A rough cut of a mysterious little piece of flash fiction I wrote.

by Lauren Caputi 

It was a rainy Thursday night and the city had, indeed, gone to sleep. Puddles collected in the streets as drops dripped from the gutters. Dismal was the best way to put it.

Hector sat in front of the fireplace, whiskey in hand. The golden rim of the glass gleamed against the dancing embers he had stoked. His breath was slow, controlled. A single ice cube clinked as he swirled his libation. He needed it. Hector knew this day was coming, but he wasn’t ready. Who could ever be ready for murder? He took one last slug and grimaced before pulling on a heavy coat, flipping up the hood to obscure his face from any wandering eye.

He didn’t have far to go. But with each step closer, the gravel crunched louder and louder under his boots. If only he could…no. He shook his head, clenching his teeth as he tried to focus on his task. He knew from the beginning what he was getting himself into.

“Excuse me sir, are you looking to buy?” He nodded as his eyes traveled across the assorted goods. The merchant had a thick black mustache and an accent Hector couldn’t quite place. “See anything you like?” Hector couldn’t stop himself as his eyes immediately flew to the female breasts before him. So plump and voluptuous. He was new to the business and looking for his first girl. “May I suggest this little beauty. Name’s Marilyn.” Their eyes met. She was young and beautiful. “Quite the spring chicken, ain’t she?” Shapely thighs, ample bosom. Yes, he thought, she’d be more than good enough. Hector inquired, “How much?”

A clap of thunder rang in Hector’s ears. Rain was beading down his face as he snapped back to gruesome reality. Marilyn. He prayed she’d be sleeping. That would make it easier…no one would hear her scream. He could only imagine it’d be less painful for her, too. He cracked his knuckles before stopping just outside her window.

Hector’s hands began to shake as warm golden light shone on his face. Hector was not a killer. He didn’t want blood on his hands, especially not hers. She was a tool, an instrument to use for his own profit. But she was getting old. No matter how snug they fit, his favorite pair of leather gloves couldn’t protect him tonight.

The wooden plank steps of her house creaked and moaned, as if the building begged for him to go back. His first merciless kill. His heart pounded in his ears as Hector twisted the doorknob and slipped inside. I have to put food on the table, he thought. Family first, he justified.

Breath ragged and delayed as he moved toward her. She sat up in bed, cocking her head to one side. As she opened her mouth to say something, he grabbed her by the neck. With a sharp twist, Marilyn was dead.

With his job done, he clicked off the light and left the chicken coop.