Drought by Graham Masterton
Martin heard the screaming inside the house as soon as he pulled into the curb. He picked up his bulging folder of case notes and swung his legs out of his old bronze Eldorado convertible, but as he did so the frosted glass window in the front door cracked, sharp as a pistol shot. He could see that a woman in a dark red dress had been violently pushed against it from inside the hallway.
‘You whore!’ a man’s hoarse voice was shouting. ‘Two weeks I’m away and what do you do? Two weeks! You can’t wait for me two weeks!’
The woman was thrown against the front door a second time, even harder, so that a large triangular shard of glass crashed out on to the porch. Martin dropped his folder back on to the passenger seat and strode briskly up the concrete path.
‘You whore! You pisona! You piece of shit! I kill you!’
Martin went up to the door, his shoes crunching on broken glass. Through the broken window he could see a woman sitting on the doormat with her back to him, sobbing, her black hair tangled into snakes. An unshaven Hispanic man in a filthy pink T-shirt was standing in front of her with both fists clenched, cross-eyed with rage.
‘Jesus!’ Martin shouted at him. ‘Back off, Jesus, before you do something you totally regret! Leave her be!’
The man took no notice of him. He seized the woman’s dress and heaved her up on to her feet, and then he punched her in the face, twice. Martin heard the cartilage in her nose snap, and blood sprayed in loops and squiggles all the way up the wall.
‘Jesus, leave her be!’
But Jesus kept hold of the woman’s dress and swung her from side to side. She was semi-concussed and her arms were dangling as if she were dancing a loose-limbed salsa.
‘You go screw yourself!’ he retorted. ‘This is my business, nothing to do with social service! Go on, go screw yourself! Vete a la verga!’
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