had to endure. But now, after all this time, it’s about to be over.


With St. Louis Cathedral as my beacon, down the nearly deserted streets I fly. The cathedral rises high into the night, whitewashed walls bathed in light, its three familiar spires knifing upward to the dark, roiling heavens. From habit, I cross myself as I hazard a glance to the highest spire with its cross aloft, but all the while, I keep moving, the wrought iron pickets of the fence surrounding Jackson Square in my peripheral vision.

On the far side of the cathedral, I slip into narrow Pirate’s Alley where a few lights in the windows of the shops are glowing, but the street itself is deserted, all pedestrians indoors, waiting out the storm.

It’s fine, I tell myself. No, no, it’s good, because in spite of the inclement weather, she will be coming.

I know her routine by heart. And I’ve double-checked to make certain that tonight she didn’t vary from it, that her car is parked where it normally is three nights a week, so, tonight is the night. With the rain concealing so much, a wet shroud, I’ll have more time and less chance of being observed, or worse yet, interrupted.

My heart is pounding, my chest tight in anticipation as I reach the end of the alley, near the Place de Henriette Delille. Here I wait, crouching low, catching my breath near the park. Swiping drops of rain from my forehead, I squint and stare across Royal Street, usually so busy with pedestrians, but tonight, thankfully, only spotted with a few brave souls dashing through the storm, all seeming too intent to get out of the downpour to notice me or even glance in my direction. It’s too wet for most, a deluge, the wind-blown rain sheeting in the vaporous glow of the streetlamps, the pavement shimmering eerily, the night thick.

I check my watch, making certain I’m on time while water runs down my poncho to stream onto the cobblestones. My ski mask is tight over my nose and chin, but my hood is cinched tight around my face and no one should notice in the rain, though shaded glasses during the night might be considered odd. But this is New Orleans. Nothing here is really out of the ordinary. Anything goes.

Again I make the sign of the cross and let out my breath to count my slowing heartbeats.

And beneath my poncho, my right hand finds the hilt of my hunting knife, a sharp weapon with a thin blade that could whisk off the hide of an alligator and easily slice through muscle and sinew.

I’ve waited for this night for so damned long.

Now that the time has come, I’ll savor it, that sweet, sweet taste of revenge. Licking my lips, my eyes trained on the building with the red door cut into a dimly lit alcove, a striped awning flapping with the stiff breeze, I wait. Then, I’m forced to move quickly, stepping deeper into the shadows as a man with a briefcase, head ducked against the wind, passes nearby. He’s in a hurry to get out of the storm and doesn’t so much as throw a glance in my direction.

I hear a siren in the distance and freeze, but the shrieks fade as the emergency vehicle speeds even further away, unimpeded by much traffic on this stormy night.

Anxiously I stare at the red door.

“Come on, come on,” I whisper.

But she doesn’t appear.

Nervous now, I check my watch again.

She’s late.

Five minutes late.


Come on. Come on.

Heartbeat pounding in my ears, I begin to sweat.

I’m breathing too fast.

Calm down!

Be patient.

But my nerves are strung tight, the muscles in my neck and shoulders bunched so tight they ache, my hand grasping the hilt of the knife strapped to my waist.

I know she’s inside.

I passed her car, a little Subaru parked where she usually found a space when she visited the gym.



Out of the corner of my eye, I spy a couple dashing wildly through the storm. I turn quickly away to face the park just in case they glance in my direction and somehow see through my disguise. Sharing a shivering umbrella, they rush past, their coats billowing, the woman’s laughter barely audible through the storm. Splashing by, they don’t notice me.

Barely holding on to my sanity, I check my watch. Again.

Seven minutes.

Seven minutes late!

My pulse skyrockets. All my plans shrivel. Why would anything change tonight? She’s always been prompt. I’ve timed her. On several different occasions. Like clockwork, she’s always walked out the door within a minute or two of the hour.

I’m suddenly frantic. Unsure. Could she have left by another doorway? Because of the downpour? Did someone call her? Warn her? But no. No one knows what I’m planning. No one.

For a different view of the building, I cross the alley, but staring through the downpour, I see nothing out of the ordinary as I study the building with its recessed red door. Squinting, I look upward to the second floor where the yoga class is held. The lights are still on.

And then the red door opens.

She steps out and into the storm.

My pulse ticks up. My blood pounds in my ears and drowns out the sounds of the city, the rush of tires on nearby streets, the gurgle of water in downspouts, the incessant pounding of the rain. All I hear is my own thudding heart.

Eyeing the black heavens from beneath the flapping awning, she clicks up her umbrella and begins jogging, hurrying across Royal Street, her boots splashing through puddles, the umbrella’s canopy shuddering with the wind.

She’s running straight at me!

My heartbeat is in the stratosphere.

Saying a quick prayer, I withdraw the knife, my thighs tight, ready to pounce.

Suddenly her stride breaks and she veers sideways!

What!?! No!

Did she see me? Anticipate my plans?

No. A skinny, drenched cat, caught in the storm, gallops across her path before diving under the protection of a parked car.

Muttering a curse, she hurries forward again, her umbrella her shield.

Not a good enough weapon, I think. No. Not nearly good enough. She’s barely ten feet away when I notice a shadow behind her, a figure running through the curtain of the rain.

What? No!

She’s nearly to me.

I coil, ready to spring.

“Kristi!” a voice yells, and she half turns.

Startled, I lose my concentration.

Who is that? Someone who knows her? A witness?

No, no, no!

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